Jeff Grubb is a legend among fantasy authors for his decades of experience in the field. He has worked for Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Magic the Gathering, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Al-Qadim, Marvel Universe, Pokemon, Thieves’ World, Wizkids, DC Heroclix and the Star Wars Miniatures: Rebel Storm.
In the Blizzard Entertainment worlds, Jeff Grubb will always be remembered along with Richard A. Knaak as the pioneers of the Warcraft novels. Jeff Grubb wrote Warcraft: The Last Guardian (2001) – the story about Medivih, Khadgar, Garona and Lord Lothar. The story was based in the First War, inspired by Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (RTS game, 1994).
As reported a few days ago, I interviewed Dick Hill thanks to Richard A. Knaak. Dick Hill is the professional narrator and actor that worked on the Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook (Dec 2008). The Warcraft: Lord of the Clans audiobook (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian audiobook (Aprill 2009).
As a follow up to the audiobooks interview, I contacted Jeff Grubb to get his feedback concerning the reprint of his Warcraft: The Last Guardian in the audiobook format. Read the interview below.
Medievaldragon: Hi Jeff. What are your feelings now Warcraft: The Last Guardian is getting published as an audiobook, narrated by Dick Hill?
Jeff Grubb: I am delighted to hear that Last Guardian is becoming an audiobook and that Richard “Dick” Hill is going to read it. I’ve been listening to more and more audiobooks on my commute – wrapped up the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin books and just finished “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union”. I’ve become a fan of the format, and pleased to see how well my story has held up over the years.
Medievaldragon: Are you ever writing a new Warcraft or Starcraft book? The fans, and myself, miss you badly. It was a great work.
Jeff Grubb: I enjoyed my experiences writing for Warcraft and Starcraft, and should the opportunity present itself, would be glad to do so again. At the moment, however, my day job is building exciting worlds, characters, and situations for Guild Wars at ArenaNet, and while they have been very understanding about me continuing my freelance writing, they have given me the hairy eyeball when the subject of working with their biggest competitors come up. So for the moment, I must demure.
Medievaldragon: I have some random thoughts for you that I would want you to share with fans. You quit WoW some months ago, and I am not sure if I read you returned to play with some friends afterwards. How do you feel about Khadgar in Shattrath City? Garona Halforcen is making its return in the DC Comics World of Warcraft # 15-16 too. Both follow-ups bring so many great memories from your book. Dan Liberty might show up in the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty video game. I was a sad panda after finding out a few years ago you worked at that Pokemon gig, and later you joined the Guild Wars development team at some point. You would have done so much for the Warcraft universe at Blizzard Entertainment in my opinion. Hope to see you soon back in the Warcraft / Starcraft franchises.
Jeff Grubb: I played WoW heavily for a while, then quit, then came back earlier this year with a group of friends, then quit again. My big problem is that I play with Real World friends, who would then either outlevel me or quit to get their lives back, either option leaving my character an orphan. I had characters scattered around a half-dozen servers. As a result, I never got to end-game content – and never got to Shattrath. I’m glad to see that Khadgar survived and is pulling the races together, and wondered what happened to Garona. If Daniel Michael Liberty makes it to Starcraft II (Originally I named him Danny, but he turned into a better character when everyone called him Mike), that would be great as well. My general attitude to my characters is to do my best by them, and not to feel bad when others continue their stories.
I also never say never, so I may yet come back to Azeroth.
Medievaldragon: Really hope you do. Thanks a bunch for responding to a community that loves and misses your work and legacy for the Warcraft franchise. Karazhan, Moroes, Khadgar, Medivh, Aegwynn, Garona, Black Morass. Great memories.
Blizzard is monetizing World of Warcraft in interesting ways that do not affect gameplay or offer an advantage over other players. This time around you can change your character’s face, skin color and special markings. What’s next? Gender customization? Very likely.
Ready for a new look in World of Warcraft, but the barbershop’s just not cutting it? You can now change a character
Dick Hill provided us with a 4-minutes Mp3 sample of the upcoming Warcraft: Day of the Dragon audiobook slated to be on sale near the end of December 2008 at the Tantor Media Audiobooks store. Pre-orders are already available. The audio sample provided to us is from the scene where Elven Ranger Vereesa, dwarf warrior Falstad, and Kryll (the goblin) discuss going to Grim Batol. You can listen to the sample at our recent interview with Dick Hill.
Let us know if you liked his voice performance and if you look forward for Warcraft: Lord of the Clans (Feb 2009) and Warcraft: The Last Guardian (April 2009) Audiobooks too.
The sensational 9 inches tall Talking Murloc Plush Toy that was sold by J!NX at this year’s Blizzcon is now available on sale at the official J!NX Store for the price of $39.99. This new product has arrived just in time for the upcoming Christmas season. A perfect gift for yourself or a family member.
Stalking through your nightmares, the fearsome Murloc unleashes its bone-chilling battle cry: RWLRWLRWLRWL! Fortunately for you, the intrepid J!NX Crew has hunted across Azeroth and pacified the once-feral creatures. They are now plush and fuzzy, and will coo you off to sleep with an oddly familiar lullaby. Cuddle up with your very own Murloc today!
Upper Deck has launched a new World of Warcraft Miniatures Game product, the Deluxe Edition, launching, Tuesday, December 9th. The World of Warcraft Miniatures Deluxe Edition features six total figures (three each from two different factions), as well as one of three high quality game maps, an enhanced Beginner
Tantor Media Audiobooks, Pocket Star Books and Blizzard Entertainment partnered to launch three Warcraft novels in audiobook format: Warcraft: Day of the Dragon will be available on December 2008, boasting 11 hours of audio—available as Audio CD or MP3. The Lord of the Clans is slated for February 2009, while the Last Guardian is expected on April 2009. For this special project, many World of Warcraft fans will no doubt check out, Tantor Media Audiobooks hired Dick Hil, winner of three coveted Audie Awards and many times nominee of various awards.
Thanks to Richard A. Knaak, we were able to reach Richard Dick Hill for an interview to find out more details of the Warcraft Audiobook series.
Ghostcrawler acknowledged normal and heroic difficulty dungeons were designed to be easier than what players are used to from their experience in World of Warcraft classic and Burning Crusade. Blizzard wants everyone to experience the dungeons—and that’s something the majority of non-hardcore players have wanted for years. This allows everyone to see the content and the lore. Heroics technically should be harder and more aimed to the hardcore raiding guilds (in my opinion).
Ulduar is going to be another story. Ghostcrawler said it will be hard. Nothing about the dungeon has been revealed yet. However, rumors are abound that the final boss might be Yogg-Saron, since that was Loken’s master. Time will tell if the rumors are true. There was a hint that more dungeons will be coming out via content patches.
Blizzard Entertainment and Massive, Inc. stroke an exclusive deal to advertise on Battle.net. Before you freak out, this deal does not include in-game advertisement. Blizzard respects the integrity of their games and fans. Microsoft’s Massive. Inc will advertise in World of Warcraft and other game websites.
The Child’s Play 2008 Charity Dinner Auction ticket sales will close on December 5th. Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on the World of Warcraft Wolfrider bronze statue at the auction. This is the same bronze statue I saw at the Blizzard Entertainment main office’s entrance. A huge replica of this statue will be brought from Asia to be placed at the center of the Blizzard Campus.
Those smaller bronze statues are limited editions that only Blizzard employees have, so if you want a chance at bidding on this one and be helpful to the charity feel free to get your tickets while they last. Let us know your impressions of the event and share your photos. Child’s Play takes place on Tuesday, December 9 at 6:30pm, on the 4th Floor of the Washington Convention Center (Skybridge). Dinner and the live auction will commence at 7:30pm.
SEATTLE – Dec. 1, 2008 – Hurry before it’s too late! Tickets are selling faster than the proverbial MMO on launch day for the 2008 Child’s Play Charity dinner auction to be held on Dec. 9 in the Washington State Convention and Trade Center’s skybridge; ticket sales will close this Friday, Dec. 5 (unless sold out prior). The event annually hosts over 400 videogame industry professionals and community members for an evening of drinks and silent bidding, followed by a plated banquet and live auction to benefit sick children in over 50 hospitals around the world. Contributions to the charity already exceed $450,000, passing the halfway mark for this year’s goal of $750,000.
Notable silent and live auction items will include:
– A microwave from Harmonix
– A Halo 3 Master Chief helmet signed by Bungie, Roosterteeth and Penny Arcade staff
– A bronze-cast World of Warcraft statue of an orc and wolf mount, given exclusively to Blizzard Entertainment employees
– A mint-condition, limited edition Black Dreamcast autographed by former Sega President Peter Moore
SAN DIEGO, Dec. 2, 2008 – Following their successful October release in North America, 3 Point Entertainment today announced the availability in the European territories of the World of Warcraft(R) Epic Collection, a series of high-quality old world-style steins based on Blizzard
Entertainment(R)‘s massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
“The response to the steins in North America has been exceptional and we have sold out of our first and second shipments of the production run
scheduled for October and November. The third and final shipment is scheduled to arrive in December for the holiday season. We have had high interest from
players in Europe and are pleased to now be able to offer these steins to our ever-growing European community,” said 3 Point Entertainment president Jerry
The first two Epic Collection steins, Blood of the Horde and Alliance United, depict panoramic full-color bas-reliefs of night elves, tauren, orcs,
and more, illustrated by Blizzard Entertainment artists Samwise Didier and Glenn Rane. Each 11”, .94 liter authentic fine grain stoneware stein is
hand-crafted by world-renowned Brazilian manufacturer Ceramarte and topped with a sculpted pewter lid. Each of the subsequent Epic Collection steins
will also commemorate World of Warcraft’s iconic characters and memorable moments with the same level of artistry and quality.
“We know from our strong sales that World of Warcraft enthusiasts are eager to get their hands on these extraordinary limited-edition steins. We
have seen increased demand during Oktoberfest, which is celebrated worldwide, and Brewfest (its in-game counterpart in World of Warcraft). Several steins
have also been purchased as extremely unique wedding or groomsmen gifts,” noted Bennington.
The World of Warcraft Epic Collection steins are currently available only at http://www.wowsteins.com for a retail price of $79.99.
World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon is the long-awaited follow-up to Warcraft: Day of the Dragon. Richard A. Knaak fleshed out a set of intermingled events that keep you reading in expectation of what would happen next. Danger lurks everywhere. Without, but even more within Grim Batol. Back on 2001, when Warcraft: Day of the Dragon hit bookstores, World of Warcraft was still in early development. The author had to rely on his skills, Chris Metzen (VP of Creative Design) and the dubbed Warcraft Bible to write Day of the Dragon.
With World of Warcraft now reaching its 4th Anniversary, Richard A. Knaak was able to take advantage of the geography and fauna of Azeroth. From Ratchet’s goblins and Bloodsail Buccaneer pirates to Wetlands’ dangerous oozes, crocolisks and raptors.
Day of the Dragon … Night of the Dragon … The first question that comes to mind with the clich
Blizzard reminds fans they will be at DreamHack Winter 2008 through November 27-30 where attendees will get their hands on Starcraft II and Wrath of the Lich King to experience multiplayer. Don’t miss the contests and the opportunity to get home the awesome Frostmourne sword.
DreamHack Winter is back, and Blizzard Entertainment will be there! We’ve partnered with TeliaSonera to give this year’s attendees a chance to play Blizzard’s upcoming StarCraft II and the recently released World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.
You’ll find us next to the DreamArena, where Blizzard representatives will be on hand to answer questions, chat with players, and demonstrate the games. We’ll also be running several contests featuring great prizes, including the Lich King’s legendary sword Frostmourne—though don’t be surprised if Arthas himself shows up to try to stop you from winning.
This year’s DreamHack Winter takes place from 27 to 30 November at Elmia in J
The Archavon encounter was trivial due to the quality of the items for PvP users. Interestingly, Blizzard did not reduce the quality. Instead the encounter difficulty was increased, and the reset timer was extended. Some may find this more adequate and fitting.
Slorkuz: Due to the high quality of the items attainable through the Archavon encounter in Wintergrasp, we are going to be making some changes. To keep the encounter in line with the rewards, we have changed the Raid Lock from a 3-day to a 7-day timer. Additionally, we have raised Archavon
The World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon novel by Richard A. Knaak hit bookstores on November 18. It’s been nearly two weeks, and most fans have read through the book. Lore fans are invited to discuss the book’s storyline and to share opinions and ideas. We will peel off this novel to analyze what it may foreshadow to the lore and to World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (MMO). Unconfirmed rumor might be spawn from this novel that the next content patch could be a Grim Batol dungeon.
There are a few details in the novel that clearly marks the time-frame the events happen in. Anveena’s sacrifice at the Sunwell Plateau is mentioned by an angry Kalecgos who shoved it at Krasus, blaming him.
This is mostly a fans chat with full spoilers. Only attend if you have read the book, or don’t mind spoilers, or the book won’t be available in your country for a long time and you wish to learn more of its content.
The fans chat will take place on Sunday, November 30 at 1:00 pm EST (New York) or 6pm (UK).
All the Community managers are actively gathering questions for the next episode of BlizzCast (podcast). Feel free to submit your questions in the comments below. Simply register in order to submit your comments. I will personally send the questions to Bashiok (Diablo 3), Karune (Starcraft 2) and Nethaera (World of Warcraft).
I wrote a review of the World of Warcraft: Ashbringer # 2 available at comic shops and newsstands, accompanied by a lengthy spoiler summary. You can read the first and omit the latter, or you can read both at your discretion. This comic book written by Micky Neilson fleshes out the betrayal of Mograine’s son, and introduces the very moment the Scarlet Crusade and the Argent Dawn are founded.
Blizzard is opening a new PvP Realm (US) for free transfers from 29 realms simultaneously. If your realm has long queues or you simply wish to venture in new frontiers and new people, consider transferring to the Drak’Tharon (PvP) realm. You can read the long list of servers able to transfer to Drak’Tharon after the break.
We would like to extend the time these transfers will be offered to Drak’Tharon. We now plan to close them on Monday, December 1 at 10:00am PST. Keep in mind these transfers could still close before this time so if you plan to move, we recommend that you do so at your earliest convenience.
We will be offering free character moves from selected high population realms to a brand new PvP realm, Drak’Tharon, to assist in population dispersal. The ability to move a character on the selected source realms will become available starting on Monday, November 17 at 11:00PM PST, and is scheduled to run until Monday, November 24 at 12:00PM PST. Drak’Tharon is a central timezone realm on the Emberstorm battlegroup.
In the event that these realms meet our transfer goals before the scheduled end date, the transfers to that realm will be disabled. We highly recommend that if you are planning to transfer that you do so at your earliest convenience. No characters will be eligible for these free moves once the transfers have been closed.
Blizzard Entertainment and 3 Point Entertainment have had a successful sale of World of Warcraft Steins since its launch back on October. For this reason, they have teamed up to release a special limited edition in Europe where the steins have been highly sought by collectors.
Times Online reported a Swedish 15-years-old boy collapsed and convulsed after playing Wrath of the Lich King for 24 hours straight. The doctor’s diagnosis was that he had a combination of sleep deprivation, lack of food, and the prolonged period of concentration playing the game. Parents need to be more watchful of their children and even adults need to be mindful about their own health.
“The 15-year-old boy and his friends were playing Wrath of the Lich King when he suffered what appeared to be an epileptic seizure, it was reported today.
WoW Insider interviewed Lead Game Designer of World of Warcraft Tom Chilton (Kalgan) at the midnight release of Wrath of the Lich King in Anaheim. They talked about the raid philosophy and the growth of the game in North America among other topics. Read the transcript.
Second expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game launches in multiple regions this week
IRVINE, Calif. November 13, 2008 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion for the world’s leading massively multiplayer online role-playing game, is now on sale in North America, Europe, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Russia. The expansion will be in stores beginning November 14 in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, and available on November 18 in Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Details regarding the launch of Wrath of the Lich King in mainland China will be announced at a later date.
“Wrath of the Lich King contains some of the best content we’ve created for World of Warcraft,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We appreciate the valuable feedback from our beta testers and the continued enthusiasm and dedication of players around the world, and we look forward to seeing them in Northrend.”
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King sends players to the cold, forbidding continent of Northrend, where the malevolent Lich King Arthas Menethil seeks to bring an end to life on Azeroth. Players will fight Arthas’ undead army and unravel the mysteries of Northrend as they quest through new zones and dungeons, acquire potent new skills and abilities, engage in epic open-world player-vs.-player warfare with siege vehicles and destructible buildings, wield the runic power of World of Warcraft’s first Hero class—the death knight—and much more.
First off, the official WoW Forums were recently set to read-only. When the in-game mail presented a bug during last Tuesday’s maintenance, everyone flooded the forums forcing the CPU to reach 100% usage, causing downtime. With the release of Wrath of the Lich King, the forums were placed into read-only mode to make sure fans in general could benefit from very important information concerning installation and support info.
However, we have a new update from Nethaera, provided to all fansites. You can now post on the official forums as normal, but that might change and revert to read-only if the traffic during the first days of the expansion forces forum servers to reach its CPU limit. If the official forums crash, Nethaera will use fansites as a media to provide important information on the fly. Make sure to visit us for updates. Please read:
Nethaera: “I wanted to provide an update on the Official Forums for you. We have opened them back up for traffic, but if we feel it
Blizzard is really demonstrating a lot of detail and change in Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Not only do we get inscription tradeskill, a new hero class, phasing quest system, achievements, calendars, and other bunch of features. Blizzard is also caring for the lore aspect, and wrapping up past unfinished models.
Alexstrasza got a new model to show the difference between the dragonflight and the Dragon Aspect. Which means Nozdormu and Ysera (which are in Northrend) are on queue for a model update. Varian Wrynn got a model update last patch, and this time it was Lady Sylvanas’ turn. She had been given a blood elf model with crazed red eyes a few patches ago. However, that was a placeholder. Now we are introduced the new Lady Sylvanas (Banshee Queen) with the true Dark Ranger model and texture.
The King of Stormwind Varian Wrynn got a second model and texture update in less than two weeks. This time Varian matches his World of Warcraft Comic book’s look. The new model even has the scar across his nose. The armor now has Lothar’s belt. The shoulders: one is in shape of an eagle, the other a lion. I am loving the new updates.
An image is worth a thousand words, and I am just … speechless, as many lore fans will. Shouts to the lore buffs over at ScrollsofLore. Watch the two short videos below.
I posted a walkthrough guide of the awesome quest chain from Avatar of Freya, daughter of the Titans who may be found near the Lost Land in Sholazar Basin. It is a lengthy quest series, but the blue loot reward might be worthwhile for tanks and retribution paladins. It is the most epic solo quest in World of Warcraft to be honest. You control a flipping Stonewatcher of Norgannon to siege the Undead Scourge at the Avalanche area on the northeast corner of Sholazar Basin. You need to kill 200 Scourge Minions and three elite bosses with interesting abilities.
Transcript and four videos coming. Two already up.
A few days ago, Richard A. Knaak had given me a heads up about a podcast interview he had with Jonathan Lonczak from WoWPodcast (BrokenEggsMedia.com). The podcast will be available today Sunday in the evening. Jonathan sent me a few highlights for you to get a feeling. Oh, a new novel … World of Warcraft: Stormrage.
What got Richard Knaak into Blizzard?
They approached him because of his Dragonlance books. Some of the heads of Blizzard had grown up on his Dragonlance works and asked him to write for both Warcraft and Diablo. This allowed Richard to write for both of the kinds of fantasy that he liked, Lord of the Rings type fantasy and dark fantasy.
How much did he play the Warcraft games?
Richard played Warcraft II Battlenet Edition quite a bit. Played World of Warcraft a little bit, but used a lot of background material and screen shots for inspiration. Blizzard has lore keepers who are able to provide him with facts. This also ensures that all of the information that is produced for the Warcraft franchise by writers is consistent.
Did he picture himself as Rhonin or Krasus?
Krasus and Rhonin are especially a part of Richard. He puts a lot of himself into all of his characters, but especially with them. It was difficult to orchestrate them into the story and to have them change parts of the history while maintaining the integrity of Blizzard’s original story.
How did he come up with the character traits of main characters?
Some of it came from the depth of the world itself, and the writing of the original story in game. Azshara’s vanity is a direct result of the way she is worshipped by her people, so it makes logical sense that this would bring about her downfall. Illidan’s lust for power acts in the same way leading to his downfall and internal conflict between good and evil. Many of the character traits in the major characters are able to be derived by their actions in previous circumstances.
How did he come up with all the war tactics that are used in the War of the Ancients Archives?
He figured out what needed to be moved about in each battle. That determined how to bring characters to their next phase. He has a love for history and does a lot of reading about the civil war and major military conflicts. He then uses what he learned from military history and military war games into the Warcraft universe.
If he had to play any class in the game what would it be?
He likes Mages, Paladins, and Warlocks. His favorite races are Human, Tauren, and Night Elves.
He has written the first story in the first Starcraft anthology. It is a moral story and is a bit longer than some of his other works. This will be released in August.
Working on “Dragons of Outlands” which will go into more detail about the outlands, but not allowed to say much more.
Working on “Night of the Dragon” this is the sequel to “Day of the Dragon” and will have returning and new characters . The book will also contain some Draenei and will be the hardest thing that Krasus has had to go through yet.
He will be working on a new Diablo novel which he can say nothing else about.
He will also be working on another new Warcraft novel “Stormrage”. Which he can also tell us nothing more about.
There are many more interesting questions and answers during the interview, to hear more please visit http://www.wowpodcast.com and listen to our streaming feed, or download the content to listen to on your portable player.
Blizzard COO Paul Sams told Guardian during an interview with Greg Howson (Guardian.co.uk) that a director has not been decided yet, but two producers are now onboard.
How’s the movie going?
Paul Sams: We’re in the second or third draft at the moment. We’re interviewing directors and have added two of the producers of the Dark Knight as well. They are onboard. I’m so excited about that. The directors we have spoken to have put forward their ideas and we’re making progress. We’re as confident as ever in Legendary Pictures as they did a great job on the Dark Knight. Will we make 2009? Time is tight and things would have to go really right for that to happen. I wouldn’t rule 2009 out but like our games we only want to release when are happy. I don’t think it’s too far away though.
Rob Pardo presented a keynote today at the Paris Game Developers Conference. The full Pardo conversation at GDC Paris is now available on Gamasutra, including the Blizzard exec thoughts on a whole host of major issues, from user-generated content through the Activision/Vivendi merger and beyond.
He elaborated: “If you make it subscription here, and free to play in Korea, that doesn’t work, because it’s a global community, and the other regions wouldn’t like it, because everyone knows what everyone’s doing. And the game design might not support it.”
Interestingly, Pardo commented on this subject: “When were first going to make World of Warcraft, we wanted to make it free and advertising supported.”
However, the Blizzard exec noted: “We didn’t want to charge a subscription, but as we researched market conditions, we realized that wouldn’t support us.”