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On Saturday, February 7th—Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for a book signing session at the Simon & Schuster booth (1402). Thanks to Jaime Costas from the Pocket Star Books publisher; Shon Damron and Rob Tokar from Blizzard Entertainment’s Public Relations Department an interview was scheduled at the event.
Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson answered lore questions based on the StarCraft and World of WarCraft pocket star books for a length of 24 minutes. I split the video into two parts. This interview is packed with a lot of fun, spoilery and informative answers to various concerns from scenes that happened in Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, Warcraft: The Last Guardian, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Warcraft RPG Books, and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon. And a massive influx of info about the upcoming books—World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King (April 21), Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight (June 30), World of Warcraft: Stormrage (2010) and Starcraft Ghost: Spectre (2010).
After watching this video interview, you are going to faint, and wake up with only one thought in mind: “you CAN’T MISS reading one of these pocket star books !!!” Guaranteed. These books tie-in deeply into the events of the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and could we dare to say … future expansions?
Video Part 2
Medievaldragon: This is Medievaldragon from Blizzplanet and WorldOfWar.net. We are here to interview Chris Metzen, Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Blizzard Entertainment and Micky Neilson, Senior Writer and Voice Director of Blizzard Entertainment. I picked up some questions from the Community about Pocket Books lore. We’ll start with the Starcraft questions first.
Medievaldragon: Ulrezaj is composed of 7 dark templars according to Starcraft: The Dark Templar Saga, but only composed of 4 in the Enslavers 2 Episode 5B: Dark Vengeance. could you fill us in on how that happened?
Metzen: Essentially we just made a call. Originally, I think in the Enslavers campaign it was 4, but Enslavers has always been kind of quasi-canonical. There was a lot of new fiction developed for Enslavers that we thought was really cool, but as we were developing this trilogy with Christie we knew we wanted to bring Ulrezaj back, which was kind of a cool idea, but we felt that going to 7 was better for the fiction in general. It kind of gave us more options to dig his origin out, who were all these arch-criminals that comprised him, so we felt that going with 7 just felt a little rounder. So… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Medievaldragon: Does the Umojan Protectorate and Kel-morian Combine have their own versions of the Ghost program, or is it exclusive to the Confederates and the Dominion?
Neilson: I like that question.
Metzen: Kill it!
Neilson: My answer would be that they do, and that it’s something a little bit different, something we haven’t seen yet, and something that we should definitely investigate in the future in the fiction, because it sounds like a really cool idea.
Metzen: That sounds like a dare right there.
Neilson: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: Will the Terrazine gas plot be explored in the upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Spectre book?
Metzen: Well the Terrazine and its significance to the “alleged” Ghost spectres is definitely handled in the upcoming novel Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by Decandidio. Decandido, pardon me. Sorry Keith! We definitely get into what Terrazine is, what it’s used for, and I would bet, wink wink, that we might see a bit of that play out in Starcraft 2 as well.
Metzen: Yes indeed.
Medievaldragon: Can we expect a sequel to Starcraft: Queen of Blades? We are missing the period between the Overmind’s invasion of Aiur and Tassadar’s sacrifice.
Neilson: Official announcement? I don’t know what’s official and what isn’t as far as…
Metzen: We’ve been working on an outline, we call it… well I’ll just say it. We call it Heir to Adun is the title of that possible novel. We’ve done a number of outline treatments on it to really dig out Tassadar’s story, and Tassadar’s nature as this kind of Twilight Messiah for the protoss people. What was really going on there at the fall of Aiur, and really digging out all the political things that were happening with the Conclave, and the Judicators, and the Templar. We definitely have a rocking story built for a novel, but we don’t have any plans yet on exactly when we would publish it or I don’t even know if we have a writer lined up yet, but we have an awesome outline for it.
Medievaldragon: Yeah, we have been expecting it for a while. (laughing) I know it takes time.
Metzen: If I had my way it would have been out already.
Neilson: It’s going to be a little while
Medievaldragon: Okay, we’re going to move to the Warcraft questions.
Medievaldragon: A fan asked: The body of Sargeras that Aegwynn killed was said to be an avatar in Warcraft: The Last Guardian, does this mean that Sargeras’ real body is still out there somewhere? Or is Sargeras pulling a Lord Voldemort trick to ensure his return?
Neilson: Sargeras is still kicking around. You can’t put him down.
Metzen: He’s out there somewhere.
Neilson: He’s not going to stay down for long.
Metzen: Yeah totally. And I think the hooks we had for his physical body, wherever it may be are so visually stunning that I think we have to… it’s like low hanging fruit, we’re going to have to bring him back somewhere. I’d be very disappointed in us if we didn’t leverage him fully.
Medievaldragon: He would be like the ultimate encounter.
Neilson: Hmm… yes.
Medievaldragon: In The Last Guardian, Medivh attacks Garona with a spell, saying “let me show you my world Garona. Let me drive my own divisions and doubts into you. You will never know who you serve and why. You’ll never find your peace.” This is most commonly seen by fans as Sargeras cursing Garona into betraying everyone she works for… Is this true? Is that why she has been missing all these years?
Neilson: As to what’s going on with Garona, we’re launching into the second arc of the WoW comic. There are going to be a LOT of questions answered regarding Garona… why she did what she did, her whole backstory. It all ties into Med’an, this new character, who’s going to be really important to the lore. So for the community to learn a lot more about Garona, they should definitely check out the comic book.
Medievaldragon: Will there be a follow-up in the pocket books at some point?
Neilson: For Garona? Maybe.
Metzen: I didn’t hear… a cameo within a book?
Neilson: Not out of the question, I’m sure.
Metzen: Yeah, I think we’re still feeling it out. We just recently started leveraging the character again, so there’s a lot of interest in the character, so I can see us getting [cut off]
[Plays a scene from warcraft 3 of Arthas approaching the Revenants blocking the path to Frostmourne]
Guardian: Turn back mortals. Death and Darkness are all that await you in this forsaken vault.
Arthas: I doubt there’s anything down here more terrifying than what we’ve faced already.
Guardian: Believe what you will, boy. You shall not pass.
Guardian: Turn away… before it’s… too late.
Arthas: Still trying to protect the sword are you?
Guardian: No… trying to protect you… from it.
Medievaldragon: What were the Revenants’ motives to care for Arthas’ fate? Will it be explained in World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King?
Metzen: It’s in the book.
Medievaldragon: In the book? Alright
Neilson: Buy the book.
Metzen: It’s really good. Really good… Christie just rocked this book.
Medievaldragon: In World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, we see a glimpse of Malygos proposing to the Wyrmrest Accord the purge of the mages prior to the Nexus War. Kalecgos departs to Outland at the end of the book. What’s Kalecgos’ stance with the Nexus War?
Metzen: Interesting. I think Kalecgos is loyal, he’s a blue dragon. Their function is to kind of police mortals’ use of magic, so to some degree he wants to do what Malygos wants him to do. He’s loyal, he’s a team player, but I also think that Kalecgos has a huge heart. I think he has a deep conscience, and I think he’s terrified of how these things have just spun out of control, and I think he regrets the loss of life and probably looks at it as a totally heavy handed solution to the problem, so I think he’s probably a little torn.
Neilson: And he’s spent a lot of time with mortals at this point too. He’s grown close to some mortals with the whole Anveena thing and everything else, so he would definitely be torn. His feelings would be torn.
Medievaldragon: He was a bit arrogant at the beginning, but his experience with Anveena kind of softened him.
Metzen: Right, kind of drew him closer to the experience of mortals. Totally.
Medievaldragon: Now that Malygos is dead, will there be a new Aspect of Magic (such as Kalecgos); or is that position gone forever? Could a dragon of another flight become the magic aspect… temporarily… for example: Krasus… who is an Archmage?
Metzen: I would say to question A: (slowly motions with his lips toward the poster of the World of Warcraft: Arthas book).
Metzen: And to question B, I would say no.
Medievaldragon: Okay… I kind of gotcha…
Medievaldragon: What can you tell us about the upcoming Worlf of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak?
Neilson: Stormrage is gonna be fantastic. What’s really cool about Stormrage is that we will be able to actually live the Nightmare, through this book, that’s going on in the Emerald Dream turning into the Emerald Nightmare. One of the coolest elements, in my opinion, is that the nightmare is starting to spread into Azeroth, and we’re going to touch on that in the manga as well, so we’re going to have a story that touches on, for instance, what is King Magni’s worst nightmare? And because the Nightmare is spreading into the reality of Azeroth, we’ll be able to see that. The book’s going to be fantastic, answers all kinds of questions, what’s been happening to Malfurion, what’s going on, who’s behind it… al those questions are going to be answered.
Metzen: I would just say too, I mean Malfurion’s always been, personally, my favorite Warcraft hero. He’s my favorite to write, so I’ve waited a long time to get this guy back into the mix, and have him play a significant role in the shaping of Azeroth. He’s a mega player, and he’s been off the scene.
Neilson: For a long time.
Metzen: I’m really stoked on this book. We really designed the essential backbone of the book to be just hyper Druid overload. If you’re a WoW Druid, this book’s for you. It features all the major druid characters, and players. I love it. Love it, love it.
(Video Part 2 Transcript)
Medievaldragon: Will there be a cameo of Jarod Shadowsong in World of Warcraft: Stormrage? The official website’s encyclopedia says he departed the druids and was never seen again.
Metzen: I don’t remember. For some reason, I don’t think so. But we would be lovingly surprised if he did. He doesn’t play a significant role in it.
Medievaldragon: Aaron Rosenberg’s World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness helps modernize a lot of the lore revolving around Warcraft II. One aspect of the lore that fans have been wondering about, is Gilneas. Was Gilneas scheduled to make an appearance in that book, but had to be trimmed out, or will Gilneas be revisited in future books?
(Neilson grins at Metzen)
Metzen: Ah, ah, I would say we have some very, very, Very interesting plans for Gilneas. (Metzen docks slightly looking toward the ceiling) But there are snipers up in the roof that would shoot me if you know … (everyone laughs). We are doing some awesome stuff for Gilneas.
Neilson: … stay tuned!
Metzen: Stay tuned.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal reveals Cho’gall was killed. Or was he? How did the Twilight’s Hammer survive the Broken Isles’ massacre?
Neilson: Cho’gall is gonna make a come back. He’s not dead. You are going to see he will play a large role in the second arc of the World of Warcraft comic book. So, exactly how he survived … he’s just too tough. Two axes to the chest weren’t enough to take him down. He just appeared dead. (Laughs)
Medievaldragon: If he is not decapitated, he is not dead.
Neilson: That’s right.
Metzen: That’s right.
Medievaldragon: (jokingly) … and that doesn’t mean he can’t return. Somebody plugs the head back to his body and …
Medievaldragon: What’s happening to Blood Elf culture (especially Rommath’s role in it) now that the Sunwell was restored with M’uru?
Metzen: What we showed at the end of Burning Crusade, like during the whole Sunwell event, was that the warped naaru M’uru was kinda transformed back into his purest self, purest light that Velen used to reignite the Sunwell, as a fountain of Holy power, as much as it is arcane. So the suggestion was that over time the Blood Elves will start to actually use real Light power, in a healthy way, instead of dominating it. So what will likely happen over time is a slow transition, but what Velen did was give them a chance to redeem their civilization, a chance to get back to their roots, a chance to upset their magical addiction. So that kinda thing will probably gonna play out very slowly. We didn’t talk much about it in Wrath of the Lich King, but it is a theme I love a lot, but it has to be played out very slow.
Medievaldragon: I like that aspect of redeeming them … Does that mean that at some point they are going to get back to their roots and restore the Council of Tirisfal?
Metzen: ha-ha! … no … comment.
Medievaldragon: Are we ever seeing the Scythe of Elune questline and how it all tied into Karazhan and the Dark Riders explored in a future pocket book?
Metzen: I will say there are elements of the Scythe of Elune questline that are not … over … (long silence).
Metzen: … (longer silence) Alright, that’s all I’m saying. (laughs)
Woah, WOAH! (Metzen jokingly makes a motion with his hands and legs as if tight-rope walking).
Medievaldragon: Quick sand! Quick sand!
Medievaldragon: Is the existence of Finnal Goldensword canon? She’s Admiral Proudmoore’s half-elf daughter. If so, are there plans to introduce her in the pocket books?
Metzen: I’m sure this will be controversial, but I don’t necessarily consider her canonical. And based on that, we don’t really have any plans to use her in the future. I think she appeared in one of the Warcraft RPG books. It’s not a character I have thought out about, so at this point I’m not sure if we are gonna do much with her.
Medievaldragon: World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King will devote a portion of its time to the love triangle between Arthas, Jaina and Kael’thas. Now, many of us have played Warcraft III and have also run Gnomeregan, so, we’ve got to ask … Where does Thrall factor in?
I’m not quite sure of what that questions means.
Neilson: Well, I think they are wondering: Is there a romantic interest between Thrall and Jaina? I think that’s what it’s implying.
Metzen: Ohh …
Medievaldragon: Not sure—why they are asking about Gnomeregan.
Metzen: Yea, it’s worded a little weird. Well, I would say the whole Kael’thas, Arthas, Jaina triangle thing is totally handled in the book. And it’s R-r-really good! But it explains the whole relationship, and how that all went down. Christie just handled it perfectly. So I’m excited to really see that. But relative, the question was, is there a little you know … green fever going on with Thrall and Jaina? umm … (takes deep breath) … I don’t know, I know people are kinda fascinated a little about that but …
Medievaldragon: Ohh … I know now what they meant. In Gnomeregan, there was a punch card in binary code that when you decoded it, it reads: “Thrall and Jaina in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
Metzen: Right, right. I don’t know, I would say I try to be pretty conservative with all that stuff. I would like Thrall to settle down with a nice green girl…
Neilson: (laughs louder)
Metzen: …you know, and have little green babies. I’d like the dynasty of Orgrimmar to be pure blood, right. But you never know. I hope he keeps things together and doesn’t do something stupid before we can actually build this stuff in the game. So … you know Thrall.
Medievaldragon: Hormones …
Metzen: What’re we gonna do.
Medievaldragon: What should we expect in World of Warcraft: Arthas and how does it ties-in with the game?
Neilson: I think one of the things that are really, really amazing about ARTHAS the book is … you play Classic WoW, right, so the whole time you are running around. The Lich King is basically sitting there on his throne. So the question is: What’s going on? What’s going through his head? So this book actually gets you inside his head during that time. You will find out what was going on. Really be able to get inside the mind of evil. Getting inside the mind of Arthas. Find out what makes him tick. Even when he was saying things to Uther, when he disbanded the paladins, and things like that. Really gonna go indepth on that to find out what was going on inside his head. All the layers. Christie did a great job putting in all these different layers of what’s happening. So there’s the dialogue that we heard in the game, but there is much more deeper story that you won’t get unless you read the book.
Metzen: He effed up with himself.
Blizzard Entertainment shared with—us—fansites a very important message for all fans and subscribers of World of Warcraft. Recently, an erroneous and misleading article has been echoed throughout many gaming news outlets worldwide declaring that World of Warcraft would be banned from Australian store shelves. The article said that all games sold in Australia requires an Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) rating. Without this rating, games don’t make it into Australian store shelves.
Some gaming sites have said that MMOs don’t have a OFLC rating, including World of Warcraft. And thus, operate illegally as of the passing of the recent new legislation. However, Blizzard has communicated as of today, February 6th, that this is not true.