ammunae-closeup

Cataclysm: Ammunae – Heroic Halls of Origination Strategy

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Articles

Ammunae the Construct of Life is one of the four bosses in the Four Seats chamber located in the second floor of the Halls of Origination.

It is a very easy fight if DPS players pay attention. The battle lasts approximately a minute, or a bit longer.

For the whole duration of the fight, Seedling Pods will start spawning at Ammunae’s feet. The Seedling Pods do not have a nameplate, thus the safe way to do this is for two DPS players to press TAB on their keyboard to shift focus from Ammunae to any adds showing up. Kill those pods asap. Taking a look at the combat log, you will notice these Seedling Pods actually heal Ammunae for over 16,000 health. Three pods can potentially heal him for 45,000 health a second.


Therefore, DPS players should constantly attack the boss blowing their trinkets, and pressing TAB to get rid of the pods. If a pod is left unchecked for too long, it will transform into an Elite Bloodpetal flower. Things get really nasty if many of these start showing up and aggro the healer. If many show up, it means the boss have been getting healed by the pods at heart’s desire and will take longer than usual to kill.

There are two spells Ammunae casts often at players every few seconds: Wither and Consume Life Energy. It’s a visible green lightning targeted at a random player. He will look in that player’s direction and the player will levitate above the ground with the strangle animation. The player won’t be able to move or cast for three seconds. I haven’t tried if it can be dispelled. While the combat log doesn’t describe what Wither is, the Consume Life Energy makes Ammunae gain 10 energy per sec for three seconds, and does damage to the afflicted player for that duration.

Safe thing to do is to ignore these, and focus on the true menace: the Seedling Pods.

At some point during the fight, the healer will have to pump AOE heals, or cast Divine Hymn. You will see a huge green shockwave causing around 30,000 damage to all players.

One tip for tanks: dead spores leave a big radius on the ground covered by Noxious Spores which deal nature damage to anyone standing on them including to Ammunae and the Bloodpetals. If you see more than one Bloodpetal, the spores might be a good way to get rid of them. You can try to kite the boss on top of these noxious spores to cause him extra damage (it is an orange stain on the ground).

Seedling Pod

  • Energizing Growth: Heals Ammunae for 16598 health.

Spore

  • Noxious Spores: hits all players in range for 11654 Nature damage. It can also damage Ammunae and the Bloodpetal Sprout for 4649 Nature according to the combat log.

Ammunae

  • Melee Swing: hits for 10328 – 34086 Physical damage.

  • Consume Life Energy: Ammunae will face in the direction of a random player and cast a green beam from his hand draining life and power. Ammunae gains 10 energy per sec. The player gets a 3 sec debuff causing 3060 – 3667 Nature damage per sec. The player won’t be able to move or cast.

  • Rampant Growth: a huge green expansion wave that hits all players in 100 yards. Hits for 23705 – 32988 Nature damage.

  • Wither: No data shows in the combat log. It’s cast often and looks like a blue lightning aimed at a random player. I noticed it is cast on players with mana. Since there’s no combat log description it might mean it doesn’t do damage, but might affect mana, or damage dealt somehow, or increase damage taken.

Blizzard Quote:

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Cataclysm: Isiset – Heroic Halls of Origination Strategy

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Articles

After defeating Temple Guardian Anhuur, Isiset is my favorite boss to tackle afterwards. She’s the easiest of the four bosses at the Keepers’ Seat section of Halls of Origination.

The strategy to beat this boss is very simple. She has two identical phases. The first phase starts when you get a warning onscreen that Isiset is casting Supernova, she will split into three smaller other-selves named: Celestial Call (summons adds), Veil of the Sky (shield), and Astral Rain (AOE).

All players must turn away their character’s face from Isiset to avoid Supernova. It’s a blinding light that will damage the player affected by 16 – 20k arcane damage and disorient for 3 sec. I purposely take the Supernova a couple of times in our video to demonstrate what happens. You can’t control your character while disoriented. Would be good to pop Bloodlust or Time Stop in phase one.

With Supernova dodged, your next step to be successful in this boss fight is to kill Isiset’s other-self named Astral Rain. All DPS players must assist tank to kill her. She casts a rain of stars which does an AOE damage to all players. Getting rid of her will be less damage to the group in phase two, and giving the healer the chance to save mana management.

After she casts Supernova again, phase two starts. This time she splits into two other-selves. You already killed Astral Rain in phase one. In phase two, focus all your DPS on Celestial Call. Isiset will die very fast once she reincorporates her default body.

One random damage dealer ability that all players most be aware of, including the tank, is the blue beam that chases a random player. Stop what you are doing and simply run around and away from other players. It deals a bit over 10k arcane damage a tick. So the safe thing to do is to be mobile. If you have instant damage abilities use it on your target while running from the blue beam that comes from a portal.

The Veil of the Sky self-duplicate is left for last. One would wonder, why leave the boss with a shield? The answer is simple. Veil of the Sky can be purged by a shaman, or dispelled by a priest or paladin. I haven’t heard yet if a mage can spell-steal (who knows).

Isiset drops a nice healing trinket (item lvl 346) named Blood of Isiset: On equip increases your mastery rating by 285. Your healing spells have a chance to grant 1710 Spirit for 20 sec.

Isiset Abilities

  • Melee Swing: Hits a player for 10061 (absorbed) – 30697 Physical damage.

  • Veil of the Sky: hits for 701 Arcane damage.

  • Astral Rain: hits for 5273 – 6066 Arcane damage.

  • Supernova: A message onscreen says: “Isiset begins to channel a Supernova. Look away!” A flash of white light blinds the player afflicting for 16671 – 21574 Arcane damage, and disorienting for 3 sec.

Isiset Other-Selves

  • Veil of the Sky (self): 10707 – 13607 melee damage.

  • Astral Rain (self): 12470 – 13607 melee damage. She also casts an AOE named Astral Rain which does 2709 – 5460 Arcane damage. Star missiles fall down from the sky three times in a row.

Celestial Familiar

    Arcane Barrage: hits a player for 8774 – 9749 Arcane damage. Run away from the blue beam that chases a random player.

Blizzard Quote:

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Cataclysm: Halls of Origination – Temple Guardian Anhuur Strategy

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Articles

The Heroic Halls of Origination (HOO) can be a challenging place for unprepared players. The very first boss, Temple Guardian Anhuur, is a test of fire for players who enter the Chamber of Prophecy. If each player can’t coordinate and learn their task to beat this boss, the group is destined for failure.

People will come up with the most absurd strategies which end up right on in a wipe, while other players just don’t get which is right and left and jump down on the wrong side of the stairs; or will panic and won’t do the task assigned. I have seen tanks pull the boss before I even finish explaining the event and assigning tasks. This article is aimed to all those players out there who wish to beat this boss in heroic mode to move forward to the other bosses which have the phat lootz.

Bad way to do it

I have seen tanks pull all the snakes in the pit to allow two players to pull both levers. This is a terrible mistake because all those snakes will do a lot of damage, and the healer will be hard-pressed to keep the tank and bystanders alive. The healer will quickly run out of mana in the first phase, and that’s no good because there are two duplicate phases to this boss.

Good Strategy

By observation, one strategy in particular has worked very well when I explain it to the group, and they execute it.

Watch for the beams coming from the statues on the ceiling, which leave a blue fire on the ground. Get out of it or you get over 9000 damage a tic while standing in them. Tanks should be always aware of watching not to stand on it. The boss likes to cast it on the tank sometimes.

Around 75% health, Anhuur will say: “Beacons of Light, bestow upon me your aegis.”

Temple Guardian Anhuur becomes protected by his defense beacons. You must disable them by pulling the levers in the pit below.

In Heroic mode, these levers aren’t automatic. They have a 10 sec cast bar, which will be interrupted by snakes.

The way to go in this strategy is to have the tank and a dps jump on the stairs on the left side, instead of directly into the pit. Go downstairs, and pull the three closest snakes between the stairs and the defense beacon’s lever. Another dps player must copy the same pull on three snakes, while the other dps player triggers the other defense beacon’s lever. Note: Some dps classes can pull the three snakes from the bridge (mage, warlock, hunter). Other variation would be for a dps player sending a pet to aggro the three snakes.

Both players on the snakes shouldn’t fight the snakes downstairs. Their only task is to aggro as a distraction while the player who is at the beacon’s lever does his job unmolested. The player on the snakes should run back upstairs immediately after pulling the snakes, and meet on the bridge.

The players at the beacon’s lever should sorta hug the wall along the stairs to prevent aggro from other nearby snakes when going in and out of the pit.

The healer should stand above on the bridge healing the snake pullers on each side to keep them alive until they reach the bridge, and until the other two dps players return from deactivating the levers. No reason to worry about those two players as they only will get damage from Anhuur’s hymn at a slow pace of 2400-4000 damage a tick.

It would be very useful if one of the dps players with an interrupt ability is assigned to interrupt Anhuur’s hymn, because the tank will be slowed down by the snakes to reach the boss in time.

Once everyone is upstairs, start AOE. The boss will come join the party, and that AOE is gonna hit the boss as well. In this strategy, you are only fighting, at most, six snakes (Three from each side). Very good for the healer to handle. At that moment, it wouldn’t hurt to have druid’s tranquility, or a shadow priest’s healing hymn to help the healer.

At around 25% health, Anhuur will go into phase two. Rinse and repeat the previous steps and the boss will bite the dust in defeat.

Congratulations. You owned the first boss in Heroic Halls of Origination.

I recommend going for the bosses on the second floor afterward to get some good loot from Ammunae, Isiset, Rahj and Setesh at the Seats of the Keepers; and to prevent your group from disbanding in either optional bosses from the Vault of Light or the Tomb of the Enrager. The gauntlet boss Anraphet at the Vault of Lights takes a long while fighting four elemental mini-bosses (with no loot) and several groups of troggs.

The Earthrager Ptah hits for 30000 damage, and has a lot of things going on like adds coming in at phase two. You don’t want to risk having people leave without loot.

That can be frustrating to some players and you will rather get secured loot with the main bosses than to risk a group disband against optional bosses. So leave those two for the end, and focus your initial time into the Seat of the Keepers area (second floor).

Temple Guardian Anhuur

  • Melee Swing: 18949 – 27070 Physical damage. (When blocked: 7105 – 14492 Physical damage).

  • Divine Reckoning: Anhuur casts this spell at a random player. After around 10 sec, Divine Reckoning dissipates from the target player causing 15420 Divine damage and healing Temple Guardian Anhuur for 57825.

  • Shield of Light: Anhuur casts this spell every 30% health (phase 1 and 2). Few seconds later, he gains Shield of Light making him immune. A message onscreen will say: “Temple Guardian Anhuur becomes protected by his defense beacons! Disable them by pulling the levers below.” Anhuur will yell: “Beacons of light, bestow upon me your aegis!”.

  • Reverberating Hymn: All players suffer 1000 – 9000 Holy damage while the hymn is cast. Note: The moment Hymn starts you get a yellow debuff on your right screen which stacks. Each stack increases Holy damage. By the 16th Hymn stack, a player suffers up to 9000 Holy damage per tick.

  • Burning Light: Anhuur will throw a yellow fire blossom at a random player. A few seconds later, the statue heads on the ceiling will shoot a blue searing light beam at the location where the target player stands. You will see a blue fire on the ground. The player is affected by up to 10228 Divine damage per tick until the player moves away from that spot.

Pit Viper

  • Melee Swing: Hit player for 1016 – 2585 Physical damage.

  • Poison-tipped Fangs: player suffers 3377 – 4238 Nature damage.

Blizzard Quote:

reins-of-the-golden-king-mount-2

Cataclysm: Guild Mounts

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Articles


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

The Alliance and Horde guilds are getting their very own special guild mount rewards, but it requires a lot of effort from all members. The Guild needs to reach Guild level 25 to unlock access to the mount reward from the Guild vendor. However, there is just another roadblock separating each individual member of the guild from acquiring access to the mount reward … you must be exalted with your Guild.

Each time you complete a quest, daily quest, achievements, dungeons and other content in the game you gain guild experience that accumulates to make you friendly, honored, revered or exalted with your guild. You can view this reputation bar under the guild window at the Rewards tab. On the bottom left of the Rewards tab is a short bar indicating how many reputation points you have with the guild.

Once you reach exalted, the guild mount will become available to you for purchase at the guild vendor.

REINS OF THE GOLDEN KING (ALLIANCE)

REINS OF THE KOR’KRON ANNIHILATOR (Horde)


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

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Cataclysm: Guild Heirloom Rewards

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Articles


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm introduces Guild Heirloom Rewards obtained through collective completion of achievements, guild reputation and individual increase of guild experience.

Once unlocked globally for all guild members, these heirlooms can be purchased from the Guild Vendor outside Grommash Hold (Goram) or at the Stormwind Visitor Center (Becca Radler) near the Trias’ Cheese store.

Depending on your faction reputation prices may vary drastically as seen in the two price examples below.

    Worn Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape
900 / 1200g
   
    Inherited Cape of the Black Baron
900 / 1200g
   
    Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak
900 / 1200g
   
    Tattered Dreadmist Mask (Cloth)
1125 / 1500g
   
    Preened Tribal War Feathers (Leather)
1125 / 1500g
   
    Stained Shadowcraft Cap (Leather)
1125 / 1500g
   
    Mystical Coif of Elements (Mail)
1125 / 1500g
   
    Tarnished Raging Berserker’s Helm (Mail)
1125 / 1500g
   
    Polished Helm of Valor (Mail)
1125 / 1500g
   


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

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Cataclysm: Guild Rewards

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

The new Guild System to be introduced in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm offers guildmates several benefits by completing achievements, gaining guild experience, and increasing guild reputation. Once guild members unlock some achievements, the guild gets access to special rewards that may be purchased from the Guild Vendor who may be found outside Grommash Hold (Goram) or at the Stormwind Visitor Center (Becca Radler) near the Trias’ Cheese store.

Shroud of Cooperation: Teleports the caster to Orgrimmar / Stormwind. (8 Hr cooldown) — Item lvl 35. Requires lvl 35. (Back)
150g
Wrap of Unity: Teleports the caster to Orgrimmar / Stormwind. (4 Hr cooldown) — Item lvl 35. Requires lvl 35. (Back)
300g
Cloak of Coordination: Teleports the caster to Orgrimmar / Stormwind. (2 Hr cooldown) item lvl 359. Requires level 35 and Master Crafter Guild Achievement (Craft 1,500 Epic items with an item level of at least 359).
500g
Guild Page: Teaches you how to summon this companion. (Rare)
300g
Guild Herald: Teaches you how to summon this companion. — requires guild achievement Profit Sharing (Loot 50,000 gold from creatures).
500g
Dark Phoenix Hatchling: Teaches you how to summon this companion. — requires guild achievement United Nations (Raise 55 reputations to Exalted).
300g
Armadillo Pup: Teaches you how to summon this companion. — requires Guild reputation: Exalted.
300g
Banner of Cooperation: Place a Guild Battle Standard that increases the experience and honor gain of all guild members that stay within 45 yards of the Battle Standard by 2%. Last 2 min. (15 min cooldown). Requires Guild Reputation: Friendly. Guild Achievement Working as a Team: Obtain 525 skill points in all professions and secondary professions.
100g
Standard of Unity: Place a Guild Battle Standard that increases the experience and honor gain of all guild members that stay within 45 yards of the Battle Standard by 4%. Lasts 2 min (15 min cooldown). (Rare)
200g
Battle Standard of Coordination: Place a Guild Battle Standard that increases the experience and honor gain of all guild members that stay within 45 yards of the Battle Standard by 6%. Lasts 2 min (15 min cooldown) (Epic).
300g
Recipe: Seafood Magnifique Feast: Set out a seafood feast to feed your entire raid or party. Restores 92307 health and 72000 mana over 30 sec. If you spend at least 10 sec eating you will become well fed and gain 90 Stamina and 90 in another useful stat for 1 hour. Requires Cooking 525. Requires Mountain Trout (4), Blood Shrimp (6). Guild Achievement: That’s a Lot of Bait (Catch 10,000 fish from fishing pools). (Rare)
150g
Recipe: Broiled Dragon Feast: Set out a dragon feast to feed your entire raid or party. Restores 64903 health and 127500 mana over 30 sec. If you spend at least 10 sec eating you will become well fed and gain 60 Stamina and 60 in another useful stat for 1 hour. Requires Cooking 500. Requires Dragon Flank (6), Delicate Serpent Wing (4). (Rare)
150g
Recipe: Cauldron of Battle: Creates a cauldron that raid members can use to gain the benefit of a flask appropriate to their class and talents. Cauldron has 10 uses and lasts for 5 min. Requires Alchemy 525. Guild Reputation: Friendly. Guild Achievement: Mix Master (Create 10,000 Cataclysm flasks).
150g
Recipe: Big Cauldron of Battle: Creates a cauldron that raid members can use to gain the benefit of a flask appropriate to their class and talents. Cauldron has 25 uses and lasts for 5 min. Requires Alchemy 525. Requires Flask of Steelskin (3), Flask of the Draconic Mind (3), Flask of the Winds (3), Flask of Titanic Strength (3). Guild Reputation: Friendly. Guild Achievement: Better Leveling Through Chemistry (Create 25,000 Cataclysm flasks).
150g
Guild Vault Voucher (7th Slot): Right click to unlock a 7th guild vault tab and allow purchase.
10000g
Guild Vault Voucher (8th Slot): Right click to unlock a 8th guild tab and allow purchase.
20000g
Reins of the Golden King (Alliance Only): Teaches you how to summon this mount. Requires Guild level 25. Guild Reputation: Exalted. — epic mount binds to account. Requires Riding 75 and level 20.
1500g
Reins of the Kor’kron Annihilator (Horde only): Teaches you how to summon this mount. Requires Guild level 25. Guild Reputation: Exalted. — epic mount binds to account. Requires Riding 75 and level 20.
1500g
Reins of the Dark Phoenix: Teaches you how to summon this mount. Requires guild achievement: Guild Glory of the Cataclysm Raider (Complete the Cataclysm raid achievements listed below while in a guild group. Requires Riding 300 and lvl 70.
3000g


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

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Cataclysm: Guild Perks

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Featured Stories


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

Blizzard Entertainment has rebuilt the world of Azeroth from scratch, added two races, and rebooted low level quests, but that’s not the only thing the house of ideas came up with to keep old customers home, and to bring back goners.

The Guild Perks are a powerful feature to charm players. These are obtained by leveling your Guild Reputation. As your guild levels, all members get a new spell reward which can be found in the spellbook. To the right edge of the spellbook, the last button is the Guild spell list. Most are passive spells, but some can be dragged into your spell bar.

As a beta tester, I have explored and tested some of these features. They are lovely. Personally, I love those you use constantly in dungeons: Mass Resurrection and Have Group, Will Travel.

Paladins no longer have Divine Intervention (Ouch!). Thus you need other ways to recover from a wipe. Let’s say everyone wipes and a warlock failed to renew a soulstone on a priest, druid or paladin. There’s no shaman in your 5-man dungeon. You are all the way at the end of Grim Batol — which is a lengthy dungeon. However, your Hunter, or Mage used their ability to get out of combat. Be it Feign Death, or Invisibility. His guild is gosu and leveled up enough to get Mass Resurrection. Lo and behold, a mage or hunter mass resurrecting the group.

What about those groups or raids without a Warlock to summon people? Or too far away to walk back to the Summoning Stone. No problem. Any guild member of any class with the guild perk Have Group, Will Travel can click the spell button to summon everyone in the raid group to where he stands with a single click.

Remember those annoyi– err tedious — walks from the graveyard to Deadmines’ zone in plus the long walk within the dungeon itself to the point where your group wiped? There are some similar dungeons like Maraudon and Blackrock Depths with long, long tunnels before you reach the zone in. That’s a thing of the past for those who help their guilds level up. One hell of a nice guild perk is The Quick and the Dead. It allows players to run at 100% speed in ghost form. You have never experienced running and jumping the tunnels of Deadmines at blazing speeds.

Other perks help your guild members increase reputation, experience, tradeskill items per attempt, mount speed, vendor prices, and oh my, so much more. Aren’t you already salivating to get your hands on the Cataclysm expansion? Take a look at the list of Guild Perks below:

Bartering: Reduces the price of items from all vendors by 5%. (Obtained at guild lvl 24)
Bountiful Bags: Increases the quantity of materials gained from Mining, Skinning, Herbalism, and Disenchanting. (Obtained at guild lvl 23)
Cash Flow (Rank 1 / 2): Each time you loot money from an enemy, an extra 5% / 10% money is generated and deposited directly into your guild bank. (Obtained at guild lvl 10 / 16)
Chug-A-Lug (Rank 1 / 2): The duration of buffs from all guild cauldrons is increased by 50% / 100%. (Obtained at guild lvl 10/22)
Fast Track (Rank 1 / 2): Experience gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 5% / 10%. (Obtained at guild lvl 2/6)
For Great Justice: Increases Justice points gained by 10%. (Obtained at guild lvl 18)
G-Mail: In-game mail sent between guild members now arrives instantly. (Obtained at guild lvl 17)
Happy Hour: Increases the number of flasks gained from using a flask cauldron by 100%. (Obtained at guild lvl 20)
Hasty Hearth: Reduces the cooldown on your Hearthstone by -15 minutes. (Obtained at guild lvl 8 )
Have Group, Will Travel: Summons all raid or party members to the caster’s current location. 5.24 sec cast. 2 hour cooldown. (Obtained at guild lvl 21)
Honorable Mention (Rank 1 / 2): Increases Honor points gained by 5% / 10%. (Obtained at guild lvl 13 / 19)
Mass Resurrection: Brings all dead party and raid members back to life with 35 health and 35 mana. Cannot be cast when in combat. (Obtained at guild lvl 25)
Mobile Banking: Summons a Guild Crest that allows access to your guild bank for 5 min. Only guildmembers with guild faction of friendly and above are allowed to use a Guild Crest. 2.62 sec cast. 1 hour cooldown. (Obtained at guild lvl 11)
Mount Up: Increases speed while mounted by 10%. Not active in Battlegrounds or Arenas. (Obtained at guild lvl 3)
Mr. Popularity (Rank 1 / 2): Reputation gained from killing monsters and completing quests increased by 5 / 10%. (Obtained at guild lvl 4/12)
Reinforce (Rank 1 / 2): Items take 10% / 20% less durability loss when you die. (Obtained at guild lvl 7/9)
The Quick and the Dead: Increases health and mana gained when resurrected by a guild member by 50% and increases movement speed while dead by 100%. Does not function in combat or while in a Battleground or Arena.
Working Overtime: Increases the chance to gain a skill increase on tradeskills by 10%.


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

Review: World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Vol. 1, Dragons of Outland

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

TOKYOPOP Editor Troy Lewter sent my way an early copy of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING, in terms you can remember from an early interview of mine with Richard A. Knaak, it is the first volume of a trilogy titled DRAGONS OF OUTLAND, in which we learn the lore that led toward Malygos’s return to his senses from his milennia insanity and the Nexus War against the Kirin Tor and the Wyrmrest Accord.

The manga will be at a bookstore near you on June 1, 2010; but if you need a little jumpstart to get your engines going, I have written a lengthy article that mentions a few key moments of this story, without necessarily spoiling it too much. Just enough for you to get a grasp of what the first installment of this manga trilogy is about.

Without further ado, and minding a few spoilers here and there, feast my lore-hungered boys. Tip: Jorad Mace, Tyrigosa, the Nether Dragons, Deathwing and an original second war Death Knight on the loose in Outland.

If you loved the stories within Warcraft Legends, be prepared to get bewitched by World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing.

This manga trilogy is based on the two characters from the pages of WarCraft: The Sunwell Trilogy. The very same manga that spawned the likes of Kalecgos, and Anveena (known in-game at the Sunwell Plateau dungeon), Trag Highmountain (known in-game at the Argent Tournament Grounds in Icecrown) and Dar’Khan Darthir (found in-game at Deatholme in the Ghostlands, Quel’Thalas).

Like all of these characters who first were born in the TOKYOPOP manga, and appeared in-game time later during the Burning Crusade expansion, both protagonists of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING were born in THE SUNWELL TRILOGY and became quest NPCs in the Burning Crusade.

You can find both, Jorad Mace and Tyrigosa, at the Celestial Ridge in the region known as Netherstorm in Outland. To refresh your memory, Tyri (or Tyrigosa the blue dragon) gives you the quest to kill Veraku — the leader of the Nether Drakes in Netherstorm.

Her quests: A Promising Start, Securing the Celestial Ridge, and Troublesome Distractions. Ok, you got the idea. This manga gives you a prologue to their adventures in Outland, before those quests. How they got into Outland, and how they happen to learn about the Nether Drakes. That’s all in WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING.

The story by Richard A. Knaak is very fluid and packed with action in all fronts between the Burning Legion and the Alliance forces at the Dark Portal’s Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula, dragon against dragon, Gronn versus dragon, Ragnok’s forces against our heroes, and much more.

All brought to awesome detail by artist Jae-Hwan Kim: face expressions, body details, background details. The inker and texture makes this entire manga be a yummy sight. I’m not sure if the artist inked it, or Marco Paolilli, but it looks astounding. Jae-Hwam Kim’s art style and Richard A. Knaak’s writing are a perfect match for World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing. No wonder this manga took so long in the making.

Storywise, Jorad Mace comes to Outland with the Alliance forces to fend off the Burning Legion’s advancement into the Stair of Destiny in Hellfire Peninsula under the vigilance of Lord Irulon Trueblade of the Argent Crusade.

Jorad Mace continues his quest to make himself worthy and redeem his past transgressions against the former Silver Hand. The Light abandoned him long ago before the events of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy, and he seeks to be worth of the return of the Light into his being.

On a separate quest, Tyrigossa has come into Outland hunting down a disturbance too familiar for her taste. She can’t pinpoint what it is, or how it relates to her hunches but she has come to seek it. It turns out to be the Nether Dragons. Are they friend or foe? Sadly both. Zzeraku sees her as a foe, but Valoku wishes to befriend the blue dragon.

“Wait hold it there, Medievaldragon — that name rings a bell.” — hah, I read your mind, eh? Yes, the same Zzeraku that became a prisoner of Lady Sinestra at Grim Batol in the novel World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak. Except, we get to see the recent past before he was captured by her. Remember Dragons of Outlands was delayed for a few years before the release of the former.

We get to see an image of Deathwing as shown in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm concept art when Tyrigosa senses the familiar magical signature in one of the black dragon skeletons found in the Nether Dragons’ lair in Blade’s Edge Mountains.

We see the interaction of Jorad Mace and Tyrigosa with the Draenei Broken tribe of Hellfire Peninsula as allies. The first encounter between the Alliance and the draenei of the Temple of Telhamat, and the introduction of Ragnok Bloodreaver — one of the original Death Knights created by Gul’dan, still in his decaying human host.

That bears some explaining for those who missed Warcraft II. During the final throes of the Second War, Warchief Orgrimm Doomhammer ordered the Horde to slay the Shadow Council. Only Gul’dan survived because he was catatonic after his mind-melding (so-to-speak) with Medivh at the moment of his death.

Gul’dan pleaded Orgrimm for his life, and offered an army of dead risen human knights holding magics to counter the Alliance’s mages. What Gul’dan didn’t tell Orgrimm was that these human corpses would be risen as hosts for the spirits of the slain Shadow Council — thus creating the original Death Knights, of which Teron Gorefiend was the first, and Ragnok Bloodreaver one of them.

It is wildly rumored by lore fans that this Ragnok might be the same mentioned in the novel World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden. So far, I can’t confirm if that’s true yet.

Ragnok Bloodreaver wishes to become the new master of Outland, and plans to conquer Azeroth as well. Obviously, he is not aligned with Illidan nor the Dragonmaw Clan. He seeks to destroy Illidan and all his forces in the Black Temple with the use of the Nether Dragons, employing the services of Kadavan, a mercenary Ethereal who uses his magical technology to hunt down and capture the behemoths. Ragnok is even assaulting the Dragonmaw Clan to steal the Nether Drakes controlled by them.

Ragnok has his own cadre of Fel Orcs, probably stolen from Hellfire Citadel’s surroundings and some of the Dragonmaw are threatened to be killed by the Death Knight if they disobey or fail his orders, following him unquestionably.

Comparing both MAGE and SHADOW WING, I feel more inclined for the latter. It’s well executed with a lot of action, mystery and drama. The pacing resembles much what some of us are accustomed with comic books from panel to panel interweaving plot after plot from different points of view.

I can’t wait for volume two to come out. Expect World of Warcraft: Shadow Wing Volume 2: The Nexus Point on November 2010. And the third part somewhere in 2011.

Don’t go thinking “Meh, this is a wannabe non-canon story” because you are wrong. Most of what Knaak writes is outlined to him by Blizzard Creative Team, and he fleshes out, then the developers add the story and characters into being in the MMO. It’s canon. The TOKYOPOP editor Troy Lewter, who sent me a copy of this manga a month before it goes into bookstores (on June 1) wrote an afterword located near the final pages of this manga.

There Paul Morrissey and Troy Lewter thank the people behind this story, including Richard A. Knaak, Jae-Hwan Kim, and the Blizzard Entertainment’s Creative Development Team: Jason Bischoff, Joshua Horst, James Waugh, Micky Neilson, Evelyn Fredericksen, Samwise Didier, Tommy Newcomer, Cameron Dayton and the thundergod, bourbon cowboy, father of Warcraft lore hmself — Chris Metzen. Did I miss any title? (chuckles) Ok. All-seeing and loved VP of Creative Design too, but that be the lesser of his titles before his loyal fanboys — myself included. He’s up there along with the legends: Stan Lee, H.P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, and many others loved by fans of Fantasy and Sci-fi genres. Ok. Enough boot-licking. Koff.

Get your copy of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING. You won’t regret collecting the trilogy. It looks very promising, and dare I say rival previous WarCraft manga in lore and awe.

This is the missing story that gaps World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon and the Nexus War. From this trilogy comes the truth behind Malygos’ cure and decision to start an all-out war against the Kirin Tor and the Wrymrest Accord.

And from the picture of Deathwing as seen in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’s concept art, dare I say we will learn more than we could possibly guess as a tie-in with the upcoming expansion? You bet.

Check out the preview images of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING.

Don’t forget to participate in our Blizzplanet giveaway of this manga and the giveaway at Wow.incgamers

EXTRAS

The first volume of the manga takes us to Hellfire Peninsula, Dragonmaw areas in Shadowmoon Valley, and Blade’s Edge Mountains.

Lord Irulon Trueblade – is one of the characters who led the incursion into Outland to fend off the demons from accessing Azeroth during the Burning Crusade in this manga. You can find him in the Howling Fjord at Valgarde currently in Wrath of the Lich King.

Lord Trueblade oversaw Jorad Mace’s progress to redemption, but initially gave him more humbling tasks to do such as helping with the construction of their outpost.

Amaan the Wise – from the Temple of Telhamat in Hellfire Peninsula appears in the manga with a convoy of Draenei to introduce his people to Lord Duron, Commander of the Alliance Forces at the Stair of Destiny in the Dark Portal, Hellfire Peninsula.

The Broken – (Krokul in draenei old tongue)

Warrith – leader of the Broken in Hellfire Peninsula, and father of Valwar.

There is reference to how Gruul and the Gronn killed the black dragons at Blade’s Edge Mountains as revealed in World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal.

Some of the creatures we see in the manga are:

Gronn
Wrathbringer
Shivan (six-armed demoness)
Felguard
Nether Rays

World of WarCraft: Shaman Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

After reading World of Warcraft: Mage (read my review, I discovered an interview held by Tokyopop editors with Paul Benjamin in the last pages.

The interview is about his upcoming manga titled World of Warcraft: Shaman.

I am going to post that interview in this article, but before that I just want to kick the Beehive to shake lore fans and fill them with interest. Check it out on October 2010 folks, because that’s when you will learn more about that mysterious character revealed in the pages of White Wolf’s World of Warcraft RPG: Dark FactionsHigh Shaman Muln Earthfury, leader of the Earthen Ring.

Description

Earthquakes. Fires. Floods. Tornados. The elements of Azeroth are out of control, unleashing devastating natural disasters that threaten to tear Azeroth asunder.

All hope rests with the shaman, who are able to commune with the elements. Muln Earthfury, the shaman leader of the secretive Earthen Ring, attempts to pacify the elements — but his pleas fall on deaf ears. The elements are unresponsive, full of confusion and chaos. The Earthen Ring is riddled with doubt. Have the shaman lost their ability to corral and guide the elements?

Mysteriously, Shotoa arrives. This Tauren shaman doesn’t just merely tend to the elements — he forces them to do his bidding. Shotoa promises to lead the Earthen Ring into a new era of Shamanism … As the world crumbles around them, Muln and the Earthen Ring must decide if Shotoa is a hero or a heretic …

Written by Paul Benjamin (StarCraft: Frontline) and drawn by Roccio Zucchi (World of Warcraft: Death Knight), WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHAMAN ties into the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion in stunning ways!

Available October 2010.

Interview

Is it safe to assume that you’ve played a fair amount of WARCRAFT? Do you have a favorite class to play?

Benjamin: My main is a pally retadin. That’s a paladin built to do lots of damage for any noobs reading this (Hi, Mom!). I tend to do a fair amount of solo play because if I play with a group I’m on for too long and wouldn’t make any of my Warcraft writing deadlines! The pally is great for soloing because I can heal myself and do plenty of damage. That said, I do have a lot of fun playing with guildies or doing random heroics when I’ve got the time. ANd, of course, since writing SHAMAN I’ve really been digging my new shammy character as well.

Give the fans the inside scoop on WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHAMAN. What’s the story about? Is it true that it will tie into the upcoming CATACLYSM expansion?

Benjamin: SHAMAN is the tale of a group many players have seen around Azeroth and beyond: the Earthen Ring. The main characters are Muln, the tauren High Shaman of the Earthen Ring, and his orc apprentice, Kettara Bloodthirst. The focus is on them and the elder council of the Earthen Ring, so I’ve gotten to write dranei and trolls as well as a few very important (and well known) orcs from Orgrimmar. The secrets of CATACLYSM are quite closely guarded at the time of this writting, but there’s a lot of connection between this book and the upcoming expansion. I can tell you that the elements are in upheaval adn that’s wreaking chaos with the powers of Muln and the Earthen Ring.

SHAMAN is a story about tradition versus change and choosing which one is more important. It’s also full of shaman calling down lightning, summoning elementals and manifesting totems to help them smack down any monsters stupid enough to threaten the shaman way of life. And it’s all beautifully illustrated by DEATH KNIGHT artist Roccio Zucchi, so I imagine fans will be as excited to read the book as I have been to see those pages coming in as she works!

World of Warcraft: Mage Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

Richard A. Knaak receives a lot of good feedback, which translates in the success and sale of World of Warcraft and Diablo novels, and some bad feedback from the minority.

WarCraft: MageI don’t mean to offend those with bad feedback, I have read and understand their concerns, but sales would be low otherwise if everyone or the majority thought likewise.

The way I see it, there is room for every type of writer, and each has their own technique and style. There’s room for everyone. And Richard A. Knaak has a tall condo, not just a room.

The artwork by Ryo Kawakami is not very detailed when it comes to backgrounds, like Jae-Hwan Kim or my favorite, Hector Sevilla; but Troy Lewter — the editor — does mention in the back of the manga that they were on a deadline, and the artist was pretty swift in making things happen within that deadline. So, let’s be forgiving, and see other work of Ryo.

I either like a style or dislike it. I like the artwork in World of Warcraft: Mage. Some people may think otherwise.

There’s a difference between manga and comic books, and while I am new to the manga world, I welcome the style.

I have always said I am not really into manga, but there are many styles and I do dig my first incursion into reading manga: Starcraft: Frontline, Warcraft Legends, and World of Warcraft: Death Knight are pretty cool art-wise.

I am more a comic book reader having a large collection of all kind of X-men titles, and some Avengers and West Coast Avengers. I also check out the latest previews of all kind of Marvel Comics titles (not just X-men) at Newsarama.

There’s a lot of new artists with great styles, but from my early incursions into comic books back in 1996, I like Joe Madureira, Ian Churchill, Chris Bachalo, Alex Ross, and others. Their styles are very different from one another.

If anything, I welcome different styles, and open-minded to taste other people’s work — in both fields actually: writers and artists.

I do hate some artists’s styles more than others, nevertheless, but rarely. Coughs-José Ladrönn. Sorry dude, you ruined it for me in CABLE.

Decade-old-rant aside, I read an advance review copy of World of WarCraft: Mage, thanks to Troy Lewter [TOKYOPOP editor].

The very-short description of the book released last April 2, and its front cover could barely offer fans any grasp at info to form a guess.

Reading the manga, I am surprised at how Knaak weaved the story behind the Nexus War’s assault on Dalaran.

We see how the Azure Ley Dragon Cyanigosa, dragonkin and drakonids got access into the Violet Hold, bypassing and weakening Dalaran’s outer magical-shield.

It all came from within. From the cover, you might think Rhonin and this mysterious kid Aodhan work together all along from beginning to end of the story, but that’s clearly not true for most of the first half of the manga.

Aodhan is a reckless kid who tries hard to demonstrate his abilities, who wishes to prove worthy to his father and to himself by one day becoming part of Dalaran’s defenses.

He is taught by Master Simeon, a Dalaran mage trainer, who keeps Aodhan pressed to the limit because he considers the kid needs to learn to be patient and focused before leveling up in rank even when he surpasses any other student in skill for those at the same level. The kid simply rushes recklessly without measuring the possible consequences.

There is a bit of lore thrown in into the mix about the Book of Argaleus the Crafter who lived centuries ago. Myth says he learned the spell language written on this special book from Malygos. Among the marks on the book can be seen the All-seeing Eye of the Kirin Tor.

The opening of rifts within the Violet Hold was not the first attempt. It had been breached before, with help of Aothan and his uncle Crevan. This explains why some of the cells in the Violet Hold prison are empty. Some of the lesser beings such as a fire revenant, ogre magi, and a void terror (like Immol’thar in Dire Maul west) were locked within, and freed to cause a distraction from the true target that would destroy Dalaran.

We get to see Archmage Modera, Rhonin and Archmage Aethas Sunreaver in action fending off the Azure Ley dragons from bypassing the outer shield of Dalaran, but no real background or lore about these three Kirin Tor council members.

The story focuses on Aodhan the mage apprentice, his attunement to magic which promises to see him one day as a powerful mage.

Richard A. Knaak shifts his story-telling back and forth between the present to the past to explore the origins of Aodhan, his family, and his motives to become a great mage.

However, we learn the true meaning of being a mage is not about controlling magic, but to humbly learn to wield magic for the benefit of everyone, not oneself.

World of Warcraft: Mage contains an interview about World of Warcraft: Shaman — revealed to be written by Paul Benjamin and art by Roccio Zucchi.

It also contains a preview of WORLD OF WARCRAFT: SHADOW WING, VOL. 1: THE DRAGONS OF OUTLAND. The same exclusive preview TOKYOPOP and Blizzard granted Blizzplanet a few weeks ago.

Check out our recently-released exclusive preview of World of Warcraft: Mage.

Don’t forget to participate on our giveaway of World of Warcraft: Mage while it lasts.

World of Warcraft: Mage hits bookstores on June 1, 2010. Pre-order it here.

StarCraft: Heaven’s Devils Preview Video

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, StarCraft 2 News

Starcraft: Heaven’s Devils by William C. Dietz will be on sale April 6, 2010 — but I got an early copy some time ago to show you a preview. This is the first StarCraft novel published as a Hardcover. The artwork in the front cover shows Jim Raynor on his Marine suit. You can see the visor matches that of the Jim Raynor Noobz given away at last BlizzCon 2009’s swag bag.

The book comes with a detachable dustjacket which contains the front cover’s artwork. All the latest Warcraft hardcovers from Gallery Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) and even DC Comics’ Starcraft Hardcover come with a dustjacket design. The one thing I love about that is that it gives you the option to frame the dustjacket as your own piece of art — pretty good for those who wish to collect them, and hang the frames on the Office or bedroom’s wall. Those wondering, the artwork on the dustjacket was drawn by Glenn Rane. The dustjacket was designed by Alan Dingman.

When you open the book, you can see the flaps of the dustjacket wrapped around the Hardcover. On the left flap is a short excerpt of the novel, and on the other side is the photo of William C. Dietz and his bios. The first and last page have the Heaven’s Devils insignia

In the StarCraft: Heaven’s Devils‘s interior you can find four full-color artworks by the Starcraft II Art Team. The first artwork shows the Heaven’s Devils squad led by Jim Raynor. This is the photo that you will be able to view in-game in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player at the Joe Ray’s Bar in Mar Sara, after Tychus Findlay enters the Bar. The photo can be found at the interactive bulletin board.

The second image is the Fight for Freedom poster featuring Jim Raynor in his Marine suit, which has the Raynor’s Raiders insignia on the right shoulder. We saw both posters at the computer room during our visit to the Blizzard’s studios in Irvine.

The third artwork describes a scene within the novel’s story where Kydd, Harnack and Jim Raynor flee a local police car aboard Jim Raynor’s Vulture hovercraft. The final artwork shows Jim Raynor on his Marine suit and Tychus Findlay back in the old days.

The four artwork samples were illustrated by Wei Wang, Steve Hui, and Luke Mancini from Blizzard Entertainment.

One thing that caught my eye and that truly makes me love this novel is its StarCraft Timeline in the back. It spans 13 pages in length, not only telling you what happened since the 16th Century, but also showing you book references. Every single StarCraft book since 2001 is referenced in the StarCraft Timeline, in case you wish to buy that book from a local or online bookstore.

Order online here:

Related News:

Starcraft Hardcover Vol. 1 Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, StarCraft 2 News

DC Comics recently sent me a copy of the Starcraft Hardcover Vol. 1 which compiles issue # 1-7. This product will be available on sale this upcoming April 13, 2010 for those who missed the comic book ongoing series.

Although the ongoing series has been canceled with issue # 7, Wildstorm recently announced they will change format to Graphic Novel. There is no ETA yet when, but we will keep you updated when anything new gets announced.

In the meantime, here you have a video of the unpacking of the Starcraft Hardcover, and what’s inside as a sneak peek for those who might be interested in purchasing the trade paperback in hardcover format. The street price is $19.99, but some bookstores online have it priced for $13.49.

Order online here:

JINX WoW St. Valentine’s Kwee Q. Peedlefeet T-Shirt

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles, Store, World of Warcraft JINX T-Shirts, World of Warcraft News

J!NX has a new San Valentine’s Day or “Love is in the Air” T-shirt on sale! It is the Kwee Q. Peedlefeet T-Shirt for World of Warcraft players. Cute gift for a girlfriend, and friends.

Use the code: ZOMBIELOVE at check out to get a 20% discount on any purchase greater than $40 or more. Valid until 02/14/2010. Not valid with any other offer.

Starcraft # 7 Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, StarCraft 2 News

As reported a few weeks ago, Wildstorm and DC Comics announced the subscriptions of the Starcraft and World of Warcraft comic books were cancelled. This in response to a new agreement between Wildstorm and Blizzard Entertainment to make a move into the Graphic Novel format.

While you no longer get your monthly fix, this new format allows better storytelling with more pages, less rushed plots with cliffhangers in mind at the end of each issue and a more streamlined story. The other benefit is these graphic novels come out as hardcover.

Subscribers of the Starcraft comic book received this week their last shipment with issue # 7.

It ended with the death of one of the War Pigs, and a few twists in the story.

The interaction between character’s dialogues looked good-good as you can always expect from Simon Furman (TRANSFORMERS). The artwork by MIke S. Miller was among the best I have seen in the short-lived series. The coloring by Carrie Strachan makes Mike’s artwork justice. Lot of pastel colors and interesting hues.

A few months ago, I asked Chris Metzen during our single-player hands-on interview if the War Pigs would appear in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. While they aren’t planned for the first episode, he didn’t rule them out of upcoming episodes.
It was a tricky question, mind you, scratching into spoiler. My theory was that while the War Pigs were hired by the Terran Dominion to kill Jim Raynor, somehow we would see what happened with General Duke. In the throes of Zerg threatening their lives against a wall, the War Pigs would join Jim Raynor if he came to the rescue.

It’s been six months since the interview with Chris Metzen. While my prediction was not accurate, the result was the same.

The War Pigs end up smooch-smooch with the man they were hired to kill. The part I got wrong was that Raynor didn’t rescue them from the Zerg. Basically they were all in a predicament, and out of survival instinct they worked together.

That, and it turned out that the leader of the War Pigs — Cole Hickson — was formerly a friend of Jim Raynor before he was resocialized. They had saved each other at different times during the Guild Wars, years ago. The twist was he was resocialized with an experimental procedure, and he was implanted a memory that would be triggered upon meeting Jim Raynor: Kill Jim Raynor.

Cole pullled a gun on Jim Raynor, point blank, and fought his programming eventually losing consciousness.

That’s how issue # 6 ended. Issue # 7 kicks off with a flashback where we learn more about the War Pig member Romy Pyrius.

The short story takes us back to year 2483 in New Gettysburg, Tarsonis. Romy Pyrus, the War Pig medic, was formerly a pharmaceutical entrepeneur who sold controlled drugs in the streets of Tarsonis. By night, he was a mercenary taking jobs from the Confederates to assassinate V.I.P. people that stepped on their nerves.

During one of those mercenary gigs, Pyrus compromised the mission with a side drug gig. His whole team was captured and used as guinea pigs. Pyrus sold his team for his freedom, and continued his drug dealings.

It’s pretty nice to see some continuity between the Starcraft: Ghost pocket book, the Starcraft: Ghost Academy manga and the Starcraft comic book even with these smaller details. The drugs mentioned are Hab, Turk, Snoke and Bog.

In the present, 2502 at Urona Sigma, Jim Raynor and the War Pigs face oblivion watching into the horizon how the Protoss Carriers incinerate the world like they did with Mar Sara. It’s armageddon time for all of them with no way out. Jim Raynor extends his arms and simply awaits the end of the world as wave after wave of giant lasers incinerate the surface around them.

While the dialogue between the War Pigs and Jim Raynor is full of sarcasm and fun moments, I can’t but feel a bit disappointed. There was no Protoss coming down to rescue Jim Raynor. No telepathic contact. No beaming up aboard a Protoss Carrier. No. That’s not how Jim Raynor saved his arse from this one.

The only reason he survives is because Commander Lars Trakken had a score to settle with Cole Hickson, and no Protoss incineration would strip him from the pleasure of telling in Cole’s face all he endured after he stole his life years ago; and to pull the trigger on him. So, to make a story short Trakken bought Raynor and the War Pigs the ticket out of Urona Sigma before becoming War Pigs umm B.B.Q. (pun intended). A too convenient mechanic plot, but oh well.

At the end, Raynor and the War Pigs part ways. Looks like the upcoming Starcraft Graphic Novel will focus on some dispensing indiscriminate justice on the man that hired them to do the deed: Tamsen Cauley. Will the War Pigs survive? Will they join Jim Raynor and his Raynor’s Raiders? We might have to wait for the Graphic Novel to find out.

Will the War Pigs show up as mercenaries in Starcraft II: Hear of the Swarm or Legacy of the Void? That can probably be a safe bet considering Metzen’s interview.

Celebs Playing World of Warcraft: Adrianne Curry Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

Adrianne Curry is among the known celebrities who have fallen in love with World of Warcraft and play other games. She was the first winner of the America’s Next Top Model reality TV show, but don’t think that catapulted her into fame. She had to open her way into modeling on her own after moving to New York where she joined the agency Wilhelmina Models. Among other magazines, she has appeared in Maxim and People. On TV she appeared in Dirt — a television series starring Courteney Cox; and in Half & Half (2003).

Just today, Adrianne Curry was selected among the Top 20 Hottest Brunnettes by Maxim. (some light nudity, exercise discretion)

Medievaldragon: How was your experience like getting into the world of modeling?

Adrianne: It was a tough one. I was turned down by many agencies who all said my look was more New York than Chicago (where I was currently living). My rise into modeling was much different than most. I auditioned for a new reality show called America’s Next Top Model. I beat out over 32,000 girls to be selected for the semi finals. out of 20 girls, only 10 were selected, including myself. I then went to work and came out as the winner in the end. That was July 2003

MD: Basically you had to get on your own feet to impulse your modeling career. Did you find modeling opportunities right away?

Adrianne: Many opportunities opened, but many shut. A lot of clients were not fans of the show and didn’t want to even see me. Some clients did want to see me, but not because they wanted to work with me. They would drag me to castings just to ask me show questions. However, I did get to move out to NYC, on my own dime, and try my hand at the trade. I realized very quickly I would never become a successful fashion model having come from top model.

MD: Could you mention your latest, current and upcoming projects for old and new fans interested?

Adrianne: Recently I have been working on behind the scenes stuff. I was an associate producer on the My Antonio show that aired on VH1 this past Fall. I have two shows in development, one I created myself! But, till we are ready to promote publicly, my lips are sealed.

MD: How did you get into gaming? What were the first games you played, and the best?

Adrianne: I was always into games. I used to play Kings Quest, Myst, Duke Nukem, Quake, DOOM, Wolfenstein 3-D and many others. I guess I got into video games the most when I was with my ex-boyfriend in my teens. All he did was play all day long. if I didn’t play, I would be ignored. We played a lot of Medal of Honor, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Halo, and many others.

MD: Have you been invited by Game Studios to showcase a game at a convention, done game gigs, or would consider proposals from game studios?

Adrianne: I have never been asked to do anything related to video games. if I was, I would be more than happy to. Sounds like a dream job to me!

MD: You have a lvl 45 Night Elf Warrior and other characters. What is it in the game that has hooked you into World of Warcraft?

Adrianne: I am hooked to Warcraft because it reminds me so much of Lord Of The Rings. I love to quest, pwn hordies, and run around with my WoW Pimp, my level 80 Pally friend CaptinMorgin

MD: Which World of Warcraft dungeons have you visited and which caused you the most awe?

Adrianne: The one you have to go through the Burning Steppes to get to [Blackrock Depths] is pretty cool, it’s like a torture dungeon. I also like the one outside Tanaris. Zul’farrak is all outside and above ground.

MD: What if Blizzard invited you to do voice over for the game, or to participate in the World of Warcraft film?

Adrianne: … I would die. Too bad the Succubus already has a voice and smacks her ass, that would have so been me.

MD: [Pictures Adrianne Curry playing a Succubus smacking her whip around in the Warcraft film alongside her hubbie Christopher Knight as a Warlock] By now the whole world knows what your WoW character is after you disclosed it in Twitter, Have you attached a Blizzard or Mobile Authenticator to your account? What do you think about that little account security gadget and the Core Hound Pup pet?

Adrianne: No. If someone wants to steal my account, do so. I feel bad for them. I’m a eff-ing NOOB. I think they are good ideas for people who really care that much, luckily, I dont.

MD: What do you think about all those trolls calling you a noob for been level 45?

Adrianne: Gee like if they didn’t go through the same leveling experience.- I don’t care. I didn”t play for years on purpose because I was scared I would lose my life. I was right. Now that I am a level 45, I’m starting to get a little more warcraft respect. ; )

MD: So true. Everyone started leveling up in order to reach lvl 80. I have a couple lvl 80 characters, a lvl 72 Death Knight and a bunch of lvl 35 classes. My mother has a lvl 62 Orc Hunter, so I have to accompany her around in her adventures. Did you go to Blizzcon or planning to go next time? Have you heard good feedback about it? There were over 25,000 fans there.

Adrianne: I would love to go, but have yet to attend. I think it would be wicked sweet to dress like my character for one. My toon is an absolute slutty powerhouse of pain.

MD: I read you were at a few geek conventions this year dressed in costumes. Which conventions do you plan going on 2010, and What would you disguise of if you went to the next Blizzcon?

Adrianne: I like Wizard Worlds, but I really like costumes that hide who I am. So, I may be at more conventions than reported.

MD: Hope to see you at New York Comic Con and Blizzcon. Thanks. You can follow Adrianne Curry on her Twitter @AdrianneCurry

World of Warcraft Diorama Review: Blood Elf Rogue vs Draenei Paladin

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News

Sideshow Collectibles and Blizzard Entertainment partnered on 2007 to launch the epic first World of Warcraft diorama based on the Burning Crusade expansion. This polystone diorama of a Blood Elf Rogue versus a Draenei Paladin was sculptured to perfection from an artwork created by Blizzard Entertainment Art Department. The sculptor really put a lot of work into each part of the diorama: the draenei and blood elf’s shoulders, gauntlets and legs are amazingly detailed.

The lengthy video shows you the box as it was delivered by UPS (with dent and all), I unpacked it and show all the foam it’s protected with, and step-by-step how to assemble this diorama.

It’s actually composed of five pieces that need to be manually assembled by yourself: the base is pretty solid heavy (handle with care); the draenei; the draenei’s right arm is a separate item which includes the right-arm, shield, and the whole blood elf (all in one piece); the Tome is a separate item, and the mace.

The whole process of unpacking and assembling the diorama takes approximately 15-20 minutes. It’s heavily protected by an exoskeleton of foam in the shape of a box split in half. The different components are secured individually and firmly with wires. Untying these wires is what takes the most of your time.

It’s recommended to remove the diorama parts on a table and with a lot of care, and if possible bring a few folded towels to cushion the parts when the foam is turned upside down while you untie the wires. If a piece comes loose abruptly it can literally break a piece. I say so by experience. The Blood Elf came loose on top of the solid base and the green blade on her left hand broke off to my shame. That’s my fault.

It would be wise to have a couple of tweezers handy when assembling the tome (book) to the draenei paladin. These chains are short and cut to fit what’s necessary — meaning you will take a while trying to place the hooks inside the tome’s rings. The tome has a pin to insert it into the draenei’s waist beneath the belt where you can find a hole.

Once the tome is secured in place, you can take the big piece where the blood elf is laying on the shield and hook the slot inside the draenei’s arm into the pin located where the elbow joint is. The force of gravity does its job as the weight of this big piece settles on the Draenei’s elbow pin. One thing I gotta complain is there is no way to secure these five pieces. It only takes a curious family, friend or child to grab the diorama to realize it’s a loose set of pieces instead of a solid statue. The only solution I can really think of is to permanently glue these parts with Krazy-glue; but at your own risk.

Overall, this is a sculpture that is going to wow you and everyone who sees it. You can look at it for long periods of time, browsing through all the detail, and awesomeness. If you can spare the $299.99, go for it. It’s numbered in the bottom of the base, and there are approximately 750 of them around the world. A collector’s choice. This diorama was provided and shipped to me for review purposes by Sideshow Collectibles.

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Celebs Interested in the Warcraft Film: Michele Morrow Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft Film, World of Warcraft News



For months there have been a few celebrities who have openly revealed in interviews they would love a role in the upcoming Warcraft film, to be directed by Sam Raimi. The first one was Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), and now an actress has done so. A few days ago, Michele Morrow revealed to Fangoria during their interview her interest in the Warcraft film. I reached her to learn more about her career, and her interest in games. I was surprised to hear she is a guild leader in World of Warcraft and currently tackling Saurfang Jr. in the Icecrown Citadel.

The actress is in love with the story and characteristics of Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, the leader of the Forsaken, and she admits she would love to earn the role in the upcoming Warcraft film. That’s not just words. Her agency, L.A. Management will back her up once auditions are called by the production.

Michele Morrow has been actress in Basement Jack (2009), Bled (2009), The Seer (2007), True Love (2007), Alias (2006), Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun (2005), Ashley’s Ashes (2009) and VideoDome Rent-O-Rama (2009) — among other films, especially Horror, Thriller and Drama films.

Medievaldragon: Hi Michele, you have talked widely about your gaming life in some of your film interviews. Which games have you played?

Michele: I got an NES at age 10 and was the only kid on the block with one for a few months, so my roots are in Zelda, Mario, Tetris, Ghosts and Goblins consumed most of age 12.

Currently I play Bioshock, God of War (beat II but never played the original til now) and I’m stoked for both of the sequels due out this spring. I saw God of War III at E3 this year and it looks sick. I love Lumines on Xbox when I need that Tetris on drugs fix, and World of Warcraft.

Medievaldragon: When and How did you start playing World of Warcraft?

Michele: Crappy story actually a couple years back, I screwed up my neck in a stunt accident for this slasher movie called BASEMENT JACK. I jumped on an Air Ram it shot me up and out about 15 feet and I landed on my head. I’m VERY lucky to be recovered and not dead or paralyzed. I was in a neck brace for about a year. During that time I got a copy of The Burning Crusade.

Medievaldragon: A career as an actress is probably harder than other types of jobs like a normal 9am-5pm office work, or other freelance jobs. Your mind needs to be awake and alert, you need to read a lot and memorize your script lines. You need to go to the gym, eat healthy, stay fit, and train on whatever your role requires (horse riding, gun shooting, swords, etc.) lot of work. How do you manage your time between your acting career and leading a raiding guild?

Michele: HAH! Wow, someone is actually asking me that. Yes. I’ll tell you when I finally recovered from my injury, it wasn’t easy to pry away from, having to weave my normal life and work-out schedule back in. Its sorta hilarious how obsessed people get about this game. I mean, I even had dreams about the game. Although, that happened with Bioshock too. I guess that’s when you know a game is good. It seeps into your dreams. You’ll be at some dream supermarket buyin dream beer and a cartoon Orc will be behind the register saying: Ooooprah!, and im like WTF get out of my DREAM.

Medievaldragon: What have you liked the most about World of Warcraft through your level 1-80 experience?

Michele: I guess the thing I liked the most 1-80 as a new player, was how the game naturally unfolded for me. I liked the stories. In some ways it feels like reading an interactive book. It’s a pretty incredible experience for a first timer, make sure to play with some big headphones and just zone out for awhile. It can be a bit tedious for starting alts, but relaxing all the same, especially with lvl 80 raiding pressures.

However, at level 80, it’s a new game. I co-lead a raiding guild on Thorium Brotherhood – I know, RP server, but honestly its no different from a PvE server just don’t go to Silvermoon City at midnight dressed as a pirate and you’ll be alright. I have a toon on Mug’thol as well and very much enjoy PvP servers, I’m just glad I didn’t start out on one lol.

Medievaldragon: The other day you told me how much you love the lore behind Lady Sylvanas and Jaina Proudmoore. What do you enjoy out of all the lore diversity and rich characters in World of Warcraft?

Michele: I love Sylvanas and Jaina. I think I most enjoy the fact that Warcraft has very powerful female matriarchs. I mean, even Lord of the Rings. I grew up on that had very few important women. Most of them filled the stereotypical chick roles, love interests, healers, mothers. Galadriel is one of the few that really stands out for me. And the Narnia series, although rich with female characters, mostly don’t let women in battle.

But it has always been this way. Helen of Troy launched a battle only by being abducted and I think I remember something about the dude sacrificing his daughter to get sweet winds for his travel to save Helen. the whole sacrificing virgins thing lol. I realize that some people believe that true power comes through the female roles through healing and comfort and reflection. And, wisdom generally comes from old men with long beards. I don’t disagree with any of that, but it’s pretty awesome that Warcraft lore features female heroes and leaders who struggle with similar issues that the men do.

Women fall too like Azshara – and not because they were being slutbags, or because they were virgins, or because they were kidnapped. They fail because they are flawed. Or they teach because they know how to lead. Sylvanas has the coolest story for me, hands down death by Frostmourne, mutilated and tortured, used against her own people, only to regain her free-will and build the Forsaken with the sole purpose of hunting down Arthas. I love her grit, her courage and her potential of fallacy. But Jaina is pretty rad too. She’s a gifted mage, a major leader, and big advocate for peace. Not only that, but she was engaged to Arthas so that’s crazy.

Medievaldragon: Do you think stories such as these should be engaged by film directors more often?

Michele: Absolutely they’re why I became an actress. I grew up in a neighborhood called Camelot where all the streets were named after the knights of the round table, we lived on King Arthur Drive. Everything seemed so lofty and magical when I was a kid. I loved Star Wars, The Neverending Story, The Dark Crystal movies were imagination land. They were an escape from real life. I think the only reason these movies don’t get made as much it’s because it’s a lot of money to make big epic features. I’m pretty sure each one of The Lord of the Rings & Harry Potters cost about $100 million to make. They did make an insane amount of money in return, but I’m sure it’s hard to get people to fork over that kind of cash.

Medievaldragon: Have you seen a lack of films based on fantasy worlds beyond Lord of the Rings from 2000-2010?

Michele: Well, the Narnias, Harry Potters probably can all be categorized as the like. I think we saw a lot of comic book movies that cross-promoted the fantasy demographic.

Medievaldragon: Your previous film roles are focused mostly in the Terror genre, have you considered other genres or have you been invited to play roles in those?

Michele: I’ve done comedies and drama, but horror is certainly the genre I’ve worked the most in. I’m open to any genre that has a strong story attached. It’s all about the story.

Medievaldragon: Why do you wish the role of Lady Sylvanas Windrunner in the Warcraft film?

Michele: To be honest, I’d be happy to play any of the characters in the movie. But, Sylvanas, I love her because she’s determined. She’s insidious. She’s arrogant and spiteful, but you can’t really blame her. She’s very tortured. http://www.wowwiki.com/File:Sylvanas.jpg I love this imagination of her. She truly takes her own council.

Medievaldragon: Have you played Warcraft III or have you read its facsimile World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King? That’s where her story as a cunning and stubborn High Elf Ranger and all the drama with Arthas as her biggest nemesis starts at. What about her rich past did catch your attention the most?

Michele: She’s really effing brave. And she’s been through hell. To be honest, its not far off from many of the horror movie roles I’ve played. Karen Cook in Basement Jack is a lot like her. At 18 years old she finds her entire family slaughtered, posed around the dining room table, tied to glasses and silverware, with the dog as the main course. It’s a horrific thing to imagine. She has an epic battle in the basement with the killer and narrowly escapes. 11 years later she has sharpened her combat skills, and he gets let out of a mental institution. Now she’s hunting him – and he’s happy to kill her. She’s sorta on another level you are able to see her as a tragic hero, it kinda takes gender away, it’s past that, if that makes sense. You can see her mind working, always thinking, always one step ahead. She’s smart and beautiful and tragic and courageous all at once.

Medievaldragon: What new things have you learned about Lady Sylvanas in your raid advancement through Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, the Halls of Reflections and Icecrown Citadel that you feel have allowed you to learn this character inside and out?

Michele: Mostly I really dislike her voice over lol. I have an alliance toon and get to see Jaina do something similar so its not super unique enough to learn anything more than I already did from the 5 mans. But it is cool to see the story progress. Besides, I’m mostly only thinking about the 10,000g I can make from that Battered Hilt drop to pay any attention lol.

Medievaldragon: What do you think about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?

Michele: You know, I’m sure however all the details will undoubtedly change, it’ll be cool. This MMO is more popular than any other of all time, I think the guys at Blizzard know what they’re doing. I have a high amount of faith in their imaginations based on what they’ve produced so far.

Medievaldragon: If you were a WoW developer, what would you do to further enrich the world of Azeroth and the player’s gameplay? (story, features or fixes)

Michele: ALTERAC VALLEY! HELP!! People do not know how to play. Period. They just run to the group and fight in the road and make me want to tear out all my hair. Has anyone noticed that AV Chat has become like Trade Chat but with more insults? Which is awesome and annoying all at once.

Mmmaybe in CATACLYSM, the earth shakes up Alterac Valley and the battleground gets a facelift. Maybe even do some sort of strat guide or in-game tutorial for people when they queue for the first time. Redesign the map because its not clear enough for new players, they’re all like "Towers? Bunkers? Cap what? Who’s Bal?" — except they don’t ask for fear of ridicule lol. Because regardless of the infinite resources they could find online by simply minimizing their screen, they won’t lol. The double honor thing for defending is a start, but you really do miss out on a lot of action. Maybe they can up that reward to encourage better game play. The other Battlegrounds are much smaller and easier to catch on to, there’s just too much going on in AV for the legions of noobs.

Medievaldragon: Which recent and upcoming films or TV projects fans can find you working on?

Michele: I have a film in the summer shooting in Tennessee, its currently untitled but revolves around a meth addict. I’ll be starring next to Katrena Rochell from the upcoming Kickass. I’m also producing a reality show about a big cat rescue facility called Cat Tales Rescue with my childhood best friend, Jan-Michael Gambill who is a professional tennis and another wow player. Pilot season is coming up as well, so anything can happen. I recently heard Spidey got pushed back too, so maybe Warcraft?!?!? fingers crossed

Medievaldragon: Which have been your biggest achievements both in your persona life and in your career?

Michele: My biggest achievement has yet to surface in my career, I am sure. But so far, personally I’m proud of my recovery from my neck injury, that I didn’t let it stop me. It’s so easy to quit, and I’ll tell you, I did get close to giving everything up. I gained 25 pounds, I lost two movie roles, and fairweather friends certainly slunk into the shadows. When you hit the bottom, you can either sulk there forever or pick yourself up. Determination can do a lot for a person.

Medievaldragon: I listened to your Voice Over Reel. Awesome. Have you done voice over for games or would consider proposals for them?

Michele: Thank you smile Besides my demo, I also did a voice over for G4’s X-Play. I would love to do voices for games! That would be so stupidly fun.

Medievaldragon: Thanks, It was great having you, Michele. Hope you get the role of Sylvanas in the Warcraft film. What do you think guys?

You can find Michele Morrow’s credits and gallery over at her website: http://www.michelemorrow.com

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1 Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News, Starcraft: Ghost News

I acquired a copy of Starcraft: Ghost Academy from Barnes & Noble to review this product. For a soft cover, I really like the texture and feeling of the material. Volume One contains 192 pages full of action and it’s divided into a prologue and five chapters.

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1The manga starts out strangely from the point of view of yourself as the one receiving a letter from Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. In this letter you are required to volunteerly submit your son/daughter to the Psi-Ops Division of the Terran Dominion (Ghost Program) and how proud you should be for making this step for the defense of the Dominion from alien threats.

The prologue is a follow up to the events of the Starcraft: Frontline manga concerning Colin Phash and Corbin Phash. Corbin has started to feed the media with accussations against the Ghost Program, requesting people to rise against the taking of their children for underground experimentation.

Kevin Bick (Director of the Ghost Program) appears on the UNN to respond the accussations and displays video of what happened at Maltair IV, blaming ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Phash for refusing to volunteerly bring his son to the Ghost Program for proper training of his abilities. If he had done as requested, the events of Maltair IV wouldn’t have happened in the first place – said the director.

We do know from Starcraft: Frontline that it was the Dominion command who authorized the wrangler Randall to use lobotomized zerg units as psi-hounds to track down the telepath boy: Colin Phash. Thus, the Dominion is simply covering up their lies with false info to the UNN, making it look like the boy is a threat to himself and everyone around him without proper training — blaming the kid for attracting zerg to planet Maltair IV.

CHAPTER ONE: It’s all over now, Team Blue

We learn that the entire UED squadron was not decimated by Kerrigan’s zerg in Starcraft: Brood War. In this volume, we see the Team Blue led by Gabriel Tosh and composed of Nova, Kath, and Lio. They are here on a mission to inflitrate a planet-hopper ship overtaken by UED Pirates — you heard it, UED Pirates. Their goal is to rescue a senator and three aides on board.

Nova doesn’t look like a team player who likes to follow orders. She takes off ahead of the team and doesn’t even listen to Gabriel Tosh’s instructions. Her cockiness puts her in harm’s way jeopardizing the mission once she figures out the UED pirates are wearing psi-screens.

I found difficult sometimes to differenciate one marine from another, as they lack any serial number, marks or logos. For example, I found it helpful in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4: Fear the Reaper to identify who was who among the Reaper squad. Not much of an issue, really, due to the nature of this specific mission.

Things in this first chapter are not what you think, but we get to see how the Ghost trainees get to learn, hone and improve their skills the hard way. I could see a bit of a Star Trek influence here, and it’s no surprise with the large track record of Star Trek novels written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

There’s a curious shadow in the complex’s hallways that resembles a child, and Nova did see the shadow, but dismissed it as something she thought she saw. Considering Nova is PI 10 and the child Colin Phash is PI 7.5, it makes you wonder how the kid got to fool Nova. In the Starcraft: Frontline series you learn that Senator Corbin Phash taught his son how to project his thoughts with false leads (repeating something in his mind to be picked up by telepaths, while doing something else), and the kid has a special gift described as “Quiet Voice” — which sorta cloaks his presence from the Zerg with the power of his mind, even when he is at plain sight. And another ability described as Astral Projection or relocation of his mind. (Paul Benjamin & Dave Shramek read X-Men, alright). Colin probably used this ability to evesdrop on Nova, while remaining out of sight from her own telepathic abilities.

CHAPTER TWO: Taking Care of Business

This chapter introduces Director Kevin Bick and Superintendent Angelini Sarco who talk about the insertion of Aal Cistler into team blue. We get to see Preceptor Soohoo teaching Terran history through the eye of the Terran Dominion, or like a yawning Kath Toom describes: propaganda. The story of how the Confederates fell in Tarsonis with the Zerg and how Kerrigan joined the Zerg was taught wrong. Therefore, the ghost trainees are instructed with the same lies the Dominion feeds the media and the people.

As the story progresses, you kinda start feeling back at college with all the drama, name-calling and angry students stepping on your patience. The interactions between students feel natural. Conflicts arise, while others try to keep things under control — like Gabriel Tosh, leader of Team Blue.

We get to see Lio Travski in action hacking into computers to bypass the Ghost Program’s security sensors in order to buy and consume Hab.

CHAPTER THREE: Seven times fall down, eight times get up

In this chapter, we see another training scenario in the shape of a maze full of booby traps, and robots. Each member of Team Blue is tested to the limit, and their mistakes and pros are measured by percent. The next class is with Sergeant Hartley who trains them in the way of martial arts. All students must wear a psi-screen and must rely on their instincts and physical prowess.

I was pleased to see Keith DeCandido bring up some scenes from the Starcraft: Ghost Nova novel such as Nova’s experience at the Gutter serving Fagin as a slave for six months.

The martial art trainer is a butcher and the training of ghosts in this class look like the harshest boot camp you have ever experienced. A bonus martial match between Gabriel Tosh and Aal takes place. Later, the team vents on Nova for not been a team player.

Nova finds a young telepath girl at some kind of library. Nova reads into her mind to learn her story, and it turns out this girl is the one Wrangler Randall captured in Starcraft: Frontline while searching for Colin Phash. It’s really nice to see continuity treats throughout the manga.

At the mess hall, there’s an informative and amusing interaction between Aal, Kath and Gabriel Tosh which help you flesh out their background, and their personality. There’s another training test to assemble a C-10 rifle within a minute and a half or less. It seems Nova listened to what Gabriel Tosh told her about her lack of a team work, and we see her caring more about her teammates, by teaching them.

CHAPTER FOUR: All I have to do is dream

This chapter shows how much Nova has accomplished earning the companionship of her teammates. Here we also get another flashback from Starcraft: Ghost Nova. The scene where Nova and Morgan Calabas are aboard the yacht en route to the Tyrador IX resort and the moment she finds her parents dead, Her experience at the Gutter for six months as a slave of Fagin, and her rescue by Wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian.

If you read this novel (pocket book), it will be nice for you to see a brief summary and these characters as images. Gabriel Tosh and Nova get closer as friends at the end of this chapter.

CHAPTER FIVE: Redemption

There are some twists at the end, and the entire story has brief hints of Colin Phash been able to eavesdrop his way around the Ghost Program undetected, unless the Ghost Program is using him as their way to eavesdrop on the trainees? I guess we will confirm or discard that in the upcoming volume 2.

While some readers new to Starcraft will feel a bit lost on what’s going on, they don’t necessarily need to have read Starcraft: Ghost Nova, as this manga briefly summarizes some of the most important scenes that shaped Nova’s life.

For a intro, volume one did a good job at showing us how the ghosts are trained, while at the same time exploring each character’s personality and past. Some characters are more caring and friendly than others. The exceptions of course are Aal, and Lio. Aal because he only cares about himself, and Lio because of his addiction to Hab and his continuous efforts to prevent his friends and the preceptors from discovering his addiction.

If you are a lore nerd like myself, collecting all Starcraft novels and manga — you will no doubt appreciate all the continuity nods and mentions.

Did you read Starcraft: Ghost Nova? Then you will love reading Starcraft: Ghost Academy as it’s written by the same author: Keith R.A. DeCandido — who participated in the shaping of the main character and its world. Awesome job, Keith! Fernando Heinz Furukawa is the artist of this manga. The artwork is very enjoyable and consistent. Rich facial expressions really help to transmit each character’s emotions throughout the plot. I am not into manga, but I truly dig Furukawa’s style.

Overall, a good read, as expected from the writing-calibre of Keith R.A. DeCandido. The Starcraft: Ghost Academy will only span up to three volumes, but after reading this first issue, I really wish Blizzard and Tokyopop published them as an ongoing series every three-or-four months without a defined end.

The Starcraft comic book by Wildstorm is heading to the Graphic Novel format, so I would welcome an ongoing manga series based on Nova and the Ghost Academy with the same author and artist.

Check out the preview scans and the recent teaser trailer. You can order Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 1 here. The story continues in the second part, Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 which hits bookstores on August 3, 2010.

Slang

You will see some slang used often throughout the manga:

Teek: Telekinetic
Teep: Telepath
PI: Psi-Index (a PI 10 is a powerful telepath/telekinetic)
Chaneed: short for “What do you need?”

Characters

E.B. James – UNN Reporter

Director Kevin Bick: He is in charge of the Terran Dominion’s Ghost Program. Director Bick talked to the UNN to deny all accussations from ex-senator Corbin Phash and to convince the populace that Phash’s notion of the Ghost Program’s experiments on children is outdated info as that’s how the Confederates’s Ghost Program worked like, not the Terran Dominion’s. That’s of course a lie.

Preceptor Soohoo: History instructor at the Ghost Program

Superintendent Angelini Sarco – He monitors each of the Ghost trainees through Sparky — the computer that probes each area of the building as a surveillance system.

Jenni – assistant serving Director Kevin Bick

Dr. Gauthier – the Ghost Program doctor overlooking Colin Phash’s brainwashing process and he’s running experiments on Colin.

Colin Phash – ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Phash’s son. Colin is a telepath Psi-Index 7.5 with the innovative and unique ability to create a Quiet Voice mental cloaking field around himself to stay out of plain sight, and can cast an astral projection of himself.

Aldeo Cistler – He is the Terran Dominion’s Finance Minister and a valued member of the Emperor’s Inner Circle. He sent his son Aal Cistler to the Ghost Program to make a man out of him because throughout all his young years he has been an embarrassment to his family.

Kam – Hab supplier inside the Ghost Program. He provides the illegal narcotic to Lio Travski at blind spots where Lio can fool Sparky’s probe detection.

Aunt Yuku – Uncle Desi’s wife and aunt to Lio Travski.

Uncle Desi – Uncle to Lio Travski. Desi is a computer tech at the Kal-Bryant Mining Conglomerate in Pridewater.

Sergeant Hartley: Rude trainer who teaches martial arts to all ghost trainees and forces them to do fifty push ups on one fist.

Preceptor Appelbaum – Overlooks Delta’s training.

Delta Emblock – a very young telepath girl at the Ghost Program. She was born in New Sydney. Her mother died of a lung infection acquired at the factory she worked at. Delta had to work at age seven after her mom died and never learned to read. Wrangler Randall captured her and dispatched her to the Ghost Academy.

Preceptor Lagdamen – a trainer at the Ghost Program who oversees the training of Team Blue.

Preceptor Ryke – he teaches PI 7 and higher index telepaths how to supress thoughts. A P10 can’t control to read memories on people with strong thoughts or memory imprints.

Dr. Neall – She attended Lio’s health at the infirmary when he had a overdose of Turk, and found out traces of Hab in his bloodstream.

Team Blue

Gabriel Tosh – He grew up in the streets of Haji. He is been in the Ghost Program for at least two years and the leader of Team Blue. Gabriel Tosh plays an important role in the Starcraft II single player campaign. He is who gives you the mission titled MINING YOUR OWN BUSINESS at Redstone III [alias the lava planet].

Lio Travski – He can hack into machines using telepathy. Lio can create blind spots where Sparky — the preceptor’s sensor probe can not spy on him or detect that he is sending email to his family. Biometric sensors and cameras can’t pick him up, and he can easily infiltrate and hack into Sparky’s mainframe. He is addicted to Hab — an illegal narcotic.

Kath Toom – She gets bored in history class, yawns often. The pessimistic and complaint girl of team blue. She is the daughter of one of the executive vice-presidents of the Kal-Bryant Mining Conglomerates on Pridewater.

Aal Cistler – Age 25. He is a PI 4.5 — which catalogs him as not a telepath. An opportunistic playboy. An Intelligent and superb martial artist. He got black belts in three different disciplines. He is the son of Aldeo Cistler (the Terran Dominion’s financial minister). His father used his influences to place Aal into the Ghost Program even not being a telepath merely to make a man out of him. Aal has lived a playboy life, surrounded by luxury, lazyiness and bedding many women.

Nova Terra: November Anabelle Terra was the daughter of an industrial robotic manufacturing executive. One of the Old Families of Tarsonis. Her abilities manifested in full at the sight of her parents’ assassination. She lashed out at her would-be executioners and the telekinetic outburst destroyed the top of her family skycrapper and its anti-nuke dome, along with three hundred civilians. After six months in the Gutter, she was rescued by Wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian and brought into the Ghost Academy to hone her PI 10 abilities.

Team Red

Dylanna – She was the highest rank (68%) in the planet-hopper scenario simulation until Nova broke the record with a 70%. Nova’s team died in the simulation, while Dylanna’s lived. Yet Nova was rewarded with a higher score. This makes Dylanna angry at Nova, and a nemesis.
Winlaleah

Locations Mentioned

Lio Travski mentions two locations while emailing his uncle Desi. Desi lives at Pridewater. Both formerly lived in Nidhogg.

Nidhogg – Unknown location where drug addicts consumed Hab [illegal narcotic]. Smoky air and plagued by bugs.

Canis – One of Ursa’s moons. The Hab dealer gets supplies from here to distribute off-world.

The Gutter – a criminal activity and drug traffic zone in Tarsonis where Nova spent six months as slave of its kingpin Fagin.

guild-ui-3

Cataclysm: Guild UI

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Articles


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

The Guild System UI can be accessed between the quest log icon and the PvP icon, or type (J) to open it up. You can find the following option tabs at the bottom of the UI: Guild, Roster, News, Rewards and Info.

Guild Tab

The Guild Tab shows you a summary page consisting of the latest guild news, the upcoming guild event, the latest guild perk, your guild reputation bar, and the members online. The latest guild perk window can be expanded or collapsed to show all the perks’ descriptions and at which level it was obtained.

The Roster Tab

The View dropdown menu allows you to check out: Player Status, Guild Status, Guild Activity (Weekly), Guild Activity (total), Achievement Points, and Professions.

  • Player Status: Allows you to see the roster by level, class, name, and zone where the player is.

  • Guild Status: Here you can see the name of each member, their rank (i.e. member, officer), you may see which members wrote a note, and Last Online can tell you how long it has been since the player was online (only if you check mark the Show Offline Members box at the bottom-left of the window).

  • Guild Activity (Weekly): It displays the amount of experience each player has contributed to the Guild (The cap seems to be 7875010), and the rank number of that member in comparison with other members for that week. This allows guild leaders to determine who has contributed the most experience for the guild to reach guild level 1-25 (for example).

  • Guild Activity (Total): Displays the total of Guild experience the member has accumulated, and their guild rank number from # 1 -600th (the guild cap is 600 members, in this case apply the amount of members in your guild)

  • Achievement Points: Curiously, in this tab you can see the amount of Achievement Points each member has accumulated. Could possibly mean Blizzard has future plans for Achievement Points which players have accumulated since the introduction of the Achievements feature in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. You can see from # 1- 600(*) which players have the most or the least Achievement Points.

  • Professions: This is definitely a very handy feature. It allows you to see profession tables: Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Enchanting, etc. Under each table is the name of the member that has that profession, the member’s current location (i.e. Orgrimmar, Mount Hyjal, Uldum) and what is the skill level of that member’s profession (i.e. Enchanting: 525 skill). When you double click the member’s name the profession window pops to display all the recipes that member has in that profession and the materials and requirements needed per recipe.

News

The Guild News tab allows you to see all the achievements earned during the week by each member. As you scroll down you can see the days of the week: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.

To the right of the Guild News title is an option to filter the type of info you wish to read. You can check or uncheck mark the following boxes: Guild Achievements, Members Achievements, Raid Encounters, Epic Items Looted, Epic Items Crafted, Epic Items Purchased and Guild level. Blizzard is really storing a lot of guild member data and making it accessible to you straight from within the game.

Guild Rewards

This tab shows you the whole list of rewards the guild can acquire from level 1 to 25, and the gold cost when you go to the Guild Vendor NPC. Hovering your mouse cursor over the rewards text shows the item tooltip.

Info Tab

The Info Tab in the Guild UI displays the Upcoming Guild Events, Message of the Day and Guild Information (i.e. Vent server, Port, website URL).


Guild Rewards | Guild Perks | Guild Heirlooms | Guild Mounts | Guild UI

Blizzplanet Live Chat with Tokyopop: Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, StarCraft 2 News

Blizzplanet and Starcraftwire.net will have a live chat open to all our fans and visitors to talk and interact with the Tokyopop writers involved in Starcraft: Frontline Volume 4.

As you can see in our Starcraft II Single Player Press-Hands-On Coverage, I interviewed Chris Metzen.  He elaborated on the tie-in between the novels, the Starcraft: Frontline manga series and the single player.  All the stories of the manga were already part of the single player lore rather than the other way around. In short, it is highly recommended to get your hands on these manga stories to get acquainted with the single player plots.

You will have the opportunity to interact with six writers and the editor Hope Donovan.  It is not confirmed yet, but we might have the grace to have Chris Metzen along (I will have a definite answer in a few days, so stay tuned).  Chris Metzen is one of the writers in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4 with the story titled: Homecoming—which tells the story of Jim Raynor’s return to Mar Sara prior to the events of the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player.

Watch Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 3 Sneak Preview here and Vol. 4 here.

Order the Starcraft: Frontline series here.

We will talk with the following writers:

Paul Benjamin
David Shramek
Josh Elder
David Gerrold
Chris Metzen (?)
Grace Randolph
Ren Zatopek
Hope Donovan

Date: September 9th
Time: 1pm PDT (California) ——

EUROPE:

UK London 9:00:00 PM UTC+1 hour BST
Paris timezone is 10:00:00 PM UTC+2 hours CEST

World of Warcraft: Stormrage Excerpt

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft Pocket Book Excerpts

Pocket Books (a Simon & Schuster Division) released a special gift to Blizzcon 2009 attendees, and now to everyone … an excerpt of World of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak.

We already know a few things about the book, but reading the excerpt let’s you glimpse a few things that may interest you.  The excerpt is set in Elwynn Forest.  We get to see familiar locations such as Goldshire and Jasperlode Mine.

What I like about this book is that we get to meet characters from the World of Warcraft game. Marshal Dughan and the entire Goldshire citizens have been affected by the Nightmare in the Emerald Dream. You do remember him right?  He is the NPC that gives you the quest to investigate the Jasperlode Mine.

Do you remember Zaldimar Wefhellt?  He is the Mage Trainer at the Goldshire Inn.  He is part of this World of Warcraft: Stormrage excerpt.

I won’t spoil what happens in the excerpt, but from the little taste we got here I can assume that we will see other locations in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and the use of real NPCs for once as characters in this novel.

Blizzcon 2009: World of Warcraft: Stormrage Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2009, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

Richard A. Knaak revealed a few details about the upcoming Pocket Books novel titled World of Warcraft: Stormrage (on sale February 23, 2010). Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson said in our interview back on February that this book would deal with the Nightmare in the Emerald Dream and Malfurion Stormrage. Will we get to see some tie-in with the events behind Cataclysm?

Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Chris Metzen Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Products News, BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2009, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, Starcraft 2, Starcraft 2 Articles, StarCraft 2 News

Hi, I am Medievaldragon. I had the opportunity to visit the Blizzard Entertainment Headquarters to play the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign. I barely played through six missions, but I can tell you it was an AWESOME experience from a lore nerd point of view.

After hours playing the game, I asked Chris Metzen, Blizzard’s senior vice-president of Creative Design many questions about the single player and its relevance with the printed media such as the novels, manga and comic book. Here is our interview coverage with Chris Metzen.

TRANSCRIPThttp://www.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/

Blizzard Quote:
I was playing the single player, and I saw something very interesting.  The mission is titled Tooth and Nail.  It is set in the protoss shrine-world Monlyth.  I noticed these protoss are the Tal’drim tribe, which is interesting because this is the name of the tribe in Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy by Christie Golden—shown in book two: Shadow Hunters.

The Tal’drim in this book are however known as The Forged.  They were among the protoss who were abandoned and left behind during the Invasion of Aiur.  Most of the protoss evacuated through the warpgate to reach Shakuras, and to avoid zerg from reaching Shakuras, they sealed the gateway leaving behind many protoss to their own fate.

Jim Raynor and Fenix stayed behind to make sure the Zerg wouldn’t reach the gateway.  These protoss survivors were deeply affected emotionally reliving their abandonment by the Xel’Naga, left behind to despair. Their faith in the Khala was affected, and they eventually rejected the sanctity of the Khala.

The Tal’drim survived thanks to a mysterious patron who protected them from the Zerg, deep in the forbidden caverns of Aiur.  This patron granted the Tal’drim known as The Forged a special drug named Sundrop which inhibits chemically the Khala without cutting off their head appendages.  In short, the Tal’drim are effectively blocked from their psychic commonality with the other protoss survivors in Aiur known as Those who endure, and are unable to read their thoughts.  It’s as if the Tal’drim had devolved to be like those protoss from before the Aeon of Strife, before the Khala was taught by Khas.

My question to you is, Are these other Tal’drim protoss in Monlyth also under the influence of Dark Archon Ulrezaj?

Metzen: How do I answer that.  Are the Tal’darim influenced by Ulrezaj?.  That’s still playing out.  To some degree it’s the same group, but the group might be larger than what you saw in SHADOW HUNTERS specifically.

In the first two missions set in Mar Sara, players have access to the Joey Ray’s Bar and can interact with Jim Raynor who is drinking.  There is a piece of newspaper attached to the bulletin board on the wall and you can interact with it. It says the Zerg has returned to invade the fringe-worlds and Emperor Arcturus has recalled the Terran Dominion forces to return to the core-worlds, leaving the fringe-worlds to fend on their own.

Jim Raynor heard the call for help, and rescued 800 civilians, including an orphan girl,  from a place known as Meteor Station – a Kelmorian Mining Post.  The lore fan-spider-sense in me tingled wildly. This is quite interesting, because the only place the fans have ever heard of this place: Meteor Station, was in the short story by Grace Randolph titled Last Call.  This short story is from the Starcraft: Frontline Volume 3 by Tokyopop.  Are we going to meet some of these characters, locations and plots from the mangas in the Single Player?

Metzen I think in general with the novels we’ve been doing recently with Christie Golden and definitely a lot of the manga short stories we’re definitely trying to season the game and the ancillary fiction with as much ideas, either in cross-pollinated ideas as possible.  We always like taking little hooks from one thing or another and translating into those different medium stories.  It just feels a little more contiguous ultimately.  It’s kind of interesting that these names and these ideas are being leveraged across the board.

So I think with the Tal’drim specifically there is definitely a tie there to the events happening in the Dark Templar trilogy but it’ll probably play itself out on a much longer basis.

I am definitely loving all these lore references found throughout my single player hands-on experience,  While in the Hyperion, I visited the Cantina Room and met Mr. Graven Hill, the local black market pirate.  Jim Raynor can hire different Kel-Morian mercenaries from him to help you in some of the tough missions for a price.  This really excites me for a very good reason.  I am a subscriber of the Starcraft comic book by Wildstorm comics.

As it stands, in the comic book, the War Pigs are working for the Terran Dominion, and they have been ordered to hunt down and kill Jim Raynor. However, I am guessing that at some point if the Terran Dominion abandons the War Pigs to the Zerg like they did with General Duke, and Sarah Kerrigan, and like they are doing in the present with the fringe-worlds, the War Pigs might take a turn and join the rebels as mercenaries. Are we going to eventually hire the War Pigs in Starcraft II at the Cantina?

Metzen: Interesting, will we meet the War Pigs in StarCraft 2?  I think, as it stands, they don’t make an appearance in Wings of Liberty specifically.  But we’ll keep it in mind, because we’ve been enjoying where the comic series has been going and there’s potentially a lot of rich characterization there so we’ll see down the road.

During my tour through Blizzard’s Starcraft II offices I saw on the wall a poster of various character animation portraits that will be used in the game’s interface. I saw Starcraft: Ghost’s Nova’s portrait.  I also saw Gabriel Tosh in the mission titled Mining Your Own Business set in the planet Redstone III.  I am psyched to see this character too because he is going to appear in the Pocket Books novel titled STARCRAFT: GHOST SPECTRES by Keith DeCandido on sale March 30, 2010 and he also appears in the Tokyopop manga titled STARCRAFT: GHOST ACADEMY on sale January 1, 2010.

I also saw Reporter Kate Lockwell in the single player, a character that also appears in the STARCRAFT: FRONTLINE manga.  Are we going to see Nova and Colin Phash (the telepath boy)? This boy was introduced in the short story War-Torn in the Starcraft: Frontline Volume 2 and 3, and has been confirmed to appear in Starcraft: Ghost Academy too.  Since we are seeing Gabriel Tosh from that manga in the game, are we going to see Colin Phash in the single player?

Metzen: I’m not as sure about Phash making an appearance in the game specifically but I think we’ve said before Nova’s certainly a character that is near and dear to us and we’ve got plans for her [in] the Ghost Academy manga and the upcoming novels Spectres as well.  So, yea, we’ve worked a little cameo of Nova in but I’d had to give away exactly how she plays into the story. It’s pretty cool [and] it’ll feel worthy for those fans of the character that never actually got to play her in her own title.

During my single player hands on experience I read in a piece of newspaper the name Michael Liberty.  That really intrigued me.  This is the same reporter who debuted in the Pocket Books novel Starcraft: Liberty by Jeff Grubb.  He has made a few cameos in Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg and in the Tokyopop manga short story titled Newsworthy by Grace Randolph in the Starcraft: Frontline Volume 2.  Are we going to see Michael Liberty reporting news from the rebels’ side through clandestine broadcasts on the TV screen at the Cantina Room?

Metzen: I think Liberty actually does not show up in this campaign.  We had talked about it a lot earlier on but because he’s so extreme in his views where he’s so anti-government that we needed leverage, we kind of needed to create a new reporter that was a little more even in the kind of stories that she could report.  But I still hold out hope that we’re going to get Liberty in because he’s potentially a really cool character to use.

There is an interesting concept played out through the short story Do No Harm by Josh Elder.  A Terran Dominion scientist has been capturing Protoss and experimenting with their DNA to create a Human-Protoss hybrid prototype.  There have been other previous prototypes, but this one in particular is pretty strong and uses Ghost technology to stealth. The Terran Dominion plans to create an army of these hybrids to protect the core-worlds.  Are we going to see a follow-up of this play out into the Single Player? This guy is pretty much the Rexxar of Starcraft.

Metzen: I think that one, for now, is kind more of a one-off.  I don’t think there’s any plans to follow up on that theme anytime soon in terms of the game itself, in terms of the game story.  But I dig that story a lot that I think it’s more of just a really cool story by itself.

I remember you said in Blizzcon 2007, there were plans to add a planet encyclopedia into the Star Map where players could have the opportunity to learn some lore about each planet. Is that still the plan?  I didn’t get to see much of that in the single player build I just played.

Based on the build that you guys have been playing today we’ve pulled back a degree of that.  Most of that was a design decision, a UI decision, [where] we wanted the interface to be as clean as possible.  The current iteration is very much the one we’re running with barring some minor changes that could happen, but I think we’ve pulled a little bit more away from the grinding Encyclopedia Galactica idea that you were talking about.  It just didn’t take the shape that we were anticipating.

In this instance I think “less is more”.  We’ve still got a lot of lore based on a lot of the planets and their histories and their unique environments and things like that so a lot of that does inform the story and then per some of the blue screens or whatever there’s some data there that gives you a sense of the context of each planet but it probably won’t take as grand a shape as some of the things we were chasing earlier on.

In Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy, book three: Twilight we learn that Zeratul has been moving from place to place these past four years using the Xel’Naga gateways that are revealed to be spread all across the galaxy. Jake Ramsey and Zamara were stranded in a snowy planet for example, before entering the coordinates to reach a tropical planet where they find Zeratul’s ship.  Is it me, or are there breadcrumbs in the novel hinting that we will explore other star systems in the single player by using these Xel’Naga gateways?

Metzen: I think at some point it’s reasonable that we’ll use those Xel’Naga gates and explore the unexplored.  It’s hard to answer in terms of giving anything away for StarCraft II but we wouldn’t have built them [laughter] if we weren’t going to use them.

That’s interesting.  You know, I don’t know off the top of my head.  I don’t think I’m the guy to answer that one. [coughs, I’m not authorized to …]

The Snipers?

Metzen: Right.

[we all laugh—this is a joke between Metzen and I referenced back to our previous video interview during the New York Comic Con 2009 (February) when I asked him about Gilneas. They have big plans for Gilneas, but he couldn’t say anymore because there were snipers on the roof that you know … would shoot him. As he said this, he was looking at the roof—the snipers referring to Blizzard Public Relations Department.]

What has been your personal experience trying to cram up all this lore from the novels, the manga and the comic book into the single player as one solid integrated continuity of the Starcraft universe? We know that you had to split the Starcraft II single player game into three separate episodes: Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void to fit all the lore.

Metzen: Right.  How do I respond.  I think we haven’t gone out of our way to cram all the lore from comics and all that stuff into the game.  Really we’ve been building the game’s story for so long that things like the Dark Templar trilogy or all the things you see in the manga really have just kind of organically spun out of what we were building anyway.

The trick to StarCraft II now being in these three installments is that there was a lot to play with in the first place.  We had 10 years worth of expectations and stories we wanted to chase and arcs of these characters that we wanted to explore.  So we came packing with a lot of ideas, and the idea of separating each of these chapters into their own boxed product essentially allows us to really round out each race’s stories without having to throw a bunch of stuff out.

We actually get to say everything [that] we set out to say in terms of story and we’re very proud of how Wings of Liberty has come off and I love the ending.  I can’t talk about it, obviously, but I really love Raynor’s arc and I feel everything [that] we wanted to engineer into his great journey – in his way, his redemption for what he feels are past mistakes – I really feel that we got all that in there.

While it might start on a bit of a lower note, this is not necessarily a super human guy at the height of his game at the start of the game, he definitely finds his feet very quickly and becomes the man we need and expect him to be over the process of Wings of Liberty.  It’s just been very cool to see all that come together and have all the other Ancillary lore really inform the story as its taking shape as well.

Special thanks to Chris Metzen, Shon Damron, CW, Karune and Bob Colayco for inviting me to this single player press event.  And to Troglodyte from StarcraftWire.net for compiling the transcript.

Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight Video Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, StarCraft 2 News

On June 13th, Christie Golden had a public appearance and signing schedule at the Book Revue in Huntington, New York—where she also read a few pages from the World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King hardcover book.  This book made the New York Times Bestseller Hardcover List twice in a row barely four days after its official launch into bookstores.

I had the opportunity to ask Christie Golden what her feelings were after hearing how successful the sales of her ARTHAS novel was, and interviewed her to ask questions about Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight.  Most of the questions were submitted by the lore community. Christie Golden answered all of them.

I read this book, and I can tell you it is amazing. Many things are revealed. There are a few cliffhangers that will be answered in Starcraft II eventually. And you will learn the shocking truth of the Xel’Naga and the purpose of their experiement with the Protoss and the Zerg.  There are many twists awaiting you.  Your crave for the Starcraft II single player will be increased a hundredfold.

Watch our video interview with Christie Golden for some teasers.

Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 3 Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, StarCraft 2 News, Starcraft News

Tokyopop provided us a copy of the StarCraft Frontline Vol. 3 to review.  It will be officially on a bookstore near you, or online on Tuesday, July 14th. This volume contains four stories: War-Torn, Do no Harm, Last Call and Twilight Archon.

I really dig and enjoy War-Torn by Paul Benjamin and Dave Shramek. Not only it has a very good and immersive dialogue going on, the artwork is one you will like right away.  Hector Sevilla should be brought often to spice up the series.

In War-Torn, for those who have been following the storyline of Corbin Phash’s telepath son, the story sets some cliffhangers that might or not be explored in the StarCraft II episodes.

A wrangler is sent by the Dominion to track the telepath boy.  He uses murderous means to find the boy at all costs. Those who aren’t acquainted with what a wrangler is, they were introduced in StarCraft: Ghost Nova by Keith R.A. DeCandido back on 2006.

A wrangler has a Psi-Index (PI) 3.5.  They aren’t telepaths, but are psi-sensitive. In short, they can sense when a telepath is nearby by the headache they get.  They are sent by the Dominion to track and hunt down telepaths, specially children, to be trained in the Ghost Program Academy.

The Dominion Senator is hiding in the Umojan Protectorate, and promises he will not rest until he recovers his boy and spread in the media the truth about the Ghost Program.  It seems Emperor Arcturus Mengsk has turned the Ghost Program into something more evil than it used to be with the Confederates.

I recommend all StarCraft fans to read StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 3.  It has some interesting stories there that makes you wonder exactly what Blizzard Entertainment is going to spotlight in the single player episodes.

Read more of this review after the break.

This wrangler has Zerglings at his disposition. They have been lobotomized to break their link with Kerrigan.  Yup, exactly what you are thinking.  This wrangler uses them as bloodhounds to search for the telepath boy. The Zerglings have a tech-collar to control them; and if they go nasty against his master, the collars have explosives for auto-destruction.

Basically they set Zerg loose upon these telepath boys to cause mass hysteria among the population. This way the people think the untrained telepaths are dangerous for civilization because they attract zerg like magnets.  The people then cooperate with the Dominion authorities and sell out volunteerly any info they may have about the kids.

Any zerg incursion must look like it has been a natural thing, and no traces that they have been deployed by the Dominion must come to the public nor the media networks.  A very dirty tactics there in the Dominion.  Makes you think the Confederates were saints in comparison.

The conclusion of War-Torn reveals what I reported recently.  The Tokyopop editor confirmed a few days ago that the telepath kid named Colin Phash will end up in the upcoming StarCraft Ghost Academy Vol. 1 by Keith R.A. DeCandido (on sale Jan 5, 2010).

The second story in StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 3 by Josh Elder left me in shock.  The Dominion scientists have secretly captured Protoss to conduct experiments for a whole year. They are known as Project Gestalt.  They created a prototype codenamed Gestalt Zero.

It is a … protoss-human hybrid created by the Dominion. He has a Ghost suit partially similar to the Ghost shown in the BlizzCon 2009 logo.  His face looks semi-human with a nose, and mouthless like a Protoss.  He is a Psi-Index 7.5 and has double the combat effectiveness of a normal Ghost.  It has Zealot psi-blades and equipped with guns.

The Dominion wants to mass-produce this prototype for their war against the Protoss and the Zerg.  You really want to read this story completely.

The next story is titled Last Call.  It is about a singer named Starry, who worked on Tarsonis city. Her left cheek is disfigured.  She was a survivor of the Zerg invasion on Tarsonis.  A Zerg Queen attacked her, and now she lives in shame for her scar, and the nightmares of that encounter have continued on and on, tormenting her.

She moved on and now works at a Sour Moon Bar in the Meteor Station. Without spoiling too much, we get to see two diplomats arranging a deal.  The Kel-Morian have found during their digging a Xel’Naga artifact.  The Dominion wishes to buy it from them.  We get to see the tension between both factions, and the thin threshold holding them from diplomatic catastrophe.

If anything, this story will show us the next evolution of the Zerg.  Let’s leave it at this: the Terran Dominion’s scanners can’t detect parasites anymore.  Kerrigan may have unwilling eyes and ears on high spheres of the Dominion Command. Trust no one.

The last story is titled Twilight Archon.  We get to see the final moments of the invasion of Aiur. A female Protoss Templar sacrifices and invokes a mother of a Psi Storm that decimated many Zerg before losing consciousness.  She awakes, and is welcomed back by a Dark Templar. He informs her she’s been out unconscious since her brave display in Aiur.

The Aiur Protoss are now in Shakuras, as guests of the Dark Templar.  She can’t bear the silence, and the emptiness. He informs her, a Hydra cut her appendages. She is no longer in the Khala, and can’t hear her brothers’ psi-union anymore.

She fears her students won’t trust her anymore. She is now unwillingly a dark templar in a way without her appendages.  Without going too deep into the story, you will see the origin of the first Twilight Archon, and how they were able to merge this way.  I really liked the artwork on this story.

It would be hard to compare or decide on which is best from all four stories.  Actually, Hector Sevilla rocks, but I liked pencils and inks by Noel Rodriguez.

To be sincere, I have never collected manga, nor like the style.  However, I do enjoy the StarCraft: Frontline series.  I purchased volume 1 and 2 last month. All I got to say to Tokyopop is: “Please, keep them rolling.”  I would like this series to be ongoing beyond the three-years deal.

The stories are thrilling, and you will quickly grow addicted to this manga.  If at least Tokyopop could publish these monthly as an ongoing series. It is definitely a worth read.  It expands the Starcraft universe and your perception of it.  I would like to see some of this stories branch out into some of the Starcraft II single player missions.

Christie Golden: Book Revue Videos

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

I had the opportunity to travel to Huntington, New York to witness the World of WarCraft: Arthas event held there by Christie Golden at the Book Revue Bookstore.  I had a brief time to ask her questions about the upcoming StarCraft: The Dark Templar, TWILIGHT—the last book of the trilogy that hits bookstores on June 30th.  The community-submitted questions for the most part were answered.  There is something in the video that fans who fill up wikis need to edit.  It has been decided there won’t be a Warcraft Trilogy. All three books will be stand-alone books. The event organizer was very kind to let us do the interview in a secluded office to minimize background noise, and allowed me to take video of the speech and book signing.  I appreciate it.

After the interview, Christie read many pages from World of WarCraft: Arthas to the audience that came to see her. She read the prologue and the scene where Arthas was ordained at age 19 into the Order of the Silver Hand.  Next, she let the audience ask questions about the book, followed by the book signing session.  I can tell the crowd was excited and happy to meet and shake hands with Christie Golden.  There were people of all ages there: children, teens, young adults, over age 40.  All young at heart, and World of Warcraft players. There was no age barrier. All were one.

A fan myself, I was thrilled to be there. I have to thank Nethaera and Jaime Costas (Pocket Books) too.  Jaime came to meet Christie in person for the first time, and to bring us both a fresh copy of StarCraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight.  I was so excited and thankful. Brought it to the table to get it signed by Christie, and she was like: “… wait a minute. This is Twilight?!”  It was a fun moment. Right then Jaime gave Christie her copy of Twilight. I can tell how much she loves her work on Twilight. She was so excited to hold the book on her hands.

Christie loves all the artwork Glenn Rane has done for the covers of her books, and admitted she and her husband have framed these high-quality posters that Blizzard has provided them.  “They look awesome!”—she said.  Christie Golden will be at BlizzCon in Anaheim, CA. Make sure to bring along your books or you can purchase them on the Blizzard Store within the Anaheim Convention Center.

I took video of the reading of pages from ARTHAS, some of the Q&A with the audience and the book signing.  I divided the four videos into chunks of nigh 15-20 minutes each for those who would like to watch them.

StarCraft # 1 - Simon Furman Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, StarCraft 2 News

We had the opportunity to ask questions to Simon Furman, writer of StarCraft # 1—the ongoing Wildstorm comic book, to discuss details of the first arc. He is widely known for his work on The Transformers series.  We wanted to find out how his experience benefits the StarCraft series to spice up the conspiracies and tone of the Koprulu sector, specially when the comic book is based in the time-frame of the upcoming StarCraft II single player storyline.

How does your experience with The Transformers translate into your new role in the StarCraft comic book? And what’s your feeling on taking this project?

SF: Just to reassure people, the StarCraft comic is a robot-free zone as far as I

WoW: Night of the Dragon - Live Chat with Richard A. Knaak

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, World of Warcraft News

World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon has gone to its fourth printing due to its popularity.  This is a sequel to Day of the Dragon and one of the major reasons it continues to be read by fans is because it answers the questions of many raiding players … why are we killing Sartharion in the Obsidian Sanctuary (beneath the Wyrmrest Temple)?  Where did this Twilight Dragonflight come from?  Why is Sartharion protecting these eggs?  The story came to be in the book Night of the Dragon where the Blizzard Creative Team and the book author fleshed out the backstory behind the Obsidian Sanctuary.

Remember Lady Sinestra … the black dragon that flies down into the Netherwing Ledge and seals a pact with the Dragonmaw?  This book and the Obsidian Sanctuary dungeon are tied-in with that scene from the Burning Crusade expansion. More important … where is Deathwing? The book will open your eyes to a threat looming the horizon of the world of Azeroth. Whether you have or not read the book, your chance to get all these questions floating around your mind can be answered by no other than the World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon writer—New York Times Bestselling Author Richard A. Knaak.

Attend to the live public chat with Richard A. Knaak this very Thursday, May 14 at 8pm EST to talk about Night of the Dragon.

Time Zones

US East – May 14, 8pm
US Central – May 14, 7pm
US Mountain – May 14, 6pm
US Pacific – May 14, 5pm

Note: Europeans can access the live chat on Friday, May 15:

UK – May 15, 1am
Paris – May 15, 2am