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Posts with tag creative-development

Ask a CDev Round IV answers revealed

It's been quite some time since we've had a new round of Ask a CDev, addressing and answering lore questions from players. But the answers for round IV of the popular feature have been released, including quite a few questions with interesting implications. This time around, the questions were drawn directly from Twitter, and they address a variety of topics. Some highlights include:
  • Oshu'gun? That's what the orcs call the mountain in Nagrand. But the draenei that remember the mountain for the vessel it was still use its original name -- the Genedar.
  • Tyrande and Malfurion officially co-lead the night elves. Tyrande is no longer the sole leader.
  • Sadly, the Shatterspear tribe is no more, although some may have escaped and found shelter within the Horde or other organizations.
  • Just who the heck is Trade Prince Donais? Well ... he isn't Horde, exactly...
  • There is a distinct difference between the vrykul and Kvaldir, and it involves the Curse of Flesh.
Take a look at the thread in its entirety for all of the lore questions and answers. And if you have a lore question that has you stumped, head over to Twitter and shoot it to Senior Historian Sean Copeland at his Twitter account, @Loreology.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Lore

A day in the life of Blizzard Historian Sean Copeland

A day in the life of Blizzard Historian Sean Copeland
If you've spent any time at all on the Timeless Isle, you may have noted and even completed the daily lore quiz from NPC Senior Historian Evelyna, a member of the Timewalkers who is accompanied by Historian Llore and Historian Ju'pa. What you may not have known is that these NPCs represent three invaluable members of the Blizzard Creative Development team: Senior Historian Evelyn Fredericksen, Historian Justin Parker, and Historian Sean Copeland. Together, the three represent a powerhouse of encyclopedic knowledge from each of Blizzard's franchises.

That's all well and good, but what exactly does a Historian at Blizzard do with their day? What does being a Historian entail, and what do they do with all that knowledge they've crammed in their brains? The folks over at Blizzard Entertainment were kind enough to let us find out. Read on as we pick the brain of Historian Sean Copeland about lore, historians, and the unusual job of keeping track of all things Blizzard.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao

Micky Neilson, Doug Gregory discuss The Burdens of Shaohao
The Burdens of Shaohao, a six-part series released earlier this month, was met with resounding praise across the board from players and devoted lore fans alike. The sweeping tale of the last Emperor of Pandaria was unlike anything we'd ever seen before from Blizzard -- a stunning, gorgeous piece of animated, narrative storytelling featuring artwork by Laurel Austin. While we've seen narrative tales in the form of cinematic-style storytelling, this is the first time we've seen anything of this nature.

We sat down with Lead Story Developer Micky Neilson and the director of Shaohao, Doug Gregory to discuss the piece and how exactly it all came to be. While we were originally supposed to have lead editor Lucas Merino on board as well, he was unable to attend the interview as he and his wife received a special gift shortly after the release of Shaohao -- a healthy baby boy! Despite Lucas' absence, we had a delightful time discussing the film, its development, and the possibility of future projects in the unique style of Shaohao.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide available for preorder

Yogg Saron in the Ultimate Visual Guide
Today Blizzard announced a new book release in partnership with DK Publishing--the World of Warcraft: Ultimate Visual Guide. The guide features many pages of new and unreleased artwork, in-depth character profiles for famous WoW heroes and villains, location information, famous battles of Azeroth's history, lore references, and even a guide to the different types of magic found in the Azerothian universe. Oh, and there's a glimpse into the creative development process behind WoW, as well, something I don't think has ever before really been explored in a Blizzard publication. The pre-order pages on Amazon and Barnes & Noble cite the release date as September 30th, so mark your calenders. This guide is sure to interest any WoW lore fan or art enthusiast. A full preview is available on the official DK landing page.

Filed under: News items, Lore

Know Your Lore: Of Elune, naaru, and night elves

Know Your Lore Of Elune, naaru, and night elves SUN
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how, but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Before we begin, I feel I should point out that the screenshot above is one that I created for the purposes of an article I wrote detailing the possible wind-chime origins of everyone's favorite kaldorei deity. It was not real then, and it is no more real now, over two years later. That article pointed out the possible correlations between the goddess Elune, the holy Light, An'she, and what might have been naaru intervention instead of divine, as the night elves would have everyone believe.

And while it connected a lot of dots, it was not true. It was simple theory and speculation. However, recent Ask a Cdev answers have once again brought the question of Elune's origins into play, and player reaction has been less than enthusiastic about the supposed confirmation. Most complain that making Elune a mere naaru is basically homogenizing night elf culture and history, something that plenty of players are apparently really passionate about.

To which I say two words: don't panic.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

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

Know Your Lore: The clever ins and outs of Ask CDev Round 2

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Creative Development is one of those tough jobs that doesn't seem that difficult until you really start to think about it. Creative Development is responsible for the world of Azeroth as we know it -- every story, every lore point, every moment of an NPC's life is documented and written by the folks over in Blizzard's Creative Development. Without the world, we wouldn't really have a game to play, would we?

But it goes beyond merely writing the story as it stands today. The Creative Development team also has to figure out where the story is going in the future. Then they have to keep track of the miles of story that have already been written and figure out whether or not, in the context of what has happened already, the thing that they would very much like to happen can actually happen. If it doesn't fit, they have to write it to make it fit. That's where it gets tricky and devs have to start being clever regarding what they say, because anything that is said to players is set in stone as "this is something that in the story of the game actually happened."

Some players (like the guy in the video above, or -- let's face it -- like me) are notoriously anal about keeping these facts straight, and when the story doesn't line up with what they were told, these people are very, very quick to point it out. When you're simply writing a book from beginning to end, you can catch these inconsistencies before the novel hits the printing press; when you're working on an ongoing story like Warcraft, it gets much harder. Enter the Ask a CDev 2 thread, a thread created in February that didn't get its answers revealed until yesterday, four months after the fact.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Round 2 of Ask CDev questions answered

Ask Creative Development is the developer series that gives WoW lore buffs answers to their most pressing questions. The answers for this particular Ask CDev session took a pretty long time, but they're finally ready for primetime.

We've got some pretty good answers this time around, and the questions range from serious and heavy lore discussion to some of the more fun or interesting, like, "where do the Forsaken get their ships?" Some key things to take away are that the "there must always be a Lich King" mantra is specifically talking about how the scourge would run rampant otherwise; that death knight characters have an addiction to causing others pain, and that Elune is definitely not a naaru (to the night elves, at least). Super lore nerds might take particular interest in the fact that Blizzard does not consider all of the expanded universe and the RPG books canon. Hit the jump for the full set of questions and answers.

Ask CDev Round 2 questions answered
The moon recently sent some irate emails to our Creative Development team, threatening to vacate Earth's orbit if we didn't divulge the answers to the "Ask CDev #2" thread soon. Rather than calling the moon's bluff, the CDev team stepped up its timetable and is now ready to present the answers to your questions!

In an effort to efficiently disseminate as much information as possible, many of these questions are amalgamations of several slight variations asked by the US, EU, Korean, and Chinese player bases. In addition, a few unanswered questions from "Ask CDev #1" are included as well. Enjoy!

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Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Cataclysm

What I hope is answered in Ask Creative Development round II

As a huge fan of the lore in Warcraft as well as a huge fan of community interaction from the creative development team, there are few times I get more excited than Ask Creative Development time. Being able to pitch questions at the guys and gals in charge of the storylines we anxiously await to be unfolded lets us die-hards express our biggest hopes and concerns for the future story of World of Warcraft. Last time the creative development team took questions, we got some pretty good answers on topics such as what happened to Frostmourne after it shattered, the tol'vir actually being the Obsidian Destroyer unit and Moam, and the final word on where the blood elves get their new power.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

Ask Creative Development Round II

Blizzard's creative development team is gearing up for another round of lore questions and answers from the players and fans. Last time, we had some pretty interesting answers to pressing questions. I hope this go-around we get even more awesome answers, especially to some of my own pressing questions, such as how the creative team is going to deal with Sylvanas, as well as what Deathwing's reaction to the now canonically dead Sinestra will be.

Here is the thread where you can leave a question, and here is the official post.

Ask Creative Development - Round II
The members of our creative development department, headed up by Chris Metzen, are the creators, keepers, and librarians of our game lore and story. These caretakers work closely with the authors who write our licensed books and comics (or sometimes write 'em themselves), and collaborate with the game developers to ensure cohesive and correct use of characters and lore (Red Shirt Guys notwithstanding). Now they're ready to once again answer your Warcraft lore questions!

Head over to the Ask CDev forum post to throw your question on the pile.

Please be aware that we'll be using the forum voting system to help decide on which questions to answer. Before asking your own question, look through the thread and add a vote to any others that you like. Feel free to just vote, but if you do have a question, please limit yourself to one per post.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Cataclysm

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