Blizzard New Job Openings

Lead Producer, Web/Mobile
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a highly organized individual with outstanding communication skills and experience in project management to lead production on the web and mobile team. The web and mobile team handles all aspects of Blizzard Entertainment’s presence on the Web – from cutting-edge product marketing websites to critical account-related applications and everything in between. We’re looking for individuals who have a proven track record in a senior or lead producer role, ideally with experience in the web development field. For more information, check out the posting.

Producer, Web Software Engineering
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for a talented and enthusiastic producer to join our web and mobile team in Irvine, California. The web and mobile team handles all aspects of the Blizzard Entertainment web presence, from flashy product marketing web sites to mission critical account-related applications and everything in between. This production position will interface closely with our web software engineering group, and we are looking for individuals capable of understanding technical issues and working fluidly with technical personnel. For more information, check out the posting.

Software Engineer, .NET
As a corporate applications software engineer, this person will design and develop internal applications that aid the company and our customers. The ideal candidate is a .NET expert, has an eye for detail, and isn’t scared of ambiguity. For more information, check out the job posting.

Assistant Manager, In-Game Support
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for an experienced customer service professional to serve as our assistant manager of in-game support. The ideal candidate has outstanding motivational and leadership skills and proven experience in customer service. Additionally, this person should have proven experience managing customer service professionals and operations knowledge. The ability to work effectively with others and commitment to teamwork is a must for this position. For more information, check out the job posting.

VOIP/Telecom Engineer
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for an experienced VOIP/telecom engineer to maintain and deploy our global VOIP call centers and global corporate office VOIP clusters. A successful candidate will have a strong customer service focus and an expert-level knowledge of VOIP. This person should be able to demonstrate the ability to work independently as well as to function effectively as part of a team. The candidate will also be detail-oriented with solid documentation skills. For more information, check out the posting.

Design Director, Battle.net
Blizzard Entertainment is currently looking for a design director to join the team working on Battle.net, the online gaming service used by players of our Warcraft real-time strategy, StarCraft, and Diablo games. The advent of eSports has made Battle.net more important than ever in providing a service to match players, both individually and in groups, with opponents of the appropriate skill level. In addition to focusing on optimizing our matchmaking functionality, the design director will help grow Battle.net into a more dynamic, interactive service for our online community. For more information, check out the job posting.

StarCraft II Monthly Comic Contest

Send us your StarCraft-themed comics and we’ll choose the funniest or most interesting to be showcased on a special gallery page. Remember, we’re looking for the best StarCraft humor out there. You can submit comics created in any medium, just make sure they’re relevant to StarCraft II, original, and make us laugh.

For the first month, our winner will receive an 8GB Blizzard Branded iPod Nano, a copy of the StarCraft board game, a StarCraft Battle Chest, a shirt, and a copy of the StarCraft cinematics DVD. Two runners-up will also receive prize packages. See the official contest page here.

Nothamerican/European WoW and Warcraft III Finals

The 2008 North American and European Warcraft Finals will be taking place this weekend, September 6-7, in Boston, Massachusetts, and Madrid, Spain. These events will feature the top eight qualifiers from the 2008 World of Warcraft Arena and Warcraft III tournaments for their respective regions. Attendees will also have the opportunity to try out demos of Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II on-site. Admission is free, so come by and check it out if you’re in the area.

For full details on each event, please visit the tournament page.

Vollee - MMO Mobile Streaming

As reported twice on Blizzplanet, the mystery behind Blizzard’s Mobile Division remains veiled beyond the Battlechat trademark. It is still unknown if Vollee and Blizzard may bring World of Warcraft to mobile. I have been predicting this for many months after finding out one of the Vollee partners was Activision. Now ActivisionBlizzard. Vollee CEO Martin Dunsby will be at the Virtual Worlds Expo on the “Mobile Virtual Worlds: Leaving the Personal Computer Behind” panel, at the Los Angeles Convention Center held in room 406 AB on Sept. 3 at 2:30 p.m.

Redwood City, Calif. – Sept. 3, 2008 – Vollee, the 3G streaming services provider, announced today that its mobile open beta application for Second Life®, the 3D virtual world platform created by Linden Lab®, has been downloaded by users in over 98 countries, across more than 253 mobile operators’ networks for 70 supported handset models.

The Vollee technology is the first of its kind to stream a high-end PC experience to mobile, including popular massively multiplayer online role playing games and persistent worlds. The company’s mobile application for Second Life, launched in June 2008, was the first to offer access to the complete virtual world via a mobile device, allowing Vollee’s registered users to explore, interact and communicate on-line.

“We were able to bring Second Life to mobile in a way that Residents all over the world, from Afghanistan to Venezuela, have flocked to,” said Martin Dunsby, CEO, Vollee. “Extending the online experience seamlessly to mobile is the future of PC applications, and our technology allows for this in a way that not only appeals to the existing communities but also drives new adoption as well.”

The company’s VolleeX technology adapts applications for screen size and key layout, and then streams the original application to mobile devices.  Vollee’s interactive video streaming platform optimizes compression to minimize bandwidth requirements and also leverages the 3G mobile networks in such a way that users can easily and smoothly navigate the application. Vollee’s technology is also extensible to fast paced, high quality video games previously impossible on mobile.

To download the free Second Life mobile application and view a complete list of supported handsets, please visit https://www.vollee.com/secondlife.

About Vollee

Vollee enables an interactive PC experience on mobile.  By hosting unmodified PC applications on powerful servers, adapting them intelligently for mobile handsets and then streaming them over 3G networks, Vollee allows users to access MMOs and rich virtual worlds such as Second Life or play console quality games on mass-market handsets.

Vollee delivers its groundbreaking service through patented tools that radically change the return on investment for IP owners to bring their content to mobile.  Vollee dramatically reduces the time to market as applications are adapted in a matter of weeks without touching source code, and increases deployment reach as Vollee enables just about all 3G and Wi-Fi enabled handsets to run these rich PC applications.

Vollee has already announced partnerships with some of the leading Intellectual Property owners such as ActivisionBlizzard, Linden Lab, Codemasters, and Encore Software. For more information, visit www.vollee.com.

Frank Pearce Talks Starcraft 2 & Battle.net 2.0

Frank Pearce talked about Starcraft 2 and Battle.net 2.0 with GamesIndustry.biz, and from what I could interpret it seems Battle.net 2.0 will work like … Steam? to access World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, and Diablo III into one solid Blizzard Community where you can interact with friends who play the same game as you, or even if your friend doesn’t have World of Warcraft, you may keep in contact with him to synch playing Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3. If my interpretation was correct, this is gonna be a great feature. Read the interview

Q: That’s the basis of the plan to unite communities from all of Blizzard’s titles more?

Frank Pearce: We’d definitely like to be able to bring the entire Blizzard community together online. Battle.net would certainly be a good tool to make that happen. The WoW community is massive, the StarCraft community is large as well.

We’ll have to see – we probably won’t be able to implement all the plans that we have in mind when StarCraft II launches, but with Battle.net being an online destination, we can add features as we go.

Q: Do you see lots of crossover between the different players of your games?

Frank Pearce: We did some research, and I can’t remember which direction we did it in – whether it was StarCraft players that played WoW or vice versa – and there’s a fair amount of overlap.

Wintergrasp Lake PvP Beta Updates

Blizzard continues to tune up and polish Wintergrasp Lake (World PvP):

KalganHere’s a quick update on some of the things coming to Wintergrasp over the course of the next few beta updates.

  • Graveyards will be inaccessible to attackers (ie: above normal terrain) to put a damper on gy camping.
  • Ranking up will be based on HKs rather than killing blows (was always intended to be HKs)
  • In the case of team imbalances, there will be escalating bonuses to the weaker team (for both honor and combat effectiveness… mostly survivability bonuses and potentially easier access to vehicles)
  • The losing team will receive a partial bonus at the end of a battle (also based on participation)
  • Players will be able to leave Wintergrasp at any time (via a “Leave Battle” UI option similar to leaving a battleground)
  • A variety of daily quests will be introduced to the zone, including quests that are relevant when the battle isn’t currently active
  • Ongoing tuning of vehicle power (they’re still on the strong side)
  • Ongoing bugfixing and polish

Something else we’re hoping to get in, but aren’t certain of at this point is the ability to select which graveyard you respawn at.

Starcraft 2 - eSports & Replays Interview

Telias from 4players.de informs they got a interview with Frank Pierce and Bob Colayco at the 2008 Leipzig Games Convention. The English version of this interview is now online.

So what about this replay function? Will the replays be saved on the Blizzard-Server?

Bob Colayco: The way it works right now is that the replays are saved on your local computer. So when I play you save the replay on my computer. Maybe some other things we try to do is like how can you easily show the replay to your friends and make that more easy to transit to. As far as a specific functionality for battle.net we are not really ready to get into the details of that because there are still decisions being made as we develop, whether specific things will make it in with the launch of the game and what we will have to add on later because the development on the new battle.net will be continues. It’s not like we are launching a game and this is it, this is the end. There’s going to be more things added on as we go.

Frank Pierce: We are also talking about potential spectator’s functionality and things like that. We have an e-sports-team internally whose responsibility is to host the events that we run and also work for parties so that e-sports-team will be responsible for e-sport with StarCraft 2 as well.

Wrath of the Lich King - Azjol-Nerub: Ahn’Kahet (Old Kingdom) Videos

Today, Blizzplanet presents the four boss encounters in the lvl 73-75 dungeon Azjol-Nerub: Ahn’Kahet … the Old Kingdom of the Nerubian Empire. Currently beta build 8885 opened this dungeon for testing and bug report purposes. It has no loot table in any of the mobs or bosses. The third boss has no textures (green model) and the fourth boss is a placeholder. These will be updated in a upcoming beta patch.

The first boss Elder Nadox is a Nerubian Vizier. The second boss Prince Taldaram is a blood elf serving the Lich King. He is one of the blood elf princes that can be seen in the vision of the past rising the spirit of Archmage Arugal back into the world (quest from Grizzly Hills).

The third boss is Jedoga Shadowseeker, an orc female. Currently her model lacks textures. You will see a neon green texture instead.  She seems to be the leader of … hold your breath … a group of Twilight’s Hammer. It is unknown why the Twilight’s Hammer is in the Old Kingdom of Azjol-Nerub.  Putting two and two together, the Twilight’s Hammer are interested in serving the Old god Yogg-Saron. There’s much to find out about this dungeon’s current lore.

The fourth boss is Herald Volazj, a Faceless One.  Currently he is using a placeholder model (Rajax from Ahn’Qiraj). You can watch the videos here. Use the navigation to the right to access the other bosses videos.

It is uncertain whether the Old god Yogg-Saron is the Forgotten One that King Arthas the Death Knight fought alongside Anub’arak in the Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne Undead Campaign Chapter 7. Read the transcript in our Frozen Throne Lore section. More will be known when the 25-players dungeon Ulduar is released.  According to a quest where Thorim faces Loken, he claims Thorim is now where his master’s power is stronger. This implies Yogg-Saron might be a boss encounter in Ulduar.

Wrath of the Lich King Beta - Gun’Drak Videos

Gun’Drak dungeon is now open in beta build 8885. It is a five-players dungeon level 77-79 in the region of Zul’Drak. It is ideal for players who wish to level up quick to level 80. It is a fast-paced dungeon that takes about 35-45 minutes with a good team. The four bosses are manageable, with very few trash mobs in between. Definitely shorter than running Zul’Aman.

Blizzplanet has video of the four bosses encounters in the Gun’Drak dungeon.

Gun’drak screenshots here.

PAX 2008 - Starcraft 2 Multiple Building Selection

Shacknews previews Starcraft 2 after their hands-on play at PAX 2008 convention and interviewed Karune to discuss the new changes to be made to Starcraft 2.  The build played at PAX was the same played at WWI Paris
2008. However, Karune confirms that fans will play a different build at BlizzCon 2008 in Anaheim.  Multiple Building Selection will change some from what was presented at WWI and PAX. Vespene Gas will drastically drains faster in the new BlizzCon build, and will force players to strategically spend more minerals to purchase Vespene Gas.

The design here is to balance Micro vs Macro Management players and spend vespene gas resources more wisely. Once the Vespene Gas geyser is drained, you must move all your Vespene SCVs to the minerals until the geyser is replenished.

Kevin Yu: In the build that you’ll see at BlizzCon it’s more of a compromise. Clicking on each of the barracks—let’s say you have three barracks. It won’t be like you press “M” once and you’ll have three marines pop out. You’re actually going to have to press “M” three times, which is a little more controlled over what comes out. Because let’s say you have a tech lab on one, and on another you have a reactor, so they build different units and such. You can actually have a little more control over that now.

We’ve tried different things like enable tabbing inbetween each building. Like you click a control group of all your barracks, and you have to tab inbetween each time to press “M.” So you have a control group that’s 4 for your barracks; 4, M, Tab, M, Tab, M, Tab, M.

We made it one step easier on that. We used to have more control. Honestly, the game still requires a lot of skill and we’re not too worried about that. We’re really thinking that the game is going to have a lot of things we’re not expecting. There’s going to be a more tactical dynamic to the game, especially with units being able to move a lot faster. All the races are a lot more mobile than they were in StarCraft 1. With Protoss you warp in your army, you don’t have to wait for them to cross the map. You can move your whole entire [Zerg] army with the Nydus Canal. Dropships now are very prevalent in StarCraft 2 for Terrans because they also double up as a medic now. More incentive to have dropships and move your army around.

Wrath of the Lich King Beta Build 8885 Released

A new build has been released tonight around 10pm EST/-5GMT. It is a 458mb file. More details soon.

Hello rogues,

We’ve got some updates coming soon for the rogue class and I wanted to duck in and give you a sneak preview of what we’ve been working on as well as our future goals. Below are lists (by no means exhaustive) of some of these changes and goals.

ROGUE
General

  • Quality of life improvements: Removal of various reagents (Thieves’ Tools, Flash Powder) as well as a Poisons skill change. We’re removing the Poisons skill and making the finished poisons available on vendors for purchase. This should free up a fair amount of bag space.
  • Envenom: Now also increases your chance to apply poisons by 25% for 2-6 seconds (based on combo points).
  • Wounding Poison: No longer stacks. The first application now reduces healing by 50%.
  • Anesthetic Poison: Now also removes one Enrage effect from the target.
  • Evasion, Sprint, Vanish: Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes. (Talents that reduce cooldown take this down to 2 minutes.)
  • Cloak of Shadows: Cooldown increased to 2 minutes. (Elusiveness now reduces this cooldown to 1 minute.)
  • A new level 75 ability has been designed. This is going to be one of the bigger teases as we’re not quite ready to talk about this one yet. I will say that will add some much needed group utility.
  • Fan of Knives: Weapon normalization to equalize effectiveness regardless of weapons carried.
  • Dismantle now trained at level 20.

Assassination

  • Mutilate: No longer requires you be behind the target.
  • Relentless Strikes: Talent is too “required” and will be made more accessible. Vigor will replace its spot in the tree and a new talent will be created to fill Vigor’s spot.
  • Find Weakness: Made passive to cut down on the number of triggered effects that either don’t affect gameplay or affect it in a negative way.
  • Cut to the Chase: No longer requires a critical Eviscerate or Envenom. The finisher just has to land.
  • Hunger for Blood: Now removes any harmful physical effect instead of Bleed or Magic effects. Bleed effects will still be removed (as all are physical) as well as effects like Mortal Strike, Aimed Shot, Expose Armor etc…

Combat

  • Riposte: Now generates a combo point.
  • Mace Specialization: This will grant armor penetration when using a mace. (The warrior talent will as well.)
  • Deflection: Reduced to 3 ranks for 2/4/6% parry. This should soften the prereq for Riposte.
  • Fist Weapon Specialization: Merged with Dagger Specialization.
  • Dagger Specialization: Renamed Close Quarters Combat, moved to tier 3.
  • Dual Wield Specialization: Moved to tier 1. Lightning Reflexes swapped locations with it and still needs a little more “oomph”.
  • Unfair Advantage and Stay of Execution: Change to more offensive/utility (read mobility) talents. Too much defense on this tier.
  • Killing Spree: Weapon normalization to equalize effectiveness regardless of weapons carried.

Subtlety

  • More attractive Tier 1 to draw in all types of builds.
  • Fewer dagger specific talents to allow additional build options.
  • Wrongfully Accused: Reviewed. This talent doesn’t fit well in this location. May be moved lower and/or redesigned.
  • Shadow Dance: A bit awkward at the moment. Due for some polish and some design tweaks.

    Plenty to do still as you can see. As I mentioned, this isn’t everything we’ve got our eye on but gives you something to discuss and look for in an upcoming beta patch. Please add to the list anything you think needs special attention.

DRUID
Control of Nature is being rolled into Nature’s Focus. This was done to make room in the Balance Tree for new updates and for the early tier of Resto to be more appealing to Balance Druids. The current plan for Nature’s Grasp is for it to be a base ability (100% chance).

PRIEST
Some changes to Penance are incoming:

  • The first tick will be virtually instant (so overall the channel is now 2 seconds, not 3)
  • The mana cost has been cut roughly in half.
  • There’s a new Discipline talent that will make it more interesting

WARRIOR (Fan Submitted: Serennia)

  • Trauma and sudden death switched spots in the talent tree
  • Toughness now grants up to 50% movement impair reduction
  • Strength of arms and unrelenting assault switched places in arms
  • Intensify rage and precision switched places in fury
  • Sword and board increased from 10% to 15% chance
  • Critical block changed to add 15% crit on shield slam, in addition to previous effect
  • New ability in deep prot (charge; bugged?)
  • Safeguard now 2 ranks instead of 3 for same effectiveness
  • Vigilance tweaked slightly
  • Improved defensive stance causes an enrage effect when you dodge, block, or parry
  • Improved shield wall increases effect by 5/10% now in addition to duration
  • Improved disarm reduced to 2 ranks for same effectiveness
  • Improved revenge reduced to 2 ranks for 10/20% damage and 25/50% chance to stun
  • Puncture changed to 2 ranks and only reduces sunder/devastate by 1/2 rage now
  • Mace spec now grants armor penetration rating

    Toughness: Now also reduces the duration of all slowing effects by 10/20/30/40/50%

    Improved revenge: Now has 2 ranks (10/20% damage increase and 25/50% chance to stun)

    Improved sunder renamed Puncture: Now has 2 ranks and will reduce the rage cost by 1/2

    Improved shield wall: increases the damage reduction by 5/10% and lowers the cooldown by 30/60 seconds

    Improved revenge: now 2 ranks for the same effect.

    Improved defensive stance: Now 2 ranks, 3/6% damage reduction and also grants a 100% chance to become enraged for 12 seconds increasing damage on a dodge, block or parry (no miss)

    New charge ability, requieres 40 points in protection. Charges the enemy, 15 seconds cooldown; generates rage, can’t be used in combat.

    Critical Block: same as before with a 5/10/15% chance to crit with shield slam added to it
    Sword and board increased to 15% wth 5/5, same as before for the functionality

    Fury: Precision and intensify rage have been swapped

    Arms: Strength of arms and Unrelenting assault swapped

      Weapon Throw (Level 80)

      • Throws your weapon at the enemy causing [ 100% of AP + 1 ] damage (based on attack power). This ability causes high threat. 30 yd range, 0.5 sec cast, 20 sec cooldown

      Enraged Assault (Level 75)

      • A furious assault that consumes an Enrage effect on the warrior and attacks with all weapons. Can only be used while Enraged. 15 Rage, 5 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown

Starcraft 2 Co-op Gameplay Possible

TotalVideoGames interviewed Frank Pearce and Bob Calayco to discuss details of Starcraft 2. It is not something that is in the works, nor will make it to release date, but it lurks within the dev team’s minds. Starcraft 2 could have a co-op gameplay after release date. Curiously they mention the term of Map Pack releases after release date, and co-op gameplay could be introduced that way. The mention of map packs could mean there is no monthly fee planned for Battle.net 2.0.

TVG: Relic Entertainment has announced that Dawn of War II will be released in the first quarter of 2009; how do you feel about their ideas about where the RTS genre should be heading?

Pearce: They’ve got some cool stuff. I’ve heard about Dawn of War II potentially having a co-operative [campaign] experience, which is a really cool idea. [It’s] something we talked about that we don’t have for the launch of StarCraft II, but it’s definitely something that we’ve kept in mind when creating the technology so it doesn’t preclude from doing something like that in the future.

Starcraft: Ghost has officially been declared not currently in development.  It will return at some point in the future, but it is off the radar currently. Blizzard’s focus right now is Starcraft 2, Diablo 3 and Wrath of the Lich King.

Thanks, Lyquid

Leipzig GC 2008 - Diablo 3 Waypoint System

Gry-Online.Pl (famous Polish gaming site) interviewed Diablo 3 Lead Designer Jay Wilson at the Leipzig GC 2008. In this interview, Jay Wilson talks about the waypoint system, and other details of Diablo 3. He taunts fans with a question he is asked very often: How will Diablo come back? He answered: “We killed him. He is dead.”

The video interview is available in english with sub-titles in polish. Watch it here.

Share your comments with other Diablo Fans. Thanks, Jano_El_Bozo and Kwic.

Win a Trip for Two to BlizzCon 2008

Our friends at SteelSeries, Jinx, Upper Deck, and BradyGames have just launched the Win a Trip to BlizzCon Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to Anaheim, California, along with two free tickets to attend BlizzCon 2008. For more information or to enter the contest, visit www.blizzconsweepstakes.com.

There’s a possibility Blizzplanet and DiabloFans will be giving away BlizzCon tickets too. Stay alert to the News section.

Starcraft 2 - Expansion Could Yield Fourth Race

Gunnar sends heads up that Frank Pearce told VideoGaming247 the following:

We don’t have the resources or time to add a fourth race to the launch of StarCraft II, but I’m sure in the event that we decide to do an expansion set it’s a feature that’ll come up for discussion.

We talked about the possibility of a fourth race early on, but we felt like we had a finite amount of great ideas and wanted to make sure we focused all the cool, best ideas on the existing three races rather than diluting those ideas across four races.

Source: VideoGaming247  Via: StarcraftWire

Wrath of the Lich King Beta - Storm Peaks Quest: The Drakkensryd

This is another one to join the Best Quests of Wrath of the Lich King Hall of Fame: The Drakkensryd.  It can be obtained in Storm Peaks at the Dun Brunnhildar Village. It is a long series of quests actually. The first quest is obtained at K3 (the goblin village) where you rescue a missing goblin. You end up meeting a vykrul female held prisoner by these blue-skinned amazon-like race created by the Titans.

The Vykrul female strikes a bargain with you … help her escape the prison and she will lead you where the goblin is held captive. This alliance results in the vykrul using a rune that permanently and automatically shapeshifts you into one of these female amazons whenever you are near Brunnhildar Village and other areas.

I recommend finishing all quests given by them before doing Drakkensryd because you won’t be able to complete the quests or turn in the quests after you do quests from Thorim.  Doing Thorim’s quests will make you neutral with the Storm Giants, enabling a Phase technology trigger (now you see, now you don’t). The NPCs who grant the quests won’t be viewable afterwards.

If you have completed all their quests, then talk to Gretta the Arbiter to start the awesome quest: The Drakkensryd. You will automatically mount a Proto-Dragon. You won’t be able to control it, however. It will fly you toward the west to the Temple of Storms.  It is high atop the tallest peak in Storm Peaks. Once your Proto-Dragon reaches the top, you will see many Hyldsmeet Drakeriders flying around the Temple of Storms.  Your mount will align with their orbital flight pattern.

Open your inventory to access the harpoon given to you by Gretta the Arbiter. From this point forward you will experience one of the newest and most exciting game mechanics in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Your character will throw the harpoon (attached to a chain on your hands) at any other nearby Proto-Dragon you have targeted and—- your eyes won’t believe it—your character will jump across the sky from your mount toward your targeted Proto-Dragon.  Your mission here is to kill 10 Hyldsmeet Drakeriders. So once you mount the invaded Proto-Dragon you fight the rider to the death. The rider ends up falling off the mount. You proceed to hook another nearby Proto-Dragon with your harpoon to aboard it to fight the next rider. You also have the ability to throw the harpoon to the temple pillars and your character will dismount to reach the temple pillar.  That way you can drink/eat to aboard a new passing Proto-Dragon. It’s brilliantly designed by the developers. Sadly, it is not a daily quest. Below you can watch the whole ordeal.

Other things you can digest from the video is the new Active Shadows Feature (GeForce 6800GT in my case) and how your ghost can reach your corpse in Storm Peaks … via spirit mount. Enjoy!

Starcraft 2 Won’t Make 2008 Release

Gunnar from StarcraftWire sends heads up that Frank Pearce informed VideoGaming247 Starcraft 2 won’t make a 2008 release.  The Starcraft 2 team has a lot of work still to do.  It comes to no surprise.  When I was in Paris at the Worldwide Invitationals, it was revealed that at that point a third of the single player had been completed. Balancing process will still take a while until beta becomes available.

World of Warcraft Downloads for Your Phone

Carry a little piece of Azeroth wherever your real-world travels take you with our new World of Warcraft-themed wallpapers and ringtones for your phone. They’re part of a new service that lets you download content related to your favorite Blizzard Entertainment games to supported mobile phones. Over 50 pieces of content are currently available, including ringtones of World of Warcraft’s capital city themes and the distinctive murloc gurgle, as well as wallpapers featuring character artwork, class and faction emblems, and more. Visit the new Mobile Ringtones and Wallpapers page for more information—and while you’re there, be sure to check out our StarCraft and Diablo mobile content, too.

Wrath of the Lich King - Active Shadows Feature

For those in beta, the servers are back online as of 11pm EST/-5GMT.  There is no new patch or build. It seems the maintenance was to work on server stability and some hotfixes. Or probably to integrate new systems for the upcoming PTR 3.0.

On the Tech Support forums came up an interesting topic concerning active shadows feature.  Not all graphic cards support it, but you could check it out to find out if it does work.  I heard Mac computers do not support this feature to date, however. If you are on a PC Windows computer try this:

Manually
Open config.wtf, and the command is: SET extShadowQuality “4”

In-Game
If you wish to do it in-game instead of manually the command is:
/console extshadowquality 4

You can add values from 1 to 4 in extshadowquality. I tested it on my GeForce 6800GT.  Looks smooth and cool.

Wintergrasp Lake PvP Update

Blizzard offered some details on balancing Wintergrasp Lake World PvP.  (source)

We’re hoping to get the zone into better shape in the next couple patches. Here’s a few things that should be coming in the next build:

• All vehicles should be despawn after the battle ends
• Demolisher and Siege Vehicle health has been reduced by 50-75%
• Demolisher and Siege Vehicle ram attacks no longer knock a player high enough to kill them
• Jet & Bomber health has been reduced
• Bomber damage has been increased
• Players in Bombers should no longer take damage
• Reward for holding the keep has been added
• The Goblin Workshops in the North and South now also supply players with land mines that deal bonus damage to tanks

We also hope to have a system for rewarding only players that participated in the battle working soon.

BlizzCast 5 Live - Diablo 3 Q&A

BlizzCast 5 is now available as MP3 and as a trascript. Diablo 3 Lead Designer Jay Wilson is interviewed by Bashiok, Nethaera and Karune.  Jay Wilson discusses ACT distribution, trade systems and more. Bind on Pickup or Bind on Equip is out of the equation in Diablo 3. Blizzard wants trading to be global and accessible to everyone instead of only to a few elite players.  Monsters have been planned for Act 2 and 3 already, designed based on abilities of certain hero classes.  This means other classes are in development.  Bet some new classes will be announced at BlizzCon this year.

Other topics discussed were Inventory system.  Mulling is not encouraged in Diablo 3. That’s a thing of the past.  The part that made me drool here was “… We really want to make it easier for you to be able to share and trade items with other people and other characters on the same account.  We’ve talked about ideas like a shared stash, or a mail system like World of Warcraft has, and we haven’t nailed down exactly which one of those we want to do, but we’re definitely going to do something like that, that’s going to make it really easy for you if you’ve got, a witch doctor and a barbarian character, and you find that awesome witch doctor drop and you want to share it, it’ll be super-easy to do that.  No more opening up a game, dropping items on the ground, and you know, hoping that the game stays open or getting a friend to help out, no more of that. You should be able to do it on your own.

You can check out the BlizzCast 5 Podcast and transcript here.

In this special Worldwide Invitational wrap-up edition of BlizzCast, we briefly recap some of the events at the recent WWI in Paris, and then move straight into a discussion with Diablo III Lead Designer Jay Wilson. We quiz him on how the development team is evolving the classic series—and then dive into a discussion of some recent hot issues surrounding the upcoming sequel.

Thanks, Zoltrix

Share your comments with other Diablo fans.

PTR 3.0 Soon

Tigole mentioned that PTR 3.0 will be available soon for testing. This PTR will introduce many features found in Wrath of the Lich King such as limited recipes for inscription tradeskill and the Death Knight hero class up to level 70. As a sign that this PTR 3.0 is coming, the PTR forums on Europe have been wiped.

Tigole: None of the classes are done. They are still being iterated on. 3.0 will be on the PTR’s soon. Eyonix: There is still a lot of testing before 3.0 would go live to public servers. If you look back at past patches, we’ve had patches on the PTR for over 2 months before.  We beta test things for a long time. We put things on the PTR for a long time. Things aren’t finished. We’re still tuning and balancing.

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King approaching, we wanted to provide you with some important information. In preparation for the expansion, we will be issuing a new content patch in the coming weeks. Much like the patch made available shortly before The Burning Crusade’s release, this content patch is designed to bridge current game content with that of the expansion and will contain some exciting changes and additions.

We have outlined some of the larger features scheduled to release with the patch below:

  • New class spells and talents
  • Stormwind Harbor
  • Barbershops in capital cities
  • Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades
  • Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
  • Guild calendar
  • Hunter pet skill revamp
  • New profession: Inscription

As mentioned above, this is not a comprehensive list, just some of the major highlights. We’ll post the full patch notes as soon as they’re available. Regarding Inscription, please note that all Burning Crusade players will be able to select Inscription as one of their two professions and level up to a skill level of 375 with it. Upon the release of Wrath of the Lich King, players who purchase and install the expansion will be able to continue leveling in Inscription and the other professions beyond 375.

Gamona: Jay Wilson on Diablo 3

Gamona interviewed Jay Wilson. There seems to be many revelations to be made about Diablo 3 at BlizzCon this October. When asked if Diablo 3 could be playable at BlizzCon, Jay Wilson said Blizzard wouldn’t let him say. At least a third of the Diablo 3 team are from the old Blizzard North team that worked on Diablo II.

It is not certain whether the next installment of Diablo after Diablo 3 will be an MMO, but he does answer Chris Metzen has plenty of lore and knows what direction the Diablo universe will go after Diablo 3.

Thanks, Jugzor.

WoW Stratics Announces New WoW Webcomic: Emissary

WoW Stratics Announces New WoW Webcomic: Emissary

WoW Stratics (https://wow.stratics.com) is proud to announce and launch a new webcomic titled “Emissary” written and drawn by webcomic artist Barry T. Smith of https://www.inktank.com/archives/AT/archive.cfm” target=“_blank”>Inktank and Angst Technology fame.

The comic will follow the adventures of a dwarf hunter named Ryshat and his polar bear pet, Tundra. It will have humorous elements but will definitely have a more serious tone and hopefully will be able to take you on a rollercoaster adventure that will leave you gasping for air at the end. Or it will have screwed up your hair. One of the two.

The comic is a long form comic book style with each page being updated every Monday.

You can check out the Emissary every Monday at https://wowcomic.stratics.com

Content Patch Before Wrath of the Lich King

Signs that Wrath of the Lich King is gearing toward a release. Blizzard has announced a new content patch is in the horizon:

Eyonix: With the release of Wrath of the Lich King approaching, we wanted to provide you with some important information. In preparation for the expansion, we will be issuing a new content patch in the coming weeks. Much like the patch made available shortly before The Burning Crusade’s release, this content patch is designed to bridge current game content with that of the expansion and will contain some exciting changes and additions.

We have outlined some of the larger features scheduled to release with the patch below:

  • New class spells and talents
  • Stormwind Harbor
  • Barbershops in capital cities
  • Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades
  • Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
  • Guild calendar
  • Hunter pet skill revamp
  • New profession: Inscription

As mentioned above, this is not a comprehensive list, just some of the major highlights. We’ll post the full patch notes as soon as they’re available. Regarding Inscription, please note that all Burning Crusade players will be able to select Inscription as one of their two professions and level up to a skill level of 375 with it. Upon the release of Wrath of the Lich King, players who purchase and install the expansion will be able to continue leveling in Inscription and the other professions beyond 375.

Wrath of the Lich King - Wintergrasp Lake & New Arenas

Eurogamer squared an interview with Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack to discuss the Death Knight hero class and Wintergrasp Lake (World PvP) among other topics.

Eurogamer: Are you confident that [open-world player-versus player zone] Lake Wintergrasp, and the new battleground, can do something new with the PVP side of the game?

Tom Chilton: Well, certainly it’s very new. We’ve done a lot of internal testing on the siege engines and destructible buildings and it certainly feels different. The battleground is a little bit more limited in terms of how different it is; it doesn’t have the same level of depth that Wintergrasp does.

But I think the most difficult thing with Wintergrasp is going to be giving players the experience that they imagine when we have no way of controlling how many players show up for it, and how balanced it might be in terms of how many players there might be on one side versus the other. We’re building in safeguards, things to help when your side has fewer players, and trying to design it so it scales reasonably well between 200 people or 30 people. So hopefully those things will work out, but I would definitely say that it’s the biggest unknown in the expansion, because world PVP is by far the most unpredictable thing for us.

Diablo 3 - Barbarian To Be Only Class Returning

Kotaku cornered Jay Wilson for a short interview where finally the cat is out of the bag.  The Barbarian is the only class that is returning in Diablo 3.  The Necromancer is completely out of the equation according to Wilson because it was a flawless class. It has no room for improvement beyond what it already is.

Regardless, that doesn’t mean we won’t see Necromancers as NPCs.  This is not official through the interview, but the city of Ureh is within Necromancer territory, thus inevitable not to see Necromancer NPCs. Richard A. Knaak told me a few days ago “Ureh is an integral part of the game.” Two years ago, Knaak also told us during the public Q&A that Blizzard had very special plans for Zayl the Necromancer.

Those who ignore the importance of Ureh in Diablo lore may get the Diablo Archive trade paperback containing Diablo: Kingdom of Shadow by Richard A. Knaak to read the story of Ureh. Share your comments with other Diablofans here.

The Necromancer, he said, was simply a victim of his own success. He was just too well crafted as a character, something that Wilson’s Blizzard design cohorts, current and former, likely don’t mind hearing. Necro fans on the other hand, probably won’t be too thrilled to learn of his disappearance, despite the Witch Doctor class’s similarities.

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