My copy of the DK World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide just arrived. I purchased it myself. I was curious to see such a big box for a book. When I opened the box and held the book on my hands, I literally jaw-dropped.
I wasn’t expecting this book to be such a monster-sized one. I have reviewed many Blizzard products in the past 10 years, but this one just broke the record in size. The Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 10.3 x 0.8 inches don’t mean much in context until you have it in front of you. IT IS HUGE! It is heavy too. 3 Pounds. I’m surprised I didn’t pay more for the shipping than for the book ($3.99 shipping).
As usual, all Blizzard Entertainment books come with a cover jacket wrapped around the book. You can frame it as a large poster (13.8″ x 10.3″). When you remove the cover jacket, the book itself has a printed duplicate of the same artwork in full color (except for the missing logo and title text).
On the cover jacket’s internal flap you can read:
“A universe so vast as to be immeasurable — incomprehensible even to your greatest minds.” – Algalon the Observer
The World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide was produced in close collaboration with Blizzard Entertainment, creator of World of Warcraft, the world’s biggest online role-playing game. The book explores the epic history, races, major characters, and locations of this thrilling fantasy realm, delving deep into the World of Warcraft lore.
In addition to giving readers an overview of Azeroth’s history, the book provides a behind-the-scenes look at World of Warcraft’s development. This unprecedented, long-awaited companion is packed with fantastic original World of Warcraft images, many rarely seen. Also featuring the very latest lore, this book is the ideal introduction to the World of Warcraft universe as well as the perfect guide for any adventurer, Alliance or Horde.
Adorning the interior of the book cardboard is a washed up monochrome version of this artwork.
The title page: World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide has the following image:
Throughout the length of the book you will find awesome artwork never seen before and some known. On the lore side, you will find a description of each race, kingdom, class, magic types, leaders, legendary weapons, history, an updated timeline and so much more. Among the authors are Anne Stickney from WoW Insider and Kathleen Pleet.
I can’t stress out enough how much I like to see all the epic artwork, and even new images of Turalyon, Aegwynn, Queen Azshara before and after her transformation, Hakkar the Houndmaster, Draka, Durotan, Aggra, Garona Halforcen, Orgrim Doomhammer, Xarantaur and many others. The book also covers the many independent factions including villains and raid bosses. Pretty complete collection.
There are images from Warcraft II, Warcraft III, and World of Warcraft. Others from the novel covers, novel bonus images, the TCG, the comic book, and graphic novels. But definitely new ones I haven’t seen before. This guide is basically a compilation of many artwork published by Blizzard Entertainment throughout different media, as well as sort of an encyclopedia containing the World of Warcraft MMO lore basics for newcomers or people who have been around a while but don’t necessarily know much about the Warcraft universe or the majority of fans who haven’t read the Warcraft novels, manga or comic books.
I am surprised to see new artwork of Khadgar, Kurdran, Turalyon, Alleria and Danath Trollbane. These probably come from the TCG, but in my defense I didn’t collect them.
The lore is very up-to-date until Mists of Pandaria. Mar’li the High Priestess of the Spider Loa is featured, introduced in Patch 5.2 The Thunder Isle.
This book is definitely the Ultimate Visual and Lore Guide for beginners who recently joined the World of Warcraft MMO or who lack the basics of the overall lore behind the leaders, races, classes and other aspects of the game universe, but a feast to the eyes for old-schoolers too who love to behold great artwork by Blizzard artists — including the Sons of the Storm.
I don’t want fans to grab this book expecting something in particular — like a all out new lore, or the next expansion stuff. This is just WoW in a nutshell for newcomers spanning content from 2004 to 2013.
Around the first pages there is a foreword from Blizzard Publishing Lead Micky Neilson. To know a bit more about the authors of this guide, Kathleen Pleet is a BradyGames contributor involved in the development of the Vanilla, Burning Crusade, and Dungeon Companion guides. Anne Stickney is a senior editor at WoW Insider who writes the “Know Your Lore” column.
Blizzard Entertainment was knee-deep involved in the development of this guide. The credits list the following Blizzard Entertainment developers:
Production: Joshua Horst, Skye Chandler, Leanne Huynh
Editor: Micky Neilson
Lore: Sean Copeland
Lore Editor: Cate Gary
Licensing: Matthew Beecher, Jerry Chu, Audrey Vicenzi
Art Direction: Jeremy Cranford
The credits also list several DK Publishing and BradyGames personnel.
Many might argue this is info already available in the WoWpedia — but you visit there to find something in specific through the “Search” feature. This guide, on the other hand, compiles all a fan needs to know about the lore basics for everything Warcraft. I wouldn’t doubt many people would visit WoWpedia to expand their knowledge after reading the guide.
The Titans, the Old gods, the Elemental Lords, the Burning Legion hierarchy and its demon races, even some of the War of the Ancients data. You can find it all in the guide. This photo shows you the Content List with all features by page.
Grab your copy of the World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide while supplies last.
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Click the images to visit the landing page to order yours.
All the collection of T-shirts of each of the Blizzard game franchises may be accessed here:
Well, this is a surprising thing. First it appeared in New Zealand — as reported by MMO-Champion yesterday. Now the trademark has appeared on the United States Patent & Trademark website too.
I have been skeptic after “The Dark Below” one seemed as if it was a hoax, but now Heroes of the Storm has appeared on two different countries. Mind you — on United States a hoax would cost about $275 to trademark.
I visited the US Trademark website and indeed it is under Blizzard Entertainment, filed on September 24, 2013.
Now I am not acknowledging this to be a legit trademark. Let’s keep it as a rumor for now. BlizzCon is barely 39 days from now. This is a usual timeframe for Trademark sites and Game Rating sites (PEGI,ESRB) to accidentally leak game titles not yet announced officially.
I remember when “Wrath of the Lich King” and “Cataclysm” appeared as a trademark a few days before BlizzCon. Forums and social media were speculating for days on end what “Cataclysm” meant.
“Heroes of the Storm” could be a real Blizzard trademark or it could be an expensive hoax.
What could “Heroes of the Storm” be, however, if it was a real trademark of an upcoming unannounced Blizzard game?
Hearthstone: Heroes of the Storm
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has a similar ring to it. Could it be Hearthstone: Heroes of the Storm?
Maybe. Since Ben Brode announced Hearthstone at PAX East 2013 this past February, it is widely known that Hearhtstone is targeted to be released at the end of 2013. Of course, there could be delays if they decided to reset, or further iterate. Let’s have Project Titan as an example which got the reset button to work on a new core programming and other aspects. If Hearthstone is released as a free game by December, it would make sense if Blizzard Entertainment announced the next Hearthstone expansion at BlizzCon in November 8th.
This is a smaller team of developers aiming to ship a new game yearly-ish, after all. Hearthstone was announced on February, and beta started in about 5-6 months after it was announced.
Diablo III: Heroes of the St—huh?
We know it is not a Diablo title. Obviously. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is the next Diablo expansion. This game was announced at GamesCom 2013 — check out our Developers Panel videos & the interview with Josh Mosqueira.
StarCraft II: Heroes of the St–nah!
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void is the next StarCraft II expansion and the finale of the series(?). So, nope. That’s not it either.
Blizzard All-Stars: Heroes of the Storm
Ok … this one sounds interesting. Why would Blizzard name Blizzard All-Stars with a secondary title? Interesting in that this trend would mean the DOTA-style game would have expansions rather than a stand-alone game. One would think the next installment would be — I don’t know … Blizzard All-Stars 2. However, it is hard to see Blizzard not launching an expansion to one of its leading franchise titles.
What makes it very unlikely for this trademark to be a Blizzard All-Stars expansion is that — WE HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN THE BETA OF THE FIRST GAME YET.
So, could it at least be the title for the first Blizzard All-Stars game? It is plausible. Why not? I mean … hello? Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (instead of plain Warcraft II). Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (instead of plain Warcraft III). This could be argued because for some odd reason Diablo III was titled simply … Diablo III (sans-any-sort-of-secondary-title). And the original StarCraft was simply “StarCraft”.
Blizzard All-Stars: Heroes of the Storm … it has a nice ring to it. Me likes.
Update: Blizzard All-Stars was formerly known as Blizzard DOTA. The name was changed to what we known today. Warlock (“Scrolls of Lore” Admin) and another fan point out the most likely scenario is that Blizzard All-Stars is no longer to be known as “Blizzard All-Stars”. It is possible that “Heroes of the Storm” might be the name of the upcoming DOTA-style game from now on.
World of Warcraft: Heroes of the Storm
Now the most logical name trend seems to fit Hearthstone: Heroes of the Storm — but it could also be World of Warcraft: Heroes of the Storm.
I am not very convinced though. I an open to both sides of the coin here.
1. It can’t be a World of Warcraft expansion, because it breaks the trend. The Burning Crusade. Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria. All of these titles spun around the concept of either an entire legion, a bad guy or a culture. Heroes of the Storm? I mean, that would be sort of fun naming it after the players. If the trademark was for the next World of Warcraft expansion then we are the central figure of the expansion. Heroes … of … the Storm.
On one end, Alexstrasza clearly stated the Dragon Aspects were no more and from that day forward this was The Age of Mortals. Heroes like you and me are the new guardians and defenders of Azeroth.
The name scheme has a nice ring to it. Makes you wonder what Blizzard creative team might be cooking around the player becoming the protagonist of a WoW expansion.
Think about it. Throughout Patch 5.1 to 5.4, Wrathion has been preparing his champion (YOU) and any of both factions to take their rightful place as the line of defense of Azeroth.
Wrathion was a mere uncorrupted black dragon egg during the level 30-ish quests in The Badlands during The Cataclysm expansion. A red dragon sought the help of a gnome to help with the process. It was during one of those quests that we uncovered a Titan chamber with one of those Norgannon library Databanks.
The gnome used the databank on the egg. In Mists of Pandaria we learned that this databank actually did something to Wrathion — who was in that egg. It infused him with Titan knowledge and maybe even magic. It caused him to have visions of the future — where he saw an incoming “Storm”. The Burning Legion is returning to Azeroth. If you haven’t checked it out yet — I have almost all the Legendary Wrathion Questline quests archived with a transcript and videos.
Wrathion: Very good. Let’s talk. Tong! Drinks, please. My father, Deathwing, tried to destroy the whole of Azeroth.
He was misguided, of course, but he was right about one thing: Our world is… so fragile. We are a point of light in a universe of shadow. A candle in a tempest. Sometimes I think it was the very precariousness of our world that drove my father to madness.
Ah, thank you Tong.
Now, to my point. I believe we are headed towards a reckoning. And no, I am not talking about the current conflict between the Alliance and Horde. Believe me – what Garrosh Hellscream achieved in Theramore is nothing compared to the horrors that are even now bearing down on our fragile home.
But the war deeply troubles me. Do you see my concern? A divided Azeroth cannot possibly stand against the darkness. The war has to end. Soon. Before it consumes our strength!
You can rest assured that my loyalties lie with your Horde. How do we bring a swift and decisive end to the conflict? I believe the answer lies with heroes like you. We must ensure that you are up to the task… and then equip you accordingly.
As those words were spoken, Wrathion shows a sort of holographic projection of the world of Azeroth bombarded by fel fire or Infernals falling through the sky into Azeroth. The Heroes of the Storm trademark might be a reference to the upcoming storm — the return of the Burning Legion.
During the Sunwell Plateau raid dungeon in The Burning Crusade, the draenei Prophet Velen foretold about agents of the Light battling the Burning Legion in a near future. M’uru the naaru knew this too and willingly energized the Sunwell to be the new source of magic of the Blood Elves. Velen knew the Blood Elves had a role to play in the upcoming storm: The return of the Burning Legion.
On the other hand, it is possible that Blizzard might want to set Queen Azshara as the next expansion’s center villain as a trampoline to introduce the Burning Legion expansion.
It has been hinted before in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. During the quest The Return of the Resting, we find four Kvaldir spirits. These are similar to the Vrykul, but these Kvaldir are a underwater civilization.
Fengir the Disgraced says: Your offering has come too late, little one. Can you feel the mist closing in upon you? The Kvaldir return…
Rodin the Reckless says: From the mist and fog the Kvaldir approach. Flee while you still breathe the air of the living…
Isuldof Iceheart says: Look to the seas, as your doom comes with the swell of tides.
Windan of the Kvaldir says: My brothers have awoken. Your efforts are wasted…
That kinda sounded pretty stormish. The Kvaldir actually gave pause to the naga later in the Cataclysm expansion during the Vash’jir quests. The naga are planning something wicked. In the Cataclysm expansion they were seeking an artifact off the coast of Desolace to level entire continents. In Vash’jir the naga allied with the underwater Faceless Ones to take the power of Neptulon in the name of Azshara.
Recently, when asking about the Timeless Isle’s underwater content — a Blizzard developer — Cory Stockton told to Blizzplanet: “There are definitely some stuff in the water; but we know that water doesn’t always provides the best gameplay experience for WoW.”
Doesn’t seem like Blizzard was too satisfied with Vash’jir’s underwater gameplay after all. What if the naga somehow managed to rise the bottom of the sea to the surface though? There is actually one item of power capable of such a fit. It has been used already as a weapon in World of Warcraft. The Focusing Iris. In the Christie Golden novel — World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, Jaina is the last person to take possession of the Focusing Iris at the end of the novel — even masked its presence from Kalec the blue dragon, keeping its location a secret.
“This trademark could be the real deal or it could be an expensive hoax by someone who has the cash to place fake trademarks.” — you might think.
However, if you look it up in the US Patent & Trademark website — The Dark Below was never seen as a finalized trademark, and it was never in the Blizzard Entertainment trademark list. “Heroes of the Storm”, however, can be seen on the Blizzard Entertainment trademark list, registered by the Blizzard lawyer. Now that’s something to ponder.
The World of Warcraft: Heroes of the Storm is less likely to be it. I am going with Warlock’s gut guru-”ing” here. It does sound like Blizzard All-Stars might have been renamed for good.
BlizzCon is in 39 days. Not long before we can sate our curiosity and hunger. What is “Heroes of the Storm”? Grab one of those BlizzCon Virtual Tickets to watch the entire Blizzard panels on DirecTV or to watch the livestream on your internet browser to find out what it is.
This post was originally published on September 30, 2013. It’s been 17 days since posted. On October 17th, Blizzard Entertainment launched the official Heroes of the Storm website with a Carbot Animations video to debut the news that Blizzard All-Stars is now known as “Heroes of the Storm”.