WoW Steins Photo Contest

The WoW Steins Photo Contest is reaching a close on November 11th. Would you want a chance at winning either the Alliance or Horde stein? Send a photo of you and/or your friends at a local bar holding a cup or stein.

Submit it to Blizzplanet before Nov. 11th, 11:59pm EST (-5GMT, New York). Read the contest rules.

Scourge Invasion: The Lore Behind The Invaded Regions

Through the boards can be seen a few questions concerning the Scourge Invasion. Why is Arthas and his Scourge invading Azshara, Tanaris, Eastern Plaguelands, Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands?

To be honest, I haven’t seen any quests that substantiate why these locations are getting invaded, which is a shame. At the moment they are just there so you can farm necrotic crystals to buy special trinkets and gear from the Argent Dawn Quartermaster. Nevertheless, I do have an explanation from a lore standpoint.

Azshara: Back when the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj patch was released, or approximately around that time, Azuregos the blue dragon was added as an outdoor raid boss.  From there came the lore that Azuregos was protecting various artifacts from the golden age of the Highborne empire, and that one of the vials of eternity was missing in this area.  Arthas the Lich King would go at any lengths to acquire this Vial of the Well of Eternity if the legends are true. Three vials were used by Illidan at the top of Mount Hyjal. One vial was used by Dath’Remar Sunstrider to create the Sunwell in Quel’Thalas.  One vial was given by Illidan to Lady Vashj and one vial to Kael’Thas Sunstrider. If my math isn’t failing as usual that is six vials. One is missing and unaccounted for, which strengthens the legend that a missing vial might be somewhere in the Kalimdor region: Azshara. The Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy (Tokyopop manga) reveals that King Arthas the Death Knight was able to infiltrate Quel’Thalas with the help of a high elven traitor: Dar’Khan Drathir.  Dar’Khan was sent (ahead of Arthas’ arrival to the Sunwell) to syphon the energies of the Sunwell.  Arthas the Lich King has always wanted to get ahold of the magic of the Sunwell. Getting a Vial of Eternity would be even better.

Before the Great Sundering, the night elf city of Eldarath flourished in the land that is now known as Azshara. It is believed that many ancient and powerful Highborne artifacts may be found among the ruins of the once-mighty stronghold. For countless generations, the Blue Dragon Flight has safeguarded powerful artifacts and magical lore, ensuring that they do not fall into mortal hands. The presence of Azuregos, the blue dragon, seems to suggest that items of extreme significance, perhaps the fabled Vials of Eternity themselves, may be found in the wilderness of Azshara. Whatever Azuregos seeks, one thing is certain: he will fight to the death to defend Azshara’s magical treasures.—source

Tanaris: If you have done the quests in Andorhal, you met Chromie and completed A Matter of Time.  It is revealed that the Scourge attempted to alter time in Andorhal. Tanaris is a very strategic location for a Scourge invasion … Caverns of Time.  Imagine if Arthas the Lich King could hijack it to alter the past, and conquer other timelines and realities? (More after the break)

Icecrown Quest: From Whence They Came

If you are among the fans who hesitate whether to buy the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, I really wish these videos give you a glimpse into the new solo quest mechanics implemented throughout all regions of northrend. The new tools offer interesting mechanics through a new interface that replaces the cumbersome pet bar.

In today’s video, you can watch three of the quests found in Icecrown Glacier at level 80.  The three quests can be found on the outdoors at the Shadow Vault (your Ebon Blade Inn – northwest on the map). It is a fun quest. Especially due to the topography of the Weeping Quarry area (where skeletons work day and night to mine saronite ore).  The Concept / Environment Artist excelled designing this place. If I was a Film Director, I would choose this place for a Superman film as the location for the Fortress of Solitude. That’s the vibe I feel when questing in the area for its irregular shape with tall blocks of different sizes fused with short ramps. You are able to control a Undead Shade, using its special abilities to complete three quests:

  • From Whence They Came consists of going into the Weeping Quarry to banish 10 Scourge crystals back to where they were summoned from, using the special channeled ability: Banish Scourge Crystal.
  • An Undead’s Best Friend: Use the Feeding Hungering Plaguehound ability to throw a poisoned meat at them.  It will set them to sleep. They can detect your ethereal Shade from a fair distance. You would want to sleep them and be alert. They patrol back and forth throughout the Weeping Quarry. The ability has a 35 yard range and a 4 sec cooldown. You have to sleep 18 Hungering Plaguehounds.
  • Honor is for the Weak: consists of sneaking behind a Restless Lookout (Ghoul) to assassinate them in one shot, using the special ability. It gotta be a quick job. Otherwise they can aggro, making it difficult to kill since the ability only works from behind. It is an instant 7 yard range ability.  You must kill 20 of them.  If you run into trouble, use the Dephase ability (Shift out of the normal world, temporarily exiting combat and increasing movement speed for 10 sec. Instant. 1 minute cooldown).

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Wrath of the Lich King Midnight Opening in Dubai

World of Warcraft fans in the UAE can buy the game just after midnight on Wednesday 12th November.

Dubai, UAE. – November 8, 2008 – Red Entertainment Distribution FZCO, the Middle East’s leading distributor of interactive entertainment software, announced today that it will launch the second expansion pack to World of Warcraft

Warcraft Legends Vol. 2 - Preview Scans

Tokyopop released preview scans of the upcoming Warcraft Legends Volume 2 manga, co-writen by Richard A. Knaak.  To navigate click the play/stop button on the flash player. The square in the player is a zoom function (escape on keyboard to disable zoom). On the right list you can toggle preview scans of chapter 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Check out the preview scans after the break.

Continuing on the trail blazed by the bestselling Warcraft:The Sunwell Trilogy and Warcraft :Legends Volume 1 is this next installment of thrilling short stories set in the Warcraft universe.

FEAR
From Richard Knaak and Jae-Hwan Kim (Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) comes part two in the ongoing saga of Trag Highmountain, the heroic tauren reborn as one of the undead. As Trag desperately tries to fight against the Lich King’s will, an unexpected encounter with Thrall, liberator of the orcs, begins in violence…but ends with enlightenment.

WARRIOR: DIVIDED
Lieren, an orphaned human girl raised by Wildhammer dwarves, longs to find her birth parents. But when she discovers she has a twin sister named Loania who was raised by High Elves, it thrusts the two on a journey of discovery that ends with a gruesome family reunion…

MILES TO GO
Kova Broadhorn is a young tauren shaman sent on a dangerous mission to find a reclusive orc seer. But much to her chagrin, she won’t be adventuring alone, as a cocky gnome warrior named Miles Corebender joins her on her quest. The reluctant partners will have to work together to defeat harpies, a villainous rogue and even King Mosh himself…if they don

Europe Midnight Openings Events Page!

WoW Europe has revealed the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Midnight Openings throughout Europe where developers will be signing and greeting fans at on November 12th midnight.

Retailer Address Phone Line-Up Starts
HMV 150 Oxford Street, W1D 1DJ, London – UK +44 20 76313423‎ November 12
Webhallen Sveav

Blizzard Starts Midnight Opening Photos Contest

Blizzard Europe is giving away Murky the baby murloc pet to the best photos of any of the Midnight Openings listed below—Source:

Vaneras: If you have finished packing and that you are ready to be part of the official launch of Wrath of the Lich King that will take place in Paris, Rotterdam, Madrid, London, Berlin and Stockholm on the night between November, 12th and 13th, make sure you do not forget to bring your camera!
The Baby Murloc Adoption Committee has decided to reward the players who capture the best pictures during this fabulous evening. The winners of this contest will get the opportunity to look after the famous Gurky. Do not miss the chance to make friends with this rare game mascot

Patch 3.0.3 - Two New Arenas

The latest patch 3.0.3 has added two new arenas for your PvP enjoynment. If you like these two new arenas, you will love the ones in Wrath of the Lich King. Grab your copy while they last! Below is a message from Nethaera:

With the latest patch release, we

Lore: Admiral Westwind & Echoes From Warcraft III

Once upon a time, a brave adventurer (you)  broke into the Scarlet Monastery to defeat the Scarlet Crusade champion: Herod. Many a statue of lost members of the Scarlet Crusade could be seen in that chamber. One such as the statue shown to the left. Looking over the plate at the bottom of the statue could be read: Admiral Barean Westwind, Grand Admiral of the Scarlet Fleet. Citizen of Kul’Tiras. Lost off the Frozen Coast of Northrend.

Wrath of the Lich King Spoilers

Fast forward, 40 levels later, the Ebon Blade will send you to do a dirty job, the strawberry shortcake Argent Crusade is unable to do for lack of malice and determination.  You gotta get into the Onslaught Crusade cathedral on the isle southwest of Icecrown Glacier to interrogate and kill Archbishop Landgren—yea that guy who you found earlier in Dragonblight at the side of High General Brigitte Abbendis.  You torture Archbishop Landgren until he spills the beans of who is the true leader of the Onslaught Crusade … Grand Admiral Westwind.  But is he truly its leader?

After the break is a video and a spoily transcript of the epic-drooling event … a shocking truth that will shake a lot of lore fans, and if you aren’t fond of spoilers you shouldn’t watch the video.  Someone from Warcraft III makes a return, and with this return … the augur of a new expansion pack?

Mike Morhaime & Frank Pearce At NYC Best Buy Midnight Opening

I am so excited! I will be meeting Mike Morhaime once more since WWI Paris. If you live in New York City, you should better be coming to Best Buy for the Wrath of the Lich King Midnight Opening. This local Best Buy emailed me an invitation. I am so spoiled. I will be wearing an IncGamers T-Shirt. Drop by, and say, hi!

Best Buy
529 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10017
(212) 808-0309

I

Manga: World of Warcraft: Death Knight

Richard A. Knaak is the author of an upcoming Tokyopop manga titled:

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: DEATH KNIGHT

This manga containing 192 pages is scheduled to hit bookstores on July 6, 2009. Add it to your wishlist.

I am attempting to schedule a public Q&A with the author to talk with the lore community about World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon (on sale November 18th). Hopefully, we can squeeze some more details about this newly revealed manga.

IncGamers: Diablo III Fans Chat Tonight

The IncGamers Diablo III Fans Chat is tonight. A small correction though. A mix up on my end concerning timezones.

The Fans Chat takes place tonight at 7pm PDT (California), 10pm EST (New York), 3am (London). You may ask the IncGamers team, including myself, questions about the Diablo III demo showcased at Blizzcon 2008.

You can access the Fans Chat here.

Wrath of the Lich King Beta Finale Tonight

A Call to Arms, brethren! Tonight is the night when Wrath of the Lich King beta ends. If Blizzard continues the tradition of the previous two betas, you should hop into the beta realms for some epic beta finale world event full of chaos and mayhem. In the past, Blizzard has unleashed all kinds of mob waves at major cities and towns, and controlled bosses to chase players. No further info has been said about this—so watch out for any eventful invasion, and submit your screenshots and videos of beta finale.

We would like to thank everyone who has participated in the Wrath of the Lich King beta test. We greatly appreciate all of the feedback and you have given us during this critical phase of World of Warcraft’s development. In preparation for the launch of the game next Thursday, November 13, we will be bringing down our beta realms at 12:00 AM PST. Thanks again, and see you soon in Northrend!

For a memento of previous Beta Finales, check out our Burning Crusade Beta gallery:

Share your comments.

Diablo 3 Fans Q&A Session Invite

I invite all Blizzplanet visitors to join the Diablo III public Q&A with Flux, Elly, and myself on Wednesday, October 5th at 2pm EST (New York) / 7pm (London). If you aren’t able to come at that time, feel free to click the script to submit your questions. We will be able to read them later on and answer them.

Elly: On the back of the recent indepth play reports by Flux and other various Blizzcon reports we

Icecrown: Banshee

Spoilers: The Icecrown Glacier quests are among the best quests in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and that’s an overstatement. Especially when Icecrown has at least 140 quests listed in the Achievements System.  When Blizzard Entertainment developers said this expansion was designed from the ground up to have Arthas the Lich King be a permanent presence throughout level 70-80, they weren’t bluffing.  Every single time you have a questline wrap up fighting special bosses, Arthas the Lich King will pop up in and out like Nightcrawler … (BAMPF, sulfur stench and all).

In this Ebon Blade questline, the Banshee you converted to the Ebon Blade’s cause helps you capture the bravest Vrykul hero from his hibernation chamber and to defeat it. Thereafter, you challenge Overthane Balargarde and lo and behold … Arthas the Lich King shows up midfight. Tremble mortals!

Quest and event transcript after the break. Share your comments with other WoW fans.

WoW Steins Photo Contest

A reminder to participate in Blizzplanet’s WoW Steins Photo Contest. All you need to do is to take a photo of yourself with friends holding a stein at your favorite local bar and submit the photo to Blizzplanet. You can choose an Alliance or Horde Stein. The contest ends on November 11th. Hurry up!

Read the contest rules

Blizzcon 2008: Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier Interview

ElkY is spotlighted this week with two articles. One from PokerNews and a video interview about his experience at Blizzcon 2008 playing Starcraft II.

Starcraft player phenomenon known as ElkY has been featured on today’s PokerNews Profile. Elky was sighted at this year’s APPT Macau disguised as the Dark Knight film’s Joker. Elky used his aggressive Starcraft skills to conquer the elite Poker gaming circuits in Europe, the Caribbean and Las Vegas. This year he won an European Poker Tour title.

While chatting online with Grospellier, one of his friends from the gaming world told him about PokerStars and his experiences playing poker online. ElkY’s interest was piqued and he made a deposit, starting out at the $1-2 no-limit hold’em tables. He almost immediately lost all his money, as he didn’t have a very clear concept of the game yet. Grospellier began studying in earnest and realized he could apply a good deal of his skills from StarCraft to poker

Environmental Damage against a Player?

Environmental and interactive objects and traps which use the physix engine might be monitored closely by Blizzard in the internal alpha and future beta. These might be removed or tweaked depending the degree of exploits used to affect other players. Blizzard wants to create a co-op experience that makes players work together as a team. An experience without grievers or gankers who dedicate to kill players when they are low in health or fighting other mobs.

I clicked a mechanism on a wall while playing the Diablo III demo at Blizzcon.  A chandeller fell from the ceiling.  I ran my Barbarian underneath, and it crashed on his head giving it a daze effect for a few seconds. This type of mechanisms or traps could be used against other players to cause damage or provoke their deaths if timed correctly when they are low in health.

In PvP, can a player utilize the interactive environment to cause harm to another player?  Can certain Mobs be able to use the interactive environment against you?

Bashiok: Right now if you knock down a wall on top of, or drop a chandelier on the head of someone in your party, it does damage/“daze” them. There’s some potential issues with it, right now it’s sort of just there because of the way those object interact with player characters as a whole. It’s possible that due to exploitative or griefing potential they just can’t continue to work that way. We’ll see.

Enemies will destroy some/most destructible objects if they’re in their way. Whether that may include actual damage dealing destructibles or not is probably more of a design decision on a case by case basis. We sort of want to reserve that for the player too I think, being able to damage enemies with the destructbles, but specific creatures that use the environment to their advantage are always cool.

Share your comments with other Diablo fans.

World of Warcraft Realm Issues Compensation

Blizzard wants to give you money back … say whoa? Yea, compensation for certain downtime and performance issues since patch 3.0.2—listen to what Nethaera relayed from the offices:

Nethaera: Since the release of the latest patch, Echoes of Doom, we have gone through a series of optimizations in order to increase overall game performance. We’ve seen steady, stable populations and a flurry of activity and excitement during the Hallow’s End event and the latest rumblings of zombie attacks. It’s been an exciting time for us as we draw closer to the release of our second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

We’ve reached a point where we feel we can now accurately evaluate the events since the patch release. Though overall downtime has been minimal, players have experienced latency, inaccessible instances, and general frustrations. We are therefore announcing that we will be issuing compensation to accounts in all realms in the US, Oceanic, and Latin American regions. Accounts that are currently active and in good standing will be credited with an additional three days of game time.

We would like to thank you for your patience during this time and look forward to seeing you in game!

Starcraft II Built for e-Sport Pros and … Moms

MTV Multiplayer cornered Chris Sigaty at BlizzCon 2008, where the developer confessed he wishes to make the RTS game as good as to make eSports shine brighter, but as simple to learn that his mother and wife could play it. There may be some tricks up the Starcraft II Team, or I am just assuming (”senses a developer answering yea”). Well, the original Starcraft was simple to learn, hard to master. I enjoy the single player, and UMS, and as Entropy can confirm, I am a shame on melee multiplayer, but I love Starcraft, so whatever.

Point is that Chris Sigaty wants his mother and every mother to learn and enjoy Starcraft II gameplay. If you thought that’s ridiculous or nigh impossible … (whispers) my mom (age 57) plays Starcraft almost everyday the past three years. Read the full interview.

Share your comments.

Class Forum Changes

Nethaera: “With the upcoming release of Wrath of the Lich King and the many changes the expansion brings to classes and mechanics, we have decided to rearrange our forums to make it easier for players to hold constructive discussions. To that end, we have added three role-based forums: Tanking, Damage Dealing, and Healing. Why?

Common ground for common roles. The new structure provides central places for players of diverse classes and specs to discuss their common roles. Until now, there was no one obvious forum for a holy paladin to discuss Arena healing tactics with a restoration shaman, or for a protection warrior to talk tanking mechanics with a feral druid. This often led to splintered, fractured, and redundant discussions.

The class forum structure is great for players of each class to have a sense of identity, but it isn’t necessarily effective for taking into account the impact of talents. While lumping together a shadow priest and a holy priest (for example) may be good for maintaining the identity of priests, this isn’t always effective in terms of our ability to address the very different roles these two talent specializations fulfill.

Celebrate diversity! While a tank tanks and a healer heals, the specific ways each class and talent build go about these roles are very distinct—and the addition of new abilities in Wrath of the Lich King will continue to add even more ways to play. The new forum structure will still be a place for a frost mage (for example) to discuss tricks of the trade with other frost mages, while at the same time facilitating an understanding of the unique tools that rogues or other damage-dealers have to perform similar functions.

Help us help you. The new forums will also allow the community team and developers to follow discussions and gather feedback more effectively as the game continues to evolve—which, ultimately, translates to a better World of Warcraft for you.

Please bear in mind we will have a continued moderation presence on the class forums to ensure discussion remains civil, however, the focus of our posting about class roles will be on the new role-based forums. You can begin using the new forums immediately at the links below”:

Future Shop Wrath of the Lich King Midnight Openings

Future Shop retailer across Canada will welcome players who come to buy Wrath of the Lich King at midnight on November 12th. A costume contest will be held in each local store. Are you attending this midnight opening? Share your comments with us and make sure to submit your photos or video.

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Oct 30, 2008—Legions of fans will march into Future Shop, Canada’s leading consumer electronics retailer and e-tailer, at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, November 12 to purchase World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King. Media and customers are invited to this midnight opening for the much anticipated expansion to the PC and MAC game World of Warcraft series which is expected to be a bigger hit than its previous successor on its first day at Future Shop stores across Canada.

Limited Collector’s Edition
Gamers attending the midnight launch at Future Shop will have the chance to line up to purchase a copy of the very limited Collector’s Edition of World of Warcraft which features: a 208-page book with never-before-seen images of the game; an exclusive in-game pet; a behind-the-scenes DVD; the official CD soundtrack, and more, while quantities last.

Free Gift with Purchase – Limited Quantities
Customers that purchase either the Collector’s Edition of World of Warcraft or the regular edition at Future Shop will receive a free gift with purchase, while quantities last. The free gift is an exclusive limited edition World of Warcraft hat.

Chinese StarCraft 2 and Battle.net to be Distributed by NetEase

An article titled “China’s Super-wealthy See Fortunes Fall” revealed one of the multi-billionaires affected by the economy crisis is the founder of Netease. The article reveals that Netease signed a three-year contract with Blizzard Entertainment to distribute Starcraft 2 and Battle.net in Mainland China.

Among them is 37-year-old Internet entrepreneur William Ding Lei, once China’s richest man, who was among 10 billionaires who returned to the list after dropping off in past years.

Lei’s online gaming company Netease saw its profits rise 40% in the second quarter and his flagship game ‘Fantasy Westward Journey’ is one of China’s top 10 downloads.

He signed a three-year contract with US game developer Blizzard Entertainment to distribute ‘StarCraft 2’ and ‘Battle.net’ on the mainland.

Share your comments.

Fans Chat: Zombie Invasion Reminder

Update: 11pm EST – The Fans Chat is now over. Thanks for contributing to the topic.  A gift winner will be announced tomorrow. A correction about something I said at the end: World of Warcraft: Ashbringer isn’t coming out on January.  It is coming out to newsstands and comic book shops on October 29th.

Update: The gift we will be giving to one lucky attendee is one of the upcoming World of Warcraft

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