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Posts with tag Writing

Chris Metzen discusses the role of the writer at GDC Online

So how does a writer fit into World of Warcraft? If you ask Chris Metzen, they are the cheerleaders, torchbearers and keepers of the flame, responsible for the keeping the heart in the game. In a presentation at GDC Online in Austin, Texas, Metzen talked a bit about the balance between writing and gameplay and the job of a writer at Blizzard.

Though lore has taken more of a front seat in Cataclysm, it's ultimately the gameplay that comes first with Blizzard, even before the story. According to Metzen, if you don't make it fun in the first 3 minutes of gameplay, you've failed. If the gameplay is a turn-off, it doesn't matter how wonderful the story is -- people still aren't going to want to play it. The presentation is an interesting look at some of the less-highlighted aspects of game development, and Gamasutra has coverage of the whole presentation. For those interested in what the job of a writer looks like at Blizzard Entertainment or wondering what goes on when creating a story as massive as Warcraft, it's a really interesting read.

But that's not all from GDC Online -- Blizzard writers also got together to discuss great gaming moments and the challenges of game design. The coverage of the event discusses more about the writing process, fan feedback, and creating memorable stories. Check out the full story over on Gamasutra as well.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Meet the Bloggers: Basil "Euripides" Berntsen

About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on more WI staffers in earlier About the Bloggers entries.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

I write Gold Capped. I used to write Time is Money and Insider Trader as well, but then I decided to stop trying to categorize my thoughts and simply dump them all into Gold Capped and let my editors sort it out.

What's your main?

I have exactly one level 85 character: my hunter. I raid and PVP with him, as well as use him for my alchemy and blacksmithing businesses. I will continue to have one max-level character until all the jewelcrafting dailies my JC mule does dings him 85 without having set foot outside Stormwind.

I have way too much on my plate to actually take care of my alts. For one, I hate leveling. Once you've seen it once, doing it again doesn't have enough reward to justify the time. Secondly, if I had more playtime to use, I'd use it to do more of what I already do. I could be doing 10-man extensions of my 25-man raid if I had another raid night per week, or I could do more than a rated BG now and then. Starting a second gear grind with another character isn't something that's on my radar.

Read more →

Filed under: About the Bloggers

Call for submissions: Top tips for healers

Early this year, we ran a guest post on top tips for DPSers. Just last week, we asked for your articles on top tips for tanks. (We're evaluating those submissions as we speak; the article should be published this weekend.) This week, we're going to complete the triad with a call for articles on top tips for healers.

We've all heard the basics a million times ... Tell us the secrets of the very best healers! Maybe you have a list of little-known tricks used by the most experienced healers, or you'd like to share some tips to calm the nervous first-time instance or raid healer. What about the savviest moves for healers in ICC hard modes? Whatever your angle is, it should stand out and provide a top 10 list worthy of bookmarking; we'll only be accepting the very best article.

Submissions should be between 500 and 1,000 words. Artwork is not mandatory, but should you choose to include a screenshot, please make sure that it is your own work or from creative commons; images should be 580 pixels wide and between 175 and 350 pixels high. Update: We will not accept articles submitted under player names or pen names; please use your real name and email.

Ready to submit? Read up about our guest post program, then sign up for Seed and submit your article here. (You can't see the article page unless you have a Seed account.) Unfortunately, we are currently only able to take submissions from individuals living in the United States; we hope to be able to accept international submissions in the future. We'll accept submissions for this assignment until 11:59 p.m. EST on Thurs., June 3. Good luck and good writing!

Filed under: WoW Insider Business, Guest Posts

Felicia Day says The Guild comic is coming in Spring 2010

Felicia Day told us back at BlizzCon that she was going to go undercover for a little while as The Guild's latest season wrapped up, but undercover for this woman seems to mean that she's only in two TV shows and prepping for a comic book release. She showed up in last night's Lie to Me episode, singing, and in this interview over at Newsarama from the Video Game Awards with Sandeep Parikh (who himself just showed up in Tiki Bar TV -- slightly NSFW, language) she says she's still working on the unfortunately canceled Dollhouse as well. So that's where Eliza Dushku got her addiction from.

She also says that the Dark Horse published Guild comic book is due out in spring of next year -- Jim Rugg is working on the art right now -- and fans of The Guild may even get a little Christmas present from the show and Microsoft. We'll keep an eye out for that for sure. So even though we're in between seasons (and we assume that season 4 is upcoming next year, even though we haven't heard an official announcement on that yet), there's lots of Guild goodness to go around.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Interviews, Comics, Fan art

The Daily Quest: Guild switching

We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

Filed under: Hunter, Items, Virtual selves, Guilds, Raiding, The Daily Quest

World of WarCrafts: The storyteller

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself; contact our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts) with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.

Tight-knit player communities are what keep many WoW players logging in day after day, week after week. These lucky realms are woven together by energized individuals, tailors of camaraderie who give generously of their time and creativity. Korialstrasz player Snuffy wrote to WoW.com recently to throw some light on one of his realm's unsung heroes: "Tazeria is a well known Alliance rogue who has taken the server by storm through her stories. Using players from the realm, she has written 13 chapters in her story, each one gaining the praise and admiration of those that read. It's become an honor when Tazeria whispers you to ask you questions about how you would picture your character if he/she was real."

Tazeria posts her tales, blending the in-game and real-life foibles of Korialstrasz players, on the realm forums as well as donated space on the Vindication guild forums. "I was lucky enough to be asked to host her stories on our website," wrote Snuffy. "Nothing brings the server together like the stories that Tazeria has written."

Read more →

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Features, World of WarCrafts

How will the Stormrage novel tie into Cataclysm?

So the convention is over, Blizzard has shown all (or at least most -- there are still secrets, we're sure) of their cards, and the next expansion will involve the return of Deathwing and a completely remade Azeroth. Goblins will be in there as the Horde race, but as for the original speculation of the Maelstrom and the Emerald Dream, well... It remains to be seen exactly how those will tie in to what we heard about at BlizzCon.

The biggest hint I saw at the Emerald Dream in the last year was the fact that Blizzard is going to release a "Stormrage" novel -- that would hint that good old Malfurion Stormrage and his kin would be spotlighted in the near future. Richard Knaak says the novel is set in the present, so something is going on for sure. Even though Deathwing is going to be the big bad this time around, something's still cooking with Stormrage.

Which actually makes sense. If we're going to get looks at Deepholm (the elemental plane of Earth, where Deathwing has been lying dormant recently) and The Firelands, as well as Skywall and the Abyssal Maw (the Fire, Air, and Water planes, respectively), that could mean they're going to open up Azeroth's other planes as well, with the Emerald Dream among them. The return of Deathwing would undoubtedly bring the other Aspects to bear, and Ysera would definitely be among those. In the opening ceremony last weekend, Metzen dismissed the Emerald Dream as "rumors and speculation," but the upcoming Stormrage novel still hints we still might see the Emerald Dream sometime soon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Read excerpts from the winners of Blizzard's writing contest


Blizzard recently ran a global creative writing contest: write fan fiction set in any of the main three Blizzard universes (Diablo, Warcraft, or Starcraft - no Lost Vikings, apparently), submit it to Blizzard, and win fabulous prizes. The grand prize winner (one Andrew Moeller Sarah Pine) won a trip to Blizzard HQ to meet the devs, as well as a Frostmourne sword. Seven runners-up got signed novels and other lore paraphernalia.

The winners were announced back in May. So why am I bringing this up now? Well, Blizzard has posted excerpts from all eight winning stories on their web site. I have to say, aside from the overuse of adjectives and adverbs that tends to be endemic to fan fiction (write with nouns and verbs, people), this is some pretty enjoyable writing. I'd like to see the full stories; I wonder if they're going to be released at some point. Edit: To read the entire grand-prize-winning story by Sarah Pine, click here.

Filed under: Blizzard, Contests, Lore

MI6 marketing awards nominate Blizzard in six categories

Get ready to put a few more awards on the (ever-growing) shelf, Blizzard -- MI6, which is a conference about marketing video games, has nominated Blizzard in no less than six different categories for all of their marketing of Wrath of the Lich King. Everything from the Wrath of the Lich King launch campaign in general to the Diablo III logo specifically has been nominated for an award. The TV spots have gotten special attention, too -- the entire "What's your game?" campaign is nominated, as is the Ozzy Osbourne spot in two different categories, for best writing and oustanding TV or theatrical ad.

You can download the full list of finalists over on the MI6 site -- the rest of the nominations are kind off all over the place, though the marketing for Fallout 3 is in there quite a bit, including up against Blizzard for best writing, and best overall marketing campaign. The awards are going down in San Francisco on April 8th -- good luck to Blizzard on all of their hard work.

We still do have one request though: for the next ad, can we maybe get a girl who plays WoW? Sure, a Gnome in the cinematics would be nice, too, but so far, on the TV commercials, it's been all dudes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard announces Creative Writing Contest

Here's some awesome news for all Lore Nerds and aspiring Lore Nerds out there: Blizzard is holding a creative writing contest. You are invited to write 3,000-10,000 words in English about the world of Diablo, Warcraft, or Starcraft.

If you've always felt your character's RP story could give Rhonin a run for his money, here's your chance. The contest is global too, so almost anyone can enter, with a few exceptions. Check the official rules for complete details.

And yes, there are prizes, too. The grand prize winner will get a trip to Blizzard Headquarters to meet the Blizzard writing staff and a Frostmourne sword, while 7 runners up will get a signed collection of various Blizzard novels. The deadline is April 12th, so you'll probably want to pick up that pen as soon as possible. Good luck and happy writing to everyone planning to enter!

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Contests, Lore, RP

Breakfast Topic: Six word stories about World of Warcraft

The idea of a six word story has been around for a while -- Ernest Hemingway famously wrote one that went: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." But Pink Pigtail had the idea to bring the format into the World of Warcraft, and challenges her readers to write some six word stories about Azeroth and/or its inhabitants. Larisa's "Last mage quits. Working as intended." is probably my favorite of hers, but you WI readers are pretty creative, too. Here's a few of mine:

"Fandral Staghelm is angry. Nobody cares."

"Lich King laughs, teleports away. Again."

"For sale: Gnomish capital. Slightly used."

Ok, that last one is pretty bad. Surely you can come up with some better ones, right?

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Humor, NPCs, Fan art

World of Warcraft vs. my girlfriend

I'm a big fan of McSweeney's, the web home of Dave Eggers' McSweeney's publishing house (and whenever I can, I try to help out 826 CHI, the Chicago chapter of their writing center) -- they offer up quick little humor pieces every weekday in addition to various events and shows around the country. And the other day, as a few readers have kindly informed us, they focused their literary light on World of Warcraft -- writer Tyler Curry has a fun piece about how he was forced to choose between the game and the woman he loved.

It is very funny to hear WoW locales and situations stuck in between the usual patter of a couple in a relationship, and though this is, we presume, a fictional account of something that Dr. Phil claims happens all the time, it's well-written. Plus, the dig at "role-players" made us chuckle, too.

But we do have one nit to pick, one issue in here that we just can't ignore and/or laugh casually at as we're obviously meant to. Seriously, with the leveling changes since 2.3, why would anyone run Gnomeregan anymore? If he doesn't know that there are much easier and more profitable ways to level through that range, maybe he deserves to be dumped anyway.

Filed under: Tips, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Quests, Humor, Lore

Christie Golden drops more info about Arthas

BlizzPlanet has a nice tidbit from Christie Golden about her upcoming novel about Arthas Menethil (better known as half of the Lich King, that bad guy we're going to be spending a lot of time with in the expansion). The book is due out next year (so odds are that we'll be approaching the end of the story by the time it hits store shelves), but it'll offer a look at the bad guy way before he started being bad -- the book starts with Arthas as a 10-year-old Prince, and covers everything between there to his little meltdown we witnessed in Warcraft III. The romance with Jaina is supposed to get some good coverage as well, so the book should be a good read.

And there are some bonuses for close readers as well -- we'll have seen some scenes before (including one between Arthas and Muradin in Beyond the Dark Portal), but of course, in this book, they'll be from Arthas' perspective. Arthas is undoubtedly the villian of the next ten levels in WoW (they even named the thing after him), but it's really exciting to have a villian with such an interesting and twisted past behind him.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Lore, Bosses, NPCs, Death Knight

Fuel for the PetEmote addon

David B covered the PetEmote addon way back in the beginning of this year, and now the Great Green Hunter has posted some really great ideas for custom pet emotes, for a few different families of Hunter pets. PetEmote lets your pet automatically show up in your emote text randomly, and is really good for giving your pets a little more personality of their own -- instead of just doing what you say all the time (and eating all of the food you've got to buy), PetEmote can make it seem like your pets are doing their own thing: chasing a stray bug that passes by, flicking their tails, or "giving you a sly look."

GGH's descriptions are really great, but of course whatever goes in the "Localization LUA file" in the PetEmote addon folder is what shows up in the game, so you can customize it as necessary. If you want to say your cat "waggles his butt, ready to pounce," you can do it.

Of course, if you think of your pet as just a DoT you have to feed, you might not be so interested. But having a pet and keeping track of where it is is such a huge part of the Hunter class (though PetEmote works for Warlocks as well) that giving your pets a little more personality goes a long way in game.

[via Mania]

Filed under: Hunter, Warlock, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Add-Ons, NPCs

Azeroth comes through on the love hunt

This is one of the sillier articles that PC Gamer UK has probably ever written about massively multiplayer online games, but still, I enjoyed it. One of their writers went (only half seriously) looking for love in a few popular virtual worlds, and he found it, surprisingly enough, in Azeroth.

Neither EvE Online or City of Heroes were very helpful in the love-finding department -- despite finding a fetching young lady superheroine in CoH, the writer was a little disappointed to find out she was a he behind the keyboard. But WoW, as usual, provides the best of MMO experiences -- the writer finds some cute love in the Night Elf starting area.

Sure, it's silly (and probably not true -- just because someone says they're a Finnish college student means nothing at all online). But I found it strangely touching, the thought that a real human connection could be made in an online game. And isn't that why we play these in the first place?

[via WorldofWar.net]

Filed under: Night Elves, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Humor

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