New Patch Today!

At 5:00 AM PST, Blizzard will initiate the Scheduled Maintenance and the new promised Content patch will be released.  Dire Maul and two outdoor raid bosses: Azuregos(in Azshara) and Lord Kazzak(Tainted Scar in Blasted Lands) will be available.  Meeting Stones located near Instance zone-in will now make it easy to search and find a group.  Dungeon group caps are introduced.  Most dungeons will only have 10 players maximum cap, except Onyxia at 40 and Blackrock Spire with 15 raid players.  Diremaul will have a cap of only 5 players.  There is an extensive Patch note with all the new additions, and bug fixes.

Starcraft: Ghost going Multiplayer?

A new job position for a Level Designer was announced by Swingin Ape Studios, who is leading the development of Starcraft: Ghost with supervision of Blizzard’s Rob Pardo & Chris Metzen. The job position highlights Multiplayer level design a plus.  Seeing as all Blizzard games have multiplayer features, it is no surprise that Blizzard could be considering multiplayer in Starcraft: Ghost for console gamers.

After the sudden leave of Nihilistic from the project, Blizzard assigned Swingin Ape Studios to follow up development of Starcraft: Ghost few months ago(July 7, 2004).  Although Blizzard has not officially confirmed Multiplayer features for Starcraft: Ghost,  the job opening may suggest that Blizzard and Swingin’ Ape Studios are studying the possibility of adding Multiplayer capabilities to the Console game.  The previous game by Swingin’ Ape Studios was Metal Arms—featuring 7 Multiplayer modes.

Few days ago, we informed that Gamesindustry.biz’s Starcraft: Ghost interview with Paul Sams—Blizzard Vice President of Business Operations—mentioned that they seek multiplayer capabilities to all their future games; indirectly implying that the same applies for this console game. 

Gamesindustry interview excerpt
“Paul Sams:  We want to continue to create great singleplayer product, but that has incredible, compelling multiplayer play that has competitive components. We think that that is another element of the future that we really want to focus on , and we think that we’ve done a pretty decent job at it so far.”
 

Let’s cross our fingers!  We have the Job Opening for you to read …

Diablo II: New Fan Art Competition

Blizzard announced a brand-new Diablo Fan Art contest with spectacular prizes with up to 10 winners.  Make sure to click the rules page when you read the announcement.  This leave me wondering if Blizzard North is soon to make an announcement of their unveiled Game in progress. Hmm …

” Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce our first Diablo Fan Art Competition. Starting 3:00 P.M. PST on Friday, March 18, through 12:00 P.M. PST on Monday, April 18, we will be accepting submissions for our Diablo Fan Art Competition. The time has come for all you artists to unleash your inner demon and show us just how awesome your artistic talents truly are. All you have to do is draw any monster from the Diablo universe in a recognizable scene from the world of Sanctuary and submit your work via the Fan Art Submission form. The artwork of the 10 winners will be displayed on the Blizzard.com fan art webpage, Battle.net, the Areat Summit, and the Blizzard.com home page! We will be giving away a massive amount of rare loot as well, including a limited edition Diablo lithograph, the Diablo Battle Chest, Diablo action figures, books, and more! So, conjure up the most hellish artistic talents that lurk inside of you and get to it!”

Swingin Ape Studios: 3D Artist Job Opening

Swingin’ Ape Studios keeps looking to expand their developing personnel for Starcraft: Ghost.  This time a 3D artist is needed.  We have the Job Opening requirements.  If you have experience in 3D and have worked for Game Developers for 3+ years, take a look …

Nihilistic announced new game

Many rumors arised few months ago with different interviews concerning the reason Nihilistic departed the development of Starcraft: Ghost.  It seems that Nihilistic had committed to develop a game with EA, and the development of Starcraft: Ghost had been delayed for too long, clashing with the EA development schedule. 

Nihilistic announced their new game under development with EA Games:
” REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—March 15, 2005—Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS – News) announced today that Marvel Nemesis(TM): Rise of the Imperfects(TM) under the EA GAMES(TM) brand will be released this fall for the PlayStation(r) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(r) videogame system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(TM) and the PSP(TM) handheld entertainment system. The game will feature Super Heroes(TM) from the Marvel Universe as well as a new set of characters created through collaboration with EA and top comic book industry talent.”

“Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects is currently under development by Nihilistic Software”

Full Nihilistic Game premier interview at Gamespot. (click the link)

Now if we analyze the capabilities of Swingin’ Ape Studios, their previous game Metal Arms has 7 Multiplayer Modes.  Their latest job opening requests a candidate to take the position of Level Design with Multiplayer level design experience a PLUS, as you can read in our previous news.  Read more details below . . .

King of Stormwind in Alcaz

UPDATE 4-17-06:  This content is Outdated as of Patch 1.9
The King of Stormwind is no longer in Alcaz Island.  He has been moved,  and now a Gnome lvl 62 is above at the house.  The Gnome is related to the Opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj.  Therefore, the info below is incorrect.  This newspost created in 3-2005 is now a year older than the update.

Many fans are wondering what happened to the King of Stormwind.  Others ask why a child is now King.  The Missing Diplomat quest starting in Sentinel Hill (Westfall) along the storyline of the Defias Brotherhood, reveals that the Diplomat is really the King of Stormwind.  The Defias Brotherhood’s leader Vancleef had a grudge with the King.  After Warcraft 2 events with the invasion of the Orcs through the Dark Portal, the repairs to the Stormwind city were not properly paid to the Masons who helped rebuild the city.  Vancleef created the Defias Brotherhood in an attempt to steal from the rich.  In vengeance, the King was kidnapped while traveling to Theramore—to visit Jaina Proudmoore.  Due to the disappearance of the King and to not cause chaos in the deteriorating politics of Stormwind, the King’s child son was proclaimed King.  Mysteriously, Lady Prestor became Advisor for the Child King.  In Warcraft: Day of the Dragons novel, written by Richard A. Knaak, Deathwing(one of the five dragon aspects) posed as a human named Prestor.  He got into the politics of Alterac City and he was engaged to marry Arthas’s sister, in an attempt to dominate the Lordaeron Kingdom.  Rarely enough, a Lady Prestor advises the child King.  It was revealed that Lady Prestor is really Onyxia in disguise. 

The King of Stormwind—Varian Wrynn, is found in a catacomb sewer system located in Alcaz Island, in Dustwallow Marsh.  The Alcaz island is heavily protected by Hydras level 61 Elite and Naga level 60 Elite.  Surely, there most exist some connection between Onyxia and the Naga.  Onyxia might possibly have deceived the Defias Brotherhood on her Human disguise and facilitated the kidnapping of the King.  Easily explained.  But … what is the connection between Onyxia and the Naga?  Why does the Naga have the King captive if it was the Defias who kidnapped him?

Here are the screenshots of the King of Stormwind and the entrance to the Sewer System where he is held prisoner.  Read more …

King of Stormwind in Alcaz

UPDATE 4-17-06:  This content is Outdated as of Patch 1.9
The King of Stormwind is no longer in Alcaz Island.  He has been moved,  and now a Gnome lvl 62 is above at the house.  The Gnome is related to the Opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj.  Therefore, the info below is incorrect.  This newspost created in 3-2005 is now a year older than the update.

Many fans are wondering what happened to the King of Stormwind.  Others ask why a child is now King.  The Missing Diplomat quest starting in Sentinel Hill (Westfall) along the storyline of the Defias Brotherhood, reveals that the Diplomat is really the King of Stormwind.  The Defias Brotherhood leader Vancleef had a grudge with the King.  After Warcraft 2 events with the invasion of the Orcs through the Dark Portal, the repairs to the Stormwind city were not properly paid to the Masons who helped rebuild the city.  Vancleef created the Defias Brotherhood in an attempt to steal from the rich.  In vengeance, the King was kidnapped while traveling to Theramore to visit Jaina Proudmoore.  Due to the disapperance of the King and to not cause chaos in the deteriorating politics of Stormwind, the King’s child son was proclaimed King.  Mysteriously, Lady Prestor became councelor for the Child King.  In Warcraft: Day of the Dragons novel, written by Richard A. Knaak, Deathwing(one of the five dragon aspects) posed as a human named Prestor.  He got into the politics of Alterac City and he was engaged to marry Arthas’s sister, in an attempt to dominate the Lordaeron Kingdom.  Rarely enough, a Lady Prestor councels the child King.  It was revealed that Lady Prestor is really Onyxia in disguise.  What is intersting is if there is any connection between Onyxia, the Defias Brotherhood and the Naga.

The King of Stormwind—Varian Wrynn, is found in a catacomb sewer system located in Alcaz Island, in Dustwallow Marsh.  The Alcaz island is heavily proteced by Hydras level 61 Elite and Naga level 60 Elite.  Surely, there most exist some connection between Onyxia and the Naga.  Onyxia might possibly have deceived the Defias Brotherhood on her Human disguise, easily explained.  But … what is the connecion between Onyxia and the Naga?  Strangely, the Naga look reptilian.  It would be interesting to keep learning more Chris Metzen’s Warcraft Lore.  In War of the Anciens: Well of Eternity novel—by Richard A. Knaak—it is mentioned that the Councelor of Queen Azshara was named Xavius.  In Warcraft 3’s Lore from the Player Manual-books, Deathwing was once named Xaxius by Ancient Elves.  Is there a coincidence or was Deathwing posing as an Elf councelor to gain control of Queen Azshara and the High Elves?  More importantly,  Was Deathwing’s intention to bring the Burning Legion into the world 10,000 years ago to cleanse and destroy everything?

Here are the screenshots of the King of Stormwind and the entrance to the Sewer System where he is held prisoner.  When you find the prison gate, turn to your right.  There is a deep water dive and a hidden underwater tunnel that leads into the King’s Prison.

Azuregos: More Uber Item Drops

Kasie, a Tauren Shaman lvl 60(Archimonde Server) reports new item drops from Azuregos the blue dragon raid event from Public Test Servers.  The new items are: Puissant Cape, Fang of the Mystics, Typhoon(sword), Leggings of Arcane Supremacy and Unmelting Ice Girdle.  Check their stats Here

New Warcraft Action Figures

Blizzard announced the release of 3 new Action figures featuring the Horde. Hopefully, we will get some Alliance love with a line of action figures. The previous series have been mostly focused on Warcraft heroes. This time the new series seem to focus on a merge of race/classes.  Click the images below for a bigger image:

  • With its voodoo-based powers, the Troll Priest is adept at entering the minds of enemies and mending the wounds of allies.
  • The Tauren Shaman seeks to preserve balance among the Four Elements and calls on the awesome powers of nature to defeat foes.
  • A deadly magic-user, the Undead Warlock taps into destructive energies and summons fearsome demonic minions for the cause of the Forsaken.

Meeting Stones: How they work?

Ordinn replied a thread concerning the Meeting Stones new feature to be included in the next content patch:

I have one quest left in RFD, and it’s a huge pain to get anyone to go there. So… do I go to the stone and add my name? Then go off and quest on the other side of the world where my other quests are? Do I wait? Are people ported to me?

No one is “ported.” You click on the meeting stone and it will automatically try to place you in a group. If there are no groups immediately available you can go quest to your hearts content. As soon as a group is available it will add you, and at that point you will have to travel back to the instance.

Does the meeting stone scan the “LFG” channel for the keywords or quests pertaining to that instance? Does the stone respond to people saying “LFG RFD” in Ogrimmar? If I’m next to RFD do I get an update in chat?

No. Players have to click on the meeting stone in order to be placed in a group. As for an update – you will automatically get placed in a group if one becomes available

Azuregos Dragon killed in Test Servers

Angelo, a level 60 Paladin on the PvP Test server, reported that Azuregos—a dragon raid event—has been killed.  He provided some screenshots showing the death of the colossal blue dragon and a screenshot of the Rare purple item it dropped.  Casters should take a look to this awesome dagger that offers 10+ Intellect, 51.7 damage per sec,  speed 1.50, Equip: Improves chance of 1% of critical strike with Spells and Equip: Restores 4 mana every 5 sec.  Good job!

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2

Bill Roper Interview at CGM

Flagship Studios let us know that Bill Roper CEO of the company was interviewed by Computer Games Magazine.  Bill Roper announces that they are closer to soon unveil more info about the game they have been working on for almost two years.  Hanbitsoft and Namco are the Publishing Partners of the new game that is been developed by a staff of 22 employees.  Some of them ex-Blizzard North employees.  I think we can wait forward for a E3 expo announcement—hopefully.  Additionally, Bob Moseley, Webmaster of Flagship Studios informed us that Tricia Gray(Trish) has been introduced as new Public Relations Director and she is assigned to deal with fan sites.  Read the press release sent to us …

WCRadio interviewed Caydiem

Athalus, host of WCRadio, interviewed Caydiem—World of Warcraft Community Manager—on Saturday March 12 at 7:00 PM in a 2-hours show to discuss about Battlegrounds, among other topics.  Visit WCRadio Here.  If you have iTunes or Winamp make sure to click this link to listen to the recorded interview ready for download:
http://www.wcradio.com/caydiem.html

World of Warcraft to launch in Taiwan

Blizzard Entertainment has nnounced that World of Warcraft will launch in Taiwan in cooperation with Taiwanese partner, Soft-World International Corporation. For full details on this announcement, please read official press release here.

Honor System: 14 Ranks revealed

Blizzard Europe UK Released a preview of the PvP Honor and Rewards system.  There is a total of 14 ranks in the PvP Honor system.  One of them is Stone Guard.  If you are a Horde player, this rank will be familiar to you.  That building near the Valley of Spirits with the instance-whirlpool in Orgrimmar says that you can’t enter unless you are a Stone Guard or higher rank.  The Alliance version is in the Old Town by the Barracks.  Previews to the Shaman and Horde Warrior sets were displayed.  Reward items can be purchased from PvP vendors located inside the Barracks.  Read more details.

Blizzard seeking Europe Support Team candidates

Blizzard Entertainment is at wide lengths seeking for job applicants to fill the positions for the European Support Team.  Such is their goal to get more employees that Blizzard paid Gamesindustry.biz to place an ad banner at the top-right of their website.  You may have to refresh the page few times until the ad banner loads in their website.  Just in case below we show you the ad banner.  Visit the Job Opportunities page at the UK Website.  The positions sought are:.

Customer & Billing support, Technical Support, Game Master, Senior Game Master, Network Adminstration Team, Junior Administrator, Senior Administrator, Locatization and QA Team, German QA Assistant, French QA Assistant, 2 French Translators, German Translator, Web and Editor Team, English web Editorialist, Lead Web Designer and Communty Representative.

2 New Wow Public Test servers soon

Blizzard has plans to open two Public Test servers that will allow players to test the patches before they go live.  This is a feature many MMO veterans wished from Blizzard, since some of MMOs out there offer this feature.  The bad news is that some lvl 56-60 players will be chosen at random to allow them access to this Public Test servers.  Make sure to check your email often and make sure to check your Junk mail in case your provider has filters.  Read the full announcement Here.  To read the long patch notes for the new Public test servers go Here

Blizzard:
Two new public test realms will be going live soon! These realms will give select players the chance to experience new content before it is patched to public realms. More importantly, it gives us a place to test new features and systems in a live environment without impacting the public realms. This will allow us to provide players with more frequent content patches in the future.

Moving forward, all players who have an active World of Warcraft account will be eligible to participate in testing on the test realms. However, this initial testing phase requires characters between the levels of 55 and 60 in order to properly test the content and functionality for the next patch. Email invitations have been sent out to a random set of players who meet these qualifications. Their level 55 to 60 characters have been copied to the test realm and will be waiting for them when they log in for the first time.

Blizzard: Dire Maul Preview

Blizzard released few minutes ago the preview to Dire Maul.  An ancient vault of arcane secrets once built by the High Elves under the orders of Queen Azshara.  For thousands of years, after the destruction of the Well of Eternity,  Dire Maul has been a place where few adventurers have gone out alive, and none have unveiled the secret arcane items hidden in the depths of the vaults.  The complex has 3 sections varing from lvl 56 to lvl 60 content.

Features:

  • Dire Maul consists of three separate wings ranging in difficulty from level 56 to 60.

  • There are many ways to complete the quests located in Dire Maul, and the decisions a party makes along the way will directly influence the potential rewards.
  • In recent years, rumors have surfaced of an ancient arena within Dire Maul’s courtyard where unique creatures were once fought for sport.
  • Adventurers will find that the occupants of Dire Maul possess many rare and epic weapons, armors, and profession recipes never before seen on Azeroth.