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

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AaronR: No, that one was outside my purview.

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

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

Submit further questions to Aaron Rosenberg at

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

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

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

And to Stratics, and mmorpgdot.

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

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

 

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

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

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

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

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

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

What characters are featured in the book?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

SPOILER WARNING!

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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


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

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Luke Johnson Q&A - World of Warcraft RPG Books

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Firence: Thanks again to Luke and everyone here in attendance. Great to have you all aboard

Luke: Thanks to you. Good to be here

Medievaldragon: Welcome to the Public Q&A with Luke Johnson—author and developer of Warcraft RPG books from White Wolf Publishing, inc. Great to have you here tonight Luke.

Luke: Thanks, man

Medievaldragon: Could you introduce yourself and tell us what your duties in White Wolf are? And some details of your career and personal life?

Luke: Sure. Hi, everyone! I’m Luke Johnson. As you know, I am a full-time freelance game designer and developer. It’s my sole source of income. I am the developer for the World of Warcraft RPG line. I am also an author on the line. Being the Warcraft RPG developer means that I’m pretty much in charge of the line: I hold the vision for the line’s future; I conceptualize the books; I hire the authors; I design the books’ overall structure and follow them through to completion; I look at proofs of the books to make sure everything is cool; I write indexes and advertising copy; I liaise with Blizzard Entertainment; I edit the authors’ text and make sure—

As for my career, I’ve been doing this stuff part-time for about 3 years, and full time for about 6 months. It’s an awesome way to make a living. In addition to White Wolf, my clients include Wizards of the Coast, Goodman Games, and numerous others. (For you D&D players, look for my name on Player’s Guide to Eberron, due out in January.) Personal life wise, I’m 25, single, and I live in Sharon (a suburb of Boston, MA, USA), at the moment. For more Luke trivia, you can check out my website, http://www.lukejohnson.com

Medievaldragon: What motivated you to enter the world of Fantasy and Roleplaying Genre as a writer? Are there influences or favorite books or writers that helped you fall in love of this genre?

Luke: As to the first question: Looking back on it, I’ve been playing RPGs since 5th grade, and I’ve been writing since I was old enough to dictate stories to my mom. My current career seems like a natural evolution of those interests. I got my professional start when Dungeon magazine published a D&D adventure I wrote (“Bloodlines” in issue #94). The timing was also right: the d20 boom was just kicking off.

Second question: Oh yes. I read loads of books. Back in the early days, it was Redwall and Dragonlance. Then I progressed. The Death Gate Cycle. Shannara. The Wheel of Time. Song of Ice and Fire. And so forth. I really dig Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville.

Firence: You mentioned playing RPGs since the 5th grade. Any ones that had a more profound influence on your over the years?

Luke: Well, Dungeons & Dragons, for sure. I played a lot of Palladium games back in the day as well

Medievaldragon: That is a long experience on the field. So can we assume it was your childhood dream to work as a fantasy writer?

Luke: You could assume that, but I don’t know if you’d be right. I don’t know that I had a childhood career dream. I never really thought I’d be able to make money doing this. Crazy. And firggin’ awesome …and I still make typos

Medievaldragon: How did Blizzard Entertainment and White Wolf come to partner with a license to create Warcraft RPG books?

Luke: Beats me. I just work here. I think that WotC (Wizards of the Coast) had the rights originally. I seem to recall some old files from Wizards for the very first book. How it passed to White Wolf involves arcane legalities of which I am unaware

Medievaldragon: I have read in the credits of each Warcraft book the names of Chris Metzen and Bob Fitch from Blizzard and I have seen Samwise—popular Artwork artist of Blizzard. How involved are they in each Warcraft RPG book? How often are they in contact with White Wolf and with you during the development of the book?

Luke: They are very involved, Chris Metzen especially. They (and some other fine folks at Blizzard) are always available to answer our questions. Totally random ones; I’m sure some of them they haven’t even really thought of before. (For example, what do murlocs speak? How long do satyrs live? What do you call that crazy weapon that shadow hunters wield?) They’re very nice and patient about it. I (or one of the other writers) emails someone at Blizzard a few times a week, probably. One of these days they’re going to go crazy and tell us to stop. Bob Fitch (a programmer at Blizzard) has done a good deal of writing for us as well, when his schedule permits. You can see some of his work next week, in More Magic & Mayhem. As for Samwise, we’re fortunate to have his artwork grace many of our books, but I don’t deal with him directly—the art director does. I think Samwise is in charge of signing off on the artwork for Blizzard. For example, recently he asked for some revisions on the sketches for the Monster Guide cover. (Which ended up being totally kickass, I’ll have you know.)

Medievaldragon: Any fun anecdotes during the development of previous and current RPG books with Chris Metzen, or Bob Fitch?

Luke: Hmm. Well, when Metzen found a typo in the latest book, he asked, “Where’s my +5 vorpal sword of editor slaying?” I think this was in reference to the Thrall-Grom killing that has at least one of our fans all riled up.

Medievaldragon: Yea many fans get trollish about that one

Luke: Well, we all know what really happened

Medievaldragon: mistakes happen sometimes

Luke: Especially when we used to hire wombats

MagusRogue: or still do

Luke: – I told you not to talk about Bob Fitch like that!

Medievaldragon: Hope Bob isnt among the audience

Luke: If he is, he’s using a stealthy nickname

Medievaldragon: This is a question many fans make themselves. Is each entry in the Warcraft RPG books to be considered canon to the Warcraft Lore?

Luke: Oh, there was a question. I don’t think I have the power to make that declaration, since I’m not a Blizzard employee. What I can tell you is that Blizzard signs off (approves) every book before we publish it. So, they look it over, ask us to make any changes (i.e., “tauren don’t know about the Green Dream; can you remove this paragraph?”), then say, “Okay, publish this.” I also think that these days we (and by “we” I mean “I”) put more effort into making sure Metzen is cool with everything before the material makes it into the final manuscript. Also, sometimes when I ask Blizzard for reference material (i.e., “What can you tell me about Sandfury trolls?”), they quote my own books back at me.

Medievaldragon: We want to find out if you live what you preach plastering the essence of Warcraft like a painter giving shape to a masterpiece through the Warcraft RPG books. Have you played previous Warcraft RTS games and/or World of Warcraft MMORPG? What is your perception of those games lorewise?

Luke: I played through Warcrafts II and III. I played some WoW, but my schedule doesn’t permit it anymore. Warcraft III is, however, the only video game I still play at all. (Primarily a mod called dota; check it out at dota-allstars.com). The lore is awesome. The Warcraft world is ultra cool, and I am thrilled to get to work on it. I dig all the history; if I played WoW, the biggest thing I’d be looking forward to is all that business in the Caverns of Time, visiting earlier epochs. Awesome stuff.

Medievaldragon: There is a question outside of the Q&A session that Idriel asked me to ask you. He was supposed to be working tonight but he got lucky and is here with us. I know Illidan will be in the World of Warcraft: Monster Guide. I just mainly want to know about the Lich King and whether or not his stats will be done right now, like they were supposed to?

Luke: Good question, but I don’t want to reveal specifics about the Monster Guide yet. Sorry!

Medievaldragon: How are the new World of Warcraft line of RPG Books up to date, compared with the current World of Warcraft status and The Burning Crusade’s period? Especially if Illidan will represent his current form, etc.?

Luke: Well, since we’re in contact with Blizzard fairly often, I *hope* they’re up to date! Lands of Mystery, for example, includes loads of info on the South Seas and Northrend that hasn’t appeared in the game (yet). It was very cool of Blizzard to get us this information.

Medievaldragon: That is an exclusive then. This content might not be released before the RPG book comes out

Luke: True dat

MagusRogue: the Burning Crusade stuff, really, is up in the air too

Medievaldragon: Its great to know. I have Lands of Mystery tagged as one of the books I plan to get =]

Luke: Should be a good read, too. Narrated by famed dwarven explorer Brann Bronzebeard!

Medievaldragon: OHHH Thats what i wanted to know. I had a hunch it was the continuation of Lands of Conflict also narrated by Brann Bronzebeard, brother of King Magni of Ironforge

Luke: Yes indeed. And of the (late) Muradin Bronzebeard

Medievaldragon: Well thats definitely will be my most treasured book to have when it comes out

Luke: Chapter 4 is especially good. Heh

Medievaldragon: To the fans, World of Warcraft: Lands of Mystery is scheduled for release on January 2006

Luke: Yep. And has cool cover art.

Medievaldragon: as just said by Luke, it will have Brann Bronzebeard narrating most of it. Actually Twincruiser revealed the new cover on his personal website on November 1

Luke: Yeah, it’s my desktop

Medievaldragon: This is the Lands of Mystery artwork. or part of it http://www.sonsofthestorm.com/warcraft_samwise076c.html#gallery To the left of that artwork is supposed to be a Centaur. Will we get some details of the Centaur history based on what we found out in Maraudon(Desolace)?

Luke: Yes, some

Medievaldragon: or any updates after Pariah left? The centaur Pariah said he would try to unite all the clans.

Luke: Well, I can’t go into details…

Medievaldragon: ok we understand. The Alliance and Horde guides will be interesting. current history, leaders and such. What can be revealed about both Guides content-wise?

Luke: Lots of crunch, too. New races, classes, spells, gadgets, and the like. We’re also introducing some new rules concepts that might be familiar to players of other RPGs but are new to this line, like variant classes. I’m pretty proud of them.

Medievaldragon: Will there be new lore on the Blood Elves, Pandaren and the Mok’nathal?

Luke: Can’t reveal that yet. Mwa ha ha!

Medievaldragon: ohhh evil grin. good stuff then

Medievaldragon: Mok’Nathal is the race of Rexxar half orc half ogre

Luke: Doubtlessly

Medievaldragon: I initially purchased a few of your previous Warcraft RPG books in search of new lore, but as I continued to read the books I wanted to dive into the Pen and Paper and d20 game. I personally know squat of d20 and many fans share the same misfortune. After all many of us are after the Warcraft RPG books in search of more lore. I’m not sure where I should begin. What would you suggest I do since I’m completely new to the Pen and Paper and d20 world?

Luke: Well, Mr. Dragon, I’m glad you feel that way! World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game has all the information you need to play the game, including a small introduction about pen-and-paper RPGs in general. You can get loads of supplementary, compatible information for free from the SRD (System Reference Document), which is available online. I urge you to check out our forums (http://www.white-wolf.com/wow/) for additional tips; the fans there are really helpful. If you can do it, your best bet is to hook up with an experienced gamer who can GM for you; you’ll learn a lot that way. You can check out the “What is the Warcraft RPG?” section on our website for a general introduction to pen-and-paper RPGs.

Medievaldragon: With Lands of Conflict on the shelves, and Lands of Mystery coming out in the near future, I’m curious to know whether another geographical edition of the World of Warcraft RPG books will be released detailing Draenor/Outland?

Luke: Well, I can’t comment on that directly, since we haven’t announced any books along those lines. But if we didn’t address Outland in some way, we’d be morons.

Medievaldragon: Is World of Warcraft: More Magic and Mayhem a remake of the Warcraft: Magic and Mayhem book or is it an addition with supplementary content? What would be of interest to fans of d20 on this new book?

Luke: It is a sequel to the original M&M; not a replacement. It does update a few things from M&M (like the runemaster), but it includes mostly new stuff.

Medievaldragon: Im sure many guys wanted to know that

Luke: Fans of other RPGs would get huge amounts of use from this supplement, as it’s crunch-based. New base and prestige classes, magic items, and tech devices. It also includes new rules (compatible with many other games) for things like alchemy and steam armor. (Think of a Warcraft mech. Yeeeeah!)

Medievaldragon: Will Lands of Mystery talk about the Nerubians of Northrend and the Aqiri of Ahn’Qiraj in Silithus?

Luke: Big yes on the nerubians, big no on aqiri. Well, maybe tangentially

Medievaldragon: Well, hopefully in a future RPG book?

Luke: I hope so!

Medievaldragon: As soon as I saw the World of Warcraft: Monster Guide in your Wow RPG line, I automatically tagged it as a Must-have in my list of priority. I enjoyed the earlier version of Warcraft: Manual of Monsters. Your description of the new book suggests there will be 200 monsters. Are these updated with the current status of World of Warcraft the MMORPG and/or Burning Crusade Expansion? Which Monsters you feel you can talk about outside the NDA that for sure we should expect?

Luke: Ohhh, this book is going to rock. You should expect most of the monsters you can currently see in the computer game to appear in the book, as well as monsters from Warcraft III. It also includes about a dozen famous villains from the Warcraft world.

Medievaldragon: Can we expect some lore about Rend and Maim? Many fans are having a headache with both characters. Rend apparently died during the Second War. Then we fought Rend and Maim as Chaos Orcs in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, killing them. Now we see Rend again in Blackrock Spire as Warchief of the Blackrock Clan, working for Lord Nefarious aka Nefarian the Black Dragon. If you have Rend in the Monsters Guide, please tell us if that plot-hole will be cleared up?—Since the book is not in printing yet, maybe you could call Chris Metzen and think of something for Rend’s storyline to fix any mistakes?

Luke: Ha ha! Am I becoming a liaison between the fans and Metzen? I can’t comment about Rend and Maim. Sorry!

Medievaldragon: Can we expect more lore about the origin of the Obsidian Statues? Will there be lore about the Oozes, Faceless Ones, Loa Gods, Old gods? If not could you promise to develop a book entirely focused on them and other shadow and divine characters of Warcraft? So far, Blizzard revealed the name of one of the Old gods. C’Thun—creator of the Aqiri race. We really want some Old gods lore and their names in an RPG book.

Luke: I afraid I can’t say much about these issues yet, save that at least some of the monsters you mentioned will appear in the Monster Guide.

Medievaldragon: Warcraft: Shadow & Light mentions that it is possible there are other sub-species of Titans besides the Aesir and the Vanir. Any hope we could get to read about the sub-species in a future RPG book? Or was Brann Bronzebeard just speculating?

Luke: There’s always hope, my friend. I don’t think Brann narrated that book.

Medievaldragon: Actually sorry Brann isnt in shadow and light

Luke: Aha, I said it first!

Medievaldragon: ok, i think we can now start taking questions from the fans. Please, whisper Firence to get an answer from Luke Johnson

Firence: First question: Luke, Tamir Nadav from Full Sail here. Given that you spent a lot of time at Full Sail, how do you think the General Design Fundamentals classes prepare people to be writers and designers?

Luke: Whoa. That totally wasn’t a question I was expecting

Firence: Or more generally speaking, what would you recommend for people looking to get into the field

Luke: Full Sail, by the way, is a college in Florida. That’s where I used to teach, and where the students here are from. They’re in the Game Design and Development degree program. Full Sail teaches electronic game design, but many of the skills can be applied to other media. For people, looking to become game designers: If you want to make electronic games, school is not a bad idea. I can recommend Full Sail; it’s hard, but you get out of there knowing your stuff. I’m sure there are other schools as well. If you want to write for RPGs, like I do, you should check out open call forums on sites like EN World and RPG.net. I’ve got work through them, and I check them daily. It’s also a good idea to think of the exact companies you want to work for, then email them cover letters, resumes, and writing samples. It worked for me. I think my website has some more advice

Firence: Since you’ve interacted with so many facets of the Warcraft world, what races and creatures have appealed to you most (what are your favorites)?

Luke: I really like satyrs. I don’t really know why; I like their demented mindset and their crazy voices and their cool carved swords. The fact that they have cool lore backing them up is also a plus

Luke: And they’re so different from standard fantasy satyrs

Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Lands of Mystery will have some details of Satyrs?—- January 2006 release

Luke: Some. They also show up in the Monster Guide. There, you made me leak something; happy?

Medievaldragon: double-goodie

Luke: I designed them. And I think I did a good job

MagusRogue: Hey, I loved them so much I’m already playing a satyr, luke

Luke: Sweet

Firence: We have some troll fanatics in the audience. Any chance you could divulge some information such as the whereabouts of Zul’jin? Dead, totally missing or in Outlands? any info on that guy in any of the upcoming books? For being such a big hero for the forest trolls, all trolls, he seem to be ignored or simply killed off by Blizzard.

Medievaldragon: Or what book we should aim if its revealed anywhere

Luke: I don’t think Blizzard ignores or kills off anyone. Anyone that the fans like so much. Okay, nevermind; that’s totally not true. Uther’s dead. Um… You might see his name in the Horde Player’s Guide

Firence: This may be covered in a previous title, but with the reformation of the new Silver Hand by Tirion Fordring—well supposed reformation since there has been no news since, Simply put what is going on with the new Silver Hand?

Luke: I’m afraid I can’t comment on that.

Firence: Despite your closed nature, I’d like to let you know that during the course of this interview, a couple of members in our audience have already gone out to purchase some of your books. There is some invaluable information for all of us out there

Luke: I have a closed nature? Well, that’s awesome! Lots of cool stuff in the books. And cool artwork, especially on the new one. That is a beautiful, beautiful book

Firence: Great to hear, we have another question from a full sailor if you don’t mind

Firence: What methods do you use to upkeep your writting skills and keep your creativity flowing?

Luke: Well, I work every day (7 days a week), so that tends to upkeep my writing skills. I don’t seem to have a problem with creativity flowing, either. On days when it doesn’t seem to be flowing, I just put words on paper anyway and they end up being pretty good. One of the coolest pieces of advice I ever got from a creative writing teacher: “You are free to write the worst crap in the world.” Really simple, but really freeing

Firence: Do you find yourself being a traditionalist or do you do everything through computer now?

Luke: Oh, it’s totally all computer. Sometimes I worry that I’m losing out on some valuable skill set by not writing stuff by hand. But, meh.

Firence: With so much emphasis being put on the digital side of things, several players have chosen to start reading via PDFs which are not only accessible but also great for referencing knowledge. Will the eletronic version (PDF) of MM&M be released at the same time of the actual book or earlier?

Luke: Probably around the same time, but I don’t actually have any say in the matter, so I can’t be sure

Firence: Are all previous titles currently available via PDF?

Luke: I believe so, yes. On drivethrurpg.com

Medievaldragon: I think it is very handy to download PDFs specially countries that do not get access to the hardcover book outside USA. Or simply for the Search ability of PDFs. I can find things quickly doing a search.

Luke: It’s true

MagusRogue: they are. I’ve checked. only place you can get Alliance/horde now

Luke: I use them as reference when I’m writing/developing

MagusRogue: i always got a PDF as well as the paper versions. easier to reference, as luke said.

Firence: I think I can guess the comment to this, but What can you tell us about what areas will appear in Lands of Mystery, besides Northrend and Kalimdor? More specifically (Pandaria)

Luke: Can’t comment on Pandaria. It covers Kalimdor, the South Seas, and Northrend

Medievaldragon: Will any of these World of Warcraft RPG books line be translated to other languages? Which?

Luke: I have not idea. I hope so. Not a very good answer, I know. Sorry!

Medievaldragon: Teron Sals told me some books are translated to Portuguese up to the Alliance and Horde compendium

MagusRogue: thought so

Firence: Well, on behalf of Blizzplanet and RP-PvP.com, I’d like to thank you for taking time out today to chat with us.

Luke: Thanks, man! Good to be here

Firence: It was great having you.

Post a Comment about this Q&A Topic at our Lore Forums

Pre-Order Links
Wow: More Magic & Mayhem
Wow: Lands of Mystery
Wow: Alliance Player Guide
Wow: Horde Players Guide

Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy - Public Q&A with Richard A. Knaak

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

English  |  Espa?ol

Deathshade|EU: Ok guys, the interview with Richard A. Knaak is about to start. Medievaldragon of BlizzPlanet will be asking a few questions first. You guys will get a chance after that.

Medievaldragon
Hi, Richard. Not long ago, you wrote Diablo: The Moon of the Spider with Zayl the Necromancer. Those who already read or will read Diablo: Moon of the Spider may wish to know if Diablo: The Sin War ties directly with the events of your previous book.

Knaak
Sin War takes place long before, but its events lead to all that is Diablo.

Medievaldragon
Which character from Diablo: Moon of the Spider will make an appearancec in Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright?

Knaak
As there are demons involved, we will see our friend Astrogha, although long before his own ambitions. He is not the threat, but a part of it.

Medievaldragon
Who are the main characters of Diablo: The Sin War, and what could you tell us about each of them?

Knaak
Uldyssian is the central character, a farmer who lost most of his family. He is the pawn chosen to begin a terrible shift in Sanctuary. Mendeln is his brother, with his own path to come, which fans will recognize. There is also Achilios the hunter and Serenthia, both of whom will prove significant.

Medievaldragon
Why did Blizzard, and by saying so, Chris Metzen and/or you decide to release a trilogy based on the Sin War—an event of the far past—at this point? And why not start at the Great Conflict which is a previous event in the Diablo history?

Knaak
This is the pivotal event for humans. It is how they become drawn into the conflict between the two sides. It is a human story, with human actions causing events. It is the basis for all that goes on after.

Medievaldragon
Will Diablo: The Sin War, book One: Birthright show hints of the origin of Sanctuary and men? If so, will we find out more through book two and three?

Knaak
We will see hints of its origins as the story unfolds throughout all three books.

Medievaldragon
According to the book, the existence of Sanctuary was kept hidden from the High Heavens. However, the Worldstone is a physical link between Heaven and Sanctuary. This will trail off some fans point-blank. So, I am forced to ask … Will the creation of the Worldstone appear in any of the three books of the Trilogy? Or is the Worldstone built far after The Sin War event?

Knaak
The creation will not be shown, as that, according to Blizzard’s material, took place at the beginning of Sanctuary, but we will see it. We would have to. We will find out more about it, especially in the second volume.

Medievaldragon
It caught my attention that Birthright seems to reveal the origin of the first classes. Of the first, I am still not sure if to call Uldyssian a Barbarian. Of his brother it is more obvious as the plot progresses. Are there more Diablo Classes emerging through the Trilogy?

Knaak
I would not call Uldyssian a Barbarian, no. He is something far removed from it. Yes, of Mendeln, people will see a more recognizable character. The Diablo classes develop more after this trilogy, but you will see some hints, I believe.

Medievaldragon
What is the mysterious rock that Mendeln and Achilios find? If you can’t say at this point, will it be revealed in more depth at book two?

Knaak
The rock has to do with Mendeln’s path and those secrets will be revealed more in the sequel, yes.

Medievaldragon
Hope I am not spoiling much at this point, however I really have to ask. Blizzard introduced a new Pandemonium Event monster named Lilith (Act V) in Diablo II Patch 1.11. You can read about her at the official Arreat Summit Website.

Is she the same Lilith mentioned in Birthright? What could you tell us about her through the development of the trilogy? It is interesting to see this character become the catalyst of the Sin War.

Knaak
She is, I believe, although she will look a little different by the game’s point. Her part in the trilogy is major. Definitely an interesting character.

Medievaldragon
How much of the book is creation of yours, and how involved is Chris Metzen behind the canon storyline of Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy? Do you think the ramifications of this book impact in the storyline of Diablo 3 the game?

Knaak
This is a pure collaboration between myself and Chris Metzen/Blizzard. All that is written is passed by him and the others there. This will be canon and has adjusted earlier info. The ramifications here will be used for any future project … and I ain’t writing for a dead game. smile

Medievaldragon
This is my last question to give fans an opportunity to ask you questions. However, something I know many will be pleased with. Will we see Rathma, Angel Tyrael or Angel Izual show up later through the Trilogy?

Knaak
Yes, and more.

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
I see one of the questions almost covers what I would like to ask – the storyline of the Sin War Trilogy. It is a well-known story on gaming world. Do you felt the need to add/change things to make the Diablo universe more complete?

Knaak
We altered what needed to be altered for the sake of the game’s growth. We didn’t want to change anything for the sake of just changing it. We felt this story will better serve the fans.

Rumda
Silghtly off topic, but which of the blizzard worlds do you prefer writing for?

Knaak
I like both for different reasons. I like the epic LOTR feel of Warcraft and the shadowy, inner quest and dark aspect of Diablo.

Deathshade|EU
When you write a book that already has a start and a finish like The Sin War books. Do you feel that because the story has already been told just not in great detail you are restricted in your freedom to write the books? That you have to follow a certain path?

Knaak
Not really. There is so much in between and even the beginning and end have countless details to be revealed. Its been fun.

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
Were you inspired for new universe while working on the trilogy?

Knaak
The trilogy has inspired ideas. what those become, time will tell. That’s part of the fun.

Deathshade|EU
So … Diablo 3?

Knaak
I am not writing for a dead world … but a world with dead. ‘nuff said!

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
Would you like to “see” your books on the big screen? smile Would you write a script?

Knaak
I would like that. Definitely would enjoy working on a script. Wouldn’t we all?

G-WiZ-
I read the 3rd Diablo series book … Diablo: Moon of the Spider (about the City of Ureh) … great stuff … just want to say thanks for writing these. My imagination blooms from this literature. Go, Zayl!

Knaak-
Zayl has been fun and has a big following. Blzzard has some ideas for him already…

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
Thank you for your wonderful work smile

Knaak
Thank you for reading!

AcidReign
How do you come up with character names in your books? Most of them are quite unique, and thinking them up must be tough.

Knaak
It involves discussion and a study of ancient names or other names already used in the games. Always a tough part of the story creation, believe me.

Rathi (WCRadio)
Is the book recommended to people that know only what is taught in Diablo ? Or should they start reading another book first?

Knaak
The Sin War is a good place to start for those looking to the future of the world, however, for those wanting to enjoy the feel, starting with any of the earlier books is good (I recommend Legacy of Blood and Kingdom of Shadow, naturally)

Rumda
Who is your favorite character in you books?

Knaak
In Warcraft, Krasus. In Diablo, Zayl … and Humbart.

Rathi (WCRadio)
Any information on Diablo3? Have you been asked to write a further story? Can we expect anything?

Knaak
What happens in the Sin War is significant, as I mentioned, toward the future. I know that Blizzard is very eager to make Diablo fans happy.

Rathi (WCRadio)
I know this isnt really “your section” but can we hope to see more, and cheaper artwork, like posters based on diablo?

Knaak
I’d like that, too. I’ll ask.

Anthares
Good evening Mr. Knaak. I want to personally thank you for writing such great novels about the universe of Warcraft, especially Day of the Dragon. Your unique style is what I particularly like, to the point that I actually devour your novels. Again, I’m sending you one big THANK YOU!

Knaak
Thank you. I appreciate it. The Blizzard worlds are wonderful to be involved with.

Stiverton
When you wrote the Day of the Dragon, how much of the events in it were created by you, as opposed to being already established history?

Knaak
Pretty much all of the events inside were based on my ideas. Not the war, obviously, but the Demon Soul, Deathwing’s disguise, the characters involved, etc. but all were discussed with Blizzard. Chris and I developed the other dragons together, a good time.

Awiin
Another off topic question: What are your thoughts, as a writer in the universes, about the voiced dismay, from some fans, over what they see as mistreatment of the lore (Warcraft)?

Knaak
I understand their concern, but, having worked with other gaming worlds, often the first storylines are shorter and less usable as time goes on. We have had to adjust for the growing worlds. We will not satisfy everyone, but we are trying.

Kae
Do you have any plans, or at least hope, to work with the continuing Warcraft story of the Dragon Aspects, Korialstrasz, and Rhonin in the future?

Knaak
Yes. Coming after the Sin War is a follow up to Warcraft: Day of the Dragon.

Stiverton
Have any advice for any aspiring authors that would like to write for an established world like Dragonlance, Diablo, or Warcraft, as you have?

Knaak
Keep writing, keep honing your skills. To be able to work in Warcraft or such, you need to prove you can write your own worlds first. All writers chosen are established. I encourage you to write and submit your own projects. Its how I made it to this point.

Medievaldragon
Is the title of the next Warcraft book available, or will it be announced at a later time?

Knaak
It has not been decided yet.

Tranqer
I love you smile

Knaak
um … ok

Stiverton
Do you play Diablo, World of Warcraft, or any other Blizzard titles avidly?

Knaak
I’ve played several versions of both worlds I write in, but to play avidly would take away from my writing time. Therefore, my characters generally die a glorious death soon after they set foot on their quests. It is a little annoying…. smile

SOLOMIR
Will more information be revealed about the wars between the mage clans in the next books?

Knaak
We will hear of the first mage clans, but they are not at the stage where their wars will be center.

Cooked_Auto
Are there any more plans for future Warcraft mangas in line with The Sunwell Trilogy? Either translated from Korea or made by writers from other countries?

Knaak
A second manga is being discussed, with the Burning Crusade involved. I will be writing and hopefully the same artist will lend his excellent work.

Medievaldragon
What can you tell us of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy book 2 and 3?

Knaak
Book 2 is a great romp with a Tauren, a Foresaken, and a frostwyrm that leads into book 3, which is called Ghostlands and is in the Plaguelands, of course. There will be an appearance by a well-known character, or two in the third.

Medievaldragon
Blizzard showed a teaser of Anveena and Dar’Khan in the Blood Elves section – chapter 4-6 of World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade. Why should fans read Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy book 1 through 3? Chapter 4-6 of the Blood Elves section may be read here.

Knaak
Because, as with all things written, these will tie into the games. The manga has some parts that are already planned and some have been implemented. The fate of the Sunwell is most important and other characters will be appearing in the expansions.

OTHER TOPICS

Stiverton
Who would you say is your favorite author, and who would you say has been your biggest inspiration, if it is someone different?

Knaak
Inspiration. Edgar Allan Poe, Zelazny, ER Burroughs

Stiverton
Belfadin or Shamanei?

Knaak
I’ll never tell… smile

Gimble
Was there any part or chapter you particularly enjoyed/disliked writing from the books? or was it fairly samey for the whole?

Knaak
I enjoy the magic and battles the most, of course, but I enjoy the whole experience.

Deathshade|EU
I’m sure people will appreciate me for asking this question: Pie or Cake?

Knaak
Both.

G-WiZ-
Have you been granted some autonomous power in crafting the novels or does Blizzard need to pour over every detail to make sure they stay in line with lore or level of mature content?

Knaak
While they respect my work, I insisted from the beginning that I work hand in hand. I want these to be the books that Blizzard and its readers want, although we can never satisfy everyone, of course.

Rumda
What in your eyes is better or worse about writing for a already established world than creating you own?

Knaak
Better is that there are things in place that I can draw new ideas from. Obviously, creating your own world is always best because you are ultimate master there… smile

Medievaldragon
What other projects are you working on or are available at stores? I know you have a Conan series fresh from the oven.

Knaak
I am working on background story for a different gaming project, starting up the Ogre Titans Trilogy (2007) for Dragonlance, finishing THE VEILED PROPHET (March 2007) for The Sin War, and have just had my AGE OF CONAN trilogy released. That’s some of it smile

Medievaldragon
Many thanks for spending some time with the Diablo and Warcraft fans Community, Richard. We hope to meet you soon.

Knaak
It’s been a great pleasure. I appreciate the interest of the fans!

You can visit Richard A. Knaak’s website to join his Newsletter listing, or to read his Bios and Bibliography at www.sff.net/people/knaak/

I recommend ordering Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: BIRTHRIGHT right away. After the unmerciful teasing the book will be sold out like hot bread right off the oven! Otherwise you will have to wait until the second print edition.

  • Order Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright.

  • Read an Excerpt of Birthright
  • Read lore of the Sin War from the original Diablo Game Manual.
  • Previous Interviews with Richard A. Knaak

Expect in the upcoming days an interview with Christie Golden covering details of the World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde book and the still unannounced Starcraft: The Dark Templars Trilogy – you can submit your questions for Christie Here. Hopefully, a UDE-World of Warcraft TCG Public Q&A pre-Gen Con SoCal too.

Post a comment at the Forums

Special thanks to Blizzard Entertainment and Richard A. Knaak for the interview, and Pocket Star Books / Simon & Schuster for providing a review copy of Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright.

Extended thanks to Tranqer (Wowirc IRC Network) and TotalBiscuit, Deathshade, Sm0ke0ut and Athalus (WCRadio) for organizing the bot and IRC channel moderation for the Q&A.

To loyal supporters in the media such as Diabloii.net, Gamespot, PlanetDiablo, InsideMacGames, Kotaku, Shacknews, Judgehype (France), SCLegacy, Phrozen Keep, PCGames.de (Germany), Gamestar.de (Germany), Eurogamer, Onlinewelten (German), FZ.se (Sweden), d2.inGame.de, Nordicgamers (Sweden), Pelit.fi (Finland), Pro-g.co.uk, Fragland, Dailyrush, Softpedia, HardGame2 (Spanish), Diablo2Latino (Spanish), 3dnews (Russia), Gamespot.co.kr (Korea).

Copyright ? 2006 by Blizzard Entertainment

Warcraft III: Dawn of Chaos Mod - Realm Designs Q&A

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Realm Design is a team of 3D artists, programmers, voice actors and story-writers hosted by Star Alliance (Samods). Realm Design is currently developing a total conversion titled: Warcraft: Dawn of Chaos.  It attempts to replicate Warcraft: Orcs and Humans to the point it won’t look like Warcraft III.  Everything including: units, buildings, tilesets, doodads, and interface will be converted to look like Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in 3D.  The team will also include few cinematics of their own and voice acting.

Medievaldragon
Who are the leaders of Realm Design Team?

Tarnis Skullpitter
Skullpitter. John Drake and I own Realm Design.

Medievaldragon
Is Dawn of Chaos mod a total conversion to Warcraft: Orcs and Humans?

Tarnis Skullpitter
That’s the essential conceit. However the levels are mostly expanded, particularly the later ones. It’s more of an enhanced remake in that it goes for more story and more varied gameplay. All the units and buildings are freshly remade, as well as the interface, tilesets, and any other art, to the point where there is nearly nothing from Warcraft III left. All cinematics and units are voice-acted.

Medievaldragon
Interesting. does Blizzard know of this project? If not, do you think they would try to stop it—since it is trying to duplicate WC1?

Tarnis Skullpitter
Blizzard probably has no real knowledge of the project’s existence, but first of all, it is remaking a game no longer on the market in any way (considered abandonware) and it ALSO requires the purchase of two of their current products for it to work, so they aren’t losing anything.  Blizzard is mostly supportive of mods anyway.

Medievaldragon
who is writing the story? And who is involved in 3D models and effects?

Tarnis Skullpitter
The story, as well as the dialogue in all the cinematics, and the tooltips, and in-game text, and much of the unit soundset dialogue is written by me. The modeling is a shared responsibility. We have about ten people who have contributed to the project at this point with models and model edits. John Drake is the most prolific one, editing and fixing models for our use.  A lot of Human buildings were modeled by Challis, and we have many pieces from STURMGuy, Xaran Alamas, Albiino-I, and Whitehorn as well, along with a bunch of others.  We have a lot of model skinners as well, with John contributing to a lot of it.

Medievaldragon
Whats the homepage URL?

Tarnis Skullpitter
http://realmdesign.samods.org/projects/wc3/tdc/index.htm
http://realmdesign.samods.org

Medievaldragon
When did the project start, how much percent of the project has been completed, and can you estimate when the mod might be released? late-2006, early 2007?

Tarnis Skullpitter
The project started not quite two years ago, and has been hampered by a few unfortunate coincidences (such as members needing time off and Warcraft 3 Campaigns going down for an extended period of time). I wouldn’t dare speculate on a release date except to say that a comprehensive demo isn’t far in the future.  Our ‘site’ is here: http://realmdesign.samods.org/.  It’ll be heavily updated soon as it currently has little or no content.  The project is extremely well along with most of the modeling and skinning completed at long last.

Medievaldragon
Chronologically, when is the storyline of the mod set?

Tarnis Skullpitter
The early cinematics will cover the early days of the First War, including the sixteen years of Orcish presence in Azeroth before Warcraft: Orcs and Humans takes place. It then covers roughly five years of war and the final cinematic ends with the arrival of the last of the survivors on the shores of Lordaeron.  Essentially the period between the Orcish invasion and the beginning of Warcraft II.

Medievaldragon
I see some lore issues. According to Warcraft RPG: Lands of Conflict timeline, medivh opened a tiny portal 5 years before the invasion. The portal took 5 years to open with Gul’dan’s spellwork from Draenor’s side.

Tarnis Skullpitter
We have a particularly snarky approach to the current state of Warcraft lore. We tend to assume that, unless current changes to continuity seem better suited to telling a good story, that the early explanations hold more water. As Warcraft I asserted a certain timeframe that seemed much more reasonable we have chosen to go with it. Although we rarely directly contradict the current storylines or events.  We do make conscious decisions when it comes to what we think has been retconned badly or handled poorly, and there is a lot of that.

Medievaldragon
? 0
Orc scouts enter the Portal and begin exploring for a settlement area. They construct a small outpost in the uninhabited marshlands known as the Black Morass.

Tarnis Skullpitter
Just a moment and I’ll refute that wink
From the Warcraft I story: 583 is the year the Orcs invade and kill King Wrynn. 584 is the year Llane is proclaimed king.  599 is the year Warcraft I takes place.  The storyline was unfairly compressed recently, and we consider that no more artistic than ‘Troy’ compressing the Trojan war from 7 years to one week.

Medievaldragon
I have the WC1 manual—=) My point of view is based on the retcon. Actually, my timeline quote came from World of Warcraft RPG corebook (White Wolf Publishing)

Tarnis Skullpitter
The main reason for our stance is that while many elements of Warcraft III and World of Warcraft are charming, many are ridiculously bad and actually harm the story or cheapen it. We try to select the elements that tell the best story possible; and we don’t have trouble sleeping at night because of it, since Blizzard can’t make up their mind, so we don’t mind making our own order of events wink

Medievaldragon
I agree, the timeline was unnecesarily compressed. Making Garona being half-human hard.

Tarnis Skullpitter
Extremely.  It was -just- possibly previously, and now it’s impossible.  Added to the fact that King Llane’s father appears to have been vaporized 8-)

Medievaldragon
Do you need more staff to work on Dawn of Chaos mod or are you complete as a team?

Tarnis Skullpitter
We could always use people to help model and skin, and particularly animate. We have an excellent concept artist.  We are moving towards securing a new composer.  We’re just fine for writing, and we’re equally secure for triggerers. Our team is committed and productive, but we can always use new artists for modelling and skinning.

Medievaldragon
Are there going to be some WC1 heroes in your mod? Such as Blackhand, Lothar, Medivh, Khadgar?

Tarnis Skullpitter
– takes a deep breath-
Lothar, Uther, Turalyon, Khadgar, Llane, Wrynn, Lady Varia, Garona, Doomhammer, Medivh, Aegwynn, Blackhand, Rend, Maim, Kilrogg, Fenris, Alonsus Faol, Turok, Cho’gall, Gul’dan, Nekros, Zuluhed, Teron Gorefiend … etc.  Everybody relevant really.

Medievaldragon
Sounds cool.  Will you show cinematics of Medivh opening the Dark Portal?

Tarnis Skullpitter
Our cinematics will work this way: The original WCI intro remade. A large intro displaying the overall backstory. Each campaign will have a separate racial backstory. Then cinematics for every third level.  And two endings. And then a ‘real’ ending. The entire relevant story will be told in all its glory, including the Orcish origins, the portal, etc.

Medievaldragon
I bet writing the lore to make sense, and to keep track of known chronological events has been a nightmare for you to write?

Tarnis Skullpitter
It can be. I try to stay within the original lines, keeping the elements from later works that are not directly contradictory, and making everything fit in the best possible way.  For example, Mannoroth and Kil’jaeden remain the corrupters of the Orcs, but they were never really ‘peaceful’ before that. That’s just not a supportable premise. And as for the new Draenei stuff…  It’s just a matter of what the best, coolest, most intriguing story is. And trying to make sure it can still fit.

Medievaldragon
Well, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (WC1) isnt affected much chronologically with the Eredar-Draenei stuff retconned recently. I still can’t digest Sargeras arrived to Argus 25,000 years ago. Thats about the time the Azi’Aqir insectoids fought the trolls. The Geologist Larksbane at Cenarion Hold says the crystal of Roman’khan— the emisarry of the Ahn’Qiraj—has 20,000 years of history recorded within.  The Titans arrived to Azeroth (-147,000) and departed Azeroth (-64,001).  Where was Sargeras all that time until (-25,000)?  Makes no sense.

Tarnis Skullpitter
My problem is this: The original premise was that Sargeras was corrupted by the evil of the Eredar because as a pure being his mind was unable to comprehend total evil. That was a neat psychological story. The current iteration has Sargeras corrupting THEM. That’s just another of Blizzard’s new “ABSOLUTELY NOBODY IS EVIL” philosophy, and that’s the stuff we take issue with.  That more or less tells you the sort of things we ‘ignore’ from the new lore for the story of our mod: Dawn of Chaos.

Medievaldragon
Thanks for sharing some details of your mod. Hope fans look forward for a demo and the final release. We will keep tabs on your upcoming updates to inform everyone.

Dawn of Chaos Site

Units

Screenshots

Blackhand Voice (sample)

Mod Forum


Anduin Lothar


Orgrim Doomhammer


Footman


Warchief Blackhand


Grom Hellscream

Apple iMacs 120x240

120x240_MacBook_Pro_Start_$1994_Plus_FS!

Project Revolution Q&A - Starcraft to Warcraft 3 Total Conversion

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

English  |  Espa

Aaron Rosenberg Q&A - Starcraft: Queen of Blades Pocket Book

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

English  |  Espa?ol

Aaron Rosenberg awed fans during the public Q&A dedicated and open to all Starcraft fans. Witness the training of Tassadar into the Dark Templar philosophy with assistance of Zeratul. Deal with Raynor’s guilt and his interaction with the Protoss. Unravel the dark plans of the Overmind behind the birth of the Queen of Blades.

The public Q&A with Aaron Rosenberg—veteran Star Trek, Warhammer and D&D Books writer – was scheduled by Blizzplanet and took place at WCRadio IRC Server irc.wowirc.com #wowradio with Karrius and Athalus moderating the channel and participated during the interview with their own questions and taking questions from the fans. The interview lasted two hours and forty minutes.

The following is the plot of the pocket book Queen of Blades, if you missed it during the promotion:

The book novel plot is from Jim Raynor’s point of view, and it details the events that occur on planet Char, specifically the interactions between Raynor, Kerrigan, Tassadar, and Zeratul. However, look forward to reading in-depth the training of Tassadar into the Dark Templar teachings by Zeratul.

“Former marshall-turned-rebel Jim Raynor has broken away from the power-crazed Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. Enraged over Mengsk’s betrayal of the powerful telepath, Sarah Kerrigan, to the ravenous Zerg, Raynor has lost all faith in his fellow humanity.

Yet, in the aftermath of Mengsk’s treachery, Raynor is plagued by strange visions of Char—a deadly volcanic world haunted by horrifying alien creatures. As the nightmares grow in intensity, Raynor begins to suspect that they may not be figments of his imagination—but a desperate form of telepathic contact. Convinced that the woman he loves is still alive, Raynor launches a mission to rescue Kerrigan from Char. But deep beneath the planet’s smoldering surface, Raynor finds a strange chrysalis . . . and is forced to watch in horror. as a terrible, all-too-familiar entity arises from it.

Before him stands a creature of malice and vengeance . . . Sarah Kerrigan : The Zerg Queen of Blades.”

Karrius: The channel is now moderated. Only voiced members will be able to speak. If you have a question, please PM it to me (Karrius)

Medievaldragon: Welcome, Aaron.

AaronR: Thanks!

athalus: Welcome Aaron. Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

AaronR: Sure. I’m Aaron Rosenberg, but everyone probably knew that by now. What else can I say to introduce myself that isn’t already covered by my bios? smile

Medievaldragon: How was the approach of Simons & Schuster Pocket Books publisher when they asked you to write Starcraft: Queen of Blades? What details did they give you when they present to you the starcraft book deal?

AaronR: How was it? It was great, actually. They’ve been very easy to work with. I talked with the Pocket Books editor and also with Blizzard’s representative. We discussed what sort of book they’d like to see, and Blizzard had something in particular they wanted someone to cover. They mentioned it to me and it sounded great so we went from there.

Basically they wanted a follow-up of sorts to Starcraft: Liberty’s Crusade. That book, of course, covers the events of the first story arc in the game. They wanted a novel to cover the second major arc, the Queen of Blades storyline.

Medievaldragon: Do you and Chris Metzen contact each other along the development of the book?

AaronR: Absolutely. Chris was involved right from the start—I bounced the outline off him several times, and he gave me great input every time. Then he looked over the chapters as I wrote them and helped make sure they stayed true to the game in every detail. He was great to work with.

Medievaldragon: A fan just submited a question. It is similar to one of mine so I will shoot it out.

wowradio0357: Did you play the game or how did you make yourself familiar with the starcraft universe?

Medievaldragon: Mine was similar: Did you play the Starcraft game to read through the campaigns lore and to have a better feeling of what Starcraft players know of the game?

AaronR: I had played Starcraft a little bit beforehand, so I knew the basics. But once I started talking to Chris Metzen and to Pocket Books, I boned up on it. They also gave me some excellent details, including a lot of the in-game dialogue, which helped considerably to have it all in one place.

Medievaldragon: Do you know why Blizzard Entertainment picked a book set in their first Starcraft game, rather than a Broodwar or post-Broodwar setting?

AaronR: I think they really wanted to present the details there. It should help the later settings as well because it provides readers—and players—with more insight into the Zerg Brood and its past, goals, structure, etc. It also provides a lot of detail about the Protoss.

Medievaldragon: Hmm, that sounds like there are more Starcraft books in the horizon.

Starcraft Ghost console game is post-broodwar, but it is interesting to see Keith R.A. DeCandido writing the backstory of Nova set by the time of Liberty’s Crusade, which is not too far from your book’s time-frame. So I wonder if DeCandido’s book plot and yours will converge somewhere

AaronR: I’ll have to read his book and find out. smile

That character doesn’t appear anywhere in Queen of Blades, unfortunately, and this novel is kept to a tight location and timeframe. But some of the events may influence each other.

I suspect Blizzard Entertainment wants to tie the novels in, at least in the sense of their coming from the same timeframe. It gives the Nova story a sense of continuity and history.

Medievaldragon: That may be correct. Keith R.A. DeCandido told me in our recent interview that his STARCRAFT GHOST: NOVA book is set in the time-frame picking up after Jeff Grubb’s STARCRAFT: LIBERTY’S CRUSADE—as a prequel to the Console Game. Michael “Mike” Liberty makes a cameo appearance in the Ghost book too.

There are some fans here from Australia, so I will pick some questions from the fans instead of asking all of my scheduled questions. Those fans from Australia and Asia timezones, please submit your question to Karrius. Europe and USA timezones, please let give Asia priority. Some of them told me they haven’t slept—waiting since 1am-4am for the Q&A to start. They are 12-16 hours ahead in time (early morning).

AaronR: I have to say, that’s very cool to be chatting with people from all over like this.

Medievaldragon: And we thank you for spending some time with all of us. I know you are busy with two books and recently became a dad. Congrats by the way.

AaronR: My pleasure to be here.

Karrius: Here’s a question that was asked by several people. Which of the three races is your favorite to play? To write about?

AaronR: Protoss, definitely. They’ve got such an amazing history, so full of potential and flaws and a strange combination of compromise and dignity.

Karrius: Along those lines, rise—representing SCLegacy Staff asks: To what extent are Zeratul and Tassadar featured within the novel?

AaronR: They’re heavily featured, actually. Though the novel’s title is Starcraft: Queen of Blades, it’s told from Jim Raynor’s point of view, and it’s all about his encounters with not only Kerrigan (the transformed version) but also with Zeratul and Tassadar. I got to show the first encounter between Templar and Dark Templar since the Dark Templar left Aiur, which was awesome.

Medievaldragon: wowradio0357 asks: When and why did you choose to become a writer?

AaronR: Heh, that’s a big question—how much time do we have? smile

Medievaldragon: heh, all the time you wish to give us!

AaronR: I’ve always loved to write, ever since I was a kid. I won awards for creative writing in elementary school, and was submitting short stories in my teens (though none of those sold). I majored in English in college (after an abortive stint as an illustration major) and intended to teach writing and be a writer at the same time. I got half of it right. smile

AaronR: That’s the short version, of course. smile

Medievaldragon: At the end of the Q&A I will provide a link so that fans may read Aaron Rosenberg’s bibliography and of course, his blog URL

Karrius: branden asks: What is the format when you write your stories? Do you write the ending first? Do you write each scene and piece them together?

Medievaldragon: Perspective switching. I like that writing style.

AaronR: I’m a big fan of outlining—I actually taught time management classes in school and focused on how to outline and break down tasks, and I guess it stuck. I work out the outline first, then flesh it out a bit, then I use the outline as a framework for my story—I copy it into a new document and flesh out each section as I go. It makes it easy for me to see how each piece fits.

Which isn’t to say I don’t know what the ending will be in advance—or at least think I do. Often as you write things change, characters do something different than you expected, and you have to alter the outline to suit.

Karrius: Did you make any changes like that with Queen of Blades?

AaronR: Absolutely. Several times I had thought a character (usually Raynor himself) would do one thing and, when it reached that point, he surprised me by shaking his head and saying, “No, that’s stupid. I’m doing this instead.” And I had to scramble to keep up. In every case, though, what he chose made so much more sense for him, and made it a stronger story and a better book.

Medievaldragon: GG-exvodsPhoenix from GosuGamers.net Staff asks: Do you know anything about Blizzard’s future plans for Starcraft besides Starcraft: Ghost and the Nova novel?

AaronR: I don’t know much about their future plans, no. I wish I did. I’m hoping to do another StarCraft book myself. We’ll see what happens.

Medievaldragon: GG-EntropyZero from GosuGamers.net Staff asks: Do you have any restrictions on how much you can diverge from the original storyline history or what you can write about?—This is a good question. Blizzard allowed Richard A. Knaak to do time traveling in Warcraft’s War of the Ancients Trilogy.

AaronR: That’s a tough call. I love Raynor, he’s the POV so I was inside his head the most, but I also really like Tassadar. He’s just such a noble figure. I think my favorites may have been some of the smaller characters, though, like Matt Horner, who’s the captain and pilot of the Hyperion. He doesn’t have as much “screen time” but he was a lot of fun to write.

I was told to stick close to the established details. But in at least one case I did something a little different than what they’d had or expected and they decided to use what I’d done.

One of the great things about writing a book like this is the chance to peek behind the scenes, and take the readers with you. We knew that Raynor met Tassadar and Zeratul on Char. But we didn’t know what exactly happened between them. I got to develop that.

It’s a challenge to flesh things out in a way that makes sense and is exciting while sticking to existing details, but that makes it more exciting, esp. when it goes well.

Karrius: Clokr asks: Do you know if the book will be translated into Spanish, or other languages?

AaronR: I don’t know, actually. I hope so! I know they’ve translated some of their other recent novels, and it would be great if they did the same with Queen of Blades.

Medievaldragon: What characters of Starcraft can you safely confirm will make a cameo appearance in your book besides Tassadar and Zeratul? Or is it secret?

AaronR: Duke is in there. So are the Cerebrates Zasz and Daggoth. And of course the Overmind. I don’t think it’s a secret. Mengsk doesn’t appear, which is a shame—I’d love to write him! But he wasn’t anywhere near Char. And Reporter Michael “Mike” Liberty has a very brief cameo at the start.

Medievaldragon: rise asks: How would you describe Kerrigan’s state of mind throughout the course of the story?

AaronR: It evolves. They all do—Kerrigan, Raynor, Tassadar, and Zeratul all have attitude changes and mindset-shifts through the course of the book. Kerrigan goes from being stunned and overwhelmed to really accepting her new situation and even reveling in it. At the same time, there are hints of regret and lingering desire, even occasionally hope for something different.

Medievaldragon: I don’t know if you are able to answer this one, but we will ask either way. Will your book cover the epic sacrifice of Tassadar employing Dark Templar energies to kill the Overmind? This is something fans are expecting in anticipation since the mention of Tassadar and the time-frame the book is set to.

AaronR: Hmm. I think I’m allowed to answer. At least, I hope so. smile

Medievaldragon: I bet everyone is on the edge of their seats right now, in anticipation.

AaronR: This book does not cover those events. It sets up the events, however—without what takes place on Char, Tassadar would never be able to make that sacrifice, both because he would lack the power for it and because he would not have the right mindset for it.

Gee, I hope that doesn’t turn people away from Queen of Blades. smile

Rest assured, I’d love to cover that particular event.

Medievaldragon: Not really. Anything with the Starcraft label and with Tassadar and Zeratul in will sell.

AaronR: I hope people come away from Queen of Blades with more insight into both of those characters, and with even more anticipation of Tassadar’s sacrifice.

Karrius: Have you found it difficult to remain true to the StarCraft storyline?

AaronR: Not really, no. The storyline is a great one already, and as I said before, it’s got these amazing things that happen off-stage so I’ve got a lot of room to play and have fun and stay completely in-line with established events.

Karrius: Will your book appeal to non-Starcraft players, or do you think readers need knowledge of the universe going in?

AaronR: I think—I hope—it’ll still be fun for people who don’t know the Starcraft universe beforehand. The Protoss and the Zerg Brood are such great races, and of course I mention previous events in passing, so new readers will be able to pick up what’s going on and why. Even without knowing anything about the game, it’s a book about three races struggling against one another—and within themselves.

Medievaldragon: The plot you provided us last week, has it displayed from Raynor’s point of view. Raynor is an iconic hero character. He is impulsive, and would give his life for a friend – even if it is an alien Protoss. How does your book deal with Raynor’s guilt?

Sarah Kerrigan was left behind. Sure, Arcturus Mengsk handed out the order to retreat, but Raynor obeyed. I am sure your book will go in-depth on Raynor’s feelings letting down a friend. Specially someone he has deep feelings for.

AaronR: Absolutely. That’s a large part of why Raynor’s there on Char—he’s trying to expiate his guilt. But he winds up with new things to feel guilty about, and of course he comes face to face with Kerrigan and what she’s become. She doesn’t make it easy on him, either.

Raynor also has to come to terms with the Protoss and some of their actions before this. So he and Tassadar have some interesting moments as well. And both Tassadar and Zeratul have their own guilt to confront.

Medievaldragon: wowradio0357 says: Will you go in detail about Kerrigans loyalties? Was she loyal to the Overmind before he died?

AaronR: Heh. Yes, that’s a big question throughout the novel of exactly where Kerrigan’s loyalties lie. I do answer that, though as much by showing her interactions as by coming out and saying whether she’s loyal or not. I also mention why there’s a question at all, because the Overmind set things up that way for reasons of his own.

Karrius: How long did it take you to write the book?

AaronR: I started writing it in October, and the final manuscript was approved last month (January). Of course, that includes time for editing and licensing approval, so it’s hard to say exactly how long I spent at the keyboard.

Karrius: rise asks: “Did you ever become hung up in the writing process? Furthermore, what parts of the novel did you find most difficult to write? And along those lines, were there any characters or scenes you didn’t enjoy writing?”

AaronR: I didn’t get hung up, no. Once I had the outline in place, and a sense of the book’s story in my head, it flowed along nicely. The most difficult scenes were probably the ones with the Zerg Brood taking center-stage, just because it’s tough to write characters who don’t talk and have such alien features. Protoss don’t speak out loud but at least they talk telepathically so it’s easier to convey emotion and attitude with them.

Actually, I enjoyed writing all of it. Some of the scenes got me more enthused than others, of course, like the ones with confrontations between any of the four major characters. Hmm. I guess I’d say the first chapter was the hardest to write after all. Once that was in everything started moving much more quickly, for Raynor and for me, and it all jumped. But that first one, getting into the groove for it, was a little more difficult.

Karrius: Nub4o asks: “Does Kerrigan use any of her psionic powers, such as her storm or entangle in the book?”

AaronR: She does indeed. We get to see her in her full glory as the Queen of Blades. We also get to see both Tassadar and Zeratul flexing their mental muscles.

Karrius: What about the Dark Templar? Do they play a major role in the book, or just Zeratul?

AaronR: They do play a major role. Zeratul’s the one we get to know best, of course, but he’s got a full complement of Dark Templar with him.

Karrius: You said that Queen of Blades was from Raynor’s point of view. Do you always write in first-person?

AaronR: Actually the novel is in third-person limited. So it’s attached to Raynor, and inside his head, but not first-person “I.” But no, I vary what Point-of-view I use depending upon the demands of the story.

Medievaldragon: wowradio0357 Asks: “Is the Matriarch Raszagal making a cameo appearance?—she leads the Dark Templar.”

AaronR: No, Zeratul’s the lead Dark Templar in Queen of Blades. We do, however, catch a glimpse of another major Protoss leader. smile

NOTE: Raszagal is the leader of the Dark Templars, but the book will only cover the events of Char, not Shakuras, in this specific time-frame. Thus, Raszagal still does not play a role at this point in time within the book.

Karrius: Do we learn any new things about the history of the Starcraft universe, like the creation of the races, or is it all expanding on events that have taken place?

Medievaldragon: Some books do a perspective of a character remembering past events in his mind or talking about them.

AaronR: I don’t get to cover the creation, unfortunately. I do get to provide a little more Protoss history, however—some things that may have been hinted at before but weren’t openly discussed or detailed as far as I know.

Raynor certainly remembers several events from the recent past. So do Tassadar and Zeratul.

Karrius: You understand that you just made up for not covering Tassadar’s sacrifice, right? smile

AaronR: Really? Excellent! smile

Medievaldragon: I have something to say about that.

Medievaldragon: Some fans may wonder why Blizzard chose this retro-story for this book instead of a Brood War or Post-Brood War story. However, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, where we kill Medivh (Human Campaign Chapter 8) was released back on 1995, yet Warcraft: The Last Guardian Book was released on 2002, and from there the Warcraft books have made a boom with 10 pocket books so far released. So—I am assuming Blizzard Entertainment is laying down the path, with the release of Starcraft: Queen of Blades, for more Starcraft books in the future to expand the lore—in case there is a Starcraft 2 game in the horizon.

AaronR: I certainly hope so. I know there are a lot of great stories still waiting to be told in the StarCraft universe, both before and after Queen of Blades. And each one can build on those that came before, even ones that take place later within the setting’s timeline.

Karrius: Are there any scenes or stories you hope to cover in future Starcraft books? Favorite events in the game, for example.

AaronR: Well, as I said above I’d love to do the Invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s Sacrifice. That’s first and foremost. I’d also love to write Mengsk, especially. If / when he gets his cumuppance. And this isn’t detailed in the game itself but I think Michael “Mike” Liberty is a great character and I’d love to see what happens to him next.

Medievaldragon: Something that fans should know—that we havent covered. You are a veteran writer of D&D and Star Trek books among other fantasy/sci-fi titles. How do you fit your expertise in Star Trek with the intergalactic setting of Starcraft?

AaronR: They’re such different settings, actually. Star Trek is very clean, very neat, very orderly. StarCraft is grittier, darker, much more visceral. I also feel that the races in StarCraft—perhaps because we have so few of them—are tied together more closely than most of the races in Star Trek. The Protoss and the Zerg Brood are interconnected in a way that only the Vulcans and Romulans can rival, I think.

Karrius: Are there any new characters, vehicles, weapons, or creatures in the book that we’ll see in later books or games?

AaronR: Yes. smile

Oh, you probably want more of an answer than that. smile

I hope certain Protoss will appear in later books. I’d love for a few of Raynor’s crew to show up as well.

Medievaldragon: If you had to compare the Protoss with a Star Trek Race, what would it be? Or did you feel they had a bit of each of some Star Trek Races?

AaronR: I think they’re an amazing cross of Vulcan and Klingon, actually. They have some of the Vulcans’ logic and grace but they also have the Klingons’ more martial spirit and structure, especially. When you look at some of their history. And of course they have a group who split off and has formed its own culture, though not to the same extent as the Romulans, certainly.

Karrius: You’ve worked on several RPG books, including those for Warcraft. Are you currently working on any other Warcraft RPG books? With the success of the Warcraft RPG, have you heard anything about the Starcraft RPG being brought back?

AaronR: I’m not working on any of the Warcraft books right now, no. Last one I did was the World of Warcraft: Lands of Mystery. A few of the others didn’t fit in my schedule, in part because of Queen of Blades. I haven’t heard anything about the StarCraft RPG coming back yet. I’d love it if it did, though. And I think, with the World of WarCraft RPG doing well, there’s a good chance for it. I know I’d be up for writing on it. smile

Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft RPG: Lands of Mystery will ship on Monday, April 3, 2006

AaronR: I think so. I’m looking forward to seeing it—it’s always very cool to see what they do with the text, especially what illos they create to accompany it.

Medievaldragon: The Lands of Mystery book—Luke Johnson said in our previous Q&A is from the point of view of Brann Bronzebeard, brother of King Magni of Ironforge

AaronR: Ah, and actually I remember now that I did the World of Warcraft: Alliance Players Guide after that one. I got them backwards in my head. Yeah, Brann’s a great character. It was a lot of fun writing from his viewpoint.

Medievaldragon: Alliance Players Guide is set for May 2006. However the White Wolf website has no official release. Date could change. Are there some details of World of Warcraft: Lands of Mystery you are authorized to give away? Lands of Mystery has Brann exploring Northrend, Undermine, Kalimdor, Echo Isles, and the South Seas.

AaronR: Hmm. You seem to know a lot already. smile

We got to detail those lands, which was a lot of fun (I had Northrend). We also detailed a lot of the characters you find there, and several races.

Medievaldragon: So if this book has the same format as its prequel—Warcraft: Lands of Conflict, Will Brann describe the geography of each place, give lore about each zone and region, and important places within Ashenvale, Tanaris, Feralas, Undermine and such?

AaronR: Same format. We used Lands of Conflict as a template because it really came out well.

Karrius: rise asks: “To get into the mindset of the ravenous Zerg, did you watch any of those classic Sci-Fi movies? Alien, Species, Starship Troopers, etc.?”

AaronR: Heh, well, I recently wrote a Starship Troopers RPG supplement for Mongoose Publishing, so I’d reviewed those movies (and the book, and the animated series) already. I love Species (up until the end) and the first three Alien movies, so although I didn’t go back and watch them again specifically they were in my head. So were the Brood from the X-Men comics’ Brood Saga, years back.

Karrius: Starship Troopers, Zerg, and the Nerubians of Northrend… you seem to like your bugs. smile

AaronR: Well, they are fun to write. smile

Actually I just love any race or character with a good back story. And sometimes the less human-looking ones are more interesting because they’re more a departure from what we’re used to seeing or reading.

Medievaldragon: rise asks: “How do you portray Raynor’s Raiders? The merry men, or soliders doing their duty to the truth? How do you deal with the interactions between the stressful events and Raynor’s character, in relation to the crew”. Crew that won’t follow orders, traitors among his ranks?

AaronR: His Raiders aren’t merry men, certainly. But they’ve joined him for a variety of reasons. Most of them are following him as much as any ideal, and that’s something Raynor struggles with, particularly when he leads them into the events on Char.

Medievaldragon: Going back to Lands of Mystery—and no I won’t release my bite on it—hehe—did you get to write about the Nerubians in the book? Is there anything about the Faceless Ones in Northrend or the Qiraji in Ahn’Qiraj?

AaronR: I did, actually. I got to do a bit of the Nerubian history, which was very cool. Particularly their war against the Scourge and its aftermath.

Medievaldragon: clears throat! So we got some Faceless Ones lore?

AaronR: I didn’t get to do as much with the Faceless Ones, alas. Nerubians, yes. Which isn’t to say the Faceless Ones don’t show up elsewhere.

Medievaldragon: Thank You! ::releases bite from your ankle::

AaronR: Ah, that feels better. *massages ankle*

Karrius: A question from Zealuu: “Regarding the Queen of Blades novel: Are there any other individuals than the “celebrities” such as Raynor being portrayed more in detail in the book than what they were in the original game? As in getting under the skin of one of those countless soldiers without a name, giving them a personality and face?”

AaronR: I definitely give some of those soldiers personality. And a face. smile

Two of my favorites in the book fall into that category.

Medievaldragon: Are the Omega Squadron—or any other Squadrons mentioned in the book?

AaronR: I can neither confirm nor deny the existence or presence of such a Squadron. smile

Medievaldragon: Jackson Hauler is from Nova Squadron, yet SCLegacy says he has a Omega Squadron Insignia somewhere. Are any of the Terran squadrons mentioned at all? You dont need to say the squadron name, but at least could help our curiousity about the book.

AaronR: No, the only squadron (or comparable group) covered in Queen of Blades is Raynor’s Raiders. Not counting the Protoss, of course.

Medievaldragon: This question is a bit off, but a fan wishes to know since you have played the Starcraft Game yourself. Clokr asks: “What do you like of Starcraft best? The story, the gameplay, how the units look like…? and do you prefer Melee Maps or UMS?”—UMS stands for User Map Settings (fan-made trigger maps)

AaronR: The story is my favorite part, but that’s true of almost everything. I approach everything as story and characters first and foremost. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like blowing things up from time to time. smile

Medievaldragon: ok, we are about to close the Q&A. First, I wish to know … what non-Blizzard projects are you currently working on right now—and what have you released recently that is available on sale?

AaronR: Well, my Exalted novel, The Carnelian Flame, is already out in stores. My Warhammer novel, Day of the Daemon, will be out in May or June. It’s the first book of the Daemon Gates Trilogy, and I’m currently working on the second one, Night of the Daemon.

Medievaldragon: I saw the book cover of Daemon in your blog

AaronR: I’ve also got a short story in the Eberron anthology Tales of the Last War, which should be out from Wizards of the Coast in April.

Medievaldragon: What is your blog URL so that fans may bookmark it?

AaronR: I’ve got a few other projects on tap, and some others I’m talking to publishers about right now, but nothing else I can discuss yet.

AaronR: My blog is http://gryphonrose.blogspot.com.

AaronR: I’m working on getting my professional site set up as well. That’ll be at www.gryphonrose.com. I should have it done in a week or two.

Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg provided me last week with a complete bibliography of his work. After the Q&A you can check it out here: http://www.blizzplanet.com/content/429/

Medievaldragon: If you wanna read some of his books in the bibliography, you can find them in Amazon and Barnes and Noble at http://www.bn.com

Karrius: Thanks for coming, Aaron. Your fans really appreciate it … a bit too much, by some of the messages I got. wink

AaronR: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Medievaldragon: Many thanks for setting up a public Q&A with us. Not everyone has the time to do so, and we know you have sacrificed some of your time with your wife and baby to share details with us. We really appreciate it in America, Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, every corner of the globe present here.  We want to mention the fansites or networks that say present here today.  I know Gosugamers.net , SCLegacy.com, and Broodwar.de are here with us.

AaronR: Happy to do it.  It was a lot of fun. And it’s very cool to connect with fans, especially from all over the world. That’s not something I get to do often.

Medievaldragon: PGTour.net—the #1 Starcraft Tournaments and replay site and although Starcraft.org staff wasn’t able to be here, they were in spirit and read the transcript.  Over 75 comments may be read at Starcraft.org and Aaron Rosenberg already read their feedback.  Starcraft.org also helped to spread around the news of the Q&A today, however, Entropy from GosuGamers made most of the contacts, and thanks to GFraizer (Nebu) at Blizzard for posting about the Q&A at www.battle.net/scc/—the Starcraft Compendium site and Battle.net Main Page

Medievaldragon: Broodwar.de—from Germany—many thanks, and Judgehype.com from France.  Thanks to Relicnews.com for not banning me from their forums for spa—err advertising. (They are a Homeworld 2, Dawn of War, Company of Heroes, Warhammer-type of fansite)

Medievaldragon: And of course, WCRadio for hosting, moderating and conducting the Public Q&A today with Aaron Rosenberg.  Athalus, Karrius and I will have a transcript available soon at WCRadio.com and Blizzplanet.com. A copy will be sent to the fansites listed above too, so that the Q&A reaches other countries’ audience

Medievaldragon: Aaron, wish you well. I know many fans are gonna look forward to read STARCRAFT: QUEEN OF BLADES. And hope your Warhammer book too, Daemon Gates Trilogy: Day of the Daemon.  I know there are Warhammer fans out there, including Blizzard Developers.

AaronR: Thanks. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

branden: I love you. Aaron!  Have you ever met Richard A. Knaak?

AaronR: I haven’t, actually. I do know Jeff Grubb, though.

Guin: It looks like I missed a good interview in here

Medievaldragon: By the way, Richard A. Knaak told me two days ago that he is coming to New York Comic Con through February 24-26 at the Tokyopop / Pocket Books booth.  They will showcase Warcraft Manga – The Sunwell Trilogy, book two: Shadows of Ice, and will officially announce ::Shhh::  the new Diablo Trilogy pocket books.

branden: He is one of my favorite authors.  Jeff Grubb is a good author also.

Clokr: heh if I want to read the book soon I’ll have to read it in english ^^;

AaronR: Afraid I need to sign off. But thanks to everyone who was here.

Karrius: Thank you, Aaron!

Clokr: ok good bye

Piddlepaddle: Later

Gimble waves farewell

Post a Comment about this exciting Q&A here

Pre-order Starcraft: Queen of Blades Here

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Richard A. Knaak Q&A Interview Part 2 - War of the Ancients Trilogy: The Sundering

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

In our periodic contact with Richard A. Knaak—NYTimes bestselling author of D&D and Fantasy books—we got some great details of the War of the Ancients Trilogy, Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy, and new projects pending in the Diablo and Warcraft Universe.

First off, Richard A. Knaak is a special guest at the New York ComicCon 2006 through February 24-26.  Tickets available on that link, ranging $15-25 a day or $35 for all 3 days.  If you wish to meet Richard, you will find him at the Tokyopop/Pocket Books booth.  AOL Games is going to interview him.

This is Knaak’s first visit to New York City, and he won’t return in a long while, so fans are invited, this is your chance to meet him.  Knaak asked me to say hi to all fans.

Returning to the new projects in the horizon, Knaak was kind to let us know that he is currently finishing BIRTHRIGHT, first in the new Diablo trilogy after Diablo: Moon of the Spider.

Tokyopop is launching Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy# 2: Shadows of Ice at New York ComicCon 2006.

Below are some questions we offered Richard A. Knaak, and he kindly replied them among his busy time finishing Diablo: Birthright.  This might be book one’s title, rather than the trilogy’s title; which I guess will be kept under wraps until it is announced officially.  Anyway, below you will have some neat answers concerning doubts you may have had while reading War of the Ancients Trilogy and Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy# 1: Dragon Hunt.

1. Any new Blizzard projects based in the Warcraft universe?

Knaak: I’ve got a new Warcraft novel after I am done with the upcoming Diablo trilogy.

2. There seems to be some confusion among fans. In the Lore forums, the discussion is whether Azshara struck a bargain with the Old gods or not. Whether the Old gods turned Azshara and her highborne into Naga, as their new servants.

Knaak: Yes, it was decided by Blizzard that the Old Gods were the reason for Azshara and her ilk becoming Naga. They wanted to tie the Old Gods in, better to the world.

3. Your description of the Demon Soul, if I got it right, is blood of Deathwing shaped by goblins in their anvils, but it contains the soul of a demon and it also contains something evil from the old gods. What from the Old gods was the demon soul infused with?

Knaak: Their malevolent power, through Deathwing. That in itself would be enough.

4. That previous question came to be because Malfurion could see something within the Demon Soul that the Dragon Aspects couldn’t.

Knaak: This is based on memory, not with having the books in front of me, but, as I recall, Malfurion sensed the Old Gods’ touch, even if he didn’t know what it was from.

5. Shouldn’t whatever evil of the Old gods within the Demon Soul have been set loose when Rhonin cracked the Demon Soul open in Day of the Dragon? I mean the powers of the Dragon Aspects became loose and Rhonin’s spell helped restore their powers back at them. But what of the other stuff that was within?

Knaak: Good point. We shall see, perhaps, in my next book for the series.

6. Drools . . . fuel for thought! Ok, next question.  Something I read fans debating – Dar’Khan attacked his fellow high elves to siphon the sunwell, and it exploded. When did this happen? Before or After Kel’Thuzad was reborn as a lich?

Knaak: Before, if I recall. The Sunwell’s forces were needed to make him a lich, something Dar’khan only barely realizes now. He was in part being used.

7. What is Raac? He looks like a winged serpent. And those according to World of Warcraft are cousins of Hakkar the Soulflayer. Hakkar was revealed to be a Faceless One recently. And Faceless Ones are known to be children of the Old gods … so having Raac as template of the Essence of the Sunwell is worrysome.

Knaak: He is not one of those. You will see.

————

Thanks for answering few questions to inform fans of what happened backstage.  I am sure some of your answers will be helpful to Warcraft lore fans and Roleplayers.  Many thanks as well for the exclusive, mentioning new projects in the horizon.  Even when you weren’t able to go in-depth at this point, it is still good to expect more Warcraft and Diablo books.  We will look forward to hear of the new books when the time is right.  Hope you enjoy your visit at New York Comic Con.

To those coming to the Comic Con, Richard A. Knaak told me that he will officially announce the Diablo Trilogy there.

You can visit Richard A. Knaak Homepage and sign up to his Newsletter.

Order the Diablo and Warcraft pocket books here

Post a Comment at the Lore Forum.

Page  1  |  2

Warcraft: War of the Ancients Book One: The Well of Eternity, Vol. 1
Warcraft: War of the Ancients Book One: The Well of Eternity, Vol. 1

Warcraft: War of the Ancients Book Two: The Demon Soul
Warcraft: War of the Ancients Book Two: The Demon Soul

Warcraft: War of the Ancients Book Three: The Sundering, Vol. 3
Warcraft: War of the Ancients Book Three: The Sundering, Vol. 3

Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Volume 1): Dragon Hunt
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Volume 1): Dragon Hunt

Warcraft, Volume 2
Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Volume 2): Shadows of Ice

Diablo: Moon of the Spider
Diablo: Moon of the Spider

Cory Jones - WoW TCG Q&A

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Public Q&A with Upper Deck Entertainment


UpperDeckStore_468x60_WOW_7.27.06
Pre-order World of Warcraft: Heroes of Azeroth Booster box Now!

Medievaldragon: Welcome Cory, glad to have you here.

CoryJones: thanks

Medievaldragon: We are having a Public Q&A with Upper Deck Entertainment concerning the upcoming World of Warcraft Trade Card Game 2006

Medievaldragon: Could you introduce yourself and your position within Upper Deck Entertainment?

CoryJones: Sure,  I am Cory Jones, and I am the Director of Brand and New Product Development

Medievaldragon: For the benefit of those fans overseas that might never have heard of Upper Deck, explain what the company is and what you focus on. And the various products available.

CoryJones: Upper Deck is a sports and entertainment collectibles company.  We manufacture both sports and entertainment card sets, and trading card games.  Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE)—a subdivision of Upper Deck—focuses on entertainment-based collectible card sets, and trading card games (TCGs) featuring some of today’s top-rated entertainment properties.  We are known for the highly-successful Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game and the Vs. System—UDE’s trading card game that features Marvel and DC heroes.  We support these games with a Million dollar Pro-Tour and thousands of sanctioned tournaments. That’s keeping it “brief” smile

Medievaldragon: Based on your list of products I notice the trend in creating TCGs based on franchises that have been around for many years. The Warcraft franchise started back on 1995 and has spawned 3 games and 2 expansions; plus many novel pocketbooks and Warcraft RPG Books, Board Games and Action Figures. World of Warcraft, however had been online for only 9 months when Upper Deck made the first press release in which the World of Warcraft TCG was announced. Why start off with a World of Warcraft TCG, especially based on a MMORPG?

CoryJones: We are pulling from all the WOW lore, and want to make sure the widest possible group of WOW fans is served by the TCG, also the MMO has a HUGE amount of content and that’s critical for a successful TCG.

street_warriors: Cory, what about traditional TCG players who may not have played WoW? What will the draw be for them?

CoryJones: I think the amazing fantasy setting of WOW is a draw for any game fan, and with the amount of resources we are putting against the design and support of the game you will find a very compelling experience even if you don’t know the first thing about WOW.

street_warriors: I think another burning question is: There’s been rumors of special cards to be used in game.  Can you verify?, if it’s not top secret.

CoryJones: It’s not top secret, but still, in the planning phase.  What do you mean by special?

street_warriors: Like chase cards, which may have in-game codes for clothing, weapons, armor, etc …

CoryJones: Yes, we are going to have “loot” cards that include a scratch off code that will give you a cosmetic alteration to your MMORPG character. Because we are still in the development phase, I cannot confirm the specifics, but I do know that fans who are into that sort of thing will be blown away.

street_warriors: Awesome!

Meara: Could you tell us how the idea of creating the World of Warcraft TCG start and the process of contacting Blizzard to reach an agreement?

CoryJones: We have some DIE HARD wow fans here at Upper Deck Entertainment (UDE)  and it was really a no brain-er, World of Warcraft is the #1 fantasy franchise for many of the people here at UDE and we felt it was a perfect fit for a TCG.  As to getting the license, we also have a lot of cross pollination in the gaming world with video games (many people here have friends at Blizzard) we used our personal contacts to get a hold of the right people at Blizzard then made it happen.

Medievaldragon: How involved is Blizzard with the World of Warcraft TCG? Is Chris Metzen or Samwise involved in the project? If so, what’s their part in the development of the TCG?

CoryJones: Well I cannot go into who is doing what, but I will say this, they have to approve everything we do and we know it needs to be AAA quality. So you can expect all the incredibly creative people at Blizzard will impact this game and help us make it the best TCG possible.

street_warriors: I’m just curious if the WoW TCG will be a 1-on-1 dueling game, multiplayer game, or a game master versus multi-player?

CoryJones: All of the above smile  if you can believe that! 

street_warriors: I can!

CoryJones: Yes, there will be multiple set ups dependent on the number of players.  So if you want to play one on one with Irene it will work!!

street_warriors: So there will be multi-ruled setups,  depending on the group?  A question that TCG players will be curious about is:  Will there be sanctioned tournaments for the WoW TCG, and will there be support similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! and .Vs ?

CoryJones: We have a tourney planned for Salt Lake City right now, and will have various tourneys just about everywhere else.

street_warriors: You psychic?

street_warriors: My wife is Irene!!!!!  Please continue.

CoryJones: I was with the CIA

street_warriors looks around nervously

CoryJones: There is going to be HHHHUUUUGGEEE organized play support for the game, we are going to own Gen-Con Indy . . .  I think people will be BLOWN away!

Meara: The Blizzard fanbase knows many of the Blizzard developers are fans themselves of D&D, d20, Pen&Paper, and other RPG games. I assume they are also fans of TCGs.  Is the Upper Deck Team, in charge of development of the TCG, playing the MMORPG to get a better feeling?

CoryJones: We have huge, insane fans here at UDE of World of Warcraft. Brian Kibler (one of our key designers) has 100+ days played, that’s crazy (he actually has a Winterspring tiger). I play, and have multiple level 60 characters.

Medievaldragon: That means you are well informed of the game mechanics and lore.  What features will the World of Warcraft TCG have that can be revealed at this point?  I think the fans want to know.

CoryJones: As mentioned before, everything is still in the development stage, so you have to take this as “subject to change”, but we will try to put some emphasis on the specific character, and allow you to build your deck as a character with abilities, equipment, etc. We think this approach will allow us to emulate a reasonable WOW experience and leave open a robust, raid dynamic.

street_warriors: Besides the “Loot” cards, Will there be anything special such as holo-foil cards, common, rare, ultra rare, etc?

CoryJones: Yes, although it’s still up in the air, we have even talked about a huge 3X5 card as part of the game.

street_warriors: Will there be special in-game cards that can be redeemed for real world products,  such as rare playing mats, etc.?

CoryJones: We are going to have a resource card in every pack, and you will be able to save up these UDE resource points and spend them in our online store. The stuff we will make available there is going to be insane!:  original art, special gaming supplies, loot cards, etc.

street_warriors: Ooops, I meant in the online game.

CoryJones: No. That’s not anything we have planned at this point,  but cool idea smile

Meara: The Upper Deck Press Release back on August mentioned “Among the activities, players will be able to build their decks and attend events that let them challenge Onyxia, or raid Molten Core in an attempt to defeat Ragnaros with the hopes of getting powerful Epic cards. How will the epic cards rewards work out throughout the TCG?

CoryJones: Well, first there isn’t really an EPIC card it was referring to the “loot” cards I believe; but The raid deck!?  This is super cool, we are going to have a stand alone pre-generated raid experience that one person can run against a group of friends, it’s almost like a having RPG modules.  So one person would “run” Molten Core and the other three would play through it.

Medievaldragon: We are on our last two questions, and soon getting ready for questions from the fans.  What characters, races, heroes, instance bosses should we expect in the TCG?  i.e. Maraudon(Princess Theradras), Stratholme(Baron Rivendare)—at least those you can safely mention in advance.

CoryJones: Great!  You should expect to see it all in the game, over the course of the next few years.  One thing that is universally true about TCG’s is the veracious nature of the content need.

Medievaldragon: Next few years??!  The TCG will have expansions?

CoryJones: With hundreds of cards per set, we are going to give fans a taste of all their World of Warcraft favorites in a relative short amount of time.  Yes.  Tons of expansions.

Medievaldragon: Ok we are ready to take questions from the fans, you may private message Meara and me for your questions in a moderated way. this way we make sure all questions are given in a timely manner to avoid spam and scrolling.  As a matter of fact, hold on your horses, we will go one by one.

Meara: Will the naval nation of Kul Tiras have any role in the game?

CoryJones: I think over the next couple of years with multiple expansions you will find some of the more obscure WOW stuff entering the TCG. BUT . . . to start, it will be the most common and popular stuff.  So in the first set . . . No, sorry!

Meara: Will the Blood Elves be an available race to play as?

CoryJones: Not in the first set, they may be an ally card, “maybe”, but not playable.  We are saving that to launch closer to the expansion.

Medievaldragon: sligapls[Tyranny]‘s question: Is Ben “TBS” Seck working on the TC game development?

CoryJones: I don’t know if you may call it “working” smile  . . .  Just kidding! Yes, he sure is.  We have all our “best” people on it.

Medievaldragon: VH-Listless asks: Well, WoW for me was a different game practically every 10 levels, each with its own usable set of items. Once I got a better item, I would never go back to the older one. An example would be the hypnotic from SM to the shanker from BRD. How are you going to keep both low and high level content desirable, yet separate?

CoryJones: Good question.  I think everyone has a favorite low level item that they would love to see in the game, and we really do want to include them, SOOO . . . we are going to balance items to remain in the same semi-flat tier that all good card games strive for.  And different styles of play will use different types of cards.  That way, different power levels are achieved;  but all the cards are useful, like a shivan dragon and hypnotic specter.  Shivan is clearly a stronger creature; but I would say the hypnotic is a better card.  Make sense?

street_warriors: yep

Meara: When will we get to see some pictures of the cards?

CoryJones: The cards are still in the “works”,  but i hope to release some Card Art soon.

street_warriors: Cory, is there leveling up in the game?

CoryJones: As to leveling, we are currently working on a level dynamic.  It’s different, but very cool, hopefully it passes the gauntlet here to make it into the game.

street_warriors: So, it still has a few pieces being worked on.

CoryJones: You have the world’s roughest play testers here, they break as many systems as they create.

street_warriors: They have to!

Meara: Is this game going to be translated to foreign languages?

CoryJones: True. We want top end tourney support, so it’s a must.  Yes on the foreign languages question.

Meara: As an African American, will there be a fair amount of African Americans represented in the cards?

CoryJones: No africans or americans, only Azerothians.

street_warriors jumps up and bows to Cory!!!!

Meara: In the online-game WoW, mana is needed to cast spells. Will that play any role in the TCG? Will there be some sort of item that allows spells to be casted?

CoryJones: Yes.  Mana, rage, power, HP . . . will all play a role in the game “subject to change” smile
But right now, yes they are in.

Meara: Will the trading card game be adaptable to past events/eras of the WarCraft timeline?

*Grimey* Will Warriors be able to 2 shot priests and mages just like in actual WoW?

CoryJones: Yes, we have the chance to pull from all the elements of the WOW universe and timeline, so it’s not out of the question for us to create an entire expansion that takes place in the far past of the WOW universe.  As a matter of fact it might be super cool!

Meara: I’m not too familiar with how gameplay will work, but will players assume the role of a WoW character and fight each other; or will the game be on a more macroscopic scale (like MTG)?

CoryJones: You will be on the level of an individual character, but your deck may include “allies” to bring in the party feel, and give you assists. So . . . no, it’s not like the MTG model

Meara: I have a few more questions:  How many cards will an “average deck” consist of?

CoryJones: Again “subject to change.”

CoryJones: ok sure, my C/S/C is Zorch/Blackrock/Shaman smile

street_warriors: How many cards in a standard deck? 40? 60?

CoryJones: 60 per standard deck . . . with 40 for limited.

street_warriors: Is there any plans for a public beta?

CoryJones: Not really. A public beta for a card game is rough,  I am not sure it’s even been done, cool idea!  Maybe we can do something through our website,  and get a beta test team together.

street_warriors: Yeah, but it’s print outs.  White Wolf does it from time to time.

CoryJones: We do testing with our TO’s and extended family of organizers; but not really public.

Medievaldragon: hmm, what about an interactive Flash-based beta?

CoryJones: We do make flash demos for our games; but it’s SUPER expensive and for a beta,  I just don’t think it would work.  At a “beta” stage we are still going through a ton of changes.  Balance on a TCG is super hard.

street_warriors: Yeah, it takes just a couple broken cards to ruin the environment.

CoryJones: And can ruin a great game.

street_warriors: Yes, I see your point.

Meara: This question is mostly oriented for Parental concern with kids:  Will the artwork on the game cards be sexually revealing like other Blizzard artwork?

CoryJones: I have never really thought of Blizzard’s art as outside the realm of acceptable fantasy art, is it sexual?  Expect our art to be as exciting as Blizzard’s!  I will say that.  Would you like a few of the “big” name artists we have?

Meara: Oh, please.

CoryJones: Darrell Sweet, Greg Staples, Greg Hildebrandt, Dave Dorman, Todd McFarlane, Rebecca Guay, and R. K. Post.

Medievaldragon: OMG! Todd McFarlane!

CoryJones: I know, and that’s just to name a few.  The art is going to be insane!

Medievaldragon: We bet!

Meara: Will professions (like those seen in World of WarCraft’s MMORPG) be involved in any way?

CoryJones: Yes, for sure, we are going to have them in!

Meara: Will we be seeing Zul’jin in the game? Is he alive?

CoryJones: I am afraid that I cannot answer that, we have some cool theme stuff, but it’s under wraps.

Meara: Now, I must warn you I still don’t understand who this person exactly is, and how he relates to the World of WarCraft community, but here’s the final question never the less.  On a scale of 1 to 10 . . .  how would Chuck Norris rate the World of Warcraft Trade Card Game 2006?

CoryJones: Math cannot describe it!  One time, he thought about the card game and I exploded!

street_warriors: Cory, during structured tournaments are you going to have special big boss cards that players can try to defeat, and then keep as a trophy?

street_warriors wipes pieces of Cory off

CoryJones: Wow!  Another good idea street_warriors, and yes we have something like that, but more and better smile

street_warriors: cool

CoryJones: The op will have you playing against Upper Deck Entertainment(UDE)‘s experts as the Raid Boss. Imagine that!  And that’s just a small part of the overall OP plan!

CoryJones: it’s going to be amazing!

CoryJones: I am super excited!

street_warriors nods and rubs beard

street_warriors: So the soonest we’ll be able to get hands on playing will be at GenCon Indy?

CoryJones: Just before that, 2 or 3 weeks!  If all goes according to plan!

street_warriors: special sneak preview . . . Where will they be available when they launch?

CoryJones: No sneak, but expect something big and not available before GEN CON indy to launch there.

street_warriors: Any co-ops planned with bundling starter decks in with the World of Warcraft video game through Local and/or Online Game Stores?

CoryJones: Blizzard is a great partner and anything we can do to support them we will make happen, but at this time, no for sure plans.

street_warriors: Awwww!! come on!!  At least a special collectible card!!!!!!!  Just one!

street_warriors grovels and begs for an excuse to buy WoW

CoryJones: Excuse? you don’t need one!

street_warriors: Tell that to my wife!!!

Medievaldragon: Street_Warrior doesn’t play World of Warcraft, but if he does, he will be addicted to the MMORPG and the TCG

street_warriors: She barely sees me as is . . . hehehehehe!  Probably!

Laelree pokes everyone back to the questions :p

CoryJones: I am at about 2-4 hours a day of WOW.

street_warriors: Anything you can accidentally let slip about the game?

CoryJones: I already did ><

street_warriors: Ok.  Welllllll, my brain is drained!

street_warriors rubs temples and squents at screen

street_warriors: I’m excited!

CoryJones: You should stay away from WOW . . . you’ll need more stamina.

Meara: Go ahead, and talk! :D

H|dp|Lear takes a deep breath. :O

Medievaldragon: ok, guys . . . we will be good guys and open the channel

CoryJones: smile

CoryJones: hahah

CeleTheRef: I’m a hardcore TCG player, I’ll judge when I see the rulebook and a few cards.

CoryJones: You’ll love the game! We have great people on it.

sligapls[Tyranny]: To take an analogy from Vs. Suppose someone wants to be a Rogue, would getting a Warrior card be kind of like someone who only plays X-men getting a Doom card in a booster? Or can they all go in the same deck somehow?

CoryJones: (slig) in limited there will be some cross over, but for constructed, it will be more limited smile

Xinnro: Will there be any sort of contest where a player could win a spot as a card?

CoryJones: (Xin) there is a strong chance.  I want to make it happen.  VS sized.

street_warriors: These cards will be .VS size?  Cool!  Cory, how many core developers are working on the game full-time?

CoryJones: Twelve, and extra people to help test off and on.

street_warriors: Wow!

CeleTheRef: I wonder if those scratch cards are subject to cheating (recognizing a facedown scratch card by touching the card face)

street_warriors:  Any final decision on ratios of loot cards?

CoryJones: It will be balanced and allow many play styles “classes” to be effective.  Not yet on the ratios, that’s a biggie and something we are trying to do our best on.

street_warriors: Yeah,  I’d think you’d want to limit them like Ultra Rares.

Qairix: Character cards will basically include some statistics, and a class with certain abilities that can be activated under certain circumstances or certain monsters?

CoryJones: (Qai) I cannot go into the specifics yet, it would be too early, and may change. (sorry)

H|dp|Lear: Are the cards going to be sold outside the US?

CoryJones: Yes, they will be sold outside the US.

Killian: Will the loot cards be unique to each set and eventually stop being printed? Or will the same loot cards be continually reprinted in new sets?

CoryJones: (K) I would like new “loot” for each set but it’s something we are still working on.

street_warriors: Are there going to be different sets sold 1)Mass retail 2)Hobby?

CoryJones: I think this will be more of a hobby title, and I don’t expect different sets for the two.

H|dp|Lear: How long have you been working on the TCG?

CoryJones: We have been working on it for 6 months.  Yes, there will be Wal-Mart.

Medievaldragon: Make sure to check out the edited log later on at http://www.blizzplanet.com and to share your comments at the http://www.rp-pvp.com forum—there will be a copy of the log too. A copy will be sent to different World of Warcraft fansites as well as TCG communities.

street_warriors: How about Gamestop?  Seems like a good spot to sell.

CoryJones: EBGames and Gamestop are great.

Qairix: Gotcha, CoryJones (bout the classes) , it’ll be interesting to see how it ends up, especially the draw dependant things, like warriors being good in general, and rogues kicking proverbial behind when they get their dagger of stabbity in their hands, or a ‘sneak up behind monster card’

Xinnro: I work at Gamestop!

CoryJones: Gamestop rules!

Xinnro: damn straight!

street_warriors: Gamestop rules! They actually know about the games!

CoryJones: (Qa) think of it like the different types of decks out there for VS or MTG.

Medievaldragon: I think no one asked. Will expansions of Wow TCG offer Caverns of Time features? And let’s say … face heroes and monsters of the past of Warcraft?

Jayde wants a card to say, “Why do you keep touching me?”

CoryJones: We covered that, and yes we have . . . can go to any period, will we? not sure.

Laelree: >.>

H|dp|Lear: Coryjones; how many bosses have you so far implemented?

CoryJones: We are working on the first one, so ONE! smile

Xinnro: I never really got too into card games extensively, but some of my previous experience includes Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh, and MTG.  In some of these games, there are cards much stronger than normal.  Like in Yu-gi-oh,  you have the egyptian god cards and what not. Will WoW TCG have anything similar to this?

CoryJones: No.  We are focused on balance.

Deljarum: Will I have to wait in a queue to open a pack? But more seriously, Do you plan on covering all potential race/class combos? I could see that being difficult . . .

CoryJones: We really want to get to all the race/class combos, but it will take a few sets.

Deljarum: Excellent . . . thanks!

CeleTheRef: Just is there going to be an upper deck limit? (fan of Battle of Wits here)

CoryJones: No Upper Deck limit at this point, but don’t hold me to it.

CeleTheRef: That’d be weird if Upper Deck puts an upper deck limit.

Darkatreyu: And, will there be a special WoW version of Beckett?

CoryJones:  That’s up to Beckett, not us.

CeleTheRef: I meant, an upper limit of cards in one’s deck

CoryJones:  All cards in your deck should be from Upper Deck.

Deljarum: You mentioned having extensive tourney support, such as One-on-one, Multiplayer, Raids, etc . . . can we also expect to see an Alliance/Horde competition, perhaps a persistant “Battleground”-esque series of tourneys with Stat-tracking?

CoryJones: Yes, Del, we have talked about that.  I really want to have an innovative tourney structure; so I would expect some cool stuff.

H|dp|Lear: 40 vs 40

CeleTheRef: ?_?

CoryJones: hahaha

H|dp|Lear: That would take like a week

CoryJones: 180 rounds of swiss

Darkatreyu: I don’t know if this has been asked yet . . . But, will Leeroy get his own card?

CoryJones: 40 on 40 iron man

CeleTheRef: gee winner takes all cards

CoryJones: Only if Leeroy buys them, again . . . Upper Deck will not limit how many cards you have.

Xinnro: lol a Leeroy Jenkins card

H|dp|Lear: What would it do dark?  Wipe the party?

CoryJones: Humor is an important part of life.  It may happen as a reward or prize, still in the works. 

Xinnro: If you made the card I would be your friend.  And slip you some cash.

CoryJones: I am actually a gold fish, so money does nothing for me.

Darkatreyu: Are you planning a SWG TCG too?

CoryJones: Hasbro and WOTC own that.

Deljarum: Are you going to dabble in any of the content related to the WoW community itself in humorous fashions, or stick to the canon of the game? Perhaps a rare “Learn2Play” card, that de-levels a character? smile

CoryJones: haha!  I really would like to include humor in the game, so we will see.

Killian: Do you have any suggestions for people who’d like to become a game designer for a company like UDE?

CoryJones: I sure do.  Work your way up from a test department in a video game developer; or if you’re into cards, get an internship with a card game company.

CoryJones: Well,  I hope you all give the TCG a try and it was great chatting!

Deljarum: Thanks for chatting with us, Cory.

CoryJones: Nice chatting with you, I am sure we will do it again soon smile

Medievaldragon: Links to remember:
World of Warcraft TCG Newsletter Sign Up: http://entertainment.upperdeck.com/wow/

Post your comments concerning this Q&A at the Warcraft Lore community Forums::
http://www.rp-pvp.com

Stay tuned to an upcoming interview with Keith R.A. DeCandido—known writer of Star Trek, Andromeda and Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel books. The interview will be about the new World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred novel and the Starcraft Ghost: Nova novel book. Hopefully by next week at http://www.blizzplanet.com

There is a pending Public Q&A like today’s with Jeff Grubb—author of Warcraft: The Last Guardian … known for Forgotten Realms, Magic the Gathering: Ice Age, Dragonlance and other series.

And of course, many thanks to wow.Stratics.com , Ladybeth and Brekkee for providing assistance with the channel and server announcement.

A copy of the Q&A will be given to Stratics to keep, and remember Cory Jones said he would like a future Q&A again probably when the World of Warcraft TCG release is nearing.

Medievaldragon:  Many Thanks to Upper Deck Entertainment, Claudine Ricanor—Sr. Public Relations Specialist for granting a Public Q&A and many thanks to Cory Jones—Director of Brand and New Product Development of the upcoming World of Warcraft Trading Card Game 2006 (TCG).



Concerning the upcoming interview with Keith R.A. DeCandido about the World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred
. . .This is the book cover:

Description: “The Burning Legion has been defeated, and eastern regions of Kalimdor are now shared by two nations: the orcs of Durotar, led by their noble Warchief, Thrall; and the humans of Theramore, led by one of the most powerful mages alive—Lady Jaina Proudmoore.

But the tentative peace between orcs and humans is suddenly crumbling. Random attacks against Durotar’s holdings suggest that the humans have renewed their aggression toward the orcs. Now Jaina and Thrall must avert disaster before old hatreds are rekindled—and Kalimdor is plunged into another devastating war. Jaina’s search to uncover the truth behind the attacks leads her to a shocking revelation. Her encounter with a legendary, long-lost wizard will challenge everything that she believes and illuminate the secret history of the world of warcraft.”

Meara: About Rp-pvp.com Forum Community—we’re a roleplay community for the World of WarCraft RP-PvP servers.  The majority of our attention is spent to Maelstrom, but we’ll eventually branch our event services to other RP-PvP servers once I begin recruiting some more staff.

Are you excited about the World of Warcraft TCG? Share your comments Here

Read our recent interview with Richard A. Knaak concerning War of the Ancients Trilogy pocketbook and the Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy.  Did you know the Old gods created the Naga?  More details by clicking the image below:

Interview linked by

Luke Johnson Q&A: World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Warcraft and d20 fans discussed details of the World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide (HPG) with Luke Johnson, Developer of the World of Warcraft RPG Books line. You may catch a glimpse in this Q&A of what Blizzard Entertainment and White Wolf Publishing have brought to fans of World of Warcraft.

Medievaldragon
Welcome Luke Johnson, it is nice to discuss with you again details of the World of Warcraft RPG Books

Luke
Thanks. Good to be here.

Medievaldragon
The first question is addressed to newcomers or to those who recently got started with the Alliance Player Guide. Is the World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide a replacement for the Warcraft: Alliance and Horde Compendium, or is it an update? If so, do you recommend acquiring the Compendium?

Luke
Getting a copy of the Alliance & Horde Compendium is difficult these days. It’s no longer in print. The new Alliance Player’s Guide (APG) and Horde Player’s Guide (HPG) are pretty much replacements for the compendium. They’re for the new edition, for example, and are much more detailed. And everyone give a big hello to Amber, one of the Warcraft RPG Book writers, who is here with us today! *clap clap*

Medievaldragon
The Compendium is only available as a PDF download – for those who are interested.

aca20031
What on Earth inspired you to take so much time and put so much effort into a book based on a three year old online game, and do you expect it to be worth it financially and/or ‘worth it’?

Luke
I honestly can’t tell if you’re serious or not. World of Warcraft is a couple years old now, but its popularity has always grown. The books have always been worth it.

Medievaldragon
Which races are mentioned in the Horde Player Guide RPG Book?

Luke
The “New Races” chapter includes half-ogres, half-orcs, and jungle trolls. Chapter 2 includes four creature classes, allowing you to play monsters from level 1; that makes them sort of like races, right? The book includes creature classes for the abomination, centaur, ogre, and ogre mage.

Medievaldragon
Could you reveal the 15 Classes and variant classes, and tell us something about each?

Luke
The answer will be long, but sure! Here we go:

VARIANT CLASSES

Melee Hunter: A hunter who focuses on melee instead of ranged.

Wandering Hunter: He draws his power from different types of terrain, rather than different animals (i.e., swaps aspect of the hawk for aspect of the desert, or something)

Uncorrupted Necromancer or Warlock: You don’t go evil, but you don’t get as many feats

Battle Shaman: The most paladin-ish of shamans

Far Seer: A shaman variant based on the WC3 hero unit

Hidden Warlock: Focuses on concealing his nature and has the spells to do it.

PRESTIGE CLASSES
First, I’ll let Amber mention the ones she designed.

Amber_S
Thanks, Luke! I designed two prestiges classes: my favorite is the Lightslayer. The lightslayer is a Forsaken prestige class whose members dedicate themselves to war against the Holy Light, particularly the Scarlet Crusade.

The second, the Spirit Walker, is primarily for tauren, though other races might select it. The spirit walker communes with ancestral spirits to gain power.

Bone Crusher: He&Mac226;s big and can tear you apart

Dark Ranger: Like the elven ranger, but for Forsaken-types. Based on the Warcraft 3 hero unit.

Hexer: A witch doctor who focuses on curses.

Plagueshifter: He does well with disease, with a particular emphasis on the Scourge.

Potion Doc: He does potions, mon.

Primal: Taps into his animalistic side.

Pyremaster: An orc mystic who burns the dead.

Shadow Ascendant: A Forsaken who becomes more and more like the Darkness.

Spirit Champion
: A warrior who draws mystic power from his ancestors.

Spymaster: A master spy.

Techslayer: Focuses on destroying technological devices.

Medievaldragon
Some fans were curious as to why Prospector Brann Bronzebeard is narrating the Horde Player Guide, instead of an Orc Seer, Nazgrel (Thrall’s advisor) or someone such as Drek’Thar (Thrall’s mentor); or Eitrigg the Blackrock orc – for example – may know the history of both the Shadow Council and New Horde history better than most orcs; or why not use a Tauren Crone or Lorekeeper Montarr, and Lorekeeper Raintotem?

Luke
Brann is an authority on all this stuff. We also had a bit of a meta-plot going, with Brann working on his book and such. Also, I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Brann’s voice. One of the best compliments I’ve received about one of our books was “That was a good read.” That’s an accomplishment for an RPG book, I think, and that was Lands of Conflict: the first Brann one.

Medievaldragon
I always ask this question, How involved is Chris Metzen in the development of the World of Warcraft RPG Books, and how is your interaction with him through development? (Note to newcomers: Chris Metzen is Blizzard Director of Creative Design, who writes the Warcraft storyline since 1994)

Luke
Blizzard, especially Chris Metzen, are very involved in our books. My understanding is that Chris and several other guys at Blizzard Entertainment are big pen-and-paper RPG fans.

Medievaldragon
Could you explain how a Necromancer or Warlock can be uncorrupted? That is a bit confusing.

Luke
Maybe I should quote a bit of the text from the book:

“Some are strong enough to resist the will of the Legion and of the dark powers they wield; they, in turn, bend their wills to mastering demonic and necromantic secrets while remaining immune to their taint. These are the uncorrupted necromancers and warlocks, and they spread both distrust and hope wherever they go.”

Basically, they’re just made of tough enough stuff.

Medievaldragon
Do fans get some Jungle Troll and Forest Troll new lore in this book?

Luke
Oh yes. We have sections on both culture and history for both troll types.

Medievaldragon
On page 162, you cover the Grimtotem Tribe. Do you explain how Magatha Grimtotem joined the Horde? If not, what could you tell the Tauren fans about the tribe?

Luke
Well, Amber here wrote that section; maybe she’d like to answer?

Amber_S
Certainly, Luke. The best part about working on the World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide (HPG) was delving into the history and culture of the various races. The tauren section covers a lot of history, and does include sections on the Grimtotem, and Magatha in particular. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the chapter does discuss Magatha’s personal history, as well as the Grimtotem clan as a whole and their relationship with the rest of the Horde.

Medievaldragon
Who are the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow(page 160)? Are they related to the Shadow Council?

Luke
That’s the Forsaken’s religion; it’s like a twisted version of the Light. They are not rela
ted to the Shadow Council.

Medievaldragon
Another eye-catching topic in the Horde Player Guide is the addition of Centaurs. Does it have something to do with Pariah the Centaur in Desolace? And what will the Tauren think of
such a unholy alliance with the Horde? Explain.

Luke
I will again quote a bit of text from the book:

“Rumors speak of one or two tribes, however, that overcome their evil natures in hopes to join forces with the Horde. They would prove valuable additions, as their speed, strength and knowledge of the wilderness are great.”

Medievaldragon
What will the book say about Rexxar and the Mok’Nathal as part of the Horde?

Luke
Time for another quote from Chapter 1!

“Recently, half-ogres reappeared in the world, following the exploits of Rexxar, champion of the Horde and the greatest Mok’Nathal to ever live. While still rare, more and more half-ogres come out of the woods each day, trying to find a place to call their own.”

Obviously there’s more detail on the Mok’Nathal there, and Rexxar is also discussed in the section on ogre culture and history.

Medievaldragon
Does the Horde Player Guide offer bios of the Horde leaders: Thrall, Sylvanas, Cain, Vol’jin, others?

Luke
We talk about those guys quite a bit. They don’t get stats, but certainly we discuss their role in the Horde.

Medievaldragon
How canon is the lore in the Horde Player Guide in the spectrum between the game and the RPG book?

Luke
Well, since I’m not an official Blizzard spokesman, I don’t think I have the authority to answer that question. However, given everyone’s dedication and hard work with these books, my understanding is that it’s pretty canonical.

Medievaldragon
What could you tell us about the upcoming World of Warcraft RPG: Monster Guide?

Luke
It covers monsters. wink

Jeff Moller
And it’s full color!

Medievaldragon
Recently you revealed a new RPG Book to be released in the future, possibly titled Dark Factions. What should fans expect in it?

Luke
Ah, I’m glad you mentioned that book. Because it’s awesome. You can expect a lot of statted NPCs … Dark Factions is unofficially subtitled the “Independent Player’s Guide”, because it’s like the Alliance and Horde Player’s Guides, but for independent factions and races. And Jeff Moller here worked on it. He wanted to create dozens of stat blocks, for reasons I still cannot comprehend.

Medievaldragon
Will there be Pandaren Lore and Rules (Core Classes and PrCs) in the dark factions book? (Courtesy of Xelloss)

Luke: Yep! One of the races we cover is the pandaren. You’ll see the pandaren written up as a new race, as well as at least one racial iconic class for them: the Wardancer. There’s also a couple prestige classes designed with pandaren in mind.

By the way, I should mention that Dark Factions isn’t quite set in stone; everything I mention about it could, theoretically, change.

Medievaldragon
Could you describe the Prestige Classes?

Luke
Sure. For the Pandaren one is the Brewmaster, based on the hero unit in Warcraft 3. The other one is called the Pandaren Transcendent. Here’s a quote:

“These are the pandaren’s ultimate heroes: Spiritual avatars capable of summoning vast storms of lighting, smashing mountains with their terrible fists, and breathing winds into existence.”—- Pretty rockin’, eh?

Anonymous Fan
How many people can play at a time?

Luke
As many as you like! Though any more than 7 and it gets a little clogged.

Jeff Moller
As many as your GM can juggle.

Luke
If you’re new to pen-and-paper RPGs, you want to check out the “What is the Warcraft RPG” article on the website warcraftrpg.com

My personal website is at http://www.lukejohnson.com

Thanks for having me, all!

Medievaldragon
Thanks, Luke, Amber and Jeff Moller. Hope to see you again soon for the Monster Guide Q&A. Any further questions you could not get answered here, you may contact me here, and I will forward them to Luke. He will reply.

  • You may find all World of Warcraft RPG Books Here (in paperback or PDF download)

  • Wow RPG: Horde Player Guide Description at the Official Warcraft RPG website.
  • Previous interview with Luke Johnson.

dh (Wowirc)
Thanks to everyone that took part – hopefully Luke and the team answered some questions for you =]

Medievaldragon
Special thanks to dh and Tranqer from Wowirc.com IRC Server for setting up the Chat bot and moderation.

CREDITS

Scott Bennie (plagueshifter, pyremaster, orc and half-orc history, military units)

Richard Farrese (primal, shadow hunter, jungle troll history, military units, ?Unearthing Bael Modan?)

Bob Fitch (?Unearthing Bael Modan?)

Bruce Graw (feats, hexer, techslayer, Chapter 5, ?Shrine of the Scarab?)

Luke Johnson (Chapter 2, potion doc, spirit champion, creatures)

Adam Loyd (Chapter 1, bone crusher, dark ranger, shadow ascendant, spymaster, wilderness stalker, Forsaken, ogre, and troll history, Cult of Forgotten Shadow, tactics, military units, creatures)

Andrew Rowe (Chapter 7)

Amber E. Scott (feats, lightslayer, spirit walker, Chapter 4, tauren history, Grimtotem tribe, military units)


Your RPG News Source

Hellgate: London Exclusive Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet: Behind the Scenes with Bill Roper

Hellgate: London was announced during E3 2005 by Flagship Studios as an Action-RPG to be published by Namco.  Ever since, the world is on watch for this awesome game.  Players were able to play the game at the Namco Booth in E3, and critics have given Hellgate: London an A+ rating.  One comment I will never forget is—“Hellgate: London already beats most FPS games out there, and it hasn’t even shipped”.  Hellgate: London was nominated for Best RPG of E3 2005 by Game Critics Awards; your Cinematic at E3 was chosen among the Top 10 by GameTrailers.com; and RPGFan chose Hellgate: London as Best PC Game of E3 2005.  With your track record of games sold with Diablo II and what everyone has seen at E3 and around the globe in most Gaming Networks, it is no surprise that this is the best FPS/Action-RPG.  There are a few things that are a mystery to fans, though,  that haven’t been asked.  Therefore, we want to break the ice on a few topics.  Welcome to Flagship Studios CEO, Bill Roper.

1. How will character customization work in Hellgate: London?

Bill Roper:  While players will be able to customize the basic appearance of their character to a degree upon creation by adjusting elements such as face shapes, skin tone, eye shapes and color and hair style and coloring (the final feature set is as yet undetermined), the real customization comes through playing the game. Hellgate: London is an item-heavy game, meaning that we love kicking out a TON of different weapons, armor, accessories, and so forth during every session. We utilize randomization and dynamic generation in almost every area of the game, and as one example, with over 100 base weapons this means that the potential combinations start numbering in the millions when we?re all done. To allow players to customize their characters, we?re using a ?mod? system that allows specific modification of these randomly created items.

When a base weapon is spawned in the world, there is a chance that it will have ?mod slots? that allows the player to install specific types of additional components onto the weapon. This enables the player to highly customize a great weapon they have found to make it unique to them and supportive of the skills of their character and their preferred game play style.

We are looking at extending this concept into other types of equipment, and even skills. This would allow two characters of the same class that have gone down the same path in terms of how they have structured their skills and equipment to still be quite different from each other.

2. Can you give us a preview of the interface and how it will work out for spells, weapons, energy, cooldowns, etc.?

Bill Roper:  The interface is definitely a work-in-progress, and as with any other game we have made, will continue to evolve over the course of development. Our goal is always to make it intuitive for the user and to provide as much information as possible without cluttering the play area or overwhelming the player.

For Hellgate: London, we have been mixing elements of RPG, MMORPG and FPS interfaces to create a streamlined HUD-style design. Like an MMORPG, We show your character and level in the upper right corner, as well as the status of your health. The bottom of the screen shows your progress through your current level of experience, as well as the skills assigned to your left and right mouse buttons. There is also a ?hot bar? along the bottom where players can assign any number of different elements, from inventory items to skills and spells. This is especially convenient as it allows players to hot-swap weapons during battles for maximum tactical advantage.

We are also displaying certain interface elements only when needed. For example, we show what effects are on a player in the upper right corner of the screen. In the specific case of the Templar, we only show the Vengeance meter (how certain Templar skills are powered) when the character has a skill active that requires it. Elements such as cool down are displayed in the outer ring of the circular icons in the lower corners of the screen, making them universal for skills, spells, or weapons.

As we continue to build and play the game, we will undoubtedly refine the functions and look of the interface, but hopefully you can see that ease of use and non-intrusive visibility are high on our list.

3. Does Hellgate: London offer anything innovative to the genre or to players that are used to Doom 3, Counterstrike/Half-Life 2, Diablo II who feel familiar with first and third-person view modes?

Bill Roper:  We believe that there really isn?t a game out there that is quite like Hellgate: London. Our experience with people actually playing the game at E3 proved that out to us, as well. Hellgate: London is first and foremost an Action-RPG, so in terms of how you gain success in the game, it is much more akin to Diablo II than Half Life 2. We do, however, employ a very different perspective for game play than the Diablo franchise in that we use both first person and close 3rd person views. Although at times the game has a very distinct FPS feel to it, we have gone to great lengths to remove the necessity for players to have pixel-perfect aiming skills or hyper-accurate reflexes to succeed in the game. Killing monsters is all about your character level, your character skills and spells, and the equipment and weapons you?ve managed to acquire.

What we learned specifically from E3 was that both RPG and FPS players couldn?t put the game down. RPG gamers immediately were picking up loot, comparing items, equipping their Templar, and wading knee-deep into randomly spawned packs of demons. FPS players went straight into the demon slaying, and at first didn?t seem to really notice all the loot dropping around them. And even though they weren?t immediately taking full advantage of new equipment, they were having a blast. It was also great fun to see a hard-core FPS player?s eyes widen when the huge LEVEL 2 ACHIEVED message came up ion the screen. We really beat people over the head with that at the show since you don?t get a lot of set-up as to what you?re playing when you walk up to a game at E3. I had more than a few Shooter fanatics stop and say, ?I leveled? What can I do with that?? When we?d open the character stat and inventory interface they flipped.

Basically, some gamers found an FPS in their RPG, while others found an RPG in their FPS. All of them were very happy.

4. What properties will the paper-doll have?  In Diablo II, the space was very limited and some items could take 3 to 6 slots.  What is innovative in Hellgate: London concerning the paper-doll?  (off-record: World of Warcraft introduced 5 bags with 16 slots, and each item spends only one slot vs Diablo’s slot-system)

Bill Roper:  We?re currently working on really showing off the character and his/her items through the paper-doll interface. When you mod your weapons, for example, we not only change the geometry of the weapon in the game, but also in the specialized mod interface within the character screen. We?ve done away with the Tetris elements of the inventory screen, having instead divided items into large and small categories. We are also automatically stacking certain types of items (such as med packs) to make organizing your inventory a simpler matter. Th
e inventory system is amongst the long list of interface areas we are co
nstantly tweaking, although it is already quite robust. For example, when you mouse over an item, we present the player with quite detailed information as to the item, how it has been modded and, as a nod to some of our favorite Collectible Card Games, a bit of flavor text that helps place the item in world fiction.

5. How does the Quest System work and how will it provide players with an immersive roleplaying feeling in contrast with the mindless hack-and-slash of other games? What makes Hellgate: London different in the RPG department?

Bill Roper:  More than many RPGs, Hellgate: London revels in its hack-and-slash nature. This is not, however, and excuse for us to ignore story. To push this element of the game, we specifically divide the overarching storyline of the game (Quests) from directed opportunities (Missions, Tasks, Chance Events) so that when people are on a Quest, they know it is an important part of the storyline. We?re using devices such as voice and in-game cinematic sequences to differentiate these sections of the game from the less epic things that NPCs are interested in you doing for them.

An interesting element to tasks and missions are that we are utilizing the ?content over time? philosophy top make these as dynamic as the rest of the world. Usually, when new content is introduced to the player, it is through going to new places. We are bringing content to where the player?s already are through the NPCs and set locations. An example of this would be where as one day a specific NPC might be paying three times the normal price for a specific kind of weapon, the next day he might need fuel mods and will offer you any mod of your choice from his inventory for every 10 you bring him. We also have special NPCs or events that occur within common locations during different times. For example, there may be rumors of a dark stranger who deals in arcane spells making his way to the Covent Garden station via the Underground. You would then learn that he should be arriving on a certain day, and will only be at that location for a set amount of time. This means that players will be able to get something new and special if they time where their character?s are in the world to coincide with these types of events.

6. The PCGamer article mentions support to somewhere between 16 to 32 players instead of providing a fixed number.  I assume this aspect of the game is still in development—not set in stone, and may change the amount of players per game.  Hellgate: London is obviously not a MMORPG, and there most be a limit of players.  How will this game work in Multiplayer?  Do we browse a list of maps and choose a map to join like in Half-Life 2 and anyone who wants to join gets in?

Bill Roper:  We haven?t set any limits so far as to the number players in any Station or individualized instance of the game as this will be more of a function of what is fun and balance rather than a specific technological limitation. Hellgate: London will be able to be completed by a single character since the game has a stand-alone component. Once players get online and start teaming-up with other adventurers, we will dynamically scale the challenges in different areas based on the number of characters in a party. We will place party size ranges on areas, so while some may be designed for 1-4 players, others can support 8, 12, 20, 50 and so on. We are dedicated to providing areas that support large ?raid sized? groups so that guilds can schedule events and players who reach the upper limits of their class have special challenges awaiting them.

As for how the game will work in multiplayer, Guild Wars is a great example of the direction we?re heading. There are no lists of names or chat rooms with avatars like an FPS or even Diablo. Characters exists in the world at all times, and we?ll be working hard to streamline ways for player?s to hook up with their friends, get into individually generated areas (instances) and work cooperatively to cut a swath through the demonic hordes that have overtaken London. Basically, we?re keeping the economy and community that make MMORPGs so vibrant while doing away with the elements that pull you out of the world (spawn camping, standing in line to kill some named boss) or are, quite frankly, boring (spending 10-15 minutes running or taking some form of transportation to get to an area before you can actually start playing.) We love bringing people from all around the world together to play games ? and the faster we can get them into a compelling play experience, the better.

7. What I have read so far about Hellgate: London, it is a mix of Role-playing, FPS a la Doom 3 and some Half-life 2/Halo 2 multiplayer arena combo action.  There is another type of genre, like Xmen: Next Dimension which has a different type of fighting features and modes.

Xmen: Next Dimension by example has:
-  Arcade mode:  where you fight one computer-controlled opponent after the other in three-round matches.
- Practice Mode:  for experimenting with moves and combos
- Survival mode:  that challenges you to defeat as many opponents as possible without getting knocked out.  Usually survival mode gives you access to playing one hidden character per class, if you win.
- Deathmatch Mode:  One-on-One player vs player
– Arena mode:  Multiplayer Everyone vs Everyone or Team 1 vs Team 2

Which combat modes from above can we expect in Hellgate: London?

Bill Roper:  We have not specifically designed out a host of combat modes for the game ? or at least not any that we are sure enough about to talk about. We do have some ideas on how to make the competitive without having to fall back on a complicated PvP system with its own ranking and rewards and so on. We?ve tossed around ideas such as races, collection quests, scavenger hunts, area defense against increasingly difficult waves of monsters, and few more. As we continue to develop and play the multiplayer portion of the game, these modes will evolve and the ones that we can?t stop playing will be the ones that get in.

8. Is Flagship Studios considering LAN, tournaments, ladder support?

Bill Roper:  We are very interested in making Hellgate: London a game that can be played in tournaments and has a system with which players can compare themselves against each other. We are also creating a dedicated online destination for players, as well as discussing how we will support ?open? play as opposed to our secure client/server model.

9.  Internet/computer rental locations—best known as “Internet cafe” offer gameplay of Doom 3, Half-Life 2, Tribes, Unreal, Quake and other games.  With Blizzard, because of the high proprietary restraints and CD-key Authentication it wasn’t possible for Internet cafes to offer online support to Battle.net unless the player brought his own CD to the internet cafe.  Most Blizzard games are played via LAN at internet cafes instead. Will Flagship Studios be more flexible? What type of support will internet cafes have?—(Korea online gaming is mostly via internet cafe) and we know that HanbitSoft will distribute the game on Asia.

Bill Roper:  Actually, there are numerous models that can be employed to allow cyber-caf?s to run multiple users from a single CD, and this is one area where our association with HanbitSoft in Korea really pays off. They have an excellent relationship with the PC Game Baangs (their name for cyber-caf?s) that they established during the introduction of StarCraft and Diablo II to the Korean market. We are focused on creating an online model that will support many different approaches to getting the game into player?s hands, as well as supporting the business models of cyber-caf?s. This is essential for us not only because people in different parts of
the world have very different locations and methods for getting and playing
the game, but also because we know that the business of distribution is in a state of evolution, and we don?t want to limit our opportunities, or dictate how players can get their Hellgate: London experience.

10. Will Hellgate: London have a Game editor where players can create their own maps? The game offers random generated paths and landscape… (i.e. Warcraft 3 is 3D and still has a World Editor).  Can players create their own Campaigns and quests via a Game Editor?

Bill Roper:  We currently don?t have plans for a Game editor, for the same reasons MMORPGs don?t make them available. Unlike an FPS where the game play can be greatly extended through additional community-created maps or content, RPGs require the following of specific power and difficulty curves, and player-created content can drastically skew this unfairly. We do know that there are some great mods done for RPGs (Neverwinter Nights is a wonderful example) but when online play is a major component of the game, this gets tricky. We will certainly keep the mod community in mind as we continue to develop the game, and who knows ? maybe we?ll come up with a great idea!

11. Based on your support and legacy with Diablo II, your games have traditionally offered the Modding community a viability to create their own mods and total conversions. Will this be the case with Hellgate: London?  Do you have a message that may make the modding community be excited as to look forward to buy Hellgate: London?  (Note: A 3dMax plug-in tool is downloadable from Blizzard for the modding community as well—Will any type of plugin be available to Hellgate players?)

Bill Roper:  Modding is always a tricky question, and with a game that has such a focus on secure online play as Hellgate: London, this becomes even more-so. A few of the crew at Flagship are very into the mod community, so while we currently don?t have anything specifically on the boards to support modding, at the very least, I would be surprised if we programmatically did anything to prevent it. This will certainly remain a topic of discussion and brainstorming around the office, so we?ll just have to see what happens.

12. Ever since Flagship Studio announced Hellgate: London, Mac users and their communities have been expecting an official announcement that may confirm if the game will be released for the Mac OS X.  I am personally a Mac user for over 10 years.  Played StarCraft, Warcraft 3,  Doom 2,  Tomb Raider and other games on my mac.  I got my Diablo and Diablo II last Christmas as well.

Based on your past work in Blizzard North, you usually finish and polish the game.  When everything works as intended and bugs have been—at most—ironed out by the QA Department, the game goes into the next step which is making the Mac version.  Once the mac version is finished, the game goes Gold, and taken into the CD Production stage for release as a PC/Mac hybrid game.

So I am not surprised that there has not been an official announcement of a Mac version. Hellgate: London is still in development and has not reached the post-QA(Quality Assurance) status. Your FAQ section doesn’t rule out the shipment of a PC/Mac hybrid.  We just need a confirmation that Hellgate: London will ship a PC/Mac hybrid when the game goes Gold.  This could hype the Mac playerbase to be more alert about your game.  What is Flagship Studios’ plan for the Mac? —Note that Apple decided to develop Intel based computers, which obviously means the Mac community will be split into IBM-based chip Mac users and Intel Mac users. Sounds like a software-side compatibility issue may arising soon, which developers need to consider when making games.

Bill Roper:  Macintosh gamers are a dedicated and passionate group, and we made a point while at Blizzard to bring them games on their platform of choice. We have yet to make a decision in regards to how the Mac will be supported, but we?ve already started conversations with the Apple game evangelists to talk about what they have up their sleeves over the next months and years. Apple?s switch to an Intel-based chipset makes some elements of creating a Mac version much simpler for PC developers, but a focus of Flagship has been to stay a small, focused team. All I can say is that we are seriously evaluating our Macintosh plans and as soon as we come to a concrete decision one way or the other, we?ll let you all know.

13. Doom 3, America’s Army, Heretic, Myth II, Neverwinter Nights, Quake 3 arena, Unreal Tournament 2003, and Wolfstein are among the many games that have gone Linux.  Hellgate: London will obviously be attractive to players of those games.  What is Flagship Studios? standpoint with Linux now that you are an independent Game Developing studio?  Will a Linux version of Hellgate: London be possible in the future or considered internally?

Bill Roper:  The issue of a Linux version of the game follows many of the same thought processes as a Macintosh version, except that the install base is even smaller, although no less passionate about their OS. It is less an issue of being ?anti-Linux? than of trying to maintain a focus on the majority of your gamers. Just as we can?t support every video card, we?ll do our best to hit the vast majority of them to ensure that as many players can have fun with Hellgate: London as possible.

14. Something that I liked from the PCGamer article about Hellgate: London is the mention of relics as a stat modifier, similar to how runes could be added into socketed-weapons and socketed-armor in Diablo II to increase stats.  How will the relic-system work in Hellgate: London, and how will it affect or impact our gear?  How will the horadric-cube equivalent in Hellgate: London work and how will players be rewarded?

Bill Roper:  Relics are a type of item that can be used to Mod a piece of equipment. Not every weapon (as an example) can use every type of Mod, and each base type has a maximum number of potential slots for Mods. Each type of Mod draws from a specific set of possible effects it can apply to items and, just like equipment, Mods have their own levels of rarity and randomized properties. We have discussed the possibility of players creating specific relics or super-mods, but as of this time we don?t have anything like the Horadric cube in the works. We DO have to keep trying to find new ways to do things, after all.

15. Will items dropped from creatures be managed server-side like a MMORPG?  If not, what counter-measures are you foreseeing against third-party software to protect Multiplayer?  We have a concern on hacks and dupes, so we wish to make sure this game will offer security, fairness and reliability to all players. Many FPS games have suffered from these abuses in the past.  As well as from bots or shoot-through-wall hacks.

Bill Roper:  Items dropped in secure multiplayer games will be determined from the server to prevent hacking or cheating. This is one of the reasons the vast majority of players like the client/server system because they know that when they get (or see) a really great item, it was actually found in the game and not whipped up via some cheat. As with any game, thousands of nefarious people will work hard to find ways to skirt the system, and it is a never-ending battle for our programmers to keep the game play experience as in-line with our design as possible.

Security is, and always will be, a major concern for any online game, and we are already working on some solutions that we hope will be a very pleasant surprise to gamers.

16. With Hanbitsoft to cover Asia, we see you are preparing to expand worldwide.  What other markets and languages(i.e. Spanish) have Namco and Flagship studios plann
ed to expand? Will each zone have its own server?

Bill Roper

We are approaching Hellgate: London with the same dedication to quality and worldwide support as we have any of the games on which we have worked. This includes localizing and distributing the game in numerous markets. Namco is focused on preparing and releasing the game in the USA, South America, all across Europe, into Australia and, of course, Japan. HanbitSoft is taking on the rest of Asia, including Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and a host of others. We are already looking at localization partners, and both Namco and HanbitSoft have extensive experience in bringing gamers around the world a title that is as native as it can be. We love seeing and hearing our games in other languages, too, so we are huge supporters of making sure that every gamer has a great experience and that language is not a barrier.

17. What are the biggest obstacles the developers have faced during the making of Hellgate: London, from creative design to the current stages?  And what is your plan and vision for this game?

Bill Roper:  I think our biggest challenge is in realistically limiting ourselves. We have so many fantastic ideas for the game that if we tried to cram them all in, we?d probably never ship! We know that this is the most important game of our careers since we are launching not only our new company, but a new game idea and world at the same time. The game has to be as robust and polished as possible, meeting all of our and the player?s expectations for Hellgate: London. Balancing that with the realities that we don?t have the amazing freedom to take years and years to do a game that we did at Blizzard has pushed us to perhaps be even more creative in many ways.

18. I watched the E3 2005 Movie Teaser, and I can tell by the high quality of its 3D Animation, that the game will have great cinematics and graphics.  I noticed that your capability as a studio have increased with a smaller production team.  It is just less than two years ago when Flagship Studio was founded, and we witnessed, what I rate, the best Cinematic ever.  How is the 3D animation team doing so far with the in-game Cinematics, and how will they play through the RPG-storyline?

Bill Roper:  The teaser that we created for E3 really exceeded our expectations in many ways, and certainly grabbed a lot of attention from people that saw it at the show. We worked with the extremely talented people at Blur Studios who brought every ounce of their Academy-Award nominate talents to bear on the project. One of the philosophies we have at Flagship is to find excellent partners that we can work with in order to realize our vision for the Hellgate: London world and our game. This is especially important since we want to keep our core company size as small as we can. By finding companies like Blur, we think we?re well on our way to achieving our goals.

In regards to in-game cinematics, we were very fortunate to hire a character artist internally who also happened to have done a good deal of these on a previous project for another game company. We?ve got some very basic controls in the game now to create in-game movies, and as we move along through development, these tools will be made robust enough to support our quest system. A VERY early version of what we?ll be able to do could be seen when we did a simple fly-in to the opening area in the E3 demo. A group of randomly generated Templar are fighting a pack of randomly spawned monsters as we glide the camera in, and then down to your character that is positioned in a burned building just below the action. You come up the stairs into the thick of the fight, jumping the player immediately into the action. Obviously, we?ll be adding a lot more to these types of moments, including dialogue and NPC interaction.

19. Your 3D Animation team is pretty fast without sacrificing quality.  We have seen movies, that become games later, as with Fantastic Four and Van Helsing.  And we have seen games becoming movies.  Has Flagship
Studios considered creating a Movie of Hellgate: London showing the background storyline or a line of pocketbooks?  or 3D Movies?  Your team can really make Pixar bite the dust at this point, after watching that Movie teaser.

Bill Roper:  We spent 5 days last week visiting with a host of companies and individuals in the book, film, television, comics, collectibles, action figure and even CCG and board game fields. We sent a crew down to Comic Con specifically to start talking with people about the world of Hellgate: London. We like to build a world, and then at Flagship, we set a game within that world. But more importantly, we can take that world design into other areas because it is a complete and rich place where hundreds of stories can be told across any number of media. We?d all love to see a lot of great projects come from the demon infested place we?re crafting, so keep your fingers crossed!

20. Finally, we watched the E3 2004 Video Teaser again.  It was released shortly after Namco signed as publisher of Flagship Studios? games.  What highlights the most of that video teaser is the sentence:

?The quest to revolutionize PC Gaming is about to begin?

Those are bold words.  Basically, your goal with this game is to set a new standard of PC Gaming and developing.  Setting apart games as ?before and after Hellgate: London?.  Many critics have pointed out the similarities of your game with Half-Life 2, Doom 3 and even Halo 2.  Can we expect features that may be considered innovative in the field of first and third-person mode games?  The PCGamer quotes:

“The heavenly graphics – powered by an engine built in-house, since none of the existing 3D engines could support the game’s level of randomization ? will certainly make adventuring in the Hellgate universe an all-new play experience.”

Could you elaborate on how you will revolutionize PC Gaming?

Bill Roper:  Flagship Studios wants to show what a focused group of top-flight developers can do, and that it is the talent of these individuals that define what makes a great game. The relationship between publishers and developers has become extremely stratified, but as many have seen just having an intellectual property or a popular license without the right developers behind it does not guarantee success. Both the developer and the publisher bring their particular expertise to the table, and an equitable relationship that recognizes both sides of that equation needs to arise. Marketing and sales forces and PR teams are an important of the process, and you need them to reach as many people as possible, but without a great game, they don?t mean anything to the gamers they are trying to reach. With Hellgate: London, we want to show what a motivated, energized core group of developers can do, and that it can be done in an environment that fosters creativity and productivity in all ways.

I personally consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be working with the group we have assembled, creating the game that we are. We are striving to make an evolutionary jump in the realm of RPGs, much like we did when Diablo came out. My hope is that Hellgate: London becomes definitive in the field, so that when people talk about action-RPGs, they will have to consider the work we?ve done. The biggest challenge is to make sure that those comparisons are positive ones, but I honestly cannot imagine starting a new adventure with a better group than the one here.

Living in a world of 21th Century Knights and Templars, roleplaying as Sir Lancelot or Sir Fragalot sounds to me like a lot of fun.  Thanks,  Sir Bill Roper for sharing some time with us to address these topics of interest for all FPS/RPG players worldwide.  We are looking forward to play this game in Beta and Re
tail.  Special thanks to Bob Moseley(Flagship Web Admin) and Tricia G
ray(Public Relations), and to our programmer DarkNemesis.  Kudos to the guys at Flagship Studios, Namco, Hanbitsoft and Blur!

Watch the Hellgate: London Cinematic

Hellgate: London Homepage

Richard A. Knaak Q&A - War of the Ancients: Demon Soul

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

[Medievaldragon]:
Before starting, I wanted to make sure to display copyright notices. For Warcraft, Warcraft pocketbooks—Warcraft: Day of the Dragon, War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity, War of the Ancients: Demon Soul and Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy; and World of Warcraft are trademark or registered trademark of Blizzard Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries. http://www.blizzard.com

[Medievaldragon]:
Thanks athalus for providing the browser script for Wow Forum fans to join us. Athalus is from WCradio.com

[Medievaldragon]:
ok, we will start the event

[Medievaldragon]:
We welcome Richard A. Knaak , New York Times best-selling writer of D&D titles, Dragonlance, Dragonrealm, Legend of Huma among others; and writer of Warcraft: Day of the Dragon.

[Medievaldragon]:
Hi Richard

[Richard]:
Hi! I’d like to thank Blizzplanet, everyone here, and Blizzard, my sponsor for this

[Richard]:
Always happy to be here!

[Medievaldragon]:
We are here to talk about your newest Warcraft projects: War of the Ancients: Demon Soul and Warcraft manga: The Sunwell Trilogy

[Richard]:
I’ve been enjoying the both. Great fun to work on.

[Medievaldragon]:
Can you tell us what War of the Ancients: Demon Soul focuses on in the Warcraft Lore?

[Richard]:
Obviously, the war is in full flame. Malfurion has to come to grips with his training, while the dragons have begun to create an artifact to use against the demons, called the Dragon Soul. However, all is not well within their own ranks. Meanwhile, the demons have a few plots of their own.

[Medievaldragon]:
How will the timeslip of Rhonin and Krasus the dragon affect the events of Demon Soul, and what consequences may their actions in the past create?

[Richard]:
Obviously, the repercussions of the night elves’ magic, but also, the triangle between Malfurion, his brother, and Tyrande . I will focus more on the timeslip and its cause; and it will make changes, whether small or great, I cannot say. But there will be some.

[Richard]:
The first chapter will hint at some of that in the third book. Meanwhile, Krasus must decide whether to save his kind or follow history. Krasus aka Korialstrasz.

[Medievaldragon]:
It is a big decision to make. We noticed in World of Warcraft, that there is an Elf named Garek, an agent working for Krasus. The Quest is named Tremors of the Earth ( southeast of Badlands). Can we safely say that Krasus survives the odysey of this timetravel?

[Richard]:
Yeah, he’s not happy about that. That referred to the previous, not his survival. Who survives is up to how the story goes, but I do have fondness for Krasus, so…

[Medievaldragon]:
I loved how you implemented the story of the dragons in the book War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity. It let us see at the way Dragons think and behave.

[Richard]:
I think the dragons are integral to the history and life of the world. They were the first guardians. They could not leave it alone completely.

[Medievaldragon]:
What can we expect from the dragons during the events of War of the Ancients: Demon soul, and how will they react before the betrayal of Deathwing?

[Richard]:
We can see how some of the events of the future unfold, and how the betrayal shakes them to their foundations . . . and creates in part, Korialstrasz also becoming what HE is. We also learn the truth about Neltharion’s madness.

[Medievaldragon]:
A question many would like answered, what new heroes from Warcraft will be displayed in this book Demon Soul? Some fans want to see the Naga heroes before they became Naga. Others want to see Feathermooon. I remember you mentioned in our previous interview by February 18, an appearance of a female heroe in future books of War of the Ancients Trilogy.

[Richard]:
You’ll see a character you know well, yes. Unfortunately, even in a trilogy, not every aspect can be revealed. But we try. And we will make mistakes, although we try not to. You will see more of the demi-gods by the end of the trilogy. Since I had a hand in the creation of a few with Chris Metzen.

[Medievaldragon]:
I heard Chris Metzen works with you when creating these books and that the stories of these pocketbooks are part of the Warcraft Lore 100%. Material that obviously affects the Quests in World of Warcraft the MMORPG

[Richard]:
Very much true. Chris wants everything matching up as best as can be expected. He knows how much the fans love this world , and we go over every chapter, outline, etc. I credit him much for the success of the books and games. He wants to please the fans, believe me. Even the manga will match up!

[Medievaldragon]:
How much time do Chris Metzen and you spend polishing the book ideas? Does he check with you over the phone every now and then to guide you on the storyline?

[Richard]:
Hours upon hours. If I don’t speak with him each week by e-mail or phone every couple days, I’d be surprised. Even tiny things get changed, often almost through the entire project. Makes for some fun hunting through the manuscripts smile

[Richard]:
But it’s worth it.

[Medievaldragon]:
Wow . . . thats very involving and commited. It is like developing a game.

[Richard]:
Exactly

[Richard]:
AS I said

[Richard]:
Chris wants everything matching up. I believe in that dedication. And it shows in the quality of Blizzard’s stuff . By the way, for those who don’t get the free book today, there is still a way to get one. When you pre-order World of Warcraft you will get a free copy of War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity at authorized locations like EBGames.com, Electronic Boutique, Gamestop, Best Buy, CompUSA, Fry’s, Amazon—both online and local stores.

[Medievaldragon]:
I think both of you have done a great job as a duo. When I picked my copy of War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity, book one, I was literally hooked up. When I finished the book I was left with a sensation of starving for more

[Richard]:
Thanks

[Medievaldragon]:
Are there other people besides you both working on the project?

[Richard]:
I appreciate that much. Naturally. There are other authors, although I believe I work closest. The gaming people, of course, are constantly at work. But foremost in my projects, it’s Chris and me. He specifically wanted me to do this trilogy, for which I’m honored. I’ve enjoyed it at least as much as any reader smile

By the way, I just did an interview for a Bulgarian fansite

[Medievaldragon]:
Which site? I could try to get a translation later during the week.

[Richard]:
It’s an SF site, I’ll e-mail it. Remind me later.

[Medievaldragon]:
Jeff Kaplan aka Tigole, mentioned in the forums that there are pla
ns for the ingame instance of Grim Batol. I was there and saw a lot of Dragonspawns lvl 60+ elite. How do you think The developers will somehow reproduce the events of Day of the Dragon in the game and how do you feel that we the
fans will be able to roleplay and live the events that you with effort wrote about

[Richard]:
I think that Blizzard wll do a great job. The material is already in the history of the world, and I think it will give readers new depth into what happened. I like the concept and think it makes sense. The event proved pivotal in the end of the war

[Medievaldragon]:
Could you give us a brief summary of the events of Day of the Dragon and how it connects with War of the Ancients: Demon Soul?—This in benefit of fans that haven’t read Warcraft: Day of the Dragon.

In Day of the Dragon, the last days of the war against the orcs, The Demon Soul comes into the hands of an orc spellcaster. He is using it to keep Alexstrasza the Queen Dragon and the red dragonflight under control

[Medievaldragon]:
Nekros if I remember well.

[Richard]:
However, Krasus has noted also the appearance of Deathwing, thought dead. So he sends Rhonin the mage and Vereesa, a High Elf, to investigate. There they discover the truth of Deathwing’s manipulations. Not only of the orcs and dragons’s manipulation, but the Alliance’s as well.

[Medievaldragon]:
Was it Deathwing who made Nekros the spellcaster to find the Demon Soul?

[Richard]:
Exactly. Deathwing caused another Orc to find it, then pass it on to one who could wield its power. He cannot use it himself, in the original history (Warcraft: Day of the Dragon)

[Medievaldragon]:
So we can assume that since the Demon Soul had a curse made by the Dragon Aspects so he would never be able to command the Demon Soul, Deathwing lured the orcs into getting control over the Demon Soul as a diversion.

[Richard]:
The other dragons managed to alter the artifact so that Deathwing won’t control the Demon Soul. But that might change, now in Warcraft: Demon Soul. Exactly . . . Use a puppet . . . That’s Deathwing!

[Medievaldragon]:
In my opinion, the true aim of Deathwing was to get possession of Alexstrasza’s red dragonflight eggs and used the orcs, the alliance and everyone else as puppets as you say, a diversion to reach this goal.

[Richard]:
The ultimate goal, yes! But he’ll take everything he can get. His own flight is all but decimated. Why not take that? . . . of the most viable flight left. Makes sense to him smile

[Medievaldragon]:
The Second War was Deathwing’s fault as a diversion to take control over the red dragonflight’s eggs. I heard Deathwing had no dragonflight after wars happened in the past, am I correct?

[Richard]:
I believe that is so. Although there might have been a few left.

[Medievaldragon]:
Survivors?

[Richard]:
But his flight is dying through his work. All that matters most is his obsession. So, he needs new followers. And he would probably go through them, too.

[Medievaldragon]:
That kinda makes sense. In Warcraft III, in the cavern of the Druids of the Claw, Malfurion found Black Dragons. He called them spawns of Deathwing. Also we got to Kill Searinox, a black dragon.

[Richard]:
Yeah, the black dragons tend to get slain doing his work. Not much left for his ‘perfect’ world, eh? But, then, is it really ‘his’ world he wants to build? The author said cryptically.

[Medievaldragon]:
But in World of Warcraft, I was so surprised to see many Black dragons. And even black dragonspanws. So I was curious as to if this are unknown survivors of the holocaust where the black dragonflight was wiped; or if somehow World of Warcraft is the product of the events of War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity and the second part Demon Soul. If so then there are 2 parallel futures/2 parallel presents.

[Richard]:
There will still be black dragons at the end of the trilogy. The losses are through attrition. There are some changes in the future, and those will have to unfold for all the answers to be revealed.

[Richard]:
By the way, I just got two of my copies of DEMON SOUL from the publisher. Means it’s imminent smile

[Medievaldragon]:
It’s great! Barnes and Noble suggests November as the release. The book will be available on November.

[Richard]:
Should be just shy of November. I usually get them just before release. That’s the way it tends to work in publishing.

[Medievaldragon]:
I will have my copy pre-ordered of course. Can’t wait to see how our favorite characters develop in this hellish timeframe of the Burning Legion invasion.

[Richard]:
You will be surprised by some. I’ve tried to develop this as fits

[Medievaldragon]:
I was curious about Well of Eternity book. Deathwing talked to Krasus telepathically and Krasus was pretty scared, because somehow Deathwing knew that Krasus represents a danger to his plans. He even casted a spell that makes Krasus get disoriented and babblish whenever he tries to talk about Deathwing. Looked like Curse of Tongues.

[Richard]:
It was in great part.

[Medievaldragon]:
I was very excited and even paranoid when that happened. I felt like I was there, your writting technique is similar to those in Comic books where you immerse yourself into the drama and live it. So I was there like if I were Krasus, and suddenly Deathwing looks at Krasus with that evil eye . . . and talks telepathically to him with this deep voice like Darth Vader: I know you . . . and WON”T LET YOU RUIN MY PLANS !!!

[Richard]:
I’m a visual writer. I grew up on comics. And the scene with Deathwing was fun, because it showed how his insanity had overwhelmed him. It was a pivotal scene . . . because you know that the die is cast for Neltharion; and that things have gone disastrously for Krasus’s intentions.

[Medievaldragon]:
This is pivotal for Demon Soul book.
How will Krasus be able to break the enchantment set upon him by Deathwing? Did Deathwing know that somehow Krasus came from the future and that it meant trouble for his plans against the Dragon Aspects?

[Richard]:
Actually, Deathwing did not know; but he sensed some of Krasus’s intentions . . . and madly guessed the rest.

[Medievaldragon]:
What made Deathwing cast this curse of tongues spell on Krasus? What was his fear?

[Richard]:
Krasus is going to have problems. Bear with me. I wrote this a long time ago smile

[Medievaldragon]:
I bet! As soon as he tried to warn to the Dragon Aspects the betrayal of Deathwing, after the enchantment made by Deathwing, Krasus wasn’t able to talk anything coherent. The Dragon Aspects were like . . . ehhh? He is talking nonsense. Babbling.

[Richard]:
Deathwing sensed his unease. Yeah, Many were already suspicious

[Medievaldragon]:
It was very funny!

[Richard]:
Who is this little creature claiming to be a dragon of knowledge? It was comical and ominious!

[Medievaldragon]:
Only Alexstrasza shows a sensation that this old Krasus and the young Krasus are the same.

[Richard]:
She knows him better than anyone. She knows his soul

[Medievaldragon]:
Yet Alexstrasza doesnt want to alert the other dragons of Old Krasus’s true identity,
why?

[Richard]:
To do that might unwind the future, and make the invasion look like a picnic. The repercussions would be horrendous. Assuming they believed her even, there is only so much.

[Medievaldrag
on]:
I was worried about the fact that an option is to kill Krasus and Rhonin to avoid the change of time itself . . . But then everything of the past events seems to change; because they didn’t know of a third unwanted visitor that was pulled into the past with them.

[Richard]:
Yes, Brox.

[Medievaldragon]:
So basically the harm was done.

[Richard]:
And Nozdormu was not there to verify things, If it would save the future. Harm was done; but how much more harm would be done. That is the question. Of course, Brox didn’t know that.

[Medievaldragon]:
I think that sorta gave Rhonin the excuse to intervene during the war against the Burning Legion. Rhonin was like, “this guy is here? He already messed the time, what gives?” And Rhonin started shooting spells like a hero at every demon in sight. After a long time pulling back his offensive with fear to change the past.

[Richard]:
Rhonin is in some ways a little orcish. When it comes to getting the task done. That’s what got him in trouble in the past with the Wizards of Dalaran.

[Medievaldragon]:
Rhonin is impulsive, and he lives the moment.

[Richard]:
Krasus made use of that in the past, but now he has to try to reign it in. Of course, there is a point when even Krasus has his limits.

[Medievaldragon]:
What aspects of the story will we see in your book Demon Soul, that we may wish to know in advance?

[Richard]:
Obvously, the demon soul.

[Medievaldragon]:
Compared with day of the dragon events?

[Richard]:
The danger to time

[Medievaldragon]:
(Thinks to self—He won’t spill the beans! nods!) Do we see other races? Like the people of Cenarius? I recall he kept mentioning meetings with his people.

[Richard]:
This is still mostly the Night Elves’ game at this point; but we will see another demi-god and we have already had a glimpse of one of the bears. At least, his paw. (Refering to the first book War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity)

[Richard]:
By the end of the trilogy, you will see other races.

[Medievaldragon]:
Hmm I think this is the demigod that taught the Druids of the Claw?

[Richard]:
Yes, that demigod

[Richard]:
But this story is foremost about the Dragons , Time, and Malfurion, Illidan, and Tyrande’s decisions. And the mistakes of the Night Elves. Not to mention we’ll see the creation of the Satyrs.

[Medievaldragon]:
I always wanted to know how the Satyrs came to be, I look forward to find out.

[Medievaldragon]:
I do know that the transformation of the High Elves of Azshara came with the Burning Legion’s demonic magics turning into Satyrs . . . or so I think.

[Richard]:
Yep, and you’ll never guess who gets to be the first one.

[Medievaldragon]:
Ohh that is a nice tease!

[Richard]:
and I ain’t going to tell.

[Medievaldragon]:
ummm I would like to let some of the fans make questions.

[Richard]:
go ahead

[Richard]:
You’ll find out quick, I promise you

[Medievaldragon]:
I won’t be able to sleep now trying to figure out. heh

[Medievaldragon]:
Alrite, questions? Fans

[Richard]:
Be gentle

Athalus-wcradio:
pets Richard

[Richard]:
Not that gentle

OpenTechHelper:
lol

Athalus-wcradio:
chuckles

[Medievaldragon]:
Hey, remember in the forums? All those questions about the books? This is the big kahuna. Ask him

Narzul:
Richard, how do you like working with Warcraft lore in comparison to previous stuff you have worked with?

[Richard]:
I enjoy Warcraft, at least as much as the other worlds. It has such depth. Such characterization. And such nice Chaos

Gingery:
Do we get to see the introduction of the dwarves in the next book?

[Richard]:
Gingery, Nope, not in this book.

Narzul:
As before keep up the great work, I bought Warcraft: Day of the Dragon just this morning and will start reading it later.

[Medievaldragon]:
Thanks for buying Day of the Dragon, Narzul. I already did, and plan to read it soon. I think as World of Warcraft players, we need to read these Warcraft books to understand why are the events in the quests happening so that we have a better understanding of whats going on in the drama. We are roleplaying the events of the books and the warcraft lore. War of the Ancients trilogy let us see, in depth, what happened during the first invasion of the Burning Legion and we get to know the Dragons more closely. They are very human in a sense. Arrogant. Yet . . . they care for the world, and protect it from evil.

[Richard]:
I did what Blizzard requested of me and they okayed all I did. The dragons are arrogant, because they were the first and were created by powerful beings. That hubris is why they don’t always see the small details that grow into monstrous problems.

[Medievaldragon]:
Vader asked: How will the books impact the way people think and look at the whole Warcraft series?

[Richard]:
I think that this will show how the series are important to understanding where the game has been and where it is going. It gives a depth that cannot be displayed in the game, just as the game gives details and life to the books. They are two parts of the same whole.

[Medievaldragon]
So it is recommendable to read the books of the warcraft lore to better enjoy the gameplay in World of Warcraft quests

[Richard]:
We will see

[Medievaldragon]:
Both, the mmorpg and the books storylines are connected in short.

[Richard]:
Yes, they are . . . They are very interwitned. Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy takes place after the Plaguelands have been created; and will feature Dwarves, Dragons, Elves, Undead Scourge, Forsaken, Tauren and more . All crammed into three volumes! smile

[Medievaldragon]:
How much time has passed since the war in Hyjal

[Richard]:
Difficult to say. I’d have to reference the materials. Blizzard is, of course, overseeing each page . . . The first should be out in February, or March. With the second about four months later, I believe.

[Medievaldragon]:
Can you tell us more about Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy storyline. I read there is a Dragon escaping his chasers by shapeshifting into human form.

[Richard]:
Yes, as some will note with significance, a young BLUE dragon is on a mission. Until he is attacked with a net and more. He must transform into something smaller to escape the hunters (seen on the sample page !). And continues his mission . . . while they pursue

[Medievaldragon]:
What impulsed him to take this mission? By the way, Blue dragonflight is led by Malygos the Dragon Aspect of magic, correct?

[Richard]:
What he and they do not know, however, is that there are others following.

[Medievaldragon]:
This sounds like one of those bad days where everyone is chasing you to death. Adrenaline rush!

[Richard]:
Correct. He was sent by Malygos himself, which in itself should be an indication that the Magic One’s madness is waning. Yeah, it only gets worse f
rom there . . . smile

Our heroes are Kalecgos—the dragon mentioned; Tyri a female blue; Anveena—a human girl; Jorad Mace—fallen paladin; and Raac Who?
smile

But watch out for Dar’khan

[Medievaldragon]:
Lot of new characters in the story. That’s good in a sense, expands the universe.

[Richard]:
Yep, and, eventually, one recognizable one by the end

[Medievaldragon]:
How did Chris Metzen approach you about this new book, and how does it connect with War of the Ancients: Demon Soul?

[Richard]:
It does not connect . . . save in that it is Warcraft. It is the future. As War tries to save a future for the world. However, some of what I said should show elements of the novel, afecting the time of the Manga. Goes well, I already have other ideas in mind. Actually, Tokyopop approached him and Chris said it could only happen if I did it. Nice ego-boost smile

[Medievaldragon]:
I think the events of War of the Ancients have more to do with this Warcraft manga storyline than we think. The blue dragonflight was wiped too originally, and Warcraft Manga talks about many blue dragons. Even World of Warcraft has countless blue dragons.

[Richard]:
Ah, you noticed ! nuff said!

[Medievaldragon]:
heh, coughs . . . next question i guess

[Richard]:
But not so easily rectified. Yes, next.

[Medievaldragon]:
Some of the fans made a question. Are Maeiv and Lady Vash in the book Demon Soul? or maybe the third book, The Sundering?—Maiev was the jailer of Ilidan.

[Richard]:
Not in the second book. Depending on the perspective of the third, possibly. It gets a little crowded with all the characters already. Want to do them justice. We shall see. Not the second book, though.

[Medievaldragon]:
Yea I have heard many fans concerned about Maiev, Lady Vash and Feathermoon in this time-frame during the first invasion of the Burning Legion. Fans want to read about them.

[Richard]:
That’s too soon in the story. All right. I’ll say it. Actually, Shandris . . . She plays a part. How’s that?

[Medievaldragon]:
[does the Football touchdown dance ;p] Sounds pretty good

[Medievaldragon]:
Let’s just hope Chris changes his mind and gives you a whisper about those characters: Maiev and Lady Vash. And the leader of the high elves exiled, that reached Lordaeron after the Sundering taking the vials of waters from the Well of Eternity with them—which later serve to create the Sunwells. Another guy asks if you know of plans of writting more warcraft books in the future.

[Richard]:
Blizzard has the final say

[Medievaldragon]:
The more you write the more we will want to read them =]

[Richard]:
but so far they say as long as I want to write for the series

[Medievaldragon]:
fair answer

[Richard]:
I want to. I am also doing more Diablo. I have a very good relationship with Blizzard

[Medievaldragon]:
I remember last time, you said you had plans for a Diablo book featuring the Necromancer. How’s the plans ?

[Richard]:
Read Kingdom of Shadow. Zayl will be returning, with Humbart. in MOON OF THE SPIDER. To be written after War of the Ancients [book three]: THE SUNDERING. It will be a revealing book about necromancers and the problems of the Balance. Just as Karybdus . . . if you dare. heh!

[Medievaldragon]:
Im pretty sure Diablo fans are going to await this book with all the emotion of a possible Diablo 3 in the air. We do know Blizzard North is officially working on a project for some time as said back in August

[Richard]:
They’re keeping mum, which is only right; but I’m sure it’ll turn out great what I do with the necromancers, may eventually be incorporated. I like them. They’re so light-hearted. heh

[Medievaldragon]:
Have you played Diablo games?

[Richard]:
Some, but, as with Warcraft

[Medievaldragon]:
well not like you have the time with so many books, but you seem fond of writing about the Necromancer

[Richard]:
the writing does come first . . . but I would play the Necromancer, yes. By the way, as to Gnomes and Trolls in Warcraft , while the former seems to the side, I do have a couple of trolls among the Dragon hunters in the Warcraft Manga, Adds diversity.

[Medievaldragon]:
Do we have more background lore about the Trolls’s history in Warcraft Manga?

[Richard]:
Not really. That is Blizzard’s choice.

[Medievaldragon]:
There is a god the Trolls venerate. Hakkar

[Richard]:
I bow to them in such matters. Is there really? Did anyone ever tell them that they worship a demon?

[Medievaldragon]:
in the MMORPG of World of Warcraft—at the sunken temple of the Swamp of Sorrows, is a team of Trolls trying to revive their god Hakkar. It is a pretty instance to play in as it is guarded by Dragons of the Emerald dream [mind stops as the sentence “. . . worship a demon?” resonates in the back of self’s skull . . . Left eye shrinks and dilates . . . remembers a friend once reminding there was a demon in War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity named Hakkar too . . . same demon dude serving the Burning Legion? Whoa? O_o . . . Self returns to the interview]

[Richard]:
Silly, silly trolls . . . You got to love them . . . from a distance

UPDATE 1-29-06: Months after this interview, I asked Knaak once more about Hakkar the Soulflayer and Hakkar the Houndmaster demon.  Turns out both are separate entities not related.  Chris Metzen admitted to using the name Hakkar by mistake, and apologized.  Knaak used the name Hakkar first.  At the time of this current interview, Knaak wasn’t aware of the MMORPG mistake.  Read the short explanation that clears up any confusion about Hakkar and Elune/Ysera rumors.

[Medievaldragon]:
One of the Green Dragons, Eranikus gets corrupted in the dream, and it seems in the storyline that The Emerald dream is being corrupted from within.

[Richard]:
Not my project

[Medievaldragon]:
There are many good storylines arising in the quests. I think fans would love you to write in the future more about the Gnomes and the Trolls’s background history.

[Richard]:
If they fit into what we’re doing, I’m game.

[Medievaldragon]:
So you know guys, we have to write many emails and forum posts asking Blizzard to get Richard to write about it =]
Here is the Suggestions Forums—make sure you tell Blizzard to get Richard A. Knaak to write the Gnomes, Trolls and Tauren history in his books.

[Richard]:
Considering trolls eat other races, that’s perhaps not a good choice of words

[Medievaldragon]:
Ehh hope you dont put Rhonin through that. Krasus would also complain if Trolls have Dragon Wing cook recipes =(

[Richard]:
Nope.

[Medievaldragon]:
There is so many questions to make about both books. I would like to know. How do you feel about writing these 2 books, exploring different time frames of the Warcraft lore

[Richard]:
I feel great about exploring the entire history of Warcraft. I look forward to writing more.

Narzul
Richard: Do you plan to play wow if so what race/class? smile

Tirioth:
Richard are you gonna play WoW?

[Richard]:
I’m probably telling something that many of you know. I would play a Tauren

Well, guys t
he Q&A is over. Closing comments?

thanks, Richard smile

<[[^kristos^]]>
THX Richard !!!!!!!!!!!


thanks Richard on behalf of WizardzNet staff wink

thanks Richard

[Athalus-WCRadio]
YAY HORDE

[Protheus]
Will there be a translation into french and german ?

[Medievaldragon]:
Back in February, Wow.gamona.de was kind to host a German version of our last interview with Richard A. Knaak. We hope this time they do so again for the German fans. Germany has a special place in Richard’s heart for his origins. We will send the transcript to Judgehype.com for them to host the French version. NGAcn.com to host the chinese version. And Wow-Esp.com to host the Spanish version for Spain and 20 Latino American countries that love Knaak books. Other Fan Sites willing to translate, host and spread the interview in their country are welcome to contact me by private message over the forums.

[Athalus-WCRadio]:
WoW Radio is a project partnered, in part, by Blizzplanet.com. Last night was our unexpected inaugural broadcast. We hope you’ll join us tonight for more music and talk radio. If you’re interested, all the information you need is at www.wcradio.com.

[Athalus-WCRadio]:
To chat with us, visit irc.wyldryde.org #wowradio or use the chat applet on our website. Thanks for coming out for Blizzplanet’s interview, and I hope you’ll support WoW Radio in its endeavor.

[Athalus-WCRadio]:
The Cosmos UI has generously lent its support through an in game schedule window that will be available in a November Cosmos release.

[eggy]:
I would like to take this moment to thank Richard, and BlizPlanet for choosing to use Wizardz IRC Network as their place to host this interview session. As WizardzNet staff we really appreciate this.

[Medievaldragon]
Special thanks to WC3Campaigns for hosting Blizzplanet and offering bandwidth support to host this Q&A for Blizzard fans. Visit WC3Campaigns.com for Warcraft III Mods and Total Conversions.

[Medievaldragon]:
ok guys that was it, we are very pleased with Richard and with Blizzard for allowing us fans to enjoy Richard A. Knaak and his warcraft books

[Medievaldragon]:
We will have in the website the transcript sometime tonite. Every fan site will have a copy to post locally in their own websites

[Medievaldragon]:
We will also make sure that fan sites tell every fan that you can get this books bundled with the sale of World of Warcraft pre-orders via Online Stores and store locations.

[Medievaldragon]:
Ok now stay with us for few minutes more, we will work on giving away 10 pocketbooks. Basically, if you win, you will chose your reward out of 4 choices. You can pick Day of the Dragon, War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity, Demon Soul pre-ordered or Warcraft Manga

Important Links:

  • Buy War of the Ancients [book two]: Demon Soul here

  • Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy storyline
  • Richard A. Knaak Homepage
  • Sign-up to Richard A. Knaak Mail List

Winners of 10 pocketbooks:

Heretic
Thorek
Zodiac
Saxe
Jarlaxle
Knetwerx
sticker
Certhos
Pesmerga
Monstar

Glynnys Talken alias Kerrigan Voice Actress Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet Staff Questions

by MEDIEVALDRAGON

1. World of Warcraft MMORPG is going to enter its beta stage. There will probably be some 9 months of testing before going Gold. There are certain Quests that will possibly require voice acting. Have you been contacted to participate as Voice Actor? Or, would you love to?

GT: Yes, I’d love to! I always enjoy roles involving heroic speeches and bloodcurdling death screams. I haven’t been contacted by Blizzard, but that’s not a surprise. The voice is often one of the last things done on the game.

2. We know that you are a great historical and medieval romance writer, Have you thought of writting some Starcraft, Warcraft or Diablo pocket books with some of your writting influences?

GT: Thanks for the compliment! I haven’t really considered writing for the games since I have so many of my own untold stories rattling around in my head. But never say never…

3. I bet you could write the love-triangle drama between Tyrande, and the brothers Stormrage: Furion and Illidian (10,000 years in the past of Warcraft history). Or Arthas and Jaina Proudmoore’s romance background. That part of the single player was vague in its reference to their past romance, since it is just an allusion of what they had in the past.

Would you be interested in writting a story that helps shape up what led Arthas to distance himself from Jaina; until becoming a heartless person? Events that led to his ultimate fate as the Death Knight and holder of Frostmourne sword and lastly as the Lich King’s new vessel.

GT: Even though it hasn’t been revealed, I’m sure the creators of the characters formulated a history for them already. I wouldn’t want to dishonor their work by putting my own spin on it.

4. Many may mistake you to be the heartless Queen Kerrigan in real life. Kerrigan is fictional, whereas you are real. We want to know more of the human being behind the voice. Tell us more about Glynnis Talken, the woman, the wife, the emotional, the inspired writer.

GT: Heartless? Heartless!!! Who said I was heartless?! Tell me now, or I’ll tear you limb from…Okay, so I DO have a twisted sense of humor. I like dabbling in a lot of different worlds, changing into different people. That’s probably why I love both acting and writing. I get to try on someone else’s persona for a while. I also adore being able to mingle with everyone from 70-year-old romance fans to teenage gamers, from WalMart regulars to millionaire rock stars. As for the real me, here are a few quirky credits to my name to give you a clue, things I’ve done in the past 10 years: played drums in a Tom Jones video, helped pour the foundation for my house, transcribed footage for the “Lord of the Rings” behind the scenes DVD, taken out the garbage, chatted with Nora Roberts and Dewey Bunnell, written 10 historical romances, and had 1,723 bad hair days. In my spare time, I like to play the piano, travel, party with friends, rent action movies, and kill Terrans.

5. Did you dream of becoming a writer or actress as a teenager? Tell us your testimony of Glynnys the dreamer.

GT: When I was five years old, I wanted to be a princess. But once I realized I’d have to marry into that profession, I decided an actress was the next best thing. Being terribly shy, I settled on dancing. When my body blossomed out of ballerina proportions, I took up singing. I guess I just loved performing, whatever form it took. Meanwhile, I’d been an avid reader and wrote all kinds of poems and songs through school. My dreams were never specific, which was probably a good thing. I just let my heart lead me.

6. Did you go to College? What did you study for careerwise?

GT: I attended CSU Chico and graduated with a B.A. in Music with Distinction, specializing in vocal performance. It was kind of cool—I was one of the first students enrolled in the electronic music program, and we used to goof around in the studio till the wee hours on a Moog synthesizer.

7. Can you list your career trajectory as Voice Actress? Which projects has you worked in?

GT: I started with a few spec projects for a now very successful producer—Arthur Insana. We got on well, and when he was awarded the “Star Wars” audio adventures project, he asked me to do the voices for Vima da Boda and Nomi Sunrider, among others. From word of mouth, I ended up doing a variety of things, ranging from “Jump-Start” children’s interactive CDs to Time-Life audiobooks, from Blizzard’s best-selling games to MTV’s animated series, “The Maxx.”

8. What books have you written?

GT: My published books are the Knights of de Ware trilogy: “My Champion,” “My Warrior,” “My Hero,” and a novella in “A Knight’s Vow.” Not yet published is an 1800s series set in California: “Paradise Gold,” “Paradise Wolf,” and “Paradise Hawk.” I just finished writing another medieval trilogy, Tales of Canterbury, including “The Exile,” “The Archer,” and “The Executioner.” And I’m currently working on a women warriors series, tentatively entitled, “Crossed Blades,” “Tempered Steel,” and “Warring Hearts.”

9. What inspired you to write Historical and Medieval Romance stories and not other type of genre?

GT: I’ve always had a thing for towering castles, trusty swords, and knights in shining armor. It just made sense that when I started writing, it would be about things that stirred my blood. And though my books are classified as romance—one man, one woman, happy ending—I like a lot of action, so there are loads of battles, swordfighting, kidnaping, and narrow escapes. I’m most proud when GUYS write to tell me they liked my books.

10. This Historical and Medieval influences lead me to think you love RPG. Are you a Role Playing fan? What RPG games, or guilds you participate in?

GT: I guess you could say I’m participating in a RPG when I write my books. Really, that’s the ultimate game! I get to play God. Well, sort of. Until my characters get minds of their own. Honestly, I don’t have much time for play. Two careers keep me pretty busy.

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Richard A. Knaak Fan Chat

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Here is a transcript of the FANCHAT that immediately followed the interview. It was a little less organized. wink

List of IRC chat talking during the Fans questions to Richard A. Knaak:

Richard Richard A. Knaak sff.net/people/knaak USA
Tucksma Co-webmaster and leader of Wowlands.com USA
MEDIEVALDRAGON Newsposter of Wowlands and webmaster of Blizzplanet.com USA
Kingpin Co-webmaster of Phrozen Keep d2mods.com USA
Datajax WC3campaigns.com USA
HDK-Hadjinim WorldofWarcraft.de (Gamona) Germany
KOA_seize Koa-guild.com USA
Darky27wor http://www.wc3sear.ch Switzerland
Killer927 brokenedge.net Portugal
MantisScreamer Sovereign Modding Empire smempire.org USA

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* Richard has joined #wowlands
* TucksMa sets mode: +o Richard
[Richard] Hello
[TucksMa] Welcome Richard
[JimRaZor] thx for the interview richard
[Datajax] Hey
[bd142001] hello
[Dtime35] hi
[HDK-Hadjinim] Hi
[Richard] thank you and you’re welcome.
[Richard] Tag to any from Germany
[Kingpin] hi
[TucksMa] GODZILLA… go ahead.
[JimRaZor] richard i have a question about the other two books of the triology, you have an idea when they will be released?
[Richard] You’ll see THE DEMON SOUL as early as in September or October, I think
[JimRaZor] abend richard (but i’m from austria)
[Richard] As for the third, can’t say
[GODZILLA] How do your books intertwine with Blizzard’s Warcraft games and “mythology?” Do your stories have an actual effect and will they be portrayed in upcoming Blizzard games?
[Richard] Still good Jim
[HDK-Hadjinim] Its (late) evening already here – Guten Abend
[Richard] My books draw from their material extensively
[Richard] and you’ll see my work appear in the gaming material
[Richard] I already know Day of the Dragon is there
[Richard] I also co-created a few of the Aspects

[KoA_Seize] Have you had any direct involvement in the design process for the multi-year storyline World of Warcraft is featuring?
[Richard] and worked on some demigods
[Richard] Who do appear in the trilogy

[GODZILLA] So your stories and the games are set in the same universe, so to speak. Thanks.
[Richard] This should make it work best
[Kingpin] richard Question: How long time does it take to write a book in general if we talk about Warcraft or Diablo universe?
[Richard] Roughly 4 months for the manuscript. The book is gone over very carefully by Chris Metzen and corrections are made in process
[JimRaZor] can you tell us more about the material you got as a help which is intern? i mean is it liek a colelction of storys of ech race or something? btw i love day of the dragon, specially the aspect of the diffrent races and their oppinions of ech other
[bd142001] q: when you say that deathwing is not what we think, is this time before he ‘snapped’, and if so is there an explanation of how he came so evil?
[Richard] They send what is called a ‘bible’ a deep telling
[Kingpin] thats quite fast wink
[JimRaZor] damn my spellign suckz today sry
[MantisScreamer] lo
[Richard] of the world history and characters.
[Richard] Very thick, very thorough.
[Richard] Changes are made to the game during writing
[Richard] and that is incorporated too.
[Richard] Thanks about Day
[Richard] Deathwing

[HDK-Hadjinim] i got another question, its closely game related…
[Richard] You will see how he becomes what he becomes…
[HDK-Hadjinim] Mr. Knaak, will you play the game itself ? ( looking forward for longtime evenings with a famous storyteller at the fire )
[Richard] I enjoy Warcraft and Diablo and will likely be on WOW once in awhile
[Richard] but
[Richard] If I want to write the books
[Richard] I have to write, not play (darn!)

[Kerry] hehe
[Medievaldragon] hehe
[Richard] I may make myself known if I have time
[Richard] some day

[Kingpin] the solution make the days longer smile
[Medievaldragon] that is a high price
[GODZILLA] I think the question we all want answered : Is Deathwing alive? You mentioned earlier he will make a cameo.
[Richard] I’ll talk to Nozdormu about that King
[Kingpin] nice
[Richard] Since this is the past, he is very much alive
[Richard] However
[Richard] As to the future…I think we havent’t seen the last of him…
[Richard] next?

[JimRaZor] howare you? ^-^
[Richard] Ich bin gut
[JimRaZor] You have to say: Mir geht es gut.
[Richard] that is all I recall from my mother teaching me
[Richard] Hey, I was a child

[JimRaZor] hey np
[Kingpin] Richard another q: Have you write the story for new gameworld or wish to write one in the future?
[Killer927] *writen
[TucksMa] *written
[Killer927] ;p
[Kingpin] smile
[Richard] I wouldn’t mind writing one, but until then, I enjoy, as you do, playing in those created well by others
[GODZILLA] Do you ever feel, once a book is published and out in stores, that you could have done better? Or are you always perfectly happy with your final product?
[Richard] Hey, anyone can have typing trouble here smile
[Kingpin] smile
[MantisScreamer] :p
[Killer927] A question: Mr.Knaak, did you ever think about going to other branch of arts, instead of literature?
[Richard] No writer thinks a book is perfect, but I’m happy with them.
[Richard] If you mean drawing or such, I can’t do stick fugures
[Richard] or spell them, either

[Killer927] hehe
[TucksMa] HeHe
[Datajax] When you read other books do you not find youself, without knowing it, drawing on aspects from all the different ones for your new books?
>[Killer927] Thanks for your awsner. smile
[Medieva
ldragon]
Let’s read the questions, wait for an answer, then make yours
[Medievaldragon] thanks
[Richard] It can happen to anyone, but no story is truly original. You’ll find that in all works. It’s the execution that makes it unique
[Datajax] Yeah, I have that problem but verging on plagerism =P
[Datajax] so… not good
[Richard] I’ve seen that
[Richard] You just need more writing!

[Medievaldragon] Tolkien was an inspiration to many different games, tv shows, movies, comic books and books
[Medievaldragon] same as star wars
[TucksMa] Have you been to http://www.wowlands.com and if so have you checked out some of the stories by our members in the Public Library?
[GODZILLA] Tolkien was also the first time elves were generalized as archers, I believe ;p
[Richard] Tolkien is an influence on nearly all of us fantasy writers
[Richard] I’ve been to wowlands
[Richard] not had time to read stories
[Medievaldragon] ^_^
[JimRaZor] Richard, can you please tell me which kind of music you like? And are you listening to music when you write your books? Does Music even influences your work?
[Richard] I often listen to music
[Richard] I like Danny Elfman for mood
[Richard] Alan Parsons
[Richard] Classical symphonies
[Richard] Overtures
[Richard] Martial music with brass for armies
[Richard] Just to name a few
[Richard] They stir the blood while writing
[Richard] Whatever works for you when you create, eh?

[Medievaldragon] Will the trilogy of War of the Ancients impact the Quests of World of Warcraft MMORPG? No need to go indepth just so George Wang doesnt rise an eyebrow ::smiles::
[Richard] I suspect that it will have some influence. That depends on Blizzard
[Medievaldragon] Fans> George Wang—Public Relations Coordinator of Fan Sites
[Kingpin] Richard: Another Q Have you always been writting, or is this somethings that has come later, what inspired you to begin writting?
[Richard] I would be happy to coordinate any announcements I have
[Richard] about Warcraft projects
[Richard] with the fansites
[Richard] I have always enjoyed making up stories
[Richard] Since I could read.

[Datajax] What sort of herioc fantaasy do you prefer, a couple all powerful heroes, or mass battles with lots of little heroes?
[Richard] I studied other things
[Jamie] smile
[Richard] but came back to writing
[Datajax] fanatasy^
[Kingpin] ok smile
[Datajax] oh crap fantasy^^
[TucksMa] fantasy*
[Richard] I prefer heroes who seem real, not all powerful
[Richard] They are the ones who truly sacrifice to achieve
[Richard] their goals.
[Richard] and are more admirable to me

[Datajax] good good
[Richard] Rhonin
[Datajax] same with me
[Richard] Huma
[Richard] even Krasus
[Richard] who has his failings
[Richard] Next?

[JimRaZor] thx for your answer, next question: with which character of the warcraft universe you would identify yourself?
[Jamie] hmm
[Richard] I’d have to combine Rhonin and Krasus into one character.
[Richard] They’re both a part of me
[Richard] I like to think

[Medievaldragon] Hmm thats a cool to know
[Medievaldragon] Will your publisher consider an affiliate program so that Fan Site advertise your books?
[Richard] That would make sense.
[Richard] It would need to be presented formally somehow.

[Medievaldragon] yes the best source of advertising is the fan sites themselves
[Medievaldragon] fans come everyday
[Richard] Contact me on that, MD
[JimRaZor] whats about he other characters like uther or silvana?
[Kingpin] So when reading about Rhonin and Krasus we will think about Richard smile
[Medievaldragon] whereas on TV fans may miss it because they dont watch certain tv show or dont buy certain newspaper
[Richard] Uther is one I admire.
[MantisScreamer] :p
[Richard] Silvana is interesting
[Medievaldragon] alrite expect a long letter hehe
[Richard] Short
[Medievaldragon] i was kidding
[Medievaldragon] i will
[Richard] i have 1k of ram
[Richard] in my brain

[MantisScreamer] wow
[Richard] constantly overloading
[MantisScreamer] must quote you on that!
[Medievaldragon] well that 1k is very huge to give birth to all this universes ^_^
[Richard] Zip files
[TucksMa] HeHe
[Richard] tiny, tiny zip files
[Kingpin] smile
[TucksMa] Anyone else?
[HDK-Hadjinim] i got a wish… perhaps you can move the people at blizzard to make more fansite chats wink this would be great
[Richard] I do keep in contact with the dragonlance fans on their websites
[Richard] That would be a good idea HDK

[TucksMa] You’re welcome to register on WoWLands. We’d even give you your own forum. ;p
[Heza] to which extent will pandaren occur in your books?
[MantisScreamer] lol
[Richard] Interesting, T.
[Heza] smile
[Richard] pandaren? That escapes me
[Medievaldragon] hmm I remember my first email to you was if you would like to make pocket books an integrated tool for Quests in World of Warcraft MMORPG where developers can recreate scenarios based on your descriptions in the story book and add quests with items, characters and locations mentioned in the pocketbooks
[Killer927] Pandaren = race of pandas that blizz made as a joke during the wc3 time ;p
[MantisScreamer] gamers took it seriously
[Killer927] And that joke got one of their characters into TFT
[Killer927] true
[Richard] Oh yeah! I should use them
[Heza] ok.. what about the children of cenarius?
[MantisScreamer] yay
[Heza] would be great ;p
[MantisScreamer] thats all of the KoTGs
[Richard] Cenarius is involved, but as to his ‘children’, well
[Richard] you can consider Malfurion one, as he is the first Druid
[Richard] other than that, you will see a few demigods other than him and learn a bit about him by the end

[MantisScreamer] Cenarius is Malfurion’s father?
[Richard] No—his shan’do
[Medievaldragon] maybe ancestor
[MantisScreamer] ok
[Medievaldragon] remember they live long years
[Medievaldragon] that before teh dragon gave them eternal life with the world tree
[JimRaZor] in this “bible” you got, are their infos about minor character liek shandirs? does she has a history too?
[Killer927] *like
[JimRaZor] thx
[Richard] Shandris was not in there, but she will be in the trilogy
[JimRaZor] oh thats very nic
e ^.^
[Richard] You will see how she becomes involved
[MantisScreamer] btw, anyone know where shandaris went after the first few maps of War3?
[Medievaldragon] that is good, everything of the story is cover
ed in the trilogy. It is hard to find all the loose ends
[Richard] Chris wanted her in there
[Medievaldragon] with such a rich universe
[Richard] I’m sure I missed something
[Richard] Next

[JimRaZor] i think blizzard started the books to clean up the story misstakes and open ending of characters ^^
[Medievaldragon] well the pandaren is a very new culture they introduced. they dont really have a big lore and story
[Killer927] Medieval: True, only about 3 units is all we know about them
[MantisScreamer] not yet*
[Richard] Blizzard wanted to add to the depth of the world so that you could enjoy it more
[MantisScreamer] actually theres 4
[Killer927] 4?
[MantisScreamer] yeah
[Killer927] oh ya
[Medievaldragon] Im surprised the Tauren are in the trilogy. Many tauren lovers will want to find out more
[Killer927] geomancer, brewmaster, shodo-pan and the pike panda
[MantisScreamer] there were 3 mentioned on the site, and the Brewmaster
[TucksMa] Anymore questions?
[Richard] They will be a part of it toward the end.
[MantisScreamer] i’m sure blizzard will expand on them in the future smile
[JimRaZor] samwise loves to draw panders, so they got into the game, their are rumors that their is a really large history which hasen’t been pubslihed, but i think this is just a rumor
[MantisScreamer] go post on the wc3 battle.net forums to confirm@
[Medievaldragon] pandas are the analog of the chinese culture
[Medievaldragon] NIght Elves are analog to the Indians
[MantisScreamer] oh really, I didn’t notice that until now
[JimRaZor] is this only a interpretition? (is this english right?)
[Killer927] Med is correct
[MantisScreamer] I always thought the orcs were more indian
[Richard] Tauren are a bit like native Americans
[MantisScreamer] because of their spirit lodge
[MantisScreamer] good question
[HDK-Hadjinim] is it over, or what ?
[JimRaZor] richard i have one more question, do you know anything about plans or somethign to release this bible as an lexicon or something?
[MantisScreamer] we can ask questions
[Richard] They will not do that.
[Richard] The pieces will be incorporated as needed

[Medievaldragon] yea in some sort because they are shamans
[Richard] but additions are made
[Medievaldragon] and have totems
[MantisScreamer] Richard- If blizzard asked you to write a book on starcraft’s history (birth of the protoss and zerg), would you do that?
[Richard] The ancient night elves are very worldly, so says Blizzard
[JimRaZor] hmm thats sad : (
[Kingpin] Richard: Another Q: I know some writters have event where they sign there books, have you signings and if so, are anything planned to happend in europe sometimes?
[Medievaldragon] Guys, we are soon about to wrap up the interview.
[Richard] That brings their downfall
[Richard] I would do Starcraft if they wanted me to do a particular thing

[Medievaldragon] Night Elves are the ecologists
[Richard] Now they are ecologists
[MantisScreamer] cool, it would always be nice to see another starcraft story
[Richard] No signings in europe, although I would like to get back there
[Medievaldragon] well not just another story, a story by Richard A. Knaak ^_^
[Killer927] Mr.Knaak, you really should visit Portugal sometime wink
[Richard] Must stress, the mess the night elves make in the past is why they are now ecologists
[JimRaZor] can i ask you if you’re married or have childs
[Kingpin] ok smile
[MantisScreamer] it would be children, not childs JimRaZor
[JimRaZor] ok thx
[Richard] I would like to get to Portugal
[Richard] I am not married, save to my work

[Killer927] Hehe
[Richard] And I have twenty six children
[Richard] all books

[Kingpin] smile
[JimRaZor] : )
[Kerry] hehe
[MantisScreamer] :p
[Jamie] ok gtg dudes
[Jamie] see ya later
[Richard] They feed me instead of the other way around
[HDK-Hadjinim] ok, thank you for your time, Mr. Knaak, have a nice day !
[Richard] Thanks! Sorry it has to end!
[Kingpin] it always has to
[Richard] Have writing to do!
[MantisScreamer] bye, thank you!
[Medievaldragon] Hadjin is from worldofwarcraft.de
[Medievaldragon] Gamona Network
[JimRaZor] no problem
[Richard] This has been rewardoing for me
[JimRaZor] thank you very much
[Kingpin] but thanks for an interesting interview and that you took time for us in here smile
[HDK-Hadjinim] yeah, thank you !
[Richard] Good to talk to all of you from all over
[Killer927] Thank you for your time, Mr.Knaak.
[Richard] Remember my mailing list!
[Kingpin] I will smile
[JimRaZor] i will, i will…
* Killer927 sets mode: -o Killer927
[HDK-Hadjinim] sure !
[MantisScreamer] lol
[Killer927] err ops, auto script triggered
[Medievaldragon] I am sure many fans appreciate your time and kindness sharing this time with us. I encourage fan sites to spread the news and the link to Richard’s website
[MantisScreamer] will do!
[Richard] Good luck to you all! Check out Minotaur Wars, then WELL OF ETERNITY in April
[Kingpin] will do that aswell smile
[eggy] holy
[MantisScreamer] can’t wait!
[TucksMa] Thanks again!
[eggy] wow
[eggy] lots of peeps in here
[Richard] When the other Warcraft project is ready, I’ll spread the word to the fansites
[JimRaZor] thx for putting so much love into your work
[Richard] I know I can’t please everyone
[Richard] But I try to please as many as I can

[Kingpin] smile
[MantisScreamer] well you can please all the blizzard fans smile
[Heza] just remember the pandaren smile
[Richard] So long, ciao, Schuss and I’ll try to remember the pandaren…
[JimRaZor] ^^
[Medievaldragon] we are glad and your hard work and dedication to fill the need for good quality fantasy is appreciated
[Killer927] Thanks Tucks, going to link it at brokenedge.net
[Medievaldragon] Im sure ther
e are many writer aspirants among the fans that see your work as inspiration
[Richard] And I say you never know what you can do unless you try. Write, write, write…
[Medievaldragon] ^_^
[K
ingpin]
smile
[Richard] I’ll pass on all your best to Blizzard
[MantisScreamer] yay
[Medievaldragon] thanks, and send our regards to Chris Meltzen
[JimRaZor] and samwise if you have the chance
[Kerry] …And thanks again smile
[Kerry] I have to go now as well, have a great day everyone
[Kerry] And night to the europeeans smile
* Richard has left #wowlands

************

Pre-Order War of the Ancients Book one Here
Visit Blizzplanet Store Here for more Warcraft products.

Richard A. Knaak Q&A - War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity book

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Richard A. Knaak wrote Warcraft: Day of the Dragon pocketbook a couple of years ago(2001).  By April 2004, the new book named War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity
will be the sequel to Day of the Dragon.  Rhonin the Maverick mage and Krasus the Dragon will timetravel back in time.  As Knaak said, by the time Arthas invaded Quel’thalas and Archimonde invaded Kalimdor( Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos: Night Elf Campaign), the timetravel happens, going back in time 10,000 years into the past – straight before the first invasion of the Burning Legion.

The new book explores the society of the Highborne Elves and their Queen Azshara; and the corruption of their magics as they accept Sargeras’s offer by opening a portal that would allow him to enter the world of Azeroth.  Knaak explores the love triangle of Tyrande, Furion and Ilidan. The betrayal of Deathwing. The sacrifice of the Ancients. The intro to the origin of the Satyrs and the Naga. And the conspiracy of the Old gods.

Blizzard signed a deal with Knaak to write a trilogy series starting on April 2004.  It takes 3 books to explain the whole history of the first invasion of the Burning Legion.  But how will timetravel affect what we know?  Will the present and history itself change?


Medievaldragon
Welcome to Wowlands and thanks for coming to share some time with the Blizzard fans

Richard
Glad to be here!

Medievaldragon
we are here to talk about your new book War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity

Richard
The book is due for release in April and is the first in a major trilogy involving the past and present of Warcraft

Medievaldragon
before starting to talk about the book I wanted to make some questions about you. Can you tell the fans about yourself?

Richard
I’ve been an author some 17 years. 24 novels, over a dozen short piece. I’ve done Dragonlance, Warcraft, Diablo. My own series, the Dragonrealm, and several standalones. I’m from Chicago, but spend my time in the south, too. I Were an avid gamer, but the writing demands all time now. smile

Medievaldragon
Thats a long career. Blizzard chose indeed the right person to write about their universe.

Richard
I thank you. Blizzard has three well-defined worlds and I get to play in two of them

Medievaldragon
I think I read you are spending time living in Arkansas, or visiting.

Richard
Yes, a lot less snow than Chicago or New York

Medievaldragon
1. Could you tell us how did you stumble upon Blizzard for first time?

Richard
Actually, they stumbled on me.

Medievaldragon
Did they contact you?

Richard
Chris Metzen is a fan of my Dragonlance work. Specially the Legend of Huma. And when it came time to put together the series, I were one of the top names on the list. They wanted me for both Diablo and Warcraft, which I took as a great compliment.

Medievaldragon
Question 2 was covered

Medievaldragon
Did you approach Blizzard with the idea of writing Day of the Dragon, or did Blizzard contact you to write it based on your fame for Fantasy writing?

Richard
Blizzard only said that they wanted a story in a certain time period. They hoped that I would create one that would be a good opening shot for the series

Medievaldragon
3. Can you tell us when and how you discovered within yourself that you were a writer and that Fantasy was your forte?

Richard
I had always enjoyed reading and creating my stories and fantasy just fit from the start. I enjoyed other types of reading, but always came back. It was ingrained in me. I could no more stop doing it than breathing. There was no choice. Fantasy was me.

Medievaldragon
Did you write the story from the game handbook? Or they just brought it to you to write based on a pre-made story?

Richard
The story was original by me. I used the handbook and other material (which no one else has seen), as reference, but that was it. They wanted true fantasy novels by actual authors.

Medievaldragon
4. What events in real life: TV shows, Comic books, novels, etc.; influenced your imagination to write Fantasy books for first time?

Richard
I used to watch all the SciFi shows, saw the movies like Sinbad and stuff; and read about dragons whenever I could. I read all the comics DC and Marvel comics issued and picked up novels by Roger Zelazny, ER Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and others. That was the beginning.

Medievaldragon
I love Marvel comics too. My favorite is XMEN. I have 1,500 comic books. When I saw timetravel in your new book I got fascinated

Richard
I’ve been a full-time author since 1988. It is not something that will make you rich, but I’ve enjoyed myself. It is great doing something I love. Xmen is great. The time travel is an element, but not the point.

Medievaldragon
Xmen is all about timetravel, and alternate realities when it comes to long arc storylines.

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Mike Huang

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet recently contacted Mike Huang after we found out that he was running an Ebay Auction sale of most of his belongings from his days as an employee of Blizzard North.  Although, he is no longer in the team after Bill Roper and company moved on to form Flagship Studios, Mike Huang immediately found his way to another Game Developer company where he is using his skills and devotion to games.

He found his room was too cluttered with Blizzard stuff hanging around and decided to give all this stuff to people who can find value on this memorabilia from when Diablo, Starcraft and Warcraft were launched. Maybe some older fans who lived and grew up through that stage, few years ago, may find the sentimental value in this memorabillia articles. Due to the magnitude of this Ebay auction event, we contacted Mike Huang to set up an interview. He kindly accepted to tell Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft fans a bit more about this ex-Blizzard North employee—who helped in the creation of our favorite games.

Mike Huang Interview

Blizzplanet: What was your major at college?

Mike Huang: I majored in Environmental Science, with an emphasis
in Biology. I’m always proud to say this, because I
think alot of people are under the impression that the
developers who make the games have a degree in
computer science or engineering or art, but in
reality, the people who make the games have a pretty
diverse range of backgrounds.

Blizzplanet: After graduating, How did you end up getting
hired
by Blizzard?

Mike Huang: When Dune 2 (developed by Westwood Studios) was
released, my friends and I played it quite
extensively. We also played a lot of Command and
Conquer (also developed by Westwood) and Warcraft I.
My college dormmates played a lot of Warcraft II, and
would call each other up and play over the modem. I
wasn’t really impressed with Blizzard’s games until
the summer of 1996, when I recieved a demo of Diablo.

The first Diablo was a pretty innovative game for the
time—it was one of the first games that ran in
DirectX, allowing VGA graphics without the use of DOS
Extenders like DOS4GW, which was every graphic
programmer’s nightmare. It featured random dungeon
generation, and pretty much single-handedly brought
back the dying RPG genre. I had played lots of PC
RPGs, and felt that they were inferior for a variety
of reasons compared to console RPGs—but Diablo made
RPGs accessible to the average gamer for the first
time, and it looked better than anything on the market
at the time.

I was impressed by Diablo, and found myself anxiously
waiting for the release of their next game, Starcraft.
Blizzard’s reputation for tardiness really didn’t
begin until Starcraft, so in the Summer of ‘97, I was
expecting them to post beta test signups, and I came
across their job listings—I applied, I interviewed
with them, and the rest is history.

Blizzplanet: What colleges do you recommend to some talented
3D artists and programmers to enroll at to be
successful in the Game development field?

Mike Huang: I went to the University of California at Berkeley,
which has a very strong computer science program that
I chose not to follow. My classmates who went through
the CS program came out with some excellent computer
programming skills, but the emphasis is not game
production. When I was applying to universities in
1992, there weren’t any programs at all—it’s very
different today. A lot of universities now have
classes in many aspects of game development, such as
game design, game development, writing graphics
engines, etc. I think the best thing anyone can do in
searching for an academic institution is just do a
little research on the internet, get a hold of the
course catalog, read the course descriptions, make up
a sample schedule and then ask themselves—are these
classes I would enjoy taking, and do they get me
closer to my goal of being in the games industry?

Blizzplanet: How was your first year as a Blizzard Employee?
How was that breaking-the-ice first days where you are
the fresh guy?

Mike Huang: When I came on board, I had very little trouble
fitting in. Blizzard hires only gamers, so it’s not
like some other game development companies where they
hire a programer to do an ice hockey game, and he’s
never played ice hockey or even seen ice hockey be
played. The employees at Blizzard are people with a
passion for games so I had that common interest
working for me already.

My first year as a Blizzard employee was a pretty
interesting one. Blizzard North had just finished
Diablo and was doing the prototyping for the sequel,
Diablo II. Warcraft Adventures and Starcraft was in
its late alpha/early beta stages, Hellfire, Diablo
Playstation and Warcraft II Playstation were being
licensed out and developed by third-parties. I learnt
a lot about the games industry pretty quickly, just by
virtue of being there at that moment in time.

Blizzplanet: I heard you were into shareware games before
Blizzard came along in your career. What games were
you involved with before being hired by
Blizzard?

Mike Huang: I wrote my first computer game when I was 12 years old
in a summer computer class. It was just a simple side
scroller written in BASIC. All through my childhood, I
played games and thought about how they could be
better, what worked, and what didn’t. When I learned
PASCAL (that was the only programming taught in my
high school), I started to create games to teach
myself programming concepts related to games, such as
collision, missiles and sprites.After that, I began
toying with more complex tasks such as sound and
network programming.

During my senior year of high school, my friends and I
attempted to start up our own game studio—and we
were developing a number of different games. Most of
what we came up with were clones of games that we
liked. We spent a great deal of time on a Tetris
clone, which was where we learnt that programming in
multiplayer code is something that absolutely has to
be planned from the get go. Adding it on afterwards
created a myriad of bugs, and we ended up rewriting
the game from scratch afterwards. On my own, I was
writing sysop utilities for a BBS game called
Tradewars 2002 to add things such as rogue planets and
alien bounties, amongst other things. Our group
produced an edutainment title (which also doubled as a
senior project) which featured projectile motion.

I took one computer class while I was in college and
created a game called Blackout, in which you cut power
lines in order to blackout the city power grid. I also
tried to create a computer version of Magic the
Gathering, but found that each card was essentially a
new rule, and so that writing an AI that could be
challenging was beyond my means at the time.

They were mostly class projects, and we were af
raid of
getting sued for cloning, so we released them mainly
as freeware. Luckily, distribution at that time wasn’t
very good so aside from the floppy disks in my
parent’s house, I very much doubt copies of the games
exist anymore.

When I
signed on with Blizzard, I pretty much gave up
the rights to make games for myself and anyone else in
my spare time while I was working there.

Blizzplanet: What games were you involved with in Blizzard
Entertainment, and what was your role in each game?

Mike Huang: One of the great things about how Blizzard worked is
that everyone was involved in every game at some point
of the process between conception to completion—
they did a very good job of asking for input and
discussing problems and solutions for each game.

I guess you could say that I’ve been involved with
every Blizzard product since Starcraft, including
Brood War, D2, Warcraft Adventures, Warcraft 3, D2
Expansion, Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft,
along with some other products that didn’t make it,
but that’s true of just about every employee at
Blizzard who wanted to involve themselves in the
Blizzard product line.

I remember one of my first contributions to a Blizzard
game was on Starcraft. At the time, the Pylons on the
Protoss side were just farms. I had just finished
playing C&C: Red Alert a few months back, and
suggested to a Starcraft programmer that the Pylons
should power the buildings for the Protoss, and that
taking out the Pylons should render the buildings
inoperative. The programmer brought it up at the next
meeting, and I was glad to see the improvement made in
the next build we received at Blizzard North.

For Diablo II, I was the Technical Producer, which had
a lot of different responsibilities in a variety of
areas, and gave me a great deal of insight and
experience on the entire process of taking a game from
begining to end from the developer side.

Page  1  |  2

Mike Huang Room Clean up

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Mike Huang, an ex-Blizzard Entertainment employee, just moved recently and found his room overwhelmed with Blizzard articules. Mike Huang decided it was time to make room and do a major clean up.  He was kind to set 25 articles for auction at Ebay instead of throwing them to the garbage or giving it away to a nephew.  Yours to appropiate by posting bids in this Ebay Auction.

This is what Mike Huang said on his Blog page:

  • “All my stuff from Blizzard pretty much takes up a bedroom in my place, so living in my place was pretty cramped for a while.

    I’ve moved since then, but I still have all these goodies from Blizzard still taking up space. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to sell my D2 Development Team T-shirt and Sweatshirt. Seems kind of wrong. But everything else will go, I’m sure.”

    Ebay Auction Page for this items may be found Here

    Blizzplanet interview with Mike Huang

    Mike Huang Blogpage
    Our Auction Image gallery Here

    UPDATE 1-10-2004: We want to thank Mike Huang for his cooperation and follow up. I contacted him on AOL chat and he is satisfied with the Auction results. All items are gone to the proper hands. Fans that found a special sentimental value to this memorabilia spree.

    We are glad to say, some winners are known to the community. Among them Sovereign Empire’s Orlphar snagged the Warcraft III Orc Poster and the Diablo II brand new game. Demolishman from demolishman.com grabbed the Blizzard Golf balls. The famous Orc pewter went for $ 152 and the rare Diablo II Watch with tin went up to $ 128. The eBay auction was a success. More importantly, fans are glad and satisfied. If the winners request it, Mike Huang may autograph some articles. Mike Huang is considering to ask Bill Roper and Dave to autograph the articles on a fan’s request before shipping them to their new owners.
    Auction Winners List

    Mike Huang Ebay Sale

    08_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD DOUBLE SIDED DIABLO II POSTER
    09_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – NIGHTELF
    45_1.JPG
    Blizzard Warcraft Orc – PEWTER – RARE!
    51_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT HARD SHELL BACKPACK
    61_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – HUMAN
    76_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD FRAMED PARKINSON DIABLO II POSTER
    8d_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – ORC
    a3_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT CALENDAR YEAR 2000
    b7_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER / CATALOG
    bc_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II POSTER – IN STORES
    NOW
    n="top" width="25%" align="center">
    c8_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT BROOD WAR POSTER
    eb_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – UNDEAD
    item-10.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO CAMPFIRE TOAST
    item-11.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO HOLIDAY IN TAVERN
    item-12.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO SNOWMAN
    item-13.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II DECAL/STICKER
    item-14.JPG
    BLIZZARD WarCraft III: Collector’s Edition
    item-15.JPG
    WarCraft 2 Battle.net Edition (PC Games)
    item-16.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO STRATEGY GUIDES
    item-17.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II BASEBALL CAP
    item-18.JPG
    BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT BASEBALL CAP
    item-19.JPG
    BLIZZARD NORTH BASEBALL CAP
    item-2.JPG
    BLIZZARD NYLON JACKET – 10th Anniv. -RARE- M
    item-20.JPG
    BLIZZARD FLEECE SWEATER
    item-21.JPG
    BLIZZARD BLIZZARD NORTH PLAYING CARDS
    width="100" height="75" border="0" alt="item-22.JPG" title="Filename : item-22.JPGFilesize : 20KBDimensions : 400x300Date added : Jan 02, 2004">
    BLIZZARD BLIZZARD NORTH GOLF BALLS
    item-23.JPG
    BLIZZARD BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT LANYARD
    item-24.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II COLLECTOR’S EDITION
    item-25.JPG
    BLIZZARD VIP STARCRAFT PREMIERE BADGE
    item-3.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II WATCH WITH TIN -RARE-
    item-4.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO DND BOOK: THE AWAKENING
    item-5.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO NOVELS
    item-6.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT NOVELS
    item-7.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT NOVELS
    item-8.JPG
    BLIZZARD DVD COLLECTION – NEW -
    item-9.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO MISTLETOE

    Disclaimer:
    All images of this Ebay Auction are property of Mike Huang, Blizzard North and/or Blizzard Entertainment.