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Ready Check: First look at Cataclysm raids

There's been a huge splash of Cataclysm information released unto the wild in the last few days. Every since the beta hit the streets, we've seen information about warrior changes, hunters and even racial emotes. I guess I called it a splash. What I really meant is that there's been a flood of information everywhere. It seems like we can virtually see anything we'd possibly want to know about the expansion, right now.

But what we haven't seen yet is much information on raids. Our good friends over at MMO-Champion have some great information about 5-man instances, but their raid information is running a little behind so far. Of course, that's never kept us from drooling over new raid content before now, so let's not start bad habits. Let's take a look at what raid information we do have and spend a little time getting excited about the new expansion.

Read more →

Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding), Cataclysm

Bruce Campbell and Metzen on the movie at Comic-Con

I have geeked out many times while writing for this site, but I think this is the geekiest geekout I've ever geeked out about: Bruce Campbell talking about World of Warcraft. He's hanging out at Comic-Con promoting Burn Notice (a series that I'm still watching, if only because of him), and IGN cornered him on the topic of his friend Sam Raimi's new movie, based on our very own Azeroth. Campbell says he has no idea what Raimi has in mind for the movie, and that he only just heard about the job when we did. But then he says something that will lift all of our geeky hearts: when it comes time for casting, Bruce says, "I'll get a call." And Raimi will say to him, "You play some schmuck. Some idiot guy. Some garbage man."

We can't think of too many garbagemen in Azeroth -- Topper Mcnabb, maybe? But the fact that Campbell knows about the movie and is ready to take a role is good enough for us. And he isn't the only person speculating on the part he might play: Chris Metzen brought up Campbell at Comic-Con and suggested he might play a CG-based character, like a goblin. That doesn't sound so awesome to us, though -- you've gotta let that world-famous mug shine through. It does seem a little unlikely that Campbell would play a really huge part, but a lot of people have brought up Varian Wrynn, and we can't really think of any part more fitting (plus, maybe that means the movie will focus on Horde instead of Alliance). Hail to the King, baby!

Keep an eye over on our sister site Massively for more Comic-Con coverage all this weekend, and if we hear any more about the movie, we'll be sure to let you know.

[via BlizzPlanet]

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Humor, NPCs

WotLK cinematic picks up Elan award nomination


Throw another nomination on the list for Wrath of the Lich King -- Blizzard's cinematic team has been nominated for an Elan award for the WotLK cinematic in the category of Best Animated Short Subject. And the nom is well deserved: while the trailer broke with the tradition of showing the various races and classes of Warcraft doing battle with each other, Blizzard's choice to instead recap the story of Arthas and the Lich King while he summoned Sindragosa worked well and looked amazing.

Unfortunately, Blizzard missed out in the actual game nominations -- for best PC game, the expansion was overshadowed by Fallout 3, Crysis Warhead, Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria, and Left 4 Dead. You can argue amongst yourselves whether that's justified or not. But we're sure Blizzard is happy with the animation nomination anyway -- their competition there is Turbo Dogs, so they'll probably do fine when the awards are announced on April 25th.

[via BlizzPlanet]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Contests, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Blizzard's CG team talks about making those epic cinematics

Blizzplanet's got the tip on a great interview over at CG Channel with the Blizzard CGI team, responsible for, among many other great cinematics, putting together the Wrath intro trailer. We heard from this team back at BlizzCon, and here they give a little more insight into the thinking behind their process, rather than the process itself.

One of the first questions that comes up is one that everyone would like to ask: Why haven't we seen a longer feature from these guys? But they say that, as always, their first priority is making great games, not great features, and as much as people would want to see a 60 or 90 minute cinematic from this team, they work for a game company. They also talk about something they've been working more on lately: in-game cinematics. I saw this at work in Starcraft II back at BlizzCon -- while most of Blizzard's cinematics so far have been completely separate from the in-game art, Starcraft II introduces models that are high-quality enough to be rendered cinematically, so much of the actual cutscenes are in-game rather than in separately rendered CGI. But as the team points out, their goal is to make them no less awesome.

Finally, they do get into the nitty-gritty of designing their cinematics, and 3D animators will enjoy the ins and outs of how Blizzard made Arthas summon that Frostwyrm. We're just in awe of how much great work this team does -- hopefully we'll be seeing lots more of it in the future.

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

CGI night elf stuns European forums

The uncanny valley is a longtime hypothesis about human reaction to robots and computer-generated images. The basic gist is that people like robots/CGI figures that aren't made to imitate humans --- thus the cartoonish style of WoW. We notice the humanlike characteristics of the non-humans and empathize with them. But as the robots get closer and closer to looking like humans, we become strongly repulsed and tend to notice the small things that set them apart from real people. Eventually, though, someday someone will make a figure that looks exactly like a human, and the uncanny valley will disappear.

And it looks like we're pretty close to that point, at least going by the CGSociety article going around the European WoW Forums. If it weren't for the step-by-step tutorial, I would have sworn that this picture of a night elf -- made by artist Max Kor for a Blizzard fan art competition -- was of an actual woman in night elf makeup. The eyes, which are usually the big thing that catches people in CG, look totally normal. Forumgoers are also pretty impressed; Megg of Scarshield Legion says, "In 15 years, that's what WoW4 will look like."

What do you think about this art?

Filed under: Night Elves, Fan stuff

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