During my visit to the 2009 New York Comic Con, I visited the DC Comics booth to check out their World of Warcraft action figures and the artists. Chris Metzen had told me after the interview to return to the booth to see three new action figures: King Varian Wrynn (Lo’gosh), a Night Elf Huntress named Alathena Moonbreeze and a Scourge Ghoul named Rottingham. These look awesome. If you are a action figures collector, these will do great. Their armor, weapons and clothing are very detailed and colorful. Very accurate to the game, standing on impressive poses.
The DC Comics was packed with hundreds of people, the ambient was welcoming with tall posters of each franchise, especially the World of Warcraft comic book. They were showcasing video on big HD monitors of DC Online, DC vs Mortal Kombat, and even playing the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro. I got video of each DC Unlimited World of Warcraft action figure from different angles for your viewing pleasure. As well as close ups. Enjoy.
On Saturday, February 7th—Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for a book signing session at the Simon & Schuster booth (1402). Thanks to Jaime Costas from the Pocket Star Books publisher; Shon Damron and Rob Tokar from Blizzard Entertainment’s Public Relations Department an interview was scheduled at the event.
Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson answered lore questions based on the StarCraft and World of WarCraft pocket star books for a length of 24 minutes. I split the video into two parts. This interview is packed with a lot of fun, spoilery and informative answers to various concerns from scenes that happened in Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Warcraft: The Last Guardian, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Warcraft RPG Books, and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. And a massive influx of info about the upcoming books—World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King (April 21), Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight (June 30), World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (2010).
After watching this video interview, you are going to faint, and wake up with only one thought in mind: “you CAN’T MISS reading one of these pocket star books !!!” Guaranteed. These books tie-in deeply into the events of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and could we dare to say … future expansions?
Medievaldragon: This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet and WorldOfWar.net. We are here to interview Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson, Senior Writer and Voice Director of Blizzard Entertainment. I picked up some questions from the Community about Pocket Books lore. We’ll start with the Starcraft questions first.
Medievaldragon: Ulrezaj is composed of 7 dark templars according to Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, but only composed of 4 in the Enslavers 2 Episode 5B: Dark Vengeance. could you fill us in on how that happened?
Metzen: Essentially we just made a call. Originally, I think in the Enslavers campaign it was 4, but Enslavers has always been kind of quasi-canonical. There was a lot of new fiction developed for Enslavers that we thought was really cool, but as we were developing this trilogy with Christie we knew we wanted to bring Ulrezaj back, which was kind of a cool idea, but we felt that going to 7 was better for the fiction in general. It kind of gave us more options to dig his origin out, who were all these arch-criminals that comprised him, so we felt that going with 7 just felt a little rounder. So… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Medievaldragon: Does the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-morian Combine have their own versions of the Ghost program, or is it exclusive to the Confederates and the Dominion?
Neilson: I like that question.
Metzen: Kill it!
Neilson: My answer would be that they do, and that it’s something a little bit different, something we haven’t seen yet, and something that we should definitely investigate in the future in the fiction, because it sounds like a really cool idea.
Metzen: That sounds like a dare right there.
Neilson: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: Will the Terrazine gas plot be explored in the upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Spectre book?
Metzen: Well the Terrazine and its significance to the “alleged” Ghost spectres is definitely handled in the upcoming novel Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by Decandidio. Decandido, pardon me. Sorry Keith! We definitely get into what Terrazine is, what it’s used for, and I would bet, wink wink, that we might see a bit of that play out in Starcraft 2 as well.
Metzen: Yes indeed.
Medievaldragon: Can we expect a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades? We are missing the period between the Overmind’s invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s sacrifice.
Neilson: Official announcement? I don’t know what’s official and what isn’t as far as…
Metzen: We’ve been working on an outline, we call it… well I’ll just say it. We call it Heir to Adun is the title of that possible novel. We’ve done a number of outline treatments on it to really dig out Tassadar’s story, and Tassadar’s nature as this kind of Twilight Messiah for the protoss people. What was really going on there at the fall of Aiur, and really digging out all the political things that were happening with the Conclave, and the Judicators, and the Templar. We definitely have a rocking story built for a novel, but we don’t have any plans yet on exactly when we would publish it or I don’t even know if we have a writer lined up yet, but we have an awesome outline for it.
Medievaldragon: Yeah, we have been expecting it for a while. (laughing) I know it takes time.
Metzen: If I had my way it would have been out already.
Neilson: It’s going to be a little while
Medievaldragon: Okay, we’re going to move to the Warcraft questions.
Medievaldragon: A fan asked: The body of Sargeras that Aegwynn killed was said to be an avatar in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, does this mean that Sargeras’ real body is still out there somewhere? Or is Sargeras pulling a Lord Voldemort trick to ensure his return?
Neilson: Sargeras is still kicking around. You can’t put him down.
Metzen: He’s out there somewhere.
Neilson: He’s not going to stay down for long.
Metzen: Yeah totally. And I think the hooks we had for his physical body, wherever it may be are so visually stunning that I think we have to… it’s like low hanging fruit, we’re going to have to bring him back somewhere. I’d be very disappointed in us if we didn’t leverage him fully.
Medievaldragon: He would be like the ultimate encounter.
Neilson: Hmm… yes.
Medievaldragon: In The Last Guardian, Medivh attacks Garona with a spell, saying “let me show you my world Garona. Let me drive my own divisions and doubts into you. You will never know who you serve and why. You’ll never find your peace.” This is most commonly seen by fans as Sargeras cursing Garona into betraying everyone she works for… Is this true? Is that why she has been missing all these years?
Neilson: As to what’s going on with Garona, we’re launching into the second arc of the WoW comic. There are going to be a LOT of questions answered regarding Garona… why she did what she did, her whole backstory. It all ties into Med’an, this new character, who’s going to be really important to the lore. So for the community to learn a lot more about Garona, they should definitely check out the comic book.
Medievaldragon: Will there be a follow-up in the pocket books at some point?
Neilson: For Garona? Maybe.
Metzen: I didn’t hear… a cameo within a book?
Neilson: Not out of the question, I’m sure.
Metzen: Yeah, I think we’re still feeling it out. We just recently started leveraging the character again, so there’s a lot of interest in the character, so I can see us getting [cut off]
[Plays a scene from warcraft 3 of Arthas approaching the Revenants blocking the path to Frostmourne]
Guardian: Turn back mortals. Death and Darkness are all that await you in this forsaken vault.
Arthas: I doubt there’s anything down here more terrifying than what we’ve faced already.
Guardian: Believe what you will, boy. You shall not pass.
Guardian: Turn away… before it’s… too late.
Arthas: Still trying to protect the sword are you?
Guardian: No… trying to protect you… from it.
Medievaldragon: What were the Revenants’ motives to care for Arthas’ fate? Will it be explained in World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King?
Metzen: It’s in the book.
Medievaldragon: In the book? Alright
Neilson: Buy the book.
Metzen: It’s really good. Really good… Christie just rocked this book.
Medievaldragon: In World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, we see a glimpse of Malygos proposing to the Wyrmrest Accord the purge of the mages prior to the Nexus War. Kalecgos departs to Outland at the end of the book. What’s Kalecgos’ stance with the Nexus War?
Metzen: Interesting. I think Kalecgos is loyal, he’s a blue dragon. Their function is to kind of police mortals’ use of magic, so to some degree he wants to do what Malygos wants him to do. He’s loyal, he’s a team player, but I also think that Kalecgos has a huge heart. I think he has a deep conscience, and I think he’s terrified of how these things have just spun out of control, and I think he regrets the loss of life and probably looks at it as a totally heavy handed solution to the problem, so I think he’s probably a little torn.
Neilson: And he’s spent a lot of time with mortals at this point too. He’s grown close to some mortals with the whole Anveena thing and everything else, so he would definitely be torn. His feelings would be torn.
Medievaldragon: He was a bit arrogant at the beginning, but his experience with Anveena kind of softened him.
Metzen: Right, kind of drew him closer to the experience of mortals. Totally.
Medievaldragon: Now that Malygos is dead, will there be a new Aspect of Magic (such as Kalecgos); or is that position gone forever? Could a dragon of another flight become the magic aspect… temporarily… for example: Krasus… who is an Archmage?
Metzen: I would say to question A: (slowly motions with his lips toward the poster of the World of Warcraft: Arthas book).
Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.
Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…
Medievaldragon: What can you tell us about the upcoming Worlf of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak?
Neilson: Stormrage is gonna be fantastic. What’s really cool about Stormrage is that we will be able to actually live the Nightmare, through this book, that’s going on in the Emerald Dream turning into the Emerald Nightmare. One of the coolest elements, in my opinion, is that the nightmare is starting to spread into Azeroth, and we’re going to touch on that in the manga as well, so we’re going to have a story that touches on, for instance, what is King Magni’s worst nightmare? And because the Nightmare is spreading into the reality of Azeroth, we’ll be able to see that. The book’s going to be fantastic, answers all kinds of questions, what’s been happening to Malfurion, what’s going on, who’s behind it… al those questions are going to be answered.
Metzen: I would just say too, I mean Malfurion’s always been, personally, my favorite Warcraft hero. He’s my favorite to write, so I’ve waited a long time to get this guy back into the mix, and have him play a significant role in the shaping of Azeroth. He’s a mega player, and he’s been off the scene.
Neilson: For a long time.
Metzen: I’m really stoked on this book. We really designed the essential backbone of the book to be just hyper Druid overload. If you’re a WoW Druid, this book’s for you. It features all the major druid characters, and players. I love it. Love it, love it.
(Video Part 2 Transcript)
Medievaldragon: Will there be a cameo of Jarod Shadowsong in World of Warcraft: Stormrage? The official website’s encyclopedia says he departed the druids and was never seen again.
Metzen: I don’t remember. For some reason, I don’t think so. But we would be lovingly surprised if he did. He doesn’t play a significant role in it.
Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg’s World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness helps modernize a lot of the lore revolving around Warcraft II. One aspect of the lore that fans have been wondering about, is Gilneas. Was Gilneas scheduled to make an appearance in that book, but had to be trimmed out, or will Gilneas be revisited in future books?
(Neilson grins at Metzen)
Metzen: Ah, ah, I would say we have some very, very, Very interesting plans for Gilneas. (Metzen docks slightly looking toward the ceiling) But there are snipers up in the roof that would shoot me if you know … (everyone laughs). We are doing some awesome stuff for Gilneas.
Neilson: … stay tuned!
Metzen: Stay tuned.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal reveals Cho’gall was killed. Or was he? How did the Twilight’s Hammer survive the Broken Isles’ massacre?
Neilson: Cho’gall is gonna make a come back. He’s not dead. You are going to see he will play a large role in the second arc of the World of Warcraft comic book. So, exactly how he survived … he’s just too tough. Two axes to the chest weren’t enough to take him down. He just appeared dead. (Laughs)
Medievaldragon: If he is not decapitated, he is not dead.
Neilson: That’s right.
Metzen: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: (jokingly) … and that doesn’t mean he can’t return. Somebody plugs the head back to his body and …
Medievaldragon: What’s happening to Blood Elf culture (especially Rommath’s role in it) now that the Sunwell was restored with M’uru?
Metzen: What we showed at the end of Burning Crusade, like during the whole Sunwell event, was that the warped naaru M’uru was kinda transformed back into his purest self, purest light that Velen used to reignite the Sunwell, as a fountain of Holy power, as much as it is arcane. So the suggestion was that over time the Blood Elves will start to actually use real Light power, in a healthy way, instead of dominating it. So what will likely happen over time is a slow transition, but what Velen did was give them a chance to redeem their civilization, a chance to get back to their roots, a chance to upset their magical addiction. So that kinda thing will probably gonna play out very slowly. We didn’t talk much about it in Wrath of the Lich King, but it is a theme I love a lot, but it has to be played out very slow.
Medievaldragon: I like that aspect of redeeming them … Does that mean that at some point they are going to get back to their roots and restore the Council of Tirisfal?
Metzen: ha-ha! … no … comment.
Medievaldragon: Are we ever seeing the Scythe of Elune questline and how it all tied into Karazhan and the Dark Riders explored in a future pocket book?
Metzen: I will say there are elements of the Scythe of Elune questline that are not … over … (long silence).
Metzen: … (longer silence) Alright, that’s all I’m saying. (laughs)
Woah, WOAH! (Metzen jokingly makes a motion with his hands and legs as if tight-rope walking).
Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!
Medievaldragon: Is the existence of Finnal Goldensword canon? She’s Admiral Proudmoore’s half-elf daughter. If so, are there plans to introduce her in the pocket books?
Metzen: I’m sure this will be controversial, but I don’t necessarily consider her canonical. And based on that, we don’t really have any plans to use her in the future. I think she appeared in one of the Warcraft RPG books. It’s not a character I have thought out about, so at this point I’m not sure if we are gonna do much with her.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King will devote a portion of its time to the love triangle between Arthas, Jaina and Kael’thas. Now, many of us have played Warcraft III and have also run Gnomeregan, so, we’ve got to ask … Where does Thrall factor in?
I’m not quite sure of what that questions means.
Neilson: Well, I think they are wondering: Is there a romantic interest between Thrall and Jaina? I think that’s what it’s implying.
Metzen: Ohh …
Medievaldragon: Not sure—why they are asking about Gnomeregan.
Metzen: Yea, it’s worded a little weird. Well, I would say the whole Kael’thas, Arthas, Jaina triangle thing is totally handled in the book. And it’s R-r-really good! But it explains the whole relationship, and how that all went down. Christie just handled it perfectly. So I’m excited to really see that. But relative, the question was, is there a little you know … green fever going on with Thrall and Jaina? umm … (takes deep breath) … I don’t know, I know people are kinda fascinated a little about that but …
Medievaldragon: Ohh … I know now what they meant. In Gnomeregan, there was a punch card in binary code that when you decoded it, it reads: “Thrall and Jaina in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
Metzen: Right, right. I don’t know, I would say I try to be pretty conservative with all that stuff. I would like Thrall to settle down with a nice green girl…
Neilson: (laughs louder)
Metzen: …you know, and have little green babies. I’d like the dynasty of Orgrimmar to be pure blood, right. But you never know. I hope he keeps things together and doesn’t do something stupid before we can actually build this stuff in the game. So … you know Thrall.
Medievaldragon: Hormones …
Metzen: What’re we gonna do.
Medievaldragon: What should we expect in World of Warcraft: Arthas and how does it ties-in with the game?
Neilson: I think one of the things that are really, really amazing about ARTHAS the book is … you play Classic WoW, right, so the whole time you are running around. The Lich King is basically sitting there on his throne. So the question is: What’s going on? What’s going through his head? So this book actually gets you inside his head during that time. You will find out what was going on. Really be able to get inside the mind of evil. Getting inside the mind of Arthas. Find out what makes him tick. Even when he was saying things to Uther, when he disbanded the paladins, and things like that. Really gonna go indepth on that to find out what was going on inside his head. All the layers. Christie did a great job putting in all these different layers of what’s happening. So there’s the dialogue that we heard in the game, but there is much more deeper story that you won’t get unless you read the book.
DC Comics has a bunch of StarCraft comic book posters on their booth for anyone to pick up free. This poster is approximately 1’ x 4’. I had to scan this quick and missed a small piece. Need to run to the New York Comic Con Day two. The new team behind the comic seems to be Simon Furman and Federico Dallacchio. I will find out today during the interview with Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson.
I grabbed 14 of them and will attempt to get Chris Metzen to sign them. Stay tuned during the week to find out how you could be one of the lucky fans to win one of them from Blizzplanet. Without further ado, At the bottom it is meant to say:
Arrived to the New York Comic Con 2009 yesterday to grab my press badge. Brought my camcorder for a field test. After hours of figuring out how to convert the camcorder video by downloading some Corel software, I put together a short video of the Blizzard Products displayed at the Simon & Schuster booth. Found out Jaime is not a he, but a she. Oh, the embarassment. Visited Tokyopop, DC Comics and DC Unlimited. You can grab a copy of World of Warcraft # 3 comic book with an exclusive black and white cover from their booth. And a poster of something Blizzcon attendees will remember pretty well … StarCraft the comic book.
It is 8am here. I am getting ready to go to the second day of New York Comic Con. Today Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson arrive to the event. They will be signing from 1:30pm – 2:30pm at the Simon & Schuster booth 1402. After the signing session, I will interview them about the pocket books lore.
Today, from 4:30pm – 5:30pm both of them have a manga panel and book signing session at the Tokyopop booth along with Keith R.A. DeCandido who will talk about the Starcraft Ghost: Academy manga. I will interview them again some time during the afternoon at the DC Comics booth. Make sure to check back for the videos.
If you ordered your ticket after January 16th it will not be mailed to you. To gain admission into the show, you will need to bring your barcode to registration at the Javits center to pick up your badge. THE LINES WILL BE LONG! Be sure to arrive at registration early and be prepared with your barcode.
Consumers can pick up their badges on
Thursday, February 5th from 12-4:30pm
Professionals can come at the following dates:
Wednesday, February 4th from 12-4:30pm
Thursday, February 5th from 8am-4:30pm
Blizzard Entertainment developers came down to the Big Apple: New York City to celebrate the Midnight Opening launch of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Nearly 800 fans lined up outside Best Buy (529 5th Avenue and 44th Street). I arrived at 8pm to the premises and got my press badge. The treatment given by the Best Buy staff was excellent from the moment I arrived to the media booth. Shortly after, I walked downstairs to purchase a Collector’s Edition and a Standard Edition. However, the game wouldn’t be physically given to customers until midnight, as expected. Great to be able to purchase it in advance. Less hassle.
The Best Buy staff excelled with live broadcast on all huge monitors (seen from outdoors) and sound system all around the store within and outside. The live Best Buy broadcast host and his cameraman would walk along the line up of fans interviewing them and asking why they consider themselves the best Blizzard fan. He was giving away $25 Gift Cards to anyone who answered the Blizzard Trivia. Someone couldn’t answer correctly what the draenei Unbroken in Black Temple was named as? Duh, Akama! Epic fail. But there were so many fans who answered correctly and won many of these gift cards. For tough questions, they would double the stakes and giveaway $50 gift cards.
Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce were interviewed by the Best Buy host and fans would sit next to them to ask questions. It was a fun way to spend all those hours prior to the midnight opening, since 8:00pm.
I am fortunate to be one of the lucky people who played the Diablo III demo showcased at Blizzcon 2008 in Anaheim. Not only was it a pleasure to play it, but left me craving for more. I decided to create a female Wizard. She spawns in the outskirts of the Tristram Woods where Captain Rumford and an armored warrior are piling up a bonfire of corpses. The warrior can be seen transporting the corpses off a wagon and into the bonfire.
Captain Rumford says they are burning the corpses to prevent them from rising as undead. NPCs that have something to say have a black oval with dots hovering above them when you place the cursor over them. A popup window displays the “introduction” option, feature that remains a constant from Diablo II. However, not only does each NPC talk to you. Your very own character talks back, interacting with the NPCs. By saying talk, I mean both: the NPC and your character have voice over actors adding emotion and life to the Action / RPG.
Read below a lengthy preview on various features observed in the Diablo III hands-on demo
I started pressing keys to see what options were available. Pressing (C) opens the Character window, Inventory (I), Quest (Q), Skill trees (S), and mini-map toogle (N), Game Menu (ESCAPE button)
At level 5, these were the stats I found on my Wizard character. Hope these stats offer you a better scope of how the Wizard stats and abilities work:
In Diablo II, you get points after leveling to spend on these four stats. In Diablo III, thus far, these stats increase automatically. You no longer have control over where these points are spent into. At the bottom of the Character (C) window, you can find a table with two columns displaying the following data:
1.20 Attacks per second 70% Physical crit chance 150.0% Physical crit damage
At the bottom left of the Character (C) window you will find your character resistances. These can be determined by icons:
Blue snowflake = Frost
Red Flame = Fire
Purple Thunder = Lightning
Green Skull = Poison
Yellow icon = Arcane
The Inventory window shows a lot of visual information. It has a simple and intuitive UI frame with colorful gradients of orange and dark brown, and stylized symbols that highlight a gothic-like feeling. You can see your character model viewer which allows you to rotate your character. Around the viewer, you have 12 gear slots: helm, medallion, chest, sash, 2 rings, weapon, shield, boots, pants, gloves, and shoulder. Between the weapon and the shield is a strange circle. When clicking it, a new window pops forward. Based on the demo observation and loot, this window with 9 circles resembles the Glyphs window from World of Warcraft. In the case of Diablo 3, these 9 circles are reserved for Runes. Thus far in the Blizzcon demo, only the Wizard can equip runes. (i.e. certain monsters may randomly drop a minor power rune).
Beneath the character viewer and gear slots can be seen the bag inventory—all in the same window. There are 30 slots, but only a few are enabled. You can expand to the full 30 slots by adding bags into the bag slots. On the bottom-right you can see four slots. There is where you drag the bags into. By dropping the bag item into that slot, you increase the amount of slots enabled. Eventually your goal is to enable all 30 slots. Each slot is thin and tall, and certain items can stack in the same slot. Doesn’t look like there is a special slot bar for potions, but mini-health potions have been seen, as well as elixir of dexterity and elixir of vitality which may have durations of up to 300 seconds (5 minutes).
Not much was revealed about [WIKI]Runes[/WIKI]. [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Witchdoctor[/WIKI] classes don’t have runes enabled in the Blizzcon demo, so it looks like it is something still in the works. In a press panel, [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] revealed these runes will change the visual effects of your character and its spells/abilities. Imagine your lightning spell increasing its glow making it look more powerful and actually increasing your damage output.
You may toggle the mini-map by pressing (N). It is more effective than the old Diablo II map overlay (tab). The mini-map is located on the upper-right corner. It has no frame like the World of Warcraft circle framed mini-map. It has an unframed tall rectangular area. By pressing the arrow keys you can move the mini-map in any direction. To reset simply press (N) twice, or escape.
How is this new mini-map more effective? Diablo II’s overlay map would take the whole screen, and would interfere your line of sight affecting what you could see on-screen. By placing the overlay map to the upper-right corner, your whole screen is visible for gameplay purposes. Each [WIKI]NPC[/WIKI] is displayed as a tiny yellow dot. Place your mouse cursor over the yellow dots, and automatically a window pops up above the dot displaying the name of the NPC. You can see and identify NPCs ahead of you, not yet within visual range. Update: Monsters are not displayed by the mini-map. You will still have the element of surprise. The mini-map helps you locate NPCs that might have a quest for you, or some interaction options to learn some lore.
RARE MONSTERS / BOSS
In Diablo II, it was hard sometimes to notice a rare [WIKI]monster[/WIKI] among a bunch of mobs. Sometimes you would even get killed before noticing a rare was behind that bunch of mobs. In Diablo III, before the rare monster or boss enters into view, a name tag pops at the top-center with a health bar. The health bar is divided into a few rectangles. The health bar / name tag window displays the special attributes of the monster (i.e. a rare named Head of Grief had three attributes beneath its name tag: Vampiric, Froze, Fast.
While exploring the world, you will find NPCs with a yellow exclamation sign floating above their head. When you accept the [WIKI]quest[/WIKI], the title and objectives are displayed onscreen at the right-center for few seconds, then fades out. You can access the quest window by pressing (Q). It’s very similar to World of Warcraft. After walking away from the bonefire of corpses at the Tristram Woods, you enter the Ruins of Tristram. There are a few destroyed buildings. You can see the Physix engine in action when randomly some debris of the ruins crumble down. Placing your mouse cursor over some of the door signs you will find Griswold’s Blacksmith Shop. While exploring, you find a well. It can be highlighted if you place your cursor on. A quest starts and it is automatically displayed onscreen to the right: Little Girl Lost. Objective: Find a way to free the little girl’s spirit from the old well in Tristram.
When you stand near the well you can hear the girl’s voice over and weeping. She is trapped inside the well. Something funny … some of her quotes resemble that of the girl in the Poltergeist film. Exploring further into the Tristram ruins you find a female ghost and listen to her voice over which is repeated over and over randomly: Where has gone my girl? She must be so lonely. She never goes away without her doll. She’s lost without it!
Not far from the ghost you will find a chest on the ground. Within lies the doll. Loot it and return to the well. The quest is completed as you return the doll. The spirit of the girl ascends from within the deep well and thank you. A reward is automatically placed in your inventory. You will read a message onscreen saying how much XP (experience) you gained, and the name of the looted item. In my case, a Socketed Boots of Brawn (+9 armor, 1 socket, + 2 strength).
Before reaching the Cathedral of Tristram entrance, you will find [WIKI]zombies[/WIKI] kneeled on the ground as if eating from a body. Once you kill them, the body on the ground – tagged Dying Adventurer – automatically highlights a yellow exclamation sign enabling a new quest: The Return of the Skeleton King.
The voice over says something along these lines: “Please … listen to me! The fire, somehow … it awoke him. The Skeleton King’s evil haunts the cathedral once more.”
Your character’s voice over says: “Skeleton King, huh? Sounds interesting. Rest easy. I will show him the err of his ways.”
Enter the cathedral. Eventually you will find an NPC with a yellow sign on his head. Take the quest. Guess who the NPC is? If you have played Diablo 1 or have visited DiabloWiki.net the name Lachdanan will ring a bell. He was the loyal friend of King Leoric in Diablo 1. Lachdanan killed King Leoric, who cursed him on his last dying breath.
SCROLLS & BOOKS
This is probably the most lovely lore source feature for players who decide to immerse themselves into the world of Sanctuary. Let’s say you enter a dungeon, and find a pedestal. When you highlight the pedestal, by moving your mouse cursor over it and clicking it, you loot the book. Open your Inventory (I) and click the book or scroll. A sound clip pops up at the bottom-right of the screen. Underneath the clip are three buttons: play, stop, close. It is a voice over recording telling the story within the book.
For example, in the Cathedral of Tristram, the Journal of King Leoric tells his story during the time Diablo possessed his son Albrecht (Diablo I).
The three buttons to the right of the main UI correspond to the Left Mouse button, Right Mouse button and an alternate Right button that switches those last two by pressing TAB button.
Click the left mouse button to move and attack enemies.
Click right mouse button to use the assigned skill
Press the alt key to show all dropped items
Use the 1-4 keys to activate assigned hot bar skills
Right-click on a hot bar, or mouse button slot to assign a new skill.
Press TAB or scroll the mouse wheel to swap between right mouse and alternate right mouse skills.
The Skeleton King appears at the third level of the Tristram Cathedral. Former King Leoric has a large axe. As told by Jay Wilson in the past, boss events can feel epic without the town portal escape trick or the heal potion spam mechanic. Once the Skeleton King engages in combat, dozens of zombies enter the room to attack you. The boss has an animation that alerts you when he is about to slam his long axe toward you. The idea here is to attack him a few times, and run away before he slams the axe in front of him. It can be avoided. Kill a few mobs for health orbs, and attack the Skeleton King again. Rinse and repeat. I was able to kill King Leoric without dying by doing these steps. Sadly, the Diablo III demo finished after killing this first boss, with a message from Blizzard congratulating me for killing the Skeleton King in this BlizzCon 2008 demo.
After playing the demo at Blizzcon, I can only say—hopefully not sounding heretic – that I loved Diablo III, and look forward for the announcement of the remaining two classes. No release date for Diablo III unfortunately, but personally I wish this game was on stores around October 2009. Gameplay mechanics are very similar to Diablo II, except much better. The graphics are vibrant and colorful, without taking away the epic and dark feel of the previous games. The Physix engine honors the [WIKI]Barbarian[/WIKI] class pretty well, smashing stuff and debris in all directions.
You can click emblems on the walls, that activate a mechanism that drops a candelabrum. If timed correctly, it could smash onto a group of mobs. If you move your character quickly into the area the candelabrum drops on, your character gains daze effect for a few seconds (funny). It would be cool to interact more with objects and traps using the Physix engine to benefit you on bosses and monster encounters. For those who asked me recently if [WIKI]Stashes[/WIKI] and [WIKI]Waypoints[/WIKI] are returning in Diablo III, I asked [WIKI]Jay Wilson[/WIKI] and the answer is yes. Waypoints however will play a different function this time around. Upon death you respawn at the [WIKI]check point[/WIKI]. Check points I observed in the BlizzCon demo happen by the door toward the next catacomb (for example). Some objects spawn near you at the check point. You need to equip them again. This means no more running back to your corpse which is surrounded by 15 monsters. Diablo III is enhancing everything that was broken in Diablo II.
Medievaldragon attended 2008 New York Comic Con at the Jacobs K. Javits Center in Manhattan to bring coverage of the event to Blizzplanet. There I met Richard A. Knaak and Keith R.A. DeCandido who are writing material for various volumes of the upcoming Starcraft and Warcraft mangas to be published by Tokyopop. Other Blizzard Entertainment licensed products were showcased at the New York Comic Con by Upper Deck Entertainment, DC Comics & DC Unlimited, and Pocket Books. Below are articles covering information provided at the event, and lots of product photos and images.
For those of you who were unable to attend the conference, here are most of this year’s panels. Videos are cut in 10 minutes increments for youtube in order to keep them high quality. Blizzcon was a very cool event and I want to thank the developers for taking the time to answer questions.
NOTE: Please keep bumping this for people who may have missed those
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Opening Ceremony – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007
Mike Morhaime’s speech and introduction to The Wrath of the Lich Kind by Frank Pierce
Northrend Developer Panel – Day 1 – Friday August 3rd 2007
Below you can watch five videos of the Northrend Developer Panel where you can find out everything about the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Special thanks to Monsoon (Leviathan)@Durotan for recording and uploading the videos. enjoy!
This year’s BlizzCon will be a blast event. Two unannounced projects will be unveiled, and there could be a few surprises. Starcraft II will be playable by the public for first time at the Anaheim Convention Center’s game room. Attendees will play via LAN against each other.
Strong rumors suggest a new World of Warcraft expansion will be announced. Not long ago a Blizzard Executive revealed plans for a yearly expansion release.
A strange listing and unlisting of a Diablo film happened early on June 2007 at the official Legendary Pictures website. Would it be a wild guess to expect its formal announcement at BlizzCon? We will have to wait and see.
Blizzard Entertainment will be at San Diego Comic Con 2007 through July 26-29. Check out latest news about Blizzard products at the event.
Sideshow Collectibles, Chris Metzen and Mickey Neilson will unveil a new World of Warcraft sculpture, and rumor is Jim Lee (Wildstorm) will be there too. Will there be a Wow Comic book? We will investigate. Read the news below. Updates will be added to this page as the event approaches.
Blizzard Entertainment revealed the new Alliance Race of World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade expansion at E3 2006. The screenshots below are from the keyframes of the Video Trailer. If the scenes were too fast for you to catch what the teaser showed, then check out the screenshots.
I had a wonderful time. It was MUCH cooler than I expected. I had been to some Everquest Fan Faires in the past and was expecting something similar, but Blizzard really shows how much they care by putting so much effort into BlizzCon. IMHO, this was 100x better than any EQ convention.
The first time I entered the main hall, it took my breath away with the scope of everything and the attention to detail. They had HUGE banners of various Blizzard game art hanging from the ceiling and very large video screens in many places showing various things like cinematic trailers, ongoing battleground competitions, RTS matches, Ghost demos and Burning Crusade demos. There were separate areas for playing the expansion, playing Ghost and doing the Arathi Basin BG with a team. Each area had LOTS of computers, especially for the expansion (seemed like around 300). At the far end of hall A was a stage with many seats in front where they had either a Ghost demonstration or Expansion cinematics running, alternating each hour.
To the left, near the front was a long line to pickup your goody bag and past that, another long line for the Blizzard Store. Beyond those were the vendor booths with lots of cool things being demonstrated. Logitech had their G5 and G7 mice along with their new G15 keyboard, which has a small LCD screen on the top of the keyboard which can show date/time and CPU utilization and heat, along with various other things I suppose. They also had a demo of WoW running on a 3D LCD monitor that uses polarized glasses. The depth effect was pretty cool, but I don’t think I could use it long term. Brady Games had a very impressive hard cover Atlas with detailed maps and NPC info for each zone and dungeon in the game. I picked one up, but haven’t pored over it, so I can’t vouch for accuracy. Other vendors included Creative, Western Digital, Intel and Microsoft, of course.
In hall B, there was simply a stage with the rest of the hall filled by seats. In here were various panel discussions on topics like Character Classes, Raids, Lore and Quests, Cinematic Design, etc. Upstairs, above both halls was another room with panel discussions on things like Battlegrounds, Professions and Items, Dungeon design, etc. I attended most of them and came away with a much higher level of respect for the developers. I never really understood how passionate they were about the game and how much hand crafted detail goes into everything. They were very open to questions and criticism and even had quite good senses of humor. They even stayed late after each to answer questions on the side. I never got the feeling that they didn’t want to speak to the players.
There was also a very cool “build your own laptop” panel discussion with members of Intel, Nvidia and LegitReviews.com showing how easy it is to make your own and save a bundle. The website guru even handed out a 4 page set of instructions on how to do it. It just involves buying a laptop “shell” based on the screen and graphics, then buying things like the CPU, HD, DVD/CD, RAM, etc. seperately. Quite informative. Visit https://LegitReviews.com for more info.
I only played the Expansion demo. Unfortunately, all that was playable was the Blood Elf newbie area and the 20 man raid part of Ahn’Qiraj, which is part of the 1.9 patch, not the expansion. The newbie area was cool and different than the other newbie areas and I was told it will support levels 1-20. I was hoping to see some of the lvl 60+ content, but I suppose they either wanted to keep it secret, or none of it is polished enough for the general public.
The Ghost demo looked very fun. They demonstrated using either stealth or firepower to complete objectives, so players can play as befitting their style. The enemy AI was also quite impressive for a console game. If you are detected, or any bodies are found, they will send out increasingly larger or well equipped teams to hunt you down. They will also work together to flush you out or flank you. The playable Ghost demo was a team based multiplayer, but I didn’t test it, since I’m horrible at online FPS.
Watching the RTS Starcraft and Warcraft tourneys were interesting too. There was an announcer doing play by play and many people in spectator seats cheering their favorite on. They had the main matches projected on a huge screen above, so everyone could see the action.
I didn’t participate in the Battleground matches, since there wasn’t anyone else from my guild there and I only like to PvP with my own players, rather than a pre-generated cookie cutter one. I heard that the team that did the best was from the same guild. Not surprising …
I’m sure there is a lot of detail I’m missing, but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. All in all, I would absolutely go again and will even pay next time. =)
Thanks again to Blizzplanet for allowing me to win a ticket in a contest. It was very much worth the travel and hotel.—written by Alumriel @ Dragonblight Realm
On October 28th, Blizzard Entertainment surprised the world with their very own BlizzCon Event to showcase both Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion. Usually, this type of announcements are made in such events as E3, Tokyo Game Show, ECST Game Expo. With so many years of success developing games that break staggering Guinness Records through a whole decade, it was about time for Blizzard to decide endevouring their very own Expo Convention.
With nearly eight thousand players meeting at Anaheim Convention Center in California, Blizzard prepared throughout the morning to make sure everyone would enter the premises and to accomodate them. Some fans picking up at the Will-Call Booth their BlizzCon badges and their goodie bag—which includes a special code for a unveiled Beta Test.
Once settled, the event started with Mike Morhaime addressing the fans with the story of how a small team led by Allen Adham and Mike Morhaime created small games as Silicon & Synapses(1991), then evolved into Blizzard Entertainment with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans to grow into the monster Blizzard is now a decade later, running their own BlizzCon Event.
After introduction, Mike Morhaime invited Shane Dabiri into the scene—World of Warcraft Lead Producer. Shane asked the fans if they knew what has made Blizzard successful over the years. Only one answer came upon Shane’s mind: Its awesome community. From the daily input and discussions in the forums, up to the time-consuming and creative movies that fans create on their own. There is not one sole day that developers get by without reading and enjoying the fans’ feedback.
Immediately after Shane Dabiri’s welcome, he let fans know what to expect in Starcraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion, bringing maddening cheers and applauses from fans in the auditorium.
Starcraft: Ghost has playable Zerglings, Hydralisks, Mutalisks and Infested Terrans which players can use in Multiplayer, which at this point supports up to 16 players. We don’t know how Blizzard dealt with the balancing. This was an issue the developers had shared few months ago was going to be a problem, and was still in creative design stage. It is reality now. Fans were given freedom to do a hands-on and play as a Zerg unit during the Starcraft: Ghost demo at BlizzCon. Fans were awed at the high level of quality this game is shaping up so far, and had quiet a lot of fun cruising through the streets of Mar Sara on their Vulture hovercraft-cycle unit.
As for World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, Shane Dabiri ran the Video Trailer of the expansion on the mega-screen leaving fans in awe. The game level cap will be raised to 70, with access to hundreds of new quests and items. The introduction of a new tradeskill that will complement Leatherworking, Tailoring, Blacksmith’s armorsmith and weaponsmith. Through socketed weapons and armor, the Jewelcrafters can create Gems and Jewels with special attributes that will alter the stats of those socketed items making it unique—a la Diablo II. If you have never played that Blizzard game, take a look at how socketed items and Jewels worked in Diablo II at the Arreat Summit Official website. You should read gems, runes and jewel sub-pages for an in-depth view of what to expect in the World of Warcraft expansion.
The Burning Crusade
The Titans were metalic god-like entities that roamed the universe, reshaping each world. Those worlds were governed by chaotic and raging energies from the primal creation. The Pantheon chose Sargeras as their champion to seek and battle opposing evil forces from the Twisting Nether. For thousands of years, Sargeras kept the demons in check until an evil race affected the titan deeply. Sargeras, a fallen Titan, created the Burning Legion after been corrupted by the Nathrezim—a race of psychic-vampire-like demons. Sargeras’ job among the Titan Pantheon Organization was to stop the demons of the Twisting Nether from wrecking havok throughout the universe, putting order to chaos.
With his corruption, the once noble titan champion doubted the concept of a universe in order, and decided that only chaos and depravity was the true happiness and purpose. Disbanding his former Pantheon organization he set to free every demon he had imprisoned. Every demon bowed to him and followed him as new leader. Sargeras chose two races as his champions: the Eredar Warlocks and the Nathrezim(Dreadlords)—naming his army of demons the Burning Legion. And set to cross the universe undoing the work of the Titans with a sole purpose … to set the universe aflame, conquering world after world in their unholy Burning Crusade.
In their path to reshape the universe to bring order to chaos, the Titans found Azeroth, and found evil entities known as the Old gods raging chaos upon the planet. The Old gods’ servants—the Elemental Lords and their brethren elementals battled the Titans. After defeating the Old gods, the Titans reshaped the world, creating the seas and the mountains, and creating lifeforms out of stones and metal properties native to Azeroth. Through 82,999 years, the Titans finished their work placing the Well of Eternity—a fountain of arcane magic—to spring new life in the world, and left behind 5 Dragon Aspects before departing 54,001 years ago.
The Burning Legion failed to conquer the world of Azeroth 10,000 years ago, when a Night Elf and the Ancients opposed the invasion by sealing the portal that would allow Sargeras entry to the world. This did not stop Sargeras from planning over the centuries, and beyond. He wanted the Well of Eternity and wanted to consume the world.
Kharazhan: Tower of Medivh
After long planning, 800 years ago Sargeras sent demons to siphon the magic off Dragons—guardians left behind by the Titans. Aegwynn—a young girl chosen by the Order of Tirisfal—faced Sargeras’ avatar in Northrend and battled him. Thinking she had killed the fallen Titan, she buried his body deep undersea in a temple ruins. Unknown to her, Sargeras inhabited her. Her powers were great with the magic granted to her by the Great Magi of the Kirin-Tor’s Order of Tirisfal, enlarging her lifespan to 800 years. At that age, she decided to have an offspring with the councelor of Stormwind, a mage. Sargeras had planned this all along. Once she conceived a baby, Sargeras posessed the baby at the womb.
She named her baby as Medivh, or Keeper of Secrets in elven tongue, and decided t
hat the Order of Tirisfal wouldn’t name her successor to
the mantle of Guardian. She chose her baby Medivh as successor to the power of the Guardian—whose purpose is to hunt demons and vanish them from Azeroth to protect the world from an invasion of the Burning Legion. The baby was given to his father Nielas Aran. At the age of 14, Medivh entered in a comatose trance as his Guardian powers manifested and proved too strong for him. A possible defensive mechanism as Sargeras’ pshyche within him battled for many years after to take control of his mind and body. Medivh awoke two decades later while his body was taken care at Northshire Abbey, near Stormwind City.
He made the Tower of Kharazan his home and started his duty as a Guardian. Sargeras would take posession of his body and will at times switching minds over his body. It was on Medivh’s body that Sargeras opened the Dark Portal in Black Morass allowing for first time the invasion of the Orcs to Azeroth. Medivh was later killed by Lothar and Khadgar, but the tower still remains. Kharazhan is a town in Deadwind Pass, between Duskwood and Swamp of Sorrows. The tower is actually bigger than it looks. Underneath the tower exists an exact copy of the tower above, going backwards, in reverse.
Blizzard Entertainment announced Kharazon Tower Instance to be opened in Patch 1.9 as a prelude to the events that will lead to the opening of the Dark Portal in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion. It will have 10-players and 20-players raid elements. I am assuming the tower beneath the ground might be the 20-players raid sub-instance. There is where Sargeras would perform his demonic rituals. You can actually sense a feeling of Tower of Medivh in Kharazhan through Jeff Grubb’s awesome novel Warcraft: The Last Guardian.
If you really want to find out more, read the novel pocketbook. It is part of the official Warcraft lore and was the beginning of the Warcraft franchise … as it was Sargeras in Medivh’s body who opened the Dark Portal that let the horde enter the world of Azeroth.
Caverns of Time
This is the legendary lair of Nozdormu—the Dragon Aspect of Time. A dragon blessed by the Titan Aman’Thul the Highfather to be custodian of the myriad paths of destiny and its timelines in Azeroth. The Caverns of Time instance will be open allowing players to visit the past, and journey through Old Hillsbrad Foothills when Thrall was a teen held as a slave in the gladiator arena of Durnholde Keep, or travel through time to when the Dark Portal was first opened in Black Morass, and even making players participate in the epic battle of Mount Hyjal, fighting the Undead Scourge, the Burning Legion and Archimonde—events of the final battle of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. All these great travels through time will offer players countless of new quests, and will possibly be upgraded with new time-eras to explore. To find out more of the Five Dragon Aspects and Nozdormu, you may read Warcraft: Day of the Dragon and the War of the Ancients Trilogy—written by Richard A. Knaak.
Outland was once the world of the Orcs and the draeni: Draenor. Ner’zhul had created many Dark Portals during Warcraft II expansion—long before he became the Lich King. During Warcraft 2: Beyond the Dark Portal, heroes entered the orcish homeworld to destroy the Dark Portal from within. The destruction of the portal collapsed the world of Draenor upon itself, being torn apart. Chunks of asteroids and debris of what once was Draenor float now in space throughout the Twisting Nether.
According to Warcraft RPG: Shadow & Light, those asteroids are big enough to hold entire cities. The Burning Legion’s demons united those floating chunks of land with black demonic chains connecting each other as a network. The RPG book says that those Dark Portals are still active. The Burning Legion uses Outland as a way-station to navigate and conquer other worlds, jumping through the active portals … expanding their ever spanning Burning Crusade.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that new epic flying mounts can be purchased in Outland and will only be available there. With these expensive mounts, players can reach places that they wouldn’t be able otherwise to reach walking or riding a ground mount. Blizzard promises a lot of excitement fighting in the Hellfire Penninsula Battlegrounds, and seeing the wreckage of the wars held during the Warcraft 2 events. The video trailer shows a lot of new monsters to be introduced in the World of Warcraft Expansion. Warcraft RPG: Shadow & Light mentions that the Black Citadel—formerly-owned by Ner’Zhul—is now the lair of Illidan Stormrage, and that beneath the Citadel exists a prison where heroes of past wars are kept prisoners and tortured. Many adventures await players.
Chris Metzen revealed in the Developer Panels that Illidan closed all the Dark Portals of Outland. Nevertheless, MagusRogue, a World of Warcraft RPG Game Designer from White-Wolf revealed the following:
“The portals were shut down by Illidan, actually. However, some of the quests in the Burning Crusade Expansion have you re-opening these and going to new dimensions, fighting the legion in new worlds. Should be awesome.”