StarCraft II North American Midnight Launch Event Plans

Blizzard Entertainment has issued a press release announcing the North American midnight launch event to be held at Fry’s Electronics in Fountain Valley, California. Expect developers and executives to attend the event to sign copies of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Collector’s Edition and Standard Edition.

Visit the following page to learn the location of a store near you holding their own StarCraft II midnight launch: Fry’s, Gamestop, Wal-mart, Best Buy, Future Shop.

Blizzard Quote:
IRVINE, Calif., Jul 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Blizzard Entertainment today announced its plans for the official North American midnight launch event for StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM), the long-anticipated sequel to 1998’s critically acclaimed real-time strategy game, StarCraft. The event will take place at Fry’s Electronics at 10800 Kalama River Avenue in Fountain Valley, CA, with activities starting at 9 p.m. on July 26, and sales of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beginning at midnight.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty with our community at the official launch event here in Southern California and at other locations worldwide,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “This is something we’ve been working toward for several years, and we’re excited to soon be able to share the results of that work with gamers around the world.”

As well as being among the first to acquire the game, attendees will have an opportunity to meet developers from Blizzard Entertainment, who will be present to welcome players and sign their copies. Live music, exhibition matches, and Q&A sessions with Blizzard Entertainment developers will also take place onsite. More details about the event can be found at

Attendees will be able to purchase the standard edition of the game for a suggested price of $59.99 as well as the special Collector’s Edition for a suggested price of $99.99. The Collector’s Edition contains the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:

  • The Art of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, a 176-page book featuring artwork from the game
  • An exclusive 2GB USB flash drive replica of Jim Raynor’s dog tag, which comes preloaded with the original StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War(R) expansion set
  • A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, cinematics with director’s commentary, and more
  • The official StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty soundtrack CD, containing 14 epic tracks from the game along with exclusive bonus tracks
  • StarCraft comic book issue #0, a prequel to the comic series
  • A World of Warcraft(R) mini Thor in-game pet that can be applied to all World of Warcraft characters on a single account
  • Exclusive downloadable content, including special portraits for your profile, decals to customize your units in-game, and a visually unique version of the terran Thor unit.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment’s 1998 blockbuster hit StarCraft. With over 11 million copies sold, the franchise has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy series of all time and has become a fixture on the professional eSports circuit. StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying favorite units from the original StarCraft, along with numerous upgraded and brand-new units and abilities that allow for fresh tactics and strategies. The game’s new 3D-graphics engine maintains the speed and responsive control of its predecessor while rendering hundreds of units onscreen for massive battles. For more information on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, visit the official website at

With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available — visit for more information and to learn how to apply.

World of Warcraft: The Shattering - Description

The upcoming Cataclysm expansion tie-in novel by Christie Golden now has a description and a sneak excerpt from the pages of World of Warcraft: The Shattering.

The not-final front cover released a few days ago, teased Thrall as a main character in this novel. The Doomhammer shattering the earth was a given.

The description reveals Thrall’s efforts to thwart and understand the confusion and sudden uneasiness of the elemental spirits. A sign that we might see some Twilight’s Hammer action. On the other hand, the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde worsens up.

Considering Christie Golden’s RISE OF THE HORDE, contained plenty of lore that was used in the creation of some Burning Crusade quests and content, it is likely this new novel might have several answers to what we are currently seeing in Cataclysm Beta.

Blizzard Quote:
World of Warcraft: The Shattering
Prelude to Cataclysm
Christie Golden, Author


His eyes were open now, watching the path of the tiny flame. If you continue your path, little spark, you will cause great harm.

I must burn! I must live!

There are places where your glow and heat are welcome. Find them, do not destroy the dwellings or take the lives of my people!

For a second, he seemed to wink out of existence but then blazed back with renewed vigor.

Thrall knew what he had to do. He lifted his hand. Forgive me, Brother Flame. But I must protect my people from the harm you would cause them. I have requested, I have begged, now I warn.

The spark seemed to spasm, and yet he continued on his lethal course.

Thrall, grim-faced, clenched his hand hard.

The spark flared defiantly, then dwindled, finally settling down to nothing more than the faintest of glowing embers. For now, he would no longer do anyone harm.

The threat had ended, but Thrall was reeling. This was not the way of the shaman with the elements. It was a relationship of mutual respect, not of threats and control and, in the end, destruction. Oh, the Spirit of Fire could never be extinguished. It was far greater than anything any shaman, or even group of shaman, could ever attempt to do to him. He was eternal, as all the spirits of the elements were. But this part of him, this elemental manifestation, had been defiant, uncooperative. And he had not been alone. He was part of a disturbing trend of elements that were sullen and rebellious rather than cooperative. And in the end, Thrall had had to completely dominate him. Other shaman were now calling rain to soak the city in case there was another aberrant spark that persisted in its course of devastation.

Thrall stood in the rain, letting it soak him, pour off his massive green shoulders, and drip down his arms. What in the name of the ancestors was happening?


Thrall, wise shaman and the warchief of the Horde, has sensed a disturbing change . . .

Long ago, Azeroth’s destructive native elementals raged across the world until the benevolent titans imprisoned them within the Elemental Plane. Despite the titans’ intervention, many elementals have ended up back on Azeroth. Over the ages, shaman like Thrall have communed with these spirits and, through patience and dedication, learned to soothe roaring infernos, bring rain to sun-scorched lands, and otherwise temper the elementals’ ruinous influence on the world of Azeroth.

Now Thrall has discovered that the elementals no longer heed the shaman’s call. The link shared with these spirits has grown thin and frayed, as if Azeroth itself were under great duress. While Thrall seeks answers to what ails the confused elements, he also wrestles with the orcs’ precarious future as his people face dwindling supplies and growing hostility with their night elf neighbors.

Meanwhile, King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind is considering violent action in response to mounting tensions between the Alliance and the Horde, a hard-line approach that threatens to alienate those closest to him, including his son, Anduin. The conflicted young prince has set out to find his own path, but in doing so, he risks becoming entangled in political instability that is setting the world on edge.

The fate of Azeroth’s great races is shrouded in a fog of uncertainty, and the erratic behavior of the elemental spirits, troubling though it is, may only be the first ominous warning sign of the cataclysm to come.

July 2010 BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter Transcript

The recent Cataclysm Developers Q&A on Twitter offered handful information about upcoming changes yet to be implemented in the beta testing, as well as clearing up some doubts.

Below is a picky list by class of some of the most important details revealed in the Q&A. Otherwise skip and check out the transcript.


  • Rend will be renewed by Thunderclap. Additionally, now Rend does a tick of damage immediately on application.
  • Fury-only: Whirlwind will be enabled only with multiple-mobs, not against a single-mob. Raging Blow fills the void left by Whirlwind, and may be used while enraged. It doesn’t consume the enrage. The animation makes the Fury Warrior strike a target with both weapons at once.
  • Heroic Leap is designed as a means of escape for Warriors by targeting a location. Helpful against melee (Warrior, Druid, Death Knight, Rogue), and may help you get back in range of your healer in PvP. I haven’t seen this before. You can probably use it to escape by running through the caster when you see a caster’s bar (aka Line of Sight, caster must face the target).
  • Arms: Throwdown lets you knock an opponent to the ground for five seconds. Usable in battle stance too. Throwndown replaced Disarming Glare (now removed from the game).


  • Early Feral Druid Tree will be redesigned.
  • Typhoon will be back in the Talent Tree


  • Judgement of Wisdom removed from the game entirely. Only one judgement will exist causing a debuff on the target which applies the effects of Judgement of Light and Justice simultaneously.
  • Improved Devotion Aura is gone in the protection talent tree. Improved Concentration Aura stays. There are talents that, say, increase healing on targets of your auras.
  • The biggest change classes-wide in Cataclysm is definitely the Paladin’s new resource named Holy Power. This will be a third bar beneath the health and mana bars. You replenish Holy Power by casting Crusader Strike, Holy Shock and other talents. You can consume the wholesome of Holy Power to gain other abilities. All three specs get a different ability if I got it right. Holy Paladins, for example, gain Word of Glory (instant mana-free heal). Retribution Paladins can consume Holy Power to gain a buff named Inquisition, Templar’s Verdict or to increase Divine Storm’s damage. Protection Paladins can consume Holy Power to gain an extended duration on Holy Shield.

    Templar’s Verdict: An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all applications of Holy Power to increase damage dealt:
    1 Holy Power: 55% Weapon Damage
    2 Holy Power: 125% Weapon Damage
    3 Holy Power: 225% Weapon Damage

  • Protection paladins will refresh Divine Plea on melee hit via a talent or trained ability.
  • The Holy Paladin will get several new heals:
      Healing Hands: AOE heal-over-time on players standing near the paladin.

      Light of Dawn: 30-yard range cone heal.

      Divine Light: Similar to Greater Heal (priest spell).

      Word of Glory: Mana-less instant heal. Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for a specific amount per application of Holy Power (0 mana cost, 0 cooldown, instant cast).


  • Demon Soul is designed to be a burst damage power-up ability for non-Demonology Warlocks in PvE and PvP.
  • Early demonology talent changes coming.
  • No more stones or figurines to summon Infernal (AoE melee) or Doomguard (powerful ranged caster).


  • New talent tree changes in development for Shadow Priests.
  • Leap of Faith doesn’t remove movement impairing effects and causes threat. Must be used wisely.

Death Knight

  • Dark Simulacrum reduced to 1 minute cooldown in an upcoming build.
  • Runic Empowerment changes coming — search the Q&A below for details [keyword: Runic Empowerment].


  • Enhancement Shamans will get a weapon damage boost for Stormstrike and Lava Lash.


  • The design goal for Aspect of the Fox is to allow the Hunter a mobile dps and kiting aspect.


  • Mana regeneration will require healers to deal damage against bosses, and to throw heals here and there when it is needed. This new mechanic seems to encourage healers to help kill the boss during downtime, and to do something other than spamming heals or overhealing. Otherwise, those who don’t deal damage, will find out they will go out of mana quicker than usual. This new damage-dealing-healer mindset will certainly be interesting.


  • New Class-specific quests at level 20 and level 50 will be available. These will send you to specific dungeons to reward you with blue loot otherwise not available elsewhere.
  • Each point of intellect grants one point of spell power, except for the first 10 points. Caster weapons will fill the gap with loads of spell power plus intellect.
  • Mastery Previews won’t be ready until at least two weeks from now. No ETA.
  • Expect Gnome / Dwarf starting location quest changes.
  • Most Races might get a player model art redesign some time in the future.
Blizzard Quote:
Will Rend be refreshed by Thunderclap on all targets used with Blood and Thunder?
Yes. The idea is that you Rend once and then Thunderclap from then on. We still hope it’s an optional talent, not the only way warriors can AoE tank.

Is there any intent to bring back the On A Pale Horse talent for death knights, possibly in a different tree?
Yes, On a Pale Horse is back as a sub-specialization-accessible Frost talent in our latest internal build.

Will each Mage talent tree be on a level PvE and PvP footing, or do you plan to make them bias to specific modes?
The idea is to make them have equal footing. If that doesn’t work out, then we would prefer for one specialization to not be completely dead. But we want, for example, for players to choose Frost because they like Frost.

With the 31-point tree, many talents still cost two or three points. Is this going to be changed, as it basically increases their cost?
For the most part, yes. There are some overpowered talents that don’t need the boost, but many of the others will have their effects increased.

Slam’s design is pretty archaic and not very fun. Is there any chance of Slam becoming an instant-attack baseline ability?
We think it makes the ability feel different. Slam as an instant attack isn’t very different from some of the other attacks. As it’s designed though, Fury shouldn’t use Slam at all without procs and Arms should only use it with the Improved Slam talent. We tried briefly making Slam a low-level ability, but weren’t happy with it.

How will the Demon Soul talent work? Is it like a replacement for Demonology’s Metamorphosis, another cooldown to pop, or…?
While Demonology has potentially two (with Metamorphosis and Demonic Empowerment), warlocks in general usually don’t have a power-up ability they can cast for burst damage in PvP or PvE. This is what it is intended to be.

How do the mastery bonuses work now that they don’t show up on the talent interface anymore?
The mastery bonuses will be trainable passive bonuses somewhere around level 75. Each talent specialization will have a different Mastery available on the trainer with a base potency and 0 Mastery Rating. The character sheet interface will have additional information on the additional potency gained from Mastery Rating.

Why is Vampiric Touch being changed back after the 3.0 Replenishment revamp?
Talents like these are still in developmental flux. Players should expect most abilities to stay generally the same as they are today. For example, when revamping the trees we changed some ranks of talents down from five points to three, and didn’t re-balance the talent for three points. Most five-pointers that become three-pointers will be as strong as they were when they were five-pointers.

Will druids finally get shapeshifting on a separate global cooldown like hunter aspects & warrior stances?
We have no plans to remove shapeshifting from the global cooldown. Shapeshifting can be used to escape Root and Polymorph mechanics, so it must be on a global cooldown.

Do you consider Primal Wisdom or Shamanistic Rage “required” so Enhancement shaman won’t run out of mana? Is running out of mana intended to be a danger?
Yes, once high-level Enhancement shaman have all their abilities and are using them in sequence, Primal Wisdom will be required to sustain a rotation. We’d like to let shaman use Shamanistic Rage for survival or emergency situations, rather than assuming rotational use for man

Will mages get pets for Arcane and Fire specializations at any time?
No plans for this currently.

With each expansion boss mechanics become more and more complex. Don’t you think that bosses will be overcomplicated soon?
We have a lot of players who have been killing bosses for nearly six years now. We think we need to keep it fresh for them. Having normal vs. hard modes is our way of making sure the complexity doesn’t make those fights inaccessible for some players.

Any thought to having Retribution paladins use spell power plate to help put Holy paladins on equal footing as other healers?
We think Retribution paladins needs to use strength plate. Changing this would require a lot of funky solutions, such as how we handle Crusader Strike damage, and trying to control Retribution from being too powerful a healer. We realize it’s odd to itemize spell power plate for one specialization, but we think all of the solutions to this issue are worse than just living with it.

Have some of the old talents been made into new glyphs?
Usually when we cut a talent it’s because we thought it was a bad talent, but we might bring some talents that were so situational to fit in the new model back as glyphs. We are still designing glyphs. Players shouldn’t necessarily assume that any of their current glyphs are going to still be around. Some will, but many are changing.

In general, do you expect mana-saving talents to be something all players take, or are they designed to be optional utility?
For healers, we expect players will take most of these talents (maybe not the ones related to taking damage or dealing damage though). For non-healers, we make sure all of them have reasonably reliable ways to restore mana, but these often come with the potential for damage-dealing loss. In that vein, the mana-saving talents can be thought of as damage-dealing talents, and nukers can take them if they think they impact their bottom line. After all, we all know that the only thing that matters at the end of the day is who won the meters. smile

Will there be account-wide Achievements? If so, can we expect to see things like vanity gifts for having multiple characters?
It’s an idea we definitely want to do, but it’s pretty challenging technically, so it’s not on the immediate horizon. We can’t promise anything obviously, but I wouldn’t feel the need to get difficult Achievements on more than one character on the same account.

I’m excited about the Smite mechanic in Discipline. Are you going to do anything about hit so that mechanic can be effective?
We had a talent to give you a bunch of spell hit in a beta build, but spell hit on your offensive spells is a hard sell in the new talent model. But yes, we want to do something about spell hit for the Discipline Archangel specialization, possibly move up Twisting Faith to a tier that Discipline can obtain it in Shadow (so your spirit would convert to hit as a Discipline/Shadow sub-specialization).

If every specialization is intended to take their 31-point talent, why is it not baseline at the level you could acquire it?
Those talents are a good “brass ring” to work towards. They often change your character pretty dramatically when you get them, so it’s a fun moment. There is definitely an interesting philosophical discussion about talent trees and how many talents should be mandatory vs. optional. Some players would like a model where everything is on equal footing with everything else. Others want to make sure there are some safe decisions so that they don’t have to do tons of theory-crafting research every time they talent their character. We are trying to shoot for something in the middle where we have some expectation for how a particular spec will play (for example, we don’t want to have to develop and support the non-Chaos Bolt Destruction rotation) but players can still decide if say Blitz is something their Arms warrior will use or not.

Are all characters getting 5% stun/fear reduction baseline since they are no longer talents?
We would rather adjust the crowd control durations to ap
propriate levels. Currently some crowd-control effects are so easy to get out of that only really layered crowd-co
ntrol (using crowd control effects of different diminishing returns) really matters. We don’t want all of PvP to be kiting each other around with instant nukes and heals. Knowing what average durations are (rather than having some classes with duration reducers and some without) will let us judge the baseline better. We think players are individually just looking at their own trees now and thinking that they were made less powerful without realizing how across-the-board all the changes are.

Some of the new talent trees for healers seem to emphasize a style of “mana regeneration by dealing damage.” Is that intentional? If so, why?
Yes. In almost any situation, there are periods where heals are not urgently needed 100% of the time. Today, you probably just cast heals anyway in case someone takes damage, since mana doesn’t matter much. But if mana did matter, the “right” thing to do would be to do nothing. Talents such as Telluric Currents provide an active way to recharge mana while contributing damage.

How does Smoke Bomb help me take on a Frost mage? Isn’t Blizzard a pretty trivial counter to keep me in combat?
Keep you in combat, perhaps. But Frostbolt you? Polymorph you to stop you from killing the stunned healer that you just shrouded in smoke? Nope!

Please talk about Lightwell. There has been much wailing about it on priest forums. Are you intent on keeping it in?
Lightwell is complicated because it deals very much with the healing philosophy we’re trying to resurrect in Cataclysm. Remember when your raid would make a conscious effort to survive before doing damage, would bring stacks of bandages and use them throughout the fight to save their healers mana? Lightwell is very strong – if not overpowered – in that environment.

What about some class specific quests for Cataclysm? I enjoyed them in the early levels of WoW!
It’s very expensive to create class-specific quests given the literally thousands of new quests we are already adding for Cataclysm; however, we are going to have class-specific dungeon quests for everyone at levels 20 and 50. These won’t be as involved as, say, the old Benediction quest line, but they will give you a way to get some blue loot that isn’t otherwise available.

Are Fury Warriors still going to see a new attack to fill the loss of Whirlwind? Any insight?
Yes! It’s called Raging Blow (at least for the moment), because we wanted to distance it a little from the old Enraged Assault. It’s Fury-only and can only be used when Enraged, but does not consume the Enrage. It does indeed strike with both weapons (including the animation).

Do you expect anyone, alts or new players, to level as a healer specialization? Do you think locking them to Holy or Restoration early is bad?
We expect leveling as DPS will probably always be more efficient, just because killing things is faster than surviving longer while you kill things. Furthermore, we don’t want the healing specializations to be as good at killing things or the DPS specialization will not have a role. We do, however, think we can make leveling as a healer more enjoyable than it is today. Also, it will be a lot easier to use Dungeon Finder to level as a healer.

What class are you currently most happy with how the talents are currently set up? Is there one you feel needs more work?
They all need more work!

What is the intent and thoughts on changing the rune cost of Scourge Strike?
In Wrath of the Lich King, it is closer to being a clone of Obliterate with a slightly different feel than we’d like. We want to change that. We’re also very aware of the rotational problems inherent in decoupling the Unholy and Frost runes. Rest assured, our solution will not be expecting you to Icy Touch alongside each Scourge Strike.

Can we finally have Soul Link baseline, or at least give each tree its own defense mechanic so that we aren’t forced into Demonology for PvP?
It is a possibility, we’re still talking about it.

Can Master Summoner become default for all warlocks? 6-second cast time is long enough for a pet.
But how often are you summoning a pet? You can also use a shard to summon one instantly. We want killing a warlock’s pet in PvP to be a meaningful investment of time and effort, and likewise we want summoning/resurrecting your pet to be a meaningful investment of time and effort.

Will Whirlwind still be a part of a Fury warrior’s rotation on single mobs or will it be multiple mobs only?
Multiple mobs only.

How much of an impact will the new medium glyphs have on the fun factor of choices in the new 31-point talent trees?
We hope it adds a lot. Part of the problem is that if there is, say, a Glyph of Mutilate, you feel like you have to take that as an Assassination rogue over anything else. The medium glyphs are designed to let you customize your character a little more. They are the glyphs you would take if Mutilate didn’t exist.

Incidentally, the new tiers are called Prime, Major, and Minor. Majors are the new Mediums. Glyph of Mutilate would be a Prime.

Concussion Blow is rarely used these days outside of PvP. Any plans for it? Will you unlink it from Vigilance?
It’s pretty useful on Mr. Lich King….

Are there any plans to add Ghostcrawler in-game as a critter or elite crab?
Ghostcrawler would be very emo were he to gaze down from his Throne of Lies and behold the mass crustacean slaughter that would result in having more manifestations of his persona in the game.

Where do you see priests fitting in the healing world? They seem very ‘jack of all, master of none’ with the new trees.
It’s difficult to judge healer strength right now, as all spells are still going to be tweaked with good mana cost/healing amounts. We will say we want both priest healing specializations to be unique, powerful and fun.

You’ve stated warlock trees have a way to go. Any plans you’d like to share? Early Demonology in specific seems really boring.
The first two tiers of all specializations are intended to be what we call “scaling talents,” or general percentage modifiers on abilities. Consider them entry-level talents — easy to understand for newer players and good sub-specialization candidates. That said, a lot of early Demonology talents have changed in an upcoming build.

Will Holy priests get some fun talents, like Evangelism and Archangel in the Discipline tree? At the moment it will be expensive for Holy to take those.
While we still have a ways to go in design on the talents, we want Holy to be able to also do an Archangel sub-specialization if they wish. In some ways it may be stronger than the Discipline main specialization version.

Are there plans to give more procs to some classes to make the rotations a little more interesting?
Yea, for classes or specializations that need them. Paladins are getting a few.

Any plan to make “Crit Immunity” passive from choosing a tank tree instead of spending talents on it?
No, and you can blame the druids. We want a tanking specialization in Bear Form to feel different from a DPS specialization in Cat Form, otherwise it doesn’t feel fair to other classes when the Feral druid can do everything with the same talent specialization. We tried to include crit immunity bonuses in talents you would normally take.

I don’t care about Real ID, new talent points, or ponies, but I must have a double rainbow in a city so all can bask in its glory!
Due to company policy, I’m afraid we must reserve all rainbows for our friends working on Diablo III.

Let’s talk fashion. Any chance we could get a tophat AND monocle to display at the same time?
Why, yes. Indubitably. Tut-tut, my good chap and

Death knight tanks in Cataclysm seem to be gaining a lot of defensive buttons. As a death knight I love it, b
ut will those numbers be changing soon?

It’s possible that some of it may need to be scaled back, but we like the cooldown aspect of death knight tanking and would like to preserve it.

Since implementing and receiving feedback on the new death knight rune system, have you made any changes to it you can reveal to us?
It still needs a lot of iteration. We don’t want there to be significant “dead time” in death knight rotations. Also, the Runic Empowerment ability has some bugs with displaying the current state of available runes, which complicates the situation. Look for more death knight changes in the near future.

What’s the plan to give Subtlety some pressure versus plate? A slow-ticking Rupture isn’t going to cut it. Shadow damage during Dance?
That’s an interesting ideSubtlety is probably going to end up as the lowest-damage of the three rogue specializations to make up for its superior mobility, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless, either. And no, Rupture isn’t intended to be the PvP solution to that situation.

Do you plan to give the Unholy tree a more centralized focus, instead of split between Scourge Strike, diseases, ghoul, auto-attack, Anti-Magic Shell?
In a sense, that IS a centralized focus. Unholy death knights are about diseases and Unholy pets. Frost is about icy attacks and runic power. Blood is about tanking and self-healing.

With the new implemented Lava Surge, will Chain Lightning become useful for multiple mobs only?
It always has had, and will continue to have, some niche use as a gap-filler against single targets when Lava Burst has around a second left on its cooldown. Lava Surge won’t always proc, but it’s likely to be more of a multi-target ability, yes.

Any plans to alleviate Affliction’s target-switching woes? Bane of Havoc used to be in reach of all specializations. Now it’s only for Destruction.

Will the ability to run while shooting affect PvP or PvE battles more? What was the initial intention of the new ability?
With how encounters are today, damage-dealing while on the move is becoming increasingly important. You’ll see in a lot of classes we specifically are giving new ways for players to still do damage while on the move. That said, your damage while standing still while casting or on a target in melee range should always be optimal.

Is Moonfire designed to be a damage-over-time spell with an instant cast nuke, or the other way around?
Both. We want the instant nuke to be more meaningful in Cataclysm, especially on the move.

How is Heroic Leap working so far? Is it progressing better than your last attempt at putting it in-game?
We’re pretty happy with it so far. The version we have right now lets the warrior target where they want to leap, so they can use it as an escape tool as well. We all know paladins would never retreat from a battle, but warriors have been known to do so.

Will Leap of Faith get some sort of secondary buff? Pulling a high aggro target to a clothie healer seems dangerous.
This ability is intended to save party and raid members from imminent danger, such as pulling someone out of a fire that would otherwise kill them. It does not need a secondary buff.

What is the goal when re-designing the paladin class? How do you plan to change rotations, talents, etc?
All of the paladin specializations will make use of a new resource called Holy Power. Holy Power accumulates from using Crusader Strike, Holy Shock, and some other talents. Holy Power can be consumed to augment a variety of abilities, including:
An instant mana-free heal: Word of Glory

A buff to increase holy damage done: Inquisition

A massive physical melee attack for Retribution paladins: Templar’s Verdict

Holy Shield’s duration is now extended by Holy Power

Divine Storm’s damage is now increased by Holy Power
We also introduced several new heals for Holy Paladins including Healing Hands (an AoE heal-over-time that is applied to all players standing near the paladin), Light of Dawn (a cone heal with a 30-yard range), as well as a new heal called Divine Light, which is similar to a priest’s Greater Heal, and the new instant heal mentioned above, Word of Glory.

Cat and Bear druid builds are only off by about 3 talent points. Why not just consolidate fully at that point?
This is definitely one of our concerns. We don’t want a player to be able to have an optimal DPS specialization in Cat Form and be able to tank. We will definitely engineer the Feral tree such that being a viable tank, or even off-tank, will have some cost in terms of lost DPS while in Cat Form. The druid talent trees currently in beta are very rough and need more polish.

A lot of Shadow priests’ talents seem mandatory. Any chance for a trimmed down tree? We feel like we need to pick all of them.
Some changes are underway for Shadow priest trees.

Is there a plan to support dual-wield tanking for death knights (something like Threat of Thassarian versus Might of Frozen Wastes)?
It will be technically possible to dual-wield and tank, but it will not be optimal threat-wise.

Dark Simulacrum for death knight has a pretty long cooldown. What’s the reasoning behind that exactly? (just curious)
It’s been reduced to 1 minute in the latest build, but it’s also an extremely powerful ability with which we expect players to pull off fun and scary things.

With Elemental Fury becoming a passive for Elemental shaman, will Enhancement be seeing more physical based damage?
Spells like Lava Burst and shocks will always be a big part of Enhancement’s damage, but yes, we’d like weapon attacks like Stormstrike and Lava Lash to be a larger part of Enhancement shamans’ damage in Cataclysm. Note well: Mental Quickness is getting a boost to help compensate for the loss of Elemental Fury.

Are there plans to give more procs to some classes to make the rotations a little more interesting?
Sure, we want all specializations to have interesting rotations. There is a point though when you can be overwhelmed by the amount of procs going on and the gameplay becomes erratic and not very fun. So it’s a constant balance between the two.

Will Spirit Link make a return after all? Ghostcrawler mentioned he’d like to bring it back, but no sighting of it yet.
Anything’s possible, but at this point it isn’t looking good for our beloved talent…. If we changed it to be an absorb or a different sort of mechanic, then it wouldn’t be the iconic Spirit Link that we all remember from Warcraft III. But that core damage-sharing mechanic poses major design and balance challenges (e.g. does a rogue really want to start taking damage suddenly because the shaman in his group decided to link him to the tank?).

What is the design choice behind the focus recharge in Aspect of the Fox, is it meant to replace Viper?
Aspect of the Fox is intended to be used for mobile damage or kiting. There is still some tuning to be done on Focus and this aspect, but that is the design goal.

Can we expect more fun talents and maybe even shiny new abilities in further iterations of the new talent trees?
Yes, the current beta trees are still very much works in progress. As paladins in particular will see shortly, that ongoing work certainly can include fun talents and shiny new abilities.

Are there any plans of making totems utility only (e.g. Earthbind, Grounding) and turning buff totems into auras or cast buffs?
Not at this time. We’re aware of the concerns regarding the use of buff totems among some shaman, but the positional aspect is something that we consider inherent to the nature of totems. By increasing totem duratio
ns, consolidating some buff totems, and introducing the multi-drop totem spells in Wrath of the Lich King, we’ve attempted to mitigate as mu
ch of the inconvenience as possible, while preserving the core gameplay of paying attention to where totems are being dropped.

Will we be seeing more talents that reward use of rarely used spells (e.g. Destruction now opens with Soul Fire, which was barely used before)?
Given the scarcity of action bar space, rarely used abilities are generally becoming more appealing or being cut from the game entirely.

Will Arcane spells do more damage with higher Lunar power on the scale? And will more Mastery increase that bonus damage?
Currently, the plan is for Mastery to increase the damage bonus of Eclipse (both Lunar and Solar).

Will there be a “hard cap” for Mastery rating (to avoid having 101% chance of getting a critical block, for example)?
In the course of finalizing all of the Masteries for the various talent specializations, we will make sure that, in the expected gear a player can acquire from the final Cataclysm raid tiers, the player will not crash into a “hard cap” unless they go out of their way to stack Mastery more than is reasonable. This may require redesigning some of the Masteries as the rest of the class designs are finalized.

How will pets scale with Mastery their masters’ Mastery?
The talent specializations that rely heavily on pets (Beast Mastery and Demonology, for example) have a Mastery that makes Mastery rating also increase pet damage. Other specializations that have pets, but whose pets do not benefit from Mastery, will have their Masteries balanced accordingly, taking into account that pets will not benefit from them.

The Combat tree seems really lackluster; i was taking talents like +armor and Recuperate to fill up my tree. Any plans to buff it?
If you were able to spend all 41 points on nothing but increasing your damage, we’d consider that a failure in our current design, because those would be the only choices. But with “utility” talents there’s no clear answer — some rogues, even serious raiding min/max types, might have preferred to be able to use Sprint more often rather than taking Reinforced Leather, for example. In the end, we’ll make sure you’re able to do the damage you need to do, in order to have fun and feel competitive in all aspects of the game.

Is your goal to not having to use a talent specialization solely for PvP? If so, please elaborate on how you plan to accomplish that?
This is almost impossible to “fix.” With the nature of talents min/max will always be possible. That said, we’re trying to move away from having purely PvP or purely PvE talents as much as possible, which will make the pure PvP specializations less painful to play in PvE and vice vers

Recuperate makes me feel like a tiny unkillable god of death. …you aren’t going to nerf this are you?
Wait, but it doesn’t make you hit harder, so how can it be overpowered?

How do you optimize the sub-specialization choices for an Assassination rogue? Some needed talents are not reachable in the current trees.
Right now you have to spend too many talent points to get all the “essential” Assassination talents. You end up taking pretty much the entire bottom half of the tree. In the next build, things have been streamlined a little so that you should be able to credibly spend 31 points there.

Death knights are the only tanks without a stun, which is pretty key for a few things, like adds on Heroic Lich King. Any plans to give them one?
There’s a video of a death knight solo-tanking 10-player Heroic Lich King. Impressive stuff. But just like stuns are incredibly good on Lich King, there are a number of fights where mechanics like Death Grip, or the ability to pre-drop a Death and Decay to pick up spawning adds, are incredibly useful. That’s part of class and encounter diversity.

Will Hunters be able to pet-tank through Cataclysm (even if just beast masters)?
What, you didn’t see that video where some guy tanked Marrowgar with his Gorilla?

Are Protection paladins still going to refresh Divine Plea on melee hit (via a talent or trained ability)?

What is the conversion rate for intellect to spell power for Cataclysm? Will it differ with each class?
Each point of intellect grants one point of spell power, except for the first 10 points. This is vaguely similar to attack power, where each point of strength or agility gives two attack power, except for the first 10 points.

We realize this slightly reduces the spell power per budget on items, so we also increased the amount of spell power granted by caster weapons, and that increase entirely makes up for the deficit. Those weapons will continue to have spell power as well as intellect, and the amount of spell power will be significantly larger than in 3.3.5.

Ever thought of changing tiers to unlock with 3 Points instead of 5, now that 5 tier talents are gone?
We considered this idea, but ultimately decided against it.

Are we going to be able to view the Mastery talent previews for Cataclysm as soon as we can?
With the talent tree redesign, all the Masteries need to be re-implemented, and, in some cases, redesigned. This will require at least a couple of weeks before they will be available on bet

Last time I checked the Feral druid tree, there were only 5 points in the first tier which means NO choices. Is that getting fixed?
Yes. We are still working on early Feral.

There are still “un-fun” talents in the 3-point trees like Spirit Tap. Are damage-dealing specialization mana regeneration talents that may feel mandatory staying in game?
Spirit Tap and other purely “leveling talents” are being re-evaluated.

Power Infusion: not in beta talents. Coming back, or gone for good?
If it’s not in your build, that’s a bug! It’ll be back.

It seems that our DPS with Runic Empowerment is very random, will that be changed?
Runic Empowerment is being changed to a trained ability so that all specializations can access it without feeling forced to, since we see it as a core part of death knight gameplay in Cataclysm. The way the talent is engineered, it should never disrupt your rotation, but rather give you bonus resources layered on top of your rotation. The proc rate is high enough that the actual variability in procs over time shouldn’t be excessive.

How does Deep Healing work? Will it heal severely less at high health that it is difficult to keep a target at a safe level of health?
No, view it as a perk that boosts your heals when that extra healing is most needed. It’s a class-specific bonus, so healing overall won’t be balanced around the expectation that Deep Healing applies.

How are you trying to separate the play styles of the hunter specializations? What makes Cobra Shot feel different from Steady Shot?
Cobra Shot is ideal for Beast Mastery and Survival hunters because they don’t really have any other way of keeping Serpent Sting up (Cobra Shot extends Serpent Sting’s duration), and also for Survival because it is “Elemental” damage. It’s also useful in PvP or in some other niche situations, say, when a creature is immune to physical damage. Now you have a solution.

What are you planning for Doomguard and Infernal? That Demonology talent is quite… strange.
Look now, they are now… Diamonds. I mean, guardians. The Doomguard does strong ranged damage and the Infernal is good for area-of-effect damage. They’re shared cooldowns, so it’s your choice which you want to use. 10-minute cooldown. No more stones or figurines!

Can you give us a sneak peek at one or two of the new Retribution abilities or talents?
Templar’s Verdict: An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all ap
plications of Holy Power to increase damage dealt:
1 Holy Power: 55% Weapon Damage
2 Holy Power: 125% Weapon Damage
3 Holy Po
wer: 225% Weapon Damage
Word of Glory: Consumes all Holy Power to heal a friendly target for a specific amount per application of Holy Power (0 mana cost, 0 cooldown, instant cast).

If Judgement of Wisdom is being removed from the game, are paladins getting a new Judgement so we don’t all have to use Judgement of Light?
There will only be one Judgement spell. This spell places a single debuff on the target with the effects currently associated with Judgement of Light and Judgement of Justice. The Judgement of Wisdom effect has been retired completely.

I PvP a lot in the level 10-19 bracket. What are some cool new abilities we’ll see at level 10 in Warsong Gulch?
Since all players will be getting a signature ability like Mortal Strike, Summon Water Elemental, or Mangle when choosing a specialization at level 10, we think players will see a lot of new abilities in the level 10-19 Warsong Gulch bracket that have never been seen before.

Concerning Marksmanship hunters, why is the PvP talent Resistance is Futile a prerequisite for PvE talent Marked for Death?
In an upcoming build it won’t be a prerequisite, and we want to change it to proc a free Kill Command instead of an instant critical.

What’s the deal with Typhoon? Is it going back into talents or will it be a standard druid spell?
Typhoon is now back in the tree. Sorry about that. smile

Skull Bash has a 1-minute cooldown. Is it supposed to be that way, or can we expect it to be lowered to the likes of Shield Bash?
The base cooldown is 60 seconds to keep the ability from being used by Balance and Restoration druids to layer too much crowd control. A Feral tree talent reduces the cooldown to 10 seconds, putting it in line with Kick and other similar interrupt abilities.

A druid gets Swiftmend at level 10 when selecting Restoration as a specialization, but it’s also a talent in the tree. What is the plan there?
This was a data error that has since been corrected.

Can you provide some clarity on the third Mastery that is affected by item stats?
We recognized the earlier implementation of Mastery in the beta was confusing. Mastery is no longer directly associated with a talent tree, but is instead a passive effect learned from a trainer at a later level. That passive effect will now grant the third Mastery bonus you formerly saw in the talent tree pane. The passive effect will have a base value, and then Mastery rating will increase that effect further. The other two Mastery bonuses previously listed at the top of the talent tree pane have been removed, but, in some cases, have been reimplemented as passive specialization bonuses. Currently, in the beta, you cannot see any of the Masteries, as they need to be reimplemented after the talent tree redesign.

Any word on that cosmetic Tree of Life Form glyph? Some players are sad to lose Tree of Life Form completely.
The only new glyph we are ready to announce right now is the Glyph of Divine Shield, which reduces the cast time of your Hearthstone whenever Divine Shield is active. wink

So, Worgen get top hats, and that’s awesome. Are there any plans to give Goblins something cool? Maybe those sunglasses?
Quadruple pigtails maybe?

Will we see these talent changes in Wrath of the Lich King, before the release of Cataclysm, like we did with the last expansion?

Druids were always a “jack of all trades, but master of none” and usually mocked when specializing. Will new talents change this?
In my own raids, I find druids of all 3 specializations that excel at their chosen specialization. So, I don’t understand your question.

Will World of Warcraft ever get a new weapon type?
Doubtful. Tauren might be able to dual-wield gnomes on a stick.

Why not make each tier a 3-point system instead of 5 to advance?
We considered this and decided against it.

Why does fury have two 31-point talents? Wouldn’t it be simpler to merge them so one doesn’t have to re-specialize when new weapons drop?
We feel the decision on which of these two talents to choose is based on play style (two fast weapons, or two slow two-handed weapons), not based on which weapons most recently dropped (like the former Arms weapon specialization talents which have been cut).

We expect the player to decide which type of dual wielder they are and collect weapons and gear that fit that type.

How will brand new players know what a good leveling specialization is? Are they expected to know what site to visit and read up?
We believe that the new talent tree design will make it much easier for a neophyte player to pick a talent specialization and navigate its talent tree successfully with a viable specialization. We hope that most talent builds are decent for leveling. Giving players a good ability at level 10 definitely helps with this. We are trying to avoid the traps of bad talents by just removing them altogether (Unbridled Wrath, RIP).

Why was the Feral druid’s mana reduction cost removed from King of the Jungle? And what happened to two combo points on critical strikes?
These are data errors that will be corrected. Neither is intended to be cut.

Hi, it’s me Rend! I’m sort of terrible, but if tanks are having to use me in Cataclysm, may I be a good ability now?!
We don’t want Rend to be the answer to Protection warrior threat. It isn’t going to keep mobs glued to you. We do think we have room to boost its damage though, even for warriors with a DPS specialization. One change we’ve made is letting it do a tick of damage immediately, so that you see and feel damage right on the application instead of waiting for the first tick.

Is your goal to not have players have a separate talent specialization solely for PvP? If so, please elaborate on how you plan to accomplish that?
We are removing many of the PvP talents, as well as trying to make some of the PvP talents a little more useful for PvE (for example, a talent that currently procs on taking critical damage could instead proc on taking any damage, including AoE damage, as well). While we recognize that very competitive players might still want unique talent builds for PvP vs. PvE, the hope is that more players might be able to use the same specialization more often for multiple aspects of the game.

With the new 31-point tree system, how will players use dual-specialization? Do we get to choose a new tree when we first use our secondary specialization (off-spec)?
You can use dual-specialization for a different specialization in beta, if you choose, much as you can today. We are going to lower the level at which you can use dual-specialization, as well as the cost for purchasing it, because we recognize that using Dungeon Finder while leveling is likely to be popular.

Moonkin: What are your plans for Eclipse, and why does it infect so many of our talents? What are your plans to make Moonkin fun?
The model we are trying now lets Solar and Lunar Eclipse procs last for about 45 seconds, and each spell of the appropriate type that you cast moves the bar back closer to the middle again. The buff is canceled by reaching the middle. This should let Moonkin “hold” the buff for short periods of time when they need to move or get out of the fire.

It was said that players would be allowed to choose based on their play style. Do you believe fewer talents will accomplish this?
The talents that we are pruning are typically things like extra strength or coefficient boosts to spells. It

StarCraft II Beta Finale on July 19th

Get those fingers cracked and ready up to spend all weekend day and night playing StarCraft II Beta, because that’s the last you will experience of this historic 12-years-wait treat and memento.

StarCraft II Beta will draw to an end this upcoming Monday, July 19th in preparation to the midnight launch on the 27th. The withdrawal symptoms will drive you nuts till launch date. Darn you, Blizzard!!! But, love you too.

Blizzard Quote:
We would like to thank everyone who has participated in the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta test. You’ve done an admirable job of testing, and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback you provided during this critical phase of development. It’s been a lot of fun; however, all good things must come to an end.

In preparation for the launch of the game on Tuesday, July 27, the beta servers will be brought offline by Monday, July 19. At that time, all beta accounts and character information will be reset and the ability to create forum posts and comments on the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty website ( will be unavailable until launch. In the meantime, we still encourage everyone to stay tuned to the website for exciting news and updates regarding the upcoming release.

Thank you again for your participation, and we’ll see you soon on!

Answers to Common Community Questions About Real ID

Nethaera revealed the new plans for the Forums Real ID System as a response to fan feedback provided after the whole Real ID first name and last name mess that spread wildly throughout the global internet.

Blizzard has a new plan to address the feedback and concerns about customer privacy. Among these new decisions is the introduction of an opt-out to the “Friends of Friends List”, a forum post rating system and an optional Facebook Friend Search feature that pulls your friend list from Facebook to populate your StarCraft II in-game friend list.

Read the full list of answers to common community questions about Real ID.

Blizzard Quote:
Answers to Common Community Questions About Real ID™

Since the launch of the Real ID™ system in World of Warcraft®, we’ve received a number of questions from the community about our plans for the service, features like StarCraft® II’s Facebook® integration, and how we see Real ID evolving in the future. We’ve been keeping tabs on the conversations on our forums, social media sites, and fansites, and have compiled some of the most common questions to answer for you here. We hope you find this information helpful, and we look forward to hearing your feedback and continuing the conversation in the thread below.

Do you have any plans to allow players to not show their real name to friends of friends while using the Real ID system?

As with any new feature we add to our games, we’ve been evaluating how Real ID has been used since its release to identify new functionality that would help improve our players’ experience. The in-game Real ID “friends of friends” list is designed to give players a convenient way to populate their Real ID friends list with other players they know and trust in real life, allowing them to quickly and easily send Real ID friend requests to these people without having to enter their® account names. However, we recognize that some players would prefer not to be displayed on friends lists in this fashion, so we plan to include an option that will allow players to opt out of appearing on their Real ID friends’ “friends of friends” lists. We’re anticipating this feature to be available for StarCraft II shortly after release of the game, and World of Warcraft at around the same time — we’ll have more information for you in the coming weeks.

What are your plans for Facebook integration?

With regard to Facebook, our goal is to help Blizzard gamers on more easily connect to their real-life friends and family. For the launch of StarCraft II, we are introducing an optional Facebook friend finder feature to help achieve this goal. The friend finder enables players who decide to use it to easily populate their friends list by sending Real ID friend requests to the people on their Facebook friends list who have accounts. We hope players will find this feature convenient, but it’s completely optional. In the long term, we hope to give players who use Facebook some fun, and also optional, ways to share what they’re doing in Blizzard games with their friends, similar to the optional World of Warcraft Armory integration now available, but we don’t have any specific plans to share at present.

How does the friend finder in StarCraft II work? What’s sent to Facebook?

When you use the Add a Friend feature in StarCraft II, one of the options you’ll see is to search your Facebook friends list for people who also have accounts in order to quickly send them Real ID friend requests. When you click this button, you’ll be asked to enter your Facebook login information, and you’ll then see a list of your Facebook friends who also have accounts. You’ll then have the option to send any of these Facebook friends a Real ID friend request in-game. (Keep in mind that for someone to appear on the list, their account email address must match their Facebook email address. In addition, you’ll see the names of any Facebook friends who have registered accounts, regardless of whether they have Blizzard games attached to their account or just, for example, created the account to make a purchase on the online Blizzard Store.)

It’s important to note that Blizzard Entertainment does not share any personal information with Facebook as part of this process. Keep in mind that as with other Real ID features such as the “friends of friends” list, our goal with the friend finder feature is to create convenient options to help players easily find people they know in real life on without having to remember email addresses or account names. We hope players will find the feature easy to use and convenient.

How can I prevent World of Warcraft add-ons from accessing Real ID first and last names without my knowledge?

As always, we recommend that you get your UI add-ons through reliable sources. It’s important to note that without installing a UI add-on specifically designed to retrieve that information, there’s no risk of it being accessed. On our end, we’re looking into the issue and are at work on some changes that we can make to help protect against these types of add-ons. We’ll provide further details as soon as we have more information to share.

Are you secretly trying to build a social gaming platform with the new

It’s no secret — as we’ve discussed openly since we first started sharing our plans about the new, one of our goals is for it to serve as a social gaming service for Blizzard gamers. This was a deliberate and open design decision, driven 100% by the desire to create an even better online experience for our players by giving them powerful tools to compete with and stay connected to their real-life friends and family.

If my account was compromised, what information about my Real ID friends would a hacker have access to?

We take account security very seriously, and we offer a number of ways to help players keep their account secure, including the Authenticator and the free Mobile Authenticator app, available for a wide range of mobile devices. Aside from your friends’ first and last names, no other personal information is shared through the in-game Real ID system.

What’s a StarCraft II “character code”?

When you first log in to StarCraft II, you’re prompted to choose a single character name. This is the only name you’ll use on, and it’s tied to your StarCraft II license. In order to allow players to select any name they wish regardless of whether another player is already using the same name, we then generate and assign a three-digit character code that uniquely identifies the player. When posting on the forums of the new StarCraft II community site, players will be posting using their StarCraft II character name and character code.

Will the new StarCraft II forum posting name format (character name + character code) carry over into the forum communities of other Blizzard games?

Following our recent decision to no longer use real first and last names on Blizzard forums, we’re still evaluating how we’ll move forward with our other forums. Our ultimate goal is still to promote constructive conversations and improve the overall forum experience for our players, and we think increasing accountability is an important part of achieving that. StarCraft II already uses a character name and character code combo in-game, which serves as a unique player identifier and fits well with our goal for the forums. World of Warcraft handles player identification differently, so we still need to determine whether adding a character code system like in StarCraft II is the best solution. Ultimately, we want to come up with a system that makes sense for each community and fits our long-term vision for the forums.

Are there any plans to change the in-game Real ID system so that players will have the option to display an assigned user name instead of their real names?

The Real ID system is designed to help real-life friends and family who decide to use it keep in touch with each other across Blizzard games, and our goal in using real names is to ensure that players will be able to maintain long-term, meaningful relationships on the service for years to come. One way it helps make that happen is by eliminating the need to remember who, for example, “Thrall123” really is when you see him or her pop up on your friends list again after months — or years — of being offline. Ultimately, we think this is the best way to ensure players who use Real ID are able stay connected with the people they enjoy playing with most in the long-term, and we don’t currently have any plans to change the system so it can be used with character names or alternate handles instead. That said, is a living, breathing service that we will continue to evolve over time as we evaluate how players are using it and identify new ways to improve the experience.

What plans are there to improve moderation since the use of real names on the forums has been changed?

Our new community sites’ forums, beginning with the StarCraft II site, will have an improved moderation system as well as a post-rating system which will help our players promote the conversations they find the most constructive, as well as help forum moderators identify quality discussions. This, coupled with the unique StarCraft II character name and code, will help us to create a more positive atmosphere based on community interaction and accountability.

Share your opinions with Blizzard here, and with our community in the comments area.

JINX T-Shirts: WoW, StarCraft II, Diablo 15% Off Discount

J!NX has a new limited-time offer! Buy $30 or more on any WoW, StarCraft II, Diablo III or any non-Blizzard T-Shirt and get a 15% off your purchase by entering the code MEEPS (in CAPS) at checkout.

Offer valid until 11:59pm (PDT) on 7/16/10. Not valid in combination with any other sale or discount.

StarCraft II Midnight Openings Across Europe

Several Blizzard developers will be signing copies during the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Midnight Opening in London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Moscow on July 26th.


Carl Chimes (Lead software engineer, StarCraft II) will be at Game, a shop located in 100 Oxford Street Westminster, London, W1D 1LL, UK since 10:30pm.


Rob McNaughton (Lead technical artist, StarCraft II) will be present at 10:30pm in the Media Markt (Map) located at:

Berlin-Mitte Grunerstraße 20
10179 Berlin, Germany


Dustin Browder (Game Director, Starcraft II) will be at FNAC – Champs Elysées (Map) signing copies of Starcraft II at 7:30pm (19:30).

74, av. des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris


Chris Sigaty (Production Director, Starcraft II) will be signing copies at the Webhallen store (Map) at 7pm (19:00) located in:

Sveavägen 39
111 34 Stockholm


Tony Hsu (Game producer, StarCraft II) will be signing at 6pm (20:00) in Media Markt (Map) located at:

Media Markt
Moscow, 119334,
Prospekt Vernadskogo 6
Trade Center “Capitoliy”

Blizzard Quote:
Reports of zerg activity have been coming in from all across the world, and we need you to fend off the swarm that’s set to arrive this summer with the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Retailers across Europe are hosting special midnight store openings to celebrate the release, and will start selling the game at midnight on July 26/27. Be among the first to get your hands on the Collector’s Edition of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty!

In addition, Blizzard Entertainment developers will be on hand to sign copies and meet players at several locations throughout Europe: Paris, London, Stockholm, Berlin, and Moscow. To get all the information about the StarCraft II midnight openings, a dedicated page has been opened which you can access here.

Don’t forget you can pre-order StarCraft II now on our pre-order page.

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Digital Download Available

Blizzard is now offering a digital download of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty for those who will rather not get the boxed DVD game. Once downloaded, you may activate it during the release date.

Blizzard Quote:
Who should download StarCraft II in advance?

If you intend to purchase StarCraft II digitally, downloading the client now will allow you to simply pay and play when digital copies of StarCraft II go on sale.

Will digital copies of StarCraft II be available as soon as the game is released in stores?

No. They’ll go on sale slightly later, on 07/27/2010 10:00 AM PDT in North America and Latin America.

** I clicked SKIP instead of ACTIVATE – is that bad?

That’s OK, just click this link and log in.

1. Download: Download the full StarCraft II client today and pay later!

2. Install: On 07/27/2010 10:00 AM PDT, when sales of digital copies begin in North America and Latin America, start the installer program.

3. Purchase: Choose Activate**, and follow the options to log in to Account Management and purchase StarCraft II.

4. Play!: Wait for the installer to complete then log in using your account to play.

Cataclysm: Durotar Screenshots

There have been some changes to Durotar. The most notable are the relocation of the zeppelins of Undercity and Stranglethorn Vale, and that of Borean Tundra. These are now within Orgrimmar on the upper levels in the back of the Valley of Strength.

The Horde’s Kor’kron Deathbringers are now fighting the Burning Blade Fanatics outside the entrance to the Skull Rock cave. The goblins built a port at Bladefist Bay, just east of the Skull Rock cave; and a massive Goblin ship is seen there.

Important to note, that all the exterior of Orgrimmar is filled with tents and machinery. Lots of laborers, overseers, and archers. Furthermore, all these NPCs are tagged as Dranosh’ar archers, Dranosh’ar Laborers, and so on.

The Cataclysm didn’t leave Durotar unscathed. The Tirigarde Keep was hit by a tsunami. You can see the northern shore near Tirigarde has deep marks on the sand as a memory of a massive wave that hit the coast and reached deep into the in-land. All the Kul’Tiras fleet is now wrecked ships laying ashore on the beach and in-land. That Tsunami is probably how the Thunder Ridge and the now Southfury Watershed got submerged underwater.

The Northwatch Expeditionary Force have taken Tirigarde Keep. You can see Kul’Tiras Marine corpses still on the ground. Occassionally, the Northwatch Marines will kneel and sob before a corpse. Lieutenant Palliter is now at the Keep, instead of Lieutenant Benedict who used to have the key to the chest that contained Admiral Proudmoore’s letter…

Most of the western coast of Durotar is partially underwater. The Razormane still inhabit the area, nevertheless. This area, west of Razor Hill is now known as the Southfury Watershed.

Remember Misha Tor’kren at the farmstead northwest of Razor Hill? The quest was titled Lost but Not Forgotten. Her house is partially destroyed, and her farmstead is underwater. She’s not anywhere to be seen. She’s replaced by Grandmatron Tekla.

The Thunder Ridge made its debut in Warcraft III: Frozen Throne with the orc map campaign featuring Rexxar and Chen Stormstout sent there to retrieve reagents. They got a bit toasted by local Thunder Lizards in the attempt. In World of Warcraft, we used to go here to kill that dreadful level 12 goblin warlock Fizzle Darkclaw and his burning blade acolytes, of course, after facing some of these electrifying Thunder Lizards.

After the Cataclysm, Thunder Ridge is now completely underwater. Now all you see in the depths is several Drowned Thunder Lizards; and golden stonefish swimming back and forth. Curiously, the corpse of Fizzle Darkclaw is still there, and he still has his hand. The mission was to get his claw.

Some of the low level quests may have changed drastically, not just due to the physical repercussions of the Cataclysm, and the tsunami that submerged half of Durotar, but because simply continuity dictates that some things are no more. After thwarting the plans of the Kolkar centaur, near the Valley of Trials, they no longer reside in the area. Now the Northwatch Expedition Force is where the centaur tents used to be, and have a small post by the beach.

In other areas, continuity didn’t affect much other enemy races. The Razormane still inhabit Durotar, and surprisingly the Harpies continue to live in the Drygulch Ravine and Razorwind Canyon — so close to Orgrimmar and Razor Hill.

It will be interesting to play Durotar to find out how much the low level quests have been changed. Personally, I like the Echo Isles, and the changes to Orgrimmar. The city looks so different, and its valleys are completely redesigned with so much detail. There is a back alley at the Valley of Honor that leads straight into Azshara into a goblin area. More as I continue exploring.

Cataclysm: Stonetalon Mountains Spoilers

Stonetalon Mountains is among the regions of Kalimdor with several changes across the board not only environment-wise, but quests have been deeply affected by the redesign of the land.

For example, the Horde might remember the entrance of Stonetalon mountain from the Barrens, just west of the Crossroads. There used to be two Horde towers and roadblock. Not far from there, down that hill was a small tent with a Tauren and a female orc. From one you got the quests to avenge his tribe by killing the Grimtotem Tribesmen. The other one sent you to kill the Venture Co. deforesting the area.

The tent is still there in Cataclysm, but the Alliance dominated the Horde in this front and built a huge wall guarded by ballistas. These are led by Commander Singleton at Honor’s Stand which has two Alliance towers, and another one in construction.

The Stonetalon Pass is a war scene between the Honor’s Stand Sharpshooters and Guards versus the Horde’s Hunter Hill Scouts composed of Tauren and Orcs as seen here.

Malaka’jin looks untouched, except the Witch Doctor Jin’Zil is no longer in the cave. He’s dancing a few yards outside the cave. Thus, that quest where you are sent to gather some ingredients at Stonetalon Peak to poison the Night Elf prisoners in his cave is no more.

Find out more after the break and look out for tons of spoilers and the 78 screenshots (identifying each zone with title).

Grimtotem Post

There is a Horde force in Malaka’jin known as the Krom’gar. These are composed of Orcs, Trolls and Tauren. Some of these Krom’gar Marauders can be seen all around Camp Aparaje and the Grimtotem Post really beating up the Grimtotem there, where you used to kill the Grimtotem Ruffians and Mercenaries before. Thus the quest to rescue the female Tauren Kaya from Chieftain Grundig Darkcloud’s tent is also gone in Cataclysm. She’s nowhere to be found in that area.

Chieftain Grundig Darkcloud seems to have been upgraded to Elite, and he’s surrounded by six Grimtotem aligned in a star-shape, with him inside the circle walking within it. Does seem like a group quest. Curiously, there is a random event where several Horde NPCs ambush him, and die miserably to him and his six-pack bodyguards and his thunderclap spammage.


Warchief Grundig Darkcloud: Hellscream’s armies march upon us, brothers and sisters! The Horde sends assassins! Kill them all!

Warchief Grundig Darkcloud: I have seen the future, brothers and sisters, and in it the Horde are no more! Fight on! Magatha commands it! Do not despair! All is not lost! Yet.

Northwatch Expedition Base Camp

Behind the Grimtotem Post, high in the mountain can be accessed an alliance base with a flightmaster: the Northwatch Expedition Base Camp. Curiously the stable has an Innkeeper. Next to the base is a mine.

Deep Reaches Mine

The Deep Reaches mine is one of those huge labyrinths with rails. Within are several frightened miners, and Raging Earth Elementals. If you are Alliance, you should beware that everywhere you will find Horde Krom’gar assassins in stealth-mode every few steps. There are three NPCs at the entrance, so this is likely a level 28 quest. Horde players level 25-36 should stay clear from the Northwatch Expedition Base Camp because the guards here are level 40.

Unearthed Grounds

Not far from the Alliance base to the east, and behind the Grimtotem Post can be found an ex-Explorer’s League excavation only known as the Unearthed Grounds. On the west entrance to this excavation site is a large group of Alliance Footmen standing guard.

There are several dwarf corpses across the excavation site, now occupied by Goblin Stripminers who are protected by Krom’gar Blood Guards. In short, the Alliance was owned and lost the Unearthed Grounds.

Boulderslide Ravine and Boulderslide Cavern look unchanged. By the way, there are several Stonetalon Rams added to the region, on high grounds.

Webwinder Hollow

Remember that secluded area with the Deepmoss Venomspiter spiders where you could complete the Arachnophobia quest by killing the big spider? That area unexplicably is no longer secluded, it is now a big valley named Webwinder Hollow, fully accessible from the Webwinder Path. The spider boss to kill in Cataclysm is named Queen Silith (lvl 27). It’s twice as big as my Violet Proto-Drake. Now that’s scary.

Windshear Crag

The Windshear Valley was once annoying to traverse due to the several spiders and Storm Lizards you encountered to access the Windshear Crag, or to do the Goblin quest or the deepmoss egg quest. Now it is full of small tents with Alliance Northwatch Footmen.

The Windshear Crag is no longer occupied by the Venture Co. It’s now a battleground between the Horde and the Alliance. On the east side is the Horde’s Krom’Gar Fortress with a Hot Air Baloon, an Inn, mailbox, flightmaster, and a couple vendors. A Quartermaster is found there, with no loot table at this time in beta.

Some goblin cannons may be seen on the edge of the mountain, which suggest a special quest to bombard Alliance below. There’s a Big Daddy sawmachine robot for a quest, and a counterpart at the Windshear Hold, the Alliance base.

Overlord Krom’gar: Grunts, ATTENTION! How has our revered Warchief failed you? Your families no longer starve. Your loved ones live with shelter over their heads. You may walk through the streets of Orgrimmar with pride! We are the new Horde, and under Warchief Hellscream, we are masters of our own destinies. WHY THEN, have we failed to take Stonetalon Mountains? How have the Alliance been able to halt the great Horde war machine?

The Deep Reaches Mine mentioned before ends as an exit right beneath Krom’Gar Fortress, which contains Horde peons within.

The Windshear Crag changed radically. Instead of Venture Co. Deforesters, now we have an all-out-war between many Goblin Harvesters (the robots) versus Gnomebot Pounders, and Goblin Technicians versus Gnome Engineers. It’s a dynamite palooza from both ends. These are found all across the southern side of the Blackwolf River.

On the upper side of the Blackwolf River are the Krom’Gar Infantry across the land, and several cages filled with Captured Huntress NPCs. Obviously, an Alliance quest to free the prisoners.

Talondeep Pass

Just northeast of the Windshear Crag used to be the path full of spiders leading to the Talondeep Pass, a cave tunnel that connected Stonetalon Mountains with Ashenvale. That’s no more. The Goblins used dynamite and drilling machines to demolish the mountain. It’s now a path instead of a tunnel.

High above this path is an Alliance post named the Trueshot Point, led by the night elf Kalen Trueshot and his crew of female Stardust Archers. There is some gnome Sniper Cannons here to help him shoot down Hellscream War Riders atop wyverns. Very likely an Alliance quest.

On the southeast side of the Talondeep Path is a Horde camp named The Fold. Here you might find some quests from the Incinerator, and two vendors: an engineer who can repair, and a Trader for profession materials.

That huge water wheel gizmo at the Windshear Crag’s Cragpool Lake is still there, and it continues to be operated by the Venture Co. The only property they still control. Curiously Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle is still there. Didn’t the Tinker’s Union goblin Sputtervalve in Ratchet ordered his lackey Ziz Fizziks to kill Gerenzo and to get his mechanical arm as proof? Hmm.

Sunrock Retreat

The Sunrock Retreat looks exactly the same, except for two things. The Blood Elf female Braelyn Firehand is no longer there by the flightmaster. She was one of the very few blood elves available in World of Warcraft classic, before Burning Crusade introduced them as a playable race. To remind you, she gave the quest titled Cenarius’ Legacy where you had to go to Stonetalon Peak to kill Son of Cenarius x 4, Daughter of Cenarius x 4 and Cenarion Botanist x 4. She also asks you to kill the keeper of the grove Ordanus at the Raynewood Retreat in Ashenvale, and to infiltrate the Talon Den in Stonetalon Peak to retrieve an item that would be your reward for the deeds.

The other NPC that disappeared was the orc Mor’rogal and his water elemental Tsunaman from the high ground above Sunrock Retreat. Mor’rogal used to give you the quest titled Earthen Arise sending you to infiltrate the Boulderslide Cavern to kill the Earthen NPC Goggeroc.

Tsunaman used to give you the quest titled Elemental War sending you to kill Fire Elementals at the Charred Vale to obtain 10 Incendrites. Neptulon the Tidehunter wanted these extinguished. Your job was to make Tsunaman the water elemental gain the Tribunal’s favor.

Both of these NPCs are gone, and the quests along with them it seems.

Ruins of Eldre’Thar

Remember how annoying it was to go all around north of the Sunrock Retreat to reach the Charred Vale, in order to reach Desolace? No worries now. Just above the Webwinder Hollow is a new path named Sishir Canyon which goes straight across the mountain into the Charred Vale. The Sishir Canyon, however, crosses through a new area known as Ruins of Eldre’Thar.

There are several Highborne marked as Undead. They seem to be ghosts who talk about Xavius, Queen Azshara and Sargeras. It’s not clear to me from their dialogue if this is a replay or echoe of what happened 10,000 years ago, or if this is part of the Nightmare. As these Highborne ghosts talk among each other, there are Emerald Spirits in the shape of owls flying around, which definitely seem to entail this is part of the Nightmare. Considering that Lord Xavius is directly behind the Nightmare as revealed in Richard A. Knaak’s World of WarCraft: Stormrage, one has to wonder if Xavius is somehow back in action in Cataclysm.

The dialogue below mentions Malfurion and his dirt-loving brothers. This in particular contradicts the notion that this is a ten milennia memory replay, because in the War of the Ancients trilogy there weren’t any night elf druids helping Malfurion. Only priestesses of the moon, militia and arcane spellcasters assisted Malfurion. Twitch, twitch!

Lady Benel’derath: I heard Lord Xavius left today for his tower in Ashenvale.

Lord Ro’minate: Oh? Do you think his promise of an even greater source of power will come true?

Lady Bene’derath: As one of the greatest of the Highborne, he will succeed where others have failed.

Lord Ro’minate: I’m still wary of the risks. While I agree that Malfurion and his dirt-loving brothers are quite mad, this Lord Sargeras must have another agenda …

Lady Benel’derath: Shush! Quiet … before the others hear you.

Councilman Stark I’ylar: My friends, my colleagues. Put yourselves at ease. The recent decrease in our magical powers is being reviewed as we speak. Even Lord Xavius has said that the ebb and flow of magic is normal. However, our new allies, formed from within the Twisting Nether promise new sources of power, and untold mastery of our magic. Keep faith in Lady Azshara, as she keeps her faith in you.

Is this a past echoe of what happened during the War of the Ancients? Or is this a present dialogue?

I can’t ignore when Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson told me during the video interview at New York Comic Con (Feb 2009) there were big plans for Sargeras.

The Charred Vale

The Charred Vale was definitely regrown by the Tauren Druid Tammra Windfield, who gave you the quest titled New Life. You can still see green land and pine trees there, but the Charred Vale is now Charred worser than before after its rebirth. A black drake flies the area that is now scorched and devastated by a volcano and lava channels which pour all across the Charred Vale and into the ocean where you can see steam and bubbles in the water.

The interior and surroundings of the Charred Vale’s mini-volcano has fire elementals, Black whelps, and black dragon eggs.

Battlescar Valley

Remember that large canyon leading to the Charred Vale where you could fight Fire Elementals and Basilisks? I even remember there were quests for these, specially the Basilisks. In Cataclysm, forget about that narrow canyon. It is now a huge valley named Battlescar Valley, and it is currently an all-out-war between the Alliance and the Horde. A lot of Krom’gar NPCs are fighting Night Elves here mano-a-mano and several catapults and glaive throwers shooting ammo left and right.

I doubt you have seen in World of Warcraft such a battlefield before with so many NPC vs NPC interaction.

There are several villages here in the midst of this huge war. The Alliance has the Tal’Darah Overlook and the Tal’Darah Grove. A bit farther southwest, is the Farwatcher’s Glen, an Alliance village with an Inn. It’s mostly inhabited by Worgen. The first image below is the Tal’Darah Grove. The second is Tal’Darah Overlook. The last three images are from the Worgen village Farwatcher’s Glen, not far to the southwest of Tal’Darah Grove.

On the other side of the Battlescar Valley is the Horde’s Tauren village named Cliffwalker Post, with an elevator. This village is high above the entrance to Stonetalon Peak.


All those quests to kill wild wyverns, gather gaea seeds, and all the stuff around Mirkfallon Lake is no more. The Mirkfallon Lake is now known as the Sludgewerks — a Horde goblin town on the north side of the lake, and an Oil Refinery at the Mirkfallon Lake.

The Pridewing Wyverns were relocated to the southeast side of the Sludgewerks. There’s a path uphill to reach them. Any ooze or other bestiary of the area was removed. Now goblins and hobgoblins wander all the area around the contaminated lake. It is now an oil refinery.

Stonetalon Peak

Last and not the least, Stonetalon Peak. It’s awesome. As you climb the hill that leads to this place, you will see several Krom’gar grunts, witch doctors and shamans battling Ancients of War who are protecting the entrance to Stonetalon Peak.

And believe me when I say you have never seen something quite like this. The shamans hurl fiery tornados at the Ancients of War. And in return, the Ancients of War roll giant boulders downhill to crush everyone that crosses on their path. I mean it. Literally. I was on my flying mount, and a boulder went past me beneath me. I felt a short knockback. Even at level 80 my character was killed by three boulders while I hovered near the ground. Each boulder causes over 7000 damage — pretty lethal for a level 30 Horde or Alliance character who will have to go frogger through this canyon to reach Stonetalon Peak either by dodging the flaming tornadoes or the rolling boulders.

Going past this annoyance, you reach the Stonetalon Peak. Last you visited the place as a Horde player, you were sent here by the blood elf in Sunrock Retreat to kill some Sons and daughters of Cenarius, and Cenarion Botanists. They are still there, but something has gone horribly wrong.

The first sight you will see is an invasion of tendrils coming off the ground. They will grab NPCs, and even the beasts and toss them back and forth endlessly. These also cast shadowbolts if they can’t reach you.

At the center of the Stonetalon Peak is a big Faceless One named Harbinger Aph’lass. The Storm Peak Inn is completely destroyed and ablaze, so don’t count on that flightmaster anymore. Some of the Cenarion Druids that used to live there are now corrupted and fighting the other unaffected Cenarion druids, and dryads.

The Talon Den seems unaffected by the Horde visit last time the blood elf female sent us there. The only difference here is the invasion of tendrils and the faceless one. Looks like the Nightmare is hitting this place pretty good.

The Cataclysm seriously changed Stonetalon Mountains. It’s a sight to travel through this entire place and to see all the work the developers put into reshaping the region and making it far more interesting. I look forward to leveling a Worgen and Goblin in here to find out what’s the new lore behind all these new contemporary changes based post-Cataclysm.

View all 78 Screenshots of Stonetalon Mountains.

Cataclysm: Mount Hyjal Full of Cameos

The Creative Team is definitely cooking something interesting in Mount Hyjal. Throughout my exploration of Mount Hyjal in closed beta, I found several key characters of the Warcraft universe who either have returned, or make their first appearance in the game, straight from the novels.

Did I itch your curiousity? Good. However, that would be a Spoiler.
Ysera is found at Nordrassil with some Night Elf and Tauren druids channeling a spell through her onto the Great Tree.

Malfurion Stormrage may be found at the edge of Archimonde’s Vengeance, the huge crater on the northern edge of Mount Hyjal, and a bit west of Nordrassil.

Baron Geddon has returned from Molten Core to lay siege to Nordrassil. Only problem is that Malfurion and his elite team of druids and wardens are holding him off at the center of the huge crater, while a druid is spamming entangling roots on him.

Cenarius and Jarod Shadowsong can be found at the Gates of Sothann, on the southeastern corner of Mount Hyjal. They have a large group of druids and green drakes ready for battle.

Those of you wondering how Malfurion got to be here, when he has been missing in the Emerald Nightmare, the answer to that is in Richard A. Knaak’s World of WarCraft: Stormrage.

Cenarius was last mentioned by Malfurion to be fighting the Nightmare alongside him within the Emerald Dream. How Cenarius came to be reborn in the physical plane is yet unknown. The novel didn’t even spotlight him.

The one cameo that will definitely awe is the return of Jarod Shadowsong, brother of Illidan’s warden: Maiev Shadowsong.

Jarod commandered the Night Elf forces and even the Ancients against the Burning Legion’s invasion during the War of the Ancients. Ever since, any record of his whereabouts was unknown. The Warcraft Encyclopedia doesn’t offer any clues either. Out of nowhere, Jarod has returned in the most dire moment of Azeroth since the War of the Ancients — well, the Third War was dire enough, but he didn’t see fit to come out of the rock he’s been hiding to do anything about it.

What plans does Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson and their crew have for the future of Azeroth, Malfurion, Cenarius, and Jarod Shadowsong? Only time can tell.

One big question that comes to my mind is, will we learn any of what’s going on in Mount Hyjal in the upcoming Christie Golden’s World of Warcraft: The Shattering? I really hope so.

StarCraft II Beta Patch 16

The patch notes for the latest StarCraft II Beta Patch 16 are now available. This new version of the client is more attuned to the retail version of the game. All the A.I. difficulties are also available for play. Go ahead and test this feature, and make sure to play around with the StarCraft II Editor.

Blizzard Quote:
StarCraft II Beta – Patch 16 (version


  • Rally points now behave as a move command, instead of an attack move command.
  • Enabled the ability to manually add a StarCraft II character friend using the player’s character code. Character code is a server-assigned numerical code that is displayed within the Add Friend panel.
  • Achievements & Rewards have been updated.
  • All Quick Match modes are now available: 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, and Free For All.

  • All A.I. difficulties are now available for play.
  • Cooperative matchmaking versus A.I. players is now available as a play mode.
  • Enabled cross-game social features between World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.

Balance Changes

  • ZERG

    • Infestor

      • Frenzy spell removed.
      • Infested Terran spell added.

    • Overseer

      • Infested Terran spell removed.

    • Ultralisk

      • Now immune to stuns and mind control.

Upcoming Changes to the Forums

Blizzard Entertainment announced a big change to the forums that will cause a bit of controversy. Thus it is important to share your constructive feedback with the developers and let them know your feelings in a calmed and rational manner.

The current WoW and StarCraft II forums will be known as classic forums. These won’t change, and won’t be part of the change. You will continue to use them.

However, the new WoW and StarCraft II forums that will use the RealID system will display your full real name and last name when you post. You can optionally post on those two new forums. Otherwise, use the classic forums if hyou wish to remain anonymous.

Blizzard Quote: Update: Upcoming Changes to the Forums

Nethaera: Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about our plans for Real ID on our official forums, discuss the design philosophy behind the changes we’re making, and give you a first look at some of the new features we’re adding to the forums to help improve the quality of conversations and make the forums an even more enjoyable place for players to visit.

For more details read more in this thread

Bashiok: One important point which I don’t believe has been relayed yet is that the switch to showing RealID on the forums will only happen with the new forum systems we’re launching for StarCraft II shortly before its release, and a new forum system for World of Warcraft launching shortly before the release of Cataclysm.

All posts here on the current World of Warcraft forums, or any of our classic forums, will remain as-is. They won’t (and can’t) automatically switch to showing a real first and last name.

All posts in the future on the new forum systems will be an opt-in choice and ample warning will be given that you’re posting with your real first and last name.

Nethaera: Just to respond to those that don’t think we read through all of these responses and threads, we do and have been. We will continue monitoring feedback as well.

We put a lot of thought into this change and have a long-term vision for the Real ID service and wanted to make sure that we communicated ahead of time and very clearly as to what will be changing and how. Keep in mind that posting is optional, and we recognize that some players will choose not to utilize the Real ID feature in game or post on the forums and support everyone’s individual choice on using or not using it.

This is obviously new ground for us and for you as well, but we want to make sure we’re creating a great social-gaming service that people will want to use. We just want to make sure that if people are sharing feedback, that they keep it constructive, and yes, as I said, we are reading.

JINX 2010 Independence Day’s 25% Off Discount on T-Shirts

Another discount special to stock up your World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Diablo III T-shirts collection to wear during BlizzCon, at home, school or work.

Grab all the T-shirts you want, and at checkout enter the code 07041776 (those are zeros, not O’s) to receive 25% off all products. Offer valid until 11:59pm on 7/8/10. Not valid in combination with any other sale or discount.

Keith R.A. DeCandido @ 2010 Shore Leave 32 in July 9-11

The convention-hopper Keith R.A. DeCandido just boarded an airplane from Indianapolis where he attended InConJunction 30 as its Guest of Honor. He’s back in New York City, but not for long, because he is heading to Maryland.

If you are a Trekkie, or a Star Wars junkie, or any other sci-fi nerd and you are attending the Shore Leave 32 at the Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland — you might want to cross paths with Keith R.A. DeCandido throughout July 9 – 11, 2010.

Bring your copies of StarCraft: Ghost novels and manga; or World of WarCraft: Cycle of Hatred for book signing. Shake hands and take a photo with the writer. Send it our way to post it in the front page.

While Keith has no Blizzard-related panels at the event, if you are going to the event for kicks concerning other sci-fi worlds, still feel free to approach him with your Blizzard collections for signing. You can find his three-days schedule here.

Robert B. Marks Denounces Piracy of Diablo: Demonsbane

I posted over at Diablo.IncGamers my thoughts on a recent article by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame) which denounced the piracy of his Diablo: Demonsbane. You can read my post here.

I invite everyone to use word of mouth, social means to support Robert’s message. Say no to piracy. Buy the Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft books in either eBook or paperback/hardcover formats. Read and enjoy. Then continue to support these amazing writers, publishers and Blizzard’s Creative Team.

Games.On.Net Cataclysm Beta Keys

/takes a deep breath … got ahold of five Cataclysm Beta Keys to giveaway. You have until July 8 to participate.

As for Blizzplanet’s Cataclysm Beta Keys, be patient a shortwhile until Blizzard Entertainment assigns beta keys to all their registered fansites. So stay alert on Blizzplanet and other fansites.

From past experience, you might see gaming networks giving beta keys at some point. We will post links once those are active to benefit our visitors from such knowledge.

With the WoW: Cataclysm beta going live in recent weeks, we thought a few of the readers might want a piece of the action. After a midnight meeting with Blizzard, where we offered up the soul of our firstborn, we’ve managed to extract five beta keys to this extensive overhaul of the world’s most successful MMORPG. But you need to prove you deserve it!

To win, you must:
1.) Tell us a tale of your most heroic WoW moment, in 100 words or less. Use the comment section of this news post.

2.) Post a link to your character in the WoW armory, so we can suss out just how serious you are about your WoW playing. Put this alongside your heroic tale.

3.) You’ll be interviewed after a few weeks of play, so you can share your experience with the community. If you don’t want to write replies to a few questions, please don’t apply for a beta key.

You’ve got until midnight, Thursday the 8th of July to prove that you’re worthy. The top five entries will be notified via PM shortly thereafter. Until then, keep on raidin

Diablo III 2011 Wall Calendar Pre-Orders

Sellers Publishing is selling a brand-new Diablo III 2011 Wall Calendar now available for pre-orders in USA and UK.

It is slated for release on July 25, 2010, however other places list it to be released on mid-August. Either way, if BlizzCon tickets are to be set as example, get ahold of one before they are gone with the wind by crazed Diablo III collectors.

Diablo Wall Calendar: Two decades have passed since the demonic lords Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal set out on a vicious rampage, twisting humanity to their unholy will. Now Diablo III surfaces amid the rising powers of the Burning Hells. This calendar’s twelve images of the Diablo III universe—an ethereal realm—will mesmerize fans of the game and dark-fantasy aficionados alike.

Format: Standard Wall
Size Closed: 12.0 ” x 12.0″
Size Opened: 12.0 ” x 24.0″
Publisher: Sellers Publishing, Inc
Product ID: 201100001560

Starcraft Graphic Novel Might Hit Stores Late 2010

Many fans of the ongoing StarCraft comic book series published by Wildstorm / DC Comics were disappointed when it ended with issue # 7 on December of last year.

Shortly after, Wildstorm issued a press release announcing the World of Warcraft and the StarCraft comic book would return in a new format. The Graphic Novels are becoming popular lately, and those aren’t monthly.

As a product reviewer, I have access to the solicitations about a week than they become public. Thus far, I haven’t seen any solicitations for either graphic novel titles. It’s possible we might see something by the end of 2010, hopefully. At least Simon Furman’s message on his blog seems to point out we might hear something this year.

As for heavy hitters, as he mentions, I gotta point out for those who haven’t picked up the last issue, StarCraft # 7, the last page had a teasing image for the future of the series once it comes back in Graphic Novel format. The image showed the ghost Nova standing triumphant over the unconscious mercenary team: The War Pigs.

I recommend picking up the upcoming StarCraft Vol. 1 (June 25, 2010), a trade paperback (hardcover) gathering issues # 1 to 7. The War Pigs are officially part of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty as mercenaries you can hire from the Cantina room in the Hyperion — as revealed during the StarCraft II Press Event held in Blizzard Studios (Irvine).

Prior to this, Chris Metzen told me during our video interview (July 17, 2009) the War Pigs weren’t yet slated to appear, but he did savor the idea and didn’t guarantee they wouldn’t make an appearance in-game … “You never know!”

Simon Furman: “In December I got the news from Wildstorm that StarCraft would finish with issue #7. Which was disappointing, because I was solidly into the next story arc , which featured some of the game’s heavy-hitters. But, this just heralded a change of editorial direction, and I expect/hope to be back in the StarCraft universe in 2010 in the shape of an original graphic novel featuring those selfsame heavy-hitters. More details as this firms up.”

World of WarCraft: The Shattering Novel

The World of WarCraft: The Shattering novel is a Cataclysm-expansion tie-in expected on October 19, 2010. While the front cover is not a final artwork, it does impact you to know that Thrall is involved in this novel.

The front cover shows the Doomhammer, Thrall’s weapon. Knowing the track record of New York Times Best Selling author Christie Golden, it’s a sure bet she will highlight all the prowess of Thrall. She was the first to write a novel based on Thrall with WarCraft: Lord of the Clans.

Hardcover: $26.00.
Mass Market Paperbound: $7.99.

World of Warcraft has become a huge part of the pop culture landscape, with a celebrity-driven advertising campaign, a front-page article in The New York Times, and an upcoming live-action feature film directed by Sam Raimi. The previous game expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, shattered records, selling 2.8 million units in the first day alone. Now, New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden does for The Shattering what she did for Arthas in another epic exploration of the key characters from the eleven-million subscriber, massively multiplayer online game.

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Christie Golden has written over thirty novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Golden launched the TSR Ravenloft line in 1991 with her first novel, the highly successful Vampire of the Mists, which introduced elven vampire Jander Sunstar. To the best of her knowledge, she is the creator of the elven vampire archetype in fantasy fiction.

She is the author of several original fantasy novels, including On Fire’s Wings, In Stone’s Clasp, and Under Sea’s Shadow (currently available only as an e-book) the first three in her multi-book fantasy series “The Final Dance” from LUNA Books. In Stone’s Clasp won the Colorado Author’s League Award for Best Genre Novel of 2005, the second of Golden’s novels to win the award.

Among Golden’s other projects are over a dozen Star Trek novels and the well-received StarCraft Dark Templar trilogy, Firstborn, Shadow Hunters, and Twilight. An avid player of Blizzard’s MMORPG World of Warcraft, Golden has written several novels in that world (Arthas, Lord of the Clans, Rise of the Horde) with more in the works, including The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, due out in August 2010. She has also written two Warcraft manga stories for Tokyopop, “I Got What Yule Need” and “A Warrior Made.”

Golden is currently hard at work on three books in the major nine-book Star Wars series “Fate of the Jedi,” in collaboration with Aaron Allston and Troy Denning. Her first book in the series, Omen, hit shelves in June of 2009, and her second, Allies, is slated for publication in early summer of 2010.

Golden welcomes visitors to her website,

Thanks, Lon-Ami

Tokyopop Tour at L.A. Borders in Torrance CA

TOKYOPOP announced their Tokyopop Tour Event to be held on July 2 at the L.A. Borders Bookstore in Torrance, California.

If you love to collect Blizzard stuff, there you’ll definitely find something only a handful people will be owner of.

Borders Bookstore (Map)
3700 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA

Date: Friday, July 2, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Blizzard Quote:
Tokyopop: Friday at Borders in Torrance will be a spirited event that will engage the fans and will include TOKYOPOP manga trivia, a place to display fan art, a cosplay fashion show and other events where attendees can walk away with prizes. Our tour incorporates many of our brands, and for Blizzard we have 2 limited edition stickers.

Our tour bus travels for two months across the country, and we hope all our fans come out to see us!”

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm BETA Invites BEGUN

Blizzard has officially announced World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta HAS BEGUN! Initial waves of beta invitation emails have been deployed. Exercise caution with scams, but hey start reloading that email inbox like no tomorrow dude.


Blizzard Quote:
Blizzard Entertainment Begins Closed Beta Test
for World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™

IRVINE, Calif. – June 30, 2010 – Blizzard Entertainment announced today that the closed beta test for Cataclysm™, its highly anticipated new expansion for World of Warcraft®, has begun. The company has started issuing invitations to participate in the testing process to a wide range of players from around the world who signed up via their® accounts. While enjoying an early look at the game, beta testers will provide valuable feedback to help Blizzard Entertainment find bugs, address balance issues, and polish the new content.

“Our focus with Cataclysm has been to build on the knowledge we’ve gained through the previous expansions to deliver the best, most compelling World of Warcraft content for our players to date,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Gathering focused feedback during the beta test will go a long way in helping us reach that goal when we launch Cataclysm later this year.”

Cataclysm is the third expansion for World of Warcraft, the most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game in the world. The first two expansions, The Burning Crusade® and Wrath of the Lich King®, each shattered PC game sales records upon their release. In Cataclysm, the face of Azeroth will be forever altered by the return of the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing. Players will explore once-familiar areas of the world that have now been reshaped by the devastation and filled with new adventures. In an effort to survive the planet-shattering cataclysm, two new playable races — worgen and goblins — will join the struggle between the Alliance and the Horde. As players journey to the new level cap of 85, they’ll discover newly revealed locations, acquire new levels of power, and come face to face with Deathwing in a battle to determine the fate of the world.

For more information on World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, please visit the official website at To set up a account and sign up for a chance to participate in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta test, please visit the official website at

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm beta test is live, and we’ve begun the process of issuing invitations to selected participants! Week by week, as the beta test progresses, we will continue adding new World of Warcraft: Cataclysm playtesters. To opt in for Blizzard Entertainment beta tests, you must create a beta profile using the Beta Profile Settings option located in the “Manage My Games” section of your Account Management page.

Please note that players selected via the opt-in system do not receive beta keys. Rather, your account will be flagged automatically and an email will be sent to you. Simply log in to your account by visiting when you receive a beta welcome notice and check your “Manage My Games” section to verify that the beta client is available for download. Be careful when reading emails claiming to be beta invites. Scam emails often use clickable links to gather your account information, so the safest practice is to go to to check on your beta invitation status. If you would like tips on how to arm yourself against phishing attempts, head over to the Account Security page.

You can find the Cataclysm Beta forums here. Keep in mind that these forums are open to the public, but only those invited into the test environment will be able to post. Check out the full announcement for the beta test here, and stay tuned for more exciting news about World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. See you in Azeroth![

New J!NX Exclusive Design for Europe!

J!NX has just released a new T-shirt design exclusively for European gamers. Proving that size doesn’t matter in PvP, this new design, made using high-quality heavyweight materials and solid craftsmanship, will stir the blood of any Warrior, regardless of gender or faction!

Check out all WoW T-shirts (Europe or USA)

Click the images to order!

Sam Raimi Talks Warcraft Movie at 36th Saturn Awards

TheCollider had the opportunity to talk with film director Sam Raimi at the red carpet of The 35th Saturn Awards, where mostly he just talked about World of Warcraft. Pretty much the first time since he signed up as the Warcraft movie director (7.21.2009) that he talks this much on this topic.

Among the random topics he talked about we have answers to the recent rumors about The Hobbit and Oz.

  • He loves the script of Oz, the Great and Powerful, but he’s not really committed to it yet.
  • The rumors about The Hobbit are just that: rumors.
  • Raimi loves working creatively with Thomas Tull, a WoW player himself, and Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.

Sam Raimi: “I’ve been reading scripts, been reading books. I’ve been doing work with Robert Rodat on the treatment for the movie of WORLD OF WARCRAFT, and that’s coming along very well.

The rumors I don’t follow that much, but the reviews, good or bad, I live and die for. I really want people to like the movies, and if they don’t, it’s a real bummer. I’m thrilled when they like them. I don’t follow the rumors too much.

Right now, I’m not really committed to OZ. We’ll have to wait to see how that all goes. I did read it and I love the script and think it’s a great project. It’s something I would like to become involved with.

I love the visual world that the guys over at Blizzard have created. It’s incredibly, engrossingly terrifying and exciting. I like their use of scale and the giant monsters that they have. I love the different landscapes that your character can move through.

I like the personal interactions that you have with other players online. There are so many aspects about the game that I really enjoy. Like the sword battles, the performing spells. Learning new spells, getting to the next level.

We’re still working on the story right now. We have a 40-page document that needs more work. But every draft gets better and better. We’re finding the characters, and through the characters we’re finding the story. And the angle, there is no real angle on it. We’re trying to create realistic characters that can live in the world of WARCRAFT, as though you were in the game itself, in one of its environments, and have that interaction with those great mythical, iconic characters.

There are so many characters in the game that we’re really trying to pull out the most exciting and different characters of the game. It’s so overwhelming. It’s a real big universe. There are so many worlds, in fact, and characters, I don’t think we could touch on them all satisfactorily.

So we are trying to choose the characters that are interesting, and play a part in our drama that we’re developing.

I had a level 29 shaman that somebody deleted by accident. Now I’ve worked a new character all the way up to level 72. That’s how big of a fan I am. I’ve spent that many days in the world of Warcraft.

The studio is very enthusiastic. It’s Legendary Pictures. Tomas Tull is running Legendary. He’s a great fan of the game itself. He really produces good-quality pictures, and he wants to make a top-quality movie. That’s his only concern. So he’s very excited about the process. I love working with him.

I really love working with World of Warcraft. It’s still a long ways away. It’s only a 40-pages story. I really want to direct the picture, but it’s possible that a film that is ready to make could come in. I mean, I haven’t seen it yet. I love making movies. The development process is a little less interesting to me, but it’s something you have to do if you want to start something from scratch. That’s what we did with World of Warcraft.”

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Ad on Korean Air

Blizzard Entertainment has partnered with Korean Air to run a StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty advertising campaign from July to December 2010. The B747-400 (Boeing 747 widebody commercial airliner) and B737-900 (the Boeing 737 Next Generation) operated by Korean Air will have an image of Jim Raynor and the StarCraft II logo wrapped around the posterior fuselage.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with Korean Air, Korea’s leading airline, on this campaign,” said Paul Sams, Blizzard COO. “As we approach the global launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, this promotion represents a unique, large-scale opportunity to introduce the characters and style of the StarCraft universe to gamers throughout the world.”

The advertising campaign will be displayed on local and international flights, and four Korean limousine buses.

“eSports is an established part of youth culture all around the world,” said Yong-won Suh, executive VP of Korean Air. “We look forward to positioning ourselves as a global airline that appeals to the younger generation by operating airplanes wrapped with StarCraft II images and celebrating the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.”

This was posted earlier today at Neogaf by Zzoram.

South Korea and Taiwan will have access to the public beta when the game ships, the beta will allow them to try the online for a short time as a demo. Starcraft II will have a 30 day online pass for ~$10 and the full game with unlimited online play will cost ~$70. There will also be a $2/day online pass option for people who can rarely play except on holidays or stuff.

World of Warcraft subscribers in South Korea will get free access to Starcraft II online as part of their subscription, for the duration of their WoW subscription.

Successful professional Starcraft II players can earn a university scholarship from Blizzard, in addition to whatever salary/prize money they earn.

Previously rumored but now confirmed – Starcraft II Professional Edition will have LAN, but will only be available for televised tournament play in South Korea — Update: “We will be addressing StarCraft II tournament functionality in a post launch patch to the game, soon after ship. This patch will include features to address the needs of location-based pro tournaments, but we have not discussed any specifics about tournament support beyond that.” — at BigDownload.

Update – There will be NO physical copy in South Korea, it’ll be download only

2010 Blizzard Global Writing Contest Announced

Blizzard has announced the 2010 Blizzard Global Writing Contest. Get the chance to visit Blizzard’s headquarters and BlizzCon. Meet the Creative Development Team as a bonus. Who wouldn’t want to shake hands with Chris Metzen the Bourbon Cowboy, and Micky Neilson?

Blizzard Quote:
You’re called to action once again, to use your wits and strength, to compete for the ultimate prize. Your weapons? They seem to be but a musty tome and quill, but know that their power is far stronger than the armies of the Scourge, far craftier than the zerg Swarm, and far mightier than any demon from the Burning Hells. Ready your tools, scribe, and prepare for combat with the inky beast called fiction!

Enter a short story for the chance to win a free trip to Blizzard’s headquarters in southern California! This contest is open to entrants from around the world and will be judged by Blizzard’s very own writers and masters of lore. For more information, head to the contest page:

Cataclysm: Grim Batol Preview

Blizzard released new details of the upcoming Cataclysm: Grim Batol dungeon featuring the Twilight’s Hammer and other evils deep in the mountain-embedded city. One with a rich history not only in-game, but throughout three important novels by New York Times Bestselling author Richard A. Knaak:

WarCraft: Day of the Dragon, WarCraft: War of the Ancients Trilogy and World of WarCraft: Night of the Dragon.

Blizzard Quote:
During a bloody civil war among the three dwarven factions of Ironforge, the Bronzebeards ousted the Wildhammer and the Dark Iron clans from the ancient corridors of the mountain city. In the wake of the defeat, the Wildhammers ventured north and forged a new home, Grim Batol, in the mountains of what is now the Twilight Highlands. However, although they worked tirelessly to create a better future for themselves, the Dark Irons, who established the city of Thaurissan in the Redridge Mountains, could not move beyond the memory of their defeat. Consumed by the desire for revenge and desperate to control the entire dwarven region of Khaz Modan, the Dark Irons led a two-pronged assault on the Bronzebeards in Ironforge and the Wildhammers in Grim Batol. Despite their past differences, these two embattled rivals joined forces and drove the Dark Irons out of Khaz Modan, decimating the armies of the treacherous clan’s sorcerer-thane, Thaurissan. Yet victory carried grave consequences. Although Thaurissan’s wife and queen, Modgud, was slain during the attack on Grim Batol, her death tainted the mountain fortress. While the Bronzebeards rebuilt their glorious city of Ironforge, the Wildhammers felt forever changed by the horrors they witnessed at Grim Batol. They fled their cursed home and never returned.

The abandoned city’s defiled corridors later became home to a number of nefarious plots. When the Demon Soul was discovered by the Dragonmaw clan and used to force Alexstrasza’s drakes to serve the Horde, Grim Batol acted as the red Dragon Aspect’s torturous prison. The Dragonmaw held Grim Batol through the Second War, before they were driven out by Deathwing, who planned to steal Alexstrasza’s eggs. Yet as Deathwing carried out his plan, the Demon Soul was destroyed, and the powers locked within were returned to Alexstrasza, Ysera, Nozdormu, and Malygos. Deathwing narrowly escaped an assault by the four re-empowered Dragon Aspects, although he did not leave empty-handed; in his grasp were the eggs of Alexstrasza. For their vile transgressions, the fleeing Dragonmaw were shown no mercy, and the struggle came to a quick end. Members of the red dragonflight were left behind to keep watch over Grim Batol, and for years they successfully guarded its desolate halls from further intrusion… until the arrival of the Twilight’s Hammer, a sinister cult who worshipped Azeroth’s malefic Old Gods.

The cult, seduced by Deathwing’s thirst for absolute domination over Azeroth, has claimed the Twilight Highlands as its base of operations. The black dragonflight has driven off the agents of the red dragonflight who guarded Grim Batol so that it may be used as a fortress for training Deathwing’s minions. The halls of Grim Batol run so deep into the highlands that it is unknown to what twisted end the Twilight’s Hammer is using this doomed dwarven marvel.

Called to action by the red dragonflight in the Twilight Highlands, players will be charged with putting a decisive end to the foul machinations developing within the level-85, 5-player dungeon of Grim Batol. The ferocity of the enemies within should not be underestimated, and with the assistance of brave Red Drakes and a handful of explosives, players can thin the ranks of Grim Batol’s occupiers through bombing flights into the ruined city’s corridors. Regardless of how successful these attacks might be, General Umbris will not allow his army to fall so quickly. In the end, adventurers will be left to their own devices, venturing into the darkest recesses of the dwarven fortress, where a nightmarish enemy is taking shape. Will you be able to uncover Grim Batol’s secrets and emerge unscathed, or will your destiny be sealed within this tortured city, like so many brave heroes before you?

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