Archive for April, 2010

Blizzard Begins Unveiling Cataclysm Class Information

Blizzard has slowly but surely been releasing information about the updates they’re planning for the various character classes for Cataclysm, the upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft. They’ve already marched through most of their announcements, and a number of class communities are already up in arms about the proposed changes and re-balancing that Blizzard is planning to do with the new expansion hits.

It’s worth noting that these changes are still on the table and on the drawing board, and they’re by no means final yet. Also, there’s going to be a lot of changes and tweaks between now and Cataclysm, so there are more changes to come. Still, for those people freaking out and shouting that the sky is falling, I’d suggest you all calm down, relax, and familiarize yourself with the changes – especially since you should all know by now that Blizzard giveth and Blizzard taketh away. We just don’t know what Cataclysm is going to really look like; so there’s no point in trying to predict it.

At the same time though, there’s some great and juicy news in here, enough to whet your appetite and get you thinking about how your class might play when the expansion does land without jumping to conclusions, of course.

Operation: Gnomeregan is Imminent!

Doesn’t High Tinker Mekkatorque look badass in that shot? I mean seriously – it’s probably the best image of a gnome looking like he’s serious business I think I’ve ever seen. Seriously, don’t mess with the gnomes.

Remember when Blizzard announced details of Operation: Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles? Yup – looks like we’ll start mobilizing for the operation any week now. The call has gone out at the World of Warcraft Community Site, along with exciting new details about the Operation: Gnomeregan encounter and instance, along with what you can expect when the operation mobilizes. Get ready!

Oh – and head over to download a full-sized high-resolution Operation: Gnomeregan poster – if I were you, I’d download it, run over to Kinkos, get it blown up, and frame that puppy. It’s pretty hot.

WoW Vanity Pet for Starcraft 2 Collectors Edition Buyers

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NskJDjjlyro[/youtube]

This is the kind of marketing that we expect from Blizzard. A lot of people who play World of Warcraft also play other Blizzard games (like myself) and are looking forward to purchasing new ones when they come out. For example, I’m looking forward to Starcraft 2, and an in-game pet for World of Warcraft like this is definitely a good reason to pre-order the collector’s edition.

Full details are here at BigDownload. Thanks to Wow.com for the scoop!

New Recruit-a-Friend Mount Coming: Two-Seater Rocket!


(thanks to Wow.com for the image!)

Word made its way around yesterday that people using the Recruit-a-Friend service to bring in new players to the game (or just sign up for additional accounts) will have a new perk on the way soon, in the form of a shiny new 2-seater rocket mount!

Bashiok says on the official forums:

Beginning in just a few days, players who participate in the Recruit-A-Friend program will receive a whole new reward for showing a friend the ropes in Azeroth: the X-53 Touring Rocket, a two-seater flying mount that automatically increases its speed as your mount skill improves (up to 310% speed if you already have a 310% mount). The X-53 will be replacing the current Zhevra mount reward, which is retiring from the Recruit-A-Friend business after a good run. If you’ve already claimed a Zhevra (or claim one prior to the change), you’ll be able to hang on to it, of course. We’ll have more details on the new Recruit-A-Friend mount once it becomes available.

I’m a self-admitted unashamed mount fanatic, so this is great news to me – and while the Zhevra mount that everyone got in the past for signing up through Recruit-a-Friend was shiny as well, this is a bit more useful! I mean, after all, you can ride it alone AND you and your friend can head out into the wild and level together on it at the same time! How cool is that?

Blizzard Unveils Battle.net Neural Interface

Among the other hot news from Blizard today was a new way to interact with your Battle.net account: the Neural Interface! Now you can play World of Warcraft with your mind! Just don this new headset and you’ll get the full sensory experience of playing World of Warcraft without having to use a controller, a keyboard, or anything but the power of your mind: it’s revolutionary!

Battle.net Neural Interface for use with your World of Warcraft account or Battle.net account. This product comes with an exclusive in-game pet.
Experience World of Warcraft from a whole new perspective with the revolutionary Battle.net Neural Interface! Harnessing the power of the human mind, the Battle.net Neural Interface is a revolutionary new method to access World of Warcraft.
The first time you use the Battle.net Neural Interface, it reads and adapts to your unique brainwave signature, forming a permanent and unbreakable bond, ensuring that all your senses are properly mapped to your character’s view of the game world. Once this neural link is formed, do not attempt to remove the Battle.net Neural Interface for any reason. Blizzard Entertainment is not liable for any temporary or permanent loss of brain function as a result of improper use of the Battle.net Neural Interface.

  • Play your World of Warcraft avatar with complete sensory input. Experience the sights, smells, and tastes of Azeroth as never before!
  • Simple and easy to use – Press one button on the side of the Battle.net Neural Interface to generate permanent mental imprint. Setup of the Battle.net Neural Interface is simple and takes only a few hours.
  • Mostly Unobstrusive – Take your Battle.net Neural Interface wherever you play World of Warcraft and have the satisfaction of knowing that you will only receive a few questioning glances.
  • Tough and durable – Lasts for months, and replacement is theoretically possible.

Unfortunately, they are a little pricey at $14,999 USD, but there must be hot demand because the Blizzard Store is already sold out of them! Let’s hope they’re back in stock soon.

Blizzard Announces New Mobile Games: Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder and Queen’s Quest!

Blizzard announced today on its EU site that a couple of new amazing games will be coming to mobile platforms – normally I wouldn’t talk about much aside from World of Warcraft, but these were too good to pass up! Among the titles, Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder, and Queen’s Quest!

Blackthorne 2 follows the exploits of Kyle Blackthorne as he returns to Earth to save us all from oblivion:

Sixteen years have passed on Earth since Kyle Blackthorne returned to his homeworld, the futuristic planet of Tuul. There he rescued its inhabitants, the Tuulips, overthrew the evil Sarlac, and reclaimed his father’s kingdom. But now, a new threat stirs beyond a torn horizon, and only one man can stop the darkness closing in… on Earth.
Unwilling to let another world he had called home be crushed in the wicked grip of the orc blight, Blackthorne abandons his (black) throne and uses the power of the Lightstone to travel back to Earth. But what awaits him at the other end of the world portal is like nothing he could have expected, and the stakes are higher than ever before….
The bestselling action adventure shooter returns… and this time, it’s personal.

Features:

  • Uncannily lifelike AI
  • 100% photorealistic graphics
  • Epic hard rock soundtrack
  • Magical, revolutionary gameplay that builds on Kyle’s signature no-look shotgun blast. Now he never looks where he’s shooting!
  • Twitter and Facebook integration to automatically post updates for every single enemy you kill. Your friends will thank you.

Hell yeah! I know all of my Twitter followers are looking forward to hearing about how hard I killed that super-shark up there, and every single other killable object in the game! This is going to be so awesome! Also – it looks like this and Queen’s Quest will be available not just for the iPhone but for Android phones and other mobile devices as well!

Now check out Queen’s Quest – a follow-up title following the exploits of the new Queen of the Zerg herself, Kerrigan the Queen of Blades! You play Kerrigan as she tries to find her way through the aftermath of the Brood War, making friends and enemies, battling off betrayers and climbing her way to her rightful place on the throne of the Zerg!

Here’s what you have to look forward in terms of features:

  • weeping saxophone soundtrack
  • Literary consultation from “A Couple of Dudes from Mar Sara”
  • Comes on 17 floppy disks
    • A revolutionary new Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme in 5 easy steps:

    • Open the Spin-A-Spacer DRM application on any smart phone*
    • Line up the spacer faces to reveal the page/word matrix value
    • Consult your player guide / lore manual, and turn to the appropriate page
    • Use the special 3d lenticular glasses to decode the margin text and find the keyword passphrase
    • Enter the special passphrase into the on-screen prompt
    • Speak “OK” clearly and audibly into the device’s audio input
    • ENJOY! (Occassionally, you may be asked to call a toll-free 800 number to verify your identity)
  • *note: iPhone users will need to open the application on a secondary handset

I’m not normally a big RPG person, but this looks like lots of fun, and a great continuation of the story from where Starcraft: Brood War left off. I’m looking forward to it!

Battle.Net Matchmaking: Find Someone to Pwn N00bs With

Blizzard knows its fans and customers well, and has unviled a new social tool to help us all get to know each other a little better. Now, as well as being able to match up people to play against one another in multiplayer games like Starcraft and Warcraft III, Battle.net Matchmaking can match you up with someone to raid with…in real life.

Remember folks, the couple that raids together stays together, and Blizzard has plans to help us all find happiness. Just select who you’re looking for from the drop down menus like so:

And then click to find a match for you! The site will churn a bit (this is the best part) like this:

And…well….I’ve never waited through the search. Clearly I’m just impatient, since the video on the page proves that there have been many happy results! Give it a try and let us know if Battle.net matchmaking has helped you find love in the comments!

Blizzard Introduces the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number! (E.P.E.E.N.)

Blizzard announced today that they would be adding a groundbreaking new feature to the World of Warcraft called the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number, or E.P.E.E.N.! No need to fumble with silly add-ons anymore that help you determine who the best players or the people you should be spending your time in game with anymore! Now E.P.E.E.N. can do it all for you!

Not only will the game show you at all times what E.P.E.E.N. other players around you have, but the game will use phasing to make sure you don’t have to see or deal with players who don’t have E.P.E.E.N. in the same tier as you! You won’t be able to group with them, raid with them, or even see or speak to them, and that’s how it should be. Here’s what Blizzard had to say:

hat is best in life? Gear, plain and simple. As part of the upcoming stat-system revamp, we plan to introduce a new tool that will let World of Warcraft players know exactly where they stand in comparison to other players: the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number.

With this new system, you’ll no longer have to wonder about your perceived or actual worth as a player. Your Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number, automatically derived from the quality of the gear you currently possess, will be placed on your character sheet and in the Armory, and also displayed over your character’s head in-game as an easy-to-read bar-like object that steadily grows as you acquire loot. Thanks to this new system, no one will be able to ignore the fruits of your long, hard journey toward gear perfection.

There are even rewards for growing your E.P.E.E.N. as well!

Those with sufficiently large numbers can earn in-game rewards such as a permanent bonus to “need” rolls, the ability to cut to the front of the queue in the Dungeon Finder, a larger ignore list, a much shorter dungeon deserter debuff, or — if your number is exceedingly impressive — a new non-combat pet, Binky the Mechano-Rooster.

As your number grows, the game world will tailor itself to you in other subtle ways: as the pool of players you interact with becomes more and more exclusive, you’ll no longer need to stand still in prominent locations quite so often to allow others to inspect your gear; you’ll have fewer time-wasting calendar invitations to sift through; and your friends list will become increasingly more manageable, reducing needless scrolling time. Any negative repercussions of these changes will be offset by the satisfaction you’ll receive knowing your equipment is significantly more impressive than average.

Thanks Blizzard! I’ll never need to deal with those people below me ever again!

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