One of the most exciting, yet overlooked, aspects of Warlords of Draenor is that the new character models will also be applied to npcs. This will give Azeroth a facelift even Cataclysm could not offer. Unfortunately, with the alpha still employees only; we had no way to see how our favorite NPCs would look with the new models, until now. Thanks to Wowhead‘s model viewer, any NPCs using finished models (male and female orc, gnome, dwarf and male tauren) can be viewed in their brand new WoD glory. I’ve put together a sampling of 12 iconic NPCs (who at least two of which will play large roles in Warlords of Draenor.
First off, some notes:
-The new foot design with separately modeled toes hasn’t been accounted for by Wowhead’s model viewer yet, so ignore that all the characters appear to be wearing extremely tight socks instead of boots. This should be fixed in-game.
-Moira Thaurissan and Gelbin Mekkatorque should be on this list, but both of their models are glitched (in Moira’s case, terrifyingly so) at the moment.
-Tauren males in general seem to be glitched. Dezco is a notable exception.
-For reasons unknown, Aggra is using a new female fel orc skin. Her appropriate Mag’har skin is being used by Dragonmaw orcs right now.
-If your favorite NPC isn’t here, you can search literally every character currently in the game on Wowhead’s model viewer.
Expect more looks into the NPC facelift in the future as more models are datamined and glitches are cleared up with current ones.
The recent datamining of the Warlords of Draenor alpha by MMO-Champion has revealed much about the upcoming expansion’s story. We’ve known from its announcement that, similar to MoP, our characters will journey into Draenor with an elite team of heroes from their respective factions, but now it has been revealed precisely who will accompany us. While we’ll be seeing plenty of characters from Warcraft’s lore on Draenor, these are the familiar faces from Azeroth. For this first article, we’ll look at the Alliance expedition.
Before hitting the jump to see them, note that is all alpha information and is highly subject to change. It’s also datamined, which means this could be left over data from already scrapped content. In other words, this is what appears to be correct at the time, but take it with a grain of salt just in case.
Hello Blizzplanet readers, unfortunately some technical difficulties have gotten in the way of my write-up about Shadowmoon Valley as shown at BlizzCon 2013, so in the meantime let’s look at another important topic. Just when are we going to get to Draenor, anyway?
Now that I’ve gotten home from one epic Blizzcon, let’s go over some substantial changes coming to raiding in 6.0!
Spec is everything:
One of the biggest announcements for Warlords was that armor pieces will now change stats according to spec. Plate is plate, mail is mail, leather is leather, cloth is cloth. Here’s an example: I have a Pandaren monk who starting 6.0 will have leather with agility stats in my Windwalker spec. If I change to my other spec, Mistweaver, it will change agility into intellect the moment the spec cast bar completes! Same goes for Brewmaster, which would shift to armor emphasis as a tanking stat. This change also includes Tier bonuses for each spec as well! What impact does this have on WoW? It means a few things: raids will gear up faster, with no more hunter mail drops that an elemental shaman can’t use for their primary spec. A cat druid will no longer skip on intellect gear, its leather armor pieces will change stats for all roles! There will still be non-armor gear (such as trinkets) that will be role specific, but as a whole this will be a very welcome change to how gear works. My Ret Paladin can actually consider tanking without being in tanking armor that is more suitable for two or three raid tiers prior. Alternate PvE specs will likely get a lot more use now that players can try out new roles on a more competitive ilvl. Imagine having your 4 piece set bonus and switching to Prot! This change will also apply to PvP, which is a welcome change for many classes.
Speaking of PvP, a very welcome change is coming that will have people using the same Arena gear. No longer will you struggle in rated Arenas while you earn enough Conquest points to become competitive. Along with the resilience changes in Mists of Pandaria, this poises PvP to be skill based. Do you prefer flexing your PvP gear muscles in the outside world? That gear is still available for purchase, but will not function in ranked games.
You may be wondering, what about gems and enchants? They are on almost every piece of gear! You know what is on every piece of gear? Reforging! So much gold and bag space for switching specs. Fear not, for Blizzard has taken steps to make sure these obstacles are minimal:
1) Reforging: Removed! Blizzard felt it was too much of a penalty without enough fun to it. It caused people to hesitate on gear, fearing the cascade effect that so many of us are familiar with.
2) Gems: Less items will have gems, but they will increase in potency. I like this change because it makes gems feel special and more manageable for switching specs.
3) Enchants: These have also been reduced, which will make us feel them more as well as make gear less expensive to play with different specs.
4) What about Jewelcrafters’ and Enchanters’ pocketbooks? Blizzard stated that they will be creating new ways for them to make money, minimizing the economic impact for those professions.
A couple of other things. As I mentioned above about Brewmaster, armor will now be the primary tanking stat as Blizzard really likes active mitigation going forward. Hit, and expertise will no longer be a factor as they have been removed! The sigh of relief in the room when this was announced was universal. It appears that Blizzard’s philosophy for this expansion is to really remove obstacles and things that are useless wastes of time (looking at you hit and expertise) so we can maximize our time playing. Next up we will be discussing the exciting raid size and name changes! What are you most excited about?
Hello everybody, I know this is a few days post BlizzCon, but its the thought that counts, right? Anyways, the Warlords of Draenor demo from BlizzCon has been covered elsewhere; so this won’t be quite like the other descriptions of it. Instead I’ll be focusing on some neat tidbits I found, as well as some potential theories to the expansion’s plotline. Take the jump downwards to find out more!
I also recently posted photos of the booksigning of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael held at the 2013 New York Comic Con where I met Joseph Lacroix (DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice artist) and Doug Alexander (Senior Art Editor in Creative Development at Blizzard Entertainment).
Note: Added a transcript at the below the video embed. The interview lasted about 24 minutes. (Added Sub-titles to the video through YouTube CC/Closed Captions)
This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet. We’re here to interview Micky Neilson and Matt Burns about Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. We also have Montoya from Blizzplanet.
(Everyone says Hi)
Let’s start with the first question here.
MD: Blizzard Entertainment and Insight Editions published Diablo III: Book of Cain as a primer to Diablo III mythos. Where does Diablo III: Book of Tyrael fit in Blizzard’s grand design? What is the purpose?
Neilson: There was a lot of reasons for doing Book of Tyrael. Probably the main reason was — because we did Book of Cain and we came up with a ton of amazing content, and all kinds of great ideas and everything else, and backstory and characters and all this juicy stuff, and then we figured — you know, ok — we’ve a certain number of pages to be able to tell up this ending and we just didn’t have enough room for everything.
So the biggest thing for Book of Tyrael was — Ok, we’ve got all this amazing information that we want to share with people. Let’s do it in a follow up book and let’s see what other opportunities we have to convey this information. So that was one of the big ones; and then of course, tying into upcoming game content and having something that’s going to serve us to bridge to the next expansion — you know — that was also a big consideration. Matt do you want to add to that? (More after the break)
I arrived to the New York Comic Con in Manhattan about 10:45am before the scheduled book signing at the Insight Editions booth (#1564). The place was packed with thousands of fans and I wasn’t even inside the Javits Center yet. I bypassed most of the horde of people outside the building by walking along the street to the farthest entry point (which is closer to the Exhibition Hall). Still took me about 15 minutes to get inside just to enter into yet another traffic jam of people walking the aisles. Not so easy with a Rollator Walker.
Insight Editions Booth # 1564
I got to meet Joseph Lacroix (DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice artist) and Doug Alexander (Senior Art Editor in Creative Development at Blizzard Entertainment) at the Insight Editions booth and both signed my copy of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. I was delighted. It was so cool when I wrote Blizzplanet.com on the book and showed it to Joseph. He went like: “Ohh! Blizzplanet!” He explained Doug about the fansite.
I informed him that Arthur “Handclaw” Lorenz recently interviewed him at GamesCom 2013 on behalf of Blizzplanet, and he remembered him. It was awesome to meet these guys and handshake.
The Simon & Schuster booth had Blizzard lead publishing and New York Times best selling author Micky Neilson as a guest to sign books for Blizzard Entertainment fans. Simon & Schuster gave away 50 copies of World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde and 50 copies of Diablo III: The Order for free to those who came to the book signing event.
There was a long line of fans waiting to get their books signed. The line went all around the corner.
I talked briefly with Micky Neilson at the end of the book signing. I asked him whether someone would step forward to take the role of the avatar of Justice now that Tyrael answered the call of the Crystal Arch to take the mantle of Wisdom.
Whether someone would answer the call to fill the shoes of the avatar of Justice in the future or not is unknown. It is something that has been discussed internally, but they haven’t yet come to a decision. I argued there is still Justice to be met with Adria betraying Tyrael, Leah and all of mankind. Of course, what Malthael is orchestrating demands justice too.
On another note, there is a Diablo short story or novella in progress to be released somewhere around 2014. It is based on a character mentioned in the “Figures of Interest” section of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael.
The character is named Morbed (a former thief) who roams the lands of Sanctuary helping adventurers. The description in the book is open to interpretation. Maybe players might find him in the Reaper of Souls expansion. Don’t take my word on that.
The video below shows the book signing by Micky Neilson — HD1080 available. Let the playlist run to load both videos. The sound is a bit chaotic. I cleaned a bit of it, but you can still hear it. There was a nearby booth with really amped-up music in the background on top of the thousands of people talking in the distance.
The Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is now on sale at the New York Comic Con (booth #1564) and local bookstores. I grabbed my copy from the Insight Editions booth at the New York Comic Con for $28.
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael was written by Matt Burns (Associate Publishing Developer, Blizzard Entertainment).
In terms of printing materials, this book has the typical Blizzard-quality standards and what you would expect from an Insight Editions book. It’s awesome. The front cover’s Sword and ornaments artwork is embossed — giving you that special visual and tactile feeling. The lower part of the book is wrapped by a cover jacket.
Now I think this book kind of went a few notches up in terms of detail in comparison with Book of Cain and other similar Blizzard licensed products. If you take a look at the outer side of the pages which run along the width of the book in Book of Cain — you will notice the pages’ border were truncated to mimic ancient scrolls. Diablo III: Book of Tyrael lacks this, but instead the pages’ border is painted in gold. It’s crazy. You can even see the light reflect off the golden surface. The photo doesn’t even catch half of how it really looks like.
In the interior of the book, all pages have this wash-out material that gives you a feeling this is an old manuscript. It’s rare to find a page that has no artwork.
Finally, at the back of the book is some sort of envelope glued to the cardboard. The center has a seal one can detach to open the envelope. Within is “The Red Tree of Khanduras” listing Deckard Cain, Archbishop Lazarus, Prince Albrecht, King Leoric, Queen Asylla, Prince Aidan, Leah and Adria.
When you unfold the poster it is kinda huge. It has an artwork of a big tree. The roots seem to entangle The Black Soulstone. The branches have images of all the characters mentioned above concerning “The Red Tree of Khanduras”.
On the other side of the poster, it shows the same characters in their final fate: Queen Asylla decapitated, Leah as Diablo the Prime Evil, Aidan as the Dark Wanderer, King Leoric as the Skeleton King, Adria holding the Black Soulstone, Albrecht as Diablo, Lazarus and Cain death.
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is written from the point of view of Tyrael. However, Tyrael attached writings from Deckard Cain’s Journal and Leah’s Journal to pass the wisdom down to his new Horadrim, and future generations. It is not written as a novel, but more as a compendium of notes.
There is no index page or content list. The entirety of the book is a roleplay from the point of view of the Diablo III characters. An exception is the credits page.
Diablo III fans should definitely get their hands on this book. There are many elements from the upcoming Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion; and probably the expansion after that.
I have never seen such an extensive collection of lore about Adria the Witch. Adria’s past prior to her arrival to Tristram is written by Leah, and her story after arriving to Tristram is from Deckard Cain’s notes. Tyrael got Leah’s notes from Bastion’s Keep.
Tyrael shares his experience as mortal in his charge as the new Wisdom. Charge that’s short-lived as Imperius doesn’t acknowledge him and ignores his warnings about the Black Soulstone.
Tyrael is confused with all the raw emotions coursing through his mortal body. Fear to fail his duty as Wisdom. Emotional insecurities assaulting him.
The book reveals why Tyrael decided to steal the Black Soulstone from the Angiris Council, and why Westmarch as its burial ground. The story of Adria the Witch, the Founding and Ruin of Westmarch, and lore about the Crusaders can be found in the book, too. Take this book as a prelude to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls; and as a primer for the upcoming novel Diablo III: Storm of Light by Nate Kenyon which hits bookstores on February 2014.
There is no index/contet list, so I’ll simply list the sections found throughout Book of Tyrael:
Introduction – This is a letter from Tyrael to the New Horadrim.
Part One: Adria
The Witch of Tristram
Zoltun Kulle and the Black Soulstone
Part Two: The Fate of the Black Soulstone
The Dissonance of the Angiris Council
The New Horadrim
Rakkis and the Founding of Westmarch – Prelude to Conquest
Campaigns Against Ivgorod and the Barbarians
The Creation of Westmarch
The Lost Ruins of Westmarch
Part Three: Miscellanea
A Timeline of Sanctuary
Pre-History – (Inarius)
Factions of Sanctuary
Council of Elders
The Temple of the Triune
The Thieves Guild
Figures of Interest — this is a long section with brief descriptions of several humans, demons and angels throughout history. Some only mentioned in the novels and the comic book.
Some of the artists behind all the artwork in Diablo III: Book of Tyrael were the same from Book of Cain, while others seem to be new.
The Black Frog
Glenn Rane (Cover)
Dan Hee Ryu
Matt Burns (Writer)
Doug Alexander (Creative Direction, Layout and Design)
Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, and Brian Kindreagan (Additional Story Development)
Victor Lee (Additional Art)
Josh Horst, Kyle Williams, Skye Chandler (Producers)
Cate Gary (Editor)
Justin Parker (Lore)
Jerry Chu (Licensing)
Special thanks to: Christian Lichtner, John Polidora, David Lomeli, Benjamin Zhang, Peter C. Lee, Leonard Boyarsky, Michael Chu, Valerie Watrous, Evelyn Fredericksen, Sean Copeland, Leanne Huynh, Audrey Vicenzi, and Joseph Lacroix.
Raoul Goff (Publisher)
Chrissy Kwasnik (Art Director)
Vanessa Lopez (Executive Editor)
Anna Wan (Production Manager)
Elaine Ou (Editorial Assistant)
The Coven is actually a remnant of what was once known as the Triune (the ancient religion seen in Diablo: The Sin War trilogy)
Adria was born in Kingsport — curiously, the southern port of Westmarch — where Reaper of Souls takes place.
Adria’s father was Sevrin — a powerful merchant in Kingsport, who strangled his wife in a fit of rage.
Adria possibly killed her own father some time later when an unusual fire burned their home. She fled north to the Westmarch capital. Joined a group of witches. Turns out Adria and Maghda met there in their youth. Years later, both witches joined the Coven and took control of the group after killing its leaders.
Adria later departed the Coven after a schism with her partner — around the time of the Darknening of Tristram.
On one of Cain’s notes, he acknowledges after taking Leah as child with him, he began to research about Adria. He decided to keep what he learned a secret, and hid the truth to Leah.
I’m surprised this book has a long timeline similar to Warcraft’s. Also most of these Leah’s notes dating Diablo III (Caldeum and Bastion Keep) are written in 1285 Anno Kehjistani. Some notes are denoted as “1st day of (what seems like a month)”. Examples: Ratham, Kathon, Ostara.
Short descriptions of each important human, angel and demon throughout history (alive and deceased).
Zoltun Kulle was from the Ennead mage clan — group which delved into transmutation and enchantment magics.
The Black Soulstone was a profane simulacrum of the three soulstones Tyrael gave the Horadrim years ago.
Now we have another name of the first Horadrim group: Jered Cain, Tal Rasha, Zoltun Kulle and Iben Fahd. The latter was among the few survivors who attempted to defeat Zoltun in his lair.
The first part was Adria and Zoltun Kulle. The third part is from the point of view of Tyrael. He expresses how he feels as a human. How he felt as an Angel and how he viewed the flaws of the Angiris Council.
“I deliberately took on the form of a mortal, sacrificing my angelic essence, in response to the Council’s continued inaction. In doing so, I hoped to set an example to the Heavens — to prove that laws can be bent for a greater good.”
Tyrael left the Heavens after Diablo the Prime Evil was defeated. He couldn’t bear the angels’ judgment — who blamed him for the countless deaths of angels. I think this is the first time we ever hear how angels are born. Tyrael mentions before he left back to Sanctuary he witnessed the Lightsong — the creation of new angels. The angels tune their essences into the Crystal Arch in synch. The harmony of this “sound” and “light” creates new angels.
My copy of the DK World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide just arrived. I purchased it myself. I was curious to see such a big box for a book. When I opened the box and held the book on my hands, I literally jaw-dropped.
I wasn’t expecting this book to be such a monster-sized one. I have reviewed many Blizzard products in the past 10 years, but this one just broke the record in size. The Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches don’t mean much in context until you have it in front of you. IT IS HUGE! It is heavy too. 3 Pounds. I’m surprised I didn’t pay more for the shipping than for the book ($3.99 shipping).
As usual, all Blizzard Entertainment books come with a cover jacket wrapped around the book. You can frame it as a large poster (13.8″ x 10.3″). When you remove the cover jacket, the book itself has a printed duplicate of the same artwork in full color (except for the missing logo and title text).
On the cover jacket’s internal flap you can read:
“A universe so vast as to be immeasurable — incomprehensible even to your greatest minds.” – Algalon the Observer
The World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide was produced in close collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, the world’s biggest online role-playing game. The book explores the epic history, races, major characters, and locations of this thrilling fantasy realm, delving deep into the World of Warcraft lore.
In addition to giving readers an overview of Azeroth’s history, the book provides a behind-the-scenes look at World of Warcraft’s development. This unprecedented, long-awaited companion is packed with fantastic original World of Warcraft images, many rarely seen. Also featuring the very latest lore, this book is the ideal introduction to the World of Warcraft universe as well as the perfect guide for any adventurer, Alliance or Horde.
Adorning the interior of the book cardboard is a washed up monochrome version of this artwork.
The title page: World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide has the following image:
Throughout the length of the book you will find awesome artwork never seen before and some known. On the lore side, you will find a description of each race, kingdom, class, magic types, leaders, legendary weapons, history, an updated timeline and so much more. Among the authors are Anne Stickney from WoW Insider and Kathleen Pleet.
I can’t stress out enough how much I like to see all the epic artwork, and even new images of Turalyon, Aegwynn, Queen Azshara before and after her transformation, Hakkar the Houndmaster, Draka, Durotan, Aggra, Garona Halforcen, Orgrim Doomhammer, Xarantaur and many others. The book also covers the many independent factions including villains and raid bosses. Pretty complete collection.
There are images from Warcraft II, Warcraft III, and World of Warcraft. Others from the novel covers, novel bonus images, the TCG, the comic book, and graphic novels. But definitely new ones I haven’t seen before. This guide is basically a compilation of many artwork published by Blizzard Entertainment throughout different media, as well as sort of an encyclopedia containing the World of Warcraft MMO lore basics for newcomers or people who have been around a while but don’t necessarily know much about the Warcraft universe or the majority of fans who haven’t read the Warcraft novels, manga or comic books.
I am surprised to see new artwork of Khadgar, Kurdran, Turalyon, Alleria and Danath Trollbane. These probably come from the TCG, but in my defense I didn’t collect them.
The lore is very up-to-date until Mists of Pandaria. Mar’li the High Priestess of the Spider Loa is featured, introduced in Patch 5.2 The Thunder Isle.
This book is definitely the Ultimate Visual and Lore Guide for beginners who recently joined the World of Warcraft MMO or who lack the basics of the overall lore behind the leaders, races, classes and other aspects of the game universe, but a feast to the eyes for old-schoolers too who love to behold great artwork by Blizzard artists — including the Sons of the Storm.
I don’t want fans to grab this book expecting something in particular — like a all out new lore, or the next expansion stuff. This is just WoW in a nutshell for newcomers spanning content from 2004 to 2013.
Around the first pages there is a foreword from Blizzard Publishing Lead Micky Neilson. To know a bit more about the authors of this guide, Kathleen Pleet is a BradyGames contributor involved in the development of the Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Dungeon Companion guides. Anne Stickney is a senior editor at WoW Insider who writes the “Know Your Lore” column.
Blizzard Entertainment was knee-deep involved in the development of this guide. The credits list the following Blizzard Entertainment developers:
Production: Joshua Horst, Skye Chandler, Leanne Huynh
Editor: Micky Neilson
Lore: Sean Copeland
Lore Editor: Cate Gary
Licensing: Matthew Beecher, Jerry Chu, Audrey Vicenzi
Art Direction: Jeremy Cranford
The credits also list several DK Publishing and BradyGames personnel.
Many might argue this is info already available in the WoWpedia — but you visit there to find something in specific through the “Search” feature. This guide, on the other hand, compiles all a fan needs to know about the lore basics for everything Warcraft. I wouldn’t doubt many people would visit WoWpedia to expand their knowledge after reading the guide.
The Titans, the Old gods, the Elemental Lords, the Burning Legion hierarchy and its demon races, even some of the War of the Ancients data. You can find it all in the guide. This photo shows you the Content List with all features by page.
Today is the day for our Hearthstone Closed Beta patch! This patch also includes the account wipe, so when the servers are available for play once more, you’ll be starting again as if you were a new player. For more information on the wipe itself, please revisit our Account Wipe Incoming blog post, found here. Now, onto the patch notes!
The maximum level is now 60, and you can earn XP in any game mode up to max level.
Chat has been rejiggered.
Gold gained in Play mode has changed from 5 gold per 5 wins to 10 gold per 3 wins.
You can now acquire Golden Basic minions at higher experience levels.
Arena rewards now give less dust and more cards.
More gold is guaranteed at 5 & 6 Arena wins.
At 9 Arena wins, you are now guaranteed an extra pack or a Golden card.
The animations for Secrets and Fatigue have been sped up dramatically.
All cards now have flavor text when you view them in your collection.
“Spell Power +1” has been renamed “Spell Damage +1”.
Heroes can be unlocked in any mode (Play/Arena/Practice)
Play, Practice and Friendly Play modes will now default to the custom deck selection UI if you’ve previously created a deck
You can now click on chat bubbles to respond
Social – When your friends complete an Arena run or get a Legendary card in a pack, you’ll be notified so you can tell them, “Grats!”
Quests that required you to win with a class now give you a choice between 2 classes.