Let’s Chat

It was fun to be able to talk with fans using the Live Blogging script. I’m still resting from the trip. So how about you ask questions about Blizzcon, or Wrath of the Lich King beta, Diablo 3, or lore or any topic?

Update: Chat is over. Thanks. It lasted around 6 hours till midnight EST. Some fans liked to chat and discuss various topics of each game. Let’s see if we can repeat it around the weekend. I will let you know in advance.

Blizzcon 2008: Diablo III To Use Warden, No DRM

Wired (Game|Life) scored an interview with Rob Pardo who confirmed Diablo III will feature the anti-hack software from World of Warcraft known as Warden, except it will be adapted specifically for Diablo III.  Pardo mentioned other measures will be taken to prevent hacking by means of third-party software.

Another question pitched at the Vice-president of Game Design was if Diablo III would include DRM to prevent piracy. Wired specifically compared Spore

BlizzCon 2008 Big Blizzard Bear - Polar Bear Mount

So you went to Blizzcon and got that juicy Blizzcon 2008 Card with a beta key for an unknown upcoming game and a Big Blizzard Bear Mount code right? Well, what the heck are you waiting for to redeem that mount?

Go to https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/misc/promotion.html

Enter the code from your Blizzcon 2008 card. When you submit it, the website will auto-generate a brand-new code for you. Make sure to copy that code. Don’t close the page just yet.

Launch World of Warcraft. If you are Alliance go to Ironforge, to the Forlorn Caverns and talk to Ransin Donner. If you are Horde go to Orgrimmar, to the Valley of Honor by the Fishing Supplies vendor. Talk to Zas’Tysh (orc).

Select the Big Blizzard Bear option. Paste the code provided by the website. You will loot the mount. Click it to learn it. Where did it go?!! No worries. Open your character window (C). At the bottom, locate the Pet tab.  At the top you will see two tabs: Companions and Mounts.  You will find your Big Blizzard Bear under Mounts tab. Drag the icon and drop it on the spell-bar.

You: “Oh wait! What’s the Bear icon still doing on my inventory bag? It’s just taking space and not doing anything!”

Sighs, read what the icon says … Bound on Account. Cool ain’t it? Go to the nearest mailbox, and drag that Bear icon into the Send mail window. You can mail it to any of your account alt-characters. All your alts get this awesome Blizzcon mount. Watch the video! (Screenshots after the break)

 

Bashiok Answers Post-Blizzcon Diablo 3 Concerns

Bashiok is back from BlizzCon and composed after the closing afterparty at the hotel, coughs, and he is kicking with various answers and clarifications concerning the panels and gameplay articles circulating around the net. (source)

Bashiok: First off thanks for writing this, it’s awesome to see some indepth analysis offered in a reasonable tone. I’m sure there have been others on this same topic, but yours happened to catch my eye.

Jay Wilson, according to the interview, stated that this helps development on items as they will be able to predict the attributes of characters at certain levels and it puts more emphasis on items giving stat points for your attribute customization.

Bashiok: First let me state that the interview article has an error in that “You still get attributes, and they will still be required for equipment use” is incorrect. I’ve already let the Diii.net guys know. There are no attribute requirements for items, that would essentially limit items to specific classes which we don’t intend to do outside of actual class specific items, like the Wizard’s off-hand orb for instance.

“I can’t think of anything else that could be considered positive, so lets go to the theoretical negatives.”

Bashiok: You missed probably the biggest positive, and if you watch the video interview (from which the Diii.net article was written) he goes in to it a bit.)

To quote Jay “For the most part attribute spending in Diablo II was a great way – when you didn’t know how to play the game – to break your character. Most people didn’t know where to put them and when they found out the answer was always kind of weird like “Put 5 points in Energy and then all the rest of the points in Vitality.”

To expand on it a bit more when you don’t know what you’re doing you’re essentially lost, and you sort of spend points how you think you might want to. When you finally have an idea of how a character should be built, stat distribution generally comes in the form of “this is exactly what you need for x build” and there’s little variation. At that point it’s pretty easy to remove that system and instead offload the potential build ‘requirements’ to something more interesting and something that’s actually more engaging and fun.

“The first problem that comes to mind is, character customization is exactly what made Diablo3’s predecessors successful, and that’s what is being hurt by the implementation of this mechanic as it takes away control from the player, essentially, dictating how they will develop their character. It was that aspect that had players coming back again and again over the years just to make a new build or try out something new and attributes were a BIG part of that.”

Bashiok: Definitely agree. I’m going to give you a bit of a cop-out answer, but we have quite a few game systems we haven’t even talked about. Those aside, I would argue that the rune system – something we have announced – adds quite a bit of customization, and in a more interesting way than attribute distribution.

“The other aspect that quickly becomes apparent is the limitations of itemization for characters to use. What I mean is, because characters have pre-planned stats that when you reach the highest level, there will be item types that your character might not be able to use.

Hypothetical example; I think we can be fairly certain that the Wizard isn’t going to be a strength based character by any means. If this is the case, late game, can we hope to be able to use upper tier heavy armor? If there is an item that might significantly benefit a build but is unachievable due to pre-allocated stat limitations, that is going to be severely detrimental to the game experience.”

Bashiok: So as I already said the information in the article is incorrect, so happy happy joy joy this shouldn’t be an issue at all.

“It seems like a minor thing, maybe, but it’s the little things that can break a great game.”

Bashiok: I don’t think it’s minor at all, character builds and customization is a HUGE thing, and it’s important you be concerned with it. It’s important that we be concerned with it, and customization and differentiating one person from another is a pretty big deal. Being able to try different things with the same class is a pretty big deal.

At this point someone brings up that respecs are going to ruin wanting to replay the same classes over and over again, and you’d be right, if we weren’t already thinking about it and potential solutions.

“By shifting itemization focus slightly from more unique and compelling stats like +skills, crushing blow, open wounds, resists, faster cast rate, etc, it puts too much emphasis on stats, as they were already important in itemization before pre-allocated stats.”

Bashiok: Hrm, I’ll have to talk to the designers about this but I think you might taking a little bit too much Diablo II experience and overlaying it on Diablo III. Itemization and stat distribution and their relative balance of attributes to unique stats (as you put it) is a bit of a stretch at the moment. I’ll see what they have to say though.

Hopefully I’ve clarified something at this point, the error in the article seemed to be a decent piece of many people’s ire over the situation so I hope that helped. Now, just to read the rest of the thread… and the hundreds of others that have built up.

Post your Comments

BlizzCon 2008 - New WoW Miniatures Media

I had the opportunity to meet Anna Maria Mannino at the Upper Deck booth during BlizzCon 2008 at Anaheim this past weekend. I was greeted with some media for our fans and visitors. We have photos of the new World of Warcraft Miniatures. You can check them out after the break. Anna Maria immediately called forth one of the Upper Deck staff members to give me a tutorial show of how to play the World of Warcraft miniatures and the TCG. I am a bit slow at learning, but could understand most of the basics.

The WoW Miniatures looks like a fun game and I was really lucky to have won both the WoW miniature and the TCG match. Not bad for a first timer. The WoW Miniatures game will ship on November 11th. Order yours! Below you can read the press release and view the new Miniatures photos.

BlizzCon 2008 - Starcraft 2 Beta Soon

At BlizzCon StarCraftWire caught up with Chris Sigaty to find out the latest news on the game. Chris talks about when and how the ‘StarCraft Trilogy’ came to be, details on how you play with others in multiplayer, pricing, computer player AI and eSport.

The two more interesting topics are about how close the StarCraft 2 alpha and beta is and what Battle.net 2.0 features we will see.

Watch the video interview

Mercy of the Sea Machinima

“Mercy of the Sea”, the long awaited prequel to “The Island” by Sleeping Dogs Productions has launched today at their website.

“We’re extremely excited to finally get this project out into the world.  It will also be premiering in parts this evening at the Blizzcon Machinima competition as it is a finalist!”

Blizzcon 2008 Coverage

While I am working on some stuff such as gathering questions for the WoW Classes panel, I will be updating what the incgamers crew is adding to the Blizzcon coverage:

Diablo 3

Starcraft 2

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Diablo 3 New Class - The Wizard

What I teased earlier that Blizzcon attendees would love to hear about is now public. Diablo 3 is playable at Anaheim Convention Center. You can test the Barbarian, Witch Doctor and the Wizard. You can choose to play female or male characters.

Mike Morhaime, Blizzard president, showcased the new cinematic highlighting the Wizard. We also saw gameplay video attached below. It is simple FREAKING-AWESOME class.  Lightning got a new meaning in Diablo 3 in 3D, and the fire nova was brutal. Frost nova covers the whole screen like a nuclear bomb. Jay Wilson wasn

BlizzCon Goodie Bag

Rushster got screenshots of the BlizzCon Goodie Bag content.

Maticus wrote her rundown through the Blizzcon Fansites Summit.

Make sure to click the script above (Coveritlive) around 10:30am PDT. All the IncGamers staff, including myself, will be live blogging. You can bookmark and refresh the Blizzcon Day One portal here. It will be updated often throughout the day and evening.

As hinted, something will happen today Friday (in barely a few hours) that will excite a lot of Blizzcon attendees and make millions of Diablo fans wish they were here in Anaheim. Guessed it yet? Stay tuned to the BlizzCon Coverage for more. We will also have plenty of exclusive to fansites media.

Pre-BlizzCon Fansites Summit

Back online from the hotel room, just two minutes away from the Anaheim Convention Center—across the street. Special thanks to Paul from IncGamers for setting me up with a borrowed laptop, and doing some tech work with the hotel modem. Does he ever sleep?

A quick rundown on everything since Wednesday. I arrived at 2pm PDT to Santa Ana Airport in Orange County, California.  A call to Karune, and got a bus picking me up in no time toward the Hotel. And some guidance from Emuishere (Stratics) who told me where to await the bus. After setting up at the hotel, increased some Exploration XP by walking through the Downtown Disney with Emuishere. Checked up the Lego store for her son, and ate an Italian pizza at Naples. Pretty long walk from the hotel, but at least got to burn some old twinkies.

Pretty much crash landed on my comfy bed for three hours. Woke up around 10:30pm and walked some more and ended up having a heavier dinner at Denny’s. Next day, Karune (Starcraft 2 Community Manager) and Bashiok (Diablo 3 Community Manager) took all the fansites representatives to a tour through Blizzard Headquarters in Irvine. Things didn’t go along as planned, but at least we got to walk around the premises.

The reception hall is impressive. On the left you got the bronze Wolfrider replica of what is to be a huge statue at the very center of the campus. It is still in development somewhere in Asia. On the right side greeted us the amazing Frostmourne replica. You should see one of these, they are bigger than what they look like in photos. Doesn’t look like a toy at all. A bit further to the right was the awesome Starcraft: Ghost Nova statue. The walls across toward the theater room are covered with concept art of each game ever launched by Blizzard. And a repository for every licensed product behind a crystal: Pocket Books, RPG Books, WoW Comic books, DC Unlimited Action Figures, and other stuff.

We walked upstairs and saw the cubicles from where our loved community managers spend most of the day at checking on the forums and informing fans.  The cubicles are packed with all kinds of merchandise, including the awesome Starcraft 2 Tychus Findlay figure made by Sideshow Collectibles as an exclusive to the Blizzard Store. That thing just rocks four feet away.

Fansites staffers visited momentarily the gym where all Blizzard folks keep in shape, and the cafeteria. From there we headed to the building that holds the Starcraft 2 team, Diablo 3 team … and another cool project that is top secret. We couldn’t get inside that building, so we beholded it from outdoors. Pretty much, that was Area 51.

We had lunch for over an hour at the cafeteria, and to our surprise appeared Jay Wilson (Diablo 3), Dustin Browder (Starcraft 2) and Jeff Kaplan “Tigole” (Wrath of the Lich King).  Near my table, I could listen to Jay Wilson talk about Diablo 3. I managed to toss a couple of questions.  I said Unique monsters are killed and sometimes you don’t even remember their names after an hour.  Since it is an RPG, it would be cool if we could have some kind of interface where we could browse and keep track of what uniques and bosses we have killed through the games. Maybe click on the image of the monster and get to read some profile of who that unique was (lieutenant of X-demon lord). In short, adding some lore to every random unique or boss we kill. The idea wasn’t dismissed by Jay Wilson, but Bashiok replied Unique monster names are randomly generated … (ain’t I a noob? lol. Ok, busted!)

I threw a question at Jay Wilson, whether there would be something similar to Wrath of the Lich King’s phasing quest technology. For example, at level 10 you go into a town and interact with the NPCs, listen to their lore-stories, buy from vendors, etc. Around level 32 something happens worldwide, a demonic invasion, triggered by a quest or event. If you go back to that town you visited at level 10 it would now be overruned by demons, the town would be afire, the very NPCs that helped you earlier are now transformed into demonic monsters that fight you and drop some decent loot. For someone else that joins the game and hasn’t done the quest/event they would just see the town normal, while the player who completed the quest/event sees the town ablaze. Jay said that would a lot of random problems, and would take a long development process. In short, no phasing quest technology in Diablo 3. It is not totally discarded in future Diablo games though.

Jay discussed his views on how to improve the game from Diablo II success and flaws. There is nothing heroic in facing a boss, and using town portal every few seconds to escape.. And in my opinion, bosses such as Duriel made no sense. Perfect example of some of the flaws in game mechanics found in Diablo 2.  Duriel is basically harder than Diablo. You would use town portal every few seconds to either escape death or to replenish health/mana/rejuvenation potions. Is that the kind of game we want in Diablo 3?  I don’t think so. Jay Wilson and the Diablo 3 team are bringing good ideas and observations to enhance the players’ gaming experience.

We sadly departed Blizzard Headquarters, heading back to the hotel. Except we got some nice framed Blizzcon artwork signed by artist Glenn Rane. We walked toward the Anaheim Convention Center, where we attended the Fansites Summit. At this point, I guess I am keeping to myself what was discussed there.

At the end of the summit, we grabbed our press badges downstairs. The place was packed with people picking their badges. I found two of the Blizzcon ticket winners from Blizzplanet’s forum: Sean and Tim. Talked on the cell with Naka and it seems they got through. Remember, if you won a ticket from a fansite contest go to the VIP booth to get your ticket. Show photo ID or passport.

I don’t know if we are allowed to talk about a certain COOOOL thing, but I recommend everyone to stay tuned to Blizzplanet and Diii.net through Blizzcon Day One. Nuff said! It will make many Blizzcon attendees roar in excitement.

Check out some of my photos today. Cheap camera though.

Wrath of the Lich King - A Tale of Valor

The quest is obtained from Tirion Fordring once you complete a series of quests at the Argent Vanguard (southeastern corner of Icecrown Glacier). Once you unlock the quest: A Tale of Valor – it sets you into a journey to save the life of a brave Paladin, Crusader Bridenbrand, who helped his team survive a Scourge assault, at the cost of getting infested by the undeath plague. He has remained behind in self-exile to die alone at the Silent Vigil (northeast of Sindragosa’s Fall).

In the first video, shown a few days ago, the first higher being to visit in order to save Crusader Bridenbrand’s life is Remulos. Our second video, at the bottom, shows Alexstrasza (humanoid-form) at the Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight, and A’dal in Shattrath City (Outland). It is nice to see the Phasing technology in action reproducing the Emerald Dream. It is probably a placeholder, since the green haze filter looks a bit cheap. It is no secret Blizzard has been working on the Emerald Dream. First time it was acknowledged was five years ago on 2003 when Jeff Kaplan answered my question at the official Wow Forums:

Tigole: “The Emerald Dream is shaping up to be extremely cool. We don’t want to preview any of that content yet as it is *endgame* and we want some surprises for players. The zone is massive and beautiful. And once the content team is done with it, it will be exceedingly challenging >=]”—Dec 6, 2003

Nethaera: “As for the Emerald Dream, there are no plans for anything as of yet but it is a consideration for the future. The Emerald Dream opens up a lot of different opportunities and the Burning Crusade is definitely not going to be the last of the expansion packs. There are many different places and story lines that can be pursued. The story is going to keep growing and as it does so, people will get to experience it.”—June 9, 2006

If you don’t mind spoilers, watch the videos to find out the fate of Crusader Bridenbrand. His fate brings up more questions than answers.

New Battle.net Forums

Blizzard is kicking in with a brand new Battle.net Forums for all the Battle.net games in anticipation of this weekend’s BlizzCon 2008. You should update your Battle.net forum bookmarks.

Bashiok: Weve just brought our brand-new Battle.net forums online. The new forums bring a host of new features and stability, as well as helpful tools for us to better moderate and organize posts. Theyre available right now—to access them, visit: https://forums.battle.net

The forum login requirements remain the same. In order to post you will need an account created by a Battle.net supported game and a CD-key.

These forums will no longer be open for posting, but if youd like to copy a thread or back up some information, theyll remain available until Monday, October 13.

The benefits of implementing these new forums are numerous, and we hope youre as excited as we are to see this step toward the continued growth and support of our Battle.net community.

Thanks, Lyquid

Unofficial Diablo 3 Q&A

A compilation of latest posts at the official Battle.net Diablo 3 forums:

Why does IGN have more Screen Shots of D3?

Bashiok: It’s pretty common for us to provide some amount of screenshots and/or concept art to be given to sites as exclusives. The ones you’re seeing are likely general press exclusives from the announcement at WWI.—(source)

How would I get my blizzcon badge if I won it on a contest?

Bashiok: I probably e-mailed you instructions if you won them from a Diablo fansite, but either way proceed to the VIP registration booth when you arrive.—(source)

All monsters want us dead. In an interview with the scavenger, a sand monster was eating him or digesting, but the scavenger was clawing its way out. The interviewer vomited him. Point is, are they gonna sometimes fight each other, or do they all once again put aside their mutual differences and decide to just attack us? I’d really like moving catapult monsters that accidentally splatter melee monsters attacking us.

Bashiok: It would be naive to think that with all of the creatures, demons, and monsters in the world of Sanctuary that they’d all purely be concerned with killing you and you alone.—(source)

I like the idea of not having to play “tetris”(even though im a beast at tetris), but visually it really is not as appealing as the old system. I liked seeing the unique item, or the horadric cube as a large picture in my inventory. It made me feel like i was actually holding something of value. I understand the items will be the same regardless of how large the picture is, but it really takes away some of the grandeur. Is there some way to get the best of both worlds?

Bashiok: We have an awesome UI guy (Mike Nicholson) who is constantly iterating on the interface. Right now it has a lot of the core pieces of what we want, but it’s still being worked on fairly heavily. Specifically regarding item images and being able to see the artwork – being able to reach a happy medium between single slot and having nice big item images is something we’re striving for.—(source)

Unofficial Blizzcon Achievements: “Ruler of Blizzcon” – Survived both days of Blizzcon without … showering

Bashiok: For my own sanity please do not do this.—(source)

Unofficial Diablo 3 Q&A

A compilation of latest posts at the official Battle.net Diablo 3 forums:

Why does IGN have more Screen Shots of D3?

Bashiok: It’s pretty common for us to provide some amount of screenshots and/or concept art to be given to sites as exclusives. The ones you’re seeing are likely general press exclusives from the announcement at WWI.

How would I get my blizzcon badge if I won it on a contest?

Bashiok: I probably e-mailed you instructions if you won them from a Diablo fansite, but either way proceed to the VIP registration booth when you arrive.

All monsters want us dead. In an interview with the scavenger, a sand monster was eating him or digesting, but the scavenger was clawing its way out. The interviewer vomited him. Point is, are they gonna sometimes fight each other, or do they all once again put aside their mutual differences and decide to just attack us? I’d really like moving catapult monsters that accidentally splatter melee monsters attacking us.

Bashiok: It would be naive to think that with all of the creatures, demons, and monsters in the world of Sanctuary that they’d all purely be concerned with killing you and you alone.

I like the idea of not having to play “tetris”(even though im a beast at tetris), but visually it really is not as appealing as the old system. I liked seeing the unique item, or the horadric cube as a large picture in my inventory. It made me feel like i was actually holding something of value. I understand the items will be the same regardless of how large the picture is, but it really takes away some of the grandeur. Is there some way to get the best of both worlds?

Bashiok: We have an awesome UI guy (Mike Nicholson) who is constantly iterating on the interface. Right now it has a lot of the core pieces of what we want, but it’s still being worked on fairly heavily. Specifically regarding item images and being able to see the artwork – being able to reach a happy medium between single slot and having nice big item images is something we’re striving for.

Unofficial Blizzcon Achievements: “Ruler of Blizzcon” – Survived both days of Blizzcon without … showering

Bashiok: For my own sanity please do not do this.

New World of Warcraft System Requirements

We have updated computer system specifications required to run World of Warcraft in preparation for our next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Please also note the recommended specifications, which, while certainly not required, generally provide a more optimal gaming experience.

PC System Requirements

OS: Windows XP (Service Pack 3), Windows Vista (Service Pack 1)

Processor:

  • Minimum: Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1500+
  • Recommended: Dual-core processor, such as the Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 X2

Memory

  • Minimum: 512 MB RAM (1GB for Vista users)
  • Recommended: 1 GB RAM (2 GB for Vista users)

Video

  • Minimum: 3D graphics processor with Hardware Transform and Lighting with 32 MB VRAM (Such as an ATI Radeon 7200 or NVIDIA GeForce 2 class card or better)
  • Recommended: 3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 128 MB VRAM (Such as an ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT class card or better)

Sound: DirectX-compatible sound card or motherboard sound capability

Mac System Requirements

OS: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or newer

Processor:

  • Minimum: PowerPC G5 1.6 GHz or Intel Core Duo processor
  • Recommended: Intel 1.8GHz processor or better

Memory:

  • Minimum: 1 GB RAM
  • Recommended: 2 GB RAM

Video:

  • Minimum: 3D graphics processor with Hardware Transform and Lighting with 64 MB VRAM (Such as an ATI Radeon 9600 or NVIDIA GeForce Ti 4600 class card or better)
  • Recommended: 3D graphics processor with Vertex and Pixel Shader capability with 128 MB VRAM (Such as an ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA 7600 class card or better)
    All Platforms

    • Controls: A keyboard and mouse are required. Input devices other than a mouse and keyboard are not supported.
    • Connectivity: You must have an active broadband Internet connection to play.
    • Mouse: Multi-button mouse with scroll wheel recommended.
    • Hard Drive Space: 15 GB free hard drive space

Blizzplanet Ahoy !

Seems the Regional DNS servers are starting to update. Blizzplanet has moved to the IncGamers hosting as a courtesy offered to me. As of today, Monday, I have joined the IncGamers staff.  This is something that has been in the air since my trip to the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals 2008 in Paris where I met the folks behind IncGamers.

I have been invited to work at the daughter sites of IncGamers Network: WorldofWar.net, Diii.net and StarcraftWire.net where I will be supportive staff member assisting where needed with relevant news, and content, among other duties.

What does this mean for Blizzplanet? Nothing has changed drastically. I am still owner of Blizzplanet. And will continue to update the same way I have the past five years. The only thing that changed drastically is that I am no longer unemployed. ^_^

IncGamers has been kind with offering a job opportunity based on experience, and love for gaming and the lore community. Leord and Maticus from WorldofWar.net and StarcraftWire.net visit Blizzplanet often as one of the news sources for Blizzard games. Both have wished for a long time that I joined their staff, and it was actually thanks to Leord that I was approached on June at WWI Paris. And I can bet Maticus is to blame and thank too. Thanks a bunch, buddies.

This symbiotic team work may benefit in other ways making a leap between an American and European community, bringing it together. While the IncGamers folks in United Kingdoms (UK) are resting, I can update news at the IncGamers websites for the European night-owl audience that stays awake past midnight. When it is midnight in UK, breaking news can still happen as the Blizzard Headquarter is located on the US West Coast. It would be around 4pm in Irvine, CA. (7pm my timezone)

I don’t mean to offend anyone with the term night-owl. Those who have been chatting with me late night know, I stay awake very late. Sometimes I am awake up till 6-7am EST (-5GMT)

So, what it comes down to is that after working five hours (Mon – Fri), I will have the remaining day for myself, and will be able to update Blizzplanet as normal. IncGamers has been kind to add me to their network, promoting Blizzplanet among their network sites. Thus far it seems Blizzplanet will be independent, helping each other mutually.

Only difference I see is the network strip at the top, and of course one or two ad banners that will help cost the hosting. Thus far that was the same deal I had previously. Blizzplanet spends quiet a lot of bandwidth sometimes.  I have some freedom to place independent ads—which hopefully can help new staff members. Good potential there to be able to send the upcoming new staff members to some Blizzard events for future BlizzCon and WWI coverage. Let’s see how things hold. Ok?

Only thing I regret is leaving Diablofans community and StarcraftTwo. I will miss updating news and interacting with the Diablofans folks. There is great feedback from fans at my farewell thread. I appreciate your kind words.

For now, I am gearing up for BlizzCon. And looking forward to the interview with Richard A. Knaak and Christie Golden in California.

World of Warcraft: Night of The Dragon Autographed Copies

I have posted this in the live blogging test, and updated an earlier news, but would still want this posted for those who just caught up. The World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon will hit bookstores near you on November 18th, but as an exclusive offer by Richard A. Knaak you can get this book AUTOGRAPHED by the author on release date.

WARCRAFT—- NIGHT OF THE DRAGON AUTOGRAPHED COPIES! Due to requests, I am taking orders for my next WarCraft novel, NIGHT OF THE DRAGON available for US addresses only at this timne (sorry)! Cost is $16 (cover) plus $4 shipping. You may also add the mangas WarCraft LEGENDS vol. 1 & 2 for $12 each (includes $1 additional shipping). My apologies, but the mangas are not available from me separately at this time.

To order, go to Paypal.com and pay [email protected]

NOTE! At this time, this offer ends when the novel is published—- NOVEMBER 18! So, if you are interested, order now!

BlizzCon - Live Blogging Test

This is a Live Blogging Test only. I will very likely use this script during BlizzCon. What for? Well, it let’s me post live without having to reload the blizzplanet admin control every few seconds to make live updates. Instead the updates are seemless and the blog script below alerts you with a sound each time I update. Better yet, you don’t need to reload the page. The script automatically updates you without reloading this page.

The idea of using this live blogging script is that fans and visitors that get to watch Blizzcon live via DIRECTV or WCRadio online livestream can submit questions to me after the developers talk in the panels. At the end of said panels, they do a round of fan Q&A panels. I will alert you via the live blogging when to submit your questions. I will pick a couple of them and ask the developers.

Some of the questions I gather from the community will be asked in private to the developers. Sounds great? Stay tuned. I am leaving on Wednesday to California.

BlizzCon 2008 - Christie Golden

Christie Golden posted at her blog the schedule of her book signing at the Tokyopop booth in BlizzCon. We will be given the printed cover of her upcoming book—WORLD OF WARCRAFT: ARTHAS (April 21, 2009) as a memento.

Christie Golden: Once again this year I will be a guest at Blizzcon, the gaming convention hosted by Blizzard Entertainment, the good people who bring you Diablo, Warcraft/World of Warcraft, and StarCraft.  The convention will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center.  If you are not already one of the lucky 8,000 who were able to get tickets, then you can catch some of the action on Direct TV.  More info here:

https://www.blizzard.com/blizzcon/dtv/?rhtml=y

I won’t be on any panels (although you never know, I might sneak on one if I can be of use!) but I will be available at the Tokyopop booth.  As I said earlier, I’ve done a couple of stories for them, one a goblin story called “I Got What Yule Need!” and an orc story called “A Warrior Made.” If I’m remembering correctly, the first story comes out in Legends 2; and I think I recall hearing that they have some advance copies at the booth!  I can’t wait to see it!

Fellow Blizzard author Richard Knaak will aslo be there, and we’ll be doing some signings at the Tokyopop booth:  12-1 and 5-6:30 on Friday, October 10, and 10-11 and 4-5 on Saturday, October 11.  While I do hope for some time to go and enjoy the con (I’m a geek just like everyone else) the booth is a good spot to find me.  There will be free postcards in the goodie bag of ARTHAS featuring the awesome cover, and I will happily sign those as well as any books you bring.  I’m told that the Blizzard store on site will be carrying the books too!

I look forward to meeting some of you there!—(Source)

Blizzplanet - Possible Maintenance Downtime

Blizzplanet at some point during the week might or not have some downtime.  Don’t panic. There might be a transfer to a new server. If by any chance the site goes down, it will be back up within 24-72 hours depending where everyone’s DNS servers are globally.

New changes for Blizzplanet are coming.

1. Two great new Staff members (after BlizzCon)
2. Drupal content management system (CMS)
3. New network affiliation (Don’t worry, I haven’t sold Blizzplanet)

I am getting ready to travel to Anaheim, California on Wednesday, October 8th to participate at BlizzCon with news, interview and media coverage. The two new staff members I won’t reveal until past Blizzcon – by petition – will also be at BlizzCon. Once Blizzplanet gets back online, you will notice much of the new changes. Hope you like it and consider it a good decision.

You will have to do a hard-refresh by hitting CTRL + F5 on your keyboard to clear cache and cookies once the transfer has been completed.

# Warcraft and StarCraft Manga Art Submissions

Calling all Warcraft and StarCraft artists!

Are you a Warcraft or StarCraft player? Do you love manga? Ever dream of bringing these rich worlds and wonderful characters to life with the stroke of your pencil?

Well, now’s your opportunity to show the world your artistic skills and possibly become the artist of an upcoming Warcraft or StarCraft manga.!

TOKYOPOP is now accepting and reviewing portfolios from talented individuals interested in becoming the next big manga artist. We’re looking for super-talented manga artists who not only know the Warcraft or StarCraft universes, but can handle an intense and very demanding production schedule. Our goal is to deliver truly awesome manga, and to achieve this we need artists who can give readers an exciting and authentic Warcraft or StarCraft manga experience.

We require that all portfolios have 5-8 sequential samples (preferably featuring Warcraft or StarCraft characters), as well as 5-8 character sketches/turnarounds featuring Warcraft or StarCraft characters. TOKYOPOP is a manga publisher, so your art should fit well within the manga art style.

Send your best portfolio submissions to:
Warcraft/StarCraft Art
c/o TOKYOPOP
5900 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 2000
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Please note that all art submitted is non-returnable, so do not send originals!. Remember to include your name and contact info (email and/or phone number) within the portfolio.

Additionally, if you are attending BlizzCon 2008 (Oct. 10-11), please stop by the TOKYOPOP booth at the following times for portfolio reviews:

10/10/08 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

10/11/08 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

So get those samples drawn and show us your stuff!

Diablo 3 Interview - Co-operative Gameplay @ AusGamer

AusGamers interviewed Jay Wilson at Leipzig GC some time ago and posted the transcript recently. In this interview Jay talks about co-operative gameplay, more item drops per player than in Diablo II, how Blizzard is dealing with cheating in Diablo III from the ground up.  Jay commented the same team that dealed with cheating in Battle.net programming-wise for Diablo II also worked on Starcraft II and World of Warcraft. This team has learned a lot since Diablo II.

With Diablo III, the developers have started development differently than the Starcraft II team has done with the RTS game.  In Starcraft II, the game was created with Multiplayer in mind, first. Then the Single Player got started afterwards. As of the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris, we were told there that Starcraft 2 Single Player was 1/3 done.

Diablo III, by the other hand, has been built from the ground up as a Single Player game at the core, but co-operative gameplay is enabled by default in the single player version.

Jay closes the interview hinting that there are pretty awesome features in Diablo 3 that haven’t been announced yet. Read the full interview.

Jay: Well one of the things we’ve carried over is the way the general co-op features work,. When you’re playing the game you can have another player jump into your game any time so it’s very dynamic – the game adjusts automatically to the number of players who are there. One of the ways we’ve really improved that is what I like to say is our prime directive is “thou shall do no harm to the co-operative game” – something that Diablo 2 didn’t really follow.

They liked the idea that players can compete against one another while being co-operative. But I think – while a noble experiment – it mostly proved to make players not like each other and not want to play together. The average game size on battle.net in Diablo 2 games is 1.2 players – which basically means almost everyone is playing games by themselves. One of the main reasons is “why would you want to play with someone else?” They can go hostile at any time and kill you, mostly in an exploitive way and it’s not like it’s a fair fight – you’d probably be dead before you even noticed they went hostile; there’s a good chance they’ll steal all your loot so you won’t get anything good and it just makes the game a little bit harder so why would you want to play that way?

Share your comments with other diablofans.

Starcraft / Warcraft Manga - Tokyopop @ BlizzCon - Calling All Artists!

Attention all gamers! TOKYOPOP will be showcasing at this year’s Blizzcon! Stop by the TOKYOPOP booth to participate in many exciting activities at the show. Get your picture taken as a Terran Marine and interact with your favorite Warcraft and StarCraft creators

Richard Knaak

and

Christie Golden

-both will be on hand signing the latest Warcraft and StarCraft manga from TOKYOPOP! Want more? Buy volume 1 of Warcraft: Legends or StarCraft: Frontline at the Blizzcon store for a chance to spin the TOKYOPOP prize wheel to win assorted goodies such as exclusive Warcraft: Legends volume 2!

Calling all artists

!

TOKYOPOP is now accepting and reviewing portfolios from talented individuals interested in becoming the next big manga artist. We’re looking for super-talented manga artists who not only know the Warcraft or StarCraft universes, but can handle an intense and very demanding production schedule. Our goal is to deliver truly awesome manga, and to achieve this we need artists who can give readers an exciting and authentic Warcraft or StarCraft manga experience..

Additionally, if you are attending BlizzCon 2008 (Oct. 10-11), please stop by the TOKYOPOP booth at the following times for portfolio reviews:

10/10/08 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

10/11/08 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

So get those samples drawn and show us your stuff!

BLIZZCON!  For those attending the convention, I will be a guest of Blizzard and Tokyopop!  You will find me either wandering around enjoying the con or signing at the Tokyopop booth!  I’ll be signing manga, novels, etc., even Dragonlance and the Dragonrealm.  See you in Anaheim!

WARCRAFT—- NIGHT OF THE DRAGON AUTOGRAPHED COPIES!  Due to requests, I am taking orders for my next WarCraft novel,  NIGHT OF THE DRAGON available for US addresses only at this timne (sorry)!  Cost is $16 (cover) plus $4 shipping.  You may also add the mangas WarCraft LEGENDS vol. 1 & 2 for $12 each (includes $1 additional shipping).  My apologies, but the mangas are not available from me separately at this time.

To order, go to Paypal.com and pay [email protected] 

NOTE!  At this time, this offer ends when the novel is published—-  NOVEMBER 18!  So, if you are interested, order now!

THE DRAGONREALM!  Pocket Books now has a title for the new archive featuring the first three novels—- FIREDRAKE, ICE DRAGON, & WOLFHELM!  LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM will be out next summer and will feature brand new cover art!  I am pushing for a map, the first ever, so cross your fingers!

BEASTMASTER!  For any of you who have been fans of the movies and series, I recently co-wrote a new novel with Sylvio Tabet, the producer of both the movies and the series!  The novel, which returns the character to his roots yet expands in a new direction, has been purchased by Pocket Books!  No date yet, but I’ll be sure to announce that!

NEW WEB ADDRESS!  My website is now https://www.richardaknaak.com

That’s it for now!  As ever, thanks for reading!

Best

Richard A. Knaak

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