AT&T renewed their hosting agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for online games over Battle.net and World of Warcraft servers. A press release is available.
AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for Online Games
LOS ANGELES, March 3—Online gamers will continue to enjoy a rich and reliable gaming experience thanks to an agreement struck between AT&T* and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Today, AT&T and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, agreed to a two-year renewal for hosted services in North America.
Blizzard Entertainment(R) is best known for its Warcraft(R), StarCraft(R), and Diablo(R) PC games as well as its massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game World of Warcraft(R), which is available in eight languages and played by more than 11.5 million subscribers worldwide.** AT&T has been working closely with Blizzard Entertainment for 9 years, providing hosting for World of Warcraft and the Battle.net(R) online-gaming service.
“We’ve been pleased with AT&T’s service over the years, and we’re confident in their ability to continue to provide the quality support we need,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This renewed agreement allows us to stay completely focused on our games while AT&T applies its hosting expertise to help us offer the speed, reliability and security our players expect.”
Through multiple Internet Data Centers (IDC), AT&T will provide strategic hosting and proactive, 24/7 network monitoring and management for the online infrastructure of Blizzard Entertainment’s games and services. The AT&T Gaming Core Team will provide comprehensive networking support to Blizzard Entertainment.
The AT&T Gaming Core Team was formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s Internet Protocol (IP) network. The team consists of engineers and hosting specialists who provide round-the-clock support to companies offering MMO games. The team provides global, end-to-end support of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s hosting infrastructure, applications and IP network and supports trouble resolution, incident command and control, post incident review and root cause analysis.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, which represents computer and video game publishers, U.S. computer and video game software sales grew almost 23 percent in 2008 to $11.7 billion.
The 2009 British Academy Video Games Awards has nominated World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King for 2008 Game of the Year. The fans can cast their vote to decide this category’s winner at the following webpage. Vote entries will be closed on Monday 9 March 2009.
UK residents have an extra incentive to cast a vote by marking the checkbox to participate in a prize draw: Read the Terms & Conditions.
Voting for your favourite game is quick and easy. Simply click on the game you wish to select then complete the form below.
Voting automatically entitles you to enter the prize draw for a collection of goodies worth
Yesterday, Sunday, Blizzard opened Ulduar with two copies of Naxxramas’ Patchwerk: One was tagged as DPS Test and the second was tagged as Tank Test. My group was able to kill the DPS test Patchwerk twice with some difficulty. However, we couldn’t kill the Tank Test dummy. We went as far as 1.3 million health.before he killed the tank. Daelo revealed the reason. It hits a 10% harder every 10 seconds. It is recommended to bring consumables and flasks to these tests in order to help fine-tune the event. Make sure to share your feedback about the Patchwerk DPS and Tank Tests at the following official forums thread.
Here will be a thread for everyone to post their test results from attempts against the two versions of Patchwerk on test.
One version is essentially just a normal patchwerk with double the HP for use as a DPS test. This is Patchwerk (DPS Test).
The other version we currently have is Patchwerk (Tank Test). This is Patchwerk without the Hateful Strike, double the HP, but most importantly every 10 seconds his melee damage increases by 10%. Not only are we looking to see just how long tanks can be kept up given maximum effort from the entire raid, but also how long can tanks be kept up with more limited numbers of healers.
Also, if there are suggestions for modifications or new versions of test Patchwerks, we’d love to here it.
On a side note, we’re working to get a test glyph vendor created. It won’t be ready for the next build to hit PTR, but we’ll have it later.
Three videos have surfaced to give us a glimpse of the Hodir and Iron Council encounters. The first video is a 10-man Hodir Kill. The second video wasn’t a kill but allows you to see the Iron Council for a length of 7 minutes. And a two Freya attempts before server crash.
Today Saturday, the WoW Developers want to test players DPS by placing a copy of Patchwerk inside Ulduar. The classes have had a lot of tweaking, specially the Tanks and the mana regen changes. In order to test these please join the Europe PTR in the evening. Visit the PTR 3.1 Bug Forums to report anything out of the normal.
Daelodev: So we have a version of Patchwerk at the entrance of Ulduar to be used for DPS testing. We’ll turn it on during various times of testing. Please post links to parsed combat logs here. This will be of great help to us!—source
On Thursday, US players attempted to test Hodir in the middle of crashes outside dungeons, and 3200 Queues to even login. In my case, half of our 10-man couldn’t zone in. And we couldn’t zone out. Since we couldn’t even get to start a single fight with Hodir, I decided to explore Ulduar. Not all of it, only the first floor.
The dungeon is simply awesome to behold with a lot of care to details in its interior architecture. It takes over 20 minutes to explore every corner of the place. As said earlier, Ulduar seems to be the prison of Yogg-Saron. That’s what I speculate based on visuals. The dome at the center of Ulduar is broken with pieces of crystal floating in a swirl of magic residual. Within the dome is a huge crater in the icy floor and a few broken chains hanging from the walls. What makes me think that Loken somehow broke the dome once he fell to the whispers of the old god. Hopefully we get to read some lore in the quests to confirm or debunk this.
Update: Confirmed. The big chamber with chains at the center of the dungeon is named: The Prison of Yogg-Saron.
In this video you will see the Ulduar tram. If you get to fall off the tram, just walk back to where the tram was and climb the stairs. There are ramps to get you back above. Watch the lengthy video. If you are on a slow connection, start the video and press pause to allow it to download while you browse other pages or websites. (20 minutes video)
The Balnir Farmstead has a past mystery … a place that holds a dark secret that no one but Prince Arthas Menethil knows. A secret that would be dragged within for years. A secret that would forever damn his soul.
Read our preview of World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King.
Watch our video interview with Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson about Arthas, Rise of the Lich King and WoW: Stormrage
Ok, we’re going to attempt to have some playtest sessions for Ulduar starting tonight and through this weekend.
The following is the tentative schedule for this weekend:
On the North American test realms
Hodir – Thursday night, February 26, starting at 7pm EST/4pm PST.
To get to Hodir from the front of Ulduar, travel all the way through the exterior section headed straight until you teleport into the interior section. Go up the stairs, over the temporary bridge, then Hodir’s wing is to your right. The walls of his wing are ice covered and he’s at the end. Both 10 and 25 player modes are active. Post Hodir Feedback here.
Iron Council – Friday night, February 27, starting at 7pm EST/4pm PST
On the European test realms
Thorim – Friday night, February 27, starting at 7pm CET. Freya – Friday night, February 28, starting at 7pm CET.
This schedule could change at a moment’s notice due to server, bug, or patch status. I’ll try to keep everyone informed as much as possible. Ulduar and the bosses to be tested will remain also open a variable length of time. How long they stay open depends upon a host of factors including designer availability, bug status, etc.
We also hope to have the zone open on Sunday for each respective realm for a longer period of time. We have a couple special versions of Patchwerk setup. One of them is called Patchwerk (DPS Test) and is essentially a massive training dummy for your raids. The other is Patchwerk (Tank Test), and he does not have a Hateful Strike, but his melee damage increases over time.
We’re very interested in seeing combat logs and parses for all raid testing on the PTR.
Quick Ulduar FAQ:
Q) Will there be testing available on Oceanic, Korean, or other time zones?
A) There will be some testing available. We do plan on allowing for extended testing on Flame Leviathan, and possibly other bosses. We want encounter designers to be present during testing, which makes testing during some time zones difficult.
Q) Where’s all the trash?
A) We don’t have everything turned on for these tests, and this sometimes includes trash creatures before each boss encounter.
Q) Where’s the loot?
A) We don’t have this attached to bosses yet, but we’ll have loot hooked up soon.
Q) What about achievements?
A) These aren’t implemented yet.
Rally your guildmates or get a very efficient PUG from known guilds to work together exclusively to get this done. Otherwise, you won’t see these rewards anymore. Ghostcrawler just announced these rewards will be removed from the game once Patch 3.1 goes live.
Ghostcrawler: Upcoming Glory of the Raider Reward Changes When 3.1 goes live, the rewards for
The Gear Management System is the most awesome feature in the game besides the Dual Talent Spec. Very simple and user-friendly. Once you set up your gear choices you can change gear with a single click. However, you need to switch gear manually. It won’t automatically change when you switch specs. Not a big deal.
The first thing you should do is to press (ESCAPE) to open the menu window. Go to Interface, select Controls and look at the bottom to click the following checkbox: “Use Equipment Manager—Enables access to the Equipment Manager interface from the character frame.”
Close the Menu. Now press (C) to open the Character window. At the top-right, above the glove slot you will now see a new icon that recembles a chestplate. When you click the chestplate icon, the Equipment Manager window pops up to the top-right of the Character window.
It contains 10 slots. Don’t attempt to drag items in there. That’s not its function. Instead, make sure you have all the gear worn you wish for your primary talent spec. All you need to do is to click the red save button within the Equipment Manager window. You will get familiar from there forward—it looks exactly like the Macro window buttons. After pressing the save button, you will see a textbox to type the title of your macro. In my case, I named it Holy Spec.
Then you select any of the macro buttons. Press ok. Voila. That button will automatically choose all the gear you had at the moment you saved. Now make sure to pick all the gear you want to use for your second spec. Once you have all the gear, trinkets, rings, cloak, weapons and neck that you would use for your secondary talent spec—click the breastplate icon at the top-right to open the Equipment Manager. Now repeat the process by pressing the save button. All the new gear you have is automatically saved. A new textbox shows up. Name it whatever secondary talent spec you chose. In my case, I named it Retribution. I selected a button for it.
Now you have two out of ten Equipment sets. Play around by pressing the first button. I automatically wore all the gear I saved for my Holy spec. A sound is played to alert you of the gear change. Press the second button, and all your gear changes to the second spec. In my case, all the retribution gear. The video is only a test to show you the mechanics of how it works. I don’t have a retribution set, besides the Scourge Invasion set. Hope you like this new feature the developers have no doubt worked on and polished for a long time.. Watch the video below.
A very nice touch for those who complained about the LFG tool. This time the Blizzard developers have added new criterias to ease up the search of groups. The new option checkboxes ask you to specify if you are a:
Pretty options if you ask me. Let’s see how it evolves during the testing process. All fans are welcome to use the LFG feature instead of channels. This will help test and debug before it reaches the live realms.
Unless I have been living under a rock the past few patches, I noticed something I had not seen before, and which the developers had mentioned at some point they would add to the game. You can now access the battlegrounds from anywhere by pressing (H) key. That will open up the PvP window. Press the Battlegrounds tab. You will see the same window you usually do when talking to a Battlemaster. From there you can select Alterac Valley, Warsong Gulch, Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm, and Strand of the Ancients.
A very nice touch for those who complained about the LFG tool. This time the Blizzard developers have added new criterias to ease up the search of groups. The new option checkboxes ask you to specify if you are a:
Pretty options if you ask me. Let’s see how it evolves during the testing process. All fans are welcome to use the LFG feature instead of channels. This will help test and debug before it reaches the live realms.
For those who haven’t had access to the PTR 3.1, we got screenshots and video of the Dual Talent Spec Feature. In order to benefit from this feature, you must go to a class trainer. The trainer now has a new option below the unlearn talents option. Select the Dual-spec option. You will be prompted to pay 1000 gold to learn this new feature.
Once done, you will automatically gain a new achievement. Open your Talent Tree window by pressing (N). Nothing changes within the Talent Tree Window, except now you see a second button tab on the top-right of the window. The first button is your primary talent spec. The button below is your secondary talent spec. Each has its own set of three talent trees and a glyph window. Each glyph window is associated with any of the specs. So you can have two sets of glyphs.
Assign points to your talent trees for your primary spec. Press the second button at the top-right to access the secondary spec window. You need to activate it before you can assign points. Press the large red button at the top titled: “Activate these talents”. You will see a spellbar casting “Activate Secondary Spec”. Your mana pool will be completely depleted. Now you can set talent points to any of your secondary spec’s three talent trees.
Watch the video below to see all these steps and how it works.
I just logged in into Broxigar PvE server to bring you coverage, screenshots and video of PTR 3.1—so stay tuned for any updates. In the meantime, below are the full patch notes. Remember, Blizzard hasn’t added all the Class changes to this patch. It will be added in upcoming PTR patches.
Players at maximum level will now be able to visit their trainer to
pay a one-time fee and access the dual talent spec feature.
A new Gear Manager feature has been added. Players will now be able
to save gear sets for easy gear switching.
Players will now be able to queue for battlegrounds from any
Seaforium Barrels can be looted while mounted, can now be seen from
anywhere in the zone, and can now be found at the Central Graveyard.
Teleporters can now be used while mounted and can now be seen from
anywhere in the zone
Read the Class Changes below …
Hysteria, Tricks of the Trade, Enrage, Wrecking Crew, Death Wish,
Arcane Power, Owlkin Frenzy, Beast Within, Avenging Wrath and
Hysteria damage bonuses no longer stack together.
Around 3am EST, waves of fans started downloading the PTR 3.1 You can download it at the following link once you have logged in to your WoW Account. First, you needed to download the old PTR designated:
PTR 3.1 Character copy is available on US Realms with a queue downed to 4 days. Seems to be available randomly depending on how many people are copying their characters at certain intervals. I have been checking every few minutes, reloading the page.
I was able to copy two characters on to Broxigar PvE server. The PvP server is named Anasterian. I will report an update once the installer is available. It is not at the moment. Keep trying to copy your character every now and then. Knowing how many people wishes to join, queues will be full often.
I finished reading the book and I am ready to tell fans my experience without spoiling much. At least nothing you haven’t already seen in Warcraft III. For those catching up, we got some World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King galleys to giveaway to fans—courtesy of Simon & Schuster and Blizzard Entertainment. A galley is an uncorrected proof (a special advance reader’s edition not-for-sale). The advantage is that you get to read the book nearly two months ahead before they hit bookstores.
On to the review, Christie Golden has done an excellent work researching many previous books by other authors, and playing Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its Frozen Throne expansion. We get to see Arthas at age 9 and how his life and experiences shaped up what one day would be a Prince sacrificing everything zealously for his people, to be able to claim Frostmourne in order to defeat the dreadlord Mal’Ganis.
We see Sir Anduin Lothar, Khadgar and a young Prince Varian Wrynn arriving at Capital City to inform about the fall of Stormwind—an exact scene from World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg—but from the point of view of a young Arthas hiding on the upper gallery to witness the scene. We see how Varian and Arthas play together, except Varian had been trained since childhood, while Arthas was overprotected from such trainings by his father.
The love triangle between Kael, Jaina and Arthas is explored in-depth throughout two chapters and a half. Christie works her usual magic here developing feelings and passions. We get to briefly see many characters of the Warcraft universe, and various scenes from the point of view of Arthas. We get to see that scene in Day of the Dragon when Lord Daval Prestor (Deathwing) was chosen to marry Calia Menethil when she was age 16. A scene from World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal when Muradin walks in into Capital City to find a young Arthas playing make-believe attacking illusory orcs with his training sword. This leads Muradin to volunteer to train him.
Something I found quite refreshing was the use of World of Warcraft festivities throughout the length of the book. Noblegarden, the Midsummer Fire Festival, the Hallow’s End, and the Feast of Winter Veil to develop the relationship between Arthas and Jaina together as years go by. As some people know, Christie Golden has been a World of Warcraft player for the past years on a RP-server. She knows the game with a passion.
Arthas visiting Durnholde Keep on behalf of his father, as he starts taking bigger responsibilities as a Prince. Meeting Thrall fight other adversaries at the Gladiator Arena. His induction ceremony at the Cathedral of Light where he was ordained a Paladin of the Order of the Silver Hand.
You will love how accurately Christie depicts the scenes from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos word by word as things are said either in the mission briefings or the in-game engine’s cinematics—fleshing out those parts in between to connect with the next campaign maps.
For example, remember that scene where Arthas awaits Jaina? The soldier asks Arthas if they should help Jaina. Enter Jaina …. fleeing from Ogres. She turns around and handles them on her own with the help of a Water Elemental.
That scene when they find the plagued silo, find two elven priests and even a dwarven mortar team. Then arrive to the granary and find an Abomination.
Jaina: “By the Light—- that creature looks like it was sewn together from different corpses!”
Arthas: “Let’s study it after we kill it, okay?”
The scene where Arthas calls Uther a traitor and disbands the Order of the Silver Hand. The Cunning of Stratholme. The search for Frostmourne and the apparent demise of Mal’Ganis. Walk the halls toward the throne room of Lordaeron Capital City. Find out what went through Arthas’ mind when touching the rose petals with his gloved fingers.
For continuity’s sake, we see Jaina Proudmoore and Magna Aegwynn (Medivh’s mother) in Theramore (from the pages of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido and the current DC comics / Wildstorm World of Warcraft Comic Book). As well as various scenes from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion with brief cameos of Tuskarr and Taunka races.
The book goes as far as Warcraft III: Frozen Throne’s Undead Campaign from start to end. There is only two major omissions that I have to acknowledge may have been due to space just 25 pages away from the last page. The lapse between fighting Sapphiron to entering the gates to the Inner Kingdom was completely skipped. And the major turn off is that the Forgotten One is not even mentioned as even happening.
The epilogue presents what happened these past four years with Arthas. He is been dreaming. And he awakes leading to the invasion to Orgrimmar and Stormwind and the events of Wrath of the Lich King. But what happened during those four years of dreaming? There has been an inner conflict within Arthas the Lich King’s head … between three minds striving for control: Ner’zhul, Arthas, and … who we are familiar with as Matthias Lehner (the ghost child). The end is shocking to say the least. And unexpected.
Except for those two events omitted, the book is accurate and loyal to the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: Frozen Throne. And offers much more with extra spice from Christie Golden. I can only say one thing about this. I (beep) love this book !!!
This book is an overdosed cocktail of lore and continuity that will numb your senses.
If you are a die-hard WarCraft lore fan you can’t miss this book. If you are a World of Warcraft player who didn’t get to play previous Warcraft games—this book will be your best chance at catching up with Arthas’ past pre-Third War and it covers both: Warcraft III and its expansion accurately. Pre-Order World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King … on sale: April 21, 2009.
Watch our interview with Blizzard’s Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson at the 2009 New York Comic Con for details of World of Warcraft: Arthas and the World of Warcraft: Stormrage book.
3 Point Entertainment had successful sales of the World of Warcraft Steins and launched a new series at the end of 2008. They have established themselves so well in the World of Warcraft market that a new collectible series based on Wrath of the Lich King has been announced recently.
Featuring Arthas the Lich King, the new stein comes in two flavors: Epic Collection for $89.99 and the Legendary Collection for $174.99. These new steins will be available on late April and late May.
Shipping late April
Incredible Alex Horley artwork
Fine-grain stoneware with bas-relief sculpting
Sculpted pewter lid
Purchase 2+ steins and pay only $12.95 shipping/handling on your total order!*
Shipping late May
Limited to only 750 steins worldwide
Hand signed by Alex Horley
Exquisite enhancements including premium hand painting (See FAQ for more details)
Limit 1 stein per customer
Purchase 2+ steins and pay only $12.95 shipping/handling on your total order!*
Cho’gall is the leader of the Twilight’s Hammer Clan and in this upcoming issue # 16 he is at the chamber of … C’Thun in the Ahn’Qiraj Temple.
In the latest issue of the World of Warcraft comic, Broll receives a mysterious summons away from Theramore on the eve of the summit between King Varian and Thrall. Garona is taken captive by the Forsaken, but to what end? Plus, the return of Rehgar Earthfury! Check out the preview pages for yourself.
If you like what you see, you can visit Wildstorm for more information, locate a nearby comic store, or subscribe to the series directly.
You can check out all the Blizzard products showcased at the New York Comic Con in our coverage page. I was there in person, digital camcorder on hand to be your eyes and ears.
Tokyopop had a manga book signing session with Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Josh Elder and Grace Randolph. And showcased Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 and Starcraft Frontlines Vol. 2.
I interviewed Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson at the Simon & Schuster booth where they talked in-depth about World of Warcraft: Arthas and even awesome spoilers about World of Warcraft: Stormrage—heck, it is not even listed in Amazon.
DC Unlimited showcased the three new action figures: Lo’gosh, Night Elf Huntress Alathena Moonbreeze and Scourge Ghoul Rottingham.
We were at the New York Comic Con 2009 to bring you videos of the event. Today, you can watch the book signing session held at the Tokyopop booth where Blizzard Entertainment Senior VP of Creative Development Chris Metzen and the Senior Writer & Voice Director Micky Neilson joined book writers Keith R.A. DeCandido (Starcraft Ghost: Academy), Josh Elder (StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 1) and Grace Randolph (Starcraft Frontline Vol. 2) to meet and greet fans.
At the end of video # 2 you will see Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson signing the Starcraft Comic Book Posters exclusively for our giveaway to fans. They are also signed by the manga writers. If you want the opportunity to win one of these signed posters follow the link to participate.
If you were at the event, you will probably have great memories to share with your friends and guildmates. Enjoy.
This week I am shipping a Warcraft Legends Vol. 3, courtesy of Tokyopop, to a lucky fan that participates in this giveaway. All you need to do is to type: I WANT A WARCRAFT LEGEND at the following thread.
There you can read a very interesting round up of one of the stories within the manga concerning Trag the tauren (from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) who returned from the grave as a undead. His journey brought him to his people seeking help for his condition, just to meet betrayal from his brothers. Thrall gave Trag the means to regain his mind from the calling of the Lich King. Eventually, Trag reaches the icy wastelands with the quest to enact revenge against him.
Next week, It will be Blizzplanet’s turn for a giveaway. So stay tuned.
Our network site, IncGamers, got the MASSIVE breaking news that WoW Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan has moved away from the World of Warcraft team to focus all his time and effort on the Blizzard Entertainment’s unannounced Next-Gen MMO.
He will still be participating in certain WoW development decisions, but his new tasks will keep him busy on the development of the next-gen MMO. This brings a lot of speculation vibe to it. Why reveal he’s moved to the next-gen MMO team? Why now? Fans wouldn’t have even figured out he was missing except for the BlizzCast Q&As that aren’t released so often.
Will there be a new Blizzcon this year? Are we witnessing hints of an impending game announcement this year?
Will this Next-Gen MMO be a resurrected Starcraft: Ghost game? The game was postponed, not canceled. It is quite possible. Back on Blizzcon 2005, fans played Starcraft: Ghost multiplayer. It looked more like an MMO than a console game. Another possible hint this game could resurface is the four Starcraft: Ghost printed-format books in development. Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star Books will publish Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by the end of 2009. Keith R.A. DeCandido has written around four chapters thus far.
Tokyopop will publish a manga trilogy titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy, aimed to be released throughout 2010. The Year of the Ghost. Speculations, speculations. Don’t we love that time of the year when Blizzard itches to tell something is being brewed in their headquarters?
Will it be a Starcraft MMO or Diablo MMO? It would be hard to tell. Back on 2002, two games were in development parallel to each other: World of Warcraft and Warcraft III. Both games tied up lorewise with the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Undead races and the Kalimdor and Northrend continents.
Starcraft 2 is now developed to be three separate episodes of around 30 maps each. This could be seen as expanding the lore to introduce an MMO. On the other side, we have Diablo 3. It hasn’t been revealed if it will be split into episodes, but last year it was revealed that the storyline in Diablo 3 wouldn’t be the end. The Creative Development Team has plenty of story to tell beyond Diablo 3. Whether that is via expansions or … coughs … a Next-Gen MMO, that remains to be seen.
Keep your eyes open through the summer for any Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals or Blizzcon announcements. It could very well mean the unveiling of the mysterious Next-Gen MMO. Big thumbs up to Jeff Kaplan and his team. Make us proud and make the best MMO experience possible.
Tigole: I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I
The US Community Manager Nethaera got an awesome interview with developer Ghostcrawler to immerse us into the new Dual-Spec feature. This allows players to use two separate sets of talents that can be easily switched to be used in an appropriate situation. You can be a healer on PvE, or a DPS beast on PvP—for example. Or you can be a tank on PvE dungeons, and go all-out DPS for solo-farming and solo-quests. Talent Dual-spec is a great and flexible feature.
The complex design behind it at a glance seems to be very well-thought and implemented, making it as hassle free as possible. Inscribers can summon a Lexicon of Power in a raid via a ritual. This summoned item will allow players to switch their spec; or you can visit any major city to use the Lexicon of Power.
You can save talent specs, glyphs, and action bars per spec; and a gear management system that works separately was also revealed. You can switch gear and trinkets manually with a click. Most of these features, minus the gear management system will be available on PTR when it is ready. Make sure to participate on PTR when it is up to test these new features and to iron out bugs before dual-spec hits live realms. The complete Q&A can be read after the break.
Talent Dual Spec Q&A with Ghostcrawler
With the next content patch, we will be introducing a number of additions and changes to the game. One new feature in the works is the ability to set up two separate sets of talents, or “dual spec”. While the complete feature may not be immediately available in the Public Test Realms (PTR) and specifics are still liable to change, we wanted to go over some questions with Senior Game Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to find out more.
Nethaera: What is dual speccing? Ghostcrawler: Dual speccing is the ability to save two separate talent specs, glyphs, and action bars.
Nethaera: Why are we allowing players to dual spec after all this time? Ghostcrawler: We really felt like this was a great way to increase the flexibility available to players and encourage them to take part in more aspects of the game. To use just one example, some players like to participate in both raids and Arenas, which is awesome behavior that we want to promote. But, there are some talents which are more useful in one part of the game than another. Currently, players have to pay respec costs and go through the process of setting up the desired talent spec and action bars whenever they switch.
The new system makes this a much more logical process, saving on time and cost and allowing players to easily move from one aspect of the game to another.
Nethaera: Who will be able to use it? Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.
Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this? Ghostcrawler: We didn
Many Blizzard fans attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for the opportunity to meet the thundergod Chris Metzen (Senior VP of Creative Development) and Micky Neilson (Senior Writer & Voice Director) during the Simon & Schuster book signing session.
There were a lot of happy fans handing over their copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, the Comic Book Vol. 1 hardcover, even the Wrath of the Lich King Collector’s Edition Art Book. I remember one of the fans brought the wall-mounting accessory of the Frostmourne sword replica to be signed. It was a fun experience to both Alliance and Horde players; and the developers were quite satisfied and passionate about the fans’ reactions.
Blizzplanet and WorldofWar.net was there to interview both Blizzard developers, and to record most of the book signing session. Below you can watch all three videos.
During my visit to the 2009 New York Comic Con, I visited the DC Comics booth to check out their World of Warcraft action figures and the artists. Chris Metzen had told me after the interview to return to the booth to see three new action figures: King Varian Wrynn (Lo’gosh), a Night Elf Huntress named Alathena Moonbreeze and a Scourge Ghoul named Rottingham. These look awesome. If you are a action figures collector, these will do great. Their armor, weapons and clothing are very detailed and colorful. Very accurate to the game, standing on impressive poses.
The DC Comics was packed with hundreds of people, the ambient was welcoming with tall posters of each franchise, especially the World of Warcraft comic book. They were showcasing video on big HD monitors of DC Online, DC vs Mortal Kombat, and even playing the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro. I got video of each DC Unlimited World of Warcraft action figure from different angles for your viewing pleasure. As well as close ups. Enjoy.
Blizzard Entertainment has exciting news for PvP players who enjoy clashing against the best players in Arenas. The 2009 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is about to kick off next week. The best news is that you will have the opportunity to win over $200,000 in prizes, and you can gain a special title achievement: The Vanquisher, and a Armored Murloc Pet. Are you the best at Arenas? Take the challenge. Heed the Call ! (source)
On Saturday, February 7th—Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for a book signing session at the Simon & Schuster booth (1402). Thanks to Jaime Costas from the Pocket Star Books publisher; Shon Damron and Rob Tokar from Blizzard Entertainment’s Public Relations Department an interview was scheduled at the event.
Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson answered lore questions based on the StarCraft and World of WarCraft pocket star books for a length of 24 minutes. I split the video into two parts. This interview is packed with a lot of fun, spoilery and informative answers to various concerns from scenes that happened in Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Warcraft: The Last Guardian, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Warcraft RPG Books, and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. And a massive influx of info about the upcoming books—World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King (April 21), Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight (June 30), World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (2010).
After watching this video interview, you are going to faint, and wake up with only one thought in mind: “you CAN’T MISS reading one of these pocket star books !!!” Guaranteed. These books tie-in deeply into the events of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and could we dare to say … future expansions?
Medievaldragon: This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet and WorldOfWar.net. We are here to interview Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson, Senior Writer and Voice Director of Blizzard Entertainment. I picked up some questions from the Community about Pocket Books lore. We’ll start with the Starcraft questions first.
Medievaldragon: Ulrezaj is composed of 7 dark templars according to Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, but only composed of 4 in the Enslavers 2 Episode 5B: Dark Vengeance. could you fill us in on how that happened?
Metzen: Essentially we just made a call. Originally, I think in the Enslavers campaign it was 4, but Enslavers has always been kind of quasi-canonical. There was a lot of new fiction developed for Enslavers that we thought was really cool, but as we were developing this trilogy with Christie we knew we wanted to bring Ulrezaj back, which was kind of a cool idea, but we felt that going to 7 was better for the fiction in general. It kind of gave us more options to dig his origin out, who were all these arch-criminals that comprised him, so we felt that going with 7 just felt a little rounder. So… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Medievaldragon: Does the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-morian Combine have their own versions of the Ghost program, or is it exclusive to the Confederates and the Dominion?
Neilson: I like that question.
Metzen: Kill it!
Neilson: My answer would be that they do, and that it’s something a little bit different, something we haven’t seen yet, and something that we should definitely investigate in the future in the fiction, because it sounds like a really cool idea.
Metzen: That sounds like a dare right there.
Neilson: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: Will the Terrazine gas plot be explored in the upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Spectre book?
Metzen: Well the Terrazine and its significance to the “alleged” Ghost spectres is definitely handled in the upcoming novel Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by Decandidio. Decandido, pardon me. Sorry Keith! We definitely get into what Terrazine is, what it’s used for, and I would bet, wink wink, that we might see a bit of that play out in Starcraft 2 as well.
Metzen: Yes indeed.
Medievaldragon: Can we expect a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades? We are missing the period between the Overmind’s invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s sacrifice.
Neilson: Official announcement? I don’t know what’s official and what isn’t as far as…
Metzen: We’ve been working on an outline, we call it… well I’ll just say it. We call it Heir to Adun is the title of that possible novel. We’ve done a number of outline treatments on it to really dig out Tassadar’s story, and Tassadar’s nature as this kind of Twilight Messiah for the protoss people. What was really going on there at the fall of Aiur, and really digging out all the political things that were happening with the Conclave, and the Judicators, and the Templar. We definitely have a rocking story built for a novel, but we don’t have any plans yet on exactly when we would publish it or I don’t even know if we have a writer lined up yet, but we have an awesome outline for it.
Medievaldragon: Yeah, we have been expecting it for a while. (laughing) I know it takes time.
Metzen: If I had my way it would have been out already.
Neilson: It’s going to be a little while
Medievaldragon: Okay, we’re going to move to the Warcraft questions.
Medievaldragon: A fan asked: The body of Sargeras that Aegwynn killed was said to be an avatar in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, does this mean that Sargeras’ real body is still out there somewhere? Or is Sargeras pulling a Lord Voldemort trick to ensure his return?
Neilson: Sargeras is still kicking around. You can’t put him down.
Metzen: He’s out there somewhere.
Neilson: He’s not going to stay down for long.
Metzen: Yeah totally. And I think the hooks we had for his physical body, wherever it may be are so visually stunning that I think we have to… it’s like low hanging fruit, we’re going to have to bring him back somewhere. I’d be very disappointed in us if we didn’t leverage him fully.
Medievaldragon: He would be like the ultimate encounter.
Neilson: Hmm… yes.
Medievaldragon: In The Last Guardian, Medivh attacks Garona with a spell, saying “let me show you my world Garona. Let me drive my own divisions and doubts into you. You will never know who you serve and why. You’ll never find your peace.” This is most commonly seen by fans as Sargeras cursing Garona into betraying everyone she works for… Is this true? Is that why she has been missing all these years?
Neilson: As to what’s going on with Garona, we’re launching into the second arc of the WoW comic. There are going to be a LOT of questions answered regarding Garona… why she did what she did, her whole backstory. It all ties into Med’an, this new character, who’s going to be really important to the lore. So for the community to learn a lot more about Garona, they should definitely check out the comic book.
Medievaldragon: Will there be a follow-up in the pocket books at some point?
Neilson: For Garona? Maybe.
Metzen: I didn’t hear… a cameo within a book?
Neilson: Not out of the question, I’m sure.
Metzen: Yeah, I think we’re still feeling it out. We just recently started leveraging the character again, so there’s a lot of interest in the character, so I can see us getting [cut off]
[Plays a scene from warcraft 3 of Arthas approaching the Revenants blocking the path to Frostmourne]
Guardian: Turn back mortals. Death and Darkness are all that await you in this forsaken vault.
Arthas: I doubt there’s anything down here more terrifying than what we’ve faced already.
Guardian: Believe what you will, boy. You shall not pass.
Guardian: Turn away… before it’s… too late.
Arthas: Still trying to protect the sword are you?
Guardian: No… trying to protect you… from it.
Medievaldragon: What were the Revenants’ motives to care for Arthas’ fate? Will it be explained in World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King?
Metzen: It’s in the book.
Medievaldragon: In the book? Alright
Neilson: Buy the book.
Metzen: It’s really good. Really good… Christie just rocked this book.
Medievaldragon: In World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, we see a glimpse of Malygos proposing to the Wyrmrest Accord the purge of the mages prior to the Nexus War. Kalecgos departs to Outland at the end of the book. What’s Kalecgos’ stance with the Nexus War?
Metzen: Interesting. I think Kalecgos is loyal, he’s a blue dragon. Their function is to kind of police mortals’ use of magic, so to some degree he wants to do what Malygos wants him to do. He’s loyal, he’s a team player, but I also think that Kalecgos has a huge heart. I think he has a deep conscience, and I think he’s terrified of how these things have just spun out of control, and I think he regrets the loss of life and probably looks at it as a totally heavy handed solution to the problem, so I think he’s probably a little torn.
Neilson: And he’s spent a lot of time with mortals at this point too. He’s grown close to some mortals with the whole Anveena thing and everything else, so he would definitely be torn. His feelings would be torn.
Medievaldragon: He was a bit arrogant at the beginning, but his experience with Anveena kind of softened him.
Metzen: Right, kind of drew him closer to the experience of mortals. Totally.
Medievaldragon: Now that Malygos is dead, will there be a new Aspect of Magic (such as Kalecgos); or is that position gone forever? Could a dragon of another flight become the magic aspect… temporarily… for example: Krasus… who is an Archmage?
Metzen: I would say to question A: (slowly motions with his lips toward the poster of the World of Warcraft: Arthas book).
Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.
Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…
Medievaldragon: What can you tell us about the upcoming Worlf of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak?
Neilson: Stormrage is gonna be fantastic. What’s really cool about Stormrage is that we will be able to actually live the Nightmare, through this book, that’s going on in the Emerald Dream turning into the Emerald Nightmare. One of the coolest elements, in my opinion, is that the nightmare is starting to spread into Azeroth, and we’re going to touch on that in the manga as well, so we’re going to have a story that touches on, for instance, what is King Magni’s worst nightmare? And because the Nightmare is spreading into the reality of Azeroth, we’ll be able to see that. The book’s going to be fantastic, answers all kinds of questions, what’s been happening to Malfurion, what’s going on, who’s behind it… al those questions are going to be answered.
Metzen: I would just say too, I mean Malfurion’s always been, personally, my favorite Warcraft hero. He’s my favorite to write, so I’ve waited a long time to get this guy back into the mix, and have him play a significant role in the shaping of Azeroth. He’s a mega player, and he’s been off the scene.
Neilson: For a long time.
Metzen: I’m really stoked on this book. We really designed the essential backbone of the book to be just hyper Druid overload. If you’re a WoW Druid, this book’s for you. It features all the major druid characters, and players. I love it. Love it, love it.
(Video Part 2 Transcript)
Medievaldragon: Will there be a cameo of Jarod Shadowsong in World of Warcraft: Stormrage? The official website’s encyclopedia says he departed the druids and was never seen again.
Metzen: I don’t remember. For some reason, I don’t think so. But we would be lovingly surprised if he did. He doesn’t play a significant role in it.
Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg’s World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness helps modernize a lot of the lore revolving around Warcraft II. One aspect of the lore that fans have been wondering about, is Gilneas. Was Gilneas scheduled to make an appearance in that book, but had to be trimmed out, or will Gilneas be revisited in future books?
(Neilson grins at Metzen)
Metzen: Ah, ah, I would say we have some very, very, Very interesting plans for Gilneas. (Metzen docks slightly looking toward the ceiling) But there are snipers up in the roof that would shoot me if you know … (everyone laughs). We are doing some awesome stuff for Gilneas.
Neilson: … stay tuned!
Metzen: Stay tuned.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal reveals Cho’gall was killed. Or was he? How did the Twilight’s Hammer survive the Broken Isles’ massacre?
Neilson: Cho’gall is gonna make a come back. He’s not dead. You are going to see he will play a large role in the second arc of the World of Warcraft comic book. So, exactly how he survived … he’s just too tough. Two axes to the chest weren’t enough to take him down. He just appeared dead. (Laughs)
Medievaldragon: If he is not decapitated, he is not dead.
Neilson: That’s right.
Metzen: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: (jokingly) … and that doesn’t mean he can’t return. Somebody plugs the head back to his body and …
Medievaldragon: What’s happening to Blood Elf culture (especially Rommath’s role in it) now that the Sunwell was restored with M’uru?
Metzen: What we showed at the end of Burning Crusade, like during the whole Sunwell event, was that the warped naaru M’uru was kinda transformed back into his purest self, purest light that Velen used to reignite the Sunwell, as a fountain of Holy power, as much as it is arcane. So the suggestion was that over time the Blood Elves will start to actually use real Light power, in a healthy way, instead of dominating it. So what will likely happen over time is a slow transition, but what Velen did was give them a chance to redeem their civilization, a chance to get back to their roots, a chance to upset their magical addiction. So that kinda thing will probably gonna play out very slowly. We didn’t talk much about it in Wrath of the Lich King, but it is a theme I love a lot, but it has to be played out very slow.
Medievaldragon: I like that aspect of redeeming them … Does that mean that at some point they are going to get back to their roots and restore the Council of Tirisfal?
Metzen: ha-ha! … no … comment.
Medievaldragon: Are we ever seeing the Scythe of Elune questline and how it all tied into Karazhan and the Dark Riders explored in a future pocket book?
Metzen: I will say there are elements of the Scythe of Elune questline that are not … over … (long silence).
Metzen: … (longer silence) Alright, that’s all I’m saying. (laughs)
Woah, WOAH! (Metzen jokingly makes a motion with his hands and legs as if tight-rope walking).
Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!
Medievaldragon: Is the existence of Finnal Goldensword canon? She’s Admiral Proudmoore’s half-elf daughter. If so, are there plans to introduce her in the pocket books?
Metzen: I’m sure this will be controversial, but I don’t necessarily consider her canonical. And based on that, we don’t really have any plans to use her in the future. I think she appeared in one of the Warcraft RPG books. It’s not a character I have thought out about, so at this point I’m not sure if we are gonna do much with her.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King will devote a portion of its time to the love triangle between Arthas, Jaina and Kael’thas. Now, many of us have played Warcraft III and have also run Gnomeregan, so, we’ve got to ask … Where does Thrall factor in?
I’m not quite sure of what that questions means.
Neilson: Well, I think they are wondering: Is there a romantic interest between Thrall and Jaina? I think that’s what it’s implying.
Metzen: Ohh …
Medievaldragon: Not sure—why they are asking about Gnomeregan.
Metzen: Yea, it’s worded a little weird. Well, I would say the whole Kael’thas, Arthas, Jaina triangle thing is totally handled in the book. And it’s R-r-really good! But it explains the whole relationship, and how that all went down. Christie just handled it perfectly. So I’m excited to really see that. But relative, the question was, is there a little you know … green fever going on with Thrall and Jaina? umm … (takes deep breath) … I don’t know, I know people are kinda fascinated a little about that but …
Medievaldragon: Ohh … I know now what they meant. In Gnomeregan, there was a punch card in binary code that when you decoded it, it reads: “Thrall and Jaina in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
Metzen: Right, right. I don’t know, I would say I try to be pretty conservative with all that stuff. I would like Thrall to settle down with a nice green girl…
Neilson: (laughs louder)
Metzen: …you know, and have little green babies. I’d like the dynasty of Orgrimmar to be pure blood, right. But you never know. I hope he keeps things together and doesn’t do something stupid before we can actually build this stuff in the game. So … you know Thrall.
Medievaldragon: Hormones …
Metzen: What’re we gonna do.
Medievaldragon: What should we expect in World of Warcraft: Arthas and how does it ties-in with the game?
Neilson: I think one of the things that are really, really amazing about ARTHAS the book is … you play Classic WoW, right, so the whole time you are running around. The Lich King is basically sitting there on his throne. So the question is: What’s going on? What’s going through his head? So this book actually gets you inside his head during that time. You will find out what was going on. Really be able to get inside the mind of evil. Getting inside the mind of Arthas. Find out what makes him tick. Even when he was saying things to Uther, when he disbanded the paladins, and things like that. Really gonna go indepth on that to find out what was going on inside his head. All the layers. Christie did a great job putting in all these different layers of what’s happening. So there’s the dialogue that we heard in the game, but there is much more deeper story that you won’t get unless you read the book.
Blizzard Entertainment shared with—us—fansites a very important message for all fans and subscribers of World of Warcraft. Recently, an erroneous and misleading article has been echoed throughout many gaming news outlets worldwide declaring that World of Warcraft would be banned from Australian store shelves. The article said that all games sold in Australia requires an Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) rating. Without this rating, games don’t make it into Australian store shelves.
Some gaming sites have said that MMOs don’t have a OFLC rating, including World of Warcraft. And thus, operate illegally as of the passing of the recent new legislation. However, Blizzard has communicated as of today, February 6th, that this is not true.
Blizzard Entertainment and its affiliates work very closely with the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia to ensure that we are in full compliance with Australian law as it relates to the distribution and operation of our games, including World of Warcraft. We