PTR 3.1 US Character Copy Available

PTR 3.1 Character copy is available on US Realms with a queue downed to 4 days. Seems to be available randomly depending on how many people are copying their characters at certain intervals.  I have been checking every few minutes, reloading the page.

I was able to copy two characters on to Broxigar PvE server. The PvP server is named Anasterian. I will report an update once the installer is available. It is not at the moment. Keep trying to copy your character every now and then. Knowing how many people wishes to join, queues will be full often.

 

Review: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King

I finished reading the book and I am ready to tell fans my experience without spoiling much. At least nothing you haven’t already seen in Warcraft III. For those catching up, we got some World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King galleys to giveaway to fans—courtesy of Simon & Schuster and Blizzard Entertainment.  A galley is an uncorrected proof (a special advance reader’s edition not-for-sale).  The advantage is that you get to read the book nearly two months ahead before they hit bookstores.

On to the review, Christie Golden has done an excellent work researching many previous books by other authors, and playing Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its Frozen Throne expansion. We get to see Arthas at age 9 and how his life and experiences shaped up what one day would be a Prince sacrificing everything zealously for his people, to be able to claim Frostmourne in order to defeat the dreadlord Mal’Ganis.

We see Sir Anduin Lothar, Khadgar and a young Prince Varian Wrynn arriving at Capital City to inform about the fall of Stormwind—an exact scene from World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg—but from the point of view of a young Arthas hiding on the upper gallery to witness the scene. We see how Varian and Arthas play together, except Varian had been trained since childhood, while Arthas was overprotected from such trainings by his father.

The love triangle between Kael, Jaina and Arthas is explored in-depth throughout two chapters and a half. Christie works her usual magic here developing feelings and passions. We get to briefly see many characters of the Warcraft universe, and various scenes from the point of view of Arthas.  We get to see that scene in Day of the Dragon when Lord Daval Prestor (Deathwing) was chosen to marry Calia Menethil when she was age 16. A scene from World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal when Muradin walks in into Capital City to find a young Arthas playing make-believe attacking illusory orcs with his training sword. This leads Muradin to volunteer to train him.

Something I found quite refreshing was the use of World of Warcraft festivities throughout the length of the book. Noblegarden, the Midsummer Fire Festival, the Hallow’s End, and the Feast of Winter Veil to develop the relationship between Arthas and Jaina together as years go by. As some people know, Christie Golden has been a World of Warcraft player for the past years on a RP-server. She knows the game with a passion.

Arthas visiting Durnholde Keep on behalf of his father, as he starts taking bigger responsibilities as a Prince. Meeting Thrall fight other adversaries at the Gladiator Arena. His induction ceremony at the Cathedral of Light where he was ordained a Paladin of the Order of the Silver Hand.

You will love how accurately Christie depicts the scenes from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos word by word as things are said either in the mission briefings or the in-game engine’s cinematics—fleshing out those parts in between to connect with the next campaign maps.

For example, remember that scene where Arthas awaits Jaina? The soldier asks Arthas if they should help Jaina. Enter Jaina …. fleeing from Ogres. She turns around and handles them on her own with the help of a Water Elemental.

That scene when they find the plagued silo, find two elven priests and even a dwarven mortar team.  Then arrive to the granary and find an Abomination.

Jaina: “By the Light—- that creature looks like it was sewn together from different corpses!”

Arthas: “Let’s study it after we kill it, okay?”

The scene where Arthas calls Uther a traitor and disbands the Order of the Silver Hand. The Cunning of Stratholme. The search for Frostmourne and the apparent demise of Mal’Ganis. Walk the halls toward the throne room of Lordaeron Capital City. Find out what went through Arthas’ mind when touching the rose petals with his gloved fingers.

For continuity’s sake, we see Jaina Proudmoore and Magna Aegwynn (Medivh’s mother) in Theramore (from the pages of World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido and the current DC comics / Wildstorm World of Warcraft Comic Book). As well as various scenes from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion with brief cameos of Tuskarr and Taunka races.

The book goes as far as Warcraft III: Frozen Throne’s Undead Campaign from start to end. There is only two major omissions that I have to acknowledge may have been due to space just 25 pages away from the last page. The lapse between fighting Sapphiron to entering the gates to the Inner Kingdom was completely skipped. And the major turn off is that the Forgotten One is not even mentioned as even happening.

The epilogue presents what happened these past four years with Arthas. He is been dreaming. And he awakes leading to the invasion to Orgrimmar and Stormwind and the events of Wrath of the Lich King. But what happened during those four years of dreaming? There has been an inner conflict within Arthas the Lich King’s head … between three minds striving for control: Ner’zhul, Arthas, and … who we are familiar with as Matthias Lehner (the ghost child). The end is shocking to say the least. And unexpected.

Except for those two events omitted, the book is accurate and loyal to the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: Frozen Throne. And offers much more with extra spice from Christie Golden. I can only say one thing about this. I (beep) love this book !!!

This book is an overdosed cocktail of lore and continuity that will numb your senses.

If you are a die-hard WarCraft lore fan you can’t miss this book.  If you are a World of Warcraft player who didn’t get to play previous Warcraft games—this book will be your best chance at catching up with Arthas’ past pre-Third War and it covers both: Warcraft III and its expansion accurately. Pre-Order World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King … on sale: April 21, 2009.

Watch our interview with Blizzard’s Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson at the 2009 New York Comic Con for details of World of Warcraft: Arthas and the World of Warcraft: Stormrage book.

New Rise of the Lich King Stein Collection

3 Point Entertainment had successful sales of the World of Warcraft Steins and launched a new series at the end of 2008.  They have established themselves so well in the World of Warcraft market that a new collectible series based on Wrath of the Lich King has been announced recently.

Featuring Arthas the Lich King, the new stein comes in two flavors: Epic Collection for $89.99 and the Legendary Collection for $174.99. These new steins will be available on late April and late May.

Blizzard Quote:

Epic Collection

  • Shipping late April
  • Incredible Alex Horley artwork
  • Fine-grain stoneware with bas-relief sculpting
  • Sculpted pewter lid
  • Limited production
  • Purchase 2+ steins and pay only $12.95 shipping/handling on your total order!*

Legendary Collection

  • Shipping late May
  • Limited to only 750 steins worldwide
  • Hand signed by Alex Horley
  • Exquisite enhancements including premium hand painting (See FAQ for more details)
  • Limit 1 stein per customer
  • Purchase 2+ steins and pay only $12.95 shipping/handling on your total order!*

World of Warcraft # 16—The Return of Cho’gall

As revealed by Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson in our 2009 New York Comic Con video interview, The first Ogre Magi transformed by Gul’dan with the Runestone of Isle of Caer Darrow is back. Cho’gall did not die with the two axes to his chest, as depicted in the Pocket Star Book World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal.

Cho’gall is the leader of the Twilight’s Hammer Clan and in this upcoming issue # 16 he is at the chamber of … C’Thun in the Ahn’Qiraj Temple.

Blizzard Quote:
In the latest issue of the World of Warcraft comic, Broll receives a mysterious summons away from Theramore on the eve of the summit between King Varian and Thrall. Garona is taken captive by the Forsaken, but to what end? Plus, the return of Rehgar Earthfury! Check out the preview pages for yourself.

If you like what you see, you can visit Wildstorm for more information, locate a nearby comic store, or subscribe to the series directly.

2009 New York Comic Con Coverage

You can check out all the Blizzard products showcased at the New York Comic Con in our coverage page. I was there in person, digital camcorder on hand to be your eyes and ears.

Tokyopop had a manga book signing session with Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Josh Elder and Grace Randolph. And showcased Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 and Starcraft Frontlines Vol. 2.

I interviewed Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson at the Simon & Schuster booth where they talked in-depth about World of Warcraft: Arthas and even awesome spoilers about World of Warcraft: Stormrage—heck, it is not even listed in Amazon.

DC Unlimited showcased the three new action figures: Lo’gosh, Night Elf Huntress Alathena Moonbreeze and Scourge Ghoul Rottingham.

DC Comics teased StarCraft # 1 comic book.

2009 NYCC: Tokyopop Metzen and Neilson Signing

We were at the New York Comic Con 2009 to bring you videos of the event. Today, you can watch the book signing session held at the Tokyopop booth where Blizzard Entertainment Senior VP of Creative Development Chris Metzen and the Senior Writer & Voice Director Micky Neilson joined book writers Keith R.A. DeCandido (Starcraft Ghost: Academy), Josh Elder (StarCraft: Frontline Vol. 1) and Grace Randolph (Starcraft Frontline Vol. 2) to meet and greet fans.

At the end of video # 2 you will see Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson signing the Starcraft Comic Book Posters exclusively for our giveaway to fans. They are also signed by the manga writers. If you want the opportunity to win one of these signed posters follow the link to participate.

If you were at the event, you will probably have great memories to share with your friends and guildmates. Enjoy.


Video # 1

Video # 2

Win a Warcraft Legends Vol. 3 Giveaway

This week I am shipping a Warcraft Legends Vol. 3, courtesy of Tokyopop, to a lucky fan that participates in this giveaway. All you need to do is to type: I WANT A WARCRAFT LEGEND at the following thread.

There you can read a very interesting round up of one of the stories within the manga concerning Trag the tauren (from Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy) who returned from the grave as a undead.  His journey brought him to his people seeking help for his condition, just to meet betrayal from his brothers. Thrall gave Trag the means to regain his mind from the calling of the Lich King. Eventually, Trag reaches the icy wastelands with the quest to enact revenge against him.

Next week, It will be Blizzplanet’s turn for a giveaway. So stay tuned.

Blizzard Lead Producer Moves To New MMO

Our network site, IncGamers, got the MASSIVE breaking news that WoW Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan has moved away from the World of Warcraft team to focus all his time and effort on the Blizzard Entertainment’s unannounced Next-Gen MMO.

He will still be participating in certain WoW development decisions, but his new tasks will keep him busy on the development of the next-gen MMO. This brings a lot of speculation vibe to it. Why reveal he’s moved to the next-gen MMO team? Why now? Fans wouldn’t have even figured out he was missing except for the BlizzCast Q&As that aren’t released so often.

Will there be a new Blizzcon this year? Are we witnessing hints of an impending game announcement this year?

Will this Next-Gen MMO be a resurrected Starcraft: Ghost game? The game was postponed, not canceled.  It is quite possible. Back on Blizzcon 2005, fans played Starcraft: Ghost multiplayer. It looked more like an MMO than a console game. Another possible hint this game could resurface is the four Starcraft: Ghost printed-format books in development. Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star Books will publish Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by the end of 2009. Keith R.A. DeCandido has written around four chapters thus far.

Tokyopop will publish a manga trilogy titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy, aimed to be released throughout 2010. The Year of the Ghost. Speculations, speculations. Don’t we love that time of the year when Blizzard itches to tell something is being brewed in their headquarters?

Will it be a Starcraft MMO or Diablo MMO? It would be hard to tell. Back on 2002, two games were in development parallel to each other: World of Warcraft and Warcraft III.  Both games tied up lorewise with the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Undead races and the Kalimdor and Northrend continents.

Starcraft 2 is now developed to be three separate episodes of around 30 maps each.  This could be seen as expanding the lore to introduce an MMO.  On the other side, we have Diablo 3. It hasn’t been revealed if it will be split into episodes, but last year it was revealed that the storyline in Diablo 3 wouldn’t be the end. The Creative Development Team has plenty of story to tell beyond Diablo 3. Whether that is via expansions or … coughs … a Next-Gen MMO, that remains to be seen.

Keep your eyes open through the summer for any Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals or Blizzcon announcements. It could very well mean the unveiling of the mysterious Next-Gen MMO. Big thumbs up to Jeff Kaplan and his team. Make us proud and make the best MMO experience possible.

Blizzard Quote:
Tigole: I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I

Ghostcrawler Dual-Spec Q&A

The US Community Manager Nethaera got an awesome interview with developer Ghostcrawler to immerse us into the new Dual-Spec feature. This allows players to use two separate sets of talents that can be easily switched to be used in an appropriate situation. You can be a healer on PvE, or a DPS beast on PvP—for example. Or you can be a tank on PvE dungeons, and go all-out DPS for solo-farming and solo-quests. Talent Dual-spec is a great and flexible feature.

The complex design behind it at a glance seems to be very well-thought and implemented, making it as hassle free as possible. Inscribers can summon a Lexicon of Power in a raid via a ritual.  This summoned item will allow players to switch their spec; or you can visit any major city to use the Lexicon of Power.

You can save talent specs, glyphs, and action bars per spec; and a gear management system that works separately was also revealed. You can switch gear and trinkets manually with a click. Most of these features, minus the gear management system will be available on PTR when it is ready. Make sure to participate on PTR when it is up to test these new features and to iron out bugs before dual-spec hits live realms. The complete Q&A can be read after the break.

Blizzard Quote:
Talent Dual Spec Q&A with Ghostcrawler
With the next content patch, we will be introducing a number of additions and changes to the game. One new feature in the works is the ability to set up two separate sets of talents, or “dual spec”. While the complete feature may not be immediately available in the Public Test Realms (PTR) and specifics are still liable to change, we wanted to go over some questions with Senior Game Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street to find out more.

Nethaera: What is dual speccing?
Ghostcrawler: Dual speccing is the ability to save two separate talent specs, glyphs, and action bars.

Nethaera: Why are we allowing players to dual spec after all this time?
Ghostcrawler: We really felt like this was a great way to increase the flexibility available to players and encourage them to take part in more aspects of the game. To use just one example, some players like to participate in both raids and Arenas, which is awesome behavior that we want to promote. But, there are some talents which are more useful in one part of the game than another. Currently, players have to pay respec costs and go through the process of setting up the desired talent spec and action bars whenever they switch.

The new system makes this a much more logical process, saving on time and cost and allowing players to easily move from one aspect of the game to another.

Nethaera: Who will be able to use it?
Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.

Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this?
Ghostcrawler: We didn