The Terrible Truth Behind the Pillars of Creation and Expansion 7

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The God of the Deep writhes in his prison, breaking free ever so slowly. You should hurry and defeat the fallen titan… there are greater battles yet to fight.

-Xal’atath, Blade of the Black Empire

Since the moment this quote was first discovered in the World of Warcraft: Legion alpha, I haven’t been able to get the idea that Blizzard might already be teasing expansion seven out of my head. While N’Zoth has been built up as a threat for quite awhile, and is one of the last pre-existing big-name villains we have yet to face, nothing else like the above quote appeared. Until now.

With the release of the Emerald Nightmare raid on live servers yesterday, we’ve seen the full dialogue for the Il’gynoth boss fight. After looking through Il’gynoth’s quotes, not only am I confident in the old Xal’tath whisper as being a hint towards something greater, but I’m starting to think we may know how Legion will end and the next expansion might begin.

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Blizzard’s Chris Metzen Announced Retirement

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406753_10151131823872434_2121458852_nI have been around the Blizzard Entertainment community since 2001 (at age 28) when I played StarCraft, and shortly after in 2003 — Blizzplanet was born. Now at age 43, I am fully immersed in Blizzard’s worlds. I have played all their video games and expansions. I have read all their novels (StarCraft, Warcraft, Diablo). I have grown attached to many of the developers that I have either met and interviewed in person at various events, and others I have only followed online through these years.

One always inpired me, and sated my hunger for more lore: Chris Metzen.

As an anecdote, back in 2008 I was not invited to the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty press event. I emailed Chris Metzen on a Friday. Less than 24 hours later, Blizzard PR reached out to set my flight and hotel reservations to fly to Irvine. To my surprise, I got to interview Chris and thank him in person.

A few months later, at BlizzCon, I was sitting in the press area (mostly empty) and I hear someone calling me: “Hey, Tom!” I look to my left, and it was Chris Metzen waving at me. That meant the world to me as a fan. Later in 2009, I interviewed Chris at the NY Comic Con about World of Warcraft: Arthas, and in 2012 about Transformers: Autocracy.

I’ll truly miss him. He’s been a heart-close figure. Family.

I have seen many developers come and go, especially these past few years. However, I have to say the ONE I am deeply going to miss is Chris Metzen. He is the soul of Warcraft. Beyond that… the soul of the Blizzard community.

The Star Wars’ “George Lucas.”
The Hobbit’s “J.R.R. Tolkien.”
The Star Trek’s “Gene Roddenberry.”
The Marvel’s “Stan Lee/Jack Kirby.”
The D&D’s “Gary Gygax.”

In short, the one (as fans) we consider the father of the Warcraft lore, one way or another, and other Blizzard franchises. He will be forever present through his works.

Witnessing his retirement hurts my soul deeply — because of what it means for all of us in terms of future stories by him, not seeing him at BlizzCon panels, watching him jam his thoughts in the Collector’s Edition Behind-the-Scenes DVD, or interviews. On the other hand, I’m glad for Chris and Kat. They recently had a baby. Family comes first.

Wish you the best and many blessings, brother!

Note: Very likely you will find words from Chris Metzen in the WARCRAFT BLU-RAY/DVD (Sept 27). Order now.

chris-metzen-allianceI had just turned twenty years old when I started working at Blizzard. Seems like a lifetime ago. Guess it was. Those first few years were the start of a very grand adventure for me, one that would take me around the world, introduce me to thousands of wonderful geeks just like me—and ultimately shape the course of my adult life.

Of course when I started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to make games or build entertainment products.…

But I had an insatiable passion for ideas. For stories. For heroes.

My only real training before joining Blizzard was the long-running D&D campaign I had with my closest friends—Sam, Mike P., Daniel, and Mikey C. (you know who you are, boys…HAMRO!). Building ideas—vast worldscapes, characters, and plotlines with my friends was my first great love. I lived for it. It was a safe space amid the tension and change of some rough teenage years. The grand refuge of D&D was a glorious meeting of minds and imaginations where I felt I truly belonged.

It was a space where friendship and imagination were inextricably linked.

The sharing of ideas on the fly, the crazy, unexpected turns other players would take—it stretched our imaginations in ways we’d never have dreamt of on our own. I loved how roleplaying through adventures taught us so much about each other—and, more often than not, ourselves. Imagining together helped us make sense of the crazy world we were growing up in. It made us stronger together.

I wouldn’t really understand the depth of it for many years, but I had learned an important truth from my friends back then:

Creativity is relational.

Looking back at my years at Blizzard, I see now how profoundly this idea has shaped my career. I see how profoundly my friends and coworkers at Blizzard have shaped me as a person.

For nearly twenty-three years I’ve had the very distinct privilege of shaping worlds and building games with the brightest creative minds in entertainment. I’ve walked with giants (and stood on some giants’ shoulders, too).

In short, I’ve had the time of my life.

I pretty much had the coolest job ever—but the truth is, sometimes it was really hard. Building games with dozens of brilliant, passionate alpha-geeks with their own red-hot instincts and perspectives can be pretty tricky. Coming to consensus about certain design decisions, story motifs, or courses of art direction takes a lot of communication, patience, and “give and take.” It stretches you. Sometimes it wasn’t all that pretty. But engaging with your teammates and collaborating through the potential quagmire of all that creative tension is where the real magic happens.

It’s not just the decisions you come to—or even the final shape of the product you craft.… It’s bigger than that—and infinitely more important. True collaboration builds trust—and trust is the basis of all lasting relationships. With trust you build more than just a great product.

You build a TRIBE…that can build anything.

A family of craftsmen.

That’s what Blizzard has been for me. My second family, through all of life’s ups and downs, it’s always been there. The great, geeky backdrop of my life. I don’t just mean “the job” or even the creative mission—but the people. The people who over and over lifted me up, believed in me—and pushed me to find my potential as both an artist and as a leader all these years.

To my Blizzard brothers and sisters…I wish I had the words.

Everything just sounds…trite.

All I can think of is…

You helped me believe in myself and achieve every one of my wildest dreams.
I am forever grateful to you.

I love you all with everything I’ve got.

Thank you.

And to all of you out there in Blizzard’s vast gaming community—those of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and all of you around the world I’ve only heard about—thank you.

Thank you all for letting me be a special part of your community. For letting me belong with you. We’ve shared countless adventures together and I’ve always been overwhelmed and humbled by your passion for our games as well your commitment to each other. Thank you for all the BlizzCon hugs, smiles, handshakes, and stories over the years. You will never know how much you’ve all touched my heart and inspired me to give my all into this craft.

With that said, I’ll try to get down to the point, here. I’ve come to a turn in the road. A new, far quieter chapter in my life looms ahead.

I am retiring.

Yup.

Hangin’ up my guns.
Clockin’ out.
Takin’ the last gryphon out of Stormwind.
You get the picture.

Crazy, I know.

It’s a massive change for me, but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. It’s ironic given the fact that things have never been better or more energized at Blizzard. Just this year alone has been incredible.

Legion’s arrival.
The launch of Overwatch.
The Warcraft feature film.

I’ve never been more proud of Blizzard and the quality of its products than I am now. It’s remarkable that even after all these years we can still reach new heights and take the world for an amazing ride. I believe Blizzard’s future is brighter than ever.

I won’t lie—it’s going to be really hard stepping away from these worlds that I love. But I’m content that I’m leaving them in the hands of the most passionate, talented, and dedicated craftsmen ever assembled.

I can’t wait to see where Blizzard’s worlds go next—and to experience them first-hand like everyone else does. As a fan. As an adventurer. Right back to the start.

That’s just so cool…

The reason I use the word “retire” is because I’m not going to some other company or starting up new projects or anything remotely like that. It’s been a long, amazing stretch of years. Now it’s time to slow it down. Rest. Lay around on the couch and get fat. Well, fatter.…

Seriously though, I’ll be focusing on the one thing that matters most to me in all the world—my family. They’re the core of my life and the source of my deepest joy and inspiration. In addition to raising our two little ones, we recently welcomed our new baby into the family! Being home with them all, having time and space to really live…to love my wife with all my strength…that’s my career now.

And I’ve never been happier.

Ever. ☺

Peace out, y’all.

I love you all.

I’ll see you online.

Chris

 
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Watch the Warcraft Movie HD Digital Today on PC/Mobile

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Duncan Jones & Legendary Pictures’ WARCRAFT (The Movie) HD Digital version will be available on September 13th (Today). The physical WARCRAFT BLU-Ray will ship on September 27th. Pre-order it now with its 43% discount.

CORRECTION: After chatting with a customer service representative, I learned that you can watch the WARCRAFT movie today ONLY if you pre-ordered or purchase the WARCRAFT HD Digital version as a stand-alone — (valued at $14.99). It can be streamed to PC/Mac, Kindle devices, XBox One/360, PS4/PS3, Roku and other devices.

If you pre-ordered the WARCRAFT (BLU-Ray/DVD/HD Digital) version for $19.99 — then you must wait until the shipping date: September 27th. Then redeem the digital code (coming inside the BLU-RAY/DVD) to watch the HD Digital version. So you won’t be able to stream the HD Digital version in the Blu-Ray until Sept 27.

warcraft-movie-blu-ray

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3.3 Million Copies of World of Warcraft: Legion Sold

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Blizzard Entertainment issued a press release to announce the new expansion, World of Warcraft: Legion, has sold 3.3 million copies worldwide. In addition, as announced during PAX West (read panel transcript), the new Legion Companion App (iOS/Android) is available for download.

Blizzard’s new expansion for #1 MMORPG matches launch-day record with 3.3 million sold. Heroes of the Horde and the Alliance from around the globe unite as World of Warcraft achieves highest launch-week player concurrency since Cataclysm®

IRVINE, Calif. — With Azeroth on the brink of destruction, heroes from around the world were summoned to drive back the Burning Legion’s armies last week with the launch of World of Warcraft®: Legion™, the sixth expansion to Blizzard Entertainment’s acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Today, Blizzard announced that players have forged a truly formidable defensive front—as of the expansion’s first full day of launch on August 30 , more than 3.3 million copies of Legion had sold through, matching the all-time record achieved by previous expansions and making it one of the fastest-selling PC games ever.† In addition, World of Warcraft’s launch-week player concurrency climbed to its highest point since the 2010 launch of the Cataclysm® expansion, as champions from around the world united to strike a mighty first blow against the fel invaders. But the battle has only just begun.

Though Gul’dan and the Burning Legion seek the complete destruction of Azeroth, there is hope yet! Heroes of the Horde and the Alliance have rallied together to drive back this demonic invasion in World of Warcraft: Legion™. (Graphic: Business Wire)

“It’s been a thrill to see players hunting demons, powering up Artifacts, and freely exploring all the new zones in Legion,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “We worked hard to make this the best World of Warcraft expansion yet, and we look forward to providing players with even more content as Legion’s epic story unfolds in the months ahead.”

While players are currently entrenched against the first wave of demonic invaders, Legion’s next exciting chapter is already in the works. Last weekend at PAX West, Blizzard unveiled new details on the expansion’s upcoming first major content update, Patch 7.1: Return to Karazhan, featuring a reimagined version of one of World of Warcraft’s most popular raids. Players will explore a sprawling five-player Mythic dungeon, facing familiar foes from Karazhan’s past—and encountering plenty of surprises and twists along the way. The update also features a new set of quests unfolding over multiple weeks in the fallen night elf city of Suramar, as well as a brand-new raid: the Trial of Valor, which sends players deep into the vrykul underworld of Helheim.

 

WoW Legion Companion App Now Available

On Tuesday, Blizzard released the free WoW Legion Companion app, a new way for players to stay connected to their adventures on the Broken Isles, even from outside of Azeroth. With the app, players can manage their Order Hall missions and track World Quest availability, making it easy to plan out their adventures from afar. Available free now on iOS and Android™ mobile devices, the WoW Legion Companion App can help heroes keep the Burning Legion’s fel fire at bay even while on the go.

 

 

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2016 PAX West – World of Warcraft: Legion – The Invasion Continues Panel Transcript

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Blizzard Entertainment held at PAX West the World of Warcraft: Legion — The Invasion Continues panel (Sept 3) to discuss details of the Demon Hunter, and the upcoming Patch 7.1: Return to Karazhan.

It is a tradition here at Blizzplanet to provide our visitors with a panel transcript whenever Blizzard goes to convention events (see our past coverage and panel transcripts). I’m a disable, and as such I recognize the need for transcripts for those with hearing impairment, or those with english limitations to read-only; or to those who would love an archive to read or search keywords without having to browse through the video.

Below is the panel video (jump to 03:13:42).

2016-pax-west-world-of-warcraft-the-invasion-continues-panel-transcript

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Blizzplanet Coverage: World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Party in Paris

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Blizzard Entertainment (Versailles) invited me, other fansites and influencers to attend the World of Warcraft: Legion Launch Party held in Paris. I met Mamytwink and other folks at the hotel, and traveled in taxi to the Petit Bain (Port de la Gare).

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As we approached the Petit Bain, the first thing that impressed me was a gigantic mural of Illidan covering the top of the National Library of France.

 

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Southern California Legion Launch Signing Event!

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Blizzard Entertainment announced plans for the World of Warcraft: Legion Launch event in Santa Ana, California. Further details may be found here.

California residents, get ready to perambulate (or hitch a ride) over to the Esports Arena in Santa Ana to celebrate the launch of Legion at a special signing event Monday, August 29! Beginning 5pm through 8pm PDT, World of Warcraft developers will be on hand to sign your Legion box, mousepads, T-shirts, and more. The line will be cut off at 8pm, so make sure you’re there in time to get your signatures.

Come to the event early* to purchase the expansion on location at our pop-up store. The store opens at 4pm, and we’ll have both standard edition and Collector’s Edition boxes on hand, along with a few other Legion-themed goodies to purchase—though keep in mind all supplies are limited.

Both the store and signing** lines are separate, so make sure you allow yourself enough time to make any purchases at the store you’d like before you join the signing line.

But Wait, There’s More!

Food Trucks and Concessions: To make sure you don’t go hungry, you’ll be able to purchase tasty fare from the concession counter at the venue (cash only) or the nearby food trucks that will be on hand to take your order (and hard-earned gold) in exchange for tasty comestibles. You’re gonna need fuel to fight the Burning Legion!

  • Azeroth Choppers: See both the Horde and Alliance custom motorcycles created by designer Paul Jr. in all their chrome and steel splendor.
  • Artist Mini-Demos: Watch some of Blizzard’s artists demonstrate their techniques as you traverse the signing line.
  • Gorehowl and Warglaives: Get up close and personal with two real-life creations from the Azeroth Armory: the mighty axe Gorehowl and a fearsome warglaive.

 
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Conspiracy Theory: The Death of King Varian Wrynn

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The Alliance and the Horde united by Khadgar, led their mighty forces to the battlefield on the Broken Shore in an effort to stop the Burning Legion invasion and to kill Gul’dan. A second wave of heroes arrived to reinforce Varian and Vol’jin’s forces, but as their armies approached the Tomb of Sargeras — Vol’jin fell to a Felguard.

Sylvanas retrieved the wounded Warchief, and called a retreat. As warhorns blared, the Horde stepped away from the battlefield — leaving the threat from the sky open to attack the Alliance’s forces.

Varian ordered Genn Greymane and Mekkatorque to retreat their forces back to the gunship. Gul’dan summoned a hellish machine of war to fall from the sky with the intention to dunk down the gunship, but Genn Greymane quickly commanded the gunship to move away. Unfortunately, the machine of war reached out into the sky to hold the gunship down.

Varian knew that for as long as the machine held the gunship in place, it could topple it to the ground any second — killing all remaining Alliance forces. Closing his eyes, looking within for an answer, he decided to hand Genn a letter for Anduin; and without second-guessing himself, Varian let go of the ladder and plunged down on the machine of war — destroying it by sinking his sword on the head.

Varian was quickly surrounded and overwhelmed by demons, and bravely fought and slay a few — but eventually two felguard stabbed him through the back.

-death-of-varian

 

Gul’dan mocked Varian as he laid on his knees, impaled by two weapons: “You will be known as the King who gave his life for NOTHING!”

Varian responded: “For the Alliance!” His last words were basically that he didn’t die for nothing. He saved the Alliance troops onboard the gunship.

Gul’dan pushed a Fel Orb into Varian’s guts, and the last we saw was a Varian getting bloated up with fel energy and exploding.

That’s the end of Varian. The death of King Varian Wrynn. Or is it?

 

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