Activision Blizzard announced they will broadcast the Third Quarter 2013 Financial Results after the close of the market on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Coincidence? BlizzCon 2013 takes place on November 8-9. Will Mike Morhaime have a few spoilers to share?
Personally, that would be a great move considering some people might want to watch the BlizzCon DirecTV or Livestream. Not all these conferences yield juicy announcements, but some have proven to provide approximate launch dates for beta testing.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )
An ex-Blizzard Entertainment developer reached me out to tip me about the sale of several StarCraft II goodies acquired as employee-exclusive gifts. I was able to confirm the identity as the name appears in the StarCraft II credits.
Some of these items are rare, and some are commonly found on eBay. Most of these can be acquired directly by texting the ex-developer by phone. The employee-exclusive goodies will be placed on eBay in a few days (I’ll update once the ex-developer provides the links).
In the meantime, here is a sneak peek into some of the items currently available for sale.
The Dethling was a BlizzCon 2010 Exclusive item included in the Swag bag given to the event attendees. The ex-developer has two available for $60 each.
BlizzCon 2010|2011 Pet Cards
These are BlizzCon 2010 and 2011 exclusive pet cards which contain a scratch redeem code which enables a Battle.net account to obtain a Deathy (a murloc with a jaw and features of Deathwing) and Grunty (World of Warcraft space marine companion pet) — there are two cards on sale each for $85; and another two cards with the Murkablo (World of Warcraft companion pet) and the Panda Space Marine (StarCraft II avatar). I’m not certain if these will be on sale or if they will be placed in the upcoming auction instead. Text just in case.
Circle of Honor Limited Edition Stein
This stein is given exclusively to employees. This one seems to be given to those who have worked at Blizzard for two years. It is sealed in its box (unopened). On sale for $250.
Diablo III Collector’s Edition
There are two factory-sealed copies on sale for $150. The Collector’s Edition includes the Fetish Shaman (World of Warcraft companion pet), the Tyrael wings (Diablo III character cosmetic wings); and three exclusive StarCraft II avatars (Diablo III-themed). It also contains the Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction inside a USB-flash drive shaped like the soulstone which can be inserted in a Diablo skull souvenir, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Soundtrack DVD, and other goodies.
Kwurky Green Egg Murloc Plush
This is a rare Blizzcon 2009 exclusive plush toy. There is one available for $120.
StarCraft II Chips
While there are some of these showing up on eBay from time to time, the one the ex-developer is selling is the Employee-Exclusive version, and thus a rare item. This below is the complete Blizzard chip set + the full set of the StarCraft II chips. On sale for $200.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition
The factory-sealed StarCraft II Collector’s Edition includes the Mini Thor (World of Warcraft companion pet), three StarCraft II exclusive avatars, an exclusive-version of the Thor unit within StarCraft II, a DC Comics StarCraft comics # 0, the Art of StarCraft II book, the Behind-the-Scenes DVD, Soundtrack and other goodies. On sale for $250.
Not all items have images, but these can be purchased directly without eBay listing by contacting the ex-employee directly.
How about a sealed Employee staff-exclusive shirt (Size: Large)? Only $50.
Employee platform services button up 2012 shirt (sealed) – $120
One-year Subscription World of Warcraft cards x3 for only $75 each. Buying these directly on Battle.net would cost about $84.86 (with Tax included). You save about $9.86 (depending what U.S. State you live at. Tax Example provided: New York)
Upcoming eBay Auction
I’ll update fans in the front page and at the Blizzplanet Facebook and Twitter pages when these become available on eBay. If you don’t follow Blizzplanet social network pages do so now. I was told these will be uploaded soon. These are for the hardcore fans out there with the passion to collect extremely rare Blizzard employee-exclusive memorabilia.
The Thor and Vulture original artwork was painted by artist Jack Luke Mancini. The auction will start with $300 for this limited exclusive piece.
The StarCraft II Kerrigan Queen of Blades original artwork was used as the front cover of the Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg. This 22″ x 42″ original artwork by Glenn Rane will be in auction starting at $12,000.
This one of a kind original Brian Huang Starcraft II Concept Art Hydralisk will be in auction for $2,200.
Sideshow Collectibles only made 5100 copies of the Kerrigan Queen of Blades Bust Statue. So far there have been only four of these statues showing up on eBay by ex-employees and sold for about $900. This one is sealed in its box and it will be auctioned for $750.
Stay tuned to Blizzplanet to find out when these last four items hit eBay. All other items mentioned are available directly with the ex-employee (no-eBay) by texting (310) 801-7802.
The ex-employee is willing to show photos of pay stubs and the employee plaque for verification and authenticity purposes. Prices are also negotiable.
I arrived to the New York Comic Con in Manhattan about 10:45am before the scheduled book signing at the Insight Editions booth (#1564). The place was packed with thousands of fans and I wasn’t even inside the Javits Center yet. I bypassed most of the horde of people outside the building by walking along the street to the farthest entry point (which is closer to the Exhibition Hall). Still took me about 15 minutes to get inside just to enter into yet another traffic jam of people walking the aisles. Not so easy with a Rollator Walker.
Insight Editions Booth # 1564
I got to meet Joseph Lacroix (DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice artist) and Doug Alexander (Senior Art Editor in Creative Development at Blizzard Entertainment) at the Insight Editions booth and both signed my copy of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. I was delighted. It was so cool when I wrote Blizzplanet.com on the book and showed it to Joseph. He went like: “Ohh! Blizzplanet!” He explained Doug about the fansite.
I informed him that Arthur “Handclaw” Lorenz recently interviewed him at GamesCom 2013 on behalf of Blizzplanet, and he remembered him. It was awesome to meet these guys and handshake.
The Simon & Schuster booth had Blizzard lead publishing and New York Times best selling author Micky Neilson as a guest to sign books for Blizzard Entertainment fans. Simon & Schuster gave away 50 copies of World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde and 50 copies of Diablo III: The Order for free to those who came to the book signing event.
There was a long line of fans waiting to get their books signed. The line went all around the corner.
I talked briefly with Micky Neilson at the end of the book signing. I asked him whether someone would step forward to take the role of the avatar of Justice now that Tyrael answered the call of the Crystal Arch to take the mantle of Wisdom.
Whether someone would answer the call to fill the shoes of the avatar of Justice in the future or not is unknown. It is something that has been discussed internally, but they haven’t yet come to a decision. I argued there is still Justice to be met with Adria betraying Tyrael, Leah and all of mankind. Of course, what Malthael is orchestrating demands justice too.
On another note, there is a Diablo short story or novella in progress to be released somewhere around 2014. It is based on a character mentioned in the “Figures of Interest” section of Diablo III: Book of Tyrael.
The character is named Morbed (a former thief) who roams the lands of Sanctuary helping adventurers. The description in the book is open to interpretation. Maybe players might find him in the Reaper of Souls expansion. Don’t take my word on that.
The video below shows the book signing by Micky Neilson — HD1080 available. Let the playlist run to load both videos. The sound is a bit chaotic. I cleaned a bit of it, but you can still hear it. There was a nearby booth with really amped-up music in the background on top of the thousands of people talking in the distance.
The Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is now on sale at the New York Comic Con (booth #1564) and local bookstores. I grabbed my copy from the Insight Editions booth at the New York Comic Con for $28.
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael was written by Matt Burns (Associate Publishing Developer, Blizzard Entertainment).
In terms of printing materials, this book has the typical Blizzard-quality standards and what you would expect from an Insight Editions book. It’s awesome. The front cover’s Sword and ornaments artwork is embossed — giving you that special visual and tactile feeling. The lower part of the book is wrapped by a cover jacket.
Now I think this book kind of went a few notches up in terms of detail in comparison with Book of Cain and other similar Blizzard licensed products. If you take a look at the outer side of the pages which run along the width of the book in Book of Cain — you will notice the pages’ border were truncated to mimic ancient scrolls. Diablo III: Book of Tyrael lacks this, but instead the pages’ border is painted in gold. It’s crazy. You can even see the light reflect off the golden surface. The photo doesn’t even catch half of how it really looks like.
In the interior of the book, all pages have this wash-out material that gives you a feeling this is an old manuscript. It’s rare to find a page that has no artwork.
Finally, at the back of the book is some sort of envelope glued to the cardboard. The center has a seal one can detach to open the envelope. Within is “The Red Tree of Khanduras” listing Deckard Cain, Archbishop Lazarus, Prince Albrecht, King Leoric, Queen Asylla, Prince Aidan, Leah and Adria.
When you unfold the poster it is kinda huge. It has an artwork of a big tree. The roots seem to entangle The Black Soulstone. The branches have images of all the characters mentioned above concerning “The Red Tree of Khanduras”.
On the other side of the poster, it shows the same characters in their final fate: Queen Asylla decapitated, Leah as Diablo the Prime Evil, Aidan as the Dark Wanderer, King Leoric as the Skeleton King, Adria holding the Black Soulstone, Albrecht as Diablo, Lazarus and Cain death.
Diablo III: Book of Tyrael is written from the point of view of Tyrael. However, Tyrael attached writings from Deckard Cain’s Journal and Leah’s Journal to pass the wisdom down to his new Horadrim, and future generations. It is not written as a novel, but more as a compendium of notes.
There is no index page or content list. The entirety of the book is a roleplay from the point of view of the Diablo III characters. An exception is the credits page.
Diablo III fans should definitely get their hands on this book. There are many elements from the upcoming Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion; and probably the expansion after that.
I have never seen such an extensive collection of lore about Adria the Witch. Adria’s past prior to her arrival to Tristram is written by Leah, and her story after arriving to Tristram is from Deckard Cain’s notes. Tyrael got Leah’s notes from Bastion’s Keep.
Tyrael shares his experience as mortal in his charge as the new Wisdom. Charge that’s short-lived as Imperius doesn’t acknowledge him and ignores his warnings about the Black Soulstone.
Tyrael is confused with all the raw emotions coursing through his mortal body. Fear to fail his duty as Wisdom. Emotional insecurities assaulting him.
The book reveals why Tyrael decided to steal the Black Soulstone from the Angiris Council, and why Westmarch as its burial ground. The story of Adria the Witch, the Founding and Ruin of Westmarch, and lore about the Crusaders can be found in the book, too. Take this book as a prelude to Diablo III: Reaper of Souls; and as a primer for the upcoming novel Diablo III: Storm of Light by Nate Kenyon which hits bookstores on February 2014.
There is no index/contet list, so I’ll simply list the sections found throughout Book of Tyrael:
Introduction – This is a letter from Tyrael to the New Horadrim.
Part One: Adria
The Witch of Tristram
Zoltun Kulle and the Black Soulstone
Part Two: The Fate of the Black Soulstone
The Dissonance of the Angiris Council
The New Horadrim
Rakkis and the Founding of Westmarch – Prelude to Conquest
Campaigns Against Ivgorod and the Barbarians
The Creation of Westmarch
The Lost Ruins of Westmarch
Part Three: Miscellanea
A Timeline of Sanctuary
Pre-History – (Inarius)
Factions of Sanctuary
Council of Elders
The Temple of the Triune
The Thieves Guild
Figures of Interest — this is a long section with brief descriptions of several humans, demons and angels throughout history. Some only mentioned in the novels and the comic book.
Some of the artists behind all the artwork in Diablo III: Book of Tyrael were the same from Book of Cain, while others seem to be new.
The Black Frog
Glenn Rane (Cover)
Dan Hee Ryu
Matt Burns (Writer)
Doug Alexander (Creative Direction, Layout and Design)
Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, and Brian Kindreagan (Additional Story Development)
Victor Lee (Additional Art)
Josh Horst, Kyle Williams, Skye Chandler (Producers)
Cate Gary (Editor)
Justin Parker (Lore)
Jerry Chu (Licensing)
Special thanks to: Christian Lichtner, John Polidora, David Lomeli, Benjamin Zhang, Peter C. Lee, Leonard Boyarsky, Michael Chu, Valerie Watrous, Evelyn Fredericksen, Sean Copeland, Leanne Huynh, Audrey Vicenzi, and Joseph Lacroix.
Raoul Goff (Publisher)
Chrissy Kwasnik (Art Director)
Vanessa Lopez (Executive Editor)
Anna Wan (Production Manager)
Elaine Ou (Editorial Assistant)
The Coven is actually a remnant of what was once known as the Triune (the ancient religion seen in Diablo: The Sin War trilogy)
Adria was born in Kingsport — curiously, the southern port of Westmarch — where Reaper of Souls takes place.
Adria’s father was Sevrin — a powerful merchant in Kingsport, who strangled his wife in a fit of rage.
Adria possibly killed her own father some time later when an unusual fire burned their home. She fled north to the Westmarch capital. Joined a group of witches. Turns out Adria and Maghda met there in their youth. Years later, both witches joined the Coven and took control of the group after killing its leaders.
Adria later departed the Coven after a schism with her partner — around the time of the Darknening of Tristram.
On one of Cain’s notes, he acknowledges after taking Leah as child with him, he began to research about Adria. He decided to keep what he learned a secret, and hid the truth to Leah.
I’m surprised this book has a long timeline similar to Warcraft’s. Also most of these Leah’s notes dating Diablo III (Caldeum and Bastion Keep) are written in 1285 Anno Kehjistani. Some notes are denoted as “1st day of (what seems like a month)”. Examples: Ratham, Kathon, Ostara.
Short descriptions of each important human, angel and demon throughout history (alive and deceased).
Zoltun Kulle was from the Ennead mage clan — group which delved into transmutation and enchantment magics.
The Black Soulstone was a profane simulacrum of the three soulstones Tyrael gave the Horadrim years ago.
Now we have another name of the first Horadrim group: Jered Cain, Tal Rasha, Zoltun Kulle and Iben Fahd. The latter was among the few survivors who attempted to defeat Zoltun in his lair.
The first part was Adria and Zoltun Kulle. The third part is from the point of view of Tyrael. He expresses how he feels as a human. How he felt as an Angel and how he viewed the flaws of the Angiris Council.
“I deliberately took on the form of a mortal, sacrificing my angelic essence, in response to the Council’s continued inaction. In doing so, I hoped to set an example to the Heavens — to prove that laws can be bent for a greater good.”
Tyrael left the Heavens after Diablo the Prime Evil was defeated. He couldn’t bear the angels’ judgment — who blamed him for the countless deaths of angels. I think this is the first time we ever hear how angels are born. Tyrael mentions before he left back to Sanctuary he witnessed the Lightsong — the creation of new angels. The angels tune their essences into the Crystal Arch in synch. The harmony of this “sound” and “light” creates new angels.
Blizzard Entertainment Recruiter Val Maun (@Azuriel) has been searching for an Audio Producer for several weeks. If any Blizzplanet visitor is looking for a job in this field, or if you know a friend/family or a friend-of-a-friend who is — do some networking to pass the word. Submit a resume here.
Blizzard Entertainment’s audio team is seeking an experienced producer to support voice over (VO) and casting production for all of our franchises. In this role you are charged with continuously improving the quality of our VO and its pipeline in both a local and global aspect. Your primary responsibility will be managing the VO and casting schedule for all of Blizzard’s IPs. This includes planning and coordinating all VO and casting and ADR requests, as well as writing contract requests, interacting with talent and supporting all needs of the VO and casting director. Superior organizational and communication skills are a must as you’ll be collaborating with multiple development and support teams throughout the company (e.g., cinematics, PR, web, creative development, community, all our game teams, etc.).
Collaborate with the casting and voice over director and the audio production team to create and maintain project schedules.
Help refine the voice over development pipeline to increase production efficiency and quality.
Communicate status of voice over content, assets, tools, and features to audio production director and all franchise production directors regularly.
Supply monthly status updates to audio production director and all franchise production directors.
Coordinate efforts with internal group including cinematics, PR, web, creative development, community, and game teams.
Coordinate choir sessions, managing casting for internal modeling needs, and organizing any talent or union related negotiations.
A minimum of 3 years’ product development experience on AAA titles
Able to accurately and efficiently manage a large volume of audio tasks
Able to coordinate with a large number of external contractors including studio resources and actors
Comfortable dealing with a large amount of legal contracts and talent paperwork
Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail
Excellent oral and written English communication skills
Self-motivated with an ability to work under tight deadlines in a fast-paced environment
Willing and able to travel as needed on short notice
Able to work independently, and / or within a team
Computer literate and familiar with MS Office products
Passion for video games
Good knowledge of voice over and casting pipeline in video games
Knowledge of standard and practices relating to union titled video games
Knowledge of Blizzard and its games
Working knowledge of employing external audio vendors, such as recording studios and payroll companies
Working knowledge of audio tools and programs, such as Pro Tools
Working knowledge of audio, graphic, and movie file types and applications
Funko released images of the painted version of the Funko POP! Vinyl figures based on StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Diablo III. Follow the links to pre-order your copies. When I saw these my first impression was how much the painting stands out in comparison with other POP! Vinyl figures out there based on other franchises. They are gorgeous!!!
They are definitely made with the quality you might expect from a Blizzard Entertainment licensed product. Grab them all while you can. These measure 3 3/4-inches tall.
The Diablo III Tyrael & Diablo figures and the World of Warcraft Arthas figure will ship on November 2013. The Illidan figure ships on December 2013, and the StarCraft II Kerrigan and Jim Raynor figures are slated for February 2014.