This week I am shipping a Warcraft Legends Vol. 3, courtesy of Tokyopop, to a lucky fan that participates in this giveaway. All you need to do is to type: I WANT A WARCRAFT LEGEND at the following thread.
There you can read a very interesting round up of one of the stories within the manga concerning Trag the tauren (from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) who returned from the grave as a undead. His journey brought him to his people seeking help for his condition, just to meet betrayal from his brothers. Thrall gave Trag the means to regain his mind from the calling of the Lich King. Eventually, Trag reaches the icy wastelands with the quest to enact revenge against him.
Next week, It will be Blizzplanet’s turn for a giveaway. So stay tuned.
Our network site, IncGamers, got the MASSIVE breaking news that WoW Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan has moved away from the World of Warcraft team to focus all his time and effort on the Blizzard Entertainment’s unannounced Next-Gen MMO.
He will still be participating in certain WoW development decisions, but his new tasks will keep him busy on the development of the next-gen MMO. This brings a lot of speculation vibe to it. Why reveal he’s moved to the next-gen MMO team? Why now? Fans wouldn’t have even figured out he was missing except for the BlizzCast Q&As that aren’t released so often.
Will there be a new Blizzcon this year? Are we witnessing hints of an impending game announcement this year?
Will this Next-Gen MMO be a resurrected Starcraft: Ghost game? The game was postponed, not canceled. It is quite possible. Back on Blizzcon 2005, fans played Starcraft: Ghost multiplayer. It looked more like an MMO than a console game. Another possible hint this game could resurface is the four Starcraft: Ghost printed-format books in development. Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star Books will publish Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by the end of 2009. Keith R.A. DeCandido has written around four chapters thus far.
Tokyopop will publish a manga trilogy titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy, aimed to be released throughout 2010. The Year of the Ghost. Speculations, speculations. Don’t we love that time of the year when Blizzard itches to tell something is being brewed in their headquarters?
Will it be a Starcraft MMO or Diablo MMO? It would be hard to tell. Back on 2002, two games were in development parallel to each other: World of Warcraft and Warcraft III. Both games tied up lorewise with the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Undead races and the Kalimdor and Northrend continents.
Starcraft 2 is now developed to be three separate episodes of around 30 maps each. This could be seen as expanding the lore to introduce an MMO. On the other side, we have Diablo 3. It hasn’t been revealed if it will be split into episodes, but last year it was revealed that the storyline in Diablo 3 wouldn’t be the end. The Creative Development Team has plenty of story to tell beyond Diablo 3. Whether that is via expansions or … coughs … a Next-Gen MMO, that remains to be seen.
Keep your eyes open through the summer for any Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals or Blizzcon announcements. It could very well mean the unveiling of the mysterious Next-Gen MMO. Big thumbs up to Jeff Kaplan and his team. Make us proud and make the best MMO experience possible.
Tigole: I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I
The US Community Manager Nethaera got an awesome interview with developer Ghostcrawler to immerse us into the new Dual-Spec feature. This allows players to use two separate sets of talents that can be easily switched to be used in an appropriate situation. You can be a healer on PvE, or a DPS beast on PvP—for example. Or you can be a tank on PvE dungeons, and go all-out DPS for solo-farming and solo-quests. Talent Dual-spec is a great and flexible feature.
The complex design behind it at a glance seems to be very well-thought and implemented, making it as hassle free as possible. Inscribers can summon a Lexicon of Power in a raid via a ritual. This summoned item will allow players to switch their spec; or you can visit any major city to use the Lexicon of Power.
You can save talent specs, glyphs, and action bars per spec; and a gear management system that works separately was also revealed. You can switch gear and trinkets manually with a click. Most of these features, minus the gear management system will be available on PTR when it is ready. Make sure to participate on PTR when it is up to test these new features and to iron out bugs before dual-spec hits live realms. The complete Q&A can be read after the break.
Talent Dual Spec Q&A with Ghostcrawler
With the next content patch, we will be introducing a number of additions and changes to the game. One new feature in the works is the ability to set up two separate sets of talents, or “dual spec”. While the complete feature may not be immediately available in the Public Test Realms (PTR) and specifics are still liable to change, we wanted to go over some questions with Senior Game Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to find out more.
Nethaera: What is dual speccing? Ghostcrawler: Dual speccing is the ability to save two separate talent specs, glyphs, and action bars.
Nethaera: Why are we allowing players to dual spec after all this time? Ghostcrawler: We really felt like this was a great way to increase the flexibility available to players and encourage them to take part in more aspects of the game. To use just one example, some players like to participate in both raids and Arenas, which is awesome behavior that we want to promote. But, there are some talents which are more useful in one part of the game than another. Currently, players have to pay respec costs and go through the process of setting up the desired talent spec and action bars whenever they switch.
The new system makes this a much more logical process, saving on time and cost and allowing players to easily move from one aspect of the game to another.
Nethaera: Who will be able to use it? Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.
Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this? Ghostcrawler: We didn
Many Blizzard fans attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for the opportunity to meet the thundergod Chris Metzen (Senior VP of Creative Development) and Micky Neilson (Senior Writer & Voice Director) during the Simon & Schuster book signing session.
There were a lot of happy fans handing over their copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, the Comic Book Vol. 1 hardcover, even the Wrath of the Lich King Collector’s Edition Art Book. I remember one of the fans brought the wall-mounting accessory of the Frostmourne sword replica to be signed. It was a fun experience to both Alliance and Horde players; and the developers were quite satisfied and passionate about the fans’ reactions.
Blizzplanet and WorldofWar.net was there to interview both Blizzard developers, and to record most of the book signing session. Below you can watch all three videos.
During my visit to the 2009 New York Comic Con, I visited the DC Comics booth to check out their World of Warcraft action figures and the artists. Chris Metzen had told me after the interview to return to the booth to see three new action figures: King Varian Wrynn (Lo’gosh), a Night Elf Huntress named Alathena Moonbreeze and a Scourge Ghoul named Rottingham. These look awesome. If you are a action figures collector, these will do great. Their armor, weapons and clothing are very detailed and colorful. Very accurate to the game, standing on impressive poses.
The DC Comics was packed with hundreds of people, the ambient was welcoming with tall posters of each franchise, especially the World of Warcraft comic book. They were showcasing video on big HD monitors of DC Online, DC vs Mortal Kombat, and even playing the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro. I got video of each DC Unlimited World of Warcraft action figure from different angles for your viewing pleasure. As well as close ups. Enjoy.
Blizzard Entertainment has exciting news for PvP players who enjoy clashing against the best players in Arenas. The 2009 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament is about to kick off next week. The best news is that you will have the opportunity to win over $200,000 in prizes, and you can gain a special title achievement: The Vanquisher, and a Armored Murloc Pet. Are you the best at Arenas? Take the challenge. Heed the Call ! (source)
On Saturday, February 7th—Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for a book signing session at the Simon & Schuster booth (1402). Thanks to Jaime Costas from the Pocket Star Books publisher; Shon Damron and Rob Tokar from Blizzard Entertainment’s Public Relations Department an interview was scheduled at the event.
Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson answered lore questions based on the StarCraft and World of WarCraft pocket star books for a length of 24 minutes. I split the video into two parts. This interview is packed with a lot of fun, spoilery and informative answers to various concerns from scenes that happened in Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Warcraft: The Last Guardian, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Warcraft RPG Books, and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. And a massive influx of info about the upcoming books—World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King (April 21), Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight (June 30), World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (2010).
After watching this video interview, you are going to faint, and wake up with only one thought in mind: “you CAN’T MISS reading one of these pocket star books !!!” Guaranteed. These books tie-in deeply into the events of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and could we dare to say … future expansions?
Medievaldragon: This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet and WorldOfWar.net. We are here to interview Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson, Senior Writer and Voice Director of Blizzard Entertainment. I picked up some questions from the Community about Pocket Books lore. We’ll start with the Starcraft questions first.
Medievaldragon: Ulrezaj is composed of 7 dark templars according to Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, but only composed of 4 in the Enslavers 2 Episode 5B: Dark Vengeance. could you fill us in on how that happened?
Metzen: Essentially we just made a call. Originally, I think in the Enslavers campaign it was 4, but Enslavers has always been kind of quasi-canonical. There was a lot of new fiction developed for Enslavers that we thought was really cool, but as we were developing this trilogy with Christie we knew we wanted to bring Ulrezaj back, which was kind of a cool idea, but we felt that going to 7 was better for the fiction in general. It kind of gave us more options to dig his origin out, who were all these arch-criminals that comprised him, so we felt that going with 7 just felt a little rounder. So… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Medievaldragon: Does the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-morian Combine have their own versions of the Ghost program, or is it exclusive to the Confederates and the Dominion?
Neilson: I like that question.
Metzen: Kill it!
Neilson: My answer would be that they do, and that it’s something a little bit different, something we haven’t seen yet, and something that we should definitely investigate in the future in the fiction, because it sounds like a really cool idea.
Metzen: That sounds like a dare right there.
Neilson: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: Will the Terrazine gas plot be explored in the upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Spectre book?
Metzen: Well the Terrazine and its significance to the “alleged” Ghost spectres is definitely handled in the upcoming novel Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by Decandidio. Decandido, pardon me. Sorry Keith! We definitely get into what Terrazine is, what it’s used for, and I would bet, wink wink, that we might see a bit of that play out in Starcraft 2 as well.
Metzen: Yes indeed.
Medievaldragon: Can we expect a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades? We are missing the period between the Overmind’s invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s sacrifice.
Neilson: Official announcement? I don’t know what’s official and what isn’t as far as…
Metzen: We’ve been working on an outline, we call it… well I’ll just say it. We call it Heir to Adun is the title of that possible novel. We’ve done a number of outline treatments on it to really dig out Tassadar’s story, and Tassadar’s nature as this kind of Twilight Messiah for the protoss people. What was really going on there at the fall of Aiur, and really digging out all the political things that were happening with the Conclave, and the Judicators, and the Templar. We definitely have a rocking story built for a novel, but we don’t have any plans yet on exactly when we would publish it or I don’t even know if we have a writer lined up yet, but we have an awesome outline for it.
Medievaldragon: Yeah, we have been expecting it for a while. (laughing) I know it takes time.
Metzen: If I had my way it would have been out already.
Neilson: It’s going to be a little while
Medievaldragon: Okay, we’re going to move to the Warcraft questions.
Medievaldragon: A fan asked: The body of Sargeras that Aegwynn killed was said to be an avatar in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, does this mean that Sargeras’ real body is still out there somewhere? Or is Sargeras pulling a Lord Voldemort trick to ensure his return?
Neilson: Sargeras is still kicking around. You can’t put him down.
Metzen: He’s out there somewhere.
Neilson: He’s not going to stay down for long.
Metzen: Yeah totally. And I think the hooks we had for his physical body, wherever it may be are so visually stunning that I think we have to… it’s like low hanging fruit, we’re going to have to bring him back somewhere. I’d be very disappointed in us if we didn’t leverage him fully.
Medievaldragon: He would be like the ultimate encounter.
Neilson: Hmm… yes.
Medievaldragon: In The Last Guardian, Medivh attacks Garona with a spell, saying “let me show you my world Garona. Let me drive my own divisions and doubts into you. You will never know who you serve and why. You’ll never find your peace.” This is most commonly seen by fans as Sargeras cursing Garona into betraying everyone she works for… Is this true? Is that why she has been missing all these years?
Neilson: As to what’s going on with Garona, we’re launching into the second arc of the WoW comic. There are going to be a LOT of questions answered regarding Garona… why she did what she did, her whole backstory. It all ties into Med’an, this new character, who’s going to be really important to the lore. So for the community to learn a lot more about Garona, they should definitely check out the comic book.
Medievaldragon: Will there be a follow-up in the pocket books at some point?
Neilson: For Garona? Maybe.
Metzen: I didn’t hear… a cameo within a book?
Neilson: Not out of the question, I’m sure.
Metzen: Yeah, I think we’re still feeling it out. We just recently started leveraging the character again, so there’s a lot of interest in the character, so I can see us getting [cut off]
[Plays a scene from warcraft 3 of Arthas approaching the Revenants blocking the path to Frostmourne]
Guardian: Turn back mortals. Death and Darkness are all that await you in this forsaken vault.
Arthas: I doubt there’s anything down here more terrifying than what we’ve faced already.
Guardian: Believe what you will, boy. You shall not pass.
Guardian: Turn away… before it’s… too late.
Arthas: Still trying to protect the sword are you?
Guardian: No… trying to protect you… from it.
Medievaldragon: What were the Revenants’ motives to care for Arthas’ fate? Will it be explained in World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King?
Metzen: It’s in the book.
Medievaldragon: In the book? Alright
Neilson: Buy the book.
Metzen: It’s really good. Really good… Christie just rocked this book.
Medievaldragon: In World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, we see a glimpse of Malygos proposing to the Wyrmrest Accord the purge of the mages prior to the Nexus War. Kalecgos departs to Outland at the end of the book. What’s Kalecgos’ stance with the Nexus War?
Metzen: Interesting. I think Kalecgos is loyal, he’s a blue dragon. Their function is to kind of police mortals’ use of magic, so to some degree he wants to do what Malygos wants him to do. He’s loyal, he’s a team player, but I also think that Kalecgos has a huge heart. I think he has a deep conscience, and I think he’s terrified of how these things have just spun out of control, and I think he regrets the loss of life and probably looks at it as a totally heavy handed solution to the problem, so I think he’s probably a little torn.
Neilson: And he’s spent a lot of time with mortals at this point too. He’s grown close to some mortals with the whole Anveena thing and everything else, so he would definitely be torn. His feelings would be torn.
Medievaldragon: He was a bit arrogant at the beginning, but his experience with Anveena kind of softened him.
Metzen: Right, kind of drew him closer to the experience of mortals. Totally.
Medievaldragon: Now that Malygos is dead, will there be a new Aspect of Magic (such as Kalecgos); or is that position gone forever? Could a dragon of another flight become the magic aspect… temporarily… for example: Krasus… who is an Archmage?
Metzen: I would say to question A: (slowly motions with his lips toward the poster of the World of Warcraft: Arthas book).
Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.
Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…
Medievaldragon: What can you tell us about the upcoming Worlf of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak?
Neilson: Stormrage is gonna be fantastic. What’s really cool about Stormrage is that we will be able to actually live the Nightmare, through this book, that’s going on in the Emerald Dream turning into the Emerald Nightmare. One of the coolest elements, in my opinion, is that the nightmare is starting to spread into Azeroth, and we’re going to touch on that in the manga as well, so we’re going to have a story that touches on, for instance, what is King Magni’s worst nightmare? And because the Nightmare is spreading into the reality of Azeroth, we’ll be able to see that. The book’s going to be fantastic, answers all kinds of questions, what’s been happening to Malfurion, what’s going on, who’s behind it… al those questions are going to be answered.
Metzen: I would just say too, I mean Malfurion’s always been, personally, my favorite Warcraft hero. He’s my favorite to write, so I’ve waited a long time to get this guy back into the mix, and have him play a significant role in the shaping of Azeroth. He’s a mega player, and he’s been off the scene.
Neilson: For a long time.
Metzen: I’m really stoked on this book. We really designed the essential backbone of the book to be just hyper Druid overload. If you’re a WoW Druid, this book’s for you. It features all the major druid characters, and players. I love it. Love it, love it.
(Video Part 2 Transcript)
Medievaldragon: Will there be a cameo of Jarod Shadowsong in World of Warcraft: Stormrage? The official website’s encyclopedia says he departed the druids and was never seen again.
Metzen: I don’t remember. For some reason, I don’t think so. But we would be lovingly surprised if he did. He doesn’t play a significant role in it.
Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg’s World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness helps modernize a lot of the lore revolving around Warcraft II. One aspect of the lore that fans have been wondering about, is Gilneas. Was Gilneas scheduled to make an appearance in that book, but had to be trimmed out, or will Gilneas be revisited in future books?
(Neilson grins at Metzen)
Metzen: Ah, ah, I would say we have some very, very, Very interesting plans for Gilneas. (Metzen docks slightly looking toward the ceiling) But there are snipers up in the roof that would shoot me if you know … (everyone laughs). We are doing some awesome stuff for Gilneas.
Neilson: … stay tuned!
Metzen: Stay tuned.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal reveals Cho’gall was killed. Or was he? How did the Twilight’s Hammer survive the Broken Isles’ massacre?
Neilson: Cho’gall is gonna make a come back. He’s not dead. You are going to see he will play a large role in the second arc of the World of Warcraft comic book. So, exactly how he survived … he’s just too tough. Two axes to the chest weren’t enough to take him down. He just appeared dead. (Laughs)
Medievaldragon: If he is not decapitated, he is not dead.
Neilson: That’s right.
Metzen: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: (jokingly) … and that doesn’t mean he can’t return. Somebody plugs the head back to his body and …
Medievaldragon: What’s happening to Blood Elf culture (especially Rommath’s role in it) now that the Sunwell was restored with M’uru?
Metzen: What we showed at the end of Burning Crusade, like during the whole Sunwell event, was that the warped naaru M’uru was kinda transformed back into his purest self, purest light that Velen used to reignite the Sunwell, as a fountain of Holy power, as much as it is arcane. So the suggestion was that over time the Blood Elves will start to actually use real Light power, in a healthy way, instead of dominating it. So what will likely happen over time is a slow transition, but what Velen did was give them a chance to redeem their civilization, a chance to get back to their roots, a chance to upset their magical addiction. So that kinda thing will probably gonna play out very slowly. We didn’t talk much about it in Wrath of the Lich King, but it is a theme I love a lot, but it has to be played out very slow.
Medievaldragon: I like that aspect of redeeming them … Does that mean that at some point they are going to get back to their roots and restore the Council of Tirisfal?
Metzen: ha-ha! … no … comment.
Medievaldragon: Are we ever seeing the Scythe of Elune questline and how it all tied into Karazhan and the Dark Riders explored in a future pocket book?
Metzen: I will say there are elements of the Scythe of Elune questline that are not … over … (long silence).
Metzen: … (longer silence) Alright, that’s all I’m saying. (laughs)
Woah, WOAH! (Metzen jokingly makes a motion with his hands and legs as if tight-rope walking).
Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!
Medievaldragon: Is the existence of Finnal Goldensword canon? She’s Admiral Proudmoore’s half-elf daughter. If so, are there plans to introduce her in the pocket books?
Metzen: I’m sure this will be controversial, but I don’t necessarily consider her canonical. And based on that, we don’t really have any plans to use her in the future. I think she appeared in one of the Warcraft RPG books. It’s not a character I have thought out about, so at this point I’m not sure if we are gonna do much with her.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King will devote a portion of its time to the love triangle between Arthas, Jaina and Kael’thas. Now, many of us have played Warcraft III and have also run Gnomeregan, so, we’ve got to ask … Where does Thrall factor in?
I’m not quite sure of what that questions means.
Neilson: Well, I think they are wondering: Is there a romantic interest between Thrall and Jaina? I think that’s what it’s implying.
Metzen: Ohh …
Medievaldragon: Not sure—why they are asking about Gnomeregan.
Metzen: Yea, it’s worded a little weird. Well, I would say the whole Kael’thas, Arthas, Jaina triangle thing is totally handled in the book. And it’s R-r-really good! But it explains the whole relationship, and how that all went down. Christie just handled it perfectly. So I’m excited to really see that. But relative, the question was, is there a little you know … green fever going on with Thrall and Jaina? umm … (takes deep breath) … I don’t know, I know people are kinda fascinated a little about that but …
Medievaldragon: Ohh … I know now what they meant. In Gnomeregan, there was a punch card in binary code that when you decoded it, it reads: “Thrall and Jaina in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
Metzen: Right, right. I don’t know, I would say I try to be pretty conservative with all that stuff. I would like Thrall to settle down with a nice green girl…
Neilson: (laughs louder)
Metzen: …you know, and have little green babies. I’d like the dynasty of Orgrimmar to be pure blood, right. But you never know. I hope he keeps things together and doesn’t do something stupid before we can actually build this stuff in the game. So … you know Thrall.
Medievaldragon: Hormones …
Metzen: What’re we gonna do.
Medievaldragon: What should we expect in World of Warcraft: Arthas and how does it ties-in with the game?
Neilson: I think one of the things that are really, really amazing about ARTHAS the book is … you play Classic WoW, right, so the whole time you are running around. The Lich King is basically sitting there on his throne. So the question is: What’s going on? What’s going through his head? So this book actually gets you inside his head during that time. You will find out what was going on. Really be able to get inside the mind of evil. Getting inside the mind of Arthas. Find out what makes him tick. Even when he was saying things to Uther, when he disbanded the paladins, and things like that. Really gonna go indepth on that to find out what was going on inside his head. All the layers. Christie did a great job putting in all these different layers of what’s happening. So there’s the dialogue that we heard in the game, but there is much more deeper story that you won’t get unless you read the book.
Blizzard Entertainment shared with—us—fansites a very important message for all fans and subscribers of World of Warcraft. Recently, an erroneous and misleading article has been echoed throughout many gaming news outlets worldwide declaring that World of Warcraft would be banned from Australian store shelves. The article said that all games sold in Australia requires an Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) rating. Without this rating, games don’t make it into Australian store shelves.
Some gaming sites have said that MMOs don’t have a OFLC rating, including World of Warcraft. And thus, operate illegally as of the passing of the recent new legislation. However, Blizzard has communicated as of today, February 6th, that this is not true.
Blizzard Entertainment and its affiliates work very closely with the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia to ensure that we are in full compliance with Australian law as it relates to the distribution and operation of our games, including World of Warcraft. We
Richard A. Knaak sends heads up that Tokyopop revealed the front cover for the upcoming manga titled Warcraft Legends Vol. 5 due September 2009. The front cover shows a Dwarf and a Draenei fleeing in terror from … guess who? … The Headless Horseman from the Hallow’s End Season. You can view the front cover here. To find out more about Hallow’s End check out our wiki section.
Stay tuned this weekend for any breaking news from our New York Comic Con coverage. I am heading to the Jacobs K. Javits Center tomorrow to grab my press badge and to get photos and video of the Hot Babes and costumed fans. I will meet editors from Tokyopop, DC Comics and Pocket Star Books.
A reminder to those attending the event, drop by the Simon & Schuster booth 1402 on Saturday and Sunday at 3:00pm—the first 50 fans showing up sharp on-time will get an EXCLUSIVE bound galley of the WORLD OF WARCRAFT: ARTHAS, RISE OF THE LICH KING.
A few days ago, major gaming sites reported that Activision Blizzard had returned to this year’s E3 Exhibitors List. Last year, Vivendi and Activision had withdrew their ESA membership and E3 altogether. GiantBomb—where ex-Gamespot Editorial Director Jeff Gerstmann works nowadays—got response from Blizzard Entertainment. And the answer was:
Blizzard Entertainment will not be attending or participating in E3 2009.
Short and straight. This is a big surprise, knowing Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 won’t get the press time and hands-on gameplay at an event that Blizzard had previously attended to. It seems Blizzcon and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals will remain to be the main platforms for new game and expansion announcements—including hands-on gameplay.
Last year’s Blizzcon had the whooping achievement of over 15,000 attendees from all around the world.
As many of you know the next major content patch will include some very exciting things, such as Ulduar, a new epic raid dungeon, a wealth of new items, and much more. We thought players would especially enjoy reading just a few of the class changes we’re currently planning.
This is the second in a series of three upcoming class change highlight announcements: Priests, Rogues, Shaman, Warlocks, Druids, and Warriors. Please keep in mind, that these lists are not at all comprehensive, and subject to change.
Please read and discuss details of these upcoming changes in each class forum:
Simon & Schuster informed me something that New York Comic Con attendees will certainly love to know. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star Books) will be doing an exclusive giveaway !!! The first 50 fans showing up at their booth (1402) on Saturday at 3:00 P.M. and Sunday at 3:00 P.M. will receive a bound galley of the upcoming WORLD OF WARCRAFT: ARTHAS, RISE OF THE LICH KING.
Note: Seems there will be a new Front Cover for ARTHAS. More later.
Pre-orders on this book are available here. It ships on April 21.
For information to get New York Comic Con tickets go here. To locate the booth 1402 check this map.
The New York Comic Con organizers announced the Guinness World Records commitee will be at the event to find out if the world record of the most people disguised in video games costumes is broken. If you are coming disguised, register to let the NYCC folks know you are attending to support this Guiness record. Make history by coming to the event with your World of Warcraft costume. For the Horde !!!
Simon & Schuster provided the new description of the upcoming Christie Golden’s pocket star book World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King—on bookstores by April 21. Simon & Schuster is already taking Pre-Orders here. We posted its first chapter excerpt a few weeks ago. If you have done the Icecrown quests, this first chapter will pop your eyes … Matthias Lehner.
It was caught in a hovering, jagged chunk of ice, the runes that ran the length of its blade glowing a cool blue. Below it was a dais of some sort, standing on a large gently raised mound that was covered in a dusting of snow. A soft light, coming from somewhere high above where the cavern was open to daylight, shone down on the runeblade. The icy prison hid some details of the sword’s shape and form, exaggerated others. It was revealed and concealed at the same time, and all the more tempting, like a new lover imperfectly glimpsed through a gauzy curtain. Arthas knew the blade—it was the selfsame sword he had seen in his dream when he first arrived. The sword that had not killed Invincible, but that had brought him back healed and healthy. He’d thought it a good omen then, but now he knew it was a true sign. This was what he had come to find. This sword would change everything. Arthas stared raptly at it, his hands almost physically aching to grasp it, his fingers to wrap themselves around the hilt, his arms to feel the weapon swinging smoothly in the blow that would end Mal’Ganis, end the torment he had visited upon the people of Lordaeron, end this lust for revenge. Drawn, he stepped forward.
The uncanny elemental spirit drew its icy sword. “Turn away, before it is too late,” it intoned.
His evil is legend. Lord of the undead Scourge, wielder of the runeblade Frostmourne, and enemy of the free peoples of Azeroth. The Lich King is an entity of incalculable power and unparalleled malice—his icy soul utterly consumed by his plans to destroy all life on the…
But it was not always so. Long before his soul was fused with that of the orc shaman Ner’zhul, the Lich King was Arthas Menethil, crown prince of Lordaeron and faithful paladin of the Silver Hand.
When a plague of undeath threatened all that he loved, Arthas was driven to pursue an ill-fated quest for a runeblade powerful enough to save his homeland. Yet the object of his search would exact a heavy price from its new master, beginning a horrifying descent into damnation. Arthas’s path would lead him through the arctic northern wastes toward the Frozen Throne, where he would face, at long last, the darkest of destinies.
Zarhym expressed a lot of feedback about the upcoming major content patch 3.1 and the 25-man / 10-man dungeon Ulduar. Content patches will be released at a fair pace, but not as often as it happened in Burning Crusade to allow guilds breath-space with raid progression before moving on to a new dungeon.
Our development team is currently hard at work on Ulduar. It’s going to be massive. For those looking to progress past Naxxramas, this will be your place. For those looking for much more of a challenge content-wise than they’ve seen thus far in Wrath of the Lich King, Ulduar welcomes you.
After The Burning Crusade’s final major content patch, the plan was to space out the new raid dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King so there wouldn’t be overwhelming moments or times where several raids are released at once and slightly ill-tuned (as was the case with The Burning Crusade’s launch); we also don’t want extremely long periods of time where no new raids come out, as was the case after The Burning Crusade’s initial launch.
I trust players can expect to find a fair amount of challenge and content with patch 3.1, and each major content patch after that in Wrath of the Lich King will offer similar new feats.
Raid progression in this game has always been fairly linear. That is by design. The idea is to have clear progressions depending on how you choose to spend your time, whether in 5-man, 10-man, 25-man, or PvP.
It takes quite a bit of time to design a new dungeon, even just speaking about the art alone. By the time we get around to tuning a new raid dungeon, the idea is to offer new, more difficult challenges, which would naturally result in better rewards. That seems to describe a linear design philosophy as you put it.
For those asking about the challenge, I’d wager the average guild couldn’t expect to waltz into Ulduar and clear the place right away in its top form. If it didn’t come back to haunt me (har), I’d guess it would take weeks for the average guild.
You might see some additional rewards from heroism vendors down the line, though it’s not expected there will be a host of new items released comparable to Ulduar or Icecrown loot, at least not in the same manner Sunwell badge gear was provided.
As we continue to evaluate professions, one shouldn’t rule out additional glyphs in the future. The achievements will continue to come, and there will always be plenty of achievements for everyone.
Figure Printsrecently dropped their lottery waiting list and they are taking instant orders on demand and printing them right away. To celebrate the growth of the company, they have released an awesome step-by-step video tour that captures the process of creating your unique FigurePrint World of Warcraft Character. The video has a full-screen mode button. Watch the video at their website.
Our friend Pig from WanderingGoblin recently reviewed his own Tauren Figure Print.
Now is a great time to order a custom statue of your favorite World of Warcraft
Blizzard announced four new products from the SteelSeries folks based on the Wrath of the Lich King. If you already own the Zboard keyboard, you can buy the Wrath of the Lich King keyset individually.
Just in time for the journey to Northrend, SteelSeries is launching a new line of Wrath of the Lich King-themed peripherals: the new Zboard Limited Edition Gaming Keyboard, Qck Limited Edition Lich King Exclusive Gaming Surface, and 5C Limited Edition Frost Wyrm Exclusive Gaming Surface. All are made with high-quality materials and feature artwork from Wrath of the Lich King. Please visit SteelSeries.com for full details on each of their features and availability.
As reported recently, Sideshow Collectibles ran a poll to decide which product would get the 30% discount axe. Because You voted, Sideshow has deemed the WoW Diorama winner of the poll. The World of Warcraft Blood Elf Rogue vs. Draenei Paladin Polystone Diorama is now available at $209.99 ONLY through January 30th and while supplies last. Go grab yours here.
A copy of this diorama will arrive to my home soon. Expect a review and video footage of this awesome polystone statue on Worldofwar.net
Sideshow: Our first Vote for your Discount promotion is now over. The Blood Elft Vs Draenei Paladin Diorama won and is available at a 30% discount for January 30th 2009 only! Place your in-stock order today! Click Here. Offer good only while supplies last.
Blizzard just released the BlizzCast 7 podcast packed with interviews about World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Nethaera interviews Production Director, J. Allen Brack to find out why of all the possible expansions the developers decided to work with Northrend; and the difficulty of choosing the Hero Class they would work on.
Jeff Kaplan answers what they learned from Burning Crusade. It was pretty hard on the servers to handle every player on Hellfire Peninsula. That’s how they decided to create two entry points: Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord to lessen the stress on the servers, and to minimize the impact of players killing specific mobs in the same area. Kaplan explains Phase Technology more thoroughfully in this interview using the Wrathgate as reference. It is hinted that at some point in future expansions we will fight Deathwing and Sargeras.
In BlizzCast 7 you can also find Crygil interviewing Senior Vice President of Creative Development, Chris Metzen to discuss the lore of Wrath of the Lich King and Burning Crusade expansions. The two important plots brought up by Metzen in this interview is the conspiracy of a figure that has kept the dragonflights busy with different schemes removing their focus on what their purpose was meant to be. And that includes Deathwing. He hasn’t been protecting the Earth. What powers above are behind this conspiracy? That’s something that the World of Warcraft story progression will eventually unfold.
The other interesting bit of info from this BlizzCast 7 interview is that the creative team has been discussing what to do next about Medivh. A hint that a new champion or guardian could arise to handle the current threat to the world (Arthas). That this new guardian could come from other than the Humans. That’s quite interesting because as of World of Warcraft # 15 comic book we have found out about a prophecy that sets Garona’s half-human, part-orc-draenei son as savior of Azeroth. Is Garona’s son eventually becoming the new Guardian of Tirisfal? Will this story eventually tie-in with the Lich King dungeon?
You can download BlizzCast 7 here, and an excerpt is available too.
During early development of WoW Classic, two expansions had been planned from the beginning: Northrend and Outland. Warcraft III: Frozen Throne and WoW Classic were developed simultaneously at the time. It was a matter of which of the two to release first. Outland was the one decided on for a feeling of returning home with a Northrend expansion.
From 29 possible Hero Classes, it was skimmed down to three possible options: Necromancer, Runemaster or Death Knight.
140 people were behind the development of Wrath of the Lich King with support from many other teams.
The lore team is composed of less than 10 people, including Chris Metzen.
Phasing Technology is used as a story telling technique
Ulduar will have a 10-players and 25-players option.
Sideshow Collectibles just informed me they have a special Voting Poll to knock 30% off one out of three choices. If you cast your vote now, and the World of Warcraft Blood Elf Rogue vs. Draenei Paladin Diorama wins the poll, Sideshow will be offering a $100 discount on Friday, January 30th. The retail price is normally $299. Hurry up and cast your vote. The poll won’t last long. Cast your vote here.
Would you like to save over $16 on Padme Amidala – Llum Mission 12-inch Figure, over $67 on the Grey Hulk Legendary Scale Bust or $100 on the Blood Elf VS Draenei Paladin Diorama? Cast a vote for your favorite discount and be sure to visit SideshowCollectilbes.com on Friday, January 30th for a chance to grab the winning collectible at its greatly reduced price! Please note: This sale will be available for 24 hours on January 30th and only while supplies last.
Earlier today, Blizzard released a new minor patch on US Realms during the Tuesday maintenance schedule. Some of these class, race or gender bugs had been acknowledged and reported by Blizzard when the original Patch 3.0.8 was deployed. It’s nice to see that the devs worked around the clock to release them this quick. Nethaera sent us word immediately. You can read the patch notes and any updates here.
Patch 3.0.8a resolves the following bugs:
Human females Helms will no longer lift off the character’s head during a Special2H animation or during a HoldRifle animation.
Howling Blast : The 5 second cooldown will now display correctly.
All Hunter aspects are no longer on the global cooldown that is shared with other Hunter abilities. All hunter aspects are now on a separate 1 second cooldown.
Ritual of Summoning will now function as intended.
My copy arrived today by mail. It is now official. Garona is half-draenei according to World of Warcraft # 15. For the first time, the official comic book has a Cast of Characters section at the back, on the last page. The profile for Garona says:
“An orc-draenei half-breed, trained from childhood as an assassin.”
Many years ago, ex-WoW Community Manager Katricia had a slip of tongue and claimed Garona to be half-draenei. This has been a long debated topic among lore scholars. But now the debate has been put to rest. The return of Garona and the revelation of her half-human son has made the comic book become a magnet for World of Warcraft lore enthusiasts. The new story arc has made this comic book very interesting. You should subscribe or pick this issue soon to get hooked to the series. Those wondering who Meryl is, this is his profile:
“A powerful undead mage , he has survived for thousands of years by the strength of his own magic. An original member of the now defunct Council of Tirisfal, he is now Med’an’s guardian and mentor.”
World of Warcraft is no stranger to interracial marriages or hybrids. There are many examples throughout Azeroth and Outland of couples from different races such as Rhonin and Vereesa at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran. Turalyon and Alleria Windrunner who bore a child named Arator the Redeemer. Arator may be found at the Honor Hold Inn in Hellfire Peninsula. The love affair of Turalyon and Alleria was told in detail by Christie Golden in World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal (Pocket Star Books).
Admiral Proudmoore had an affair with a high elf and was father of Finnall Goldensword. Sadly, she hasn’t been added to the MMO yet. She was first introduced in the Alliance & Horde Compendium
The patch 3.0.8 introduced a few bugs that Blizzard was aware of and communicated during its release, but one bug they probably didn’t foresee was the server instability that affected realms. Wintergrasp was shutdown yesterday to keep realms ongoing while the developers found options to hotfix the issues forthcoming once Horde or Alliance players won. Crygil informed the issues have been, hopefully, resolved and Wintergrasp will come back after rolling restarts across all realms. Make sure to provide feedback and report any lag issues or crashes at the following forum thread.
Crygil: We have found a solution for instability issues that were occurring in Wintergrasp. In order for this fix to go out to all realms, we will be issuing rolling restarts during off peak hours. Once the rolling restarts have concluded we will continue to monitor Wintergrasp and realm stability closely.
Eyonix: We wanted to compile information pertaining to issues that have arisen since patch 3.0.8. We’ll update this post as new information becomes available.
New Arena Matchmaking System
Update: We have temporarily disabled all Arena matches while we investigate current rating calculation discrepancies. Further updates will be provided once we have additional information to share.
With the release of patch 3.0.8 we have implemented a new matchmaking system for arenas that will improve the overall system and help ensure that players will be matched against others of equal skill. The new matchmaking system uses a rating that you cannot see, and is separate for each of the arena brackets.
The rating changes at the end of each match are affected by this new system, and as it just came out, there may initially be some odd behavior in rating changes, but these will straighten out fairly quickly.
Battle For Wintergrasp Temporarily Disabled
Due to Wintergrasp issues affecting realm stability, the Battle for Wintergrasp has been temporarily disabled on all realms. We
Gamasutra reports Jeff Kaplan will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC 2009) through March 23-27 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco. This keynote will help aspiring and professional game developers; and college students to experience an insight into the process of quest design and gameplay direction.
Jeff Kaplan & Medievaldragon
The Cruise Director of AZEROTH: Directed Gameplay within WORLD OF WARCRAFT
Speaker: Jeffrey Kaplan (Associate Designer, Blizzard Entertainment)
Track: Game Design
Format: 60-minute Lecture
Experience Level: All
This discussion will focus on the original development of WORLD OF WARCRAFT’s quest system and how it has changed over time, with WRATH OF THE LICH KING being the latest evolution. The presentation will also include some of the guidelines and philosophies that are followed when creating WoW content. It will also be suggested how WoW’s philosophy applies to other game genres and touch on topics such as game design as it applies to story, single player, massively multiplayer, open world and constrained locale considerations.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Jeffrey Kaplan explains the guidelines and philosophies directing the creation of World of Warcraft content, and will also provide an informative look at the popular MMORPG’s “quest system and how it has changed over time, with Wrath of the Lich King being the latest evolution.”
Fantasy Flight Games invites players to embark into the latest World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game scenario: Alterac Valley. Heed the call to battle!
World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game is an exciting and fast-paced journey through the world of Azeroth for 2 to 4 players. Choose your favorite hero and embark on an epic journey from humble beginnings to immense power, battling vicious monsters, powerful overlords, and your treacherous fellow players!
Two to four players each take on the role of a Warcraft character. The base World of Warcraft Adventure Game comes with four unique and distinctive characters: Burbonn Fang the Dwarf hunter, Sandrai Darkshine the Human warlock, Sofeea Icecall the Undead mage, and Grumbaz Crowsblood the Orc warrior. Each character is depicted by his own detailed plastic figure and has his own specialized character and ability cards.
The call to arms has been sounded. Will you take up arms? This first scenario in the World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game League will force you to reevaluate your tactics, as you must prove yourself worthy through combat. For more information on the league, check out this article. Once you have played, record your information (Include all of the information requested in this news article) and email it to the JR Godwin, League Administrator.
I am glad I subscribed to a few CGI Animation and 3D community newsletters back in the days when I used to promote and recruit staff for the Starcraft Chronicles unofficial fan CGI film, a few years ago. CGChannel has announced their latest interview with Blizzard Entertainment’s CGI Artists Jeff Chamberlain and Fausto De Martini to talk about the making of the Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer. This three-pages interview contains four never-seen-before pre-rendered footage video clips. The interview covers which techniques and software tools were used to create the Sindragosa frostwyrm, Arthas, Frostmourne and the special effects of Arthas sweeping away the snow to reveal the ice floor.
This interview can be a dream for those who are CGI students or aficionados, and to those who would love to join the Blizzard team at one point. It will help you know how the different teams work the pipeline. Read the full interview. Help others find this awesome interview by commenting at N4G.
Blizzard cinematics are popular in part because of the excellent animation of characters, effects and camera work. Does Blizzard use Motion Capture or other technologies to achieve this level of animation?
We’ve built a team of really strong keyframe animators, and we have always keyframed our animation—and we prefer it that way. As I said, we strive for a hyper-realistic look, so our characters proportions are way augmented from what they would be in real life. As a result, they would tend to look a bit odd if they moved like someone with normal proportions would. Keyframed animation allows us to move our characters in a stylized way that fits the overall look. Also, there’s something about the level of quality you can get from a keyframed animation compared to a motion-captured one.
We have used motion capture a lot for getting a realistic handheld feel in our cameras, and in the interest of creating more and better content, we’ve looked into using motion capture as a tool during previsualization. Having the ability to quickly try out different angles and layouts for a shot by utilizing the speed of motion capture is very compelling from a director’s viewpoint. As far as the final frames go, we plan on sticking with our stylized keyframed animation.
The reanimated corpse dragon in the Lich King cinematic is beautifully executed in its design, modeling, effects and animation. Can you tell us a little bit about the tools and techniques used in those sequences?
We approached the sequence in which Arthas raises the frost wyrm in exactly the same manner as we approach all of our projects. We start with a loose script written by a few cinematics guys: Blizzard Entertainment’s vice president of creative development Chris Metzen; and the leads from the game team. The idea then moves to storyboarding and 2D concepting. Once that’s done, we start pre-visualizing the sequence. Modeling, animation, and production tech tend to then take over for a while, generating the meat of the project. Finally, finishing (lighting and compositing), effects, and matte painting take it all home.
Wrath of the Lich King was a project with a lot of firsts in our pipeline. It was the first time we used Maya to animate and lay out every shot, the first time we rendered every shot in Renderman, and the first time we used Nuke to composite. Some other products we use are 3ds Max and Mudbox for modeling, Mirage for storyboarding, and anything we can get our hands on for effects and matte painting.
From the creative minds of Wildstorm’s World of Warcraft comic book writer Walter Simonson (Mighty Thor) and Chris Metzen, Blizzard has released a loregasmic preview teaser of World of Warcraft # 15. After King Varian Wrynn decapitated Onyxia’s corpse to display her head in Stormwind, Garona makes her appearance for the first time since the events from Warcraft: The Last Guardian. The preview reveals that shortly after Garona assassinated King Llane, she found out about her … pregnancy. She gave the baby to an ancient human mage, named Meryl, to raise him. It is now confirmed that Garona was cursed by Sargeras to betray and do things against her will. Therefore, she couldn’t bare to rise her own child for fear she would kill him.
This plot brings about so many intriguing questions. Who is the father of Garona’s baby? Medivh? Khadgar? King Llane? On the other hand, Meryl is described as undead, but one who has lived by sheer will and through the use of his own magical powers to prolong his life for milennia; he exists even before Ner’zhul created the Scourge. Is Meryl one of the previous Guardians of Tirisfal?
Garona’s baby has grown up, and there is a prophecy behind him found in a scroll digged from Hellfire Peninsula. This child is to become the savior of Azeroth. Do you feel the vibe that this guy, Med’an, is the heir of Medivh? Watch the PDF preview and get that HOT comic book at a newsstand near you!
This issue will be on newsstands on January 21.
In stores 1/21.
The road back to Theramore begins in issue #15 of the ongoing series. After the events of the last arc, King Varian and Prince Anduin must return home. But who will return with them? And what role will Garona Halforcen play in this next quest? Check out the preview pages.
Nethaera has informed us of an update to the recent Account-wide Death Knight Creation issue alert posted at the official forums. Some players are able to still create Death Knights, but other players can’t. Blizzard is trying to isolate what is causing this seemingly random bug. As of later tonight, the problem will be resolved after the restarts. We have below a FAQ to Account-wide Death Knight Creation provided by Blizzard.
Update – 1/21 11:30 AM PST
We are continuing to work on allowing death knight creation on all eligible realms per the creation rules for death knights and will provide further updates as soon as they are available.
Update – 1/20 5:20pm PST
We will be bringing all realms down at 5am PDT (Oceanic realms will be brought down at 12pm PDT) on January 21 to address an issue with Death Knight creation. The restarts should only take approximately 15 minutes to complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Update- 1/20 3:30 PM PST
Please be aware that select players are currently able to create death knights on realms other than the one they currently have a level 55+ character on while others are still unable to do so at this time. We are currently working to address this issue and anticipate this to be corrected as of tonight