Confirmed: Blizzard Big Reveal @PAX East 2013 is a Public Event

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

Blizzard Entertainment today confirmed the big reveal event at PAX East 2013 will be a public event — not Press-only as many of us on the media side wondered, as the email invitation was sent to press only originally, not to Blizzard customers in general.

Those of you who are attending PAX East on “Friday”, read the details in our previous article. The event will be held on March 22nd at 10:00 a.m. EST.

Blizzard has a little something new, and they’re bringing it to PAX East! It’s different from their other games, so it’s not a sequel, expansion, or that rumored next-gen MMO. Be among the first to see what the legendary development studio has been working on in this presentation.

 

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – The Cycle of the Xel’Naga Prophecy

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

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm hits retail stores in a week on March 12th. The collective hearts of millions of fans are pounding with excitement — not only to play the new Terran, Zerg and Protoss units; but to savor the single player campaign’s storyline.

387451_4867472279548_696098261_nIf you haven’t read StarCraft II: Flashpoint, I recommend you to read it before March 12th. The story begins few seconds after Jim Raynor shot his handgun at Tychus Findlay in Planet Char.

Toward the end of the novel, Sarah and Jim Raynor are brought by Valerian Mengsk to a secret lab on an orbital platform within the Umojan Protectorate.

Something the Heart of the Swarm tie-in novel by New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden establishes throughout the story is that this is a very vulnerable and human Sarah Kerrigan. I think the objective of the novel was well written and received by the readers. There is no doubt this is the Jim’s loved Sarah. We even get to see some flashbacks from the point of view of Sarah at Antiga Prime and how her love affair with Jim escalated.

In early screenshots and video clips dating back to BlizzCon 2010-2011, we have seen Sarah wearing a ghost uniform. She is very human except for the tendril-like hair which shows she retains some zerg DNA in her system.

Last week, Blizzard Entertainment teased us with an amazing video trailer titled “Vengeance”.

As detailed in my “Vengeance” analysis article, there are two messages we got across from Blizzard Entertainment. One: Sarah will remain Sarah for a while during the single player campaign. We’ll enjoy her very human emotions in cutscenes, cinematics and as she engages some of her missions.

On the other hand, two: We see Sarah at a Xel’Naga Temple emerging from a crystal-like crysalis or cocoon — during the scene where we see a bright flash followed by an explosion.

Xel'Naga temple - Sarah emerges

Sarah emerges as a new Queen of Blades right in front of Jim Raynor.

Sarah emerges from Xel'naga cocoon?

I think you have been sharp-eye enough to have noticed her face as the brand-new Queen of Blades looks slightly different than when she was the old Queen of Blades prior to the Wings of Liberty-finale. Her eyes and the sides of her face have a special glow she lacked previously. A radiance of never-before untapped power.

Storm -- I mean, Sarah's eyes glow

The old Queen of Blades emerged from a zerg crysalis. This new Queen of Blades seems to emerge from Xel’Naga or Protoss technology — as seen in the “Vengeance” trailer. An enhanced Queen of Blades.

We don’t know exactly how Sarah becomes the Queen of Blades again. I can only interpret what I thought I saw. I know some lore fans might not like to see Sarah lose her humanity, especially after all Jim Raynor did to revert her back to human. However, the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty storyline was very specific on what Kerrigan’s role in the three-episode shall be.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – Protoss Campaign in a Nutshell

This quick summary will open up your eyes on why Sarah must be the Queen of Blades again.

Zeratul sought the three fragments of “The Return of the Xel’Naga” prophecy in planet Ulaan. Both, Zeratul and Kerrigan the Queen of Blades were drawn to planet Ulaan. Kerrigan said she heard whisperings from the stars which drew her to the prophecy fragments. A storm is coming.

Kerrigan also knows more about what’s coming and about the prophecy than Zeratul gives credit. He simply refuses to understand the words coming from an abomination like Kerrigan.

She knows there’s a war coming like a tidal wave from where none shall survive. There is no time to fancy a life as a normal human, in love, alongside Jim Raynor. The Fallen One and his minions are bringing about the extinction of the entire universe. It’s to go out in flame, and then eternal utter darkness. Kerrigan knows this. She must prepare to save everyone. It’s her role. This is what the Overmind created her for.

During the “Zeratul’s Warning” cinematic, Zeratul brings tidings of doom and asks Jim Raynor to save Kerrigan the Queen of Blades even if justice demands she is slain.

Zeratul: “I have pierced the veil of the future and beheld only … oblivion. Yet one spark of hope remains. You will hold her life in your hands … And though justice demands that she die for her crimes, only she can save us.”

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During his quest to learn what the prophecy fragments said, Zeratul visited the three immortal protoss preservers in the remote planet Zhakul.

The protoss preservers were held captive by a hybrid protoss, who was siphoning their lifeforce to augment his own powers and to gain immortality. Presumably, it was also stealing their sacred archive’s knowledge for his master: The Fallen One.

Zeratul and some allies he met in planet Zhakul rallied together and defeated the hybrid. The protoss preservers revealed the following:

Protoss Preserver: “The Cycle shall draw to its end. The Xel’Naga who forged the stars will transcend their creation … Yet, the Fallen One shall remain … Destined to cover the Void in shadow … It begins with the Great Hungerer. It ends … in utter darkness.”

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Zeratul determines the Great Hungerer is a reference to The zerg Overmind. Thus, Zeratul embarks into a journey toward his former homeworld … planet Aiur. There, he plans to draw psionic imprints from the tendrils and the cortex off the dead husk of the zerg Overmind.

To Zeratul’s surprise, he got more than he bargained for. Tassadar’s avatar materialized from the beyond. Somehow, Tassadar did not die at all in his final sacrifice plunging the Ganthritor protoss carrier into the zerg Overmind (as seen in the original StarCraft video game, 1998).

In the original StarCraft game, Zeratul was teaching Tassadar the way of the Dark Templar. If you watch the cinematic above, Tassadar channeled the High Templar and Dark Templar energies and became a being of pure light. The Ganthritor is shown to actually desintegrate long before the energy ball hit the Overmind, which means Tassadar trascended his corporeal form to become something else.

Tassadar told Zeratul the Overmind had been programmed unwillingly with an all-consuming directive and assigned with the mission to destroy the Protoss. The Overmind was imprisoned within his own mind with lack of free will.

Tassadar admited he did not know who programmed the Overmind with these directives. It seems as if someone sabotaged the Xel’Naga’s original plans for the Overmind. Maybe a traitor from within?

Before the zerg arrived to the Koprulu Sector, the Overmind had seen a vision of the future. In this vision, the Terrans had fallen. The universe was aflame. Only the protoss remained alive in a distant world holding the last bastion of the protoss civilization. In this future, Zeratul, High Executor Selendis, Hierarch Artanis and other heroes fought to the bitter end in a glorious battle against the Hybrid and the enslaved zerg.

In this future, Kerrigan the Queen of Blades had been killed earlier. It seems Jim Raynor had eventually killed Kerrigan as he originally planned.

The Fallen One whispered into the minds of the Protoss the only one who could have posed a threat to him was the Queen of Blades. The protoss in their arrogance did not see.

The Fallen One: “Foolish, prideful children … There was one among you who could have jeopardized my great plan … but in your recklessness – you mistook her for the true threat!”

Zeratul: “The Queen of Blades … how could we have known?”

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The Overmind orchestrated a hope to set itself and the zerg race free. It created the Queen of Blades. She will destroy the hybrids, the harbingers of the Fallen One. This is the role she was created to undo. This is why Sarah must be the Queen of Blades once more in “Heart of the Swarm”.

Wait — but how comes if this is her role, she died in that dark future? Jim Raynor had something to do with her demise. Or maybe Tychus Findlay was meant to shoot her in this alternate timeline. Somehow the prophecy came to the past from the future. I think I can explain that one. The bonus objective in the “Utter Darkness” mission is to protect the “Protoss Archive” vault.

A High Templar says the following:

High Templar: “High Templar: Great one, the vault is prepared. Guard us while we preserve our knowledge for those that may follow. They must not make the mistakes we did.”

 

It seems the Protoss Preservers managed to send the archive back in time, securing the knowledge of this dark future so that the wisdom could be used to change the outcome. We have seen time manipulation before in the StarCraft lore. In StarCraft II: The Dark Templar trilogy we see Zamara halts her death by placing her dying body in a time bubble. Maybe the protoss are not capable of traveling back in time, but they might be able to send a signal back in time? If that can’t be believed, then let’s just see how Tassadar pulled an Obi-Wan trick and cheated death. For instance.

This vision of the future was given to Zeratul by Tassadar, who saw into the Overmind’s memories as it died. It is then how Zeratul recorded his experience into the Ihan Crystal and gave it to Jim Raynor during the “Zeratul’s Warning” cinematic.

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Only Jim Raynor can save Kerrigan. And so he did.

It’s now Kerrigan’s turn to fulfill the role she was created to accomplish. There is no doubt whatever Blizzard’s Creative Team has cooked up for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is going to leave fans hungering for more with an epic storyline.

This is your last chance to pre-order the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition (while supplies last), or to buy the standard edition.

Play through the single player campaign, and we’ll both discover what the Blizzard creative writers have in store for us.

Read our transcript of the entire Protoss Campaign (StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty) along with screenshots and cutscene videos.

Read the “Vengeance” trailer analysis article.

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Project Blackstone Getting Better … Enter: Jake Ramsey

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

The Project Blackstone website was launched on February 6th as we reported earlier. The password login has been removed allowing easy navigation. I am still uncertain on what the purpose of Project Blackstone is. It’s a very different way of storytelling what the Creative Team assigned to the project is introducing to fans. Fun and amusing in a way. Makes you want to read more as weeks go by.

Blizzard developers involved in the Project Blackstone website content: Cameron Dayton, Matt Burns, Robert Brooks, Cate Gary, Evelyn Fredericksen, Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland, Justin Dye, Cynthia Hall, Katherine Joplin, Kevin Johnson, Justin Parker. Micah Whipple (Bashiok). I’m sure you know some of these illustrious names.

This is what Cameron Dayton posted a few days ago on Facebook:

”The transmedia campaign that I have been building with our creative development team over the last two years is officially LIVE. It’s a combination of short stories, blog posts, science journals, and twitter accounts that tie exciting, agile storytelling in with the gameplay that has made StarCraft an international gaming phenomenon. Stay tuned for more excitement at www.projectblackstone.com and http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/game/lore/

 

The method of storytelling is through social media. The Project Blackstone xenobiological research team communicates like everyone else does in real life: via email, twitter and facebook-like means.

This ends up in a charming series of silly and elaborate dialogues between the characters throwing in some comedy lines and investigative talk.

Project Blackstone is an undercover top-notch laboratory sponsored by the Terran Dominion. There is still much to learn about this lab, its director and its research team.

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In the latest Twitter-like entry found in the Project Blackstone website, a new member has joined the Project Blackstone team. His name is briefly mentioned, but I find this enough to classify it as a massive cliffhanger. I recommend everyone to keep visiting the Project Blackstone website in a weekly basis … Jake Ramsey is the new member.

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Now I know many fans might not know who Jake Ramsey is. StarCraft lore fans know the name vividly, and I bet they felt a thrill going through their spine. Jake Ramsey — or — Jacob Jefferson “Jake” Ramsey is one of the top Terran Dominion archeologists hired by Prince Valerian Mengsk to investigate Xel’Naga temples across the Koprulu Sector.

While Jake Ramsey didn’t appear in any fashion in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty‘s single player campaign, his archaeological work did influence the outcome of its story. It was Jake Ramsey who determined what the Xel’Naga artifacts collected by Jim Raynor’s team would do to Kerrigan the Queen of Blades in the final mission. His archeological work is what led Prince Valerian Mengsk to offer Jim Raynor a deal to use the artifact on Kerrigan.

starcraft-the-dark-templar-firstborn-front-coverThis character debuted in the StarCraft: Dark Templar — Firstborn by New York Times Bestselling author Christie Golden. This was by far the best StarCraft-themed novel trilogy.

Jake Ramsey found a Protoss Preserver named Zamara in a Xel’Naga temple. She had slowed time around her to remain alive until she could transfer her vast knowledge and a secret — that spells doom to the entire universe — before her demise.

What’s a Protoss preserver? This caste of protoss functions as a living archive of every single protoss mind that ever existed — including Adun, Khas, and Tassadar’s memories.

With Jake disabling the time bubble, Zamara quickly touched Jake, transferring her mind and all her knowledge into Jake’s brain. This caused his brain to quickly evolve and adapt to the countless knowledge invading his mind. Thus he gained ancient knowledge through the eyes of Khas and other protoss characters in history.

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To make the story short, Jake Ramsey is a key character in the entire StarCraft universe who we should keep a close watch on now that he has emerged back into the lore. Jake was able to accomplish something we have never seen in StarCraft. In a desperate moment, while Terran Dominion ships chased his vessel, Jake triggered a Khala mindwave linking all Terran minds as one. This was an amazing feat.

I won’t go into detail here considering those who haven’t read the trilogy. The preserver Zamara left Jake’s brain at the end of the trilogy having secured her knowledge and her dire secret would be preserved by the protoss, and Jake Ramsey ended up returning home with Prince Valerian Mengsk — who we know has ties with the Moebius Foundation and its founder Dr. Emil Narud.

With the introduction of StarCraft II: Flashpoint by New York Times Best Selling author Christie Golden, we also learned Prince Valerian was deceived. The Moebius Foundation had secret ties with his father, Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. The Moebius Foundation created the Hybrids.

Thus, one has to ponder what exactly is Project Blackstone, and what is its connection with the Moebius Foundation. Why is Jake Ramsey joining the Project Blackstone team? What has he been up to all this time since early pre-“Wings of Liberty” time-frame?

That’s something we shall find soon or later by visiting the Project Blackstone website.

Note: If you encounter problems with Firefox, the website works better on Internet Explorer. Love Cameron Dayton’s stories? Give him some sweet words at @CameronDayton on Twitter and follow him.

Recommended Books

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

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eSports Mourns IGN ILP6 Cancelled

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

ign-ipl-esports-logoZiff Davis is quickly earning the hatred of thousands if not millions of players around the globe.

After the purchase of several gaming websites: UGO, Gamespy, and 1UP — were SHUTDOWN by Ziff Davis to focus on IGN as the flagship in gaming affairs.

Even IGN suffered layoffs this past days. How does all of this affects our side of the pond? IGN’s ProLeague 6 (ILP6) was cancelled barely 3 weeks before the event– according to Gamespot.

Those who qualified online had had their accommodations taken care of, and are not affected by this decision. However, all the players, media and other people who had paid for their flight tickets, hotels and whatnot might have trouble getting refunds if at all.

Seems like a good topic for the Blizzplanet Weekly B@#$h session.

Sarah has balls. Uh not those

Vengeance Trailer Revealed – StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Entertainment revealed the “Vengeance” Trailer two weeks before the release date of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm — the second episode of the StarCraft II trilogy.

Blizzard has gone and effed things up knocking the hornet’s nest with this trailer. After watching this, millions of story-hungry fans want to rush and play through Heart of the Swarm to learn exactly what’s going on.

My Analysis

Some of the cinematic scenes in the “Vengeance” trailer, comes from the cinematic intro, but there is a large deal of new cinematic clips here from the single player campaign that no one has ever seen before.

I’m going to attempt to break it down to our visitors. To see what lies within this trailer and what might be expected in the single player campaign.

It’s hard to tell what the single player campaign’s plot is just by listening to the voice acting clips, and the cinematic scenes in this new vengeance teaser. However, there is enough to know the fragile human form of Kerrigan won’t last for long.

One can tell based on the several cinematic scenes we see Sarah in her human form wearing the Ghost uniform that she will be in this form for at least a third or half the campaign.

In StarCraft II: Flashpoint (by Christie Golden), we learn that Sarah is taken to a lab within a Umojan Protectorate orbital platform station.

Her powers are honed and tested. She got a superior telekinetic and telepathic power set in this human form than we have previously seen. She’s definitely no damsel in distress. In the novel she defeated two Zerg/Protoss hybrids all by herself in her weakened human form.

We know that Sarah is on a quest to find the zerg broods.

What we didn’t know is that Sarah would become the Queen of Blades again. Wait, we went through all that work to return her humanity, just to see her back as the Queen of Blades?

Maybe. I can’t really tell what’s going on here. She looks like the Queen of Blades later on, but it’s like her human-mind is still there anyhow.

One of the scenes shows a Xel’Naga temple. Jim Raynor is there to witness some sort of explosion. There was a sort of misdirection putting two scenes in a backward sequence.

First, the way it should have played … the explosion scene, then Sarah on the ground with crystal pieces on the ground, kneeling and talking to Jim Raynor.

In this scene, what I can assume is that Sarah came to this Xel’Naga temple either willingly or forced to (by Narud?). She was in some sort of Pylon or crystal cocoon which transformed Sarah with Xel’Naga energies back into the Queen of Blades. She’s emerging from this cocoon.

Why were we teased during the launch of StarCraft II: Flashpoint that this was no longer the Queen of Blades, but Sarah? Well, in the story she is completely human and vulnerable.

A large part of the single player campaign shows her in ghost uniform. Thus, the Flashpoint tease wasn’t a lie.

We were never told it was a permanent thing. In addition, we have to go back to Zeratul’s Tidings of Doom message. Kerrigan is the key to undoing the hybrids’ plan.

In Zeratul’s vision of the far future, we see the hybrids consuming the universe as the last Protoss bastion is overrun. A future that came to be after the Queen of Blades was slain, and the Zerg was freed of a leadership, roaming space in freedom. But not for long — the hybrids enslaved the Zerg and the future was grim with the reign of The Fallen One.

No. That future shall not come to pass. Zeratul trusts Jim Raynor with an Ihan Crystal containing the memories of his travel through the cosmos these past four years in search of an ancient Xel’Naga prophecy.

The prophecy led Zeratul back to Aiur, to the empty husk of the Overmind. There, Tassadar’s avatar talked to Zeratul, sharing the knowledge that the Overmind had found a way to break his Xel’Naga-implanted all-consuming directive … the Overmind created the Queen of Blades to break the cycle of a dark future the Overmind had foreseen in a vision.

Jim Raynor saved Sarah Kerrigan, but in order to fulfill her destiny, her future doesn’t lie beside Jim Raynor as a human. She must prepare for war … as the Queen of Blades.

“Wait, but why use the Xel’Naga artifact to revert her to human if it was all for nothing?”

The old Queen of Blades, likely still had the all-consuming directive implanted by the Xel’Naga, or maybe implanted into the Overmind by a Xel’Naga traitor. The artifact used in the final mission of the Wings of Liberty episode, gave Sarah back her humanity, her free will. This new Queen of Blades might have a better chance at fulfilling her destiny than the old Queen of Blades.

I’ll transcribe the entire Zeratul missions in upcoming days prior to the launch of the Heart of the Swarm, so that you might learn more of this prophecy and the reason Sarah should no longer remain human — to explain what we have seen in this “Vengeance” trailer. TO answer why she is becoming once more “The Queen of Blades”.

War is coming. And the Queen of Blades shall be the only salvation of the universe against the Hybrids and their master: The Fallen One.

In that future, all that remains is a last stand of the Protoss, the Terrans have already been destroyed by the Hybrids including Jim Raynor and his Raiders. And beyond, the Fallen One is all that’s left. All stars go dark, and all that remains is the void.

While I work on transcribing the Zeratul missions, I recommend reading StarCraft II: Flashpoint. It’s a great read about what happens two minutes after Jim Raynor killed Tychus Findlay and his odyssey getting out of Planet Char with Sarah Kerrigan’s body in tow. You will learn a great deal about Valerian Mengsk and the Moebius Foundation. Read my StarCraft II: Flashpoint review here for some spoilers if that’s what you need to read this book before the Heart of the Swarm release date, and of course, our interview over Skype with Christie Golden about StarCraft II: Flashpoint (by Eldorian).

Trailer Transcript

Emperor Mengsk: Proud, Dominion citizens. The Zerg threat has been removed. The Swarm is leaderless. We have won.

Sarah Kerrigan: The killing will never stop until Mengsk is dead.

Jim Raynor: Forget Mengsk. I moved heaven and earth to bring you back, Sarah.

Sarah Kerrigan: There is something dark in me, Jim.

General Horace Warfield: Kerrigan. You betrayed us all. You are not even human anymore.

Captain Matt Horner: Stand down.

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

Sarah Kerrigan: I now see my true enemy. I’m the Swarm. Armies will be shattered. Worlds will burn. Vengeance shall be mine.

General Horace Warfield: How many innocents have you killed. How many more have to die.

Unknown: What if Raynor saw you right now?

Jim Raynor: What have you done?

Sarah Kerrigan: What I had to.

Vengeance Trailer

With StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm arriving on March 12, we’ve been itching to show you a new trailer called “Vengeance”, and we’ve just revealed it to the world in a special online event on Twitch.tv/StarCraft at 12:00 p.m. PST on Tuesday, February 26.

  • Blizzard developers were on hand to talk about Heart of the Swarm and the making of “Vengeance”.
  • An exclusive Heart of the Swarm eSports showmatch was casted by commentators John “TotalBiscuit” Bain and Shaun “dApollo” Clark.
  • The world premiere of the “Vengeance” trailer for Heart of the Swarm.

Viewers participated in the discussion segment by posting Twitter questions using the hashtag #Vengeance. Click here to watch the VOD of the entire event.

 

Vengeance Trailer – Frame-by-Frame Gallery

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Blizzard Revealing New Game at PAX East?

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

Blizzard Entertainment emailed several fansites and press writers a mysterious email inviting us to be alert to a special announcement at the upcoming 2013 PAX East.

Blizzard: “We’ve been working on a little something, different from our other games… It’s not a sequel, expansion, or that rumored next-gen MMO, but it’s something we’re excited for you to get your hands on”.

 

The public already knows that the Diablo III (PS3) will be playable at PAX East. There are demo stations for PAX East attendees to play the PlayStation 3 version of Diablo III.

Thus, this cryptic email is suggesting there is something else Blizzard Entertainment is planning to reveal at the upcoming event. It is not a sequel (rule out StarCraft III, WarCraft IV, Diablo IV).

It is not an expansion. (rule out World of Warcraft: The next-expansion-title, StarCraft II: X-title, or Diablo III: x-title).

It is not either the next-gen MMO. But it is something we will be excited to get on our hands. Hmm. So this seems to be the announcement of a new game that is secretly in development.

It could be Blizzard All-Stars, but since we already know that game has been in development, and 2011 BlizzCon attendees already played a demo — I lean to think this might be something new we haven’t heard about before.

The PAX East event where Blizzard Entertainment plans to make a mysterious announcement will be held on Friday, March 22 at 10:00 a.m. (Naga Theater @ PAX East).

UPDATE: Blizzard Entertainment announced Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft at PAX East. It was the mysterious game announcement mentioned in this article. Read more at our PAX East 2013 coverage page.

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

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

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Blizzard Entertainment announced the Heart of the Swarm expansion Global Launch Party plans. Day [9] and Husky will be commentating live eSports for 21-hours as US and South Korea pro gamers clash.

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

IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– 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.

 
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eBay: Sideshow Collectibles Kerrigan Queen of Blades Statue

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

I have found at least four active, very rare, Sideshow Collectibles Kerrigan Queen of Blades Bust Statues currently auctioned in eBay. This statue is so rare, I didn’t even know these were made (considering how skilled I can be sometimes to find upcoming licensed products — before they are officially announced).

There’s good reason for that. According to the seller, this statue was an exclusive limited-edition 2011 Holiday Gift commissioned to Sideshow Collectibles to be given to select Blizzard Employees. Only 5,100 were made. And four of these are out there in the wild for grabs on eBay.

The statue is listed as a brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item. I am totally geeked up about this one. Green jealous of whoever gets ahold of this rare collectible. The auctions end within the next couple of days. That’s four chances to win one. Good luck! And please, send us photos once it’s delivered.

    You are bidding on an extremely rare Kerrigan “Queen of Blades” Sideshow Collectibles sculpture/bust that was made exclusively as a 2011 Holiday Gift for select Blizzard Employees. Only 5,100 were ever made. Bid now and get it in time for Starcraft II : Heart of the Swarm release!

    The figure is approximately 12″ (w) x 13″ (h), including the “wingspan”.

    The figure is in the original box and everything is BRAND NEW! The Sideshow Collectibles “Quality Assurance” sticker is unbroken, keeping the figure sealed.

    Payment and Shipping:
    – FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the USA.
    – Paypal Only
    – Due to the nature of the item, no returns are accepted.
    – If you have any questions or concerns, you must contact me (the seller) and work something out before the listing ends.

Current Auctions

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Funko Announces a Series of Pop! Vinyl Figures based on Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo

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

It slipped under our radar that Funko announced a few months ago the 2013 collection releases during the 12 Days of Christmas. I found out about this new series through our Entertainment Earth affiliates who opened up pre-order pages.

Funko and Blizzard Entertainment have entered into a Blizzard Licensed Product agreement to get into your hands a new line of Funco Pop! Vinyl figures based on all three major Blizzard franchises: Diablo, StarCraft and World of Warcraft.

These are slated to ship on September 2013 for $9.99. So far you can now pre-order the World of Warcraft Arthas Pop! Vinyl Figure and the World of Warcraft Illidan Pop! Vinyl Figure.

I personally prefer to pre-order, and encourage our visitors to do so to secure a copy. That prevents missing a copy when they get sold out.

We haven’t seen yet images of the final product, but you can take a look at previous Funko Pop! Vynil figures for an idea.

Blizzplanet will update you once photos of the final product become available. I reached out to Funko to keep us in the loop. Stay tuned. Products linked below are the pre-order pages.

World of Warcraft

StarCraft II

Diablo III

Eldorian found at the Action Figure Insider a photo of the Funko 2013 Catalog given at the Toy Fair New York 2013 where we can clearly see the concept art of how the final product might look like. Tell us, are you looking forward to collecting all of them? What are your thoughts?

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Rumor: SONY PS4 and Diablo III on the Cloud?

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

gaikai-world-of-warcraft-on-ipadIt took everyone no doubt by surprise to see Blizzard VP of Creative & Franchise Development Chris Metzen walk onstage during the SONY PlayStation 4 Announcement Conference.

Especially announcing that Diablo III would be playable on the PS3 and the PS4. That SONY and Blizzard Entertainment had gotten into a strategic partnership.

I have read hundreds of responses from fans in our Facebook/Twitter, and at other Gaming websites comment sections, and forums.

Among concerns I have seen with some fans is that this is a PS3/PS4 only announcement. Where is the XBOX 360 version of Diablo III?

This is not a PS4-exclusive port. During the GameTrailers interview, it was clear that Blizzard Entertainment announced the PS3/PS4 port because this was the correct timing with SONY announcing the PS4. It’s just a matter of time for MICROSOFT to announce their upcoming XBOX 720 (or whatever name they decide to call it). It’s heard in the internet that Microsoft plans to unveil their next console some time around April 2013 in response to SONY’s announcement.

Blizzard was simply polite not to mention their Diablo III plans for the XBox in the middle of a SONY event.

Some fans are like, ok, Blizzard announced Diablo III for PlayStation. Who cares? That game [insert random trollish insult].

diablo-iii-ps3-box-placeholderI think people don’t realize how big this news is for Blizzard gamers who also have access to a console, or to gamers who plan to buy one of the newest consoles, or to gamers who have no PC, but have a console.

It’s not just Diablo III, guys and gals — and LGBT. Blizzard has the Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard All-Stars and a yet unannounced MMO in development.

Diablo III was just the ice-breaker to enter the console terrain after a long hiatus. There is no doubt in my mind that Blizzard might bring those heavy-hitters to the PC and Console platforms.

The thing is that the old days of gaming have changed. Drastically. The future of gaming is now. Innovative technology. SONY talked about Gaikai cloud. Basically, the back compatible aspect of playing PS1, PS2, and PS3 games is handled through the cloud.

There are two aspects of the PlayStation 4 that SONY hasn’t talked about.

The most important that some people might not know about or might have forgotten is the acquisition of Gaikai by SONY in July 2012. I know about it because I have kept watch on Gaikai since May 2010 when David Perry teased he was playing World of Warcraft on the original iPad through the innovative Cloud gaming technology developed by his company. I follow David Perry on Facebook ever since.

What’s Cloud Gaming?

What SONY didn’t talk about during the PS4 Announcement conference – As said in the Gaikai website: “Cloud gaming refers to games that are streamed to internet-connected devices. Using the latest streaming and server technology, we enable everything from casual to very high-end games to be played on devices never before possible and eliminate the need to wait hours while games are downloaded.”

I remember on August 2012, when Gaikai announced their company was acquired by SONY. I was bummed and ranty because I wanted them to stay on the PC, because I knew there was a lot of potential to revolutionize gaming without the need of downloading 2GB-16GB of data for full games or big patches. No need of spending $400-600 in the cream-of-the-cream top-notch graphic cards.

So, alright. SONY acquired Gaikai. What can they bring to the table? Did you notice how there was basically no PS4 core hardware to show at the PS4 announcement?

Pure and Blatant Fan-driven Speculation

It wouldn’t be “Blizzplanet” if there is no over-hyped speculation.

I say, SONY is slowly preparing to announce the big news at a later time. It’s a strategic gradual filtration of info throughout the year until the PS4’s Holiday 2013 release.

There is something innovative about the PlayStation 4 that’s gonna kick MICROSOFT in the two “O”s. That is the Gaikai’s Cloud streaming and server technology — the Cloud Gaming Platform. “Shhh …” the thing is it has not been announced yet by SONY — especially not at the big PS4 Announcement event.

So how is cloud gaming going to affect Diablo III if in any way?

I personally don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll assume if Blizzard gets access to the (non-announced and figuratively-speaking) PS4 cloud network infrastructure, there wouldn’t be a need to send patches directly to the PS4. Certain gaming functions would be over the cloud.

Imagine playing Diablo III or future Blizzard games on your PS4 in the morning. You need to take a flight to another state or country for business reasons. Lot of downtime on your Amtrak train or Airplane. You turn on your SONY Vita. Hook up the DualShock4 Controller into the SONY Vita port or simply use the wireless Bluetooth, and continue playing Diablo III via live streaming (thanks to SONY’s Gaikai servers platform).

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I have three powerful questions. Did SONY really disclose all their plan with Gaikai’s cloud? Will SONY only use the Gaikai cloud technology as a PS4/Vita exclusive or branch out their cloud server service into Android/Apple tablets? Does Blizzard Entertainment have access to the Gaikai cloud technology with this new SONY partnership?

It’s all in the cloud — I mean, up in the air. All speculation. Or is it?

BlizzCon Livestream Survey

Were you one of the over one million fans who watched BlizzCon through the DirecTV BlizzCon 2011 Virtual Ticket Livestream? You likely got an email from Blizzard concerning a survey. We posted images of this survey on November 21, 2011. And guess what? I also mentioned Gaikai (before SONY acquired it). In that survey, Blizzard Entertainment wanted to know if you would like the BlizzCon livestream viewed on iTunes, iPad, PlayStation Network, XBox Live, and other mobile tablets/smartphones. The other question wanted to gather how many gamers wanted future Blizzard video game demos streamed online on the cloud. (Hint, hint!)

Imagine you have a PS4. You pay to watch BlizzCon 2014 livestream on the PS4, and you get to play the Next-Gen MMO “Titan” demo stationed at BlizzCon 2014-2015 on the PS4 on the Cloud!!! You play the Titan demo right there, right now without downloading any files, without the need of installing any drivers or plugins. You are launching the demo and playing straight. That. Is. Awesome.

Imagine PlayStation 4 is not just the hardware, but the PlayStation Network Cloud. You can play games and demos on the PS4. The PS3. The Vita. On your PC internet browser, on Facebook, and on your tablet. That’s thinking outside the box.

Update: Re-reading the updated Gaika FAQ website they mention SONY acquired them back on July 12, but still say the following:

    “Can Gaikai’s cloud gaming platform stream full games?

    Yes! Gaikai’s cloud gaming platform enables full game streaming to any internet-connected device.”

To “any internet-connected device” instead of “PS4 and PS Vita”. That right there implies tablets and smartphones in general. Is the SONY paving the way to expand the PSN beyond the PS4 box? Just think about it … how is SONY planning to pay for cloud streaming bandwidth? Unless there is some sort of PSN subscription fee for non-PS4/Vita owners, micro-transaction, or other revenue sourcing plans to sustain bandwidth costs yet to be announced.

Closing my speculation, I want to share with our fans some of the “partial” specs of the PlayStation 4 available on the SONY website.

Note: These specs are on our usual bluepost quotes, but are not “Blizzard Entertainment” quotes.


Main Processor

  • Single-chip custom processor
  • CPU: low power X86-64 AMD “Jaguar”, 8 cores
  • GPU: 1.84 TFLOPS, AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next engine

Memory

  • 8GB RAM GDDR5

Hard Disc Drive

  • Built-in

Optical Drive (Read Only)

  • BD 6xCAV
  • DVD 8xCAV

I/O

  • Super-Speed USB (USB 3.0), AUX

Communication

  • Ethernet (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T)
  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR)

AV Output

  • HDMI
  • Analog-AV out
  • Digital Output (optical)

 

DUALSHOCK 4 CONTROLLER


External Dimensions

  • Approx. 162mm width x 52mm height x 98mm depth (tentative, excludes largest projection)

Weight

  • Approx. 210g (tentative)

Keys/Switches

  • PS button
  • SHARE button
  • OPTIONS button
  • Directional buttons (Up, Down, Left, Right)
  • Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square)
  • R1/L1/R2/L2/R3/L3
  • Left stick
  • Right stick
  • Touch Pad Button

Touch Pad

  • 2 Point Touch Pad
  • Click Mechanism
  • Capacitive Type

Motion Sensor

  • Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer)

Other Features

  • Light Bar
  • Vibration
  • Built-in Mono Speaker

Ports

  • USB (Micro B)
  • Extention Port
  • Stereo Headset Jack

Wireless communication

  • Bluetooth Ver2.1+EDR

Battery

  • Type: Built-in Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery
  • Voltage: DC3.7V (tentative)
  • Capacity: 1000mAh (tentative)

 

CAMERA


Video Frame Rate

  • 1280×800 pixel @ 60fps
  • 640×400 pixel @ 120fps
  • 320×192 pixel @ 240fps

Other Features

External Dimension: Approx. 186mm width x 27mm height x 27mm depth (tentative)
Weight: Approx. 183g (tentative)
Video Pixel: (Maximum) 1280 x 800 pixel x 2

Video Format: RAW, YUV (Uncompressed)
Lens: Dual Lenses, F value/F2.0 fixed focus
Capture Range: 30cm
Field-of-View: 85 degree
Microphone: 4 Channel Microphone Array
Connection Type: PS4 dedicated connector (AUX connector)
Cable Length: Approx. 2m (tentative)

 

“Wait a minute, I don’t remember SONY acquiring Gaikai” or “Who in the world is Gaikai?” — I got you covered, bro. Here is the July 2012 press release.

Sony Computer Entertainment to Acquire Gaikai Inc., a Leading Interactive Cloud Gaming Company
SCE to Build a Cloud Service Bringing Gaikai’s Cloud Based-Streaming Technologies into Its Network Business

TOKYO, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) today announced that it entered into a definitive agreement on June 30, 2012 (Japan Time) to acquire Gaikai Inc., the world’s leading interactive cloud-based gaming company, for approximately USD 380 million. Through the acquisition, SCE will establish a new cloud service, ensuring that it continues to provide users with truly innovative and immersive interactive entertainment experiences.

“By combining Gaikai’s resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE’s extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences,” said Andrew House , President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices.”

“SCE has built an incredible brand with PlayStation and has earned the respect of countless millions of gamers worldwide,” said David Perry , CEO of Gaikai Inc. “We’re honored to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide.”

Established in 2008 and headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California, Gaikai has developed the highest quality, fastest interactive cloud-streaming platform in the world that enables the streaming of quality games to a wide variety of devices via the internet. With this acquisition, SCE will establish a cloud service and expand its network business by taking full advantage of Gaikai’s revolutionary technology and infrastructure including data centers servicing dozens of countries and key partners around the world.

The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

SCE will continue to aggressively expand a new world of entertainment through the introduction of innovative technologies and the delivery of amazing experiences.

 

What in the world is gaming cloud technology? Visit the Gaikai FAQ website.

Cloud Gaming

Gaikai at Google I/O

HAWKEN on Gaikai Cloud

TheBeardedGamer on PlayStation on the Cloud

Jump to minute 5:40 for Chris Arnone discussing Cloud gaming and SONY buying Gaikai.

Gaikai Demonstrates World of Warcraft on the Cloud

PlayStation 4 Announcement (Video)

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PlayStation 4 Advertising

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Robert Clotworthy Confirms Attendance at StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Launch Party

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

Robert Clotworthy (the voice actor of Jim Raynor) shared on Twitter that he’s signing copies of the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm during the Blizzard launch party to be held on March 11th at the Irvine Spectrum Center.

Robert Clotworthy: It’s official. I will be down at the Irvine Spectrum on March 11 as part of the Blizzard launch party for HOTS. Hope to see you there.

 

Check out the Launch Party details

”The 24-hour global launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm reaches its finale at the Irvine Spectrum Center in Southern California. Join Blizzard Entertainment, fellow StarCraft II commanders, and eSports fanatics for a fun night of celebration leading into the launch of the game. Don’t miss live show matches by top pro-gamers, a chance to meet members of the StarCraft II development team, and opportunities to win prizes. Be among the first to get your hands on a copy of Heart of the Swarm, and get it signed by the developers and your favorite pro-gamers and community personalities. If you can’t make it in person, you can watch the entertainment unfold via live stream. “

 

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm T-shirt Collection On Sale

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

JINX has launched a new line of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm to celebrate the upcoming release of the expansion. A new hoodie gives you a Zerg carapace look. It has the Zerg logo on the back and comes in different sizes up to 4XL. The only product not yet available is the Hoodie, but they are taking pre-orders. The hoodie ships on June 03, 2013.

  • StarCraft II Hydralisk Premium T-shirt
  • StarCraft II Zerg Creep Premium T-shirt
  • StarCraft II Zerg Carapace Premium Zip-Up Hoodie
  • StarCraft II Retro Protoss Premium T-shirt
  • StarCraft II Retro Zerg Premium T-shirt
  • StarCraft II Retro Terran Premium T-shirt
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Robert Clotworthy Auctions 8/10 Numbered StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure

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

starcraft-ii-jim-raynor-signed-number-8StarCraft II voice actor Robert Clotworthy is auctioning the limited and numbered 8/10 StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure. The winner is not only taking home this action figure, but a personalized recording using his Jim Raynor voice. Choose whatever text flavor you wish him to say — neat gift to a friend or family too.

Robert will also include some extras into the mix. He’s not saying what it is. It’s a surprise. The winner’s money will be donated entirely to the non-profit organization of the winner’s own choosing.

We are very fond and proud of Robert Clotworthy. We spearheaded the petition to get him back to rehearse his role as Jim Raynor a few years ago, and our Blizzplanet Weekly host Chris Arnone met him in person at the MLG Anaheim Spring event. Check out the interview.

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Robert Clotworthy: Listen up Marines!

As many of you are aware, since 1998 I have had the honor of being the voice of Jim Raynor in the StarCraft video game series.

This past year I have been dusting off Jim Raynor Action figures from my personal collection and auctioning them off with the proceeds going to charity. I am going to sign and number ten of these puppies and ten only.

Up for auction in #8 in the series. This is brand new and unopened… just like my bottle of Scotty Bolger’s old #8.

Included with the item is a handwritten and signed letter of authenticity.

I also promise to throw in a couple of surprise goodies for the winning bidder.

As an extra incentive, I will also record a personal greeting from Jim Raynor if you would like.

The release of HOTS is right around the corner. Here’s your chance to climb on board The Hyperion with Jimmy and kick some Zerg tail.

Now don’t get your panties in a bunch… that doesn’t mean I only want bids from Terrans… I will hold my nose and send it to Protoss and Zerg alike. Here’s your chance to get a little payback.

Remember, some things are just worth fighting for.

Raiders Roll!

Robert Clotworthy

 
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Christie Golden Book Signing: Books-A-Million Clarksville, TN

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

starcraft-flashpoint-front-coverNew York Times Best Selling author Christie Golden announced she will be signing copies of the “StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm novel tie-in” StarCraft II: Flashpoint at Books-A-Million (Clarksville, Tennessee) on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 7:00pm CST.

Bring your copy of StarCraft II: Flashpoint, or your collection of World of Warcraft and StarCraft novels.

Are you on Facebook? Christie Golden opened a calendar event for this book signing. Feel free to post that you are going to the event.

Make sure to share the calendar with your friends and family to sync and meet up there.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint Links

  • Check out our review of StarCraft II: Flashpoint
  • Listen to our Skype interview with Christie Golden (StarCraft II: Flashpoint)

Book Signing Location

Books-A-Million (Google Map)
125 South Hampton Place
Clarksville, TN 37040

christie-golden-232939Christie Golden: I am delighted to report that I will be doing a signing for my new(ish) book based on StarCraft II, “Flashpoint.” Y’all come! :)

Sign up to confirm you are attending the event here.

 


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The Art of Blizzard Entertainment Hits Bookstores

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

The Art of Blizzard Entertainment is finally landing on fans’ hands in less than 24 hours. Order it online with free shipping while supplies last.

If you missed it, Blizzplanet DJTyrant visited the Gallery Nucleus a few weeks ago to interview Nick Carpenter. Check out the video.

Book Description

the-art-of-blizzard-entertainment-500x676Over the past two decades, Blizzard Entertainment has had a tremendous impact on the world of games and global pop culture. From its humble beginnings as a three-person console-game development studio in 1991 to the creation of the blockbuster Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard has a history of crafting stunning worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The company’s distinctive gameplay and storytelling styles have captivated an international audience numbering in the tens of millions whose passion cannot be quelled.

Twenty years after Blizzard opened its doors, the company’s World of Warcraft® boasts the title of the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and the studio is widely recognized as one of the leaders in creatively driven game development.

An epic volume of art and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard® celebrates the studio’s genesis by examining the creative forces behind these games and showcasing their artistry through more than 700 pieces of concept art, paintings, and sketches. Commentary on the art is provided by Blizzard Entertainment’s own Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen, who’ve each played important roles in shaping Blizzard’s game universes over the years.

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Activision Blizzard Q4 Financial Results Conference Call – Transcript

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

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The Activision Blizzard Q4 2012 financial results conference call took place today February 7th, 2013.

Mike Morhaime reported World of Warcraft has over 9.6 Million players as of December 31, 2012, and Diablo III has over 12 million players. Details about BlizzCon 2013 will surface later throughout the year.

Mike Morhaime: 2012 was a busy year for Blizzard Entertainment. We had some very ambitious goals, and successfully shipped 2 games: Diablo III and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. A third game, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, entered public beta testing in 2012, as well. On the year, Blizzard turned in strong financials with non-GAPP revenue of $1.6 billion and operating income of $717 million.

As of the end of the year, global subscribership for World of Warcraft added more than 9.6 million players, down slightly from the previous quarter. The majority of the decline came from China, while subscribership in the West was relatively more stable.

Looking ahead, the next major content update for World of Warcraft is already in testing and should reach players in the coming weeks. The development team continues to stick with the plan of more frequent content updates in the wake of the expansion launch, applying lessons that we’ve learned from past expansions.

Moving on to Diablo III, the launch of the game back in May had a tremendous impact on Blizzard and our community. Diablo III broke PC games sales records and as of the end of the year, had sold more than 12 million copies worldwide.

While this is a humbling achievement, we’re not satisfied with merely breaking sales records. The development teams have worked aggressively to update the games since the launch, adding new content, game systems, features and other improvements. A new update is in testing now, which will add dueling and other new content. Diablo is extremely important to Blizzard and we’ll continue to invest aggressively to support the franchise and its community.

On the StarCraft side, we’ve had a flurry of activity surrounding the game in the past few months. The Battle.net World Championship in Shanghai this past November was a great success. A big congratulations go out again to PartinG from South Korea who was crowned our global champion.

The Heart of the Swarm beta has also been ongoing since last year and the team continues to improve the game with player feedback. Over the past couple of months, we’ve announced numerous new online features for the game, unveiling the opening cinematic, and conducted a global press showcase.

The feedback from the community about the campaign and the new online features has been very positive and excitement continues to grow as we head into launch on March 12.

Lastly, I want to remind everyone that BlizzCon will make its return later this year. We’ll have more details announcements soon and we’re looking forward to reconnecting with our players this year to hear their thoughts, share the latest Blizzard news and share along with them at the Blizzard eSports Global Finals. We hope you’ll be able to join us at the show.

As we head into 2013, we’ll continue to work hard on our pipeline of games and deliver a great experience to our players.

 


Q&A

Brian J. Pitz (Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division): What do you think about the World of Warcraft and MMO community? Do you think the audience essentially remains strong and willing to play? Or do you think they’re essentially in need of a new game? Can you talk about, really, the fatigue factor both in the MMO, as well as with specifically for the game, and then, I just have a follow-up question.

Eric Hirshberg (Activision Blizzard Publishing Unit CEO): Well, we have seen an evolution in player behavior since the launch of Cataclysm. Players consume content quickly. There are more apps that come and go from the community, which is why we are targeting more frequent content updates. We are currently testing our second major update since Mists of Pandaria. I think that another thing to note, if you compare the months following Cataclysm and the months following Mists of Pandaria, the trailing months have been stronger with Mists. And we have seen an increase in engagement in all regions with the launch of Mists of Pandaria.

Neil A. Doshi (Citigroup Inc, Research Division): Mike, if you can give a little more color on the China market, it seems like there’s continuously intense competition there and most of the declines seem to come from the East. Is there anything you could do to be more competitive in that competitive market?

Mike Morhaime (Blizzard Entertainment CEO): Yes, so with respect to competition, we’ve always had competition for World of Warcraft in all markets. I think it’s fair to say that competition has increased, but I think it’s also important to point out that World of Warcraft is competing against, really, all forms of entertainment for leisure time. And so that just underscores the need for us to continue creating new content, to keep up engagements. With respect to China, in spite of the decline in subscribership, it is important to note that the engagement levels of the core items did increase with the launch of the expansions and I think that, that suggests increased engagement by our core players.

 

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Previous Activision Blizzard Conference Call Transcripts

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Project Blackstone Revealed

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

Project Blackstone has been revealed. For weeks, it was rumored Blizzard Entertainment acquired the Project Blackstone domain name. Speculation was split between whether this was related to the Next-Gen MMO Titan, the unannounced MMO or even Diablo III expansion (considering the name hits close to the Black Soulstone).

Our host Chris Arnone discussed this rumor a few weeks ago (December 17th) in the Blizzplanet Weekly videocast.

All speculation is now crushed. Blizzard Entertainment launched the Project Blackstone website with a cryptic login text-field.

Fans who perused the HTML code found the correct password to access the page is: Y7_$0>0k_3<$m

One doesn’t need to be a genius to figure out what Project Blackstone is related to. No need to even enter the password. The background shows you the StarCraft II Terran Insignia. Sounds like someone at Blizzard loved The Avengers Nick Fury and its S.H.I.E.L.D. logo a lot.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be on sale March 12. Exactly 5 weeks from today. Blizzard will update a new teaser each week from what I can see in the links to Twitter and Facebook (within the website). This teaser is named week 1.

From what we can read in the images, Project Blackstone is a secret organization within the Terran Dominion involved into genetic research. One of the images seen in a classified email is a Zerg Larva.

In addition, there are a few real-life Twitter accounts based on Project Blackstone characters continuously tweeting roleplaying dialogues or comments. You can read all of their tweets here.

This whole vibe reminds me of something revealed in StarCraft II: Flashpoint by Christie Golden.

Spoiler Alert

Emperor Mengsk freed Tychus from jail to infiltrate Raynor’s Raiders. It was Dr. Emil Narud’s Moebius Foundation who paid Tychus Findlay for the missions Jim Raynor completed.

All those Xel’Naga artifacts collected by the Raynor’s Raiders were helping the Moebious Foundation to create the Xel’Naga stone that neutralized Kerrigan the Queen of Blades.

Dr. Emil Narud (who many fans speculate might be Duran) is the leader of the Möebius Foundation. In the Flashpoint novel, it is revealed that Narud is actually involved with Emperor Arcturus Mengsk without Valerian’s knowledge. Narud was who created the Zerg/Protoss hybrids in the Space Station Prometheus located within the Kirkegaard Belt. Narud is an expert in Xel’Naga and Zerg matters, seems to have psionic powers and a Xel’Naga amulet that grants him the ability to cloak himself.

Is Dr. Emil Narud behind Project Blackstone? Only time will tell.

What the novel revealed has a domino effect on all the plots found in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Think about it. What was the real intention behind neutralizing the Queen of Blades? Mengsk orchestrated that through Emil Narud. I can’t wait to play through the single-player campaign.

Pre-order your copy of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition or the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Standard Edition). (Release Date: March 12, 2013)

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Single-Player B-Roll Video

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Entertainment provided Blizzplanet and other fansites a never-seen B-roll video footage of the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign.

The B-roll shows all the new playable units in the expansion: 3D model and their abilities in action through gameplay clips. New Battle.net UI and features.

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Blizzard Licensed T-Shirts 10% Off Promo Code

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

JINX T-shirts announced a new 10% Off promo code campaign for short and longsleeve T-shirts. Check out the latest Blizzard Licensed T-shirts below and read the restrictions:

Buy 3+ Tees and use the promo code at checkout: APOCALYPSE

What’s the deal with this sale? Buy 3+ Tees, get $5 off each.

*To receive the offer, you must purchase at least 3 qualifying t-shirts (not already on sale). The discount will be reflected during the checkout process.

*Men’s T-shirts (including fitted and longsleeve), women’s T-shirts, and youth T-shirts qualify for this promotion.

*The promotion will run from 2/19/10 4pm EST until 03/05/10 11:59pm EST.

*This offer is not valid in combination with any other offer or sale. You are welcome to use any other promotion, but that will override this promotion, so figure out which one will work better for you. You can try putting in a code, and if you find that the “Buy 3+ Tees, get $5 off each” offer will work better, you can use the REMOVE PROMO button.

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Activision Blizzard Q4 2012 Results Conference on Feb.7.2013

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

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Activision Blizzard announced the next Financial Results conference call will take place on February 7th, 2013 covering the rounds up of earnings and issues throughout the fourth quarter of 2012.

Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime is expected to discuss any relevant details of how World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III held up throughout the quarter.

Speculation

It is very possible, but not guaranteed, that Mike Morhaime might reveal details of BlizzCon 2013. I predict an approximate timeframe when Blizzard expects tickets to be sold. (i.e. end of Quarter X, mid-/or end-[of X-month], etc.)

We might get an update on Blizzard All-Stars. With the release of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm in the horizon, Global Launch schedule might go live in the following weeks after the conference call.

Do you have your own predictions? Share them with the community.

activision-blizzard-logoActivision Blizzard to Release Fourth Quarter 2012 Results on February 7, 2013

SANTA MONICA, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its fourth quarter 2012 results after the close of the market on Thursday, February 7, 2013 . In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Thursday, February 7, 2013
1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )

To listen to the call, please log onto:

http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

Or dial:
U.S. and Canada : 888-427-9414
International: 719-325-2165
Passcode: 3168482

Anyone planning to dial in to the call should RSVP to Pam Beaver at:

E-mail: PBeaver@activision.com

 

Previous Activision Blizzard Conference Call Transcripts

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Blizzplanet – The Art of Blizzard Entertainment – Nick Carpenter Interview

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

DJTyrant attended the Gallery Nucleus exhibition event featuring the Insight Editions Art of Blizzard Entertainment book launch. On behalf of Blizzplanet, DJTyrant interviewed Nick Carpenter (VP of Art and Cinematic Development) to discuss details of the development of this book from early concept stage to publishing.

Nick Carpenter also talks about the design of the Crown of Glory — given to employees who have reached their 20th anniversary working at Blizzard Entertainment

Order The Art of Blizzard Entertainment. (Select Super Saver Shipping at checkout)

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Patrick Rothfuss Auctioning Blizzard Games for Worldbuilders Charity

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

Patrick Rothfuss is a New York TImes Bestseller writer with stories such as “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear” — both part of the Kingkiller Chronicles — among his portfolio. Patrick is also the founder of a non-profit charity organization: Worldbuilders.

Blizzard Entertainment supplied Patrick Rothfuss recently an assortment of video games to auction in benefit of the Worldbuilders charity:

Check out the entire Patrick Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders Auction List

Worldbuilders is a charity founded by author Pat Rothfuss in order to use the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to make the world a better place.

During the Worldbuilders fundraiser, Pat blogs about the cool book donations we receive from authors and publishers (and all the other cool swag from artists, webcomics, etc.) Everyone who donates to Heifer International through Pat’s Heifer team page is eligible to receive one or more of those cool books and swag at the end of the fundraiser. Worldbuilders also matches donations made to Heifer during the period of the fundraiser.

All year round, we run The Tinker’s Packs where you can find cool merchandise inspired by Pat’s books, as well as foreign editions from various fantasy and sci-fi authors and more recently some of our cool projects like Lee Moyer’s Literary Pin-up Calendar. Profits made by the store go to Worldbuilders.

 

Source: Patrick Rothfuss Blog

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Blizzplanet: Gallery Nucleus Art of Blizzard Entertainment Book Exhibition Photos

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

Blizzplanet Jimmy Blocksom (DJTyrant) attended The Art of Blizzard Entertainment Book Launch & Exhibition Event held at the Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA. Lot of photos started pouring into Twitter and other social networks.

The event was a complete success with hundreds of attendees flooding the gallery. Vaeflare (Blizzard Community Manager) described on Twitter: “The line for The Art of #Blizzard book reception goes out the door and wraps around the corner and down the next block! It’s chilly outside!”

Several Blizzard Entertainment developers and staff members attended the event. Among those who signed copies of the book were: Chris Metzen (SVP of Creative Development), Nick Carpenter (VP of Art and Cinematic Development), Glenn Rane (Art Director, Creative Development), John Polidora (Illustrator), Peter Lee (Concept Artist) and Wei Wang (Principal Artist).

Blizzard Panelists: John Polidora (Illustrator), Danny Beck (Senior Character Artist), Laurel Austin (Concept Artist), and Tyson Murphy (Character Artist)

Other Blizzard employees at the event: Lyndsi Achucarro (Public Relations Specialist), Jeremy Cranford (Sr. Art Manager), and Jerry Chu (Manager, Publishing and Multimedia).

From Insight Editions: Sondra Santos Drahos (Social Media Manager).

All photos of the event can be viewed below. Our interview with Nick Carpenter at Gallery Nucleus (soon).

Order The Art of Blizzard Entertainment online with Free Shipping. (Select Super Saver Shipping option at checkout)


Book Description

Over the past two decades, Blizzard Entertainment has had a tremendous impact on the world of games and global pop culture. From its humble beginnings as a three-person console-game development studio in 1991 to the creation of the blockbuster Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard has a history of crafting stunning worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The company’s distinctive gameplay and storytelling styles have captivated an international audience numbering in the tens of millions whose passion cannot be quelled.

Twenty years after Blizzard opened its doors, the company’s World of Warcraft® boasts the title of the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and the studio is widely recognized as one of the leaders in creatively driven game development.

An epic volume of art and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard® celebrates the studio’s genesis by examining the creative forces behind these games and showcasing their artistry through more than 700 pieces of concept art, paintings, and sketches. Commentary on the art is provided by Blizzard Entertainment’s own Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen, who’ve each played important roles in shaping Blizzard’s game universes over the years.

Nick Carpenter is vice president of art and cinematic development at Blizzard Entertainment;

Sam Didier is senior art director at Blizzard Entertainment;

Chris Metzen is senior vice president of story and franchise development at Blizzard Entertainment.

 

Blizzplanet (Photos)

Many thanks to Blizzplanet DJTyrant and his sidekick cameraman and (nigh?) brother-in-law Alexander for taking photos of the Gallery Nucleus event.

DJTyrant: Mana and health potions. Stim pack shots and minerals :) @ Gallery Nucleus

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Panorama of the Art of Blizzard Entertainment Opening.

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Here at the opening for the Blizzard art book. Very cool pieces to see! @ Gallery Nucleus

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Art Demo of an Orc during one of the panels at Gallery Nucleus.

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Blizzard Entertainment (Photos)

These photos were submitted by the Blizzard Community Manager Vaeflare, Public Relations Lyndsi Achucarro, and Blizzard Licensing Managers Kat Hunter and Matt Beecher via Twitter or instagram.

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Kat Hunter (Blizzard Licensing Manager) shared the following via Facebook.

Photos by Danny Perschonok

More Galleries

The Art of Blizzard Entertainment – Interviews

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Sons of the Storm – Pandamonium X-Mas

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

The Panda King Samwise Didier posted a few personal artwork in Facebook, and some new pieces from his fellowship.

The Sons of the Storm website is celebrating its 9th Anniversary and it also updated new artwork. Congratulations! Keep up the good work.

Some of these pieces of art have been used for promotionals like the 2012 Battle.net World Championship (Shangai), World of Warcraft: Quest for Pandaria, Insight Editions’ The Art of Blizzard Entertainment Book, Diablo – Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise, Mists of Pandaria Box, The Art of Mists of Pandaria Book, and various Mists of Pandaria concept art.

Sons of the Storm Crew

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WETA On Crowning Glory for 20 Years Blizzard Veterans

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

WETA posted photos of the making of the Crown of Glory award designed by Nick Carpenter for the veteran Blizzard Entertainment employees who have worked at the company for 20 years.

As an afterthought, WETA posted a letter by Blizzard Entertainment VP of Art and Cinematic Development Nick Carpenter explaining the initial concept and design process for the development of the Crown of Glory. Here’s just an excerpt:

Nick Carpenter: Coming up with a design for our 20-year service award was no ordinary task. It had to be truly epic and make the recipient feel that he or she was part of something special and rare in our industry. Considering that we award 5-year employees with a sword, and 10-year employees with a shield, a badass crown felt like the right thing to do.

We wanted it to draw from all of our games without being specific to any one of them. It had to stand on its own while still feeling true to what Blizzard is all about. So what we ultimately arrived at, after more than a year of off-and-on concept runs with an army of artists from around the company, was a design that has a touch of the Lich King’s helmet, a bit of Imperius’s armor, some of King Terenas’s crown, and a hint of protoss curves for good measure.

 

Furthermore, to the naysayers who think the Warcraft film is vaporware — you should know that the featured film is still coming. Blizzplanet found on Twitter that WETA is definitely going to be involved in the Warcraft featured film.

For a quick background on the New Zealand-based company, WETA manufactured the weapons, armor and/or vehicles for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and James Cameron’s Avatar.

Related

Blizzard Entertainment unveiled this crown last week during the Blizzard Holiday Party. (View photos)

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Blizzplanet Gaming News: Sandy Hook School Shootings and Video Games Violence

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

Blizzplanet host Chris “The Bearded Gamer” Arnone discusses a very serious topic this week concerning the Sandy Hook School incident and its link to video games violence.

CNN reported Adam Lanza played StarCraft II, and implied this video game and others were linked to his violent behavior. Watch the videocast.

These are the topics discussed in this week’s show:

World of Warcraft

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

  • HOTS introduces a new Training Mode to fight a progressively harder AI
  • After HOTS release (March 12), Blizzard will prepare to launch Blizzard All-Stars Beta

Other News

Keyboard Confessional

  • Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings and Video Games Violence

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Beta Balance Update #10

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Entertainment deployed some balance updates to Heart of the Swarm beta, and need your feedback on these changes. The Zerg Infestor got a bit of a buff up including the radius of its Fungal Growth.

The Terran Medivac + Marines strategy might have to be tweaked a bit considering the Caduceus Reactor now requires a Fusion Core. The Caduceus Reactor allows Medivacs to have 25 energy already by the time it leaves the Starport. The Medivac’s heal ability heals 3 health per 1 energy.

Protoss players have to hold their Stalkers a bit longer now that the Blink ability takes an additional 30 seconds to research — from 140 sec up to 170 sec.

Hey everyone,

We will be bringing the beta down at 2:00 p.m. PST this afternoon to make the balance changes listed below. Thanks again for all the great feedback you’ve provided while testing Heart of the Swarm. We hope to see you testing these changes and sharing your input soon!

Terran

Medivac

  • The Caduceus Reactor upgrade now requires a Fusion Core before research can begin.

Widow Mine

  • Sentinel Missiles Primary target damage reduced from 160 to 125.

Protoss

Stalker

  • Blink: Research time increased from 140 to 170 seconds.

Zerg

Infestor

  • Fungal Growth: Range increased from 8 to 10. Missile speed increased from 10 to 15.

 

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Blizzplanet Gaming: The Bearded Gamer Returns

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

Chris “The Bearded Gamer” Arnone and the M Productions cameraman have returned from well-deserved vacations. The Blizzplanet Gaming videocast’s Blizzard Weekly News has now a new format. The new show will report World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III weekly news. Of course, anything concerning Blizzard All-Stars, Next-Gen MMO Titan and whatever Project Blackstone turns out to be.

Launch the video by clicking this image.

In this show Chris talk about the following topics:

WoW news

New Pet to purchase – the Cinder Kitten
Mounts are 50% off (ended already)
Patch 5.1 releases

Sc2 news

Battl.ent World Championships
MLG Fall Championship
Heart of the Swarm gets a release date

Diablo news

Patch 1.0.6 and patch 1.0.7
PvP Blog Delayed
Diablo statue now on sale at Sideshow Collectibles

Other

Project Blackstone URL purchase by Blizzard

Keyboard Confessional (we need to find a new name):
What are your thoughts on making StarCraft 2 multiplayer Free to Play?