Blizzard’s Off to DreamHack!

Blizzard reminds fans they will be at DreamHack Winter 2008 through November 27-30 where attendees will get their hands on Starcraft II and Wrath of the Lich King to experience multiplayer. Don’t miss the contests and the opportunity to get home the awesome Frostmourne sword.

Blizzard Quote:
DreamHack Winter is back, and Blizzard Entertainment will be there! We’ve partnered with TeliaSonera to give this year’s attendees a chance to play Blizzard’s upcoming StarCraft II and the recently released World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

You’ll find us next to the DreamArena, where Blizzard representatives will be on hand to answer questions, chat with players, and demonstrate the games. We’ll also be running several contests featuring great prizes, including the Lich King’s legendary sword Frostmourne—though don’t be surprised if Arthas himself shows up to try to stop you from winning.

This year’s DreamHack Winter takes place from 27 to 30 November at Elmia in J

BlizzCast 7: Submit Questions

All the Community managers are actively gathering questions for the next episode of BlizzCast (podcast). Feel free to submit your questions in the comments below. Simply register in order to submit your comments. I will personally send the questions to Bashiok (Diablo 3), Karune (Starcraft 2) and Nethaera (World of Warcraft).

Starcraft: Brood War Patch 1.16

Blizzard deployed a new patch for Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War. Simply launch Starcraft and log into Battle.net to download the patch. To download manually go here.

Feature Changes

  • In-game chat is now saved in replays. Note: whispers are not saved.
  • Hitting the Escape key while in the chat room will clear your typed text.
  • ”/reply” (or just “/r”) will send a whisper to person who most recently whispered you.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed localization issues with “from” and “to” in whispers.
  • Starcraft now only uses as much CPU as it needs to run smoothly.

Exploits

  • Fixed an exploit which allowed Zerg players to gain minerals through mutations.
  • Fixed an exploit which allowed Zerg players to recycle an upgrading building.
  • Fixed an exploit which allowed Zerg players to extend their creep with a drone.
  • Fixed an exploit which allowed Zerg players to move Drones over impassable terrain.
  • Fixed an exploit which allowed Terran players to drop a nuke anywhere on the map.
  • Fixed an exploit which allowed players to pause the game while in the pre-game lobby.

Starcraft 2 Q&A – Batch 46

Chat with Devs: StarCraft II is definitely evolving to be even more intense than the original StarCraft, with the increased mobility of units with cliff traversing abilities, as well as new transport abilities. In response, the development team has buffed up the Terran Planetary Fortress to have splash damage as well, which has proven to hold off decently against raids now, especially with your SCVs fixing the command center at a very high rate.

As always, shoot the devs and I a w00t! if you are enjoying this Q&A batch!

—-StarCraft II Q&A Batch 46—-

1. In StarCraft II, will there be friendly fire?

StarCraft and Diablo II Battle.net Ban Policy Update

GFraizer has posted a new Battle.net Ban Policiy Update. Blizzard just banned 300,000 Battle.net accounts caught cheating in Diablo II and Starcraft games. This is a strong message to those who are still cheating or were planning to, as well as a strong message to those who plan to play Starcraft 2 and Diablo III in the new upcoming Battle.net 2.0 where cheating measures will be tighter:

As part of our continued effort to ensure a fair and fun online experience for all Battle.net players, we have expanded our efforts to remove cheaters from StarCraft and Diablo II. We have identified and closed over 350,000 StarCraft and Diablo II accounts which were found to be using third-party hacks.

The Diablo II CD keys associated with the closed Diablo II accounts are now restricted from playing on Battle.net for approximately 30 days. Repeat offenders will have their accounts closed and their CD keys permanently banned from Battle.net.

As a reminder, we reserve the right to close the accounts and ban the CD keys of players who are caught cheating on Battle.net. Cheating ruins the game experience for legitimate players, and we will not tolerate it.

Breaking News: Jim Raynor and Kerrigan Auditions

We have received heads up from a couple of agencies informing us that the voice acting role of Jim Raynor and Kerrigan the Queen of Blades are now up for grabs. It seems the Jim Raynor voice actor used in the Starcraft II cinematic and in the in-game single player demonstrations was a placeholder; or the creative team decided at last minute to change the actor.

Overall, this is an indication that Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is on crunch mode. Voice acting is one of the few steps of development when the single-player dialogues are set in stone. As many of us witnessed, the developers revealed they were a third done with the Single Player (at the Starcraft Panels during the 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in Paris back on June 28-29).

This was roughly five months ago. After Blizzcon, now we know that Starcraft II will be a trilogy. In short, fans could speculate they meant they were one third done with the Wings of Liberty episode.

Are we looking at an anniversary release date? (April 1); or the usual RTS release date (July 1)? We will have to wait and see.

We wish to gather feedback from the entire Starcraft Community. Do you wish Blizzard to hire the original Starcraft voice actors: Glynnis Talken (Kerrigan) and Robert Clotworthy (Jim Raynor)? Please, write up good reasons to wish these voice actors back in Starcraft II. Spread the word around your favorite forum communities.

Post your comments here. We will forward this petition to the Starcraft II team. This is your chance to get the former and loved Jim Raynor and Kerrigan voice actors back into Starcraft II!

 

StarCraft 2 – Jim Raynor, Blizzard and the Ugly

Jim Raynor is a character from the Starcraft and Starcraft: Brood War expansion who inspired many good feelings in the Single Player Campaigns. From Marshal of a backwater outpost in Mar Sara to leader of the Rebels against the Confederates, and later the Dominion and Mengsk, Jim Raynor continued his quest for a better tomorrow for humanity. No matter the odds facing him and his team. Or the challenges.

AUDIO SAMPLES

Jim meets Kerrigan

Jim Regrets

Jim Raynor, however, lost one odd that couldn’t be beaten: Blizzard. A year ago, at BlizzCon 2007, the Starcraft 2 team panels revealed that a new voice actor was given a casting to perform as Jim Raynor.  This however is not the Jim Raynor’s voice that we know and love for the past ten years. No. The reasoning behind this change was that the original concept of Jim Raynor was designed from a TV series titled Texas Ranger. With Starcraft 2, the opportunity to hire someone meeting this and other requirements presented itself.

Is this what fans want? I really doubt that. Would you enjoy upcoming Harry Potter films without Daniel Radcliffe? Would you enjoy the X-files without Scully and Mulder? Would you enjoy The Simpsons if Homer and Bart’s voice actors were replaced? In the case of the original Starcraft, the voice of an actor is what gives texture and life to a character. We have heard Jim Raynor’s voice in the single player, and the User-Map Settings games over and over for ten years. We aren’t tired of his voice. We listen to his voice, and we know immediately, that’s Jim Raynor. That’s the man who has gone through bitter and krap, and continues his fight with no rest. Like a man in real life should. Jim Raynor and his voice have become as iconic and symbolic as any other character’s of any TV show, Comic Book, Cartoon, or film franchise.

A change of a character’s voice or in the case of TV series or films, the actor, can be justified if the original actor has passed away.  The show must go on. However, when the actor is willing to continue his role from the bottom of his heart, and the administration decides to change the actor to stick to the original plan for a character … something is really, really bad. It is not a smart decision to tick off the fanbase. The voice actor was hired for the roll in Starcraft, and its expansion pack. Starcraft 2 should have the same voice actor performing Jim Raynor as we know and love.

Glynnis Talken reprised her role as Sarah Kerrigan the Queen of Blades in Starcraft 2. The same should have been done with Robert Clotworthy for his role as Jim Raynor. I will play Starcraft 2 regardless with the new voice actor.  But there will be a stake buried deep in my mind permanently … that is no longer Jim Raynor. That’s someone else. Every time I play the Starcraft 2 Single Player campaign … it will echo within my mind: “That is not the Jim Raynor I have known for ten years.”

Robert Clotworthy informed Blizzplanet the following:

I just found out today that I will not be returning as the voice of Jim Raynor.  The casting director of Starcraft 2 contacted Blizzard and was told that they appreciated my work, but were going in another direction.  I am obviously disappointed by their decision.  I was looking forward to returning as Raynor and was hoping that Blizzard would at the very least have given me the opportunity of auditioning. 

It has been my privilege to have been the voice of Jim Raynor.  I am disappointed by Blizzard’s decision, but I must respect it.  I wish Blizzard only the best with StarCraft 2, and I am certain the game will live up to everyone’s expectations.  Thank you to all the fans who have given me their support and enthusiasm, it means a lot to me.

Robert Clotworthy”

A year ago, Blizzplanet interviewed Robert Clotworthy shortly after Starcraft 2 was officially announced at the 2007 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals in South Korea. He expressed his feelings toward his role as Jim Raynor.

Robert Clotworthy has been actor or voice over actor of over a hundred film, TV episode, cartoon and game projects in the past thirty years of his career. Among them: Batman (Game), Tekken 5, Everquest II, The Young and the Restless, The Davinci Code (Game), Matlock, Melrose Place, Remington Steele, Three’s Company, Dynasty, The Rockford Files (1978), Columbo, M*A*S*H* and many others. Read his entire career background at imdb.com.

Starcraft Ghost: Nova Pocket Book Sequel

Keith R.A. DeCandido gave me a heads up of some details of his upcoming Starcraft Ghost: Nova sequel which he posted in his blog.  The pocket book sequel will tie-in with the Starcraft II plot introducing a backstory of the Spectre ghosts unit. The novel will have elements from the postponed FPS console game, the way the canned Warcraft Adventures was novelized. The pocket book title is Starcraft Ghost: Spectres.

Keith: “It’s pretty much official at this point, since Pocket’s made an offer to my agent that I’ve accepted, and Blizzard likes 90% of the outline: barring a major disaster, I will be writing a sequel to my StarCraft: Ghost novel Nova. Tentatively pencilled in to be published in the summer of 2009 (though it isn’t formally scheduled yet, so that could very easily change), the novel will be called Spectres, and will pick up where Nova left off.

(I really hope it is published in summer 2009, as that’s when the Ghost Academy manga is scheduled to debut also….)

In some ways, this will be a novelization of StarCraft: Ghost, the game-that-never-was. Nova was written to be a prequel to the game, and the plot of Spectres will include many elements of what was to be in the game. Having said that, don’t read this novel expecting to see exactly what the game would’ve been like. The game plot is, at best, a loose basis for the novel. We went for what worked best for the overall storyline in general and for this novel in particular, rather than fidelity to a game that will probably never see the light of day.

It will also tie into both Ghost Academy (which will take place alongside Chapters 18-19 of Nova) and to the forthcoming StarCraft II game. Nova will be in both, obviously, and another character in both the manga and the novel is a major player in the upcoming game. Oh, and Agent Malcolm Kelerchian will be returning in Spectres as well.

Starcraft 2 – Zerg Unveiled

March 10th 9:40am – It is said from South Korea that Starcraft2.com (US) will unveil the Zerg webpage on March 11th.

March 10th 12:20am – High Resolution Images by Thisisgame.com

Everyone is screaming while held tight on their seats in an euphoric ecstasis. However, one thing seems certain … with the Zerg race officially unveiled, this means only one thing: Starcraft 2 Beta Test might happen any time between April-June.  The 2008 Blizzard Worldwide Invitationals (Paris, France) will happen on June. Here hoping Beta is soon.

Update: March 9th 11:15pm – New Starcraft II Cinematic Video from GameTrailers. Transcript by Edfishy.

We are Swarm.
We burned a path of annihilation across the stars.
And then—We vanished.
Four years ago we faded into the shadows.
We thrived.
We, evolved.
Now, the time has come for us to step back … into … the light.
Now, worlds will tremble once again.
Empires will fall.
Alliances(?) will shatter.
We are the swarm.
But we are becoming … much… much more.
For the final metamorphasis has only just begun.

UPDATE: March 9th 10:22pm EST – SCLegacy is getting hammered.  And I am getting multiple people whispering me findings on the net. This is crazy. Edfishy from Project Revolution Team just gave me a heads up of some Korean forums linking these images.

From GameFAQ, YYZ reports the following:

Overseer
– Upgrades from the Overlord and now has an attack. The Overlord doesn’t have detection.  You must upgrade to Overseer in order to gain detection of burrowed and invisible enemy units. However, the detection range has been increased.

Queen
– The queen is a vastly different unit. She has the powerful ability to control Zerg base defense. The queen can create special structures and extend creep. It has the ability to create toxic creep. And it can make buildings regenerate faster. You can only create one Queen at a time on the map. It has an ability named Deep Tunnel which allows it to move to any hatchery spread on the map.

Roach
– The roach is a very fast moving unit with 90 hit points that recovers health quickly. Requires sustained damage to effectively kill it.

Infestor
– The infestor replaces the defiler. It can cast dark swarm. It may move toward the enemy while burrowed. Disease seems to mimic the Science Vessel’s irradiation. The Infestor can infest any building including barracks.

Corrupter
– The corruptor attacks air units. Instead of destroying them, it “corrupts” them possessing the enemy unit. It can cause a large group of units to fight each other, quickly turning the tide of the battle.

Swarm Guardian
– The swarm guardian is much like the original guardian, but it can now also create broodlings and has a longer range of attack.

Ultralisk
– The Ultralisk can now burrow.

More info translated to english at TeamLiquid.  (Thanks, Entropy).

Starcraft: Ghost Hint at 2008 D.I.C.E. ?

According to GameInformer Magazine Online Staff Jeff Cork, Blizzard showed a slide presentation at D.I.C.E. in Las Vegas talking about the games Blizzard has discarded such as Warcraft Adventures.  An elusive game all of us wanted released and that was thought dead was missing from the slide presentation … Starcraft: Ghost. GameInformer immediately approached Frank Pearce to squeeze out the reason Starcraft: Ghost wasn’t part of the list of cancelled games … find out what he replied here.

Starcraft: Ghost isn’t dead.

Kotaku also posted the list of games that Blizzard cancelled and no one ever knew were in development:

  • Games People Play
  • Crixa
  • Shattered Nations
  • Pax Imperia
  • Denizen
  • Warcraft Adventures
  • Nomad
  • Raiko

Strangely, there is a cancelled game that doesn’t show up in that list … Diablo II: Salvation which shows up in the abandoned Blizzard trademarks dating 2003.

Gamespot has a lengthy article covering the D.I.C.E. event with quotes from Mike Morhaime and a few screenshots.