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?
Our german pals from Worldofwar.de have informed us that they are celebrating today their 8th Anniversary online, and kick off right on with an exclusive interview with Tom Chilton. The interview is available in english. The german version may be read here.
These guys got a strike right away. For the 104th time, No … there is no Player Housing feature in development. However, there are a few nice questions about Cataclysm, the redesign of the old world, and what the fate of the old dungeons will be. There are plans to make some changes to Stomrwind. Chilton also reveals there is a new world event similar in context to the zombie invasion, and a possible raid boss prior to the launch of Cataclysm — that sounds pretty much like when the Sunwell Plateau served to bridge Burning Crusade with Wrath of the Lich King’s launch.
WorldofWar.de: When you think back: what was the coolest feature you have ever implemented in World of Warcraft? Was it a feature in which you hadn
Starcraft-Source launched a new raffle giving away a SteelSeries Siberia Headset (includes HiFi & IP-telephony tech) worth $120. It’s pretty simple: provide your email, and submit the entry for a chance at getting this nice headset.
Gamespot reports that the Australian OFLC department has finally rated World of Warcraft and its expansions with an M-rating for “Fantasy Violence”. The Australian entity deemed World of Warcraft meets the definition of a computer game provided in the Classification Act, regardless of its online-only description. It took them 5 years to figure out how to handle and classify MMORPGs which do not have a local or single-player component (it seems). Ever since, World of Warcraft and other MMOs had remained unrated until now. Congrats to the folks who followed up with the Australian Classification Board and the OFLC..
Starcraft fans can find Keith R.A. DeCandido at two public events in early October. Bring your copy of Starcraft Ghost: Nova to be signed, and say hi to the author.
Tuesday, October 6 at 7:30pm
Barnes & Noble Bookstore – Park Slope (Map)
267 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Sunday, October 11 (all-day-long)
Baltimore Comic Con (Map)
BOOM! Studios booth
One West Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Keith R.A. Decandido wrote World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, and Starcraft Ghost: Nova. On 2010, you will see some of his new work in Starcraft Ghost: Academy Vol 1-2 (Tokyopop) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectres (Pocket Books).
The World of Warcraft Preview Panel held at Blizzcon was presented by Chris Metzen, Alex Afrasiabi, Tom Chilton and Cory Stockton.
Classic world revamp of every zone with updated quests, art and items.
Guild Advancement System. Everything the players do will contribute to the advancement of their guild. There will be 20 guild levels. All you do from arena, battlegrounds, quests, raids, daily quests and other aspects of the game will contribute to adding up points toward your guild level advancement.
What this does is that your guild will have its own talent tree, and as you unlock points for your guild, your guild master will be able to get cheaper repairs, mass-resurrection,
Blizzard will increase the notch up with the use of phased terrain to change the world around you as you progress through quests making the old world of Azeroth much more dynamic than ever before, making the stories more compelling and interesting.
The example given by Tom Chilton during the panel shows a coastline (before and after). The phased terrain shows the coastline normal and later half of it is underwater.
The new secondary profession: Archaeology, is leveled up by exploring ancient ruins and caves for artifacts. As you progress discoveries and those lead directly to unlocking access to the Path of the Titans character progression.
There are no longer changes to your talent trees. You will keep your 51 points in the expansion. Blizzard is going a different way from this point forth with character progression. In Cataclysm, you must choose any of the Path of the Titans: Aman’thul, Eonar, Khaz’Goroth, Norgannon or Golganneth.
These paths can be chosen by any class. It adds another dimension to your character’s customization. In addition there is the Mastery System, which allows Blizzard to prune some of the complexity of the talent trees allowing them to be more like passive bonuses such as crit chance, more damage, increase poison damage and that sort of thing.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm adds many new dungeons, creatures, quests and items.
Cataclysm on Azeroth reveals new lands and it has dramatically altered classic world zones. Blizzard is revamping all zones. However, there are five adventure zones for level 78-85 and two starting zones for levels 1-15. You can also fly anywhere in this new revamped Azeroth. No restrictions like the ones over Wintergrasp. You can fly wherever you want. Beneath is a video we got from Blizzard’s Press Kit CD. It is a B-roll of the new zones in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
There are multiple scales of change, and some zones have been drastically affected by the cataclysm just based on where they are. Elwynn Forest isn’t so affected, but there are new quests. On the other hand, we have the Barrens which has been hit hard by the Cataclysm. It has been split in two: Northrend Barrens and Southern Barrens. Blizzard is changing the level flow from 1-60.
Cataclysm introduces seven new zones never accessed before by players:
Mount Hyjal (Present)
The Lost Isles (Goblin Starting Location)
Gilneas (Worgent Starting Location)
Isle of Kezan
The Sunken City of Vashj’ir
Uldum is not just an instance past the gates at the Valley of Watchers, it is a whole new Zone. The Sunken City of Vashj’ir is a new type of zone, it is an underwater zone. Blizzard will make sure it is not annoying to play underwater.
The Twilight Highlands is a new zone located to the east of Wetlands. This zone was known previously as Grim Batol, east of the Grim Batol fortress. The Grim Batol dungeon will be playable in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
These are the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm dungeons:
OLD WORLD HEROICS The Deadmines: One level 85 heroic 5-players dungeon Shadowfang Keep: One lvl 85 heroic 5-players dungeon
Deephome is the elemental plane of earth in Azeroth. The warped entrance to Deephome is located within Deathwing Scar—west of Burning Steppes. There you can level up from lvl 80-85. It’s like the Dragonblight of Cataclysm leveling-wise. It is not connected physically to Azeroth, but this is the point of entry to the place where Deathwing has awakened from his slumber, and that’s the cause of the rupture of reality that originated the cataclysm.
Skywall, Abyssal Maw, Deephome and Firelands were mentioned to be among the dungeons to be expected in Cataclysm—this is interesting because those are locations within the Elemental Plane created by the Titans to imprison the Lieutenants of the Old gods. This means that Deathwing has done something unimaginable. He is sorta broken the barriers of reality and the Elemental Plane has sort of merged, or better said, warped onto Azeroth.
Abyssal Maw is one of the two 5-player dungeons located in the underwater zone named the Sunken City of Vashjir. The Abyssal Maw is sort of the Elemental Plane of Water. It is a giant vortex in the center of the zone. Getting near the vortex will pull you in into the Elemental Plane of Water.
From there you can enter any of the two dungeons of the Abyssal Maw. The Sunken City of Vashjir was created by the Titans for water elementals. However, the Naga has come in, and we will learn some new storylines there that will let us know why the Naga are there and how are they tied to Deathwing and the Cataclysm.
The Abyssal Maw is a non-linear dungeon. You choose where to go. It’s a lvl 78-82 dungeon. This is one of the first dungeons you will see in the expansion.
Uldum is an entire new zone where you will find the Hall of Origination which is composed of two 5-player dungeon wings.
You will experience the ultimate Titan dungeon. It’s non-linear, so you take the choice of what to do first. We will find Prospector Brann Bronzebeard here. There are seven bosses here.
Some fans are confused with the rumors going around the net. Yes, we are going back to Blackrock Mountain, but this is a completely new dungeon separate from Blackrock Depths and Blackrock Spire. This new dungeon is occupied by the Twilight’s Hammer. Deathwing basically dug a hole from beneath Blackrock Mountain to Grim Batol connecting both mountains through a huge tunnel. An underground freeway that he uses to transport supplies back and forth and anywhere in Azeroth.
Scott Mercer (Lead Encounter Designer) showcased the Icecrown Citadel dungeon. He played a joke mentioning there would be 31 bosses—then stopped and said did Ghostcrawler play with the powerpoint slides? Then rectified. There are twelve epic bosses in Icecrown Citadel.
It will have a 10-player and a 25-player raid dungeon. Teleporters will be available to get straight to bosses. A successful formula widely welcomed by players in Ulduar. Sindragosa will be the ultimate frost wyrm. This is the former consort of Malygos, not a wannabe drake or young dragon.
Icecrown Citadel is plain crazy. Once you reach the second floor, you will board an airship. If you are Alliance you will find King Varian Wrynn. If you are Horde, there will be Thrall. Basically, the opposite faction leaders and their troops will aboard your airship. You have to fend them off. Then you have to board their airship and take down the mages and stuff. You fight all the way till the airship reaches the top of Icecrown Citadel.
Once you reach the third floor, there are three wings with different sets of bosses. You will find Sindragosa the Frost Wyrm here. You need to clear all three wings to get access to the fourth floor: The Frozen Throne.
That’s eight bosses across three separate dungeon wings that interact with the Lich King. Something interesting in this patch 3.3 dungeon is that there are epic quest lines to unlock access to the second and third wings.
You fight alongside Alliance/Horde heroes. Among them are Jaina Proudmoore or Lady Sylvanas.
One little spoiler about the Arthas the Lich King encounter that was revealed is that part of the floor will break, and if you fall that’s bad.
Ragnaros has sent his fire elementals to burn the World Tree in Mount Hyjal (Present), a new zone. This time the players will have the chance to enter from Mount Hyjal—apparently—the warp-gate to the Firelands in the Elemental Plane. What this means is that you will take the fight to Ragnaros own backyard, to his domain …. where he is at full strength. You will find him at Sulfuron Keep. You will find several fire elemental bosses in the outdoors.
I guess I am getting used to boarding airplanes—with July 20th attending the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player hands-on fansite event, and now—in less than a month.
Arrived to a Texas Airport around 5pm CST, and I could swear some guys down there at the control tower were saying: “Houston, Houston—do you copy? I think we got a [problem]. We are seeing a fiery Medievaldragon land on our field.”
Silliness aside, it was a nice trip, except for my old back pain. They surely don’t make those seats for tall people (6’1”).
Reached California around 7pm, and called the taxi van that was scheduled by Blizzard Entertainment to pick me up. Two guys boarded the taxi, and the driver was curious why the other guys meant to be there for pickup hadn’t arrived yet.
I knew at least one of those meant to take the taxi with me: pR0gR4m3R from Starcraft-ESP.
Met the girl that won the Lore Contest. She was invited by Blizzard to the event. Looks like LordofAscension and pR0gR4m3R had flight issues, and arrived much later nigh midnight. Didn’t get to have dinner with them as planned.
Found AJ (Starcraft.org) and Starcraft2forums.com or was that Starcraft-Source? Meh, too tired to remember. I’m not too chatty, so I was just listening their dreadful WWI Paris stories, and laughing some at the old memories. Around 10:30pm, since the dinner with the guys wasn’t gonna happen till they arrived past midnight, I went with the Lore contest winner to eat at Ihop. Go figure, they don’t just sell pancakes. Yup, I’m an Ihop nooblar. Went to bed by midnight, and woke up nigh 5am. We are heading to Blizzard campus after 9:30am for the Fansites Summit. More later.
I was invited to the Single Player Hands-On Gameplay event in Irvine, CA on a very short notice (Thursday, July 16th). I was told Chris Metzen was behind my invitation. I can say I deeply thank him. I’m flattered and honored.
Blizzplanet has been devoted to reporting the latest news about all Blizzard games’s licensed products, interviews with writers, and game lore content for the past seven years.
To be among the first batches of fans having the opportunity to play the Starcraft II Single-Player is certainly very rewarding. Being an all-geeky lore-nerd myself, having read most of the Starcraft novels, mangas and now subscriber of the Starcraft comic book, I can better appreciate all the clever integration of the licensed products’ printed media based on the Starcraft universe and its continuity become a reality within the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Single-Player.
The build I played had approximately 6-7 maps available out of over 30-35 missions the final product will have. My lore spider-sense tingled at least five times while playing the single player campaign, after noticing stuff that came straight out of the novels and the Starcraft: Frontline manga. These bits let me extrapolate that the entire final game will be very influenced by everything hardcore lore fans have read in the printed media. They are fully integrated.
It will be much more rewarding to fans when they go: “Holy, I saw that in “X” and “Y” book”. “OMG, that’s from the manga”. You will already have the backstory of these characters, and plots. Which is a plus, in comparison to going through the missions not knowing who the characters are, or how meaningful, if at all, are certain locations or objects.
This is why World of Warcraft has been so successful. There were millions of Warcraft II and Warcraft III players around the world by the time the MMO was launched. In the same way, all those fans who have read all the printed media will feel so close and excited with the single-player. If you haven’t yet read any of these novels and manga, you better get going to a local or online bookstore to start educating yourself in advance prior to engaging the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player.
In this Starcraft II: Single Player Hands-On preview you will be glad to see 16 screenshots, an HD Video Footage, and details from the first single-player maps, achievements, upgrades, rooms and characters within the Hyperion, Mercenaries, and an exclusive interview with our beloved Blizzard VP of Creative Design: Chris Metzen.
I will now share with all of you this single-player experience from the point of view of a geeky lore-nerd. To navigate through all the pages, simply click on any of the images below to jump to the next page. Instead of links for navigation, I wanted to make this like the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign where you choose which mission to play. Get back tomorrow for the lore comprehensive article that analyzes in-depth all the lore within the novels, and manga which have been integrated within the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player.
Your first page to read in this journey is my introduction: The Hyperion.
Blizzard Entertainment invited Starcraft II fansites to visit their Studios in Irvine, California to play the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign. There were approximately 6-7 missions available in this press-exclusive demo build. We want to show you some footage of each of the mission maps we played through. Hope you are as excited as us. I really wanted to take home a copy of this demo. To be honest … I CAN’T WAIT. Watch the single player gameplay video.