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Kansas City Fans: Google Fiber Expanding from Jan-Mar 2013

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

Google has scheduled five new locations in Kansas City to get Google Fiber installed through January – March 2013. For this to happen, if you live within the locations mentioned below you must sign up and spread the word with all your neighbors to build a fiberhood.

What’s Google Fiber? One Gigabit downloads. One Gigabit Uploads. 100 times faster than your current Cable or DSL broadband speeds.

If you live in one of these fiberhoods and want Google Fiber, you must select your service plan by your deadline, listed below. Google will start installing Fiber in your area shortly after the date listed.

See the Google Map here.

  • Piper Schools — choose your plan by January 31, 2013
  • Delaware Ridge — choose your plan by February 14, 2013
  • Painted Hills — choose your plan by February 28, 2013
  • Open Door — choose your plan by February 28, 2013
  • Arrowhead — choose your plan by March 7, 2013

You can go to google.com/fiber to select any of the available plans: Gigabit + TV Plan, Gigabit Internet Plan or the Free Internet Plan.

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Holiday 2012: New World of Warcraft & StarCraft II Hats

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

Jinx added three new hats to the store just in the nick of time with Christmas around the corner: a World of Warcraft Alliance & Horde Hats, and a StarCraft II Zerg Hat.

Don’t forget to check out the recently added StarCraft II Spectres and Ghost Hoodies.

Starting at 10% OFF we have put all Blizzard items on sale. The sale ends Monday, December 17th at midnight PST. If you select “Expedited Plus” shipping during checkout before December 18th we will get it to you in time for X-Mas.

 

World of Warcraft Horde Premium Snap Back Hat

World of Warcraft Alliance Premium Snap Back Hat

StarCraft II Zerg Premium Snap Back Hat

blizzard-holiday-party-2012-nick-carpenter-20-years-award-A-Id1NoCUAAgCgd

Blizzard Holiday Party 2012: Nick Carpenter Designs 20th Anniversary Award

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

The Blizzard Community Managers, Public Relations and developers are having a great evening as a family at the Blizzard Holiday Party.

Photos started to flood Twitter. The bestest one was something Nick Carpenter had teased earlier he would share during the event.

All Blizzard Entertainment Employees get a special award for every 5 years of service as employees. Blizzard Entertainment executive art director Nick Carpenter unveiled the 20th Year Anniversary Award to be given to all Blizzard employees who reach 20 years of service with the company. Looks sick AWESOME. Update: Nick Carpenter designed this helm, and won’t get it until next year.

This 20th Anniversary Award looks like an amalgam of the ornamental motives on Diablo III Archangel Imperius’ helmet and chest.

This is a cool piece I bet many veteran Blizzard employees nearing their twentieth year will want to take home.

The Blizzard Holiday Party was a blast as seen in these photos. The Blizzard employees even loaded up courage onstage to participate in a Karaoke round. Among them was Diablo III community manager Bashiok who took the mic to sing. Either Bashiok is getting lots of women fans after this karaoke feat of strength, or else he won’t quit his job any time soon for a music career.

Chris Metzen, SVP of Creative Development, also sang onstage.

Employees had the choice to attend the party disguised as a hero or villain.

UPDATE Dec 26: WETA posted photos and a letter from Nick Carpenter to discuss the design process for this crown.

Gallery

Sources

https://twitter.com/FubarNick/status/280414016889815041
https://twitter.com/TheLyns/status/279812403837939713
https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/279803491017453569
https://twitter.com/Bashiok/status/279865044047654912
https://twitter.com/bcolayco/status/279864061318021120
https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/279855788749623296
https://twitter.com/robpsimpson/status/279854226765660160
https://twitter.com/CM_Zarhym/status/279847280377470976
https://twitter.com/kathunter/status/279845708830490624
https://twitter.com/CameronDayton/status/279831746348986369
https://twitter.com/Rob_Pardo/status/279829732596518912
https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/279824096949321730
https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/279822796832518146
https://twitter.com/FubarNick/status/279818926874054656
https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/279794053493690369
https://twitter.com/Rygarius/status/279776856318820355
https://twitter.com/FubarNick/status/279773096624406528

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JINX StarCraft II Spectre & Ghost Hoodies Pre-Orders

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

JINX opened pre-orders of the StarCraft II Ghost Hoodie and StarCraft II Spectre Hoodie.

The hoodies will ship on January 31, 2013 at a special discount to those who pre-ordered. Traditionally, JINX hoodies costs around $79.99. The pre-sale of these hoodies is priced at $59.99 – $62.99 (Spectres) and $49.99 – $51.99 (Ghost).

StarCraft II Spectre Hoodie

The StarCraft II Spectre Hoodie is targeted at male customers. The color scheme copies that on Ghost Spectres. The hive-like design mimics the cloaking special effects. The metal zipper handle is made in the shape of the StarCraft II logo’s desktop icon. The skull logo is the same one seen on Ghost Spectre Gabriel Tosh as seen below.

StarCraft II Ghost Hoodie

The StarCraft II Ghost Hoodie is targeted at women customers. The design looks cute. The color scheme copies those on StarCraft Ghost: Nova bodysuit. The metal zipper handle is made in the shape of the StarCraft II logo’s desktop icon, and as seen in one of the photos below, it has the Terran logo.

robert-clotworthy-starcraft-ii-jim-raynor-charity-auction-7-of-10

Robert Clotworthy Auctions Signed DC StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure 7/10

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

Our very-loved Robert Clotworthy — voice of Commander Jim Raynor — is auctioning the seventh (7/10) signed DC Unlimited StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure on eBay.

The great value of this auction aside from signing it is that the winner of this auction can write down the message of their choice and Robert Clotworthy will voice your message with the voice of Jim Raynor. In addition, all what you paid for the auction will be donated — listen well — to the non-profit organization of your choice.

Be a hero donating, and get ready to “kick this revolution into overdrive!”

Robert Clotworthy: It’s been a while since I’ve done this and since “Heart of the Swarm” is coming out next year it’s time to get ready.

My name is Robert Clotworthy and since 1998, I have been the voice of Jim Raynor in the iconic video game StarCraft.

As many of you know I have decided to dust off 10 Terran Outlaw Jim Raynor Series 1 Collector Action Figures from my personal collection on board the Hyperion and auction each one with the profits going to charity.

This item is brand new and unopened.

Each one will be signed by me and numbered. I will also include a personalized note of authenticity written on a Jim Raynor wanted poster note pad.

And to really get the juices flowing, I will also record an Mp3 greeting from Jim Raynor and send that to the winning bidder.

This is a limited offer Marines, I am only going to sign and number ten of these. And this is for #7 in the series. So the opportunity to own one of these is quickly running out.

I am not limiting this to Terran players only. Protoss players may bid and I will hold my nose and even accept bids from Zerg.

This auction is open to everyone, not just limited to fans in the US. I will even ship to Char or Mar Sara if the winning bidder is willing to pay shipping.

So break out your wallets StarCraft fans, this is the opportunity to own something truly unique and send some money to charity

As Jimmy says in Wings of Liberty, “Some things are just worth fighting for.”

Raiders Roll!

Robert Clotworthy – source

 

Our own Blizzplanet buddy Chris “The Bearded Gamer” Arnone interviewed Robert Clothworthy at the MLG 2012 Spring Championship in Anaheim, CA. Check that video out if you missed it.

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Jinx Blizzard T-shirts $7 Off on Select Items

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

Jinx announced a selection of items from their Diablo III, StarCraft II and World of Warcraft T-shirt stock is now $7 off.

Some are now priced $9.99 and some are now $14.99 while supplies last. No Deadline specified.

Perfect timing for the upcoming X-mas holiday gifts. Note: Some of these select items are either male-only or female-only. Some of them are both genders at $7 off. Make sure to double-check. Click the images below to reach the purchase page.

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G-Star 2012: Amazing Blizzard Cosplay

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

Blizzard Korea just posted a video of cosplayers who attended G-Star 2012 in Busan, Korea. Among the cosplayers are Diablo III (Leah, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor), StarCraft II (Nova) and World of Warcraft (Chen Stormstout, Murlocs, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner, and Jaina Proudmoore).

Can’t decided on which was the best, but certainly enjoyed the Witch Doctor dancing PSY Gangnam Style — cracked me up!

google-fiber-network-box

Google Fiber Expanding More Into Kansas and Missouri

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

Starting today, Blizzplanet will be updating the technology channel with the latest Google Fiber news. Google Fiber is going to drastically change the face of the internet as we have known it in the past 24 years since the introduction of ADSL and Cable internet.

I think it’s important for gaming websites to talk about Google Fiber, to help make people aware of it, and to spread the word. It’s here to stay, and it’s growing and expanding.

Google Fiber has been growing at a steady pace in Kansas City bringing 1Gbps download/upload internet access to homes. That’s a blazing 75-100 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s best speeds for only $70 a month.

So far, Google Fiber is available in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Google plans to expand into:

  • Kansas City North, MO
  • Kansas City South, MO
  • Westwood, KS
  • Westwood Hills, KS
  • Mission Woods, KS

It’s unknown when the service will expand into big cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.

Visit the Google Fiber website often to monitor new cities coming next, and to learn more about the service. Make sure to sign up when they are searching for testers, and to spread the word in your neighborhood for more and more people to join the fiberhood.

Don’t be left out.

This is the internet video gamers really need. The end of lag and latency. Blazing fast patch downloads.

    Google Fiber installations kick off today

    The title says it all! After months of building a brand new Fiber infrastructure, we’re excited to announce that today we’re officially starting to connect homes in Kansas City to Google Fiber.

    We’ve been working in a few homes over the last few weeks to make sure we can deliver a great experience, and along the way we’ve thought a lot about what “great” might mean. We want it to take the amount of time we (and you!) think it’s going to take. We want to be able to explain what we’re doing in easy to understand language, so it makes sense to you and it’s not just tech jargon! And of course we’re aiming for “one and done”—one visit, everything working when we leave your home.

    There are two stages to getting you connected. First, we’ll pull your Fiber from the street to the side of your house; we’ve already done this for several houses in Hanover Heights. Then we’ll get in touch with you to schedule the second stage, your in-home installation. We’ve put together a short video to help you understand what to expect.

    If you live in Hanover Heights and see a new box on the side of your house (and have gotten a Google Fiber sticky note on your door), look for an email or phone call from us in the next few days to schedule an appointment. When the installer arrives, he/she will ask you about where you want your devices and then get to work.

    We’ve found that the difference between dreading an installation and feeling like you had a good experience comes down to us caring about the details that matter the most to you. For example, we’ll show up when we’re supposed to—at the start of your appointment, not somewhere in the middle. We’ll clean up any mess; each installer carries a vacuum cleaner. And we’ll answer your questions and teach you about your devices—don’t be afraid to ask us questions, or to ask us to explain something again in simpler language.

    We think that these small details can make your installation efficient, helpful and memorable. And, if you have any ideas or suggestions that would make it even better, let us know!

    Posted by Alana Karen, Director, Service Delivery, Google Fiber (source)

Here’s a nice article by Business Insider explaining what Google Fiber is and offers you.

black-friday-2012-blizzard-products

Black Friday 2012 – Blizzard Licensed Products Offers

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

There are a few good Black Friday deals on Blizzard Licensed Products around the web. This page will be updated as soon as more deals appear online.

Blizzard Store

Blizzard recently announced discounts on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III. Digital Download Only.

Amazon

These are boxed Blizzard video games. Not digital downloads.

15% Off Select MEGA Bloks World of Warcraft Toys at Checkout. For a limited time, save 15% on select MEGA Bloks World of Warcraft toys. Discount will be applied at checkout.

Entertainment Earth

Razer

starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-march-12

Community News: GamersBook 100 StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Beta Keys & Razer Giveaway

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

Our new friends from GamersBook told us they will be giving away 100 StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta keys. Four keys each day for the next 25 days starting this Thursday, November 22nd.

They also have some phat lootz to giveaway:

100x StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Beta Keys
1x StarCraft® II Razer Spectre
1x StarCraft® II Razer Banshee
1x StarCraft® II Razer Marauder
1x StarCraft® II Razer Messenger Bag
1x Razer Goliathus Gaming Mouse Mat

Additional Giveaways — video cards? Oh, shinies!

starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-collectors-edition-1

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition Pre-Orders Begin

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

The pre-order of the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition is now available.

The Collector’s Edition pre-order also grants you automatically a Heart of the Swarm Beta key. It is sent to the e-mail attached to your Amazon account.

Below you can view images of the pre-order process, including how to enable shipping delivery on release date (arrives on March 12 to your door) instead of shipping 2 days after the release date.

Advise: Don’t wait until release date to hope you will get a Collector’s Edition. Only those who have a pre-order ticket at a local store have a guaranteed copy. I always get mine online the moment they are announced for pre-order. However, I have tried to get copies for Blizzplanet giveaways in person. Learn from our experience at Diablo III Collector’s Edition and StarCraft II Collector’s Edition.

Pre-Order Process

Before pressing the Place-Order button, there are three options to the left of the Place-Your-Order button: Shipping Address, Payment Information and Gift Cards & Promotional Codes.

Even if your Shipping Address is correct, please, click on the (Change) link. It will display all the Home Address or delivery destination (friends/family) options you might have added in the past. Choose where you want the game delivered at.

Even if the shipping address is correct, click on the Ship-To-This-Address button. This will open up the four delivery options seen in the image below. Select the appropriate one to receive the game at your door on March 12th.

Collector’s Edition Features

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Activision Blizzard Q3 Financial Results Conference Call – Nov.7.2012

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

The Activision Blizzard Q3 2012 Financial Results conference call was held on November 7th at 4:30pm EST / 1:30pm PDT.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime talked briefly about the overall progress of Diablo III, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. He estimates StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is coming out on the first-half of 2013 (January-June range). BlizzCon 2013 and a Diablo III expansion were officially confirmed by Mike Morhaime at this conference as well. Listen to the recording below.

  • For the first nine months, Activision Blizzard was the #1 PC publisher in the U.S. and Europe. Additionally, for the third quarter, Blizzard Entertainment had two of the top five PC games with Diablo III and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.

  • Since its release in May 2012, Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III was the #1 bestselling game in dollars and units on the PC in the U.S. and Europe.

  • On September 25, 2012, Blizzard Entertainment released World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, and sold through approximately 2.7 million copies of the game as of its first week of release. Additionally, on October 2, 2012, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria was released in China, marking what the company believes to be the first time any game has officially released in China as part of a global launch.

  • As of September 30, 2012, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft remains the #1 subscription-based MMORPG, with more than 10 million subscribers.

  • Diablo III has already sold an excess of 10 million copies.

Listen to the Conference Call

This recording captures only the portion where Mike Morhaime talks about Blizzard Entertainment’s results.

Transcript

Mike Morhaime: The third quarter for Blizzard was a very successful one, thanks in large part to the launch of Mists of Pandaria at the end of September. As of the first week, more than 2.7 million copies sold through and subscribership had grown to over 10 million at the end of the quarter. We also launched the game in China just one week after the other regions, which as far as we are aware, is the first time any game has officially released in China as part of a global launch. Overall, it was a successful launch and we were very pleased with the reaction from players and critics.

The team worked hard to create a good variety of deeply engaged content for a wide range of players. The challenge mode and the new raids had been very appealing for hardcore players, while our other new features, such as the pet battle system have been popular with players across the board. This breadth of new content, combined with a vast amount of existing content in World of Warcraft, has resulted in the game that has a lot to offer for veterans, as well as newcomers to online gaming.

We’re looking forward to maintaining engagement by providing more frequent content updates. The first major update to Mists of Pandaria is already in public testing, with additional updates to follow. We have other initiatives planned for the holiday season that we hope will maintain momentum from the launch and continued growth in the community.

Moving on to Diablo III, the game continued to sell very well in the quarter, riding the momentum from its record-breaking launch in May. We’ve updated the game several times to add new features and these changes have been received well by the community. Next on the slate for Blizzard will be Heart of the Swarm, the first expansion to StarCraft II. With 6 million copies of Wings of Liberty sold to date, we have a large community of players eagerly awaiting the next installment of StarCraft.

Beta testing for Heart of the Swarm is well underway and the development team has been collecting great feedback from the community. Just last week, we made a major content update to the beta in order to test some important community features, which have been well-received by players. These features are designed to improve the social aspect, as well as the overall user experience for StarCraft players. We’re working hard towards a first-half 2013 launch for Heart of the Swarm.

We plan on closing out 2012 with one more major initiative, our Battle.net World Championship event, which will take place on November 17th and 18th in Shanghai, China. This event is the culmination of months of intense eSports competition, involving dozens of online tournaments and live events across five continents. The global finals will be very much like a World Cup of eSports with more than 60 top pro gamers in StarCraft II and World of Warcraft competing at the event. The sold out Battle.net World Championship will be broadcast online to a global audience. Live streams and information about the tournament can be found at http://www.battle.net/bwc.

In closing, we’re very pleased with the success of Mists of Pandaria and Diablo III continues to be a top seller on the PC chart. Heart of the Swarm is well on its way and we have other exciting projects in the pipeline. BlizzCon will be returning next year as well, adding to what will be a busy 2013 for Blizzard. We continue to build on our infrastructure for long-term growth and remain focused on creating high-quality content for all of our players around the world.

Douglas Creutz (Cowen and Company): You mentioned you’re at above 1 million peak concurrent users in China. I just wondered how that maybe compared to levels that you’ve hit after prior expansion launches. And then secondly, if you could just talk about where you are with DOTA All-Stars?

Morhaime: Let me start with the second one, which is Blizzard All-Stars is in development and we’re doing some great work. Some internal testing is underway. We’re doing a lot of things to experiment with gameplay and I don’t really have anything concrete to announce on this call, other than we’re very excited about the game. So with respect to China, I really don’t have anything to announce in terms of historical comparables. I think — other than to say that the engagement has increased with the launch of the expansion and we’re very happy with the reception.

Stephen Ju (Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division): The prior iterations of Diablo II expansion pack released about 1 year after the game itself came out. So wondering if you have anything you share in terms of whether or not you have a similar plan for Diablo III to keep your users engaged?

Morhaime: We do have a plan. An expansion planned for Diablo. I don’t have any timeline to talk about. I think that the most important thing for us always comes down to the quality of the expansion and the gameplay, and so that will be a big factor in terms of driving our schedule.

Slideshow

Original Post

Starting tomorrow, Activision Blizzard will broadcast its third-quarter financial results conference call. Previous conference calls have been informative, while at other times not as much.

There is a slight chance that Mike Morhaime might announce or provide an approximate internal target for the official StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm release date. Again, it is a possibility. Not guaranteed.

Micky Neilson was very cryptic on when StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm would be announced. Check out the New York Comic Con 2012 videos.

Keep your eyes on Blizzplanet for images and details of whatever might come from the lips of Mike Morhaime. If you are able to listen to the broadcast on Wednesday, make sure to read the press release for further details. This news post will be updated tomorrow.

Press Release

Activision Blizzard To Release Third Quarter 2012 Results On November 7, 2012

SANTA MONICA, Calif. , Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) intends to release its third quarter 2012 results after the close of the market on Wednesday, November 7 , 2012. In conjunction with this release, Activision Blizzard will host a conference call that will be broadcast over the Internet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012
1:30 pm Pacific Time ( 4:30 pm Eastern Time )

To listen to the call, please log onto:
http://investor.activision.com/events.cfm

Or dial:
U.S. and Canada: 888-455-2265
International: 719-325-2481
Passcode: 7041557

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

E-mail: PBeaver@activision.com

StarCraft II: Flashpoint Shipping Now

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

StarCraft II: Flashpoint by New York Times best selling author Christie Golden hits bookstores today November.6.2012. The novel bridges the gap between the events of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

The very first page starts two seconds after the last StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty cinematic with Jim Raynor sinking in what just happened. He just shot his best friend Tychus Findlay in order to safe Sarah.

This novel explores the love relationship between Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan both in the present and the past (the original StarCraft game via Flashbacks). This is no longer the Queen of Blades. Sarah has been reborn after the Xel’Naga artifact zapped the Queen of Blades. This is a weakened and vulnerable Sarah, with no vestiges of her Queen of Blades personality. A purely human and emotional Sarah.

The novel’s story has its share of smart and radical twists and turns. Is Prince Valerian Mengsk holding up to his alliance with Jim Raynor, or do his machinations end up backstabbing the former-Marshal? On the other hand, readers learn more about the Moebius Foundation and Dr. Emil Narud[uran?].

Special Links

Book Description

An all-new hardcover based on the eagerly anticipated StarCraft II videogame expansion, Heart of the Swarm!

The Queen of Blades is gone. On the hellish planet Char, Jim Raynor harnessed the power of an ancient Xel’Naga artifact in a desperate bid to stop the zerg Swarm from overrunning the Koprulu sector, and the relic restored Sarah Kerrigan to her human form. Without their queen to guide and unify them, the Swarm has fractured into several broods scattered throughout the Koprulu sector. One of the greatest threats to the galaxy has been neutralized… or so it seems.

Sarah Kerrigan is on the loose. Even without the terrible powers of the Queen of Blades or the might of the Swarm at her command, the former Ghost remains a foe not to be taken lightly. But if the artifact really did set her free, then why is Kerrigan seeking out zerg broods scattered throughout the Koprulu sector? Is she still pursuing her quest for vengeance, or has her transformation given Kerrigan a new purpose? Just who is Sarah Kerrigan?

Back Description

The Queen of Blades has fallen.

The sinister zerg leader no longer commands her legions of bloodthirsty aliens against the humans of the Koprulu sector, all thanks to the combined courage and tenacity of Jim Raynor, General Horace Warfield, and a mismatched team of Dominion soldiers and outlaw rebels.

Although the queen is no more, Sarah Kerrigan is very much alive. The woman who once controlled countless alien minds in a rampage across the stars has been spirited away by the man who dethroned her. Now Arcturus Mengsk’s Dominion armada is on her heels, roaring for blood. Jim Raynor will need to test his strength, his wit, and his loyalties against impossible odds to protect the woman he loves.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint bridges the events that take place in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the upcoming StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Featuring never-before-seen glimpses into Jim Raynor’s and Sarah Kerrigan’s past, this novel opens a window into a world of passion, action, and adventure.

Chapter One Excerpt – Spoiler Alert

2504

“We all got our choices to make.”

Those were the last words Tychus Findlay— criminal, former marine, and traitor— would ever hear from his old friend James Raynor.

Tychus had made his choice first— to betray Jim’s trust and friendship by attempting to murder Sarah Kerrigan, the former Queen of Blades, who now sprawled shivering and vulnerable in a red-black cavern inside the planet Char.

Jim had chosen not to let him.

“I made a deal with the Devil, Jimmy.”

And for that deal, Sarah lay limp and trembling and alive, and Tychus Findlay lay stiffening in the armor that had turned out to be first a prison and then a metal coffin.

Jim lowered his pistol. Smoke still drifted upward from its muzzle, mingling with the steam that curled and coiled at his feet. The bullet meant for Arcturus Mengsk, the man he hated above all others, had instead ended the life of the man Jim had once called his best friend.

What have I just done?

Jim fought back the tidal wave of emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. This was no time for rejoicing that the artifact to restore Kerrigan had worked, for berating his own lack of judgment regarding Tychus, for mourning the giant of a man whose rumbling voice would never again utter either jokes or threats.

They needed to get out of this murky, hellish cavern, off this world, and fast.

With Sarah Kerrigan.

His men moved forward as their commander holstered his weapon, clearly intending to bring Tychus’s body with them. Jim barked sharply, “Leave him!”

“Sir?” Cam Fraser asked, confused. “We don’t leave no one behind.”

“We’re leaving him. I ain’t gonna risk any of your lives for the sake of carrying the corpse of a traitor,” Jim snarled. It was a valid argument. But even as he spoke the words, Jim knew it wasn’t the only reason for his decision.

He wanted to leave Tychus behind. Findlay had cut a deal with Arcturus Mengsk. He would have traded Kerrigan’s life for his freedom. Now Sarah Kerrigan lived, and Tychus would rot inside his suit. There was a brutal justice about it that Jim suspected would rack his soul if he thought about it too much. But, perhaps mercifully, there was no time for thinking.

They had come here, to the zerg base world of Char, to do what no doubt seemed like madness: to make the Queen of Blades human again. They had found her deep inside the volcanic, ashy planet. She seemed completely stripped of her zerg-given abilities and appearance. Gone were the bony wings, the scaly skin that had once covered her toned body. But her hair was still—

It looked like it had worked. And “looked like” was close enough for Raynor, for now.

“We need a dropship, Matt,” Raynor said into his comm.

Matt Horner, captain of the battlecruiser Hyperion, sounded stunned. “It . . . it worked?

That alien thing Valerian had us go find for him . . . it really worked?” Raynor knelt and, as gently as possible in the giant metalsuit, slid his arms beneath Sarah and lifted her. She whimpered, once, and his heart broke.

“Looks like,” he said. He didn’t voice his concern about her to Matt as his gaze was drawn again to what crowned her head.

The long red, silky tresses Raynor had once run his hands through were still only things of memory. This part of the Queen of Blades had not changed; instead of soft tendrils, what looked like a hideous cross between tentacles, sectioned insect legs, and quills adorned her skull. Maybe, like a tail that wasn’t needed anymore, it was just a vestigial relic left behind after the artifact worked its voodoo.

Maybe it wasn’t.

“I . . . really can’t believe it, sir.” Matt was still stuck in astonishment.

“I said we need a dropship, unless we’ve gone to all this trouble to free Sarah only to have her die along with the rest of us, Matt,” Raynor said. He rose. Sarah’s form, naked as any newborn’s, shifted with the gesture, rolling closer to him.

If only he were really holding her in his arms, not just carrying her in his armor, he thought fleetingly. If only he could feel her against him, as he had once, a few years ago, a lifetime ago.

Sarah . . . I’m gonna keep you safe.

“Of course, sir,” said Matt, snapping to attention again. “The zerg are going crazy without Kerri— without the Queen of Blades to direct them. Some of them are fleeing, but a whole mess of them are apparently just interested in suicide runs.

It’s going to be tough getting something down to you, but we’ll do it.”

“Attaboy,” Raynor said. He headed back toward the entrance, carrying Sarah carefully. “Now listen up: We’ve got alittle complication. Your dropship needs to wait for two groups, not just one. I had to split up my team. My group went to find out what the xel’naga artifact did to Kerrigan, and Lisle and Haynes stayed behind to protect it. Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to land that dropship, they’ll bring it with them and meet us there.”

There was no way they were leaving the artifact behind. Jim could see it in his mind’s eye: sleek and black, slightly longer than a man was tall, with blue luminescent lines that revealed where five separate pieces had come together to create a single astonishing device. Raynor knew that although they had only begun to understand what it was capable of, he would always remember it and be grateful for what it had done for Sarah.

“I’ll start analyzing the terrain for the safest place to park one, sir,” Matt said.

“You do that.” Jim ended the conversation and switched to another channel. They stepped out of the cavern—

—I killed my best friend and left him to rot in there—

—into the red glow of what passed for sunlight on Char. It was an ugly and unpredictable world. The surface was rocky and black, or gray with ash, or simply just liquid fire. The atmosphere was survivable without hardskins . . . barely. It was Hell, pure and simple, and a fitting place for the zerg to call their home.

“Jim?” The voice was weak, but it was hers. Human. And she knew who he was.

“It’s okay; I gotcha.” And that was all he needed to say. He walked slowly, carefully, then, feeling her gaze, met her eyes. He did not give her a reassuring smile. His feelings ran too deep for that. He looked at her for a moment, then returned his attention to the ugly world around him. Words could come later. Right now, he needed to get her to safety.

“Hey, boys,” he said into his comm, “it worked. You kept that xel’naga thing safe for me like I asked?”

“Yes, sir!” came Lisle’s voice. “Had to fight back a bunch of ’em when it first started, but they’ve steered clear of it for awhile. Was the damnedest thing— critters just started attacking each other.”

“And I bet you ain’t complaining.”

“No, sir, not one damn bit!”

“I’ll let you know the rendezvous point as soon as we know ourselves.” Jim glanced up at the red sky. He could see that the battle was still raging above the planet; here and there were explosions, appearing as small puffs from this distance. He could even see the tiny shapes of mutalisks closer to the surface. “We—”

Kerrigan’s body suddenly spasmed, and she began to cough. Jim swore. He should have thought of this. They still didn’t know what, exactly, had happened to Kerrigan— it could be that the transition back to human had weakened her more than they thought.

“Medic!” he called as he placed Kerrigan on the ground, kneeling beside her. Lily Preston hurried up to him, striding swiftly in her medic’s hardskin while pulling out a respiratory unit from her pack. She too knelt beside Kerrigan, fastening the unit over the gasping woman’s mouth and nose. A thin blanket, featherlight but made of a material known as insulweave that would ensure that the patient’s body heat stayed at a steady 37 degrees Celsius, was gently wrapped around Kerrigan. She whimpered softly as her limbs were lifted and tucked in like a doll’s, but the coughing and spasming stopped.

Preston peered at Jim. “We don’t know what she is anymore, Jim,” she said.

“I’m treating her like a human, but—”

“She is human, dammit!” Jim snapped, insisting on it even though he himself was gripped with a cold fear that Kerrigan really wasn’t. “She has trouble breathing the air just like we do. Her body temperature—”

The ground on which the two knelt suddenly pitched like a wild animal, and there was a huge, reverberating sound that seemed to go on forever. Several other Raiders were knocked clean off their feet. Jim held Sarah close, trying to keep her stable. Out of the corner of his eye he glimpsed a huge red glow, and he whirled to see what had happened.

A gigantic chunk of what had once been a battlecruiser was now nothing more than blazing wreckage, burning sullenly in the crater it had made. Things out of nightmares were swarming all over it. They were zerglings, the smallest package in which zerg hell came. Hydralisks were a maglev train-wreck combination of insects with scythelike arms, snake bodies, teeth that never ended, and neosteel-penetrating spines they fired from their backs. Mutalisks were monsters that brought the ability to fly in atmosphere and in deep space, acidic blood, and parasitic glave wurms into the mix. What the zerglings lacked in size and unique attacks compared to their brothers, they made up for in numbers. Seemingly composed entirely of teeth and claws and carapaces, the zerglings threw themselves on the wreckage, attracted like insects to the brightness and the heat, and screamed horribly as their bodies were burned to a crisp. Jim glanced skyward and shouted, “Brace for impact!” as the rest of the battlecruiser, in fiery chunks as small as a helmet and as large as a house, followed, slamming into the surface of Char like an armored fist into an unprotected face.

Despite Jim’s warning and the stability the hardskins provided, the ground trembled so violently that more than one of them fell. Jim hung on tightly to Sarah, swaying and fighting to remain steady out of sheer cussedness.

Many of the remaining zerglings were suddenly silenced, but others continued to scramble and shriek. Any second now the hideous things, utterly undirected, would no doubt turn and come for Jim and his team. Not because they were bearing away the zerg Queen of Blades, who had once controlled and directed them completely, but simply because the terrans were moving, and thus they were prey.

In his head, Jim suddenly saw the image that had haunted him for four years: the disturbed, broken fantasy of what Sarah’s last moments as a human woman had been like.

He heard again her request for aid, heard Arcturus’s despicable words: “Belay that order. We’re moving out.” Arcturus Mengsk— he who used people until he had used them up, then threw them away once they were of no more use or had become too dangerous. Jim heard himself screaming, “What? You’re not just gonna leave them?” The disbelief— it had still been a question then. Jim had still somehow thought he had misunderstood, that Arcturus wasn’t really doing what it looked like.

But that ice-hearted bastard had intended to do exactly that. Sarah’s voice had come again, a slight tremor of worry in its normally cool tones: “Uh, boys . . . ? How about that evac?

Damn you, Arcturus! Don’t do this.

And you are damned. You are. . .

Commander . . . ?

Pause.

. . . Jim? What the hell’s going on up there?

And then nothing. Jim had imagined her looking in all directions as they came, endless wave after wave of horror, chittering and shrieking in triumph. And after that? The Queen of Blades, part psionic human but more monstrous zerg, had been born.

He had tormented himself with wondering how she had faced what should have been her death: Firing till her ammunition ran out, then leaping on them? Standing quietly and letting them take her? Attempting to kill herself first?

I thought they’d killed you. There were times— a lot of ’em— that I wished they had.

And now, even with all you’ve done, even with so many dead—I’m so glad you’re alive.

He heard the sounds of weapons being fired in the distance, and then the inevitable high-pitched chittering and screaming of the zerg. Jim rose and reached for his pistol, taking a huge step so that he stood protectively over Sarah. They would get her only over his dead body— literally. Except he would take the precious second to kill her before they got him. Sarah Kerrigan would never again be their creation.

And today was not a good day to die. Not when his life had a chance of restarting after hurtling to a heart-shattering stop four years ago.

Fraser glanced at him quickly, then away as he too took a defensive stance. “I kinda feel sorry for the zerg right now, tackling you, Jim.”

“Me too.”

Jim looked upward, relieved to see that, for now at least, the mutalisks were busying themselves attacking the Dominion vessels in the air, which were better prepared to fight them off. Of more immediate concern to him was the cloud of ashy gray dust stirred up from the enemy’s approach. Jim could distinguish the shapes of multijawed, scythe-armed monstrosities slithering on their tail-torsos. He counted four hydralisks. Swallowed by the powdery dust were lumps that had to be several more zerglings racing forward like a pack of wild dogs, only infinitely more lethal and terrifying.

Jim took aim as the cloud drew closer and ordered, “On my mark— fire!”

His soldiers were good. Jim felt sweat trickling into his own eyes and blinked it back, ignoring the sting. He waited until that sweet second, when the attack would have the most effect but not be so late that they would be overrun. In some distant part of his mind, he lamented that he had become so familiar with how best to slaughter zerg that the timing was almost second nature.

Still they came, crying out for blood and death, crazed with the lack of guidance from their missing queen.

Jim waited.

Mark!” he shouted. The clacking, gleeful screams of triumph and lust to kill changed abruptly into sharp keening sounds as the zerg were blasted to bloody chunks. Pieces of the insectoid horrors flew wildly into the air. A chunk of carapace thunked on Jim’s helmet before sliding off. He didn’t change his pace. He kept firing, moving the pistol with a steady sweeping motion back and forth, mowing them down as they came. He had never seen independent thought in their actions or movements, but he had often seen intelligence. Kerrigan’s intelligence, directing and maneuvering them. Now, he saw only chaos and insanity glinting in their tiny, bright eyes, erratic choppiness in their movements.

He blew off the last one’s head. It dropped six paces from him, spewing blood and ichor, twitched, and lay still.

At once Jim knelt beside Sarah. She was curled up in a ball, clutching the blanket about her. Oddly enough, the gesture reassured Jim. It was . . . very human.

“Matt, where is that dropship?” Raynor shouted into his comm.

“Sir, it just launched.” Matt’s voice was sharp with anxiety. Judging by what remained of the battlecruiser still smoldering nearby, Jim could make a good guess as to what he was dealing with up there. But there was no time for sympathy. They had to get Sarah aboard, and then they had to get the fekk away from this hellhole.

“Tell them I’ll double their pay if they get here in five minutes.”

“Sir, you haven’t paid them in weeks.”

“Well, if I’m dead by the time they get here, that ain’t gonna change, now, is it?”

Matt’s faint chuckle was heartening. “There’s truth in that, sir. I’ll let them know, but there’s no guarantee when they’ll get there. Rendezvous coordinates are bearing eight four seven mark eight.”

“Good. We’re not far from that plateau.”

“Sir,” said Fraser, “readings indicate that it’s crawling with zerg.”

“Of course it is,” said Jim. “Whole damn planet is. We just got to get there and hold them off till the ship comes.”

He gathered Kerrigan in his arms. Her eyes opened. They were now back to their normal shade of green, no longer glowing and terrifying. She gave him a small smile, the pale lips of her too-wide mouth curving slightly. Her hand lifted to touch his chest, then fell back limply as her head rolled and her eyes closed, her body exhausted by that simple effort.

Oh yes. He’d hold them off. He’d hold them off forever.

Jim had notified Lisle and Haynes where the dropship would be landing and had to simply hope that the two soldiers would be able to hold off the zerg on their own. The plateau where rescue would come loomed ahead, only a few kilometers and yet a world away. Even as they ran steadily, their hardskins carrying them gracefully and easily, Jim heard a distant, low sound. He was incongruously reminded of the hot summers he had experienced, growing up on Shiloh, of the descent of twilight accompanied by the droning music of insects.

This sound, though, snapped him to full attention. He could see the creatures now, heading toward him and his team. Uncontrolled, they were reacting like the beasts they were, scenting prey and closing in on it. Jim felt a flash of grim humor as he realized that Lisle and Haynes were probably safer than he was this time.

Without Kerrigan to control them, the zerg would likely be less interested in the two humans with the artifact than the four humans without it, simply because Jim’s group would provide more food.

“Stand your ground!”

There was a clatter as the soldiers came to a halt, lifted their rifles, and stood ready to attack on his command. Jim could distinguish three separate packs. There was no order to them, no uniform numbers or types, no flanking on one side or the other, no strategy at all. There was only hunger.

Wait . . .

“Fire!”

The Raiders butchered the zerg relentlessly. Some of the things stopped dead in their tracks and whirled, turning on their fallen colleagues for sustenance with the same enthusiasm they would have turned on Raynor’s Raiders. While Jim held Sarah, the others kept firing, dropping more and more of the wretches, and when at last no attacking zerg remained, only diners and dinners, he gestured to his soldiers to go around the feast. The Raiders ran past while zerglings cannibalized hydralisks. As he left the grotesque sight behind, he suddenly wondered if the zerg would find and devour the body of a man he had once regarded as “friend,” cracking open the metal shell of Findlay’s armor to get to what was inside. . . .

He recoiled from the image for an instant and then forced himself to harden his heart against it. Tychus was dead. He didn’t have to be. He could have still been alive, have still been Jim’s friend, if he had turned his back on his “deal with the Devil.” If only he had not been about to murder the woman Jim loved. But Tychus had made his choice, and he had to have known going in what Jim would do. He knew Jim better than anybody.

Tychus. Damn, there was a time when I’d have done anything for you. And when I thought you would’ve done anything for me. A time when you did give up everything for me.

A zergling was charging up to him, slaver dripping from its jaws. Without a pack its run was suicidal, but it didn’t know that. It just knew it was hungry. Jim cradled Kerrigan close and turned so his back was to the creature, protecting her with his own body. Fraser leveled his rifle and fired a spike right between the thing’s gleaming eyes. It kept coming for a stride or two, as if its body required a few seconds to understand that its brain had just been impaled, then it collapsed. Fraser took a bead on a second one, but it was unnecessary. The other zergling came to a halt and began to tear chunks out of its pack mate.

“Behind you!”

Jim shouted. Fraser whirled and dropped two more. The other zerglings chattered excitedly at the banquet Jim and his Raiders had spread out before them. Jim didn’t even bother to wrinkle his nose in disgust. He simply held Kerrigan and started, again, to run straight for the rendezvous point.

It would be hypocrisy to condemn the zerg for turning on their own. They, at least, had excuses. Once completely controlled by the Overmind and then by the Queen of Blades, now they were nothing but simple minded beasts. What excuse did humans have for doing the same thing?

Mengsk had turned on Kerrigan without batting an eye, abandoning her to what he expected would be a horrifically brutal fate. Tychus, at least, seemed to have taken an instant to mourn what he saw as a necessity. “Damn shame,” he had muttered.

Before starting to squeeze the trigger.

Before choosing to murder a helpless, traumatized woman right in front the man who loved her.

Damn him any way.

It was becoming brutally rote: Zerg, one or two or twenty, would come out of nowhere. Jim would shout the orders. His Raiders would fire, and the zerg would fall, sometimes quickly, sometimes not. And when enough were dead, as if there were some kind of tipping point unknown to the Raiders, the zerg would stop hunting humans and start eating their own kind.

He wondered if his people resented the fact that their leader, who had chosen to put all their lives in jeopardy, stood by, holding Sarah Kerrigan, the former Queen of Blades— the one responsible for the deaths of so very many— while they fought to protect them all. Jim realized with a sick sensation that no matter how well you thought you knew someone, you didn’t. You couldn’t. Only the protoss could know someone through and through, by linking their minds and essences in the great psychic meeting space they called the Khala. And even some of their own kind, the dark templar, had chosen not to reveal themselves so profoundly.

I’m flying blind, Jim thought as he kept running, trying to cover as much ground as he could while jostling Sarah as little as possible. We all are. Every man, every woman. We’re flying blind, and we never really know shit about any other heart or mind but our own.

“Sir!” cried Fraser. “Look!”

Mortified, Jim realized he had been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t seen the tiny speck in the sky that was growing larger and larger, its shape becoming clearer until he could see the familiar and welcome curves of the dropship Fanfare. It looked more beautiful to Jim than just about any other sight he had ever seen . . . except for the look Sarah had given him as he bore her away.

But as cheers and whoops of delight went up from the weary soldiers, the sound was joined by another— a buzzing, humming noise. Jim swore. The Fanfare, like all dropships, had no weapons, and it couldn’t land to rescue them until Jim’s team cleared the area first.

“Fire at will!” Jim ordered. “Ain’t gonna let a few pesky zerg get in our way!”

The soldiers agreed, and they fired on the zerg with evenmore intensity than they had demonstrated before. Zerg blew apart into pieces, and this time the Raiders didn’t spare those that stopped to eat. Jim and his soldiers kept going, winning the prize step by slogging step, spattered in zerg blood and ichor. And finally, blessedly, the Fanfare settled on the rocky but mostly flat ground.

The ramp extended and the pilot, Wil Merrick, beckoned furiously. “Hurry! There’s a whole slew of them heading this way!”

“Any sign of the second team?”

“None,” Merrick said, then his eyes fell on the blanket-wrapped form. “Damn, that her?”

“That’s her,” Jim said.

“She’s in shock,” said Preston. She reached to take Jim’s precious burden away from him, lifting Sarah as easily as he did thanks to the medic’s armor. Jim didn’t want to let Sarah go, but she needed what the medics could do for her right now more than what he could do. He handed her over to Preston, feeling a lurch in his heart as he watched the medic carry her inside. Kerrigan was eased into a seat and hooked up to an IV drip and (what looked to Jim) about six thousand other tubes or portable monitors. The words forced themselves out of Jim’s mouth, a quiet plea: “Be gentle.”

The irony did not escape him; it was a hell of a request to show gentleness to the murderess of billions. But Preston understood, nodding wordlessly as she went about her job of trying to save Kerrigan’s life. Sarah gave no sign that she was even peripherally aware of anything.

Hang on, Sarah. You’re tough; you can survive. Don’t let it be too late. Not after all this. . . .

“Damn, sir, we need to get going!” the pilot shouted. “We got another bunch of zerg incoming.”

“What kind?”

“We had to evade a whole shitload of mutalisks just to get down here, sir,” Merrick replied. “Once we hit atmosphere, they went after someone else, but sensors indicate there’s a mess of zerglings and hydralisks that seem intent on finishing the job.”

Jim glanced over at Sarah. He desperately wished she could be gone, out of danger, safely in the Hyperion’s sick bay, but he couldn’t abandon the men who had risked everything to save her.

“We ain’t leaving my men to be zerg fodder nor that artifact to be destroyed!” Jim snapped. “Keep her as stable as possible. Her survival is paramount. If I give the order for you to take off and get to safety and leave me behind, you do it, do you understand?”

“Perfectly, sir.”

Jim looked again at Sarah, her skin painted an unnatural hue by the artificial lighting, then jumped out of the dropship. The doors closed behind him.

His Raiders joined him, one of them handing Jim a gauss rifle. While he had treasured every moment he had tasted with Sarah in his arms again, Jim was also glad to be hoisting a rifle and tackling an active role in the fight once more.

He could hear the zerg coming now, feel the earth tremble beneath their onslaught. Grinning a little, Raynor lifted his rifle, pointed it at the roiling cloud of gray dust, and began to fire.

Copyright © 2012 by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. All rights reserved.StarCraft and Blizzard Entertainment are trademarks or registered trademarksof Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.

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FigurePrints – XBox Live Avatars Going Offline

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

FigurePrints announced Microsoft is shutting down the Xbox LIVE Avatar exporter service at the end of November.

This will prevent FigurePrints from creating more Xbox Live Avatar statues.

You have a few weeks to order your Custom Xbox LIVE Avatar Statues!. Act now while you can. If in October 12th you got the free Xbox LIVE Avatar Horde or Alliance logo T-shirt from the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria advertisement campaign, and didn’t get to order a statue, now is a good timing to do so, too.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm UI – Beta Patch 2.0.0.23925

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

It’s been a while since my last login to the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta. Here are some of the latest UI changes for the main lobby, the chat rooms, Clan channels, Level XP/Stats and Profile updates.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see further UI changes in future beta patches. Blizzard Careers is looking for a UI Designer for StarCraft II and Blizzard All-Stars.

Blizzplanet Review – StarCraft II: Flashpoint

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

During my visit to the New York Comic Con 2012, Simon & Schuster representatives hooked me up with a copy of StarCraft II: Flashpoint by New York Times Best Selling author Christie Golden.

I finished reading the book, and it’s very hard to contain myself, and not spoil things. I’ll do my best not to reveal the entirety of the plot, but at least enlighten you with an attempt to spark in you the interest to read this book.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint literally bridges the gap between StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

I’m almost convinced the expansion will start off with Sarah Kerrigan leaving the Umojan Protectorate to start her search for the Zerg.

The Umojan Protectorate is a non-Terran Dominion territory that many fans have probably wanted Blizzard to put into the spotlight in-game as it has in the Tokyopop StarCraft: Frontline manga. One can only hope.

Chapter One

The first chapter introduces readers quickly into the exact moment two seconds after Jim Raynor shot his handgun at Tychus Findlay.

The novel gets to portray what the game nor the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty final cinematic could.

What was going on through Jim Raynor’s thoughts right after shooting his best friend. His reaction to seeing Sarah’s face as he carried her body outside the cave, as he looked into the horizon of Char’s surface.

Chapter Two

Valerian Mengsk meditates aboard the Bucephalus battlecruiser, orbiting planet Char. Ignorant of what’s happening down there. Whether Jim survived, whether the Xel’Naga artifact worked, or if Sarah had been reverted into human form or not, or if she survived the transformation.

I was glad to read Valerian remembering R.M Dahl and Professor Jacob Jefferson Ramsey (main characters of StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy).

I was surprised to read the idea the Xel’Naga artifact could change the Queen of Blades back to human form was actually an idea proposed behind-the-scenes by Jacob Ramsey. This piece of information was never mentioned in-game in Wings of Liberty.

However, it makes sense. Single-player lore fans no doubt wondered at some point how Valerian knew so much about the Xel’Naga artifact and what it could do to Kerrigan.

This is the perfect reasoning. Jacob Ramsey is not only the best archeologist in terms of ancient Protoss and Xel’Naga ruins and objects, but as read in StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy, his brain hosted the mind of a Protoss Preserver named Zamara; and learned her knowledge and that of countless Protoss’ memories throughout history.

Personally, I would have liked to see Jacob in-game in Wings of Liberty to provide the background and purpose of the Xel’Naga artifact. Nevertheless, StarCraft: Flashpoint does a great job filling readers in on what transpired behind-the-scenes in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty’s plot.

As Brian Kindreagan recently said: “We will always struggle with the fact that we get only a few lines of dialogue in this fast-paced, dynamic game to explain concepts that could fill 50 pages in a novel (such as the Overmind’s backstory, or the earlier discussion of free will). We’ll never be able to explain things in as much detail as I’d like, and will instead have to rely on the player to consider what we’ve shown and to interpret it. Narrative games are not films, and they are not novels.”

Not all stories mesh well in-game as it can in a novel. The novels have more room to flesh out things. Nobody wants to sit tight listening or watching cutscenes for 5 minutes. Gameplay comes first and foremost.

Chapter Three

Raynor’s dropship lands within the Bucephalus battlecruiser, Valerian’s flagship, to offer medical treatment to Sarah Kerrigan. Things get a little jumpy as Raynor doesn’t trust Valerian, and Valerian very well knows what Raynor is capable of for her safety.

However, what readers will find in chapter three is pure gold. You have never seen Prince Valerian Mengsk like this before. His true intentions throughout previous novels and throughout StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is revealed. Is he as treacherous as his father? Or is he a different person?

General Thoughts

I was hoping to see a sliver of the Queen of Blades somewhere in Sarah, but the author is blunt and straight to the liver. This is no longer the Queen of Blades. We truly face Sarah Kerrigan’s humanity — mind and soul.

I realize not everyone who plays StarCraft II, plays World of Warcraft or have read Christie Golden’s novels based on Warcraft. Many do. I have read all the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo novels. Call me a lore buff.

I can tell you upfront. I love the twists, humor and the plot creativity of Christie Golden in StarCraft: Flashpoint. It feels much different than her work in the Warcraft universe, but she brings with her several years of experience writing Star Trek novels, and she got a deep and mature knowledge of the StarCraft universe, its characters, lingo and the locations throughout the Koprulu Sector.

I really hate to read novels that look more like poetry in motion than a novel — you know, describing something simple in so many fancy and sweetened words that it takes three pages to say it. That style doesn’t mesh well with sci-fi. Christie is fluid, and constantly pumping action from page to page. The story moves forward at a good pace.

Christie Golden added several continuity nods throughout StarCraft: Flashpoint. Some of these nods come in the shape of adult language or lingo often seen around Keith R.A. DeCandido stories such as StarCraft: Ghost–Nova, StarCraft: Ghost–Academy and StarCraft: Ghost–Spectres.

There are several flashbacks in this novel from the point of view of Jim Raynor — visiting the memories of the moment Sarah requested an evac, but Mengsk belayed the order and abandoned her to the Zerg. Lots of these flashbacks are based on factual continuity as sort of behind-the-scene stories players never got to see in the original StarCraft single-player missions.

Sarah at some point recalls when she first met Jim Raynor and Michael Liberty in Antiga Prime. The dialogue from the original StarCraft game is used word by word, which is a very nice touch. That scene where Jim and Sarah meet for the first time is very iconic when he realizes she is a telepath after she calls him a pig.

There are other flashbacks to year 2500, where the reader gets really close to Jim Raynor’s mind and heart witnessing the little things that made him truly love this woman.

I also liked to see some of the Hyperion characters found in-game make more than just cameos: Dr. Egon Stetmann and Chief Engineer Rory Swann.

The in-game cutscene showing the Cantina fight between Jim and Tychus is referenced. Some in-game funny moments such as Matt Horner’s embarrassment with his Deadman’s Port wife — this is the pirate space junkyard planet players are acquainted with.

The novel displays the accurate dialogues between Raynor and Valerian as seen in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty through flashback.

In another scene, Valerian is at the Hyperion cantina and he’s wondering about the jukebox wrapped above on the ceiling, and smirks at listening to the song “Suspicious Minds”.

I really love to read consistency, continuity, and nods to previous games and StarCraft novels. Christie Golden doesn’t ignore those small details. That’s something fans of the game will truly appreciate.

We even get to have a name for the engineering assistant folks standing around at the Cantina in-game including Bartender Cooper. The bartender’s name is mentioned in-game by one of the guys sitting by the tables in the Cantina when players click on him several times: “Man, old Cooper sure makes a mean Mai Tai.”

StarCraft: Flashpoint also reveals the first time Raynor met Matt Horner before Mengsk’s betrayal on Sarah.

There is also a nod to Chris Metzen’s story (Homecoming) in StarCraft: Frontline. Jim Raynor’s son and former wife are mentioned a few times.

There is one Raynor’s Raiders traitor who might not return as part of the Hyperion’s crew in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, but I got a feeling we might see him at some point.

Christie Golden’s writing is non-stop action, with spiraling emotions, plenty of humor, and readers will find the many unpredictable turns very exquisite and satisfying.

Cherry on top — we learn more about Narud and the Moebius Foundation.

Get your hands on StarCraft II: Flashpoint to find out. It’s worthwhile.

I recommend reading it on a Saturday morning. Once you start reading, you will hardly have a chance to play or do domestic chores. You won’t be able to stop reading till the end with all the action and suspense.

I can hardly wait to play through the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint goes on sale on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. If you haven’t yet, pre-order StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. However, make sure to order it separately so both items ship individually.

Characters

Jim Raynor
Sarah Kerrigan
Tychus Findlay
Cam Fraser – Raynor’s Raiders marine
Matt Horner – captain of the Hyperion battlecruiser
Lisle – stayed behind to protect the Xel’Naga artifact.
Haynes – stayed behind to protect the Xel’Naga artifact.
Lily Preston – medic
Pilot Wil Merrick – Dropship Fanfare pilot
Rolfsen
Prince Valerian Mengsk
Everett Vaughn – captain of the Bucephalus battlecruiser
Emil Narud – scientist / leader of the Moebius Foundation
Emperor Arcturus Mengsk
Marcus Cade – Hyperion navigator
Dr. Frederick – Bucephalus doctor
Egon Stetmann – Hyperion lab scientist
Rory Swann – Hyperion Chief Engineer
Annabelle Thatcher – Hyperion engineering assistant
Earl – Hyperion engineering assistant
Milo Kachinsky
Bartender Cooper – Hyperion Cantina
Mira Han – Matt Horner’s wife at Deadman’s Port
Captain Roger Merriman – Herakles battleship
Scutter O’Banon – former leader of Deadman’ Rock
Ethan Stewart (mentioned) – former leader of Deadman’s Port, later Kerrigan’s zerg-infested consort in StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy
Phillip Randall (mentioned) – Scutter O’Bannon’s butler and assassin
Lieutenant Travis Rawlins – Bucephalus battlecruiser’s navigator
Scarlip – Deadman’s port thug
Yeats – Deadman’s Port doctor
Becker – Deadman’s Port doctor

Captain Sharyn Moore (flashback) – Captain of the Cormorant (old merchantman vessel) that transported Jim and Sarah to Orna III. Matt Horner’s former captain and ship.

Boots (mentioned) – Sarah’s pet for three weeks.

Dr. Orville Harris – chief scientist at the science facility of Orna III
Gary Crane – one of Mira Han subordinates at Deadman’s Port.
Liddy (flashback) – Jim Raynor’s former wife. Died of cancer. (StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 4 — Homecoming by Chris Metzen).

Dr. Phan – Ornan III
Dr. Elizabeth Martin – Ornan III
Dr. Chantal de Vries – one of the many doctors in the Space Station Prometheus who toured Dr. Stetmann.
Nancy Wyndham – doctor at the Space Station Prometheus
Joseph Reynolds – doctor at the Space Station Prometheus
Adrian Scott – doctor at the Space Station Prometheus
Elias Thompson – chief engineer of the Bucephalus.
Vrain, Osgood, Warren, Tseng and Mitchell – Narud security guards at Space Station Prometheus
Varley – White Star navigator
Maddie Wilson

Locations

Planet Char
Hyperion battlecruiser
Fanfare dropship
Bucephalus gorgon-class battlecruiser
Moebius Foundation
White Star – Emperor Arcturus Mengsk’s flagship battlecruiser
Deadman’s Port

G-2275 (mentioned) – gas giant, technological hub of the Confederacy. Raynor and Sarah were at its moon after the victory at Antiga Prime. They retrieved the plans to create upgraded Goliaths.

Orna III – science facility doing covert experiments on their citizens such as gene-splicing, brain modification, telepathic experimentation, disease testing.

Paradise – Deadman’s Rock town
Shilo (mentioned) – Jim Raynor’s homeworld
Kirkegaard Belt (known as Kick-You-Good Belt)
Space Station Prometheus – Moebius Foundation secret lab located within the Kirkegaard Belt
Umojan Protectorate

Valerian brought 25 battlecruisers to planet Char. Only fourteen survived the Zerg. Some of the battlecruiser names: Aenas, Amphitrite, Metis, Eos, Patroclus, and Meleager, Antigone, and Herakles.

Battlecruiser type mentioned: Minotaur-class and Behemoth-class.

References

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Improve your Computer Temperature with EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler

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

For a long time since I built my EVGA X58 motherboard computer system (in 2008) I had wanted to get a better CPU cooler, especially with all the upgrades World of Warcraft has gotten from expansion to expansion and because intensive games like Crysis 2.

My i7-920 CPU was normally in the 78-82 degrees, with spikes of 85 — pretty bad, considering the motherboard auto-shuts at 86 degrees. During the periods of time I did not clean the interior of my computer I could probably be able to fry an egg in there.

I tried the Corsair Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler, but I got unlucky with a non-working paperweight I had to eventually RMA/return.

I skipped getting another H100, because I needed to get a working computer ASAP, and didn’t want to run the risk of another RMA nor waste more delivery time. For something that costs $100, I’d expect it to work out of the box or to have been tested at the factory.

My next option was to get an EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler. Half cheaper than the Corsair H100 Extreme. The photos don’t make justice to this behemoth. It’s big and heavy.

The fan is actually 120 x 120mm (open your hand and extend your fingers wide and apart. That big is this CPU cooler.

After loading the EVGA e-Leet utility software to monitor my i7-920 CPU temperatures I was literally blown out of my shoes. I couldn’t believe the readings. Half the temperatures I always had with the previous CPU cooler.

It’s been 2-3 months since I installed this CPU cooler, and haven’t cleaned the case on purpose to take readings of a dusty computer interior. Not something safe to do, but for your benefit here we go.

These are my current CPU temperature readings with a dusty computer case: between 43-47 degrees. At the moment of these readings I have World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria set at Ultra settings for over 8 hours and Adobe Photoshop open. I’m amazed.

Of course, it’s recommended to clean your computer case at least once a month. I personally use the Metro Vacuum ED500 Electric Duster to clean up my computer. It certainly beats wasting money on compressed air cans that don’t do a great job. **Thanks to the fan who suggested that electric duster. I love it.

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler is compatible with Intel Socket 775, 1155,1156, 1366; or the AMD Socket 754,939, 940, F, AM2, AM3.

  • Fan Size: 120 x 120 x 25mm
  • Fan Speed: 750 – 2500 RPM
  • Fan Airflow: 26 – 84 CFM
  • Heat Pipes: 5 x 8mm Direct Touch
  • Fins: Aluminum / Wind Flow

What’s your favorite CPU cooler? Share your feedback with other players.

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Chris Metzen and Flint Dille Geek Speaks Seminar @ USC Annenberg on Oct 29

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

Chris Metzen (Diablo III, World of Warcraft, Starcraft II) and Flint Dille (Diablo III, Transformers, GI Joe) are conducting a panel titled “Geek Speaks” at the University of South California Annenberg (School for Communication and Journalism) this upcoming October 29th, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

Presented by the Annenberg Innovation Lab, Geek Speaks goes beyond the lecture or the seminar to give you a close look at the creative process as seen by two of new media’s leading lights.

Chris Metzen (Diablo III, World of Warcraft, Starcraft II) and Flint Dille (Diablo III, Transformers, GI Joe) will sit for a one-on-one conversation about entertainment, culture and the creative process while sharing stories and experiences gained from working across mediums and genres.

 

To join this event, attendees must register free (RSVP) here.

Are you attending this event? Do you have a camera, digital video camera or voice recorder? Let us know here.

Direction

USCAnnenberg Auditorium (Annenberg Room G26), 7 p.m.
3502 Watt Way
ASC G-26
Los Angeles, CA 90089


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Blizzard Entertainment Celebrates World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Success in Style

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

Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the success of the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion in style creating their own version of Octoberfest — err, Brewfest.

Developers and employees joined together on the campus outdoors to drink champagne and literally get rained and splashed by it. Several photos made their way into Twitter to share with everyone their great time and pride to work at Blizzard Entertainment. No goblins, dwarves, rams, not even iron dwarves were harmed during this celebration. A [Community Manager of the Year] floating skull got his fire kinda too drenched, though. teehee!

Vaeflare: My other half took an eagle-eye video of the #Blizzard #MoP champagne toast from earlier. I love the screams of joy. ;)source

Nick Carpenter @FubarNick: Congratulations Blizzard/MoP!!! Champagne-soaked celebration. Lol… I need a shower now ;) @Warcraft @Blizzplanet – source

@TheLyns: Congrats to everyone for all your hard work on Mists of Pandaria!! Now let’s get douced in champagne!! #warcraft pic.twitter.com/S4cEFPfB

@Bashiok: I think we’re ready.

@Vaeflare: The calm before the #Blizzard champagne storm… A bunch of people I know started working at #Blizzard during #MoP and this is their first toast. I am so proud of everyone’s hard work. :) #MoP pic.twitter.com/5Lqs8ZT2

The developers reached alerted each other via Twitter to get a second set of clothes, knowing in advance how ugly things would get once the celebration officially started:

I think this large setup of champagne bottles might easily break a few Guinness records. Well, maybe … almost.

Medievaldragon: This one definitely deserves one of those The Daily Blink comics:

@CM_Zarhym: So @Daxxarri came from behind like a rogue, spraying champagne under my shades into my eye. That’s how young adults imbibe these days right? – source

Michael Chu: Congrats to everyone on the #Pandaria team! You guys rocked it. – source

@CM_Zarhym: @Bashiok But @mumper’s been waiting two years to take a champagne shower. Shouldn’t the world be yearning for pictures? (I’ll take them.)

@Olandgren: So incredibly happy we could deliver a world that our players could love and explore. – source

@Bashiok: Grats to the team on the awesome Mists of #Pandaria launch! #champagneissticky @mumper @Ghostcrawler @DaveKosak – source

@CM_Zarhym: Tom Chilton, @Ghostcrawler @mumper @DaveKosak & crew take a champagne shower. So honored to work with them! – source

@Veaflare: Whenever we celebrate the launch of a new title, we have a toast and raise a flag. Here’s #Diablo and #MoP. #BlizzFacts – source

Steve Parker ‏@retailsails: Congrats to the Mists of Pandaria team on their champagne toast over at Blizz! #cheers – source

@Vaeflare: So many drenched #Blizzard employees everywhere… And loud music, smiles, and laughter. :) I love this company.

Cory Stockton @Mumper: We are getting close! Almost time to celebrate! – source

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2012 New York Comic Con: Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel Video

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, New York Comic Con 2012, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

The Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel took place at the New York Comic Con (Jacob K. Javits Convention Center).

The event was led by New York Times Best Selling Author Micky Neilson (Blizzard Publishing Lead), Dave Kosak (World of Warcraft Lead Quest Designer) and Michael Stackpole (science fiction and fantasy author).

Vol’jin, Shadows of the Horde

World of Warcraft: Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde by Michael Stackpole will be published on April 2013. Pre-order it here.

The upcoming World of Warcraft patch 5.1 will focus a lot on the book’s plot. Players will meet Vol’jin throughout Pandaria in patch 5.1. He wants to dispense indiscriminate justice against Garrosh. He’ll make sure to be behind his downfall. In the novel, Vol’jin will have few contemplative moments at a Pandaria monastery, learning wisdom from the Pandaren.

The novel’s main characters are Vol’jin and Chen Stormstout.

We were told Vol’jin will be featured on patch 5.2 too. The developers are hard at work on a new Vol’jin NPC model and new Zandalari troll models in patch 5.1.

Release Date: Q2 2013

This upcoming World of Warcraft novel focuses on Vol’jin, the courageous shadow hunter and leader of the Darkspear tribe whose guile and cunning have made him a staunch ally of the Warchief Thrall. Shadows of the Horde follows Vol’jin to the lost continent of Pandaria, where the troll chieftain’s loyalties are put to the ultimate test when a member of his own faction moves to assassinate him. . . .

Aided by the renowned brewmaster Chen Stormstout, Vol’jin takes refuge in a remote mountain monastery to recover from his wounds. His time there, however, is far from peaceful, as intense visions of the past assault the Darkspear chieftain, and the ancient Zandalari tribe mounts a series of attacks on Pandaria. In his struggle to make sense of what’s happening, Vol’jin must ultimately decide where his allegiances lay—a choice that could save or doom his people . . . and forever alter the fate of the Horde.

 

StarCraft II: Flashpoint

StarCraft II: Flashpoint by New York Times best selling author Christie Golden is coming out November 6th.

The novel gets into the relationship between Jim Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan through flashbacks, and the novel starts right away seconds after the cinematic ending of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty when Raynor is carrying Sarah on his arms, and bridges out the gap between Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm . We’ll find out what was Tychus’ outcome.

Micky was very mysterious on when Heart of the Swarm is coming out, but his voice tone hinted it’s not too far away. Take in mind Activision Blizzard Third Quarter Financial Results Conference Call is taking place on November 7th.

It’s possible the official announcement of Heart of the Swarm’s release date takes place prior to the conference call, or at the event itself. We will know sooner or later. Pre-order StarCraft II: Flashpoint (Nov 6).

World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects

A new eBook by Richard A. Knaak titled World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects. This eBook will be available in four parts. The first part will be available on January 15th, 2013.

The Dragon Aspects are mortal now, and going through a lot of changes. We’ll see these characters before they became Aspects, we’ll see Galakron and the Proto drakes. Readers will explore a lot of past history with this four-part eBook.

Format: Serialized eBook
Release Date: Starting January 15, 2013

Dawn of the Aspects is a four-part serial novel that highlights a lesser-known period of the Dragon Aspects’ history. Written by Richard A. Knaak (World of Warcraft: Stormrage, Warcraft: War of the Ancients trilogy), the mini-series follows the Aspects at a moment in time before they’d been granted their powers, when they were called upon to band together against the proto-dragon Galakrond.

 

Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls

Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls is an Anthology of five short stories from the Diablo III site, and two additional stories that aren’t focused on any specific class, aimed at expanding the Diablo III universe. This is a digital eBook to be available in Kindle.

Release Date: November 27, 2012

This eBook anthology collects five dark tales based on Diablo III’s character classes—the barbarian, demon hunter, monk, witch doctor, and wizard — which were originally published on the Diablo III website prior to the game’s release. This collection also includes two never-before-available short stories set in the Diablo universe that shed more light on the shadow-shrouded world of Sanctuary.

 

Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel Video – Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Additional Sources

  • For more details about the panel and for details about other booths providing sneak peeks of upcoming Blizard licensed products go here for the schedules.

  • Blizzplanet’s New York Comic Con 2012 coverage section.

Many thanks to Blizzard Entertainment: Lyndsi Achucarro, Kat Hunter, Micky Neilson, Dave Kosak, Zarhym, Crithto, and Bashiok.

Special thanks to Roger Bilheimer (New York Comic Con panel organizer) for the press badge and support.

Thank you to the following gaming news sites for sharing link to the videos:

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New York Comic Con 2012: Day One

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, New York Comic Con 2012, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

I arrived to the Javits Convention Center in the late afternoon to pick up my press badge, when the background noise caught my attention. I decided to give myself a tour throughout the halls.

Insight Editions

I visited the Insight Editions Booth #1882 to pick up the Spring 2013 catalog. The Art of Blizzard Entertainment contains 352 pages. It’s a massive book measuring 9.25 x 12.75. I’ll post an individual article about this product during the weekend. You can pre-order it here.

The Art of Blizzard
Written by Nick Carpenter, Sam Didier, and Chris Metzen

An epic volume of art and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard Entertainment 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.

Hardcover: $75.00
ISBN: 978-1-60887-027-1

 

The Limited Edition of the Art of Blizzard Entertainment comes in a die-cut slipcase, which houses an exclusive version of the book and a portfolio of four high-quality giclee prints of paintings by Blizzard’s most celebrated artists: Samwise Didier, Brom and Wei Wang. Limited to 3,000 copies. ($150) — ISBN: 978-1-60887-138-4

Join the Insight Editions newsletter, or ask for the Fall 2012 / Spring 2013 catalogs. Follow on Facebook/Twitter.

Simon & Schuster

When I walked into the Simon & Schuster’s Booth #829, I was greeted by Associate Publicist Stephanie DeLuca who immediately offered her support to Blizzplanet. Ed Schlesinger (Gallery Books editor) recognized me from past events. That guy is so amazing. You can breath his passion for Blizzard Entertainment’s novels. I wanted to share with you guys a brief sneak peek into what to expect in StarCraft II: Flashpoint by Christie Golden.

The StarCraft: Flashpoint book was there at the booth. Attendees can pick it on their hands and browse through the pages. It came hot off the press barely a couple of days ago, and getting ready to ship on November 6th.

From what he told me with as little spoilers as possible, but enough to spark such an interest to geek me out (with the shivers and all that) — the novel starts off just a couple of seconds right after the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty’s cinematic ending, and they are in Planet Char. It’s packed with thrilling action as they try to retreat through hordes of Zerg taking with them their precious cargo: Sarah Kerrigan. Emphasis on “this is no longer the Queen of Blades”. I so want to read this N.O.W.!

Don’t worry. Simon & Schuster has Blizzplanet covered. A review copy will be arriving soon. Expect a review and an interview with Christie Golden in upcoming weeks.

Mega Bloks

Mega Bloks is showcasing the new line up of World of Warcraft sets expected the last quarter of 2012. They tweeted us to tell you this: “The first 100 at the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Booth get a Chen “Jade” Stormstout Figure (Friday 4:30pm and Saturday).” Ask for yours, while supplies last.

Walk-in into their Booth #1206 to check out the upcoming line of Pandaren Monk sets and the Sha of Anger. Mega Bloks posted in Facebook some pictures a few days ago. These are the photos I took today:

You can find the massive Thrall weighing a ton near the electric stairs by the Javits convention center’s lobby. They have a huge version of the Zeppelin and the Frostmourne sword made of Mega Bloks.

Where to find the Blizzard Publishing Panel on Saturday?

I was not expecting to find the New York Comic Con open today, only went into exploration-mode to let you know where to find the Room 1A14 on Saturday at 2:45pm. The room where the Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel will take place at.

I recommend to open the door of the Javits Convention Center and follow the whole length of the lobby — takes about four minutes to do that. Walk down the non-mechanical stairs and continue following the long lobby. You will see the massive Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Thrall statue.

At the far end of the lobby you will see a huge banner of THE WALKING DEAD. Near that huge banner to your left you will see a Coca-Cola Drink Machine and next to it the mechanical-stairway (as seen in the photo below).

Go down to the lower floor. Don’t move left or right. Just keep walking forward as soon as you get out of the stairs all the way to the end. Room 1A14 is at the end. The door is to the left side of the hallway.

I entered the room. It’s pretty big with approximately 100 chairs. I’ll be there taking video on the first row.

All New York Comic Con attendees should browse through the official NYCC Blizzard Licensed Products showcase and panels schedule.

Check out Blizzplanet’s New York Comic Con 2012 Coverage page

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RISK: StarCraft Collector’s Edition On Sale Now

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

USAopoly has launched the RISK: StarCraft Collector’s Edition — grab yours while supplies last.

  • Custom highly-detailed plastic playing pieces
  • Custom game board
  • Packaging features Kerrigan and Raynor, two leading characters from the StarCraft video games
  • Shorter game play
  • Includes 7 custom dice 2 defense and 3 offense

Description

The StarCraft risk game is the first and only board game that allows die-hard StarCraft fans to control the StarCraft Universe, Terran, Protoss and Zerg unit factions and direct them in realistic warfare to decide the ultimate fate of the StarCraft Universe.

WHO WANTS SOME?! The Koprulu Sector is being ravaged by war. You must stand against your enemies as one of the three powerful races. Will you choose the advanced and mysterious Protoss, the rugged and tenacious Terran, or lead the ravenous Zerg swarm? No matter which race you choose, you will fight for your very survival. The war for galactic supremacy begins NOW! Includes 4 ways to play; Basic Training – quick and easy, Command Room – fast-paced and strategic, Total Domination – updated versions of the classic game, Team Play – take on your opponents in 2 v 2 and 3 v 3 game-modes. Game comes complete with 333 game pieces. Custom components include 2 Terran Armies, 2 Protoss Armies, 2 Zerg Armies, 6 Leaders, 6 Custom Bases, 15 Custom Mineral Fields, 42 Faction/Territory Cards, Custom Game Board, and 7dice.

Includes 4 ways to play;

Basic Training – quick and easy,
Command Room – fast-paced and strategic,
Total Domination – updated versions of the classic game,
Team Play – take on your opponents in 2 v 2 and 3 v 3 game-modes.

Game comes complete with 333 game pieces. Custom components include 2 Terran Armies, 2 Protoss Armies, 2 Zerg Armies, 6 Leaders, 6 Custom Bases, 15 Custom Mineral Fields, 42 Faction/Territory Cards Custom Game Board, and 7dice.

This video shows the time-lapse making of the Hydralisk figure:

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New York Comic Con 2012: Blizzard Entertainment Panel Schedule

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, New York Comic Con 2012, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

New York Comic Con tickets are now sold out. All New York Comic Con attendees should read this schedule to get a sneak peek at upcoming Blizzard books and toys. Share with friends in social networks and forums.

Blizzplanet’s Medievaldragon will be attending Friday and Saturday to live blog. Stay tuned for photos and video. Note: Wear a hoodie, jacket, and gloves. Starting yesterday, temperature dropped at 43-50 in NYC.

Check out our New York Comic Con Floor Map

Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel

Blizzard Entertainment Publishing is holding a panel at the 2012 New York Comic Con on Saturday, October 13 between 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm

This panel is taking place at Room 1A14. Learn what’s happening in the world of Blizzard books with panelists Michael Stackpole (science fiction and fantasy author), Micky Neilson (Blizzard Publishing Lead), and Dave Kosak (World of Warcraft Lead Quest Designer).

They will be unveiling a brand new World of Warcraft novel in 2013. Get in-depth with the storylines and quests that continues to drive the largest MMO in the world! Plus, have a chance to chat with the creative minds behind the Blizzard publishing program.

Blizzard & UDON Panel

On Friday, October 12th between 7:45pm – 8:45pm — Blizzard and UDON will reveal details of an upcoming Blizzard-themed TRIBUTE art book and contest. Visit Room 1A06.

DC Entertainment – World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria Graphic Novel Signing

Micky Neilson and Sean “Cheeks” Galloway will be signing copies of the DC World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria graphic novel.

Friday, October 12, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
DC Booth #1238

Blizzard Licensed Products Booths

  • Insight Editions: Get a sneak peek at The Art of Blizzard, an upcoming book which offers an exclusive look at the ideas and imagery that have defined over 20 years of Blizzard gaming. Booth #1882

  • Mega Bloks: NYCC attendees will be treated to an in-depth look at the making of the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft toys and a sneak peek at the winter line up! Mega Bloks will also be giving away a limited number of Chen Stormstout posters and Chen figures. Booth #1206

  • Simon & Schuster: Looking for more Blizzard universe lore? A library of World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft novels will be available for purchase at the Simon & Schuster booth. Booth #829

Alternative Booths/Artists Details

Legendary Entertainment – booth # 1620
Brom Art – booth # 2437
Mark Evans (World of Warcraft TCG artist) – table I12
Walter Simonson (DC Comics World of Warcraft) – table # S2
Ryan Benjamin & Sean “Cheeks” Galloway – Artists Alley (north pavillion) – table # G2

PAYPAL Booth #3033

DOWNLOAD the New York Comic Con Mobile App to setup your event planner.

Source: Battle.net

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Husky 25 StarCraft II Beta Keys & StarCraft II HOTS Unit Dance Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News

Husky is giving away 25 StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm beta keys. He’s also offering a preview of some of the unit dances, and in order to win a beta key you must submit a dance. Blizzard Entertainment will pick the best choices to implement them in-game. — source


For a chance to win one of TWENTY FIVE HotS beta keys, post a video response below (go to type a comment and then click ‘post video response’) telling me which unit you want to give a dance to and then perform said dance!

I will be showing all of the dances to Blizzard and ***IF*** they find one they like it will be put into the game :).

Good luck!

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Robert Clotworthy Auctions StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure # 6 of 10

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

Robert Clotworthy opened a new eBay auction for a StarCraft II Jim Raynor action figure signed and numbered. This is the #6 out of 10.

In addition, Robert will record a customized voice-over soundclip using Jim Raynor’s voice. You can tell him what to say for you in this recording.

All money from the auction will be donated to the non-profit organization of the winner’s choice.

    My name is Robert Clotworthy and since 1998 I have been the voice of Jim Raynor in the iconic video game StarCraft.

    I have decided to dust off 10 Terran Outlaw Jim Raynor Series 1 Collector Action Figures from my personal collection on board the Hyperion and auction each one with the profits going to charity.

    This item is brand new and unopened.

    Each one will be signed by me and numbered. I will also include a personalized note of authenticity written on a Jim Raynor wanted poster note pad.

    And to really get the juices flowing, I will also record an MP3 greeting from Jim Raynor and send that to the winning bidder.

    This is a limited offer Marines, I am only going to sign and number ten of these. And this is for #6 in the series.

    I am not limiting this to Terran players only. Protoss players may bid and I will hold my nose and even accept bids from Zerg.

    This auction is open to everyone, not just limited to fans in the US. I will even ship to Char or Mar Sara if the winning bidder is willing to pay shipping.

    So break out your wallets StarCraft fans, this is the opportunity to own something truly unique and send some money to charity.

    As Jimmy says in Wings of Liberty, “Some things are just worth fighting for.”

    Raiders Roll!

    Robert Clotworthy

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New York Comic Con: 2012 WCG USA National Finals Oct 12-14

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in New York Comic Con 2012, StarCraft 2 News

Attention all New York Comic Con attendees: The 2012 WCG USA National Finals will take place this year at the 2012 New York Comic Con through October 12-14th at Hall 3B. Add this page to your “My Show Planner” mobile account. Download the mobile app here.

Attendees are invited to try out gaming on the Samsung Notebook Series 7 gamer demo stations at booth #1839. There will be giveaways too.

Come see the top gamers in America compete for a spot on Team USA to compete at the 2012 WCG Global Finals in Kunshan, China.

VIP Party

The WCG will be hosting a Player/VIP party on Saturday, October 13 at Lucky Strike Lanes across the street from New York Comic Con. The only way to enter this Player/VIP party is to private message WCG on Facebook for tickets.


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Update

Samsung and Wargaming Team Up for the World Cyber Games at New York Comic Con

NEW YORK, NY – October 3, 2012 – World Cyber Games Inc. (WCG) officially announced that Samsung Electronics America (SEA), Inc. and Wargaming will be featured partners of the WCG 2012 USA National Finals.  The WCG USA 2012 USA National Finals will be held at New York Comic Con at the Javits Center from October 11-14, 2012. The top professional and competitive gamers that qualified online through the WCG 2012 USA online qualifiers (http://us.wcg.com) will compete live on-stage during the show to determine which 14 players will represent Team USA at the WCG Global Finals to be held in Kunshan, China from November 29 to December 2, 2012.  Gamers will be competing in Wargaming’s World of Tanks and other official WCG titles including StarCraft® II:  Wings of Liberty™, FIFA 12, and Cross Fire®

The New York Comic Con (http://newyorkcomiccon.com) is the event host of the WCG 2012 USA National Finals.  New York Comic Con attracted over 105,000 attendees in 2011, easily making it the second largest comic book and pop culture gathering in the United States and the largest on the East Coast.  The New York Comic Con attracts attendees from around the globe and nearly every state in the nation to celebrate the latest and greatest in the world of popular culture, comic books, video games, and technology.

At the WCG 2012 USA National Finals, the top U.S. professional gamers and New York Comic Con attendees will be able to play World of Tanks on the ultimate laptop for gaming enthusiasts – the Samsung Series 7 Gamer.  Designed with feedback from passionate PC gamers in mind, the award-winning Series 7 Gamer sports a top-of-the-line feature set including a 17.3-inch full HD LCD display, high quality Dolby® Home Theater® surround sound, rich NVIDIA® GeForce® graphics and a 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor.  These provide gamers with a rich, immersive audio and visual experience, virtually flawless playback no matter how fast the game’s action and unrivalled speed right from the start.

Wargaming’s World of Tanks is a globally popular team-based massively multiplayer online game dedicated to armored warfare of the mid-20th century and an official game title of WCG.  Show attendees can throw themselves into epic online tank battles to fight shoulder to shoulder with other steel cowboys to dominate the world with the sheer power of tank supremacy and refined tactical thinking.  The arsenal includes more than 160 armored vehicles from United States, Germany, France, the Soviet Union and Britain carefully detailed with historical accuracy.

“Samsung is really excited to be a part of yet another World Cyber Games,” said Matt Crocker, product marketing manager for mobile computing, Samsung Electronics America, the WCG 2012 Worldwide sponsor.  “Samsung has a long history with the gaming community and our Series 7 Gamer was specifically designed with their needs in mind.  When putting it into its gaming mode, the Series 7 Gamer takes it to the next level with a turbocharged processor as well as optimized graphics and sound for a truly immersive gaming experience.”

“We’re extremely happy to be at New York Comic Con with WCG,” said Jeremy Monroe, General Manager at Wargaming America.  “We look forward to working with them even more in the future as we expand our eSports activities for World of Tanks and beyond.”

In addition to finals competitions which will be played live on stage on the Series 7 Gamer and streamed live for viewers at home on http://www.twitch.tv/wcgusa, the WCG USA (Booth #1839) will hold daily gaming contests, giveaways, and free-to-play gaming areas featuring the latest Samsung products and Wargaming’s World of Tanks for show attendees.  A second live stream presented by Samsung will also be made available to those following the competitions at home that will cover exciting announcements, show activities, gamer interviews, and special guests.