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Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Cheat Codes Revealed

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Nethaera posted all the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Cheat Codes available in the single player campaign. No more guessing, or unsuccessfully browsing the net for them. All Cheat Codes have been revealed by Blizzard Entertainment.

Caution: Before using cheat codes it’s important to understand that using them will prevent additional achievement gains you might have earned through normal play until either a new campaign is started or a prior save is loaded (one from before the use of the first cheat).

Cheat Code Description
WhatIsBestInLife Instant Victory
LetsJustBugOutAndCallItEven Instant Defeat
TookTheRedPill Disables Fog of War
Bunker55AliveInside Disables the need for Supplies (Food)
TerribleTerribleDamage Enables God Mode
SpectralTiger Adds 5000 Minerals to the Available Resources
RealMenDrillDeep Adds 5000 Gas to the Available Resources
WhoRunBartertown Adds 5000 of each Resource to the Available Resources
SoSayWeAll Allows the use of all Tech
IAmIronMan Instantly Allows all Upgrades
CatFoodForPrawnGuns Enables Fast Builds and Fast Upgrades
HanShotFirst Disables Cooldowns on Spells
TyuHasLeftTheGame Disables Victory Conditions to Allow Continued Play
NeverGiveUpNeverSurrender Enables Continued Play After a Defeat
ImADoctorNotARoachJim Enables Fast Unit Healing
MoreDotsMoreDots All Units and Buildings are Free to Build (No Cost)

Story Mode Cheat Codes Description
WhySoSerious Adds 5 Million Credits
LeaveYourSleep Opens all Missions (Ability to Jump to Missions)
EyeOfSauron Allows Access to all Cinematics
StayClassyMarSara Allows Access to all UNN TV News Broadcasts
HoradricCube Opens all Research Options

Custom Maps Description
Jaynestown Adds 5000 Terrazine to the Available Resources

Easter Egg Cheat Codes* Description
OverEngineeredCodPiece Plays the Song Terran Up the Night

*Unlike other cheat codes, using the Easter Egg Cheat Code, “OverEngineeredCodPiece” will not prevent achievement earning.

Please note: All of these cheat codes have been added deliberately to the game and unlike third-party hacks or cheats won’t flag an account for suspension.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 4.0.3a Patch Notes

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Those who have religiously downloaded every patch in the background for the past weeks and months will only download about 29MB today. When I launched the game I was welcomed with the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm cinematic shown in national TV during the NFL game (Cowboys vs Vikings).

The loading screen is no longer Wrath of the Lich King’s Sindragosa. Now it shows Deathwing on Stormwind’s towers as seen in beta.

12pm EST – Servers are still down at noon EST. We’ll see what’s up once servers are back up. Rumors have been that the shattering will be today due to the long maintenance schedule. If so, that means those of us who downloaded every patch are set to go. Those who had background download disable are gonna regret they did so (i.e. over 4GB of data). More when servers go up.


World of Warcraft Client Patch 4.0.3

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html

The latest patch notes can always be found at

http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/

The Shattering of Azeroth

In the frigid wastes of Northrend, the final battle against the merciless Lich King ended in victory for Azeroth’s defenders. Upon returning home, veterans of the unforgiving conflict against the Scourge were showered with praise for their valiant sacrifices, while the honorable dead were mourned. Yet as hope flared anew in the wake of the Lich King’s fall, Azeroth’s native elemental spirits grew confused and erratic, setting off a series of deadly natural disasters. Horde and Alliance leaders scrambled for clues about the troubling state of the world, but nothing could have prepared them for what was to come.

Without warning, the corrupted Dragon Aspect, Deathwing, erupted from the stone heart of Deepholm, the domain of earth within the Elemental Plane. Jagged fissures were torn across the earth, and monstrous waves pummeled coastal regions. From Thousand Needles to the Blasted Lands, the surface of Azeroth was reforged through violent upheavals. Now, the Horde and the Alliance must defend their homes against Deathwing and his minions, burdened by the unsettling fact that the world as they know it has changed… forever.

General

  • Azeroth Shattered
  • Deathwing’s return has had an immeasurable impact throughout the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Players will notice drastically altered terrain, thousands of new quests from levels 1-55, and updated level ranges for some zones to improve the questing flow.
  • New Race/Class Combinations
  • In the wake of a world on the brink of destruction, members of the Horde and Alliance have taken to new cultures and studies, mastering crafts previously foreign to them. Many existing playable races now have new class combinations. Check the official World of Warcraft: Cataclysm website for a breakdown of the new combinations.
  • The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm cinematic trailer and login screen have been added to the game.
  • Experience required to gain levels 71 through 80 has been reduced by 20%, which increases leveling rate by 25%.

Classes: General

  • Due to several talent revisions for select classes, druids, paladins, priests, and shaman have had their talent trees reset.
  • The damage and healing done by players from levels 1-79 has been retuned, with the base points of almost all spells and abilities reduced. This was done to bring combat times at low levels to a more reasonable length. For most abilities that deal weapon damage, the weapon damage percent now rises per level until level 80, and starts at a lower percent.
  • Healing Rain, Efflorescence, Holy Radiance, Holy Word: Sanctuary now have a diminished effect when healing more than 6 players at once.
  • Mortal Strike, Furious Attacks, Wound Poison, Widow Venom, Permafrost, Improved Mind Blast, Monstrous Bite, and Legion Strike now reduce healing by 10%, down from 25%.
  • Effects which are broken from taking too much damage (Fear, Frost Nova, Entangling Roots, etc.) now break automatically from about half as much damage taken as before.

Death Knights

  • Death Pact now heals for 25% of maximum health, down from 40%.
  • Death Strike now heals for 25% of damage taken in the last 5 seconds, down from 30%, and will heal for a minimum of 7% of maximum health, down from 10%. The tooltip may not yet be updated to reflect this change.
  • Icebound Fortitude now provides 20% damage reduction, down from 30% (now 50%, down from 60% when talented), and has a 3-minute cooldown, up from 2 minutes.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Blood
      • Rune Tap now heals for 10% of maximum health, down from 15%. The tooltip may not yet be updated to reflect this change.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Rune Tap now heals for 5% of maximum health, down from 10%.
  • Bug Fixes
    • Frost Fever critical strikes now apply the correct amount of bonus damage.

Druids

  • Bear Form now provides 10% bonus health, down from 20%.
  • Nourish no longer consumes Omen of Clarity.
  • Rejuvenation has had its mana cost increased by 30%.
  • Soothe now has a 1.5-second cast time.
  • Swipe (Cat Form) can now be used even if the druid does not have a primary target selected.
  • Thorns: beginner tooltip revised to no longer imply the spell could be kept up at all times. In addition, Thorns damage has been reduced by 60%.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Balance
      • PvP set bonus redesigned. While not in an Eclipse state, critical attacks against the druid restore 5 Solar or 7 Lunar energy, whichever is more beneficial. This effect can only occur once every 6 seconds.
    • Feral
      • Brutal Impact now increases the mana cost of spells on the victim by 5/10% for 10 seconds, down from 15/30%.
      • Leader of the Pack now heals for 4%, down from 8%.
      • Survival Instincts now provides 50% damage reduction, down from 60%, and its cooldown has been lowered from 5 minutes to 3 minutes.
      • Swipe (Bear Form) damage has been reduced by 20%.
      • Vengeance is no longer cleared on exiting Bear Form, and instead is cleared upon entering Cat Form.
    • Restoration
      • Empowered Touch now procs from Healing Touch as well as Nourish.
      • Heart of the Wild: the Bear Form Stamina bonus from this talent is now 2/4/6%, down from 3/7/10%.
      • Malfurion’s Gift no longer has Fury of Stormrage as a prerequisite talent.
      • Natural Shapeshifter now also increases Tree of Life duration by 5/10 seconds.
      • Revitalize is now a 2-point talent, down from 3. It provides a 20% chance to return 1/2% of the druid’s total mana on periodic heals from Lifebloom or Rejuvenation. This effect cannot occur more than once every 12 seconds.
      • Swift Rejuvenation is now a 1-point talent, down from 2. The global cooldown reduction this talent provides to Rejuvenation remains 0.5 seconds.
      • Symbiosis: heal-over-time spells (Rejuvenation, Regrowth, Lifebloom) can no longer benefit from this Mastery merely by refreshing themselves. A different heal-over-time spell must be present.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Healing Touch now reduces the cooldown on Nature’s Swiftness by 10 seconds after using Healing Touch, up from 5 seconds.
    • Glyph of the Treant (new) allows druids to keep the original treant Tree of Life look… if they must. Must they?
  • Bug Fixes
    • Blood in the Water now refreshes Rip to the correct value.
    • Flight Form now properly appears in the trainer window before Expert Riding is learned.

Blizzplanet: Blizzcon 2010 Coverage

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Blizzplanet staff members Eldorian, Miaari and Omacron attended BlizzCon 2010 to bring our loyal visitors exclusive coverage of Diablo III, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty content revealed at the event, and one-on-one interviews with the developers. Beneath you may find links to our coverage.

DIABLO III

WARCRAFT

STARCRAFT

NEXT-GEN MMO

GAMING SITES COVERAGE

Blizzplanet: The Bastion of Twilight Preview

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The Bastion of Twilight (25) raid dungeon was opened for nigh three hours to allow beta testers a shot at the first boss: Halfus Wyrmbreaker.

BASTION ANTECHAMBER

The trash mobs at the Bastion Antechamber require insane crowd control, especially the Twilight Crossfire (wyvern sting) and the Twilight Dark Mender (healer/dps mobs).

The first pull only has four mobs: two Shadow Knights and two Crossfire. After that first pull things get interesting. A stationary group composed of eight enemies: Twilight Soul Blade (x 2), Twilight Dark Mender (x 2), Twilight Crossfire (x2) and Twilight Shadow Knight (x 2).

No Enough mobs? The two patrols walking along the Antechamber are composed of the same variety except one extra Shadow Knight and an extra Dark Mender into the mix. That’s ten mobs.

Two groups patrol the length of the antechamber and require coordination and timing. No sap, sheep or hex. Otherwise the second patrol will path and aggro. These should be pulled into the zone-in tunnel, because there are defensive systems on each side of the room that will auto-attack from afar.

The following information is interpreted from the video’s combat log considering direct damage, blocked damage, and resisted, absorbed or overkill damage.

Twilight Soul Blade: These are the big orcs. They are immune to any type of crowd control. 7220 K health.

  • Melee Swing: 23576 – 37628 Physical damage.

  • Dark Pool: 2160 – 7200 Shadow damage while standing on Dark Pool (a dark purple void on the ground).
  • Soul Blade: Seems to be a weapon proc that causes 9000 Shadow damage.
  • Blade Barrier: unknown

Twilight Shadow Knight: 5424 K health.

  • Melee Swing: 14495 – 24164 Physical damage

  • Devastate: 9741 – 13916 Physical damage.
  • Sunder Armor: Stacks on player up to three times and can be refreshed by Devastate. Afterwards, the tank got hit by a 40587 melee swing.
  • Dismantle: No data. Doesn’t show any damage.
  • Shield Mastery: Unknown.

Twilight Dark Mender: Caster dps and healers. Must be crowd controlled immediately. 5424 K health and 178 K Mana.

  • Hungering Shadows: Affects five players with purple rays. No data.

  • Dark Mender: Heals the caster for 406823 health. Data shows the Dark Mender healed the Twilight Soul Blade for 577639 – 649843 health.

Twilight Crossfire: Dwarf hunters with wyvern stings. Crowd Control them asap. 5424 K health and 178 K mana.

  • Melee Swing: 17773 – 27984 Physical damage.

  • Wyvern Sting: 5760 – 6400 Nature damage.
  • Multi-Shot: 24404 – 47511 Physical damage.
  • Rapid Fire: Increase weapon damage speed.

After the three separate groups are taken care of, you must pull the groups of 10 High Elves on the sides of the room. These are named Twilight Phase-Twister. Don’t fight them in the open. Pull them to the tunnel too. Those radiant yellow orbs are actually defensive systems which shoot a beam at a single player within range causing over 15,000 damage a tick until the player dies or moves out of range. Once that group dies, the static orb disappears.

Twilight Phase-Twister

  • Melee Swing: 6860 – 13418 Physical damage.

  • Twist Phase: Afflicts a single target. No data shown in combat log.

WYRMBREAKER’S ROOKERY

This first boss is seriously going to require very well geared people. Even with so many pre-mades with gear item level 346, it was impossible to beat the boss before enrage. According to the raid leader’s calculations, every player should have 17.8 K DPS to beat the boss. Several players were beneath the 15 K mark.

There are a couple phases that need to be studied with beneficial elements which might help your raid considerably. From what I have heard, each week, a different set of drakes will be used in this fight by Halfus.

In my testing, I saw a nether scion and a group of orphaned emerald whelps. Both can be interacted with before aggroing the boss to guide you on what to do to benefit your raid.

NETHER SCION

Nether Scion: If one such as I can be captured by that lumbering oaf, then you must be brave indeed to venture here. If you can distract Halfus and break the chains binding me then I will fight alongside you. My ability to blind the eyes of an enemy will help you withstand Halfus’ Frenzied Assault.

  • Aura of Nether Blindness: Nether fog surrounds the dragon, imparing enemies’ vision and reducing their chance to hit, attack speed, and damage done by 15%.

  • Bind Will: Magical bonds force this dragon to obey Halfus.

ORPHANED EMERALD WHELPS

Orphaned Emerald Whelp: We must avenge our mother! Distract the monster who slew her, free us from this cage, and we will fight by your side. OUr ability to reduce the damage an enemy inflicts will help you survive the Proto-Behemoth’s Scorching Breath.

  • Melee Swing: 30707 Physical damage

  • Atrophic Poison: Affects Proto-Behemoth lowering its Scorch Breath’s Fire damage output.

Proto-Behemoth

  • Fire Barrage: 17524 – 30217 Fire damage to all nearby players.

  • Scorching Breath: 2080 – 2600 Fire damage a tick.

HALFUS WYRMBREAKER

  • Melee Swing: 14513 – 50701 Physical damage. (small numbers reflect damage taken by the tank after absorbing damage)

Cataclysm: Guild Perks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

World of Warcraft: Shaman manga review

World of Warcraft: Shaman is a new manga from TOKYOPOP. It’s written by Paul Benjamin (known as co-writer with Dave Shramek of the Starcraft: Frontline series, Weapon of War [Vol. 1], War-Torn [Vol. 3], Orientation[Vol. 4]). Pretty much you already love this writer if you enjoyed the Colin Phash storyline. This new WarCraft manga is part of a line of class stories based on key characters of the World of Warcraft mythos.

imageThe first one of these class series debuted with DEATH KNIGHT (by Dan Jolley and Rocio Zucchi) which dealt with the backstory of Thassarian. MAGE (by Richard A. Knaak) dealt with the Nexus War and the invasion of Dalaran’s Violet Hold, and how a young mage disciple helped thwart the initial invasion of Malygos and its azure flight.

All three class mangas, in synthesis, inspire you to question what makes your class special, what’s your class’ origins, motives and beliefs.

SHAMAN is definitely another home run in the series. It’s been probably the most awaited manga in the class series for a couple of reasons: it is a Cataclysm expansion tie-in; and its main character is well-known only by old Warcraft lore fans.

The “most awaited Warcraft manga” might be an exaggeration by most people considering this character has never been an NPC in the World of Warcraft MMO. That group of fans who read the World of Warcraft RPG: Dark Factions book by White Wolf Publishing stood on their toes when they heard a few months ago this character would be the main character of this manga.

The reason? High Shaman Muln Earthfury is the leader of the Earthen Ring. A Tauren. He is a legend among Warcraft lore fans. Like the Ashbringer, which started as hearsay among NPCs, fans went crazy elaborating theories and started exploring all of Azeroth in search of clues — for lack of info or a presence in-game. The Warcraft RPG book elaborated the backstory of the Ashbringer, and later Blizzard released the Naxxramas dungeon in Eastern Plaguelands. Later, Micky Neilson wrote the World of Warcraft: Ashbringer comic book (Wildstorm) and that Ashbringer legend has been fleshed out nicely in-game thereafter in Wrath of the Lich King.

At this point, Muln Earthfury has been a legend among fans. The long-wait is over folks. This is the real deal. Muln Earthfury lives, he is canon, and you will have more things to talk about him in wikis and forums. The question is … will we see Muln Earthfury as an NPC in the game? The answer: Yes.

Tokyopop Editor Troy Lewter sent me a copy for review. This manga is no fruit, but my mouth was watering all over when I was opening the package as if it were.

World of Warcraft: Shaman starts with a short recap of the War of the Three Hammers as an intro to how the earth trembled, 257 years ago, with the accidental summoning of Ragnaros into Azeroth. Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan invoked a desperate spell and unbeknownst to him he summoned an elemental lord. Even Kalimdor felt the tremors of the earth, and the uneasiness of the elemental spirits around the world. Tremors that caused deep consequences and casualties to the Tauren.

The tauren Shotoa was born with a unnatural connection with the elemental spirits, in contrast with other shaman apprentices. The tremors of the earth took away the life of his apprentice. His raging emotions no doubt helped shape his view of the elemental spirits and to question his faith in the old traditions of the shaman. Shotoa determined the tauren should control the elemental spirits by force, to be their master, rather than imploring their help humbly.

The story goes fast-forward in the second chapter of this manga. Exactly 27 years after the Dark Portal was opened between Azeroth and Draenor. That places World of Warcraft: Shaman manga’s timeline in synch with World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King during the pre-Cataclysm world event. (thanks Omacron)

The story of Muln Earthfury begins here, in the Bloodhoof Village, teaching his disciple the ways of the Shaman. She is a young female orc named Kettara Bloodthirst. The manga gives you small glimpses into the recent past when Muln and Kettara first met (five years ago, year 22). After a centaur and elemental attack upon Bloodhoof Village, their savior turns out to be Shotoa — long thought dead when the earth itself swallowed him 257 years ago.

This manga challenges fans to question their knowledge about ancient shamanic traditions. Should the tauren implore humbly for the aid of the elemental spirits, or should they demand and control their powers by force of will?

Fans who have read the World of Warcraft comic book (by Walter Simonson, Wildstorm) know how the ordeal went with Med’an and Cho’gal, the Twilight’s Hammer in Ahn’Qiraj and the chaotic awakening of the elementals in an effort to weaken the barrier between Azeroth and the Elemental Plane. What we see in the printed stories soon or later become reality in the MMO, and as Cataclysm beta testers have learned, there are elementals raging chaos everywhere in the game, and Twilight’s Hammer inciting them against their enemies.

The Twilight’s Hammer helped Deathwing break the barrier between Deepholm and Azeroth at the center of the Maelstrom — as you will learn in Cataclysm quests. The elemental spirits are in turmoil and confused. The Earthen Ring is hard pressed as the elemental spirits ignore their call.

Will the shaman society embrace a new way, or continue their old traditions in the upcoming Cataclysm?

World of Warcraft: Shaman hits local and online bookstores on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010.

Artwork

If you loved the artwork of World of Warcraft: Death Knight, then you will love World of Warcraft: Shaman. Rocio Zucchio penciled both. She’s amazing. As you can read in the Rocio interview at the end of this manga, she has no time to play World of Warcraft. Yet, she’s hit the nail with the Tauren’s looks. It’s her first time drawing tauren, and her past experiences drawing previous Warcraft manga have helped her mature as an artist.

That short recap of the Three Hammers War really makes you wish she takes on a Dwarf manga. Those huge battle scenes with dozens of dwarves probably took her a while. So detailed. Michael Paolilli as usual does a great job with lettering and adding tonality, different shades, to each artwork. The manga is not just black lines on a white paper. They are thoroughly worked up with different shades of gray to mimic a painting.

Characters

Muln Earthfury: High Shaman of the Earthen Ring.
Kettara Bloodthirst: Muln’s apprentice female orc shaman
Zur’ak Firefist: male troll shaman (Earthen Ring)
Lenka: female tauren shaman
Krelna: female draenei shaman
Thrall: Warchief of the Horde, a member of the Earthen Ring.
Drek’Thar: Far Seer of the Frostwolf clan.
Oreg Earthfury: Great-Grandfather of Muln, and best friend of Shotoa.

Review – Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2

imageStarcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 hit the bookstores recently on August 3, 2010. The former author Keith R.A. DeCandido is no longer aboard as writer of the manga. He’s busy with Boom! Studios comic books; and for some months he was knee deep working with the U.S. Census 2010 — so at least we know he’s all good. We’ll miss him. He’s earned it.

Tokyopop’s David Gerrold (aka Jerrold David Friedman) took over the Starcraft: Ghost Academy mantle, and as you will soon find out, he’s quickly sync into the Nova universe. No surprise here. David Gerrold has written a Starcraft story before, which means he’s read the Starcraft Bible 101 and been in contact with Chris Metzen and the Blizzard Creative Team.

David Gerrold wrote the story titled “Fear the Reaper” in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4. He’s written several Star Trek novels and manga. He’s a celebrity among Trekkies as a matter of fact — don’t believe me? Guess who wrote the televised story of “The Trouble with the Tribbles” (Star Trek: The Original Series, TV) which aired on December 29, 1967. The original script was titled “A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me…”

The artist Fernando Heinz Furukawa did a kick ass job through each page of the manga, specially the zerg scenes, but overall academy scenes were great. We’ll see more of him in Starcraft and Warcraft manga no doubt.

Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 explores the ongoing happenings within the Ghost Academy under Mengsk’s close watch. The ghost academy was formerly a Confederate program, and as such, Mengsk needs to protect his image before the people; and to make sure the academy is run by the book to avoid inhuman treatment scandals. (more below)
For those fans who love to keep track of the Starcraft timeline, at the end of Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2, Emperor Mengsk is weeks away from celebrating the first anniversary of the Terran Dominion.

Mengsk controls every single word that airs on the UNN network, but there are pirated broadcasts sent by people working for Michael Liberty — and those do bite a dent into Mengsk’s reputation.

The manga starts with a UNN TV show titled “The Dominion and You” by reporter E.B. James [suspiciously sounding like EB Games]. He interviews the Ghost Academy director Kevin Bick in relation to the recent expulsion of Aal Cistler from the ghost academy. This took place at the end of volume 1.

It’s kinda funny to have two non-heroes take centerfold in the story. Kevin Bick runs the academy with unscrupulous drug experiments to research how ghosts’ abilities can be affected or increased. Some students are panbrained, brainwashed, and tortured in secrecy.

Aal Cistler by the other hand is a young playboy with wits who thinks his every whim comes into reality by paying the right price. He might not be too far from being right though — he’s the son of Emperor Mengsk’s finance minister — ouch. Not an enemy you would want to cross with in your path.

Aal isn’t a telepath, but he loves challenges. He came to the ghost academy to train, but was caught selling drugs to Lio Travski (a technopath, student). While the Ghost Academy knew about the drug addiction of Lio and that Aal was providing it, they allowed it to happen to study Lio’s performance under heavy addiction. When the ghost academy grew tired of Aal, they expulsed him from the academy and provided the UNN with camera recordings of Aal’s drug selling activities.

Aal, however, goes to the UNN to denounce he was framed, and the unusual training practices held at the ghost academy. The reporter E.B. James crucified director Kevin Bick in the show. The director got the message … Emperor Mengsk disapproves.

Mengsk controls everything the UNN says, so this was a direct on-your-face slap message to Kevin Bick to immediately detox Lio, and to stop underground experimentation with students. Most of this is in the Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 preview scans.

From what we have learned in Starcraft: Frontline, Mengsk is turning around the old-ways of the Confederate who used cruel brainwashing and aggression inhibitors to control the Ghosts, who were likely former criminals.

Mengsk is now using Wranglers [psi-sensitive agents with a PI 3.5] to hunt for kids and teens with latent telepathic abilities to train them as teams in the ghost academy under the excuse they are too dangerous to themselves and to the populace if not trained properly — because untrained ghosts attract the Zerg.

In reality, that’s a lie. Mengsk has used psi-emitters before to control the zerg, and he continues to do so underground without the knowledge of the public. Such was the case of the Colin Pash story in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 1-4 — where wranglers are authorized to use lobotomized zerglings with a neural gadget to control them to hunt for the telepath kid.

The same can be proved with Starcraft: Ghost Academy when we see an unidentified terran vessel launching a drop-pod on planet Shi [of the Baker's Dozen] which contained a … zerg drone. Mengsk has much more under his sleeve than we originally taught — as you can see in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty [Piercing the Shroud mission].

Why should you read this manga? It brings a fresh view into the ghost academy with at least four cliffhangers. Don’t you love cliffhangers? I do. They keep the plot in suspense. Sometimes you can foresee things, but sometimes the writer surprises you with a twist. That’s what keeps you coming back for the next volume.

GHOST ACADEMY

Nova Anabelle Terra, Gabriel Tosh, Lio Travski, Kath Toom and Delta Emblock of Team Blue continue their ghost training with high stake life-threatening missions within the academy where they must learn to use their abilities in a teamwork environment.

When you see an older Gabriel Tosh in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, and see this younger Gabriel Tosh in the Ghost Academy and compare both — you can already see where the story is heading to. Tosh used to be an idealist teen who idolized and believed in Mengsk as a humble leader who works for the people and for the benefit of humanity.

What the Ghost Academy does is to train the best telepaths to service humanity and to unite it under the flag of Mengsk, who fights for freedom — Or so used to think Gabriel Tosh in his early days at the Ghost Academy.

Considering we will see more of Gabriel Tosh in Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm — now that Jim Raynor sided with him to free New Folsom’s Spectre prisoners — it would be nice to keep in touch with this character’s past and backstory, and how his loyalty to Mengsk shattered. We will learn more of that in Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 — and hopefully in the upcoming novel Starcraft: Ghost Spectres by Nate Kenyon (on sale November 1, 2010).

In this volume, we learn the two most important ghost trainees in observation by Superintendent Angelini are Nova and … Lio the technopath. No one else matters. Just those two. Thus … we should keep an eye on what plans Blizzard might have for Lio, if any. Will he be an ally when we next see him in future games, or will he be a dangerous enemy (knowing his special power set)?

Lio can telepathically control technology, he created an android that resembled his girlfriend, and he seems to be a powerful telekinetic — [in a scene he telekinetically floats some PDAs into the air and sorts them out to his teammates, and he also blocks incoming projectiles with a TK shield]. Now that he’s not under the influence of hab (a drug), he seems to have better control of his powers.

We get to see the influence that Team Red’s jealousy and rivalry has on Team Blue. Things get more complicated when Aal Cistler makes his triumphant return to the Ghost Academy and this time around he joins Team Red to make Nova and her team’s lives more pleasant … not.

With how Lio has been manipulated by director Bick and superintendent Angelini, one has to wonder … how such a powerful telepath as Nova and her teammates never detect the psi-screams of Lio when he gets panbrained? Why are all these odd things going on backstage without other telepaths knowing about them?

The answer is too complex to guess in its entirety, but the author gives you enough hints to figure out some of it … Colin Phash.

The Ghost Academy is using this boy’s ability to project his astral form away from his body as a surveillance system. Nova has been able to see his astral projection, but never manages to talk to him. However, there must be something else shielding other telepaths from the atrocious acts of the Academy’s leaders. Maybe a mysterious figure from the past? Likely someone we have heard of in Starcraft: Ghost Nova [Looks at the odd humanoid in Chapter 2: Shadows Before Them].

There was one male telepath as high-level a telepath as Nova and Sarah Kerrigan who is mentioned in DeCandido’s StarCraft: Ghost Nova book to be dead, but you never know. Maybe his body and brain were kept alive to serve as an instrument of the Confederates? Those cables coming out of the skull with no pupils on his eyes made me remember that deceased character. Matter of fact, that figure is never shown in Vol. 2, so we might learn who exactly this guy behind Angelini is. Maybe a half-cybernetic-enhanced Old Family slave of the Dominion? I might be seeing too much into it.

COLIN PHASH

Like in the first volume, the fate of Colin Pash continues to be unfold in short scenes that let you figure out how the Ghost Academy tutors do what they do with the students, and why the telepaths aren’t aware of what’s going on.

Colin Pash is the telepath child son of ex-Dominion Senator Corbin Pash. Colin was captured by the Dominion in the Starcraft: Frontline series. His father Corbin Phash now resides as a guest of the Umojan Protectorate, plotting to take revenge against Mengsk and to recover his son back. The story of Colin Phash is told throughout Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 1-4, and continues in Starcraft: Ghost Academy.

THE OLD FAMILIES

Another plot hanging in the manga is the fate of the offsprings of the Old Families. Ever wonder if any of the Old Families survived the Zerg invasion to Tarsonis? Let’s remind you a bit of old-school Starcraft lore … The invasion was caused by the Psi-emitter Arcturus Mengsk ordered Kerrigan to activate. Ya’ know, that Starcraft mission where Mengsk abandons Kerrigan to her fate before the Zerg.

As the invasion of the Zerg hit Tarsonis, the Old Families sent their offsprings to safety to planet Shi — the fourth planet in the Baker’s Dozen system: a collection of 13 mining planets owned by Arturro Calabas [one of the Old Families].

This story runs parallel with the main plot without interacting with each other; using the narrative technique of going back and forth in the timeline.

Every now and then, the narration about the fate of the offsprings of the Old Families takes you to a year before the present time [ghost academy Vol. 2's time which is nigh a year after Brood War]. Then to the present.

When least you know, you are taken to 8 months before the present, seven months, six months … so and so until we reach the point of a month before the present.

I love those interludes in stories to be honest. All that apparent, unrelatedness with the main plot comes to an end when the next ghost academy mission is scheduled to take place in the fifth planet of the … Baker’s Dozen. That’s a cliffhanger alright. That takes us straight into collision course with Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 3 [in stores March 1, 2011].

The aweful part of this manga is the long wait for the next one. Can’t you guys clone your staff to pump these babies monthly? I want more!!!

Special thanks to Troy Lewter (Tokyopop Editor) and Hope Donovan (Tokyopop Editor).

You can view the Starcraft: Ghost Academy Vol. 2 preview here.

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