Entries in diablo 3 (4)

BlizzCast Episode 13 Released

After a roughly two-and-a-half month wait, BlizzCast 13 has finally been released. This episode (running time 52:09) is split up into two major parts, covering a little bit of everything:  

  • Starcraft II Beta Special featuring: Rob Simpson (eSports), Dustin Browder (game director – StarCraft II), Chris Sigaty (production director -- StarCraft II)
  • World of Warcraft and Diablo III Q & A featuring: Zarhym (World of Warcraft Community Manager), Bashiok (Diablo Community Manager)

Where Starcraft II is concerned, the team covers everything from how the beta helps them tune and balance the different races to Battle.net features and when we might first get our hands on the Galaxy Map Editor (hint: not until near the end of the testing phase).

Needless to say, the second half is of slightly more interest to regular Project Lore readers, as Zarhym and Bashiok cover a number of different questions culled from the community.

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BlizzCon is Almost Here, Are You Ready?

BlizzCon Here We Come! BlizzCon Here We Come! Blizzard is less than 24 hours away from opening the doors of the Anaheim Convention Center to its passionate fanbase to show off new products, progress on titles being worked on right now and rub elbows with fans and developers alike! If you're going to be at the convention, you want to make sure you have the best time you can have right? You probably are already here if you're taking a flight, have checked into your hotel and are ready to go! But we wanted to provide a few details for those who may have forgotten or simply didn't know about traveling and conventions. If you're in Anaheim Thursday you'll be able to pick up your badge starting at 4pm, make sure to bring your printed out barcode and ID (follow the directions on your email). You'll have until 10pm that night, but we recommend getting it done early so you can meet with some of the Project Lore staff (myself included) at the WoW Insider Party at the Anabella Hotel. And of course, it's not a bad idea to get some quality sleep the night before the convention, but you may want to explore a bit! There are many options open for you in Anaheim as there is Downtown Disney (no need for a Disneyland ticket!) which features some great restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Nearby is also the Anahiem Gardenwalk with more restaurants, shops and another movie theater if Disney isn't your thing. Also, if you're not from California you may have heard of it but you must make it a priority to eat at In N Out! If you end up there, make sure to check out their secret menu for an even better burger (or take the 10x10 challenge)! After you've filled up on food and hit the sack, you'll wake up to the big day! Friday the show opens up sometime around 11 (opening ceremonies are at 11:30). If you want a prime seat you will want to try to start lining up a few hours before if you're serious about it. If you still don't have your badge, you can of course pick that up anytime between 8am and 10pm. After the opening ceremonies you are open to do whatever you like! That's what is awesome about this convention! You get to choose what you want to do! Go hit up the BlizzCon Store (prepare for a wait though!) or other vendors (like our friends at J!NX). Not ready to shop? Visit any of the wonderful panels and hear from the devlopers themselves (check out the schedule here and map out what you'd like to see) or go play some StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, or the new WoW Expansion. There are also professional competitive players to watch, showcasing the best players in StarCraft, WarCraft 3, and WoW Arena. There will also be a live WoW Raid on Saturday, which is sure to be a sight to see! As much as the enjoyment of the convention depends on your attitude and the people you are with, there are things you can plan on, or have, that will help make sure your experience is enjoyable.

  • Bring comfortable shoes: there will be lots of walking and waiting, make sure they're broken in and not brand new, you DO NOT want blisters on your feet!
  • Bring water: you don't want to have to wait in line to get a drink and be thirsty while waiting, and you want to keep hydrated (not to mention bottled water is EXPENSIVE inside the convention center)!
  • Bring snacks/pack a lunch: lines are long for food inside the convention halls and pricey and you may not even enjoy the food! Make sure to at least bring some snacks or even get something to eat before heading to the convention center before starting the day (Subway keeps fairly well and is close to the convention center).
  • Plan out your day: after going to a few conventions, I noticed that my enjoyment of the show would increase if I had something planned out, you don't have to follow it exactly, but having a loose plan of what you'd like to do is good, but make sure you're flexible, especially if you're with a group, parent(s), or a significant other!
  • Check your realm meeting time: this should be in the goodie bag when you pick this up and is a great way to meet up with players on your server (Alliance and Horde alike) and can help you find a guild if you're looking for one!
  • Make sure you pack what you need: double check: clothes for each day you're there (think about packing an extra pair of clothes, just in case), deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.
  • Patience: lines will be long, the best thing to do is to strike up a conversation with your fellow line waiters, chances are they're into our beloved WoW and you can relate to something in game with them.
  • Phones, Handheld Gaming Systems: these are great for those pesky lines and coordinating with friends to meetup, and who knows you might be able to strike up a quick game with a fellow attendee (I'll personally be bringing my iPhone and Nintendo DSi)
All in all though, have fun! Don't be afraid to say hi to people (if you see me, I'd love to talk WoW!) and just in general relax! This is supposed to be a fun convention and you have the power to make it that! Here also are some rough guidelines to when the best times are to hit up certain events at BlizzCon that tend to have longer lines:
  • Game Demo Stations: During the costume contest and closing ceremonies the lines have traditionally been very small to play StarCraft 2, Diablo 3 and WoW. These are the absolute best times to play. If what is announced at the opening ceremonies is playable, most of the people will flock to try it out immediately and the lines will be pretty long.
  • Blizzard Store: Later in the day, similar times as for the demo stations the lines tend to thin out and be much smaller, unless you're worried about an item selling out you can wait it out.
  • Panels: unless you feel the need to sit up front you can come as late as the panel starting to get a decent seat. If you want to ask a question sit nearest to the microphones (where Blizzard CMs will be standing as well to screen questions). The Guild panel may be an exception although they are in an actual hall this year as opposed to a small meeting room last year (they filled up well before their panel time and many people had to be turned away).
  • Tournaments: Earlier in the tournaments tend to have the best seats, but as it gets closer to the finals the seats tend to fill up (I sat on the floor for the StarCraft final last year) generally finding a seat around the semi-finals is your best bet to make sure you have a seat for the finals.
For those of you at home, if you've ordered the live stream make sure to have a nice comfy chair, drinks and snacks near by so you don't miss anything! If you haven't order the stream, be sure to follow your favorite blog with updates! There is also a free stream for the tournaments which are enjoyable to watch. Whatever you do this weekend, make sure you enjoy it as we celebrate the game, the culture and community of Blizzard games. So Project Lore readers, what will you be doing for BlizzCon? What panels look like the best to you? What do you think are can't be missed events? Did I miss anything that a con goer should be bringing?

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Blizzcon: How Much Will We Really See?

With the great shadow of Blizzcon looming on the horizon, how can we not get worked up about it? How can we not begin to wonder what goodies they're just waiting to unleash on us die-hard fans like front-liners at a GWAR concert? We expect to walk away from this thing tired, satisfied, and maybe just a little sticky! gwarpicBut laying restless in bed this morning, I began to think: Blizzard's got this huge expansion coming up, but they've still got at least one major piece of content to release for Lich King. Likewise, they stated they'd like to get a new expansion out every year -- an unrealistic goal for a company like this, but perhaps a year-and-a-half is within the realm of possibility. And then I remembered that they just pushed StarCraft 2 back into 2010. Having two major releases coming out back-to-back like that is virtually unheard of! That might push Cataclysm (as we assume the expansion to be named) to next Fall for a release date similar to Lich King two years previous. And that means that they've got until next Blizzcon to give us all of the real juicy details. I believe that most people, at this point, assume that there's going to be a deluge of information about Cataclysm this year, but that may be jumping the gun. No doubt we'll get something, perhaps a reveal of new races and some very early look at the content, a trailer even, but let's not forget that there is still the matter of the Lich King to resolve. If the rumors of Icecrown Citadel being enormous are true (not 31-boss big, of course, but I believe the intention of size was expressed), I expect we may hear a log more about how this expansion is going to wrap up before even going into the next one. Once again, I'm going mostly on conjecture here, but I do remember one of the Blues mentioning (when asked about how far off the Argent Coliseum would be) that their timetable was not as lengthy as we players might expect. And, indeed, we saw the release of 3.2 just three months or so after Ulduar. Now that opens the possibility of seeing the Citadel released by the end of the year or early next. If Cataclysm releases in the Summer, no biggie. But Fall 2010? That would leave a huge 9-10 month gap between content releases. That would mean that there may be some post-ICC release, a 3.4 if you will, that would function much like Sunwell at the end of Burning Crusade. If that's the case, we may begin to hear something about that content, as well. And really, when it boils right down to it, the end of the Lich King is potentially such a big deal, are they going to want us knowing a whole lot about the aftermath just yet (which learning about Cataclysm would probably entail)? My head's spinning just trying to consider all this and I hope you're all still with me at this point. But I'm currently of the opinion that we're going to get a real introductory look at the next expansion, with the remainder of Wrath content getting the bulk of attention at the show. Do I hope I'm wrong? Most certainly. I'd love nothing more than to experience the largest fangasm ever from the impending surge of information that could be coming our way. I'd die for Mike Morhaime to ascend to the stage and tell us that they're finished with Icecrown Citadel, the expansion's coming within six months, and that, Oprah-style, we all get a beta invite. But I also expect Blizzard to take as much time as they feel they need to complete their products, and considering their track record, that's what supersedes everything else. They're tackling more releases at this point in time than they ever have at once before. We're going to hear tons about StarCraft 2 and the revamped Battle.net. We'll get the dish about Diablo, too. Let's not forget there's also that "next-gen MMO" hanging on the horizon, as well. If they wanted to release all of these games on the same day, they could probably get away with it. So maybe it's not so far-fetched to consider the sequel to StarCraft and the new expansion to hit shelves so close to each other. After all, one shouldn't really cannibalize sales of the other... much. Don't worry for a second. Blizzcon will be packed to the brim with details, but with so many things to cover, I just keep coming back to the idea that Cataclysm's dynamite reveal may quickly be overtaken by the rest of the show's content. What do you guys and gals think? I know I presented a lot of possibilities above, a lot of variables to consider. This kind of idle thinking leads to a whole lot of brain spew (something else you'll see at a GWAR concert, by the way). Do you agree? Disagree? The way content is being handled, just what will we end up hearing about at Blizzcon? Maybe the reveal of new races and a quick overview? A teaser trailer for Cataclysm? Is Blizzard ready to show us that much of the game's future?

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Activision-Blizzard Loses Millions, Tigole Leaves WoW Team

Activision Blizzard!A few massive announcements came out of Activision-Blizzard yesterday.  The first few came during their business-laden earnings call with investors.  Turns out that one of the industry's premiere publishers did not have a great end to 2008, posting a loss of over $72 million.  Since Blizzard contributed over $1 billion (with a b) in revenue to the company, imagine how much money they would have lost if they hadn't merged with Vivendi Games.  Granted, Vivendi probably brought their own baggage to the merger, but I would hazard to guess that their cash cow would have covered their losses.

We have plenty more from the earnings call, though. Blizzard's CEO Paul Sams announced that the company would release a "frontline" title every year. When I heard that, I immediately got pissed off at the merger.  I figured it was the end of an era.  The shareholders had finally "won," forcing the company to release titles against their mantra.  While Kotick may spout that Activision would not mess with Blizzard's culture, such a decision must have been brought on by external forces. Then I calmed down, sobered up and thought about Blizzard's future rationally. Blizzard is currently working on StarCraft II - which is being separated into three different SKUs - Diablo III, a third unannounced WoW expansion (we assume), and a new unnamed MMORPG.  That is four distinct projects, spanning six separate releases.  Conceivably, they could stretch those titles out for the next few years, driving StarCraft fans nuts in the process. In reality, Blizzard actually has plenty of projects, in different stages of development, to cover their game-a-year strategy without damaging their reputation. For those StarCraft junkies out there, Sams confirmed that the company would make non-WoW revenue this year.  This puts the good money on StarCraft II's Wings of Liberty chapter seeing a 2009 release. The biggest bomb of them all did not come from the earnings call, but from Tigole.  The EQ2 guild master turned game designer has stepped down from his position on WoW's development team to move to the unannounced MMORPG.  To me, the move puts the game at the earlier stages of development. Why would they want such an experienced MMOG designer to come in at the end of the project?  Polish?  Unlikely. I believe he moved to the new team because Blizzard is finishing up the early design document stages and about to get into the nitty-gritty details.  Thanks for all the hard work Tigole! There is one thing I would love to see from Blizzard, a revival of their old console properties.  New titles for the Nintendo DS from The Lost Vikings, Blackthorne and Rock 'N Roll Racing franchises would be awesome.  It could even give Blizzard a chance to branch out into new IP without too much of a risk, while enabling them to put more titles into the market - something ActiBlizz's  shareholders would love on the balance sheets. What do you guys think?  Is Activision influencing Blizzard like I originally feared, or are Blizzard's ducks just lining up in a yearly fashion?  Would you like to see Blizzard return to their console past?  How will WoW fair without Tigole?

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