Priest Class Talent Changes Unveiled!

Have you been wondering what the new 31-point Holy and Discipline talents will be in the next World of Warcraft patch? Curious what improvements were made to the Shadow tree? All your questions have been answered on our interactive Priest Class talent preview!

Blizzard President Places 2nd in D.I.C.E Poker Tournament!

I swear I don’t know why I am posting this piece of news.  Mike Moiharme – president of Blizzard – won second place on a poker game.  I would want those folks playing an Arathi Basin Battlegrounds match against the Blizzard Devs led by Moiharme.  The most amount of AB games won out of certain amount wins.  There I would even pay for watch the video replays, moohaha! Note: Laughter wasn’t meant to offend any fellow Horde Tauren.

As part of this year’s D.I.C.E. Summit (Design Innovate Communicate Entertain, a yearly summit hosted by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences), the D.I.C.E. Celebrity Poker Tournament featured established pros of both the game industry and the game of poker. While many familiar Blizzard faces participated in the tournament, which was held in the largest private poker room in the United States, it was Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, who prevailed until the final table. In the last round, Mike faced Scott Fischman and Perry Friedman, both well-known World Series of Poker professionals, as well as Ray Muzyka of Bioware. After a dramatic 45-minute battle, Ray emerged victorious, with Mike placing 2nd overall in the tournament. Congratulations to both Ray and Mike on their strong performance in this year’s tournament.

Gamasutra: Wow teaches wrong things

Gamasutra featured a World of Warcraft article titled: “Soapbox: World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things”.  The analysis sounds very well-thought, and Blizzard should listen to the formula to make the game more successful, with care for its players’ health.  Specially the “time > skill” point of view. I personally ignore news that are a rant, and the article sounds like one.  However, I do appreciate constructive criticism delivered in a respectful way.  And this deserve a mention. Developers like constructive suggestions.  Great read!

“The idea that time > skill has gone from a merely fundamentally bad idea, to being actually dangerous, addicting people to the point of fatigue and death. No wonder China’s new laws about MMOs are addressing this problem. MMO games must only award players full experience points for the first three hours of each day, half experience for the next two hours, and no experience after five hours. (Logging off for at least 5 hours will reset the system.)”

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Lore: Murloc’s Origin

Blizzard has finally released the origin of the Murlocs. Shrouded in mystery, the murlocs have shunned mortals, congregating in shoreline tribes and villages. Far older than most believe, some evidence suggests that their steady encroachment of the world’s land masses may be a coordinated effort which belies their reputation as unintelligent creatures. Could it be that the recent emergence of the murlocs and naga from their water abodes is evidence of the awakening of far more terrible monstrosities in the murky fathoms? Read more

Blizzard: Uber Chat Guide

Blizzard has created a giant chat guide spanning over 34 pages of text. This guide on chatting could very well be the largest ever created! A menu is located at the top and bottom of each page to allow you to easily switch between the major chat sections. The main topics include a general overview, customization, FAQ, and command glossary with links to each command. Do you think you know chat? Guess again! Check it out here!

Richard A. Knaak: New York Comic Con

Richard A. Knaak sent a flash-newsletter to invite fans that will go to the New York Comic Con 2006 to come visit him at the Tokyopop booth.  There will be some comic book legends such as John Romita, Sr, Chris Claremont, Andy and Adam Kubert, Joe Quesada, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee and many more. Get your NYComic Con Tickets Here

New York Comic-Con 2006
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
New York, NY
February 24-26, 2006
Booth: 415

Richard: Foremost, I am still behind in the newsletter (what a surprise). 
However, I wanted to tell you one time-sensitive item.

MY FIRST EVER APPEARANCE IN NEW YORK

I am guest of Tokyopop at the NY Comic-con for the launching of Volume II of Warcraft:  The Sunwell Trilogy—- my website for links!  If you are interested in any of my work, this is a rare opportunity to meet me on the east coast!  The con is this coming week, February 24th-26th, so hurry!

Also, in addition to the launching of SHADOWS OF ICE, MOON OF THE SPIDER is out for DIABLO and EMPIRE OF BLOOD for Dragonlance will be released any day now!

Gotta run!

Best,

Richard A. Knaak

 

Starcraft: Queen of Blades Q&A Transcript

We spent two hours and forty minutes with Aaron Rosenberg today at WCRadio’s IRC Chat to discuss the upcoming pocket book—STARCRAFT: QUEEN OF BLADES.  Additionally, he mentioned his work on World of Warcraft: Lands of Mystery where he wrote the story of the Nerubians in Northrend, and World of Warcraft: Alliance Players Guide, and although, he didn’t write the following—some indirect hints of possible Faceless Ones lore. He spilled most of the beans on what the fans should expect from this new Starcraft bestseller book.  To make a story short, we will be witness of the hardships of Tassadar’s training into the Dark Templar philosophy with help of Zeratul. We will explore Jim Raynor’s guilt and interaction with the Protoss. And fathom the Overmind’s plans for the Queen of Blades … shh!  Read the Transcript.

TODAY: Aaron Rosenberg Public Q&A

Today is our Q&A with Aaron Rosenberg – author of STARCRAFT: QUEEN OF BLADES pocket book.  Everyone is invited to participate. I invited some leaders of the Community, too.  Yes, you will be able to submit your very own questions concerning the book’s storyline. The book plot and Front Cover may be found here  The IRC Server details are below:

Day: Saturday, February 18
Time: 4pm EST / 1pm PST (-5GMT)

Server: irc.wowirc.com
Channel: #wowradio

You have two options to join the Live Chat:

Blizzard: Melee Map Tutorial

The Blizzard map team has been gracious enough to write another designer tutorial. This latest installation details how Blizzard go about creating their melee maps for ladder and melee bonus map play. For those interested in melee map design, this tutorial will hold some very useful information to help jumpstart your mapmaking career. It is also a good read for those non-map authoring types. Check it out at the Battle.net Mod Support Site along with other Designer Tutorial on creating a Tower Defense Map.

Richard A. Knaak Q&A: War of the Ancients Trilogy

Richard A. Knaak was kind to take few minutes of his time to reply a short Q&A concerning War of the Ancients Trilogy and Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy.  He also reveals new books still in the horizon for Warcraft, beyond the Manga, and for Diablo series, beyond Moon of the Spider.

For those fans in New York, Richard A. Knaak is a special guest to attend New York Comic Con 2006 by the Tokyopop/Pocket Books booth through February 24-26. Meet him there.

  • Did you want to know if the Old gods create the Naga?
  • If Dar’Khan attempted to absorb the Sunwell essence before or after Kel’Thuzad’s resurrection as a Lich?
  • If Raac is a Hakkar Serpent?

You will read that and more details in the Q&A.

This was part two of our War of the Ancients Trilogy Q&A, so make sure to read the first part as well concerning Elune/Ysera/Cenarius relationship and both Hakkars dilema.

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Diablo II MP3 Downloads?

I got Diablo II and Lord of Destruction expansion back on December 2004, and after the new Diablo Music player was made available, I enjoyed listening to the music.  That prompted me to wish to download them.  However, when searching the Public FTP of Blizzard, I noticed the MP3s were removed.  Furthermore, noticed all MP3s of all Blizzard games were also removed from Public downloads.

I posted at the official forums of Diablo II, requesting info.  This is the reply from a representative of Blizzard Online Support:

Medievaldragon: The Diablo Music Player is awesome. However, I would like to download the mp3s to play locally, and adjust the volume.

1. Are the MP3s available as download?
2. If not, would it break the EULA/TOS to extract the MP3s from the MPQ?—I don’t know how to do that, but It would be good to know if it is ok or not recommended.

NickJS: Unfortunately the MP3’s are no longer available for download. Extracting the files from the MPQ is not supported, but as long as you do not sell/distribute our files, it would be okay.

It seems the only way to get the MP3s of all Blizzard games currently is either purchasing the Soundtrack CD or extracting directly from the MPQ following the condition above.

Character Creation Management System

Blizzard added a new feature that will be helpful to control overpopulation and server lag.  Hopefully, it will also prevent Queues from happening so often.

We’ve implemented a new system that will disable character creation when a realm has a queue to better control realm populations. This system will disable character creation for accounts without characters on an individual realm when it has a queue. This will limit population growth on congested realms during peak hours and assist us in our efforts to provide a better overall gameplay experience for our players, especially those on high population realms.

Please note that players with existing characters on a queued realm will still be able to create characters, and during off hours when there is not a queue all players may create characters as normal.

Babylon 5’s Katsulas Dies

This may not have anything to do with Blizzard Games, but as you may read in the Staff section, I am an avid fan of Star Trek and Babylon 5, among other Sci-fi shows prior to getting into Starcraft.  I don’t watch much TV ever since 2001.  However, this deserves a mention, and this was my favorite character in Babylon 5 . . . Fans of his will miss him.  Be in peace.

Andreas Katsulas, the character actor known to SF fans as G’Kar on Babylon 5 and a familiar face playing as Romulan Commander Tomalak in Star Trek: The Next Generation and other SF&F TV shows, died Feb. 13 of lung cancer in Los Angeles, his agent, Donna Massetti, confirmed to SCI FI Wire. He was 59.

Thanks to Bluesnews

Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell # 2 Available

Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy book 2 is now available.  Find out Anveena’s secret past and the mystery behind Raac—the creature that contains the essence of the Sunwell.  Kalecgos the dragon, Tyrygosa, Anveena and their companions will head to Aerie Peak.

Patch 1.9.4 Released

A small patch was issued today to World of Warcraft, updating it to v1.9.4 to address few bugs and to add a new feature:

General

  • A new Guild Recruitment channel has been added. This channel will be off by default.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause players to appear to be porting around in a small area.

Mac

  • Addresses a timing accuracy issue on Intel-Mac systems that affected the perceived speed and/or progress of transports and other moving objects in the world; PowerPC-Mac systems were not affected.

Blizzard Job Openings

Blizzard posted new Job Openings.  If you live within or near Irvine or may relocate, and fit the requirements for the Job Openings, are free to apply.

Environment Texture Artist
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a highly skilled Environment Texture Artist to work on the award-winning game, World of Warcraft. The ideal candidate has experience painting textures for a diverse visual range of 3D environments. A solid grasp of form, color, and light for both 2D and 3D art assets is essential. The Environment Texture Artist must have exceptional skill in creating stylized hand painted textures, have a working knowledge of how to model in-game environments and be well-versed in related tools—3DS Max, Photoshop, etc.

New Position: Trade Show/Internal Events Manager
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a motivated event planner to join our public relations team. We are looking for a detail-oriented candidate with excellent organization and project management skills to help plan and implement Blizzard’s participation in domestic and international trade shows, exhibitions, and special events—including internal and external employee morale events. Communication skills and a passion for Blizzard games are a must. Check out the Trade Show/Internal Events Manager post for more information.

XFire Movie Contest: Cast your Vote!

Xfire and Blizzard closed the submissions of World of Warcraft videos, but you—the fans—can now watch the movie submissions and cast a Vote to pick the winners.  Starting February 14 to February 28 the votes will be open.  Download XFire 1.51v and start downloading via P2P all the Finalist Movies from Here. Then cast your vote.

Aaron Rosenberg Bios

Aaron Rosenberg sent us a headshot photo of himself, his biography and biblography.  This may help you guys have a wide scope of his previous work in Star Trek, Games Workshop?s Warhammer lines, Isengard: Lord of the Rings, Stargate SG-1, World of Warcraft RPG: Alliance Guide and Lands of Mystery, Realms of Norrath, Cthulhu RPG, D&D and hundreds of other books.  I am astonished.

Take a look at his bios and bibliography in our Book Writers section.

If you are coming to our Q&A with Aaron Rosenberg on Feb 18, make sure to read it to bring questions about Starcraft: Queen of Blades and other works of his.

Blizzplanet Alert

If you experience some lag while visiting Blizzplanet or find blank pages, it is alright.  We are aware of this.  Try to hit “Enter” two or three times until you get through.  There are many visitors crowding at once.

Right now Blizzard Entertainment is linking to three of our interviews.

WorldofWarcraft.com is linking to our Q&A with Luke Johnson concerning the new World of Warcraft RPG Books by White Wolf Publishing.

WorldofWarcraft.com is also linking to our recent Q&A with Upper Deck Entertainment concerning the upcoming World of Warcraft Trading Cards Game (TCG).

The Battle.net Official Starcraft Compendium Website is also linking to our Public Chat invitation.  We will have a Public Q&A on IRC chat with Aaron Rosenberg to discuss his current project STARCRAFT: QUEEN OF BLADES—read more details of the Q&A to take place on Saturday, February 18 at 4pm EST.

Blizzard is also linking to a Molten Core Guide and Rogue Guide by Azzor—our Host. They are optimizing the MySQL connections to help digest the large amount of visitors.

So basically both sites are hosted in the same server and are getting hammered. We hope you enjoy Azzor and Blizzplanet Content, Lore and Interviews. And thanks to Blizzard for some lovely-love.

Starcraft: Queen of Blades Details

Aaron Rosenberg let me know today that the book novel is from Jim Raynor’s point of view, and that it details the events that occur on Char, specifically the interactions between Raynor, Kerrigan, Tassadar, and Zeratul.  However, look forward to reading what happened in the meeting between Tassadar and Zeratul.  I am thrilled in a drool-seizure gesture.  I want this book bad!  Read the back cover summary, front cover image and details of our upcoming Public Q&A on IRC chat with Aaron Rosenberg Here so that you join us during his talk about the new Starcraft book on Saturday, February 18.  Don’t miss it!

World of Warcraft Trailers for New iPod

Wanna show off World of Warcraft video trailers to your friends at school or at your job on your iPod?  Blizzard released their iPod versions. Go download them at Apple Website.

  • Burning Crusade Video Trailer
  • World of Warcraft E3 2005
  • Zul’Gurub Tour Gameplay Trailer
  • Battlegrounds Gameplay Trailer

Block: “You can now download a variety of World of Warcraft trailers for the new iPod at Apple’s games website. Click here to grab the World of Warcraft E3 2005, Battlegrounds, Zul’Gurub, and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade trailers, all specially formatted for playback on Apple’s new video-capable iPod.”

Wow Video Capture on Mac OSX?

This may be more appropriate for a blog, but I will comment it here.  A fan, acquirous, contacted me few minutes ago with the following question:

How can I capture wow gameplay on OS X?

Very good question.  I have recorded World of Warcraft gameplay on my Windows XP computer using GameCam.  I remember asking them to port to Mac, but since the software is still in development and they don’t have personel to develop it, the answer was no plans now.

I personally do not have Mac OS X, and would love to, but I feel the pain of those Mac buddies asking themselves Acquirous’ question.  I am a Mac user myself for last fourteen years.

I had no answer for Acquirous.  I usually like to reply fans with something informative, so I started my online search.  By chance I found something that sounds like a software that could be used to record World of Warcraft gameplay from the desktop.  However, it doesn’t offer sound recording.  Next version upgrade will aim to add sound. The demo only allows 15 seconds of recording so that you may experiment.

Download the demo from: http://www.polarian.com/index.php

I just emailed the developers of Screen Mimic 1.2.1 to find out.  Stay tuned for their reply. If you download and test the demo, please Contact me.

UPDATE:  I got a reply from Polarian Software concerning their product recently released on January, and it seems indeed that Screen Mimic is like the FRAPS/GameCam of Mac OS X—Good news!  This is their email to Blizzplanet:

Lee Falin: Screen Mimic 1.2.1 can record OpenGL games on Mac OS X (Screen Mimic only supports 10.4 and higher), however there are currently a couple of caveats:

1. Screen Mimic gives you the choice of recording a particular area
of the screen, a window, or the entire screen. The fps of the
recording decreases as the area of the recording size increases, 
(obviously many other factors come into play here just like the fps
for gameplay). Some OpenGL games (not sure about WoW) actually change
the screen resolution of the screen before the render.

So for example, if you are playing a game on a large display with
1680×1050 resolution, and the game changes to full screen mode at
1024×768, you will need to accommodate for that when you select your
recording area. (Unless you are playing in a window). So in this
example, if you try to record the center of the screen, you may find
that you end up recording the upper-left hand corner.

2. Some openGL games render the cursor to a different buffer. Screen
Mimic only records the main buffer, so sometimes the recording won’t
include the cursor.

We offer a free demo on our website that allows for 15 seconds of
recording so that users can experiment.

Hope this helps. Let me know what feedback you receive.

Thanks,

Lee

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Wow Patch 1.9.3 Released!

Blizzard released a new patch for World of Warcraft upgrading it to patch 1.9.3.  The patch adds multiple bug fixes, and enhances rogue and paladin abilities.  Mac Intel is further supported. Check out the Patch Notes

Thanks to drysocks for the buzz.