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Blizzplanet Interview: Diablo III: The Order – Nate Kenyon

Blizzplanet interviewed Nate Kenyon in a live chat to discuss details of Diablo III: The Order (took place Wednesday, May 16th at 6:00pm EST / 3:00pm PST).

There is no Diablo III spoilers in the book, but the story helps you dig the single player storyline even more. Check out the transcript:

  Diablo III: The Order – Nate Kenyon Interview (05/16/2012) 
5:32
Medievaldragon: 

Hi Nate. Welcome.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 5:32 Medievaldragon
5:49
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Wednesday May 16, 2012 5:49 
5:53
Medievaldragon: 

Those who are following us, all comments are moderated. Don’t worry, we can read all of your questions and comments in the admin panel.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 5:53 Medievaldragon
6:01
[Comment From Luís Luís : ] 

Just came here to say I have it pre-ordered but I’ll just ask this: Have you read the previous books or were you working with Blizzards notes.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:01 Luís
6:03
Nate Kenyon: 

Hi Luis–thanks for the question. Absolutely, one of my most important goals was to get this book right for the fans, and I read everything that has been published, read Blizzard’s documents, wikis, talked to fans…I spent several months just researching Diablo before we began the writing. In fact, you’ll see when you read the novel that there are a number of nods to former books and to those who know the history well–although it certainly not necessary to know that to enjoy the book!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:03 Nate Kenyon
6:03
[Comment From Luís Luís : ] 

Side question: have you played the games?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:03 Luís
6:04
Nate Kenyon: 

Yes, I sure have. I played the first two when I was younger, and I was lucky enough to play the beta when I visited Blizzard’s campus last year.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:04 Nate Kenyon
6:04
Medievaldragon: 

Welcome, Nate and Lyndsi. Thanks for coming. Diablo III: The Order is your debut to the Diablo franchise. You have a great background in Horror novels. Could you introduce fans to some of your previous works, style, and background?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:04 Medievaldragon
6:06
Nate Kenyon: 

Sure. I’ve written four original novels, Bloodstone, The Reach, The Bone Factory, and Sparrow Rock. I’ve written a sci fi novella called Prime. And I’ve written a bunch of short fiction. I’ve also written a novel in the StarCraft universe, StarCraft Ghost: Spectres.

I consider myself a dark thriller writer, I guess. I’m less interested in genre, and more in each story itself–what does the story need to be told well? That said, I do tend to lean toward dark and creepy. :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:06 Nate Kenyon
6:07
Medievaldragon: 

It’s been twenty years since the destruction of the Worldstone, and Diablo III. When does Diablo III: The Order takes place?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:07 Medievaldragon
6:08
Nate Kenyon: 

It takes place in between Diablo II and Diablo III –about ten years before the new game. Leah is eight, and Cain…well, he’s a pretty old man. :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:08 Nate Kenyon
6:09
Medievaldragon: 

Something fans might wish to know. Is this book canon, was the Blizzard creative team and you in contact throughout its development?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:09 Medievaldragon
6:11
Nate Kenyon: 

Oh, absolutely. Blizzard is very intent on doing things the right way–and that includes their novels. We worked very intensely, hand in hand, from the beginning of the process. It’s actually an amazing experience to work with them–the creativity, the brainstorming and throwing ideas back and forth–really inspiring. They know their stuff, and it shows.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:11 Nate Kenyon
6:11
Medievaldragon: 

How did the plans to develop Diablo III: The Order come about and who from Blizzard assisted you?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:11 Medievaldragon
6:14
Nate Kenyon: 

I had written StarCraft, and we really clicked on that project–they had read my novella Prime and loved it, and contacted my agent to ask if I’d like to write for them. The process for that book was eye opening for me, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned–the creativity, energy, freedom to create within such a fully realized world–and so doing Diablo was a natural next step.

If I listed everyone who assisted me it would take the rest of the night. :) But people like James Waugh, Micky Neilson, Chris Metzen and many, many others were so essential to the process. And they are all great people!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:14 Nate Kenyon
6:14
Medievaldragon: 

What did Blizzard wanted you to portray and flesh out in this book? In short, what was your mission? (or quest)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:14 Medievaldragon
6:17
Nate Kenyon: 

I had several. First, they wanted to “reboot” the franchise–use this book as an opportunity to do something darker, more horror based, gritty, while informing new fans as well as older ones about the back story and the lore. It was a chance to tell the core story from Diablo I up to Diablo III, while keeping a riveting current plot.

Another goal was to tell Cain’s story. He’s an iconic charater, everyone knows him–but nobody knows his real background, who he is and where he came from, his personal history. He’s never held center stage before. So one thing I really wanted to do was make him a fully realized character, with great trauma and guilt and the need for redemption.

We also needed to explain Cain and Leah’s relationship, and how that leads into Diablo III.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:17 Nate Kenyon
6:18
Medievaldragon: 

We actually have a question about writing freedom. Did you have creative freedom in Diablo III: The Order, or did you have to stick to Blizzard Creative Team’s guideline?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:18 Medievaldragon
6:20
Medievaldragon: 

The previous question, I see the need to clear that up for fans. In the Diablo III beta all we know is that Leah calls Deckard Cain uncle, but she’s Adria’s daughter. So it was a bit confusing for some fans.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:20 Medievaldragon
6:22
Nate Kenyon: 

Blizzard had a story idea, and they knew what they wanted to accomplish with this book. But what I really love about them is they do give me quite a bit of freedom to expand upon that, to find things I want to explore and throw ideas out there. For example, Blizzard knew they wanted a quest novel, with Cain on the road looking for a lost group of Horadrim. They knew they wanted Leah in the middle of it, and they knew they wanted certain evil elements, shall we say. But I was able to develop the specifics of Cain’s history, and figure out some of the events that happen along the way. I created the secret that’s at the core of the novel, and where they end up. So it’s a true collaboration, and the only time they tend to say no is when the idea just doesn’t fit with something they want to do down the road, or really doesn’t work with existing lore.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:22 Nate Kenyon
6:22
Medievaldragon: 

Neinball asks: Besides the previous Diablo games and books, where did you draw inspiration for writing this novel? I always love hearing what other works the authors use when writing.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:22 Medievaldragon
6:25
Nate Kenyon: 

I think it was really mostly about the existing properties and my own imagination and Blizzard’s ideas. I did listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack through much of the writing of it, to get me in that epic frame of mind…and I definitely drew some inspiration from the “road” novel format of King’s The Stand, as well as the duality of the good and evil in the novel. I wanted to set up The Dark One as Cain’s alter ego, of sorts, a man he could see himself in, and someone he might have become, in other circumstances.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:25 Nate Kenyon
6:25
Medievaldragon: 

How will reading Diablo III: The Order impact those who look forward to playing Diablo III?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:25 Medievaldragon
6:28
Nate Kenyon: 

A lot. I think players will gain a much better understanding of a number of things. I don’t want to spoil anything, but a lot of groundwork is laid in The Order that leads up to the game. And of course Cain and Leah’s relationship is established in the novel. I think people will see the reasons for some things that they might not otherwise understand quite as clearly. It makes for a richer, more satisfying game experience.

That said, it could just as easily go the other direction. If they read the book after playing, they’ll gain those insights after the fact, and things might click in a different way. There are no real spoilers, so whichever way fans read and play, it’ll work out just fine. As long as they do read the book sooner or later!!! :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:28 Nate Kenyon
6:31
[Comment From jean jean : ] 

Hello Diser know when will be the release of Diablo 3 in Brazil

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:31 jean
6:31
Nate Kenyon: 

I’m not sure on that one…I’m sorry!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:31 Nate Kenyon
6:31
[Comment From Zülfü Topçu Zülfü Topçu : ] 

what do you feel writing about something for diablo? and sorry my english i live in turkey..

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:31 Zülfü Topçu
6:32
Nate Kenyon: 

It’s an incredible experience. I feel very lucky to have been able to contribute to such an enduring franchise that is so beloved by millions of people. It’s a thrill, to say the least.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:32 Nate Kenyon
6:32
[Comment From Meh Meh : ] 

How much time per day did you spend writing the book?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:32 Meh
6:34
Nate Kenyon: 

I spent over a year of my life writing The Order, all told. The first few months were spent on intense research, developing the outline with Blizzard, brainstorming new ideas and coming up with character points. Once I started writing, it took about 4-5 months of writing a couple of hours or more a day to finish the first draft, and then another 3 months of rewrites with Blizzard to get it just right.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:34 Nate Kenyon
6:35
Medievaldragon: 

To Diablo III beta testers, Leah only has the Horadrim teachings and a bow in her arsenal to fight evil. However, due to her lineage she is more than meet the eye. Can you elaborate on that? (Note: fans will see a totally different Leah during the game storyline. The book prepares fans to some of that).

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:35 Medievaldragon
6:36
Nate Kenyon: 

Leah is Adria’s daughter, and she has some talents of her own. Her travels with Cain introduce her to a number of things that strengthen her already remarkable resolve, and she learns much about the Horadric ways. Cain is a good teacher, and she has a natural ability for these things…she’s pretty unique, pretty special.

As for the bow, in The Order we see the origins of that. I won’t say anything more–you have to read the novel to find out!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:36 Nate Kenyon
6:36
[Comment From Zülfü Topçu Zülfü Topçu : ] 

shall we read your book in turkey?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:36 Zülfü Topçu
6:37
Nate Kenyon: 

I believe so, but you’d have to check with Blizzard on that to be sure…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:37 Nate Kenyon
6:37
[Comment From hi hi : ] 

hi

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:37 hi
6:37
Nate Kenyon: 

Hi! :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:37 Nate Kenyon
6:37
Medievaldragon: 

Do readers need to have played the previous games to understand what’s going on in the book, or are there flashbacks to highlight key events?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:37 Medievaldragon
6:38
Nate Kenyon: 

No, that was another goal of ours–we wanted to make sure this novel was accessible for both new fans and hardcore players, and even people who didn’t know the games at all. We did this through tight, intense flashbacks that focused on important plot points, both in the games and for the plot of The Order. I think it works pretty well, actually!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:38 Nate Kenyon
6:39
[Comment From Ashley Ashley : ] 

Did you spend a lot of time with the Diablo III creators to help develop your story to make it as accurate as possible to the game?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:39 Ashley
6:40
Nate Kenyon: 

Yes, I did–I spent time with them when I flew out there to have a creative working session with everyone, and I kept in constant contact with the Blizzard Creative team. I think readers will find a high level of detail that meshes with the game, and that helps them understand the game in a different way.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:40 Nate Kenyon
6:40
Medievaldragon: 

Note: all comments are moderated. We can see your submissions. Thanks for your patience. Nate will answer.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:40 Medievaldragon
6:40
[Comment From Adam Adam : ] 

Is this book will be avalible in Polish leanguage?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:40 Adam
6:40
Nate Kenyon: 

I believe so, but you’d need to check with Blizzard to be sure.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:40 Nate Kenyon
6:40
[Comment From Meh Meh : ] 

Oh! Did you ever, at any time experiance writer’s block and how did how deal with it if that was the case?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:40 Meh
6:42
Nate Kenyon: 

I have experienced it to some degree before–it hits me during most of my projects to some extent. I just write through it. I find it’s not actually anything to do with what I’m writing, but more my state of mind–often I find that what I’ve written during those times, as much as I hated it then, ended up being some of my strongest work.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:42 Nate Kenyon
6:42
Medievaldragon: 

I created a monk named Mikulov (level 17 now). Loved this character, and how you portrayed his combat in the story. What can you tell us about Mikulov and his role in the story?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:42 Medievaldragon
6:45
Nate Kenyon: 

Sure. I don’t believe Mikulov was in the final outline Blizzard and I worked on. But as I began writing the novel I just felt like I needed someone else. What I realized was that although I had taken great pains to include the D1 and D2 stories with various characters, I didn’t have a new character that would bridge the gap to D3. And I wanted a strong, physically gifted hero to contrast with Cain, who was an old man. I found that pairing fascinating to write–and when you add in an eight year old girl, it made for a really strange, and really interesting traveling group.

Mikulov is also driven by visions of the coming invasion, and his and Cain’s role in it. He’s on a mission of his own, and he becomes very important to the core of the story–and to Cain and Leah.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:45 Nate Kenyon
6:46
Nate Kenyon: 

BTW I think its VERY cool that you’ve created Mikulov to play in D3!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:46 Nate Kenyon
6:46
[Comment From Zülfü Topçu Zülfü Topçu : ] 

so nate can you sign your book for me this gonna be awesome for my diablo collection.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:46 Zülfü Topçu
6:46
Medievaldragon: 

thanks. In honor to your story. Amazing.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:46 Medievaldragon
6:46
Nate Kenyon: 

I am happy to sign copies of The Order, if you contact me offline. I can be reached through my website.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:46 Nate Kenyon
6:46
Nate Kenyon: 

Thank you!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:46 Nate Kenyon
6:47
Medievaldragon: 

http://www.natekenyon.com

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:47 Medievaldragon
6:47
[Comment From ] 

Can you tell us more about hero classes included in the Diablo III game? Who is responsible for them and why can’t we see old characters besides the Barbarian? Which one is your favourite?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:47 
6:48
Nate Kenyon: 

The classes are all included on the D3 website. I can’t answer you about the old characters, I’m sorry–that’s a question for Blizzard, not me.

As far as my favorite? The monk, of course. :) I loved the character I created in The Order, and I have to play the monk in tribute to him…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:48 Nate Kenyon
6:49
Medievaldragon: 

Noticed there are a few cameos from past Diablo novels. Which Diablo novels and other sources did you read during your pre-writing research? i.e. Captain Hanos Jeronnan, Norrec, and Kara Nightshadow (Diablo: Legacy of Blood)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:49 Medievaldragon
6:50
Nate Kenyon: 

All of ‘em. :) Yes, there are cameos, intentional little “Easter eggs” I wanted to throw in for the fans who would recognize them. I thought that would be really cool, and I wanted to do it as a little tribute to some of the great novels that have been written in the Diablo universe.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:50 Nate Kenyon
6:50
[Comment From Jeananne Jeananne : ] 

I’m pretty excited to read it, thank you for dedicating so much time into writing. It’s exciting to know that there’s even more to the story line, now.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:50 Jeananne
6:50
Nate Kenyon: 

I’m glad you’re excited! I think you’ll really love the novel. It was a labor of love for me, I really had fun and I think it shows.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:50 Nate Kenyon
6:51
[Comment From jason jason : ] 

Is this a stand-alone novel, or does it pick up where another story left off?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:51 jason
6:51
Nate Kenyon: 

It’s a stand alone, although of course it is true to the timeline of Diablo, and what had come before…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:51 Nate Kenyon
6:51
Medievaldragon: 

Who are this Horadrim cell Deckard Cain is investigating?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:51 Medievaldragon
6:53
Nate Kenyon: 

That’s a good question. I don’t want to spoil things for the reader. But basically Deckard comes across a growing number of signs that there is some kind of Horadric cell still operating in Sanctuary–although who they are, and what their goals are, remains unclear. He thinks that finding this cell holds the key to saving Sanctuary–and he’s going to do anything he can to find them, before it’s too late.

Let’s just say that when he does finally find them, there are some major surprises in store for him.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:53 Nate Kenyon
6:53
Medievaldragon: 

Hallideadly asks: Why have the other Horadrim remained hidden from Cain?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:53 Medievaldragon
6:54
Nate Kenyon: 

Again, I don’t want to spoil the read…but they have their own reasons–some intentional, others perhaps not. Things are not always as they might seem in Sanctuary, as you know. :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:54 Nate Kenyon
6:55
[Comment From darksoujah darksoujah : ] 

Cain is known to be a Wikipedia of some sorts; however, does he teach/pass down Horadrim techniques to Leah that even Cain himself cannot accomplish?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:55 darksoujah
6:56
Nate Kenyon: 

Cain’s abilities are limited solely to those artifacts he can find, and his scholarly knowledge. He does pass down a number of important things to Leah–although in terms of The Order, we don’t see much of that, because she’s still very young. This novel takes place over a fairly short period of time, except for the flashbacks–and so it’s really focused on the beginning of their relationship, and how that bond began.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:56 Nate Kenyon
6:57
[Comment From DanStann DanStann : ] 

Did you have much input about the Audiobook production? Did you help choose Scott Brick yourself or was he used because he had done some Blizzard audiobooks previously?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:57 DanStann
6:57
Nate Kenyon: 

I did not have input into the audiobook, but I think the choice was a good one!!!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:57 Nate Kenyon
6:57
Medievaldragon: 

Throughout all these years, the Diablo III team has seen a lot of iteration and gameplay changes to fit the story and the other way around. Zealousangel asks: Were there instances where you had to modify certain parts of the novel to fit the game storyline or viceversa?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:57 Medievaldragon
6:59
Nate Kenyon: 

Yes, there were last minute changes to the game that had some impact on the novel. It was mainly about timelines, who knew what at a certain time, that sort of thing. We wanted to be careful not to reveal anything TOO huge, while hinting at things so that the novel really laid a foundation for the game. We were all very intent on getting things right, so we worked closely together as things evolved.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:59 Nate Kenyon
6:59
[Comment From DarkSouJah DarkSouJah : ] 

Is it possible to buy the book directly from you and have it autographed?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 6:59 DarkSouJah
7:00
Nate Kenyon: 

I don’t sell books directly, but I’m happy to figure out a way to have you ship your copy to me for a signature…just contact me through my website and we’ll work it out.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:00 Nate Kenyon
7:00
Medievaldragon: 

What aspects of the world of Sanctuary did you personally grew fond with?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:00 Medievaldragon
7:02
Nate Kenyon: 

Many of them. I love the entire feel of the world Blizzard has created. There’s such an overall sense of dread, of mood–threats lurking just out of sight. I love the way magic and the supernatural exist side by side with humanity, and the worlds lurking just beyond the “mortal” soil. It’s a really fun, really creative universe to play in as a writer.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:02 Nate Kenyon
7:02
[Comment From Sin Sin : ] 

If I were to pick up your standalone books what should I lookout for that might finally reel me into horror fiction?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:02 Sin
7:03
Nate Kenyon: 

That’s a good question. Sparrow Rock is one of my personal favorites of my own work. It’s a very, very intense and horrific thriller, with a major twist that I guarantee you won’t see coming. I’ve had more fans commenting on that novel than anything else I’ve done.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:03 Nate Kenyon
7:04
Medievaldragon: 

Eroldren asks: Are there other facets of the Diablo universe you would like to pursue after in the near future? Or is there another Blizzard book in the pipeline? — **Me personally? I wish to see more Nate Kenyon in Diablo.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:04 Medievaldragon
7:05
Nate Kenyon: 

I’d love to do another Diablo novel. I think it’s a good fit for me. But I loved my StarCraft experience too. I’m really focused on characters, making them deep, real, people–and I think the Blizzard franchises offer some great opportunities there.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:05 Nate Kenyon
7:05
Nate Kenyon: 

I’m sure we will work together again–nothing’s set quite yet, though…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:05 Nate Kenyon
7:05
[Comment From Jason Ozee Jason Ozee : ] 

Where’s a good place to start if you want to read the books in order? The Sin War novels? Thanks in advance!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:05 Jason Ozee
7:07
Nate Kenyon: 

The Order, of course! In all seriousness, I do think it’s a great place to begin, because we wanted to tell the story of Diablo from D1 through D3. And it’s a great read–great, fun story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. But you can’t go wrong with any of the books, they’re all great.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:07 Nate Kenyon
7:07
[Comment From Jason Ozee Jason Ozee : ] 

I just bought Sparrow Rock on my nook–thanks for the suggestion!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:07 Jason Ozee
7:08
Nate Kenyon: 

Great! You’re gonna like this one… :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:08 Nate Kenyon
7:08
Medievaldragon: 

I can’t spoil the first act of Diablo III, but I wanted you and our visitors to know that Diablo III: The Order radically changed my perception of the game story. Specially the ending cinematic of Act 1. I think you captured the essence of Deckard Cain for us to further love and care for the old man at the personal and human level. Thank you.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:08 Medievaldragon
7:09
Nate Kenyon: 

Thanks so much! That was a goal of mine, and I’m glad to know it worked for you. I want readers to really understand and come to love Deckard Cain–faults and all…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:09 Nate Kenyon
7:09
[Comment From Sin Sin : ] 

For someone who just getting interested with horror books are there any general advice also for upstart writers who would like to explore into the horror / thriller genre?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:09 Sin
7:11
Nate Kenyon: 

Well, if you mean what to read–you can’t go wrong with King’s early works–The Shining, The Stand, Salem’s Lot. Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House, brilliant. Matheson’s work. Peter Straub. Blatty’s The Exorcist. There are so many brilliant works in so many different styles.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:11 Nate Kenyon
7:12
Medievaldragon: 

What locations do Cain and Leah visit throughout the story? What are their importance?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:12 Medievaldragon
7:13
Nate Kenyon: 

This is a quest or a “road” novel, so they visit quite a few different places. Many will be familiar to Diablo fans, like Caldeum, Kurast. Others are new, like Lord Brand’s village. I intended to build the feeling of horror and darkness as the novel went on–so each place they go tends to ratchet up the horror and despair, bit by bit.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:13 Nate Kenyon
7:14
Medievaldragon: 

TheDerpalator asks: Were you at all concerned about pleasing such a large group of passionate fans as you were writing? In other words, was it difficult to cater to a passionate fan base while staying true to your own creative process? Have you ever written a book for something so specific before?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:14 Medievaldragon
7:17
Nate Kenyon: 

Very much so. I really, really wanted to get this right for the fans. That was hugely important to me, so I spent a lot of time making sure I knew the history and the Diablo universe. That said, I also knew I had to be true to myself and what I wanted to do with the novel–if I did that, I knew it would be a good book, and fans would be happy. So that was my focus.

The only other time I’ve done something like this was for StarCraft Ghost: Spectres, which I think turned out really well. That helped me feel more confident writing The Order.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:17 Nate Kenyon
7:17
[Comment From Ladislav Ladislav : ] 

I dont know a lot about Diablo story but I’d like to change this stance.. how should I became to get things from birth, maybe in chronological line..

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:17 Ladislav
7:18
Nate Kenyon: 

The Order will give you a decent idea of the timeline, at least from D1 to D3. Book of Cain would also be helpful, I think…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:18 Nate Kenyon
7:21
Medievaldragon: 

Any more questions? We are going to wrap up shortly.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:21 Medievaldragon
7:21
[Comment From Dewilcry Equilibrium Dewilcry Equilibrium : ] 

so which character you suggest for new diablo players?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:21 Dewilcry Equilibrium
7:21
Nate Kenyon: 

The monk, of course! :) I love that character, both in the novel, and in the game. I think you’ll enjoy playing it…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:21 Nate Kenyon
7:23
[Comment From Sin Sin : ] 

Have you consider expanding your tie-in fiction writing outside Blizzard and venture with other (game) IPs?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:23 Sin
7:23
Medievaldragon: 

If I was a witch doctor, I’d cast a special voodoo spell so Nate sticks with Diablo for quite a long time. ^_^

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:23 Medievaldragon
7:24
Nate Kenyon: 

I haven’t thought much about it, Sin. I’ve had a couple of offers, but right now I’m so busy it’s tough to imagine. I’m finishing up my next original novel now, a thriller called DAY ONE that’s going to be amazing. And I want to do another project with Blizzard too.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:24 Nate Kenyon
7:24
Nate Kenyon: 

Sounds good to me! :)

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:24 Nate Kenyon
7:25
Medievaldragon: 

Hope Chris and Micky are reading. ;p

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:25 Medievaldragon
7:25
Nate Kenyon: 

They know…and I think we’re all pretty happy about how this book turned out.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:25 Nate Kenyon
7:26
Medievaldragon: 

ok, thanks for coming Nate, and Lyndsi. Fans should pick up Diablo III: The Order by Nate Kenyon at a bookstore near you or online.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:26 Medievaldragon
7:26
Nate Kenyon: 

Well, I guess that’s it…thanks so much to everyone for talking with me, this was great!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:26 Nate Kenyon
7:26
TheLyns: 

Thanks for stopping by everyone!

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:26 TheLyns
7:27
Nate Kenyon: 

Night all…

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:27 Nate Kenyon
7:27
Medievaldragon: 

Don’t forget there is a Diablo III: The Order audiobook at www.simonandschuster.com and maybe Amazon too?

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:27 Medievaldragon
7:28
Nate Kenyon: 

Yep, you can order the hardcover, Kindle or audio versions on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Diablo-III-Order-Nate-Kenyon/dp/141655078X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:28 Nate Kenyon
7:36
Medievaldragon: 

Thanks everyone for coming. Hopefully, you have time to read this book before or after playing the game. There’s so much to learn from Diablo III: The Order. You will meet Deckard Cain at a personal level through his eyes and mind thoughts in ways never seen before. You will deeply fall in love with the character, and care for him and his mission. There aren’t really Diablo III spoilers. Nothing to lose. Jump in and immerse into the story. Just a warning. Beware of Belial and his web.

Wednesday May 16, 2012 7:36 Medievaldragon
7:41
 

 

 
 

Other Fansite Interviews

Other fansites had the opportunity to interview Nate Kenyon during the week Diablo III: The Order officially launched:

Reviews

Blizzplanet Review – Diablo III: The Order

Diablo III: The Order by Nate Kenyon

I just finished reading our review copy of Diablo III: The Order by Nate Kenyon, courtesy of Simon & Schuster, Inc. and Gallery Books.

The short review: “I’m totally in love with Diablo III: The Order”. Ok, I have a couple of rants that a few trolls might also point out: Tyrael’s voice never talks to Cain (not even in dreams), and a pivotal moment could have had someone like Archangel Auriel (Hope), Trang’Oul or even a necromancer slipping in into the story to guide Deckard Cain in his most darkest time, but in general this book is a [must-have] to all Diablo III fans.

Curiously, there aren’t really Diablo III single player spoilers; except for maybe the epilogue which ties-in with one of the Acts. Even so, the epilogue happens probably 10-12 years before Diablo III.

While these might be spoilers, I think they might serve as key information to those wondering what the book is about. Don’t worry, these only comprehend about the first 50 pages of the book. You decide whether the topic interests you enough to buy the book, or not.

The prologue starts with Aderes Cain telling the story of Jered Cain and the Horadrim (as they hunt and imprison Diablo and his brothers) to a group of children, including her 11-year-old son: Deckard Cain.

This prologue serves as a foreshadowing or primer to understand Deckard Cain’s regrets for wasting so much of his younger life ignoring the stories and scripts about the Horadrim and the demons.

A young Deckard Cain who grew bored of the stories, angry for the loss of his father to disease, who wanted to pursue adventures and dreams away from Tristram — a place where nothing happened, and where he feared he would spend all his life working at a shop like his father. Typical attitude of a young rebel living in a farm, far away from cities.

After the prologue, sadly we jump forward in time to 1272 (59 years later). Deckard Cain should be around age 70.

It’s been ten years since the defeat of Baal and the destruction of the Worldstone (at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction).

Deckard Cain journeys with the Paladin Akarat to the Vizjerei secret repository to search for scrolls that might give him knowledge about the End Days. Cain faces a demon who talks a mix of truths and lies, knowledge which Cain later uses to his advantage after the demon is swiftly defeated.

Deckard Cain travels to Caldeum to visit Gillian the Barmaid (check out her background at our colleague wikia site). She’s a well-known character from Diablo I (voiced by Glynnis Talken, alias Sarah Kerrigan). Adria left Leah to her care, and Cain wanted to keep tabs on the girl.

There’s a flashback (via Cain’s dreaming) of the events of Diablo I: mentioning Aidan, Gillian, King Leoric and Lachdanan.

Gillian sends Cain to bookseller Kulloom. Among the scripts found by Cain at the Vizjerei secret repository were Zakarum, Bartuc, and Horadrim texts. Kulloom hints at having heard of a Horadrim group. This revelation amazes Cain, who thought he was the last Horadrim, and sets to pursue any hints that may lead him to find them.

Nate Kenyon fleshes out the growing bond that unites Deckard Cain and a very young Leah. It’s touching how Leah changes dramatically her initial rebellious behavior to a caring one for the old man.

There are two main plots: the search for the Horadrim group in Kurast, and the one bound by prophecy.

A monk named Mikulov has read the prophecies of the patriarchs of Yvgorod. He has gathered scrolls from several locations around Sanctuary. Scrolls which have something in common: a time juncture that triggers the upcoming End of Days prophecy: The first day of the month of Ratham, the month of the dead.

On the side of the demons, Belial has powerful servants in Sanctuary with the gift of vision and prophecy. Several paths lead to different futures. Different outcomes. However, it’s intriguing none of them foresaw Mikulov in any of the visions — a monk who has visions of the future, too. He’s a wild card. Unexpected. Mysterious. Undetected in visions of the large tapestry of destiny. Intriguing.

After learning so much about Mikulov, and what he’s capable of doing, after playing Diablo III beta — I’m inclined to create a Monk character as my first Diablo III retail character. Mikulov rocks! It seems it won’t be the last we will see of him. I’m inclined to think we’ll see him in future novels. As Richard A. Knaak’s Zayl the Necromancer, many fans will truly get fond of of Mikulov the Yvgorod monk as one of the heroes of Sanctuary.

The author uses the moments Deckard Cain goes to sleep to give readers a quick intro to the lore of the previous three Diablo games (Diablo I, Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) via flashbacks tormenting Deckard Cain in his dreams. He sleeps often throughout a span of seven days.

Belial, the Lord of Lies is omnipresent throughout the story without making much of a screen time. There are spies everywhere. Anything or anyone can be the eyes or ears of Belial in subtle ways.

This book sets a pivotal point for readers to understand the Deckard Cain we will see in Diablo III. The book, of course, delves more into his weaknesses, and his personal regrets than the game itself.

Deckard Cain is a man that carries a heavy burden upon his shoulders. He blames himself for the sins of the past. As a young boy, he refused the Horadrim teachings shared down by his mother. He felt them to be mere unfounded stories.

He blames himself for the death of everyone in Tristram, and thinks Aidan wouldn’t have died if he had focused his young years to learn more from the Horadrim scrolls concerning Diablo and the other Prime Evils. However, how much of his self-doubt is his? How much are [lies]?

Diablo III: The Order is a tragic story of great proportions. I have never seen Deckard Cain so powerless, desolated, lonely, desperate, hopeless. Nate Kenyon delivered as a writer in this book revealing to fans (on-your-face) several facets of Deckard Cain we never knew of him, while capturing that essence of him we have grown fond with over a decade in the previous games.

Deckard Cain has reached rock bottom at a delicate juncture. And the sad part is Cain is out of time. The story locomotions toward a spiraling countdown. Each chapter, and each step taken, each day passed leading toward the first day of the month of Ratham.

A day Belial has designated for the death of the 8-year-old Leah, and the rising of the death — an army of the Mage Clans who died in a lost city of Kehjistan.

We’ll learn something new about Deckard Cain’s past. It seeps in slowly throughout the story. In stages.

Three powerful things will be used for the final showdown against Belial’s servants: hope (as their strength), courage, and a Diablo II item long-thought to be lost.

It’s safe to read the book before finishing the Diablo III single player. No spoilers there, except for a hint at the epilogue — at the end of the book, which ties-in directly with one of the Acts.

The book will change everyone’s perception of Deckard Cain. We’ll now see his most intimate thoughts and memories. His weaknesses, and his strengths through the mind-eye of the author: Nate Kenyon.

Is Deckard Cain a failure? A coward? Or a Heroe? Fans will see him like never before on both sides of the spectrum. For a first work in the Diablo universe, Nate Kenyon is welcome among the hall of legends alongside Richard A. Knaak. Hope to see more Diablo novels from both authors. Dark and gritty enough for old Diablo book readers, and informative to new readers who missed previous Diablo video games.

Order Diablo III: The Order (Hardcover) now. Kindle edition can be downloaded here. Don’t have Kindle? Did you know you can read Kindle eBooks on your PC/Mac internet browser? Download the Kindle Reading app.

Share questions for Nate Kenyon at our following forum thread. (One copy of the book will be giveaway)

Description

For more than ten years, Diablo has been one of PC gaming’s iconic and blockbuster franchises, with millions of players experiencing to this day all the adventure and terror in the world of Sanctuary. Now, DIABLO III: THE ORDER (Gallery Books, May 15, 2012; $26.00) will tie-in with the long-awaited release of Blizzard Entertainment’s all-new game, Diablo III. This original novel reveals the untold story of Deckard Cain, one of Diablo’s most popular characters.

Now a much older man, Deckard Cain is on a mission to find the remnants of a rumored Horadric cell, and must call upon all of his knowledge and wit to teach and inspire those around him even as they face danger and death at every turn. Can he lead the return of a ragtag group of Horadrim and their ideals to Sanctuary … or will they die out with Cain himself?

About the Author

Nate Kenyon is the author of StarCraft: Ghost–SPECTRES. He is a Bram Stoker Award finalist and he has had stories published in Shroud Magazine, Permuted Press’s Monstrous Anthology, Horror World, Dead Lines, The Harrow, and Legends of the Mountain State 2, and has several others forthcoming. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

Nate Kenyon (Left) and Blizzplanet's Medievaldragon (Right) at New York Comic Con 2011

Characters

  • Deckard Cain
  • Aderes Cain (Deckard’s mother)
  • Gillian (cameo: Diablo II character, Caldeum barmaid, adoptive mother of Leah)
  • Leah (Age 8 )
  • Kulloom (Caldeum bookseller)
  • Belial, Lord of Lies
  • Hyland
  • James (Caldeum blacksmith)
  • Mikulov (Ivgorod Monk)
  • Cyrus (owner of the Red Circle Inn in Lower Kurast)
  • Lord Brand
  • Garreth Rau (scholar, one of the finest bookmakers in Sanctuary, leader of the Horadrim cell)
  • Captain Hanos Jeronnan (cameo – Diablo: Legacy of Blood)
  • Egil (Horadrim member)
  • Lund (Horadrim member)
  • Farris (Horadrim member)
  • Cullen (Horadrim member)
  • Thomas (Horadrim member)
  • Jordan (Horadrim member)
  • Anuk Maahnor (Bartuc’s captain)

Flashback or Mentioned

  • Farnham (lost his daughter to The Butcher)
  • Pepin
  • King Leoric
  • Aidan
  • Lachdanan
  • Albrecht
  • The Butcher
  • Wirt
  • Griswold
  • Asheara (Diablo II character, Caldeum’s Iron Wolves mercenary leader)
  • Trang’Oul
  • Ratham (founder of the priests of Rathma)
  • Bartuc
  • Horazon
  • Amelia (Deckard Cain’s wife, died 35 years earlier)
  • Thomas Abbey (Captain, Khanduras Royal Guard)
  • Archangel Tyrael
  • Kara (Necromancer) — looking back, while this character is only mentioned by Captain Hanos Jeronnan, and never appears in the story, she’s a canon-character from Richard A. Knaak’s Legacy of Blood along with her companion: Norrec. The book doesn’t mention her last name: Kara Nightshadow.
  • Norrec

Locations

  • Tristram (flashbacks)
  • Vizjerei Secret Repository (Bartuc followers’ runes and a closed portal to the Burning Hells)
  • Borderlands
  • Flating Sky Monastery (Ivgorod)
  • Kingsport (mentioned)
  • Lower Kurast
  • Gea Kul
  • Captain’s Table (Gea Kul Inn by Jeronnan)
  • The Black Tower (near the sea, Gea Kul)
  • Al Cut

Bestiary

  • Thresher
  • Sand Wasp
  • Unburied
  • Overseer
  • Fallen One
  • Feeder
  • Scavenger
  • Skeletons
  • Demons
  • Khazra (Goatmen)

Prologue: Memory

  • Prologue: Tristram, 1213

Part One: Gathering Shadows

  • Chapter 1: Ruins of the Vizjerei Secret Repository, The Borderlands, 1272
  • Chapter 2: The Hidden Chamber
  • Chapter 3: The City of Caldeum
  • Chapter 4: Gillian’s Residence, Caldeum
  • Chapter 5: The Black Tower
  • Chapter 6: The Bookseller’s Tale
  • Chapter 7: The Burning
  • Chapter 8: One for the Madhouse

Part Two: Darkness Descending

  • Chapter 9: The Cavern in the Hills
  • Chapter 10: Out of Caldeum
  • Chapter 11: Dreams of Tristram
  • Chapter 12: The Walled Town
  • Chapter 13: Lord Brand’s Manor
  • Chapter 14: A Stranger Comes
  • Chapter 15: The Graveyard
  • Chapter 16: The Hidden Room
  • Chapter 17: The Road to Kurast
  • Chapter 18: Tristram’s End
  • Chapter 19: The Red Circle
  • Chapter 20: The Docks
  • Chapter 21: The Feeder
  • Chapter 22: The Blood of Al Cut

Part Three: The Lord of Lies

  • Chapter 23: The Road to Gea Kul
  • Chapter 24: The Horadric Chambers
  • Chapter 25: The Camp
  • Chapter 26: The First Ones
  • Chapter 27: Lund’s Bow
  • Chapter 28: The Possession
  • Chapter 29: The Warning
  • Chapter 30: Blood Ritual
  • Chapter 31: A Plan Emerges
  • Chapter 32: The Tunnels
  • Chapter 33: Al Cut
  • Chapter 34: The Courtyard
  • Chapter 35: The Ritual Chamber
  • Chapter 36: The Walking Dead of Al Cut
  • Chapter 37: Gea Kul, Resurrected
  • Chapter 38: The Road Ahead

Epilogue

  • The Lord of Lies

Blizzplanet Review: SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset

diablo-iii-headset-review-1

I have now about 5-6 months experience with the SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset.

I can say “this is the best headset I have ever had”. The first time I unpacked this review copy, I was awed by its design and the box design.

The design is just a complimentary feature for Diablo III fans. This SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset is actually a customized SteelSeries Siberia v2.

It has a 50mm speaker unit surrounded by leather, with XL-sized ear cups which cancel out noise. I have a hard time listening to people talking to me while playing video games because the ear cup does an amazing job at what it was designed to do — giving you that much of an immersion into the video games music, special effects and ambient sounds.

I play Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo III beta, Crysis, and other video games with the Diablo III Headset.

I feel this SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset gives me an extra edge while playing FPS games. The sound is so amazingly crisp and clear, I can hear people walking nearby — allowing me to prepare an ambush. I can more or less determine where other players are by listening the direction in which their shooting sounds come from.

Without the headset I can’t hear nearby movement nor determine the direction where people is shooting from as I do while using the Diablo III headset.

For those using FRAPS, you can record videos using FRAPS while the Diablo III Headset is plugged into the computer, and the sounds can be heard in the uploaded videos.

Bang for your Buck

Alright. The SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset is pricy: $117.78 (approximately). However, every single buck is worth it.

Ever spent $2.99 for a cheapo noname-brand headset from those 99-cents Stores? (guilty)

Ever got one of those $19.99+ Logitech headphones? (guilty)

How long have those lasted? A few months. Let me tell you what’s likely what caused 98% of your headphone’s malfunction. It’s the poor cabling protection.

The cabling is usually thin. As you handle it back and forth the cable bends, and the connection is lost between the jack and the ear cup receiver.

The Diablo III Headset (Siberia v2 D3H) is a diamond for anyone who wants the best sound quality, but the most important thing about this headset is its lifetime.

Cheap headsets usually malfunction within a few months. The secret of the Diablo III Headset (Siberia v2 D3H) is that it shares the same cable material as the Diablo III Mouse. The double-braided nylon cord prevents the internal cable from bending — the natural cause of the death of most other headsets.

The USB jack connector is gold-plated. The only benefits for gold-plated USB connectors is a better contact and that they do not oxidize or corrode, which of course extends the lifetime of the product another notch.

There’s a small box in the cabling that allows the user to adjust the volume of the headset’s sound, and it also has a slide-button to enable or mute the microphone.

The noise cancelling pull-out microphone is located on the left ear cup. You can pull out to use it, or hide it back in when not using it. Ideal for Skype and in-game chat via ventrilo.

Another wonderful feature of this Diablo III Gaming Headset is the length of the cable. The headset has a 1 meter (3 feet) cable, but a 2-meter (6.5 feet) extension cable comes along in the box to attach the headset’s USB connection. In total, you have a cable length of 3 meters (9.5 feet).

I am able to walk around the room to the small refrigerator and back without removing the headset. If you are listening to music, that’s great to be able to multi-task away from the computer.

Illumination Settings

The Diablo III-themed illumination around the back of the ear cups can be programmable.

The illumination intensity has the off, low, medium and high options.

Pulsation can be customized to steady, slow, medium, fast or trigger.

It’s Diablo-III themed, thus the illumination only has a solid red as a color option. No biggies.

Sound Settings

The SteelSeries Engine driver icon sits accessible at all times in the bottom-right of the Windows Vista/7 quick launcher area. Drivers can be found at Steelseries.com/support/downloads

The Diablo III Headset software has an equalizer UI to change the intensity and depth of the sounds. You can create profiles for each game, and assign a specific profile to be triggered by the launch of a game/exe by browsing the game location in your computer.

Box Design

The box has the golden Diablo III logo with a runic-like-embossed texture. The Blizzard logo and SteelSeries logo. Headset specifications and description.

The box is made of strong cardboard, and it’s designed to be opened easily.

The front of the box can actually be opened like a book. The frontal flap is kept closed with a tiny magnet hidden somewhere within the cardboard.

In the interior you can see Tyrael and Imperious artwork, as seen in the Diablo III: Book of Cain.

The text is localized in english, french, german and spanish:

And the Heavens shall tremble. Enhance your senses and prepare to safeguard the mortal realm from the rising powers of the Burning Hells. Hear the world of Sanctuary the way it was intended.

Co-designed with Blizzard Entertainment, the official Diablo III Headset brings players an immersive audio experience through its optimized soundscape, clear microphone communication and an illuminated, Diablo III-themed design. hear your fate. Prepare for victory.

  • Customizable Soundscape: Multiple Diablo III-themed options.

  • Plug-and-Play: In-line controls with USB connection.

  • Long Lasting Comfort: Lightweight suspension design

Cons

I only have one cons. Just one. I am not able to record sound in the Windows Moview Maker’s Narration timeline while the Diablo III Headset is plugged into the USB, and it is not even displayed in the sound source options. I can only see my internal sound card.

Not a big deal if you aren’t into video making. All you need to do is remove the Diablo III headset.

Conclusion

I’m waiting for the price to go down to get a second headset for two family members who would no doubt love this as a gift.

You really need to get the SteelSeries Diablo III Gaming Headset. Best sound quality, best cabling material, great length allows you to walk around the room. Microphone, mic mute and sound adjustment buttons. Long lifetime. Diablo III-themed equalizer UI (via SteelSeries Engine) and product design. It’s awesome. Go. Get. It.

Note: Blizzplanet is giving away one Diablo III Gaming Headset. Check out our Diablo Dialogue web show hosted by The Bearded Gamer to learn how to participate to win one.

Choose a country for faster shipping:

Blizzplanet review: Transformers: Autocracy # 3: The Hunt for Soundwave

transformers_autocracy_3_cover

The artwork by Livio Ramondelli is awesome, and well-complemented by the coloring and special effects. You don’t see this level of visual F/X in comics very often consecutively from panel to panel in merely 8-pages. It’s pure raw action.

Letters by Robbie Robbins add an extra depth to the story using noise F/X such as CHA-KOOOOM, KRAAK, CHAMMK, BWAM and others with special fonts.

Transformers: Autocracy # 3 quickly puts the 12-part series into high-speed heartbeat-rate.

In this issue, everyone gets their answer about StarScream’s massacre in Megatron: Origin. There were no survivors to relay who perpetrated the assassination of the Senate of Kaon — as you can read in this image.

As Chris Metzen said during our recent Autocracy # 3 interview, this issue is a Soundwave spotlight.

In the previous issue, Zeta Prime ordered his best officer Orion Pax (later to be known as Optimus Prime) to capture the Decepticon spy Soundwave.

Orion Pax and his autobots team are now hunting down the spy to prevent critical classified info from falling into the hands of the Decepticons.

The aerial defences of Iacon won’t allow an emergency evac, thus Soundwave has no other option than to run for it toward the Kaon border — identified as a Decepticon-controlled territory in continuum consistency with the events of Megatron: Origins.

As Metzen said in the Autocracy # 3 video teaser, you will see Soundwave making use of its cassette minions in a surgical way to make his escape. He uses all of them, thwarting the Autobots hunt. Soundwave is definitely one of the more interesting Decepticons. Flint Dille and Chris Metzen make him shine in this story.

Something curious about the citizens of Iacon is how much they fear Zeta Prime’s forces: the Autobots. Something you should put attention to. The citizens fear the Autobots as much as they do the Decepticons.

The only autobot remaining in the hunt is Orion Pax, and you know what that means. “Crack!!!”, It’s Clobbering Time!!!

The end of this issue just makes you wish you could read Autocracy # 4 already, craving for more.

Front Cover

I don’t know if Livio Ramondelli created this front cover artwork with this in mind, but the metaphorical vibes of this image are mind-boggling. That’s a close up on Soundwave with Orion Pax (Optimus Prime)’s reflection in the middle of Soundwave’s chest. See the decepticon insignia on Orion Pax?

Throughout the story, you will see Orion Pax and the Autobots feared as much by the citizens as they fear the Decepticons. Zeta Prime has reached a point where he will rather massacre an entire district than to let the Decepticons continue their hit-and-run terrorist tactics. Zeta Prime is like Machiavelli: The end result justifies the means.

This is definitely not the heroe Optimus Prime we know and love. This was a time of desperate conflict. Orion Pax had been deactivated prior to all this, and reactivated by Zeta Prime to be his best officer. There is a hollowness within Orion Pax, and his loyalty to the law enforcement clouded his vision to see the truth.

In issue # 2, readers can find out what Zeta Prime’s plans are. It’s genocide. Not only the Decepticons, but the innocent citizens who will serve as fuel to the Vamparc Ribbon weapon wielded by the Omega Destructors. As Metzen implied, Autocracy # 3 starts to pave the ground to the truth. Orion Pax was not in the Senate room to hear Zeta Prime’s speech. He was ordered to hunt Soundwave who managed to infiltrate the Iacon Citadel and fled with the recording of Zeta Prime’s plans.

What will happen if Orion Pax sees the video footage? Will he side with the Decepticons? Will he turn against Zeta Prime? This front cover has an interesting vibe.

You can read Transformers: Autocracy # 3 for only $.99 cents in your iPhone, iPad, or at Comixology (PC,Mac,Android).

Check out our interview with Chris Metzen concerning Autocracy # 3.

Autocracy # 3 Teaser Video

A few hours before Autocracy # 3 went on sale, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille posted a video in YouTube to tease the release of this issue. Check it out!

IDW Transformers: Autocracy # 3 : Blizzplanet interviews Chris Metzen and Flint Dille

chris-metzen-flint-dille-interview

Last summer, during the BotCon 2011 celebrated in Pasadena, CA through June 2-5, Chris Metzen and Flint Dille revealed they would launch Transformers: Autocracy — an 8-page digital format comic book spanning 12-parts. It sets the ground that ignited what will later be known as the great civil war of Cybertron. A world ruled by Zeta Prime. This is where the Optimus Prime we love and cherish was forged. At the time, he was the best officer of Zeta Prime. But things weren’t black and white in this era, and back then Optimus Prime was still known as Orion Pax.

Transformers: Autocracy launched on January 18th, and it’s published every two weeks in Comixology (PC/Mac), and the iPad and iPhone mobile platform.

In the eve of the launch of Transformers: Autocracy # 3 (available Wednesday, February 15th) I had the awesome opportunity to ask Chris Metzen and Flint Dille some questions about the digital comics.

When did you get hooked up with Transformers, and what’s your geek out story around the franchise?

Metzen: Well the opportunity to write a Transformers story for IDW popped a few years ago now. It’s taken awhile to get it (all) together. Thankfully the editors at IDW have been very patient!

As for favorite geek-out? There’s no question (IMHO) that the franchise’s greatest moment (across all media) is the throw-down mega-fisticuffs slug-fest between Prime and Megatron in the animated film. “Why throw away your life so recklessly?” Heh. Still makes me smile like an idiot?

Which Transformers stories did you read as background for Autocracy prior to writing the 12-part story?

Metzen: Ooof. Everything I could get my hands on! I had been reading the ongoing series/All Hail Megatron/etc. since it started, but needed to brush up on all the one-shots. Loved Maximum Dynobots and the Last Stand of the Wreckers tales as well. There was a lot to take in and I see lots of places where we missed a few notable details. ? It was a lot to cram for. My biggest inspiration (apart from the animated film) is Furman’s body of work on Transformers. That man paved some serious ground.

Some people are confused with what little they have read in the past 16 pages (spanning Transformers: Autocracy # 1-2) and what they know from Megatron: Origins. Especially concerning Starscream. In Megatron: Origins, Sentinel Prime is still alive. Starscream fights alongside the Deceptions against the Autobots and kills Kaon senators in front of everyone. Yet, in Autocracy, Starscream is a delegate with freedom to walk among the Senate and Zeta Prime as if no one knows what he did. Are fans going to get a clearer picture of what’s going on, or is there a retcon?

Metzen: Ok, lemmesee if I can clear this up… (fingers crossed)…

Autocracy takes place AFTER Chaos Theory, Megatron: Origins and Spotlight: Blurr. You’ll see it’s AFTER everything IDW’s tackled in that era. It’s the story of the end of that era – and the start of the WAR we all know and love.

As for Starscream and the senate of Kaon – no one survived that (very brazen) attack and all video coverage was quickly disposed of. Decepticons are very clever… and thorough! Thus, Starscream’s role as a Decepticon is still largely under wraps as Autocracy gets underway (at least as far as Zeta and these remaining senators are concerned). That entire attack was covered up pretty quick – so one has a clear picture of exactly which Decepticons were specifically involved.

I’ll also go out on a limb here and address the other lingering break – Sentinel WAS Zeta’s immediate predecessor – NOT Nominus. That was my bad… the mention of him getting whacked at the start of Chaos Theory was etched in my head as I was scripting Chapter 2 and I referred to the wrong guy… (do I get a last cigarette before the firing squad does away with me?)…

Why did you choose to write a story set in that time period? Whose was the initiative to do so, yours or the IDW editorial team?

Metzen: Well, Flint and I had pitched a really cool ‘present day’ hook that took a deep look at Optimus and what made him tick. It had some heavy flash-back elements from the old days. Some of the themes and hooks we pitched seemed similar to those that were being developed for Chaos Theory (which no one had seen yet), so the editor, Andy Schmidt, walked us through what Chaos Theory was going to be. We were hooked – and knew immediately that our story would fit far better into that pre-war era. From there – Autocracy really started to find its feet.

What can you tell us about Zeta Prime and his extreme measures to combat the Decepticons?

Metzen: Well… I believe Zeta started strong and wanted to be a Prime that really maintained order and security for the people. But Megatron really stoked the fires of unrest. I think there was a crazy escalation between Zeta’s conventional tactics and the Decepticons’ terror tactics. Over time, he concluded that fighting fire with fire was the only reasonable response to what Megatron represented. He wasn’t always a monster – but he sure became one in response to an increasingly lawless and darkening world.

Sounds like there’s a good story to be told there… :)

Autocracy # 2 was very harsh. How does Orion Pax copes with his orders knowing his duty to Zeta Prime makes him a harbinger of mass destruction upon the very citizens he’s sworn to protect?

Metzen: He doesn’t know yet how bad things are. He doesn’t know the extent of Zeta’s plans (he wasn’t in the room to hear any of this). In general, since he’s having trouble FEELING/Hearing his conscience – one could argue he’s operating through intense tunnel-vision. He doesn’t yet see how bad things are out there in the world – or what that means to him personally.

Obviously, he was in the zone when he stood up to the Senate… clear-minded, compassionate, selfless… But when his ‘heart’ got ripped out… Well, he just ain’t been the same since. However, can you imagine how PISSED he’d be if he saw that video footage Soundwave made off with???

I have been a subscriber of Marvel Digital for a few years. I love the digital library concept. Let’s say that fans — best editors when it comes to continuum inconsistencies — find some retcons, or mistakes in Autocracy. Are you actually able to correct these in Transformers: Autocracy digital at any time? If so, how do you feel about having that sort of control?

Metzen: See answer above regarding said Sentinel/Nominus snafu… Hell yes, I’d like to FIX bits and pieces of this!!!! ? We’ll see about modifying digital content. Not sure what IDW’s plan is for that.

You are working on Diablo III, and both StarCraft II and World of Warcraft expansions, and the next-gen MMO. How do you stretch time to fit writing Transformers: Autocracy?

Metzen: Well, I recently bought a new Mac for home use, so the timing was perfect. And hey – where there’s a will, there’s a way!

There’s a lot of good and awesome critic in the forums around the Transformers: Autocracy’s digital format. It’s only 8-pages, but it crams in so much from panel to panel. The story rolls out. No pun. How does your experience in video game storytelling this past fifteen years converges with comic book storytelling?

Metzen: With 8-page chapters, there’s no room to screw around or get self-indulgent. We have to make every page, every panel, every line count – and tell this story as effectively and excitingly as we can. In that way, it’s not all that different from writing games – where a player/viewer’s time is a precious commodity. The pacing does keep things tight. :)

Chaos Theory, Autocracy, and other relaunch stories — all of them seem to be leading to a major event set in the present borrowing from events and characters from the long past. Is this really what’s going on? Will you be part of that project or follow up projects?

Metzen: Well, IDW’s big relaunch event was CHAOS – and the two new ongoing series (More than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise, respectively) are keeping their hands full. That’s the only mega event I’ve been aware of. As for more down the line… well, let’s see how Autocracy does as it picks up steam. :)

What should we expect to see in Autocracy # 3, and how do the events affect the remaining issues of this 12-part story?

Metzen: Well, Orion’s going to be busy hunting down Soundwave… shenanigans certainly occur.

Soundwave, Soundwave, Soundwave… for those of you who are fans of this character – buckle up! This is HIS chapter! (maybe my second biggest franchise geek-out…)

Blizzard’s roots started developing DC The Death and Return of Superman in 1994 and DC League of Justice Task Force for Super Nintendo in 1995. If Activision asked Blizzard to work on one of their IP, is that door open?

Metzen: Geez, I dunno. I think we’re doing pretty well with the franchises we’re currently developing. From a story perspective, we’ve still got miles and miles to go with each of them!

Grab a digital copy of the Transformers: Autocracy #3 for only $.99 cents via iPhone, iPad or Comixology (PC/Mac)

Note: Check back later for Flint Dille’s answers.

Transformers: Autocracy # 3 – Chris & Flint Teaser (Video)

Meet the Writers

Chris Metzen is Blizzard Entertainment Senior Vice-president of Creative Development — responsible for developing and expanding the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo universes and directing the team of story writers for upcoming game content and licensed products such as novels and manga. Chris Metzen is loved by the lore community, and he has identified himself as a geek. The Transformers franchise is in a dear place near his geeky heart.

Transformers Theme Song (G1, 1980s)

Blizzplanet Review: The Fall of Deathwing, Hour of Twilight Lore, and the Raid Finder Dungeon

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The Fall of Deathwing dungeon was masterfully made by the WoW Team and Creative Team in both lore and gameplay mechanics. This is the last major content patch of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, closing a pivotal chapter.

That doesn’t mean this is the last patch of Cataclysm, or the last content. As history has demonstrated, Blizzard Entertainment will add a pre-World Event and World Event content to wrap up Cataclysm and tie-in what’s to come in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria — the new expansion.

I have never been in a hardcore guild like those which chew World First Boss Kills Achievements without a sweat. Actually, between us, they do sweat a lot, but they won’t stop till they get the job done.

I remember the days where my old guild Untold Prophecy farmed Molten Core everyday, that was as hardcore as I could get back in 2004. Farmed Tower of Karazhan for countless months, defeated Kael’Thas, Lady Vashj, Illidan in Burning Crusade. I managed to kill Yogg’saron a couple of times before another guild disbanded.

In Wrath of the Lich King, after the guild disbanded in Ulduar, and after years of hard work in PUG teams, I only managed to get 10/12 at Icecrown Citadel. On September 15, 2011, I finally got the Defender of a Shattered World Achievement which includes all Cataclysm Heroics and the Raid Dungeons: Throne of the Four Winds, The Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent.

Not bad for a casual raider. Around a week later, I felt confident to get back to Icecrown Citadel where — after two years — I laid the smackdown on the Lich King at level 85. I felt like I cheated, but no one is gonna erase the satisfaction.

My current guild has been in hiatus for about six months or so after our main tanks called it quit for real life matters. One of them serving military time. I have had to go back to solo powering up my character with daily heroic dungeon finder and valor points. Nowadays, my healer character’s item level is 375 and none of it came from my guild. I worked hard in PUG teams.

A couple of weeks ago, I used the new Raid Dungeon Finder introduced in patch 4.3 to enter The Siege of Wyrmrest Temple. The Fall of Deathwing raid dungeon was either not available or my item level didn’t meet the requirements. No clue which.

After a few PUG attempts, I got my Siege of Wyrmrest Temple Achievement (Dec 3, 2011). I never thought possible to achieve that in a PUG, but it happened. Not just once, I have cleared it a few times. It’s hard and had fun.

On the lore aspect, I truly loved the linear structure of the three 5-man dungeons. Blizzard Entertainment recently released a short story by Matt Burns (Charge of the Aspects) which ties-in with the new Caverns of Time dungeons in patch 4.3. I recommend reading that story which is a prelude to the new 5-man dungeons.

The Short Story shows Ysera and Thrall planning a way to defeat Deathwing. She reveals Thrall an idea or vision about using the Dragon Soul — however, the Demon Soul was destroyed during the Second War by Rhonin (as seen in the novel by Richard A. Knaak – Warcraft: Day of the Dragon).

Alexstrasza agrees, while the Dragon Soul brought pain and misery to her red dragon flight, the Dragon Soul is how it all started, and it should be the way to end Deathwing and the Hour of Twilight. This is how the idea is born to ask Nozdormu to help the Aspects retrieve the Dragon Soul from the past.

However, Ysera’s vision of the Hour of Twilight — as seen in the novel by Christie Golden (World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects) — is drawing near. Nozdormu is unable to open the timeways to the past. Thus, Nozdormu recommends to kill the leader of the Infinite Dragonflight … to kill his very own future self, in order to preserve life in Azeroth.

Think about that for a second. All this time, Nozdormu was shown by the Titans the moment when Nozdormu’s demise would happen. For milennia, It likely worried him. And now he’s the one to take the decision to kill his future self to protect Azeroth. The Hour of Twilight begins during the Fall of Deathwing Raid dungeon in Patch 4.3.

The moment Ultraxion enters the fray at the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple, if players aren’t able to defeat Ultraxion, the Dragon Aspects take the full brunt of the Hour of Twilight spell that causes 300,000 Shadow damage, and die — causing the death of all life in Azeroth, and the Ascension of the Old gods.

Nozdormu sends players into the future to the End Time. A period of time, after the Hour of Twilight where all life on Azeroth has been already extinguished. There, players must defeat the echoes of Jaina, Sylvanas, Baine Bloodhoof, or Tyrande (two random) in order to fight Murozond (the future version of Nozdormu who has fallen to madness by the Old gods).

The WoW Team added NPCs at the end of each 5-man dungeon to teleport you to the next dungeon — making it clearly a linear lore event. That’s awesome. You can also access each dungeon individually, or use the dungeon finder to play them randomly. So there are three choices to approach and circumvent them if you don’t wish to have a linear experience.

After End Time, once Murozond is dead, the timeways become open to travel back in time 10,000 years into the past during the War of the Ancients. The idea is to retrieve the Dragon Soul a few minutes before the Well of Eternity implodes and sunders the land underwater.

When players help Tyrande, Malfurion and Illidan to defeat Mannoroth, who is sucked into the portal along with the demons back to the Twisting Nether, Chromie appears on the scene giving players the option to continue the mission in a linear way. Now that you have acquired the Dragon Soul, Chromie sends you forward in time to the present where Thrall will welcome your arrival and take possession of your delivery of the Dragon Soul.

The Hour of Twilight dungeon have you escorting Thrall back to the Wyrmrest Temple. In the present, the Black dragonflight and the Twilight dragonfligt are attacking the Wyrmrest Temple. There are giant Old god-like creatures with massive tendrils coming out of the ground, Faceless Ones and Vile Oozes coming forth to prevent Thrall’s arrival to the Wyrmrest Temple.

Thrall is serving as the Earth Aspect to perform the ritual that will empower the Dragon Soul to affect and defeat Deathwing. It’s a nice touch to see Archbishop Benedictus as the final boss in the 5-man dungeon, as a continuity notch from Christie Golden’s novel. I ain’t going to spoil it for you, go read the book.

After this dungeon, you are ready to enter the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple raid — if you wish to experience the whole content in a linear way. I’m going to be blunt. It’s hard. However, the Raid Dungeon Finder also brings hardcore players who will take leadership to teach you what to do. Trust in them, and do your best. It’s no rocket science. It’s doable.

The Dungeon Journal is another great feature added by Blizzard Entertainment in patch 4.3 that let’s you read lore and tactical info about each boss, and what each spell does. Which spells are dispellable, and which can be interrupted. The Dungeon Journal and the Raid Dungeon Finder are Blizzard’s way to open up end-content to casual players. I got to say they have done a pretty good job. As a healer, it only takes me less than 10 seconds to get queued into the Raid Dungeon Finder. Sometimes a split second after I queue in.

Before I knew it, thanks to the Valor Point Quartermaster items, and a few loot from the new 4.3 Heroic dungeons I became flagged to join the Fall of Deathwing raid dungeon. I was totally glad to see the option enabled last night.

The Dragon Aspects: Kalecgos, Alexstrasza, Ysera and Nozdormu are at the top of the Wyrmrest Temple performing the ritual with Thrall to empower the Dragon Soul. Your job is to prevent the Black and Twilight dragons from interrupting the ritual. After several waves of drakes, Deathwing unleashes Ultraxion upon players. The ultimate Twilight dragon experiment who is meant to cause the Hour of Twilight by slaying the Dragon Aspects at this juncture.

After Ultraxion, a cinematic plays showing Thrall wielding the Dragon Soul to blast Deathwing. Deathwing’s eye zoom in on Thrall as he realizes he is holding the Dragon Soul. The blast is so powerful that a piece of his elementium armor comes out revealing part of his spine. Deathwing is severely injured, and flees away. Deathwing is in pain, but he makes a point to shake Thrall — Deathwing flies through the Horde Gunship — now we know how the Gunship in End Time got split in half.

The Dragon Aspects, Thrall and players come aboard The Skyfire (Alliance Gunship) in pursuit of Deathwing who seeing the defeat of Ultraxion and how easily Thrall injured him with the Dragon Soul decides to fly to the Maelstrom to cast the final Cataclysm spell that will shatter the world and cause a massive upheaval of volcanoes, magma, tsunamis, and earthquakes.

At mid-journey, Warmaster Blackhorn and his Twilight’s Hammer mounting Twilight drakes will attempt to stop you long enough to let Deathwing reach the Maelstrom. After Blackhorn’s demise, a cinematic kicks in showing human Sky Captain Swayze and orc Kaa’nu Reevs (Keanu Reeves, lol) parachuting down on Deathwing’s back.

After the cinematic, players glide down with parachutes on Deathwing’s back. Literally. There are a few mechanics here you should double-check with the Dungeon Journal in-game. The idea is to make the Hideous Amalgamation explode near the Elementium Plate protecting Deathwing’s Spine.

The blast causes the Elementium Plate to literally come off his spine. It has a amazing art animation. Once you have removed three Elementium Plates, the next cinematic kicks in.

Deathwing falls to his apparent death into the Maelstrom.

There’s a dialogue between the Dragon Aspects and Thrall, and you can loot a chest. However, the fight isn’t over. Deathwing’s body has been torn apart without the Elementium Plates holding his body together.

He’s become sort of an Old god with tendrils grabbing each rock around the Maelstrom. Players must attack each of these Limb Tentacles, and the Mutated Corruption tendrils. In between, there are waves of adds that must be quickly dispatched with AOE — recommendable to be done near the Limb Tentacles.

After all Limb Tentacles are destroyed, players fight the head of Deathwing.

Here I was with a full PUG raid joining the end-content dungeon that wraps up Cataclysm. How cool was that? In the range of one to ten? Thirty. It took me two years or longer to finally be able to kill the Lich King.

It took me a few hours last night to earn the Fall of Deathwing Achievement. Woot!!!!

It’s that easy folks. Start doing your homework (queue yourself into the Dungeon Finder and do the Random Hour of Twilight Dungeons) — get some item level 378 from there, and combine that with farming Valor Points to purchase item level 378 gear. Do a few Siege of Wyrmrest Temple raids and get some cool loot until the Fall of Deathwing Raid Dungeon option becomes enabled in your Raid Finder.

I got to admit the Fall of Deathwing raid dungeon was harsh to heal. Later I noticed I forgot to enchant, gem and meta my new acquired Helm, but I still managed to help the PUG team get the achievement. It was a great satisfaction to have killed Deathwing twice in a single night, rather than how long it took me to kill the Lich King.

Thanks to the WoW Team for opening up end-content to the majority of players, and shoe-kissing to the Creative Team for the awesome linear lore experience. I might have a couple rants here and there about Well of Eternity, but the experience was excellent either way.

That was the best ever World of Warcraft dungeon experience I have had in the last seven years since classic beta 2004. The game mechanics are unique and engaging.

Lore Enigma Analysis and Speculation

On the lore part, there is one big enigma that hasn’t been answered. I have come up with a personal conclusion to explain that enigma.

The End Time comes to happen in the present after Ultraxion kills the Dragon Aspects at the Wyrmrest Temple during the Siege.

The question is … what made possible the change of the End Time?

The Titans had foreseen the death of Nozdormu (aka Murozond). True. Thus, they had foreseen the death of the Aspects at the Hour of Twilight. End Time was meant to be the end of all things. Which means Thrall was not meant to get the Dragon Soul. What made possible the change of the outcome leading to the Hour of Twilight / End Time future?

This makes me think that someone outside time who has witnessed the future, and has no clouded perceptions like Nozdormu — who admits something is preventing him from seeing the future — has somehow managed to help the heroes avert the End Time and to start the Age of Mortals.

In my theory, to find part of the answer we have to go back to World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects.

    1. Ysera had a vision of the Hour of Twilight in that novel. How was she able to see a future event? Who did send her that vision?

    2. Thrall reveals to the Dragon Aspects that Krasus was not in fact a betrayer of the Dragon Aspects, siding with the Twilight’s Hammer. Thrall tells them about a vision he had where Krasus is defending the Ruby Sanctum from a new Twilight viral strain that infested the red eggs, and all other eggs during a Twilight’s Hammer siege on Wyrmrest Temple and its sanctums. Krasus cast a spell that reached out to the other sanctuary portals to implode each portal. He sacrificed to prevent the eggs from turning into Twilight dragons — annihilating the dragonflights. Or so it seemed …

How did Thrall get this vision? Who gave him that moment of clarity to see what really happened with Krasus?

Sadly, Blizzard hasn’t revealed these two enigmas.

On top of that there is the third enigma: Did Krasus really die? His corpse was never recovered. Did he implode the Sanctums, or did he only collapsed the portals thus sealing off the sanctums as tesseracts / pocket universes? Another question to ponder: Did Krasus somehow know the Twilight’s Hammer would strike at that very moment and had a rogue plan of his own? Had someone who knew about End Time enlisted Krasus’ help to prevent End Time?

We have seen Krasus plan out schemes without the knowledge of his beloved Alexstrasza before. What if he was alerted of the Hour of Twilight by the same entity that sent Thrall and Ysera separately a vision? In order to accomplish this plan he had to fake out his death.

If this is the case, then the Creative Team has learned a thing or two from Marvel — and we know Chris Metzen is a hardcore fan of Marvel Comics. The Secret Invasion storyline took years in the making, and there were plenty of breadcrumbs left in comic issues for years hinting at the upcoming Secret Invasion (2008).

I have a little theory of my own about how Krasus could have learned of a future event for him to attempt to prevent it, and who may have had knowledge about the future to make the Hour of Twilight not come to pass.

It was hinted in World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects — or I might just be seeing too far into it and Christie Golden didn’t do that on purpose.

Thrall went to the Caverns of Time to fulfill a special mission for Ysera. The Bronze dragonflight welcomed Thrall and recognized he was there on behalf of Ysera. Thrall’s mission was The Search for Nozdormu.

Not even the Bronze dragonflight has been able to find their master. Thrall traveled to other timelines and parallel Azeroths, but was unable to find Nozdormu on his own.

Eventually, Thrall would have returned back home without Nozdormu. Think about it for a second. Who starts the Dragon Soul 5-man dungeons? Nozdormu. It’s Nozdormu who sends you to the future to the End Time to face Murozond, to be able to retrieve the Dragon Soul from the past.

What if Thrall had not found Nozdormu in his Search through Caverns of Time? No one would have been able to prevent the Hour of Twilight. No one.

Are you pondering, what I’m pondering? — you who read World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects — that is.

Who told Thrall how to find Nozdormu?

Visit next page for the spoiler. If you are sensitive to spoilers then don’t visit page 2.

SPOILER ALERT

Blizzplanet Interview: Blizzard’s Micky Neilson Talks Diablo III: Book of Cain

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Blizzplanet and other Blizzard fansites had the opportunity to individually interview Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Lead and Senior Story Developer Micky Neilson over the phone. Eldorian forwarded most of the questions submitted recently by our visitors.

In our interview, Micky Neilson talks more about the mysterious Zoltun Kulle — for those who got to watch the BlizzCon 2011 Diablo III Lore Panel, and reveals the main theme of Nate Kenyon’s upcoming Diablo: The Order (Slated: May 29, 2012).

Insight Editions will release Diablo III: Book of Cain on December 13th, 2011. Grab your copy. It has become Amazon’s # 1 Graphic Novel Best Seller.

Read our interview with Micky Neilson to find out why!

Note: Post on twitter a comment about this interview using the hashtag #bookofcain plus @blizzplanet for a chance at a free Diablo III: Book of Cain giveaway. Deadline: Thursday, Dec 15, 2011. (example: @blizzplanet I <3 Blizzard, gimme #bookofcain)

Interview

Why is Deckard Cain so important in Diablo history?

Neilson: Why is Deckard Cain so important? Well, he’s one of the most identifiable characters. I would say that stems from him being chosen as the NPC you deal with the most in the series. So, I think as a character he resonated with fans early on so he had some longevity and some staying power. Over the course of the different games he’s become certainly a marquee character. He worked really well for this book specifically because he’s the guy gathering all the information, lore, text and all of that stuff. It really made sense that he’s the one to put this book together.

Where did the inspiration come from to make the Book of Cain a real item that people could buy?

Neilson: Early on the idea came from Chris Metzen as far as he came to the publishing team and said that he really wanted to do a book that is kind of a history of the universe and also an art book. He described it as a hybrid between a source book and an art book. So we went forward from there. As part of that process we had discussions if this is part of Cain’s journal from the game or something completely separate. So we went back and forth a few times and through the course of identifying what the book would be and kind of nailing down the vision of the book, we settled down on the in game artifact aspect of it. We felt like that was the better way to go. I mean as far as the cover and maintaining continuity within the IP it felt like a cool hook for it to be something actually within the game.

Does the Book of Cain take any information from previous Diablo books such as those written by Richard A. Knaak or Mel Odom?

Neilson: Yeah. There is definitely. A lot of the Sin War trilogy is covered in here. You can get kind of a condensed version of the events from the Sin War Trilogy, and it touches on some of the other books as well.

Given that this book is set as the source book for Diablo lore, does it contradict or change any of the major events that have taken place in the game? And if so can you elaborate and be specific on any of the changes?

Neilson: It does clarify a lot of things. We have a lore team who basically pour over all of this material. We knew going into the creation of this book that there were already some contradictions that existed in the lore and the history. So we took this as an opportunity to set the record straight. We definitely identified a few things. One specific example is Tal Rasha and the Soul Stone; and Zoltun Kulle being the one that suggested that the essence could be trapped within a human. There were already a couple of differing accounts and who made that suggestion. I think in one account it was Tal Rasha made the suggestion and another account that Tyrael made the suggestion. So we went in with a different option that Zoltun Kulle was the one who made the suggestion and the purpose of that was to set up that character more because he’s a main character in the next game.

Does Book of Cain go into any post-Sin War details after the trilogy by Knaak? A lot of the other lore in the games and other novels make it seem as if the Sin War didn’t end until a few hundred years before the events of Diablo 1.

Neilson: It does go into detail and we’re trying to nail down the timeline right now. I don’t remember if it nails down exactly how many years before the events of the game that the Sin War takes place but we are in the midst of nailing all of that down for a more refined timeline.

Book of Cain talks about the Angels, and Demons, but Does Trang’Oul get mentioned in the book?

Neilson: Trang’Oul is mentioned briefly. He actually has a gorgeous double page spread and as part of that there’s a little side bar written as a handwritten note from Deckard Cain. There’s a little bit of information, but it’s almost more like a teaser for Trang’Oul.

Are there any potential Diablo III story spoilers in Book of Cain for those who wish to read it before playing the game?

Neilson: There’s no spoilers for the game. Information in the Book of Cain certainly does inform what is in the game. When you read the book you will certainly be more informed of the lore perspective when you play the game.

Are there examples of Deckard Cain and Leah’s research throughout the years searching and piecing together the fragments of the new Prophecy about Azmodan and the comet?

Neilson: There is a lot of that covered in the book. The prophecy is kind of an amalgam that Cain put together on many different prophecies that exist. Some of the different cultures around Sanctuary have some of their own prophecies and a lot of these prophecies point to the comet and the end of days. Deckard Cain put together one all encompassing prophecy based on everything he’s read. So there’s the one he put together but there are a lot of different ones as well.

In Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Tyrael opens a portal for Cain and the hero prior to the destruction of the Worldstone. Do we get to read about the explosion of Mount Arreat from the point of view of any surviving Barbarians? For example, the upcoming DC Comics Diablo mentions a survivor.

Neilson: We do have a section on the destruction of the Worldstone I believe, I’ll have to double check, but I believe it’s told from Deckard Cain’s perspective. So I don’t believe it’s told from the Barbarian perspective.

Does Cain mention Abd al-Hazir, and if so, does his research help Cain piece together the prophecy? Have they met or worked together?

Neilson: I don’t believe we mention Abd al-Hazir in here and if we do it’s just a really brief mention of the many sources Cain is drawing from. We don’t suggest in the book that they have been hanging out and sharing information.

Are all lands of Sanctuary featured, and given in-depth background story?

Neilson: There wasn’t enough space in the book to go in depth giving all the other information we put in the book. There is a section near the end of the book called Lands and Cultures that does cover all the main areas and cultures in sanctuary. It also covers all the new classes that will be showing up in Diablo 3.

Does Cain uncover new history of his Horadrim heritage and learn the background stories of NPCs/Bosses/lore figures met in the previous games? (for example: Leoric’s pre-Tristram reign, Warriv, Wirt, Anya, mythical stories of possible Tyrael encounters across time.)

Neilson: Yes. For sure we get into Leoric a lot more. We do touch into a lot of the history of the Horadrim, the hunt for the three, we get into a lot more detail as far as the events that took place back then. We’re also working on another book, Nate Kenyon is writing a book for us called The Order and that is really going to go into a lot more detail also into the history of the Horadrim and Cain’s involvement and how he learned about the Horadrim and the events at Tristram.

What was more interesting or challenging about compiling the lore for Book of Cain and working with Flint Dille?

Neilson: Flint Dille was great. Flint really understood the character so he nailed that character voice, that scholarly voice of Deckard Cain. I’d say the biggest challenge was just codifying everything. Just putting it all together identifying contradictions that existed and clarifying which direction we wanted to go. There’s a lot of history in the Diablo universe. It was a mammoth task just to put distinctly. What did we end up? 140-some pages? So just trying to the entire Diablo history in that amount of pages, and a significant amount of that was art, was not the easiest thing in the world.

What inspired this mythological background for the Diablo universe concerning Anu and Tathamet the dragon?

Neilson: A lot of that came from Chris Metzen and early on we had meetings and we talked about what would different mythology be for the universe. And we knew there was one we wanted to back and enforce as canon at least from Cain’s point of view and the information that he discovered. A lot of those ideas came from Chris Metzen, and we hashed out the rest of it in brainstorming sessions.

Is Tran’Goul somehow related to Tathamet considering both are dragons, but both seem to be different: the former good, the latter evil?

Neilson: I think there’s more information that will be revealed in the future about Trang’Oul – right now I can’t disclose anything.

How do you feel about the mood and story of the Diablo series? What do you think makes it stand from other dark fantasy universes?

Neilson: Interesting. So the biggest theme that we face with Diablo is heroism facing absolute terror. I really think that sets it apart. You have humanity that is caught in the middle between these cataclysmic forces of light and dark, but light and dark aren’t exactly what you expect them to be. The angels aren’t exactly what you expect angels to be – most of them want to destroy humanity. So it’s a really kind of an interesting dynamic and humanity has the ability to become powerful in its own right, and to upset the balance of the Eternal Conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells. I think that is really a cool hook.

Thank you, Micky Neilson, Eric Yco, Bashiok, Lyndsi, and Blizzard Creative & Public Relations Teams for your awesome support to fansites and lore fans.

Order Diablo III: Book of Cain now (Release date: Dec 13, 2011) or gift it to a friend or family member.

We recommend reading our BlizzCon 2011 Diablo III Lore Panel Transcript to learn more about Zoltun Kulle, and other mentions of Diablo III: Book of Cain made during the Panel.

Other Fansites – Diablo III: Book of Cain Interviews

Links of Interest

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified Announced

EVGA just announced the EVGA GeForce GTX560 Ti 448 Cores Classified. You can now pre-order it, and it will be shipped when available. It qualifies for Free Super Saver Shipping (option available at checkout).

What’s exceptional about the GTX 560 Ti Classified version versus the normal GTX 560 Ti? Compare:

  • The normal GTX 560 Ti features only 384 Cores, 2048 MB GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit memory bus, 128 GB/s Memory Bandwidth, and supports only 2-SLI.
  • The Classified version features 448 CUDA Cores, 1.28GB GDDR5 memory on a 320-bit memory bus, 156 GB/s Memory Bandwidth , 6 Phase PWM, 3-SLI support.

The limited edition Classified version, at the same price point as the GTX 560 Ti, sounds like a good video card to play the latest games like Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3 at max settings.

If this card can do wonders on these two newest games, it should play Diablo III, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria pretty decent at max settings.

Gamers Daily News reviewed the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified and gave it the Gold Award. It exceeded even NVIDIA’s suggested FPS performance. NVIDIA estimates a 15% performance increase compared to the normal version, but Gamers Daily News found through benchmarks it was really a 25% performance increase.

Personally, I find this card to be a bit expensive, but considering the free shipping, that’s a $8.64 saving (New York). It’s also around half the price of the EVGA GeForce GTX 580.

What Gamers Daily News forgot to mention in the review was the performance comparison against the GTX 570. In their benchmark comparison, the EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked (with 480 CUDA Cores) outperformed the EVGA GeForce GTX560 Ti 448 Cores Classified by a slight margin and costs an extra $59.99.

Some of you might be looking for a leet video card, at a mid-range price. Either of those are a good choice. Not only do you get Free Super Saving Shipping with both graphic cards, you also qualify for a Free Digital Copy of “Batman: Arkham City” ($49.99 value). Ain’t that cool?

  • Core Clock: 797MHz Memory Clock: 3900MHz Shader Clock: 1594MHz
  • CUDA Cores: 448
  • Core Clock: 797 MHz
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 Support
  • NVidia Cuda, PhysX, PureVideo HD, 3D VisionSurround ready Technologies
  • NVidia 2-Way and 3-Way SLI ready
  • DisplayPort 1.1a Connector
  • HDMI 1.4a connector
  • Two Dual-Link DVI-I HDCP capable connectors

Memory Specs

  • Memory Detail: 1280 MB GDDR5
  • Memory Bit Width: 320 Bit
  • Memory Clock: 3900 MHz
  • Memory Speed: 0.5 ns
  • Memory Bandwith: 156 GB/sec
  • Texture fill rate: 44.6 GT/s

Key Features

  • DirectX 11 Support
  • 6 Phase PWM
  • Dual Fan Design

Requirements

  • 550Watt PSU
  • (1) 6 Pin PCIe Connector
  • (1) 8 Pin PCIe Connector Or (2) 6 Pin PCIe Power Connectors
  • Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  • PCIe 16x Slot

Blizzplanet Interview: StarCraft: Ghost — Spectres Interview with Nate Kenyon

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Blizzplanet journalist and network manager Eldorian interviewed author Nate Kenyon by phone to dig more into the storyline of StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres, a novel many fans of the StarCraft Universe have been anxiously awaiting for almost three years and a half (title revelation: May 10, 2008).

The StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres was originally assigned to be written by Keith R.A. DeCandido. For reasons only the Asgardian Norns might know, the direction of the book landed on the good hands of Nate Kenyon, a Bram Stoker Award finalist for both Bloodstone and The Reach. Nate Kenyon’s most recent novels (The Bone Factory and Sparrow Rock) have received great recognition by the American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine and Publishers Weekly.

Listen to the phone interview, and don’t forget to order StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres.

Interview

Other interviews around the web:

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart – Blizzplanet Interviews Richard A. Knaak

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Blizzard Entertainment hosted a live phone call interview between Richard A. Knaak and Blizzplanet member Eldorian. Questions were hand picked by Medievaldragon from the Scrolls of Lore community. Thanks a bunch, folks. Many thanks to Blizzard Entertainment, its Public Relations staff and to the Creative Team.

Eldorian: “The sound quality is decent enough. I’d just remind people that this was done over a cell phone and the sound quality is a little distorted due to that.”

Transcript in english and spanish will come at a later time. Stay tuned. Listen to the phone call interview below:

Order your copy of World of Warcraft: Wolfheart — available as Hardcover, Kindle, or eAudio.

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