Good Morning everyone! It is now June 27th, and as expected, Blizzard's splash screen has changed yet again to reveal more of the mystery behind what they may be announcing at the Worldwide Invitational, which begins tomorrow. What exactly they're announcing is still up in the air, but there have been some interesting revelations, especially concerning the mysterious purple monster everyone's been wondering about.
The new graphic, named ice5.jpg, doesn't seem to have changed the cracking ice much, but what has changed is the "eyes." There's now very little doubt that they are glowing eyes instead of snow flecks, and to be frank, they do look remarkably like the eyes of Arthas the Lich King from underneath his helmet -- although the ethereal feel of them and the strange ridges being formed in the vapor are also very reminiscent of the Protoss. Whether these ridges indicate Arthas' helmet or the face ridges of a Protoss or a demon might still be up for debate, but this overlay of Arthas on today's splash screen by Zach is very convincing -- the eyes match up pretty much exactly. Hopefully, we'll know for sure who it is tomorrow.
In addition, the new rune, located just above the breaking ice, is that of a snowflake, which brings to mind the Frost tree of the Death Knights (even if the frost rune shown on the official Death Knight page doesn't quite match up). Tipster Allen notes that the new rune looks a lot like a Norse Bind-Rune, specifically one known as a compass or the "Helm of awe," which is often used for invulnverability -- perhaps a Lost Vikings reference, or a nod to the Viking-like architecture seen in many screenshots of Northrend?
All This new imagery would seem to be a killing blow of sorts for a Diablo 3 announcement, but it is also worth nothing that the new frost rune is in the correct area for the Pentagram theory to continue to apply. In addition, all 5 runes have lit up, so if you weren't able to get a good look at them before, you certainly can now.
Gallery: June 2008 splash screen speculation
What's really sort of interesting, though, is what our purple monster friend reveals, which I'll discuss after the break.
We finally have a face for our strange purple monster, and we can now confirm that it is in fact a penguin, as we've received the full image. The two new pieces of the purple penguin puzzle are entitled 08.jpg and 42.jpg. It appears those who believed in the Lost numbers theory have been vindicated, as the file names of all the images now match the sequence of numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42) that pop up time and time again on the hit show. Whether this just indicates that someone at Blizzard is a fan of the TV show "Lost," or that we can expect something Lost Vikings related at WWI, is still up in the air. This does mean the Powder name is probably out. I sort of liked that name. Farewell, Powder the Penguin, we hardly knew ye!
It is also worth knowing that two new words have appeared in the master CSS file. Harbinger is the word attached to 08.jpg, which suggests that it is, in fact, preceding some announcement, or could just mean the penguin is a "harbinger" of the WWI. After a bunch of dots, as if to indicate some type of drumroll, 42.jpg's line shows up, this time appended with "evilpenguin," just in case you had any doubts as to whether this creature was a penguin or not.
More rumors have popped up today about the splash screen and the WWI announcement it heralds, of course. Some people are predicting Death Knights before WoTLK, which may be supported a bit by the overwhelming Death Knight imagery that has appeared in today's splash screen. Some are saying that fourth rune represents Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain, which was once owned by Blizzard, and may indicate that they have recovered the rights and intended to revive the franchise.
For now, I'm saying that the new Death Knight imagery heralds something major about WoTLK coming out at the Invitational. Is it playable Death Knights before WoTLK? Maybe, but I'm not completely convinced. It will be good though. Still, we have lots of rumors floating around about Diablo 3, and the pentagram theory still works, so who knows, maybe we'll just get lots of good news coming our way tomorrow.
You can check out our previous splash screen analysis in the gallery, as well as in our articles for June 24th, 25th, and 26th. Remember, as well, that the Worldwide Invitational starts tomorrow, and we'll have people on the floor ready to report everything straight to you. When Blizzard finally reveals what all this is about, you'll know it right here.