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Posts with tag starcraft-ii

BlizzCast episode 8 released

The 8th episode of BlizzCast, the Blizzard Podcast, rolled out just a short while ago. If the only Blizzard game you're interested in is WoW, you'll probably be disappointed this time around, there's not much World of Warcraft discussion. The information is very, very heavily slanted toward Starcraft II and Diablo III.

The podcast kicks off with their usual Q&A portion. The World of Warcraft questions, answered by Tom Chilton, were aimed at Wintergrasp and the vehicle system (specifically the lack of aerial combat). That's the full extent of the WoW content here. That's all, folks. If WoW is all you care about, that's the end. For those of you that are Blizzard fans in general? Jay Wilson (Diablo III Game Director) and Dustin Browser (Starcraft II Lead Designer) cover the Q&A for their respective games.

The remainder of the podcast is a Diablo III interview with a pair of the game's developers, Julian Love (Lead Technical Artist) and Mike Nicholson (Senior Artist). If you intend to play Diablo III, it's worth a listen. It gives some insight into the developmental process of the game, and that's probably the most interesting part of these podcasts.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Blizzard

Blizzard Theme Park contest ending soon


Don't miss out on your chance to cook up the zaniest, most Blizzard-worthy idea of a theme park -- the deadline for submissions to Blizzard's Theme Park Contest is on March 30. Blizzard called on fanboys everywhere to submit their ideas for a theme park based on their properties, Diablo, StarCraft, and Warcraft, and anything from theme park maps to ride schematics to landscape pictures of the park are welcome. Selected entries will be shown during BlizzCon 2009.

The best entry incorporating all three properties will receive a Wacom Cintiq 12WX, along with the Echoes of War soundtrack and a pair of StarCraft II Beta keys. Three other winners with the best Diablo, StarCraft, or Warcraft themes will win Echoes of War and two StarCraft II Beta keys each. With just under five days to go, designer hopefuls should submit their designs soon! You never know, Blizzard just might make that theme park happen...

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Contests, BlizzCon

Blizzard Insider Issue 30 released today


Issue 30 of Blizzard's newsletter, the Blizzard Insider, is hitting inboxes this afternoon. These newsletters don't come often, but when they do, there's always some good stuff the comes along with it. On the World of Warcraft front, beyond the screenshots and fan art, we have a few new pages to check out:
For our general Blizzard fans among our readership (which is a pretty large number of you/us), we have a couple of Diablo III and Starcraft II items from the community:

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Battle.net accounts coming to the EU

Blizzard's various websites (official WoW site, the Armory, etc) have all been down for maintenance today, and we had no real idea why. Word is coming in from the EU that the switch to Battle.net accounts that we talked about previously is finally coming about. Portions of the official EU site are redirecting to this Battle.net login page.

We knew this would happen eventually, especially since the name of the Authenticator changed on the PTR from being World of Warcraft specific to a more broad Battle.net name, but the fact that it's coming without formal notice is a bit surprising! If you're unfamiliar with what a Battle.net account actually is, it's more or less the same as your WoW account but instead of an account name, it uses your e-mail address and it spans all Blizzard games. Considering the Starcraft II beta is rumored to be starting quite soon, this is probably good timing for the switch.

We have no idea if this switch is happening in the US yet, but it's probably a safe assumption that it will. Or if it hasn't, we'll be seeing it very soon. If we find out more, we'll be sure to let you know.

Update: It does look like this is coming to the US soon as well.

[Thanks to everyone for the tips, and Kumbol for the screenshot]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

Blizzard theme park? Make it so.


If the thought of a Blizzard theme park makes you squeal with girlish excitement -- something I'd, um, never, ever do, of course -- then here's your chance to help make it a reality. Maybe. Nethaera announced the Blizzard Theme Park Contest on the forums, asking players to submit their ideas for a theme park based on Blizzard's properties. Players can submit illustrations that look like theme park maps, or make them look like screenshots from the games. The best entries will be displayed in BlizzCon 2009.

While this doesn't necessarily mean that Blizzard will actually make a theme park based on the StarCraft, Warcraft, and Diablo universes, the idea does make me squeal girlishly giddy with excitement. Those interested are challenged to illustrate every fantastic thing they can imagine -- from water rides, roller coasters, and even food courts and shopping arcades. Aspiring park designers have until March 30 to submit their entries, with a chance to win a Wacom Cintiq 12WX Digitizing Tablet, Echoes of War, and StarCraft II beta keys. So hop to it! Now where'd I put my stylus...

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Contests, BlizzCon

Jame working on an addon, guides for other games

Gamespy has an interview up with Jame of Jame's famous leveling guides, which are the how-to of choice if all you want from your character is to get to 80 as fast as possible. I have to admit that I've never used them -- while I do use Questhelper quite a bit (which takes lots of the guesswork out of where to go next), I also like exploring on my own pace, and Jame's guides turn Azeroth into a list of to-dos rather than an actual game. Still, they do work -- if you're leveling an alt or just don't care about the content, following the guides to the letter works fast.

Jame says his wife was the major driving force behind the site -- she needed help leveling, and he found that he had most of the major steps memorized. His site is run completely off of advertising, which he says keeps him from competing with other leveling guides that you must pay for to use. He's also working on an addon, and he says that it actually works faster than Questhelper, so that should be something to see.

Finally, he says he's working on putting together guides for other games -- "Diablo III, Starcraft II, and other MMOs" all get mentioned, so if you've already been following Jame's advice, you might be following it for a while longer. Good to get a little insight and background into the man behind the gold standard for leveling guides.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Leveling, Interviews

Is Bobby Kotick bad for Blizzard?

Yesterday, when we wrote about Blizzard's mistakes in patch 3.0.8, I made very sure to stay away from any mention of Activision. Call me naive, but I still don't think the Activision-Blizzard relationship has yet affected how Blizzard conducts business -- Blizzard's mistake of releasing the patch before it was ready was, in my mind, all their own. But not everyone feels that way (just read the comments on yesterday's post), and Ben Kuchera of Ars Technica will go a step further: he's calling Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick out for caring more about how much money his games make rather than how good they are.

We've talked about Kotick here before, and we've got him saying both that Activision will leave Blizzard alone and that they'll be seeking additional revenues where they can get them. But Kuchera isn't so balanced -- he's ready to pin Blizzard's decisions, including the idea to cut Starcraft II up into three different games, and the pending monetization of Battle.net on Activision's influence. And the last nail in the coffin is Kotick's recent profile in Forbes, which apparently had the writer calling Rock Band a "knock-off" of Activision's Guitar Hero (even though history says otherwise, since Harmonix, without Activision, created both franchises).

But that gets a little too far into non-Blizzard territory for us. Kuchera finishes by saying that there's two forces at work in Azeroth: "the loyalty of [WoW's] players" and "Kotick's cash lust." And he questions what will happen when the two finally face off. Which is basically what we've been saying for a long time. But the question so far is whether that's happened or not. Have Activision and Kotick pushed Blizzard to make the Starcraft II and Battle.net decisions, or is Blizzard making all of these choices on their own?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money

Paul Sams on WoW, PC game sales, and Blizzard's next challenge

Blizzard COO Paul Sams sat down with PC Retail magazine for the first time after Wrath's sales numbers have come out to talk about PC game sales in general and Blizzard's huge effect on them. First question, Sams says that no, PC gaming is not dead, and Blizzard isn't saving it. As long as people have PCs, he says, people will play games on them. If PC gaming was dead, Blizzard wouldn't be releasing Starcraft II and Diablo III -- as long as they make great games on PC, people will shell out the money to play them.

While he never does mention anything about their expectations for sales numbers (we know Wrath broke a number of records), he does reiterate what other Blizzard higherups have said: that they'll be making expansions as long as people are interested in playing them. And he says that the biggest challenge for Blizzard in the next few years will be to balance what they're doing -- they've never had more on their plate before, and they've already gotten a harsh lesson with the splitting of Starcraft II into three games. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep up the quality and popularity even while trying to work on three AAA PC titles (not to mention the unannounced MMO) at the same time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Making money, Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard makes deal with Massive for Battle.net ads

The AP is reporting that Microsoft's game advertising division (called Massive, Inc., not to be confused with Massively), has signed a deal with Blizzard to offer advertising on their upcoming Battle.net revamp, presumably to premiere with Starcraft II. This is apparently out-of-game advertising, i.e. the ads you'll see upon login to the service, not necessarily on in-game billboards or other nonsense like that. Battle.net is Blizzard's online service -- they've used it since way back in the Diablo days, and they've always had ads for their own products in it. But now they've contracted with this company Massive, Inc. to put other ads in there, and since they've been planning for a revamp for a while, you can probably expect to see the ads in right away when the new service launches.

How will this affect us as WoW players? It might not -- Blizzard may leave WoW on its own launcher, rather than having you go through a Battle.net launcher to sign in. On the other hand, WoW is clearly Blizzard's biggest online game, and we already know that Blizzard plans to include some WoW features (achievements, accounts) in the Battle.net revamp, so it could be that they're going to unify everything under one launcher (WoW, Starcraft II, Diablo III), in which case you'd see these ads when you sign in as well.

Which makes us wonder why exactly we'd be paying $15 a month to see more ads on login, but don't panic yet -- we'll cross that bridge when we actually know it exists (for now, Blizzard hasn't announced any official plans to change the way WoW works with Battle.net, other than the fact that one account will work across all games). We'll keep an eye out for any other new Battle.net news -- there's definitely something big in the works.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

BlizzCast episode 6 available for download

The 6th episode of BlizzCast was posted today, and though it contains very little WoW-specific information, the podcast still contains a ton of information general Blizzard fans would like to hear. When listening to it, keep in mind that it wasn't recorded in the last few days or anything like that, it's a few weeks old at least. They mention Wrath of the Lich King still being in beta testing and Sylvanas' custom model hadn't yet been implemented, for example.

Their guests this time around are Lead Tools Programmer Monte Krol, Senior Art Director Samwise Didier, Lead Game Designer Dustin Browder, and senior artist for Diablo III Anthony Rivero. That lineup of guests really offers up a cool look at the early design and development of Blizzard games, and the guests actually offer a little insight into just how you can start working for Blizzard yourselves. They also have another installment of their Q&A portion with various developers.

Starcraft and Diablo fans will find the gameplay information in this BlizzCast more interesting than people who are exclusively WoW players. As always, BlizzCast is available for download through the official website (EU has it as well), iTunes, or you can read the transcript right on their website.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Blizzard, Interviews

Blizzard prepares for switch to Battle.net accounts

With all of the early copies of Wrath of the Lich King going around, people jumping in with early installations are finding some interesting things. Reader Emil J. wrote in to tell us about a message WoW-Europe displayed when they looked at the account upgrade page.

It states that in the future, Blizzard intends to switch over from World of Warcraft accounts to a centralized account system for Battle.net. Which means that you'll create one account and you'll be able to use it for all of Blizzard's games with online capabilities in the future such as Diablo III and Starcraft II.

The hook is that you cannot upgrade your Burning Crusade account to a Wrath of the Lich King account without accepting the fact that you may be required to open a Battle.net account at some point in the future. You can still play WoW, but you can't upgrade your account for Wrath.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard and Eminence Symphony Orchestra announce 2-disc set

For those of you that enjoy the music of WoW and Blizzard's other games, there's good news from our sister (brother? cousin?) site BigDownload. The Eminence Symphony Orchestra and Blizzard Entertainment have announced a 2-disc album and DVD collection of music from across their franchises. Starcraft II, Diablo III, and Wrath of the Lich King are all accounted for in this 70 minute collection.

In addition to the basic two disc package, they're going to be offering a limited-print Legendary Edition (think Collector's Edition) featuring the Echoes of War DVD which features interviews with the composers and behind-the-scenes footage. The Legendary Edition will also include a 32-page "commemorative tome" with lots of pictures and artwork. It will retail for $49.95 on November 1st, while the basic 2-disc set will not be released until November 22nd, at a price tag of $29.95.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Wrath of the Lich King

DirecTV replay still available, showing tomorrow

Reader Stephen dropped us a note to let us know that if you missed the DirecTV stream of BlizzCon the first time around, you've got another chance tomorrow: they're going to show the whole thing again starting tomorrow morning. Seems pretty meh to us -- from what we heard, the stream wasn't all that great. And what you missed in terms of official panel information, you can get right from us here on the site. Anybody hear otherwise? Is this worth watching at all?

Of course, even if it's not, there is still one reason to order it, and that is of course the BlizzCon bear. Apparently people who purchase this replay will still get a code good for an ingame bear, and given that the bear and the Starcraft II code from the convention is going for as high as $200 already on eBay, shelling out $40 for just the code might be worth it to you.

And you'll pick up 16 hours of high-quality video along with it -- who wouldn't want to see Ghostcrawler in HD, right?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

BlizzCon 2008: Bingo results


Bad news. We didn't hear about a WoW expansion, or anything solid about the next-gen MMO at the convention in Anaheim, so this year's BlizzCon bingo failed. There might be hope, if you're willing to fudge things -- in the Art panel, they did obliquely mention the next expansion, and quickly corrected themselves, so if you take that as an official announcement (and you saw someone playing the TCG or Board Game throughout the weekend, you could win with the free space). Or, if you saw Jim Lee while he was there (we didn't), and consider all the talking about Dance Studios to have actually seen the studios themselves (we don't) then maybe you hit five across that way.

Otherwise, you're out of luck -- unfortunately, no one predicted that they'd cut Starcraft II up into three different games, and L80ETC didn't say anything about DLC for Guitar Hero. The good news, however, is that instead of giving out a prize to someone who presented us with a winning card at BlizzCon (no one did), we'll eventually over it to all of you readers. Stay tuned, and better luck with BlizzCon Bingo next time around.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, WoW TCG

BlizzCon 2008: All Blizzard games playable including Diablo 3


Though the WoW Insider team has arrived en masse to cover all things WoW at BlizzCon 2008, our eyes can't help but wander over what other shiny offerings Blizzard has to display. Our sister sites Joystiq and Big Download will be covering Starcraft II and Diablo 3 extensively, but having already been to the Anaheim Convention Center today to get our press badges we couldn't help but notice in the program (see above) that a playable demo of Diablo 3 will be available for the first time.

Don't worry we won't let it distract us from -- is that the new class for Diablo 3? It's class weapon does what?? Shoot witches!? Sorry. What were we saying?

Filed under: BlizzCon

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