Blizzard Entertainment has released a new app for iPhone and Android users, a scheduling assistant for BlizzCon 2011. Included with the app is a map of the convention hall and the full schedule of events, as well as feature to personalize your own schedule while at BlizzCon, with an event alert so you don't miss any important panels.
Along with the usual run of tournament play for both World of Warcraft and StarCraft, this year's BlizzCon includes a host of panels for Diablo 3, StarCraft 2, and World of Warcraft. Everything from class talent systems to lore and publishing will be covered. Download the free app now on your iPhone or Android device! Turn to WoW Insider for all your BlizzCon 2011 news and information. Get ready to kick off the weekend with the WoW Insider Reader Meetup cohosted by Wowhead, and look for our liveblogs of the convention panels, interviews with WoW celebrities -- and of course, lots of pictures of people in costumes. It's all here at WoW Insider!
Blizzard has returned from Cologne, Germany, and the Gamescom convention with tales of triumph, competition, and tons of patch 4.3 goodness for us World of Warcraft players. The community site's blog was updated with a big recap of all of Blizzard's events from the show, in case you missed any of the fun from the live streams. World of Warcraft was represented by top guilds For the Horde and Ensidia trouncing through the Firelands in live raids for Gamescom attendees, as well as the new patch 4.3 features Void Storage, Raid Finder, and transmogrification.
StarCraft 2 showcased some cool show matches between top players, and Diablo 3 had a big hands-on gaming area that, obviously, filled up quicker than humanly possible. Seriously, can't that game just come out already? Blizzard wrapped up its recap with familiar dance and costume contests, with winners earning a trip to BlizzCon in October. Check out the full recap at the World of Warcraftcommunity site for an awesome video of the Diablo 3 street art from the show.
Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?
The machinima and streaming communities built around World of Warcraft are filled with some of the most talented and creative people in gaming, from awesome musicians to dedicated streamcasters. The first time I ever got to experience the WoW beta back in 2004, I was watching someone stream footage of their human warlock messing up mobs in (if I remember correctly) Westfall. Streaming is beneficial to gaming, MMOs, and e-sports because of video games' competitive nature and spectator-oriented design.
You've probably heard of Senate bill S.978 already, most likely from many video game blogs and news outlets or YouTube campaigns fighting against the passage of this bill. Bill S.978 aims to institute a "10 strikes" policy, making the unauthorized streaming of content a felony, resulting in potential jail time. The main purpose of the bill is to strengthen the law and punishments available to organizations such as the MPAA and other content conglomerates to stop illegal streaming of millions upon millions of dollars in stolen entertainment. As is the way of things, gamers might be caught in the crossfire.
Some of you fine readers sent me a few messages on Twitter asking me to weigh in on the 10 strikes streaming bill and maybe give a basic analysis of the thing, so I shall oblige. Lawbringer this week is all about the odd future of bill S. 978 and what it could mean for MMOs and WoW.
If you think we've scratched the surface of Battle.net cross-game implementation with Real ID, you are going to be amazed at what is coming next. Do I know any of this for sure? No, of course not. I base my predictions on three simple facts:
Blizzard has created an account-based loyalty program that has encapsulated each and every one of its games;
Blizzard is chock-full of smart individuals who understand community, as illustrated by the new community website; and
Blizzard has made your account mean something into perpetuity.
If you think Battle.net is sharp at 2.0, you can't even imagine 3.0.
Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? It's not all WoW, all the time! Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all of the other MMOs around -- past, present and future.
StarCraft II turned into World of StarCraft by enterprising fan
World of StarCraft is, by all indications, high on the list of desirable games that have never been announced or even hinted at. It's certainly a universe ripe for development, and it's not as if Blizzard doesn't know anything about running an MMO. But why wait for an official release when you can put the game together yourself?
The latest RIFT news If upcoming MMO RIFT has caught your attention, the past week had a number of RIFT-related news stories that might strike your fancy. New beta additions? PvP details? New class reveals? Massively has it all.
First Impressions: Battlestar Galactica Online Last year, developer Bigpoint announced that Battlestar Galactica Online was being developed as a free-to-play browser MMO. Just last week, Massively was able to get its hands on the game and take it for a spin.
Hello Kitty Online meets Manhattan
Hello Kitty Online is near and dear to our hearts here at WoW Insider. We were all excited to hear about the latest HKO update. Hello Kitty Online visits New York City, where the locals have gone missing for mysterious reasons. Find out what happened, and cheer up the victims!
Week in Review: It's all about souls Don't let WoW Insider do all of the talking when it comes to Massively's best content of the week. The Massively staff themselves have picked out what they think is the best content their site has to offer in their own weekly roundup.
Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?
The following is an opinion piece dealing with Blizzard's ongoing litigation. The opinions and views expressed are solely those of me, Mathew, the columnist.
You might have heard that Blizzard and its lawyers have recently started new litigation against three StarCraft 2 hackers in District Court. To a lot of people, this looks like another case of Blizzard going after more hackers for screwing with the online experience. To me, I see Blizzard's lawsuits as positive EULA-builders with huge benefit to the independent game market. It sounds crazy, but less so when you think about the concept of buying precedent.
As BlizzCon 2010 comes to an end, Paul Sams (chief operating officer of Blizzard) started out the ceremonies. A series of intentionally bad gamer jokes followed as he got the crowd ready. He then took it to a serious note and thanked attendees both attending in person and at home.
Blizzard used this opportunity to bring out the tournament winners. Warcraft 3winner Remind (night elf) from South Korea and StarCraft 2winner NEXGenius (protoss), also from South Korea, were presented with $25,000 for being grand prize winners. They will also be getting an eSports ring customized to their game that's the size of Superbowl rings. The WoW Arena tournament was still going on at this point (*aAa* vs compLexity.Red), so there was no winner to announce for it yet.
The release of StarCraft II brought about a surprise for the observant player -- an object in the cantina of ship that lets you play an arcade game called Lost Viking right in StarCraft II. This is a fun little shooter that's a cross between Asteroids and Space Invaders (Alex tells me it's a lot like Touhou, although I've never played that) and easily took up an hour of my night. Just the kind of thing to do while waiting for a raid to begin.
The name of the game is a nod to an original Blizzard game called The Lost Vikings which was released back in 1994. In that game, you are a Viking and have to find your way home as you escape the evil Tomator. In the StarCraft II arcade game, you're a mighty Viking on a ship and must fight your way back to Vikingville. And watch out for the evil Terra-Tron; he does not like you!!!
I hope that Blizzard sees this game as a success and includes a minigame like this in Cataclysm. Something that can be accessed from the mini-menu would be perfect. Given the awesomeness of Blizzard's newly released Lost Viking (see screenshots below for more pictures), let's give Blizzard a helping hand here and suggest what mini-games they could include with Cataclysm.
Nethaera (Blizzard community manager) posted answers to some of the common Real ID questions and concerns on the forums today. With the PR disaster that was Blizzard's original Real ID on the forums concept, a follow-up aimed at easing tensions in the community -- even after the retraction -- was to be expected. While Blizzard offered some good news on things people have been requesting, they also dodged other points for the moment in true Blizzard style.
Some highlights from the announcement:
no current plans for an online handle to be used in game with Real ID instead of your name
feature to disable your name's appearance in Friends of Friends list coming around the time of StarCraft II
plans for some sort of unique ID on the WoW forums
Ever wonder what happens to raid bosses when they get bored? For Thaddius, it seems he has been spending some time moonlighting over in StarCraft II. While he was there, it also seems like he's picked up a few more tricks and upgraded his armor. After all, Naxxramas was only a setback!
IIam4 used Thaddius as an inspiration for his entry into the custom ability contest on SC2Mapster by recreating his Polarity Shift. While he was recreating this ability, he also decided to add a few new features of his own.
Shocking Grasp A random target will be paralyzed and take damage over time. If any other unit comes within range of the afflicted unit, Shocking Grasp will jump. This can create a chain reaction.
Spawn Volatile Spark Two volatile sparks are spawned, serving as summoned adds that should be DPSed down right away.
These abilities combine to create a very interesting and creative boss battle using the StarCraft II editor. The amount of micromanagement required to keep all of your units alive adds a nice level of complexity to the boss encounter. I personally like that Thaddius is a giant Maruader unit. This video is a nice showcase of the tools that were available even in the beta and exactly what could be done with enough motivation.
StarCraft II is set to release on July 27, 2010. While I'm absolutely certain it will be a fantastic game in its own rights, I can't help but wonder if we will see any more player-created World of Warcraft crossovers with the tools that are shipping with SC2. Can you imagine a campaign where the end boss is casting Defile while you try to micromanage all of your units safely around it? How about navigating your troops into position for a Shatter or managing Burning Adrenaline. Maybe a little Doomfire for good measure! This could bring a whole new level of fun to Tower Defense and Mastermind-style game mods!
So, if you could recreate any one boss or ability from WoW in a StarCraft II fight, what boss would it be?
Blizzard appears to be cleaning house in preparation for its StarCraft II release as well as its Battle.net revamp. In a recent announcement on the service's forums, Blizzard rep Bashiok revealed that over 300,000 accounts were punished for violations of the terms of service for Warcraft III and Diablo II for using hacks and illegal third-party tools (which are essentially hacks).
For those of you who have had past experience with Battle.net, these numbers probably don't surprise you. The network has had a long reputation of being fairly easy on people using hacks as Blizzard tends to save up over a long period of time in order to do a massive batch of bans at once. This means that those who are using hacks have a long period of time to abuse the system before anything is done about it. The hacks for some games were rampant enough that other players began using hacks that detect other hacks. Regardless of the reason behind using a hack, it is still against the terms of service and means if you get caught, you're out.
Blizzard has just recently announced StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty's collector's edition. Normally this isn't something we would talk about here on WoW.com, but the contents make it worth mentioning. Specifically, WoW players will receive a Thor mini-pet, seen to the right. For those of you who don't follow StarCraft at all, the Thor is a new ubermech unit for the Terran faction. It's not only voice acted by Chris Metzen, but the pilot of the unit is based directly off him. One of his old aliases is Thundergod, after all. The Thor is big and it's bad-ass, and that's about all that you need to know. I wonder if it will interact with Grunty and the Zergling?
BigDownload has the full scoop on the contents of the collector's edition. There's great value there, even for people who don't play WoW. The collector's edition also includes a 2GB flash drive made to resemble Jimmy Raynor's dog tags, a 172-page art book, a behind the scenes DVD and more.
BlizzCon 2010 has been officially announced! The convention will run October 22nd and October 23rd at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. This was as we previously reported back at the beginning of February.
Despite the very sparse information available from Blizzard, we do know at least one thing -- Jay Mohr will be hosting again. Ticketing information is not available yet, and we don't expect it to be for some time. What this says about the release date of Cataclysm is also anyone's guess. We don't have any solid information on that at this time.
BlizzCon 2010 Announced
If you've been holding your breath waiting to find out when and where the next BlizzCon would be held, then... you've probably passed out by now. But if you've just been patiently watching for an announcement, then we've got good news for you: BlizzCon will be returning to the Anaheim Convention Center on Friday, October 22 through Saturday, October 23! Just as in years past, BlizzCon 2010 will feature an exciting mix of discussion panels, tournaments, hands-on gameplay, contests, and much more. Check out the announcement press release, and keep an eye on www.blizzcon.com in the months ahead for further details, including ticketing information.
Many of our readers have already weighed in on what they expect from this upcoming BlizzCon -- expectations are high. Hopefully we'll be getting for information about the event soon. You can bet that WoW.com will be there again this year, and we've already got plans in the works to hold an even bigger meetup than last year!
People are getting actual StarCraft II beta invites, but that doesn't mean that all beta invites (or any other emails that look like they are from Blizzard) are real. If you got an email saying that you have been invited to StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, don't click anything in that email. Instead take the following steps:
Type battle.net into your browser (no typos) and it will go to the secure battle.net site appropriate to your region.
Enter your account info.
Under Manage My Games, choose Add or Upgrade a Game.
Enter the Beta Key provided in the email where it says Enter Game Key.
Press Add Game.
If you are able to successfully add the game to your library, then you received a real beta invite. If the email tells you to go someplace else for the beta key or the key provided did not work, then you received a phishing email.
Just in case we weren't completely sure of it yet, Activision Blizzard confirmed in today's quarterly earnings call that World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be released in 2010. For general Blizzard fans, another game was given a 2010 release date: StarCraft II, which will begin its beta phase within a month. As was pointed out during the conference call, it has been twelve years since Blizzard released two major titles in the same calendar year.
The Cataclysm news is in line with everything we've heard so far, including Mike Morhaime's comments during BlizzCon that the expansion has a targeted release date of 2010. Things seem to be moving along right on schedule, but remember that this is Blizzard. Things could change at any time, so I wouldn't start preparing for leveling vacations yet. Actually, you probably shouldn't do that at all. It's kind of silly.