Nikon D7100 DSLR Camera with 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX Lens

The new arrival of the Nikon D7100 DSLR Camera has photography enthusiasts excited. It’s now available for Pre-Order. The camera will ship on March 21, 2013.

Nikon-D7100-DSLR-Camera

The D7100 DSLR Camera with 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX Lens from Nikon is a high performance, compact DSLR camera with high resolution photo and Full HD video capability. It is bundled with the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens which is versatile wide-angle to telephoto zoom lens specifically designed for the DX format.

The 24.1MP DX-format CMOS sensor on the D7100 provides superior images with accurate colors and, designed without an optical low-pass filter, it maximizes its resolution for exceptionally sharp details. The EXPEED 3 image processor brings with it stable, high-speed response, including a continuous shooting speed of up to 6 frames per second. With an ISO sensitivity range that expands to a 25600 ISO equivalent, low-light photography is sharp and detailed with less noise and fast-moving subjects are captured with more accuracy and less blur. At the low end of ISO sensitivity (ISO 100) images display vibrant colors with rich tones.

Autofocus performance on the D7100 is on par with professional-level DSLRs and includes a 51-point focus area with 15 cross-type sensors for detecting both vertical and horizontal variations to achieve fast, precise focus. The central cross-type sensor works down to f/8, which is an advantage when using compatible tele-converters. The D7100 features the option of a 1.3x crop which allows you to get closer to your subject, as well as providing more image size options and faster processing of your images, including a faster 7fps burst rate.

Full HD 1080p video is supported on the D7100 and offers professional-level control including continuous autofocus, manual exposure control, a built-in stereo microphone and an external microphone and headphone jack. Recording at 60i, 50i, 30, 25 and 24 frames per second is possible an HDMI output allows for direct screening on an HDTV. At 720p HD you can record at 60p frames per second for smooth slow-motion sequencing.

A 3.2″ 1229k-dot TFT-color LCD provides 100% coverage for accurate playback and live view composition and the pentaprism optical viewfinder features an OLED display element for clear reading of the camera’s settings without removing your eye from the finder. Dual SD card slots offer large memory capacity and the ability to designate which images go to each card. A built-in flash with commander function supports Advanced Wireless Lighting and a hot-shoe/accessory mount is available for speedlights. The D7100 is lightweight and durable with magnesium alloy top and rear covers and weather sealing to prevent dust and moisture damage. 

The D7100 is compatible with all NIKKOR F mount lenses, both DX and FX format, and can provide wireless connectivity with the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter. With the WU-1a and Nikon’s free Wireless Mobile Utility app installed on your smartphone or tablet, you can instantly share images and use your phone or tablet as a Live View monitor.

Included with D7100 is the NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens which is optimized for the DX format sensor. Its versatile focal lengths are ideal for a broad range of shooting situations from wide-angle to telephoto. In the 35mm format, its focal length is equivalent to 27-157.5mm. Close-up photography is possible as the lens can focus as close as 1.48′ (45 cm). Vibration Reduction image stabilization minimizes the blur caused by camera movement providing sharp images in low light and at long focal lengths. Equipped with Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM), the autofocus is fast, smooth and silent, which is especially important when shooting video. An extra-low dispersion lens element and an aspherical element reduce aberrations providing high quality optical performance and Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating enhances light transmission and reduces flare. 

24.1MP DX-Format Sensor + EXPEED 3 Image Processing System
With its 24.1MP CMOS image sensor and Nikon’s EXPEED 3 image processing system, the D7100 DSLR delivers high quality images with low noise. The EXPEED 3 image processor combined with 14-bit analog/digital conversion provides even tonal gradations while managing color, contrast, exposure, and noise resulting in brilliant image quality. EXPEED 3 also provides the D7100 with fast response time, autofocus speed and a rapid six frames-per-second (fps) burst speed up to 100 images.
Omitted Optical Low Pass Filter
The D7100 is designed without the optical low-pass filter which will allow the sensor to capture images with exceptional sharpness and detail.
Full HD 1080p Video
With full-time autofocus and manual exposure control during video recording, a built-in stereo microphone and an external stereo microphone jack, headphone and HDMI jacks, the D7100 achieves exceptional cinematic reproduction and quality. Record in several high-definition formats: 1080p at 60i/50i/30/25/24 fps or 720p at up to 60p for ultra-smooth slow-motion sequences. Dual SD card slots give you additional recording time, and an all new 60i function enables smooth playback on HDTVs or external monitors.
3.2″ 1229k-dot LCD and Optical Viewfinder with OLED Display
The D7100 features a new 3.2″ ultra-high-resolution 1,229K-dot LCD monitor which provides crisp image playback, menu adjustments and Live View shooting. The pentaprism eye-level optical viewfinder contains a low-power consumption OLED display element for bright, high contrast data readout and provides 100% frame coverage.
Included 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX Lens
The NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens is optimized for the DX format sensor. With a 35mm focal length equivalency of 27-157.5mm, it is a versatile lens ideal for a broad range of shooting situations from wide-angle to telephoto. Close-up photography is possible as the lens can focus as close as 1.48′ (45 cm). Vibration Reduction image stabilization minimizes the blur caused by camera movement providing sharp images in low light and at long focal lengths. Equipped with Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM), the autofocus is fast, smooth and silent, which is especially important when shooting video. An extra-low dispersion lens element and an aspherical element reduce aberrations providing high quality optical performance and Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating enhances light transmission and reduces flare.
Fast Autofocus
The D7100 uses 51 focus points, including 15 cross-type sensors for detecting both vertical and horizontal contrast variations, to achieve fast, precise focus.
1.3x Crop
Get closer to your subject with the new 1.3x crop of DX sensor. Using the 1.3x crop option allows the 51 autofocus points to cover almost the entire frame as well as providing longer equivalent focal lengths and faster image processing.
Built-in HDR
Built-in HDR (High Dynamic Range) combines shots taken simultaneously at different exposures into one rich, high-contrast image. When shooting high contrast scenes with bright spots and shadows, HDR will create a balanced image in which no details are lost.
Picture Control
Picture Control gives you instant access to the color characteristics of your images and allows you to tweak colors for optimization or completely redesign the look of your image for creative variations.
Spot White Balance
Spot White Balance control for Live View shooting makes setting the white balance as easy as pointing to the area in the frame that should be white.
Built-in i-TTL Flash and Speedlight Compatibility
The built-in pop-up iTTL Speedlight offers wide-angle flash-coverage. The camera also has Wireless Commander support so users can maximize the potential of Nikon’s creative lighting options. Using the integral flash set to Wireless Commander in combination with one or several off-camera Nikon Speedlights, the shooter can create a unique look for each and every photograph. Up to eight Speedlights can be fired at once. A hot shoe/accessory mount is also available for external Speedlights.
Dual Memory Card Slots
The D7100 DSLR features dual SD card slots with SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatibility that offers a several recording options including designating separate NEF (RAW) JPEG and movie files.
Durable Build and Weatherproofing
The D7100 combines lightweight handling and durability with magnesium alloy top and rear covers and weather and dust sealing.
Scene Modes
Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up, Night Portrait, Night Landscape, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dusk/dawn, Pet Portrait, Candlelight, Blossom, Autumn Colors, Food, Special Effects Mode (Nigh Vision, Color Sketch, Miniature, Selective Color, Silhouette, High Key, Low Key), User Setting 1, User Setting 2
Playback
Full-frame and Thumbnail (4, 9 or 72 images or calendar) Playback with playback zoom, Movie Playback, Photo and/or Movie Slide Shows, Histogram Display, Highlights, Photo Information, GPS Data Display and Auto Image Rotation
Supported Languages
Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese.
Optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter
Connect the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter to the D7100 and instantly transfer shots to a compatible smartphone or tablet, then upload them to the web, send by email or text-share them however you like. With Nikon’s free Wireless Mobile Utility installed on your smartphone or tablet (available for both Android and iOS), you can also remotely control the D7100. Use your phone or tablet as a Live View monitor to take shots without having the camera in your hands.

Battle.net Mobile Authenticator for Android Released

A few months ago, Blizzard released the iPhone version of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator. Today, Blizzard has announced the availability of the Android version of the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator to offer an extra security layer for your account and in-game assets to those who use these type of mobile devices. Blackberry and very likely the iPad are among the device line up to be targeted at a later time.

Blizzard Quote:
We’re pleased to announce that the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator, an application for mobile phones that provides an extra layer of account security, is now available as a free download for Android mobile devices on Android Market (https://www.android.com/market/). The Battle.net Mobile Authenticator provides a one-time password that you use in addition to your regular account name and password to log in to a Battle.net account and any associated World of Warcraft accounts.

Versions for other mobile devices are also available for download here, or you can purchase a physical Battle.net Authenticator from the online Blizzard Store. Visit the Android Battle.net Mobile Authenticator FAQ for more information, or head to the setup page to get started after you’ve downloaded the application. For additional account security advice, visit our recently released Account Security page.

Check out the Android Mobile Authenticator FAQ and the Account Security Page.

Keith R.A. DeCandido signing at 2010 Emerald City Comic Con

The convention-hopper and writer Keith R.A. DeCandido is a guest of the 8th Annual Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) which takes place this upcoming March 13th – 14th, 2010 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.

Bring your copies of Starcraft: Ghost Nova and World of Warcrat: Cycle of Hatred (Pocket Books), and Starcraft: Ghost Academy (TOKYOPOP) for book signing.

Keith R.A. DeCandido can be found back and forth between the 402 and the 502 booths which are across each other under the BOOM! Studios banner. The booths are located in front of the main entrance of the Emerald City ComicCon. You can view it at the bottom of the Show Floor Map (PDF).

You can pre-order admission tickets here. There are select retailer alternatives to get the tickets from listed in that page, and you can get them at the door for a higher price.

Washington State Convention Center – See google map
800 Convention Place
Seattle, WA 98101

(206) 694-5030

Jace Hall stormed the Diablo III Team

Bashiok encourages fans to check out Jace Hall’s webshow on January 29th. I know Jace Hall visited Blizzard about a year ago or less to talk with the World of Warcraft developers and conspired with a developer to use GM powers against Felicia Day’s in-game character. However, Bashiok is making the announcement of Jace Hall’s show. Did Bashiok mean Jace Hall stole something secretive from the Diablo III Team’s office? As in we are gonna see something naughty like you know … the female Monk nude — I mean — gearless model? Hmm …

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: Jace Hall stopped by our offices recently to see how the Blizzard magic happens, and despite our very stern requests brought cameras with him to film it. We also think he may have stolen something. Anyway, you won’t want to miss the first two episodes of the new season.

(Jace, please return the calls from our legal council. Thank you.)

Season 3.0 of the Jace Hall Show kicks off this Friday, January 29.

Twitter Dev Chat # 2: Icecrown Citadel

Blizzard has posted the entire Dev Chat held over Twitter concerning the Icecrown Citadel dungeon.

Blizzard Quote:
If damage and healing is too much per health ratio, then why don’t you have battlegrounds/arenas give a -30% damage/healing debuff?

We have been talking about solutions like that. It might feel a bit awkward, but it might also solve the problem and maybe it’s okay in the last season before an expansion to experiment a little bit.

Is there talk of a fire shield spell for elemental shaman to use like water shield for restoration shaman?

Not at this time.

Do you still have plans to implement guild housing?

Guild housing isn’t a priority. Aside from the huge development involved it gets people out of cities and into these private areas other players can’t see. We like cities to feel populated. But I’m not sure anyone expected WoW to be going as strong as it is after five years, so who knows in the future.

Can you please explain why Feign Death is still on the Spell Hit metric, especially in raids?

It’s a known issue, but just has to do with the way the spell is set up. Melee and ranged attacks mean a very specific thing to the game engine. We’re hoping to be able to clean up some of this with the Cataclysm overhaul.

All specs get a proc weapon from ICC25, except frost death knights and feral druids. Any plans to give these specs ICC25 proc weapons?

It’s tough when you get into the design mode of “everyone must be able to get something from every boss.” We try to cover a reasonable spread of players, but as with the Ashen Verdict rings and the Quel

Blizzard’s Return to Console Games

Blizzard’s return to console games is just a matter of time, of which we know for certain at least Starcraft: Ghost will make a return someday.  In the verge of a new game announcement, hopefully at the next Blizzcon, things aren’t going so well for other gaming studios. J. Allen Brack recently told Gamasutra the following:

It’s very similar with World of Warcraft. We developed the game for the PC. It’s a very PC-centric control scheme and the way of playing the game is PC-centric. But we’re a company of gamers. I have two consoles at home. Sam has consoles. We’re a culture of gamers. We will definitely work on a console game at some point. I have no doubt about that. It’s just [a matter of] what game. What makes the most sense?

Should other console game studios worry to see Blizzard return to consoles?  Even before Blizzard has announced anything, some studios are already shaking with their own upheavals. Electronic Arts (EA) has announced an impressive list of servers to be shut down in phases throughout different months of 2010.  It is astonishing.  Is the game industry so in crisis that it has to resort to shutting down server operations? Is it a way to force their players to play newer EA games’s multiplayer?

Blizzard Entertainment for example has said their classic games will continue to be supported via the classic Battle.net, while new and future games will be playable on the upgraded Battle.net 2.0.  It is likely that whatever reasons EA had to shut down these many servers will cause an immediate backlash from their fans, followed by boycotts on current and future EA games. All of these affected games are Sport games.

The horde of players, now left in limbo, will have to spend their time somewhere else for their daily multiplayer fix, so 2010 will be a very good season for multiplayer games seeking more souls to harvest, specially newly orphan ones.

With this huge vaccum left behind by EA Sports, it would be interesting how many of these orphan gamers would jump aboard Blizzard games, specially when the Next-Gen MMO is announced.

The term Next-Gen MMO strongly suggests that Blizzard is working on a console game.  Did Blizzard give up on console games? The answer is no.  Though they postponed [not cancelled] development of Starcraft: Ghost, Rob Pardo has mentioned many times their willingness to return to the development of this game.  The Swingin’ Ape Studios was purchased by Blizzard Entertainment on 2005, and checking up on the current status of the founders of Swingin’ Ape Studios will reveal that all three co-founders Steve Ranck, Mike Starich and Scott Goffman are still working for Blizzard Entertainment as Lead Software Engineers.

Now excuse me, but have you ever heard of three former console developers occupying the Lead Software Engineer position for just one single game? Unless … [bliss] all three are Lead Software Engineers of three separate console games?

WoW: Cataclysm - Worldofwar.de interviews Tom Chilton

Our german pals from Worldofwar.de have informed us that they are celebrating today their 8th Anniversary online, and kick off right on with an exclusive interview with Tom Chilton. The interview is available in english. The german version may be read here.

These guys got a strike right away. For the 104th time, No … there is no Player Housing feature in development. However, there are a few nice questions about Cataclysm, the redesign of the old world, and what the fate of the old dungeons will be. There are plans to make some changes to Stomrwind. Chilton also reveals there is a new world event similar in context to the zombie invasion, and a possible raid boss prior to the launch of Cataclysm — that sounds pretty much like when the Sunwell Plateau served to bridge Burning Crusade with Wrath of the Lich King’s launch.

Blizzard Quote:
WorldofWar.de: When you think back: what was the coolest feature you have ever implemented in World of Warcraft? Was it a feature in which you hadn

World of Warcraft Rated M by Australia

Gamespot reports that the Australian OFLC department has finally rated World of Warcraft and its expansions with an M-rating for “Fantasy Violence”.  The Australian entity deemed World of Warcraft meets the definition of a computer game provided in the Classification Act, regardless of its online-only description. It took them 5 years to figure out how to handle and classify MMORPGs which do not have a local or single-player component (it seems).  Ever since, World of Warcraft and other MMOs had remained unrated until now. Congrats to the folks who followed up with the Australian Classification Board and the OFLC..

Keith R.A. DeCandido October 2009 Signing Schedule

Starcraft fans can find Keith R.A. DeCandido at two public events in early October. Bring your copy of Starcraft Ghost: Nova to be signed, and say hi to the author.

Tuesday, October 6 at 7:30pm
Barnes & Noble Bookstore – Park Slope (Map)
267 7th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
718-832-9066

Sunday, October 11 (all-day-long)
Baltimore Comic Con (Map)
BOOM! Studios booth
One West Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Keith R.A. Decandido wrote World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred, and Starcraft Ghost: Nova.  On 2010, you will see some of his new work in Starcraft Ghost: Academy Vol 1-2 (Tokyopop)  and Starcraft Ghost: Spectres (Pocket Books).

Blizzcon 2009: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Zones and Dungeons

The World of Warcraft Preview Panel held at Blizzcon was presented by Chris Metzen, Alex Afrasiabi, Tom Chilton and Cory Stockton.

New Features:

Classic world revamp of every zone with updated quests, art and items.
Guild Advancement System.  Everything the players do will contribute to the advancement of their guild. There will be 20 guild levels.  All you do from arena, battlegrounds, quests, raids, daily quests and other aspects of the game will contribute to adding up points toward your guild level advancement.

What this does is that your guild will have its own talent tree, and as you unlock points for your guild, your guild master will be able to get cheaper repairs, mass-resurrection,

Blizzard will increase the notch up with the use of phased terrain to change the world around you as you progress through quests making the old world of Azeroth much more dynamic than ever before, making the stories more compelling and interesting.

The example given by Tom Chilton during the panel shows a coastline (before and after).  The phased terrain shows the coastline normal and later half of it is underwater.

The new secondary profession: Archaeology, is leveled up by exploring ancient ruins and caves for artifacts. As you progress discoveries and those lead directly to unlocking access to the Path of the Titans character progression.

There are no longer changes to your talent trees. You will keep your 51 points in the expansion. Blizzard is going a different way from this point forth with character progression. In Cataclysm, you must choose any of the Path of the Titans: Aman’thul, Eonar, Khaz’Goroth, Norgannon or Golganneth.

These paths can be chosen by any class.  It adds another dimension to your character’s customization. In addition there is the Mastery System, which allows Blizzard to prune some of the complexity of the talent trees allowing them to be more like passive bonuses such as crit chance, more damage, increase poison damage and that sort of thing.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm adds many new dungeons, creatures, quests and items.

THE WORLD

Cataclysm on Azeroth reveals new lands and it has dramatically altered classic world zones. Blizzard is revamping all zones. However, there are five adventure zones for level 78-85 and two starting zones for levels 1-15. You can also fly anywhere in this new revamped Azeroth. No restrictions like the ones over Wintergrasp. You can fly wherever you want. Beneath is a video we got from Blizzard’s Press Kit CD.  It is a B-roll of the new zones in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

There are multiple scales of change, and some zones have been drastically affected by the cataclysm just based on where they are.  Elwynn Forest isn’t so affected, but there are new quests. On the other hand, we have the Barrens which has been hit hard by the Cataclysm.  It has been split in two: Northrend Barrens and Southern Barrens.  Blizzard is changing the level flow from 1-60.

Cataclysm introduces seven new zones never accessed before by players:

  • Mount Hyjal (Present)
  • Uldum
  • The Lost Isles (Goblin Starting Location)
  • Gilneas (Worgent Starting Location)
  • Isle of Kezan
  • The Sunken City of Vashj’ir
  • Twilight Highlands

Uldum is not just an instance past the gates at the Valley of Watchers, it is a whole new Zone.  The Sunken City of Vashj’ir is a new type of zone, it is an underwater zone.  Blizzard will make sure it is not annoying to play underwater.

The Twilight Highlands is a new zone located to the east of Wetlands.  This zone was known previously as Grim Batol, east of the Grim Batol fortress. The Grim Batol dungeon will be playable in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

DUNGEONS

These are the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm dungeons:

RAIDS

Grim Batol
Skywall
The Firelands
Blackwing Descent

DUNGEONS

Grim Batol: lvl 85 5-man
Uldum: two 5-man dungeons (lvl 84-85 and 85)
Deephome: 5-man dungeon (lvl 81-83)
Skywall: 5-man dungeon (lvl 80-82)
Abyssal Maw: 5-man dungeon (lvl 81-83 and lvl 82-84)
Blackrock Caverns: 5-man dungeon (lvl 85)

OLD WORLD HEROICS
The Deadmines: One level 85 heroic 5-players dungeon
Shadowfang Keep: One lvl 85 heroic 5-players dungeon

Deephome is the elemental plane of earth in Azeroth.  The warped entrance to Deephome is located within Deathwing Scar—west of Burning Steppes.  There you can level up from lvl 80-85.  It’s like the Dragonblight of Cataclysm leveling-wise.  It is not connected physically to Azeroth, but this is the point of entry to the place where Deathwing has awakened from his slumber, and that’s the cause of the rupture of reality that originated the cataclysm.

Skywall, Abyssal Maw, Deephome and Firelands were mentioned to be among the dungeons to be expected in Cataclysm—this is interesting because those are locations within the Elemental Plane created by the Titans to imprison the Lieutenants of the Old gods.  This means that Deathwing has done something unimaginable.  He is sorta broken the barriers of reality and the Elemental Plane has sort of merged, or better said, warped onto Azeroth.

ABYSSAL MAW

Abyssal Maw is one of the two 5-player dungeons located in the underwater zone named the Sunken City of Vashjir. The Abyssal Maw is sort of the Elemental Plane of Water.  It is a giant vortex in the center of the zone. Getting near the vortex will pull you in into the Elemental Plane of Water.

From there you can enter any of the two dungeons of the Abyssal Maw.  The Sunken City of Vashjir was created by the Titans for water elementals.  However, the Naga has come in, and we will learn some new storylines there that will let us know why the Naga are there and how are they tied to Deathwing and the Cataclysm.

The Abyssal Maw is a non-linear dungeon. You choose where to go. It’s a lvl 78-82 dungeon.  This is one of the first dungeons you will see in the expansion.

ULDUM
Uldum is an entire new zone where you will find the Hall of Origination which is composed of two 5-player dungeon wings.

You will experience the ultimate Titan dungeon. It’s non-linear, so you take the choice of what to do first. We will find Prospector Brann Bronzebeard here. There are seven bosses here.

BLACKROCK CAVERNS

Some fans are confused with the rumors going around the net.  Yes, we are going back to Blackrock Mountain, but this is a completely new dungeon separate from Blackrock Depths and Blackrock Spire.  This new dungeon is occupied by the Twilight’s Hammer. Deathwing basically dug a hole from beneath Blackrock Mountain to Grim Batol connecting both mountains through a huge tunnel. An underground freeway that he uses to transport supplies back and forth and anywhere in Azeroth.

ICECROWN CITADEL

Scott Mercer (Lead Encounter Designer) showcased the Icecrown Citadel dungeon. He played a joke mentioning there would be 31 bosses—then stopped and said did Ghostcrawler play with the powerpoint slides? Then rectified. There are twelve epic bosses in Icecrown Citadel.

It will have a 10-player and a 25-player raid dungeon. Teleporters will be available to get straight to bosses.  A successful formula widely welcomed by players in Ulduar. Sindragosa will be the ultimate frost wyrm. This is the former consort of Malygos, not a wannabe drake or young dragon.

Icecrown Citadel is plain crazy.  Once you reach the second floor, you will board an airship.  If you are Alliance you will find King Varian Wrynn. If you are Horde, there will be Thrall.  Basically, the opposite faction leaders and their troops will aboard your airship. You have to fend them off. Then you have to board their airship and take down the mages and stuff. You fight all the way till the airship reaches the top of Icecrown Citadel.

Once you reach the third floor, there are three wings with different sets of bosses. You will find Sindragosa the Frost Wyrm here. You need to clear all three wings to get access to the fourth floor: The Frozen Throne.

That’s eight bosses across three separate dungeon wings that interact with the Lich King. Something interesting in this patch 3.3 dungeon is that there are epic quest lines to unlock access to the second and third wings.

You fight alongside Alliance/Horde heroes.  Among them are Jaina Proudmoore or Lady Sylvanas.

One little spoiler about the Arthas the Lich King encounter that was revealed is that part of the floor will break, and if you fall that’s bad.

FIRELANDS

Ragnaros has sent his fire elementals to burn the World Tree in Mount Hyjal (Present), a new zone.  This time the players will have the chance to enter from Mount Hyjal—apparently—the warp-gate to the Firelands in the Elemental Plane. What this means is that you will take the fight to Ragnaros own backyard, to his domain …. where he is at full strength.  You will find him at Sulfuron Keep. You will find several fire elemental bosses in the outdoors.

Blizzcon 2009 - T-Minus Two-Days: Wednesday

I guess I am getting used to boarding airplanes—with July 20th attending the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player hands-on fansite event, and now—in less than a month.

Arrived to a Texas Airport around 5pm CST, and I could swear some guys down there at the control tower were saying: “Houston, Houston—do you copy? I think we got a [problem]. We are seeing a fiery Medievaldragon land on our field.”

Silliness aside, it was a nice trip, except for my old back pain. They surely don’t make those seats for tall people (6’1”).

Reached California around 7pm, and called the taxi van that was scheduled by Blizzard Entertainment to pick me up.  Two guys boarded the taxi, and the driver was curious why the other guys meant to be there for pickup hadn’t arrived yet.

I knew at least one of those meant to take the taxi with me: pR0gR4m3R from Starcraft-ESP.

Met the girl that won the Lore Contest. She was invited by Blizzard to the event.  Looks like LordofAscension and pR0gR4m3R had flight issues, and arrived much later nigh midnight. Didn’t get to have dinner with them as planned.

Found AJ (Starcraft.org) and Starcraft2forums.com or was that Starcraft-Source? Meh, too tired to remember.  I’m not too chatty, so I was just listening their dreadful WWI Paris stories, and laughing some at the old memories. Around 10:30pm, since the dinner with the guys wasn’t gonna happen till they arrived past midnight, I went with the Lore contest winner to eat at Ihop. Go figure, they don’t just sell pancakes. Yup, I’m an Ihop nooblar.  Went to bed by midnight, and woke up nigh 5am. We are heading to Blizzard campus after 9:30am for the Fansites Summit. More later.

Blizzplanet: Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Single Player Hands-On Preview

I was invited to the Single Player Hands-On Gameplay event in Irvine, CA on a very short notice (Thursday, July 16th).  I was told Chris Metzen was behind my invitation. I can say I deeply thank him. I’m flattered and honored.

Blizzplanet has been devoted to reporting the latest news about all Blizzard games’s licensed products, interviews with writers, and game lore content for the past seven years.

To be among the first batches of fans having the opportunity to play the Starcraft II Single-Player is certainly very rewarding.  Being an all-geeky lore-nerd myself, having read most of the Starcraft novels, mangas and now subscriber of the Starcraft comic book, I can better appreciate all the clever integration of the licensed products’ printed media based on the Starcraft universe and its continuity become a reality within the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Single-Player.

The build I played had approximately 6-7 maps available out of over 30-35 missions the final product will have. My lore spider-sense tingled at least five times while playing the single player campaign, after noticing stuff that came straight out of the novels and the Starcraft: Frontline manga. These bits let me extrapolate that the entire final game will be very influenced by everything hardcore lore fans have read in the printed media.  They are fully integrated.

It will be much more rewarding to fans when they go: “Holy, I saw that in “X” and “Y” book”.  “OMG, that’s from the manga”.  You will already have the backstory of these characters, and plots. Which is a plus, in comparison to going through the missions not knowing who the characters are, or how meaningful, if at all, are certain locations or objects.

This is why World of Warcraft has been so successful.  There were millions of Warcraft II and Warcraft III players around the world by the time the MMO was launched. In the same way, all those fans who have read all the printed media will feel so close and excited with the single-player. If you haven’t yet read any of these novels and manga, you better get going to a local or online bookstore to start educating yourself in advance prior to engaging the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player.

In this Starcraft II: Single Player Hands-On preview you will be glad to see 16 screenshots, an HD Video Footage, and details from the first single-player maps, achievements, upgrades, rooms and characters within the Hyperion, Mercenaries, and an exclusive interview with our beloved Blizzard VP of Creative Design: Chris Metzen.

I will now share with all of you this single-player experience from the point of view of a geeky lore-nerd. To navigate through all the pages, simply click on any of the images below to jump to the next page. Instead of links for navigation, I wanted to make this like the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign where you choose which mission to play. Get back tomorrow for the lore comprehensive article that analyzes in-depth all the lore within the novels, and manga which have been integrated within the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player.

Your first page to read in this journey is my introduction: The Hyperion.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty - Single Player Video

Blizzard Entertainment invited Starcraft II fansites to visit their Studios in Irvine, California to play the Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty single player campaign.  There were approximately 6-7 missions available in this press-exclusive demo build.  We want to show you some footage of each of the mission maps we played through.  Hope you are as excited as us.  I really wanted to take home a copy of this demo.  To be honest … I CAN’T WAIT.  Watch the single player gameplay video.

More articles about the single player below:

Patch 3.3: Trag Highmountain and Heroes Join the Icecrown Citadel Assault

For months, I have theorized that the final assault against the Icecrown Citadel dungeon and the battle against the Lich King will be assisted by heroes.  This is strongly suggested due to the introduction of faction champions in the Argent Coliseum—i.e. if you are Horde you will fight Alliance champions.  And viceversa.  My theory is two-fold:  If you are Horde, Thrall and Garrosh will fight alongside you against the Lich King.  Whereas if you are Alliance, King Varian and Jaina Proudmoore will.  I am unsure if there will be other faction heroes—for example, King Magni and Mekkatorque; or Cairne and Vol’jin are very underused. Vol’jin at least had a participation in the Battle for Undercity, but the other heroes haven’t been used.

As an example, Akama the draenei helped us in the Illidan the Betrayer battle, and below 20% health Maiev Shadowsong joined the battle to defeat him in the Black Temple.  It is smart to think that in order to defeat Arthas the Lich King we might need the assistance of faction heroes to take him down.

The second theory was that Trag Highmountain would play a role in the battle against the Icecrown Citadel dungeon.  This character comes from the pages of Tokyopop’s manga through Warcraft Legends Vol. 1-4, a story written by Richard A. Knaak.  Trag however debuted in a previous manga titled Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy along with Kalecgos, Anveena, Dar’Khan Drak’thir, Tyri and Jorad Mace—who already have NPCs in-game since the Burning Crusade expansion days.

Trag Highmountain rose as a undead tauren in Warcraft Legends Vol. 1.  He had destroyed the Orb of Ner’zhul sacrificing himself.  However, the orb rose him as undead later.  He sought help from his tribe’s shaman, but was deceived by his own people.  Thrall helped Trag heal within, and allowed him to reach Borean Tundra aboard the ships that sailed to settle the Warsong Hold.

From there, Trag found the Taunka at the Taunka’le Village and helped them contain the attacks from the Anu’bar.  Trag accompanied a Taunka in his search for a beloved female.  They found her corpse at the Galakrond’s rest graveyard.  Here Trag found a bone of Galakrond and created a weapon out of it with the hope to kill Arthas the Lich King with it.  His thirst for vengeance against the one responsible for his undead state is vast. However, he succumbed to the Lich King and became his Death Knight puppet. His first mission was to lay siege to the Icemist Village.  Without spoiling further, Trag Highmountain recovered his freedom, and as revealed today in patch 3.2 he claims he will help us in the final assault against the Lich King.

Trag: “I will join in the assault upon Icecrown Citadel when the time to strike is upon us.”

Last year, after I met Jeff Kaplan at the Blizzard campus’ cafeteria, I shared with him an idea for the Lich King encounter.  I have no clue if he ever got to follow up on that before he moved on to the Next-Gen MMO development, but we will see.

Starcraft II Single Player Hands On: Screenshots # 11

The Tech Purchase tab is accessible through the console next to Mr. Swann in the center of the Armory Room inside the Hyperion battlecruiser.  You can see the great design overhaul it has evolved into from what we saw at BlizzCon 2007.  It looks more detailed, with a much deserved Terran flavor from the original Starcraft. You purchase upgrades for your units, buildings, and other stuff with the credits you have earned in each mission.  At the right you can see the credits you have, and the cost of the upgrade you have selected.  You press the purchase button if you want it. Otherwise, nothing happens and you can explore each upgrade.  The bottom-left panel offers a handy preview animation of what the upgrade might do.

Return to the Single Player Hands On: main gallery page or close this page.

StarCraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight is AWESOME

I finished reading StarCraft: The Dark Templar, TWILIGHT by Christie Golden.  Is it worth reading?  My verdict:  OMG !!!!  It is soaked with revelations, teasing and cliffhangers.  All roads lead to StarCraft II single player in one way or another.  The truth about the Xel’Naga are finally revealed, and now it is obvious how dire the future is for the Protoss, Terrans and Zerg … and all of the StarCraft universe. But are things the way we have speculated and expected for the past 12 years?  Be ready for a shocking canon revelation that will shake your socks. (grins).

Keep an eye for our video interview with Christie Golden held last week at the Book Revue in Huntington, New York where Christie teases few hints of what to expect in TWILIGHT.  I’m hoping to release the video around June 30th to celebrate the official nationwide launch of StarCraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight to a bookstore near you.  And maybe some extra hints via review. Stay tuned.

Mtn Dew WoW Game Fuel Battle Bot Pet Available !!!

That’s right. The Mountain Dew World of Warcraft Game Fuel pet is now available, and you don’t even need to buy Game Fuel to get it.  It seems you need to log everyday into the Game Fuel website each day to fuel up your Battle-Bot.

You simply go to the official WoW Game Fuel website, and click the Battle Bot promotion image. There you are forwarded to your Battle.net Account.  Once you login, you are treated with: “Congratulations. You have received a Battle-Bot pet.  The next time you log in to World of Warcraft after fully logging out of the game (return to the login screen), you should be able to pick up your Battle-Bot from any in-game mailbox.  Return to the Mountain Dew Game Fuel website each day to receive a case of Battle Fuel for your Battle-Bot!”

Watch more videos of WoW

StarCraft # 4

The War Pigs are getting closer and closer to hunting down renegade marshal Jim Raynor, but obstacles and internal conflict continue to muddy the mission waters. Far-from-gentle giant Turfa Dei confronts the ghosts of his past while the team faces off against present day ghosts

PTR 3.1.2 Goes Live With Premades

Blizzard is preparing to launch the PTR 3.1.2 for testing. You can now copy your character or even create a premade character.  I just did both of them on USA.  WoW-Europe PTR Copy is also available. The client is 107MB.

Blizzard Quote:
World of Warcraft PTR Patch 3.1.2

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at:
https://www.wow-europe.com/en/info/underdev/testrealm.html

The latest patch notes can always be found at:
https://www.wow-europe.com/en/patchnotes/

General
New art textures have been added for Argent Tournament mounts. Any mounts already purchased from the Argent Tournament vendors will be updated automatically. Argent Tournament mounts with the old textures will still be available for purchase from the Argent Tournament vendors for a small Champion’s Seal and gold cost (standard faction requirements apply).
Copied Test Realm characters will no longer be copied with their achievement history in order to better facilitate the character copy process.

PVP
Vehicle health and damage output in Strand of the Ancients and Lake Wintergrasp now scale with the item level of the operator’s gear. Power scaling is now 1% damage and 1% health per average item level.

Class patch notes after the break.

Blizzard Quote:
Death Knights
Improved Death Strike: This talent now also increases the healing from Death Strike by 25/50% and the tooltip has been adjusted to reflect the actual functionality after the hotfix in 3.1.0.
Ghoul Frenzy: Now has a 10-second cooldown.

Druids
Innervate: This ability has been redesigned to grant 450% of the casting Druid’s base mana pool to the target over 20 seconds.

Mages
Mirror Images: The images summoned by this spell will now target the creature that most hates the Mage, and should no longer cast Fire Blast or Frostbolt on targets that are affected by crowd control debuffs that break immediately on damage unless they are already casting these spells when crowd control is applied.

Priests
Divine Hymn: Healing and healing scaling reduced by 30%. Buff on affected players changed from 15% to 10%.
Renewed Hope: Effect can no longer be dispelled.
Soul Warding: Mana cost reduction is now 15% down from 30%.

Warlocks
Nether Protection reduced to 30% damage reduction, down from 60%.
Shadow and Flame: Now also includes Shadowburn.
Fire and Brimstone: No longer increases the damage of your Immolate spell, but now increases the bonus damage your Incinerate deals to targets afflicted by your Immolate by 6/12/18/24/30%.
Conflagrate updated: Consumes an Immolate or Shadowflame effect on the enemy target to instantly deal damage equal to 12 seconds of your Immolate, or 8 seconds of your Shadowflame.

Items
Darkruned 2-Piece Set Bonus: The bonus critical strike chance for Frost Strike and Death Coil has been increased from 5% to 8%.
Guise of the Midgard Serpent: The base attack power on this item has been lowered to balance it against items of a similar quality.
Nightsong 4-Piece Set Bonus: Chance for Insect Swarm to trigger an instant Starfire changed to 15%.
Scourgeborne 4-Piece Set Bonus: The runic power gain has been reduced to 5 runic power from 10 runic power.

Glyphs
Glyph of Conflagrate redesigned: When you use Conflagrate, the damage done by your next 3 Destruction spells is increased by 10% for 15 seconds if the Immolate on the target has 5 or fewer seconds remaining.
Glyph of Innervate: Has been adjusted to grant the Druid 90% of his or her base mana pool over 20 seconds.
Glyph of Mass Dispel: Now only decreases Mass Dispel cost by 35%.
Glyph of Penance: Now increases critical strike chance by 5% instead of its old effect.

User Interface

Equipment Manager
When enabled from the Interface Options menu, this feature will allow players to store sets of equipment, easily swap between saved sets using hotkeys, and pull items directly from backpacks or bank slots (must be at the bank to equip inventory from the bank).

Bug Fixes

Death Knights
Anti-magic Shell: Tooltip error corrected.
Blood Boil: If no target is available for Blood Boil to hit, the spell will now cast and consume a blood rune but generate no runic power.

Druids
Maim: Rank 2 of this ability is properly considered a stun and can be escaped by Blink.

Hunters
Go For The Throat: Explosive Shot critical strikes now trigger this talent.
Rabid: This Hunter pet talent no longer lists a percentage chance to be triggered, as that chance varies by the attack speed of the pet.

Paladins
Divine Sacrifice: Damage done to the Paladin while this is active will no longer cause the effect to break early, and if it is dispelled or cancelled early, the damage counter will reset correctly the next time the spell is cast.

Rogues
Shadow Dance: Issues with action bars and ability use arising from using Stealth while Shadow Dance is active have been fixed.

Warlocks
Demonic Sacrifice: This spell will no longer appear in any Warlock’s spellbook.

Dungeons and Raids
Players can no longer become saved to a raid instance when they aren’t in the raid during a boss kill.

Ulduar
The Spark of Imagination: Characters that release in part of the boss room will no longer be ported to Westfall or The Barrens.

Battle.net Mobile Authenticator Released

The Blizzard Mobile Department released their first iPhone / iPod app recently, offering fans an alternative to secure their World of Warcraft accounts by replacing the physical Blizzard Authenticator with an iPhone.  You can download the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator app off iTunes. Simply launch iTunes and type: Blizzard Authenticator.  It will allow you to download it for free. The application will give you a random number that you must enter when login into World of Warcraft or entering your account webpage.

This app gives you an extra security that your account won’t be hacked and items stolen by gold farmers. A very nice guide with screenshots on how this app works can be found here.

Diablo III User Interface Uses Intelligent Engine

Bashiok explained some of the Diablo III User-Interface (UI)  features, how it is distributed on-screen and more interestingly the intelligent UI engine that auto-assigns an ability or spell to the hotbar when you gain a new one. It is gonna be exciting to see how much the hotbar and UI has changed from what we saw at Blizzcon 2008. Hopefully, it will be playable in the upcoming Blizzcon (August) to keep you updated.

Blizzard Quote:
Bashiok: In Diablo III you’ll have seven places which skills can be placed. Four on the hot bar, one for the left mouse button, and two for the right mouse button. The two for the right mouse button can be swapped back and forth using Tab or the scroll wheel.

Currently any of your skills can be placed into any of these seven skill spots. The game tries to help you out with their placement though. When you train a new skill it will attempt to intelligently place it for you. So if it’s – for instance – a buff or non-targeted aoe ability (witch doctor Horrify, barbarian Ground Stomp, etc.) it’s going to put it into your hot bar as it’s not something you use through a mouse-targeted enemy attack. For abilities that are used by clicking on an enemy (wizard Magic Missile, etc.), the game will attempt to intelligently place them on your mouse buttons for you. So after learning a new skill it’s already on your bar ready to be used, and it’s placed somewhere that makes sense to how it’s used.

But just because it attempts to help you out by placing skills where they make the most sense, you can put them anywhere you like. If you want to have Magic Missile cast by pressing the first hot bar key (the 1 key on your keyboard), you can, and it will cast toward wherever your cursor is. You can do this with any of the abilities.

The system automatically places skills where they make the most sense, but allows you to customize however you please. It’s a nice wide open, play how you want to play approach, while still offering a helpful guide in the beginning. Also I think it will help, or possibly just not impede, class build diversification.

Starcraft 2 Q&A - Batch 50

Chat with Devs: StarCraft II from its conception has been designed to be an eSport and one of the backbone features to helping players learn more about their own gameplay as well as their opponents is through replays. In our chat with Dustin this week, he highlighted various features that will be available to players while viewing replays. These features are designed both to help players improve in StarCraft II as well as serve as a platform of statistics for eSports commentary.

Starcraft 2 Anti-Gravity Changes

Karune informed the anti-gravity ability has been changed from its original concept, thus some of the Q&A batches are outdated.  In the current alpha build, anti-gravity cannot lift buildings, and cannot lift big units such as the Colossus and the Thor. The ability doesn’t cause any effect on air units either.

The anti-gravity ability is meant for harassment and strategic disabling of key units early and mid game.

Keith R.A. DeCandido Shipping Signed Books

Keith R.A. DeCandido is now shipping autographed books. You can buy Starcraft: Ghost and/or World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred via PayPal paying to

US residents do not need to pay for shipping. Keith will ship to you. Just pay the cover price. If you live Overseas pay for the cover price ($8.00) via PayPal and he will ship to you. Overseas residents will be billed for the postage afterwards.


World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred

Starcraft Ghost: Nova

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