Blizzard has released three custom maps for Starcraft 2. Called Aiur Chef, StarJeweled, and Left 2 Die, the maps are available to players for beta testing. Blizzard acknowledged that the maps are still being developed and that no firm final release date is available. However, devs wanted players to get a first look opportunity to try them out and to provide the team with valuable feedback.
Mode: Free For All
Players: Up to 8
Each round of Aiur Chef features a theme ingredient and three succulent recipes that play upon its unique flavor. Before you can master these themed dishes, though, you'll first need to scout across the map and collect a variety of tasty ingredients (including the theme ingredient). Each recipe has its own set of required ingredients, listed in the recipe menu in the upper-left of your screen, which can be picked up off the ground or acquired by killing specific creatures. Don't get too greedy when loading up on ingredients, though -- inventory space is limited, so you'll want to focus on collecting ingredients for one recipe at a time.
Read each map's summary and check out several screens on the Starcraft II blog site.
It didn't take long for Blizzard to react to Monday's release of a trailer showing what modders were calling "World of Starcraft". The lead modder on the project, Ryan, received a notice from YouTube that his video had been removed due to "copyright complaint(s) regarding material (he) posted". It appears that Blizzard's ultra-agressive stance protecting its copyrighted materials came full bore on this group's project.
This post from the mod team is quoted at Rock Paper Shotgun:
You created a tool that allowed us to do anything with your assets. You encouraged us to use your assets and were eager to see what we might come up with. You had to have seen this coming?
I know it’s hard to trust someone you’ve never met to piggyback on your own legacy. The brilliance of StarCraft combined with the multiplayer focus of World of Warcraft. You might be a little worried about your lore being butchered… or even more-so worried about a guy with no supervision tainting the name of your company with poor product.
Let me assure you that I am in no way shape or form going to deliver anything less than complete perfection. I’ve been following your work since Warcraft. I’ve worked with every editor you’ve put out since I was 13 years old.
If you have a problem with what I am doing… or would like to talk about it. I’m all ears. But please don’t send me some messenger with a cease and desist letter.
Read more here and find all of the relevant links as well.
Blizzard's Community Manager Jonathan Brown (alias Zarhym) has a new post on the official World of Warcraft forums about planned changes coming to the Shaman class. The list is not a huge one but seems to have the Shaman community fired up with sixteen pages of comments already posted.
Those changes were only announced in the context of warlock changes. I recognize though that the first draft of patch notes did not yet have shaman changes listed. In light of that -- and to hopefully dissuade you all from invading the warlock forum about the changes I listed there -- below you'll find the tentative shaman notes. The patch notes will likely be updated to include these changes tomorrow evening.
- Chain Heal’s effectiveness has been increased by approximately 10%.
- Hex now has a PvP duration of 8 seconds.
- Purge now dispels a single effect instead of two.
Read more here.
Blizzard has announced that over 4.7 million copies of the World of Warcraft Cataclysm expansion were sold in the month following its release on December 7, 2010. According to Blizzard's internal sales partnership statistics and its own sales data, this is a record single-month sales record for a PC title.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was simultaneously released in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand on 7th of December , and became available in Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on 9th of December. With day-one sales topping 3.3 million copies,* World of Warcraft: Cataclysm became the fastest-selling PC game of all time, shattering the previous record, which was held by the second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.
Read more here.
As part of the streamlined World of Warcraft community site, the team has posted a new handy-dandy guide to travel in Azeroth. The guide includes information about mounts available, what levels they can be obtained, flight masters, zeppelin travel and more.
Azeroth is a large world and it's recently become much larger. There are hills to climb, deserts to explore, fjords to ford, and a vast sea separating the continents. And let’s not forget that beyond Azeroth proper there lies a whole other shattered world -- Outland. Traveling has never been more interesting, and for some, confusing. To help you with getting around, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more common ways you can see the world, meet new creatures, and (likely) be killed by them.
Read more here.
All hail innovation! A group of intrepid University of Southern California students have created and released FAAST, or the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit compatible with the XBox Kinect. Using FAAST, folks can map body movements and gestures. To put the program through its paces, the group used FAAST to play World of Warcraft via Kinect. The results are AWESOME as the video shows a group member casting spells, moving the camera and more.
In this video, we show how FAAST can be used to control off-the-shelf video games such as World of Warcraft. Since these games would not normally support motion sensing devices, FAAST emulates keyboard input triggered by body posture and specific gestures. These controls can be dynamically configured for different applications and games.
At this time, the mapping program is only compatible with Windows-based systems but the team has plans to release both a Linux and Mac version in the future. Now how awesome is that?
Check out the video below:
The World of Warcraft development team has started an interesting series of blog posts about the 'movers and shakers' in Azeroth and their collective metamorphosis since The Shattering that came with the Cataclysm update. The series starts with a look at Orc powerhouse, Thrall, and gives a retrospective look at the way Thrall used to look and the way he looks now.
One of the most notable metamorphoses in Cataclysm is that of Thrall. Thrall He's worn many titles in his lifetime: slave, gladiator, shaman, chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, and, most recently, warchief of the Horde. Now, as the son of Durotan puts down the mantle of warchief and takes up the simple garb of a shaman once again, we take a look back at his journey and the events that shaped him into the orc he is today.
Read more here.
The official developer blog at the World of Warcraft site has been updated by Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street. The team is beginning to list out some of the systems and features that it's looking at for future tweaks. Street issues a caveat by saying that this is a preliminary list and not necessarily all-inclusive.
We’re happy with damage overall. We have very few traditional tank and spank fights (even Argaloth likes to parry melee) so it’s hard to get consistent numbers without very large data sets. Still, we see Survival hunters and Unholy DKs on top of a lot of single target fights. Arcane, Marksman, and Beastmaster damage is too low. Retribution, Shadow, and Fire and Frost mage damage might be too low, but we’re still watching them. We aren’t seeing a lot of Subtlety rogues in PvE yet, so that sample size is still small. On fights where there is a lot of area damage, Demonology warlocks, Frost DKs and possibly Survival hunters are all too high. Shadow priest AE, mostly due to a weak Mind Sear, feels too low.
Healing in PvE is working out pretty much as intended. There are some Heroic dungeon bosses that are probably tougher than the required item level average permits. In general, you might have a tough time upon zoning into a Heroic dungeon with a bunch of strangers as soon as Dungeon Finder permits, especially if your group isn’t willing to communicate and work together. We want Heroics to be challenging -- if you want to zerg the content, stick to normal dungeons.
Tank balance overall seems good at this point in time. Threat seems to be in a good place -- good tanks don’t have much of a problem, but they can’t “phone it in” either. We’re seeing all four tanks get a lot of use, even on Heroic raid fights. That could change as more guilds are able to make serious heroic attempts.
Read more here.
Blizzard Entertainment has released a demo for its blockbuster realtime strategy title, Starcraft II. The demo features three missions and a terran vs terran AI skirmish. For those who don't know exactly what Starcraft II is, the Blizzard team has put up a handy dandy FAQ.
In typical real-time strategy games, players build armies and vie for control of the battlefield. The armies in play can be as small as a single squad of marines or as large as a full-blown planetary invasion force. As commander, you observe the battlefield from a top-down perspective and issue orders to your units in real time. Strategic thinking is key to success; you need to gather information about your opponents, anticipate their moves, outflank their attacks, and formulate a winning strategy.
In a new blog post on the official Diablo III site, the encounter system is explained. The post starts with a revelation that encounters with monsters will be more tactically 'interesting' than in past iterations of the popular series.
For example, when you first see the unnerving Vessels -- human cultists who've given their bodies over to demonic possession -- you'll notice that they stand numbly in place, tapping their staves on the ground and seemingly ignoring you. Yet that doesn't mean that you can ignore them. Within an indefinite amount of time, the monstrosities possessing the Vessels will tear through the flesh of their living hosts and emerge onto the battlefield, utterly consumed by rage and hell-bent on inflicting grievous harm. When encountering untransformed Vessels, it's in your best interest to kill them as fast as possible -- but trying to accomplish this can put you in the center of a melee, or take your focus off of other targets who'll savage you in the meantime. It may not seem very heroic to kill first and ask questions later, but the fate of Sanctuary is at stake - and demon-slaying is not for the faint of heart.
Read the full post at the Diablo III site.