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Posts with tag warcraft

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy

Former WoW developer Mark Kern wonders if WoW is too easy
Mark Kern, who left Blizzard way back in 2005 to found Red 5 Studios, is working on a new free to play, sci-fi MMO called Firefall -- and has some less than flattering things to say about the game WoW has become. His top complaint: that MMOs are now too easy. "When was the last time you died in a starter zone?" Kern muses. "Sometimes I look at WoW and think 'what have we done?' I think I know. I think we killed a genre."

The easier content, he argues, means both developers and players focus less on the content in the middle of the game and more on racing to get to the end game -- and by rushing through the game from level 1 to level 90, you miss out on a lot of the game itself. Of course Kern notes that his upcoming MMO has the mix just right -- and that by focusing on the journey instead of the destination, Firefall is a lot more fun.

While we are fans of new games -- and love the art style Firefall has going -- we're less convinced about dying in newbie zones as a gameplay necessity. Time will tell if Kern has the right of things -- Firefall's open beta is starting soon.

Filed under: News items

WRUP: Cast the Warcraft movie, again

WRUP Cast the Warcraft movie, again
This week the Warcraft movie secured itself a new director after losing Sam Raimi last year. The new director will be Duncan Jones, the director of Moon and Source Code, who had expressed an interest at directing the film while Sam Raimi was still attached to the project. Personally, I'm happy to see Jones taking on the project ... Not because I love Jones (he's fine) but because I was worried an adaption by Sam Raimi would be too lighthearted for my tastes. If I had it my way every film would be directed by Christopher Nolan.

So now that we have a director, let's write up our dream cast list again. For those of you who have been reading WoW Insider a long time, you'll know I already wrote mine a couple of years ago, so now it's your turn to take a stab at it.

Oh yeah, and what are you playing this weekend? Pfft, just tell us your dream cast list! It's way more fun.

Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) I'm currently trying to resist purchasing The Cave on Steam. We'll see if that holds out over the weekend or not. Other than that, a little raiding and a whole lot of writing.

Bonus question: Man I have no idea, but if they don't at least consider Michele Morrow (@michelemorrow) as Sylvanas I am going to be a little sad.

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The inside story of the making of Warcraft on Kotaku

The inside story of the making of Warcraft on Kotaku
Ever wondered about the beginning of Warcraft? Not World of Warcraft, the game you're playing right now -- no, I'm talking about the Warcraft franchise. It all started with a game called Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, released way back in November of 1994. Warcraft was originally developed as a real-time strategy game, nothing at all like the MMO monstrosity it has evolved to today. But the story of WoW has its roots firmly entrenched in Warcraft's history, and WoW would not exist if we never had Orcs and Humans.

Kotaku has begun posting a series of fascinating interviews with Patrick Wyatt, game developer, former Blizzard executive, and producer as well as lead programmer on the original Warcraft game. Part one talks about the sources and inspiration for Warcraft along with the early development of features that are standard with games these days, and it explores the unique formation of a team of developers that would eventually leave an indelible mark on gaming history as we know it.

Part one is good enough on its own, but the next in the series promises to shed even more light on the development of game. Head over to Kotaku and check out the full interview. It's definitely worth the read, and keep an eye out for the next installment.

Filed under: News items, Interviews

Global Writing Contest 2011 winning entries released

Winning entries of the 2011 Global Writing contest released
Remember last year's Global Writing Contest? After months of deliberation, Blizzard carefully chose and announced several winners, leaving the stories to be posted at a later date. That date is today, apparently, as the grand prize-winning story The Exit has now been posted on the official site, along with excerpts from several of the runners-up. The Global Writing Contest was a chance for players to put pen to paper and craft a story set in any of the universes Blizzard has created. The winning story, The Exit, is a StarCraft tale, while the posted finalist excerpts are all set in the Warcraft universe.

At the moment, we have yet to see any hint of a Global Writing Contest for this year. Hopefully, this won't be the last we see of the Global Writing Contest, since it was a beloved addition to Blizzard's usual round of contests and giveaways. That said, the finalists and grand prize-winning stories from last year are all well worth the read. Congratulations to all the winners! To read The Exit as well as the excerpts from the other finalists, check out the full post on the official site.

Filed under: News items, Contests, Lore

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Pet Battle Music is a blast from the past

In what will be heralded as one of the more austere, kickass features coming with Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard has finally added in the music for Pet Battles, which is a mix of a little new/little old MIDI tunes that sound more at home on a Super Nintendo. But what's that I hear? Is it ... the original Warcraft and Warcraft II renditions of the faction songs? For Pet Battles? For serious?

I guess I have to go install Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition again. Great. What do you all think about the old Warcraft music's making an appearance in WoW?

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Where is WoW's story headed in the distant future?

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.

Because of the way we experience the setting, the story of World of Warcraft progresses in bursts. It's fair to think of each expansion as a new series, and the patches as episodic, in the same manner as British TV series such as Doctor Who or Turning Evil. Therefore, each expansion brings new settings, new dangers, and a new, overarching storyline, while each patch is an advancement of that storyline, bringing it to a conclusion with the ultimate patch of each expansion. In this way, Patch 4.3 is effectively a multi-part episode concluding the story of our confrontation with Deathwing.

I bring this up because with Mists of Pandaria, we're going to see a whole new place and explore it. In essence, it will be an expansion that introduces a great deal of new -- new lands, new peoples, new experiences. While it will still be part of Azeroth and still part of the unfolding storyline, it's also a change to switch gears and get away from the familiar. In a game like WoW, it's necessary to introduce new elements in this way to keep the setting engaging. It may be hard to relate now, but Ragnaros, Ahn'Qiraj, the Old Gods, the Silithid, all were introduced in World of Warcraft and not any of the RTS games. Look at the Warcraft III map of Kalimdor. You'll notice pretty much everything south of Feralas is blank on it.

This puts me in mind to speculate on the future of the game and where the lore is going to take us. Not just in Mists, of course, as I expect that much of the lore of the expansion is well and truly fleshed out already, and I'm as eager as anyone to see it. But we've got expansions down the road and trends to consider. None of this absolutely will happen ... but some of it might.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard announces 2011 Global Writing Contest winners

Did you try your hand at the penning some Blizzard prose this year? Blizzard just released the list of winners from this year's Global Writing Contest, including one grand prize winner, seven finalists and a host of honorable mentions. The grand prize winner this year is The Exit by Danny McAleese, who will receive a trip to Blizzard's headquarters to meet and eat with Blizzard's writing staff, as well as a ton of signed novels and a Doomhammer by Epic Weapons. The seven finalists will also receive a collection of signed novels to call their own.

The winning entry, as well as excerpts from all seven finalists, will be posted on the Blizzard website soon. Congratulations to all the winners and recipients of honorable mentions! Check after the break for the grand prize winner and finalists, and for a full list of winners, check out the official announcement on Blizzard's website.

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Filed under: News items, Contests

Why you might like Blizzard DOTA

Fans of Defense of the Ancients, the immensely popular Warcraft III mod that spawned an entirely new genre of gaming, are already conditioned to love Blizzard DOTA. I got to play it this week at BlizzCon 2011 and had a great time getting into the very familiar world. However, many Blizzard fans are not DOTA enthusiasts or even privy to the genre itself. WoW players may not really understand what this Blizzard offering is about or even why they should be interested. Warcraft fan-favorite characters Thrall and Arthas are making appearance in Blizzard DOTA, which means gamers who have ever wanted to pit these monolithic figures against other Blizzard staple characters will get the chance. Here's what you need to know about Blizzard DOTA and why you just might like playing as one of your favorite WoW personalities.

Defense of the Ancients was originally a Warcraft III mod that became so incredibly popular that it spawned the genre know known as MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) or ARTS (action real-time strategy), depending on who you ask. The game consists of three paths that connect two bases with destructible buildings and towers along the path routes. Waves of minions or creeps, NPC characters that spawn endlessly from both bases, meet in the middle of these lanes to do battle. You control a powerful hero who levels up, gains skills and abilities, and can purchase items from a shop. Your goal is to fight these minions and enemy players, destroy the enemy towers and buildings, and win the game.

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Filed under: Blizzard, BlizzCon

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

BlizzCon 2011 schedule app available for Android, iPhone

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!

Filed under: BlizzCon

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

Winners announced for Memories of Blizzard video contest

The Memories of Blizzard contest, which asked you (all of you, really) for videos containing your memories of Blizzard games over the past 20 years, has announced the lucky winners. Who won for their efforts in crafting videos of their memories? Well, I'll tell you. (He's going to tell, he's going to tell.) Stop singing, please.

Grand Prize
  • Chris Modica – Atlanta GA, USA
First Place
  • James "Pinkhair" Lawless – Selden, NY, USA
Second Place
  • Michael Cawcutt – Minneapolis, MN, USA
Runners-Up
  • Edwin Choi – Carrollton, TX, USA
  • Nicholas Gibbs – Aloha, Oregon, USA

If you're interested in seeing the videos yourself, you can do that at the video contest page. Congratulations to all the winners!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Cryptozoic interviews Micky Neilson, James Waugh

Cryptozoic Entertainment recently began digital distribution of Blizzard's manga titles, as announced last month. This month, the company interviewed two of the big names behind the manga and its development. Micky Neilson, publishing team lead for Blizzard, and James Waugh, senior story developer for Blizzard, should be familiar to those that have read the manga, comics, and various Warcraft stories available. Most recently, they teamed up to write the five-issue comic series Curse of the Worgen, a look into the background and origins of the worgen in Warcraft.

The Q&A itself delves into the behind-the-scenes of manga development; how stories are created and who develops those stories, the purpose of the manga series and how it incorporates into the overall canon lore of World of Warcraft. And for those wondering, the question of whether or not the manga series is official canon is addressed as well.

The only minor disappointment with the interview is that the future of the Blizzard manga titles isn't really addressed. Whether or not any brand new titles will be published in the future wasn't touched upon, leaving the fate of the manga as a solid question mark. Regardless, the sheer enthusiasm of Neilson and Waugh during the interview is a nice reminder that those behind the story really do cherish the properties they're working with. Check out the full interview on Cryptozoic's website.

Filed under: News items, Lore, Interviews

Breakfast Topic: What brings people back to WoW?

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

My guild, like most, has seen players quit the game for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is another game stealing their gamer hearts, and equally often it can be a real-world time constraint that is given priority. What interests me is how the majority of these players return eventually. Most of the time, this seems to happen when their real-world issues get resolved or when they discover that other MMO just doesn't love them as much as WoW did. Nearly all of our regular guildmates who have "given up WoW," including selling or deleting accounts, have returned.

I had even "quit" WoW for nearly a year and let my subscription go. Just before I came back, I had been playing Fallout 3 and beat it, completing pretty much everything. When it ended, I wanted a game that I could keep playing, a place where my character could keep growing and the world wouldn't end when I beat some random boss. I instantly remembered WoW, bought Wrath of the Lich King, and have been playing strong ever since.

If you or someone you know has ever made the decision to give up the game and move on -- more than just taking a break -- what has brought you or your friend or guildmate back into the world? Is it a realization that WoW just might be the best MMO on the market today? Is it a recreation of spare time for gaming? Or is it something else even more interesting?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

What WoW mobile app would you like to see next?

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

For those of us who simply can't get enough WoW time in while we're in front of a computer, Blizzard has already created the Mobile Armory and Mobile Auction House applications. We can look up character stats, achievements, gear, and talents as well as buy, sell, and collect gold from our auction house deals. These are very cool tools to give yourself a little more Warcraft on the go or at work.

I think there are a lot more possibilities, though. There's a new app out there that can solve sudoku puzzles just by taking a picture of them. There's an app that can tell you where you are based on star constellations or tell you what the sky looks like above you based on your GPS and the angle of your phone.

Don't you think WoW could take advantage of some of these amazing advances in phone technology? What about an app for crafting? It could work in conjunction with the auction house application and let you do crafting from your smart phone. I can picture an easy interface that would be similar to our in-game crafting menu, showing the recipes with the sort by categories such as item type, materials on hand, or gem color. Of course, considering how fast our technology is rolling out, it might not be too long before we could see a slimmed-down version of Warcraft in our hands. Can you imagine WoW Lite? It probably wouldn't be suitable for raiding, but questing, gathering, or maybe easy dungeons could be a blast on a long bus ride.

Would you get excited about a crafting app or WoW Lite, or is there another application idea you've been dying to see Blizzard develop?

Filed under: Guest Posts

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