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Richard A. Knaak Q&A - War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity book

Richard A. Knaak wrote Warcraft: Day of the Dragon pocketbook a couple of years ago(2001).  By April 2004, the new book named War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity
will be the sequel to Day of the Dragon.  Rhonin the Maverick mage and Krasus the Dragon will timetravel back in time.  As Knaak said, by the time Arthas invaded Quel’thalas and Archimonde invaded Kalimdor( Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos: Night Elf Campaign), the timetravel happens, going back in time 10,000 years into the past – straight before the first invasion of the Burning Legion.

The new book explores the society of the Highborne Elves and their Queen Azshara; and the corruption of their magics as they accept Sargeras’s offer by opening a portal that would allow him to enter the world of Azeroth.  Knaak explores the love triangle of Tyrande, Furion and Ilidan. The betrayal of Deathwing. The sacrifice of the Ancients. The intro to the origin of the Satyrs and the Naga. And the conspiracy of the Old gods.

Blizzard signed a deal with Knaak to write a trilogy series starting on April 2004.  It takes 3 books to explain the whole history of the first invasion of the Burning Legion.  But how will timetravel affect what we know?  Will the present and history itself change?


Medievaldragon
Welcome to Wowlands and thanks for coming to share some time with the Blizzard fans

Richard
Glad to be here!

Medievaldragon
we are here to talk about your new book War of the Ancients: Well of Eternity

Richard
The book is due for release in April and is the first in a major trilogy involving the past and present of Warcraft

Medievaldragon
before starting to talk about the book I wanted to make some questions about you. Can you tell the fans about yourself?

Richard
I’ve been an author some 17 years. 24 novels, over a dozen short piece. I’ve done Dragonlance, Warcraft, Diablo. My own series, the Dragonrealm, and several standalones. I’m from Chicago, but spend my time in the south, too. I Were an avid gamer, but the writing demands all time now. smile

Medievaldragon
Thats a long career. Blizzard chose indeed the right person to write about their universe.

Richard
I thank you. Blizzard has three well-defined worlds and I get to play in two of them

Medievaldragon
I think I read you are spending time living in Arkansas, or visiting.

Richard
Yes, a lot less snow than Chicago or New York

Medievaldragon
1. Could you tell us how did you stumble upon Blizzard for first time?

Richard
Actually, they stumbled on me.

Medievaldragon
Did they contact you?

Richard
Chris Metzen is a fan of my Dragonlance work. Specially the Legend of Huma. And when it came time to put together the series, I were one of the top names on the list. They wanted me for both Diablo and Warcraft, which I took as a great compliment.

Medievaldragon
Question 2 was covered

Medievaldragon
Did you approach Blizzard with the idea of writing Day of the Dragon, or did Blizzard contact you to write it based on your fame for Fantasy writing?

Richard
Blizzard only said that they wanted a story in a certain time period. They hoped that I would create one that would be a good opening shot for the series

Medievaldragon
3. Can you tell us when and how you discovered within yourself that you were a writer and that Fantasy was your forte?

Richard
I had always enjoyed reading and creating my stories and fantasy just fit from the start. I enjoyed other types of reading, but always came back. It was ingrained in me. I could no more stop doing it than breathing. There was no choice. Fantasy was me.

Medievaldragon
Did you write the story from the game handbook? Or they just brought it to you to write based on a pre-made story?

Richard
The story was original by me. I used the handbook and other material (which no one else has seen), as reference, but that was it. They wanted true fantasy novels by actual authors.

Medievaldragon
4. What events in real life: TV shows, Comic books, novels, etc.; influenced your imagination to write Fantasy books for first time?

Richard
I used to watch all the SciFi shows, saw the movies like Sinbad and stuff; and read about dragons whenever I could. I read all the comics DC and Marvel comics issued and picked up novels by Roger Zelazny, ER Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and others. That was the beginning.

Medievaldragon
I love Marvel comics too. My favorite is XMEN. I have 1,500 comic books. When I saw timetravel in your new book I got fascinated

Richard
I’ve been a full-time author since 1988. It is not something that will make you rich, but I’ve enjoyed myself. It is great doing something I love. Xmen is great. The time travel is an element, but not the point.

Medievaldragon
Xmen is all about timetravel, and alternate realities when it comes to long arc storylines.

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Mike Huang

Blizzplanet recently contacted Mike Huang after we found out that he was running an Ebay Auction sale of most of his belongings from his days as an employee of Blizzard North.  Although, he is no longer in the team after Bill Roper and company moved on to form Flagship Studios, Mike Huang immediately found his way to another Game Developer company where he is using his skills and devotion to games.

He found his room was too cluttered with Blizzard stuff hanging around and decided to give all this stuff to people who can find value on this memorabilia from when Diablo, Starcraft and Warcraft were launched. Maybe some older fans who lived and grew up through that stage, few years ago, may find the sentimental value in this memorabillia articles. Due to the magnitude of this Ebay auction event, we contacted Mike Huang to set up an interview. He kindly accepted to tell Diablo, Warcraft, and Starcraft fans a bit more about this ex-Blizzard North employee—who helped in the creation of our favorite games.

Mike Huang Interview

Blizzplanet: What was your major at college?

Mike Huang: I majored in Environmental Science, with an emphasis
in Biology. I’m always proud to say this, because I
think alot of people are under the impression that the
developers who make the games have a degree in
computer science or engineering or art, but in
reality, the people who make the games have a pretty
diverse range of backgrounds.

Blizzplanet: After graduating, How did you end up getting
hired
by Blizzard?

Mike Huang: When Dune 2 (developed by Westwood Studios) was
released, my friends and I played it quite
extensively. We also played a lot of Command and
Conquer (also developed by Westwood) and Warcraft I.
My college dormmates played a lot of Warcraft II, and
would call each other up and play over the modem. I
wasn’t really impressed with Blizzard’s games until
the summer of 1996, when I recieved a demo of Diablo.

The first Diablo was a pretty innovative game for the
time—it was one of the first games that ran in
DirectX, allowing VGA graphics without the use of DOS
Extenders like DOS4GW, which was every graphic
programmer’s nightmare. It featured random dungeon
generation, and pretty much single-handedly brought
back the dying RPG genre. I had played lots of PC
RPGs, and felt that they were inferior for a variety
of reasons compared to console RPGs—but Diablo made
RPGs accessible to the average gamer for the first
time, and it looked better than anything on the market
at the time.

I was impressed by Diablo, and found myself anxiously
waiting for the release of their next game, Starcraft.
Blizzard’s reputation for tardiness really didn’t
begin until Starcraft, so in the Summer of ‘97, I was
expecting them to post beta test signups, and I came
across their job listings—I applied, I interviewed
with them, and the rest is history.

Blizzplanet: What colleges do you recommend to some talented
3D artists and programmers to enroll at to be
successful in the Game development field?

Mike Huang: I went to the University of California at Berkeley,
which has a very strong computer science program that
I chose not to follow. My classmates who went through
the CS program came out with some excellent computer
programming skills, but the emphasis is not game
production. When I was applying to universities in
1992, there weren’t any programs at all—it’s very
different today. A lot of universities now have
classes in many aspects of game development, such as
game design, game development, writing graphics
engines, etc. I think the best thing anyone can do in
searching for an academic institution is just do a
little research on the internet, get a hold of the
course catalog, read the course descriptions, make up
a sample schedule and then ask themselves—are these
classes I would enjoy taking, and do they get me
closer to my goal of being in the games industry?

Blizzplanet: How was your first year as a Blizzard Employee?
How was that breaking-the-ice first days where you are
the fresh guy?

Mike Huang: When I came on board, I had very little trouble
fitting in. Blizzard hires only gamers, so it’s not
like some other game development companies where they
hire a programer to do an ice hockey game, and he’s
never played ice hockey or even seen ice hockey be
played. The employees at Blizzard are people with a
passion for games so I had that common interest
working for me already.

My first year as a Blizzard employee was a pretty
interesting one. Blizzard North had just finished
Diablo and was doing the prototyping for the sequel,
Diablo II. Warcraft Adventures and Starcraft was in
its late alpha/early beta stages, Hellfire, Diablo
Playstation and Warcraft II Playstation were being
licensed out and developed by third-parties. I learnt
a lot about the games industry pretty quickly, just by
virtue of being there at that moment in time.

Blizzplanet: I heard you were into shareware games before
Blizzard came along in your career. What games were
you involved with before being hired by
Blizzard?

Mike Huang: I wrote my first computer game when I was 12 years old
in a summer computer class. It was just a simple side
scroller written in BASIC. All through my childhood, I
played games and thought about how they could be
better, what worked, and what didn’t. When I learned
PASCAL (that was the only programming taught in my
high school), I started to create games to teach
myself programming concepts related to games, such as
collision, missiles and sprites.After that, I began
toying with more complex tasks such as sound and
network programming.

During my senior year of high school, my friends and I
attempted to start up our own game studio—and we
were developing a number of different games. Most of
what we came up with were clones of games that we
liked. We spent a great deal of time on a Tetris
clone, which was where we learnt that programming in
multiplayer code is something that absolutely has to
be planned from the get go. Adding it on afterwards
created a myriad of bugs, and we ended up rewriting
the game from scratch afterwards. On my own, I was
writing sysop utilities for a BBS game called
Tradewars 2002 to add things such as rogue planets and
alien bounties, amongst other things. Our group
produced an edutainment title (which also doubled as a
senior project) which featured projectile motion.

I took one computer class while I was in college and
created a game called Blackout, in which you cut power
lines in order to blackout the city power grid. I also
tried to create a computer version of Magic the
Gathering, but found that each card was essentially a
new rule, and so that writing an AI that could be
challenging was beyond my means at the time.

They were mostly class projects, and we were af
raid of
getting sued for cloning, so we released them mainly
as freeware. Luckily, distribution at that time wasn’t
very good so aside from the floppy disks in my
parent’s house, I very much doubt copies of the games
exist anymore.

When I
signed on with Blizzard, I pretty much gave up
the rights to make games for myself and anyone else in
my spare time while I was working there.

Blizzplanet: What games were you involved with in Blizzard
Entertainment, and what was your role in each game?

Mike Huang: One of the great things about how Blizzard worked is
that everyone was involved in every game at some point
of the process between conception to completion—
they did a very good job of asking for input and
discussing problems and solutions for each game.

I guess you could say that I’ve been involved with
every Blizzard product since Starcraft, including
Brood War, D2, Warcraft Adventures, Warcraft 3, D2
Expansion, Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft,
along with some other products that didn’t make it,
but that’s true of just about every employee at
Blizzard who wanted to involve themselves in the
Blizzard product line.

I remember one of my first contributions to a Blizzard
game was on Starcraft. At the time, the Pylons on the
Protoss side were just farms. I had just finished
playing C&C: Red Alert a few months back, and
suggested to a Starcraft programmer that the Pylons
should power the buildings for the Protoss, and that
taking out the Pylons should render the buildings
inoperative. The programmer brought it up at the next
meeting, and I was glad to see the improvement made in
the next build we received at Blizzard North.

For Diablo II, I was the Technical Producer, which had
a lot of different responsibilities in a variety of
areas, and gave me a great deal of insight and
experience on the entire process of taking a game from
begining to end from the developer side.

Page  1  |  2

Mike Huang Room Clean up

Mike Huang, an ex-Blizzard Entertainment employee, just moved recently and found his room overwhelmed with Blizzard articules. Mike Huang decided it was time to make room and do a major clean up.  He was kind to set 25 articles for auction at Ebay instead of throwing them to the garbage or giving it away to a nephew.  Yours to appropiate by posting bids in this Ebay Auction.

This is what Mike Huang said on his Blog page:

  • “All my stuff from Blizzard pretty much takes up a bedroom in my place, so living in my place was pretty cramped for a while.

    I’ve moved since then, but I still have all these goodies from Blizzard still taking up space. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to sell my D2 Development Team T-shirt and Sweatshirt. Seems kind of wrong. But everything else will go, I’m sure.”

    Ebay Auction Page for this items may be found Here

    Blizzplanet interview with Mike Huang

    Mike Huang Blogpage
    Our Auction Image gallery Here

    UPDATE 1-10-2004: We want to thank Mike Huang for his cooperation and follow up. I contacted him on AOL chat and he is satisfied with the Auction results. All items are gone to the proper hands. Fans that found a special sentimental value to this memorabilia spree.

    We are glad to say, some winners are known to the community. Among them Sovereign Empire’s Orlphar snagged the Warcraft III Orc Poster and the Diablo II brand new game. Demolishman from demolishman.com grabbed the Blizzard Golf balls. The famous Orc pewter went for $ 152 and the rare Diablo II Watch with tin went up to $ 128. The eBay auction was a success. More importantly, fans are glad and satisfied. If the winners request it, Mike Huang may autograph some articles. Mike Huang is considering to ask Bill Roper and Dave to autograph the articles on a fan’s request before shipping them to their new owners.
    Auction Winners List

    Mike Huang Ebay Sale

    08_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD DOUBLE SIDED DIABLO II POSTER
    09_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – NIGHTELF
    45_1.JPG
    Blizzard Warcraft Orc – PEWTER – RARE!
    51_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT HARD SHELL BACKPACK
    61_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – HUMAN
    76_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD FRAMED PARKINSON DIABLO II POSTER
    8d_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – ORC
    a3_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT CALENDAR YEAR 2000
    b7_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER / CATALOG
    bc_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II POSTER – IN STORES
    NOW
    n="top" width="25%" align="center">
    c8_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT BROOD WAR POSTER
    eb_1.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT III POSTER – UNDEAD
    item-10.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO CAMPFIRE TOAST
    item-11.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO HOLIDAY IN TAVERN
    item-12.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO SNOWMAN
    item-13.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II DECAL/STICKER
    item-14.JPG
    BLIZZARD WarCraft III: Collector’s Edition
    item-15.JPG
    WarCraft 2 Battle.net Edition (PC Games)
    item-16.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO STRATEGY GUIDES
    item-17.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II BASEBALL CAP
    item-18.JPG
    BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT BASEBALL CAP
    item-19.JPG
    BLIZZARD NORTH BASEBALL CAP
    item-2.JPG
    BLIZZARD NYLON JACKET – 10th Anniv. -RARE- M
    item-20.JPG
    BLIZZARD FLEECE SWEATER
    item-21.JPG
    BLIZZARD BLIZZARD NORTH PLAYING CARDS
    width="100" height="75" border="0" alt="item-22.JPG" title="Filename : item-22.JPGFilesize : 20KBDimensions : 400x300Date added : Jan 02, 2004">
    BLIZZARD BLIZZARD NORTH GOLF BALLS
    item-23.JPG
    BLIZZARD BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT LANYARD
    item-24.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II COLLECTOR’S EDITION
    item-25.JPG
    BLIZZARD VIP STARCRAFT PREMIERE BADGE
    item-3.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO II WATCH WITH TIN -RARE-
    item-4.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO DND BOOK: THE AWAKENING
    item-5.JPG
    BLIZZARD DIABLO NOVELS
    item-6.JPG
    BLIZZARD WARCRAFT NOVELS
    item-7.JPG
    BLIZZARD STARCRAFT NOVELS
    item-8.JPG
    BLIZZARD DVD COLLECTION – NEW -
    item-9.JPG
    BLIZZARD CARD DIABLO MISTLETOE

    Disclaimer:
    All images of this Ebay Auction are property of Mike Huang, Blizzard North and/or Blizzard Entertainment.

  • Blizzplanet 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

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