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In this episode we take a look at some more Patch 4.1 goodies, why Ghostcrawler has stopped posting on the official forums, the latest Ask The Devs questions and answers, some cool new art & much more! ūüėÄ

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Patch 4.1

Patch 4.1

There’s been less Patch 4.1 talk and news this week, not much less, but still not quite as much as the mountains of updates and reveals we were seeing last week. We’re about to take a look at the new updates, new items we’re set to be looting in the newly redone Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman instances, a few new maps that were added for some older content and a few smaller extras.

Patch 4.1 Public Test Realm Notes – March 15

New patch notes have just hit the Public Test Realms with some interesting new changes. Atramedes, Nefarian, and Cho’gall all got a couple nerfs, several persistent ground effects now display different visuals for hostile and friendly players. The following spells have the same visual effects for friendly players, but new alternate visuals for hostile players: Ring of Frost, Consecration, Desecration, Wild Mushroom, Flare, Ice Trap, Power Word: Barrier, Smoke Bomb, and Hand of Gul’dan. As a general rule, the alternate effects have a red tint or hue indicating they are created by an enemy player.

And, perhaps one of the biggest, and to me weirdest changes is that Colossus Smash now ignores 50% of armor in PvP but still ignores the 100% armor in PvE. This was done after Blizzard’s developer answers said that they did not want to make two rule sets for the game, for PvE and PvP. Oh well, I guess the changes do make sense, though. You can read the full March 15 Patch notes below!

Patch 4.1 Public Test Realm Notes – March 15 – Official

Zul’Gurub & Zul’Aman Item Lists

As you all probably know by now, due to all the talk, good and bad, the upcoming patch 4.1 marks the return of the classic Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub raids as 5-player Heroic dungeons. These instances are set to feature item level 353 epic quality loot and, well, we’ve just been given a bit of a preview of what kind of items to expect, thanks to MMO-Champion and Wowhead. The items have apparently just shown up in the latest batch of PTR data and they’ve all been posted for our viewing pleasure! The only sad thing about all of this is that the items are not yet implemented as drops, nor do any of them have any unique models just yet. This is where everyone will start wondering what Blizzards plans are… are we just going to be seeing some recolored versions of the previous ZG and ZA items? I can think of a great many people that would have a great many complaints about that.

If you’re keen to see how beefy those items are and which of your items you’ll probably be replacing soon, check the links below! And as usual, keep checking back here soon for more! ūüėÄ

Patch 4.1 – Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub Items on PTR– Wowhead

Zul’gurub and Zul’aman Loot List – MMO-Champion

ZulGurub

New Maps In 4.1

Next up, it seems like Patch 4.1 will add the last wave of missing dungeon maps to the game by updating all the Burning Crusade content! Yes, most TBC 5-man dungeons and raid instances now feature a shiny new map. Along with that, the latest PTR build also included the maps of Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub and the updated map for Baradin Hold, which features a brand new boss wing. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the next arena season is only set to start with Patch 4.2, so we probably won’t be exploring that new wing for quite some time! So if you’re keen to check those new maps out, you know exactly where to look, I gotta say, it is great seeing some of those old dungeons getting some love, let’s just hope Blizzard don’t decide to remake them, next.

Patch 4.1 Updated TBC & Zul Maps – MMO-Champion

Patch 4.1 Exras

As a few 4.1 extras you can read about how the Blood Elves and High Elves are set to unite against Zul‚ÄôAman, you can read all the complaints that players have about the recycling of content that is taking place and all the blue responses to those complaints. Zarhym replied with the following – There definitely is not a hard and fast rule about updating existing content. If we feel revamping existing content makes sense in the current state of the game and lore — and we think it will be fun — sure, it’s a possibility. You definitely shouldn’t expect this every patch though. In the grand scheme of World of Warcraft’s history, we’ve reintroduced very little existing content per patch and expansion. He also just reminded everyone that there wasn’t a singular art team working on all the Blizzard games. Diablo III and Heart of the Swarm will not slow down production on any of the World of Warcraft updates or patches. Good to hear, again! Next up, one of the latest beta builds of Patch 4.1 on PTRs added a new mount model, the Winged Lion Mount! MMO-Champion reports that we don’t have any information on this mount for the moment, and it does look like a very early version of the model but hey, it’s a lion with wings… Lastly in the 4.1 extras, you can read what Blizzard had to say about the changes made to the Ragnaros model, you know, those legs. In short we were told that the problem is we have no context or perspective on the model we’ve seen but a static image of. There’s more to it, obviously, so read all about all those extras below, if you wish.

WoW PTR 4.1 (13726) Blood Elves and High Elves Unite Against Zul’Aman РBlizzPlanet

Blues On Recycling Content – MMO-Champion

Blues On Ragnaros’ Legs – MMO-Champion

Winged Lion Mount – MMO-Champion

Why GhostCrawler Stooped Posting On The Forums…

What I will call a concerned fan, or fellow World of Warcraft player, recently posted an open letter to Ghostcrawler pretty much thanking him for, during the Wrath era, giving us as the players of their most epic and intricate of games, a view into the development process and for caring enough to read, listen, and impart. Sadly for the fan, or I guess all of us, there was no response from Ghostcrawler himself, but Bashiok did step in to enlighten the masses. he basically just said that the forums have always been about players talking to players and that they don’t want to foster the expectation that everything will get a blue response if the poster tries hard enough. Bashiok says that while Ghostcrawler added a lot to the forums, the North American forums, he says that he is sure Blizzard can reach more players, especially those in all the other regions of the world, through their blog posts or concerted Q&A’s.

After that Bashiok just lists all the reasons that the blog posts actually work better, and he makes a lot of sense while doing so. (But let’s not fool ourselves, the World of Warcraft forums are never, ever and easy place to post, let alone be taken seriously!) So if you want to know why Ghostcrawler has not been quite as active on the World of Warcraft forums as he was back during Wrath of the Lich King then I guess these blue posts will be worth a read for you.

Where’s GhostCrawler? – MMO-Champion

Ask The Devs

Ask the Devs – Answers #1 & Questions #2

The answers are in from Blizzard’s last installment of Ask the Devs, and a new questions thread is now available, this time around they want PvP questions. When posting your question, please keep in mind that each edition of Ask the Devs is now focused on a specific topic as noted in the thread title and, to make things that little bit easier it would probably be better just to stick to the topic. The anwsers provided to all the questions asked in the first installment of the Ask The Devs Q&A were indeed quite interesting and diverse covering everything from Updated Textures: Will We Ever Get Any? To the Northrend and Outland leveling flow, to even asking if anything was going to be done about World PvP, as many feel it is quite dead right now. Yeah, there really is a lot more than I can possibly mention here, so, if any of you are keen to read all those questions, you know where to look!

And, as I mentioned, remember to get those PvP themed questions in for the next round!

Ask the Devs – #1 – Official

dailyblink13s

But Really, I’m Number One

The latest image from the guys over at the Daily Blink. This one is for all those mages out there, definitely made me chuckle!

The Daily Blink РBut Really, I’m Number One РThe Daily Blink

Banshee Queen

Art Updates

Time for a few new World of Warcraft art updates! The Blizzard Fan Art Section has been updated with a whopping ten new pieces of fan artwork set within the Warcraft universe, quite a few of which are of the always attractive Banshee Queen, so that’s a bonus. We’ve also been treated with four new official pieces in the official Wrath of the Lich King art gallery. These updates are, as usual, well worth getting, or at least looking at, in full size. Check the links below!

Blizzard Art Gallery Update – Official

New Warcraft Fan Art – Official

As a little art extra you can also check this amazingly cool Murloc Space Marine fan art out. This was created by Jorge Jacinto from over at Deviant ART and CDHub. Very cool!

Aren’t You Murlocs A Little Short For Terran Space Marines?– Kotaku

Wow Smalls

World of Warcraft Smalls:

Poll: Reel Serious Options – Official

New Player Tips: We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat – Official

The Razer Switchblade concept slithers its way to GDC 2011 – WoW Insider

Site Updates: New Profiler Features, Custom Stat Weights and Reforging!– Wowhead

Site Updates: Anvil and Forge Tracking, Polls for Premium– Wowhead

Blizz Blues – Ep 9 – AndroBots in Ya’lls BGs!– Wowhead

Cataclysm Leveling Flow Guide: 1-60– Wowhead

This Woman Used Japan’s Tragedy to Troll The Entire Internet– Kotaku

World of Warcraft: Wolfheart (Richard A Knaak) On Oct 11, 2011– BlizzPlanet

World of Warcraft T-shirts Super Colossal Sale Ends 3.17.2011– BlizzPlanet

GDC 2011: J. Allen Brack on Cataclysm– BlizzPlanet

2011 PAX East: Cryptozoic Entertainment & WoW TCG: Worldbreaker – BlizzPlanet

Blizzard Products 2011 Release Dates List– BlizzPlanet

PST Episode 20 – YouTube

The Weekly Marmot – Dealing with RNG – YouTube

Death Knight Solo Yogg-Saron Kill – YouTube

The MMO Report – Guild Wars 2 at GDC – G4TV

World of WarCraft Blue Posts:

…On Botting in WoW – MMO-Champion

…On Heroic Leap – MMO-Champion

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In this episode we take a look at the some contest winners, more Facebook Like updates, some Treasure Seeker information, more art controversy, PvE & PvP Balance, Weapon Types & More!

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writing

2010 Global Writing Contest Winners!

Though the loss of life and limb was great, the ocular fortitude of¬†Blizzard’s judges allowed them to see the job through: the winners of the 2010 Global Writing Contest have been chosen. Many judges were felled by the 18 million words that made up this year’s competition, but whilst their souls are now forfeit to the contest’s patron deity, C’Thun, their sacrifices were not in vain. Behold, the victors!

Winner:

“Silver Hand, Ebon Blade” by Raphael Ahad

Finalists (In Alphabetical Order):

“Defiant” by Corwin D. Riddle
“Entombed” by Saif¬†Ansari
“Fresh” by Meghan O’Hara
“In the Blood” by Celine Taillefer
“Loose Ends” by Pedram¬†Javidpour
“Memories of the Future” by Michael D. O’Reilly
“The Wicked and the Righteous” by Marika Kermode

Honorable Mentions:

“ATLAS Rising: Shootout on the Supercarriers” by David Tsai
“Jackson’s Farewell” by Roderick Leeuwenhart
“The Maker’s Burden” by Walter Handloser
“Returning Gnome” by Richard Powell
“Spectre of the Past” by Craig E. Stalbaum
“The Case of the Scrivener’s Seal” by Michelle Millar

The winner of the 2010 Global Writing Contest will be invited to visit Blizzard Entertainment’s headquarters to meet and eat with Chris Metzen¬†and the rest of the creative development team. He will also receive his choice of a Frostmourne¬†sword or Diablo III barbarian statue. The seven finalists will each receive signed copies of the Diablo Archive, StarCraft¬†Archive, Warcraft Archive, and Warcraft: War of the Ancients Archivebooks.

There were a couple of complaints that most of the stories were in fact set in the WarCraft universes, but I guess that’s just the way of things. With all that said, the¬†winning entry, along with excerpts from the finalists, can now be found on the contest website. Check them out and enjoy the abundance of textual pleasure!

2010 Global Writing Contest Winners! – Official

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Contest Winner: Guardian of Accounts – February 2011

Another contest winner has been announced! The first winner in¬†Blizzard’s recurring contest, ‚ÄúThe Guardian of Accounts Art Contest‚ÄĚ, has been picked. Featuring quite the clever blueprints of a StarCraft II inspired anti account-theft trap, the submission by Markus from Germany managed to impress many and you can see it on your screens right now, quite intricate!

Congratulations, Markus, and good work!

As a reminder,¬†Blizzard just let us know that they will¬†continue picking one winner in ‚ÄúThe Guardian of Accounts Art Contest‚ÄĚ each month until January 2012. Each winner will receive a nifty iPad along with the fame, fortune and pleasure that comes from having others appreciate their work! I would love to enter something like this, I do however believe that nothing I enter would ever be as good as something like this, oh well…

See the full size image and all the details you’d need to enter below!

Contest Winner: Guardian of Accounts – February 2011 – Official

Memories of Blizzard Video Contest

The official contest rules, details and prizes for the Blizzard Entertainment 20th Anniversary Video Contest have been revealed! The prizes include an all expenses-paid trip to BlizzCon, keyboards, mice and headsets from Razer, Steelseries¬†and Creative Labs, drinking vessels from TavernCraft, action figures from DC Direct and even custom posters featuring your very own character from PrintWarCraft. That is quite a load of cool stuff and I really can’t wait to see what the fans come up with for this competition.

Ready to take on¬†this journey through time and space? Check out the official rules page for details and eligibility and if any of you watching this enter, be sure to let me know! ūüėÄ

Memories of Blizzard Video Contest – Official

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treasure-seeker-victor-lee

Facebook Like Updates

Blizzard‚Äôs Diablo fanpage¬†on Facebook¬†rolled past the 650,000 ‘likes’ mark recently and, needless to say,¬†we were rewarded with¬†a new piece of artwork and a screenshot!¬†The¬†artwork¬†given is a¬†concept of the mischievous¬†looking¬†Treasure Seeker.¬†This artwork wa done by Vic Lee and he’ll randomly and rarely appear in dungeons, but when he does you’ll want to beat the candy out of him as he’ll drop progressively better loot with each hit. Don’t let him escape!¬†The image is really cool and, if you’re interested in reading more about this most cunning of creatures, you can do so below at the Diablo INC Gamers post!

The screenshot is of a male monk and a trio of fallen shaman and this screenshot seems to have been taken mere seconds after the previous monk shot we were rewarded, the one with the poisonous cloud of gas. A pretty cool shot and a lot of carnage, check it out in full size below!

The Diablo Facebook Ransom is Paid: Part V – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo Facebook Fanpage – Facebook

Blues On The Treasure Seeker

As a little¬†extra, it seems like the blue posters were more than ready to discuss¬†the Treasure Seeker a little after these latest art updates. Bashiok¬†let us know that the Treasure Seeker¬†was inspired by¬†the little bastards in Golden Axe you‚Äôd wake up to stealing your stuff and have to kick the crap out of them. Yeah, you remember those guys… He also just told us that the balance on that little menace was not tuned correctly back at BlizzCon¬†2010 and he was indeed dying too easily to ranged classes and casters. You can read those full interactions and everyone’s thoughts on them¬†below!

Blue on the Treasure Seeker – Diablo INC Gamers

More Art Controversy

A keen fan, that apparently has way too much time to ponder on his hands,¬†named Steyaertr¬†has revived the good old¬†Art Controversy relating to Diablo III’s new, more colorful style, by taking a bunch of clips from the old¬†Wizard, Monk, and Demon Hunter gameplay videos and¬†whipping¬†them through some filters to give them a¬†darker and¬†in his opinion, more gothic, look.¬†Diablo INC Gamers first reported this¬†and said that the¬†new look he gave the videos is in fact¬†oversaturated¬†and too dark to see anything at all.¬†This is, as many of you know, not the first time that people do something like this. Over the years there have been many, many arguments and debates, many reworks of those static images and, well, just a lot of whining too. I personally I feel that most of the amazing art and texture work would be going to waste if Blizzard used a style such as the one in this video. What do you think? Do you like the visuals we’ve seen thus far or do you feel it needs that more hardcore look?

The Art Controvery Returns…? РDiablo INC Gamers

PvE & PvP Balance

The Diablo III balance talk is back yet again and this time Bashiok had a few more words on the always present issue of PvE and PvP balancing. He said, on the note of balancing PvE and PvP separately, it’s something they want to largely avoid. We do have the ability to keep separate functionality, but we want to try to avoid big differences that make it feel like two different games when you play PvE and PvP.

One area where things work differently, and¬†they think it‚Äôs ok, is in the case of Crowd control, like stuns, snares, slows, etc. The duration of these skills is fairly significantly reduced when used against players, however, that same reduction in effectiveness is also see in the PvE¬†game when it comes to unique/champion/boss monsters. So, it‚Äôs not only a jarring difference, it‚Äôs also actually experienced in PvE. This is very similar to how World of Warcraft does it, and, I would not be surprised if we see something like diminishing returns come into play at some point…

Bashiok says that the bottom line is that they’ll have to wait and see but, balancing them separately is something Blizzard has the ability to do if needed but would prefer to largely avoid. It is, as usual, great to see so much thought going into all of this and, well, as with the whole art controversy thing, I think issues like this are safest in the hands of the guys at Blizzard. The only thing we will need to worry about is getting some sleep once the game hits. Read more about all of this balance talk below!

Blue on Balancing PvP and PvE Separately РDiablo INC Gamers

Combat & Weapon Choices

¬†A fan recently started a post up on the official Battle.net forums saying that¬†he, or she,¬†heard that¬†all characters,¬†creeps and monsters have a 95% flat chance to hit, then asking whether there would at least be traits to influence these percentages because he could well see a Demon Hunter or Monk avoiding more hits… Lucky for us, Bashiok¬†couldn’t let that question go without an answer, so here it goes.

He let the fan, and indirectly all of us know, that there is no stat to modify an enemies chance to hit you, but, there is a Dodge stat. It‚Äôs only given in small amounts through traits, and potentially some specific items. With Dodge, an enemy could still ‚Äúhit‚ÄĚ you, but you dodge the hit negating the damage entirely. He says that it is a stat¬†that’s being¬†controlled¬†fairly strictly, and as¬†the¬†poster¬†said is probably going to be more appropriate for some classes (ie monk), while others may instead have more in the way of damage mitigation.¬†Blizzard¬†don‚Äôt intend for Dodge to overcome the need for damage mitigation through Defense and related damage reduction stats, even for the classes that have more of it available to them. Well, while that definitely answered everything, the¬†poster wanted more, as any good Diablo fan should.

Next up he asked a quick question about rune swapping that didn’t really yield any new information and lastly, a very good question that I am glad was asked! He asked whether all the weapon types would actually be useful in Diablo III, unlike in Diablo II where some were¬†hands down¬†better than others.

In response, he¬†was told that Blizzard are¬†spending plenty of ‘thought cycles’ to ensure weapon choices are indeed choices, and not determined by a clear cut¬†strength to go for one over another. Traits and skills obviously play a part in weapon choice as there are traits that offer bonuses while using a specific weapon type, and some skills favor certain types of weapons. As far as the base benefit of simply carrying around these weapons, yeah the bonuses associated between two weapons over one weapon are being kept in mind. Staves and 2-handers¬†can have bigger and more powerful affixes than are allowed to generate on 1-handed weapons, for example. Equal amounts of sockets. That kind of thing. What else¬†can I say, I am glad they are catering for all the styles and preferences out there. I, personally, have not yet even¬†made my mind up about which class I want to play, let alone the weapons they will use. I will need to think long and hard on all of this.

If you want to read more about all of the aforementioned news, check the links below for all of it!

Blue on Combat, Rune-Swapping, and Two-Handed Weapons – Diablo INC Gamers

Looking_for_Baal_by_choboroy

Fan Art Watch

Time for the next two Fan Art Watch posts! Oh my, is there a lot of good stuff to look at this week! First up, in Fan Art Watch #80,¬†we have 5 new pieces from the Diablo 1 / 2 gallery over at Diablo INC Gamers. My favourite of the lot has got ot¬†be the Hydralisk-like¬†version of the demon in ‘Looking for Baal?’ by Choboroy. Quite a frightening looking baddie, to be sure. After that we have 4 different, and I really do mean quite different, realistic, funny, colorful, they’ve got it all covered and definitely deserve your views!

In Fan Art Watch #81, Flux gives us a couple of new Sorceress images while apparently warning of a lot more to come! I don’t think anyone would really complain about any Sorceress fan¬†art at all as most of them really do look quite good. Check all of that out below and be sure to leave those comments of appreciation.

Diablo Fan Art Watch #81: Weekend Sorceresses – Diablo INC Gamers

Diablo Fan Art Watch #80: Duriel – Looking for Baal? – Diablo INC Gamers

DiabloCast: Epsiode I

After the apparent success of Force’s Purgatory episode recently posted on Diablofans.com, it seems like the two have teamed up yet again, this time bringing us the first episode in a new series titled DiabloCast. In this promised weekly¬†podcast they plan to discuss all the happenings in the world of Diablo for each week. The first episode clocks in at around¬†25 minutes and I guess is worth the watch if you want a different perspective on everything that’s happening in the news. Check it out on YouTube or over at Diablofans.com!

DiabloCast: Epsiode I РDiablofans

Diablo 3 – DiabloCast: The Diablo 3 Podcast – Episode 1 – YouTube

Diablo 3 Smalls

Diablo III Smalls:

Poll: Who is Your Favorite Character? – Diablofans

A DiabloFans Editorial: The Guiding Parchment – Diablofans

http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/no-d3-pax-east/ – Diablo INC Gamers

 PAX East Panels on Being a CM,  Facebook, and Working for Activision РDiablo INC Gamers

Questions & Answers:

Q: What is the next big event you guys will be at to talk about Diablo 3? – Scyberdragon
A: We haven’t announced any events except BlizzCon. But if we do we’ll definitely be on the tweeterspace letting you know. РDiablo

Q: How’s the Gargantuan for the WD looking? РMultiKillGaming
A: Amazing. Almost too cool to be a class skill. – Diablo

Q: How are the bosses coming along? Are they all as awesome as the Siegebreaker, or *gasp* awesomer? РVulcaino
A: Way awesomer. РDiablo

Q: Say I found an item in D3 that pwned, then it was nerfed in a patch. Would I still keep that pre-patch item? Or would it disappear? РAcidReign87
A: You’d keep the item of course. It would simply be changed to reflect the alteration made to it in the patch. РDiablo

Q: When you say 18 sets you mean 18 different boots, leggings,etc? And does that 18 include unique armor or are they totally different? РTheeliminator2k
A: They’re visual tiers of gear, not actual specific items by name and stat. It’s the same as Diablo II, but more and better. РDiablo
A: To clarify, there are 18 complete tier looks. Complete. 18 individual looks for each item slot. РDiablo

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In this episode we take a look at the sacrifices that were made during the development of StarCraft II, for eSports, some Heart of the Swarm release date news, NASL, GSL & TSL Updates, PonyCraft II, some Day[9] stand-up comedy, art updates & More!

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One Million Bites

1 Million Strong On Facebook

Over one million people have “liked”¬†the English StarCraft¬†Facebook page! Yea, that is quite a lot and that number is steadily catching up to the Warcraft Facebook page, currently sitting on around 1.2 Million. Blizzard have had¬†the pleasure of sharing thousands of news stories, images, and movies with a thriving Facebook community, but¬†they tell us that they’re¬†not done yet! To celebrate this milestone, StarCraft¬†II Senior Art Director Samwise Didier whipped up the image seen on your screens right now!

So, to thank us for making the community as great as it is,¬†they’ve¬†released a new desktop wallpaper image depicting the Hyperion’s daring escape as featured in the Zero Hour mission cinematic. You can capture it for yourself¬†in¬†Blizzard’s¬†wallpaper gallery, where you can find other inspiring StarCraft themed wallpapers as well.

If you aren’t already following the¬†Blizzard games¬†on Facebook, be sure to visit the official Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Blizzard pages for constant updates and much more! ūüėÄ

ÔĽŅÔĽŅOne Million Swarm Facebook! – Official

The Sacrifices StarCraft II Made In The Name of eSports

During yet another GDC¬†Interview, which I definitely won’t¬†complain about,¬†Lead StarCraft¬†II Designer Dustin Browder said that many sacrifices were made during the design and creation of StarCraft¬†II… In the name of eSports. Apparently, when the StarCraft¬†II team began its work on the game, it looked at its competition, namely Relic Entertainment’s Warhammer¬†40,000: Dawn of War and Gas Powered’s Games’ Supreme Commander. Dawn of War featured four playable races to StarCraft’s¬†three. Supreme Commander drowned the player with playable units, with more than 150 at a player’s disposal. StarCraft¬†II would stick with the three races featured in its prequel, Zerg, Protoss¬†and Terran – and a total of 45 units.¬†Browder said that the reason¬†it had less ‘perceived¬†content’ than its¬†competitors¬†was¬†because StarCraft II needed to be a sport, watchable and entertaining enough that people would want to tune in and watch other people play it competitively.

Browder¬†said that trying to design StarCraft II’s multiplayer side was “insanely hard” and “like inventing Basketball 2” and back in 2005, both¬†he and Blizzard Entertainment believed that “maybe, if¬†they really hoofed it,¬†they could ship it in 2008.” Needless to say, that didn’t happen!

So to make StarCraft¬†II¬†watchable and easily understood by all, it needed to be visually clear. “This is why the artists hate me,” Browder Said while showing concept art of the 300 ton Ultralisk, with a tiny Protoss¬†Zealot to illustrate scale.¬†He then showed the¬†in-game Ultralisk, tiny and unimposing. Browder explained that having an Ultralisk¬†to scale would never work. Players could hide 20 Zerglings behind a beast that size, sowing visual confusion. It really is a lot to think about and I don’t envy the designers, or artists any of it.

He finished it all off by saying that a key component in keeping StarCraft’s¬†eSport¬†qualities intact is skill through micromanagement and macromanagement, flanking and terrain tactics, skills other real-time strategy games tried to scrub out.

Do you think Blizzard succeeded? Do you like the visual simplicity of StarCraft¬†II and Blizzards philosophy¬†of ‘keep it simple but make it hard to master’, or would you prefer those¬†sun obscuring¬†motherships, base crushing ultralisks¬†and titanic thors¬†filling up your screen? Do you care about the fact that some of the units aren’t even in the multiplayer, or doesn’t that matter to you at all? Personally I am more than happy with how StarCraft¬†II came out. I enjoyed the singleplayer immensely and, well, I think you all know that I absolutely love the multiplayer and all it entails, too.

One last GDC¬†extra¬†is that the Reaper is currently not where Blizzard wants it and will be addressed in Heart of the Swarm. A quote from Browder: “The Reaper not in a happy place. It was a bit of a mis-step for us. The players showed us what it was capable of and we nerfed it into obscurity. This will be addressed in Heart of the Swarm.”

That sure sounds good! Read all about everything Blizzard and all their employees had to say at the GDC about StarCraft II below.

Dustin Browder Talks eSports and HotS at GDC 2011 РGosuGamers

GDC¬†2011: Developing StarCraft II Like Inventing ‘Basketball 2’¬†– Gamasutra

Heart of the Swarm – 6 Months To A Year Away

If there is one thing the StarCraft¬†players of the world know, and know well, it’s patience.¬†Yes, we have been¬†patiently Blizzard to give out more information regarding StarCraft¬†II: Heart of the Swarm, the first expansion planned for the game. At GDC 2011, during a panel on the future of the strategy genre, yes, the very same one I was quoting mere minutes ago,¬†Blizzard’s Dustin Browder gave a little more info on when Heart of the Swarm might be coming out. He stated that he expects Heart of the Swarm to be released in the “next six months to a year.” That would suggest that the game could in fact be out by the end of 2011, but it is quite unlikely. Either way, any talk about Heart of the Swarm is welcomed. Funny, though, that Blizzard seem to have quite a lot planned for the next 6 months to a year, here’s hoping nothing goes wrong!

Read more about all of this below, courtesy of BigDownload.

GDC¬†2011: StarCraft II Heart of the Swarm due out in “next six months to a year”¬†– BigDownload

Blizzard Playing StarCraft II At NASDAQ

In my previous posts and Pulse episodes I spoke about Blizzards 20 year anniversary and all the special stuff they released for it, including that cool Retrospective video. One thing I did not mention, however, was that the Blizzard cofounders Frank Pearce and Mike Morhaime spent some time playing a game of StarCraft II at the NASDAQ Marketsite at Times Square. Pearce and Morhaime were joined by fellow cofounder Allen Adham and Activision Blizzard COO Thomas Tipl to preside over the NASDAQ closing bell on their most special of days. So, if that is  not a big enough treat for our friends at Blizzard, they also got to play trailers for StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm in Times Square. Exciting stuff and definitely worth if their 20 years in the business!

Original StarCraft Reborn

A few dedicated and pretty enthusiastic StarCraft community members made a mod for StarCraft II of the original StarCraft campaign. There are, obviously, benefits in having the campaign remade in StarCraft II. Vastly improved graphics, higher resolutions and all the features of the new StarCraft II Galaxy Editor. Some changes to this campaign, which the creators see as improvements, include the addition of medics, which will definitely spice things up a little. They also added and changed a few skills, upped the difficulty a little and apparently also put a few easter eggs in there for us to find, too!

They let everyone know that they did not skip anything at all, including the original tutorial, soundtrack,¬†voice acting, dialogue and text. Pretty crazy and, well, how can you not want to check this¬†out?! If you¬†are new to the StarCraft¬†scene and want to experience the amazing story of the first game without having to endure it’s now¬†archaic look, this one is for you. You can find a link to Starcraft: Episode I – Rebel Yell’s¬†official page below, along with a download link!

Starcraft: Episode I РRebel Yell РSC2Mapster

Starcraft: Episode I РRebel Yell РDownload РSC2Mapster

Korean Map Pool Changes

LSPrime¬†and JackyPrime¬†have¬†apparently¬†been working with Blizzard for about a month already¬†to add Crevasse, Tal’Darim¬†Altar, Terminus RE to¬†ladder¬†map pool on the Korean servers. And now,¬†it seems like¬†things¬†got a little more official, with the map changes announced on the¬†Korean Community Forums.¬†¬†The blue post linked¬†below includes Blizzard’s thoughts on ladder¬†map pool, but, the poster on TeamLiquid sharing this information deemed¬†most of it ‘not worth translating’, and only gave us what we actually want to see. Here’s the short translation:

We’re going to maintain the number of ladder¬†maps to 9 with 3 macro-oriented, 3 aggressive¬†and 3 intermediate maps, so that a player can thumb down based on the player’s preference. GSL maps(soon) are macro-oriented.

That all sounds quite good and I really hope they think of adding these maps to the EU and North American ladders, too. Read more below!

GSL Maps on Ladder SOON‚ĄĘ¬†– TeamLiquid

Tournament & Event News

Tournament & Event Smalls:

Tt eSports StarCraft 2 Cup РGosuGamers

Team Dignitas Gamer Search – Team Dignitas

oGs, GosuGamers and more invited to second FXOpen РGosuGamers

DeMusliM still not fit; dropped from EPS РESFI World

NASL Application Videos

The North American StarLeague. Yes, it may yet be a while off but the hype and excitement continues to grow. Why, you ask? Well the most recent influx of entertainment has come in the form of all the new application videos that have been sent in from players of all shapes and sizes. Firstly, the guys from the NASL¬†said that only ‘Teams & Players that were NOT contacted must submit a public application with all the required information.’ So yes, these are the guys that weren’t picked but want in. Some names you might know that have applied are the following:¬† qxc, SjoW, SelecT, Catz, PainUser, Grubby¬†and, wait for it… Artosis¬†and even Brother Mack, yes, they can’t possibly not accept The Brother Mack. Yeah, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. So, you can watch all the video applications these guys, and more, sent in over the past few days. Some of them are extremely entertaining and it’s great to see why some of these players feel they should be in the NASL.

I have no doubt there will be more NASL news and / or announcements soon, but, untill then, check these out and enjoy!

NASL application VODS РTeamLiquid

IEM StarCraft II World Champion Is Crowned!

The Intel Extreme Masters that took place at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, is over and we have a champion! Twelve competitors entered the fray, fighting for the title of IEM¬†StarCraft¬†II World Champion and a share of $30,000 in prize money. The unforgiving early rounds eventually reduced that number to two: Jung Woo ‚ÄėAce‚Äô Seo and Jaeho¬†‘Moon’ Jang reached the Grand Final on Saturday.

Moon showed some unusual tactics during the first two matches of the final, but as the clash continued we were treated to a beautiful display of late-game prowess from both players. Ace eventually overcame his foe to win the series 3 to 2 and take home the title of IEM StarCraft II World Champion, plus, how can we forget the $13,000 first prize money?! Moon earned second place and with it $6,500, while Squirtle was able to take down mOOn-GLaDe and win $4,000 for third place.

If you want to catch up on all the action you may have missed you can¬†find all the VODs¬†and replays¬†of the event over at the ESL site, check a photo gallery of the event on the official StarCraft¬†Facebook Page or just see the full¬†brackets and results on various other sites. As an extra you can even check an interview out with TLO from the event where he says that being a commentator isn’t all that bad and he would actually consider doing it professionally. All of that and more can be found below!

The IEM StarCraft II World Champion is crowned! РOfficial

VIDEO: IEM: TLO talks commentator job and the future РGosuGamers

Ace crushes through IEM World Championship – SK Gaming

GSL Banner

GSL Updates

Here we go, GSL¬†updates! The GSL¬†Code-S has entered and completed its semi finals, yes, that far already. The two victors of those matches? Well, that part is obvious, too. July and MC both made it through to the finals and are set to face off against each other¬†in the most epic of ZvP’s.¬†If you are as keen as me to find out who our next champion will be, be¬†ready on¬†March the 19th and¬†check the links below for all the other results and drama from the past few days!

The GSL Code-A has already crowned its champion. The finals happened on the 11th of March between Losira and SuperNova. This ZvT ended with the Zerg, Losira, taking the series with a score of 4 to 3.

The GSL¬†Up/Down matches are set to happen on the 14th and 15th of March with quite a few big names competing. The likes of FruitDealer, MVP, NesTea¬†and many others are under a lot of pressure to do well. So, if you want to read all about what’s going on with¬†in the closing stages of the¬†5th season of the GSL, check it out below.

[GSL] Code S Semifinals РTeamLiquid

[GSL] Code A finals РTeamLiquid

Up/Down Match Groups GSL S5 РTeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code S Ro8 Day РTeamLiquid

[GSL March] Code S Ro8 Day 2 РTeamLiquid

GSL Extras

As a few GSL¬†related extras, you can read about when the next seasons’ qualification is set to start,¬†all about how Kelly Milkies¬†is apparently heading back so Singapore after only one season at GOMtv, about the new Code-A caster DoA, an interview with John about the new Code-A casters, how you can now also¬†find all the GSL¬†VODs (In full HS and¬†for free)¬†on YouTube at the new GOMtv¬†channel, a video of the best Tastosis¬†quotes from the past 2 weeks, featuring an extra dose of high gives and even how mOOnglade can’t wait to get back to Korea. A lot of interesting read, watch, and enjoy!

[R&S] GOM Code S/Code A March 2011 РTeamLiquid

KellyMILKIES to return to Singapore РESFI World

GOMtv On YouTube – YouTube

New Code-A Caster РESFI World

GOMtv: Q&A with John in Regards to Code A Casters РGosuGamers

mOOnGLaDe can’t wait to return to Korea¬†– ESFI World

GSL May Code A Preliminaries РGOMtv

Tastosis Highlights (ft. Kelly) РGSL March РWeek 2 РYouTube

GSL World Championship

Just a day or two ago GOMtv announced the 2011 GSL World Championship, an international StarCraft II tournament that will include players from Europe, America and Korea. It is set to take place from March 28th to April 9th, the event will begin with online preliminaries featuring 4-8 players from three regions of the world (Europe, America and Asia), of which only five will make it to the tournament itself. Two Europeans, two American and one Asian representative will be selected. The prize purse is set to be a whopping $50,000.

The offline tournament will consist of a 16 player single-elimination bracket and the series will begin in best of 3 format, then move into best of five until the grand finals, which will be best of 7. In addition to the solo event the guys from GOMtv also have a GSL TeamLeague planned, too, which will be detailed in full soon.

Players currently qualified, as of March 7th, are NesTea, MVP, MarineKing, NaDa , mOOnGLaDe, Jinro and Morrow. You can also find the list of preliminary participants that GOMtv announced from each region below.

GSL World Championship details revealed РESFI World

[GOM] 2011 GSL World Championship РTeamLiquid

Top 200 Starcraft 2

Top 200 Lists

The Top 200 lists have been updated again and, as usual, you can find the North American, European, Korean and South East Asian lists below!

StarCraft II: Top 200 –¬†EU¬†– Official

StarCraft II: Top 200 –¬†US¬†– Official

StarCraft II: Top 200 –¬†KR¬†– Official

StarCraft II: Top 200 –¬†SEA¬†– Official

TSL3 Updates

The brackets for the upcoming  TSL3 have been set up, we have our pairings and, to make it all even sweeter, we have a start date for this most anticipated of StarCraft Leagues, March the 19th. The first day of the Ro32 will feature four highly enticing match-ups, which are as follows:

BoxeR vs NightEnd
 Tyler vs  Strelok
SEn vs  Fenix
Thorzain vs FruitDealer

With games like those coming up, and yes, this is only the round of 32… who wouldn’t be excited? So it begins, do not forget to tune in on March 19th at 20:00 CET to catch the first batch of TSL¬†3 games. Check the links below for all the TSL¬†details you could ever want! As an extra, the maps and casters for the TSL3 have been revealed too, but I will leave that as a mystery and force you to check the links below if you want to know.

[TSL] Casters and Maps РTeamLiquid

[TSL] RO32 Day 1 РGet Ready! РTeamLiquid

[TSL] Bracket released! РTeamLiquid

StarCraft II At WCG 2011

Just a few days ago I mentioned that¬†the Blizzard games might well be excluded from the WCG¬†2011 finals, but now, I have some good news!¬† World Cyber Games has released an official list of nine games that will be featured¬†at the upcoming event in Korea and Blizzard’s masterpiece StarCraft¬†II, quite¬†fortunately, included. Other games to be played include WarCraft III, World of WarCraft Cataclysm and Counterstrike¬†1.6, to name a few. So, all those Blizzard fans out there that just happen to be WCG fans, rest easy tonight, all is well. Read more below!

StarCraft 2 finds its way to WCG 2011 РSK Gaming

Community News

Community Smalls:

More info on next StarCraft II hardcover novel revealed РBigDownload

PonyCraft II

I… Um…PonyCraft II? Yes, let¬† that sink in just a little bit before we continue. Firstly, the amount of My Little Pony that the creator of this would have had to watch to¬† create something as amazing and, um, accurate, as this, is just off the hook. That is some REAL dedication. Now, this is probably one of the best, and by far weirdest, strangest, oddest crossovers ever. You have to watch the entire thing, I can’t possibly hype it up enough. If this video doesn’t spread all over the internet, well, then there truly is no justice in the world. Check it out and enjoy!

PonyCraft 2 – YouTube

2011-03-02-winner

Art Updates

Time for a few StarCraft¬†related art updates, the best kind of updates! The Blizzard Fan Art Section¬†has been¬†updated with new artwork from our¬†community peers, four new, pretty well done, pieces from the StarCraft¬†universe. Along with these we have also been treated with the latest batch of winning comics from Blizzard’s ongoing comic contest. There are two StarCraft¬†related¬†pieces and one WarCraft pieces. I have to say I did chuckle at the poor SCV’s playing with the mule!

Check all those new images out below, enjoy!

New StarCraft Fan Art – Official

Comic Contest Winners – Official

Liquid Weekly #30

The next Liquid weekly is up, number 30, is up and ready for our viewing! You can read about HuK and his progress, which has sadly halted, in the GSL Code-A, Ret moving back to Europe and some more TSL goodness. Check it out over at TeamLiquid, or the links below, and enjoy the best of the Liquid community!

The Liquid Weekly #30 РTeamLiquid

Day[9] Stand -up Routine

Day[9] doing stand-up comedy? Yes, it’s true and thoroughly entertaining. If you want to see one of the funniest videos of Day[9] ever, then you’ve come to the right place.¬†In this routine, or maybe we should call it a rant,¬†Sean Plott¬†goes on¬†about the eHarmony web dating scene and this¬†gem was¬†recorded back in 2008. Check it out right here on YouTube, you won’t regret it!

Sean Plott РeHarmony Rant РYouTube

As a few Day[9] extras you can also find a few VODs¬†of him commentating with the super talented Zoe, aswell as a recorded piece of one of his pre-shows where he was overly obsessed with the word penis and lastly a video of Day[9], Khaldor and a bottle of¬†beer. Yes, that is all you’re getting. Check them out below!

Pre-Daily#266 Penis – YouTube

Day[9] and Soe Рreddit

Day[9], Khaldor and a bottle of beer… – YouTube

GG Vision

The next few GGVision¬†Episodes are out and man, is there a lot of good stuff to be seen! Everything from GSL¬†talk to IEM¬†news and reviews to quite a few super interesting live-shows. All that, coupled with the ever entertaining Sebastian, what’s not to like? Check the ESFI¬†World and PolygonreVue channels out below to see it all!

ESFI World РYouTube

PolygonreVue – YouTube

Athene Carries On

Ah Athene, it seems like you are most definitely back, and here to stay. So, troller¬†extraordinaire,¬†Athene, has struck again, twice. Firstly by setting up a new YouTube channel to¬†no doubt double¬†his already no doubt impressive income, in this channel he is going to be providing gaming and poker tips to the masses.¬†Secondly, by offering¬†up a thousand dollars to any StarCraft¬†player able¬†to take¬†4 insane PC’s out, 4v1. It seems like after this feat was achieved by an incredibly keen player, said player did contact Athene and is apparently set to receive the money. So, if you want to see the drama generator that is Athene in action, or just want some poker tips, you can find the links to both his channels below!

AtheneWins Channel –¬† YouTube

Chiren80 Channel РYouTube

Athene challenge was the real deal Рreddit

Local (South African) News

On the South African StarCraft¬†II front you can read about how Stripe took enjoy down in the PolarfluKe: MMMarch¬†finals and watch those VODs¬†below. The guys and girls from over at eGamer.co.za have a great ‘guide’ up covering our little StarCraft community. The article features a couple of quick interviews with a few big name local¬†players and gives everyone reading a few pointers on where to find the most, or best action. Worth checking out!

PolarfluKe: MMMArch Finals VODs Рmitarn

Gamer’s Guide To The Local StarCraft 2 Community РeGamer

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