Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blizzcon Blog: 'Arthas has got it comin'...'

Editor's Note: Reporter Michael Georges is blogging on the scene at Blizzcon in Anaheim, Calif. He sent this live update Friday. Stay tuned Saturday for more updates from the floor as Blizzcon progresses!

ANAHEIM, Calif.-- ZOMG! I am so geekin' out! It is 11:39 p.m. and we just returned from an amazing day at the convention. Without doubt, the focus was all on the two big announcements and previews of the convention - Starcraft II, and WoW Wrath of the Lich King. Let's look at each of them shall we?


I am not gonna cover the techs and specs here. You can and will get overloaded with those everywhere else. What I found amazing about the Starcraft II previews and demos I saw today was the quality and OMG factor of the storytelling and lore. Remember, this is the game that so many of us nearly wet our pants over back in 1998...the game we just cannot seem to retire, pulling it out again and again to re-play. Our love of the original Starcraft came from its originality, and the quality of the story, characters, and gameplay.

What Blizzard revealed today was how they have re-imagined the Starcraft universe nearly ten years on. The game brings back Jim Raynor, now a bit down on his luck and still smarting over how the Mengsk boys mistreated him in the past. The OMG factor here is the new interactive interface previewed for the human campaign. Players will learn and progress through the storyline by talking to the people and interacting with the objects on the bridge, engineering bay, and cantina of Raynor's ship. And there are subplots that unfold and reveal themselves along with the overarching story. We can look to not only seeing Raynor, but Kerrigan, the lovely and dangerous "Queen of Blades" also appears, though her exact role is not specified. You can bet she ain't gonna' show up alone...

Developers described mission play as football-shaped. This means that players start and end at specified points, but how they get from start to finish on each mission will vary a lot based on actual player decisions. The game play is improved with a much more robust game engine, new graphics and gee-whiz units with snazzy new animations. Overall, a very thrilling preview of what promises to be a blockbuster game... Luckily, I went potty before I saw all the awesomeness unfold.

Arthas has got it comin'...

The new Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft will move some of the action and storyline focus back to Azeroth from Outland. The expansion will take us to Northrend, home of the badness that is Arthas now merged with Ner'zhul into the fearsome Lich King. Arthas has been hiding out in Northrend, and it is time to make him pay!

This new expansion has a lot of fun features - level cap goes to 80, new Death Knight "Hero Class" which looks very cool, inscribing skill to permanently improve and personalize spells, and you can redo your "do" with new changeable hairstyles, new dances, and a whole new area to explore and conquer. A few other tidbits of info about future development paths were also mentioned - guild banks, more hero classes, and a new Ghostlands instance. No word on when the new expansion would ship, but when it does, set your sights on Northrend, cause "Arthas has got it comin'!"

Tomorrow - Lore and book panels, the WoW Movie, the showfloor and Blizzard Store!