Diablo III, Rock 'n' Roll Racing, and The Lost Vikings 2. What do all of these things have in common? They're all made by Blizzard, and they're all playable on the floor of BlizzCon 2008. The last two, however, are hidden in the Retro Arcade area, where Blizzard has set up all of the old games from their past for visitors to experience and play. It's not a complete display (no Starcraft 64, and Justice League Task Forcewould have been fun to play), but there are a lot of great titles in there anyway. It's too bad I've got to play Starcraft II for a hands-on later today -- I'd kind of rather go play the original again. But that's not a bad problem to have.
Check out our gallery of the retro arcade, and revisit some old Blizzard favorites.
Each week Arcane Brilliance patches itself with new Mage content. These weekly patches are always full of buffs, and never any nerfs. They never contain any changes made for the sake of class balance. There are no bug fixes; because Arcane Brilliance has no bugs (or at least no bugs that can't be retroactively called "features"). This week, the patch notes read as follows:
New spell: Polymorph: Corpse - 1% of base mana, instant cast, 50 yard range, transforms the target into a corpse, making it dead. While dead, the corpse cannot attack or cast spells. Lasts however long it takes for the target's ghost to run back to their corpse.
Mages can now equip plate armor.
Mana no longer goes down when casting, it instead goes up.
Next week, I'll complain about this patch. It's totally not powerful enough. Also, Warlocks are OP.
All signs point to this coming Tuesday being the day patch 3.0.2 arrives and turns the game on its head. Up will be down, left will be right, dogs and cats will live together, mass hysteria will ensue. We need to prepare for this coming insanity, if only so that we're able to give snarky answers to the many questions that will pop up in trade chat after we all log back in. I expect lots of "LOL WUT HAPPEN TO MY TALENTS?" and the occasional "I used my mount and it disappeared! Bug?"
This week will be the first of two columns in which we'll go over the changes most important to Mages that we can expect come Tuesday. We'll begin with general changes, and move on to the altered trainable spells. The second part will appear Monday, and will cover the three talent trees and review the many changes we'll find there. Jump on past the break and we'll get started.
Our folks on the floor of BlizzCon have said a fire alarm has gone off, and they're asking everyone to leave the convention. We can't get inside to verify, obviously, but people are streaming out of the front of the hall. Currently, things in the press room here are unchanged, and we haven't heard anything officially yet.
More as we learn it. Update: We were heading into the hall, and saw an alarm go off. The guards at the doors started turning people away, and when we asked what was up, we were told it was a fire alarm and that we should exit the building. There's still no action in the press room (and they haven't interrupted the class panel on the floor), so it's likely a false alarm.
Update2: Whoops, the class panel is being held upstairs, not on the convention floor. We just sent our man Adam Holisky down to see what the ruckus is all about and get the inside story. It's good having bloggers to boss around, and nice to know they'll even walk into possible injury to do what we say.
Update3: A security guard told Holisky that somebody tripped something they weren't supposed to, and they are now letting people back onto the floor. Crisis.. averted!
It's not the flashiest place at BlizzCon -- until you step inside. While the gameplay demo areas and the developer panels have claimed most of the attention here at the convention, there are a few hidden treasures inside the booths, one of which is the Blizzard art gallery. The art inside spans across all of Blizzard's games, and though their games are beautiful, the art used in designing them is even moreso.
Check out the gallery below to see what's in BlizzCon's art gallery -- from the Barbarian brutes of Diablo to the frozen tundra of Northrend and the starscapes of Starcraft, here is Blizzard's creativity and design mastery put into form on the wall. Whether it's concept art, quick sketches or full paintings, it's really amazing stuff.
I know what you're thinking. "Didn't we have a class panel yesterday?" Well, of course we did, but as exciting as it was we had to come back for a second helping. We're live on the BlizzCon show floor, bringing you the latest class news and information straight from the developers' mouths and starting... right now! For the details as they happen, read on.
Selective Queuers got the match-up they wished for. Sort of. When asked in a post-match interview who they wanted to fight next after beating Korea's Council of Mages, the trio said they were looking forward to a rematch with Nihilum Plasma and hopefully set up an all-American Grand Finals. The rematch was granted, but not in the way the team expected as Nihilum upset the favored Fnatic Orz, leaving the two American teams to fight for a slot in the Grand Finals.
The celebrated team of Hafu, Glick, and Rhaegyn were outclassed, outmatched, and eventually upset in well-played mirror matches between two of the best WLD (Warrior, Warlock, Druid) teams in the world. Many observers noted that the intense pressure on the Druids exposed Hafu's weakness as she needed more peeling from her teammates than Wojo from Selective Queuers. This allowed Wojo's teammates to be more on the offensive and make easier target swaps throughout the match. Although Glick and Rhaegyn are arguably the best peelers in the game, being on the defensive for most of the matches resulted in the North American champions getting ousted from the tournament 3 matches to 2.
Their win over Fnatic Orz sent Selective Queuers Itsmecasper (aka Gumbot), Yogz, and Wojo up against Inflame, Carekoala, and Paperkat of Nihilum Plasma in the Grand Finals for a Europe vs. America showdown. Both teams played their expected comps of WLD but Selective Queuers had their work cut out for them as they needed to beat Nihilum in two series. Unfortunately, despite going up 2-0 with aggressive play, Nihilum found their groove and played flawlessly to win three matches in a row and take home $75,000, the biggest pot in the history of professional Arena competition.
In an exhibition match, the newly crowned Champions showed their dominance as they beat China's top team World Elite, who ran an RMP (Rogue, Mage, Priest) comp through three matches. In a bit of showmanship and flair, Nihilum toyed with World Elite using three different comps, including double warrior cleave. The Chinese team never posed a threat to the champions, owing perhaps to lack of professional gaming experience on the world stage. A later exhibition match will pit Nihilum against Blizzard employees.
Blizzard has release more footage of Wrathzones and encounters at BlizzCon this weekend. To say this is spoilerish would be obvious and accurate, but we must say it for those wishing to experience these encounters for the first time in-game. But for those who do wish to peek into Northrend, this video is high quality and well-edited.
Yesterday we talked about the frankly astonishing state of protection spec in the upcoming Echoes of Doom patch. I then screwed up a perfectly good metaphor by using the word literally in it. And no, I suppose that the patch is not breathing down our necks in a Anne of Green Gables novel, it's doing so in a poorly conceived metaphor that I should have left alone.
Wait, did I just mention it again? Rereading previous paragraph... well dang. Too bad I'm too slow to work out that whole backspace deal. (Wow, this is a long way to go to hang a hat on a screw up from a previous piece.)
For this piece I want to talk about the changes to our DPS specs. How do they hold up in PvP? How are they doing as DPS for instances and raids? Why am I generally much, much more optimistic about these specs than, say, 90% of warriors on the beta right now?
Well, we'll cover that. I'm not going to cover glyphs in too much detail because you won't be seeing them for a bit and many of the best ones will be out of reach until Wrath itself launches.
The dance contest at BlizzCon this year was much like the costume contest: many funny, sometimes inept entries and one stand out that took the grand prize, no question. The winner performed the Undead Female dance, but she did more than just mimic the moves, she wove a spell of rythmic seduction and the 8,000 fans attending the contest couldn't get enough of it. You'll see her at the end of the footage above.
There were other entertaining dancers. The ogre dance/striptease (third place) and enthusiastic male bloodelf (second place) were big crowd pleasers. And the many female dancers put their best foot forward going from alluring (female dranei) to raunchy (female orc.) The eight minute video above, generously provided by our mothersite Joystiq, shows you the highlights of the night.
We'll be blogging the Raids and Dungeons panel live from the floor of BlizzCon, which should prove to be awesome. Full updates will be behind the break, so make sure you keep up! It will be starting in just a moment.
Could there be such a thing as life without the Lich King? - Sat, 11 Oct 2008 13:00:00 EST In response to one player's question, "After Arthas, what's left to kill?" Bornakk has revealed a surprising tidbit about the future of World of Warcraft. The answer is: Murlocs! That's right. After we kill Arthas, "instead of adding new creatures or new continents it will be just one area of endlessly spawning murlocs." Amazing fun! This is what I've been wishing for ever since I saw my first murlocs on the shores of Darkshore. Perhaps we'll be able to collect endless varieties of Murky pets, too! They could go by all sorts of cute names like Lurky, Quirky and Turky.
Ah... to dream. Anyways, later in the same thread, Nethaera stops by too and adds her own meditation on the possible death of Arthas, reminding us of a most ancient question regarding trees falling in the woods without anyone to hear them: "If Arthas dies, does the Lich King also die?" This seems to be a pretty clear indication that the death of Arthas will not mean the death of the Lich King, and that the story of the Living versus the Dead will go even after the big bad prince bites the dust.
Arthas and the Lich King has been a pretty huge part of the Warcraft story ever since before most of us were even familiar with it, and for some of us it feels strange that he might one day no longer be a part of it. In our interview with WoW's lead producer, he noted that both the Maelstrom and the Emerald Dream were once considered as possibilities for WoW's second expansion, but they chose Northrend and Arthas to come before them because it seemed like the strongest idea. But how strong is Arthas really? Could he ever compare to murlocs?
No, but seriously, do you think the Lich King is just way too cool not to perpetuate indefinitely as the ultimate villain? Would you like to see Arthas get killed in one patch, while the Lich King returned in another, kind of like Kael'thas showed up twice in The Burning Crusade? Or do you think we're going to get our fill of Lich Kinginess -- so much so that once Arthas is dead, the Lich King and all the Scourge should just die for good along with him?
This is the last weekend of Season 4, which is ending early in preparation for the sweeping changes in the content patch. Even while we hear exciting news from BlizzCon, the final, definitive matches of the season are being played out on the live servers.
Sodah is a Druid on Detheroc, a member of several very highly ranked Arena teams. At the time of this interview, Sodah's sitting at #2 for 2v2 and 5v5, and #3 for 3v3. You can imagine he's got something to say about the way the Arena plays out, especially with the content patch and Wrath right around the corner.
We here at WoW Insider have been big fans of The Guild since day one -- way before Felicia Day sold appliances or hung out with Dr. Horrible, we knew she and her show were something special. And so, when we finally got a chance to meet The Guild today at BlizzCon, we made sure to take it.
They've been doing a lot of press lately -- they've been to ComicCon recently, they're actually hosting a panel here at BlizzCon, and lots of different community sites are sitting down to talk with Felicia and her Guild. So we wanted to try and ask them something they'd never heard before, and we think we pulled it off: the entire cast, made up of Robin Thorsen (who plays Clara), Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo), Jeff Lewis (Vork), Vincent Caso (Bladezz), and Felicia herself submitted to even our strangest questions with grace, dignity, some chipmunk-related jokes, and the kind of pull-together attitude that makes watching their adventures as a guild so much fun.
Jeff Lewis had actually just come off the main BlizzCon stage when we retreated behind a curtain for the interview -- he'd done a quick set of silly jokes in character as Vork (right after folks had come up telling their own bad jokes for the joke contest), and as we started talking, all of the cast members were congratulating him on the job he did.
As a person whose attempts at leveling a druid always peter out in the mid-20s, I am highly envious of the druid's epic flight form, and the equally epic quest chain to get it. Faberince of Gorgonnash snapped this shot of his crow-self while searching for Sai'kkal in Blade's Edge Mountains. The quest, which has you consume an Aether Ray Eye, gives you a five minute sparkly purple buff. Apparently the sparkles are made of fiberglass shards, since the effect also "gives" you 100 damage every 5 seconds. (Would that be known as dp5?) Sadly, Faberince was this close to completing the quest when he was sucked into the jet engines of a turbo-charged flying machine.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.
How is the Shaman Hex ability working? Does the target still have control of movement and does the PvP trinket work against it?
Hex is a the crowd-control spell for Shamans referenced by the devs at the class panel here, and it's been tinkered with a lot since we first heard about it. It was originally meant to be more of an emergency-only, short-duration CC. In its present form, Hex's duration has been increased to 30 seconds and it doesn't necessarily break on damage. However, in PvP the target can control where they go, the PvP trinket does work (you can also shapeshift out of it as a Druid), and it's considered a curse and can be dispelled by Mages, Druids, and restoration Shamans (who will have the ability do dispel curses with a 31-point talent Cleanse Spirit). Think of it as a somewhat odd combination of Counterspell, Fear, and Polymorph.
Breakfast Topic: What would you whisper into Mike Morhaime's ear? - Sat, 11 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST You walk into the Anaheim Convention Center, the lights are low and the mist is criss crossing the floor with patterns shining all around the venue. To your left and right are some your best friends from your guild who have joined you at BlizzCon 2008. Looking forward you spot an unassuming yet influential man in jeans and a black and blue Blizzard shirt. You're gazing upon none other than Mike Morhaime, the president and co-founder of Blizzard. With a grin on your face you tell your guildies you'll be right back. You walk up to Mike and wink at him. Leaning to his ear you being to whisper...
If you could whisper anything in the ear of Mike Morihame, what would it be?
Whew. What a dizzying first day that was, wasn't it? Ok, well, I wouldn't know myself since I'm halfway across the world, but judging from the conference hangovers my colleagues have got, it's safe to say it was one whirlwind of an opening. If you weren't here yesterday to watch -- er, read -- the play-by-play, here's a quick recap of BlizzCon '08 Day One:
Our tenacious guys at BlizzCon liveblogged the opening ceremonies, although nothing really spectacular happened here other than the announcement of the Wizard, a hot new class for Diablo III. It was mostly trailers, recaps, and a reminder for everyone that something historic will happen in November. And it's not the elections.
Mike gave us all a preview of the people milling about in costume earlier in the day, but that was just a preview for the totally phenomenal costume contest this year. While past years have been pretty cool, this year's crop blew all the past ones out of the water. You'll have to check out the gallery for yourself to see what I mean. Can you imagine a turtle mount? Yes. A turtle mount.
The first World of Warcraft panel of the day dealt with the game's UI. It's pretty cool and was a proper teaser for the even cooler things that would pop up later in the day. Our man Alex did the liveblogging duties for this one. Itemrack will have to wait, unfortunately. More stuff from yesterday after the jump!