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Posts with tag metzen

Chris Metzen talks about heroes

Chris Metzen
Eurogamer.net recently sat down with Blizzard Senior Vice President of Creative Development Chris Metzen. They talked about the story for all three of Blizzard's big franchises and the ins and outs of creating stories and heroes for each one.

On Warcraft, Metzen waxed philosophical on creating a meaningful story for 11 million fans who are each carving out their own individual stories on their own characters, and on translating that story culturally as well linguistically between all the different cultures of the people who play WoW. As Metzen observed, a story that goes over well in North America may fall flat in China. He also talked about making lore decisions and balancing the needs and wants of the players and the writers. Sometimes the players want you to go right when you want to go left, and it is a challenge, he says, to decide which way to go.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews

Metzen talks user-created content at GDC panel

Blizzard's Chris Metzen was on hand at GDC Online to discuss user-created content for World of Warcraft and how the system just wouldn't fly in WoW's architecture. The logistics of player-created content in a game with millions upon millions of players would, most likely, be too overwhelming for a system and game that thrives on polish and quality control. Don't expect to see user-generated content in WoW any time soon.

While I am a fan of this type of content, I don't believe it really has a place in WoW. Azeroth is a much more story-driven, linear experience than most people want to discuss, and Blizzard likes to hold our hands through it all to make sure we're doing things according to plan. I don't think that's a bad thing, just one approach to an MMO's leveling and group content. In games like City of Heroes, the player-created content that was available made sense in terms of logistics and volume. For WoW, I can't even fathom how hard it would be to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Jaina Proudmoore working book title: Tides of War

We have learned from author Christie Golden's Facebook page that the working title of her newest World of Warcraft novel, which will focus on earth-shattering changes for fan favorite Jaina Proudmoore, could be titled Tides of War. Since Jaina's heritage and background (her father being Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, leader of Kul Tiras) is that of Kul Tiras, the island nation of seafaring humans, this title makes sense, especially if it heralds the return of the nation of Kul Tiras back to World of Warcraft.

Christie posts: "Okay, starting on Tides of War, the Jaina (Proudmoore!) book. Am thinking if I work this right... I won't have to work weekends this time. Woot!"

There is a lot of speculation going on about the next expansion, including the filing of a trademark for Mists of Pandaria, as well as Chris Metzen revealing the earth-shattering Jaina book at Comic Con last month. While Tides of War is admittedly a working title, it signals a strong naval theme that links up well with an island expansion, the island of Pandaria, and a generally water-y world we're looking at. This is all still speculation, of course.

Filed under: Lore

Thrall's return to the Horde and more lore from San Diego Comic-Con

Blizzard's Chris Metzen was at the San Diego Comic-Con showing off new WoW, StarCraft, and Diablo merchandise with a panel of Blizzard writers and merchandise partners. After the discussion about merchandise, the future of Blizzard licensed products, and the new comics, the floor was opened up to questions and answers about anything, lore included. Fans took this time to ask Metzen all about the new direction Blizzard is taking Thrall, including whether the Horde will remain the same after Cataclysm.

Metzen might have spilled the beans on what we can expect from BlizzCon this year, including some big revelations about the Horde and Thrall's place in it. Around the 51-minute mark of the panel, Metzen muses about how awesome it has been, growing the Warcraft story from its simple beginnings as an RTS and getting to flesh out the world. At one point, Metzen says, "One day, come on, your Warchief is coming back. Right? There's more with Thrall," and emphatically mentions BlizzCon, indicating Blizzard has much to announce on the subject.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Cataclysm

Blizzard debuts new products at San Diego Comic-Con

Blizzard's Chris Metzen graced the floors of the San Diego Comic-Con today to talk Blizzard licensing partners and show off some awesome new merchandise coming this year featuring Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo wares. Diablo merchandies looks to include knee-high Diablo socks, a Diablo face belt, new shirts, and two hoodies modeled after Diablo's demon hunter class and the angel Tyrael.

StarCraft's line is expanding with new shirts, a first look at the MegaBloks Viking, a leather wallet, and StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres, which has been confirmed by Metzen to be a novelization of StarCraft: Ghost, the game that was and then never was.

Warcraft's wares continue along a familiar path with a slew of new T-shirts as well as what appears to be a beverage called the Forsaken Elixir of Undead ... I really have no idea, since it's most likely a joke slide. Metzen also previewed the covers for the forthcoming original graphic novels Horde and Alliance, coming out later this year.

[Thanks, Kotaku, for the tip and images.]

Filed under: Blizzard

Warcraft movie update: Metzen says "still getting it together"

It's been months since we've heard a peep on the Hollywood news lines about the Warcraft film or director Sam Raimi. When Spider-man 4 was canceled in January, there was speculation that Raimi might be headed to the Warcraft film next. A month later, we reported a rumor that Raimi's next project might not be Warcraft, but a film adaptation of The Shadow. Seeing as Sony let the rights to the film lapse in March, it doesn't sound like The Shadow is in any state of serious development; but it does raise the question of what exactly is Raimi up to right now?

While we still have no exact answer to that, Chris Metzen gave us a small update on the film in an interview over at vg247 published yesterday. When asked if a considerable amount of time was being spent on the movie, Metzen replied, "I wouldn't say "considerable" at all just yet. We've been through a number of story meetings, and we're still kind of getting it together with Raimi and his team and jamming on themes that we want to chase."

Sadly, the interview didn't reveal many specifics, but Metzen responded favorably when asked if he was concerned about dissappointing Warcraft fans: "Nobody wants to screw it up: we all want to hit it hard and have it be something that is as resonant and canonical as it can be. But given what Warcraft is, with all these moving parts, we're going to have to take some liberties here and there. I'm under no illusions about that fact ... "

It's hard to draw any new or concrete conclusions from the interview, but it's good to see that the movie is still being talked about. WoW.com will keep you updated as we learn more.

Filed under: Interviews, Warcraft Movie

Breafast Topic: Winter Veil is here!


I have a secret to share.

I'm Greatfather Winter.

Nah, just kidding! I don't have the beard long enough to play the part yet.

The Feast of Winter Veil is here! Greatfather Winter is chillin' (get it?) out in Ironforge and is waiting to hear what you guys want this holiday. Winter Veil will last from December 15th, 2009 to January 2nd, 2010. The Winter Veil achievements can be done during this time so be sure to get those finished before it's too late. Otherwise, you'll have to wait another full year before you can finish off the year long What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been achievement for a shiny violet protodrake. Not sure where to start? Check out Allison's OverAchiever: Guide to Winter Veil.

Sadly, this year there are no Crashin' Thrashin' Racers this year (which makes me one sad panda). I'll cheer myself up by picking up massive amounts of snowballs and chucking them at various Horde players (or guildies) in Dalaran. What's the first thing you plan on doing when Winter Veil starts up?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Gary Whitta worked on a Warcraft screenplay

You'll notice that I surreptitiously left the question of "screenwriter" out of the other day's Breakfast Topic. That's because, quite frankly, I have no idea who I want writing the Warcraft movie. The folks I really like in Hollywood are probably too quirky to write an epic movie like this, and the folks who usually write these epic movies are too lame to handle a world like Warcraft. In my mind, only someone like Metzen should wield the pen for this one, and even then, his strengths lie in creating universes, not dialog. So I have no idea.

But apparently there's already a screenplay being worked on: with the news that Sam Raimi is taking the helm, screenwriter Gary Whitta (who's written both for games and movies) says he'd been working with both Legendary and Blizzard on crafting a screenplay that included both the sprawling world and a story that would resonate with non-players. But he says that since Raimi took over, it's likely the whole thing will go in another direction, as "his own pretty specific vision of what he wanted to do story-wise." Whitta does say, however, that, from what he's heard, "Raimi is the best possible director for this." Sounds good to us.

It'll be quite a tightrope to walk: depending on what Legendary actually wants out of the film, they've got to make the story interesting and pressing enough that even non-WoW players will get into it without ruining and/or ignoring the reason why there are so many players in the first place: the lush and intriguing universe we've all enjoyed playing in. Anyone tasked with putting together a script that uses all of those blocks to build something great will have quite a job ahead of them.

[via Blue's News]

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Lore, NPCs

Waging the war against "lorelol"


So, as you might guess, knowing my previous background, I read WoW-related forums a lot. Old habits die hard, strapping young talbuks need to read a lot, and given that my career path is in Community at game companies, it pays to know what game communities (all of them) are saying. I obviously tend to gravitate toward games and topics that hold my interest (game design, indie games) or games for which I have a particular fondness (sup Aquaria, luv u baby gurl; yo Cave Story, holla back), but I'll read pretty much anything about a game as long as I can follow it.

And I'm gonna be straight with you, WoW community. You guys are incredibly fickle when it comes to lore, and it breaks my two-sizes-too-big heart to read your ramblings about how Blizzard "doesn't care" about it.

I examined the sitch in detail and I'm ready for you to apologize and mend the error of your ways once you've perused my summary of why you mean well, wrong though you are, when you use the phrase "lorelol". I've made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear--I've prepared a lecture.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, RP, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Lore Nerd: Portals, pandaren, and Jaina Proudmoore

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Let's get this party started with Lionheart's question...

What is that barred off instance looking portal thing in Stormwind, by Old Town? Were the gates once open?

There are actually two of these in Stormwind. Neither of them were ever open, they're relics of unfinished projects. One is a closed off little guarded island in the Canals. That one was going to be the Stormwind Vault, probably a dungeon like Arcatraz or the upcoming Violet Hold in Dalaran. Probably.

There's also the barred off one at the end of the Canals, right down the way from that one. This is probably the one you're referring to, I'm going to guess? I don't think we've gotten a real answer on this was supposed to be, but it was probably going to be the portal to player housing. They actually did start work on player housing at one point, but never got far. There are relics of it in the game files. Half completed houses/structures, things like that. They all use the Stormwind motif for their appearance, and they would have to put it somewhere. Through this portal is a safe bet.

thinice asked...

Jaina Proudmoore and Arthas. Any chance they'll hook up against in the future? What are the details of their history together?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Death Knight, Ask a Lore Nerd

Know your roots have changed; 4E launches a new world

Even while creative maestro Metzen experiments with making World of Warcraft unique among its fantasy peers, there's not much denying that WoW has some pretty solid roots in, and respect for, Dungeons and Dragons. You can see proof of that in the patch notes from 2.4, which were dedicated to pen-and-paper legend, Gary Gygax. Many of us cruising Azeroth have some experience with good old D&D. WoW has pretty strong, deep roots in D&D, and those roots changed with the newly released 4th edition.

What's new in the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons? The class system is radically different, spells work differently, healing works differently, and fights work differently. Okay, it seems everything is pretty much different. But there's one big change that will probably make more than a few folks happy: no more Gnome PCs. Gnomes are now monsters, and not available for play in the core rules. A lot of the speculation about these changes is that D&D might be trying to distance itself a little from the World of Warcraft juggernaut.

It's a good thing Blizzard isn't still following its roots. I'm looking forward to my Gnomish Death Knight in Wrath of the Lich King.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

Upper Deck's WoW TCG World Championships coverage begins

Upper Deck has begun their live coverage of the biggest event the TCG has ever seen: the World Championships. They are live from San Diego, as a few hundred players are battling it out in the card game for a $100,000 prize. There are other tournaments going on there as well this weekend-- the Darkmoon Faire is in town and giving away tons of great loot. And Blizzard is there as well-- they're even giving away a Dinner with the Devs, where winners of a certain tournament can sit down and talk shop with the devs: Chris Metzen, Shawn Carnes, J. Allen Brack, Lee Sparks, Scott Mercer, Cory Stockton, Travis Day, and Tom Chilton. Artists are in the house, too: Samwise, Glenn Rane, Alex Horley-Orlandelli, Jonboy Meyers, and Dan Scott will be signing cards and doing sketches for attendees throughout the weekend. Pretty rad if you happen to be as big a fanboy/girl as we here at WoW Insider are.

Ben Drago, the manager for Organized Play (who we interviewed a while back) is also blogging live from the event, and been posting updates, both small and big, from his hotel room and the tournament floor. Expect to see lots more coverage, including photos and results, from Upper Deck on the tournament over the weekend.

And we'll have more here at WoW Insider, too-- our coverage started yesterday with an interview with one of the top TCG players, and we'll be keeping an eye on the results all weekend. And even if you're not in the tournament at all, you still have a chance to win something-- watch WoW Insider all next week for results of the tournament and our very own consolation prizes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, WoW TCG

Putting the War back in World of Warcraft

Lagerosi asked on the general forums if The Frozen Throne was in fact the end of the war between the Alliance and the Horde. Jheric clarified our current faction status well:

What exists now is essentially a cold war, with the two factions fighting in proxy areas such as Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin, much like the way the U.S. and U.S.S.R. would send weapons and 'advisers' to small countries in Africa and Asia.

With the transition from active warfare has come shifting allegiances, such as the Blood Elves joining the Horde after falling out with the Alliance (pretty much all the fault of one Alliance general), and Dalaran electing for neutrality.


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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Expansions, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

The most powerful being in Warcraft

Relative to the recent discussion about two well-known characters in the Warcraft universe battling it out, Kobrakaii asks on the forums who the strongest being in the entire Warcraft Universe is.

There's lots of Warlock jokes (my favorite is the thought that the first Warlock with a 41-point Demonology talent will be the most powerful in the known Azeroth universe), "any pally for 8 seconds," the expected suggestion of Arthas the Lich King, and even a mention of High Overlord Saurfang (who, with that link, might replace Captain Placeholder as my new favorite NPC). In the end, the debate basically comes down between Sargeras on the bad side (he's a fallen Titan who's become the main villain in Warcraft lore) and Elune on the good side-- even though her identity in Azeroth as the "God" of the Night Elves isn't quite clear even inside the Blizzard offices. Sargeras, however, is currently trapped in an "unbeing" state, so the title probably goes to the Titans, a group of beings who oversee the Universe (and eat old gods like C'thun for lunch-- the Master's Glaive in Darkshore is a remnant of the Titans' power).

Of course, as Drysc points out later in the thread, Chris Metzen is really the most powerful being in the Warcraft universe. Way to ruin the fun, Drysc.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Instances, Lore, NPCs

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