I posted over at Diablo.IncGamers my thoughts on a recent article by Robert B. Marks (of Garwulf’s Corner fame) which denounced the piracy of his Diablo: Demonsbane. You can read my post here.
I invite everyone to use word of mouth, social means to support Robert’s message. Say no to piracy. Buy the Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft books in either eBook or paperback/hardcover formats. Read and enjoy. Then continue to support these amazing writers, publishers and Blizzard’s Creative Team.
Blizzard has announced the 2010 Blizzard Global Writing Contest. Get the chance to visit Blizzard’s headquarters and BlizzCon. Meet the Creative Development Team as a bonus. Who wouldn’t want to shake hands with Chris Metzen the Bourbon Cowboy, and Micky Neilson?
|| Blizzard Quote:
||You’re called to action once again, to use your wits and strength, to compete for the ultimate prize. Your weapons? They seem to be but a musty tome and quill, but know that their power is far stronger than the armies of the Scourge, far craftier than the zerg Swarm, and far mightier than any demon from the Burning Hells. Ready your tools, scribe, and prepare for combat with the inky beast called fiction!
Enter a short story for the chance to win a free trip to Blizzard’s headquarters in southern California! This contest is open to entrants from around the world and will be judged by Blizzard’s very own writers and masters of lore. For more information, head to the contest page:
The Diablo II: Lord of Destruction patch 1.13c patch notes are now available.
A new Mystery has been revealed!
- Adventurers of Sanctuary are hereby warned once again, that a new challenge awaits you. Within Diablo’s Bosses, spanning across the world from the ancient Monastery Catacombs to the Throne of Destruction, is where you’ll find what you seek…
- Fixed an item dupe bug.
- Video improvements for Intel Mac machines with OS 10.5 or greater.
- Fixed an issue where some players could kill other players while in town (“TPPK”).
- Fixed an issue where some players could disconnect other players when they had too many active states.
- Fixed two issues where players could stack auras in an unintended way.
Manual download of both the LoD and Original patches have been added to the IncGamers file server for your convenience.
Read the full patch notes below.
- Uber Mephisto now checks for both Uber Baal and Uber Diablo to be killed before spawning summoned minions (Before he would only check for Uber Baal).
- The game will no longer stop and then restart the game music after the window loses and then regains focus.
- Fixed an issue where the game window would minimize when running in windowed mode when it lost focus.
- Fixed an issue where the game window wouldn’t center properly when it was created.
- Fangskin should now properly drop loot in Hell difficulty.
- Fixed an issue where auras were not re-applied to your mercenary after it was resurrected.
- Fixed an issue where if you had two items which provided auras to a mercenary and you unequipped one, the aura from the remaining item never became active.
- Fixed an issue where the Paladin class runeword ‘Principle’ wasn’t having all of its stats applied properly.
- Fixed an issue where the Paladin’s Charge ability would become locked out if Holy Shield faded while charging.
- Fixed an issue where the Barbarian’s Leap ability could become locked out if they were hit when they started to leap.
- Respecialization is now possible! Completing the ‘Den of Evil’ quest will now additionally reward 1 free respec which can be saved. Players who have already completed this quest should receive 1 free respec in Hell difficulty.
- Increased the drop rate of high runes.
- Support for blit scaling in windowed mode. The game can now be maximized to the largest 4:3 resolution supported (hooray widescreen users).
- Some rare drop items now have an orange color. i.e. Runes and items required for Uber Tristam.
- Modified the gold bank limit to be a flat cap not bound by level.
- Removed the requirements to create a hardcore character.
- Greatly reduced the explosion damage dealt by Fire Enchanted monsters.
- Uber Mephisto and Uber Baal’s summoned minions no longer give experience.
- Removed Oblivion Knight’s Iron Maiden curse.
- Hellfire Torch Firestorm proc rate has been reduced to 5%.
- Users can now toggle the display of text over the Health and Mana globes by clicking on the bottom area of each orb.
- When creating a single player game, each difficulty button is now bound to a unique key: Normal ‘R’, Nightmare ‘N’, and Hell ‘H’.
- The ‘Enter Chat’ Button in the battle.net waiting room is now bound to the ‘Enter’ key.
- Added the windows system buttons to the game window (MIN, MAX, CLOSE).
- Added new command line parameter ‘-nofixaspect’ which allows users to not fix the aspect ratio to 4:3 when maximizing in windowed mode. This lets the game ‘stretch’ to fill your monitor.
- Added support for ‘-sndbkg’ command line switch. This enables sound in background.
- Added the following aliases for pre-existing command line options, ‘-nosound’, ‘-window’, and ‘-windowed’.
Revised Skill balance for Player Character classes
- Immolation Arrow – Increased radius of Explosion effect by 33% and Immolation effect by 50%.
- Immolation Arrow – Explosion effect damage increased by 20%.
- Immolation Arrow – Increased base duration by 33%.
- Dragon Claw – Synergy receives 4% additional damage per point of Claw Mastery.
- Dragon Talon – The bonus to Attack Rating per point has been increased to 35.
- Shadow Master – Increased resistance range per point from 5-80 to 5-90.
- Combo points awarded by combo moves now last 15 seconds, up from 9.
- Whirlwind – Reduced initial mana cost by 50%.
- Masteries – Changed critical strike chance from 0-25 to 0-35.
- Blessed Hammer – No longer ignores resistances of undead and demons.
- Werebear – Damage bonus increased by 15% across all ranks.
- Werebear – Increased health by 25% and armor by 1% per point.
- Shockwave – Synergy from Maul adds 5% damage per point.
- Blood Golem – Removed negative shared life effect (player no longer loses life when the golem takes damage).
- Corpse Explosion – Increased base damage dealt from 60% – 100% to 70% – 120% of corpses health.
- Poison Nova – Increased base damage by 15%.
- Firewall – Synergy receives 1% damage per point of Inferno and 4% per point of Warmth.
- Blaze – Synergy receives 1% damage per point of Firewall and 4% per point of Warmth.
- Hydra – Increased base damage by 15% per rank.
- Hydra – Increased base speed of Hydra projectile.
- Hydra – Reduced cooldown by 25%.
Hey, folks. Bashiok announced today that the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction ladder will be reset on March 23, marking the release of Diablo II patch 1.13 into the live realms.
|| Blizzard Quote:
||We will be resetting the Diablo II ladder on Tuesday, March 23 with the release of patch 1.13. We anticipate all Diablo II realms to be down for approximately six hours during the reset. More specific information on realm availability on the day of the reset will be posted in the Battle.net Status forum. When the ladder is reset, all existing ladder characters will be converted to non-ladder.
All characters and items being converted to non-ladder will remain intact, but once converted these characters will no longer have access to ladder content such as creating ladder-only rune words. For more information on ladder characters please visit the Arreat Summit Realm Character Types page
DIABLO II 1.13 Q&A
What’s the advantage to creating a Ladder Character?
This is similar to starting out on a brand new realm. Players will be able to experience Diablo II like when the game was first released. When the Ladder Season first begins, players start at Level 1 and do not have powerful items. They also cannot use powerful high-level items or other high-level characters to help them level up faster. Players create a character in a brand new world (Ladder Character world) where everything (economy, levels) starts from the beginning. The main advantage of creating a Ladder Character is being able to join in on a totally new economy where powerful items are very valuable.
What if I don’t play ladder or don’t want to compete on the ladder?
Although they are called Ladder Characters, players do not have to compete on the ladder to play. You can simply play at your own speed and not worry about how you are ranked on the ladder.
Can I convert existing characters to Ladder Characters?
No, you must flag a character as a Ladder character when it is first created.
How long will the ladder season last?
This has yet to be determined.
What happens when the ladder season is over?
All Ladder Characters become either Normal Core or Normal Hardcore Characters depending on what type of Ladder Characters they are. If you want to be a Ladder Character for the next Ladder season you must create a new character and flag it as a Ladder Character.
Do I get to keep my Ladder Only Items when the season is over?
Yes. Any Ladder Only Items will be converted over when your character is converted to a Core character. These items can now be traded with other Core characters. That is the only way for Core characters to get ladder only items, as leftovers after a season is over.
Do I have to beat the game with a Ladder Character to create a Ladder Hardcore Character?
No, you can finish the game with either a Normal character or a Ladder character to unlock Ladder Hardcore Characters.
Can you convert a Ladder Character to a Normal Character?
No. Blizzard does this automatically when the Ladder Season ends.
Does the ladder offer anything beyond a more stable economy?
Yes there are some items that can only be obtained with a ladder character such as some class specific and elite uniques. There are also some ladder-only rune words as well as cube recipes that can only be created by a ladder character. While these items can eventually make their way to non-ladder after a ladder reset, they can only be initially found or created by using a ladder character.
It’s that time of the year when families get together in special times to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. It’s meant to be a time of joy. I wish everyone happy holidays, especially all the people at Blizzard including those I have personally met or interacted with such as Chris Metzen, Mike Morhaime, Paul Sams, Frank Pearce, Ghostcrawler, Jeff Kaplan, Nethaera, Karune, Bashiok, Jay Wilson, J. Allen Brack, Wryxian, Changwoon Jung (who takes care of flight and hotel whenever I go to Blizzcon and to the Blizzard campus — thanks a bunch).
I gotta thank Chris Metzen for many things, he creates fantasy and sci-fi worlds that have entertained and enlightened me over the years not only through the games, but through books, manga and comic books. Chris Metzen got me invited to the fansites’ Starcraft II single player hands-on back on July 17th where I interviewed him. It was great when I was recording video of a Starcraft II panel at Blizzcon, and I heard this voice calling my name. When I turned my face to the side, it was Chris Metzen waving at me. That was absolutely awesome, and I felt a lot of joy within to have someone I am a fanboy of remember me and say hi. His work and his worlds inspire to wish to be better each day. You can learn things from certain stories, that you would not learn normally in real life for lack of living those experiences.
I emailed Chris Metzen a couple of weeks ago simply to apologize for that Sargeras article I wrote a few days ago. I had meant to write about it for a long time — ok, two years late — and used a photo by Gadgetress (OCRegister) of Chris Metzen from the 15th Anniversary of Warcraft celebration held at the Blizzard campus. The Sargeras article brought up the retcon, and possible reasons the creative team had to infuse a new direction to the story, while I was also exploring and parodying the reaction from fans when this retcon took place a couple of years ago.
To make a long story short, in the parody I used this photo of Chris Metzen that looked like those facepalm images, and I added a few parody words concerning the retcon. You know, at that moment it looked fun to use the photo in the context of the article, but I still felt uneasy within. I emailed him to apologize. It’s not my nature to cause stress to people or make them feel bad, or do bad things on purpose. I’m a nice guy, honest and overall a good guy. A bit funny sometimes, which contrast with my shy personality.
Chris Metzen was pretty cool about it, no hard feelings from him for using the photo in that context. However, I want to share that at the time that photo was taken, he had a speech about what all those 15 years at Blizzard creating all these worlds meant to him. It’s easy to say 15 years, but it’s a long time and a large chunk of your life dedicated to writing, inventing, jammin’ ideas within and with other fellow writers. It was a very emotional moment, that I can just grasp and imagine. It was a meaningful moment, that I am really sorry to have parodied.
While there’s a lot of trolls out there who might think otherwise, many people — including me — love the work Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson and the Creative Team have done over the years. We are very proud of you, Chris. Merry Christmas!
Blizzard has launched a new contest aimed at fans who have leveled up their real life cooking experience. Use your skills to create food shaped like anything from the main Blizzard franchises: popular characters, mobs, buildings, or objects.
What can be better than fresh-baked cookies or cakes? Cookies, cakes, and scrumptious desserts created with care to represent elements of the Warcraft, StarCraft, or Diablo universes, of course! We’re holding our Blizzard Holiday Dessert contest again and calling out all those talented bakers and pastry chefs to get out their flour, sugar, and rolling pins to create something amazing to tantalize the eye. Find out more on our contest page!
Ten amazing delicious delights will be chosen to win one set of the following books:
Arthas, Night of the Dragon, Beyond the Dark Portal, Tides of Darkness, Rise of the Horde, War of the Ancients Archive, and the Warcraft Archive
Flux (Diii.net) and I shared a room at the hotel. When I entered the room, late night on Saturday after Blizzcon 2009 ended, he showed me a large paper. He walked by a restaurant, and an employee asked him if he was at Blizzcon. When Flux said yes, he handed him the Restaurant menu.
Flux gave me the menu to scan it for our audience. He considered it quitely funny, and indeed it is. The McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurant went through all the trouble to rename most of their menu and print it to catch attention from Blizzcon 2009 visitors. The menu got tons of references from Diablo, World of Warcraft and Starcraft II.
You can find this restaurant at 321 West Katella Avenue. Suite 109. Anaheim, CA. 92802
Featured Species: This Halibut was captured with a spear off of Gulf of Westmarch by Deckard Cain on the “Stay a while and Listen”.
Check out other games’ references in the menu after the break.
- Noob Entries and Sandwishes
- Orcish Pancetta Wrapped Jumbo Prawns with Thai Barbeque Sauce
- Korean Style Beef Short Ribs with Stormwind City Marinade
- Nazjatar Raw Bar (Lots of Seafood options)
- Dark Portal Steak and Stuffed Shrimp Combinations
- Ner’zhul’s Creme Brulee
- Darkspear, Lobster
- Eld Druids Lobster Ravioli
- Death Knight Filet Mignon
- Grizzly Hills Blueberry Shortcake
- Zerus Atlantic Salmon (*Zerus is the Zerg homeworld)
- The Overmind’s Atlantic Salmon Zerus—stuffed with crab, bay shrimp, Brie Cheese, Chive Lemon Butter. A Favorite amongst the Zerg Swarm.
- Gerard DuGalle Barramundi (Queensland, Australia)—served every Monday aboard the DSS Aleksander
- The Federal Confederacy Atlantic Salmon
- Chau Sara Tilapia Parmesan
- Raynor’s Ling Cod Fish and Chips (Hand battered Ling Cod with Tartar Sauce and French Fries)
I forgot to mention I interviewed Christie Golden at the Book Revue in Huntington, New York back on June 13. The video interview covered a few questions such as her thoughts on making it into the New York Bestselling Hardcover twice for World of Warcraft: Arthas; and various questions about Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight. I voluntarily submitted the video to Blizzard, to make sure everything is alright, and they will get back to me. Once that happens, the video interview will be public. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you missed them, I released some of the videos where Christie reads pages from World of Warcraft: Arthas to the attendees at the Book Revue. I’m sure many of you will appreciate listening to her.
After the interview, I asked Christie Golden if she is scheduled to attend Blizzcon 2009. She confirmed she is going to be there, so make sure to bring your books and mangas from both authors to be signed, and take photos. Jaime from Simon & Schuster, Inc. (Pocket Books) and her husband came all the way to Huntington to meet Christie and gave her and me a copy of Starcraft: The Dark Templar, Twilight. Really cute, eh? She also confirmed to be going to Blizzcon, and we agreed to meet there.
Richard A. Knaak wrote a lengthy newsletter confirming his attendance to Blizzcon 2009 and letting fans know which booths to find him at. He also reveals the schedule for some of his upcoming Warcraft and Diablo pocket books. Actually, the Diablo release is the trade paperback (TPB) titled Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy Archive. Fans have been expecting this TPB for ages, and now it is been announced to hit bookstores on December.
The coming months bring a lot of activity and so there will be updates in the future, but here is what is going on:
First and foremost, LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM will be out in just over a month! Go to https://www.richardaknaak.com to see both the cover and some very nice comments about the book from R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weis, Glen Cook, & Ed Greenwood! At 708 pages and with the first ever map of the series—- two pages yet—- this is a terrific way to begin or return to my series, which has been published in many languages and is still going strong!
Second, I will be appearing at the following conventions—- Blizzcon in Anaheim from Aug. 21-22 and Dragoncon in Atlanta Sep. 4-6! Look for me at the Pocket or Tokyopop Booth at the former and on panels (tba) or near the Larry Smith Bookseller Booth at the latter! I hope to show off a copy of LEGENDS at Blizzcon and we will definitely be getting copies for Dragoncon!
Next, if you plan to check out LEGENDS from the library, I encourage you to make certain that your library will actually be getting a copy. Requesting is always helpful in how libraries decide which titles to order! Special thanks to readers in Washington State and Minnesota who have already pushed the title there!
WARCRAFT fans!—- For those of you interested in my next novel, STORMRAGE, check out WARCRAFT LEGENDS VOL. 5 from Tokyopop for an exciting excerpt! I’ve also written a story for the manga that will tie in with events to come…but you need to check out the manga to learn more! I’m hoping that there will be copies of the manga at Blizzcon!
Lastly, below is a current list of what is coming out and when:
9/1——LEGENDS OF THE DRAGONREALM (Pocket Books) ISBN-10: 1439107009/ISBN-13: 978-1439107003—- $18.00 Trade
9/1——WARCRAFT LEGENDS Vol. 5* (Tokyopop) ISBN-10: 1427815267/ ISBN-13: 978-1427815262—- $10.99 Manga
*Features an excerpt from the major upcoming WORLD OF WARCRAFT novel—- STORMRAGE!
12/1——BEASTMASTER: MYTH (Pocket Books) w/SYLVIO TABET, original producer of the films and series ISBN-10: 1439144176/ISBN-13: 978-1439144176—- $16.00 Trade
12/1——DRAGONLANCE: THE GARGOYLE KING (WOTC) ISBN-10: 0786952385/ISBN-13: 978-0786952380—- $7.99 Mass Market
12/1——DIABLO: THE SIN WAR ARCHIVE (Pocket Books)
2010—- WARCRAFT: DRAGONS OF OUTLAND VOL. I – SHADOW WING (Tokyopop) ISBN-10: 1427810265/ISBN-13: 978-1427810267—- $10.99 Manga
2010—- WARCRAFT: MAGE (Tokyopop) ISBN-10: 142781497X/ISBN-13: 978-1427814975
That’s all for now! More details as they become available!
Richard A. Knaak
World of Warcraft fans in the California area—and why not, international and national folks—will be delighted to hear of a special offer that might get you into Blizzcon if you missed out the ticket lottery.
From July 17 through 19, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to purchase tickets for the Laguna Art Museum
Retrospect on Diablo III. Codename: Project Hydra
This thing has returned to bite me once more in the—err— where sun doesn’t shine. The first time you probably heard about Project Hydra was when I posted here on Blizzplanet a rumor from a anonymous source that reached me via chat. I usually don’t listen to hearsay, or anonymous “I have an uncle that works at Blizzard and told me … this and that”-kind of breaking news. That’s why I go straight to the source myself, be it writers, editors, voice actors, music composers, or else.
However, this guy really made me wonder if it was or not fake—about two years ago. Right before StarCraft II was officially announced, 1up.com had seen a Medusa codename on the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals itinerary (schedule sheet). I posted about it on May 18, 2007 at 3pm EST, and twenty minutes later, this guy contacted me to let me know Medusa was the codename of Starcraft II and that it would be announced at Seoul during the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals—here is the archived post. Few hours later, it happened. Starcraft II was announced, which made me wonder if the anonymous source wasn’t fake after all. He also mentioned Project Hydra and Project South Seas.
On September 7, 2007, barely four months after I first posted about Project Hydra, TheInquirer posted to have heard codename Project Hydra at the GDC.
Last week, Kotaku was not allowed to take photos of three locations within Blizzard Entertainment’s Headquarter. One of them had a sign titled … Project Hydra. Check out Kotaku’s article.