Blizzplanet Interviews

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Aaron Rosenberg & Christie Golden
World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal Q&A
7-11-08
Renee Phoenix
The Explicits
3-3-08
Ludo Lullabi
World of Warcraft# 4
Penciler Artist (Wildstorm)
2-18-08
Walter Simonson
World of Warcraft: The Comic Book # 1
Comic Book Writer (Wildstorm)
11-01-07
Christie Golden
Starcraft: The Dark Templar – book two: Shadow Hunters
10-27-07
Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon – Wrath of the Lich King
9-16-07
Glynnis Talken
Kerrigan – Voice Actor
6-07-07
Robert Clotworthy
Jim Raynor – Voice Actor
6-07-07
Christie Golden
Starcraft: The Dark Templar – First Born (pocketbook)
4-22-07
Aaron Rosenberg
World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness (pocketbook)
2-18-07
Christie Golden
World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde (pocketbook)
1-14-07
Luke Johnson
World of Warcraft RPG: Horde Player Guide Q&A
11-14-06
Richard A. Knaak
Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy Q&A
10-23-06
Realm Design
Warcraft: Dawn of Chaos Q&A
6-26-06
Snowflake Entertainment
Project Revolution Q&A
5-24-06
Aaron Rosenberg
Starcraft: Queen of Blades Q&A
2-18-06
Keith R.A. DeCandido
World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred Pocketbook Q&A
1-30-06
Cory Jones – Upper Deck Entertainment
World of Warcraft Trading Card Game 2006 Q&A
1-09-06
Luke Johnson
White Wolf Publishing Author & Developer
Topic: New World of Warcraft RPG Books Line
11-09-05
Richard A. Knaak
Writer of War of the Ancients: The Sundering
Is Ysera and Elune one and the same?
9-17-05
Bill Roper—Flagship Studios CEO
Hellgate: London
7-27-05
Christie Golden
Writer of Warcraft: Lord of the Clans
5-17-05
Jason Hayes
Blizzard Music Composer
3-22-05
Richard A. Knaak
Writer of War of the Ancients: Demon Soul
Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy
10-16-04
Julian Kwasneski
Starcraft: Ghost Sound Designer
5-14-04
Glynnis Talken-Campbell
Starcraft Kerrigan Voice Actress
3-04-04
Richard A. Knaak
Writer of War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity
2-18-04
Mike Huang
Ex-Blizzard North Employee
1-06-04
1-02-04

EPIC Weapons Interview – Frostmourne Replica

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Blizzplanet Interviews, Interviews

Blizzard Entertainment recently announced their partnership with EPIC Weapons to create a limited edition replica of the legendary rune blade Frostmourne – measuring over 47” long and 12.5” wide, weighing a massive 16 lbs., and is now available for pre-order. For more information, please visit the Frostmourne replica site.

Frostmourne is the legendary evil rune blade that bound Prince Arthas Menethil’s soul to the will of the Lich King in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

Many fans around the world are awed with the care to detail by EPIC Weapons in crafting this Frostmourne replica, while others wonder how many of these replicas will be made, or why the first ninety-nine replicas are going out on auction bid this March 31st.  For this matter, Blizzplanet contacted EPIC Weapons Chief Executive Officer Gina L. Bennett to unravel some answers.

1. Can you introduce Epic Weapons to fans who are new to your company, your goals and when was the company founded?

Gina: Since its inception in 1998, EPIC Weapons has positioned itself as a premiere designer and manufacturer of officially licensed swords, weapons, and other collectibles. Our team’s designs have appeared in blockbuster television with “Deep Space Nine”, “The X-Files”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and numerous films to include “Spider Man 2”, “Star Trek: Nemesis”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”.

Our management and creative team has more than 75 years experience as it related to product development, design, manufacturing and distribution in many different business verticals transaction business throughout the world – including the gaming and entertainment industries.

EPIC Weapons strives to protect the brand and integrity of all products, it designs, and manufactures for its strategic partners and customers. One of our main goals is to successfully transition digital weapons from all types of media online and console video games, anime series and movies while keeping the original artist concept intact.

2. How was born the idea of crafting the Frostmourne replica? Did Blizzard approach Epic Weapons, or the other way around?

Gina: Our company approached Blizzard Entertainment in early 2006 regarding the development of Frostmourne. EPIC Weapons focuses on unique weapons when deciding on product development and Frostmourne certainly proved to be the ultimate challenge to design and manufacture.

3. Who designed the Frostmourne replica produced by EPIC Weapons?

Gina: Frostmourne’s development was a collective effort between our design team and Blizzard Entertainment. Our company works extremely close with our partner throughout the product development process to ensure the products’ original integrity remains intact through the design stage. Kit Rae, our Director of Product Design, is an intricate part of EPIC Weapons we’re very proud that his illustrative and creative expertise was part of designing the Frostmourne replica. Kit is an award-winning Knife designer and fantasy artist with a worldwide following for his unique weapons and sporting knives. Kit Rae’s knives have appeared in blockbuster television shows such as “Deep Space Nine”, “The X-Files”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, and numerous films such as “Spider Man 2”, “Star Trek: Nemesis”, and “The Chronicles of Riddick”. In addition to designing the Indiana Jones Khyber Bowie and the Swords of the Ancients Collection, Kit Rae has also supervised many licensed movie knife reproductions for such films as: “The Shadow”, “Total Recall”, “The Mask of Zorro”, “Blade”, and “The Lord of The Rings Trilogy”. He has also created custom knife designs, for brands like United Cutlery, Harley-Davidson, and Colt. In 1996 he won the Blade Magazine award for his Colt Knife/Axe Combo. In 1997 Kit created the highly successful Kit Rae Fantasy Art brand, a line of his edged weapons with companion fantasy art prints.

4. What material was used to craft the Frostmourne prototype that would be used to mass-produce the replica, and why?

Gina: The primary cast material that was used in the manufacturing process is Zinc. EPIC Weapons chose this material because it can be plated to give the aged look that Frostmourne demanded. Additionally, there are fewer issues with miscellaneous structural defects such as loose parts and irregular textures during the manufacturing process.

5. What material is each Frostmourne replica made with?

Gina: The blade is made of 420J2 Japanese milled stainless steel, the other detailed parts are made of cast metal, and the wrapping of the handle is made from leather.

6. What is the process made step by step to craft this replica? It is not exactly a common design since it originates from a fanstasy-setting.

Gina: The design and manufacturing process of Frostmourne truly is cutting edge from a technology and manufacturing perspective. The entire process took nearly two years to become a reality bringing the sword to life from a digital environment was a tremendous challenge and a true labor of love for all parties involved. A major concern of EPIC Weapons is the protection of the brands of its clients. Our company manufactured Frostmourne utilizing the most technologically proven factories we took extraordinary precautions during the tooling and production stages by splitting up the manufacturing deliverables and engaging three separate manufacturing plants to complete the sword’s final production. EPIC Weapons included Game2Gear Authentication RFID technology in each sword produced to protect Frostmourne from illegal duplication, while providing the sword’s owner with a tracking and verification method – ultimately increasing the collectible’s value. Never before has any weapon designer been able to successfully manufacture such a complicated designed collectible weapon at the level of detail and quality that Frostmourne has possessed.

7. How many replicas will be available for purchase?

Gina: The initial production run is for 5,000 swords.  EPIC Weapons has had such a strong initial response to Frostmourne that we plan on manufacturing the sword far into the future.

8. Many fans will ask, why is there an auction bid for the first 99 replicas?

Gina: It has been our experience that many sword collectors want access to the 1st production run of a weapon of this kind. We decided to hold the auction to accommodate these serious fans as well take the opportunity to introduce Frostmourne to the World of Warcraft fans.

9. Winners of the Auction bid are automatically drawn as members of the “Arthas’s Army of Disciples” Club. What are the benefits of this club?

Gina: EPIC Weapons and Blizzard Entertainment wanted to acknowledge the auction winners and we thought this would be a great way to do so. The auction winners will be part of a special group which include very special Blizzard Entertainment principals and special guests. This club is to commemorate the first fans that wielded Frostmourne through this historical event.

10. What is the technical reason the Frostmourne replica is not crystal-encased to mimic the shape of the ice-crystal encasing the Frostmourne rune blade from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos?

Gina: EPIC Weapons original design intent was to create a real weapon that was sturdy, could be held and touched without fear of damage under normal circumstances producing the sword blade in steel accomplished this. One of our company’s and Blizzard Entertainment’s top priorities was to manufacture Frostmourne at a reasonable price point had we gone down the road of adding high end facades or treatments the price would have put the sword out of reach for many fans. In the end while these types of treatments may look cool EPIC Weapons did not feel the technology was available today to sufficiently accomplish the design and manufacturing high standard required for Frostmourne.

11. Does Epic Weapons only focus on swords? Or do you craft medieval armor and axes as well?

Gina: EPIC Weapon is an equal opportunity designer and manufacturer. We welcome the opportunity to design and manufacturer a varied assortment of weapons, including armor, helmets and costumes.

12. I really have to ask on behalf of those who have purchased or will purchase one of these Frostmourne replicas. Are there any plans to craft the helm of the Lich King, and/or the chestplate-shoulders set which are part of the in-game Frostmourne set and/or the ornamented knee-boots set? If there are no plans for these, would you consider it if members of the Arthas’s Army of Disciples Club request it?

Gina: EPIC Weapons is not currently in the process of designing or manufacturing the helm of the Lich King, or the chestplate-shoulders or the ornamented knee-boots set. We would absolutely consider bringing these items, or any other agreed upon item that Blizzard Entertainment desires our company to design and manufacture, from its digital game into reality.

13. World of Warcraft and Diablo games have a wide range of in-game weapons with epic-characteristics not usually seen in real-life. Would you consider crafting them if fans or even Blizzard requested it? Let’s say … The Ashbringer, the Blades of Azzinoth (Illidan) or Gorehowl (Grom Hellscream’s Axe).

Gina: A resounding yes!

Blizzplanet: Many thanks to Gina Bennett and EPIC Weapons for this interview that may be informative to those World of Warcraft and Warcraft III fans who were curious or undecided about purchasing the Frostmourne replica.

World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal Q&A - Part One

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal continues the story of World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness. These books are novelizations of the world-acclaimed RTS games Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and its expansion pack Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.

World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal serves as a backstory for fans of the World of Warcraft MMO who wish to know more about Khadgar, Turalyon, Alleria Windrunner, Danath Trollbane, and Kurdran Wildhammer. You can also learn more about Teron Gorefiend, Ner’zhul and their twisted plans to create portals to other worlds. The Burning Crusade expansion sets the stage for what is to come in future MMO expansions. Chris Metzen revealed at BlizzCon 2005 there are plans to add four more portals besides the three already found in-game.  These are the portals created by Ner’zhul in the RTS Game.  These portals were the cause of Draenor’s fate into what is now known as Outland.

Both novels—published by Pocket Star Books and co-written by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden—are available at a bookstore near you and online.

Blizzplanet and the Warcraft lore community had the opportunity to ask Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden a few questions about their latest novel, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal.

1. I’m interested in the relationship the two authors have in regards to this work. The community has guessed that Christie Golden will handle the Horde side while Rosenberg handles the Alliance. Is this accurate? —by Nephalim

Christie: Actually, it worked out so that we both got to play with both sides, something that was refreshing to me. I play both Horde and Alliance in-game, so it was quite fun to be able to write for Khadgar, Turalyon, Alleria, Muradin, and so on. It was also rather nostalgic to get to revisit Ner’zhul and Grom after working with the characters in Rise of the Horde.

Aaron: As Christie said, we both got to deal with both sides, which was great—I really had fun alternating between Horde and Alliance on Tides of Darkness, so I was pleased to continue that habit here. I’ve gotten fond of several characters on both sides!

2. Have either of you collaborated with another author on a single book before?  – by Nephalim

Christie: Yes, I’d done so once before, with author Michael Jan Friedman. It was similar, in that I was not involved with the book from the beginning, but was brought in because of a time crunch issue. I think something like that can only really work if the author being brought in is deeply familiar with the world. In that case, it was Star Trek, and I had done Trek novels before; in this case, it was World of Warcraft, where I spend a lot of my time these days—both for work and for pleasure!

Aaron: Yes, Glenn Hauman and I cowrote a pair of Star Trek S.C.E. (Starfleet Corps of Engineers) books: Creative Couplings Book One and Book Two (famous for being the first depiction of a Jewish-Klingon wedding). That was a very different process, though—there, Glenn and I worked out the plot for both books together, then we each took one of the two major storylines as our own but sent the other our sections to read over and clean up if necessary. Here it was more a matter of me starting the book and then Christie graciously stepping in to help finish it. In both cases, though, I’d say the books were stronger for having twice as much authorial attention!

3. Do you find writing a collaborative project to be more difficult, or is it easier to have someone else to bounce ideas off of? —by Nephalim

Christie: I don’t know that it’s harder or easier per se, just different.  It offers its own challenges and also offers ease—you don’t have to be responsible for every single word; someone’s got your back. But I’d have to do more collaborations to really get a sense of it. It does take an ability to “play well with others,” but I think you already have demonstrated your ability to do that if you are writing in a shared world to begin with.

Aaron: It is more difficult because you’re not the only one working on the project. But it’s easier because you’re not handling it all on your own. And as Christie said, if you’re writing licensed books at all, you’re used to working with others on your projects in some capacity, so it’s something you’re already comfortable doing. Especially on a book like this, which is so much fun and has so much room that we both had space to play!

4. There were no draenei in the Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal game. However, World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde introduced the draenei as the very reason the Burning Legion corrupts and transforms the noble orc race. Omacron asked: How will the existence of the draenei be handled in this book?

Christie: Hmm, well it’s kind of fun how we handled that, so I’d hate to blow the surprise. Suffice to say that I’ve always thought the draenei could be pretty intimidating and that it was always a good thing they were on the side of the Light. *grin*

Aaron: You’ll definitely meet the draenei, that’s for sure—and you’ll see them in an interesting light, as well. I wouldn’t want to give anything else away!

5. Aaron, the StarCraft enthusiasts have read StarCraft: Queen of Blades and know how close to the game’s missions you stick in the book. Kenzuki asked: How close to the Beyond the Dark Portal RTS game’s missions is the novel, and are there any changes or retcons to the story?  – by Kenzuki

Aaron: I always do my best to follow the missions in books like these, to keep the novel accurate to the game. Having said that, it’s not always possible—sometimes you have to change details to keep the story cohesive, sometimes to match newer details and histories, and sometimes just because covering every mission as established in the games would produce a novel over 700 pages long! So there are some changes, but I think we’ve kept all the important missions and the general feel of the game.

6. Will you include more cameo appearances of characters from The Burning Crusade, such as Captain Auric Sunchaser, who was Alleria’s second-in-command, or Archmage Vargoth of Dalaran?  – by Timolas

Aaron: I don’t want to give anything away, but yes, you’ll definitely see some people you’ll recognize.

7. How far do you intend on ranging the book’s timeline? When will the story start and roughly how long a story will it tell? Is it limited to the events of Warcraft II, or shall it go beyond to shed light on how Outland is as we know it today?  – by Timolas

Christie: It will definitely be familiar, as we have a lot more understanding of Draenor now than when Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal came out. Do bear in mind, though, that Outland became the way it is now after some of the events you’ll see depicted in the book.

Aaron: The novel hews closely to the events in the game, so it covers the Second War. You do get some insight into Outland just because of the events that take place near the end of the war, however.

8. Will you include goblins and gnomes in this book? If so, will you give a valid reason why they were apparently absent in the World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness Pocket Star Book? Or will you change the lore so that one or both of these races never took part in Tides of Darkness or Beyond the Dark Portal?  – by emperium

Christie: Having gnomes and goblins in the book was something Blizzard specifically wanted to see. I do think they get a little forgotten sometimes, yet there are so many who choose to play gnomes, and I think we all like the goblins. It was a lot of fun to largely “introduce” these characters into the world of the novels. They also added a bit of humor and whimsy, I felt.

Aaron: You’ll definitely see them here. As to why they weren’t in Tides of Darkness, well, it’s tough to follow everybody when two whole worlds are at war!

9. Christie, what can you tell us about the romance between Turalyon and Alleria?

Christie: *grin* I always envied Richard Knaak the chance to deal with the one of the great love stories of Azeroth, so I was very pleased to have a chance to work with these two characters. Everyone loves a lover, right? All joking aside, I’ve always enjoyed being able to put a little romance into my writing. People are people, and in the middle of all that action, if they find time to hate, plot, scheme, and fight, they’re going to find time to fall in love. What was challenging to me was how to keep these characters true to their kick-butt heritage while also giving them gentler sides and making their romance believable. Turalyon is a paladin, and I loved getting to emphasize the more spiritual aspect of him. That’s what draws Alleria to someone of another race who is much, much younger than she is. He’s young, but he’s got something truly great in his heart, and she responds to that. As for her—she’s beautiful, intelligent, and one heck of a fighter. What’s not to fall in love with?

10. Can we expect any new info or revelations on the story? Or is it a tell-about of a game plot? —by Lon-ami

Christie: It’s much more than just a recapping of the story. The Burning Crusade expansion was obviously not yet out when Warcraft II was created, and there was so much that went into Burning Crusade that Aaron and I got to play with and put in. We talked about the draenei a little earlier—well, to those of you who’ve played Burning Crusade, this world will be the one you’ve gotten to know and love.

Aaron: There’s certainly more here than just a straight recreation of the game plot. Any time you get to see deeper into character motivations that’s true, and of course you also get to see things that occurred between game events and led to actions both there and elsewhere.

11. Will the book have the same kind of “spot your favorite World of Warcraft location” theme as in Rise of the Horde? Which Azeroth and Outland locations will be mentioned in the novel? —by Kerrah

Christie: Goodness yes! It’s almost like a tour. It should be even more fun for readers because the book was written after The Burning Crusade came out, and Rise of the Horde was written while the expansion was still in development.

Aaron: I don’t want to give things away by naming specific locations, but you will definitely see a lot of places in both worlds that you already know and love.

 
12. Will the origins of the Mag’har be alluded to, since Rise of the Horde seemed to make it pretty clear every last orc turned green? Will Greatmother Geyah play any role?—by Kerrah

Aaron: Greatmother Geyah does indeed appear, as do the Mag’har.

13. In the Warcraft II expansion, Teron Gorefiend was sent by Ner’zhul to Azeroth to retrieve four artifacts of power. Will Teron Gorefiend and relics like the Eye of Dalaran, the Jeweled Sceptre of Sargeras, the Book of Medivh, and the Skull of Gul’dan feature prominently in the story? —by Timolas

Aaron: Absolutely—and I hope we help resolve questions about those items and their involvement and eventual disposition.

 
14. The Skull of Gul’dan seems to have somehow ended up first in possession of the Bonechewers, then Khadgar, and finally the Burning Legion in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos; though in Warcraft II it is last seen abandoned by Khadgar in the final cinematic. Will it be explained how the Skull of Gul’dan ended up in possession of the Horde in Outland and finally in the hands of the Burning Legion? —by Timolas

Christie: Gul’dan’s skull certainly did bounce around a lot, didn’t it? Don’t worry; you’ll see plenty of its travels in the book.

Aaron: We do indeed explain it. That’s one of the fun things about doing books like this—we get to answer questions like “How the heck did that get all the way over there?

Special thanks to Marco Palmieri (Pocket Star Books), Nethaera and Blizzard Entertainment. Stay tuned to Blizzplanet news for the second part of this interview.

 


ORDER NOW!

World of Warcraft RPG: Dark Factions - Luke Johnson Q&A

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

The World of Warcraft Roleplaying Game Line has been robust with variety over the past few years. Not only are they purchased by d20 system players, and RPG fans, but by Warcraft III and World of Warcraft players hungry for some Warcraft canon lore about the regions, culture, faith and races found everywhere in the world of Azeroth.

Of all the World of Warcraft RPG Books, besides the Monster Guide, the World of Warcraft RPG: Dark Factions has been the most awaited anxiously by fans.  This book has taken around three years to develop for various technical reasons. Fans haven’t been thwarted by this. Every month there was a discussion on the White Wolf Publishing forums: “When is Dark Factions coming out?”.  Fans don’t just want this book. They crave it with a passion. The reason?  It’s content.

With World of Warcraft RPG: Dark Factions coming out to bookstores (on April 30th, 2008), Blizzplanet contacted Luke Johnson (World of Warcraft RPG Developer) from White Wolf Publishing to discuss details of this Blizzard-Licensed product. Here are some of the questions submited by the Warcraft Lore Community.

1. First question. Why was the book delayed for so long?—by malcom_west

This book includes more new lore (at least, it was new at the time we wrote it), and the process of gaining and verifying it took some time. I wrote an article for gamasutra.com about the process of converting the computer game into a tabletop RPG; it might clarify things a bit. You can see it here.

2. There have been a good number of inconsistencies when it comes to the RPG, RTS and MMO stacking up against each other. Will this RPG edition, since it took so much longer to make than the others, be specifically written to fit with the MMO better? – by Omacron

Our hope is that everything, especially in the new edition of the game, matches up with established Warcraft lore. One problem is that, at best, we write a book about 8 months before it hits shelves. Thanks to the fluid nature of video game development, that means that what we wrote down as accurate 8 months ago may no longer be appropriate. I suspect that most inconsistencies to which you refer are of this nature.

3. The WoW RPG seems to have slipped into decline of late. What used to be an interim of a few months between books mushroomed to over a year since the Monster Guide. What kind of steps were taken, if any, to reinvigorate the WoW RPG and, potentially, make it more relevant to players of the Warcraft video games and table top players alike?—by Nephalim

I’m hoping everyone will think Dark Factions kicks ass. Along with all the cool game elements, it includes new Warcraft lore, which isn’t available anywhere else (to my knowledge), such as the history of the goblin race.

4. The Monster Guide in particular, which was full of only in-game models with smoother edges and lines, was a great disappointment, especially when compared with the Manual of Monsters which had an art piece for virtually every entry, most of which was new. Does the development team feel the same way? Can we expect more of the same, or has art been given more attention in Dark Factions?—by Nephalim

I think the art for the Monster Guide was awesome. It all looks great, no matter where it came from. If we commissioned a hand-drawn piece for each monster, the book wouldn’t have been full-color, for one, and may have been sparser on content to boot.

All the art in Dark Factions is hand-drawn. I think it’s mostly from the UDON studio

5. Will each of the Old Gods be named? Including the ones already dead (like the one in Darkshore). How much of their past and present story will be featured?—by Tharion @ Earthen Ring

Dark Factions describes the Twilight’s Hammer cult, which reveres the Old Gods, but does not include much information on the Old Gods specifically. Blizzard controls how new information about the Warcraft universe is released, and they didn’t want us to include much Old God stuff in the book. I agree with them these beings are mysterious, and I’m sure Blizzard has much cooler ways of revealing this sort of information.

6. Since this is about Dark Factions, Will there be a module included, based on the Scythe of Elune, Arugal & the Worgen, and the Dark Riders of Karazhan story lines? If not, could you consider with Blizzard Entertainment and White Wolf Publishing a downloadable supplemental about them? They pretty much fit into the Dark Faction vibe.—by Drahliana @ Earthen Ring

The book does include a couple adventure modules, much as the Alliance Player’s Guide and Horde Player’s Guide do. Neither of them deals with the events and characters you mention. No plans are currently in development for a supplement of this nature… which means it’s up to the fans to make their own!

7. The Naga, Dark Iron Dwarves, Quillboars, and Satyrs already have Racial classes in the Monster Guide and the Murloc Racial Class is covered in the Lands of Mystery. Why the redundancy? How much new material are we getting here?—G-ForceTG and malcom_west

Each race of Dark Factions gets a full racial write-up of the sort that appears in the WoW RPG core book with entries for Description, Appearance, Region, Affiliation, Faith, Names, and Racial Traits. We felt that these races were some of the most important dark factions in the Warcraft world, and we wanted to do them justice by writing them up as full-on player character races. The racial classes associated with them are the same as those that appeared in the Monster Guide; but it would have been awfully silly of us to include the entire racial description and then leave out the racial class!

8. Will this book provide any real, new information regarding the New Lich King?

We wrote this book before any information on the New Lich King was available.

9. Why is there no Pandaren Culture and History in Dark Factions Chapter 6?—by SBulla

I imagine that a number of fans might look at the table of contents and say, What, they left out [blank]? Sorry about that most of [blank], whatever it is, is really cool, and I would have loved to have been able to include it. However, the issue is similar to that with the Old Gods: Blizzard likes to release some new information via the RPG books (e.g., goblin history) and some they like to release in other ways.

10. Will the Pandaren section in Dark Factions describe the Pandaren in Pandaria, or the Pandaren in the known world? I mean, Will we see Pandaria Isle’s new stuff like places, cities and more races, or just Pandaren stuff?—by Lon-ami

Uh, I think I’ll have to say pandaren stuff. The issue is the same as the above issue with their culture and history. But it’s cool pandaren stuff! Shaktani warblades! Pandaren wardancers!

11. If you have done history and culture on goblins in “Dark Factions” have you covered how they govern themselves? It is my personal belief that the only form of law they have is a signed-contract “break it at your own expense”. If they do have a government how do they protect from corruption? … which is bound to happen when your race is a bunch of crooks.—by Marshall

The book does go into detail on goblin history and culture. The culture section discusses various roles in goblin society, including information about corruption. I’m not sure if it
answers your specific question again, some information simply wasn’t available when we were w
riting the book.

12. The new Dragon Monster Class is something I’m really looking forward to. How many levels/HD are we looking at, and will Dragons be getting some sort of humanoid-shapeshifting ability like they always seem to have in the MMO and in the pocket books (Krasus/Korialstrasz, Onyxia, Nefarian, Deathwing, etc.)?—by Kerrahn

I’m glad you’re looking forward to it! The dragon monster class has 13 levels and 9 Hit Dice. The class does not include shapeshifting ability; but dragon mages or druids could acquire such power. Obviously, dragons in the Warcraft world can get to much higher than 9 Hit Dice, so perhaps older, more powerful dragons come by these powers naturally.

13. What’s your personal favorite part of this book? Is there anything in particular that you’re proud of?—by malcom_west

I’m proud that it’s finally coming out!

I also think it’s cool that we’re able to release some lore that isn’t available elsewhere. I think we came up with some cool game elements. I’m proud of the classes I designed, such as the naga anomaly and high divinist.

14. Any Information on the Pantheon from Zul’Aman, Zul’Gurub, and Zandalar tribes?—by M.Arellano

The pantheon is mentioned, but briefly. This is another issue regarding what information was available to the authors.

15. Hakkar the Soulflayer section is two-pages long. Are we gonna find out more about Hakkar’s past and his short-lived reign at Zul’Gurub in modern times?

Luke: I guess it depends on what you mean by more. Again, we used the information we had at the time we were writing it. So, if you somehow know all the stuff we knew at the time (I’m not sure how much of it is available in-game, via Blizzard’s website, in the novels, etc.), then you won’t find anything new. If you didn’t have as much info as we did, then you’ll find new stuff.

16. Will Dark Factions cover any of the Draenei variations? There are several version of them. The lost, unbroken, Eredar, and non-corrupt Draenei Eredar.

Luke: Unfortunately, draenei information appeared just after we finished writing the book. So, no draenei. =(

17. I am highly interested in the Dark Iron Dwarves Culture and History sections of this book. Will the story cover the civil war 300 years ago, the summoning of Ragnaros, the love affair of King Bronzebeard’s daughter with Thaurissan, and recent dealings with Twilight’s Hammer emissaries?

Luke: It covers most of that, yes.

18. Why is Xavius in Dark Factions? He was thought dead in War of the Ancients Trilogy when Malfurion turned him into a tree. Or has he been brought back by the Satyrs via demonic ritual? Either way thanks for bringing Xavius to Dark Factions.

Luke: Xavius appears in the Faiths section of the Magic and Faith chapter. He shows up there because satyrs, which the book describes, feel some loyalty to him as the progenitor of their race.

19. Tuskarr History and Culture section will be one that fans will gladly look forward to. This race will be important in Wrath of the Lich King. What can we expect in Dark Factions about them? Do they have a pantheon, god or respect a higher being such as the dragons or the ancients?

Luke: You can expect information about their history and culture! Based on what was available at the time of writing, of course. Here’s a snippet from the tuskarr section:

“For a tuskarr, family does not simply come first. Family is what a tuskarr is. Every member of this race defines himself by his family, and a tuskarr’s family name is always given first, before his personal name. When a tuskarr does something, everyone in the family is responsible for the individual’s action. Thus, when a family member does something good, each family member shares the credit; when he does something bad, everyone shares the blame.

20. The Argent Dawn is another section fans look forward to read about. Are you covering how they were founded? Will the book explain their matters at Desolace, Blackfathom Deeps, Darnassus and Eastern Plaguelands?

Luke: Since we cover, like, thirteen factions and ten races (or something), for the most part we didn’t have the space to get into specifics. Most factions are described with an eye on their general activities, with a few specifics when they fit in nicely.

The Argent Dawn’s founding is still a mystery, at least to Brann Bronzebeard. (Something to explore in your own campaign!) Here’s an excerpt from that section:

“I still don’t know how the Argent Dawn came to be; some say that Lord Maxwell Tyrosus, once a mighty knight, founded it in disgust after Arthas’s betrayal. At first, most believed the Argent Dawn to be a new subsect of the Silver Hand, but swiftly it became evident that they had developed some unusual, different principles and methods. For example, many are known for having cast off paladin armor to find ways to turn the Holy Light toward destructive uses.

CONTINUE – PAGE TWO >>>>

Starcraft: The Dark Templar Trilogy: Book Two: Shadow Hunters - Christie Golden Interview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Christie Golden – a sci-fi and fantasy writer known for her works on Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft and more.  On the Blizzard Entertainment / Pocketbooks field she is known for Warcraft: Lord of the Clans and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde novels.

In her latest Blizzard novel, she engages Starcraft fans and kicks-in with the novel trilogy that serves as introduction to the Starcraft II single-player storyline.

STARCRAFT: THE DARK TEMPLAR TRILOGY.

Few months ago, Blizzard Entertainment announced officially the development of Starcraft II.  The announcement was made at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (Seoul, South Korea) where thousands of fans were awed, echoing a roar of excitement across the globe as the news hit every corner of the five continents, and those in orbit missions.

Starcraft: The Dark Templar book one, First Born hit the bookstores the next day after Starcraft II was announced giving us a glimpse into what we should expect for Starcraft II. I read the novel and I got jaw-dropped by the events that transpired, and the emotional surge at the end of the first book. You can read interview one with Christie Golden (May 2007) where we discussed the first book of the trilogy.

Today, Christie Golden tells us more about the second book titled: SHADOW HUNTERS. The recent interview with Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment Creative Director, held by SCLegacy revealed the Starcraft N64 mission: Resurrection IV, and the Starcraft (PC) map campaign Enslavers were canon, and repercussions will be felt in Starcraft II. Chris Metzen mentioned Christie Golden’s novel would address some of that … and lo and behold, Ulrezaj the Dark Archon—ally of Allen Schezar in the ENSLAVERS campaign—appears in the Starcraft: The Dark Templar trilogy, book two: Shadow Hunters. Jake Ramsey and Rosemary Dahl will have a hard time with Ulrezaj in planet Aiur.

Let’s share with you what Christie Golden revealed in our current interview:

1. A couple of months ago, you were invited by Blizzard Entertainment and Pocketbooks to participate in the lore panel discussions at Blizzcon 2007.  Any impressions and experiences from Blizzcon you wish to share with fans?

Christie: It’s really hard to find the words to describe it.  “Epic” is one word.  The number of people, the size of the banners and videoscreens—wow!  I’ve done many a science fiction convention in my day, but the scale of this was off the charts.  People were almost always smiling, there was always something to do, and of course it was great to see the Blizzard folk—Evelyn, Andy and Chris—again.  I noticed that a lot of people skipped the concert on Saturday night—to me it was one of the highlights.  Of course Level 70 ETC was FANTASTIC—so much fun—especially to realize that Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard,  is player in that band.  To me, that is a perfect summary of Blizzard’s attitude.  They still passionately love this thing they have created and enjoy participating in it.

The music from Blizzard games has always been great, and to hear it performed live—by David Arkenstone, and the singer who voiced Sylvanas … fantastic.

Very exciting also, obviously, was the chance to be on a panel with Chris Metzen and Richard Knaak.  I actually know Richard from waaaay back when when we both worked for TSR, he on the Dragonlance books and I on the Ravenloft books.  It was fun to see him again, and we are both so happy to be working with Blizzard.  They really respect the writers.  My big highlight was the last few moments of the convention, when I introduced myself to Mike Morhaime as “Christie Golden, one of your writers.”  Recognition spread over his face and he said, “Oh yes!  I’ve read your work.  We love your books!”  That, my friends, is a truly great compliment.  All in all, it was a fantastic experience, to be both a participant and just a con attendee as well!

2. Did you get to play Wrath of the Lich King and
Starcraft II at Blizzcon?

Christie: Yes!  I was able to transfer my level 70 and play for a bit in Wrath of the Lich King.  I love the look and the feel of the place and am very excited for the expansion.  I did not play Starcraft II but I attended the panels and got to see the art.  Let me give you another example of how Blizzard really pays attention.  Valerian Mengsk is their creation, and they knew they wanted him to be young, blond and have gray eyes.  I got to flesh out much of the rest.  Readers of FIRSTBORN will recall our first look at him in a hologram—in full military uniform, but with longer than regulation hair.  Sure enough, the first picture I see of Valerian is him in military regalia with this one wild lock of hair.  Just loved it!

3. After reading Starcraft: The Dark Templar, First
Born a question came to my mind at the end of the
book. Will we see some type of new Terran unit with
augmented psionic abilities? Even Jake wondered what
the Khala could do to Terrans even if they are a young
species.

Christie: I did drop a big ol’ hint at the end of FIRSTBORN about repercussions… but it would be too much of a spoiler to say what shape they will take.  Suffice to say I haven’t forgotten about that and there will be some followup!

4. Will Jake Ramsey eventually become a Khas to a
group of Terran telepaths?  That’s an intriguing
thought for the future of the Starcraft universe
beyond Starcraft 2. (future sequels and expansion packs)

Christie: What happens to Jake is, I hope, going to be quite the rollercoaster ride.  There are some twists coming….

5.  Is Zamara a dark templar or a high templar?

Christie: Zamara is an Aiur protoss, not a dark templar.  The ability to be a preserver requires linking to the Khala to fully integrate the memories of others as one’s own, so when the dark templar rejected the Khala, they rendered themselves unable to have preservers among their own people.

6. I recently read a description of book two: Shadow
Hunters.  Jake is going to Aiur to retrieve an ancient
crystal from a Xel’Naga temple.  He will find Ulrezaj
there. I have known that two templars or two dark
templars can merge to become either an archon or a
dark archon.  However, Ulrezaj dumbfounded me …
seven dark templars merged? And why are they a horror
nightmare for Jake/Zamara?

Christie: Heck, if you were on the hit list of a dark archon comprised of seven of the greatest assassins the dark templar had ever known, wouldn’t you think that was pretty nightmarish?  As for why he’s on Ulrezaj’s hitlist, that’s a key part of the story of SHADOW HUNTERS and I wouldn’t dream of ruining it for you.  Suffice to say that Ulrezaj is a pretty worthy adversary.

7. Jake Ramsey has gone to Aiur, which is infested by
the Zerg. I have to ask.  Will we see Kerrigan, and
Zeratul anywhere within the trilogy?

Christie: ….yes.  smile  And oh my, I’m certainly having a great time with them.  I hope the readers do too.

8. Will we see Tassadar’s memories within Zamara, the Preserver?

Christie: Yes.  I’ll continue using the motif of a friend of the great protoss figure to show readers these very important protoss in history.  I’m really enjoying it, moreso than actually doing the point of view of Khas or…others.

9. What should we expect in Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Shadow Hunters and the upcoming third book: Twilight?

Christie: Much more protoss culture.  More revelations about the Xel’Naga. Betrayals and twists.  Some characters won’t make it.  Hints at what you’ll see in the game.  Big battles and very quiet intimate moments.

10. How will the trilogy fit with the single player
storyline of Starcraft II?

Christie: It’s interesting—when I was first contracted for the trilogy, it was intended to be rather small scale.  While of course computer games take years to develop, nothing had been made public at that time about StarCraft 2.  I began work on the trilogy, then I shifted attention to RISE OF THE HORDE so it would be out in time for the WoW expansion of The Burning Crusade.

When I got back to the trilogy after that little delay, the decision had been made to announce StarCraft 2 along about when the first book was due out.  Suddenly my trilogy went from being a small scale storyline to something quite major, as a way to get readers excited for the game (like that would be hard—StarCraft players love their game with a passion!).

It was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time.  There are challenges that go along with that, because as the game is constantly changing as it develops, we all of course want the books to reflect that as much as they can.  So I do a lot of rewriting, but hey—that’s part of the fun of being involved with something so cutting-edge!  Unfortunately books have to get “set in stone” at a certain point, so often changes are being made to the game after the books have been turned in.  But we all do everything we can to make it as close as possible within those constraints. So to answer your question, it’s my hope that it will be a very, very good fit indeed.

11. Any new Blizzard novels planned?

Christie: I have just been contracted for a Warcraft trilogy.  It’s very much still in the “bouncing ideas around” stages, but because it’s Warcraft, a world I enjoy so very much, whatever it ends up being about is going to be a total blast to write.  The next year and half is going to be a very pleasant one for me!


Thanks once more, Christie.  It’s exciting to read your books and hopefully you keep up bringing new World of Warcraft and Starcraft novels.  We appreciate your work and contribution to both universes.

Starcraft fans may read book one already since May.  Book two is due on November 27, 2007. Get your paws on this trilogy.

Richard A. Knaak Interview: War of the Ancients: The Sundering

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Many Warcraft fans worldwide have read the three books of War of the Ancients Trilogy.  A few details caused confusion among most lorekeepers and for that matter, we contacted Richard A. Knaak to shine some light into the matter.  If you haven’t read the books, be warned the following Q&A may be a Spoiler to some.  Richard A. Knaak replied to few key questions I gathered from RP-PvP.com Forums* concerning War of the Ancients Trilogy.  Here is what Richard A. Knaak said:

War of the Ancients Trilogy reveals that Ysera is mother of Cenarius and lover of Malorne.  Are Ysera and Elune one and the same?

Knaak: Elune and Ysera are not the same.  Here is the explanation, per Blizzard, who did not wish any further elaboration in the novel at the time:

—-
According to the Sundering, it is said that Ysera is Cenarius’s mother.  However, Dungard the Earthen says that he thought Elune ‘birthed’ Cenarius.

Elune birthed Cenarius, but gave him up to Malorne because Cenarius was more a creature of the mortal world and could not be with her.  Malorne, who had relations with both Elune and Ysera, knew that he could not properly care for his son, but Ysera’s love was so great for Malorne that she took Cenarius as her own.  Hence being his mother (or adoptive mother).

2.  This question has gone around in the Community for some time:  Is Hakkar the Soulflayer and Hakkar the Houndmaster one and the same, or different entities?

Knaak: Hakkar first existed in WELL OF ETERNITY, as Hakkar the Houndmaster, my creation.  Blizzard must have liked the name, because they accidentally took the name afterward for the troll god.  Chris Metzen apologized for the mix-up at the L.A. Festival of Books.

3. The phrase “Sargeras ceased to exist” confused many fans.  Some think it means he died, while I interpreted it as he ceased to be in Azeroth and remains alive.  Could you clear that up?

Knaak: Sargeras ceased to be in the sense of his physical being in the mortal world of Azeroth.  He was cast into limbo, so to speak, as Blizzard wanted. Otherwise, he pretty much would have immediately returned to try to destroy Azeroth again.  ‘Ceased to be’ was used specifically for that reason.

4.  What are your upcoming books?  And when will they be available in bookstores?

Knaak: The second manga WARCRAFT: THE SUNWELL TRILOGY: SHADOWS OF ICE comes out in spring 2006, due to the artwork by Jae-Hwan Kim.

DIABLO: MOON OF THE SPIDER—featuring Zayl the Necromancer—will be out in December 2005.

Special thanks to Richard A. Knaak and to Chris Metzen, for authorizing him to share this with the fans.

Richard A. Knaak is New York Times-bestselling author of D&D books, Dragonlance, Dragonrealm, Minotaur Wars, Legend of Huma, Ragnarok Manga, The Janus Mask, among others.

Page  1  |  2

———

Download Richard A. Knaak PDF Ezine

Among his Blizzard Novels are:

Warcraft: Day of the Dragon
War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity (Vol. 1)
War of the Ancients: Demon Soul (Vol. 2)
War of the Ancients: The Sundering (Vol. 3)
Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy: The Dragon Hunt
Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy: Shadows of Ice (Spring 2006)

You can order them Here

Diablo: Legacy of Blood (#1)—May, 2001
Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow (#3)—August, 2002
Diablo: Moon of the Spider—December 2005

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

 

World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King Q&A

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

DESCRIPTION

We headed to BlizzCon 2008 in Anaheim, California to bring you everything about Wrath of the Lich King, Diablo III, Stracraft II. But we also went to gather info about Blizzard licensed products. I had the pleasure of meeting Christie Golden for first time (and Richard A. Knaak for the second time) at the Tokyopop booth on Hall B.

They were book signing and saluting lore fans who read their novels. Recently, I gathered a few questions from the community and pitched them to Christie Golden. I think some lore fans are gonna be quiet happy to learn these few bits of details about her upcoming:

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: ARTHAS, RISE OF THE LICH KING

BP: Will we learn anything about Calia Menethil and her fate? Personally, I find her to have great potential in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and future stories. Calia could be a high ranking member of the argent dawn and marry Tirion Fordring for example. Be among the leaders sending us into Ice Crown and maybe help in taking her brother down. There is a lot of anger emotions, sense of justice for the death of their beloved father and kingdom that could be explored with this character.

Christie: Calia is a very interesting character indeed, and I agree, I think there’s a lot of potential with her.  The story arc though will be concentrating on Arthas’s past, so while we’ll see a bit more of Calia in ARTHAS, it won’t be anything really startling.

BP: Which aspects of the life of Arthas are you going to explore? This doesn’t look like a book that remains static in a particular time-frame. It seems like you’ll be progressing through various stages of his life.

Christie: We first meet Arthas in Chapter One as a ten-year-old prince. I’ll cover some incidents in his life as he’s growing up (don’t want to give too much away) that will hopefully shed some light on how grows into the man he will eventually become.  And we’ll see quite a bit of Jaina, too.

BP: Why was the book title changed to World of Warcraft: Arthas, The Rise of the Lich King?

Christie: We originally decided on ARTHAS, and that’s still the main title. “Rise of the Lich King” is a subtitle, and hopefully will help catch the eyes of people who are playing the expansion, “Wrath of the Lich King”.  Just a little bit of sound marketing!

BP: Are we gonna see that time when Arthas visited Quel’Thalas in his youth? He referenced this visit in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.

Christie: No … but we’ll have new takes on the very important time he visited Quel’Thalas. >.>

BP: Are you going to expand the High Elven culture in this book in more detail than previous books?

Christie: I’ll definitely be touching on it, as it does affect the storyline and two very pivotal characters are elven.

BP: According to World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, Prince Kael’thas Sunstrider was one of the Six leaders of the Kirin Tor of Dalaran. I can see why the romance between Jaina and Kael could happen. She was student of Archmage Antonidas. Are we going to see some love interaction between them? Maybe some jealousy or rivalry between Arthas and Kael?  Or Blackmail from Kael to Jaina?

 
Christie: *wicked grin* Oh, we’ll definitely see some Jaina/Kael/Arthas interaction.  And it’s not going to be very pretty.

BP: What other characters should we look forward to appear?

Christie: I hope that there will be many characters here that readers will enjoy seeing—Arthas’s family, Jaina, Antonidas, Kael, Sylvanas, Uther, Blackmoore, Taretha, and some new ones as well.

Thanks again for all your support!

Christie

We want your feedback. Share your comments. If some good questions show up, I won’t mind forwarding them for a follow up. Expect our Richard A. Knaak Q&A soon.

BlizzCon 2008 - World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon Q&A

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

DESCRIPTION

Under peril of getting stomped by the crowd through Hall B at Blizzcon in the Anaheim Convention Center, I made my way through lots of lore fans to reach Christie Golden and Richard A. Knaak to say hello and handshake them. I was glad to see Richard again, even if briefly. He is a very charismatic, humble and friendly person. I had met him earlier at the New York Comic Con where he toured me through all Blizzard licensed product booths presenting me as one of his most valuable cheerleaders—I was so flattered.

Anyway, fast-forward, I met him again at BlizzCon and sadly couldn’t get a video interview for reasons not relevant now, on my end. However, Richard knew since a week earlier my intentions to corner him about World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon (due November 18th) and other upcoming projects.

Without further ado, here is our interview with Richard A. Knaak. Learn interesting details about

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: NIGHT OF THE DRAGON

Are we going to see Deathwing?

Knaak: The shadow of the Black Flight will be seen.  What that means, you have to read to find out.

In Wrath of the Lich King beta, Nozdormu has gone missing again. Does Night of the Dragon introduce why he’s missing? If so, what are the implications for Krasus and Rhonin, as well as Azeroth’s?

Knaak: The novel focuses on elements other than Nozdormu, ones that may prove very significant.

What dragon aspects or new dragons are featured in this new story?

Knaak: You will meet a member of a certain family from whom we’ve not yet heard.  She’ll prove quite interesting, I think, plus we will see the first hints of something new, but, again, I’m forbidden to say.  (Yes, that gets frustrating).  You’ll also see Korialstrasz, of course, as well as a surprise visitor who bears him little good will at this time.

What can you tell us about the female draenei that accompanies Krasus in the front cover?

Knaak: Iridi is a priestess on a personal quest that will expand far beyond her intentions.  She’s a character who believes that there are those who can be redeemed despite their past.  She is also on a secondary quest to retrieve something stolen from a murdered comrade.

Is this book featuring new races such as the Vykrul and Proto-dragons or any other?

Knaak: There will be some players from the game readers will not expect.  The origins of the skardyn will be very familiar to most.

Fans are wondering, what happened to Archamage Ansirem Runeweaver?

Knaak: His fate is not discussed in the novel.

Beside Grim Batol, what other locations in Azeroth and outside are you exploring in Night of the Dragon?

Knaak: Menethil Harbor plays a role, as does, briefly, does Ratchet.  In Ratchet, you’ll see a couple of familiar faces.

Anything else about the book you would want to share with fans to look forward to?

Knaak: Things will not go well for some of our heroes.  We will also learn what is going on with some familiar faces and meet yet another member of the Windrunner family…and not necessarily a good one for Vereesa.  The events will definitely have repercussions on the dragons, which means, of course, the rest of Azeroth.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: STORMRAGE

Who is the main protagonist here: Malfurion or Illidan?

Knaak: There are several characters of significance in the book…and it is not about Illidan.

When do the events take place and where?

Knaak: Can’t say, but you will see matters concerning the night elves.  With a title like Stormrage, that would be logical.

Are we gonna learn more of Illidan’s plans in Outland or Malfurion’s perils in the Emerald Dream’s Nightmare?

Knaak: Still can’t say.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: DRAGONS OF OUTLAND (Tokyopop, Manga)

What can you tell us about Dragons of Outland at this point? It’s been a year since our Istrocon interview.

Knaak: We are finally working on it!  Jorad Mace and Tyrygosa are the main focus.  Naturally, we’ll see nether dragons.  More is not permitted, but there’ll be some great artwork.

The volumes will also hopefully come out closer together, but we’ll see.

Are we learning more of Jorad Mace’s past and sequels of his nightmarish calls to service Arthas the Lich King?

Knaak: Jorad will be trying to move on and redeem himself.  He’ll also be trying to remind himself that he is a human and Tyri is not.

What can you tell us about the villains in this new adventure into Outland?

Knaak: Villain is a term with some question marks, but let us say that there will at least be one of a kind that fans really enjoy at the moment.  Not helpful, I know.

In Wrath of the Lich King, Malygos is recruiting mage-hunters to attack the Wyrmrest Temple and any magic-wielder, as well as to realign the ley lines of the world. Are we gonna find out in this manga what exactly Malygos’ plans are with these ley lines redirected into the core of the planet?  It kinda looks dangerous, specially when the Old gods have already attempted to escape in War of the Ancients. What if Malygos accidentally … oh, noes! Or is it accidental at all or willingly? Hmm …

Knaak: You’ll have to see if any of this is explored… If the readers think these none answers are annoying, they should imagine how I feel!

It is been about seven months since New York Comic con.  Any updates concerning Diablo novels, or can the new authors be mentioned?

Knaak: Nope, only that I will eventually be doing another, likely after Stormrage. Hope to be there [New York Comic Con] and hope to see everyone.  Glad to have run into so many readers at the Blizzcon!

WARCRAFT—- NIGHT OF THE DRAGON AUTOGRAPHED COPIES! Due to requests, I am taking orders for my next WarCraft novel, NIGHT OF THE DRAGON available for US addresses only at this timne (sorry)! Cost is $16 (cover) plus $4 shipping. You may also add the mangas WarCraft LEGENDS vol. 1 & 2 for $12 each (includes $1 additional shipping). My apologies, but the mangas are not available from me separately at this time.

To order, go to Paypal.com and pay gryphonbooks@sbcglobal.net

NOTE! At this time, this offer ends when the novel is published—- NOVEMBER 18! So, if you are interested, order now!

Thanks, Richard. It is always a pleasure and joy to hear from you. Medievaldragon reporting to the Warcraft lore community.

Share your comments with the community.

Blizzplanet interviews Richard A. Knaak

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

Blizzplanet will interview Richard A. Knaak on Saturday October 16th at 1:00 PM (Central Time / -6 GMT) on the following IRC Public Channel:

irc.wc3campaigns.com
Channel: #blizzplanet

Fans may start parking on our IRC channel to discuss Blizzard games and Warcraft Lore, or simply open discussions.  We are pleased to have Richard A. Knaak once more sharing part of his time with the fans to discuss his latest project War of the Ancients: Demon Soul.  Back in February 18th,  he spoke with fans from countries like China, Germany, Spain, France and many others.  Richard told me in private that he enjoyed the interaction with Blizzard Fans.  We invite you to come to the Public Channel above to make your questions about War of the Ancients: Demon Soul and Warcraft Manga.

Previous works of Richard A. Knaak among his over 25 books in the last 17 years are: Dungeon&Dragons (D&D) titles,  Legend of Huma, Dragonlance, Dragonrealm, Minotaur Wars, Warcraft: Day of the Dragon and Diablo: The Kingdom of Shadow.  Feel free to share your questions for the interview and to discuss with other fans the warcraft lore and your experiences reading War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity (book 1), in our forums at the following Thread.

To celebrate Blizzplanet relaunch, we bring to you this interview and thanks to Richard 2 Exclusive screenshots of the upcoming Blizzard Project: Warcraft Manga

Starcraft: Ghost Interview: Julian Kwasneski

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Interviews, Starcraft: Ghost News

Julian Kwasneski Sound Designer

Julian Kwasneski started his career in game audio at LucasArts Entertainment Company, and is credited with sound design on several leading LucasArts titles. After leaving the company in 2000, he co-founded The Bay Area Sound Department with Clint Bajakian. Julian has worked on many award-winning game titles, including Starcraft: Ghost, James Bond: Everything or Nothing, Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Wars: Jedi Outcast, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and SOCOM: Navy Seals. His consistent sound design has been critically acclaimed by ign.com, epigamer.com, gamezone.com, Computer Gaming World, gamepro.com and others. He also has many independent film credits, including sound design for Big Love (Sundance 2000), The Upgrade (Mill Valley Film Festival 2000), and The Last Birthday Card. He has worked extensively with wireless and Internet audio technologies.

1. How much of an influence was the original StarCraft soundtrack on your work? Did Chris Metzen guide you along the production?

A lot. We are all so familiar with the sounds of the RTS that it would be criminal not to base sounds on those. Still, this is a different type of game, so you can expect to hear a lot of cool new things.

2. Will StarCraft: Ghost have specific soundtrack themes per race, and scenario-based themes?

I am not doing the music, but the ambiences are totally immersive so the player will really feel like they are “in the Space” in each of the locations.

3. Which game out of all of the games you’ve worked on, have you enjoyed creating the most or fills you with satisfaction the most?

I liked Knights of the Old Republic for the diversity of the locations and I loved creating ambiences for the different worlds. Grim Fandango was also very satisfying ambient work (I worked on the ambient beds with my partner Clint Bajakian). Jedi Outcast was cool too and of course, Ghost was a nice new challenge for me.

4. Do you reuse/recycle the old sounds from previous games where applicable, or do you start all sounds of a game from scratch?

On the Star Wars titles I’ve worked on, I always build upon the awesome sounds created by Ben Burtt and I will use the classic sounds from the films as elements to create new sounds. In some cases though, I need to start from scratch if there isn’t sufficient source sound from the movies. For example, while a certain vehicle may only make a brief appearance in a film, it may be a featured vehicle in a game. In these cases I need to recreate the vehicle sounds from scratch. Another example is the Ebon Hawk in Knights of the Old Republic. It is similar to the Millennium Falcon, but it’s way bigger and beefier. I took the Falcon sounds, added new elements like V8 motors, dragsters and thunder and created a similar but different vehicle sound.

5. How did you make those Zerg sounds, do you swallow something and yell; or are they animal sounds added and mixed with some other sounds?

I didn’t actually, these were done by Derek Duke and the Blizzard sound gang and they did an awesome job.

6. Who are the composer(s) of all the songs in Starcraft: Ghost and their career background(if available)?

Kevin Manthei

7. I assume you are involved in both voice sound editing, and sound effects of Starcraft: Ghost from what I have heard. Are you backed up by more people? Or is this a solo job?

I am doing the majority of the sound design though Derek Duke and the sound team at Blizzard have done an awesome job on all the creature sounds and many other sound effects.

8. I was wondering this one when I looked upon that Goliath model. How on Earth did you go about getting sounds for something that huge? It is hard to “recreate” I guess.

We’re still working on it, but I drew upon large machinery and hydraulics recordings and thunderous metallic foot impacts. It’s really fun to drive!

1.Hardware, what do you use? I am dying to know. We got many Sound Editing fans from a Modding Guild at WC3Campaigns, BlizzSCUMS and SAVAGE(Star Alliance) who may want to learn more from your expertise.

I am all Mac-based using a Digidesign Pro Tools TDM system with loads of plugins including everything from Waves as well and Kantos, Pitch’n Time, Bias Peak, etc. In my opinion, Digi is the only way to go. Expensive, yes. But you step into any major studio on the planet and you’ll see Pro Tools. It’s rock solid and sounds incredible.

2. Voice acting, do you normally get a batch of wave files from Blizzard studio and they want you to work with those?

Yes. I will get large batches of edited voice files and will process them to sound the way they should. I have different processes for each group of characters…the Marines sound one way, radio briefings sound another and Nova has a sound all her own.

3. What hardware do you use for voice editing?

I use Pro Tools to get the regions (files) in the ball park. Sometimes this means adding a little EQ or compression or simply a global gain change to get them to healthy levels. Then I use Bias Peak to trim them nice and tight and for the final mastering.

4. What hardware do you use for recording sounds? Do you actually go out into the wild outdoors and record stuff?

I use a Tascam DA-P1 DAT deck to do mobile recording with a variety of mics depending on what I’m doing. I absolutely get outdoors and record things. The only way to get a game to sound unique is to use unique sounds. We’ve all heard most of those library sounds a few times now and though they have their place, I like to roll my own.

5. In Starcraft: Ghost, How much of sound effects are computer generated? And how much are real recordings? Elaborate.

Some of the Protoss sounds are synth generated or some kind of other processing like granular synthesis, etc. The vast majority of what I’ve done to-date have been real-world sounds.

1. What do you use for sound editing, voice editing and music editing? (Software wise)

Digidesign Pro Tools and Bias Peak are my main tools. I use them for everything.

1. Are you in any sort of sound editors organization? Let the Starcraft Modding Sound Editors(fans) know more about it in detail.

I am a member of GANG, the Game Audio Network Guild (www.audiogang.org); but other than that, I am honestly just too busy to get involved in a lot of different organizations (though I’d love to).

1. I think we would all die to know the exact specs of some of the Starcraft: Ghost voice effects. (This is probably restricted?)

Not much to tell. Blizzard hired some real pros, they just do what they do and have great creative direction.

2. How do you go about just cleaning up and preparing for recording a simple humanoid voice? Mention examples(units–Marines, Templar, Zealot, etc.):

I didn’t record the voice, Blizzard handled that.

3. How do you get realistic effects? I doubt you bang pots and pans together.

I record things that make the types of sounds I want and combine them. It takes a lot of trial and error and often you have to leave something and come back to it if it’s just not working. It’s kind of like music….like a guitar solo. When you’re ripping a lead, your mind is slightly ahead of where you are playing. You know where you want to go and how you want that note to sound….when it happens, you go, “Ahhhh, that’s it”. Sound is the same. I see an animation and I instantly know how it should sound. The tough part is matching what’s in my head. That’s where experience comes in handy. Like a chef who knows what two things make a nice spicy sauce, I have my bag of tricks. Still, there’s often nothing better than a fresh take on something. I often run my sounds by friends and colleagues.

1. Any internet sites with forums you can recommend that contain all your sound guys, from where we can learn and interact, even talk to for advice?

Check out GANG, the Game Audio Network Guild. If it’s not there, you will find out where to look for it.

Advice on how to make it into the industry

2. I hear that you did not have a specific College education for this line of work. How exactly did you get in then? How can a young guy, like any of the fans, make it into LucasArt, BioWare and Blizzard? –This is to show fans that they don’t need to spend thousands on a College degree to be a professional in the industry. You are the role model with a great career and testimony. All you need is the talent and the guts.

Oh boy…well…there is nothing that prepares you for life like a college education. But you are correct, I did not study sound design or anything related to it. In Junior High and High School I played with synths and ganged tape decks together to make my own poor man’s multi-track recorder. In college I was in a band (and still am to this day) with my cousin and we did all kinds of sequencing. I also saw many films and would notice the details of the sound. When I graduated I worked for several Real Estate developers and was miserable. I was a stock broker with Merrill Lynch for a year, got my series 7 license and I was miserable. I even went to law school briefly and was also miserable. I ended up getting a waiting/bartending job and pursued my passion at the time which was recording, mixing and playing music.

I worked in several studios (for free) to get exposure. I bought a bunch of gear and recorded bands on my own. I wanted a job at Lucasarts and eventually found my way in as a temp in product support. I quickly advanced and got hired into the Voice department and from there, the Sound department where I absorbed everything I could. I’m sure I am being too modest so I should add that I obviously had some talent and a good ear. I kept working on numerous titles before leaving to form my own company with Clint Bajakian who was a real pioneer in game audio and a mentor of mine while at Lucasarts. I really enjoyed working there, but I wanted more variety…and I got it. You know what they say, be careful what you ask for….

2. If you could go back, how would you have changed your approach to getting into the industry?

Hmmmm…..I don’t look back. I am happy with everything I got to experience, the good and the bad.

3. Will recent technologies influence how to get noticed? Is internet a good way? Or maybe game developers hardly need new fresh sound engineers anymore, because they have all they need with Veteran engineers?

Just be persistent and get good with whatever tools you can get your hands on. I scored all the cinematics for Outlaws with a 4 channel Deck system on a Mac Quadra 650. You need to really push sometimes, and you may not always get paid….but if you stick to it, and you’re good, you’ll make it.

4. Do game designers find you, or do you find game designers in this phase of your career? Who contacts who?

Both really. I am fortunate to be friends with a lot of my clients. Sound is really a collaborative art to me and I enjoy the back and forth that often results in a great soundtrack. I am not one of those sound guys who knows everything and who take complete ownership. I’ll stand my ground when I need to, but you never know when that next brilliant idea will get suggested.

5. Have you ever considered writing some tutorials on getting started in sound creation? The web is strangely silent on the topic.

Yes, but it’s a lot of work and I tend to work 60+ hour weeks and I like to see my wife and son from time to time.

1. Do you even have time for fun things with all this work. I hear you are working on 6 games at the moment!

It’s all fun and I am lucky to be doing what I love to do. I am also lucky in that I work in my own studio, free from water coolers and senseless meetings. If I work a 10 hour day, it’s 9.5 hours of pure sound work. It also doesn’t hurt to be in a company with other people to share the heavy lifting. Still, I am pretty particular about what I am after and often can only get the sound I want by doing it myself.

2. Do you have a lot of competition in the business?

Absolutely and it keeps getting more intense. But I should add that a lot of the competition are my friends. I don’t play dirty pool…you win some, you lose some. It’s a business at the end of the day.

3. Why haven’t movie directors contacted you more often?

Movie directors don’t often play games. They also don’t move in the same circles game audio people are in (GDC, E3, etc)…though this is changing. I have done sound for quite a few short or independent films, but game audio is interesting in one respect. The skills we game audio folk rely on to score games are directly applicable to doing film work but it is not the same in reverse. While there are a lot of people who do both game and movie sound, most of the film people I have worked with had a tough time with the technical limitations of games. Short loops, 28 sample boundaries, memory budgets, sample rate conversion and the lack of a consistent linear playback can be overwhelming, even for those of us who do this every day. I should add that I like doing game sound. I like the challenges and I like the payoffs. If I wanted to do film sound, I would do film sound.

4. Have you ever done a voice acting yourself or played a role as an actor? :)

Only in small roles, like a single line for a computer or something. My recorded voice sucks!

5. Have you ever checked out the modding of games, and what do you think of their sound level?

To be honest, I haven’t…but I would love to if I had the time.

6. What are your favorite games?

This is like asking what my favorite song is, it’s just not a question I can answer. There’s too many.

Well thanks for sharing many tips and info to the fans. Many Modding Sound Editors out there are grateful to sharing questions with you and get some feedback that can teach them more about your career and that may direct them through the right tracks into the Game industry. We appreciate your time and dedication during the interview, and will keep tabs on your future projects and your sound editing organization.

Helpful links for Modders and Sound Editors:

Digidesign Pro Tools TDM system

Below are links with information, and details about this tool. You will find links to download it too.

List of Hardware and Software you may find in a Studio:

BF1942-Battlefield Mod

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews, Modding Community

Planetbattlefield.com is hosting a mod named Space Combat which is still in development. The team’s goal was originally to convert BF1942 to Starcraft and within the plans were to create units for all 3 races of Starcraft. Recently, we contacted the masterminds behind this Mod. Rekkon and Zylock were kind to answer few questions. And they went straight to the point towards the status of the project and what happened when they were contacted by the Big Kahunas. We will let you read the interview to find out more.

We are looking forward to view more screenshots of this popular conversion. The mod requires you to own the game Battlefield 1942. Nevertheless, we wanted to show you the screenshots of how this mod looked like previous to its cancellation. If you also have Battlefield 1942, stay tuned to our news section or visit periodically the BF1942 mod site for the latest press release. The units originally shown to public few months ago were a Valkyrie, Siege-mode Tank, a Bunker and Wraiths.

INTERVIEW

Rekken[Space Combat Co-leader]
Zylock[Space Combat staff]

Blizzplanet:
We heard that you are creating a Battlefield 1942 Total Conversion to Starcraft, is this correct?

Rekkon:
Sorry to say it, but Blizzard said NO! The Space Combat mod is now of original design.
Aye, I struggled futiley against it, even called and talked to the guy that gave us the notice, to no avail.

Blizzplanet:
Hmm, Some friend told me recently there was a BF1942 project that got Blizzard’s mighty axe. I had no idea it was this same project.

Blizzplanet:
Can you go into more details of the current stages of the mod?

Rekkon:
Currently, more planning is getting done than work. *glares at certain modelers*. Coders for BF are difficult to come by, and the holiday/flu season is still being felt. I believe if we get our inertia going through we can make significant progress. Currently, about five factions are planned. Two human (having civil war), the Tachor (the cyborgy things), the Raath and the Nemesis.

Blizzplanet:
Are none of the Starcraft units present in the mod currently, or are you creating a variation of the Starcraft known units? I saw a concept art by Jason Felix that looks like a variation of a protoss, but more cyborg-looking(specially the legs).

Rekkon:
No, everything is original, though some of the more recent concepts to look similar to certain Starcraft units, all ties to the original mod idea have been severed.

Blizzplanet:
Is Jason Felix part of the staff as Concept art designer?
Is this Jason Felix the same artist of Nihilistic?

Rekkon:
Jason Felix is not part of the staff. I believe Zylock found some of his concept art that become the original inspiration for the Tachor race. Zylock contacted Felix Jason and asked if we could use it, and we got permission, but that is as far as our contact has been, so I do not know if he is the same artist.

Zylock:
The Jason Felix who drew the concept sketch that I decided to use for the Tachor is the same Jason Felix who works for Blizzard. In fact, in one of the first e-mails I got back from him he mentioned that he was hard at work on SC: Ghost, and therefore didn’t want to join us…

Besides the Wraith and Valkyrie there is very little to show. A few gun models, an early Vulture, and….. thats about it.

Blizzplanet:
When is the mod going to be released or expected? Last reference for a guessed release was winter 2003 according to a news post of All2neat.

Rekkon:
There is no current date set at the moment. Previous projections were hasty and unplanned, and given the restrictions of BF coding, the possibility exists of moving to Battlefield Vietnam or Halflife 2. Nothing has really been discussed yet, but the thought is there.

Blizzplanet:
Can you provide us with more screenshots of the current project? Maybe some freebies of the old project before Blizzard axed it? There is a lot of people already with enthusiasm after they saw the Wraith screenshots. Although the project had to change due to Blizzard’s request to halt the project, I am sure many fans that also play BF1942 will keep their hypes high on this project.

Rekkon:
There is currently not much to see ingame. As for the old stuff, there may be some screenshots laying around, and if all else fails, we can make some new ones. Zylock and I still have the old Starcraft builds. We just packrat everything, be it physical or electronic. :D

Thanks a lot for your cooperation

If there are some modelers or coders of BF1942 reading this interview, and want to join the team of BF1942: Space Combat mod, please contact Rekken at their official forum.


Space Combat Mod site:

  • http://www.planetbattlefield.com/scm/

    Space Combat Forum:

  • Here

    Details of Story and Units Page (PDF file):

  • Here

    Image Gallery Here


    Images of Starcraft models before Blizzard halt the project: