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StarCraft II Single Player Cinematic - Tidings of Doom

Blizzard Entertainment unveiled at the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals the Tidings of Doom cinematic that thrilled fans of the epic galactic-struggle storyline. However, that sneak peek was a placeholder. In April 19, 2010 — during the Press Invite Event in their Irvine headquarters, Blizzard provided us the revamped version of the Tidings of Doom cinematic with improved graphics, textures and a different dialogue between Jim Raynor and Zeratul.

We finally see what that intriguing concept art was about. It’s an “Ihan Crystal” that serves as some kind of memory database with a holographic projector. It locks within the fate of creation. Information that Zeratul risked his life to attain, and forwarded it to Jim Raynor. Zeratul thinks only Jim Raynor will be able to complete this mission. The fate of creation lies in Jim Raynor’s hands, and it seems the only spark of hope for the universe is Kerrigan the Queen of Blades. Say whoa? Our worst enemy shall be the key to victory?

Zeratul: James Raynor. I bring tidings of doom.

Raynor: Zeratul!?

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

Raynor: Wait a second. You are talking about Kerrigan. It’s been four years. You show up out of nowhere and –

(Zeratul grabs Raynor’s arm, and places his right hand upon Raynor’s)

Zeratul: Time is short. You must understand. The answers you seek, lie within. Study it well. The fate of creation hangs in the balance.

(Zeratul steps back and fades away into the shadows, leaving behind an astonished Raynor)

Raynor: … nice to see you too.

The novel written by Christie Golden in 2008 plays a very important role in the StarCraft II Single Player episodes as a prologue to the game. StarCraft: The Dark Templar revealed the Xel’Naga did not abandon the Protoss. For Aeons, the Protoss thought they were imperfect. A failure. So unworthy, their creators departed and left them. In reality, the novel explains the Xel’Naga were creating their mean to return. Their life cycle is to be reborn in the body of their children, as their new host. The creation of the hybrids breaks this natural cycle blueprinted by the Xel’Naga, nullifying their rebirth. In the wake of the upcoming conflict against the Hybrids and a greater evil, it seems Kerrigan — a zerg/human creature — is important to save the universe.

The StarCraft: The Dark Templar trilogy ended with Zeratul chasing a creature through outer space. He witnessed the birth of this phoenix-like creature as it shed away from within a Xel’Naga Temple. Astonished, Zeratul beheld how the creature reunited with hundreds of similar beings, and followed them through a wormhole. That was the last time Zeratul was seen before BlizzCon 2009.

Zeratul has finally appeared once more fighting Kerrigan at a Xel’Naga temple, and now at the Hyperion — bringing Jim Raynor this mysterious device with a Tidings of Doom warning.

With 29 missions, and two upcoming episodes, StarCraft II presents fans an epic saga of great proportions worth of a few Oscars.

WoW TCG: Wrathgate Contest: Win a roundtrip to Cryptozoic in Irvine

Cryptozoic is celebrating their upcoming release of the World of Warcraft TCG: Wrathgate expansion by giving away two flight and hotel roundtrip accomodationsl and some juicy swag, lunch and dinner. The winners will visit the Cryptozoic headquarters in Irvine, California to witness the first opening of a wrathgate pack and to play with the staff.

Cryptozoic Internal Sneak Preview contest!
April 15, 2010

On Friday, May 14th, employees of Cryptozoic Entertainment will be busting open packs of Wrathgate in our fresh new digs in Irvine, California. It will be a big deal for us, as it will mean our very first release will be rolling out on trucks and planes on the way to a store near you. So to celebrate, we’ll be taking an afternoon off to play in our internal Sneak Preview.

Two of you will be joining us.

We’ll be picking one of you to grab a friend* and come be one of the first to see Wrathgate. You’ll get two round-trip plane tickets and a nearby hotel room for two nights. We’ll give you two a tour of the offices, buy you lunch and dinner on the 14th, and maybe throw a little swag your way.

Here’s what you have to do: Send an email to contest@cryptozoic.com telling us why you want to come to Irvine and play the TCG with us. If you’re going to tell a story, keep it to 250 words or less. Other than that, the sky’s the limit. Send us a photo. Draw a picture. Impress us. We’ll pick the one we like best and book your flight.

Here’s the catch: You have ONE WEEK to submit your entry. Entries must be received by April 23rd at 11:59pm PDT, and must include your name, address, email, phone number, and birthday. Full rules are available here.

So get busy.

Epicly,
Benhameen

StarCraft II Beta Patch # 8 Build version 0.10.0.14803 Released

StarCraft II Beta Patch # 8 build version 0.10.0.14803 was deployed today to apply new race balance changes and Battle.net UI changes

Blizzard Quote:
The latest patch notes can always be found at
http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=23094049316&sid=5000

General

  • Korea

  • Added support to display the game rating information on the login screen.

Balance Changes

TERRAN

  • Thor

    • Build time decreased from 75 seconds to 60 seconds.
  • Siege Tank
    • Build time decreased from 50 seconds to 45 seconds.
  • Marauder
    • Concussive Shells now require an upgrade.
  • Barracks Tech Lab
    • Concussive Shells upgrade added.

    • Concussive Shells upgrade costs 100/100 and takes 80 seconds to complete.

PROTOSS

  • Void Ray

    • Changed to only have 2 damage levels instead of 3. Still takes the same amount of time to fully charge.

    • Base damage changed from 2 (+4 armored) to 5.
    • Powered-up damage changed from 8 (+16 armored) to 10 (+15 armored).
    • Armor value decreased from 1 to 0.
    • Cost increased from 200/150 to 250/150.

ZERG

  • Roach

    • Burrowed move speed decreased from 2 to 1.4.

    • Armor value decreased from 2 to 1.
  • Hydralisk
    • Life decreased from 90 to 80.

Nikon D7100 DSLR Camera with 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX Lens

The new arrival of the Nikon D7100 DSLR Camera has photography enthusiasts excited. It’s now available for Pre-Order. The camera will ship on March 21, 2013.

Nikon-D7100-DSLR-Camera

The D7100 DSLR Camera with 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX Lens from Nikon is a high performance, compact DSLR camera with high resolution photo and Full HD video capability. It is bundled with the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens which is versatile wide-angle to telephoto zoom lens specifically designed for the DX format.

The 24.1MP DX-format CMOS sensor on the D7100 provides superior images with accurate colors and, designed without an optical low-pass filter, it maximizes its resolution for exceptionally sharp details. The EXPEED 3 image processor brings with it stable, high-speed response, including a continuous shooting speed of up to 6 frames per second. With an ISO sensitivity range that expands to a 25600 ISO equivalent, low-light photography is sharp and detailed with less noise and fast-moving subjects are captured with more accuracy and less blur. At the low end of ISO sensitivity (ISO 100) images display vibrant colors with rich tones.

Autofocus performance on the D7100 is on par with professional-level DSLRs and includes a 51-point focus area with 15 cross-type sensors for detecting both vertical and horizontal variations to achieve fast, precise focus. The central cross-type sensor works down to f/8, which is an advantage when using compatible tele-converters. The D7100 features the option of a 1.3x crop which allows you to get closer to your subject, as well as providing more image size options and faster processing of your images, including a faster 7fps burst rate.

Full HD 1080p video is supported on the D7100 and offers professional-level control including continuous autofocus, manual exposure control, a built-in stereo microphone and an external microphone and headphone jack. Recording at 60i, 50i, 30, 25 and 24 frames per second is possible an HDMI output allows for direct screening on an HDTV. At 720p HD you can record at 60p frames per second for smooth slow-motion sequencing.

A 3.2″ 1229k-dot TFT-color LCD provides 100% coverage for accurate playback and live view composition and the pentaprism optical viewfinder features an OLED display element for clear reading of the camera’s settings without removing your eye from the finder. Dual SD card slots offer large memory capacity and the ability to designate which images go to each card. A built-in flash with commander function supports Advanced Wireless Lighting and a hot-shoe/accessory mount is available for speedlights. The D7100 is lightweight and durable with magnesium alloy top and rear covers and weather sealing to prevent dust and moisture damage. 

The D7100 is compatible with all NIKKOR F mount lenses, both DX and FX format, and can provide wireless connectivity with the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter. With the WU-1a and Nikon’s free Wireless Mobile Utility app installed on your smartphone or tablet, you can instantly share images and use your phone or tablet as a Live View monitor.

Included with D7100 is the NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens which is optimized for the DX format sensor. Its versatile focal lengths are ideal for a broad range of shooting situations from wide-angle to telephoto. In the 35mm format, its focal length is equivalent to 27-157.5mm. Close-up photography is possible as the lens can focus as close as 1.48′ (45 cm). Vibration Reduction image stabilization minimizes the blur caused by camera movement providing sharp images in low light and at long focal lengths. Equipped with Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM), the autofocus is fast, smooth and silent, which is especially important when shooting video. An extra-low dispersion lens element and an aspherical element reduce aberrations providing high quality optical performance and Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating enhances light transmission and reduces flare. 

24.1MP DX-Format Sensor + EXPEED 3 Image Processing System
With its 24.1MP CMOS image sensor and Nikon’s EXPEED 3 image processing system, the D7100 DSLR delivers high quality images with low noise. The EXPEED 3 image processor combined with 14-bit analog/digital conversion provides even tonal gradations while managing color, contrast, exposure, and noise resulting in brilliant image quality. EXPEED 3 also provides the D7100 with fast response time, autofocus speed and a rapid six frames-per-second (fps) burst speed up to 100 images.
Omitted Optical Low Pass Filter
The D7100 is designed without the optical low-pass filter which will allow the sensor to capture images with exceptional sharpness and detail.
Full HD 1080p Video
With full-time autofocus and manual exposure control during video recording, a built-in stereo microphone and an external stereo microphone jack, headphone and HDMI jacks, the D7100 achieves exceptional cinematic reproduction and quality. Record in several high-definition formats: 1080p at 60i/50i/30/25/24 fps or 720p at up to 60p for ultra-smooth slow-motion sequences. Dual SD card slots give you additional recording time, and an all new 60i function enables smooth playback on HDTVs or external monitors.
3.2″ 1229k-dot LCD and Optical Viewfinder with OLED Display
The D7100 features a new 3.2″ ultra-high-resolution 1,229K-dot LCD monitor which provides crisp image playback, menu adjustments and Live View shooting. The pentaprism eye-level optical viewfinder contains a low-power consumption OLED display element for bright, high contrast data readout and provides 100% frame coverage.
Included 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX Lens
The NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens is optimized for the DX format sensor. With a 35mm focal length equivalency of 27-157.5mm, it is a versatile lens ideal for a broad range of shooting situations from wide-angle to telephoto. Close-up photography is possible as the lens can focus as close as 1.48′ (45 cm). Vibration Reduction image stabilization minimizes the blur caused by camera movement providing sharp images in low light and at long focal lengths. Equipped with Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM), the autofocus is fast, smooth and silent, which is especially important when shooting video. An extra-low dispersion lens element and an aspherical element reduce aberrations providing high quality optical performance and Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating enhances light transmission and reduces flare.
Fast Autofocus
The D7100 uses 51 focus points, including 15 cross-type sensors for detecting both vertical and horizontal contrast variations, to achieve fast, precise focus.
1.3x Crop
Get closer to your subject with the new 1.3x crop of DX sensor. Using the 1.3x crop option allows the 51 autofocus points to cover almost the entire frame as well as providing longer equivalent focal lengths and faster image processing.
Built-in HDR
Built-in HDR (High Dynamic Range) combines shots taken simultaneously at different exposures into one rich, high-contrast image. When shooting high contrast scenes with bright spots and shadows, HDR will create a balanced image in which no details are lost.
Picture Control
Picture Control gives you instant access to the color characteristics of your images and allows you to tweak colors for optimization or completely redesign the look of your image for creative variations.
Spot White Balance
Spot White Balance control for Live View shooting makes setting the white balance as easy as pointing to the area in the frame that should be white.
Built-in i-TTL Flash and Speedlight Compatibility
The built-in pop-up iTTL Speedlight offers wide-angle flash-coverage. The camera also has Wireless Commander support so users can maximize the potential of Nikon’s creative lighting options. Using the integral flash set to Wireless Commander in combination with one or several off-camera Nikon Speedlights, the shooter can create a unique look for each and every photograph. Up to eight Speedlights can be fired at once. A hot shoe/accessory mount is also available for external Speedlights.
Dual Memory Card Slots
The D7100 DSLR features dual SD card slots with SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatibility that offers a several recording options including designating separate NEF (RAW) JPEG and movie files.
Durable Build and Weatherproofing
The D7100 combines lightweight handling and durability with magnesium alloy top and rear covers and weather and dust sealing.
Scene Modes
Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Pet Portrait, Candlelight, Blossom, Autumn Colors, Food, Special Effects Mode (Nigh Vision, Color Sketch, Miniature, Selective Color, Silhouette, High Key, Low Key), User Setting 1, User Setting 2
Playback
Full-frame and Thumbnail (4, 9 or 72 images or calendar) Playback with playback zoom, Movie Playback, Photo and/or Movie Slide Shows, Histogram Display, Highlights, Photo Information, GPS Data Display and Auto Image Rotation
Supported Languages
Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.
Optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter
Connect the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter to the D7100 and instantly transfer shots to a compatible smartphone or tablet, then upload them to the web, send by email or text-share them however you like. With Nikon’s free Wireless Mobile Utility installed on your smartphone or tablet (available for both Android and iOS), you can also remotely control the D7100. Use your phone or tablet as a Live View monitor to take shots without having the camera in your hands.

Battle.net Mobile Authenticator for Android Released

A few months ago, Blizzard released the iPhone version of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator. Today, Blizzard has announced the availability of the Android version of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator to offer an extra security layer for your account and in-game assets to those who use these type of mobile devices. Blackberry and very likely the iPad are among the device line up to be targeted at a later time.

Blizzard Quote:
We’re pleased to announce that the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator, an application for mobile phones that provides an extra layer of account security, is now available as a free download for Android mobile devices on Android Market (http://www.android.com/market/). The Battle.net Mobile Authenticator provides a one-time password that you use in addition to your regular account name and password to log in to a Battle.net account and any associated World of Warcraft accounts.

Versions for other mobile devices are also available for download here, or you can purchase a physical Battle.net Authenticator from the online Blizzard Store. Visit the Android Battle.net Mobile Authenticator FAQ for more information, or head to the setup page to get started after you’ve downloaded the application. For additional account security advice, visit our recently released Account Security page.

Check out the Android Mobile Authenticator FAQ and the Account Security Page.

Keith R.A. DeCandido signing at 2010 Emerald City Comic Con

The convention-hopper and writer Keith R.A. DeCandido is a guest of the 8th Annual Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) which takes place this upcoming March 13th – 14th, 2010 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.

Bring your copies of Starcraft: Ghost Nova and World of Warcrat: Cycle of Hatred (Pocket Books), and Starcraft: Ghost Academy (TOKYOPOP) for book signing.

Keith R.A. DeCandido can be found back and forth between the 402 and the 502 booths which are across each other under the BOOM! Studios banner. The booths are located in front of the main entrance of the Emerald City ComicCon. You can view it at the bottom of the Show Floor Map (PDF).

You can pre-order admission tickets here. There are select retailer alternatives to get the tickets from listed in that page, and you can get them at the door for a higher price.

Washington State Convention Center – See google map
800 Convention Place
Seattle, WA 98101

(206) 694-5030

Jace Hall stormed the Diablo III Team

Bashiok encourages fans to check out Jace Hall’s webshow on January 29th. I know Jace Hall visited Blizzard about a year ago or less to talk with the World of Warcraft developers and conspired with a developer to use GM powers against Felicia Day’s in-game character. However, Bashiok is making the announcement of Jace Hall’s show. Did Bashiok mean Jace Hall stole something secretive from the Diablo III Team’s office? As in we are gonna see something naughty like you know … the female Monk nude — I mean — gearless model? Hmm …

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: Jace Hall stopped by our offices recently to see how the Blizzard magic happens, and despite our very stern requests brought cameras with him to film it. We also think he may have stolen something. Anyway, you won’t want to miss the first two episodes of the new season.

(Jace, please return the calls from our legal council. Thank you.)

Season 3.0 of the Jace Hall Show kicks off this Friday, January 29.

Twitter Dev Chat # 2: Icecrown Citadel

Blizzard has posted the entire Dev Chat held over Twitter concerning the Icecrown Citadel dungeon.

Blizzard Quote:
If damage and healing is too much per health ratio, then why don’t you have battlegrounds/arenas give a -30% damage/healing debuff?

We have been talking about solutions like that. It might feel a bit awkward, but it might also solve the problem and maybe it’s okay in the last season before an expansion to experiment a little bit.

Is there talk of a fire shield spell for elemental shaman to use like water shield for restoration shaman?

Not at this time.

Do you still have plans to implement guild housing?

Guild housing isn’t a priority. Aside from the huge development involved it gets people out of cities and into these private areas other players can’t see. We like cities to feel populated. But I’m not sure anyone expected WoW to be going as strong as it is after five years, so who knows in the future.

Can you please explain why Feign Death is still on the Spell Hit metric, especially in raids?

It’s a known issue, but just has to do with the way the spell is set up. Melee and ranged attacks mean a very specific thing to the game engine. We’re hoping to be able to clean up some of this with the Cataclysm overhaul.

All specs get a proc weapon from ICC25, except frost death knights and feral druids. Any plans to give these specs ICC25 proc weapons?

It’s tough when you get into the design mode of “everyone must be able to get something from every boss.” We try to cover a reasonable spread of players, but as with the Ashen Verdict rings and the Quel

Blizzard’s Return to Console Games

Blizzard’s return to console games is just a matter of time, of which we know for certain at least Starcraft: Ghost will make a return someday.  In the verge of a new game announcement, hopefully at the next Blizzcon, things aren’t going so well for other gaming studios. J. Allen Brack recently told Gamasutra the following:

It’s very similar with World of Warcraft. We developed the game for the PC. It’s a very PC-centric control scheme and the way of playing the game is PC-centric. But we’re a company of gamers. I have two consoles at home. Sam has consoles. We’re a culture of gamers. We will definitely work on a console game at some point. I have no doubt about that. It’s just [a matter of] what game. What makes the most sense?

Should other console game studios worry to see Blizzard return to consoles?  Even before Blizzard has announced anything, some studios are already shaking with their own upheavals. Electronic Arts (EA) has announced an impressive list of servers to be shut down in phases throughout different months of 2010.  It is astonishing.  Is the game industry so in crisis that it has to resort to shutting down server operations? Is it a way to force their players to play newer EA games’s multiplayer?

Blizzard Entertainment for example has said their classic games will continue to be supported via the classic Battle.net, while new and future games will be playable on the upgraded Battle.net 2.0.  It is likely that whatever reasons EA had to shut down these many servers will cause an immediate backlash from their fans, followed by boycotts on current and future EA games. All of these affected games are Sport games.

The horde of players, now left in limbo, will have to spend their time somewhere else for their daily multiplayer fix, so 2010 will be a very good season for multiplayer games seeking more souls to harvest, specially newly orphan ones.

With this huge vaccum left behind by EA Sports, it would be interesting how many of these orphan gamers would jump aboard Blizzard games, specially when the Next-Gen MMO is announced.

The term Next-Gen MMO strongly suggests that Blizzard is working on a console game.  Did Blizzard give up on console games? The answer is no.  Though they postponed [not cancelled] development of Starcraft: Ghost, Rob Pardo has mentioned many times their willingness to return to the development of this game.  The Swingin’ Ape Studios was purchased by Blizzard Entertainment on 2005, and checking up on the current status of the founders of Swingin’ Ape Studios will reveal that all three co-founders Steve Ranck, Mike Starich and Scott Goffman are still working for Blizzard Entertainment as Lead Software Engineers.

Now excuse me, but have you ever heard of three former console developers occupying the Lead Software Engineer position for just one single game? Unless … [bliss] all three are Lead Software Engineers of three separate console games?

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