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Posts with tag blizzcon-2009

The Los Angeles Times visits BlizzCon


The LA Times has a story up that's about a month late -- it tells the story of a guild meeting up at BlizzCon last month (they were actually at the Lost Bar, a place we at WoW.com know well from past meetups) and doing everything players do at BlizzCon: meet each other face to face, talk Warcraft, and enjoy everything Blizzard has set up on the convention floor. Truth be told, the experience sounds pretty tame to us -- BlizzCon is BlizzCon, it's a ton of fun, but it's not that alien of an experience to go with your ingame friends to a gaming convention.

Then again, maybe we're just biased. Maybe having guildies as friends is really a fascinating thing to someone who's never done it before, and maybe the spectacle of BlizzCon really is so interesting that you can just report it in the paper. They do chat with Morgan Webb (why?) and they get one line from Blizzard COO Paul Sams, but otherwise, it's just basically the story of the Dread Pirates and their trip to BlizzCon (complete with veiled accusations of misogyny and a dictatorial guildleader -- thanks, LA Times!). To folks who don't play World of Warcraft, it might be interesting, but for most players, especially those who've been to BlizzCon already, it's mostly business as usual.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Odds and ends, BlizzCon

WoW Moviewatch: The Grind: 3 Minutes


It's been a while since we've seen a new episode of The Grind, so it was great to hear they'd created a new episode for entry into the BlizzCon 2009 machinima contest. The Grind: 3 Minutes did not win. As Macheath put it on Myndflame.com, "it not only didn't win, it really didn't win."

That's kind of a shame, because I thought The Grind: 3 Minutes was funny as heck. I laughed out loud during a few of the gags, and the frenetic, energetic pace of the video kept me engaged and entertained. That the author managed this pace without resorting to Robot Chicken style micro-clips is that much more impressive, and reinforces the power of quick dialogue. I'm not sure there's a story taking place here, and the whole thing seems like a stage for that witty exchange between the characters.

All in all, I thought the video was strong and funny. Here's hoping it won't be too long before we see another episode.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Moviewatch

Joystiq interviews J. Allen Brack



Intrepid reporter and all-around cool guy Kevin Kelly over at Joystiq scored an interview with J. Allen Brack during the festivities at BlizzCon 2009. Just in case you're not aware, J. Allen Brack is the lead producer for our beloved World of Warcraft, having joined the team back in 2005. Kevin's a pretty smart cookie, and managed to get some great insight into the game from Brack. The interview's worth a full read, but there's a lot of insight that's worth spending some time talking about.

It's not any surprise that Brack told Kevin that there's no end in sight for WoW, and that he expects the game to survive at least another 10 years. But Brack immediately followed up by saying that Blizzard has changed the way they view the franchise novels recently. Back in the day, it seems, they just let authors go wild. "Go off and create a kind of story in the world," Brack told Kevin. Now, however, it seems like the creative team is spending more time trying to make sure the novels reflect what they plan in the game, as well as vice versa.

Brack confirmed that Blizzard still keeps an eye on what other games are doing, and will bring that into the World of Warcraft by giving it their own take. That comment reminded me of the discussion about upcoming Fishing changes in Cataclysm, and how the new fishing system was inspired by Animal Crossing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Interviews, BlizzCon

WoW, Casually: A casual BlizzCon and what the future holds for us


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Usually, geeky conventions (sci fi, comic book, gaming, whatever) are considered for hardcore fans only and I guess that's pretty accurate. But while the fans at BlizzCon were certainly hardcore, their playstyles ranged everywhere from casual to leet. You don't have to raid every night to be silly about WoW and excited about the future of Azeroth.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon, WoW, Casually, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

Officers' Quarters: Cataclysm's guild revamp -- leveling and talents

Last week I talked about the massive guild overhaul unveiled at BlizzCon, and the impact these changes would have on guilds, for better or worse. This week I'd like to delve into the leveling system and guild talents. (I'll cover achievements and guild currency in a separate column later.)

Currently we know that guilds will level up as players participate in the following:
  • Boss kills
  • Rated battlegrounds and arenas
  • Leveling professions
  • Increasing faction reputations
Blizzard has stated that only the top 20 experience producers per day will count toward leveling. This is a smart idea. Without this limitation, I could easily see guilds recruiting every player possible just to level up quickly, and then discarding the players they don't really want once they hit level 20. Guild size should help in a small way, but it shouldn't be the determining factor of leveling progress.

One other factor I'd like see contribute to guild leveling is player achievements. Many of them, particularly for Heroic dungeons and raiding, are very difficult to get without a solid guild. Aside from a few vanity items along the way, there's no great reward for racking up a ton of achievement points. Yet, well-designed achievements (i.e., not the exploring or holiday achievements) demonstrate mastery of various aspects of the game. Shouldn't your guild be rewarded for having such players? Besides, it never hurts to give players more incentive to go out and /love some squirrels.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Video of the Hogger live raid at BlizzCon


Michael Gray mentioned it in his writeup of the Premonition live raid at BlizzCon 2009, but this is a moment so epic it's worth mentioning again, and now that there's video online, you can see it: in the final fight, none other than Hogger appeared to take on one of the best guilds in the game. And this was no mere Hogger, nor even the slightly-more-powerful Memory of Hogger seen in the Trial of Champions. No no -- this thing was a foul raid boss from the bowls of Deepholm, a one-shotting maniac that couldn't be controlled even by the best tank. As you can see in the video above, he charges like an angry Rhino -- he was originally pulled by a Hunter who was then one-shot so fast the aggro table cleared and Hogger reset instantly. And after the raid changed their collective pants, they took him on again, and it was all over but the Gnoll snickering.

He was immune to taunt, and he appeared to just pick a target at random, pinging around the raid like Batman beating up bad guys in his recent videogame. He only had about 600 hit points (some say 666, which would make sense), but he was immune to damage, or at least all forms of damage that Premonition tried to throw at him. In the end, even though they'd beaten Thaddius, Anub'Rekhan, and Patchwerk all at once, this level 80 Heroic version of Hogger was the one who wiped them. I saw Ozzy do War Pigs, but this Hogger fight was probably the most epic thing I saw in Anaheim last weekend.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Raiding, Bosses, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2009: Wow.com interviews Richard Knaak

On the second day of BlizzCon 2009, I got the chance to sit down with Richard Knaak, best selling author of countless novels, including many in the Warcraft universe, such as the War of the Ancients Trilogy, Day of the Dragon, and Night of Dragon. His upcoming projects include the Stormrage novel, as well as the Dragons of Outland manga trilogy. We talked about all this and more, and you can read our conversation below.

So of course, the big thing on everyone's mind is the new Stormrage book. How's it coming along? Is it near completion?


It's near completion, we're in the editing process, getting the OKs from Blizzard. You can find an excerpt in the latest volume of the Legends Manga, along with a story I wrote, sort of a Prologue that ties in with the book.

Can you give us a sneak preview of what to expect lore-wise?

You know Blizzard likes to keep these secret, so I am going to be very limited in what I can talk about. It is Malfurion. It is about the Nightmare. And it is very current. That's the three biggest things I can say about it right off the bat. You'll see characters you know from the game and obviously from other books, and places you know from the game, and it's very current, very relevant. Of course, that's about all I can say. You know Blizzard, they love their secrets!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, WoW Social Conventions, News items, Lore, RP, NPCs, Interviews, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2009 Insider Trader: Cataclysmic professions part two


A week has passed since BlizzCon 2009 and we're still digging up more news, getting clarification from the blues, and analyzing all of the panels. Last week, Insider Trader discussed some of the major professions-related features coming up in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the next expansion pack.

Pass through the break to learn all about:
  • Profession racial abilities and how they will be changing.
  • The new direction for Alchemy.
  • A totally revamped Fishing system!
  • Archaeology details and speculation about the leveling process.
  • The evolution of Inscription.
Then, continue on to part three of this discussion to learn more about:
  • Reforging and (not) repairing our own gear.
  • Woodworking.
  • Profession specializations and the new direction for differentiation.

Read more →

Filed under: Fishing, Alchemy, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Features, Insider Trader (Professions), Inscription, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin, Archaeology

Behind the scenes of the Dragon Queen costume


It's totally fun to browse through the costume gallery or the pictures of the costume contest we took last weekend and marvel at the different costumes that showed up at BlizzCon, but what you don't see in those shots is all of the hard work that went into making each outfit. Sure, there are probably some store-bought purchases in there, but for the most part, each costume was assembled with lots of hard work and care, most of the time by the person actually wearing it.

Mariecannabis is the woman wearing this Alexstrasza costume that we saw at the costume contest, and she has posted a gallery over on Flickr showing some of the behind-the-scenes work of making the molds and putting the costume together. The end costume looks great, but the process is all shapes and molds and paint and construction -- fascinating to see how it all comes together. And while this costume is terrific, it does make you wonder about the stories behind some of the even more complex costumes up there.

Stay tuned for more -- we'll be seeking out a few of the best costumes we saw at BlizzCon, and we'll show you some more of their stories in the future here on WoW.com. It's fun to see all of those on the show floor, but you sometimes don't realize just how much work and time is actually put into them.



Filed under: Tailoring, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Contests, BlizzCon

BlizzCon 2009: First impressions of Cataclysm races


For those interested in the subject, I've no doubt you've managed to pour through all of our Cataclysm-related coverage during BlizzCon. But lists of racial abilities and descriptions of starting zones only go so far in telling you what the Goblins and Worgen are really like. So now that BlizzCon's come to a close and the WoW.com team has had a chance to mull over time spent with the latest expansion we're going to give you what you really want to know about Cataclysm's new races: our honest impressions. Personally, I think Alex and Daniel's thoughts on the Worgen starting zone sums everything up:

Alex: TOP HATS
Daniel: FREAKING AWESOME TOP HATS

But for completeness' sake, the rest of the team's thoughts are below.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Cataclysm

McCormick and Schmick's special BlizzCon menu


Truth be told, I didn't get to try a lot of the local cuisine in Anaheim this time around at BlizzCon -- we did have a nice dinner at the Anabella before the meetup, and we did try the buffet breakfast at the Indian restaurant in the Ramada Plaza, but other than that, most of my food came from the caterer in the press room. But at least one local restaurant got in the BlizzCon spirit -- seafood-and-steak hotspot McCormick and Schmick's apparently put a special Blizzard-related themed menu together for conventiongoers to pick from. And it's pretty funny -- they must have someone on staff who plays Diablo and WoW a lot.

I especially like the "Noob Entrees," the "Death Knight Filet Mignon" (it can dual wield two flavors while tanking your taste buds?), and the Grizzly Hills Blueberry Shortcake. Which actually sounds really, really good -- it does kind of seem like Grizzly Hills would grow some great blueberries, doesn't it? Good show, M&S. All of the BlizzCon folks were pretty unmissable in Anaheim this past weekend, so it's cool to see a local busines play to the temporary clientele.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Humor, Lore, NPCs, BlizzCon

BlizzCon in the rearview

BlizzCon 2009 is behind us, and over on the forums, Irhabi has reached the conclusion that he won't be going next year. He says that with everything streaming out onto DirecTV and the Internet, and with no beta access included, and (what he thought was) a less than stellar performance by Ozzy Osbourne, he might as well stayed at home. I don't particularly share his opinion -- there are lots of great reasons to go to BlizzCon, from getting to try out the latest builds of Blizzard's upcoming games, to meeting vendors and other fans on the floor, to getting the chance to ask your own questions of the devs (and maybe even meet some of them at the various parties around Anaheim). If you're just bummed that BlizzCon was lame because you didn't get a beta key this year, maybe you should have wandered the show floor a little bit.

On the other side of it, the folks who bought the DirecTV stream at home are a little more split on the subject -- we twittered to get some responses, and they run the gamut from "yes, it was worth it with the pet," to "no, they should have covered WoW more" (not only did the feed cut off halfway through the contest on Friday night -- we later heard from DirecTV employees that they could only broadcast a certain number of hours over the weekend, and that's where they made the cut -- but they also skipped a few big WoW panels for Starcraft coverage on the main stage instead). And don't even get us started on Jo Garcia, lovely and well-meaning though she may be (though Jay Mohr doesn't deserve the crap he's getting -- he did a respectable job this year). Fortunately, there were lots of other outlets to get your WoW news from, and odds are that Grunty will soothe your pains from the $40 you might feel you've wasted.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon

What does Blizzard have planned for a Cataclysm in-game launch event?

So Cataclysm is coming and Kisirani is already working on an in-game launch event. It's gotta mean something right? Now don't get me wrong, even with my self-confessed zombiephobia, I loved last November's zombie invasion (though, at times, it got really frustrating). So now Kisirani is officially hard at work planning a new event to herald the beginning of an Azerothian cataclysm, I can't help but wonder what she has up her sleeves for us.

Is anyone else excited? I certainly am and it gives us something to focus on during the inevitable wait. To be fair, at least Cataclysm's not scheduled for 2012! We don't have that long to wait, we could be rolling Worgen and Goblins in just under/over a year's time. That just about makes it bearable. But it also leaves us with time to think about what Blizzard will do to introduce players to this brave new world.

Hit the jump to find out what we think could well happen prior to the launch of Cataclysm.

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Filed under: Patches, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Lore, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

BlizzCon 2009: Tokyopop creates stories about the little guys

While wandering about the floor at BlizzCon, I stopped over at the TokyoPop Manga booth and spoke a bit with editor Troy Lewter, who we've talked to before.. Currently, the big series they write for the world of Azeroth is the Warcraft Legends series, which is on its 4th volume with a 5th due out next month.

Talking with Troy and other members of the Tokyopop team at the booth, what I was most struck with was the passion for the work and the universes of Blizzard's games that they display, and, perhaps more importantly, to the art and stories they tell.

Troy laid out three important concepts that they follow in creating the mangas: Telling a solid story, focusing on a few characters, and cross-pollinating with other forms of media.

In telling a solid story, the aim is to create the story such that you don't need to rely on the Warcraft world and characters, per se. In short, even if the story wasn't about Thrall or Varian or the Scarlet Crusade or anything else, you could still connect with the characters themselves.

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Filed under: Lore, RP, Interviews, Comics

BlizzCon 2009: Laguna Art Museum VIP dinner (Attn: Lore nerds)

When I found out that my friend Joe Gilbert AKA Kyliaar from the U.S. realm Destromath was attending the Laguna Art Museum VIP dinner on the eve of BlizzCon, I said "Get pictures and ask questions!" Happily, he did both.

For those of you who don't know, Blizzard held a benefit dinner for the Laguna Art Museum, which is also currently hosting a WoW art exhibit. Attendees got to choose a Blizzard personality to speak with at their table, bid on Blizzard art and hang out with the biggest Blizzard names. Following is an excerpt from my chat with Joe about the event (I've tried to edit out most of the fangirl swooning), as well as a gallery of his photographs.

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Lore, Interviews, BlizzCon

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