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Posts with tag voice-acting

The Queue: XP, models, toy box, and voice


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

Hello Queuers!

We've got a few good questions today. Then I went and talked about Thrall being emo.

JPF asked:

how much xp does the wod starter quests give compared to timeless isle dailies? How about TI mobs vs wod mobs?

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Filed under: The Queue

Building the Nexus: The voice of Gazlowe

The official Heroes of the Storm Youtube account highlighted a familiar voice earlier this week in its Building the Nexus segments. Travis Willingham is a man of many voices, having lent his pipes to an incredibly diverse list of characters in anime, animation, and video games alike. In Heroes of the Storm, he takes a different direction from the usual heroic-voiced roles and takes on Gazlowe, a goblin that WoW players should be plenty familiar with. The NPC was the Chief Engineer of the Horde back when Orgrimmar was being built after the Third War, but later moved to Ratchet, where he stays today. Affiliated with the Steamwheedle Cartel, Gazlowe now hands out quests to Alliance and Horde alike. He's also one of the few goblin NPCs in the game with unique voice files.

In Heroes of the Storm, Gazlowe charges into battle armed with a load of mechanics and explosives strapped to his back, and a volley of well-placed quips to hurl at opponents. The latest edition of Building the Nexus features Community Manager Josh "Rokcet" Rester-Zodrow having a chat with Willingham about the game and the unique challenges of bringing a character like Gazlowe to life. We don't usually see a lot of voice actor highlights, so this is a pretty cool behind the scenes -- I'd love to see some of these done for Warcraft as well. Take a look at the video above, and if you like it, be sure to check out the rest of what the Heroes Youtube channel has to offer.

Filed under: News items, Heroes of the Storm

How much should an expansion cost?

We've talked about this briefly in a recent Breakfast Topic, but that's not the same as actually standing up and taking a position on an issue, and I (specifically, I, Matthew Rossi, not all of WoW Insider) do have a position on this one - namely, that this expansion will likely contain as much if not more gameplay, art assets, and overall design work as any game coming out, and that frankly the last couple of expansions have been under what they should have cost.

I didn't come to this decision in a vacuum, either - I come to it as someone who does not want to pay the price as established. I'm extremely penurious. almost outright parsimonious when it comes to money. I don't like spending it. So when I heard how much the expansion was going to cost (the day the pre-orders became available) I immediately balked at it. It's only ten bucks more to buy Titanfall, I said to myself, and that's a completely new game. And then I read this post by Kim Acuff (who often comments here at WoW Insider as Ember Dione) a developer on Skylanders, and I started to rethink my position on the relative cost of the expansion, how much it should cost, and the validity of the whole "as expensive as a new game" discussion.

Because here's the fact - each WoW expansion has effectively been a new game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Diablo 3, Warlords of Draenor

WoW's voice actors alongside their characters

As much time as we spend inside World of Warcraft listening to character dialog, we don't always stop to think about the actors who are lending their voices to the pixels. It takes a lot of actors -- no, not just Chris Metzen -- to bring the world of Azeroth to life, and some of them may surprise you. Did you realize that the voice of Lorewalker Cho was also the voice of Winnie the Pooh? Or that a certain fictional president voiced Nozdormu in Cataclysm?

The voice actors behind some of our favorite characters are full of surprises... even though, yes, a surprising number of characters are still voiced by Chris Metzen. To get an idea of who's playing what, check out this series of videos from TeddyKGaming, which pairs images of the actors with the characters they voice -- and has a ton of WoW's most memorable lines, to boot.

Filed under: Fan stuff

A legendary chat with Wrathion VA Aaron Phillips

One of the more intriguing new characters to come out of Cataclysm was Wrathion, who took a curious journey through the Badlands as an egg and emerged with dubious intentions during the rogue legendary quest chain. Since then, Wrathion has led many a player of every class on a merry chase across the wilds of Pandaria in a legendary quest meant not just for rogues, but for all. Wrathion's motives have always been a little unclear, and whether he's working on the side of good, or with slightly more evil intentions, has been up for debate since his first appearance.

But Wrathion simply wouldn't be Wrathion without the voice that brought him to life as a sometimes petulant, sometimes angry, and sometimes touchingly desperate whelp with an apparent plan to save the world. Whether casually ordering Fahrad to break a pair of legs, pleading with Chi-Ji, or throwing the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums in his temporary home, the voice of Wrathion has been just as distinctive as the character itself. So how does one bring life to such a strange character? We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Wrathion's voice actor himself. Aaron Phillips may be immediately recognizable for Wrathion, but his works far exceed the vocal stylings of one angsty dragon -- and you may be surprised to note that you've likely heard him in a variety of places.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Voiceover actor Matt Mercer on working in games and comics, plus the "Vezax voice"

Cartoon Voices I- Room 6BCF - 1:00-2:00 at San Diego Comic Con 2012
Halion the Twilight Destroyer. General Vezax. Ka'roz the Locust. You know Matt Mercer already -- he's the voice booming in your head in Ulduar, during the Siege Orgrimmar, in the nooks and crannies of Azeroth. The phenomenally popular video game and anime voiceover actor is known for -- well, let me just slide you a link to his Wikipedia page and let you delight in discovering his stamp on one of your own favorite comics, anime or video games from Sinbad to Resident Evil 6.

Behind that panoply of voices is a WoW player and fan whose GM, actress Michele Morrow, describes as a wonderfully down-to-earth and nice guy. "Every now and then, we'll have his boss [that he voiced in game] come along, and so we yell at him ... to do the voices," she recounted last week here at WoW Insider. "He's fantastic; you'll love him."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Does voice acting add to or subtract from your immersion?

Are you a fan of voice acting in World of Warcraft? I'm not talking about boss fights. We've all giggled when familiar lines have crossed over to become memes -- "You are not prepared!" -- or bobbed our heads to the boss's beat in one of Mr. Voletron's catchy tunes. No, I'm talking about the moments when Azeroth's residents speak in character amidst the action of the game.

How could Lorewalker Cho's pointed poetry in The Thunder King trailer above not set your imagination tingling? I thought it lent great atmosphere and context to the patch trailer -- but leave it there, please, in the trailer. Woe to the character who breaks my immersion by speaking out unexpectedly in game. For me, gaming is like reading; when I'm deep inside either, I don't want to be jarred back to self-awareness by sudden speech, even with the voices of the characters themselves.

What do you think about voice acting within the game -- rich addition, or annoying contrivance? Would you like to see more or less spoken dialog in World of Warcraft?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

What WoW's story could learn from Diablo III (and vice versa)

What WoW could learn from Diablo III and vice versa ANY
I like the Diablo storyline. It's complex without being incomprehensible, and unlike WoW, it doesn't have a gigantic and sometimes daunting pile of backstory to wade through. You can pretty much jump into Diablo III without having played any of the prior games and still have a pretty good idea of what's going on. The world, Sanctuary, has a fairly simple premise, but the repercussions of its creation have far-reaching effects that are more often than not a gigantic pain in the butt for those living on Sanctuary.

I liked Diablo III. I liked the gameplay -- who doesn't like carving their way through hordes of demon corpses? I liked the controls, which were relatively simplistic, and I liked the talent trees, which were fun without being confusing. It's hard to compare WoW and Diablo, because the two games are so very different in concept. One's an MMO, the other is a click-fest of looting and gore. But they both have one thing in common: story. And oddly enough, it seems as though there are a few things these two games could learn from each other on that front.

Please note: There are spoilers for Diablo III in this post. If you haven't finished playing through to the end and you wish to avoid spoilers, turn away!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Diablo 3

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 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.

The development of lore in WoW has ramped up over the years. While vanilla saw a few lore developments, players could still wander the lands of Azeroth with nary a clue as to why they were there, skipping quest text altogether in favor of simply getting the job done. The Burning Crusade saw more of these lore-related quests introduced, and Wrath pushed the concept even further. But Cataclysm's taken lore and gameplay to a new level of interactivity.

Last week, in segments #10 through #8, we talked about a few of those innovations in lore development, include the emphasis on focused, directed storytelling over the aimless wandering days of vanilla WoW and the trend of releasing free-to-read short stories on the official website. Both of these have their ups and downs, but the short stories weren't the only focus of Blizzard's writing department.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Breakfast Topic: That voice you can't get out of your head

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

The Lion King
is one of those movies that everybody ought to see before they die. One of the strongest films from the Disney renaissance, it features some of the best voice acting in animation history. Who could forget James Earl Jones' deep voice imparting within Simba the need to reclaim his place as king? Or Jeremy Irons' cold, cunning, and manipulative growl with every word Scar spoke?

Voice acting can make or break films, and games are no different. As WoW has grown older, voice acting has become far more commonplace. All bosses now come with accompanying quotes. In Cataclysm, a great number of quests feature voice acting. We're surrounded on all sides by a world that is now living, breathing, and speaking.

Players have certainly caught on and appear to love the voice acting. In Wrath, several bosses went viral thanks to their memorable quotes. From Thorim's deep voice recalling meeting players "In the mountains ..." to the juvenile XT-002 lamenting the death of his toys, voices made these bosses come to life at a previously unseen level.

Which voices in the World of Warcraft are the most memorable for you, and how have they enhanced your experience?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: I am the lucid dream

Recently, I was talking to Matticus and Kinaesthesia on one of our podcasts about Ruby Sanctum. Toward the end of the discussion, Kina mentioned how much he loved Halion's voice actor, Matthew Mercer (granted, we didn't know that was his name at the time.) We agreed his voice acting was excellent, and Kina suggested Blizzard ought to keep bringing him back for more parts. To date, Mercer also has done the voice of General Vezax in Ulduar and Overthane Balargarde in Icecrown.

Anyway, some days later while we priests were tossing the PoM around, the subject came up again, and Kina quoted the line Halion says when you enter phase 2: "You will find only suffering in the realm of twilight. Enter if you dare." He gushed at the inflection on the word "suffering," while I stated my preference for the way he taunts you with, "Enter if you dare."

Our talk led to other memorable lines from Wrath. I immediately brought up Sara from Ulduar and quoted her haunting, "I am the lucid dream." Plus, who could forget a first visit to Ulduar? I remember my sleepy raid's wandering into the Antechamber around 1 a.m. the first night that patch 3.1 went live. After accidentally completing Crazy Cat Lady and distributing loot, we stood around deciding where to go next. Vent had gone quiet while we all tabbed out to read up on Hodir until a deafening scream cut through the silence of the Observation Ring. Everyone on Vent promptly freaked out: "What the hell was that!?!"

I loved it.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Suffer mortals, as your pathetic eardrums betray you

I hate Sindragosa. It's not the fight -- sure, the stacks of Permeating Chill are annoying as a mutilate rogue, but you can cloak them away. The Ice Tombs are even kind of fun, especially if you can /dance with her before getting frozen -- see what kind of crazy contortionist positions you can get stuck in! The Blistering Cold isn't that hard to book it out of if you keep your camera facing whatever direction you have to run, just hold down both mouse buttons when she pulls you in and you're out like lightning.

No, it's none of the above. It's her voice. It's that awful, rasping, screeching bellow. It's the way she draws out the word 'betray' that wasn't so bad the first time I heard it but let me tell you three wipes in and I was ready to turn off the sound effects entirely. I want to kill her every week not because there is loot to be had, but so that I do not have to listen to her anymore.

On the other hand, back in the days of Blackwing Lair I begged my raid leader to let me trigger the Nefarian event, just because I really wanted to hear him talk. I forget the exact number of times we wiped on Nefarian before finally killing him for the first time, but the silky way in which he said "Let the games begin" made it a little easier to take. There are other bosses and encounter voices I love -- nobody can forget Millhouse Manastorm, he of the infamous "I'm gonna light you up, sweet cheeks!" I always loved the voice of C'thun. The first time I stepped foot into AQ40 and heard that eerie, low voice from out of nowhere, politely informing me that my friends would abandon me and that I would die, I nearly yelped aloud.

But Sindragosa. Ah, Sindragosa, you have reached a level of irritation with me that rivals even Jaina Proudmoore's incessant sobbing or Kael'thas' never ending bantering in Magister's Terrace -- which now takes longer to listen to than it takes to kill him. So how about you guys -- who's tops on the voice acting in your opinion? Who do you love to hear every time you kill them? Whose voice makes you reach for the mute button?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Your favorite lines of spoken dialogue


While video game voice acting never really seems to draw the amazing big names, it's definitely steadily improving from the old day when it was spare members of the coding team and a couple people pulled off from the street or something. WoW seems to combine the best of both worlds here, in that Warcraft's Voice acting seems to run the gamut from awesome to pretty decent to painfully over-hammy. Still, to its credit, it's produced a whole lot of iconic lines, from the first "zug zug" to "You are not prepared" and beyond.

With so many iconic phrases, both breath taking and amusing, I'm interested to know what lines of dialogue stick with you and why. Is it the turn of phrase? The delivery? The context in which the line is spoken that adds to the drama or humor?

For me, it's all about Eadric the Pure. Pretty much every line of dialogue he gets in the Trial of the Crusader 5-man is amazing. Well acted, well scripted, with just the right balance between pomposity, noble righteousness and a sort of bemused sense of humor and enjoyment about the whole concept of the Argent Tournament. If I had to pick one line, it would be his final one: "I yield! I submit! Excellent work! May I run away now?"

Yes, you may Eadric. But please, come back again soon. You're awesome.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Lore, NPCs

WoW Moviewatch: Jesse Cox Voice Actor Video Demo


Tipster Kerri clued me in to the Jesse Cox Voice Actor Video Demo on YouTube. This is definitely not the sort of movie we'd regularly feature on Moviewatch, of course, but it points out an interesting facet of machinima that we don't usually talk about. Namely, this video shows off the skills of the voice actors.

Many times, a video can be visually impressive, but less-than-stellar voice acting can detract from the overall experience. Jesse Cox has worked with Myndflame in several videos, as well as starring in Divided Soul. By watching this demo reel, you can very clearly see how much character and technique he brings to his roles. I think it can't be understated how important it is to a machinima to have actors who can speak their lines fluidly, believably, and without awkward moments.

Like I said, the video demo itself is pretty straight-forward. I hope it brings the results to Jesse that he wants. But, I wanted to feature it to help highlight the often unsung hero of machinima: the voice actor.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Moviewatch

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