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Project Blackstone – Biolab 4 Incident

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News

Project Blackstone Twitter entries usually get posted every 2-4 days. Sometimes two days in a row at most. It’s the fourth Twitter entry in a row, a change in the pattern, which makes me think the increase is tied as a silent countdown to the StarCraft 15th Anniversary (March 31). I might be wrong, so don’t get your hopes too high.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Dr. Warren Held: Everything set up for the intracranial investigation of specimen AP-05?

Dr. Leah A. Martine: Yes, Dr. Held. All surfaces prepped and tools ready.

Dr. Warren Held: I certainly hope ALL of my tools are where I left them this time. If your sloppiness costs me one more valuable.

Dr. Warren Held: This is inexcusable.

Dr. Warren Held: Inexcusable. INEXCUSABLE.

Elsewhere

Dr. Talen Ayers: What’s all the commotion down in BioLab 4? I’m trying to scrub Overlord brain-matter off the walls in peace over here.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Not sure – our next procedure doesn’t start for a few hours. Leah was down there doing prep work with

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Damnit.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Leah, please respond.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Winlaleah?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: I’m heading down. Something doesn’t feel right.

Shortly after

Adjutant 33-27: Major Treicher, we have an altercation on Biolab 4.

Major Lee Treicher: I’ll be right there.

Conclusion

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Thanks for helping Dr. Martine today, Red. Sounds like things got rough in there.

Red Quinton: Shoot, son. That lady didn’t need my help. I was trying to save Held’s life.

Red Quinton: He came at her with a scalpel. She practically put him through the fekkin wall. Five more seconds and she would’ve ended him.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: They’ve been at each other’s throats for a while now. Tangling with a Ghost Academy alumni is something I wouldn’t recommend.

Red Quinton: Wait wait wait. Hold on a second. She’s a ghost?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Pretty much. I haven’t asked her about it. I just know Leah’s been through a lot.

Red Quinton: “Leah”? You sweet on her?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: What? No.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Not at all. It’s just, if you’re working with someone, you might as well get to know them.

Red Quinton: You sly dog!

Red Quinton: “How you doing, Jakey?” “My bed’s got room for two, Leah.” You got that brooding, hurt puppy look the ladies love.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: You’re telling me you don’t chat it up with Dr. Foster outside the machine shop?

Red Quinton: Course I do, but she’s long since made clear I ain’t her type. And stop changing the subject. You’re into her, aint’cha?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: We’re about as different as they come. That “opposites attract” crap? Doesn’t apply here.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: I mean looking at it objectively, sure. There’s something to her. She’s brilliant. Strong. Independent.

Red Quinton: That’s a lot of words to avoid saying “no,” buddy.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Red, the answer is no. I’ve got someone else. Someone waiting for me.

Red Quinton: Yeah, but we’re in comms blackout here. She’d never need to know. Get busy, man!

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Just drop it Red. Fekking drop it.

Red Quinton: Whoa whoa whoa , easy tiger. I was just teasing you. Sorry.

Red Quinton: Jake? You alright, man? I really was just kidding. Didn’t mean to stir nothing up.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Don’t worry about it.

 

Update: 9pm EST – the official Project Blackstone website has been updated. Entry Log # 8 and #9 happen after the Biolab 4 incident (read above).

Based on the conversation between Dr. Jacob Ramsey and Dr. Talen Ayers, there is something to be learned about Talen’s daughter — Maren Ayers. She was the main character of Cameron Dayton’s 2010 Short Story: Broken Wide (Banelings)

Jacob Ramsey is confirmed to have feelings for Rosemary Dahl (StarCraft: The Dark Templar), and she’s waiting for him.

A new image was unlocked. It is the Warhound mentioned a few days ago. Something cool about it is the shield on the Warhound’s left-arm is the War Pigs logo (Wiki). This is the Dominion mercenary team which debuted in the DC Comics StarCraft # 1-8 series. — check out the Project Blackstone website.

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Go to twitter, and create a new LIST. Title it as “Project Blackstone Crew”. Add all of the Project Blackstone characters to the LIST by visiting their page and clicking the arrow (located left of the “Follow” button) and choosing “Add or Remove from List”. Then check mark “Project Blackstone Crew”.

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

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Project Blackstone – Winlaleah Martine from StarCraft: Ghost Academy

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News

I have a feeling Project Blackstone and the StarCraft 15th Anniversary are tied somehow. Out of the blue, I have seen Project Blackstone characters tweet several times throughout the day on the 25th, 26th, and today 27th.

A few days ago, Cameron Dayton was upgraded to Senior Story Developer. On March 22, 2013, Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the 15th Anniversary early, last week, toasting and showering each other with dozens of bottles of champagne.

Something curious is there was a toast to Project Blackstone at the 15th Anniversary celebration. Are there signs of something in the horizon? Will Blizzard announce something related to Project Blackstone on March 31? Or … during the South Korea big eSports Announcement (April 3)? (i.e. major game announcements have been done at Tokyo Game Show, Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Seoul & France, and at GamesCom)

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Today, in Project Blackstone, protoss tools — acquired by the Terran Dominion and delivered to Project Blackstone — have gone missing. Strange things are happening lately at the top-secret research center. Somehow there is always the lingering hint that Jacob Ramsey is involved in these mysterious incidents.

Recently Redell Quinton was framed for the disappearance of supplies that technically could be associated as materials for a alcohol distillery. Curiously, the same night Jacob Ramsey was found light-headed on the floor, and he was escorted to his quarters.

Now it is Protoss tools missing. The flavor dialogue seems to hint at Jacob Ramsey being involved. He did never reply Leah’s question if he knew where the tools were — unless Jake’s insinuated involvement in the incidents have been a deliberate red herring all along, and instead there is more than meets the eye going on.

Recently, I theorized two ways how Redell could have been framed: mind-control, or computer log hacking. Ramsey seems to have developed telepathy, but new story entries indicate he’s not fully aware of it. So far, Dr. Jacob Ramsey mainly listens to mental distress-related thoughts from the protoss captive within Project Blackstone, or from fellow workers.

That leaves the computer hacking and the mysterious incidents open to a potential character involved: Lio Travski. That hasn’t been proven correct nor wrong. The mystery continues.

Today’s Project Blackstone Twitter entries reveal more exciting things. The true identity of @LeahAMartine — right under our very noses these past month and a half.

In this story, you will see Dr. Jake Ramsey, Xenobiologist Dr. Leah A. Martine, and Xenobiologist Senior Protoss Specialist Dr. Warren Held.


March 27

Dr. Warren Held: @LeahAMartine I’ve asked you before not to touch my hagedorn needles. There will not be a third reminder, doctor.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @WarrenGHeld I’m sorry, Dr. Held. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Are your tools missing?

Dr. Warren Held: @LeahAMartine You know damn well what I’m talking about.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @WarrenGHeld Again, my apologies. Weren’t you the last one in the lab? How could I possibly have moved them?

Dr. Warren Held: @LeahAMartine They don’t move on their own, Martine! I left them on the operating tray. You must have moved them. Where are they?

Dr. Warren Held: @LeahAMartine I’ve asked you before not to touch my hagedorn needles. There will not be a third reminder, doctor.

1 Hour Later

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Dr. Held is looking for the hagedorn needles from our procedure earlier today. Any chance you’ve seen where they went?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine How do you do it, Dr. Martine?

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Do… what?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Distance yourself from the fact that the materials you’re poking and prodding once belonged to sentient beings.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Beings who never had a choice whether they would become subjects to your experiments.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey My experiments? You do just as much work here as I do.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Because I have to, not because I want to.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Your outrage is misplaced. The materials we’re working with came from protoss who were already dying or dead.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey I’m doing this so that your “friends” didn’t die in vain. But judge away. Moral superiority must feel good.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine I’m sorry. I’ve been on edge a bit lately.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Living here isn’t any easier for me because I’m a willing part of the Dominion.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Point taken.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Ok, this is odd. The nerve cord samples we collected this morning are gone. Did Dr. Held take them when he stormed out?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine I’m not sure, but that wouldn’t be a surprise. Held isn’t much for consulting me on what he does.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey He’s destroyed them. DESTROYED them.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Slow down. Destroyed what?

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey The samples. Dr. Held incinerated them. Too dangerous, he said, and plenty of other tissue to study. I can’t believe it.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine You’re surprised? Everything—everyone—is disposable to Held.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Do you know how rare it is for us to find a dead protoss?

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Usable nerve cord tissue is especially precious. So many things we still don’t understand about telepathy.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine I know. But you can’t let Held get under your skin like this.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey We sacrifice everything to become ghosts. Our memories, our freedom. Too often, our sanity.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Winlaleah, stop.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey You hard-shells, what do you care? But you owe us.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Stop.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Damn it. Can’t do this. Sorry.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine Screaming.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Are you alright? Please respond.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Dr. Ramsey?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine I blacked out. I could hear your screams. I could feel them.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey Impossible. I wasn’t directing that at you, and you’re no telepath.

Dr. Leah A. Martine: @JakeJRamsey How did you know my full name? I haven’t told anyone here.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @LeahAMartine I just knew. It was already there, in my head.

 

starcraft-the-dark-templar-firstborn-front-coverAs read, Jacob Ramsey’s brain seems to be slowly developing into telepathy after his brief experience with the protoss preserver Zamara. Her mind merged with his, granting him access to the memories of every protoss who ever lived, and access to the Khala.

I recommend to those who havent yet read the StarCraft: Dark Templar trilogy by Christie Golden to do so.

Dr. Jake Ramsey debuted in that trilogy. This is why StarCraft lore fans are excited to see him again in Project Blackstone, and why we think there is more to this story than just a real-time transmedia novela. We can’t yet figure out what it is. It was not a Heart of the Swarm promotional, it was not a PAX East promotional, and it likely isn’t a 15th Anniversary promotional.

Cameron Dayton said on Twitter this story took two years in the making.

I am seriously considering Project Blackstone is leading to an announcement at BlizzCon 2013 (November 8-9).

Two years of development is too long a time for a free recreational story that is not tied to a upcoming video game.

If you haven’t played Heart of the Swarm yet, there is no mention of Project Blackstone, and none of the characters make a cameo.

If StarCraft: Ghost returned sooner than later, we have to agree it won’t have the same Terrazine plot as the Nihilistic iteration, but a more up-to-date plot based on the StarCraft II trilogy episodes.

UPDATE

starcraft-ghost-academy-vol-1-coverAs Eroldren mentioned below in the comments, there was yet another awesome discovery in this Project Blackstone entry. Dr. Leah A. Martine is actually Winlaleah Martine. She was member of Team Red in the Tokyopop manga titled StarCraft: Ghost Academy by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

The digital version of Volume 1 can be downloaded from Cryptozoic Entertainment.

Team Red and Team Blue were among the best ghost trainees. Nova Terra (StarCraft: Ghost) was on Team Blue.

Team Red: (Wiki)

  • Dylanna Okyl (Team Red leader)
  • Andie Dessai

  • Dori Koogler (egressed)
  • Winlaleah Martine
  • Obi Minaya
  • Aal Cistler

Team Blue: (Wiki)

  • November Annabella “Nova” Terra, a.k.a. Agent X41822N, a.k.a. Nova (StarCraft: Ghost)
  • Kath Toom
  • Gabriel Tosh
  • Lio Travski
  • Delta Emblock
  • Aal Cistler (former teammate)

You can read more about Winlaleah at StarCraft.Wikia.

Go to twitter, and create a new LIST. Title it as “Project Blackstone Crew”. Add all of the Project Blackstone characters to the LIST by visiting their page and clicking the arrow (located left of the “Follow” button) and choosing “Add or Remove from List”. Then check mark “Project Blackstone Crew”.

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

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Project Blackstone – Mysterious Cargo

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News

The StarCraft-themed Project Blackstone transmedia continues the saga this week with more Twitter entries.

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March 25

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 What’s the ETA on our supply frigate?

Adjutant 33-27: @LeeTreicher The captain has estimated they will arrive within the hour.

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 Good, my team and I are heading there now.

Adjutant 33-27: Security code received.

Adjutant 33-27: Gate 03 online. Pressurized adapters and berthing arms prepped for arrival of frigate, “Palomino”.

Adjutant 33-27: Frigate “Palomino” docked at Gate 03.

Adjutant 33-27: Gate 03 airlock engaged.

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 Inform the crew that they are not yet authorized to board the Palomino.

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 I’ll need to oversee this arrival directly due to the nature of the arms aboard.

Adjutant 33-27: @LeeTreicher Yes Major Treicher. The maintenance crew will be notified to unload on your command.

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 Shipment credentials have been authorized.

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 Unlock Gate 03 and provide the maintenance crew with path lights to the garage.

Adjutant 33-27: @LeeTreicher Confirmed. The maintenance team has been notified.

Major Lee Treicher: @HelekBranamoor Dr. Branamoor, the shipment is being unloaded to the garage. I have a sec team escorting the crew and payload now.

Major Lee Treicher: @Adjutant3327 Inform the Palomino they are clear for departure.

Adjutant 33-27: LeeTreicher Yes Major Treicher.

Adjutant 33-27: Frigate “Palomino” uncoupling from Gate 03.

Adjutant 33-27: Frigate “Palomino” away.

New: March 26

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Nice to be back in the lab. Finally.

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster I’ll join you in a few, sweetheart. I hear that ship brought us something new to chew on.

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Big new toy. You’re going to love this one, Backwood. Orders are to see if we can’t streamline production.

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster Production of what? What was delivered? It just says CLASSIFIED CARGO on my datapad here.

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Tall ugly thing – looks like a relation of yours. Label on the side says “Warhound”.

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster Work order says this needs to be shipped out tomorrow. Sounds like an all-nighter. I’ll bring a couple bottles…

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster uivxyh

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiuuuuuuuuuuiiiiiiiiiii

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Pardon?

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster fingers slipped sorry I HAVE AN IDEA.

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton At least put down the bottle before trying to type it out.

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster CLOAKING.

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Huh?

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster CLOAKING!

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Yes, I can read. What about cloaking?

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster LET’S PUT A CLOAKING REACTOR IN THE WARHOUNDNXRT.

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Put down the bottle, Red.

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster NO NO NO I’m serious. Warhound has power to spare. Bunch of electronics n security wired into it. WHY FINGERPRINT SCANNER?

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster Ditch all that and we got POWER to spare. I WANT CLOAKING.

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton Hm…cloaking aside, you may actually be on to something. Do we need all that thumbprint security vs a bunch of nonhumans?

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster This’ll free up space/pwr for all kindsa junk. I think. Sending you diagrams now.

Red Quinton: @PamelaGFoster We can fit more guns. More armor. Cup holders. MOTHERFEKKIN CLOAKIN DEVICE!

Dr. Pamela Foster: @RedellQuinton You want to cloak a giant metal walker? You’re drunk, Red. The efficiency gains are worth a look, though. Let me revise.

 

Go to twitter, and create a new LIST. Title it as “Project Blackstone Crew”. Add all of the Project Blackstone characters to the LIST by visiting their page and clicking the arrow (located left of the “Follow” button) and choosing “Add or Remove from List”. Then check mark “Project Blackstone Crew”.

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

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GDC 2013 Sessions: Blizzard Entertainment Speakers

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

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The 2013 Game Developers Conference will take place in San Francisco, CA through March 25-29 (Expo dates: March 27-29).

The Moscone Center
747 Howard Street, between 3rd and 4th streets
San Francisco, CA 94103

Blizzard Entertainment has a strong presence at the GDC, as usual, with several developers from all three franchises.

Those who wish to visit the Blizzard Entertainment booth it may be found at the Business Center (North Hall) booth BMR101. It’s always a good idea to bring resume, portfolio and demo reel of your work to the event. Blizzard Careers have been at the GDC Career Pavillion in previous years.

Floor Plan


Speaker: Brian Kindregan (Lead Writer)
Title: How Hard Could It Be? The Story of a Cinematic
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Description: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm embraces cinematics as a high-level storytelling tool, a tactic that has been under fire in the games industry in recent years.

This panel will examine the strengths and weaknesses of that approach by tracing the story development of one particularly difficult cinematic. By showing multiple versions of the animatic, we will track the differing speed of cinematic production vs. game design, the feedback we received, the choices we made, and how they impacted the story.

We will cover the obstacles that we overcame, those we didn't, and the lessons we learned.

Takeaway: Attendees will gain insights into the pros and cons of cinematics as a storytelling tool, and the tough choices that go into story-oriented cinematics. They will learn about the nuances of communication between the development and cinematics teams, and hear about the challenges and solutions in the cinematic process.
Intended Audience: Mid to lead designers who are learning to work with a cinematics team. Writers who are attached to either a development team or a cinematics team. Cinematic artists and directors who work with a game team. No prerequisite knowledge is required.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Speaker: Erin Catto (Principal Software Engineer)
Title: Physics for Game Programmers
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Description: Game physics engines are used to create games like Angry Birds, Half-Life, Tomb Raider, Red Faction, MotorStorm, Limbo, and Diablo 3. Games would be far less compelling without the realistic physics simulation that engages the player's intuition and stimulates their motion awareness.

Physics has become a staple of the modern gaming tradition as we try to re-create and re-interpret the world around us. The Physics for Programmers tutorial brings together speakers from Blizzard, Dtecta, Havok, NVIDIA, Sony, and Valve. Topics include collision detection, continuous simulation, constraint solvers, and demos.

The focus is on rigid body physics and real-time simulation in games. There will be a mix of introductory topics, recent algorithms, and practical tips. Time is reserved for Q&A.

Takeaway: Attendees will learn fundamental elements and practical considerations for using collision detection and rigid body physics in games.
Intended Audience: Intermediate to advanced programmers looking to learn or build upon their math, collision detection, and physics skills. Knowledge of vectors, matrices, and some calculus is expected.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps Pass

Speaker: Wyatt Cheng (Senior Technical Game Designer)
Title: Through the Grinder: Refining Diablo III's Game Systems
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Description: As with all Blizzard games, Diablo III went through many iterations before the final product was released. Wyatt will describe different game systems that were attempted, explored, and then ultimately removed. We'll go into detail about the pros and cons of each system, what worked and didn't work, and how the team used each failure to bring them closer to success.

1. Health Recovery: From Regenerative Damage Shields to potion dilution, where potions become less effective as you drink them, many different health recovery mechanisms were tried. What were the major issues with each of these systems and how did it lead to health globes in the end?

2. Controls. At Blizzard, control is king. Although simple on the surface, a number of iterations were required to polish the Diablo III interface, in order to provide the player with tight and responsive controls.

3. Skill System: The skill system underwent multiple revisions. Early systems involved different variations of point spending, an evolution from Diablo II. Later systems had runes, with multiple rune ranks that dropped as items, which could be used to modify skills.

Takeaway: Blizzard has a number of game design values. A postmortem on the development of Diablo III gives us an opportunity to see these game design values in action. Values such as "Control is King," "Avoid the Grand Reveal," and "What is the Fantasy." Ultimately these values are driven by iteration.
Intended Audience: This talk is intended for anyone who is interested in concrete examples of the iterative design process. It's particularly aimed at those who aren't afraid to peek behind the curtain to see failures, as well as successes. Portions of the talk will delve into technical detail, but nothing too scary.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Speaker: Joe Rumsey (Principal Software Engineer)
Title: Network Serialization and Routing in World of Warcraft
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Description: Online games need robust, easy to use network APIs. No one should still be struggling with how to get their data from one place to another. JAM is World of Warcraft's inter-server serialization and routing layer.

This talk describes how JAM came to be, and how it is used today. Real world sample code from WoW and other Blizzard projects are used to illustrate key concepts, such as machine generated code for serialization, and dynamic protocol negotiation. Comparisons to similar open-source projects will be made.

Takeaway: Attendees will learn how World of Warcraft solved network serialization and routing issues. Code at both the application level and the internal networking level will be shown. Open-source alternatives will be presented, and the trade-offs will be detailed.
Intended Audience: This session is intended for programmers dealing with network serialization and routing in online games. Basic knowledge of networking practices and some experience with C++ is assumed.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Speaker: Matt Schembari (Senior Software Engineer)
Title: Cutscenes Everywhere: The Tech Behind StarCraft II's Storytelling
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Description: This session will present how the new cutscene editor and its underlying engine were built in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. The talk will review the design process, and how having a user-focused approach shaped both the tool and engine alike.

It will then provide an overview of the technical design and architecture of these systems. Finally, the talk will discuss the emergent workflow that resulted in having the artists so heavily involved in the development process of their tool.

Takeaway: Attendees will gain insight into how the StarCraft II editor team employed a user-focused approach to build a new editor. In addition, they'll be provided with a technical design and architecture, so they can begin building their own cutscene editor or related tool.
Intended Audience: This talk is aimed primarily at tools programmers and others involved with the technical aspects of their team's art pipeline. Some experience as a tools or engine programmer is recommended.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Speaker: Brian Schwab (Senior Software Engineer)
Title: Working with Designers: Scaling Your AI Both Up and Down
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Description: As game designs lean on AI more and more (finally!), there is an increasing need for a tighter interface between AI programmers and game designers. While much of this relationship is about communication, there are other important considerations that AI programmers can address to make their life with designers easier.

The first part of this lecture will offer suggestions on how querying designers can correctly help the programmer to design an architecture that will scale up to handle the inevitable feature expansions that spill out of design throughout production. The second portion of the session will present methods to gracefully scale down AI systems as needs change.

This includes "killing the baby," which is when a programmer is forced to cut out their wonderful, clever, elegant, amazing, best AI feature ever because it doesn't fit the overall design, or simply isn't fun.

Takeaway: This session will present practical, concrete, from-the-trenches advice on how to think ahead in the design of your AI, so that you can expand or contract as needed.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps Pass

Speaker: Keith Self-Ballard (Art Manager)
Title: Art Director and Lead Artist Roundtable
keith-self-ballard-next-gen-mmo-art-manager2Description: The Art Director and Lead Artist Roundtable is an open forum intended to provide its attendees with both insight and information pertaining to the management, leadership, and direction of game development teams and studios. This session is devoted to the exchange of experience and approaches to the most pressing issues facing art directors, artists, and art culture.
Takeaway: Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with industry peers and listen to accounts of how different studios have dealt with similar problems. The purpose of this roundtable is the sharing of experience and the contrasting of ideas. Those with an eye toward future management or direction positions will have an opportunity to pose questions to the roundtable. Ultimately, one of our prime goals is the growth of art leadership and art culture across our industry.
Intended Audience: While this roundtable is understandably art-centric in its focus, it is open to attendees from any discipline who are eager to gain insight into how an art department functions. Attendees are not required to be current art leads or art directors; they are however, required to have an interest in how art leads and art directors identify and respond to challenges in our industry.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Speaker: Andrew Vestal (Senior Localization Producer)
Title: English Is a Localized Language: Translating Diablo III
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Description: Items in Diablo III can have one of 400,000 possible names. How do you translate and test this huge pool of randomized content? By developing flexible systems up front that work for every language - including English.

This presentation outlines the development pipelines that allow localization to support Diablo III's high level of replay value and randomization. Special focus is given to conversation implementation, and the randomly constructed item and monster names.

Blizzard's internally developed localization tool will also be shown. Stop translating whatever the developers hand you, and start thinking of English as another localized language!

Takeaway: Attendees will learn how proactive localization development practices can improve the quality of all languages, and how Blizzard's internal localization tool supports both translation and QA.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps Pass

Speaker: Blaine Whittle (Senior Software Engineer II, Team 1)
Title: Under the Hood of Blizzard's Internal Build System

Description: Game sizes at Blizzard and other game companies have grown significantly over the years. This has led to a situation where most game build systems are I/O bound, making it difficult to maintain fast build times.

This session will present Blizzard's in-house distributed, multi-platform build system, which was designed from the ground up to minimize disk and network IO, and to maximize scalability. Blizzard used this framework to reduce Starcraft II's build time from 6 hours to 30 minutes.

This session will cover the technical architecture of the build framework, and present a number of the scheduling algorithms involved.

Takeaway: Audience members will learn a number of strategies and techniques for scaling existing tool chains.
Intended Audience: This session is intended for tool chain programmers or programmers involved in cluster computing. Knowledge of existing build tools such as Make, Jenkins, Ant, etc. is recommended.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Speaker: Jay Wilson (Game Director)
Title: Shout at the Devil: The Making of Diablo III
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Description: When building any game, but especially when it's a sequel to the beloved Diablo series, it's critical that you have a series of core design goals, or pillars, that you can use as a guide to making decisions and defining what you want the final vision of the game to accomplish.

In this postmortem, we'll explore the pillars that guided Diablo III's development and how well we felt we accomplished each of them. We'll focus specifically on the ones we feel we struggled with and the game design lessons we learned during those struggles.

Examples of specific challenges of living up to these values will be provided, prioritizing them against one another, and evaluating how well they were accomplished after Diablo III was released.

Takeaway: Attendees will receive insight into the value of defining the core design elements that will drive their game development. In addition, they will learn the importance of measuring their game against those values, and using that knowledge to iterate on the final product, both pre- and post-release.
Intended Audience: This talk is intended for a general audience, including those who are interested in game design as well as project leadership. Project leads of all levels will also gain the benefits of good lessons learned on driving and iterating a game's vision. The intention is for the talk to be general enough that specific knowledge of the Diablo series is not necessary, but such knowledge will be beneficial.
Eligible Passes: All Access Pass, Main Conference Pass

Originally posted: February 5, 2013

Hearthstone-Heroes-of-Warcraft-Logo

PAX East – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Press Kit

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, Event Coverage, Featured Stories, PAX East 2013, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Hearthstone-Heroes-of-Warcraft-Logo

Blizzard Entertainment Rob Pardo announced at PAX East a team of 15 developers was created exclusively to develop Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft planned to launch beta testing this Summer.

No one expected Blizzard to announce a free to play CCG game.

The game is slated for beta this summer and will be released later this year (2013). It will be released in PC and Mac first with an iPad release coming shortly after. No current plans it seems on Android or other mobile OS.

Official website revealed as well the beta signup page: http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/

As someone like myself who has played Magic: The Gathering since 1998, I can tell you that this game looks like an absolute blast. The MTG video games they have recently are quite fun and this seems to be along those lines. This game looks like something for casuals as well as competitive gamers. The booster packs are expected to cost around $1, but you’ll also be able to earn them – kind of the same way League of Legends and other free to play games work where you can slowly earn what you need or go ahead and pay up front.

We have an interview tomorrow for the new game. If you have any questions you’d like to see us ask add them below in the comments!

ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO

FACT SHEET

Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play strategy card game for Windows, Macintosh, and iPad. Designed to be deceptively simple and epically engaging for players of all backgrounds, Hearthstone features quick and lively duels that evoke the spirit of a friendly match played beside a crackling tavern fire.

Each player’s card deck centers around a hero representing one of nine iconic Warcraft classes, customized with a set of minions, spells, and/or weapons based on individual strategy and available cards. Players will be able to hone their skills in practice matches against the computer, and when they’re ready for the challenge, they can take on their Battle.net friends and other players in friendly duels. To further develop their decks, players will be able to acquire cards by crafting them and by winning or purchasing new card packs. With hundreds of unique cards to choose from, the potential card combinations and possible strategies are endless!

Game Modes

  • Play Mode: Duel opponents online to boost your medal ranking and earn packs of cards. Whether you’re a grizzled veteran, curious newcomer, or fall somewhere in between, our matchmaking system will pit you against worthy competition.
  • The Forge: Put your skills to the test in this mode where deck-building is half the fun. You’ll be presented with a series of card choices from which you must forge your deck, and then you’ll bring that deck into battle against other duelists. In addition to having a chance to win card packs as prizes if you duel well, all participants will keep the cards they selected for their Forge deck.
  • Practice Mode: Hone your skills and test out new deck ideas against basic or expert AI opponents, and unlock eight playable heroes in the process.

Key Features

Collection Manager: Peruse your ever-expanding card collection and build a variety of custom decks to suit all kinds of strategies. If you’re new to deck-building, you can also get guided help here on how to fill out your deck for competitive play.

Crafting: Disenchant those extra cards in your collection to receive arcane dust, the building block used to construct Hearthstone cards. You can then use this dust to craft the cards needed to complete one or more of your decks or your overall collection.

Friendly Duels: Want to challenge your buddy to a quick match (or just show off your shiny new cards)? Hearthstone is connected to Battle.net, so you’ll be able to fire up a game with a friend right from your friends list.

 

BETA TESTING

At the FAQ section below there are more details about beta. Beta testing starts this Summer 2013. You can sign up to participate in beta by going to the bottom of the page at the USA Heroesofwarcraft.com website or the Europe website.

Press Release

New free-to-play strategy card game for PC and iPad® lets you hang up your sword . . . and throw down your gauntlet

Hands-on demos at PAX East this weekend, beta test starting soon

BOSTON –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Pull up a chair across from an old friend at the tavern table and prepare for a few rounds of lively card-vs.-card warfare. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. laid its virtual cards on the table today with the unveiling of Hearthstone™: Heroes of Warcraft™, a new cross-platform free-to-play game for Windows®, Macintosh®, and iPad®.

In Hearthstone, players build card decks centered around one of nine iconic Warcraft® character classes and duel each other for fun, glory, and the chance to win awesome new cards. PAX East attendees are able to go hands-on with Hearthstone this weekend, and Blizzard will begin beta testing for the game very soon—no, seriously.

“We’ve always loved collectible card games at Blizzard, so it’s been exciting to bring everything we love about the genre to life in Hearthstone,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “We’re putting a lot of focus into creating a fun new game that’s easy to pick up and play, but also has a lot of depth. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

Deceptively simple in design but epically engaging, Hearthstone will be instantly accessible to players regardless of their familiarity with Warcraft or collectible card games. Whether players prefer to wield magic or arms in battle, strike from the shadows or head on—or have never given any of that much thought—they’ll be able to jump right in, create a deck, and get in on the card-slinging action.

In addition to honing their skills in practice matches against the computer and taking on their buddies via their Battle.net® friends list, players can challenge each other in two competitive game modes. “Play Mode” features traditional head-to-head battles, with players facing off for a chance to increase their medal ranking and earn card packs along the way. And for a different type of challenge, players can enter “The Forge,” where they start each match by building a deck from a new set of cards, and then use that deck to duel other Forge participants. Aside from winning new cards, players will be able to round out their collections by purchasing new card packs or disenchanting some of their existing cards to craft the ones they’re missing.

With hundreds of cards to choose from, featuring a wide range of colorful Warcraft spells, weapons, and characters, players will have limitless possibilities for developing and fine-tuning their deck-building strategies. Further details about Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will be announced as development progresses. To learn more about the game, stay tuned to http://www.PlayHearthstone.com. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

 

Official Screenshots

Video Trailer

Jason Hayes announced via twitter that he composed the The Hearthstone: Warcraft of Heroes soundtrack.

Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft – Fireside Duel

Hearthstone – Building The Fire

Blizzard employees/developers talk about the development of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and more about Team 5 and their role at Blizzard.

FAQ


What is Hearthstone™?

Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital strategy card game that anyone can enjoy. Players choose to play as one of nine epic Warcraft® heroes, and then take turns playing cards from their customizable decks to cast potent spells, use heroic weapons or abilities, or summon powerful characters to crush their opponent.

Why is Blizzard making Hearthstone?

We looooooove collectible card games and have been playing them since our Silicon & Synapse days. Creating a digital strategy card game felt like a natural next step for us, so we put together a small team and have been hammering away at Hearthstone for a while now. We’re excited to be working on something different from our other games, which we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Same goes for creating a game for iPad® in addition to PC. It’s been a thrill to work on Hearthstone and to finally be able to reveal it to the community, and we hope everyone has as much fun playing it as we’ve had building it.

Do I need to know anything about strategy card games or Warcraft to play?

Not at all! We’ve designed Hearthstone so that anyone can get into it, no matter how familiar they are with the Warcraft universe or collectible card games. The game will teach you everything you need to know as you play it.

What are the key game modes and features?

Hearthstone’s key game modes and features include:

  • Practice mode: Hone your abilities and test out new deck ideas against A.I. opponents of basic or expert skill levels, and unlock new playable heroes in the process.
  • Play mode: Duel other players to increase your medal ranking—which indicates your skill level and the level of opponents you’ll face (resets weekly)—and earn new card packs along the way. Whether you’re a grizzled veteran or curious newcomer, or fall somewhere in between, Battle.net® matchmaking will pair you up against a worthy opponent.
  • The Forge: Put your skills to the test in this mode where deck-building is half the fun. Assemble a new deck by choosing from a selection of cards provided for the match, and then duel other Forge participants for a chance to win card packs. The cards you select to build your deck with are yours to keep and can be added to other decks in your collection after your Forge duels are complete. Note that you must trade in a certain number of card packs to participate in a Forge match (further details to be announced later).
  • Collection Manager: Browse your ever-expanding card collection, disenchant cards for raw materials to craft new ones, and build a variety of custom decks to suit your shifting strategies.

What’s the difference between “basic” and “expert” cards?

Basic cards are the “starter” cards that form the foundation of each hero’s class, and are earned each time you play a game (you can have up to two of every basic card in the game in your collection).

Expert cards are cards that can only be found in card packs or created using the crafting system (certain achievements grant them as well). They’re distinguished by their rarity—common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). Generally, the rarer a card is, the more complex it is . . . often providing you with new strategic options. You can have any number of expert cards in your collection, though only two of any common, rare, or epic card, and one of any legendary card, can be placed in a deck.

Both basic and expert cards have important roles to play in all decks, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or are a Hearthstone grandmaster.

What are the different types of cards in Hearthstone?

Once you’ve selected which hero you want to play as, there are three types of cards you can build your deck with in Hearthstone: spells, weapons, and minions. Each card falls into either the “basic” or “expert” card set (see below).

How much does it cost to play?

Hearthstone is free to play, and there are a number of different ways to acquire cards through gameplay. In addition, players will have the option to buy additional card packs through an in-game store using Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods, such as major credit cards. However, there is no requirement to purchase card packs in order to play Hearthstone.

What are all the different ways a player can acquire cards?

Players will earn their first set of cards as soon as they start playing Hearthstone, and certain game modes and features will award additional cards through gameplay. In addition, players will have the option to purchase additional card packs through the in-game store using Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods, such as major credit cards. Here are the different ways to get cards:

  • Practice Mode: Play against A.I. opponents representing different classes to unlock new heroes and basic cards.
  • Play Mode: By participating in traditional head-to-head matches, players have a chance to win card packs.
  • The Forge: Build a deck by selecting one card from each of a series of randomized card choices, and then play against other Forge participants. The cards you pick to build your deck are yours to keep—play well enough, and you could win even more. Note that you must trade in a certain number of card packs to participate in The Forge (further details to be announced later).
  • Crafting: Disenchant expert cards in your collection to receive arcane dust, and then use your collected dust to craft other cards of your choosing. Basic cards cannot be disenchanted.
  • Card Packs: Purchase card packs containing five random cards using your Battle.net Balance or a variety of supported payment methods. One of the cards will always be of “rare” rarity or greater; in some cases, you may find that one or more additional cards has also “upgraded” to a higher tier of rarity.
  • Achievements: Certain achievements in the game may grant additional cards.

How many cards are available in the game?

There are over 300 cards in Hearthstone. All of these can be earned, with some cards granted for dueling the A.I. or completing achievements and others found inside card packs that can be earned by playing in Play mode and The Forge. We plan to introduce additional cards over time.

Can I trade cards to other players or sell cards for real cash?

No, Hearthstone is not designed to support these types of transactions.

Can players choose to battle against their friends in addition to taking part in match-made duels?

Of course! You will be able to play against your friends via your Battle.net friends list.

On which platforms will Hearthstone be available?

Hearthstone will initially be available for Windows® and Macintosh®, with a version for iPad coming later.

What comes in a card pack?

Each pack comes with five random cards. Your chance to receive a particular card depends on its rarity: common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). You’re guaranteed to receive at least one card of rare or better quality per pack. Each card in the pack also has a chance to upgrade to a “Golden” version of the same card.

How do I apply for the beta test?

Just visit www.playhearthstone.com to opt-in with your Battle.net account!

How will I get cards in the beta test? Do I need to purchase them with real money?

We do plan to test the in-game store during the beta test, and players will be able to purchase card packs using their Battle.net Balance or other Battle.net-supported payment methods. Players will also be able to obtain cards through Practice mode, Play mode, and The Forge.

The card pack price in the beta test does not necessarily reflect what the final prices will be at launch.

Will the cards I earn or purchase in the beta test carry over into the live game? What happens if I purchased beta card packs for real money?

Prior to launch your card collection will be reset, and any cards you acquired through a purchased card pack or earned during the beta test will be removed. However, any purchases you made during the beta test will be credited back to you in the form of new, unopened card packs at launch, equal to the value you spent during the beta test. Please note that these will not contain the same cards as those received from card packs in the beta test. Also, as a thank-you for testing out the in-game store during Hearthstone’s beta phase, everyone who purchased a card pack in the beta test will get a special gift.

I don’t live in the US; can I still participate in the beta test?

We hope to launch a beta test in other game regions after the initial beta-test launch in North America, but we don’t have any specifics to announce at this time. Stay tuned for updates.

Where will Hearthstone be available?

Our goal is to make Hearthstone available in the same regions supported by World of Warcraft, but we don’t have details to share just yet.

 

THE LAUNCH DETAILS (SO FAR)


When will Hearthstone be released?

We’re not sure yet—what we do know is that we’re going to take as much time as necessary to make sure Hearthstone is as fun and polished as possible.

How do I get Hearthstone?

Once the game is live, you’ll be able to download it free directly from Blizzard. We’ll provide further details, including how to purchase card packs, as we get closer to launch.

What ages are appropriate?

Hearthstone has not yet received its final rating.

On which platforms will Hearthstone be available?

Hearthstone will initially be available for Windows® and Macintosh®, with a version for iPad coming later.

Where will Hearthstone be available?

Our goal is to make Hearthstone available in the same regions supported by World of Warcraft, but we don’t have details to share just yet.

When will the iPad version be available?

Hearthstone will be available in the App Store as soon as possible after its release on Windows and Macintosh PCs.

Will Hearthstone be localized? Which languages?

We’re planning to localize Hearthstone in the same languages as World of Warcraft wherever possible. We’ll post the final language list as soon as we can.

I play World of Warcraft, too! Can I earn anything for my WoW characters by playing Hearthstone?

We’re looking into a few possibilities and hope to have more details to share in the future.

How do Hearthstone and World of Warcraft relate to each other?

Both games take place in the Warcraft universe, and World of Warcraft players will recognize a lot of aspects of Azeroth in Hearthstone. That said, you don’t need to even know what World of Warcraft is to have loads of fun in Hearthstone.

 

THE GAME MECHANICS

What makes Hearthstone different from other card games?

We’ve designed Hearthstone to be easy to learn so that anyone can get into it—but it’s also deep enough that even the most elite duelists will find it a challenge to master. Hearthstone is designed around short, action-packed duels that generally take 10–15 minutes to play.

How many players can play in a multiplayer game?

More than one, but fewer than three.

Which heroes are featured in Hearthstone?

You’ll be able to build a deck based on one of nine epic Warcraft heroes, each representing one of the original World of Warcraft classes: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.

Wait, what about Monk? Where’s Death Knight?!

The roster of heroes represents the nine classes that were available at World of Warcraft’s launch. It’s still too early to discuss our plans for heroes aside from these, though the game will continue to evolve over time. So practice patience, young monk! And death knight, you’re immortal, so you can chill for now too, right?

Will additional content be available in the future?

We plan to add more content and additional cards as the game evolves, but we don’t have any details to share just yet. Right now, our focus is making sure the game is as fun and polished as possible right out of the gate.

How does Practice mode work?

In the game’s Practice mode, you choose to play against a computer-controlled hero of any class at one of two different difficulty levels. Challenging that hero will unlock it for play and expand the types of cards you’re able to add to your collection. Players will earn a fledgling Mage deck just by launching the game, but that’s only the beginning of the journey. . . .

Can I create new decks or modify my current deck?

Absolutely! Customizing the perfect deck to suit your play style or to counter a rival is a huge part of Hearthstone. As your card collection grows, the in-game Collection Manager will help you create, save, and edit multiple decks for whatever situation or play style you can think of.

What if I’m new at deck-building and need some help?

We want anyone to be able to get into Hearthstone and build a deck without having to understand all the nuances of deck building. To that end, we’re developing a feature that will examine your deck and card collection and provide suggestions for what you should add. You’ll be provided with brief reasoning behind these recommendations so that you can learn a little more about how to build a great deck.

What comes in a card pack?

Each pack comes with five random cards. Your chance to receive a particular card depends on its rarity: common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). You’re guaranteed to receive at least one rare or better card per pack. Each card in the pack also has a chance to upgrade to a “Golden” version of the same card.

What is a Golden card?

All cards found in a card pack have a chance to be upgraded to a Golden card when the pack is opened. This upgrade will affect the appearance of the card but not its power.

Does Hearthstone support asynchronous play?

Hearthstone is designed to be a fast-paced experience. That being said, we recognize that players may want to play the game in short bursts with their friends over a longer period of time, so we’re looking into the possibility of supporting asynchronous play.

How does The Forge work?

You’ll be able to enter The Forge by trading in unopened card packs (further details to be announced later). These packs can be earned free in Play mode (or won in previous Forge games that you might have played), or you can purchase them from the in-game store. Once you are in, you will build a special Forge deck, choosing one card at a time from a series of card options until you have a full deck of 30. You’ll then duel with that deck against other Forge participants until you win or lose a specific number of matches. At the end, you keep all the expert cards that were in your deck—and depending on how well you performed you could win additional card packs.

How do I disenchant and craft cards?

Expert cards can be “disenchanted”—giving the player a resource called arcane dust but destroying the card in the process. Once a player collects enough dust, they can use it to create any card in the game, including Golden cards, permanently adding that card to the player’s collection. The amount of dust received and/or the cost of the card created depends on the card’s rarity (common, rare, epic, or legendary).

Only expert cards—that is, cards that come in card packs or are earned through playing in The Forge—can be disenchanted. Basic cards (i.e., cards with no rarity indicator) cannot be disenchanted.

 

THE TECHNICAL STUFF

How do I pay for cards?

On Windows and Macintosh PCs, players will be able to purchase card packs within the game using their Battle.net Balance or any other Battle.net-supported payment method attached to their account.

On the iPad, players will be able to make purchases using the payment methods they’ve associated with their AppleID in the App Store. The exact process will differ slightly for each region. We’ll provide further details as we get closer to launch.

What are the system requirements for Hearthstone?

We’ll announce specific system requirements closer to launch.

Will I be able to add friends in Hearthstone and chat with people?

Yes! The folks in your Battle.net friends list (both BattleTag and Real ID friends) are available for games or conversation. Players will not be able to chat with anyone who is not on their friends list. However, players will be able to choose from a variety of emotes for basic communication during games.

How can I communicate with opponents during a game who are not on my friends list?

We have an emote system that lets you communicate in a safe way with random folks you are playing with online. You can thank or congratulate or threaten your opponent with the voice of the hero you are playing.

Are you supporting Android tablets?

Hearthstone will launch on Windows, Macintosh, and, later on, iPad. We’re looking into the possibility of supporting additional platforms in the future, but we don’t have any further info to share at this time.

Will Hearthstone run on my iPhone?

Hearthstone is for Windows and Macintosh PCs and iPad only.

Do you need a Battle.net account to play Hearthstone?

We’re still working out the details for iPad, but you will need a Battle.net account to play Hearthstone on PC. If you don’t already have a Battle.net account, you can create one at http://www.battle.net.

Do you need a World of Warcraft account to play Hearthstone?

Nay, ye do not!

Will there be parental controls for Hearthstone?

Yes. Parents will be able to use Battle.net’s Parental Controls system to restrict their child’s ability to purchase additional card packs within Hearthstone.

 

THE BETA TEST

How will I get cards in the beta test? Do I need to purchase them with real money?

We do plan to test the in-game store during the beta test, and players will be able to purchase card packs using their Battle.net Balance or other Battle.net-supported payment methods. Players will also be able to obtain cards through Practice mode, Play mode, and The Forge.
The card pack price in the beta test does not necessarily reflect what the final prices will be at launch.

Will the cards I earn or purchase in the beta test carry over into the live game? What happens if I purchased beta card packs for real money?

Prior to launch your card collection will be reset, and any cards you acquired through a purchased card pack or earned during the beta test will be removed. However, any purchases you made during the beta test will be credited back to you in the form of new, unopened card packs at launch, equal to the value you spent during the beta test. Please note that these will not contain the same cards as those received from card packs in the beta test. Also, as a thank you for testing out the in-game store during Hearthstone’s beta phase, everyone who purchased a card pack in the beta test will get a special gift.

Will my progress in the beta test—unlocking heroes, earning cards, my ranking—carry over to the final game?

No way! In the interest of fairness, everything will be reset after the beta test ends so that players can be on equal footing when the game launches.

How do I apply for the beta test?

Just visit www.playhearthstone.com to opt-in with your Battle.net account!

I don’t live in the US; can I still participate in the beta test?

We hope to launch a beta test in other game regions after the initial beta-test launch in North America, but we don’t have any specifics to announce at this time. Stay tuned for updates.

© 2013 Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved. Hearthstone is a trademark, and Warcraft, Battle.net and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the U.S., and/or other countries. Windows is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies. Mac and IPad are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. All other trademarks referenced herein are the properties of their respective owners.

 

Press Kit Artwork

Press Kit Minion & Class Cards Art

Press Kit Heroes (Full)

Blizzplanet – PAX East Coverage

Blizzard Entertainment invited Blizzplanet and other gaming sites to the PAX East Game Announcement Event. Here are some of our interviews and press media kit coverage.

heroesofwarcraft-com-registration

PAX East 2013 Speculation – Warcraft Battles or Heroes of Warcraft ?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, PAX East 2013, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Kevin Carrillo (Sixen), Eldorian & DJTyrant (Blizzplanet), Eroldren and Medros (AllThingsAzeroth) have been brewing a barrel of speculations of what Blizzard Entertainment might be announcing today in barely 5 hours from the time of this posting.

pax-east-2013-speculation-march-22

pax-east-2013-speculation-march-22b

The first thought is Blizzard All-Stars. However, Blizzard Entertainment already announced this game at BlizzCon 2011, and attendees even played it. The press invite says Blizzard can’t wait for us to have this on our hands. Blizzard All-Stars has already been on our hands at BlizzCon, and second — why so much secrecy about a game that has already been announced? Unless it’s a brand-new game nobody has heard of yet.

Rob Pardo tweeted recently the announcement is Blizzard’s NEXT GAME.

rob-pardo-pax-east-2013-next-game-tweet

Considering Blizzard stated in the press invitation this (New Game) is not a sequel, expansion nor related to the Next-Gen MMO Titan — there isn’t a lot of room to speculate on.

The press invite also says “We’ve been working on a little something, different from our other games.” Now this one can be interpreted in two ways:

  • Different from [Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II] — meaning a new IP, or;

  • Different from [RPG, MMO, RTS] — in which case, the options remaining are: First-Person Shooter (FPS), Handheld game (PS Vita), or Mobile Game (iPad/MS Surface/etc.)

Among some of the creative thoughts circulating among the scholars:

  • StarCraft: Ghost — The press invite says different to our other games. As stated above it could be interpreted as non-MMO, non-RPG, non-RTS. StarCraft: Ghost was an FPS game. StarCraft: Ghost was postponed (meaning: to put off to a later time). PS4 was just announced and Blizzard is supporting it with Diablo III (PS4).

  • Project Blackstone — either stand alone new game based on StarCraft, or part of StarCraft: Ghost.

  • World of Warcraft TCG Online — the Cryptozoic Entertainment World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has been very popular. What if Blizzard brings it to mobile games? Glenn Rane (Blizzard Art Director, Creative Development) recently joined a team of friends and launched a Kickstarter to develop InKarnate … a digital RPG tabletop or Roleplaying-Game Tool Set. What if … WoW TCG Online or WOW RPG Tabletop online?

  • In late 2012, Blizzard Entertainment claimed the domain name: HEROESOFWARCRAFT.COM and WARCRAFTBATTLES.COM (Mobile games?)

warcraftbattles-com-registration

heroesofwarcraft-com-registration

Heroes of Warcraft. Warcraft Battles. This title really sounds like a mobile game. Could it be something akin to Pet Battles, but instead of pets, it’s heroes? I know, that sounds a lot like Blizzard All-Stars, but that’s DOTA-style. I mean … Street Fighter-style. Mortal Kombat-style.

Just the other day, Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson were playing Samurai Showdown2 — for example.

chris-metzen-and-micky-neilson-play-Samurai-Showdown2

The community has certainly been pulling their hairs on this one ever since the Press Invite, and it just shows how much love and passion we have for Blizzard Entertainment and their video games. Whatever this new game is, it will have a lot of expectations and criticism. Something worth discussing throughout gaming websites, fansites, forums and social media.

IamDeflector shared via Twitter a nice bracket:

blizzard-game-announcement-bracket-byIamDeflector

Whether any of us was right or wrong, it doesn’t matter no more. The game will be announced within a few hours. Make sure to watch the Twitch Livestream to witness the official Blizzard game announcement.

Twitch Live Stream

The new game will be announced today March 22nd at:

New York: 10:00am EST
Los Angeles: 7:00am PST
London: 2:00 PM GMT
Paris: 3:00 PM CES

Make sure to check it out. Spread the word! Share the link to this page.


blizzard-entertainment-lobby

Blizzard Posted Franchise Development Producer Next-Gen MMO & other Job Openings

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

During the month of March, there were a series of new job openings listed to fill several positions including the Next-Gen MMO Titan, Blizzard All-Stars, StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, Diablo III expansion, World of Warcraft, and the Mobile Team. Follow the links to learn more and to apply.

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Franchise Development Producer – Next-Gen MMO Titan

Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a highly organized individual with outstanding communications skills, proven experience in production, and a track record of shipping AAA products to help lead the efforts on its next-gen MMO.

Responsibilities

Be the key evangelist for producing products which expand the next-gen MMO brand outside of the gaming industry, ensuring alignment with Blizzard Entertainment’s overall brand strategy.

Be the key liaison between the development team and other functional teams within Blizzard Entertainment (e.g. creative development, licensing, marketing, legal) to create brand-extending merchandise for the next-gen MMO franchise, including:

  • Books / Novels
  • Action figures
  • Comics
  • Short movies
  • Apparel
  • Work with major consumer brands to facilitate product placement and licensing within the world of Blizzard Entertainment’s next-gen MMO that enhances the gameplay experience.
  • Direct strategic analysis of market trends and competition.
  • Build and manage internal and external partner relationships.
  • Work with legal team to define and conquer any legal hurdles necessary to execute the franchise vision.

Requirements

  • Demonstrated passion for computer games and related entertainment products / media (i.e. comics, movies, toys, etc.).

  • Outstanding communications, project management, and relationship-building skills.

  • A minimum of 3 years product management, licensing, or business development experience in the entertainment or toy industries.

  • Able to work well in a team environment with various internal groups such as Able to manage multiple complex projects simultaneously and meet deadlines.

  • Outstanding networking skills

  • Bachelor’s degree

(Apply)

 


Blizzard Entertainment Job Openings

 

PAX East 2013: Blizzplanet Arrives to Boston

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, PAX East 2013, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

After a 90 minute flight delay, @Miaari has arrived to Boston, Massachusetts. Thank God, sound and safe. We wish her to have fun at PAX East in less than 10 hours.

We will be gathering questions right after Blizzard announces the new video game for our scheduled video interview. Miaari is there to forward your questions. Stay tuned.

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Twitch Live Stream

Twitch will livestream the Blizzard panel where the new game will be announced today March 22nd at:

New York: 10:00am EST
Los Angeles: 7:00am PST
London: 2:00 PM GMT
Paris: 3:00 PM CES

Make sure to check it out tomorrow. Spread the word!

Watch live video from PAX East 2012 on www.twitch.tv

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1.1 Million Viewers Watched MLG Winter Championship, Equal Copies Sold

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

More than 1.1 million viewers tuned into StarCraft II®: Heart of the Swarm™ launch broadcast

More than 1.1 million eSports fans watched StarCraft II competition at Major League Gaming Pro Circuit Winter Championship

IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced a trio of milestones achieved during the launch week of StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm™. More than 1.1 million viewers tuned into the company’s 21-hour, global broadcast of launch events and community celebrations around the world, with peak concurrent viewership reaching over 125,000, as reported by Twitch. As of the end of its first two days of sales, Heart of the Swarm had sold through approximately 1.1 million copies worldwide, including both retail and digital sales.

Last weekend, more than 1.1 million viewers tuned in to see the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm tournament at the Major League Gaming (MLG) Winter Championship in Dallas, Texas . Heart of the Swarm reached a peak concurrent viewership of more than 157,000 viewers, as reported by Twitch.

“We want to thank the global StarCraft community for the incredible passion and support they’ve shown for Heart of the Swarm,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “In addition to a brand-new single-player campaign, we added a ton of enhancements with this expansion to make StarCraft II even more fun to play, and more exciting to watch. We’re pleased to see gamers and eSports fans around the world enjoying Heart of the Swarm.”

“StarCraft II has been a premier game at Major League Gaming events since Wings of Liberty® was released,” said Sundance DiGiovanni , CEO of Major League Gaming. “Heart of the Swarm has generated even more excitement, and we’re all looking forward to what the future brings for StarCraft II eSports.”

“StarCraft II has always been one of the most popular games on Twitch, and we’ve noticed a wave of new viewership since Heart of the Swarm launched last week,” said Kevin Lin , COO of Twitch. “Viewer numbers are up just about across the board for the most popular StarCraft II pro-gamers and personalities who stream on Twitch.”

Learn more about StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at http://www.StarCraft2.com. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently open—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

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Harvest of Screams – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript


Harvest of Screams

After the “Transmission” cinematic, players are shown a two-option screen. Choose either planet Kaldir or planet Char.

In both options, Kerrigan’s aim is to reclaim rogue zerg, each led by its own broodmother.

harvest-of-screams-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-1

In this case, I chose planet Kaldir. This map enables the Roach and Hydralisk units.

harvest-of-screams-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-2

MISSION: KALDIR

  • Reclaim Nafash’s Brood

NEW UNITS

  • Roach
  • Hydralisk

Adjutant: A broodmother named Nafash took her brood to the frozen moon of Kaldir. Recent reports indicate a protoss presence there. There is a high likelihood that Nafash is fighting the protoss for control of Kaldir. Her brood is believed to contain highly evolved, dangerous zerg organisms.

harvest-of-screams-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-3

 


Cinematic

Adjutant: Warning. Zerg organisms detected.

Kerrigan: That’s why I’m here. They’ll either accept me as their queen, or I’ll start killing them one-by-one until they do.

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(Izsha appears before Kerrigan)

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Kerrigan: What are you?

Izsha: I am Izsha. Your Majesty used to store all her ideas, thoughts and plans within me. Do you not remember?

Kerrigan: Yes … I do remember you. More importantly, you remember me.

(Kerrigan’s mind reaches out into Izsha’s mind – yellow glow in their eyes as special effect)

Izsha: You are the Queen of Blades. I obey.


Kerrigan: Perfect. Summon the Swarm, and prepare to move on Korhal.

Izsha: The Swarm is in disarray, and will not answer your call. Most zerg on Kaldir are under the command of broodmother Nafash. She seeks to create her own Swarm. While she lives, the Swarm will be divided.

Kerrigan: Not for long, it won’t. Take us down to the surface.

 


New Conversation: Izsha

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Kerrigan: Tell me about this leviathan.

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Izsha: It is the organism from which you command the Swarm. And this is its nerve center.

Kerrigan: And it can take me to any world I wish?

Izsha: Of course, my queen. But our numbers are few. Before conquering other worlds, you may wish to reclaim your forces here on Kaldir.

harvest-of-screams-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-12

Kerrigan: Leave the strategy to me. Now, what else can I do on this leviathan?

harvest-of-screams-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-13

Izsha: You can evolve and upgrade your Swarm in the evolution pit. The creature Abathur can help you.

 


New Conversation: Hatchery

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Izsha: The scouts report that Nafash set up a hive on this plain, but abandoned it shortly after.


Kerrigan: She moved off into those ice valleys. That must be where the protoss are.

harvest-of-screams-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-19

 


Evolution Pit

Kerrigan: What are you?

Abathur: Abathur. Evolve Swarm, spin strands and sequences. Served Overmind, then served Queen of Blades. Now serve you.

Kerrigan: I am the Queen of Blades!

Abathur: Different. Examining genetic strands. Queen of Blades was efficient, ancient zerg qualities. Minor terran influence. You, infected with more terran matter. Grasper limb poorly designed. Can improve. Will give it back, better.

Kerrigan: Don’t touch me.

Abathur: Only focus is evolving the Swarm. Seek perfection in all things. Work in evolution pit. Can review my work here.

 


Zergling Evolution

Abathur: Many benefits to evolving Swarm. Start with zergling.

Mutation Available: Zergling

Abathur: Organism can be upgraded, three distinct mutations available. Once chosen, will activate sequences within creature. Improve combat potential. Mutation choice, not permanent. Can alter at any time.

 


New Conversation: Abathur

Abathur: Moon small. Very little local essence.

 


Harvest of Screams: Mission Briefing

Reclaim Nafash’s Brood

Izsha: Nafash moved her brood into these ice valleys to fight the protoss. It’s unknown if she will join you willingly.

MAIN OBJECTIVES REWARD: +5 Kerrigan Levels

BONUS OBJECTIVES REWARD: +2 Kerrigan Levels

NEW UNIT: Roach

Cutscene

Izsha: This moon has pockets of intense cold called flash freeze storms. One such storm is approaching. It will push temperatures down so fast that almost all thermal energy will be lost.

Izsha: The storm will pass quickly but while it is here, your troops will be frozen in place.

Kerrigan: I can sense indigenous creatures nearby. Their matriarchs have powerful essence. Strong enough to help us adapt to this cold.

Gameplay

Kerrigan: I have to find an ursadon matriarch and get her essence.

Izsha: This zerg is feral. It is not under the control of any higher entity.

Kerrigan: Another feral roach. Something is very wrong.

Izsha: The flash freeze is near.

Kerrigan: I just have to find an ursadon matriarch.

Izsha: The flash freeze has arrived. Your troops are frozen.

Abathur: These ursadon, led by matriarch. Strong essence. Once local essence assimilated. Swarm will resist flash freeze.

Izsha: Flash freeze is passing.

Abathur: Essence assimilated. Swarm resistant to flash freeze.

Kerrigan: Excellent. And now I can sense Nafash’s hive cluster nearby …

Abathur: Injured roaches able to burrow. Regain health.

Kerrigan: Nafash’s brood. The protoss must have wiped them out. I’ll awaken this hive cluster for the Swarm.

Izsha: The protoss sensed the awakening! They are aware of our presence!

Expedition Leader (Protoss): The Queen of Blades! But what has happened to you? Frail and human!

Kerrigan: Protoss! I wondered when you’d show yourselves.

Expedition Leader: We must inform Shakuras. They will send the Golden Armada – they will destroy you!

Kerrigan: Izsha, tell me the protoss are out of range of Shakuras.

Izsha: They are, my queen. However, the protoss have psi-link spires that can amplify their psionic communication.

Kerrigan: Then we destroy those spires before the protoss can activate them.

Abathur: Additional matriarch essence nearby. If collected, Swarm can become more efficient in flash freeze.

Kerrigan: I do like an efficient Swarm. If I have a chance, I will hunt down some matriarchs.

Izsha: By accomplishing these goals you will grow more powerful. Your damage, energy, or life will immediately improve as your power level increases.

Expedition Leader: Brave protoss, slow her down! Take the fight to her!

Izsha: Protoss approaching the hive cluster! Flash freeze approaching! The protoss will be vulnerable until it passes!

[Flash Freeze Duration: 1:30]

Kerrigan: The protoss are defenseless! Attack now!

Izsha: Flash freeze storm is fading.

Note: Another wave of zealots will arrive a few minutes afterwards.

Izsha: Flash freeze will be here soon.

Izsha: Flash freeze storm has arrived!

Kerrigan: Press our advantage! Destroy the protoss!

[Flash Freeze Duration: 1:30]

Izsha: Flash freeze ending. We should retreat until the next storm hits.

[Next Flash Freeze: 0:45]

Expedition Leader: Time grows short, Kerrigan! The Golden Armada will come for you!

Izsha: In a few moments, there will be a flash freeze.

Izsha: A flash freeze storm has hit.

Kerrigan: The protoss are defenseless! Attack now!

[Flash Freeze Duration: 1:30]

Izsha: Flash freeze storm is fading.

Abathur: Matriarch essence useful. Visibility during flash freeze increased.

Izsha: Flash freeze will be here soon. The flash freeze storms are getting shorter. It will be harder to take advantage of the storms.

Izsha: Flash freeze is here!

[Flash Freeze Duration: 1:00]

Izsha: The flash freeze is ending.

[Next Flash Freeze: 2:00]

Izsha: Flash freeze will be here soon.

Izsha: The protoss forces are now frozen.

Kerrigan: One down.

Expedition Leader: Even if you destroy our spires, we will get word to Shakuras!

Abathur: Matriarch essence assimilated. Swarm perfectly adapted to fight in flash freeze storms.

Kerrigan: I feel stronger.

Kerrigan: One more left.

Expedition Leader: It’s no use, Kerrigan! Shakuras will destroy you!

Expedition Leader: The spires have fallen! Retreat!

Izsha: The protoss expedition will be unable to contact Shakuras.

Kerrigan: Now they have to deal with us.

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

Cinematic: Transmission – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript


Transmission

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Kerrigan: Jim? Are you on this frequency? Jim, are you out there? I’m at the rendezvous, it’s all clear here. I’ve been thinking about what you said. There’s something dark in me, Jim … I need you. I need you to hear me right now.

Lockwell: We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this news. Notorious rebel Jim Raynor was captured in a daring raid yesterday. He was briefly interrogated, and summarily executed. Emperor Mengsk had this to say:

Arcturus: “Proud Dominion citizens, at long last our nightmare is over. The lawless terrorist James Raynor is dead. With his death comes a new era of peace. The protoss have retreated from our Dominion, and the zerg threat has been removed. Their Swarm is shattered and leaderless. Soon we will eradicate every last zerg on Char. In short, we have won. Our peace and security is assured. Good night, my faithful subjects.

Kerrigan Mengsk.

Adjutant: Navigation online. Destination zerg space. Confirm?

Kerrigan: Confirmed.

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

Rendezvous – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript


Rendezvous

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Adjutant: Scanning. Detecting Dominion forces and a zerg hive cluster.

Kerrigan: Yeah, there must be an old hive here. I’m more worried about the Dominion.

Fleet Command: Ground team, this is Fleet. What is your status?

Dominion Commander: Fleet, our base is set up and the Drakken Pulse Cannon is almost online.

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Fleet Command: Roger that. Eliminate all stragglers as they warp to these coordinates. Will return for you. Fleet out.

Kerrigan: That cannon will take out Jim’s ship as soon as he enters orbit. He’ll never see it coming. Set course for the zerg hive cluster. I need an army.

(Security Cam 3 – Stardate 282-5837-73)

rendezvous-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-3

Kerrigan: I can sense a mind controlling this brood. Who are you?

Naktul: My queen, I am Naktul, a broodmother. You created us to extend your control of the Swarm. Have you returned to us?

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Kerrigan: I’m not your queen and I haven’t returned. But I need your brood to destroy the terran cannon, right now.

Naktul: Most of my brood is with me. I can send them to you, but it will take time …

Kerrigan: Then send them. When they arrive, we’ll tear down that cannon before Jim gets here.

Kerrigan: Meanwhile, I’m going to prepare this hive for combat. The Dominion would have tracked my ship and they’ll be looking for me.

 

Reinforcements: 14:59

Kerrigan: Okay. Let’s see if I can remember how to do this. The first thing I need is a spawning pool.

[14:00]

Dominion Marine: Command, we’ve found Kerrigan! She’s holed up in a zerg base! We’re going in! Send reinforcements!

Kerrigan: The Dominion found us. They’re going to hit us hard.

[13:32]

Kerrigan: I remember spine crawlers. I can mutate them from drones.

Naktul: When the Dominion arrived, they drove some of my brood into caves. They will rejoin us if we can kill the terran soldiers guarding the cave entrances.

[12:30]

(New wave of Marines attack the Hive base)

[12:10]

Naktul: A queen would be very useful for fighting the terrans. You can birth a queen at the hatchery.

[10:00]

Naktul: There are more zerglings in this cave, my queen.

[09:40]

Kerrigan: Dominion approaching from the north!

(5 Hellions)

[06:35]

Naktul: There is a large Dominion force on its way to the hive cluster!

(7 marines and 2 Marauders)

Naktul: Come out of hiding, zerglings! Fight for your queen!

[05:30]

Naktul: There are more zerglings in this cave, my queen.

[05:20]

Dominion Marine: Send backup — being attacked — need back up … now!

Naktul: You have recovered part of the brood! Rise, my children!

[03:10]

Naktul: The worms are tunneling to you right now. My brood will be there soon.

[01:30]

Naktul: Only a short time before my nydus worms bring reinforcements!

Naktul: More of my zerglings! The brood grows stronger!

(Achievement: Zerg Save the Queen — complete bonus objective)

[00:00]

Naktul: My brood has come! They are yours to command, my queen!

rendezvous-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-5

Kerrigan: Perfect. Now let’s get up to their base and destroy that cannon before Jim arrives.

Dominion Marine: Zerg! Defend the cannon!

Naktul: I have arrived! All of my brood is here to serve you!

(Cannon is destroyed)

Naktul: The gun is destroyed! The terrans are fleeing to their ships!

rendezvous-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-6

Kerrigan: Kill them all. No one gets out alive.

Naktul: Yes! The queen has returned! Kill the terrans!

Kerrigan: The queen? You’re right. I was slipping back into something that – I have to get out of here.

Naktul: We will await your return.

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

Cinematic: Choices – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript


Choices

RENDEZVOUS SITE
06:58 – Shipboard Time

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Deck Officer: IFF says it’s Raynor’s dropship.

Kerrigan: Jim? Jim? Where’s Jim?

Valerian: We couldn’t get him out.

Kerrigan: You left him behind?

(Kerrigan telekinetically lifts Valerian above the ground and chokes his throat Darth Vader style)

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Horner: Stand down! Let him go, Kerrigan! Valerian is helping us!

Kerrigan: There is no “us.”

Deck Officer: IFF negative. Multiple hostiles, inside the perimeter!

Horner: Scramble tac response squads 3 through 9.

Deck Officer: Hull breach: frame seven, deck three.

Horner: Defensive maneuver Delta-Four! Prep all stations for jump!

Kerrigan: No one is going anywhere until I see Jim.

Deck Officer: Shields at thirty! Failure imminent.

Horner: Dominion Fleet, this is Hyperion. Cease fire. Crown Prince Valerian is aboard!

Valerian: My father will sacrifice any piece of the chess board to take the queen.

Horner: We have to jump now. We’ll lead them away and circle back for Jim. Sarah! We need to work together!

Kerrigan: Do what you want. I’m going to find Jim.

cinematic-choices-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-27

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

Cinematic – Get it Together – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript


Get It Together

RESEARCH STATION EB-103
05:41 – Local Time

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-1

Jim Raynor: You made a mess down there, Sarah.

Kerrigan: Starting to regret bringing me back?

Jim Raynor: (Chuckles) Never.

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Kerrigan: I heard about what happened with your friend, Tychus. I’m sorry.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-5

Jim Raynor: He made his choice. I made mine.

Kerrigan: Maybe you should have let him kill me. I slaughtered millions as the Queen of Blades …

Jim Raynor: That wasn’t you, Sarah. Leave the past behind, and let’s focus on gettin’ out of here. I’ll suit up and meet you here in an hour.

Kerrigan: Okay. That sounds … good.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-6

 

BACK IN THE SADDLE
Depart with Raynor

Jim Raynor: My ship is prepped and we’re ready to go. Headin’ your way now.

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RESEARCH STATION EB-103
06:36 Local Time

Adjutant: Warning. Dominion forces in sectors three, four, and six.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-11

Jim Raynor: Sarah …

Nova: This is Nova. Begin your sweep – find Kerrigan!

Dominion Ghost: Bravo team, acknowledged.

Jim Raynor: Sarah!

Jim Raynor: Sarah?

Kerrigan: The killing will never stop until Mengsk is dead. I’m going to make him pay.

Jim Raynor: That’s enough of that. Get it together, darling.

Nova: Bravo team, come in … are you there Bravo? All units to sector six, go go go!

Jim Raynor: We got to go.

Kerrigan: Been a long time …

Jim Raynor: Like riding a bike.

Kerrigan: Yep, like riding a bike.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-45

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

Back in the Saddle – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript

Valerian: Jim, do you read me?

Kerrigan: We read you.

Valerian: Kerrigan, I’m glad you’re alive. But we’re cut off from your location. You’ll have to fight your way across the lab to the tram station. That will take you to Jim’s ship.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-46

Raynor: Roger that, Junior. We can handle it. Back in the saddle. Let’s move out.

Kerrigan: Marauder ahead! I’ll take him out with a kinetic blast.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-47

Raynor: Hostiles on the right!

(Alarms sound)

Umojan Marine: Dominion insertion team! Help us take them out!

Umojan Scientist: Raynor, Kerrigan! This recovery terminal will heal you and restore some of your energy! Good luck, I’m getting out of here!

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Raynor: Looks like this thing is all out of juice. Dead end. Let’s head back. Not gettin’ out this way either.

Kerrigan: Those marines are clustered pretty tight. I should be able to handle them all with crushing grip.

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-49

Umojan Marine: The way is clear! Move out!

Valerian: Another wave of Dominion insertion teams incoming!

Kerrigan: Look up! Where are the Umojans going?

Raynor: Let’ em go their way, we’ll go ours. Almost to the tram station. It’ll take us right to the shuttle bay.

Umojan Marine: The corridor is blocked! You’ll have to cut through the sublevel to reach the tram.

Raynor: Come in, Valerian. The main corridor is blocked. Can you open side door A-twelve?

Valerian: I can. Be ready though, the zerg specimens got loose in the attack.

Kerrigan: Yes, I can sense them down there. But I don’t think I should control them again.

Raynor: I won’t ask you to do that. We’ll handle them.

Valerian: The door will open in … Three. Two. One!

Umojan Marine: Too many zerglings!

(Kerrigan and Raynor take the elevator)

back-in-the-saddle-starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-single-player-transcript-50

Nova: Kerrigan, my forces have taken control of the security hub. We are putting this facility on lockdown. Make this easy on everyone and surrender now.

Kerrigan: They’re trying to trap us.

Raynor: C’mon, darlin’. We gotta make it through those doors!

Kerrigan: This reminds me of the old days.

Raynor: My hair’s got more grey in it.

Kerrigan: And my hair’s got more zerg.

Raynor: Right.

Kerrigan: We made it!

Valerian: Keep moving! They’re about to seal the area!

Kerrigan: An ultralisk. Let’s see how it likes a kinetic blast!

Raynor: It’s a mess down here.

Kerrigan: We’ve been through worse together.

Dominion Ghost: Target Acquired! Located Kerrigan and Raynor!

Raynor: Lord, woman, how many zerglings did you make?

Kerrigan: Yeah, I may have gone a little overboard.

Raynor: Destroy the debris! We got to reach that door. We made it!

Kerrigan: Are you surprised?

Valerian: Keep going! There’s only one more door between you and the tram station!

Kerrigan: I sense a lot of Dominion in the next room.

Raynor: Looks like a rough fight.

Kerrigan: They have caged zerg in there. We can use this console to set them loose.

Raynor: Or we can use it to activate the gas defenses.

(SELECT ONE: Release Zerg in Cages – or – Gas the Room)

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Dominion Marine: What the hell? Who opened the cages?

Kerrigan: Now we’ve got the zerg to deal with.

Raynor: Still, it evened the odds. Let’s go!

Kerrigan: We made it! The tram is about to leave.

Valerian: Jim, we’re in full retreat. I’m en route to the Hyperion.

Raynor: Roger that, Valerian. Hail us when you’re on the bridge.

Kerrigan: Just you and me now, Jim. Let’s move out.

Umojan Marine: The Dominion have breached the tunnel.

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Raynor: The tram’s picking up pace! Stay frosty kids! We’re outta the labs. We’re exposed out here until we reach the shuttle bay.

 

Kerrigan: I can see the bay! We’re almost there! A siege tank! I can take it out with a kinetic blast.

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Umojan Marine: The Dominion is deploying some kind of heavy mech in the shuttle bay. Move out! We have to hold them off until the evacuation is complete!

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Raynor: Almost there. Let’s follow these guys to the shuttle bay.

(Checkpoint)

Archangel: Archangel in position. I’ve got the shuttle bay secured. All Dominion forces, push forward!

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Kerrigan: Jim, the Archangel is between us and your shuttle!

(The bridge is destroyed)

Kerrigan: Jim!

Raynor: Dammit! Sarah, I’ll find another way to you.

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Kerrigan: Well you better hurry, or I’ll kill this thing without you.

Archangel: Engagin the enemy! Target’s locked, drop the pods.

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Kerrigan: This is a good time for a kinetic blast.

Archangel: Drop-pods incoming!

Kerrigan: Hurry up, Jim. I think another wave is incoming.

Jim Raynor: Sarah, I’m cut off. I can’t get to your location. Take my ship and go.

Kerrigan: We just found each other again. I am not leaving you behind.

Valerian: Raynor, Kerrigan! I’m on the Hyperion, we’re setting course for the rendezvous. What is your status?

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Raynor: Kerrigan is taking my drop ship. I need extraction.

Valerian: I understand and I’m sending a team for you.

Kerrigan: Do not screw this up, Valerian.

Valerian: Kerrigan, I’ll see you at the rendezvous. And … I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you sooner.

Kerrigan: It’s too late for apologies, Valerian. Jim, I’ll take your ship, but if you get yourself killed … you’re in huge trouble.

Raynor: Yes’m. Noted.

Valerian: Jim, Dominion reinforcements are arriving. The Hyperion is taking heavy fire and my team can’t reach you.

Raynor: Roger that. Get the Hyperion to the rendezvous! I’ll find another way off world.

Valerian: See you there.

(Door is destroyed)

Raynor: Nova!

Nova: Well well. Jim Raynor.

Nova: If you’d helped me with my Tosh problem, I might have looked the other way while you got out. But you chose poorly!

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Raynor: Alright, Blondie, take your shot!

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single Player Campaign Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is the second episode of StarCraft II. It was released on March 12, 2013 by Blizzard Entertainment. This Blizzplanet section gathers all the in-game dialogue and cinematic transcripts. To access each individual cinematic, Leviathan scenes, and missions click the name of the mission.

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Lab Rat – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single-Player Transcript

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft II: HOTS Single Player Transcript


Prologue

With the disappearance of the Queen of Blades, the zerg Swarm has been shattered.

Jim Raynor’s rebel forces have smuggled Sarah Kerrigan off Char, leaving the planet to General Warfield and the Dominion. Meanwhile, the powerful Xel’naga artifact has disappeared.

In a hidden base in the Umojan Protectorate, Raynor and Prince Valerian have begun conducting tests to ensure that Kerrigan’s return to humanity is complete.

But they are running out of time. Throughout the sector, Emperor Mengsk’s forces carry out a relentless hunt for the Dominion’s most hated enemy: Sarah Kerrigan.

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Cutscene

UMOJAN PROTECTORATE
Remote Planetoid Catalogue: XT39323

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RESEARCH STATION EB-103
19:46 – Local Time

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Jim Raynor: Open the door, son.

Umojan Marine: Valerian’s orders, sir. No visit-

Jim Raynor: Open the door.

Valerian Mengsk: Good Morning, Commander.

Jim Raynor: Junior.

Adjutant: Gentlemen, the test protocol will begin in two minutes.

Jim Raynor: Make the most of this test. It’s your last one … Now give us a minute.

Valerian Mengsk: Very well.

Jim Raynor: We’re getting out of here tonight, darlin’.

Kerrigan: Good. Then we can go after Mengsk.

Jim Raynor: Forget Mengsk. Forget all of it! This is about you and me.

Kerrigan: Until Mengsk is dead, there can’t be a “you and me.”

Jim Raynor: I moved heaven and earth to bring you back, Sarah! I can’t watch you throw that away just for revenge!

Adjutant: Initiating test phase two.

Jim Raynor: I never gave up on you, Sarah! Don’t you give up on us!

Adjutant: Test phase two, commencing.

 


Mission: Lab Rat

Kerrigan: What are you hoping to get out of these tests, Valerian? I told you I don’t remember anything about being the Queen of Blades.

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Valerian Mengsk: We have to find out how much of the zerg mutagen is left in your system. I appreciate your cooperation, Kerrigan.

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Kerrigan: Do you usually keep cooperative people in a containment cell?

Valerian Mengsk: When we know it’s safe, I’ll unlock your door myself. Now, can you reach out with your mind? Do you sense it?

Kerrigan: A drone? Are you really asking me to take control of a zerg mind? Do you know what could happen?

Valerian Mengsk: All the test subjects are in a secure environment. Are you able to control it?

[Left-Click to Select]

Kerrigan: Yea, I have it.

Valerian Mengsk: Okay. The next step: See if you can order the drone to mutate into a hatchery.

[Mutate Hatchery Here]

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Adjutant: A hatchery is the central structure of a zerg base. It spreads creep, so that other structures can be built. The hatchery also produces larvae, which you use to morph into more drones or other zerg creatures. When you use larvae, the hatchery will replenish them over time.

Valerian Mengsk: Okay, Kerrigan, I’m releasing more drones into the test chamber. See if you can order them to gather those resources.

Adjutant: Select drones by left-clicking. Then right-click on a mineral field. This will order them to start harvesting minerals.

Valerian Mengsk: You’re doing well, Kerrigan. Can you morph more drones?

Kerrigan: I need an overlord to morph anything else.

Valerian Mengsk: Do it then. One overlord shouldn’t hurt.

Adjutant: The zerg use overlords to generate more supply. Your current supply maximum is displayed in the upper right corner of the screen along with how much supply you are currently using. If you do not have enough available supply, you will not be able to morph a unit.

Valerian Mengsk: Excellent. I planned to stop here, but let’s take this a little further. Try mutating a drone into a spawning pool.

Adjutant: The spawning pool allows the hatchery to turn larvae into zerglings.

Kerrigan: You know this is going to end badly, right?

Valerian Mengsk: We have a controlled environment.

Kerrigan: The spawning pool is finished. You should go down to the test chamber and inspect it.

Valerian Mengsk: Ah, I can see just fine from up here, thanks. I think that’s all we need today, Kerrigan. Great work.

Kerrigan: If you think that was great work, wait ’til you see this. I’ll make some zerglings …

[Main Objectives: Morph Zerglings (0/6)]

Valerian Mengsk: Kerrigan, what are you doing?

Kerrigan: Putting your controlled environment to the test.

Valerian Mengsk: Stop! I didn’t ask you to create zerglings!

Kerrigan: Funny thing about zerg, Valerian. They never do what you expect.

[Alert sirens start]

Valerian Mengsk: Shut down the experiment. Get sentry bots in there to sanitize those holding cells! Lockdown on the sublevel and power up the Eradicator! Nothing gets out!

[Main Objective: Destroy the Eradicator]

Kerrigan: Maybe if I destroy your pretty Eradicator, you’ll learn you can’t control the zerg. Those sentry bots are destroying the zerglings in their pens. I can change that … I sense more zerglings in holding pens! Valerian, you were very careless! Perhaps I’ll free them too…

[Bonus Objectives: Release Zerglings from Pens (0/3)]

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Adjutant: Containment breach. Zerg specimens free.

Valerian Mengsk: Evacuate the scientists! Get all personnel out of there!

Kerrigan: More zerglings. Good, I can use them.

Valerian Mengsk: Kerrigan! This is not a game!

Kerrigan: It never is with the zerg.

Umojan Scientist: Zerg! Run!

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Valerian Mengsk: Dammit, get all personnel off that level!

Adjutant: No more personnel remain on sublevel.

Valerian Mengsk: It’s all … out of control.

Adjutant: Containment door closed. Automated gas defense activated.

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Kerrigan: That containment door won’t open until I destroy those turrets! The door’s open. Now to destroy the Eradicator. You have more zerglings here? Well, they’re mine now.

Valerian Mengsk: You’ve made your point, Kerrigan!

Kerrigan: Not yet I haven’t. I’m still in your containment cell.

Adjutant: Eradicator activated.

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Cutscene

Adjutant: Eradicator destroyed. Situation critical.

Valerian Mengsk: The zerg have overrun the sublevel. You’re lucky no one was killed, Kerrigan.

Kerrigan: Luck had nothing to do with it. And maybe now you understand how dangerous the zerg are. I’ll send them back to their pens.

Valerian Mengsk: I appreciate that. I’m opening your cell right now, if you’d like to join me. And perhaps next time you can make your point without destroying half the facility?

 

Love the story? Buy StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion Pack.

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Project Blackstone – Redell Quinton Framed?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

As we were getting chatty today in Twitter, Eldorian and I (under the Blizzplanet Twitter account name), a series of entries were posted today by a few Project Blackstone characters.

I got an eye-candy alert from Eldorian over chat: “AHHHH SPAM. you followed the Project Blackstone people”

I couldn’t stop laughing.

Patiently, I read through the eye-popping lengthy text to figure out what the deal was. Apparently, security logs show Redell “Red” Quinton (Chief Engineer) has been stealing large amounts of supplies. The Adjutant seems to suggest of the alcohol-type.

Major Treicher has ordered the Adjutant to seal off Red’s quarters. Red is ranting why he has been forcefully imprisoned in his own quarters. His behavior as he attempts to find out why he has been imprisoned, and under what charges seems to indicate the security logs are false.

After you read the entire entry, I will add up my own speculation on what might have really happened here.

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Dr. Helek Branamoor: @Adjutant3327 I’m going over supply logs today. Why are we requesting additional filters?

Adjutant 33-27: @HelekBranamoor Dr. Langridge has requested them for chambers 12 through 17.

Dr. Helek Branamoor: @Adjutant3327 The existing stock was intended to last three months! I want a full usage report for the prior lot.

Adjutant 33-27: @HelekBranamoor Yes, Dr. Branamoor. Engineering has allocated 73.2% of the existing supplies. A report of usage has been sent to your inbox.

Red Quinton: @Adjutant3327 My door is jammed this morning. Little red light on the keypad keeps blinking at me like it’s mad at me. What gives?

Adjutant 33-27: @RedellQuinton Please direct all inquiries to Major Treicher.

Red Quinton: @Adjutant3327 Huh? Why?

Adjutant 33-27: @RedellQuinton Major Treicher will be handling your inquiries.

Red Quinton: @Adjutant3327 Great. You’re helpful today…

Adjutant 33-27: @RedellQuinton Thank you, Red.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Hey Major, the chrome-head says I need to talk to you. What’s the deal? Am I locked into my room?

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton Yes and it’s going to stay that way until this problem has been resolved.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Whoa whoa whoa. What’s going on? What’d I do?

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton I explicitly warned you not to misuse station resources.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton Months worth of activated carbon gone in just a few weeks.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton Did you think such an egregious abuse of supplies would just go unanswered?

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Egregious? I must be in big trouble if you’re using all them expensive words.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Don’t take this the wrong way, Major, but you’re not exactly qualified to judge my use of engineering supplies.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher I’ve got at least six projects on my table right now that use activated carbon. You might have clearance to know about… two.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Now let me out before I actually get annoyed at you. I’ve got work to do today.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton The Director and I disagree.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton So, I’m going to make this very clear to you.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton You are officially under investigation Mr. Quinton and, until my investigation is complete, you are restricted to quarters.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Okay, fine. Tell me what you’re investigating. What exactly did I do?

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton After the scanner debacle, it’s painfully obvious what you’re doing.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton Mr. Quinton, if you come clean and admit what you’ve done…

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton I promise, as Head of Security, that I’ll go easy on you.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Easy? For what? Using more activated carbon than you expected? Give me a break.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton The official accusation is “misuse of critical Dominion resources.”

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton Or to be clear: I know you’ve built a distillery in the engineering bay. We’ll find it soon enough.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton I’ll say it again: Come clean right now and things will go much easier for you.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton It’d be stupid to end up in jail over a bit of moonshine.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher A distillery, huh? Interesting theory, major. Couple problems, though.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher First and foremost, I’m a whisky man. Proper whisky takes time to age. I ain’t been here long enough to properly age nothing.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Secondly, you think I’m patient enough to wait for whisky to age?

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton I’m not in the mood for games, Mr. Quinton.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher That makes two of us. So this is a paid day off? Fine by me.

Red Quinton: @LeeTreicher Let me know if you find any magical invisible distilleries anywhere in my workspace.

Major Lee Treicher: @RedellQuinton Suit yourself.

 

Speculation

As silly as the entire situation might seem, I have a few speculations:

1. A telepath managed to mind-control Redell Quinton. He doesn’t remember doing anything of what he is been accussed of. I can only think of one telepath aboard the Project Blackstone facility who might be able to mind-control … Jacob Ramsey. In the Project Blackstone website (Entry # 5) Jacob Ramsey clearly says he can hear the captive Protoss screaming, and asks Dr. Talen Ayers if he can hear them too.

Dr. Talen Ayers didn’t hear the screams, and actually he had absolutely no idea there were living Protoss specimens held captive within the premises. Hint-hint: Jake retained some psionic abilities from his mind-sharing experience with Zamara (the protoss preserver) — as seen in the StarCraft: Dark Templar trilogy by Christie Golden.

2. Someone hacked security logs to steal the alcohol and framed Redell Quinton. We haven’t heard of any technology hackers among the staff, so let’s pretend this is the case and there is a yet-to-be-revealed character among the Project Blackstone staff.

The only one in the StarCraft universe who has reputable hacking skills are Colonel Orlan (former leader of Deadman’s Port) who last time was seen in Heart of the Swarm under custody of Mira Han-[giggles]Horner. She had to — umm — cooperate with Matt and let Colonel Orlan free to go.

Is it possible? Considering Project Blackstone is a Terran Dominion research center, and we know what happens in Heart of the Swarm, I’d have to discard Colonel Orlan as the one hacking into Project Blackstone computers.

The other expert hacker is known as Lio Travski from Tokyopop manga StarCraft: Ghost Academy. There’s a little problem here though. Lio is a technopath, but he died. He somehow transferred his mind into the datastream and returned as an advanced AI.

Could Lio be playing games with the Project Blackstone staff? I doubt he would have much use to drinking alcohol in his current state-of-being, but framing Redell would certainly serve as a ruse to keep the Major, the Adjutant and Redell busy from their usual duties.

I can only think of these two options to explain how the computer registers Redell as doing something he claims to not have done. What do you think?


Update: New Entries

Dr. Helek Branamoor: @JakeJRamsey Dr. Ramsey, Major Treicher informed me of an incident last night. You collapsed in one of the hallways?

Dr. Jake Ramsey: @HelekBranamoor It was nothing. I just felt a little lightheaded.

Dr. Helek Branamoor: Having to be carried off to your room is the antithesis of nothing. I’m scheduling an examination by one of our medics.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: The concern is appreciated, but unnecessary.

Dr. Helek Branamoor: @JakeJRamsey I’m not asking, Dr. Ramsey.

Dr. Jake Ramsey: Of course not. ‘Asking’ doesn’t factor into the Dominion’s MO. Waking up alone every day is a reminder of that.

Dr. Helek Branamoor: @JakeJRamsey Report to the medical dispensary at 0700 tomorrow.

 

(UPDATE: Seems I came close to the culprit. Sounds suspicious Jacob Ramsey felt light-headed and was escorted to his room. The typical symptoms of someone straining after a small experimental mind-control session ….

Helpful Links

Lio Travski Bios – http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Lio_Travski
Captain Orlan Bios – http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Orlan

Blizzard Entertainment

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

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Blizzplanet @ PAX East 2013 – Countdown to Awesome: New Blizzard Game

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, PAX East 2013, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzplanet staff member Miaari is attending the Blizzard Entertainment Press Event at PAX East 2013 in Boston this upcoming Friday, March 22nd. Blizzard Entertainment invited a handful of Gaming sites and fansites to the event, including Blizzplanet.

There, Blizzard Entertainment plans to announce a new video game.

There are two things we want our visitors to know.

1. Miaari is taking video of the entire game announcement. Make sure to check us during the weekend for any update on when the video will be available or subscribe to our Blizzplanet Weekly YouTube Channel for an automated alert.

2. We are taking questions from fans to forward them to the developers at PAX East. You can ask bonafide questions about Diablo III (PS3) or about the new game to be announced. You can submit your questions below in the comments (can login with Facebook, Google or Disqus account), or you can submit your question at the following Facebook page or via Twitter using the @Blizzplanet #BlizzardPAXEast hashtag.

Those who attend PAX East, you should visit the Blizzard booth to meet @Lylirra @vaeflare @cm_zarhym @cm_phenteo @thelyns

 

If you didn’t watch our most recent Blizzplanet Weekly with host Chris Arnone, click the image below to launch the video. He discusses our speculations on what this new Blizzard game is. Could it be related to StarCraft II Project Blackstone? Warcraft related? A mobile game?

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Blizzplanet Weekly: PAX East – World of StarCraft? Project Blackstone Speculation

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, PAX East 2013, Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

In this week’s Blizzplanet Weekly, our host Chris Arnone talks about several topics around all Blizzard Entertainment video games. Mists of Pandaria will see no additional 5-person dungeons, Major League Gaming (MLG) in Dallas is this weekend where 32 players will clash to the end to claim the victor prize, Diablo III developers are moving away from the Auction House, and finally — Chris Arnone enumerates what are all the facts surrounding the new game Blizzard is revealing at PAX East, and what it is certainly not.

Will it be something related to Project Blackstone? Maybe a revamped StarCraft: Ghost intermingled with the Heart of the Swarm story? Will it be an MMO or a Mobile game?

Everyone thought the Project Blackstone website was a promotional campaign for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. However, there are still some unlocked content and absolutely nothing is mentioned about Project Blackstone in the Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign.

The Project Blackstone creator, Cameron Dayton (Senior Story Developer), tweeted recently “I think it’s starting to dawn on people that #ProjectBlackstone was more than just a promotional piece for #HotS – this story ain’t done yet” — hmm?

A few weeks ago, I remember Cameron Dayton revealed Project Blackstone’s story took two years in the making. This put me to rethink and ponder … does a website story and the ficticious characters tweeting each other on Twitter take two years to write? Or is there more to Project Blackstone than just a Free online short story? That’s a lot of time and manpower budget.

Watch today’s Blizzplanet Weekly with our host Chris Arnone speculating about PAX East new game announcement here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our BlizzPlanet Gaming YouTube channel and to like our video.

Note: Chris wears a different Warcraft, StarCraft or Diablo T-shirt on the shows courtesy of JINX. Get yours here.

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Blizzplanet Review: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, StarCraft 2 News

The StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign has shattered all my wild expectations. Even all my predictions based on the “Vengeance” Trailer were utterly wrong.

Wings of Liberty had a great story, but Heart of the Swarm is simply awesome. That on itself is a feat, considering it is the Zerg episode in the StarCraft II trilogy, and zerg do not talk, right?

Kerrigan the Queen of Blades has several supporting characters that assist her throughout her campaign to dispense vengeance upon Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. These zerg are Zagara the broodmother, Dehaka, Izsha, Abathur (Evolution Pit), and another servant I wouldn’t want to spoil.

In Wings of Liberty, Jim Raynor had the Cantina, the Bridge, Engineering and the Lab to move around aboard the Hyperion in terms of UI Navigation for the player. I remember the developers arguing about how to approach this, and it hadn’t been set in stone yet back then. Zerg do not socialize nor drink alcohol, the Engineering and Lab’s purpose is basically one and the same for the Zerg.

The StarCraft II Team narrowed it down to the most important aspects of the Zerg: what qualifies as a Bridge, the Evolution Pit, and Kerrigan’s Talent tree.

The Bridge

The bridge is the mouth of a zerg Leviathan — a massive space-traveling whale (reminds me of the Brood’s Acanti — X-Men). As players progress through the story, more support characters appear at the bridge and players can interact with them. It’s very entertaining to click these characters to access an in-game cutscene between Kerrigan and the support character. Lot of lore to learn from them in each mission.

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The Evolution Pit

After each mission, players usually see a new cutscene at the Evolution Pit between Kerrigan and Abathur. He was created by the Overmind from the genetic pool of different species to oversee the evolution of the zerg into perfect weapons of strength and essence.

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Players should go here to upgrade units like the Zergling, Hydralisk, Roach, Baneling, Ultralisk, Mutalisk and the Swarm Host — as each unit becomes available.

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Upgrade points can be acquired by completing the bonus objectives of each mission. These unlock new evolution missions which allow you to test two different strands of each unit in combat. At the end of these evolution missions, the player is given the option to choose which of the two strands to keep for future missions. Choose wisely. The choice is permanent.

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Kerrigan’s Talent Tree

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm borrows — to some degree — from the Warcraft III Hero system and the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria talent tree system. I gotta admit it makes sense. Kerrigan is the Heart of the Swarm. She takes center stage in this zerg-centered episode in the trilogy.

Kerrigan is playable in most of the Heart of the Swarm single-player missions. In addition, there are certain missions where support characters become playable heroes when Kerrigan isn’t available. Each support character hero with its own unique abilities.

Players get access to the Kerrigan Talent Tree tab through the zerg Leviathan bridge UI — which is located at the bottom of the screen. Initially, players may choose one out of two talent options, but eventually a new column is added — giving players the ability to choose one out of three options per row.

In each mission, Kerrigan earns experience points, but completing bonus objectives adds a large chunk of experience. Not easy to complete these bonus objectives, but for those who are daring and have lots of time to invest, go for it. Kerrigan can grow up to level 70.

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Some of the talents add a new attack icon to the Kerrigan unit, while other talent options function as a passive adding special traits to Kerrigan (like spawning two Banelings when Kerrigan is hit) or special traits to zerg units or even to zerg structures.

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Personally, I like Kinetic Blast, which one-shots any enemy unit except for Battlecruisers (but those get around 70% damage though). Mend heals Kerrigan for 150 life and friendly biological units nearby get healed for 50 life, plus another 25 life regenerated over 15 sec. My favorite though is accessible near the final missions and helps so much … Apocalypse. With this AOE ability Kerrigan can wipe anything within a large radius including buildings.

That’s like having your own silo and nuke in the palm of your hands. The catch is it has a 3 sec casting time, and Kerrigan is under heavy attack during this cast time in some situations. Apocalypse Deals 300 damage to enemy units and 700 damage to enemy structures in a large area. It has a 300 sec cooldown and costs 100 energy. I wouldn’t be too worried about spending energy. In Heart of the Swarm, Kerrigan has only 100 energy, but the energy regeneration is very fast allowing you to cast different abilities within 2-5 seconds. There are certain situations where you can simply send Kerrigan to wipe a group or raid a base all by her own with some patience (cooldowns), and micro skills.

The Kerrigan Talent Tree feature is more simple and straightforward than the Mists of Pandaria talent tree. You can view the stats of each talent and when you are ready to choose one, simply click that talent and hit the [back] button. No need to click buttons to confirm you want that talent and there is no such thing as respec limitations. Simply choose another option.

All your talent choices will be active once you start your next mission. Whoever designed this Talent Tree, did an amazing job. I might actually try other talents when I run the entire single-player campaign to hunt for achievements.

Archives

In Wings of Liberty, the Archives is accessed by clicking the computer console in the back of the bridge room. The Archive UI is kinda too crammed in and compact for my taste. It looks great, make no mistake, but in terms of flexibility and comodity the missions list is too small and narrow forcing you to scroll down a lot to find your desired mission or cinematic.

In Heart of the Swarm, the Archive can be found at the bottom of the Leviathan bridge alongside other navigation UI options. Now when you click the Archive and the page opens up — wow! Blizzard uses a large chunk of the page height to display all the missions and cinematics. Much better: the right pane is wider and gives you an image preview of what the mission or cinematic contains. It helps you understand and/or remember what that mission was about. I can’t say the same for the Wings of Liberty’s Archive where I sometimes wondered where to find a specific mission or cinematic because the title didn’t help much.

Just a sign that the StarCraft II Team nailed every possible setback in the prior system, and polished the Heart of the Swarm UI thoroughly thinking about the player.

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Creative Team – Heart of the Swarm Storyline

I am speechless. Brian Kindregan, Chris Metzen and anyone else involved in the storyline — you guys blew away all my expectations, conspiracy theories and predictions. To set the record straight, my “Vengeance” trailer predictions were completely smashed into oblivion. Utterly wrong in all predictions.

As revealed in the final pages of StarCraft II: Flashpoint, Kerrigan is taken to a secret lab within the Umojan Protectorate. The StarCraft II: Kerrigan – Hope and Vengeance # 0 Free Comics launched a week before the expansion release date revealed a scene between Kerrigan and Valerian Mengsk in said lab.

Heart of the Swarm starts where the comics left off. Kerrigan is undergoing her last tests. Jim Raynor enters the lab and asks Kerrigan to forget her path of vengeance, and to not give up on their relationship. Shortly after, Terran Dominion battlecruisers show up on the sky and deploy pods which penetrate the hull to infiltrate the lab. What happens next is for you to find out.

I don’t think I wish to spoil the storyline here. At least not yet. Kerrigan has a powerful reason to seek out the rampant zerg broods and to get them back under her control. One of her two motivations is to fulfill her vengeance against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk.

I was pleased to see Zeratul, though briefly, with Kerrigan. I don’t think this is a spoiler because we have seen Zeratul and Kerrigan in the Vengeance Trailer. Zeratul doesn’t even defend himself when Kerrigan (human form) assaults him. As seen in our Protoss Campaign transcript, Tassadar showed Zeratul a vision of the future the Overmind foresaw. In this future, Kerrigan had been slain at planet Char. The hybrids and their master had set the universe ablaze, and only one distant world remained as the last bastion of what remained of the Protoss civilization. In those desperate final moments, Zeratul, Hierarch Artanis and High Executor Selendris fought to the bitter end. The Fallen One revealed only one could have stopped his plans: Kerrigan. In their arrogance, the Protoss thought her to be the real threat.

It is no surprise that Zeratul would want to swallow his pride and to seek Kerrigan. As with Wings of Liberty, Zeratul appeared briefly in Heart of the Swarm. His wish: to show Kerrigan her next path. A path she most focus on in order to fulfill her role in altering the Overmind’s prophecy.

At first, Kerrigan is reluctant in chasing this path suggested by Zeratul. She doesn’t believe in the prophecy and she doesn’t wish to be a toy in its schemes. Zeratul is very convincing anyhow. Chasing down the path laid by Zeratul will allow her to fulfill her vengeance against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. That’s enough for Kerrigan. Thus, she embarks into deep space to seek what Zeratul suggested. A planet many fans have no doubt wished to one day visit, or at least to learn more lore of.

Somewhere in their minds, Fans are going to scream like 5-age girls in excitement when this mission pops in their Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign.

I did never ever expect to see any of this lore happening. Blizzard Entertainment surprised me, and the reason Kerrigan must go there meshed so very well with the prophecy and how she might be able to beat the Hybrids’ master. I loved this twist.

There are two aspects of the lore in Heart of the Swarm I want to briefly mention without blowing Spoilers directly. Those who read StarCraft II: Flashpoint, concerning Narud and the Moebius Factor, that’s going to be wrapped up in Heart of the Swarm. I’m not going to say anything further. That’s for you to find out and unravel.

Another non-spoiler sort of spoilerish thing I want to share — did that make sense? — is another continuity nod. This one hails from a secret mission only found in the StarCraft 64 (Nintendo). Yup! It is canon, fanboys. You will see … you will see. Bet some fans are gonna do some homework to find out.

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Voice Over

I really have to thank Chris Metzen a million more times for bringing back Robert Clotworthy to voice Jim Raynor. This iconic character represents the potential hero within all of us. No matter how hard life is, and how injustice crushes us to a pulp. One draws strength from anything that’s important to us. We stand up, clear the dust, and We fight for our dreams — and dispense indiscriminate justice.

Robert Clotworthy is the heart of Jim Raynor. His voice. Robert isn’t replaceable. Robert is the soul of Jim Raynor, and the soul of all the millions of fans who love StarCraft. Thank you, Chris for listening to the fans.

Jim Raynor doesn’t have a lot of screen time in Heart of the Swarm, considering this is the Zerg campaign and Kerrigan is the main character and the driving force of this second episode. Yet, I feel Robert’s voice drew out the right tinges to set Kerrigan’s humanity and essence afloat. There’s care and love in his tone. Just because he sounds soft, doesn’t mean he isn’t the usual Jim Raynor. We get to see his dark humor and sarcasm the way only Robert can do it.

Real people out there have real-life difficulties and regrets in their lives. Those in the military — far away from home. Far away from family. Those who are unemployed like me. Those who have disabilities. Those who are socially or politically oppressed (name your applicable country here). I can mention many others who fit the bill. I fall into the unemployed and disabled categories (without the benefits of one at the moment). Add to that homeless. It’s been nigh two years.

It’s been a very mean and hard year and a half. Other person would be deeply frustrated and depressed. I gotta admit I have tasted some of that. Yet, gaming and daily updating a fansite keeps my mind soothed, and busy.

I live and experience sci-fi and fantasy worlds with characters that breath and shine hope and feelings that I have felt before, and feelings I have never experienced before, but my heart feels theirs as my own. I assimilate and evolve through living these experiences and emotions that story writers share with readers.

I played through Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, and got deeply inspired by the iconic Jim Raynor character. He taught me that no matter how problems rain and pour down on you like acid, your heart and soul shall not be broken by nothing nor by anyone. That you shall always have hope that one day things will be better. You don’t need to be a religious person to learn that from Jim Raynor — from Robert Clotworthy — the soul of Jim Raynor. You are both a true hero. In our hearts. The players’ hearts. A hero to the real-life human beings behind the screen. Behind the keyboards. You teach us how to fight. A fight worth fighting for.

Back to the Voice Over topic, the entire expansion was mostly Tricia Helfer (Sarah Kerrigan). I will always have to bring it up, I can’t help it. I regret not hearing Glynnis Talken in her role as Kerrigan.I grew fond of Glynnis as much as I did Robert. Yet, I can’t deny Tricia Helfer has done an amazing job voicing Kerrigan, giving her certain tinges to the character that sound attractive and compelling.

There are scenes that demand that she is sweet and girly. Sometimes she has to cry and regret her actions or the fate of others she cares for. She got to be even manlier than Xena the Warrior Princess when she goes rage-mode during a fight. Tricia dominates all those shades of the emotional spectrum. I dig her.

Emperor Arcturus Mengsk (James Harper), Valerian Mengsk (Josh Keaton), Matt Horner (Brian Bloom) and Zeratul (Fred Tatasciore) do not appear often in Heart of the Swarm, but I admire their voices and personalities. I wouldn’t want any other actor replacing them ever. Hopefully, we see them in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void more often.

The voices of the zerg support characters that accompany Kerrigan in the Leviathan bio-vessel and those in other zerg planets impressed me. Each has their unique personality and manner of speech. It’s not easy to talk like an alien zerg, or heck — it’s not easy to read a script that while it’s in english, the grammar is so messed up — bordering into non-sense, it would be hard to read and catch it on the first go. I imagine it took them hours of recording time and several attempts to get it right. Especially, Abathur and Dehaka who are the hardest ones, but Zagara and Izsha sound lovely, too. My respects. Great voices. Kudos to the VO Team.

Cinematics

Senior VP Art & Cinematic Development Nick Carpenter and his Team nailed Heart to the Swarm’s soul with these cinematics. There are sad moments. There are intense adrenaline-driven battles. There are romantic/nostalgic scenes between Jim Raynor and Kerrigan. Moments of blind rage suddenly shifting into regret and then into mercy. Those moments are captured in the cinematics and in-game cutscenes and transmitted into the fans’ brain and down their spine with a thrill. The Cinematics Team and the Voice Over Team captured all the real-life emotion spectrums of what is to be a human being.

The story and the visual animation and facial gestures boost the overall experience fans demand and expect from Blizzard Entertainment and its Cinematic Team. Though we always take it for granted, the Cinematic Team always surprise us with the “ohhhhh!!!’s”, “OMG!!!’s””, “Holy @#%!!!’s”, and “Wowww!!!’s”.

There are three Cinematics where Kerrigan uses her telekinetic and psionic powers to render her opponents into smithereens: The cinematic showing a mega-beat up Kerrigan gives Zeratul, the “Shifting Perspectives” cinematic, and the final cinematic are simply mind-blowing. Those three definitely need a BAFTA Award nomination. I really wish I could describe them in detail, but I’d be spoiling critical elements of the story.

The “Get it Together” Cinematic, where Jim and Kerrigan kiss. It’s such a powerful and special scene. The Terran Dominion Battlecruisers launch pods to infiltrate and raid the Umojan Protectorate lab in search of Kerrigan. She’s found, Jim Raynor comes to the rescue, but it turns out she took care of the invaders all by herself. This is not a damsel in distress. She takes care of business. In her anger, she mouths out she’s bringing payback to Emperor Mengsk, but Raynor comes from behind and grabs her by the arm pulling her and forcing her to turn around 180 degrees to face him. She looks into his eyes. Her rage is soothed, and she melts into his eyes. Raynor asks her to get it together. She softens up. That scene was kinda cute and sexy.

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Jim Raynor wants to escort her to the dropship, and opens up the gate like a gentleman to let her exit the room. This is a very human Kerrigan. One who is deeply in love. They kiss. I felt a thrill through my spine. One who acknowledges and respects all the sacrifices Jim Raynor went through to rescue her and to bring her back. There is humor and sexual innuendo to boot. That cinematic is definitely among my favorite ones in Heart of the Swarm.

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One cinematic that made me angered was the “Conscience” Cinematic, but that had nothing to do with the quality of the cinematics. The outcome of what happens at Planet Char is what bothers me. Such a waste. Yet, there is a shift of three mood-states happening within seconds apart that really touches the player’s heart to the core. First anger for what happens. Then, Kerrigan’s face turns from one of rage to one of regret. She looks fragile and human as she closes her eyes and her brows frown after what she did — displaying regret. Then a glow on her face shows her determination. One only realizes what just happened after hearing the radio transmission. Something one might never have imagined the Queen of Blades feeling ever again: Mercy. One can quickly feel portrayed in that scene. That reflects our daily life. That was a powerful scene. I loved it.

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To wrap up, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is an awesome gameplay experience with new and exciting lore to match. If you haven’t upgraded to the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Standard Edition) yet, I encourage you to do so. The Collector’s Edition is still available while supplies last– by the way, and both are elegible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.

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Project Blackstone – Enter: Project Gestalt

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News

Project Blackstone entry log # 6 is Dr. Talen Ayers’ personal journal.

He isn’t comfortable with co-workers Dr. Held and Jake Ramsey and writes down his thoughts about this situation as a way to drain his frustration out.

What I find truly interesting is the continuity nods in this story. I finished the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign, and I have to admit this Project Blackstone is still an enigma to me.

Did Cameron Dayton and the Creative Team meant Project Blackstone to be a StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm teaser? Or is Project Blackstone somewhat related to whatever Blizzard Entertainment is announcing at PAX East on Friday, March 22nd?

Only a week to find out the latter, but I can assure you Project Blackstone and none of the characters are mentioned in the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign.

Back to continuity nods, first Jake Ramsey (from StarCraft: Dark Templar Trilogy by Christie Golden) shows up out of the blue as new member of Project Blackstone. Now Dr. Talen Ayers mentions Dr. Warren G. Held (Xenobiologist, Senior Protoss Specialist) was part of the Project Gestalt!

Now this is EXTREMELY interesting. Project Gestalt was introduced into the StarCraft universe in the pages of TOKYOPOP manga StarCraft: Frontline Volume 3 (Story: Do No Harm by Josh Elder — published on July 14, 2009).

Dr. Stanley Burgess was the Terran Dominion scientist in charge of Project Gestalt, where Dr. Held worked.

Project Gestalt was a Korhal IV Primary Resocialization Center where Protoss specimens were held captive to conduct experiments. Project Blackstone now has living Protoss specimens in captivity too.

Basically, Project Gestalt added spliced protoss DNA and protoss appendage implants on Terran Dominion ghosts with the intention of allowing the ghosts to become powerful warriors with psi-blades and access to the Khala, but under the controlled environment of the Terran Dominion’s neural inhibitors.

There was only one successful specimen: Gestalt Zero — a Terran/Protoss hybrid. He destroyed Project Gestalt and killed Dr. Burgess. Finally, Gestalt Zero joined the Protoss. Nothing has been known of him afterwards either in printed media or in-game. I remember telling Chris Metzen at the Irvine Headquarter this character reminded me of Rexxar, but there are no plans to bring him to StarCraft II as a character. Who knows, he might actually show up in printed media or future StarCraft-related games.

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During our video interview with Chris Metzen, he said the following when I asked him about Gestalt Zero:


Press-only StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Single-player Hands-on event (July 2009)

Blizzplanet: There is an interesting concept played out through the short story Do No Harm by Josh Elder. A Terran Dominion scientist has been capturing Protoss and experimenting with their DNA to create a Human-Protoss hybrid prototype. There have been other previous prototypes, but this one in particular is pretty strong and uses Ghost technology to stealth. The Terran Dominion plans to create an army of these hybrids to protect the core-worlds. Are we going to see a follow-up of this play out into the Single Player? This guy is pretty much the Rexxar of Starcraft.

Metzen: I think that one, for now, is kind more of a one-off. I don’t think there’s any plans to follow up on that theme anytime soon in terms of the game itself, in terms of the game story. But I dig that story a lot that I think it’s more of just a really cool story by itself.

 

Visit the Project Blackstone website.

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

More about “Do No Harm” at StarCraft.Wikia

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PetaCraft: Heart for the Swarm

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

starcraft-ii-petacraft-heart-for-the-swarmPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — better known as PETA, posted an article encouraging StarCraft II players to care for zerglings. I am sure many of you support PETA issues, while others might think PETA got “issues” (as in the mental ones).

I don’t think PETA is bothered much by digital pixels getting killed. It’s probably their way to catch gamers’ attention to introduce their care for animals propaganda. I don’t know if this PetaCraft: Heart for the Swarm propaganda worked for you, but you gotta admit it’s funny and cute. — source

Thanks, Mike_

    PETA—or, as we are renaming ourselves in honor of the expansion pack’s launch, “Terrans for the Ethical Treatment of Zerglings”—will attend tonight’s launch event in Irvine, California, and distribute copies of our new “Zerglings Have Feelings, Too” leaflets as a reminder that gamers and nongamers alike should have compassion for all beings—even those who are very different from us.

Reminds me of the recent CarbotAnimations video with the cute zerglings. Worth a watch. (source)

Amazon Ships StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

All those fans who heed my call to pre-order the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition should check out their Amazon account-associated email. Amazon has shipped the game already and provided a delivery track number.

Haven’t ordered the Collector’s Edition? Seems Amazon is still taking orders!! The order button is still enabled.

Note: I got an email from Amazon informing me the game has shipped. A few months ago, I had shared my live chat conversation with an Amazon representative who instructed me to cancel my older pre-order and to pre-order with the ship on same date option enabled.

Amazon Shipment Email

This is why I love to pre-order from Amazon — the game shipped March 11th at 3:08pm from a warehouse located in Delaware. By March 11th at 11pm it was already in New York City. It will be on my door in less than 24 hours, ready for release date (March 12th). No need to stand in a long line to be told there is no Collector’s Edition for me, or that I had to pre-order it first, or other non-sense.

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Yahoooooooooo !!!!

This is me after reading my Amazon shipment confirmation email

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Watch the Global Heart of the Swarm Launch Livestream

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

The Heart of the Swarm Launch Party has begun today in South Korea and continues throughout the globe. Watch the 21-hour long livestream here.

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StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm global launch party details announced

Day-long launch broadcast to feature “King of the Beta” matches between top pro gamers, community-created content, & live event coverage

IRVINE, Calif.—February 25, 2013—Tune in or turn out and be absorbed into the hive mind at the global StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm launch party! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today shared its plans for the official Heart of the Swarm launch events taking place in the US, France, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico starting in the evening of March 11. At each of these events, Blizzard developers and key retail partners will host gamers from around the world who want to be among the first to join Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, in her quest to reunite the zerg Swarm.

In addition to the nine official launch events, thousands of stores worldwide will be open at midnight to welcome players and help roll out the next chapter in the epic saga of StarCraft II. (Check with local retailers for hours and availability.)

To kick things off and follow the celebration as it spreads across the planet, Blizzard will be cohosting a special 21-hour launch broadcast with noted eSports personality and commentator Sean “Day[9]” Plott, in conjunction with Twitch.tv, at http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. Starting at 3:00 a.m. PDT on March 11, the stream will give viewers around the world the opportunity to watch the Australia, South Korea, France, and US launch events live. Viewers will also be treated to additional exclusive content, including community-created videos and “King of the Beta” tournament matches between top pro gamers, hosted by Day[9], who’ll be transmitting from a bunker deep inside Blizzard’s Irvine HQ.

“The StarCraft community has been anticipating Heart of the Swarm for a long time,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “I believe you will find it was worth the wait. We’re looking forward to celebrating the release by hosting an awesome global launch party in two weeks and delivering our best StarCraft content to date.”

In the US, the official launch event will be hosted by Blizzard and retail partner GameStop at:

The Great Wheel Court of the Irvine Spectrum Mall

71 Fortune Drive

Irvine, CA  92618

Local festivities will start at 9:00 p.m. PDT on March 11, and will feature special guest hosts from the StarCraft II and eSports community, including commentators Day[9] and Mike “Husky” Lamond. Live eSports show matches will be played by top pro gamers from the US and South Korea, and demonstrations will introduce the crowd to some of the powerful new features included in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. A series of epic prize giveaways will round out the celebration, and when the clock strikes midnight, gamers will be able to pick up their copies of the expansion as well as have them autographed by members of the StarCraft II development team.

Attendees at the official StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch events will have the opportunity to purchase the standard edition of the game (suggested retail price $39.99) as well as the retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition (suggested retail price $79.99), which contains the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:

  • Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft’s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.
  • Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of 11 tracks from the game.
  • Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.
  • Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector’s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.
  • StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.
  • StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.
  • World of Warcraft® In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene.
  • Diablo® III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.

Heart of the Swarm picks up the story of StarCraft II where Wings of Liberty® left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.

New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm‘s multiplayer, including new units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities. New features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systems; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking; user interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral looking battles; multiplayer replays, to watch replays with friends; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.

Learn more about StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at http://www.StarCraft2.com, and for further details on the global launch events and the 21-hour broadcast, visit http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently open—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

† Limited to supplies on hand.

 
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StarCraft: Kerrigan – Hope and Vengeance # 0 Becomes # 1 Amazon Best Seller

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-kerrigan-hope-and-vengeance-0-coverThe StarCraft: Kerrigan – Hope and vengeance # 0 has become the #1 Amazon Best Seller in Superhero Comics & Graphic Novels (Top 100 Free Listing), and the # 2 Amazon Best Sellers in Graphic Novels (Top 100 Free listing) and # 1 Amazon Best Sellers in Single Issue Comics (Top 100 Free Listing) in less than 48 hours. Very impressive.

Congratulations to Cameron Dayton and Blizzard Entertainment / Creative Team for this feat and for Cameron Dayton and James Waugh’s promotion to Senior Story Developer.

Download and read the FREE digital comics:

Check out our review of this digital comics here.

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Zerg Attack — Humanity Fights Back #SwarmLaunch (Video)

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

[static] — this is NICK. We’re low on ammo and need immediate backup. Right now. Our defense has gone FUBAR [static]

That was the last communication from the Blizzard Entertainment Headquarters. I know each of you have your share of SNAFU today, but we must investigate our main command center and support our forces there.

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[static] … thousands of Zerglings are F[kkkkzz] sweeping across the city. Our sweet New York City.

I call upon all eSport players and newbs … any survivors out there … report for duty immediately! This is a global DEFCON 1 situation. It’s serious business.

Paris is gone. We must not allow the same fate to take hold in each of our remaining cities and nations. New Yor– [static] is under attack.

Dammit, do you hear that? They are crawling up through the elevator shaft. GRENADE!!!

Repeat. we need immediate backup.

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As soon as you pwn this zerg in your local bunkers, set route to the nearest airport.

Any SCV experts will be deeply appreciated to rendevouz there. See if there’s any functional airplanes.

Our goal is crystal clear. Any and all capable hands are to rendezvous at the Blizzard Entertainment Headquarters. We must make sure there are survivors. All communications came to a halt an hour ago. All I could hear were screams and the sound of heavy artillery as the radio signal cracked up in static.

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We must help our brethren. We must secure our last bastion and hold our ground to eradicate this invading force. This situation has really goatrope on us. The zerg has caused TERRIBLE TERRIBLE DAMAGE throughout the globe.

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. United as one. For the sake of humanity and our children. There is no task that is more important or closer to our hearts.

March 12th will be our last stand. Huh?! Did you hear that? … Oh krap! … I love you Sarge. —– [KKkkttttzzz]

***Secure your StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition while supplies last.

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Mike Morhaime at the 7th MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

Rod “Slasher” Breslau moderates an eSports Explosion panel with Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime, Sundance DiGiovanni, Kevin Lin, and Daryl Morey.

One of the questions was how the growth has been for eSports since 2011 to 2013 compared with previous years. Twitch has seen over 13 million uniques nowadays compared with the 8 million uniques back in 2011. Women viewers have increased too.

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Project Blackstone – Jacob Ramsey Discovers Living Protoss Specimens

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Entertainment updated the Project Blackstone website today. Jacob Ramsey (Xenoarchaeologist/Protoss Specialist) has an interesting dialogue with Dr. Talen Ayers (Xenobiologist, Senior Zerg Specialist).

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cameron-dayton-1Ramsey complaints the Blackstone team is currently conducting experiments and taking samples from living Protoss specimens held captive.

Dr. Talen Ayers had no idea this was happening. Apparently, Jacob Ramsey’s brain has changed since Zamara’s mind was removed from it. He can hear the screams of the Protoss captives.

I can’t wait to find out where Ramsey has been since StarCraft: Dark Templar trilogy, and why exactly he was transferred to join the Project Blackstone team.

It’s very clear he is against Emperor Mengsk and against the Project Blackstone’s experiments.

Visit the Project Blackstone website to read the latest update.

The Project Blackstone saga isn’t static in the website. The story is expanded also in Twitter where each character has its own Twitter account to interact with each other.

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

Update

I wish to take the opportunity to congratulate Cameron Dayton (Transmedia strategist and story developer). A few minutes ago he announced on Twitter that he has been promoted to Senior Story Developer. Congratulations!!!

May the new upgraded pen with +500 intellect and spirit give you the wisdom to write even better Azeroth / Kropulu / Sanctuary stories.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0 Free Comic Book

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-kerrigan-hope-and-vengeance-0-coverBlizzard Entertainment released a FREE comic book titled StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0.

I think I have never seen Blizzard post a comic book # 0 before just days before a video game or expansion. I personally like this type of bonus material meant to tease us, and to inform us fans of a depth story surrounding the initial mission and cutscenes in the upcoming expansion.

The comic book is written by Cameron Dayton (Story Developer, Writer, and Transmedia Strategist) and penciled by Zoddd.

Download the FREE Comics

Download the FREE StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0 from your favorite digital book source:

In Amazon if you have an account there. If you don’t have Kindle, just select Kindle Cloud to read it on your internet browser. The Comics is Free.

In Comixology you can read the comics on your tablet, smartphone or on your internet browser (PC/Mac). Requires a comixology account registration. Add to cart. Check out, then choose your platform.

Review

The FREE comic book only contains 8-pages, and this is definitely somehow tied with Chris Metzen & Flint Dille’s experimental format with IDW Transformers: Autocracy — published as an 8-page digital comics every two weeks. A year later, the comics was published as a Trade Paper Back (TPB) in Hardcover format. Both authors are currently publishing the continuation to Autocracy … Transformers: Monstruosity (# 1-12) launched on March 1.

My question to ponder here is whether this StarCraft II FREE comics is a one-shot # 0, or if this #0 means we might see soon an ongoing series. The first time I ever saw a #0 comics from Blizzard Entertainment, DC Comics had launched the World of Warcraft ongoing comics which lasted a whooping 25 issues.

I don’t know any information about an ongoing StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm comics. I do know the StarCraft II graphic novel by Transformers fame writer Simon Furman and published by DC Comics is in production with no ETA.

That aside, this Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0 story is written by Blizzard Entertainment Transmedia and story writer Cameron Dayton — who is involved in the Project Blackstone. He’s brought several great stories on twitter, and on the StarCraft II website’s Short Stories.

flashpointIn this #0 comics, we see Sarah Kerrigan right after the final page of StarCraft II: Flashpoint. I can’t stress this enough. Please read this novel by New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden. It’s a heavy-hit in the Starcraft storyline.

Following continuity with StarCraft II: Flashpoint, Kerrigan is studied in an orbital platform’s lab somewhere in the Umojan Protectorate. It’s been 16 days since Sarah entered the lab chamber. Prince Valerian Mengsk is overseeing the progress. Many assistants have died tending to Sarah during her comatose stay in the lab.

Her brain activity has been almost non-existent, when suddenly a surge of memories go through her mind spiking computer sensors.

We see some flashbacks of Sarah’s past as a child, and as a teen. Some of these are likely in continuity with StarCraft: Uprising by Micky Neilson and the scene in the comic showing Sarah and Jim Raynor might be a flashback seen in StarCraft II: Flashpoint.

I find it intriguing that Kerrigan can read Valerian’s thoughts when she wakes up. One would guess Valerian uses psi-screens to prevent telepaths from reading him, but either he doesn’t use them or Kerrigan’s powerset is high enough to bypass even psi-screens? I don’t know.

I can say that reading these 8-pages itched something in my mind. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is in my hands in six days, March 12th. And you bet I’ll be playing through the single-player campaign to learn more about Sarah and the overall story in this second episode.

Yet, I am craving for more StarCraft comics. I love Blizzard’s storytelling. I like my monthly fix of Warcraft, StarCraft or Diablo — thus, this 8-page format is very welcome because it doesn’t take too much out of the writer and artists to pump out material, as a full comics or a graphic novel would.

I’ll rather wait 30 days for my next 8-pages, than to wait a year or two for a graphic novel. I’d get the graphic novel too, however, don’t get me wrong. Bottomline: Blizzard, give me my bi-weekly 8-pages fix for each franchise or why not, several stories. I don’t mind.

One thing for sharp-eyed fans … notice there is no DC Comics logo in this # 0 comics? It was published by Blizzard Entertainment, brewed in-house by the Creative Team and Publishing Team. Is this the harbinger of more juicy and lovely Blizzard Entertainment-published projects? Hmm …

Checkout this excellent “Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0″ comics at comixology.

UPDATE: Cameron Dayton confirmed this #0 comic is a test to probe fan response. If many fans read it, we might see many more 8-pages comics (bi-weekly) based on StarCraft II, Diablo III and World of Warcraft. Whether you are a StarCraft player or not, PLEASE, download the FREE comic today.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0

No single human being has been more inseparably tied to the twisted destinies of the terran, protoss, and zerg races than Sarah Kerrigan. She has risen from the ranks of soldier and rebel to become the unstoppable Queen of Blades, supreme ruler over a race of bloodthirsty aliens. But now she has fallen from her seat of power and been taken in by those who wish to separate the woman from the monster–a task which may be more difficult than it was to dethrone her. Take a look inside the mind of one of the greatest villains in gaming history and prepare yourself for StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm with this explosive new comic from Blizzard Entertainment, Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance.

Writer: Cameron Dayton
Artist: Zoddd
Cover: David Lomeli
Letterer: Clem Robins
Art Director: Doug Alexander
Editor: Micky Neilson & Cate Gary

Special thanks: Laurel Austin
Creative Direction: Chris Metzen & Brian Kindregan