BlizzCon 2008 - Diablo III Hands-On Gameplay Impressions

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles, Diablo 3 News, Event Coverage

I am fortunate to be one of the lucky people who played the Diablo III demo showcased at Blizzcon 2008 in Anaheim. Not only was it a pleasure to play it, but left me craving for more. I decided to create a female Wizard. She spawns in the outskirts of the Tristram Woods where Captain Rumford and an armored warrior are piling up a bonfire of corpses. The warrior can be seen transporting the corpses off a wagon and into the bonfire.

Captain Rumford says they are burning the corpses to prevent them from rising as undead. NPCs that have something to say have a black oval with dots hovering above them when you place the cursor over them.  A popup window displays the “introduction” option, feature that remains a constant from Diablo II. However, not only does each NPC talk to you.  Your very own character talks back, interacting with the NPCs.  By saying talk, I mean both: the NPC and your character have voice over actors adding emotion and life to the Action / RPG.

Read below a lengthy preview on various features observed in the Diablo III hands-on demo

I started pressing keys to see what options were available.  Pressing (C) opens the Character window, Inventory (I), Quest (Q), Skill trees (S), and mini-map toogle (N), Game Menu (ESCAPE button)

CHARACTER STATS

At level 5, these were the stats I found on my Wizard character. Hope these stats offer you a better scope of how the Wizard stats and abilities work:

Melee damage: 2-8 |  Spell damage: 12-23 |  Armor: 34

  • 16 Strength – Physical damage bonus: 16%  |  Armor Bonus 26%

  • 28 Dexterity – Crit chance 7.0%  |  Dodge chance: 7.0
  • 18 Vitality – Life: 56 |  Mana Regen: 0.9 sec.
  • 94 Willpower – Spell damage bonus: 52.8%  |  Health globe bonus: 0.0%

In Diablo II, you get points after leveling to spend on these four stats. In Diablo III, thus far, these stats increase automatically. You no longer have control over where these points are spent into. At the bottom of the Character (C) window, you can find a table with two columns displaying the following data:

Physical Offense Defense
1.20 Attacks per second
70% Physical crit chance
150.0% Physical crit damage
0.0% Block amount
6.0% Block chance
34.0 Armor
2.5% Physical damage reduction

At the bottom left of the Character (C) window you will find your character resistances. These can be determined by icons:

Blue snowflake = Frost
Red Flame = Fire
Purple Thunder = Lightning
Green Skull = Poison
Yellow icon = Arcane

INVENTORY

The Inventory window shows a lot of visual information. It has a simple and intuitive UI frame with colorful gradients of orange and dark brown, and stylized symbols that highlight a gothic-like feeling. You can see your character model viewer which allows you to rotate your character. Around the viewer, you have 12 gear slots: helm, medallion, chest, sash, 2 rings, weapon, shield, boots, pants, gloves, and shoulder. Between the weapon and the shield is a strange circle. When clicking it, a new window pops forward. Based on the demo observation and loot, this window with 9 circles resembles the Glyphs window from World of Warcraft. In the case of Diablo 3, these 9 circles are reserved for Runes.  Thus far in the Blizzcon demo, only the Wizard can equip runes. (i.e. certain monsters may randomly drop a minor power rune).

Beneath the character viewer and gear slots can be seen the bag inventory—all in the same window.  There are 30 slots, but only a few are enabled. You can expand to the full 30 slots by adding bags into the bag slots.  On the bottom-right you can see four slots. There is where you drag the bags into. By dropping the bag item into that slot, you increase the amount of slots enabled.  Eventually your goal is to enable all 30 slots.  Each slot is thin and tall, and certain items can stack in the same slot. Doesn’t look like there is a special slot bar for potions, but mini-health potions have been seen, as well as elixir of dexterity and elixir of vitality which may have durations of up to 300 seconds (5 minutes).

RUNES

Not much was revealed about [WIKI]Runes[/WIKI]. [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Witchdoctor[/WIKI] classes don’t have runes enabled in the Blizzcon demo, so it looks like it is something still in the works. In a press panel, [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] revealed these runes will change the visual effects of your character and its spells/abilities. Imagine your lightning spell increasing its glow making it look more powerful and actually increasing your damage output.

MINI-MAP

You may toggle the mini-map by pressing (N).  It is more effective than the old Diablo II map overlay (tab). The mini-map is located on the upper-right corner.  It has no frame like the World of Warcraft circle framed mini-map.  It has an unframed tall rectangular area. By pressing the arrow keys you can move the mini-map in any direction. To reset simply press (N) twice, or escape.

How is this new mini-map more effective?  Diablo II’s overlay map would take the whole screen, and would interfere your line of sight affecting what you could see on-screen.  By placing the overlay map to the upper-right corner, your whole screen is visible for gameplay purposes.  Each [WIKI]NPC[/WIKI] is displayed as a tiny yellow dot. Place your mouse cursor over the yellow dots, and automatically a window pops up above the dot displaying the name of the NPC.  You can see and identify NPCs ahead of you, not yet within visual range. Update: Monsters are not displayed by the mini-map. You will still have the element of surprise. The mini-map helps you locate NPCs that might have a quest for you, or some interaction options to learn some lore.

RARE MONSTERS /  BOSS

In Diablo II, it was hard sometimes to notice a rare [WIKI]monster[/WIKI] among a bunch of mobs. Sometimes you would even get killed before noticing a rare was behind that bunch of mobs. In Diablo III, before the rare monster or boss enters into view, a name tag pops at the top-center with a health bar.  The health bar is divided into a few rectangles.  The health bar / name tag window displays the special attributes of the monster (i.e. a rare named Head of Grief had three attributes beneath its name tag: Vampiric, Froze, Fast.

QUESTS

While exploring the world, you will find NPCs with a yellow exclamation sign floating above their head.  When you accept the [WIKI]quest[/WIKI], the title and objectives are displayed onscreen at the right-center for few seconds, then fades out.  You can access the quest window by pressing (Q). It’s very similar to World of Warcraft.  After walking away from the bonefire of corpses at the Tristram Woods, you enter the Ruins of Tristram. There are a few destroyed buildings. You can see the Physix engine in action when randomly some debris of the ruins crumble down. Placing your mouse cursor over some of the door signs you will find Griswold’s Blacksmith Shop. While exploring, you find a well. It can be highlighted if you place your cursor on.  A quest starts and it is automatically displayed onscreen to the right: Little Girl Lost. Objective: Find a way to free the little girl’s spirit from the old well in Tristram.

When you stand near the well you can hear the girl’s voice over and weeping. She is trapped inside the well. Something funny … some of her quotes resemble that of the girl in the Poltergeist film.  Exploring further into the Tristram ruins you find a female ghost and listen to her voice over which is repeated over and over randomly: Where has gone my girl?  She must be so lonely.  She never goes away without her doll.  She’s lost without it!

Not far from the ghost you will find a chest on the ground. Within lies the doll. Loot it and return to the well. The quest is completed as you return the doll.  The spirit of the girl ascends from within the deep well and thank you. A reward is automatically placed in your inventory.  You will read a message onscreen saying how much XP (experience) you gained, and the name of the looted item. In my case, a Socketed Boots of Brawn (+9 armor, 1 socket, + 2 strength).

Before reaching the Cathedral of Tristram entrance, you will find [WIKI]zombies[/WIKI] kneeled on the ground as if eating from a body. Once you kill them, the body on the ground – tagged Dying Adventurer – automatically highlights a yellow exclamation sign enabling a new quest: The Return of the Skeleton King.

The voice over says something along these lines: “Please … listen to me!  The fire, somehow … it awoke him. The Skeleton King’s evil haunts the cathedral once more.”

Your character’s voice over says: “Skeleton King, huh?  Sounds interesting. Rest easy. I will show him the err of his ways.”

Enter the cathedral. Eventually you will find an NPC with a yellow sign on his head. Take the quest. Guess who the NPC is? If you have played Diablo 1 or have visited DiabloWiki.net the name Lachdanan will ring a bell. He was the loyal friend of King Leoric in Diablo 1.  Lachdanan killed King Leoric, who cursed him on his last dying breath.

SCROLLS & BOOKS

This is probably the most lovely lore source feature for players who decide to immerse themselves into the world of Sanctuary.  Let’s say you enter a dungeon, and find a pedestal. When you highlight the pedestal, by moving your mouse cursor over it and clicking it, you loot the book.  Open your Inventory (I) and click the book or scroll.  A sound clip pops up at the bottom-right of the screen. Underneath the clip are three buttons: play, stop, close. It is a voice over recording telling the story within the book.

For example, in the Cathedral of Tristram, the Journal of King Leoric tells his story during the time Diablo possessed his son Albrecht (Diablo I).

BUTTONS

The three buttons to the right of the main UI correspond to the Left Mouse button, Right Mouse button and an alternate Right button that switches those last two by pressing TAB button.

  • Click the left mouse button to move and attack enemies.

  • Click right mouse button to use the assigned skill
  • Press the alt key to show all dropped items
  • Use the 1-4 keys to activate assigned hot bar skills
  • Right-click on a hot bar, or mouse button slot to assign a new skill.
  • Press TAB or scroll the mouse wheel to swap between right mouse and alternate right mouse skills.

SKELETON KING

The Skeleton King appears at the third level of the Tristram Cathedral. Former King Leoric has a large axe. As told by Jay Wilson in the past, boss events can feel epic without the town portal escape trick or the heal potion spam mechanic. Once the Skeleton King engages in combat, dozens of zombies enter the room to attack you. The boss has an animation that alerts you when he is about to slam his long axe toward you. The idea here is to attack him a few times, and run away before he slams the axe in front of him. It can be avoided. Kill a few mobs for health orbs, and attack the Skeleton King again. Rinse and repeat. I was able to kill King Leoric without dying by doing these steps. Sadly, the Diablo III demo finished after killing this first boss, with a message from Blizzard congratulating me for killing the Skeleton King in this BlizzCon 2008 demo.

THOUGHTS

After playing the demo at Blizzcon, I can only say—hopefully not sounding heretic – that I loved Diablo III, and look forward for the announcement of the remaining two classes. No release date for Diablo III unfortunately, but personally I wish this game was on stores around October 2009. Gameplay mechanics are very similar to Diablo II,  except much better. The graphics are vibrant and colorful, without taking away the epic and dark feel of the previous games. The Physix engine honors the [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] class pretty well, smashing stuff and debris in all directions.

You can click emblems on the walls, that activate a mechanism that drops a candelabrum. If timed correctly, it could smash onto a group of mobs. If you move your character quickly into the area the candelabrum drops on, your character gains daze effect for a few seconds (funny). It would be cool to interact more with objects and traps using the Physix engine to benefit you on bosses and monster encounters. For those who asked me recently if [WIKI]Stashes[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Waypoints[/WIKI] are returning in Diablo III, I asked [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] and the answer is yes.  Waypoints however will play a different function this time around.  Upon death you respawn at the [WIKI]check point[/WIKI].  Check points I observed in the BlizzCon demo happen by the door toward the next catacomb (for example).  Some objects spawn near you at the check point. You need to equip them again.  This means no more running back to your corpse which is surrounded by 15 monsters. Diablo III is enhancing everything that was broken in Diablo II.

Blizzplanet Interview - Pop Cap Bejeweled WoW Addon

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet had a round of questions with T. Carl Kwoh, PopCap Games Producer, about the Bejeweled Addon for World of Warcraft. This addon is expected to be among the top downloaded and played by millions of players. World of Warcraft is an addictive game, and there is a lot of things to do. However, there is downtime here and there: Fishing, waiting for the PvP Battleground/Arena queue, waiting for the LFG tool to find you a group, leveling a tradeskill, waiting for the raid group to fill up, and flying to distant locations. What to do during those downtimes? Play the Bejeweled addon without need to alt + tab to the desktop.

Is the Bejeweled addon a Pop Cap independent project? Will the Bejeweled addon be provided only from the Pop Cap website?

T. Carl Kwoh: We’re doing this independently as a third party add-on. The official place to get the addon is on the PopCap website here: http://www.popcap.com/wow though it will also be later mirrored on major WoW UI sites. This will not be offered through any sort of official patch.

Has Pop Cap Games talked with Blizzard prior to developing the World of Warcraft addon? If so, what was their stand?

T. Carl Kwoh: We showed the mod unofficially and “off the record” to some contacts at blizzard late in development and overall the response was pretty positive. However we have not approached them officially regarding this mod.

Are there plans to create new addons based on other Pop Cap games?

T. Carl Kwoh: At this time, we don’t have any plans to do other addons based around more of our games, though we certainly thought about what else could work during development of the Bejeweled mod. If there is enough interest in the Bejeweled mod, we may consider doing stuff with some of our other games down the line.

Will there be Bejeweled matches between players? If so, how many players are supported?

T. Carl Kwoh: There are friends and guild high scores lists that players can compete on, however there are no direct multiplayer games of Bejeweled in this addon.

Does the Bejeweled addon offer achievements integrated with the World of Warcraft Achievements system for accomplishing special and unique feats? Or does the addon has its own Achievement system interface?

T. Carl Kwoh: The addon does not integrate with WoW’s in-game achievements system, but rather has its own in-addon achievement and skill system. They are integrated into the Bejeweling “Trade Skill” as one time accomplishments that will net you extra skill points on your way to 375 (and eventually 450). Additionally we have Friend and Guild high scores lists that players can compete with each other on.

Any interaction or special features with Fishing tradeskill planned?

T. Carl Kwoh: There aren’t any specific hooks (hehe) that the addon has for the Fishing tradeskill, however you can scale down the window pretty small and tuck it into the corner so its easier to play while still keeping an eye on the bobber. After late stage feedback from several sources we’ve also added in quieter versions of the sounds that you can switch to in the options so that you won’t miss the bobber sounds as easily in your gem matching frenzy.

What was your goal with investing time and manpower to develop this addon free for World of Warcraft players?

T. Carl Kwoh: The goal was to create an awesome addon that a bunch of us in the office are guaranteed to be using for life, and one that we hoped other world of warcraft players could have fun with as well. Since Michael Fromwiller (the San Jose State University student who created the original “Besharded” mod) had already started the leg work it was an easy opportunity for us to support one of our fans and an aspiring developer, get something awesome made for ourselves, and get something cool into the world for others to enjoy.

Are you planning to update the addon, if needed, each time there is a World of Warcraft patch and/or add new features?

T. Carl Kwoh: We will be keeping the addon current for any patches/updates to WoW. We are already compatible with the 3.0/WotlK API changes, so when those come out we’ll just need to update the TOC file. We definitely want to keep the addon functioning, so we’ll be keeping it up to date.

There are no new features planned at the moment, however that’s not to say there won’t be feature updates down the road. However that process will be very organic and depend on interest and time of everyone involved.

Download the Bejeweled Addon at the official Pop Cap website.

Got questions of your own about the Bejeweled addon? Submit them here to forward them to Pop Cap Games for a second round of questions.

Update: WoW Insider interviewed the original creator of the Besharded addon, who now works at Pop Cap.

Diablo Archive – Diablo: Demonsbane Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, Diablo 3 News

After receiving the Diablo Archive, boasting 752 pages, just recently, I decided to read through it backwards starting with Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame).

I am sure the Diablo Archive will be a jewel among my Blizzard novels collection. Better to have four Diablo novels on a single tome, than have invididual books all around the place unable to find them at times. There is one thing I disapprove from the Diablo Archive however.  For such a big tome, and quiet heavy in weight, the cover designer Richard Yoo or whoever chose the cover material should have gone for thick cardboard material. This huge archive is no pocket book. It is about two inches thick. The cover material is made of the same material as any other pocket book with the same thin thickness. The result is a jellyfish-effect when you handle the heavy book around. I usually read on my bed. At times when I am uncomfortable, I usually lie on my back and rise the book above me in the air. The weight is almost unbearable after 20 minutes, but the material doesn’t help. Enough with the material rant.

What can be found inside is worth the nuisance. For years, I have heard of Diablo: Demonsbane. A lecture painted in myth. Something I knew existed, but couldn’t reach. It was a few years ago, when I first heard of its existence. It was released on 2000 in ebook format. I have a lot of Warcraft RPG books in ebook format, and even purchased Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor as an ebook.  But for some odd reason I never got around reading Diablo: Demonsbane, even when I craved it more than any other book. Curiosity compels one’s craving. I have never read a review of Demonsbane, or heard what it was about. I just knew it was the first of the Diablo stories ever released.

I reported about the first printing of Diablo: Demonsbane on paper two years ago on July 2, 2006. It was titled Blizzard Legends Vol. 1.  It contained a printed version of three ebooks from each game franchise: Warcraft: Of Blood and Honor (by Chris Metzen), Starcraft: Uprising (by Micky Neilson), and Diablo: Demonsbane (by Robert B. Marks).

However, it is now with the release of Diablo Archive that fans have the opportunity to get this craved story more broadly as it comes bundled along with Diablo: Kingdom of Shadow, Diablo: The Black Road, and Diablo: Legacy of Blood.

Personally, I was expecting something different in Diablo: Demonsbane. More of a dark fantasy meets Lord of the Rings with some fancy Shakesperian old-english language accent. Part of the myth I envisioned for lack of any knowledge of a Demonsbane’s summary.

I started reading on Sunday evening and couldn’t stop reading. It caught my attention. It is a short novella spanning through page 685-738. According to the epilogue, these events take place on year 302 and seem to happen during the Sin War.  Right at the end when I read the epilogue, it made me wonder.  Did Diablo: The Sin War somehow retconned Demonsbane? I have no idea. What I do know is that none of the events of the Sin War trilogy seem to be mentioned in it. Nor did the main character in Demonsbane show up in the Sin War trilogy.

Which book comes first in the timeline is also a mystery to me. One thing does gets mentioned that might help those who have better knowledge of the timeline than me.  Sarnakyle the Kejistan mage of the Spirit Mage Clan mentioned he was among the party of mages that killed Bartuc the Warlord of Blood at Viz-jun two years earlier.

The story is centered around Siggard, a warrior who fought at Blackmarch with the Entsteig’s army. They had fought demons there led by the favored archdemon of the Lord of Terror: Lord Assur. This archdemon has a peculiar glyph of invincibility that makes him feared by the Vizjerei Mage clans. There is however one thing that may kill him, and that would be spoiling it. I did see it coming when I read what could kill him, but was unsure as the requirements for it to happen were not clear at sight, specially with the interaction of Siggard with the other characters.

Ever since the Night of Souls through the events in Brennor, it kept bouncing around my mind why Siggard can’t remember anything about Blackmarch until certain point as if he had magically forgotten. As I was reaching the last pages of the story, it was more evident my suspicions were right, but the idea resulted contradictory. Making me doubt.  Robert B. Marks wrote here a very nice story, and wrapped up with a surprise few could have seen coming. It keeps a fast pace, while adding elements of suspense. I enjoyed the read and don’t regret it. One well-known character appears a couple of times, but heavily weights on the outcome of the story: Tyrael.

I will be reading through the Diablo Archive in upcoming days. One thing I am glad of doing, however, is to have started backwards, reading Diablo: Demonsbane first. It is a pity this story was brought as an ebook and as a short novella. As an ebook, it didn’t get the attention it deserved in 2000. And as a novella, it was too short. The story was worth an entire book of 378 pages. I hope the author writes a continuation of Siggard’s adventures.  Otherwise, I would like to read a new story from him again. Take note Blizzard. Cheers, Robert B. Marks.

Go grab your copy of the Diablo Archive.

Blizzplanet - 2008 New York Comic Con - Blizzard Licensed Products

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Merchandise, Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage

DESCRIPTION

Medievaldragon attended 2008 New York Comic Con at the Jacobs K. Javits Center in Manhattan to bring coverage of the event to Blizzplanet.  There I met Richard A. Knaak and Keith R.A. DeCandido who are writing material for various volumes of the upcoming Starcraft and Warcraft mangas to be published by Tokyopop.  Other Blizzard Entertainment licensed products were showcased at the New York Comic Con by Upper Deck Entertainment, DC Comics & DC Unlimited, and Pocket Books. Below are articles covering information provided at the event, and lots of product photos and images.

 

Women: From Punk/Metal to World of Warcraft - The Explicits Band Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews


In a macho-driven society there is no place for successful women who can both pursue a career, fulfill their dreams and be a competitive gamer. Such women are a myth. Right?  Or so shortsighted people think. World of Warcraft nowadays has a population of over 10 million players worldwide. A large percent is composed by women of all ages. I have been able to play alongside women playing Rogues or even tanking a raid with their Prot Warrior and doing a heck of a job like any man, if not better.

Today, Blizzplanet interviews a young woman age 20 who currently studies a career in college, has fulfilled her dream … to sing, compose, play the guitar and be founder of her own punk/metal band; and enjoys playing World of Warcraft. That singer you are listening right now in the background is a woman:  Renee Phoenix from The Explicits Band.

LOS ANGELES (Top40 Charts/ Explicit Records) – While her friends are consumed with college life, Renee Phoenix of the punk/metal band The Explicits was able to find time to close the books and record her self-titled debut, due out independently on Explicit Records on April 8, 2008. As a Junior at The University of North Florida, she somehow balances achieving her English degree with the demanding schedule that comes along with playing in an up and coming band. “The entire process was exciting for all of us,” she describes of the recording of the album. “I’m a very impatient person so I couldn’t wait for this project to be completed and blast it in my car.” When she is not knee-deep studying to finish her career, or singing in her punk/metal band The Explicits, Renee enjoys playing World of Warcraft.

Who are the members of the Explicits and their roles in the band?

Renee: We have Kevin Vu on lead guitars and backup vocals, Jarrod Welsh on drums, Noah Ray with bass and me, Renee Phoenix, on lead vocals and guitar. We’re all 20 with the exception of Noah who is 18.

When did the group decide to create this band and how did it happen?

Renee: I was, and still am, attending college at The University of North Florida. In my Sophomore year, 2006, I had an idea to form a band and quickly recruited by friend Jarrod on the drums. We then found a bassist, well we found and went through a few bassists, and finally ended up with Noah. We were originally a three-piece for quite some time, but I decided to add an extra guitar in there for some girth and got Kevin on board.

What type of music are you producing in this album?

Renee: We’ve been classified as everything from punk to metal to screamo. Honestly, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what the hell we are. All the material I wrote for this release came from me. I refuse to write something to stay within a certain “genre.” I write whatever I feel like writing at the time and feels right.

Are you a World of Warcraft gamer? Or do any other members of the Explicits play it? If so, what are your character races, and level?

Renee: Sadly, I’m the only person in the band that plays Warcraft. During the recording process, our engineer and producer, Stan Martell, played as well so we had something to talk about and keep us entertained. I had a level 60 rogue gnome until I deleted that account and now I’m working on another character who is a warrior gnome.

What attracts you to World of Warcraft?

Renee: I love the controls, graphics, everything. It’s a game that one can get easily addicted to. The whole aspect of role-playing is appealing to me. Oh, god that sounds sexual…let me clarify…role-playing as a different character … you know, this just isn’t going to work. I like the game, I play it often, and it never gets old.

If you had the chance to be a World of Warcraft developer for a day, what features or fixes would you do to the game?

Renee: I’d change the overpopulation in the alliance areas. Starting from scratch is somewhat annoying when you have 10 different people killing all the boars when you only need 1 more boar’s rib.

What do you think of the social network aspect of World of Warcraft?

Renee: It’s a lot of fun when people group together for raids and dungeons. I like the multi-player aspect of the game. This one time my friend ran around half naked trying to get other people to take their clothes off and managed to be successful at it. Then they all proceeded to dance together and form a train. It was hilarious.

What do you think about women gamers?

Renee: It’s very sexy. I think more women should definitely play. I mean, I find it a lot of fun. Just because you’re a girl, doesn’t mean it’s not appropriate for you to play. F*ck societies labels, do what you want to do and have fun doing it damn it.

Talking about women, where do you get all this passion and energy to sing, or as you called it recently … a war cry?

Renee: I love singing. The energy from the audience is where a lot of my passion comes from as well as the enthusiasm a lot of our fans have for our music. It’s the best feeling in the world when someone likes what you’ve accomplished and have put a lot of hard work into.

What could you tell fellow World of Warcraft fans to encourage them to listen to your music?

Renee: It’s different from what you’ve been brain drained to on the radio. Just because people like to say we’re punk or metal, doesn’t mean we necessarily are. Give us a try, as it seems to be that a lot of people, who don’t like the all-encompassing rock genre, seem to like us for some reason. So listen to us or I’ll poop on your keyboard.

The Explicits will make a public appearance on March, 28 2008 at Bourbon Street Station *Studio 80*
1770 Saint Johns Bluff Rd., Jacksonville, Florida 32246.  If you wish to listen to some of their song clips visit their official MySpace Site. The Explicits are available soon at a place near you through their upcoming Spring Tour.

SUFFOCATE – LYRICS

Hey, my conscious on the run.

It’s only cause I forgot to tell you
that you’re not the only one.

Come, and show me what you got.

My guess is better than yours as
its not what I am, it’s about what I’m not.

Whoa, come on and hate me.

My reputation precedes me.

In everything that you see.

May not be the best of me,
or of her, or of him that could be.

Nothing in the past relate.

Pledge to us your undying hate.

With these memories of few.

Suffocating me, suffocating you.

Breathe, in your fascination.

About how I overcame
how I suffered with our asphyxiation.

You, you’re not all that I got.

I hope with these last words that
I scream from my mouth, that you.

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Patch 2.4 PTR - Magister’s Terrace

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

If you are doing a Magister’s Terrace run for first time, I recommend you to take all the quests from Shattered Sun NPCs before heading to the dungeon. There is a quest titled Magister’s Terrace which asks you to find an NPC named Tyrith. You will find him at the Halls of Theory. More of this later in this article.

The Magister’s Terrace is a 5-players dungeon located northeast of Quel’Danas Isle. You may find the zone-in heading east of the Shattered Sun Offensive boat following the coast. You will find a road going uphill to a big palace atop. That is the Magister’s Terrace.

OBSERVATION GROUNDS (Upper level)

After zone-in you will find both interior and outdoor portions inside the dungeon. You enter into the Observation Grounds—a bridge designed as an elevated garden with orange trees, and tall elven statues. There are four pulls in this area. A group by the gate, two individual groups at the center, and a group at the end. Your first target should be the healer, sheep, trap or sap the warlock—depending on your group line-up. A very important thing to look after in this dungeon is a strange cloud field that shows up most of the times you pull a mob group.

The first group is by the gate. A Sunblade Mage Guard at each side of the gate.

There is a patrol, which means you should pull the guards to the zone-in area to avoid aggro. The patrol has random spawn.  You will either face a Sunblade Physician and a Sunblade Magister; or a Blood Knight and a Warlock. Either patrol line-up you get, kill the healers first: Blood Knight or Physician.

At the center of the bridge are two separate groups of four mobs each. You can engage one group without aggroing the other, however be careful … they aren’t too far away. They do not have fear abilities which is good. Each of these groups contain the following line-up:

  • Sunblade Magister
  • Sunblade Blood Knight
  • Sunblade Warlock with imp
  • Sunblade Mage Guard

The second group has a replacement for the Warlock. It is a Physician. These mobs can be crowd controlled. The Sunblade Magister is immune to mind control, however.

The last group at the end of the Upper Observation Grounds is composed of four mobs. Two of them on each side of the gate. A Sunblade Warlock and Blood Knight on the right and a Sunblade Magister and Physician on the left. The best way to deal with your enemy is learning about their abilities and spells; and their potential damage and tricks up their sleeves. Below is a list of spells and abilities you should be aware of.


Bosses Map

Locations Map

SUNBLADE MAGE GUARD – Melee attacks do around 777-1258 physical damage.

  • Dampening Field: It is an instant cast within 60 yards and creates a field of anti-magic around the target enemy. Enemies in this field take 75% less damage from spells and receive 75% less healing. As soon as you see this spell deployed move away. Your healers will have a hard time keeping people alive. It looks like a arcane cloud which makes an annoying and constant sound. It will debuff you. Easy to spot.
  • Glaive Throw: Instant cast. Deals 2828 to 3172 damage to target enemy, stunning them for 2 sec. This effect will jump to 2 other nearby targets.


SUNBLADE PHYSICIAN

  • Inject Poison: Casting time 1 sec. Inject Poison dealing damage over time.
  • Prayer of Mending: Costs 200 Mana, 40 yard range, Instant cast. 10 seconds cooldown. Places a spell on the target that heals them for 2828 to 3172 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.

SUNBLADE MAGISTER

  • Spell Haste: Casting speed increased by 40%. It can be dispelled (Magic). Note: Can stack 4 times. Make sure to dispell it, or keep him crowd-controlled.
  • Enchantment of Spell Haste: Upon casting a spell, increases cast speed by 10%. Note: This seems to be an aura, can’t be dispelled.
  • Frostbolt: Hits you for aproximately 1778-2035 frost damage.

SUNBLADE BLOOD KNIGHT

  • Judgement of Wrath: Melee range. Instant.
  • Seal of Wrath: 5 sec cooldown. Instant cast.
  • Holy Light: Calls upon Holy magic to heal an ally. Costs 150 mana and 2 sec cast. 40 yard range.

SUNBLADE WARLOCK

  • Incinerate: Deals 1388-1612 Fire damage to enemies. Costs 150 mana, 1.5 sec cast, 30 yard range.
  • Fel Armor: Surrounds the caster with fel energy, increasing the amount of health generated through spells and effects by 30% and increasing spell damage by up to 250. Only one type of Armor spell can be active on te Warlock at any time. Lasts 30 minutes. Instant cast, costs 725 mana. Rank 2.
  • Immolate: Burns an enemy, then inflicts additional Fire damage every 3 sec. for 21 sec. Costs 95 mana, 2 sec cast, 30 yard range.

Next: The Assembly Chamber >>

MAGISTER’S TERRACE VIDEO


magisters-terrace-scenaris.wmv

World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card - Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Upper Deck Entertainment recently announced the upcoming release of a new art book titled World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game. An official release date has not been announced, but the book should debut this month (January 2008). It will be hard to describe the contents of this book, but it is just thrilling to hold it in your hand, and browse through pages and pages of great Warcraft-inspiring artwork. This review is divided into a few categories to take you along my journey as I open the box it was shipped to me in. The first thing you see after opening the box dazzles you and makes the experience more joyful: its overall cover design.



JACKET DESIGN COVER

World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game is a big book of 288-pages and 11” wide x9” high in dimensions. The book is eleven inches in width, so you have the pleasure of viewing bigger illustrations in more detail. I placed this book on my left hand to compare its weight with the, also big, Warcraft Manga Ultimate Edition I reviewed a few weeks ago. Upper Deck’s book is heavier. The first thing that captures your attention at eye contact is the awesome Ragnaros artwork on its jacket design cover with brilliant orange and yellow tones. Placing your hand on and rubbing the material of the jacket design cover feels like soft waxed paper. I had to rub the cover a few times. It just feels so good and comfortable to the touch. Almost addictive. Shows how much well thought the design of the book was conceived to pleasure visual and tact senses.

The cover is just a jacket paper wrapped around the book, which can be easily detachable, as it has no restraints binding it to the book. Personally, and this is my choice, I would remove the jacket design cover and frame it for posterity. You don’t want a fingerprint-smeared cover. It is so perfect looking, you would want to conserve it pristine.

On the back, it has six small icons on fire showing the logos and image of the World of Warcraft TCG series: Heroes of Azeroth, Through the Dark Portal, Fires of Outland, Onyxia’s Lair, Molten Core Raid Deck and Magtheridon’s Lair.

At the top of the back cover, it says: “Experience World of Warcraft:; through the eyes of the world’s top fantasy artists in this collection of paintings from the World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game. More than 300 dramatic visions of Azeroth come to life from such acclaimed talents as Samwise Didier, Todd McFarlane, Greg Staples, Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai, Marcelo Vignali, Todd Lockwood, and others. At the bottom it says: Feel the magic. Live the glory. Heed the call!

On the interior of the jacket paper wrapping the book, it says:

THE WAR IS REAL.
AND YOU ARE IN IT.

Experience the fantastic world of Azeroth like never before in World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game, a compendium of World of Warcraft®‘s most valiant heroes, devastating spellcasters, and bloodthirsty creatures. Upper Deck Entertainment, the co-creator of the popular World of Warcraft® Trading Card Game, has sifted through its vast archive of card art to share more than 300 drawings and paintings in epic detail.

Featuring the talent of such master craftsmen as Todd McFarlane and Greg Staples, World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game brings our most primeval dreams to life, weaving an elaborate tapestry of might and magic. Each breathtaking piece draws the reader further into the World of Warcraft® mythology, which has entranced millions of players worldwide. Complementing the stunning imagery are forewords by Blizzard Entertainment® Senior Art Director Samwise Didier and Art Lead Glenn Rane that provide unique insight into The Blizzard Way.

With more than 300 fantastic pieces of art, World of Warcraft: The Art of the Trading Card Game is the ultimate companion to the World of Warcraft® universe and a must-have treasure for World of Warcraft® enthusiasts everywhere.

BOOK COVER AND MATERIALS

I haven’t yet reviewed the artwork within, and I am already excited by the physical aspect: materials and design of this book. Let’s remove the jacket paper wrapping the book for a moment. I couldn’t but gasp at the material of the book cover. It is fairly a one-eight-of-an-inch thick. Rock solid, rigid cardboard. It takes some effort to attempt to bend it. The solid cardboard is wrapped firmly by what looks like a brown and very textured fabric. This one can’t be detached. It is embedded on the cardboard. In front of the book cover is symbol stamped in yellowish metalic paint … Two inverted triangles merged, a flaming eye at the center and a horned-skull above the eye. Opening the book to see its interior will make many who purchase this book a happy panda. Fifteen years ago, I graduated college with a Graphic Arts degree. Material planning and cost management was among the courses comprehending its program. I can tell you, right off the bat, this book has high quality materials. All pages are thick glossy paper. Nice to the touch, visually appealing, and … hold, sniff-sniff. These pages have a pleasant perfume fragance. Shows there was a lot of work, thought, and detail put into creating this book.


Purchase here

$40.00 – Save $10

BOOK CONTENT

6 Foreword: Samwise
8 Foreword: Glenn Rane
10 Introduction: Jeremy Cranford

12 The Alliance
96 The Horde

204 Monsters & Locations

286 Acknowledgements
287 Artist Index
288 Card Title Index

Forewords take a full page divided in two columns with a sample artwork on the next page. The Samwise f
oreword section offers you a nice Samwise artwork showing the Warcraft III Panda hero who splits into three pandas showing
its fire, air and earth aspects. That would make a great desktop wallpaper, if you have a scanner. Samwise explains how each artist is handpicked from hundreds of candidates and how each artist is brainwashed, and practice and practice until they get the artistic nature of the Blizzard style.

Glenn Rane goes into explaining the term called “Blizzard Quality” which is meeting and exceeding people’s expectations. Jeremy Cranford, Upper Deck Entertainment Creative Manager, Art Acquisition of the World of Warcraft TCG explains how they aimed to bring Warcraft to life through detailed artwork, similar to how Alex Ross does for comic books. Jeremy explains the process of hiring various artists with attention to details, and how as Creative Manager he criticizes and guides each artist in capturing the Warcraft feel. His foreword shows three before-and-after sample images showing how concept art has evolved after he has criticized or suggested an artist to make changes in order to capture the Warcraft feel.

The World of Warcraft TCG cards are divided in three categories: The Horde, The Alliance and Monsters & Locations. Some of the Monsters include Un’Goro dinosaurs, Molten Core bosses, Magtheridon and Onyxia. Each artwork is catalogued with Card Name, Artist Name and Medium Used—information placed near the card artwork. For example, the first artwork is described as follows:

Card Name
Graccus
Azeroth 4/361

Artist
Douglas Alexander

Medium Used
Digital

Most of the artwork is either made on digital, oil, or acrylic medium, with a very few exceptions which use colored pencil or gouache. Most of the artworks are incredibly detailed, and were painted with bright colors. Some of the stunning artwork resembles that of old-school Dungeon & Dragons, Dragonlance book covers, and other fantasy-setting books. Other artworks such as artist Udon and Michael Komarck’s look like norse mythology a la Alex Ross. Some artists such as Clint Langley use surreal or 3D elements. Each style capturing amazingly the World of Warcraft feel. Or comic-stylish such as the four TCG artworks by Gabe from Penny Arcade: Leeroy Jenkins (Warrior), Lt. Commander Dudefella (Mage), Dizdemona (Warlock) and Wyneth Harridan (Paladin).

Every World of Warcraft race and class is represented in this book, including the Draenei and the Blood Elves. Some of the cards portraying abilities, spells, items and weapons are shown in this book, such as bloodlust, charge, battle shout, fear, Sword of a Thousand Truths, Spectral Tiger, pick pocket, dampen magic, Noggenfoggen Elixir – among many others. If you can’t have enough after purchasing the World of Warcraft: Art of the Trading Card Game, you may be glad to know the jacket cover tags this book as Volume I, which may suggest there might be more volumes with new stunning artwork from the World of Warcraft TCG Series.

Whether you are a World of Warcraft TCG player, a Warcraft fan, or an artist yourself looking for inspiration and drawing/painting techniques from other fellow professional artists, this World of Warcraft: Art of the Trading Card Game is a must-have in your wishlist.


World of Warcraft®: The Art of the Trading Card Game

In January 2008, Upper Deck and Blizzard Entertainment® will release World of Warcraft®: The Art of the Trading Card Game, a new hardcover book featuring artwork created for the highly popular World of Warcraft Trading Card Game (TCG). Published by Chronicle Books, the 288-page, 11″x9” book will include more than 300 full-color iconic pieces of art featured during the first year of release of the World of Warcraft TCG.

World of Warcraf®: The Art of the Trading Card Game will include a collection of sketches, paintings and finished artwork highlighting a selection of World of Warcraft’s most valiant heroes, devasting spellcasters and bloodthirsty creatures created by some of today’s top fantasy artists. These artists include Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Greg Staples (Judge Dredd), Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai (InQuest Gamer magazine’s “Artists of the Year” recipients), Marcelo Vignali (Disney Animation), and Todd Lockwood (Forgotten Realms), among others.

Insightful forewords are given by Blizzard’s Senior Art Director, Samwise Didier, and Art Lead Glenn Rane. Jeremy Cranford, Art Acquisitions Manager for Upper Deck Entertainment, provides the book’s introduction.

For more information on World of Warcraft TCG Products, log on to www.wowtcg.com or www.upperdeckstore.com


Purchase here

$40.00 – Save $10

CARD TITLE INDEX

Abyssal
Acolyte Demia
Aegis of the Blood God
Aldori Legacy Defender
Aleyah Dawnborn
Anchorite Kalinna
Ancient Core Hound
Anger Management
Angrida
Araelun
Arcane Blast
Arcane Power
Aspect of the Hawk
Aspect of the Viper
Avanthera

Bad Mojo Mask
Baron Geddon
Battle of Darrowshire
Battle Shout
Bellowing Roar
Benethor Draigo
Berserker Rage
Big Game Hunter
Blade Flurry
Blistering Fire
Blood Guard Mal’wani
Bloodlust
Bloodrage
Bluffwatchers
Boat to Booty Bay
Borlis Brode
Bulkas Wildhorn

Call of the Wild
Cannibalize
Challenging Shout
Charge
Chen Stormstrout
“Chipper” Ironbane
Chromatic Cloak
Chromie

Claw
Cleave
Commanding Shout
Core Hound Tooth
Corki’s Ransom
Crown of Destruction
Crush
Crushing Blow

Dampen Magic
Daspien Bladedancer
Deacon Johanna
Deadly Brew
Demoralizing Shout
Destiny
Diplomacy
Divine Shield
Dizdemona
A Donation of Silk
Doomguard
Dragon Hide
Drusenna the Vigilant
Dual Wield
Durdin Hammerhand
Dwarven Hand Cannon

Earth Shock
Elendril
Erytheis
Eskhandar’s Right Claw
Execute
Expose Armor
Eye of Kilrogg
Eye of Rend
Ez’trin

Faith Healer’s Boots
Fang of the Crystal Spider
The Fare of Lar’korwi
Fear
Field Commander Olinnae
Fillet Kneecapper Extraordinaire
Finkle Einhorn
Fire Elemental Totem
Firelord
Firesworn
Fizzle
Flames of the Incinerator
Flametongue Weapon
Flaming Assault
Flight Form
Foolish Mortals
Forbidden Knowledge
Force of Nature
Fortune Telling
Frost Shock
Frost Trap
Fury
Fury of the Firelord

Garr
Gehennas
Girdle of Uther
Goldenmoon
Golemagg the Incinerator
Graccus
Greefer
Grennan Stormspeaker
Grumpherys
Gurubashi Dwarf Destroyer
Gustaf Trueshot

The Hammer of Grace
Hammer of Ragnaros
The Haunted Mills
Hellfire Channeler
Hellreaver
Helw
en
Herod’s Shoulder
He Who Has No Life
Hidden Enemies
High Overlord Saurfang
Hotter Than Goo
Hur Shieldsmasher

Immolate
Indalamar
Infernal
Innervate
Inspire
Inventor’s Focal Sword

Jackknife
Jazmin Bloodlove
Jin’do’s Bag of Whammies

Jon Reaver

Kaal Soulreaper
Kailis Truearc
Kallipssa
Kana Nassis
Katsin Bloodoath
Kavai the Wanderer
Killing Spree
King Magni Bronzebeard
King Mukla
Kor Cindervein
Kralnor
Kulan Earthguard
Kulvo Jadefist

Landro Longshot
Last Stand
Latro Abiectus
Lava Spit
Lava Splash
Leeroy Jenkins
Legplates of Wrath
Lt. Commander Dudefella
Lobotomize
The Lobotomizer
Lokholar the Ice Lord
The Love Potion
Lucifron

Magma Blast
Magmadar
Magtheridon
Magtheridon’s Rage
Malfunction
Manhunt
Manticron Cube
Mazar
Meekway Humzinger
Mind Soothe
Mind Spike
Mind Vision
Moala Stonebinder
Mojo Mender Ja’nah
Molten Armor
Molten Giants
Mordotz
Morova of the Sands

Najan Spiritbinder
Nalkas
Nathressa Darkstrider
Nalkas
Nesmend Darkbreaker
Nightfire
Noggenfogger Elixir
Nyn’jah

Obsidian Edged Blade
Omendus the Punisher
One-Thousand-Battles
Onyxia
Orgrimmar Grunts
Ornate Adamantium Breastplate
Outrider Zarg
Overseer Oilfist
Ozzati

Pagatha Soulbinder
Panax the Unstable
Parren Shadowshot
Parvink
Penelope’s Rose
The Perfect Stout
Phadalus the Enlightened
Pick Pocket
Pithran Mithrilshot
Plagueborn Meatwall
Poison Water
Prayer of Healing
Predatory Gloves

Ra’chee
Radak Doombringer
Ragnaros
Rampage
Raul “Fingers” Maldren
Reaver of the Infinites
The Relics of Wakening
Renew
Retribution Aura
Reverend Tobias
Rexxar

Sal Grimstalker
Savin Lightguard
Scimitar of the Nexus Stalker
Scorch
Scout Omerrta
Seal of the Crusader
Seva Shadowdancer
Shadowmistress Jezebel Hawke
Shadowstrike
Shawn of the Dead
Shred Soul
Silencing Shot
Sister Rot
Slam
Slice and Dice
Slow
Snarl Hellwind
Sneak
Sonic Spear
Sow Destruction
Spectral Tiger
Spellbreaker’s Buckler
Spellsteal
Spinal Reaper
Spirit Healer
Spiritual Attunement
Spirtual Healing
Spiritual Wrench
Stellaris
Stitches
Stone Guard Rashun
Sulfuron Harbinger
Sunder Armor
Sus’vayin
Sword of a Thousand Truths

Tail Swipe
Tanwa the Marksman
Taz’dingo
Teebu’s Blazing Longsword
Telrander
Tempest, Son-of-Storms
Terrifying Presence
Test of Faith
Timmo Shadestep
Tinkmaster Overspark
Tiril Dawnrider
Totem of Coo
Touch of Chaos
Travel Form
Tristan Rapidstrike
Tyrus Sheynathren

Ubel Sternbrow
Undaunted Defense

Valanos
Valthak Spiritdrinker
Victoria Jaton
Vigilance
Vindicator Enkallus

Wanted: “Hogger”
Warmaster Hork
Warrax
When Smokey Sings, I get Violent
Windfury Totem
Windseer Tarus
Wrath
Wrath of Ragnaros
Wyneth Harridan

Yanna Dai’shalan

Zalazane
Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds
Zomm Hopeslayer
Zygore Bladebreaker
Zy’lah Manslayer

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - South Seas Dilemma

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, WoW Beta Archive

Since the announcement of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King at Blizzard Entertainment’s Game Convention dubbed BlizzCon 2007—at Anaheim Convention Center, it’s come to attention the introduction of its new World Map which has added new islands and landmasses.

The new landmass or peninsula is wrongly perceived to be part of Stormwind.  Taking a closer look, this will be one of the placeholder regions, the one west of Burning Steppes.  The place is an enigma as there is no records in Warcraft lore or early Warcraft II maps describing this region.

Among the isles seen in the new World Map are Tel Abim (east of Theramore), Isle of Kezan (the biggest isle in the South Seas mostly known for its Undermine City, land of the Goblins, located south of the Maelstrom), Plunder Isle (the smallest isle, west of Stranglethorn Vale) and Zandalar Isle (home of the Zandalar trolls who give quests for Zul’Gurub, the isle is located to the southwest of Westfall)—as shown below.


Click the image

With the appearance of these isles in the World Map, the questions are … will the South Seas ship in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King? Will the South Seas be added to Wrath of the Lich King as downloadable major content patches?  Or will the South Seas be a future standalone expansion pack?

This is not yet clear.  And Blizzard has given no official word or announcement on the topic.

Blizzard introduced new isles to the world map with World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade on November 2006.  These new isles became the Draenei level 1-20 starting location: Azuremyst and Bloodmyst—just south of Teldrassil.

Both isles are pretty big even for a level 70 player on an epic mount.  Took me about an hour or longer to travel and explore both Isles to make sure the map would show all locations as fully explored.

By looking at the new World Map in Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack: Tel Abim Isle, Zandalar Isle and Plunder Isle look barely smaller than Bloodmyst alone.  So, it wouldn’t take much work to add these in the second expansion.  After all the Burning Crusade expansion added Outland, Bloodmyst Isle, Azuremyst Isle and Quel’Thalas altogether at game launch, and leaving Black Temple and Zul’Aman off game launch as major content patches.

Even the Northrend demo shown at Blizzcon 2007, is not all the content of the second expansion.  It is obvious, the expansion is still in development and Blizzard didn’t have everything ready to show it all at Blizzcon.  As you may see on the screenshot below, Blizzard only showcased the Borean Tundra, Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills and the Howling Fjord.


Click the image

The screenshot above shows gray-marked unexplored regions north of these yellow marked regions mentioned above.  The missing locations not revealed at Blizzcon 2007 panels are: Sholazar Basin, Lake Wintergrasp, Storm Peaks, Azjol-Nerub, Crystalsong Forest, Zul’Drak and the stronghold of the Lich King … Icecrown Glacier and its Frozen Throne.


Click the image

Back on 2005, the first Blizzcon only revealed Outland and the new race: Blood Elves along with their homeland Quel’Thalas as their level 1-20 starting location.  The second new race was kept secret and not shown at Blizzcon 2005.  The Draenei and their starting location: Azuremyst and Bloodmyst Isles were revealed around May 2006 by an Italian magazine which leaked the Draenei as the new race.

Will Blizzard surprise fans with the announcement of South Seas as part of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion?  We will have to wait and see.

Source Links:

 

Blizzcon 2007 Videos

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage


For those of you who were unable to attend the conference, here are most of this year’s panels. Videos are cut in 10 minutes increments for youtube in order to keep them high quality. Blizzcon was a very cool event and I want to thank the developers for taking the time to answer questions.

NOTE: Please keep bumping this for people who may have missed those

250.000 views so far

Opening Ceremony – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007

Mike Morhaime’s speech and introduction to The Wrath of the Lich Kind by Frank Pierce

1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVyeoPLW3D8

2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXgR3WjVqt0

3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzVQILVib4s

4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQPM9evJQ3Q

Northrend Developer Panel – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007

Note: Higher Quality is being added this afternoon

Jeff Kaplan – Tom Chilton – Lee Sparks – Cory Stockton

1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2hH-S3dPKA

2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlX70PsEupw

3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFUCFuDBVUk

4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_geCiXqMsw

5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25k13mnbqQA

6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZdNhEq-Fpk

This video is being redone in higher quality and without cutting the last question…sorry about that.

WoW Class Discussion Panel – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007

Tom chilton – Rob Pardo – Cory Stockton – Kevin Jrdan

1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fePOPgpJzk

2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YXD9KpQ-Qg

3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu46t7mMr0I

4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnYqmES2jJw

5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM_WqS8NRDo

6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4RuMGXxGJU

Dungeons and Raids – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007

Jeff Kaplan – Lee Sparks – Scott Mercer and Jeff Goodman

1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfb1LPo08i4

2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MnaOCDWWeE

3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKczgdDwGG0

4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKmVIeqSU-U

5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOOVDq8kfcE

6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7YzRpXcwS4

7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGpUX1FpA_I

WoW Professions & Items

1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGhe4cQi4iA

2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ArbSj0rEkA

3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyzemoDkaRE

4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk76X29kClk

5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ8w8fC94_k

6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGW-e67DDe4

7 – later tonight

PVP Developers Panel – Day 2 – Saturday August 4th 2007

Tom Chilton & Jeff Kaplan. Panel moderated by Drysc and Nethera.

1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azbolVrSOO0

2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bINDqosD-9M

3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McWg54PIsE8

4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4SHP4igfbI

5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGFMLDg7gm8

6 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjLtxHqLlw4

7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMn09CFYCaI

http://www.wcradio.com side panels videos

Legendary Pictures Panel – Day 2 – Saturday 4th 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSG2DiejFJ8

WoW Lore & Quests Panel – Day 2 – Saturday 4th 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOB7o00hlAc

Careers in Gaming Panel – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDJFpvfn9uQ

WoW UI and Mods panel – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2OTFf9SH_E

IGN Video Interview from the press room

http://youtube.com/watch?v=cQmcrSavZWw

Lament of the Highborne – Blizzcon Performance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI7k2hrahDw

Blizzcon 2007 - IGN Coverage

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage

BlizzCon 2007: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Video Interview. Producer J. Allen Brack fields questions about your favorite MMO.
http://pc.ign.com/articles/810/810703p1.html

BlizzCon 2007: Executive Panel Summary
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/954/954150/vids_1.html

PC: BlizzCon 2007: StarCraft II Video Interview
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/850/850126/vids_1.html

BlizzCon 2007: World of StarCraft Not in Development
http://pc.ign.com/articles/810/810715p1.html

BlizzCon 2007: Wrath of the Lich King Hands-on
http://pc.ign.com/articles/810/810720p1.html

BlizzCon 2007: World of Warcraft PvP
Blizzard listens to the cries of its fans for the future of PvP.
http://pc.ign.com/articles/810/810721p1.html

BlizzCon 2007: World of Warcraft Classes
Blizzard discusses the process of creating a new class in World of Warcraft
http://pc.ign.com/articles/810/810722p1.html

BlizzCon 2007: WoW Professions and Items
http://pc.ign.com/articles/810/810723p1.html

BlizzCon 2007: Paul Sams Video Interview
He talks about Diablo.
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/954/954150/vids_1.html

BlizzCon 2007: StarCraft II Demo Video
http://media.pc.ign.com/media/850/850126/vids_1.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoVYlFOrhvc

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade - Tempest Keep: The Eye - Void Reaver

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

The Void Reaver is the first boss in Tempest Keep: The Eye, the dungeon of Kael’Thas Sunstrider.  Divide your raid in 5 groups.  Ask your teams to stick together so that its team healer is able to keep everyone up.  All ranged DPS and healers must be on top of the golden ring.

Ranged DPS and Healers: Void Reaver launches non-stop an arcane ball toward random players in all directions.  When the arcane balls impact the ground they do around 6,000 damage AOE expanding 20 yards in all directions.  Players shouldn’t go outwards away from the circle’s golden ring to run from the arcane balls.  This results in delays and thus lack of DPS or heals.  Run either to the right or to the left walking along the permeter of the golden circle.  Healers must concentrate their healing on melee only.  And your own team.  You can close all other unnecessary team health bars to widen your viewing range onscreen.  Keep melee up at all times, and this event is easy cake.

Everyone else should either heal themselves (healers) or use bandages.

This boss fight is mostly a survival event, but still a DPS race.  Your team must kill Void Reaver before 10 minutes, at which point he goes into enrage-mode one-shotting the tank and everyone else.  This means if your raid team doesn’t get Void Reaver under 50% within 5 minutes, you should recalll the raid team to run back to the doorway to reset the event to not waste time.

The raid leader and some of the players should have the addon.  This addon will automatically alert players who is marked by Void Reaver.  Basically, the addon uses the the tag symbols to mark whoever is about to get a arcane ball a skull symbol over their head.  Your raid team must be educated to watch either a skull symbol or a text message above people’s head.  You can program what text can be displayed above you in a chat bubble, such as: ORB INCOMING!

When a player gets tagged, the player and everyone near him must run either left or right at least 20 yards.  Healers should try not to get beyond the golden ring to heal.  It’s preferable to move around the golden ring until you are able to reach your healing target.

Melee: Void Reaver will often knock a melee player back, clearing his threat meter and shifting to another melee target.  Knockback has a 30 second cooldown, and will knock back the player with most threat.  If you have a paladin, keep a Blessing of Salvation on Rogues, Retribution/Prot Paladins and Fury Warriors, to concentrate the major threat on the main tank.  Nevertheless, Void Reaver will still change targets.  Just hope he won’t stay on too long on other melee targets.  Get a threat meter addon to stay low profile.

Keep Void Reaver at the center of the circle at all times so that healers do not get out of range messages.  This means if you are knocked back, you must make sure to pull him back to the center.  Everyone who gets aggro after the main tank is knocked back must take care of centering him until the main tank gets aggro again.

BlizzCon 2007 Coverage - Blizzplanet

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage

This year’s BlizzCon will be a blast event.  Two unannounced projects will be unveiled, and there could be a few surprises.  Starcraft II will be playable by the public for first time at the Anaheim Convention Center’s game room.  Attendees will play via LAN against each other.

Strong rumors suggest a new World of Warcraft expansion will be announced.  Not long ago a Blizzard Executive revealed plans for a yearly expansion release.

A strange listing and unlisting of a Diablo film happened early on June 2007 at the official Legendary Pictures website.  Would it be a wild guess to expect its formal announcement at BlizzCon?  We will have to wait and see.

BLIZZCON – DAY TWO

Latest News
Wrath of the Lich King Overview – Hooked Gamers
Warcraft Movie: First Concept Art, 2009 Release, Better than “Doom” – Shacknews
Blizzcon 2007: Raid and Dungeon Panel and new information – WARCRY
Wrath of the Lich King may require Burning Crusade – JOYSTIQ

 

BLIZZCON – DAY ONE

Latest News
Details On The StarCraft II Single Player Campaign – KOTAKU
Starcraft II Coverage – SCLegacy
Starcraft II: In-Game Mission Briefings – Shacknews
BlizzCon 07: Morhaime masters opening ceremonies – Gamespot
Starcraft II demoed by Rob Pardo – Gamespot
Starcraft II Hands-On – Shacknews
Games for Windows Magazine features a Wow: Wrath of the Lich King Cover Artwork – Kotaku
Wrath of the King Overview – IGN
Starcraft II Screenshots – Voodoo Extreme
Northrend: The Borean Tundra
Wow: Wrath of the Lich King official site launches
Blizzplanet – BlizzCon Opening: Audio MP3
Blizzplanet – BlizzCon Opening: Official Info
Blizzcon Blogging and Photos opening Ceremony – Joystiq
Opening Ceremony blog timeline from 10:40am – 11:30am – Shacknews
Tuskar Hunter? Playable Race? – Wow Insider
Vivendi has alerted press that Blizzard will be making an “exciting” announcement tonight at 20:00 UK time. – Eurogamer
Official: Photo of Wow: Wrath of the Lich King @ Joystiq
Blizzplanet @ BlizzCon
Starcraft II: Kerrigan Interview

PRE-BLIZZCON COVERAGE

                     

           

Latest News
CONFIRMED: Wrath of the Lich King
Drumroll to Blizzcon (Video)
Richard A. Knaak: Message to Fans
BlizzCon 2007 Schedule
BlizzCon Schedule
Fantasy Flight Games Line-Up
Faces of BlizzCon – Dev Photos
Christie Golden @ BlizzCon 2007
Richard A. Knaak @ BlizzCon 2007 – 2 products Showcased
Jim Lee @ BlizzCon 2007 – Wow Comic Book
Blizzplanet @ BlizzCon 2007
Next Wow Expansion … South Seas or Northrend?
World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness Novel—Related to Next Wow Expansion?
Diablo Film by Legendary Pictures?
>Richard A. Knaak Hints Diablo III ?

San Diego Comic Con 2007 - Blizzard Entertainment

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Event Coverage

Blizzard Entertainment will be at San Diego Comic Con 2007 through July 26-29. Check out latest news about Blizzard products at the event.

Sideshow Collectibles, Chris Metzen and Mickey Neilson will unveil a new World of Warcraft sculpture, and rumor is Jim Lee (Wildstorm) will be there too. Will there be a Wow Comic book? We will investigate. Read the news below.  Updates will be added to this page as the event approaches.


         

         

Latest News
Metzen Talks about Wow Comic Book!
(Podcast and Photos)
1UP Gets Starcraft II Exclusive Hands-On
(4-pages & Video interview)
World of Warcraft Diorama # 1 – Pre-Orders Available!
DC Comics Unveils New Burning Crusade Action Figures!
Glynnis Talken (Kerrigan) @ SDCC
World of Warcraft Diorama# 1 Unveiled by Sideshow Collectibles
Glynnis Talken @ San Diego Comic Con (Sarah Kerrigan) on Sunday
World of Warcraft Comic Book Free Sampler Scan
World of Warcraft Comic Book @ San Diego Comic Con?
Starcraft II @ San Diego Comic Con – Karune
World of Warcraft Sculpture @ San Diego Comic Con

Starcraft Ghost: Nova - Novel Review

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, BlizzPlanet Articles

Just finished reading StarCraft Ghost: Nova novel, by Keith R.A. DeCandido. I had purchased the book back on December, but had procrastinated on reading it. I regret that now. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading.

Keith R.A. DeCandido is a Star Trek book writer, he is done detective and fantasy police procedural novels such as Dragon Precinct, Spider-Man: Venom’s Wrath and Spiderman: Down These Mean Streets, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer – The Xander Years, Rodenberry’s Andromeda, Farscape and others. Most recently author of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred. A very experienced book writer leaving deep footprints in top sci-fi universes.

With StarCraft Ghost: Nova, I was expecting some Zerg fragging as in previous StarCraft novels. However, this read was far from that and unexpected. Instead, the novel starts with Nova being assigned to her first outdoor mission. It meant a lot to her. This was her test before graduation after two-years-and-a-half training in the Ghost Program.

And it was not just any mission. It was one she had pleasure doing. To kill Cliff Nadaner, leader of a rebel group who hated the Confederates, the Old Families and even the Sons of Korhal. Three years before this mission, Nadaner ordered the assassination of Nova’s family … the Terra. Now it was payback. This mission would not only be payback, it was important for her to get graduated. All Ghosts must agree to a memory-wipe as requirement to becoming a Ghost officially. That would silence the memories of all the hundreds of people she killed at the penthouse and at the Gutter district, and the thoughts of her family at the moment of their deaths.

The novel has very interesting turnpoints. It mentions, throughout the story, key moments of the StarCraft Universe, letting you know where and when in time the events progress. After the first pages, before Nova carries out her mission, we are transported back three years before this mission to witness what molded Nova. She was the youngest daughter of Constantino Terra … one of the Old Families aristocrats. The Old Families were descendants of the Commanders who came in the supercarrier ships that crashed in the Koprulu sector, coming from Earth. Constantino owned various industries and ventures. He owned the company that created robotics for the Confederates such as hovercars and hoverbikes. He was the only one who opposed the Confederates and the Old Families’ decision to nuke Korhal IV.

The novel has different tastes such as humor, suspense, detective/police procedural elements, some scenes reminded me of Blade the Vampire Hunter (Marvel Comics), and a few parts which reminded me of Goodfellas film, specially when Nova is forced by a crimelord to serve him as his personal telepath bully at the drugs and crime district known as the Gutter. I wasn’t really expecting the novel to have all these elements. Although this Gutter plot deviated the course of the novel from a StarCraft setting, it did make you feel empathic with Nova and motivates you to understand what led her to become a Ghost and why she doesn’t remember her past. The loss of her family right in front of her eyes and her six months captivity in the Gutter, killing over 75 people to please her boss, explains the tough personality and honed abilities of Nova as a Ghost in the game. She may not remember her past, but the events of her past led her to wish to be trained as a Ghost and to wish to lose her memories by free will.

When I was reading the part of the Gutter which covers over 100 pages out of the 304 pages, I personally wished the author had focused more on the StarCraft events surrounding the plot and maybe removing the entire Gutter district plot. However, once the plot finished and we are moved the next six months when Nova enrolls in the Ghost Program, I had to admit that period of the Gutter district gave a meaning to Nova’s reasons to join the Ghost Program. Hers was a very tough life, and really makes you at times feel portrayed. You get to see daily real life issues upclose such as drug addiction, sex, crime, psychological manipulation, , poverty, apathetic capitalism and wealthy, anarchy, social oppression and underwage. The novel covers it all in a real life spectrum, set in a futuristic stage. I recommend StarCraft fans to get ahold of StarCraft Ghost: Nova.

You won’t see Protoss or Zerg fraggapalooza, but you will get a glimpse to various aspects of the Confederates, the Old Families and the Ghost Program in Tarsonis. As well as to witness the tragic life of November Annabelle Terra, aka Nova.

The novel starts around the time of StarCraft: Liberty’s Crusade. Throughout the novel you will read a few mentions of events – via Tarsonis UNN Press Reporters – such as:

1. The destruction of Korhal IV and the background of how the Confederates managed to get support from the Old families to carry out that decision.

2. The Protoss destroying Chau Sara and Mar Sara.

3. The attacks on Antiga Prime by the Sons of Korhal.

4. The rise to power by Mengsk claiming Antiga Prime as its ruler.

5. General Duke siding with Mengsk, betraying Tarsonis.

6. The invasion of the Zerg on Tarsonis

7. The establishment of the Dominion government with Arcturus Mengsk as Emperor.

Mengsk will do a cameo by the end of the novel talking to Nova and to Agent Malcolm Kelerchian the Wrangler (A Ghost Porgram telepath hunter). I would really like to have Nova and Malcolm as heroe units in StarCraft 2. Both are very strong characters with appealing personalities such as Jim Raynor.

Elements I wish the novel could have mentioned was the Confederates Squadrons such as the Alpha Squadron, rather than inventing a new one. The invasion of Tarsonis was mostly skipped entirely moving forward many weeks after. It would have been nice to have seen Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, and Tassadar in cameos. Specially since someone such powerful a telepath as Nova, could have drawn Tassadar’s attention when they were on Tarsonis’ orbit before the Zerg overrun Kerrigan’s basecamp on the orbital platform. It is known Tassadar had briefly contacted Sarah with his mind long before they met in one of the game campaigns, although never explained.

Or gone more deep into Constantino’s involvement with the Zerg experiments. We get to briefly read Constantino regrets helping the Confederates with experiments with Zerg. In StarCraft game, Arcturus tells Jim Raynor he witnessed Zerg held by the Confederates when he was a prisoner. This was a year before Chau Sara was destroyed. Now we know Constantino Terra, Nova’s father, had something to do with those Zerg experiments since he was owner of the main robotics industry in Tarsonis. The novel also features the eldest of the Old Families … a woman age 150. The Duke Family, mentioning two relatives of General Duke, one of which was married to Esmerelda Ndoci—Major of the Annihilators Squad, who later work as Mengsk Elite team with Nova for the Dominion.

I particularly got intrigued with the revelation that Nova’s father was involved in the first sighting of Zerg and experimentation in Confederate Military bases and the Ghost Program. Prior to the RTS Game events. It would be interesting if Keith ever wrote a new novel to dig into those plots. No doubt he got the writing skill to describe such time-frame. If you read Chris Metzen’s message below, you will notice there “may” be plans for new Starcraft Ghost novels.

Chris Metzen wrote a two pages introduction at the beginning of StarCraft Ghost: Nova novel:


Buy Starcraft Ghost: Nova

“I’m very proud of this book. I’m especially proud of what it represents. Sometimes, amidst the general insanity of the video game business, you just have to latch on to a good idea and follow it wherever it leads.

The game StarCraft: Ghost, on hiatus as of the time of this writing, has been in development for almost as long as the PS2 and other console platforms have been on store shelves. Designing and building this game was a pretty crazy process. While there were many reasons for the game’s development taking as long as it did, one key design element always stood out and gave us inspiration to keep pushing onward: Ghosts are very, very cool.

These nearly superhuman agents who stalk unseen across raging battlefields were a major component of the StarCraft mythos. Not only were these units fun to play with, but they seemed to have a certain mystique that made them stand out amidst all the other (bigger and more colorful) units in the game—I personally think it was the stunning voice-work. While we knew that a Ghost would make the perfect focal point for a console game, we were faced with a lot of options about how to bring our new Ghost character to life.

A lot of folks thought it would have been cool to see Sarah Kerrigan, arguably StarCraft‘s most famous Ghost, and have the game focus on her origins. While that could have been a killer direction (pardon the pun), we decided to create a new character whose origins—and more importantly, whose destiny—wasn’t yet set in stone.

Thus, young Nova was born. Her personality and visual design were the result of a lot of hard work by a talented group of people. The spunky, lethal Nova was one of the first characters we had ever created that would take center stage in her own game and really anchor StarCraft: Ghost as a new part of the StarCraft setting. Needless to say, we were immensely proud of how she turned out.

I’m very pleased that we’re finally able to tell her story and show the world just who this enigmatic young character is—and what events molded her into one of the most dangerous assassins in the universe.

Of course, this take would not have been possible without the amazing talents of Keith R.A. DeCandido. Keith seemed to have a deep affinity for this character, and he not only brought out all the dark, disturbing nuances of Nova’s past—but provided a fresh new look at the gritty underbelly of the StarCraft setting as well. I can’t imagine this story in anyone elses’ hands.

So, while we might not be seeing StarCraft: Ghost as a video game anytime soon, we will definitely be following Nova’s continued adventures through novels just like this one.

Enjoy! I hope y’all dig it!”

Chris Metzen
Vice President, Creative Development
Blizzard Entertainment
May 2006

SPOILERS

Nova Terra – Her full name is November Annabella Terra. Daughter of Constantino Terra and Annabella Terra. Her parents noticed her psionic abilities at age 7. Constantino kept it secret so the Confederacy military wouldn’t take her to the Ghost program. Being from the Old Families, Constantino could decide not to tell anyone nor to send her off for training where Terra would be used against the sons of Korhal. In a way to protect his youngest daughter. Nova’s designation as a Ghost is X41822N.


Cliff Nadaner – Murderer of Nova’s family. Nadaner was once a Marine. And he had been once at Antiga Prime. Like Arcturus Mengsk, Nadaner was an agitator back in the final days of the Confederacy. Nadaner was against the Old Families, the Council and the Confederates, and against the Sons of Korhal. Later against the Dominion. Nadaner did not achieve much political change. He caused trouble and murdered many. Nadaner did not kill Nova’s family himself. He contracted Gustavo McBain to do the job.


Gustavo McBain – He was a welder, working a construction contract in Mar Sara when the Confederates ordered the destruction of Korhal IV. The Confederates killed his entire family, his pregnant wife Daniella and his young daughter Natasha. McBain swore to take down the Confederacy, and shortly after joined Cliff Nadaner’s rebels. Nova learned all this info by reading McBain’s mind. Nova killed McBain at her 18th birthday. McBain had killed her family, three years ago … three days after her 15th birthday.


Planet Tyrador VIII has 10 continents. Nova’s space-pod landed upon the smallest of its continents. The small continent was a humid jungle.


Planet Tyrador has 9 planets in its orbit. Tyrador VIII is one of those smaller planets orbiting around Tyrador. Tyrador VIII orbits around Tyrador IX, like a moon would a planet.


Director Kevin Bick -Nova’s instructor and Director of the Ghost Program Academy once Dominion was established after the Confederates’ defeat. Dominion took over the Ghost Program and many ex-Confederates joined the Dominion Director. Bick replaced Director Ilsa Killiany.


Constantino Terra – Father of Nova Terra. The Terra were one of the Old Families, descended from the commanders of the supercarrier ships that transported them from Earth. Constantino discovered his daughter was a telepath when she turned 15. In her birthday, she knew her family was coming to celebrate her birthday. Usually, families would turn their sons to the military upon discovering their telepathic abilities, but the Old Families didn’t do so unless they wished to. Constantino was owner of the biggest Robotics company in Confederate territory: Servo Servants. The company lived mostly off repairs and spare parts for the robotics. Though, everyone would think his business revenue was simply from selling robotics. Constantino’s industry had captured Zerg in the Sara System and experimented with the Zerg a year before Chau Sara was destroyed.

Constantino was the only member of the Old Families who requested the Tarsonis Council to revert the decision to bomb Korhal IV. The Old Families sided with the Council and the military on the decision. Constantino thought it too radical a solution. Constantino blamed the Confederate Council for the rebel attacks … Korhal IV had backfired. It rose propaganda against the Confederacy, and the uprising of different rebellious groups and terrorists.


Annabella Terra – Nova’s mother. Annabella and Constantino were owners of separate fortunes inherited from their Old Families. Both married to unite both fortunes. However, their offspring was born by implanting his seed into Annabella using technology. Both of them had their own lovers among the servants. Eleftheria was Constantino’s lover (mistress), and Edward Peters was Annabella’s lover (jig).


Mara Greskin – Universal News Network (UNN) Reporter assigned to cover news of the fifteenth birthday of Nova Terra, where the elite members of Old Families from Tarsonis and offworld came to celebrate her party.


Handy Anderson – UNN Editor-in-Chief


Clara Terra – Nova’s older sister and girlfriend of Milo Kusinis.


Milo Kusinis – Clara Terra’s boyfriend.  The Kursinis are one of the wealthiest among the Old Families.  The Kursini Skycrapper is the highest one in Tarsonis, even higher than the Terra Skyscrapper. Milo married Clara Terra months after the penthouse massacre where the Terra family was murdered. Uniting both families’ fortunes.


Rebeka – Nova’s hairdresser


Old Garth Duke – Brother of General Duke, one of Tarsonis’ elite Old Families members invited to Nova Terra’s fifteenth birthday party.


Boris – One of Constantino Nova’s servants.


Zebediah Terra – Nova’s oldest brother.


Lia Emmanuel – Constantino’s employee. She is vice president of all vice presidents of all Terra’s businesses and ventures. Constantino’s right hand. She interrupted the birthday party to inform Constantino that rebels had destroyed the Palombo Valley plant—where hovercars and hoverbikes were in production. Arcturus Mengsk had broadcasted on TV at the same time of the plant’s destruction propaganda against the Old Families and the desintegration of economies and labor exploitation. This plant was a key component to destroy Constantino’s monopoly. Lia explained they had two choices: To rebuild the plant to get back on business, or to pay the families of the deceased in the plant attack. By choosing the latter, Terra’s business would crumble. And by rebuilding, Mengsk would gain a point for his anti-Old Families propaganda as Terra would be accussed of not caring for the families of the workers.

Lia also informed Constantino things were worse. The Protoss wiped Chau Sara and Mar Sara.


Planet Halcyon – Source of Grape crops and Framberries. On ‘07 the grape crops were aweful. So that year’s wine was as aweful—according to Constantine Terra. His wife Annabelle, however liked that year’s wine. Constantine said she had bad taste of wine quality. Planet Halcyon is also where the hab drug is prepared and distributed by crime organizations.  According to Fagin, the Gutter district gets their Hab supplies from Halcyon.


Andrea Tygore – The oldest of the Tygore family, member of the Old Families. She is 150 years old, and moves around on a hover-chair. She knew about the plant destruction and arrived to Nova’s 15th Birthday to ask Constantino if he knew of it. Nova and Zebediah found out of what happened through Andrea. Andrea had been one of the Old Families who sided the Confederacy and the military to bombard Korhal IV. Now despises rebels, specially Mengsk. The old woman thinks servants are lesser, and shouldn’t be given preference or mercy.


Morgan Calabas – Eldest son of Arturro Calabas. A young man attracted to Nova. She knew he didn’t love her. Not much for telepathy, than for his eyes never leaving her chest. This was the first time Nova was able to read minds, subconciously and involuntary. Nova had been empathic since age 7 to this day at age 15th. For first time she could listen to someone’s mind … Morgan said in his mind he would be under her skirt in no time after escorting her to a ball event.


Arturro Calabas – Father of Morgan Calabas. Although his son Morgan thinks he will be able to take Nova to a ball event, Arturro had told Charlie Quinn he would send Morgan off to planet Tyrador IX for reeducation.


Charlie Quinn – The kind of guy that finds out the latest gossip, but usually ends up getting things wrong and messing people’s reputation.


Bryan – the daytime lobby guard at Terra Skyscrapper. Household of the Terra Family. He was killed when the rebels attacked the Terra Family.


Malcolm Kelerchian – The finest investigator in Tarsonis Police Force’s Detective Squad. He investigated a murder of two children of a semiprominent shop owner. After a careful investigation using technological means he discovered the murderer to be Emmett Tygore. Rather than prosecuted by Confederate laws, Emmett was sent to a rehab facility in Halcyon. Never heard of again. The UNN reporters never digged further and focused on other news. But Mal’s hawkeye-mind never kept from thinking about this murderer. Though, not able to do anything as his superiors won’t let him near Halcyon to stay updated on Emmett’s whereabouts.

The military of Tarsonis would usually find a detective such as Mal to be a waste for local police. The normal populace’s Psi Index was 2.0 whereas Psi-talented ghosts were Psi-Index (PI) 5. Tarsonis Military saw in Mal’s files a PI 3.5—making him sensitive to telepathy, although not a telepath himself. Mal was transfered to the Military to be trained as a Wrangler—a telepath hunter—to bring in telepaths to the Ghost program.

After months of training, Mal was prepared. However, a side-effect of his ability was to get a headache whenever he was near a telepath. The day Nova found her family dead, she unleashed a massive psionic and telekinetic outburst that killed the murderers of her family and destroyed the penthouse. Even at his office, Mal got his brain spiked by the power emited by Nova far away. Nova—he thought—would be a PI 8 or higher. Telekinetics are catalogued PS 8 or higher. Only one on that scale he met during his six-months training. Locked at a government facility.

Malcolm started his investigation of the crime scene at Nova’s penthouse. He thought to himself this was a telekinetic far above PI8. The dome was anti-nuclear strike. Yet it was shattered from within.


Detective Jack Pembleton – arrived to the scene ready to take over the Terra Skycrapper Penthouse massacre investigation. Agent Malcolm showed his holographic badge showing this was now Confederate Military jurisdiction. Jack told Mal there had been seven attacks to the Old Families.


Director Ilsa Killiany is the Ghost Program director who identified Detective Malcolm as a PI 3.5—getting him to be transfered to the Wranglers training facility. Mal hates her guts for that, but mainly for being an ass.


Fiorello – A Wrangler who replaced Malcolm when reporting to Director Ilsa the murderer was Nova. Ilsa couldn’t believe a telepath this powerful hadn’t been detected before. Fiorello was to take over the case so Mal won’t be in danger. He was too good to be lost.


Fagin – His true name is Julius Antoine Dale. He is the Crimelord of the Gutter District. He oversees all operations from sex, drugs, black market, weapons, etc. He has a contact inside the Confederate Army who provides top technology in exchange for Hab (drug) for his wife. Fagin is the version of Goodfellas film’ type of crimelord. He kills for no reason. Fagin captured Nova and made her a personal telepath assassin by using a Confederate device given to him by his militar contact. The device blocks Nova from reading his mind and sends a neural shock into Nova’s brain to keep her in check as a docile slave.


BRIEF SUMMARY

A brief round up of the first 100 pages … Nova ended her studies, and she was assigned this mission by Intelligence Section. A mission that would set her in the middle of a jungle at Tyrador VIII as her last step to officially become a Ghost. Her suit during the mission wasn’t an advanced one. It lacked stealth-mode gear. The internal circuitry of her suit modulates her internal temperature to compensate for the extreme humid and hot ambience near the equator of Tyrador VIII, amidst this jungle. – page 3.

Tarsonis has 27-hours a day cycle.

Emperor Mengsk ordered Intelligence Section to send Nova to seek and destroy the remnants of Nadaner’s rebels. The drop-pod was programmed to disintegrate. This to prevent Dominion tech from falling in wrong hands. Nova’s suit contained the same auto-destructive technology to leave no trace of her if the suit did not trace her lifesigns.

The day Nova found Nadaner in the jungles of Tyrador VIII, it was her birthday. 18 age. She remembered three years ago, at the age of 15, her father had told her she would be in this star system by now.

Nova was the youngest of the Terra Family, the elite, owners of a robotic industry in Tarsonis which supplied the Confederates with technology. A Rebel leader, Cliff Nadaner, destroyed the most important robotic plant killing the whole night shift personnel. This made Constantino pretty scared that his family would be targeted by terrorists.

Shortly after, The Old Families society were worried about the destruction of Chau Sara and Mar Sara by the Protoss. Fearing they would attack Tarsonis, they sent their youngest to a resort on Tyrador IX. Constantino was planning to send Nova to Tyrador IX to protect her in case the aliens destroyed Tarsonis. Though, Constantine was still unsure of sending her to Tyrador IX, days later, the Sons of Korhal attack on Antiga Prime settled the decision. He had to protect Nova by sending her offworld. Nova cried the day of her 15th birthday when reading his father’s mind. Three days after her 15th birthday party, Nova aboarded the puddle-jumper at the Giddings Station on Tarsonis taking them to orbit aboard the Osborne Port. There Nova and the thirty young passengers would aboard the Calabase’s yatch- the Padraig—to Tyrador IX.

Constantine thought that if Mengsk was able to infiltrate or bribe someone from within his Palombo Plant to destroy it, Mengsk could also infiltrate someone into his own household putting the life of his family, specially Nova’s in jeopardy.

Nova sensed his family in danger, and before the Padraig prepared its engines to fly off the orbital station, she forcefully requested the flight steward to let her off the ship. Nova had to find out what was happening to her family, leaving on a cab back to Tarsonis.

Nova found Bryan the lobby guard dead, and took the elevator to the penthouse. There she saw Constantine, Eleftheria and Annabelle dead on the floor. His mother’s jig, Edward, betrayed them. Gustavo McBain held a gun at Zeb, Nova’s brother, and shot him. This caused Nova’s presence to be sensed in the room as the sight of her brother’s murder caused her to scream. Edward pointed a gun at Nova shortly to kill her.

The entire Penthouse blew up … the dome, able to withhold a nuclear explosion was shattered …. over 300 people died, including some servants, the murderers of her family and bystanders.

Detective Malcolm Kelerchian was removed from the Tarsonis Police Force to be recruited into the Ghost Program as a Wrangler – a telepath hunter. He was sent to investigate the Penthouse massacre scene inch by inch using his detective skills. His veredict … the mass murderer is Nova.

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade - Black Temple Public Test 2.1.0

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, WoW Beta Archive

If you just installed the Public Test Server client, or you are about to do so, know that you must be honored with the Violet Eye. You gain reputation by playing in Karazhan.

If you meet that first requirement, your first task to enter Black Temple is to go to Shattrath City, by the Terrace of Light.  You will find an NPC named Johnny McWeaksauce. He will sell the Medallion of Karabor—which you need to be attuned for the Black Temple – and a box.

The boxes are tagged by class, pick yours.  What lies within is the Tier 5 armor set and extra necklace, trinkets and rings Tier 5.  Once you got the Medallion of Karabor and the Tier 5 box, go to your faction: Aldor or Scryer.

The Tier 5 vendor is located at the Shrine of Unending Light in the Aldor Rise or at the Scryer Tier where you turn in your Arcane Tomes.

Once you have geared yourself, fly to the Black Temple.  Go further inside the main entrance. You will see Xi’ri the naaru, and beyond him you will see a Dreadlord and three purple-hued demonic portals. The zone-in is located by the right-wall just beyond those three portals.

The Black Temple dungeon will offer players a very challenging battle.  Like Illidan said: “You are not prepared!” When entering the dungeon, at least on Public Test Realm (patch 2.1.0), you are greeted by Rulkster.  A 10-feet tall human NPC shirtless, wearing trousers.  He is bald on the top with long blonde hair on the sides. Yes, it is Hulkmania Hulk Hogan the Hulkster, brotha!  He sells reagents, repairs, flasks and mana/health consumables.

Walking up the sewer tunnel, you will see packs of two mini-water elementals patrolling back and forth large distances.  These are there to intercept any intruders that wander around solo.

Make sure to kill these before pulling any bigger mobs such as two Naga Coilskar Sea Callers (Siren) and a Aqueous Lord.  These go up and down the ramps connecting rooms.  You can bypass them by walking along the sides, with no aggro.  Except you should take care of the mini-water elementals which do patrol up and down the ramp-sides.

The first two rooms have groups of at least three mobs: Two Coilskar Generals, a female Soothsayer and an Aqueous Lord; or a combination of two Coilskar Wranglers and a massive Hydra.  The Hydras spit poison and it does around 1,000 damage per tick.

Once you reach the third level up the ramps you will find a room packed with mobs and the first boss.

Take out any patrols of mini-water elementals.  The pack before the boss event is insane however.  Prepare to battle at least 5-6 mobs linked together.  Two Coilskar Generals, two Coilskar Harpooners and two Dragon Turtle pets. The Coilskar Harpooner launches around 4-6 harpoons machinegun-style in a cone-range (AOE), and spams it often. Mages are able to sheep them. However, make sure those two mages spam sheep and only do that until some of the mobs are dead. No joke. A mage let them loose 2 seconds … surely a third of the raid gets wiped. It seems the Generals somehow break sheep with dispell.

The first boss, High Warlord Naj’entus shows signs that Naga might be mutating.  His skin is redish like that of the fel orcs.  His face and right arm have developed a crustacean carapace.

On the left side of the room is a chamber with at least 8 mini-water elementals.  You will really need many sharp warlocks for this encounter ready to banish.  In that room full of elementals, you will find a pipe.  Go up the pipe and it takes you to the Black Temple yard.  There are Dragonmaw Wyrmcaller, Bonechewer Taskmasters, Bonechewer workers, Doomguards, Dragon Riders flying above the yard and landing sometimes, and Supremus—a massive blue infernal-variant boss.  More later. Watch the screenshots below and the short video showing you the boss animations.




rc="/coppermine/albums/wow-burning-crusade/instances/black-temple/thumb_WoWScrnShot_041707_171712.jpg" border="0">

Starcraft: Dark Templar Trilogy - Book One: Firstborn Q&A with Christie Golden

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzard Entertainment and Pocket Star Books – a division of Simon & Schuster, inc., A Viacom Company – bring you Starcraft: The Dark Templar, a trilogy novel series written by Award-winning Christie Golden.  She has a track record of over a million books in print sold, fascinating sci-fi and fantasy readers.  Among her outstanding twenty-five novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror are Steven Spielberg’s novelization of Invasion America, TSR Ravenloft line (1991) with her first novel, the highly successful Vampire of the Mists; Star Trek novels: “The Murdered Sun”, “Marooned”, “Seven of Nine”, and “The Dark Matters Trilogy,” “Cloak and Dagger”, “Ghost Dance”, “Shadow of Heaven” and “VOYAGER: HOMECOMING” among others.

In the Blizzard Entertainment universes, Christie Golden has given us Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde … novels that have influenced canon content in the MMORPG.

The questions of this interview have mostly been provided by fans of the Starcraft Community.  Find out more about Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy—which immerses fans into the Protoss history, showing us a glimpse of what to expect in the Starcraft 2 storyline.

Will we see protoss characters we have been previously introduced to, such as Raszagal, Zeratul, Adun, Tassadar and Artanis? Will there be terrans such as Raynor, General Edmund Duke, Arcturus Mengsk, Dan Liberty or other characters from previous novels or from the game? What role will they play?

Christie: Yes, you will see all kinds of familiar faces throughout the series. Since this is set after Brood War, though, no Duke I’m afraid. Don’t want to give too much away, but this is a very big and important series and many of the main players in the game will make appearances. Some of them have very significant roles indeed! It’s been very exciting to be able to use well-established characters in addition to creating my own. I hope the readers enjoy it!

What timeframe is the Starcraft: The Dark Templar novel trilogy based on?

Christie: Post Brood War, about four years on. Many things have changed …and some things remain the same.

Will the novel trilogy fathom into when, where, and why the templars broke away from the other protoss, becoming the dark templar and Adun’s involvement? How much of the protoss history and culture will be covered?

Christie: You’re going to get to see a lot of protoss history revealed in this series and you’ll meet some major historical figures. Some of the most important moments in their development will be portrayed. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll learn some things that will, I hope, be exciting and fresh. It was very fun for me to be able to address these moments in history and be the author who got to bring them to life. I find the protoss fascinating and I’ve really enjoyed getting to go in depth with them, their culture, and their history.

Will we read about the Xel’naga, hybrid experiments, abandoned temples and such?

Christie: The Dark Templar Trilogy is going to touch on many, many things that have been mentioned, hinted at, or left unexplored. While on the one hand it is a very intimate story, focusing on three primary characters, it’s also rather universal in scale as well. Big things are happening in the StarCraft world, and this series will reflect it. There is indeed a temple, with something unique inside it that our main character will discover.

What locations and planets will the story take place in throughout the trilogy?

Christie: Hmm … well, there are few backwater planets that many events occur on. But we’ll also travel to places that have great meaning to the protoss, like Aiur and Shakuras. As I haven’t yet started Book 3 … who knows where else we’ll go?

How much will Firstborn vary from the plot of the game and the manual?

Christie: Since it’s not a direct novelization of any segment of the game, hopefully it won’t vary at all! I want to keep the flavor of the game—dark and gritty and rough around the edges — and augment it at the same time. My hope is that this will be a great addition to the game.

What is the basic plot of the trilogy? Who is Jake Ramsey, what Terran faction he works for, and what is his role?

Christie: Ah, my poor Jacob Jefferson Ramsey. He’s no superhero, just a rather ordinary guy with a few extraordinary traits who’s gotten caught up in the whirlwind of a desperate moment in the galaxy’s history. Jake is an archeologist, a very good one…known for some rather outrageous theories and for having a mind that has a knack for puzzle-solving. He’s been given the task of getting inside one of the Xel’naga temples by a benefactor known as Mr. V. Eventually, of course, he figures it out … but what he finds there is completely unexpected and changes his life—and those of everyone he touches—irrevocably. He’s our main point-of-view character, a sort of Everyman who is much more special and unique than he first appears. He’s a wonderful character to explore this storyline with.

Where is this Xel’naga temple located at? Is it the same temple from StarCraft: Shadow of the Xel’Naga book?

Christie: No. It seems as though new temples are, more and more, coming to light….

Did you play Starcraft and its expansion: Broodwar to research info about the dark templars for the creation of this trilogy?

Christie: My husband played it through while we were abroad for six months. I watched over his shoulder and got a pretty good understanding of it, as well as the chance to see all the cut scenes. I understand why StarCraft fans are so die-hard in their admiration of the game.

Did Chris Metzen give you an outline of how the trilogy should start and end, and most of its plot? How much freedom do you have when writing Starcraft: The Dark Templar? Have you been given specific guidelines in terms of story elements and/or characters and then your job is to flesh things out, or can you come up with pretty much anything you want and hope that Blizzard thinks it’s a good idea and goes with it?

Christie: When I wrote Lord of the Clans, I definitely worked from a very well fleshed out outline. For Rise of the Horde of course, it covered a part of history that was already pretty well established. With this series there were a few things that Chris really wanted to see addressed, and we did a lot of back and forth about where we wanted to take the story. I also consulted with Andy Chambers and Evelyn Fredericksen, who have ended up being my chief points of contact. All are wonderful and creative people who are very excited about the game and the trilogy.

Since it is a trilogy, it is obvious you have a lot of time to get back and forth with Chris Metzen over the phone and email. How often do you both discuss details of the book? Does he check each chapter as they are written?

Christie: Chris, Andy and Evelyn are very “hands on” and accessible when I have questions, which is rare and wonderful in the world of tie-in fiction. Most of what we need to do is handled by email. Because of a time crunch for Book Two, “Shadow Hunters,” they did start perusing the manuscript before it was finished, but they certainly don’t look at it chapter by chapter.

Is the trilogy canon enough to impact, influence or carry-on into future StarCraft projects such as your Rise of the Horde did in World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade?

Christie: A good question. Rise of the Horde was truly a unique and wonderful experience. I was inspired by the story and the anticipation of the expansion, and Chris and the designers in turn were excited by some of the things I was developing. It was such a thrill to be invited to play-test and actually see some of the thing I had created come to life in the game. I’m currently grinding warbeads for a talbuk—hey, I gotta ride the thing I created, don’t I? Considering the nature of some of the events that are portrayed, I can safely say that yes, Starcraft: The Dark Templar series is going to be considered canon.

How much of StarCraft Ghost: Nova plot will affect the trilogy?

Christie: To the best of my knowledge, the plot of StarCraft Ghost: Nova has been pretty completely novelized by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Some of the information about how things work in the government, though, particularly the structure of the ghost program, have found their way into the series.

I know writers are given freedom to an extent to write material of their own, specially in a trilogy. Lot of ground to fill in. Since you have played World of Warcraft and interact with the roleplaying community, I got to ask. Have you had contact with the starcraft community for feedback, read fanfic at starcraft.org, or heard community petitions that might be useful in your book to satisfy what fans want to read?

Christie: Actually, I did not, other than to understand that people were very hungry for more protoss. Other stories are being developed to tackle specific things Blizzard knows the readers want. This is more of an epic storyline that encompasses much of what it is to be protoss…oh, and a leeetle secret of galactic proportions.

Do you listen to the voice-acting in the game to learn the personality of the characters?

Christie: It’s nice to be able to do so! Yes, I did. Blizzard always does a great job with the voices.

The book description says Jake Ramsey finds the remains of a dark templar and its spirit merges with Jake. This brings up an interesting thought. Tassadar learned to wield dark templar energies. Do you think Tassadar’s spirit could be lingering on somewhere?

Christie: As you say, that is an interesting thought. Actually the being Jake finds is known as a preserver, a protoss who has all the memories of all protoss who have ever lived. And as I said…you’re going to learn some things about key moments in protoss history. To say more might spoil things.

Will you write new Starcraft, Diablo or World of Warcraft novels after Starcraft: The Dark Templar? We hope you do =)

Christie: Why thank you! I hope so too. As many of you already know I am an avid fan of World of Warcraft, and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing both the books set in that game. I’d be thrilled to do more.

If Blizzard gave you the freedom to let you choose a timeframe or event set in the protoss or terran history for a new book or trilogy, which would it be and why?

Christie: Wow, excellent question…I think I’d love to get really in depth with more of protoss history. In this series, it’s a subplot, though a major one. Doing it that way seemed to whet my appetite for exploring their past more thoroughly. They’re a fascinating people.

Thank you, Christie for answering the community-submited questions.  And thanks to Chris Metzen and the folks over at Blizzard Entertainment.  The local bookstore confirmed the first novel in the trilogy is on stock. Go grab your copy or order online Here.

Now that the Q&A is out, and you know what the novel trilogy is about, feel free to submit further questions.  Christie is open and excited to discuss more details of the trilogy with the Starcraft Community.  Visit the official Starcraft 2 website for features, screenshots, gameplay video and teaser trailer.

Post a Comment at our Starcraft 2 Forums.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Archeologist Jacob Ramsey has spent the last two years on a fruitless excavation. It seems like a miracle when he gets an invitation to join an elite group of archeologists in the excavation of one of the Xel’Naga artifacts that are suddenly appearing on various worlds. When Jake stumbles across a dying Protoss and attempts to revive him, the alien psychically and violently begins to “upload” its memories, essentially rewriting and rewiring Jake’s human brain. Jake soon learns a terrible secret—one so important that the dying alien was willing to pass it on to an enemy in order to ensure that the knowledge survives. And what Jakes decides to do with the information will seal the fate of worlds throughout the galaxy.

The marketing info provided by the catalog says the novel will be showcased at BlizzCon 2007. Hopefully that means Christie Golden will be at the Pocket Books booth, book signing.

ALTERNATE DESCRIPTION

“Jake Ramsey—an unassuming, yet talented archaeologist—has been given the chance of a lifetime. Hired to investigate a recently unearthed Xel’Naga temple, he knows this latest assignment will open up whole new possibilities for his career. Yet, when Jake discovers the remains of a long-dead protoss mystic, his hopes and dreams are irrevocably drowned in a flood of alien memories. Bonded to the spirit of the dead protoss, Jake has become the sole inheritor of the protoss’s total history—every event, every thought—every feeling.

Struggling to maintain his own fragile identity amidst the raging psychic storm in his mind, Jake soon realizes that he has stumbled upon a secret so cataclysmic in magnitude—that it will shake the very foundations of the universe.”

FIRSTBORN

An original tale of space warfare based on the bestselling computer game series from Blizzard Entertainment.

Contributors: Kimera757, Artanis,  Livewyr7 @ USEast, arschneider, iMAniaC, cassius987@Uswest, Medievaldragon and Darktemplar.


Starcraft: Dark Templar, book one: Firstborn

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade - Shadow Labyrinth Heroic mode

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

It is very important to have two healers in your group if you go to Shadow Labyrinth (Heroic-mode). Trash Mobs hit ridiculously hard, and a second healer would be needed to keep the tank alive.

The whole Shadow Labyrinth (Heroic-mode) is a nightmare. But there are a few helpful tips. If you have the trinkets that reduce threat such as the one that drops from Vorpil, or the Timelapse trinket obtained at the Keepers of Time (Exalted), or the Sporeggar Quartermaster’s Cloak (at honored)—it might help during the Overseer (Felguard) encounters. Stand near the Felguard at all times. He doesn’t cleave so you can just stand next to him. Make sure you get feared. It cancels any threat to you. If you use will of the forsaken prepare to die … it is an auto-threat tag on your head.

The Hellmaw room has four Ritualists instead of three in Heroic-mode. The priest has to be alert to dispell any fire debuffs on the tank and the team. Crowd Control takes care of the rest. Fairly easy pulls.

HELLMAW
There is nothing special about Hellmaw in Heroic mode, except maybe extra damage. He died pretty fast with no issues.

When reaching the Inciter’s Room, this is really a nasty part in Heroic-mode. The Shadow Priest NPCs simply melt faces. Try to kill the first pull of mobs. Once killed, the priest now has enough room to attempt a strategy.

The only solution we found after a lot of trial and error, was me removing cloths—if you have enough bag slots—and keeping the team at the other room away from sight. The Priest has to solo this part. Try to position yourself where you won’t get aggro, and mind control the Shadow Priest. The mobs will kill it. Run to a safe spot and die. The Second healer (if secondary Priest, Shaman or Paladin) should resurrect you. Do the same for every shadow priest in the room. However, remember the more you die the longer the countdown timer is to be able to resurrect.

Once all Shadow Priests in the room are dead, your team can resume safely. Again, this is only in Heroic-mode. Shadow Priests really melt faces and cause the tank to die faster. The Hunter has to keep laying traps often. Make sure you communicate with your team. Mages, Warlocks and Priest need to stand behind the Hunter. Any aggro will get trapped.

Once trapped, the Hunter has to move at least 40 yards away from the trapped mob, allowing him time to set a second trap across the room. The Casters need to adapt and move again behind the Hunter’s new position. This way you can effectively crowd control without losing a caster or healer. Takes time to adapt to cooperate with each other, but you have to chase your hunter around to protect yourself with his traps.

BLACKHEART THE INCITER
The Inciter doesn’t have anything special in Heroic-mode, except he does over 8,000 damage on cloth. Keep aggro low and stay at max range. A priest should run toward the stairs, shield self, and renew self when it is evident his mind control ability will be soon. This way, since the priest is afar, not much damage will be caused to self by other players.

GRANDMASTER VORPIL
With Vorpil, the story is very different … you can no longer Zerg Vorpil and burn him with DPS. His armor seems to be lower because he loses health pretty quick. But more voidwalkers spawn in Heroic-mode and faster. So keep killing those voidwalkers and don’t let him get healed.. Besides the Voidwalker’s number increase, there is nothing special to this event in Heroic-mode.

MURMUR
During Murmur, a second healer is needed to assist with heals during the Deep Breath.

Murmur (lvl 72 Elite) has new abilities in Heroic-mode that need to be studied and synchronized among the group members before attempting him, to avoid wasting time. To engage Murmur, positioning is critical to win the event. Players need to spread inside the black ring where Murmur stands.

Spread using the clock-positioning. The priest should be in front of Murmur at 6 o’clock. The Tank has to position himself at 4:30 o’clock.  Another player at 3 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock. You will first wish to take this positioning outside the ring before engaging Murmur. Once everyone is ready, tell the team to move into the ring and to keep their positions.

1. DEEP BREATH
Do not move away from the inner ring for any reason. When Murmur starts to channel “Deep Breath” stand where you are. Do not move. In Heroic-mode you have to withstand the Deep Breath. In normal-mode, players are used to run away from it heading to the outer ring to avoid the explosion. However, in Heroic-mode, if you run outside the ring, Murmur will start nuking everyone with Sonic Boom. The Deep Breath will cause 90% damage of your total health. And the after-effect debuff will do 307 damage per sec for 5 seconds, thereafter. To counter this, ask your priest to synch with the Deep Breath. There are seven visible inward-waves before he relesaes Deep Breath.  Count one, two, three, four … start casting Prayer of Healing … five, six, seven … Deep Breath goes off … and your Prayer of Healing goes off a second after, effectively healing everyone out of harm.  If the Priest starts Prayer of Healing after Deep Breath goes off, the cloth players will die with the after-effect debuff. The Second Healer: Shaman, Priest, or Druid, needs to synch healing when seeing Deep Breath reaching its # 5th inward-wave.  Remember Deep Breath goes off at the seventh. The Priest will keep everyone alive long enough with Prayer of Healing, but the Second Healer has to toss a big heal on the Tank. It is the tank who gets more damage than anyone since he was reduced to 10% of his total health and Murmur is meleeing him. If your tank dies, it is the second healer’s fault.

2. MURMUR’S TOUCH
Murmur’s Touch is the debuff that makes a single-target the bomb. In normal-mode, the debuff has a 12 seconds countdown. Players run toward the tent on the right side so the explosion doesn’t hit anyone else and will cushion the victim since the tent’s ceiling won’t let him levitate 30 feet above the ground causing around 300 damage on the fall. However, in Heroic-mode, Murmur’s Touch has a different behaviour. This is why the team is spread in a clock-positioning. When a single target is debuffed with Murmur’s touch, the other four players are drawn magnetically toward the debuffed player. In short, expect to be telekinetically pulled toward the bomb. The debuff now has 5 seconds countdown, but he magnetically pulls everyone toward the player with the debuff, which means players have only 3 seconds to run away from the debuffed player. In short, as soon as you land, run away to your original position or you die. The debuffed player has to remain immobile on his position and simply wait for the explosion. This can be tricky if the Priest or the Tank become debuffed. If the Priest is debuffed with Murmur’s Touch, the tank has to move from 4:30 o’clock to 3 o’clock to avoid damage from the explosion. Then the Tank should return back to 4:30 o’clock. If the tank is debuffed however, the priest has to run to 9’oclock, and return to 6’oclock, back to the original position—while the player at 3 o’clock needs to move to 12 o’clock, away from the Tank.

TIPS
If you master these two new changes in Murmur heroic-mode, you will most likely win. There were no elixirs or flasks drank at the moment of killing Murmur as the elixirs and potions were wasted in previous attempts. The only exception was applying Wizard’s oil on the priest weapon and Super Mana Potion. Potions of course will be useful, so come ready. The dungeon resets in 12 hours, and there are no respawns, except for the three Overseers located at Hellmaw’s room, and the three patrols located prior to Vorpil. You can skip the two patrols in Hellmaw’s room easily. Watch the third patrol walking in and out of the tunnel to the Inciter’s room. You can bypass him easily.

Priests should drink a Super Mana potion after losing 4,000 mana when starting the Murmur event. That way, you can drink a second Super Mana Potion within next 2 minutes. The same applies to other casters. That way you can drink two during the event.

Warriors should Shield Wall when Murmur is around 20% health. Tell your team you will have a macro set to announce Shield Wall before you engage Murmur. Type /macro and set an icon and a name for your macro. Then type

/p SHIELD WALL ON

You can open your abilities book, and right-click the Shield Wall ability so that it gets added to the macro textbox. That way when you hit the macro button, you active Shield Wall and send an alert to your team. Shield Wall will cause the Warrior to not get damage during 20 seconds, which means all casters, including the healers will have a grace period of mana regeneration. Do not set the shadowfiend pet loose during Shield Wall. You can set it loose after Shield Wall is over.

Shamans need to pop Bloodlust when the Warrior announces Shield Wall—which happens when Murmur reaches 20% health.

TEAM SETUP
An ideal team setup for Shadow Labyrinth Heroic-mode would be:

Warrior, Priest, Shaman/Druid (Resto), Hunter, Mage. (Sheep, Trap, Blind shot, Frost Nova, Fear, Innervate)

Warrior, Priest, Priest, Mage, Mage (You have two sheeps, two frost nova, a mind control and a fear).

Druid (Tank), Priest, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman/Druid (Resto).

For as long as you have two very good healers and two crowd control players you can beat Heroic mode. However, it will take longer than normal. Be ready to spend many hours here. When I completed my quest: Trial of the Naaru: Strength, it was a PUG. That quest ask you to get the trident from Kalitresh in Steamvaults (Heroic) and Murmur’s Essence from Shadow Labyrinth (Heroic) it is one out of three quests that lead to getting attuned for Kael’Thas Dungeon Key.

Watch a


World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade - Shattered Halls Key Attunement

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

At this point most of you are already level 70 or almost there. You have raided Shattered Halls often.  One day you run to the gate to zone-in into Shattered Halls just to discover and realize you can’t open the gate.  Always someone in the team opens it for you. So now you wonder … how do I acquire the Shattered Hall Key?

Not many know where is the quest to get it or what NPC starts the quest.  Now you will know. You need to be level 66 to loot the key mold.  However, you don’t get the quest activated until you are level 68.

1. Go to Shadowmoon Valley.

2. Find Smith Gorlunk at the Ata’mal Terrace in the Black Temple.  He is at a Blacksmith forge on the northwest corner of the Ata’mal Terrace (Coordinates: 67,36). If you don’t have a flying mount yet, take the ramp up toward the Ata’mal Terrace.  At the top of the entrance ramp, to your left is the Blacksmith forge. You don’t even have to go further inside the terrace.

3. Kill Gorlunk—he is pretty easy and you can solo him. Just make sure to pull him to a safe spot in the mountain side.  There is an elite Drakonid patrolling and he stops his patrol near the Blacksmith shop.

4. Loot the Primed Key mold from Gorlunk and click that item in your bag.  It begins a quest titled: Entry into the Citadel—asking you to talk to Nazgrel in the Barracks of Thrallmar (Hellfire Peninsula).

5. Nazgrel asks you to talk to the Thrallmar Grand Master Blacksmith Rohok—who in turn gives you the quest to find three ingredients for the key: 4 Motes of Fire, 4 Fel Iron and 2 Arcane Dust.

6. Once you gather the materials, Rohok will ask you to kill a Fel Reaver.  Your best bet if you can’t find someone to help is to wait on the east side of Thrallmar’s outdoor—by the Blood Elves that kill some Infernals.  Stay in that area and wait until a Fel Reaver shows up.  Pull the Fel Reaver and run toward the Blood Elves.  They help you kill the Fel Reaver.  Once death, click the Unfired Key Mold item in your bag near the Fel Reaver.  Return to Rohok to get your Shattered Hall Key.

World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness Q&A with Aaron Rosenberg

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

The topic of this new Q&A is the upcoming novelization of Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness RTS Game.  Blizzard Entertainment and Simon & Schuster Pocket Star Books present us WORLD OF WARCRAFT: TIDES OF DARKNESS written by Aaron Rosenberg, author of STARCRAFT: QUEEN OF BLADES. The novel will be at local and online libraries on August 28, 2007. Get your copy!

Medievaldragon: The first question about your new novel is, What characters can we expect to see in this new book?

AaronR: There may be a few too many to list quickly. smile Well, it centers on Lothar and Khadgar over on the Alliance side, and Orgrimm and Gul’dan on the Horde side. Turalyon plays a major part as well, of course.

Medievaldragon: What timeframes in the Warcraft timeline are covered in World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness?

AaronR: The book follows the events of the war, from the time the Stormwind refugees reach Lordaeron to the end of the conflict. I won’t give away who wins, in case anyone doesn’t know. smile

Medievaldragon: What did Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books) and Chris Metzen tell you when they brought to you this new project?

AaronR: Chris and I had talked about doing a WarCraft book before, when I was finishing up StarCraft: Queen of Blades. He was really excited about the prospect of covering WarCraft 2’s events, and so was I. So that’s what we agreed to work on next.

Medievaldragon: This questions is from Xaran Alamas: How much the Tides of Darkness book will vary from the plot of the game and also from what we already know of the period?  This is a main concern by many fans.  We have seen some lore retcons in the past.

AaronR: I try to stay very close to the details from the games. And Blizzard checks over everything to make sure. There were a few minor retcons, but those came directly from Blizzard, so they are official.

The Horde rescued Zul’jin from Hillsbrad, which gave the Horde a new ally: Amani Forest Trolls. Will the illustrous troll Zul’jin appear in your book?

AaronR: Zul’jin and the Amani trolls do indeed appear, and you get to see them joining the Horde.

Do we get to see Deathwing and Zuluhed through the early stages of the Demon Soul affair?

AaronR: There are scenes of the Dragonmaw clan learning to control the Demon Soul, and through it the dragons. Deathwing, however, doesn’t appear.

Is the book mostly narrated from the point of view of the Alliance, or do we shift back and forth from Alliance to Horde perspectives? Third person view? I think many fans liked that in your recent Starcraft: Queen of Blades, which is a novelization of Starcraft 1 map by map. – by Axscrum

AaronR: I shift back and forth between the two—through most of the book I alternate chapters, one Alliance and one Horde, though in a few places I break that rule. I wanted to make sure readers got an idea of what both sides were planning and what leaders on both sides were thinking.

I really have to ask because fans want to know. Did you play Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness in order to write a novelization of that game? Or did you only read through the warcraft documentation provided by Blizzard?

AaronR: I did play as much as I could, given my own time constraints (my kids, mainly). I always try to immerse myself as much as possible. And right now I’ve got Burning Crusade at home, which I’m itching to try out!

What role will Stromgarde play in the upcoming book… will it go into detail on the events that occured there? – by Kestenvarn

AaronR: We do see Stromgarde, though briefly. We see Alterac a good deal, however.

You have been co-writer of some White Wolf Publishing licensed World of Warcraft RPG books, specially some Northrend lore in Warcraft RPG: Lands of Mystery. I suppose you gathered some references from the RPG Books to write this new novel. Which RPG Books and pocketbooks did you read to use as reference?

AaronR: Well, I read three novels: The Last Guardian, Rise of the Horde, and Day of the Dragon. I also read back through the RPG corebook and both Lands of Conflict and Lands of Mystery.

Should we expect at least a World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal as continuation to the novelization of Tides of Darkness?

AaronR: Unfortunately I can’t say. If there is one, though, I hope I get to write it!  (Update: Months after this interview it was revealed Aaron Rosenberg is writing World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal slated for June 24, 2008)

Does your new novel have anything to do with new content coming down the pipe for the MMORPG? The latest books are tie-ins with the MMORPG and Burning Crusade.

AaronR: Ah, I’m afraid I can’t comment on that.

Will relationships such as Alleria and her sister Sylvanas be featured? Or the relationship between Turalyon and Alleria?—(They have a son named Arator in the Burning Crusade expansion).—by Alex

AaronR: We do see quite a bit of Alleria, and the start of her relationship with Turalyon. We also briefly see her with both of her sisters.

Will your book go into detail on the events that happened at Tol Barad? It seems Blizzard retconned what happened there a bit, but what exactly happened has never really been made clear. – by Warlock

AaronR: Unfortunately, no—I didn’t get to go into Tol Barad much, since I was trying to fit everything into a single book.

Anything involving Commander Mograine and the Ashbringer? In Caverns of Time, Mograine reveals to Tirion Fordring, Isillien, Fairbanks and Abbendis that he found a peculiar crystal in Blackrock Spire during the Second War.—by Capoeira

AaronR: No, that one was outside my purview.

Will the Alliance have a heroic presence in the novel or will it be portrayed as shades of grey?—by Kenzuki

AaronR: The Alliance definitely has a heroic presence, but so does Orgrimm Doomhammer. I wanted to show throughout the novel that almost everyone involved (with a few notable exceptions) believed they were doing the right thing. Very few people ever consider themselves bad or villainous.

Submit further questions to Aaron Rosenberg at

  • Pre-Order World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness Here

  • Read our previous interview with Aaron Rosenberg (Starcraft: Queen of Blades)
  • Aaron Rosenberg Blog

Special thanks to RP-PvP Warcraft Lore Forums and Scrollsoflore Community for their Q&A submissions.

And to Stratics, and mmorpgdot.

Special Thanks for the international advertising of World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness at the official Wow-Europe forum (courtesy of our friendly MVP
Schwick), Judgehype (France), In.wow.de (Germany), buffed.de (Germany), Giga.de (Germany), Baidu (Asia), PCGames.de (Germany), Games4Mac.de (Germany), Hardwired.hu (Hungary), Jeuxonline (France), among others.

Thank you, Blizzard for picking the best book writers to expand the Warcraft Universe.

 

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade - Karazhan - Opera Hall Event

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


Skeletal Usher

After killing Moroes, if you return next day to continue, the hall room will be despawned and no more respawns happen on the hall. We adventured upstairs and no respawns were found there either. Kinda sweet. Worth the effort. So now you have two Skeleton Usher guards on the path to the Opera Hall. These are immune to shackles and hunter traps. They don’t seem to be tauntable either as they sweep through the players with ease with screwy aggro. Priests should be tossing shields on affected players, mending and renew until the tanks are able to grab them. It is recommended to be at max range, and kite if needed. The guards are pretty unpredictable.


Spectral Patron

Once dealt with, make sure everyone stays away from the Opera Hall. There is a single Skeleton Usher patrolling around the Opera and passes through the front of the doorway. The next part is the Opera Hall benches. There are around 8 mobs that are easy to AOE by mages. Make sure to keep your mages and warlocks constantly healed as they get most of the damage on AOE aggro. There are about 5-6 pulls of Spectral Patron npcs in the benches area.

There is a Skeleton Usher guard on the left and right corners after you clear the benches area. Both are individual pulls. There is an friendly NPC named Sebastian on the left side, by the Opera organ piano. He says the following:


Sebastian

Sebastian: “Greetings! Behold one of the finest musical instruments in all of Lordaeron. It’s a true honor to perform for the Master and all his guests. Take a seat in the audience. I hear a show is starting soon.

I am honored with the Violet Eye faction, and didn’t get a quest from Sebastian. Unless he is there just to inform, there is no quests from him. Instead of going around the passegeway on the far right corner, you can just jump down the front of the Opera Hall to the lower level. Everyone should stay in that lower level. Send a hunter with Priest shield and prayer mending on to pull. The hunter will go through the door in the lower level, and will go up the ramp to the Opera Stage’s basement. There are at least three packs of mobs. Some are Spectral Performers or Spectral Stagehand. The Stagehand hit harder and none of both types are shackable. All healers should be on healing duty with the Tank, and anyone who gets aggroed.


Spectral Performer

Once cleared, you can enter the basement of the Opera Stage. On the back of the room there is a door. Send a rogue stealthed or a hunter to take a look. There should be a patrol walking back and forth through the stairs. Get rid of him. You will find Barnes to the far right of the door. He is the Stage Manager.

Make sure no one in the group talks to him out of curiosity. He starts the Opera House event.


Barnes

Barnes: “Finally, everything is in place. Are you ready for your big stage debut?

A dialogue bubble represents what you reply: “I’m not an actor.

By now everyone should be inside the Opera Stage, and the team leader will talk to Barnes to initiate the event. Barnes slowly walks toward the center of the stage – on his black tuxedo – and the spotlight drops on him, to announce the following:


Stage

Barnes: “Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to this evening’s presentation! Tonight we plumb the depths of the human soul as we join a lost, lonely girl trying desperately—with the help of her loyal companions—to find her way home! But she is pursued … by a wicked malevolent crone!

Will she survive? Will she prevail? Only time will tell. And now … on with the show!

Spectral Performer says: “It’s so cold, so dark … I’m not overacting, am I ?

Barnes will leave the stage and … the door is closed behind him. There is no escape for you, and it seems you can’t jump out of the stage either. After 15 seconds, the curtains are lifted up to show four NPCs on stage: Strawman, Dorothee, Roar and Tinhead.

Yes, by now you should have figured out this is an Easter Egg / Pop culture Reference to The Wizard of Oz (Film
1939) with Judy Garland. The Strawman is a Westfall Scarecrow. Dorothee is a human female, Roar is a Zul’Gurub Cat-man, and the Tinhead is a Human warrior wearing plate armor.

Dorothee: “Oh Tito, we simply must find a way home! The old wizard could be our only hope! Strawman, Roar, Tinhead, will you – wait … oh golly, look we have visitors!


Opera Event

This is the queue to start the fight. She will become targetable. The Main Tank should be next to her when this happens to grab initial aggro. She is the first that need to die … and there is an explanation to that. She is a Frostshock Vixen … she hits random targets with Water Bolt doing around 2083 Frost damage. It would be good for priests to throw Prayer of Mending to the affected party member to conserve mana. Next time they get hit, depending on your spec, they heal for 1700 health.

Off-Tank player should be in front of Roar to grab aggro, then pull him to the right to the side of Tinhead.  Start swiping both Roar and Tinhead, until Tinhead becomes targetable and aggroes you.  A Warlock should see the off-tank getting both’s aggro as a queue to fear Roar.  That way the offtank stays with Tinhead until the mage is ready to kite Tinhead.

The main tank and DPS players should listen to Dorothee summon Tito – a dog.  It dies pretty fast, but if uncared for and let loose, he can cause a wipe.

The whole event is decided on how fast and efficient you take down Dorothee since she is who does the most damage in the first minutes. And how efficient the mages and warlocks were fearing Roar, kiting Tinhead and keeping Strawman disoriented.  From the moment Barnes starts his spotlight presentation until the Crone died took 9:22 minutes.

Roar: “I’m not afraid a’ you! Do you wanna fight? Huh, do ya’? C’mon! I’ll fight ya’ with both paws behind my back!

Strawman: “Now what should I do with you? I simply can’t make up my mind.”

Tinhead: “I could really use a heart. Say, can I have yours?


Roar

Set your warlocks to fear Roar constantly and to dot Dorothee. I don’t recommend warlocks to do any channeling spells such as shadowbolt. You need casting cooldowns ready for when you need to fear. If Roar is not fear for just 2 seconds, he can one-shot kill one or more players with a swing of his paws. He hit me (Priest) for 3149 physical damage. Besides, Warlocks need to conserve mana to keep Roar feared through the whole event. Roar dies last.

Roar: Go ahead and take forty winks.

When the event begins, the off-tank should be on Tinhead so that he won’t aggro any other players. After that, a frost-specced mage should take care of Tinhead. He moves very slowly while affected by frostbolts. Therefore, the mage should kite him around the room but making sure he paths along the back of the room. Tinhead is very dangerous for the team … he casts a two second silence AOE … which is deadly for main tank. Healers can’t heal him while silenced. On logs, I was able to see Tinhead gaining Rust (rank 6) and (rank 7). Not sure what it means, but I heard the tank complaining about cleaves and raid wipes. So keep Tinhead kited afar from the team.

Tinhead: “Guess, I’m not so rusty after all.

The third boss to take care of is Strawman. This one will require the entire dedication of a mage and/or Warlock. He becomes disoriented when you hit him with fire spells, and will be out of fight while disoriented.

In the meantime, everyone should be DPSing Dorothee. Shamans must summon mana spring totems and making sure there is one of those totems active through the event. After Dorothee dies, the next target should be Strawman. Main tank has to corner him away from tinhead so that no one gets affected by silence aoe. Next, the tank has to aggro Tinhead to a corner until he dies. Now the Main tank can take Roar the lion-man.

By now, one of the priests should stay on the back of the room not casting at all. Regenerate to full mana. Since that priest is on regeneration-mode, the team is lacking healing on the main tank. Warlocks need to rotate and decide to fear Roar when the tank is 25% health. Any of the healers should take care of healing the tank to full, and anyone able to bandage the tank while Roar is feared should do so when his bandage timer cooldown is over.

Roar has a lot of Hit points. DOT him while he is feared. Sometimes he bugs when he is feared into doors and can’t be attacked until he returns back to the main tank. When Roar is about to die, everyone should move to the back-center of the stage. Once Roar dies, the main tank should already be standing on the back-center. There spawns the wicked Crone.

The Crone: “Woe to each and everyone of you, my pretties! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

She is a female troll who casts lightning bolts. The whole team needs to move along with the tank and the Crone at all times. Don’t get away from her. If anyone gets too far, she is able to cast the lightning bolt. Sometimes she will cast some sort of cyclone that suspends a player high above the stage. She is kinda easy, once everyone has regenerated mana during the fearing on Roar.

Once the Crone dies, the door to the left of the stage opens giving you access to the upper floor. The rewards on the Crone are very tasty to some classes.

The Crone: “Fixed you, didn’t I? …  How could you?  What a cruel, cruel world …

At the time of this Opera House run, I had provided both tanks an Elixir of Major Defense (+550 armor) and an Elixir of Major Agility (+35 Agility and +20 critical strike rating for 1 hour). I was wearing 4/5 Hallowed set (Tier 3.5) minus the leggings. 427 spirit unbuffed. With Mark of the Wild, Spirit buff from the second priest, and a consumable food adding +20 spirit I had around 511 spirit. Trinket: Bangle of Endless Blessings: Equip – Spell casts have chance to allow 15% mana regen for 15 sec. Use – Increases spirit by +130 for 20 sec. Second trinket: Scarab of the Infinite Cycle.

Check out the video of this event – onscreen video-recording software courtesy of Gamecam.


Christie Golden – World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde is a novel written by Christie Golden, which serves as an introduction to the origin of the Draenei and a prologue to the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion (MMORPG). Christie Golden is a veteran novel writer of Star Trek: Voyager, Ravenloft: Vampire of the Mists, Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, Invasion America, and A.D.999 among other works.

Chris Metzen revealed at BlizzCon 2005 that you would be writing World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde. The book would feature the story of the revealed new Wow race: the Draenei. However, the book title is Rise of the Horde. What is the plot of World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde and from whose main character’s point of view is the story told?

Christie: The reason we went with that title is that’s truly what the book is about, the tale of how the original Horde came into existence. And the draenei, as the story shows, were the primary reason. The Horde was created by Kil’jaeden to be used as a weapon against the draenei, who in this book are revealed to be uncorrupted eredar. The basic storyline is that of how the orcs went from being essentially peaceable people in harmony with their world to demonically tainted beings capable of genocide. Our main point of view character is Durotan, Thrall’s father.

This story fascinated me because in recent history, we have seen repeatedly how good people end up doing horrific things to other human beings. How does that happen? What steps have to occur in order for people to forsake their morals?or, rather, rewrite them so completely? Durotan is “Everyman someone who sees what’s going on, but is torn between standing up and fighting it and doing what will protect people he is responsible for. He’s a great point of view character in that respect.

What characters are featured in the book?

Christie: Ha, you name it! This is the fantasy equivalent of writing a historical novel. Durotan as I have said is the point of view character for most of the book. We also see Orgrim, Blackhand (and his kids, whom I loved portraying as teenage thugs), Ner’zhul, Drek’Thar, Gul’dan, and many others who are familiar names.

 

In the beginning of the book you mention playing on an RP server. I assume you play Horde there? If so, what have you enjoyed playing the most on a role-playing server?

Christie: Very few people know who I am there (as of this writing anyway!) and that gives me a wonderful freedom to just play and make friends and do role-play just as “myself” without the encumbrance of “ZOMG you’re Christie Golden!” out there. In the end, I am as big a fan as anyone, and I love the friends I have made and the stories I’ve been involved in. People are so very, very creative! As for what I play, I play both factions and enjoy them equally. I’ve played every single class one time or another. I’ve played orc, troll, tauren, human, night elf and gnome. Can’t wait to play blood elf and, of course, a draenei!

 

Did the in-game Roleplaying experience help you with writing Rise of the Horde at all? – by Grushnak @ Cenarion Circle Realm

Christie: I think it would have helped more if the novel had been set in present day Azeroth. Knowing things like how far away Ratchet is from Stormwind is invaluable in making a place feel “right” to someone who knows the game well. What it did do was let me play with the orcs as characters, and nail down how certain spells looked. For instance, I would have had a harder time describing shaman and warlock spells had I not known how they “looked” to an observer.

 

I will mention some locations from World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade: Terokkar Forest, Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand, Zangarmarsh, Blade’s Edge Mountains, Netherstorm, Shattrath City, Shadowmoon Valley. Which are mentioned in the book?

Christie: They’re all mentioned. Terokkar Forest, Hellfire Peninsula, Nagrand and Shattrath get a bit more “air time” as it were.

 

What races will be featured in the book beside orcs and draenei?

Christie: We’ll see ogres and their really nasty masters, the Gronn, as well as a variety of demons. But primarily, this is a tale of two races.

 

While I thoroughly enjoyed Lord of the Clans (A certain scene towards the end did in fact bring a tear to my eye and caused my jaw to drop), I thought that some of the novel was slightly too slow and felt like ‘standard’ fantasy but this was probably at least due to the requirements and limitations of the canon and the 6-weeks deadline. Will you truly have a great deal more creative freedom with Rise of the Horde? – by Ben “Magic” Brown

Christie: I’m glad you liked the book, and I do think this one will feel much richer. When I wrote LORD OF THE CLANS I did not have the advantage of the deep familiarity I now have with the world, and as you mentioned, six weeks is a pretty short time to write an entire novel. Of course I needed to stick to the history Blizzard gave me, and I wanted the orcs to feel real to people who already knew (and played) them. But I had a wonderful opportunity to create some lore of my own, as well as creatures, as well as the chance to really flesh out Durotan, Velen, and even Kil’jaeden. I think you’ll find it’s a richer reading experience because of that.

 

How in-depth will we see Draenor and the orcish culture? — by Ben “Magic” Brown

Christie: Pretty deep! I was able to create many rituals and clan structure on my own, and the draenei were still very “new” at this point.

 

What role will Orgrim Doomhammer play in your book, and what can you tell us about Orgrim’s past, his relationship with Durotan and the other clans? — Jonathan Pichard

Christie: I’ve always enjoyed writing about Orgrim, and it was wonderful to get to establish both him and Durotan as youngsters. Chapter One details how they meet, and the novel follows their friendship even as their destinies take them on seemingly different paths. We’ll also learn about the prophecy of the Doomhammer.

 

What scenes in Warcraft: Lord of the Clans and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde have you especially enjoyed writing? Do you have any particular favorite moments or characters? – by Ben “Magic” Brown

Christie: Oooh, I think I’ll need a “spoiler” warning on this one if I’m to talk about it?

 

SPOILER WARNING!

I loved showing Durotan and Orgrim as “kids.” I loved the scene where Orgrim, Durotan and Velen are at dinner together. I loved the conflict between the older Durotan and Velen. I loved Mother Kashur, and the spirits of Oshu’gun. I loved being able to make things a little grayer and less black and white when it came to Ner’zhul. I loved revisiting Drek’Thar as a young, keen-sighted, intense young man who is not as wise as he later becomes. I loved the cameos of Rend and Maim as sneering punk kids. And I think most of all, I loved the storming of Telmor, because it was painful to write, and such things should never be easy.

Do we get to witness Grom Hellscream become the first orc to drink Mannoroth’s blood? This is an event many fans wish to read about since he was the first orc to drink it and the liberator of the race by slaying Mannoroth in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. His sacrifice meant redemption for himself and his race.

Christie: Yes indeed. Another scene that was really fun to write, and also a big responsibility, since is such a pivotal moment in the history of the orcs. I hope it’s disturbing enough for you all!

 

Do we get to read about the first contact between Medivh and Gul’dan, or the creation of the Dark Portal?

Christie: Yes, you’ll see all of that!

 

I have played World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade closed beta for three months and I have heard – from people that already has read your book – that many quests in the MMORPG have close ties to the events in your book. What can you tell us about the Draenei crystals, what is their importance, and can you please share the name of each crystal?I know we get one from Nexus-Prince Haramad to deliver to A’dal; and Akama in the Warden’s Cage (Shadowmoon Valley) leads us to another crystal held by Shadowlord Deathwall at the Atamal Terrace in Ruins of Karabor (Black Temple).

Christie: One of the really remarkable and wonderful things about this whole experience is that Blizzard is a company that doesn’t just look at things from one direction. Usually, when an author does a tie-in novel such as RISE OF THE HORDE, things all go one way?from the original creation (the game) to the novel. Seldom if ever does anything that is mentioned in a media tie-in novel make it into the game/TV show/etc. Usually such novels aren’t even considered “canon.” Not only is my work canon, but characters I have created (such as Taretha) are showing up in the game as a solid part of the history.

When the folks at Blizzard read the first draft of RISE OF THE HORDE, they liked a lot of the things I had brought to the book and incorporated them into the expansion. Honestly, there really aren’t words for how excited and honored I am by this. It’s an enormous compliment. I’ve played Beta but I haven’t seen everything yet, so I can’t tell you exactly how things got incorporated. I did get a sneak peek at a few things when I met with Chris Metzen and some other great members of his team at Blizzard HQ a few months ago. What a great time that was! :D

 

On our previous interview, you mentioned to have written Lord of the Clans in 6 weeks. How much time did you have now to write Rise of the Horde?

Christie: I had four months total. MUCH more time, and I’m glad to have had it as this is a much more epic storyline. LORD OF THE CLANS focused on one person, Thrall; this is a story of how an entire people became corrupted and lost.

 

Did you get in contact with White Wolf Publishing’s writers (Luke Johnson) about the Wow RPG: Horde Player’s Guide, or did you only have contact with Chris Metzen? – by Baggins

Christie: Mainly Chris Metzen, though I do have the Player’s Guide and used it as a reference as well. Because the expansion was in actual development at this time, his was the final word.

 

Any anecdotes with communication between you, Chris Metzen and/or other Blizzard developers during the writing of Rise of the Horde?

Christie: As I mentioned, I had the chance to meet Chris and other members of his team for a tour of Blizzard HQ a few months ago. When you enter the lobby, you are greeted by the statue of Illidan that was at E3. WOW is that thing huge and intimidating! It was wonderful to meet some of the artists and lore masters and designers as well as catch a glimpse of a few things that are coming. My husband and I were the first non-employees to see the cinematic trailer for the expansion, so we knew you were all in for a treat! I think the most fun was going out to lunch and just jamming for a bit.

My husband and I are avid RPers and we were able to let Chris and the others know how RPers were really making good use of the world. RPers are a minority of course, so it was nice to be able to be their “reps”. One thing I requested if they could manage it was more character slots, because you see, we need those extra alts to help move our stories along? *coughs* We’ll have to see if we get more slots in the expansion. I left with some cool Blizzard goodies, including the Burning Crusade mousepad of Outland from Chris’s own desk. That was a highlight of a business relationship that?well?is pretty much composed of highlights.

 

Are there any future plans for you to write upcoming Warcraft or Starcraft novels beyond Wow: Rise of the Horde and the Starcraft: Dark Templar Trilogy? We would like to see it happening. – by Braizenwrack @ Silver Hand

Christie: Thank you, I would to! I hope it comes to pass. We have mentioned such things and it will depend on where they want to take the novels and also my own schedule. But I am keeping my fingers crossed, because this has been an amazing experience.

 

Why should fans read Rise of the Horde and play Burning Crusade expansion?

I think it will add a layer of richness to the gaming experience. I know that some are uneasy about the draenei’s role in the world, this might make it make a bit more sense. There’s also a lot of stuff there for RPing, ideas for rituals that could be part of your characters background or the basis for an RP event. Mostly, though, because I think readers will enjoy it!

 

How are doing your Final Dance Series and the reprint of your 1991 book, Vampire of the Mists? By the way, I love the bookcovers of Final Dance.

Christie: Yes, I love the covers for all of these. Vampire of the Mists is doing very well. Of all the books I’ve written, I think that is my most beloved with readers. It’s wonderful that it’s back in print for diehard fans to have a new copy and for new readers to meet Jander. And I’m indirectly responsible for the elven vampires you see playing in WoW, as Jander Sunstar was the first elven vampire ever. I really believe that that archetype will be my writing legacy, and I think it’s a pretty good one. The “Final Dance” series, ON FIRE’S WINGS and IN STONE’S CLASP, have hit a bit of a snag. I’m waiting to hear from the publisher if they plan to continue the series. I certainly hope so, I don’t want to leave readers hanging! A lot of people who have read my Warcraft and Ravenloft novels have read this series and enjoyed it. There are excerpts on my website if anyone’s curious.

 

Will any of your previous books make it into Film / TV? If not, which book(s) you dream could make it to the big screen someday? – take notes Film Directors.

Christie: So far nothing’s been optioned, but never say never, right? I think ON FIRE’S WINGS would make a great movie personally, or Vampire. And since a Warcraft movie is underway I think they’ll be doing a brand new story for that, but obviously a Warcraft movie would totally rock! I actually do have a couple of ideas for screenplays, we’ll see what happens with that.

 

If you had anything to tell Chris Metzen and Blizzard from the bottom of your heart, what would that message be?

Christie: Ah, that’s the easiest question yet. From the bottom of my heart? “Thank you!”

 

Thanks once more for sharing some time out of your busy schedule to address your fans. The community appreciates you. Hope to meet you soon for the follow up on Starcraft: Dark Templar Trilogy, book one: Firstborn.

Thanks to Blizzard and Simon & Schuster Pocketbooks for the wide and warm support over the years, and for choosing the best writers to expand the Warcraft universe.

  • Previous interview with Christie Golden (Warcraft: Lord of the Clans)
  • Wow: Rise of the Horde Excerpt
  • Order now World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde pocketbook
  • Post a Comment at the Warcraft Lore forum.

I am traveling this week to my local Barnes & Noble to pick this book. I hope you all read the RISE OF THE HORDE. Christie was a bit shy in sharing a link to her Final Dance website. Because I and many fans love her writing work, I will share the link. We love you, Christie! =)


Buy World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde Interview with Christie Golden

Interview Spotlighted by:

Kotaku
Bluesnews

World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade - Tempest Keep: Arcatraz

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

ARCATRAZ KEY ATTUNEMENT

To get attuned to Arcatraz and to obtain the key you must complete a series of quests with the Consortium.  The questline starts with Ethereal Nether-Stalker Khay’ji located at Area 52 in Netherstorm.  He asks you to kill some Braxxis faction Ethereals at The Heap, south of Area 52.  Once done, you may notice the Blue question mark on his head.  You can gain further Consortium reputation repeating that quest.  However, he sends you to an NPC in Midrealm Eco-dome in the quest titled: Request for Assistance.  This new NPC: Gahruj starts the quest Rightful Repossession where he asks you to collect 10 Boxes of Surveying Equipment from the Blood Elves at Manaforge Duro (NOTE: These boxes are by the walls within the Manaforge). Gahruj will ask you to deliver the supply boxes personally to Nexus-Prince Haramad at the Stormspire in northern Netherstorm (Quest: An Audience with the Prince).

Nexus-Prince Haramad starts the quest: Triangulation Point One and he gives you a triangulation device.  Click the item in your bag, and your character will point in the direction you need to go to find the triangulation mark which looks like a Hunter Mark.

Dealer Hazzin at the Consortium Camp to the north of Manaforge Ultris gives you the next quest: Triangulation Point Two. Click the Triangulation Device item in your bag and your character will rotate and point toward the direction you should fiind the next triangulation spot.  It is near Manaforge Ara.  When you find it, go to Wind Trader Tuluman at Tuluman’s Landing next to the bridge of Manaforge Ara.  Tuluman starts the quest: Full Triangle.


FULL TRIANGLE

With the data from both the first and second points, I’m now certain that the crystal is at the top of the Ruins of Farahlon to the northeast.

Unfortunately, the data indicates that the crystal is moving, which means that it has already been discovered, probably by the Burning Legion!

Just in case, I recommend that you take some friends along.

Slay the demon that has the crystal and return it to Nexus-Prince Haramad.

OBJECTIVE

Recover the Ata’mal Crystal and deliver it to the Image of Nexus-Prince Haramad at the Stormspire in the Netherstorm.


The NPC you need to kill is an elite dreadlord named Culuthas.  He is at the Ruins of Farahlon. You need at least two or three players to take him down and at least one of you needs to be a healer.  If you do not find someone to help—only if you are a caster—you can solo him by kiting and dotting him along the road.  If you have the Arathi Basin PvP boots or Terokkar Spirit Shard reward speed enhancement(meta gem) wear it for this. NOTE: I am a priest and soloed him using word: pain and word: death while running from him. Warlocks can do the same, and Mages could slow him down with frostbolts and frost nova.

Loot the Ata’mal Crystal from Culuthas and bring it to Nexus-Prince Haramad at Stormspire.  He gives you the quest: Special Delivery to Shattrath City.


SPECIAL DELIVERY TO SHATTRATH CITY

I am an ethereal of my word. You have truly inspired me.

I am now going to give you the ata’mal crystal to hand over to the naaru. As it was your heroics that made this possible, I wish for you to deliver it.

You may use my personal teleporter to go directly to Shattrath City. Simply step through it and you will be transported there.

Give the crystal to the naaru known as A’dal on the Terrace of Light. May the trade winds be at your back.


A’dal will then offer you the quest to assemble the Arcatraz Attunement Key.


HOW TO BREAK INTO THE ARCATRAZ

A message was embedded in the ata’mal crystal that you recovered. Nexus-Prince Haramad has given us information vital to our campaign against Tempest Keep.

He tells us that there are two pieces, shards to a key, which, when combined, will unlock the keep’s Arcatraz satellite.

One half is possessed by an ancient in the Botanica known as Warp Splinter. The other is held by Pathaleon the Calculator inside the Mechanar.

Bring both shards to me and I will combine them into the Arcatraz key.

OBJECTIVE

A’dal has tasked you with the recovery of the Top and Bottom Shards of the Arcatraz Key. Return them to him, and he will fashion them into the Key to the Arcatraz for you.


Now that you are attuned to Arcatraz, you can open the gate with your Arcatraz key.  Alternatively, Rogues with high-lockpicking skill can open the Arcatraz door until you complete your attunement.  This is what you will face in Arcatraz—read the Walkthrough below …

BUTCHER’S STAND

You will find a two-way stairs.  One each stair-end you will find two Arcatraz Wardens (Blood Elf Archers).  There is a total of four, but are separate groups.  You can sheep one and kill the other one.  They have an arcane explosion (AOE).

Next you see a scene where three Arcatraz Defenders are killing Protean Horrors and a Protean Nightmare.  They keep coming every few seconds after the blood elves kill them.

Pull them after they have killed the flesheaters.  Mage should sheep one.  If there is a Hunter place a trap.  If no hunter, Warlock can use his succubis to charm.  Kill the one with the skull mark.

The Protean Horrors come next.  They are small white flesheaters.  They can be easily disposed.  The Tank should charge them to gain aggro.  The mage and warlock should AOE them.  The Tank should be expecting the Protean Nightmare to show up anytime.  It is a bigger flesheater with lots of Hit points.

They will usually debuff the tank with Incubation.  After the timer on the debuff is over, the target player will spawn two or three Protean Spawns (Larva / worms).  These worms have a crazy hit rate and like to aggro priests and mages mostly.  Their hit rate will practically make it impossible to cast.  Either AOE them or have some DPS player be on clearing worms duty.  Otherwise, you will get no healing for the tank because the worms interrupt casting.  Additionally, the worms infflict Acidic Bite –  Armor reduced by 575.  They can kill a cloth player fast if you leave them unattended.  Get those worms off your mage and priest ASAP.

On the next room, there are two patrols.  One patrol consists of a Protean Nightmare (Big Flesheater) and three Protean Horros (Small flesheaters), which roam clockwise.  The small room is circular and to the right is another doorway to a tunnel connecting to the next block.  They patrol around the room and move toward that far doorway.  Then stop in front of your doorway for 15 seconds before resuming their patrol pattern.

The second patrol consists of six Protean Horros packed together.  They follow the same patrol patterns except they do so counter-clockwise.  You decide wish patrol to pull. Just do so when the other patrol is far away.



STASIS BLOCK: TRION

Next block is packed with mobs.  Ask your team to stay on the previous block.  No one should be by the tunnel connecting both blocks.  These mobs have serious aggro range and you don’t want two coming at you.

Send in a Hunter, or if lacking one, the Tank should range with his gun to pull.  The first pull is a demon dog with two heads and many eyes.  They are exactly like the model of the demon imprisoned by the Prince in Dire Maul (West wing).  These dogs are named Soul Devourer.  The Tank has to rotate him toward the doorway so that the flame AOE he sprays from the mouth won’t affect the team.  They inflict Sightless Touch – Movement speed slowed by 40%.  Time between attacks increased by 50%.  Casting speed slowed by 50%.

Every few seconds an eye will spawn from him and pick a random player.  The eyes can be killed in two or three hits / spell hits.  There are at least two of this dogs in the room.

Stay on the Butcher’s Stand block, and pull the next mob … a Death Watcher (lvl 70 Elite).  They look like Giant floating brains with huge teeth a big eye and tiny eyes around the big one.  Underneath they have tentacles.  When the Death Watcher reaches 20% health it will cast an AOE debuff marking everyone with Death Count – Marked for death.  It will start a 12 seconds counter.  If you haven’t killed him by the time the timer is over, everyone will be afflicted with a bomb that will either kill everyone or cause massive damage.  Just DPS him down as fast as you can.  There are at least a total of three Death Watchers in the room.

Be alert … there is a single Protean Horror patrolling back and forth going upstairs through the ramp and down to the room you are at.  If you didn’t stay at Butcher’s Stand block as suggested and fight within the Stasis Block: Trion while fighting another mob—if he aggros while there are other mobs in the room, he will bring with him more mobs than you can chew.

Next pull might be a Protean Nightmare and three Protean Horrors.

There is another variety of Death Watchers – this one is called Entropic Eye.  Its abilities are different.  They debuff the tank or nearby targets he strikes with Fevered Fatigue (Disease):  Intellect reduced by 43.  Spirit reduced by 43.  Priests may cast Abolish Disease.  Another ability is Corrosive Poison – 722 to 928 Nature damage inflicted every 5 sec.  Armor reduced by 5000.  This one is definitely not nice for a tank.  If you have a druid in the team alert him to cure poison ASAP.

Entropic Eye has another ability named Withered Touch (Disease) – 463 shadow damage inflicted every 10 sec.  463 mana leeched every 10 sec.  This one is pretty bad too.  Priests need to be on their toes watching these debuffs.  Cast Abolish Disease.

Make sure that you have cleared the room, and I mean it … don’t start the boss event without clearing the room, including the area underneath the transparent semi-circle ramp.

Once the room is clear, drink up.  Ask the priest to cast shadow protection buff to the team.  Make sure to rebuff the whole team with Prayer of Fortitude, Arcane Intellect, Mark of the Wild and anything else depending the team configuration.

This is a hard-to-position boss, so make sure your team understand the strategy.  Your team has to walk in and position themselves on the right side of Zereketh the Unbound (A Voidwalker lvl 72).  His right side is your left.  That corner is good.  Everyone should have their back against the wall in a a semi-circle formation along that corner.  Spread just a bit.

The tank has to charge Zereketh and position him at least 15 yards away from the wall your team is standing at.  Rotate him so he faces your team.  So what’s the logic on this?  Zereketh has a massive knockback.  If your team is not hugging a wall he will knock them back at least 50 yards away.  And a healer tossed that far away from a tank means someone is gonna die because the healer (Priest, Shaman, Druid, Paladin) won’t be able to reach you in time.  So hug that wall.  If the tank is knockback against the wall, he should grab aggro again and VERY important. Position him again facing the wall your team is at.

If you don’t do so you will force your team to rearrange their positions and it may cause them to no longer be against the wall and get tossed far away.  The tank has to rotate the boss, not rotate the team.

The second thing you should be mindful about Zereketh the Unbound is that he summons void zones.  Think of the first boss of Hellfire Citadel: Shattered Halls.  However, the void zones are huge and do the same effect of Death and Decay.  If you stand on the disc you will get approximately 2,000 shadow damage per tick.

This is in part another reason why the tank has to position the boss 15 yards away from the wall.  If the tank was in a corner, he wouldn’t be able to see the void zone underneath his own feet.  Specially a druid tank wouldn’t see a thing with his big rear.  Being this far from the wall, the tank can position his camera in a way he can see his own feet—looking out for any void zones spawning beneath himself.

At this point if you manage to be alert on positioning, rotation and looking out for void zones, you may be successful in the event.  The third ability of the boss is to hit everyone in the room with a shadow volley.  Since everyone is in the same corner the priest can handle that with prayer of healing (AOE heal).  Healers—bring mana pots.  Melee—bring health pots.  If a non-tank druid is in the team, toss a innervate on the priest.  This fight can be long usually.

The last ability of Zereketh the Unbound is nasty.  He casts Seed of Corruption – causing 400 damage per tick.  There is no way to dispell it.  Cast a shield on the afflicted player, and a renew.  Druid Healers should toss a regrowth and rejuvenation. Shamans could help too.  This seed of corruption can last long enough to kill a player.

After killing the boss, go upstairs through the transparent ramp.  There you will see a damaged robot named Arcatraz Sentinel (lvl 70 – Mechanical Elite) and blood elf corpse or two.  The corpses can be hit, and they spawn two Protean Spawns (worms).  If a robot and a corpse are near to each other, never attack the corpse first.  Pull the robot instead.  Attacking the corpse will cause the robot to aggro.  However, if you pull the robot, the corpse won’t spawn worms.

Although they only have 30% health, they can be nasty.  They constantly pick a random target and discharge them with an electric bolt.  DPS him down fast.  After the Arcatraz Sentinel dies, move yourself at least 20 yards away from it.  They will keep discharging electric bolts after death for 10 seconds.  Each bolt can cause around 900+ damage.

Along the tunnel you will possibly find corpses.

Ask your team to stay on the back side of the tunnel.  The tank or a hunter will have to pull the next mobs into the back of the tunnel.  They are big voidwalkers.  There are two types you have to memorize:  Nexus Screamers and Nexus Warp-Master.  Here is why you have to stay on the back of the tunnel.  The Nexus Screamers fear the team and that room has at least six voidwalkers.  The Screamers also cast a single frost bolt to a random player, and also a frostbolt AOE.  Everyone is hit.

The Nexus Warp-Master (Voidwalker) doesn’t seem to have many abilities except they open a void zone underneath themselves.  This void zone increases their armor and strength.  In short, make sure your tank knows about this.  The tank has to kite him backwards through the tunnel and toward the ramp of the first boss if needed.  Do not let the Warp-Master stand still.  He will leave a trail of void zones and he won’t get what he wishes …  he will die pretty fast without his void zone to empower him.  If your tank lets him stand still for three seconds you will notice the difference.  He will chew the tank in no time with increased strength.

When you return to the voidwalkers room on your far right, by a hidden corner, you can find the container for the Karazhan Key quest: The Second and Third Fragments.


QUEST: THE SECOND AND THIRD FRAGMENTS

Khadgar: I hid the second fragment at the bottom of Serpent Lake, long before it was called that. The giant drain installed there after the naga took over has likely pulled the container into the depths of Coilfang Reservoir.

The third fragment will prove the most trying, as I left it inside Tempest Keep back when it was controlled by the naaru. Kael’thas now rules it and the chamber where I left it has become a prison.

Bring me these remaining fragments. Much depends on your success.


Once you have cleared the room, stay on that room.  The tank will go through the tunnel and pull an Eredar Deathbringer.  There are three Eredars in that room.  Two types:  Eredar Deathbringer and Eredar Soul Eater.  Both are melee types but they have different auras.  The Auras affect everyone within 40 yards.

Eredar Deathbringer – their aura does around 433 damage per tick.  I suggest conserving mana by waiting until everyone is 75% health, then cast prayer of healing.  Secondary healers should only mind the tank, while the priest uses Prayer of Healing AOE on the team.  Priests could also help with Mending on the tank.

The Eredar Deathbringer casts Diminish Soul on the Tank and lo and behold … it stacks – all damage taken by 150 per stack.  If it stacks four times that is damage taken by 600.  Watch your tank’s health.

The Eredar Soul-Eater has a different aura:  Entropic Aura – Time between attacks increased by 25%.  Casting speed reduced by 25%.  Movement speed reduced by 25%.

He can also cast Soul Chill (Magic) – Movement speed reduced by 50%.  It can be dispelled.  And casts frost nova encasing everyone’s feet in ice. Another ability is Soul Steal (Magic) – Physical damage done reduced by 45%.  All stats reduced by 45%.  It can also be dispelled by priests.  Although Eredar Soul-Eaters can be killed under a minute, they do have their box of surprises.

Once the Eredars are dead, inform your team to stay on that room on the back.  You will see an Arcatraz Sentinel (robot) and a corpse on both sides of the door.  Don’t pull.  The tank should go near the platform (back of the room) to the far edge.  Now you can carefully view a hidden Arcatraz Sentinel covered by the wall—on the left side of the door.  On each side of the door is a Arcatraz Sentinel and a corpse.  Don’t touch the corpses or both robots will aggro. Single pull the left robot.  When it dies, pull the corpse worms on the left.  Then the next robot, and the last corpse.

Once the door is cleared, ask your team to not stand in the tunnel nor near the door.  Stay on that room on the back, atop the platform (if you are a caster/ranger).  Next room is packed even when you don’t see many mobs.


STASIS BLOCK: MAXIMUS

The next room has two felguards titled Unbound Destroyer and Fel Overseer. Two visible Spiteful Temptress (Succubis) and possibly two or three stealthed Skulking Witches (Succubis).  The Fel Overseer has mortal strike—make sure to shield the tank when you see the mortal strike icon—and he has an AOE named Intimidating Shout.  You will be silenced for around 8 seconds.  That means … healers should toss heal-over-time spells on the tank, in preparation to the next shout.  When the silence is over, toss a shield on the tank to allow other healers to heal the tank while you cast your 3 second big heal.

The next pull is a Spiteful Temptress on the right of the door.  I recommend the rangers/casters going up the platform ramp on the back of the room to range the mob.  That will give you time to see when she is going toward you, to jump off the platform and run toward the tank—basically staying away from damage and kiting her until the tank regains aggro.

Skulking Witches are stealthed.  Only the Tank and the Priest should be in the tunnel connecting to the next room.  Cast a shield and mending on the tank.  The tank should move slowly in the next room attempting to catch the attention of stealthed Skulking Witches.  They are by the walls.  Once you get aggro pull them fast into the previous room toward your team.  The priest can cast renew and shield again if possible.  Skulking Witches can Gouge, incapacitating the target for few seconds.

The next room has a shape of a star with three sides. On the center it has an hexagone arena.  There may still be a Skulking Witch near Dallia the Doomsayer.  So be alert and let the tank do the scouting.  With stealthed mobs around you know how the saying goes … curiosity killed the cat.  Hunters could probably use their flare to detect stealthed units or Warlocks cast detect invisibility on the tank or paranoia with a summoned Felbeast.

There are two mini-bosses here: Dallia the Doomsayer and Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates.  Dallia is a six-armed female demon.  Soccothrates is a Wrathbringer demon.  Your first target should always be Dalliah.

Dalliah the Doomsayer is a straightforward tank and spank fight.  She will rarely lose aggro on the tank.  However, healers need to be careful in this fight and cancel their healing if they are fast enough.  She will cast a debuff on the tank.  As soon as you see it, stop healing or cancel an incoming heal immediately.  That debuff will heal her along with the tank.  Once the debuff is expired, you can heal the tank and toss renew/regrowth/rejuvenation on him so that he can recover until the next debuff.  If she gets no heals with her debuff, she will die pretty quick under 3 minutes.  The other ability should be important to melee players … as soon as she starts whirlwind, move away.  She will remain spinning for 8 seconds.  No problem … she won’t lose aggro while spinning.  Get back on her after she stops spinning.

Once she is dead, ask your team to stand around the hexagonal arena at the center.  Three sides of the hexagon has a wall column.  Three sides are openings.  Pick one of the three walls and hug it.  The Tank and a rogue or feral druid (if any) should pull the mini-boss Wrath-Scryer Soccothrates into the center of the arena.

This mini-boss is pretty hard, no lie.  He does a knockback tossing you 40 yards away. That is why you are hugging the walls.  Now the reason each of the players are on one of the column-walls is that he will randomly charge a player—leaving a trail of fel fire on the ground.  That fel fire will cause you instant damage and also damage over time.  As soon as you see him charging you run toward the tank, and across the hexagon toward the healers.  Otherwise the damage over time will kill you.

Another tip—- don’t stand near the boss, he seems to have a fire aura of 15 yards.  Anyone going near him will be debuffed with a fire icon, taking damage over time.  It can be dispelled by priests.  Druids should be alert on the Priest’s mana and innervate them.  Your team needs to DPS this guy as fast as possible.  Healers won’t be able to sustain the healing of the team for too long.

Once he dies, the door field will be shut down, and now you can access the stairs toward the third floor.

Upstairs you will find a robot and 2 corpses.  Kill them—always pulling the robot first.  Don’t be wandering ahead of the tank.  By the bridge connecting Stasis Block: Maximus and Containment Core on the third floor—there is a patrol—a Protean Horror.  Across the bridge you will get an inevitable pull of two robots.  You might wipe here.  Keep your main healer alive if your team has a second healer.  When the first robot dies, the tank has to immediately pull the other robot away from the dead one.  Otherwise, the after-death discharge combined with the remaining robot will kill your team.  Electric discharges do 900 damage per bolt.

Inside the tunnel—past the bridge—there is another single robot and two corpses.  Kill the robot and later the worms.


CONTAINMENT CORE

Again ask your team to remain on the back of the tunnel.  This is to avoid patrols aggroing near the door during the fight. The tank should approach the door and position himself on the left side to see diagonally toward the right side of the door.  To the right is a group of four ethereals.

– Ethereum Life-Binder
– Two Ethereum Slayer
– Ethereum Wave-Caster.

Ask your mage to come to the front and to target the Ethereum Life-binder.  Once the mage has targeted it, ask him to move to the back of the tunnel.  If you have a hunter, ask him to trap an Ethereum Slayer.  Kill the Ethereum Wave-Caster fast, then a Slayer.  They infflict poison on a target to slow casting time.  Mages should keep the Life-Binder sheeped at all times.  A Mage shield and Priest shield on the mage would be wise periodically in case sheep breaks during the fight.  It will allow the mage to not lose casting time while getting hit by the Life-Binder, trying to re-sheep.

The next pull is a patrol of 4 mobs – same configuration as the first pull.  They patrol counter-clockwise.  Tank should charge them.  Mage can now sheep the Life-Binder.  Kill the Wave-Caster.  Rinse and repeat on the last pull standing on the other side of the room to the far right, by the door.


NOTE: You will find a corpse on the platform in this room.  It is Seer Udalo.  He is for a quest given by Akama in Warden’s Cage (Shadowmoon Valley).  You get Akama’s quest after doing some Aldor quests at the Aldor Village – northeast of Hand of Gul’dan.


Ask your team to stay in this room.  I recommend casters/rangers to stand atop the platform in the back of the room.  The Tank should walk through the tunnel with care and position himself on the left wall of the tunnel to see diagonally to the right edge of the doorway.  There are two satyrs on the right and two satyrs on the left.  Plus a Infernal is patrolling back and forth toward the door and away from the door.  Naturally pull the satyrs when the infernal is walking away.

You have now a two satyrs:  Sargeron Archer and Sargeron Hellcaller.  Kill the Hellcaller first.  As his name indicates he casts rains of fire.  The Sargeron Archer shoots poisoned arrows that slows your spellcasting time.  When you kill them, stay in the room and return to the platform on the back of the room. This is in case the tank loses aggro and the satyrs run toward you.  At least you can see him running around the platform.  Jump off the platform and run toward the tank.

Heal and drink and prepare for the Infernal pull.  This time all the players have to stack on the same spot by the door.  Stick together.  The tank will go pull the Gargantuan Abyssal (Infernal).  It has a fire damage aura causing over 300 damage per tick, but you would rather take that sticking together stacked on each other than what he will summon.

The Gargantuan Abyssal summons down a meteor crashing on the team.  Now for the sake of explaining why no one should stand apart from the stacked team players … if you stand alone away from the team (points at Hunters/Mages)  the meteor will strike you for 12,000 damage.  When everyone is stacked together, the 12,000 damage splash is split between each player.  In short, 12,000 divided by 5 players = 2,400 damage per player.  There are ways around this … depending on your team configuration.  For example, Hunters and Warlocks can summon a pet to take some of the damage while stacking on each other.  And a non-tanking druid could summon treants.  That would further split the damage caused by the meteor.

Priests must keep a pace of prayer of healing the team when they reach 75% health, while mending and renew on the tank.  Any other healers should only heal the tank and DPS the Gargantuan Abyssal.  DPS is needed to kill him as fast as possible.  The next pull might be a Doomguard.

The team needs to stand on the door of the previous room.  The tank should pull the Unchained Doombringer (lvl 71 Elite Doomguard)  to the door of the other end of the tunnel.  In short, casters/rangers should stay on the other side of the tunnel.  If the tank brings the doomguard toward the team, prepare for a wipe. ‘Nuff said! Stay at Max Range.

The next pull is another Gargantuan Abyssal.  Stack together for the meteor.


WARDEN MELLICHAR

By now depending on how much time you have spent clearing the dungeon up to this point, you might have repops on the starting point—Butcher’s Stand section—after the zone-in.

You have a one-shot chance to succeed on this final showdown. Otherwise, you will have to clear trash mobs up to the third floor: Containment Core.  The third floor won’t have repops by the time you arrive after clearing.

Now to explain the Warden Mellichar event.

When you approach him he will bubble up. You don’t fight him.  He will cast a red spell toward the stasis cell (cage) on the left of the room.  The first mob is random.  It will either be an Imp or a Phase Hunter (Warpstalker).

One thing you should know is that this is a timed event.  Meaning:  If you don’t DPS him fast enough, the next cage will be opened and you will have two mobs instead of one.  If you kill him fast enough you will have a grace time to drink.

The second cage opens and a gnome named Millhouse Manastorm.  He is for a quest given by A’dal in Terrace of Light.  Your mission is to free him, which only happens if you are successful with the event.  The gnome will help you kill the next two mini-bosses set loose from the cages by Warden Mellichar.

The third cage opens to set loose a wind elemental named Akkiris Lightning-Waker.  This mob will do an AOE lightning hitting all players.  He will do this often every 10-15 seconds.  Mages and resto-Druids should be alert on this round on curse-clean duty.  Akkiris will cast Lightning-Waker’s Curse on the tank or a random target—Magical damage taken is increased by 100%.  Very dangerous curse.  The event depends on you cleaning the curse.

Right now I will tell you that you won’t have enough DPS on him if you have a Restoration Druid.  He is immune to Nature damage.  A resto-druid commented he usually hits for 2,600 damage.  His nature spells were doing merely 600 damage to him and sometimes he would miss.  A mage reported low DPS on arcane damage.  Restoration Druids should possibly have to fight him in bear or cat form.  Or simply stay at max range and dedicate to heal the team.  Priests and Paladins can go DPS on this boss.  He is not immune to Holy damage.  However, remember this is a DPS race against the timed-event.  If Akkiris doesn’t die fast, the next cage will be opened and you will have both mobs together on you.

If you were lucky to kill him in time, casters should drink fast before getting in combat mode.  The tank should be smart and move toward the spawning-spot on the left side of the cage-platform.  There is an explanation for that.  Blackwing Drakonaar will engage in combat as soon as he is set loose off the cage.  He does a warstomp that sets everyone flying on the air—a knockback.  In short, everyone that was rushing to drink to regain mana will be interrupted.  Tanks don’t want that to happen.  Therefore, run toward the left side to welcome him. Away from casters drinking.

Blackwing Drakonaar is mostly melee, but he does have the warstomp that causes damage to everyone nearby while knocking them back at the same time.  I recommend casters/rangers to move toward the wall he spawns at, with their back on the wall.  Treat this guy like you did the first boss of Arcatraz—Zereketh the Unbound, to avoid his knockback.  The tank needs to maintain him on the left side near his cage.  The team doesn’t want to get knockbacked from the healers, nor would healers wish to get slammed far away from the tank.

If you killed him fast enough, you might have some seconds to drink.  The last mob to be set loose is no less than a clone of Skeram—not literally a clone, but looks like him and does similar things.  The Naaru had imprisoned this Qiraji emissary that for some reason wished to conquer the worlds in the universe as a harbinger of the Old gods.  Warden Mellichar did not know what was inside this cage, and cost him his life when he set him loose.

The Qiraji has some very nasty abilities and I really wish you luck.  He mind controls a single target forcing you to spend some mana on your own teammates.  Fear and knockback. You can also see a ray casted on a player similar to mindflay … it will cause around 5,000 damage over 8 seconds.  Healers on your toes when seeing this mindflayer ray.  You become immobilized during the mindflay unable to cast.  The last two seconds of mindflay you regain mobility—you may cast shield on yourself those last two seconds—if by chance you are the Priest.

Based on observation, the Qiraji needs to be pulled by the tank to a corner near the cages, and everyone non-melee should stay at max range.  He seems to pick on anyone near him.  When he reaches approximately 30% health, he will split into two Qiraji.  The tank—if he is team leader—or a hunter should mark him before he splits.  That way you know who is the original and who is the copy.  This is the last boss in Arcatraz.  As for Heroic-mode this place is hellish.  It is easy to get a team to disband on the first room of the dungeon.  You better have good gear before coming to Arcatraz Heroic-mode.