BATTLE.NET 2.0 HAS LAUNCHED !!!

Starcraft 2 is closer than ever my brothers … BATTLENET 2.0 HAS BEEN LAUNCHED. IT IS OFFICIAL. You can now sign up to create a battle.net 2.0 account. Enter a good standing email address—probably non-gmail nor one that has given you issues before with beta signups.  Then you will receive an email verification to your inbox. Accept it by clicking the link emailed to you.

Once done, you have the option to merge your World of Warcraft account to the Battle.net 2.0 service.  This merge cannot be reverted.  Once you have merged your world of warcraft account, your old username and password are void. You will login into your World of Warcraft account and login into the game using your Battle.net 2.0 account login.

This is something to be EXCITED about guys. Starcraft II beta is upon us any minute. And that means Blizzplanet will giveaway some beta keys away courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment very soon. Stay tuned for any contests or giveaways.

via: starcraftwire.net

Blizzard Quote:
We

Video Games Live 2009 March Schedule

Video Games Live played various music pieces from Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft games at the end of Blizzcon 2008, last year. It is very probable they might do so again this upcoming August at Blizzcon 2009.

Video Games Live will have a few concerts throughout the month of March. So if you love video games music played by a live symphony orchestra, and live in Kitchener, Ontario; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Austin, Texas—then check out the schedule and where to get the tickets.

ONTARIO
The music of video games will be performed by the world-class Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony led by industry veterans and world famous video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall on March 13 and March 14 at 8:00pm.  The Video Games Live concert will take place at:

The Centre In The Square
101 Queen Street N.
Kitchener, Ontario
Canada

The concert tickets for March 13 are sold out, but if you would love to be there—Saturday, March 14 tickets are still open while they last. Adult seating ticket prices range between $30-80. And can be ordered here.

There will be a pre-show festival starting at 6:30pm.  You can watch some Video Game Live video clips here.

MICHIGAN
On March 20, 2009, Video Games Live will perform at the Miller Auditorium at 8:00pm on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Tickets are available here—ranging from $25-52 for adult seating.

TEXAS
On March 28, 2009—Video Games Live will perform at the Long Center in Austin, TX at 8:00 PM.

Maps here. Ticket info here. Ticket prices range from $32-49.

Michael & Susan Dell Hall
701 W Riverside Dr
Austin, TX
(512) 474-5664

CrossOver Games Support For DirectX 10 Linux and Mac Soon

I rarely post news outside the Blizzard games scope, but I thought this one was very interesting to share with Mac and Linux Blizzard gamers. Codeweaver—developer of the CrossOver Games—announced their roadmap for 2009 highlighted by their support of DirectX 10 right out of the box.—Full Article.

We’ve just shipped a lot of those ‘under the hood’ improvements for games out in CrossOver Games 7.2. We’re really pushing Direct X 9 support pretty far along, and getting ready to move on Direct X 10.

In the next few months, we’ll be shipping CrossOver Linux 8.0, and CrossOver Mac 8.0. That revision of our flagship product will bring support for IE7, modern QuickBooks versions, Quicken 2009 (at a nice speed), Photoshop CS3, and many many other improvements, particularly around Microsoft Office and specifically Outlook. —via Slashdot

AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment

AT&T renewed their hosting agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for online games over Battle.net and World of Warcraft servers. A press release is available.

Blizzard Quote:
AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for Online Games

LOS ANGELES, March 3—Online gamers will continue to enjoy a rich and reliable gaming experience thanks to an agreement struck between AT&T* and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Today, AT&T and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, agreed to a two-year renewal for hosted services in North America.

Blizzard Entertainment(R) is best known for its Warcraft(R), StarCraft(R), and Diablo(R) PC games as well as its massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game World of Warcraft(R), which is available in eight languages and played by more than 11.5 million subscribers worldwide.** AT&T has been working closely with Blizzard Entertainment for 9 years, providing hosting for World of Warcraft and the Battle.net(R) online-gaming service.

“We’ve been pleased with AT&T’s service over the years, and we’re confident in their ability to continue to provide the quality support we need,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This renewed agreement allows us to stay completely focused on our games while AT&T applies its hosting expertise to help us offer the speed, reliability and security our players expect.”

Through multiple Internet Data Centers (IDC), AT&T will provide strategic hosting and proactive, 24/7 network monitoring and management for the online infrastructure of Blizzard Entertainment’s games and services. The AT&T Gaming Core Team will provide comprehensive networking support to Blizzard Entertainment.

The AT&T Gaming Core Team was formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s Internet Protocol (IP) network. The team consists of engineers and hosting specialists who provide round-the-clock support to companies offering MMO games. The team provides global, end-to-end support of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s hosting infrastructure, applications and IP network and supports trouble resolution, incident command and control, post incident review and root cause analysis.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, which represents computer and video game publishers, U.S. computer and video game software sales grew almost 23 percent in 2008 to $11.7 billion.

For more information on AT&T Hosting and Application Services, go to https://www.business.att.com/hosting.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

Blizzard Lead Producer Moves To New MMO

Our network site, IncGamers, got the MASSIVE breaking news that WoW Lead Producer Jeff Kaplan has moved away from the World of Warcraft team to focus all his time and effort on the Blizzard Entertainment’s unannounced Next-Gen MMO.

He will still be participating in certain WoW development decisions, but his new tasks will keep him busy on the development of the next-gen MMO. This brings a lot of speculation vibe to it. Why reveal he’s moved to the next-gen MMO team? Why now? Fans wouldn’t have even figured out he was missing except for the BlizzCast Q&As that aren’t released so often.

Will there be a new Blizzcon this year? Are we witnessing hints of an impending game announcement this year?

Will this Next-Gen MMO be a resurrected Starcraft: Ghost game? The game was postponed, not canceled.  It is quite possible. Back on Blizzcon 2005, fans played Starcraft: Ghost multiplayer. It looked more like an MMO than a console game. Another possible hint this game could resurface is the four Starcraft: Ghost printed-format books in development. Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Star Books will publish Starcraft Ghost: Spectre by the end of 2009. Keith R.A. DeCandido has written around four chapters thus far.

Tokyopop will publish a manga trilogy titled Starcraft Ghost: Academy, aimed to be released throughout 2010. The Year of the Ghost. Speculations, speculations. Don’t we love that time of the year when Blizzard itches to tell something is being brewed in their headquarters?

Will it be a Starcraft MMO or Diablo MMO? It would be hard to tell. Back on 2002, two games were in development parallel to each other: World of Warcraft and Warcraft III.  Both games tied up lorewise with the introduction of the Night Elves, Tauren, Undead races and the Kalimdor and Northrend continents.

Starcraft 2 is now developed to be three separate episodes of around 30 maps each.  This could be seen as expanding the lore to introduce an MMO.  On the other side, we have Diablo 3. It hasn’t been revealed if it will be split into episodes, but last year it was revealed that the storyline in Diablo 3 wouldn’t be the end. The Creative Development Team has plenty of story to tell beyond Diablo 3. Whether that is via expansions or … coughs … a Next-Gen MMO, that remains to be seen.

Keep your eyes open through the summer for any Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals or Blizzcon announcements. It could very well mean the unveiling of the mysterious Next-Gen MMO. Big thumbs up to Jeff Kaplan and his team. Make us proud and make the best MMO experience possible.

Blizzard Quote:
Tigole: I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I

2009 NYCC: Metzen & Neilson Pocket Books Signing Video

Many Blizzard fans attended the 2009 New York Comic Con for the opportunity to meet the thundergod Chris Metzen (Senior VP of Creative Development) and Micky Neilson (Senior Writer & Voice Director) during the Simon & Schuster book signing session.

There were a lot of happy fans handing over their copies of World of Warcraft: Night of the Dragon, the Comic Book Vol. 1 hardcover, even the Wrath of the Lich King Collector’s Edition Art Book. I remember one of the fans brought the wall-mounting accessory of the Frostmourne sword replica to be signed. It was a fun experience to both Alliance and Horde players; and the developers were quite satisfied and passionate about the fans’ reactions.

Blizzplanet and WorldofWar.net was there to interview both Blizzard developers, and to record most of the book signing session. Below you can watch all three videos.


Video # 1

Video # 2

Video # 3

Blizzard Not Attending 2009 E3 Expo

A few days ago, major gaming sites reported that Activision Blizzard had returned to this year’s E3 Exhibitors List. Last year, Vivendi and Activision had withdrew their ESA membership and E3 altogether.  GiantBomb—where ex-Gamespot Editorial Director Jeff Gerstmann works nowadays—got response from Blizzard Entertainment. And the answer was:

Blizzard Quote:
Blizzard Entertainment will not be attending or participating in E3 2009.

Short and straight. This is a big surprise, knowing Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 won’t get the press time and hands-on gameplay at an event that Blizzard had previously attended to. It seems Blizzcon and the Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals will remain to be the main platforms for new game and expansion announcements—including hands-on gameplay.

Last year’s Blizzcon had the whooping achievement of over 15,000 attendees from all around the world.

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:
    (https://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

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