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Posts with tag warcraft-iii

Rumor: The9 loses WoW license in China to Netease


The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got WorldofWar.net reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.

The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.

Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.

Update: Confirmed. Thanks for playing, The9. Their stock is down big time since the announcement, and Netease's is up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Beyond the Game examines the lives of Warcraft III players

This isn't about World of Warcraft, but it will be familiar to some of you who spent hours building up bases and creating Spirit Towers. Beyond the Game is a new documentary from the Netherlands about two world-famous Warcraft III players and how the game has affected their lives and the people around them. It looks intriguing -- having been to a few gaming tournaments and interviewed a few of the top players myself, I agree that these guys are living some really strange lives. Even if you're not a Warcraft III player, this kind of esports is getting more and more popular around the world (from the old Counterstrike to WoW's Arenas, of course), and even though it hasn't quite hit the mainstream yet, more and more players are finding this kind of existence.

The film is set to be released in parts of the EU mid-March, and is being shown at a few gaming tournaments in various places around the world. There's no word on a US or DVD release yet, but we'll keep an eye out for it.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, PvP, Interviews, Fan art, Battlegrounds, Arena

BlizzPlanet reviews upcoming Arthas novel

One of the Warcraft novels I've actively been looking forward to is Arthas, Rise of the Lich King. It's set to be released to the world on April 21, 2009 but BlizzPlanet.com has gotten its hands on a few bound galleys of the book early. Some of them are being given away, but he's also reading one on his own and has gifted us with a quick review.

The review makes the book sound incredible, though perhaps a bit too cluttered. The novel is roughly 300 pages in length (I believe) and the first 100 pages covers his childhood from the arrival of the Stormwind refugees in Lordaeron to the beginning of Warcraft III. That covers about fourteen years, and that's potentially a lot of territory to cover!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips from the manual

Guynumber from Area 52 brings up a good point: why did Blizzard even bother putting game information in their original manual? Surely, they must have known that they'd be changing the game quickly, and while of course they'd have had no more idea than we had that some things so big would change (no ammunition, anyone?), they could have at least kept in mind that patches were coming.

Curious, I pulled out my old original manual. Here's some tips straight from the original release of World of Warcraft, when Magister's Terrace was a twinkle in a dev's eye, and Icecrown was just a level in Warcraft III, that aren't applicable any more:
  • Pallies are only available to Alliance races and Shamans are Horde only.
  • As Guymember points out, the manual says you will lose significant experience on death (but not so much as to lose a level).
  • Only the Priests, Shamans and Paladins have resurrection spells.
  • Attack Rating increases your chance of hitting a target with a weapon.
  • As a first level priest, your maximum skill level in holy magic is five. As you cast holy spells, your holy skill will max out until you level up and the cap increases.

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Filed under: Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, The Burning Crusade, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Hi Arthas! Want some help slaughtering the innocent?


A guildmate of mine was healing a Culling of Stratholme run last night and finally broached a question that seems to have occurred to everyone who's helped Arthas take his utilitarian moral perspective on the road: "Why are we helping this guy?"

It's a question that people used to ask about Black Morass a lot too (indeed, the first boss, Chrono Lord Deja, will ask you that himself), but Black Morass was a little more cut-and-dried. Medivh unquestionably cost many lives in bringing the first Horde through his portal, but if the orcs never set foot in Azeroth, then the world would have fallen to the Legion. The Bronze Dragonflight is unusually blunt about the cause-and-effect; war breaks out among the human kingdoms, the Alliance never occurs, the new Horde is not present at Hyjal to defend against Archimonde's forces -- indeed, the Legion may very well have swept the world without Hyjal ever occurring. So, despite the destruction wrought by the first Horde's entry into Azeroth (and you could argue, because of it), Medivh must succeed in opening the portal.

I'm not sure it's quite that straightforward with "Old Strat" -- and questions about whether it is prompt some thought-provoking questions concerning Azeroth's past, present, and future.

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

Ask a Lore Nerd: What's coming our way?


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.

On this very special edition of Ask a Lore Nerd, we're going to look into the future, at what's to come in Wrath of the Lich King. There's a lot on the horizon, and a lot of questions about what's to come. We're going to try to be light on spoilers, but give some idea of what's going down.

Yeah yeah, so there's a Troll zone, we learn the origins of Humanity, we meet some Tauren relatives, there's some junk about Dwarven royalty and all of that crap. Who cares? What about the Gnomes? Where's the Gnome lore!?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Ask a Lore Nerd

Gametrailers.com's Warcraft Retrospective continues

The second part of Gametrailers.com's Warcraft Retrospective has gone up, and it's no less fun and informative than the first. Picking up right where it left off, the second part starts with Warcraft III, following the ascension of some of the most well known Blizzard employees such as Rob Pardo, Chris Metzen, and Samwise Didier, not to mention the company and Warcraft series as a whole.

This edition of the series focuses a lot more on one specific game than the first edition, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that. Warcraft III changed a lot about the RTS genre and whether that's a good thing or not is up to the individual. It changed how you managed your units, your base, and your resources, making units more important than just canon fodder. That was especially true when it came to the hero units that now highlight World of Warcraft. This retrospective also goes into the infamous DOTA before it steps up to The Frozen Throne, so if you've no idea what that crazy Europop video is all about, you'll find out!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions

Christie Golden drops more info about Arthas

BlizzPlanet has a nice tidbit from Christie Golden about her upcoming novel about Arthas Menethil (better known as half of the Lich King, that bad guy we're going to be spending a lot of time with in the expansion). The book is due out next year (so odds are that we'll be approaching the end of the story by the time it hits store shelves), but it'll offer a look at the bad guy way before he started being bad -- the book starts with Arthas as a 10-year-old Prince, and covers everything between there to his little meltdown we witnessed in Warcraft III. The romance with Jaina is supposed to get some good coverage as well, so the book should be a good read.

And there are some bonuses for close readers as well -- we'll have seen some scenes before (including one between Arthas and Muradin in Beyond the Dark Portal), but of course, in this book, they'll be from Arthas' perspective. Arthas is undoubtedly the villian of the next ten levels in WoW (they even named the thing after him), but it's really exciting to have a villian with such an interesting and twisted past behind him.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Lore, Bosses, NPCs, Death Knight

Forum post of the day: What makes a Death Knight heroic?

The Death Knight has been touted as the first heroic class in World of Warcraft. Hopefully there will be more to come in the future. We've heard some interesting tidbits about this class, and many people are chomping at the bit to play one. Aegulle of Cenarius wants to know what it is about Death Knights that makes them "heroic." To him they appear to be just another class.

Some suggested that the starting level of this class makes them heroic- that nothing more thank skipping 55 levels of grinding is enough to qualify for an elevated status. Unlike existing classes, a player must put some effort into WoW before it can even be rolled. Death Knights can only be created by those who "unlock" the class by leveling at least one character on the server to 55.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Death Knight, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Warcraft III's Orc appears on fireworks


What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July today than to sit outside with some good beer, some tasty BBQ, and a whole lot of cheaply made fireworks? Brom and Seku on the Llane server were kind enough to send us this picture they took of a firework they found at a store in Pittsburg, Kansas -- apparently the "Behemoth," made by the Consumer Fireworks company in China, not only "emits showers of sparks," it also blows copyright law completely out of the water. Very nice.

One more gigantic pic of the Behemoth and its Warcraft III orc cover art after the jump. If you do use fireworks (or break copyright law) today, do it safely, and have a great holiday!

Gallery: Orc Fireworks

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Filed under: Orcs, Items, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Pardo says Warcraft IV is "one of the ideas on the table" after SC2

Our good friends at Gamedaily recently got a chance to sit down and talk with Rob Pardo, VP of Blizzard, and he dropped hints about yet another new game that they might be working on. No, not Starcraft II, or the rumored Diablo 3, or even the long-awaited (and unfortunately, probably never coming) Lost Vikings sequel. Nope -- he hinted that after the release of Starcraft II, whenever that happens, Blizzard's RTS team might be hard at work on... Warcraft IV.

Don't hold your breath, of course (this is Blizzard we're talking about) -- this would be after the current real-time strategy game is done, and Pardo says it would be "one of the the ideas on the table," so it's not exactly in the planning stages yet. But it's interesting to hear that Blizzard may still return to the Warcraft universe under the RTS banner -- we've seen such a different aspect of the world in the MMO, it would be very strange to go back to controlling these units from the top down.

Pardo also says that a console version of WoW is pretty much out of the question at this point -- if there is going to be a super-successful console MMO, it's not going to be World of Warcraft, as this game was designed for PC and has gone through so many iterations since that Blizzard isn't at all interested in trying a port. We are still waiting for that playable version of the Molten Core console game, though...

[via WorldofWar]

Update: Whoops, the interview is a bit old (Pardo said this last year). Still, news to me that Blizzard might bring RTS back into the Warcraft universe, but considering that Starcraft II doesn't even have a rumored release date yet, we're going to be waiting a long, long time.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Rumors

WoW theme for Blackberry

Not to be outdone by the WoW iPhone theme, Xtina over on WoW LJ took it upon herself to use those WoW icons to create a theme for the Blackberry. This one's even a little more in-depth -- she even skinned the calling screen (which is actually easy enough to do on the iPhone as well, but we just hadn't seen it before). Plus, the best part is that this one is completely legit -- you just download the file from Xtina's page there, and you can install it using Desktop Manager.

Of course, we haven't actually heard from Blizzard about any of this stuff yet -- odds are that as great as their icons are, they're not real thrilled with seeing them used in other places (a friend of mine who just recently saw me playing World of Warcraft shouted out in surprise, "Hey! Those are the icons from that game on Facebook!" I didn't bother telling her about the real DotA or Warcraft III). Then again, both of these are completely fanmade and free to download -- surely themes like this, that let Blizzard fans show off their loyalties, can be let through the loopholes.

Filed under: Tricks, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Add-Ons, Fan art

The Infinite Dragonflight in Stratholme

We hit on this one with Mount Hyjal before, but Ironcog brings up an interesting point: why exactly are we going to be mucking around in the old city of Stratholme via the Caverns of Time? In Escape from Durnholde, we're obviously trying to make sure Thrall gets out of the prison camp, and the Infinite Dragonflight is fighting to stop us and ruin history. Same deal in the Black Morass -- the Infinite Dragonflight is trying to keep Medivh from opening the Dark Portal. But in Hyjal, the dragonflight is nowhere to be seen, and we're basically just time tourists. You'd think the Bronze Dragonflight would want us to stay out of there.

Of course, we don't exactly know what's happening in the Stratholme of the past -- maybe the Infinite Dragonflight is causing problems there that we need to stop (or, even better, maybe we'll get to see an as-yet-unknown reason why a Paladin of the Silver Hand, headstrong as he might have been, decided to slaughter an entire town even before he was under Frostmourne's corruption -- maybe there's more to Arthas than we saw in Warcraft III).

But hopefully the Infinite Dragonflight storyline will be continued in some way -- mucking about in time isn't exactly safe, so there should be good reasons the Bronze Dragonflight sends us back to these past events. Watching history firsthand is fun and all, but the lore of the Bronze Dragons falls apart completely if they just start opening up theme parks in the past.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Raiding, Lore, Bosses, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

Getting your RTS background in before it's too late

Methedras asks once again over on WoW LJ if now is a good time to be playing the old Warcraft RTS games, and, actually no, now is probably not a good time to be playing them. You should probably be heading up to the Isle of Quel'danas and helping your realm and the Shattered Sun get those dailies unlocked.

But yes, after patch 2.4 has quenched your interest in the World of Warcraft for a while, now would be a perfect time to play Warcraft III and its expansion, the Frozen Throne. Because we are right smack dab in the thick of the lore following both of those games -- Illidan and Kael'thas' stories have just finished, and the main event, with Arthas Menethil, is just about to start in Northrend. Up until the end of Wrath of the Lich King (and we're just now reaching the end of the Burning Crusade), World of Warcraft was really just a gigantic, cross-genre, extremely involved and detailed sequel to Blizzard's earlier Warcraft games.

There are other places to go beyond this, however, of course, and we've discussed a lot of them before (and will again, no doubt). But yes, if you haven't played the RTS games yet, you've already missed half of the story. Now would be a great time to play them, before you miss the second (and in my estimation, much more interesting) half.

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

Why is Kael a bad guy again?

A few days ago, Allison posed an interesting question: Why is Kael a bad guy? The answer is pretty clear to me, there's a definite path you can follow to Kael's corruption and downfall. It isn't very well laid out for you in the World of Warcraft, there's some connect-the-dots you need to do, but I think the answer is there. Be warned, there are some spoilers for patch 2.4 ahead, so be careful if you're trying to dodge them.

As Allison detailed, a lot of things had happened in Kael'thas's life just prior to Warcraft III, and during it. The captain of the football team steals his girl, kills his pops, and massacres the people of Quel'Thalas. Dalaran gets destroyed, and the remnants of his people are slowly falling into sickness for unknown reasons. Despite this, Kael'thas forges ahead and steps up to lead his people and protect them, no matter what it takes. This may mean allying himself with the remnants of Lordaeron, the people who indirectly caused the fall of Quel'thalas. This may mean allying with the Lady Vashj and the naga, described by Allison as "vicious," despite being what they are. For the good of Quel'Thalas and the Sindorei, anything goes.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, NPCs

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