Blizzplanet had a round of questions with T. Carl Kwoh, PopCap Games Producer, about the Bejeweled Addon for World of Warcraft. This addon is expected to be among the top downloaded and played by millions of players. World of Warcraft is an addictive game, and there is a lot of things to do. However, there is downtime here and there: Fishing, waiting for the PvP Battleground/Arena queue, waiting for the LFG tool to find you a group, leveling a tradeskill, waiting for the raid group to fill up, and flying to distant locations. What to do during those downtimes? Play the Bejeweled addon without need to alt + tab to the desktop.
Is the Bejeweled addon a Pop Cap independent project? Will the Bejeweled addon be provided only from the Pop Cap website?
T. Carl Kwoh: We’re doing this independently as a third party add-on. The official place to get the addon is on the PopCap website here: http://www.popcap.com/wow though it will also be later mirrored on major WoW UI sites. This will not be offered through any sort of official patch.
Has Pop Cap Games talked with Blizzard prior to developing the World of Warcraft addon? If so, what was their stand?
T. Carl Kwoh: We showed the mod unofficially and “off the record” to some contacts at blizzard late in development and overall the response was pretty positive. However we have not approached them officially regarding this mod.
Are there plans to create new addons based on other Pop Cap games?
T. Carl Kwoh: At this time, we don’t have any plans to do other addons based around more of our games, though we certainly thought about what else could work during development of the Bejeweled mod. If there is enough interest in the Bejeweled mod, we may consider doing stuff with some of our other games down the line.
Will there be Bejeweled matches between players? If so, how many players are supported?
T. Carl Kwoh: There are friends and guild high scores lists that players can compete on, however there are no direct multiplayer games of Bejeweled in this addon.
Does the Bejeweled addon offer achievements integrated with the World of Warcraft Achievements system for accomplishing special and unique feats? Or does the addon has its own Achievement system interface?
T. Carl Kwoh: The addon does not integrate with WoW’s in-game achievements system, but rather has its own in-addon achievement and skill system. They are integrated into the Bejeweling “Trade Skill” as one time accomplishments that will net you extra skill points on your way to 375 (and eventually 450). Additionally we have Friend and Guild high scores lists that players can compete with each other on.
Any interaction or special features with Fishing tradeskill planned?
T. Carl Kwoh: There aren’t any specific hooks (hehe) that the addon has for the Fishing tradeskill, however you can scale down the window pretty small and tuck it into the corner so its easier to play while still keeping an eye on the bobber. After late stage feedback from several sources we’ve also added in quieter versions of the sounds that you can switch to in the options so that you won’t miss the bobber sounds as easily in your gem matching frenzy.
What was your goal with investing time and manpower to develop this addon free for World of Warcraft players?
T. Carl Kwoh: The goal was to create an awesome addon that a bunch of us in the office are guaranteed to be using for life, and one that we hoped other world of warcraft players could have fun with as well. Since Michael Fromwiller (the San Jose State University student who created the original “Besharded” mod) had already started the leg work it was an easy opportunity for us to support one of our fans and an aspiring developer, get something awesome made for ourselves, and get something cool into the world for others to enjoy.
Are you planning to update the addon, if needed, each time there is a World of Warcraft patch and/or add new features?
T. Carl Kwoh: We will be keeping the addon current for any patches/updates to WoW. We are already compatible with the 3.0/WotlK API changes, so when those come out we’ll just need to update the TOC file. We definitely want to keep the addon functioning, so we’ll be keeping it up to date.
There are no new features planned at the moment, however that’s not to say there won’t be feature updates down the road. However that process will be very organic and depend on interest and time of everyone involved.
Download the Bejeweled Addon at the official Pop Cap website.
Got questions of your own about the Bejeweled addon? Submit them here to forward them to Pop Cap Games for a second round of questions.
Update: WoW Insider interviewed the original creator of the Besharded addon, who now works at Pop Cap.
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?
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!
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! =)
Interview Spotlighted by:
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
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?
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
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.
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