Echoes of War Now Available On iTunes

Blizzard has announced the Echoes of War soundtracks are now available on iTunes store allowing you to purchase individual tracks or the whole album.

Blizzard Quote:
Head on over to the iTunes store to get your copy of one or all of the 15 unique arrangements from Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment. This new album was recently released on CD, and has now been added to iTunes as well. It features 90 minutes of music in all, based on tracks from our games, including the upcoming StarCraft II and Diablo III. Individual tracks are available on iTunes for 99 cents each. For more details, check out the Echoes of War site or head to the Eminence Online Store to order a physical copy.

Blizzplanet’s Blizzard Music: Echoes of War Drawing Contest

Celebrating the Christmas season, Blizzplanet launches a new contest that will chill everyone’s heart with joy. The prize of this contest is courtesy and sponsored by Eminence:

The Music of Blizzard Entertainment: Echoes of War

It contains music from Starcraft, Diablo II, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Starcraft: Ghost, Diablo III and Starcraft II. You can take home this product by participating in this contest. Ends on January 2, 2009 at 11:59 EST (New York time)

Simply folloiw and complete all of the instructions listed below:

  • Make sure to type your main character’s username and server. (Whether Battle.net or WoW—for winner announcement purposes)
  • Answer the following Trivia questions after visiting the official Echoes of War website: All the answers may be found here:
    (http://www.echoes-of-war.com)

    1. Who is the Eminence Artistic Director involved in the production of Echoes of War?
    2. What was the previous Namco game soundtrack produced by Eminence prior to Echoes of War?
    3. Mention six Blizzard composers involved in Echoes of War.
    4. Who is the principal conductor of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra?
    5. What Blizzard music composer created the Diablo 3 Overture music?
    6. Which Blizzard music composer inspired his themes from Africa and India music influences?
    7. What European orchestra did play the Diablo II expansion music?
    8. Mention three projects previously created by Kow Otani.
    9. Name the Echoes of War soundtrack title that Go Shiina arranged with Derek Duke.
    10. Listen to the four audio-samples and tell us which you like best and why.

  • Mail your submission at

Blizzplanet is currently spotlighted at the official World of Warcraft website. Read our Echoes of War review to find out what’s inside the prize’s box in detail.

Warcraft Pocket Star Book Editor Marco Palmieri Laid Off

The economic recession across the United States is seriously affecting every industry: from General Motors and other Automobile manufacturers down to book publishers and beyond. Sadly, I have to inform that my personal contacts at Pocket Star Books and Tokyopop have been laid off. I had heard a few weeks ago that Tim Beedle (Starcraft/ Warcraft manga editor) and Susan Hale were no longer at Tokyopop. I don’t know the perks, but now I have figured out it is due to lay offs.

Today, after visiting Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog, I found out that Marco Palmieri was among the 35 employees laid off by Simon & Schuster on December 3.  He was the editor of all Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo novels, and more notoriously known as editor of 65% of the Star Trek pocket star books published in the past 11 years. It is a very sad day for hundreds of writers, including Richard A. Knaak, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Jeff Grubb, Graham McNeill, and Aaron Rosenberg who had the opportunity to meet and work with him. I am still in shock. I sent him an email just a day ago on Saturday not even knowing he may not even be able to read it from the office.

In my email I was letting him know the URL to the Night of the Dragon review and to ask a few things about the Starcraft Ghost: Spectre. I am really saddened to hear about his sudden departure. I have been in contact with Marco Palmieri for about two or three years. He would ship review copies of most Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft pocket star books to my home. The latest ones Diablo Archive, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal and World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon.

I have no words to thank him for his great support to keep fans updated with lore and upcoming books. Thanks to him,  Blizzplanet has been the main source of Blizzard novel news for other fansites, fans and even wiki enthusiasts in the past years. I had the opportunity to hand-shake Marco Palmieri this year at the New York Comic Con and to thank him face-to-face. I was looking forward to meeting him again on 2009. I will get in contact with the new editor, but it will not be the same without Marco. I am not the only one with that sentiment. All of the Blizzard novel writers feel the same way. We hope Marco Palmieri finds a new job doing what he does and loves best. Not only for him, but for his wife and two children. Best wishes to the other 34 employees who were laid off too.

The next Warcraft novel is expected to hit bookstores on April 21 as a hardcover (retail price: $ 25) under the title World of Warcraft: Arthas, The Rise of the Lich King—by Christie Golden. Hopefully, the layoffs won’t delay the release dates and script proposal and revisions for upcoming books.

Source: Keith R.A. DeCandido’s blog

Starcraft Ghost: Nova - Surge Magazine: Super Nova

Surge Magazine visited Blizzard Entertainment at Irvine to interview Game Producer John Lagrave and Director of Game Design Rob Pardo.  The article gets a rundown of the history behind Starcraft: Ghost.  Blizzard did never plan to abandon the Console market, but their success in the PC market sorta slowed them down.  Nihilistic then came to Blizzard with a plan to create a FPS game.  Blizzard saw Nihilistic as the opportunity to return to Consoles while they focus their efforts on World of Warcraft.  Currently all Blizzard teams are busy.  Blizzard North is working on an unannounced project.  A second project of Blizzard North was canceled back in August due to the resignation of 30 Blizzard Employees.  The remaining staff of the cancelled project was merged with the second team to keep working on one game.

The other Blizzard Team was working on Warcraft III and Frozen Throne, and the third team is focused on World of Warcraft.  Nihilistic was sorta like a blessing for Blizzard who wished to return to the console market, but had no personnel to spare into a massive project like a console game.  When Nihilistic visited Blizzard and proposed a Console game as a third-party team for Blizzard, they didn’t blink.  They gave the go ahead and immediately John Lagrave and Rob Pardo offered support to keep the game as highly Blizzard quality as possible with a daily supervision on the work done by Nihilistic.

While Nihilistic works on 3D modeling, interface, weapons, and other areas … Blizzard supervises and offers collaborative effort with Rob Pardo and John Lagrave, creates the in-house Cinematics and most of the narrative sequences and voice actors.

Everything Nihilistic creates in the game has to be approved by Blizzard in a daily basis.  Nihilistic currently consists of 20 employees, located in San Francisco.  Blizzard also assist with artists developing models and environments to give it that feeling and look of a Starcraft Universe.  Details like the burned soil of Mar Sara are testament to this.  Mar Sara was one of the planets that the Protoss burned down from orbit to purify it of Zerg infection; which are details needed in the game to give a feeling of continuity and realism with the environments set in the Starcraft RTS universe.

Blizzard reveals that Starcraft: Ghost offers players navigation of 5 planets full of missions throwing you into desert, jungle, asteroid and molten environments.  Lagrave warns that fighting against Protoss Purifiers isn’t piece of cake.  Few seconds under the psionic raygun energy field and you are toast!  This unit resembles what Firebats do with a flamethrower, although they shoot pure psionic energy blasts instead.

Psi powers are useful when you are discovered and need to make a safe retreat to make a kill before the guards alert others of our presence.  Nova uses 4 types of Psi-powers:

  • Speed Power:  Slows down enemies to a quarter of their speed, while Nova moves at a normal pace.  Allowing her to run past the enemy’s fire reach and safely make a blow kill.
  • Cloak power:  Cloaking renders Nova invisible, which comes handy when you need to walk past a bunch of guards or units.  Of course, trying to kill all of the bunch might be too risky as few may run away out of your reach and trigger the alarm.  Cloaking allows you to go past them without raising any alarms.
  • Sight power:  It is a Predator-visor-like effect low-light vision enhancer that lets Nova perceive footprints, interactive control panels, enemies behind walls and weak points in enemy armor. Once her psi charge runs out Nova should hide into the shadows away from being discovered.

    Blizzard revealed that there are 3 types of mines which are insect-like drones(robots):  the Mantis Mine is a reconnaisance mine that crawls around undetected bypassing guards on the ground level.  The Firefly Mine focuses on distracting your enemies.  You can use Fireflies to lead the enemy to a ambush or to lead them away from your destination. The Spider Mine is a walking explosive device that can sneak up on the enemy and can burrow to remain undetected.  Once the enemy is on top it kills the target.

    Blizzard reveals that players have to navigate 23 levels through the game which may offer a minimum of 15 hours of gameplay.  Check out Surge Magazine issue# 2(May Edition).

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