Gamespy wrote a 4-pages preview of Hellgate: London with details of the storyline and the variety of weapons and their abilities. There are few new screenshots too. Furthermore, Flagship Studios website got a new layout and many of the sections in the menu were updated. I recommend checking it out. The game section was updated as well.
We interviewed Christie Golden, writer of Warcraft: Lord of the Clans as promised. In this mini-interview we are able to get to know closely the feelings of the author toward this story where Thrall’s life from childhood serves as pivotal storyline to the Warcraft lore in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, The Frozen Throne expansion and World of Warcraft MMORPG. Read our interview
Flagship Studios opened a new Downloads page in their official website of Hellgate: London. There are many screenshots of the game, wallpapers and they are announcing the first video to be released at E3 Expo 2005 soon. Check out the downloads page.
NOTE: Flagship Studios is composed of ex-Blizzard North employees, and Hellgate: London is not related to any Blizzard Entertainment games
New Bonus map Available for Warcraft: III Frozen Throne Expansion:
In one of the most tumultuous and dangerous parts of the ocean lies an isle run by goblins. Their whole lot in life is to sell zeppelins to wayward seafarers whose ships were destroyed by perilous hurricanes common to these waters.
Download Hurricane Isle
Incredible news. Blizzard has acquired Swingin’ Ape Studios for an undetermined amount. The current developer studio of Starcraft: Ghost, composed of few of the employees that formerly created Starcraft belongs now to Blizzard.
BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT® ACQUIRES SWINGIN’ APE STUDIOS
IRVINE, Calif. — May 16, 2005 – Blizzard Entertainment® today announced that it has completed the acquisition of acclaimed console developer Swingin’ Ape Studios. Widely regarded as an innovative and accomplished development studio, the Swingin’ Ape team boasts some of the industry’s most-talented developers, with more than 50 games’ worth of collective design and development experience across all major platforms.
Under the agreement, Blizzard will retain Swingin’ Ape’s team of more than 40 developers, as well as acquire the studio’s proprietary development technologies. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“The acquisition of Swingin’ Ape Studios takes us one step closer to realizing our goal of becoming a top-tier console developer,” stated Mike Morhaime, president and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “With Swingin’ Ape’s talented designers, programmers, and artists, we’re confident we’ll be able to create console games that meet the quality standards we’ve established for every Blizzard title.”
As part of Blizzard Entertainment, Swingin’ Ape Studios will establish the foundation for Blizzard’s new console team and will continue development on StarCraft: Ghost™ in that role. Plans for future console games will be announced at a later date.
Steve Ranck, president and co-founder of Swingin’ Ape Studios, expressed the team’s excitement at joining the Blizzard family. “We’ve long admired the quality and attention to detail that Blizzard puts into each of its PC titles,” said Ranck. “Our approach to game design is very similar, so we expect this to be a seamless transition for us.”
Ranck will assume the title of vice president of console development for Blizzard’s new console team and will report directly to Mike Morhaime. The team will remain in its Southern California office, located within a few miles of Blizzard’s Irvine, CA headquarters.
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Most of the World of Warcraft Easter Egg references were shared by fans in the World of Warcraft forums from the Europe and USA communities. We took the time to search online for the references, links and quotes so that you can read further more about the references.
Blizzard UK just announced that they are preparing to launch the Test Servers anytime soon during the upcoming days. This is good news.
We’re happy to announce that we are now just a few days away from being able to deploy the first round of public test realms for our international audience. Due to the need to conduct as much testing of our initial Battlegrounds content as we can, the schedule calls for the next major content patch to go live on the US public test realms shortly. We will then roll out the public test realms for Korea and Europe as soon as the hardware setup and configurations are completed.
To conduct a targeted test of specific character classes for the Battlegrounds, we will be providing testers in Europe and Korea with access to a variety of high-level, fully equipped characters to choose from. More information on how players can access the test characters and the public test realms will become available as we get closer to launch. Assuming everything goes smoothly for this round of testing, we plan to deploy public-test-realm content for future patches simultaneously in Europe, Korea, and the US. We’re excited to see players from around the world on the test realms in the days ahead, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the new PvP Battlegrounds
UPDATE: Caydiem confirmed that Alterac Battlegrounds is meant for up to 40 vs 40 players, while future Battleground locations like Azshara and others will be for smaller groups:
While Alterac Valley is meant for 40 vs. 40, the second Battleground we’re releasing is meant for smaller, faster play… it might appeal to you.
I am gathering a lot of Easter Eggs shared by fans in the World of Warcraft forums in USA and Europe. It is taking some time as the European forum has over 33 pages of it. I am also searching online for the references, links and quotes. Expect it here some time tomorrow.
Jeff Kaplan(Tigole), Quest Designer, informed the community that Blackwing and Zul’Gurub are the next instances to be released shortly in the upcoming months. He also comments on the maximum player cap allowed in both instances.
Blackwing Lair is going to be capped at 40 people. The zone will be tuned to be extremely difficult to present a challenge to those guilds who have experience with content such as the Molten Core and Onyxia.
But rest assured, we have been listening closely to the community’s desires for a more “casuaul” friendly raid zone. So the zone we’re working on after Blackwing Lair will be tuned for a raid somewhere around 15-25 people (most likely 20). Ultimately, playtesting will determine the final cap. Also, we want the zone the be doable much more frequently than our “hardcore” raid content. So most likely it will have a reset of 1-3 days. We’re also trying to make the zone require less time than Molten Core. This zone is called Zul’Gurub and is located in North Eastern Stranglethorn. As it gets closer to the time of release, we’ll be releasing more information. But I think this zone will be a very attractive stepping stone for smaller guilds into the higher level raid content.
If you haven’t read this Warcraft novel for reasons like you don’t know what it is about or for lack of interest, then we have a small summary of the book. If you do not like spoilers, do not read it. If you at least wish to find out what the book is about before you purchase it, then take a look. We will soon have an interview with the writer of Warcraft: Lord of the Clans … Christie Golden. The book is about the life of Thrall after he was found as a baby and risen by a human, and how he grew up to become the Warchief of the Horde.
|Glynnis Talken will be at a Public Book Signing in California. She was the voice actress of Kerrigan in Starcraft and Broodwar and some Diablo II characters like the Rogue. Blizzard fans are welcome to visit her. You can bring along any Blizzard games books, posters, and whatnot and she will sign it. You can take a photo with her and give her a hug. Don’t forget sharing some photos with us.
Read her May Newsletter below . . .
|Jason Hayes’s music will be featured in the Symphonic Video Games Concert 2005 series, an event featuring full orchestral performaces of some of the industry’s best and most popular game music. There’s a segment dedicated to the Warcraft series. In 2005, the FILMharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Andy Brick, will perform together with the famous percussion player Rony Barrak and the guitar players from the award-winning rock band -123min. Rony Barrak is well-known for his work together with Sarah Brightman and Vanessa Mae.and the first show will be:
Video Games Live Concert 2005
More details below . . .
We got ahold of a copy of the Gamestar Magazine from Italy featuring an article of Hellgate: London. Please, be aware that the translation from Italian is harshly vague and there may be misinterpretation. Gamestar.it authorized Blizzplanet to translate some details from their Magazine. We hope that it offers you additional details about the exciting new game Hellgate: London. The 8 images accompanying the summary are property of Flagship Studios and Gamestar.it (IDG Communications). You can read our 2-pages summary Here
Blizzard is sharing a video of players that successfully defeated Onyxia.
|New Frozen Throne bonus map available from Blizzard. There once existed a shrine to the ancient gods of yore, but all that remains is a ruin of rubble, sand, and ore. Though legends persist of creatures from the sea, that have surfaced to guard the treasures of an era long before. Download Shrine of the Ancients a new Bonus map|
Blizzard UK has set loose a Press Release announcing the takeover of European Gaming Charts as the #1 game on the top.
“World of Warcraft? has reclaimed the #1 spot on game charts across much of Europe this week, following the release of additional boxes into European retail stores on April 15th. The successful subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) from Blizzard Entertainment? is the #1 game on the PC charts in Germany, France, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Benelux.”