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Blizzard's third project: Hydra

We already know Blizzard has three games in development right now. One of them is Wrath of the Lich King, the next WoW expansion. The second is Starcraft II. And the third is an as-of-yet-unannounced title... called Hydra.

That's what the Inquirer overheard at the Austin GDC. One Blizzard employee asked another what they were working on, and the overheard reply was "I'm working on Hydra."

So now we have an internal name for Blizzard's third project. Let the speculation begin. I'll start: the Hydra is a creature from Greek mythology, so maybe we're looking at a Diabloesque game set in Greece? Like Titan Quest (which is really Diablo anyway) or God of War, but made by Blizzard? And Hydras also appear in World of Warcraft (notably in BFD, where a Hydra is the final boss), so could it be possible that this is actually another WoW expansion, maybe the Maelstrom expansion we've been waiting for?

Thanks, James!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

The console interactivity I wish WoW could have

As a teenager, I loved console games. I grew up with Nintendo game images, tactics and ideas rolling through my mind. For various reasons, however, I've never really had a chance to pick up any console system since then, and I have often wondered how many changes have taken place in those sorts of games over the years.

So recently one of my friends treated me to a few evenings where he just showed me a few of his console games, so that I could get a sense of what they're like these days. The experience made me wish that it were possible for World of Warcraft to incorporate a few of the features I saw in those games.

The biggest one was a sense of interacting more with the in-game environment that your character lives in. Especially in this game God of War, I loved how the main character was able to do special moves in special situations, such as jump on top of a monster and rip its head off, or pin it to the ground, or even climb inside its giant mouth. He can also sometimes climb walls or use special items to solve interesting environmental puzzles. Many other games have this sort of experience where there seems to be less of a barrier between your character and the other entities in the game's world.

WoW just doesn't have that interactive feeling. Whenever you swing your sword, you swing it in pretty much the same way, even if your target is so huge that you're actually just swinging at the empty space between its massive legs. Whenever you run along up hills or mountains, you do just fine until you come to that magical angle at which your character cannot climb, cannot crawl -- only runs in place against an invisible barrier, even though visually it seems like he should be able to just use his hands.

I have no idea how Blizzard would manage it, but I really wish my WoW character could climb up walls (or at least ladders!), flip enemies around, or climb up on top of giants' shoulders and stab them in the head. Even if all these things are an impossibility, I still hope there's something significant they could do to help foster a more cohesive and interactive feel between our characters and everything else in Azeroth.

Do you ever wish for some console game features in WoW? Or are they totally apples vs. oranges for you?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

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