Blizzard Started Giving Starcraft 2 Beta Invites

Our sister site, StarcraftWire.net got a screenshot that shows a Starcraft 2 Beta Invite. It seems that fans that create a Battle.net 2.0 Account have a random chance to get a Beta Invite. Most fans will get a beta opt-in option when creating an account, but if your message says:

“You have been invited to participate in the upcoming beta for Starcraft II.”

Then you have got a secured spot to play Starcraft II Beta when it is officially announced. Get geared up folks—- IT IS COMING.

BATTLE.NET 2.0 HAS LAUNCHED !!!

Starcraft 2 is closer than ever my brothers … BATTLENET 2.0 HAS BEEN LAUNCHED. IT IS OFFICIAL. You can now sign up to create a battle.net 2.0 account. Enter a good standing email address—probably non-gmail nor one that has given you issues before with beta signups.  Then you will receive an email verification to your inbox. Accept it by clicking the link emailed to you.

Once done, you have the option to merge your World of Warcraft account to the Battle.net 2.0 service.  This merge cannot be reverted.  Once you have merged your world of warcraft account, your old username and password are void. You will login into your World of Warcraft account and login into the game using your Battle.net 2.0 account login.

This is something to be EXCITED about guys. Starcraft II beta is upon us any minute. And that means Blizzplanet will giveaway some beta keys away courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment very soon. Stay tuned for any contests or giveaways.

via: starcraftwire.net

Blizzard Quote:
We

Starcraft Novels On 2010

The future of the Starcraft Novels market for 2010 look very bright and promising. First off, the remaining of 2009 have various books and manga release dates starting with:

  • Starcraft, The Dark Templar, Twilight (Christie Golden, June 30, 2009)
  • Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 3 (Elder Joshua and Ren Zatopek, Jul 14, 2009)
  • Starcraft Ghost: Spectres (Keith R.A. DeCandido, December 2009 Update: Got email from Simon & Schuster sending me some corrections. Spectres accurate schedule is June 2010)

From my inside contacts I know the Starcraft Ghost: Academy trilogy (TOKYOPOP) by Keith R.A. Decandido is scheduled on 2010, and Aaron Rosenberg will write a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades—as revealed in our interview with Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson at the 2009 New York Comic Con. It might likely be on sale by 2010. (Update: Simon & Schuster informed me today there is no Rosenberg book scheduled.

I think Chris Metzen told me outside the interview that he had written a story in Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 4 featuring Jim Raynor (Update: Tokyopop confirmed it is volume 4 – street date October 13, 2009). So keep an eye on that one for sure.

Now fresh from the oven, you can count with another StarCraft novel by Graham McNeil.

Blizzard Quote:
Graham: “… there

Starcraft 2 Round Up March 17

What’s the point of marines?
Karune: Marines are much more useful than the original StarCraft, mostly because they have more hit points now. Even in mid game, they can be armed with Combat Shields, giving them a whopping 55 hit points. That combined with Stim Pack and Medivac Dropships healing, is quite a formidable force.

Nonetheless, in early game, it is a must to combine them with Marauders, to slow Zealots and force fire Roaches.

Having a diverse group when pushing out early is important. This strategy of course is not the only way to play Terran. There are plenty of other units to play with – including Reaper harassment, standard Tank pushes, offensive bunker pushes, Marine/Hellion pushes, etc.

Are Hellions better to be used against Zerglings and Zealots?
Karune: Hellions are tier 2 and you won’t have them. If you want to push out, using both Marines and Marauders is definitely the way to go, especially since 1:1 at cost in the open, Zealots will tear through a group of Marines if not slowed.

Why not just mass marauders
Karune: Mass Marauders unfortunately would lack the dps that a combo Marauder + Marines group would have. Also Marauders don’t have Stim Pack, which also makes up a great deal of extra dps. The Marauder early game could kite a few Zealots well, but their fire rate is much slower than a Marine.

Are creep tumors burrowed/invisible? How easy are they to remove?
Karune: Creep Tumors are ‘burrowed’ and will need a detector to be able to see them. No need for additional speed bonuses, since Zerg ground units (minus the Drone) will already have speed bonuses on creep. The Creep Tumors now only cost 25 energy from the Queen to create. Using the energy for Creep Tumors though means you aren’t using that energy towards spawning additional larva. Players will have to make a choice in their strategy.

StarCraft II Beta Key Opportunities

Many people have been asking where they can get beta keys for StarCraft II. Here are a few of the opportunities out there right now, and more will come as we approach closer to beta.

“Vespene Laughs” StarCraft II Comic Contest (reoccurring monthly)

Blizzard Theme Park Contest (Ends for North America March 30th, end dates differ for each region, check with the regional site)

Warcraft III The Frozen Throne Tournament Season Winners 2009

Video Games Live 2009 March Schedule

Video Games Live played various music pieces from Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft games at the end of Blizzcon 2008, last year. It is very probable they might do so again this upcoming August at Blizzcon 2009.

Video Games Live will have a few concerts throughout the month of March. So if you love video games music played by a live symphony orchestra, and live in Kitchener, Ontario; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Austin, Texas—then check out the schedule and where to get the tickets.

ONTARIO
The music of video games will be performed by the world-class Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony led by industry veterans and world famous video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall on March 13 and March 14 at 8:00pm.  The Video Games Live concert will take place at:

The Centre In The Square
101 Queen Street N.
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

The concert tickets for March 13 are sold out, but if you would love to be there—Saturday, March 14 tickets are still open while they last. Adult seating ticket prices range between $30-80. And can be ordered here.

There will be a pre-show festival starting at 6:30pm.  You can watch some Video Game Live video clips here.

MICHIGAN
On March 20, 2009, Video Games Live will perform at the Miller Auditorium at 8:00pm on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Tickets are available here—ranging from $25-52 for adult seating.

TEXAS
On March 28, 2009—Video Games Live will perform at the Long Center in Austin, TX at 8:00 PM.

Maps here. Ticket info here. Ticket prices range from $32-49.

Michael & Susan Dell Hall
701 W Riverside Dr
Austin, TX
(512) 474-5664

Warcraft Legends 33% Off Special Offer Until March 16

We have been covering the Warcraft Legends Marathon in the past days, and hope you have loved the free stories TOKYOPOP has allowed fans to read.  For that matter, I wish to share with you a special offer announced today by TOKYOPOP at one of their affiliate bookstores that knocks 33% off the retail price on all graphic novel mangas including Warcraft and Starcraft.  And that includes Pre-orders.  If you would love to start collecting the Warcraft mangas, this is the right time to do so. Let me tell you how to. Note: I created and account, and tested the coupon code and without. It does work.

1. Register an account at RightStuf.com—and login.
2. Click on the Purchase links at each manga page (below) to keep adding books to your shopping cart.
3. When you are done with your purchases, click the shopping cart button at the bottom of the page. (You have the option to pay through a secure server or via Fax/Mailed Order.)
4. Press the Ready to Check Out button on the top right and enter the following coupon code:

Coupon Code: infusion
Expires: Monday, March 16, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. CST

You will find the Coupon Code option textbox at Step 3: Shipping and Tax page.

The links below will take you straight into each Manga page for convenience.

WARCRAFT

STARCRAFT

These are the shipping options:
Canada – $7.00
Economy – $3.00
International – $10.00
Priority Mail – $5.00
UPS 2nd Day Air – $11.00
UPS Ground – $7.00

CrossOver Games Support For DirectX 10 Linux and Mac Soon

I rarely post news outside the Blizzard games scope, but I thought this one was very interesting to share with Mac and Linux Blizzard gamers. Codeweaver—developer of the CrossOver Games—announced their roadmap for 2009 highlighted by their support of DirectX 10 right out of the box.—Full Article.

We’ve just shipped a lot of those ‘under the hood’ improvements for games out in CrossOver Games 7.2. We’re really pushing Direct X 9 support pretty far along, and getting ready to move on Direct X 10.

In the next few months, we’ll be shipping CrossOver Linux 8.0, and CrossOver Mac 8.0. That revision of our flagship product will bring support for IE7, modern QuickBooks versions, Quicken 2009 (at a nice speed), Photoshop CS3, and many many other improvements, particularly around Microsoft Office and specifically Outlook. —via Slashdot

Starcraft 2 Drop Pods Removal Reasoning

This is a question some fans may wish to find out ever since the drop pod was removed from the alpha. Its former purpose was to deploy a certain amount of marines on a spot chosen by a ghost unit. Karune responded basically that the drop pod was redundant, once the medivac dropships were introduced. I recall some fans had compared the drop pod with Command & Conquer, but it was very nice to use the ghost to call them down. Hopefully this can still be done in the World Editor, but that’s unlikely.

Blizzard Quote:
Why was the drop pod removed from Starcraft 2?

Karune: The role of the drop pod fit very closely with what Medivac Dropships already do even better. Overall, through testing, it was far better to build Medivac Dropships to drop off reinforcements or raid, especially since drop pods still needed to be loaded with infantry as well.

AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment

AT&T renewed their hosting agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for online games over Battle.net and World of Warcraft servers. A press release is available.

Blizzard Quote:
AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for Online Games

LOS ANGELES, March 3—Online gamers will continue to enjoy a rich and reliable gaming experience thanks to an agreement struck between AT&T* and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Today, AT&T and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, agreed to a two-year renewal for hosted services in North America.

Blizzard Entertainment(R) is best known for its Warcraft(R), StarCraft(R), and Diablo(R) PC games as well as its massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game World of Warcraft(R), which is available in eight languages and played by more than 11.5 million subscribers worldwide.** AT&T has been working closely with Blizzard Entertainment for 9 years, providing hosting for World of Warcraft and the Battle.net(R) online-gaming service.

“We’ve been pleased with AT&T’s service over the years, and we’re confident in their ability to continue to provide the quality support we need,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This renewed agreement allows us to stay completely focused on our games while AT&T applies its hosting expertise to help us offer the speed, reliability and security our players expect.”

Through multiple Internet Data Centers (IDC), AT&T will provide strategic hosting and proactive, 24/7 network monitoring and management for the online infrastructure of Blizzard Entertainment’s games and services. The AT&T Gaming Core Team will provide comprehensive networking support to Blizzard Entertainment.

The AT&T Gaming Core Team was formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s Internet Protocol (IP) network. The team consists of engineers and hosting specialists who provide round-the-clock support to companies offering MMO games. The team provides global, end-to-end support of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s hosting infrastructure, applications and IP network and supports trouble resolution, incident command and control, post incident review and root cause analysis.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, which represents computer and video game publishers, U.S. computer and video game software sales grew almost 23 percent in 2008 to $11.7 billion.

For more information on AT&T Hosting and Application Services, go to https://www.business.att.com/hosting.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

Starcraft 2 Questions March 3 2009

Karune and Cydra answered around a dozen questions about StarCraft II units today.

Blizzard Quote:

What is the current role of the Protoss Phoenix?


The Protoss Phoenix has anti-gravity now and it is great at harassment, especially with more than one Phoenix in a pack. These harassment groups can easily lift workers and other strategic targets like Queens to be taken out while floating in the air.

Karune, does this ability render the Phoenix inoperable for a short period of time? Or can it lift units into the air and attack them afterwords?


edited: The Phoenix in the latest build uses energy (4 per second) when casting anti-gravity, thus the same Phoenix is not able to attack the target it is lifting with anti-gravity.—source

Blizzard Quote:

Let’s take the following scenario:

A group of immortals are leading a charge against tanks followed by a pack of zealots. When the immortals are in range they all line up and begin to fire.

What will happen when the zealots are given an attack-move command towards the tanks? Will they part the wall of immortals and walk in between them while the Immortals are attacking, or will they be forced to walk around the entire line of immortals to reach their targets in melee range?


In that scenario, Zealots will walk around line-ups of Immortals and will attack Siege Tanks.—source

Blizzard Quote:

If you’ve got a mothership to cloak your base, and you have like 4 dark pylons that you use to constantly cloak your mothership. Would this be possible, this way you could hide an expansion with use of permanent invisibility?


You can cloak your Mothership with your Dark Pylon’s Null Shield.
In this case, the enemy can’t see anything in your base without a Detecting unit—source.

Blizzard Quote:

Once the game comes out what are you going to do?


We will be playing the game on the BattleNet? winksource

Blizzard Quote:

The Overlord has been going through ALOT of changes lately and i was wondering what it’s current abilities were?

Is the Changeling still around, does the overlord have the ability to transport again?

Has the Overseer gotten any new abilities?


Overlord has the Generating Creep ability after Lair and the Transport ability after researching at the Lair.

Overseer has Detecting ability as passive and Healing ability on the biological unit or structure. and Overseer can spawn the Changeling.

How many hit points does the Overseer’s healing ability currently restore?

200, currently.

Cydra, when you said “initially”, do you mean Overlords get to use Creep from start of the game, or still unlocked after Lair?


Sorry for the confusion. You can get Generate Creep ability after the Lair.—source

Blizzard Quote:

Fans have been asking: How does it currently work?
What buildings are used?
What units are used?
Any energy costs?
Any resource costs?
Any cooldowns?


You need the Lair to build Nydus Network.
You can mutate your drone into Nydus Network with 150 Mineral and 200 Vespene Gas.
From your Nydus Network, you can summon multiple Nydus Worms at any place on the creep and each Nydus Worm cost 100 Mineral and 10 seconds build time.
Units can enter a Nydus Worm or Nydus Network and exit through any other Nydus Worm or Nydus Network.

Another question: Can Nydus Worms be “retracted” (i.e. moved somewhere else?)

No, you can’t move Nydus Worms once you summon them.

1. so this means there is no longer an overseer spawning nydus worms, or do they coexist?
2. can you use the queen to lay creep tumors in areas without any creep, thus indirectly creating space for a nydus worm?
3. during the 10 seconds of nydus worm creation, what does the animation look like (building egg or creep shakes and worm emerges)?
4. what is the interval between units entering and exiting the worm (i.e. how many “units per second” can leave the worm)? do they exit one-by-one or in packs? how is the order chosen (i.e. if you select a large group of units to exit, will the smaller ones leave first or will the order be random)?

1. No, Overseer does not have Nydus Worm spawning ability any more.
2. You can build Creep Tumor from the Queen only on the creep to expand it.
3. It just looks like other Zerg buildings while it is being summoned and the worm bursts out of the creep when the summoning is done. Hard to describe the animation of the popping up;;
4. Yes, units are coming out of the Nydus Worm/Nydus Network one-by-one and they come out in the same order they entered in.—source

Blizzard Quote:

When i first saw planetary fortress, i was surprised at the fact that the command center’s door(?) at the front closed when it upgraded.

Could this mean that if command center is upgraded, it cannot produce SCVs?

In the current build, you can train SCVs at all three regardless of the upgrade.
You can load SCVs up to 5 into Command Center and Planetary Fortress.
Command Center and Orbital Command can be lifted off, but Planetary Fortress can’t be lifted off.

Does the CC have to land before it can unload the SCVs? Or can it drop them like a shuttle/dropship?

You can also load and unload SCVs while your Command Center is lifted off.

Hey Cydra, can you build SCVs while lifted off (stocking them in the loading slots) or not?
Also.. can you “undo” or “salvage” the upgrades an return to an original CC? or do you have to salvage the whole building? or you cant salvage the CC at all?

No, you can’t build SCVs while lifted off;

No, you can’t downgrade the Command Center back.—source

Glynnis Signing at 2009 Irish Fair and Music Festival

Glynnis Talken-Campbell has a public appearance at the Irish Fair and Music Festival.  The event will take place at the Fairplex in Pomona, California on Saturday, March 7th. If you wish to meet her you can find her at the Tea & Sympathy booth signing books. Attendees who send us a photo with Glynnis will get a Starcraft Comic Book Poster.  Simply send your photo at the following email.

In case you missed the recent news update, Glynnis won’t reprise her role as Kerrigan in StarCraft 2. Many fans have shown their sympathy and support, regardless of Blizzard’s decision to undertake a different voice direction.

Glynnis said: “…It’s been an honor serving as your Queen!  I’m terribly flattered by the fans who’ve come forward in my defense and posted such kind compliments.”

Fairplex at the Pomona Fairgrounds
1101 West Mc Kinley Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766

Saturday, March 7th 2009
10:00am to 6:00pm

Ticket info here.

Starcraftwire.net Challenge: StarCraft Comic Book Poster Giveaway

Our sister site StarCraftWire.net has a challenge. Can you stand up to following each step to win a StarCraft Comic Book poster or even one signed by Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson? Read the full details.

Every week new posters will be given away. Make sure to check out Blizzplanet’s giveaways too.

StarCraft II - Glynnis Not Reprising Kerrigan Role

This is a very sad news to hear. Glynnis Talken confirmed to SCLegacy that she won’t reprise her role as Kerrigan. And not for lack of interest. Some time ago, Glynnis told me she was interested in voicing Kerrigan in StarCraft II.

Robert Clotworthy had told me in our interview some time ago that he would also love to repirse his role as Jim Raynor. However, as reported last november Blizzard contacted several agencies in search of candidates to audition for Kerrigan and Jim Raynor roles—clearly dispatching the former voice actors despite the wish of many fans of welcoming Glynnis and Robert back into the fold.

New actors may be hired and probably be somewhat good at the roles, but Glynnis and Robert can never be replaced. They are unique. They gave life to the characters not just with their voice, but with their passion, humor and convincing performance. I will personally feel a sense of loss when playing the game.

Win Starcraft II Beta Keys With Blizzard Theme Park Art Contest

What would you do if you could design the Blizzard Entertainment theme park of your dreams? Here’s your chance to show Blizzard! Blizzard is inviting you to illustrate your own original Blizzard Entertainment theme park, complete with rides and attractions based on the Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft universes. The most creative and fantastic designs will receive prizes including StarCraft II beta keys, a chance to have their entry displayed at BlizzCon 2009, and more. For more information, head to the contest page or read the official rules.

Blizzard Quote:

Award Categories

Best Overall Blizzard Theme Park
(incorporating StarCraft, Warcraft, and Diablo)
“Grand Prize

POLL: What do you think of the new mechanics?

Blizzard has been incredibly active with StarCraft II updates after the release of Q&A Batch 49. It is a very good sign that their internal closed beta date is very close. Today, Cydra posted a new poll to find out your feedback. We encourage all our visitors and long-time loyal followers to participate in this official poll that aims to research your overall opinion concerning the recent game mechanics and model overhaul.

Blizzard Quote:
Vote for the new game mechanics

The StarCraft 2 team has made a number of changes in each of the races and the new game mechanics are expected to provide players with more strategic options and chances.

Here are the new game mechanics for gathering resources and building up army. And you can check more changes in each races at the latest StarCraft II Q&A – Batch 49(StarCraft II Q&A – Batch 49) as well. So, what do you think of this new game mechanics change?

Protoss Dark Pylon:

Starcraft 2 Batch 49: Screenshot and Model Updates

The StarCraft II Team has deployed a lot of goodie screenshots and details about their model changes. This shows they are polishing the game in preparation to closed beta. Awesome work on the units.

Art Updates

The StarCraft art team have been making massive updates to the Zerg faction, adding various new animations and improving even further on the textures of Zerg units and buildings. A picture is a thousand words so check out the updates for yourself!


Zerg Drone (Before/After)

Zerg Overlord (Before/After)

Zerg Hydralisk (Before/After)


Zerg Overseer (Before/After)

Zerg Baneling (Before/After)

Throughout the development process, the team is constantly reiterating and improving on the game in every way. As mentioned before, the Infestor too is getting a makeover, becoming much creepier and intimidating

StarCraft Q&A - Batch 49

The latest Starcraft 2 Q&A is available, and this time it is giving Zerg players some love.

Blizzard Quote:
1. I am very curious… previously, SCVs, Drones, Probes, Vultures, Archons, and Dark Archons hovered above the ground so they were not hit by mines. My question is simple: Are there any hovering units in Starcraft 2? If there are, can they hover over shallow water? -Ancientdefender (Battle.net)

If Spider Mines stay in the game, then there will be hovering units. Shallow waters are currently just a visual effect and will not

Starcraft 2 Beta and Battle Report 2 FAQ

Dustin Browder prepared a brief FAQ concerning Closed Beta date and the upcoming Battle Report.  There is no ETA on beta, but the Battle Report was finished last week. They are adding some video of the latest graphic improvements to some units. There is no date for the Battle Report, but it sounds like we will have some love in upcoming weeks prior to beta.

Blizzard Quote:
I see lots of questions about timelines. Here is a little FAQ.

Question: “Why hasn’t Blizzard released the Beta?” or “WTF have they been working on, I played it at Blizzcon last year and I thought it was done!”
Answer: Solo campaign is under heavy construction as is Battlenet. When these things have enough work done that we know when our release date is going to be with strong confidence we will announce the Beta. Unless something crazy happens, the Beta is going to happen this year.

Question: “Why don’t you just give us your target dates if you don’t know the final date? We promise, we won’t get mad if Blizzard misses target dates.”
Answer: Let’s be realistic. Our target dates are not something we hit more than half the time. Putting those out there would be pretty close to lying to the fans. We are not going to do that. We want to be able to give good info, not info that we know is suspect. We’ll give target dates when we think it is very likely that we will hit them.

Question: When can we have the next Battle Report?
Answer: We were waiting on getting some improved graphics in (some of the new stuff looked REALLY rough). That was finished last week and we are now playing and looking for a good game. Once we get that game the process is reasonably quick to get it out. Once we go Beta, you guys can do these and put them up. When that happens I’m sure there will be a ton of them and I’m sure the quality of the games played and the announcing will go way up.

Question: “I notice that you haven’t actually given us any dates….”
Answer: Yeah. Sorry. We don’t want to lie about the Beta, and we don’t even want to lie about the next Battle Report. When we know a date (for anything) for certain, we’ll let you know.

Hang in there. We’re in the final stretch.—source

2009 NYCC: Tokyopop Metzen and Neilson Signing

We were at the New York Comic Con 2009 to bring you videos of the event. Today, you can watch the book signing session held at the Tokyopop booth where Blizzard Entertainment Senior VP of Creative Development Chris Metzen and the Senior Writer & Voice Director Micky Neilson joined book writers Keith R.A. DeCandido (Starcraft Ghost: Academy), Josh Elder (StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 1) and Grace Randolph (Starcraft Frontline Vol. 2) to meet and greet fans.

At the end of video # 2 you will see Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson signing the Starcraft Comic Book Posters exclusively for our giveaway to fans. They are also signed by the manga writers. If you want the opportunity to win one of these signed posters follow the link to participate.

If you were at the event, you will probably have great memories to share with your friends and guildmates. Enjoy.


Video # 1

Video # 2

Blizzard Lead Producer Moves To New MMO

Our network site, IncGamers, got the MASSIVE breaking news that WoW Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan has moved away from the World of Warcraft team to focus all his time and effort on the Blizzard Entertainment’s unannounced Next-Gen MMO.

He will still be participating in certain WoW development decisions, but his new tasks will keep him busy on the development of the next-gen MMO. This brings a lot of speculation vibe to it. Why reveal he’s moved to the next-gen MMO team? Why now? Fans wouldn’t have even figured out he was missing except for the BlizzCast Q&As that aren’t released so often.

Will there be a new Blizzcon this year? Are we witnessing hints of an impending game announcement this year?

Will this Next-Gen MMO be a resurrected Starcraft: Ghost game? The game was postponed, not canceled.  It is quite possible. Back on Blizzcon 2005, fans played Starcraft: Ghost multiplayer. It looked more like an MMO than a console game. Another possible hint this game could resurface is the four Starcraft: Ghost printed-format books in development. Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star Books will publish Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by the end of 2009. Keith R.A. DeCandido has written around four chapters thus far.

Tokyopop will publish a manga trilogy titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy, aimed to be released throughout 2010. The Year of the Ghost. Speculations, speculations. Don’t we love that time of the year when Blizzard itches to tell something is being brewed in their headquarters?

Will it be a Starcraft MMO or Diablo MMO? It would be hard to tell. Back on 2002, two games were in development parallel to each other: World of Warcraft and Warcraft III.  Both games tied up lorewise with the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Undead races and the Kalimdor and Northrend continents.

Starcraft 2 is now developed to be three separate episodes of around 30 maps each.  This could be seen as expanding the lore to introduce an MMO.  On the other side, we have Diablo 3. It hasn’t been revealed if it will be split into episodes, but last year it was revealed that the storyline in Diablo 3 wouldn’t be the end. The Creative Development Team has plenty of story to tell beyond Diablo 3. Whether that is via expansions or … coughs … a Next-Gen MMO, that remains to be seen.

Keep your eyes open through the summer for any Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals or Blizzcon announcements. It could very well mean the unveiling of the mysterious Next-Gen MMO. Big thumbs up to Jeff Kaplan and his team. Make us proud and make the best MMO experience possible.

Blizzard Quote:
Tigole: I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I

2009 NYCC: Metzen & Neilson Pocket Books Signing Video

Many Blizzard fans attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for the opportunity to meet the thundergod Chris Metzen (Senior VP of Creative Development) and Micky Neilson (Senior Writer & Voice Director) during the Simon & Schuster book signing session.

There were a lot of happy fans handing over their copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, the Comic Book Vol. 1 hardcover, even the Wrath of the Lich King Collector’s Edition Art Book. I remember one of the fans brought the wall-mounting accessory of the Frostmourne sword replica to be signed. It was a fun experience to both Alliance and Horde players; and the developers were quite satisfied and passionate about the fans’ reactions.

Blizzplanet and WorldofWar.net was there to interview both Blizzard developers, and to record most of the book signing session. Below you can watch all three videos.


Video # 1

Video # 2

Video # 3

Win a Starcraft Comic Book Poster Signed By Metzen and Neilson

We are now giving away a few StarCraft Comic Book Posters signed by Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Keith R.A. DeCandido and Grace Randolph during our New York Comic Con coverage. All you need to do to participate in this giveaway is to say: “I Want a Starcraft Poster” and let us know whether you would subscribe to this StarCraft comic book by Wildstorm.

Post your entry at the following forum thread.

Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson Pocket Star Books Lore Q&A Video Interview

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?

I gathered lore questions from the following communities: WorldofWar.net, StarcraftWire.net, Scrollsoflore.com, Blizzplanet.com, WowInsider.com, WoW-ESP.com, Starcraft-ESP.com and WoW-Hungary

Video Part 2

Transcript

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.

Neilson: Yes…

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.

[after fight]

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.

Neilson: Absolutely.

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).

Neilson: (laughing)

Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.

Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…

(all laughing)

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)

Metzen: Mostly.

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 …

Metzen: Necromancers.

Neilsen: Necromancers.

(Everyone laughs)

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).

Neilson: (laughs)

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).

(Everyone laughs)

Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!

(laughs)

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 …

Neilson: (laughs)

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.”

Neilson: Ohhh!

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.

Metzen: He effed up with himself.

New York Comic Con 2009 Starcraft Comic Book Poster

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:

No Rules.
No Problem.

Monthly Comic Coming 2009

Blizzard Not Attending 2009 E3 Expo

A few days ago, major gaming sites reported that Activision Blizzard had returned to this year’s E3 Exhibitors List. Last year, Vivendi and Activision had withdrew their ESA membership and E3 altogether.  GiantBomb—where ex-Gamespot Editorial Director Jeff Gerstmann works nowadays—got response from Blizzard Entertainment. And the answer was:

Blizzard Quote:
Blizzard Entertainment will not be attending or participating in E3 2009.

Short and straight. This is a big surprise, knowing Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 won’t get the press time and hands-on gameplay at an event that Blizzard had previously attended to. It seems Blizzcon and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals will remain to be the main platforms for new game and expansion announcements—including hands-on gameplay.

Last year’s Blizzcon had the whooping achievement of over 15,000 attendees from all around the world.

Starcraft 2 Battle Report 2 Soon And More Beta Teasing

It is quite impressive the amount of time Cavez (Dustin Browder) has been putting into answering questions in Battle.net.  Not just to answer questions relevant to Starcraft II units, but to TEASE the heck out of players. Is Starcraft II beta imminent? I will leave that to your imagination.

Blizzard Quote:
King.evan: When is the GAME coming out?!?!?!

Cavez: Sometime after the battle-report.

Livorion: Are we going to see Zerg gameplay?

Cavez: No promises. We will show the best thing we have. If we get a great game that is Protoss vs. Protoss then that’s what we will show. But we really want to show Zerg.

Archerofaiur: If I rally my barracks to a bunker do the units automaticaly enter? What about rallying to a dropship?

Cavez: In the current build you can rally a Barracks into a Bunker or a transport. Units rallied in this way move successfully to the bunker or transport and enter. If the transport is moving, the rallied unit will chase the transport until it catches up and then the rallied unit loads.

Starcraft 2 Q&A Round Up - Feb 2009

There have been some interesting answers to fan’s questions at the battle.net forums the past few days.  The questions deal with the Protoss Observers, Medivac’s Paladin Beam, Beta Key regional availability, and the Protoss Colossus.

Blizzard Quote:
Terribledamage: Are there any new abilities/upgrades for Observers?

Cavez: Observer art is still being worked on, but I wouldn’t expect a ton of changes. If you want to post on its current look, please do. As to function, he is such a clean and fun little unit we haven’t felt the need for any changes to how he works. If you guys want to make suggestions on the Observer we will be happy to look at them.

Upgrades are something we are still working on. So I don’t know what is going to happen there yet.

Monklo: Can a Terran Medivac’s “Paladin Beam” heal zerg air units?

Cavez: The ability works on all Zerg units (including air).

Bobod: Will the tournaments that will giveaway beta keys be only on United States?

Karune: There will be opportunities in all our supported regions to attain beta keys. The types of opportunities are still in planning, but some of them we’ll be ready to reveal relatively soon.

Theoblivion: Siege Tanks can’t attack a unit that is too close to it. Will Colossus have a blind spot too? Or can it attack either way, close and far?

Karune: It does not currently have any blind spots. On a side note, we are working to buff up the Colossus a bit more to have more burst attack (more attack damage but slower attack speed). Previously, in order for the Colossus to be very effective, a Protoss player would need several of them on the field attacking at the same time. This change should make the Colossus more effective with smaller numbers.

Sarah McKerrigan Signing At 2009 Queen Mary Scottish Festival

The voice behind Kerrigan the Queen of Blades in StarCraft is also an accomplished medieval romance book writer. It is one of her passions besides voice acting.  Glynnis Talken-Campbell (Sarah McKerrigan) will make a public appearance at the Queen Mary Scottish Festival & Games! signing books at the Tea & Sympathy booth on Sunday, February 15th.

Glynnis: ” … so if you like to throw darts, listen to bagpipes, sip whiskey, drool over men in kilts, and celebrate all things Scottish, drop by the Long Beach Harbor and say hi!”

You can find tickets info, maps & directions, phone number, email and a brochure (PDF) about the event at the following webpage.

Don’t forget to share your photos with the gorgeous voice actress with us.

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