Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft Announced!

Today, Blizzard Entertainment announced Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft.  Blizzard has also set up a YouTube channel with some videos giving you a glimpse into this new game.

Hearthstone: Trailer

In the next video from Blizzard, you’ll see the game being played.  I’d like to point out that it appears that the game may be available for multiple platforms.  With two views of the video I’ve noticed it being played on a PC via an Intuos and what appears to be an Apple iPad.  The tablet could, of course, be an Android tablet.  The gaming communities hope would be that it’s available everywhere; PC/Mac and iOS/Android devices.

Hearthstone: Gameplay and Behind-The-Scenes

Hearthstone is a fast paced online collectible card game.  It’s geared for the beginner as well as the advanced card player.  Chris Metzen explains the impact that other such games, like Magic: The Gathering, had on the early development of Blizzard’s company culture.  For the development of this game, Blizzard took a more low key approach.  Bringing together a 15 man team of do-it-all experts, they worked to create something Epic in play, but not size.  Hearthstone’s mechanics will be familiar to players of TCGs and CCGs and spells, items, and monsters will be familiar to previous Blizzard gamers.

Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft

The artwork for the game is a major selling point.  With a card game being such a visual sport, it’s nice to have a huge library of fantasy art to pull from.  On a personal note, I’ve been wanting to get into the World of Warcraft TCG for years, but haven’t had the time or space to do so.  I think Hearthstone looks very promising and I’ll be patiently awaiting a Beta invite.

If you have played Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft, then leave a comment or send a message!

Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft

StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm

StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard’s follow up to StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, will be released around the world tomorrow.  Last weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Neil Kaplan, the voice of Tychus Findlay from Wings of Liberty.  Which is a humorous story all by itself.  But first, here’s a video discussing the upcoming release:

Neil Kaplan, the voice of Tychus

I occasionally sell some things on eBay.  Things just sitting around the house collecting dust, things for friends, things I pick up at secondhand stores, or things that might be under-appreciated by the locals but would be a treasure to someone somewhere.  For the last month or two I had the behind-the-scenes DVD from StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty sitting out there waiting for someone to bid or buy.  Last weekend, I receive an email from a buyer asking if I would bring the item to the local comic book / anime convention going on.  That buyer happened to be Neil Kaplan.  The family had plans already so I initially declined.  Along came some snow, and those plans changed, so I hopped in my truck and made the short trip to Oak Grove, KY.

Mr. Kaplan explained to me that he likes to buy a few copies of the behind-the-scenes DVD to sign for fans.  Not a bad idea at all.  So, I traded an item I was trying to sell for a one of a kind experience.

starcraft 2 heart of the swarm

I talked with Mr. Kaplan for quite a while.  When asked about the upcoming expansion, StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm, he didn’t give me the usual “Sorry, I can’t say”, instead he explained why he won’t say.  Before personalizing the picture above, he made sure I had completed the campaign mode of Wings of Liberty.  Neil Kaplan hates spoiling things.  He told me that when he was a teenager, he had the opportunity to go see The Empire Strikes Back.  Upon his return home from seeing one of the most popular sequels in movie history, his mother asked how it was.  Of course we all know now that at the end of the film it’s revealed that Darth Vader is Luke’s father.  We take that for granted now, but that was a huge reveal at the time.  Neil wouldn’t give up the goods other than to tell her that she had to go see it.  Even with the threat of being grounded, he wouldn’t spoil the movie.

StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm ?

Needless to say, he would not confirm or deny ift Tychus makes an appearance in StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm.  I’m ok with that, because what he did say was much more interesting.  He has been discussing the future of the character with Chris Metzen, Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard.  They would like to do more with the character.  Perhaps working on some of the early story of Tychus and Raynor or maybe bringing the character back from the dead.  It is a sci-fi universe after all.  The Protoss character Fenix had a similar treatment within the scope of the original StarCraft, with only a few missions between his fall and return.

With the game releasing and launching tomorrow, March 12, across the globe, I’m pretty excited.  Be looking for more video and articles about StarCraft 2 Heart of the Swarm in the coming days, including tomorrow mornings unboxing of the Collector’s Edition!

starcraft 2 wings of libertystarcraft 2 wings of liberty

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Retail Box Revealed

Mists of Pandaria

The following is the description of Blizzards latest expansion, Mists of Pandaria, to their epic MMO World of Warcraft.

“Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures. It is the homeland of the enigmatic Pandaren, a race that celebrates life to the fullest even while under siege by an ancient menace.

The new continent reveals itself to a broken world just as the Alliance and Horde are spiraling ever closer to a war that will consume all of Azeroth. Will the mists of Pandaria part to reveal the world’s salvation? Or will the battle to control this rich and breathtaking new land push the two mighty factions over the brink of war and into total annihilation? The answers await within Pandaria’s mysterious shores!”

Retail Box Revealed

Mists of Pandaria

This appears to be the actual retail box for Mists of Pandaria.  The barcode itself checks out as legitimate.  There’s nothing stopping Blizzard from changing the art, but this same monk does appear on the Pandaria site.

As a Beta tester for Mists of Pandaria, I can assure you that new content is being added regularly for this expansion.  Updates every week for a while now.  Blizzard does seem to be taking their time with this expansion, and for good reason.  They are adding and changing a lot to the game.  The new skill specialization menu is a little difficult to comprehend at first, but seems to be very straightforward.  Perhaps they are taking some game design cues from the Diablo 3 department.  The Pet Battling system, aka Pokemon, is something I have yet to test and am unsure if it is fully implemented yet.  September 18th, this year, seems to be the most logical day for release.  This is of course, unconfirmed and only speculation.

I’ll be posting whatever I can find on this, and eagerly await the official announcement of the Mists of Pandaria Collector’s Edition.