Our network site, IncGamers, got the MASSIVE breaking news that WoW Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan has moved away from the World of Warcraft team to focus all his time and effort on the Blizzard Entertainment’s unannounced Next-Gen MMO.
He will still be participating in certain WoW development decisions, but his new tasks will keep him busy on the development of the next-gen MMO. This brings a lot of speculation vibe to it. Why reveal he’s moved to the next-gen MMO team? Why now? Fans wouldn’t have even figured out he was missing except for the BlizzCast Q&As that aren’t released so often.
Will there be a new Blizzcon this year? Are we witnessing hints of an impending game announcement this year?
Will this Next-Gen MMO be a resurrected Starcraft: Ghost game? The game was postponed, not canceled. It is quite possible. Back on Blizzcon 2005, fans played Starcraft: Ghost multiplayer. It looked more like an MMO than a console game. Another possible hint this game could resurface is the four Starcraft: Ghost printed-format books in development. Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star Books will publish Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by the end of 2009. Keith R.A. DeCandido has written around four chapters thus far.
Tokyopop will publish a manga trilogy titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy, aimed to be released throughout 2010. The Year of the Ghost. Speculations, speculations. Don’t we love that time of the year when Blizzard itches to tell something is being brewed in their headquarters?
Will it be a Starcraft MMO or Diablo MMO? It would be hard to tell. Back on 2002, two games were in development parallel to each other: World of Warcraft and Warcraft III. Both games tied up lorewise with the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Undead races and the Kalimdor and Northrend continents.
Starcraft 2 is now developed to be three separate episodes of around 30 maps each. This could be seen as expanding the lore to introduce an MMO. On the other side, we have Diablo 3. It hasn’t been revealed if it will be split into episodes, but last year it was revealed that the storyline in Diablo 3 wouldn’t be the end. The Creative Development Team has plenty of story to tell beyond Diablo 3. Whether that is via expansions or … coughs … a Next-Gen MMO, that remains to be seen.
Keep your eyes open through the summer for any Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals or Blizzcon announcements. It could very well mean the unveiling of the mysterious Next-Gen MMO. Big thumbs up to Jeff Kaplan and his team. Make us proud and make the best MMO experience possible.
|Tigole: I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I
Many Blizzard fans attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for the opportunity to meet the thundergod Chris Metzen (Senior VP of Creative Development) and Micky Neilson (Senior Writer & Voice Director) during the Simon & Schuster book signing session.
There were a lot of happy fans handing over their copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, the Comic Book Vol. 1 hardcover, even the Wrath of the Lich King Collector’s Edition Art Book. I remember one of the fans brought the wall-mounting accessory of the Frostmourne sword replica to be signed. It was a fun experience to both Alliance and Horde players; and the developers were quite satisfied and passionate about the fans’ reactions.
Blizzplanet and WorldofWar.net was there to interview both Blizzard developers, and to record most of the book signing session. Below you can watch all three videos.
A few days ago, major gaming sites reported that Activision Blizzard had returned to this year’s E3 Exhibitors List. Last year, Vivendi and Activision had withdrew their ESA membership and E3 altogether. GiantBomb—where ex-Gamespot Editorial Director Jeff Gerstmann works nowadays—got response from Blizzard Entertainment. And the answer was:
Short and straight. This is a big surprise, knowing Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 won’t get the press time and hands-on gameplay at an event that Blizzard had previously attended to. It seems Blizzcon and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals will remain to be the main platforms for new game and expansion announcements—including hands-on gameplay.
Last year’s Blizzcon had the whooping achievement of over 15,000 attendees from all around the world.
Gamestar interviewed Leonard Boyarsky, World Lead Designer, to talk about Diablo III’s Rune system, Battle.net 2.0, Inventory and item management, random quests in a static outdoor world, and class skills.
Not much is new in this interview, but it does help some fans that may have missed previous interviews to get a grasp and catch up on certain aspects of Diablo III. You can watch the video interview at the Gamestar website in english. We have a transcript of the video at the bottom of this page.
Blizzard released four new wallpapers available in many sizes and resolutions. The first one is the rendered 3D image of Tyrael shown in the front page of the official Diablo III website. The second wallpaper is the map of Sanctuary shown in the World Map section. The last two wallpapers are concept arts of the city of Caldeum. It’s cool to have some updates this often. Keeps our passion for Diablo III alive and continuous. Let’s hope a Bestiary Update and more gameplay screenshots follow next.
I posted an article over at Diii.net to discuss a possible paladin-like class based on some concept art shown within Cain’s Journal. It wouldn’t completely be like the original Paladin class however, but a darker version of it with other class traits.
When I played the Diablo III demo at Blizzcon, the Wizard felt very much like a merge of the Sorceress and the Assassin classes. The Wizard can melee and you can even assign points to the dagger’s abilities in the talent trees.
The Witch Doctor has some traits of the Necromancer merged with traits of the Druid class, summoning pets.
So, would it be too far-fetched to think the Paladin will have traits from another class? The Amazon, or even the Necromancer? One of the concept arts shows a warrior/paladin like class wearing skeletal shoulderpads. A Death Knight or Darker Zealot?
Here is the article in question. Any thoughts on the possible Paladin-like class or Ureh are welcome. Discuss.
Most players have had a thought and wish in common at some point … “Blizzard should allow items dropped to the ground, near the stash, to stay there forever instead of disappearing”. Someone new to the game may have tried that at least once to find that item disappear next time they return to town. Bashiok explains why keeping dropped items on the ground is a very bad and harmful idea performance-wise.
This past week Bashiok has been on a roll posting and replying to fans on the official Diablo 3 forums. Among the topics discussed were the stat points allocation concerns which seem to be the new kid on the block after the Art Direction uproar a few months ago. Bashiok continues to tease and hint many Character build customization options that are still unrevealed. He also mentioned that any buttons we saw in the Blizzcon 2008 hands-on demo were placeholders and that none are recycled from World of Warcraft, but unique to Diablo III. There are other topics. You can read them below after the break. Share your thoughts with other fans.
Our sister site Diii.net has a very interesting prize to giveaway during the Christmas Season: The Diablo II Collector’s Edition. All you need to do is to post a comment at the following thread. That simple. Want to know what’s within the Collector’s Edition?
Blizzard has announced the Echoes of War soundtracks are now available on iTunes store allowing you to purchase individual tracks or the whole album.
Celebrating the Christmas season, Blizzplanet launches a new contest that will chill everyone’s heart with joy. The prize of this contest is courtesy and sponsored by Eminence:
It contains music from Starcraft, Diablo II, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Starcraft: Ghost, Diablo III and Starcraft II. You can take home this product by participating in this contest. Ends on January 2, 2009 at 11:59 EST (New York time)
Blizzplanet is currently spotlighted at the official World of Warcraft website. Read our Echoes of War review to find out what’s inside the prize’s box in detail.
Blizzard has updated the Diablo III media just prior to the Christmas holidays. Fans are greeted with three new concept artworks and five new gameplay screenshots to hold your breath until the next update.
The first concept art tells us a few things. It is Caldeum and it is described as a bandit city. It is unknown if the place will be hostile to players or if it is just a market place where adventurers may spend some coins on merchadise and to be able to hire mercenaries (followers). The art is signed by Trent (2007). The second artwork shows the beautiful interiors of a palace with a large central pool. It is signed by Peter Lee (2006). The third artwork shows the entrance to a dungeon, presumably. It is signed by Victor Lee (March 2007). So we are seeing three different concept artists and artwork dating back to 2006 and 2007.
The five screenshots show off the female Wizard, the Witch Doctor and the Barbarian in action. The Wizard’s spell graphics is with no doubt awesome. She hurls a lightning bolt across half the screen to hit a target on the other side of the room. The Witch Doctor throws an explosive concoction and up to four fiery pets engage ghostly spellcasters that seem to have been triggered by a trap mechanism that introduces them into the room from the below the ground. The third screenshot shows the Wizard casting a very powerful laser-like beam of fire. It looks more like a continuous redish photon stream that desintegrates anything caught in its path. It covers a large area of the screen. The stream doesn’t stop on the target, it goes through it and continues all the way off the screen.
Something I am liking a lot from these five pictures is that the dungeon is dark. The candles do offer some illumination, but for the most part some areas are dark. Your character and incoming mobs are brighter so that you are able to identify the mobs. The spells are represented with bright and intense pitch white and many variations of pleasant colors. This is not only appealing to your visual input. It gives you a new perspective of the Diablo II dungeons in full 3D, allowing you to recognize and identify monsters around you easier than before, and the spells are just gorgeous. The art direction is going smoothly on my book.
The economic recession across the United States is seriously affecting every industry: from General Motors and other Automobile manufacturers down to book publishers and beyond. Sadly, I have to inform that my personal contacts at Pocket Star Books and Tokyopop have been laid off. I had heard a few weeks ago that Tim Beedle (Starcraft/ Warcraft manga editor) and Susan Hale were no longer at Tokyopop. I don’t know the perks, but now I have figured out it is due to lay offs.
Today, after visiting Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog, I found out that Marco Palmieri was among the 35 employees laid off by Simon & Schuster on December 3. He was the editor of all Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo novels, and more notoriously known as editor of 65% of the Star Trek pocket star books published in the past 11 years. It is a very sad day for hundreds of writers, including Richard A. Knaak, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Jeff Grubb, Graham McNeill, and Aaron Rosenberg who had the opportunity to meet and work with him. I am still in shock. I sent him an email just a day ago on Saturday not even knowing he may not even be able to read it from the office.
In my email I was letting him know the URL to the Night of the Dragon review and to ask a few things about the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre. I am really saddened to hear about his sudden departure. I have been in contact with Marco Palmieri for about two or three years. He would ship review copies of most Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft pocket star books to my home. The latest ones Diablo Archive, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon.
I have no words to thank him for his great support to keep fans updated with lore and upcoming books. Thanks to him, Blizzplanet has been the main source of Blizzard novel news for other fansites, fans and even wiki enthusiasts in the past years. I had the opportunity to hand-shake Marco Palmieri this year at the New York Comic Con and to thank him face-to-face. I was looking forward to meeting him again on 2009. I will get in contact with the new editor, but it will not be the same without Marco. I am not the only one with that sentiment. All of the Blizzard novel writers feel the same way. We hope Marco Palmieri finds a new job doing what he does and loves best. Not only for him, but for his wife and two children. Best wishes to the other 34 employees who were laid off too.
The next Warcraft novel is expected to hit bookstores on April 21 as a hardcover (retail price: $ 25) under the title World of Warcraft: Arthas, The Rise of the Lich King—by Christie Golden. Hopefully, the layoffs won’t delay the release dates and script proposal and revisions for upcoming books.
Source: Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog
Blizzard Entertainment and Massive, Inc. stroke an exclusive deal to advertise on Battle.net. Before you freak out, this deal does not include in-game advertisement. Blizzard respects the integrity of their games and fans. Microsoft’s Massive. Inc will advertise in World of Warcraft and other game websites.
Diii.net reports certain sites are claiming to have a Diablo III demo leak. If you see a site on the search engines in the net or on a torrent that claims to have a Diablo III demo be very wary of downloading it. There is no leak of this game. Leaks usually happen when a friends and family tester or beta tester breaks an NDA. Diablo III is not in Alpha nor Beta testing. It can only be played on Battle.net 2.0.
Use common sense. What is being distributed is a trojan horse / malware. Beware.
All the Community managers are actively gathering questions for the next episode of BlizzCast (podcast). Feel free to submit your questions in the comments below. Simply register in order to submit your comments. I will personally send the questions to Bashiok (Diablo 3), Karune (Starcraft 2) and Nethaera (World of Warcraft).
Diablo III Forum Rep Aguilar replied to a fan there won’t be a Diablo 3 demo at Dreamhack this year—the LAN party competition held in Sweden through November 27-30th. Blizzard will offer Starcraft II and Wrath of the Lich King Hands-on gameplay to attendees. You can find the Telia and Blizzard booth in Hall C right next to DreamArena. It’s a pity not to see Diablo 3 demo there. However, if you are going to be an attendee, you may ask the developers questions related to Diablo 3. Are you attending Dreamhack this year? Let us know.
Shortly after the announcement of Diablo III at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, former Art Director Brian Morrisroe departed Blizzard to pursue a personal non-gaming business. We recently reported Brian and some friends launched Booyah.
Job openings for the Art Director position were posted at the Blizzard Jobs section for months. The long wait is over. The Art Director and other positions were removed from the jobs section. We contacted Blizzard Public Relations to find out the name of the new director, but at the moment it is kept under wraps. We will get back on this once the name is revealed. What matters is that Diablo III has a new Art Director to move forward.
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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)
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
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:
At the bottom left of the Character (C) window you will find your character resistances. These can be determined by icons:
Blue snowflake = Frost
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
So Diablo III was announced last week at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals. That leaves one unannounced game unaccounted for … the Next-Gen MMO. Diablo III is not it according to Rob Pardo during an OnlineWelten video interview.
What would this new Next-Gen MMO game be?
During the Teaser Splash pages days before the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals, fans started to lose morale and hopes on a Diablo announcement. I quickly posted my personal views supporting that this new game announcement would be a Diablo game.
At this point it is too early to make a prediction on what the Next-Gen MMO is all about, but I have a theory.
If we took Warcraft III and its expansion Frozen Throne as an example, both RTS games and the MMO were in development basically simultaneously, with Warcraft III introducing a lot of new lore. Kalimdor, Northrend and the Night Elves did not exist in previous Warcraft games. So this game served to expand the lore, and set things in motion for the MMO—whose quests match up and start a year after the death of Admiral Proudmoore.
So how does that translates with Diablo III? This is speculation, but Diablo III is naturally adding a lot of new areas that players have never explored. NPCs were hinted to be more talkative of their history. We have the Diablo: The Sin War trilogy adding a lot of new lore into the mix, as well as previous books. The lost city of Ureh from Kingdom of Shadow by Richard A. Knaak appears on the map of Sanctuary—a clue that elements from the novels’ lore are swiftly making its way into the game.
Those who read Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy may have read at page 168 of book three: The Veiled Prophet that Trag’Oul the dragon was stopped by other sentinels such as himself from entering the world of Sanctuary, revealing there were other worlds out there whose fate depends on Sanctuary’s fate.
With such a setting in the novel, it is now official that there is more than just the High Heavens, Sanctuary and the Burning Hells … but more worlds out there as playground for both forces. This quietly sounds like the other worlds Blizzard plans to make accessible in World of Warcraft through the portals found in Outland.
Of course, the same Warcraft III + World of Warcraft formulae applies to the Starcraft franchise, with Starcraft II being in development. Only time may tell what’s brewing at one of Blizzard’s departments heavily guarded by men in black suits.
It is still early to figure out what the new Next-Gen MMO is. However, I can’t help thinking of previous Blizzard history with developing Warcraft III and World of Warcraft simultaneously.
UPDATE (5-22 5pm EST): Voodoo Extreme had word from PCGamer the August 2008 Edition’s mysterious exclusive is not about any Blizzard Game. I also got a email from PCGamer denying and clarifying it is not about a Blizzard game.—via Shacknews
Blizzplanet contacted PC Gamer the same day the rumor started circulating our sister forum, and got reply today afternoon: “Sorry to get your hopes up, but we can officially deny that Diablo is on our cover next month. We’re announcing something big and exciting and exclusive (actually, there are two big exciting exclusive announcements in this issue!), and we had to go a long way to get it, but it’s not from Blizzard.” said Dan Stapleton (PC Gamer Magazine, Senior Associate Editor).
Regardless, hope still remains that the favorite and craved RPG game of all-times gets announced on 2008. It is amazing how fans continue awaiting year after year the announcement of a new sequel seven years later. This rumor in particular caught momentum, because there were signs there pointing toward a Diablo exclusive. Signs you will read below in the original story. That doesn’t mean still a Diablo game won’t be announced at WWI, nor whether PCGamer has the exclusive on the July edition. We will have to wait 36 days until the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris starts to find out.
Original Story (5-20): Another fan-fueled Diablo Rumor Mill has propelled out in full swing after PC Gamer’s July edition wrapped up with the following text:
Here are a few thoughts to ponder on this brainstorming puzzle PC Gamer unleashed:
– PC Gamer was probably among the Gaming press Magazines who visited Blizzard Entertainment early on May, a few weeks ago.
– If you remember, PC Gamer knew about the Starcraft II announcement last May 2007. Blizzard Entertainment made the announcement at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (WWI) at Seoul, South Korea.
– PC Gamer can’t talk about it for the next 30 days … the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals at Paris, France takes place on June 28-29.
– June 29 is the date Diablo II shipped on USA (2000) and the same date the expansion Lord of Destruction shipped on Europe a year later (2001).
– Notice how PC Gamer replaces a swearing with [CENSORED]? Could this be a clue as to what the game they refer to is? Because CENSORED really sounds like HELL … as in … Diablo?
UPDATE (5-21): Shacknews got response from Blizzard Entertainment.
UPDATE (5-22 6am EST): I just approached one of my friendly journalist collegue contacts: Leord, from WorldofWar.net, to ask if PCGamer journalists were seen at the Blizzard headquarters early May 2008. The answer was: Twice. Cheers.
UPDATE (5-22 10am): Jeff Green is a well-recognized PC gaming editor-in-chief and journalist at 1UP.com—Jeff Green’s reaction to the PCGamer Mysterious Exclusive:
“As a former magazine editor, I’d say Diablo 3 makes sense. That’s my guess. Blizzard has the big Paris event coming up with a big game announcement. We’ve already been assuming over here that PCG would have the cover for this—-because, well, who else would at this point? So I was waiting to see a Coming Next Month from them written exactly like this. Gotta be D3.”—Source: Neogaf Forums
Share your thoughts at the Diablofans.com Forums. (former Diablo3.com)
Thanks, dunhac82 and Super.Fresh
Legendary Pictures issue a new press release announcing over $1 Billion in new film financing for its upcoming titles including World of Warcraft the movie, Clash of the Titans, Kung Fu, The Losers (DC-Vertigo), Waterproof, The Spook’s Apprentice and Superman 2.
Blizzplanet reported a couple of weeks ago the Legendary Pictures website had updated the “In Development” section with a DIABLO film title. Every major gaming news network echoed our headline including Slashdot, CVG Online, Kotaku, WIRED, GameTrailers, InsideMacGames, and GamePro … among others.
Twenty-four hours after Blizzplanet spotted and reported the Diablo film update, the Legendary Pictures website quickly unlisted “DIABLO”, mysteriously removing it from the “In Development” section.
Eurogamer recently contacted Blizzard to get any response about the Diablo flick rumor. Blizzard gave “No Comment”. It is unknown whether it was a technical mistake by the webmaster of the Legendary Pictures website or an accidental slip made earlier than planned. Something Blizzard fans know for sure is to handle anything said by Blizzard to be taken with a grain of salt. Remember the many interviews where the answer was “There is no Starcraft II in development”? Yeah, right! Now we know Starcraft II has been in development since 2003.
For now there is total quiet concerning the DIABLO listing and unlisting incident. Let’s hope BlizzCon 2007 (August 3-4) reveals anything. Another good opportunity for a press release could be Halloween.
Mon, June 18
Hocus Pocus. Diablo was unlisted magically from the “In Development” section. I tell you. It is the lesser evils playing tricks with our minds. Where is Deckard Cain when you need him to reaveal the undecipherable.
Sun, June 17
Few weeks ago, a rumor circulated the net that Gary Whitta would be working with Legendary Pictures to develop a Diablo film. The participation of Gary Whitta hasn’t been confirmed, but surprise-surprise. Legendary Pictures website is listing DIABLO under the “In Development” section.
No press release has been made available. The news section has been replaced by a “Legendary 2.0 is coming soon” notice. A week ago, the news section over at Legendary Pictures website had not been updated since Q3 2006. Stay tuned for any updates. A press release could be posted by them in a few days. Diablo is coming to the big screen!
It comes to attention, this media-slip comes within a month and a half of BlizzCon 2007. The rumor and hype is a Diablo game might be announced at the Anaheim Convention Center in August 3-4.
I have seen some feedback of fans thinking a Diablo film would suck, without giving it a try, because some previous films based on games have failed in the past few years. However, there are two big differences setting a Diablo film apart from the rest.
1. Blizzard games are rich in lore: In-game and via game manuals.
Among the authors of these novels are Richard A. Knaak (NYTimes Bestselling Fantasy Author) known by many fans of Dragonlance, Dragonrealms, Dungeons & Dragons; and author Mel Odon. Diablo books written by Knaak are: Diablo: “Legacy of Blood”, “The Kingdom of Shadow”, “Moon of the Spider”, and “The Sin War”. Mel Odon was author of The Black Road. Most of the books take place between Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 storylines.
The recent novel trilogy by Richard A. Knaak, Diablo: The Sin War reveals the origin of the world known as Sanctuary. The events are set 3,000 years in the past. A recent interview with Richard A. Knaak hinted the novel trilogy had ties with events of the upcoming Diablo game’s storyline. Book three of the trilogy is due on Q4 2007. I have already read part one and two. Very exciting read.
With all the lore backing the Diablo franchise, a Diablo film would just rock. The Diablo film will be produced by a film studios that has proven great achievements in barely two years. Legendary Pictures is co-produced and co-financed Frank Miller’s 300 (an epic film based of King Leonidas and the three hundred spartans), Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins”, Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns”, M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady in the Water”, and “The Ant Bully” animated film.
Upcoming releases by Legendary Pictures are “World of Warcraft the Movie”, Paradise Lost”, “Clash of the Titans”, and “Superman 2” to name a few.
I could compare a Diablo film adaptation with elements of “300” and “The Prophecy” (starred by Christopher Walken). A Diablo film adaptation has potential to be one of the best fantasy/horror films.
Share with other fans your ideal Diablo Casting crew at our Diablo forums
If you aren’t sensitive to spoilers you can read a brief summary of Diablo: The Sin War book one and two over at wikipedia.
Thanks, Harrogathhero and [email protected]
There is a rumor circulating the net that Gary Whitta is writing a sample fiction or screenplay for a Diablo and Starcraft Film. It is not official, as no press releases have been issued out to the media by Blizzard Entertainment. The rumor is Gary Whitta and Legendary Pictures might develop a Diablo Film. Again, not official nor confirmed.
I found this at worthplaying and at the HollywoodReporter, at the bottom of the page.
Few years ago, Blizzard Entertainment halted a Vin Diesel film with a lawsuit for using the title “El Diablo”. The film titled was changed to “A Man Apart”. Blizzard holds trademark over “Diablo” for films and games.
On Gary Whitta’s homepage there is a piece of sample fiction written for Blizzard Entertainment titled STARCRAFT: THREE BATTLES, which basically was written as a test of how a Starcraft novels can be brought into the big screen. There is the precedent that he has submited works for Blizzard. As usual time will tell if this is just rumor or true.
Blizzard Vice-President of Business Operations – Paul Sams – told Gamespot that Blizzard is currently working on various unannounced games hinting that Diablo and Starcraft franchises are among them, and a possible new franchise as well. Read More