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BLIZZCON 2013 HEROES OF THE STORM OVERVIEW: SOMETHING WENT TERRIBLY RIGHT

 

Making the twelve hour drive back from this year’s BlizzCon, I was struck with a sort of wistful melancholy. I’ve been lucky enough to attend every BlizzCon, and the only other time I felt this way was after the first time I got to try StarCraft II. It was upon remembering this that I realized what this feeling was: I was bummed out that I wouldn’t be able to go home and play Heroes of the Storm. That I had months of waiting ahead of me. This article is an assessment of the game as it played in it’s Alpha form at BlizzCon. I’ll be giving my thoughts and comparisons regarding the game from the standpoint of a long time player of DOTA, League of Legends, and DOTA 2. The goal of the article, however, is to convey why Heroes of the Storm has me feeling like the Blizzard fan I used to be again. Passionate, rabid, knocking over thousands of ladder matches of WarCraft III, sacrificing my collegiate GPA in the name of love for gaming, and Blizzard. What is it about Heroes of the Stormthat’s making me resent all my scheduled work hours again? Let’s find out.

FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME

Upon sitting down for my first match of HotS, (Aside: HotS? Heart of the Swarm, Heroes of the Storm, HeartStone: Heroes of WarCraft… something must be done about this acronym debacle, but that’s a task for us, the community, to tackle. So let’s hear some suggestions. I vote for “HOOTS”. Then Blizzard can add a kooky owl hero, to be followed by a kooky owl continent in WoW.) I immediately saw that this was not the map I played two years previously. Nor was it the simple map editor experiment that got shoved into a corral next to Aiur Chef and StarJeweled I played before that. Where before, the game was sort of neat, but obviously just a StarCraft II Arcade mod, this was an entirely new game. It reeked of polish. It was clearly the results of a team’s efforts, not a project given to one person, it showed the power that a team of talented developers can funnel into a product. The controls were responsive and tight, and the graphics were vibrant and detailed, even beyond StarCraft II’s standards, which the game was built from. I chose my first hero, the Elite Tauren Chieftain, and chose his alternate skin, an 80’s style tiger-stripe leotard sporting glam rock version. He even had a guitar modeled after the one Prince uses, as if I needed any help knowing who I was destined to select.

 

 

The Elite Tauren Chieftain creates a massive AOE stun, as his guitar solo compels the enemy team to do nothing but rock out. Probably Randy Rhodes’ solo from “No More Tears”.

 

 

As I loaded into the fountain area with my team, I began pressing buttons like “B”, and clicking around the home base looking for shop to buy my starting items. I couldn’t seem to find it, no matter where I searched. The announcement that the match was about to begin came across, and it dawned on me: this game has no items. My teeth began to grind. The capillaries in my eyes began to stress. “Casuals! Filthy, filthy, no skill, baby aspirin CASUALS!!”, I thought to myself, as I begrudgingly headed towards my lane. But, I’m an open minded guy, and I still trust these developers. My ire subsided and I decided to give the game an honest chance to impress me. It didn’t take long before I forgot about items. After one game, I never missed buying items again.

Why? I was too focused on the map objectives to remember items. I was too busy looking forward to leading my team to victory to look forward to buying a big fat item and doing the most damage I could. Heroes of the Storm does not take place on a traditional hero brawler map, the classic formula we know from the first DOTA, 3 lanes, creeps, towers, and jungles. Instead, we are given “Battlegrounds”, each with unique team based objectives and win conditions. In one Battleground, called Blackheart’s Bay, players must collect coins from around the map and deliver them to a neutral ghostly pirate captain, Blackheart, who will then use his ship to deliver gigantically devastating damage to the enemy team’s towers and base. In another, Dragon Shire, there are two capture points on the North and South sides of the map, and when both are held by one team, they can choose a hero to become the Dragon Knight, who is vastly stronger and more deadly than a normal hero. In a word, he facerolls. In yet another, Cursed Hollow, teams battle for the favor of the Raven Lord – collecting his tribute curses the other team, weakening their towers and minions significantly. In the last of the four available Battlegrounds, Haunted Mines, a highly unorthodox and extremely interesting map, players go below ground into mines, a subterranean level beneath the normal map, to collect skulls. Enormous grave golems are then summoned for each team, their strength determined by the number of skulls their corresponding team collected. These grave golems are gigantic threats, and left unchecked, will push through multiple towers or even win the game.

 

The Grave Golem pushes relentlessly onto the enemy Nexus, swelling with putrid offal and endless undead might. He also enjoys watching “Modern Family”.

 

This is where the game really began to shine as it’s own entity. Listen, I’m not some general games journalist who thinks the future of gaming is QTEs and choose your own adventure books, who’s played 50 games of League of Legends and thinks that pirates are really neat-o and fun. I’ve got thousands of hours in DOTA 2, just as much in League of Legends, and I was addicted to DOTA 1 throughout the entire George W. Bush presidency, and I’m telling you: these maps are not gimmicks. They encourage tactics and teamwork beyond anything being done in those games. The objectives create action and intrigue, and simultaneously aren’t the only way to win.

HOW DO I LIVE WITHOUT YOU?

So, like I said before I gushed over the maps, the game doesn’t have items. So what does it have? What do you have to look forward to with your hero? Not having a way to enhance your heroes is a little bland isn’t it? The answer is in the skills. Heroes don’t just have 3 spells and an ultimate. They start with 3 spells, and beginning at level 1, you select from passive improvements, spell modifications, and new activated abilities all the way up to level 20. Every hero has at least 2 ults. All along the way, you can choose to make your skill tree more tanky, more speedy, offensively oriented, supportive, or any combination thereof and more. Sort of like an item build, without having to memorize recipes. It’s like the item shop and League of Legends’ masteries rolled into one, but you get to build them every game. Your build is yours to decide, and you can easily adapt that build in the middle of the game if another type of style is needed for your team to win. Maybe you’re playing as Nova, and the enemy team has you outleveled. Your Abathur has taken the ability that adds healing to his already robust shielding buff. While so far, you’ve been focusing on abilities to apply heavy single target damage, you diverge and begin taking AOE damage enhancements so you can more quickly farm neutral mercenaries to try and catch your team up in levels while Abathur heals you. You can do that. Not only that, it works.

 

 

A look at the talent screen for Stitches. Not pictured: The hidden heroic ability “Lengthy diatribe on Jackson Pollack”.

 

 

Don’t be mistaken. I was having a blast, but I still thought that the robust hero build system lacked depth compared to the item shop. Once the most “ideal” build is found, then won’t everyone play every hero the same way? My worry was relieved by lead designer Dustin Browder during our press Q&A session:

“At some point throughout the progression system you unlocks talents, and more talents. And then what you’ll have is a loadout. So you might have…9 or 10 talents available to you at level 1. Before the game launches, you’re going to get to choose 3. So you’re going to go and configure your hero before the game. So you’re going to go ‘Ok, I’m going to play Sonya the Barbarian. What talents do I have unlocked for Sonya? Ok, I have 10 talents for her at level 1, these 3 feel meaningful to me.’ So you’re going to load your choices like you’re building your deck. Right? ‘These are all my cards, these are the one I’m gonna take with me this game’. Then you’re going to go into the game and we’re going to say ‘Hey, hey. These are the choices you said you wanted. Pick one’. And then that will happen throughout the process. So after you get out of the game you may say ‘That deck didn’t work for me.’ “

 

So, instead of an item shop, you get to make an ability “deck” based off the hero abilities you’ve unlocked, and then make a long term build up to level 20 based on the abilities you chose. Sound like a lot? Seem impossible to balance? Ask yourself: how hard is it to balance compared to balancing an item shop of 150 items, that have to be used fairly and equally by over 100 heroes? Compared to that gargantuan task, balancing a crop of abilities specifically tailored for a hero against other heroes is child’s play. On top of that, it adds loads of flavor. I am picturing a “Spectre Nova” skin, with her in black and gray, red eyes glowing, and includes a set of ability cards that includes a long range snipe ability and a triple mini-nuke ultimate to include in your build. It should be noted that this is not in any way the confirmed method Blizzard will be conducting micro transactions, in fact, during our interview, Dustin made a solemn vow to avoid all “pay to win” principles. It was just my own thought for how new abilities, themes, and playstyles could be added to heroes. After experiencing the skill system in Heroes of the Storm, not only do I not miss items, they seem almost archaic and cumbersome to me.

HELLO, I LOVE YOU

When Heroes was announced, Blizzard’s “strategy” was pretty obvious to everyone. They missed the boat with the successor to DOTA and the advent of the MOBA/ARTS genre. They didn’t cash in on what is now unquestionably the most explosive genre in video gaming. This game was how Blizzard would take a piece of their rightful pie back, and they’d do it by cashing in on the familiar faces that so many people know and love. After all, this entire genre was built using WarCraft III’s tools and resources, by the WarCraft III community. Right?

I’m not so sure. Sure, of the 18 heroes available in the BlizzCon build, I recognized… well, 18 of them. Sure, I loved it. Sure, when I saw Diablo stomping around casting his lighting/fire breath and summoning pentagrams, I had the squishy fanboy glee moment. But I think that the shiny happy heroes we all love will be the candy that gets folks in the door, and an amazingly fun and addictive multiplayer game is what will get them to stay put. Then buy skins. Glorious, glorious skins. As I said before, I chose the Elite Tauren Chieftain in my first game. All the heroes, what I think of them, their abilities, their difficulties, strategies, skins, and roles will be covered in our comprehensive overview, so I’ll save that for later. Since I’m talking about ETC however, I’ll describe him.

 

 

Come on Feel the Noize with ETC who Don’t Want Nothin’ But a Good Time because he’s a Livewire and a Youth Gone Wild who loves Cherry Pie.

 

 

ETC can be compared to varying other heroes from the brawler genre depending on your build and playstyle. Simultaneously, he’s definitely his own entity. He is a melee hero who is most useful when initiating and fighting up close. He has a damaging dash, a self heal, an AOE cleave, and for this build, his choice of ults were between a map wide teleport, or a large AOE crowd control, where he puts on a rippin’ guitar solo, and the enemy team is compelled to dance. So, depending on your build, ETC can play like Shen with his dash and map teleport, like Alistar with his crowd control and self heal, or like a classic bruiser. My only regret is that I got one game with him, and I’m looking forward to getting more time with him. Hopefully sooner rather than later. My game went smashingly,. And I think our team went something like 4300 kills to zero deaths and won. Something like that.

My next game, I chose Abathur. Abathur was my favorite character in Heart of the Swarm. Obsessed with acquiring perfect genetics for the Zerg, slug-like, cowardly, but an expert survivalist, I was very interested to see how such a character would be translated as a hero in a game like Heroes of the Storm. What I was shown was a hero unlike anything I’d ever played before.

 

 

Do you enjoy gladiator movies, Human?

 

 

Abathur is a support hero taken to the next level. He has the ability to tunnel anywhere on the map, and to place creep tumors that explode, do damage, and slow, like Teemo’s mushrooms. These skills make him very valuable for map control, as he can quickly capture points or reinforce gates and walls at any time. His main mechanic, however, is to cast a channeling spell, where he “infests” an ally hero. The channeling has no duration, and you are infested inside the hero until you choose to break it or the hero dies. While “inside” the hero, Abathur shoots a skill shot damage spike from their body. He also has the ability to shield the hero. At one of his levels, Abathur could choose to make this shield stronger, or to add a healing property to it. He also casts an AOE burst of spikes from the hero he is infesting, and coupled with the skill shot, can greatly enhance the damage capability of a lane or team fight. His ultimate lets you become a clone of any hero on your team, including all their spells, allowing you to double up on your assassins or really go for a strong push. It has to be strategically timed, however, because during this time you won’t have the benefit of Abathur’s support.

Abathur himself dies in about two hits from any hero. This little fact is what made my first experience with him very confusing at the outset. You see, his infestation ability has infinite range. That’s a little something I failed to notice. So there I was, with Abathur out in the lane, trying to hide in bushes and behind towers, infesting my pane partner at close range. And dying. Dying a lot. After a few minutes of getting squished like the bug I was, I turned to my friend, Legacy site administrator LordofAscension, and said “…I think I’m supposed to play this guy FROM the base.” Which of course, I was. You’ve got to understand, there had been no Heroes of the Storm panels or gameplay discussions at this point. This was a mind blowing concept for someone playing this kind of game for eight years. It was exhilarating to see hero designs being implemented outside what we have known as absolute truths in this genre up to this point. Once I parked my squishy larval butt back in the base, things started going swimmingly for my team. Infesting heroes in the underground mines while I stayed above, teleporting to capture points as soon as they were available, saving a hero with a sliver of life, then infesting across the map to do it again in the span of seconds. I was having the most fun I’ve had in a hero brawler in years.

As I walked towards the exit after the game, which we lost because I gave the other team an EXP filled grub to stomp on for about ten minutes, I was beaming with excitement. I told my teammates how unique and refreshing Abathur was, how he was something I’d never even considered. Here was something beyond a support hero. He was a director of fates. I’d call him a commander hero. It was during this joyful tirade, by a 30 year old man, that I realized something: I was more electrified by a Blizzard game than I’d been since I was a kid. The last time I was this excited was when I first saw Dark Templar in Brood War. I really, genuinely couldn’t wait to get back into the game again. This kind of “make the game we want to make, worry about the semantics later” approach to game design is exactly what needs to happen for this game to be a huge success. I did not think I’d be pledging any allegiance to a new MOBA style game, ever again. After my Abathur game, I was solidly on the HOOTS boat, and began planning my commentary and coverage, right then and there. Toot toot, all aboard for HOOTS! Toot.

So what other sorts of things can be done with these liberating new battleground and hero mechanics? How about an Arcturus Mengsk commander hero, who never actually arrives at the battlefield, but commands safely from his Battlecruiser? He could be purely about summoning and controlling extra minions in the lanes. Like Abathur, he could be extremely micro intensive, as his special troops are deployed all over the map. What about Deckard Cain, whose immense knowledge of the arcane, mystic, and demonic is all about empowering his allies? He could stay at home, and “identify” items for allies, giving them activatable skills. With these types of things going on, as well as more interesting supports, and pure siege heroes, soon we will no longer be fenced in to “Carry, Tank, Support, Jungler” molds. What works in the game will be decided by teams. And that’s what Heroes of the Storm emphasizes above all else: teamwork.

THAT’S F***ING TEAMWORK

You will always be the same level as everyone else on your team. How does that sound? To me, it triggered all those “filthy casual” buttons again when I realized it was happening. But, after finding that I didn’t miss items, I thought about, (having heard Blizzard’s design philosophies about the game), what the goal of the shared experience is. Firstly, it allows a hero like Abathur, who never leaves the base, to exist. Secondly, It allows freedom for interesting map mechanics. If a hero can be off doing an important task besides farming in lane, then more strategically robust maps can thrive. Again, I like that. It also always allows for a window for a team to make a comeback. Even if one team is several levels ahead of the other, and it looks grim, because the opposition doesn’t have one useless carry or one individual hero who is so grossly far behind that there’s no possibility of comeback, both teams must always be focused and on their toes. Games of HOOTS are quicker than League of Legends games, and (much, much) quicker than DOTA 2 matches, but in that approximately 20 minute span (about the length of an average SCII match), the outcome is never a foregone conclusion. The team that’s behind can shift gears, focus on gathering up mercenaries and experience points. The map objectives are so powerful that a team that’s behind can turn the match around just by strategically stealing them from the other team. It’s like the option to steal Baron Nashor, all the time. Both teams have to be active and sharp the whole game. It really makes for a compelling and enjoyable experience - every time.

 

 

Diablo makes a break for the delicious marshmallow moon he recently spotted.

 

 

The inclusion and importance of Battleground objectives necessitates teamwork at all times. In Heroes of the Storm, HotShotGG can’t sit in his lane for 45 minutes playing PvE then run in at the end and nuke the planet with some godly over-farmed Nasus or Nidalee. I myself, at BlizzCon, after only a few games, found myself communicating to my team (through good old fashioned yelling, which, in retrospect, the enemy team probably heard). “Ok, Nova, you swing around behind Diablo and let him chase you. Make sure you kite him with your W, I’m going to sneak towards the shrine. Abathur, while they’re chasing her, you tunnel to the middle and snipe the Dragon Knight. Ok, ready? Going! Go, go, go!” Not only was this kind of teamwork natural, it was extremely gratifying, and every player felt like they were an important part of it. At the same time, they are dancing, dodging, firing off skillshots, kiting, and doing all the things that we love to do. Click click click.

Which brings us to the heart of this game. It’s a dream I’ve had in a long time in this genre, and I bet you have too: no more pubs. To have a consistent group of 5 players, who get on every night, and that’s your squad, with whom you learn to mesh like you could never do with strangers. With long term ladder and tournament goals in mind. Some of you probably have accomplished this in other games. I never have, and I think in Heroes I’ll have no problem getting there. It looks to me that because of the game’s design, it will demand this kind of interaction to thrive. Blizzard knows it, and that’s their entire goal: you will be rewarded with in game currency and increased account experience for playing with friends, and Battle.net support for pre arranged teams will be elaborate and expansive.

ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER

Of course, sometimes, you will need to just play on your own. The experience of getting paired up with 4 strangers, 2 of which are constantly babbling in Portuguese to each other while they feed, an AFK tank who auto locked the hero you wanted then decided to alt-tab and check out Katy Perry interviews on YouTube instead of playing, and a carry who has “noobnoobnoobnoob lololol” pasted into his clipboard, understands why this can be a daunting task (read; everyone who’s played one of these games). Dustin Browder, stating matter of factly how matchmaking is operated, didn’t realize what a big deal this announcement was:

“I choose what hero I wanna play, and then I match make. And I say ‘I would like to play Elite Tauren Chieftain. Nobody take my ETC, I wanna play him.’ And we go, our match making goes ‘Oh, you wanna play ETC ok, he wants to play ETC too, he can be on the enemy team. Ok, ETC, you need a support character, and a couple assassins, and let’s pick up a siege’. Right? And we’ll try to make a comp for you that makes sense.”

 

This small change, one that I’ve been griping about for years, by itself, eliminates a gigantic chunk of the horror of solo matchmaking in my opinion. Unfortunately, the plan seemed to be to only allow this for unranked play, but when the “stakes” are higher, when people care more, is when these sort of conflicts need to be weeded out the most. Choose your role, the game finds you an appropriate team. Hopefully Blizzard realizes that this method of solo matchmaking should be universal. I can say from years of experience and online chat text strife, that it unquestionably is.

CAN’T HARDLY WAIT

Illidan, Kerrigan, Uther. Raynor, Malfurion, Arthas. Diablo, Tassadar, Nova. Faces we know, names we love, and they’ll be coming down the pipe all the time. What’s more, they’re done beautifully, and they’re chock full of personality. Every hero has all the flavor you want from that hero. This is the foundation stone, for many, of why this game is happening. Maybe to a degree it is. But why this game will flourish, to me, is all soaked into the gameplay.

From a sample map to encourage people to use the editor, to one man developed back burner project, to BlizzCon centerpiece. Heroes of the Storm is ready to enter the arena of the biggest PC gaming genre in the world. Here we are, staring Blizzard’s hero brawler in the face. From my two days with the alpha build, it looks like Blizzard’s got a lot more than one leg to stand on. It’s not just about cashing in on fan favorites. It’s not about “demographics”. It’s about a formula that made the company so insanely successful in it’s Golden Age: make games that people just don’t want to stop playing. With an emphasis on customization, hero builds, unique and varying map types, and above all else, teamwork and playing with friends, this could be the game that leads me to write a piece called “How Blizzard Got Their Groove Back”. Let’s not put the cart before the horse, though. Because then the horse eats all your apples you were delivering to the general store or whatever. Right? That’s what that expression means, I think.

Anyways, we’re a long way out, and there’s a lot of pitfalls to avoid along the way (the last time I was this pumped was when I played the StarCraft: Ghost multiplayer at the first BlizzCon), but all the pieces are there. Blizzard has, after these years of development, really got the pieces they need to make my new favorite game, and yours too. I’m going to do everything I can to help us get there.

starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2013 event article.

starcraft legacy

During the first day of BlizzCon 2013, the Heart of the Swarm Casting & Voice Over Director, Andrea Toyias, hosted a discussion panel that included the voice actors of some of the most iconic StarCraft II characters. These actors provide depth to the Koprulu Sector and their talent breathes life into the pixelated characters created by Blizzard. We learned that each actor helps flesh out the role for which he or she has been written and how the final voice work can provide inspiration and direction in the development of StarCraft’s plot.

The voices for these characters inevitably becomes an inseparable part of the character’s identity. We, the fans, become emotionally attached to these characters that inhabit the world we’ve known for more than fifteen years. To some, the fans are overly zealous - after all, with post production, many fans probably wouldn’t notice the change. But to many sentimental fans, it matters a great deal. Famously, fans rallied in support of Robert Clotworthy, the voice of Jim Raynor, when Blizzard sought to replace him before Wings of Liberty. In the BlizzCon 2007 StarCraft Lore Panel, Chris Metzen, stated that while Robert Clotworthy had said he’d love to do Raynor’s voice again, Metzen loved someone new that had come into the studio and read for Raynor’s part. He said that from his creative perspective he wanted to get the character right and that the new voice was much closer to what he had originally envisioned for the character. But the impassioned devotees proved to be relentless and the campaign to convince Blizzard to retain Clotworthy succeeded. Similarly, fans were devastated when it became apparent, that despite early readings for StarCraft II, Glynnis Talken was not asked to reprise her role as the voice of Sarah Kerrigan. Fans attempted to repeat the success of the Clotworthy campaign, but ultimately, no amount of fan support would save her. Instead, the allure of working with an actress from another part of the science fiction pantheon proved too great and Blizzard hired Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica fame to voice the Queen of Blades for the StarCraft II story arc. Now, years later, nostalgic fans still debate the casting choice. The voices given to these characters matter. They enrich the story and elevate the tone of the experience. Panels like this and the one held in 2009 are opportunities for the actors to talk about their characters and how they found their voice.

This Voice Actors Present Were*:

Robert Clotworthy "Jim Raynor"

 

Neil Kaplan "Tychus Findlay"

 

Fred Tatasciore "Zeratul"

 

James Harper "Arcturus Mengsk"

 

Patrick Seitz "Artanis"

 

Steve Blum "Abathur"

 

Josh Keaton** "Valerian Mengsk"

 

James Waugh, Lead Writer - StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

 

 

 

*Cree Summer, the voice of Selendis, was scheduled to appear, but was unable to attend.
**Josh Keaton only attended the autograph session following the conclusion of the panel proper.

 

Andrea Toyias moderated the panel and began by individually introducing each voice actor. She proceeded to go down the line of voice actors and dialogue with the actors about the characters they voiced. Robert Clotworthy started by reiterating how much he enjoyed playing the role of Jim Raynor. He discussed how Raynor was a guy that no one wanted to mess with but was a dependable friend. When asked about the Raynor-Kerrigan arc he said that while rare for voice acting in a game, sometimes he and Tricia Helfer would record in the booth together and that allowed for great synergy. Otherwise, it was because of Andrea Romano and Andrea Toyias’ great direction that the emotion was convincing.

Neil Kaplan next discussed Tychus Findlay and why he made for such a great partner for Raynor. He loved how the duo’s genesis was portrayed in “Heaven’s Devils” and “Devil’s Due”. When asked what ending Neil would have written for Tychus, Neil ultimately answered that he wouldn’t have changed anything. To him, Tychus had always been a good guy and embodied the quintessential anti-hero, a Han Solo-esque character. He interprets the resolution of Tychus’ storyline at the end of Wings of Liberty as the ultimate redemption of Tychus’ choices. He believes that faced with certain death in that cave, Tychus chose to die by his friend’s hand instead of Mengsk’s death trap. Andrea did note that they had discussed bringing Tychus back in various incarnations.

Fred Tatasciore drew several laughs with his version of a "Samuel L Jackson" Zeratul:

 

 

He then continued by paying homage to Zeratul’s original voice actor, Jack Ritschel. Whom he said, really forged and established Zeratul for him. Fred described Zeratul as a good Darth Vader, something mystical, yes an assassin, but also a spiritualist. He’s an explorer, who despite the controversy his actions may spawn, always tries to do what he thinks is right - to spread and protect life throughout the universe. To connect with Zeratul, Fred has to think otherworldly, almost Zen-like. Yes, Zeratul has dark energies to work with but Zeratul is completely selfless, is fearless, a true Knight Templar.

When asked about Arcturus Mengsk, James Harper discussed how even though the character an actor is playing may not be a protagonist, you always have to think of them as being in the right. He sees Mengsk as having started in a noble place, trying to protect his people, when power goes to his head. In order to make Mengsk believable, James has stated that each actor must believe that their character is in the right. James Waugh, the Lead Writer of Legacy of the Void, stated that one of his favorite sayings is that each villain is the hero of his own story. Yes, Arcturus Mengsk is a megalomaniac and that is ultimately what does him in, but the times in which he lives are dangerous. There are two alien races attacking humanity, dissent in his empire, and the constant threat posed by the Kel Morians. Arcturus believes he is humanity’s savior. He is the only possible option, but humanity will be saved on his terms and it is ultimately that narcissism that leads to his destruction. James Harper also said that an actor has to see the character’s goals, identify the obstacles and then become that character who achieves those goals by whatever means are necessary. He said that Chris Metzen was instrumental in the creation of Mengsk’s voice. The southern drawl was something Metzen suggested and saw in Harper’s voice.

When asked about channeling Artanis, the Hierarch of the combined Protoss, Patrick Seitz explained that Artanis, a noble warrior, has his back to the wall. Patrick also voices Garrosh from the Warcraft mythos and described how it’s an interesting exercise to play these characters very differently. Artanis is calm and possesses the subtlety necessary for the politics of his reality. James Waugh jumped in when asked about how all of these characters relate and react in a perpetually war-torn universe. Each character reacts differently to the constant struggle and to cut through some of that drama, they, the writers, try to create characters that have a core. He thinks that each of the actors on the panel have done an excellent job of embodying these players in a way that speaks to the root of each character. And for Artanis specifically, who is really stepping into Tassadar’s shoes and struggling with becoming a leader in the shadow of someone who was great. James continued by saying that Zeratul knows he is right, but he also knows how crazy he looks. The point is that all of these characters are trying to bring this conflict to an end.

Steve Blum talked about his work playing Abathur. When he was asked how he is able to connect with and portray a non-humanoid, Steve indicated that Abathur is just another character with a job to do. Abathur’s only interested in his purpose and if something gets in his way like blood or flesh or bones, he’d eat them and spin something out that’s a little bit better. Andrea said that when recording Abathur’s lines, they’d attempt to eliminate any emotion. But, she reminded the audience, there’s just a hint of creepiness. Steve went even further; he reminded the audience that Abathur lost his calm collectedness when dealing with the existence of the primal Zerg and that this particular character’s emotion is written into the lines - not everything needs to be acted out. James jumped in to reiterate Abathur’s singular purpose. Abathur is only interested in assimilating and evolving new creatures. He isn’t interested that it is painful and he doesn’t care about the consequences. He represents the genetic interests of the Swarm and lacks the interest in broader affairs.

James Waugh, the lead writer for Legacy of the Void, discussed how he as one of the authors of characters designs them with a core, with an individual truth. But, he acknowledges that the this is a collaborative medium. The actors have to put the flesh and bones on the scaffolding that he and the other writers create. He writes the intent of the line but sometimes in the booth, the actor’s take on the line through that character’s eyes comes out better. Andrea and Neil tied it all together by explaining how the writers, actors, and directors all have to work together to create something that is more than the sum of its parts. The actors only have pieces of the story and to bring it to life with truth and honesty and to make an observer believe that these characters were together, when the voice actors never really were, is a testament to the strength of the direction.

Like all BlizzCon panels, the StarCraft II Voice Actors panel concluded with a brief audience Q&A. The questions mostly came from voice acting hopefuls and thus the queries mostly focused on the voice acting industry itself. Directly following the audiences’ questions, Josh Keaton joined the group on stage for an autograph session, where a special limited edition poster that showed a cinematic shot of each of the voice actors’ characters included on the panel were given away and signed.

Overall, the panel was a rare glimpse through the looking glass into StarCraft II’s acting process. It offered an interesting take on the material from the voice actors point of view and other insights into their industry . It was clear that many of these key players are enthused and humbled by our appreciation and passion. Perhaps what is most telling is when asked which other character than their own in the StarCraft universe they would like to portray, none of the actors were interested in trading. Just as their roles are an inseparable part of each of actor now, without someone to lend their voice and bring life to lines on paper, the player’s experience would not nearly be so complete. After all, video game characters are only a collection of actions and words created to reflect a different reality from our own, they too need a voice.

starcraft 2

This is a StarCraft: Legacy (http://sclegacy.com/) BlizzCon 2013 event article.

starcraft legacy

Below are the various documents of info relating to Heroes of the Storm that were contained in the BlizzCon press kit. They contain summaries of what Heroes of the Storm is, as well as an FAQ.

 

WHAT IS HEROES OF THE STORM?

Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play online team brawler starring your favorite Blizzard characters. In Heroes, the epic battles between the champions and villains of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo aren’t settled with last hits and kill-stealing—players are distinguished through the accomplishments of their team.

Whether you’re a hardcore WoW raider, a demon-slaying Barbarian, or a Bronze league Terran, you’ll find a customizable hero from across the Blizzard multiverse to suit your play style. Grab your buddies and engage in fast-paced mayhem across varied battlegrounds that impact strategy and change the way you play every match. When the mightiest characters in gaming history clash, only you can decide who’ll come out on top!

WHO ARE THE HEROES?

Characters like Thrall, Kerrigan, Diablo, Arthas, Zeratul, Tyrael—powerful warriors from Azeroth, Sanctuary, the Koprulu sector, and beyond—have been sucked into the Nexus, a transdimensional storm. Stranded in a strange limbo of clashing universes, these combatants are joined by the same fate—to engage in pulse-pounding combat, to team up in a deadly struggle for survival . . . and to answer the age-old question. . . .

WHO WOULD WIN?

Heroes represents more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history, settings, and iconic characters, all mashed up into an epic, action-packed team-based strategy game. Fight out classic showdowns such as Tyrael vs. Diablo, or settle those late-night debates you've had about who's the stronger leader—Raynor or Thrall? Could Kerrigan and Zeratul take down the Barbarian and Demon Hunter from Diablo III? Could Uther in his prime give Arthas the punishment he deserves?

Each customizable hero offers a wealth of tactical options and unique strengths that reflect their abilities in their respective games. Bringing these considerable powers to bear in the same setting opens limitless possibilities for previously impossible matchups and mind-blowing team combinations.

WHAT IS THE NEXUS?

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill transdimensional vortex! The Nexus plunges the greatest warriors and strategists of the Blizzard multiverse into one of several unique battlegrounds for a no-holds-barred melee. Conquer mercenary camps to recruit powerful allies to your side, such as siege giants. Unlock the mysteries of each battleground, including ghostly pirate ships, the fickle Raven Lord, and massive grave golems to achieve a glorious victory.

SMASH YOUR ENEMIES IN STYLE!

Distinguish yourself and your team in battle with dozens of unique heroes, skins, and mounts. Then choose from among multiple heroic abilities, enabling you to dish out ruin in the form of orbital bombardments, strafing frost wyrms, or all-consuming hellfire—to name just a few of the many ways you’ll be able to visit destruction upon your enemies. Good players win. The great ones make it look good, too.

 

 

Q: What is Heroes of the Storm?

A:  Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play online team brawler, starring your favorite Blizzard characters. Build and customize heroes from across every Blizzard universe to suit your play style. Team up with your friends and engage in fast-paced mayhem across varied battlegrounds that impact strategy and change the way you play the game.

In each match you can select from an array of Blizzard heroes and join a team to battle against enemy players, with the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy base. You'll have the opportunity to stage classic showdowns such as Raynor vs. Kerrigan, or mix and match heroes from different games to fight together and against each other.

Each hero starts the game with a set of powerful abilities and traits, and over the course of the battle you'll have the ability to customize your hero with unique talents and heroic abilities. While each hero has certain core strengths, the talents you select can greatly change the way your hero fights. Support heroes like Uther for example, can be played as almost a pure healer, or can take on more of a damage dealing role.

 

Q: What makes Heroes of the Storm different?

A: Heroes offers a uniquely Blizzard take on the genre. You'll choose from an array of different Blizzard heroes, each of whom is customizable through a versatile talent system. One of these talent options is a selection between different ultimate heroic abilities. Arthas, as an example, can choose the ability to call Sindragosa, a giant frost wyrm, to do a strafing run. Or he can raise an army of the undead to swarm the enemy. Which one is better? Well, that's like asking if dragons or zombies are more awesome—that's up to you. Cool choices like these exist in each hero's unique talent array.

The game also offers a selection of different battlegrounds to fight on. Each battleground has a special secret that can affect the overall strategy of the match. In Blackheart's Bay for example, a ghostly pirate ship has taken up residence in the center. Treasure chests of gold coins spawn periodically on either side of the battleground. You can collect these coins or steal them from enemy players to pay tribute to Blackheart. Pay enough bounty and he'll train the ship's cannons on enemy fortifications for terrible, terrible damage. The Cursed Hollow battleground offers a different challenge. Here, the fickle Raven Lord holds sway. During the fight, tribute totems will spawn periodically -- collect enough of them and the Raven Lord will curse the opposing team, disabling their towers and weakening their minions for a period of time.

Many of the battlegrounds share environmental features, like forts, which are sprinkled along the pathways between each team's base. Each fort includes structures such as gates to prevent enemy movement and healing fountains for health and mana regeneration, in addition to a protective guard tower. Capturable watchtowers also mark important positions on many battlegrounds, offering vision on key areas.

Another differentiator with the game is match length. With a target game time of 20 min, Heroes of the Storm concentrates the intense battles and back-and-forth gameplay of online brawlers into fun, quick, action-packed matches, the perfect length to knock out a few games on your lunch break.

 

Q: Which heroes are in the game, and what roles do they play?

A: 18 heroes are available for battle in the BlizzCon demo of Heroes of the Storm, but this is just the first group of characters that have been sucked into the Nexus. Many more heroes will join the battle over time from Azeroth, Sanctuary, and the Koprulu Sector. But who knows? The Nexus may draw from other dimensions in the future as well.

Each hero offers different strengths and weaknesses depending on their role. Warriors such as Diablo can dive right into a melee, soaking up damage and dealing it back. Assassins like Kerrigan deal tremendous damage and can pick off unsuspecting enemies, but must choose their battles carefully, as they can dish more than they can take. Support heroes like Uther can swing the tide of battle, assisting with healing, buffs, or other abilities to manipulate the battle in the favor of allies. Other types include the siege and commander heroes, which are more specialized roles that bring different strengths as you build a team.

 

Q: Heroes of the Storm is free-to-play—what is available for sale and what can be earned in game?

A:  We'll discuss more details about how the business model works in the future. What we can say is that you will be able to unlock heroes and other content just by playing the game. Cosmetic upgrades like skins, equipment, and mounts will be available. New heroes will also be released over time, along with new battlegrounds, though battlegrounds will probably be freely available to all players. It's also possible that additional talent options for existing heroes could be available as unlockable content.

 

Q: What kind of post-launch support is planned?

A: We will announce specific plans for post-launch support at a later date. But we can say that the Nexus is quite a powerful dimensional storm—new heroes are arriving all the time. That being the case, you can expect to see regular drops of new content throughout testing, as well as after the launch of the game.

 

Q: Is it required to have StarCraft II to play?

A: No. Heroes of the Storm will be a standalone game, separate from StarCraft II.

 

Q: On which platforms will Heroes be playable?

A: Heroes is being developed for PC and Mac.

 

Q: Will there be a beta test? When will it start? How can I apply for the beta?

A:Yes we do intend to run a beta test for Heroes of the Storm in the first half of 2014. We'll announce more details at a later date. Now is a great time to visit the Heroes of the Storm website and sign up for the closed beta as we begin preparations.

 

Q: When will Heroes of the Storm be released?

A: We don't have a release date we can share at this time. We'll have a better idea for a release window after we start beta testing.

 

Q: Is there something else you can tell me about the game?

A: Not right now.

 

Q: Seriously?

A: Yes, really.

 

Q: But...

A: Keep eye on the official Heroes website at http:/www.heroesofthestorm.com for updates. You can also follow the game on Twitter @BlizzHeroes, and on the official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BlizzHeroes.

There wasn't much StarCraft II news over at BlizzCon this year, save for one panel that occurred, the StarCraft II Update panel. The StarCraft homepage has a nice summary of that panel that you can read here!

As for a very brief list of things coming in patch 2.1 and beyond, there are clan and group event calendars, custom clan decals, extension mods for maps which can allow Monobattles to be played on any currently existing map, level cap increase to 35, new "StarCrafts" theme portraits, an automatic AFK-kicking feature for game lobbies, and remastered classic StarCraft music making its way into StarCraft II.

For more info, read the full post.

Source:
Battle.net - StarCraft II Update Panel Recap at BlizzCon 2013

Here is StarCraft: Legacy's coverage of the BlizzCon 2013 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive panel! Read below to see what was discussed, what info was revealed, and how Heroes of the Storm is looking.

The panel begins, with all the panelists walking on stage, and a short intro about the concept of Heroes of the Storm is discussed. With every Blizzard franchise combining together to form one experience, the development team had a lot of creative freedom as to art direction and game mechanics. As mentioned multiple times through BlizzCon, bringing the three franchises together means anything can happen.

To make the art of Heroes of the Storm cohesive, the art team mixed the styles of the three franchises; big bold colors were used like in Warcraft, attention to detail was used like in Diablo, and the grittiness of StarCraft made it into the game to give every character and every battleground that consistent feel. The concept art for the King's Crest battleground pops up on the screen, showing the medieval, green, neutral theme of the map reminiscent of Warcraft III. A fly-by video of the map plays, and the panelists point out the medieval motif that is applied to every structure, with a dragon statue model adorning the top of each structure. At this point, it is mentioned that there were goblins and ogres for mercenary camps originally, but this was problematic when Horde characters took the field and tried to kill these mercenaries; orcs fighting goblins all the time felt odd. Footmen were the blue and red minions that players killed in masses, which was odd when Alliance characters took the field and started slaughtering Footmen. So new mercenaries were created, one of them being the Siege Giants, the long-range siege creatures that are present in each battleground. Knights are the other mercenaries, also present in each battleground, that soak up damage for minions. Boss monsters are also present in certain maps, such as the Grave Golem in Blackheart's Bay. In King's Crest, however, a player can become the boss monster by taking control of the Dragon Shrine, turning into the Dragon Knight and destroying the opposition.

Moving on to Blackheart's Bay, the concept art flashes on the screen. The panelists say that everything on the map has to fit in with everything else; this means the structures, the mercenaries, and the environment are altered to fit with the theme of the battleground. The battleground is a nautical, cursed-pirate-themed map that has docks and naval mercenaries and boats. A massive ship was designed a long time ago, which was placed on the edge of the map and was controllable by players in order to bombard the enemy. The problem with this original ship was that, because of its position on the map, players didn't really focus on it or feel drawn to it. It was decided to move the ship to the middle of the map, but the problem was: how does it move and shoot around the map? The solution: make the ship into a ghost ship. The fly-by video of Blackheart's Bay plays in the background. On Blackheart's Bay, the objective is to find treasure around the map and bring it to Blackheart the pirate; bringing enough treasure means Blackheart will fire his ship's cannons at enemy fortifications and deal extreme amounts of damage. Treasure can be found in treasure chests and some mercenary camps, and players will have to pick up the treasures and carry them over to Blackheart. But if a player is killed while carrying treasure, they will drop all their treasure, meaning treasure-couriers feel like quarterbacks for their team. As for the alterations to mercenaries for Blackheart's Bay, Siege Giants fire cannons instead of throwing rocks and Knights have anchors instead of swords.

Next up is Cursed Hollow, an autumn, haunted-themed battleground. Concept art of the map flashes by, then the fly-by video of the map plays. The goal of this battleground is to encourage teamfights; "tributes" spawn at random locations across the map, and once three of these are collected by one team, that team gains a team-wide buff that increases damage dealt to minions and structures and prevents structures from attacking the players. Because these tributes spawn randomly, it creates variable strategies depending on when and where they spawn, guaranteeing that no two fights for tributes feel the same. A gameplay video of a teamfight over a tribute plays in the background.

Last but not least is the Haunted Mines battleground. The fly-by video plays, and the panelists explain that this map was aimed to create a competitive dungeon; players go underground to collect more skulls than the enemy team, so that they can summon stronger Grave Golems than the opposition. Once underground, players have to kill skeletons and the eventual mini-boss in order to gather the skulls they have. Teamfights can break out underground, pushes can be made above ground, and the battleground is very multi-faceted. Once all skulls have been collected (100 in total), both teams summon their respective Grave Golems, with varying strength depending on the number of skulls collected. These Grave Golems rush to enemy fortifications to destroy them. When these golems die, players can collect skulls again and once all 100 skulls are recollected, the Grave Golems respawn on the spot that they died.

The discussion changes for a moment to focus on how a 3D environment concept was made using their editor, which seemed to resemble the SC2 editor. The accompanying video showed the textures for the ground being laid out, the doodads and structures being placed on one side, a cliff and a mine entrance being placed on another, and a small graveyard at the corner of the "map". The panelists noted how easy and fast it was to make a sample map.

Now that all the battlegrounds were elaborated upon, it was time for hero design talk. The development team asked themselves some central questions before making each hero: What is the fantasy of playing these heroes? What should each character feel like to the player? What makes this character unique? Who is this hero for, beginners or experts? What is the hero's role on the battlefield, assassin or warrior? While mentioning these questions, they showed Raynor as an example of a hero for beginner players, and Abathur for experienced players. While Raynor was straightforward and involved using abilities to deal damage, Abathur involved having a lot of map awareness, switching attention between different allies to help in different ways, and move around the map so as to never get caught. Vella, the Demon Hunter from Diablo III, was mentioned as an example of an assassin, darting around the battlefield and hitting enemies while being careful not to be hit herself. Tyrael was an example of a warrior, someone who rushed to the frontlines to deal and absorb damage for the team.

The panelists showed the abilities of three specific champions, Stitches the abomination, Raynor, and Tyrael. Stitches was one of the oldest heroes created for Heroes of the Storm, and took its origins from the abomination in Warcraft III. He has Hook, an ability that can pull enemies towards him from long range, Devour, an ability that deals a lot of damage and heals Stitch, and Putrid Bile, which leaves a trail of poison behind Stitch that deals massive damage. A very interesting mechanic was the ability to augment base abilities to make them different; the given example was Hook, which could be augmented to become Fishing Hook, giving it much longer range.

Raynor was next, and he had the ability to call the Hyperion, making it help him in battle. When the ability is used, a shadow of the Hyperion appears on the battlefield, and units underneath it get randomly attacked by volleys of lasers. This ability could target structures, minions, and enemy heroes. On the other hand, he could summon two Banshees instead of the Hyperion, which gave him sight over terrain, gave him more direct damage to a single target, and made him a very powerful duelist.

Tyrael was last, and it was pointed out that Tyrael was an easy-to-execute concept because he perfectly embodied the idea of a heavily-armored defender of justice. One of his abilities shields an ally, making all damage dealt to that ally be dealt to Tyrael instead. This ability could be augmented to become Fire Chains, dealing damage to anything that came between Tyrael and the shielded target. He also has a dash ability, granting him near-instant movement over short distances. On top of that, he has Judgment, an ability that is a long-range, fast dash that allows him to rush into fights quickly and easily.

An example of teamfight potential was shown; a screenshot popped up on the screen, showing Tassadar as we walled off the enemy Illidan from escaping. Stitch was throwing his Hook, which was headed directly for the cornered Illidan. The panelists say that the teamfight potential of different hero mixes was something that made every hero stronger than they first appear to be. A tidbit of pre-match info that was given was that players could reserve their preferred hero before getting into a game, allowing everyone to play the way they wanted. There's also an out-of-game levelling system, which unlocks talents for heroes, new heroes, and other things as a player levels. As the panel wraps up, a slideshow of in-game skin screenshots play in the background while the panelists discuss the creative freedom in creating skins for the various heroes and mounts.

BlizzCon 2013 is well underway, and everyone is pumped! The opening ceremony ended a short while ago, and a lot of new things were shown off on-stage. Keep reading if you know what happened!

The stage dims, and, after a short pause, a video starts. The video is a montage about previous BlizzCons, with Blizzard developers talking about the amazing experience that BlizzCon brings year after year. With the conclusion of the video, Mike Morhaime walks onto the stage, donning a Mists of Pandaria shirt.

"Welcome to BlizzCon 2013!" Mike Morhaime starts. He grins as the audience cheers their hearts out.

He begins his speech, thanking the fans, the players, the community for all the support. Blizzard could not have made it this far without the passion of the fans.

"So from everyone at Blizzard, thank you for being here, and welcome home!" Mike Morhaime says.

Mike Morhaime continues on to briefly talk about each of the franchises: about all the eSports, and all the events taking place at BlizzCon 2013, about Diablo III and the removal of the auction house, about Warcraft, and all the new World of Warcraft info and Warcraft movie info coming up, and, last but not least, Heroes of the Storm, which he doesn't discuss; he ques the video, then heads off stage.

The stage dims. Text flashes by on the video screen, and then Raynor appears through a sandstorm. He's goading to something to come out to fight... and that something appears: Diablo, claws and all, joined by Arthas and Kerrigan. But Raynor has his friends as well; Nova and Tyrael step forward, and each team sizes the other up. Kerrigan and Tyrael shoot off into the air, engaging in a duel of claw and blade. Nova and Arthas have their own duel, fending off each others' attacks with their respective weapons. Diablo bolts and Raynor follows, spraying bullets upon the demon, but Diablo strikes back and seemingly has Raynor cornered. Raynor simply smirks, as a nuke drops on Diablo's head and the camera cuts to Nova, who had a laser pointed towards Diablo. Nova blows a kiss, and the cinematic cuts out.

 

 Dustin Browder comes on stage as the stage lights up again, and he looks as enthusiastic as ever. He starts by talking about how the community has become a developer of its own, creating amazing games and giving birth to genres such as tower defense and MOBAs. Heroes of the Storm, originally, was an extension of that and was Blizzard's way of trying to create something amazing that the community built the foundations of many many years ago. But as development progressed, Heroes of the Storm grew and grew, and eventually was changed to be remade as a full game. He then introduces the alpha gameplay footage of the game; the stage dims, and the video comes on. Towers whirr into formation, gates retract and characters ride out on their mounts. Arrows, swords, bullets and fireballs are strewn across the battlefield as heroes and villains from every franchise duke it out.

 

Before leaving the stage, Dustin Browder explains that there are several battlegrounds, with different themes and gameplay mechanics, and that each map is playable at BlizzCon 2013. He also adds that beta signup for Heroes of the Storm starts today, which you can do here after logging into your Battle.net account!

Rob Pardo walks out this time, here to talk about Hearthstone. He explains that Hearthstone began as a small, stealth project with a small team that was more of an experiment as to whether or not Blizzard can still make Blizzard-quality games with a very small team, as they did in years long past. He explains what a journey it has been, seeing the small project grow and gather fans and evolve into something that is incredibly enjoyable. Hearthstone, which is currently is in closed beta, is revealed by Rob Pardo to enter open beta next month! For anyone interested in Hearthstone, there is the Hearthstone exhibition matches at BlizzCon featuring personalities such as Day[9] and TotalBiscuit face off with preconstructed decks. Next, Rob Pardo ques the reveal of the BlizzCon 2013 attendee and Virtual Ticket purchaser exclusive Hearthstone golden card: the Elite Tauren Chieftain! The card will be available for anyone who attended BlizzCon 2013 or purchased a Virtual Ticket. As for current developments for Hearthstone, golden hero cards are in development, as is a Ranked Play mode and a mobile version for tablets, iPhones, and Android devices. This mobile version will be out next year.

He moves on from Hearthstone to talk about Warcraft as a whole. The Warcraft movie is briefly mentioned, and the panel for the Warcraft movie and its panelists are mentioned as well. World of Warcraft is also discussed, with the game reaching nine years of age and holding many many dear memories. Rob Pardo explains that his first experience of game design goes back to Dungeons & Dragons, how creating experiences and memories for his friends was an integral part of realizing what creating a game was. He goes over the many memories of WoW history, talking about the first raids, the first time you could walk through the Dark Portal, flying mounts and the unfortunate swooping ganks. The virtual epidemic, Corrupted Blood, that swept the servers a long time ago. Rob Pardo shares his thanks to the fans for supporting them, letting Blizzard be their dungeon masters all these years. With a cryptic hint about "the next chapter of World of Warcraft, he moves off stage for Chris Metzen to appear, looking somewhat tired but amazingly pumped as usual.

Chris Metzen starts by mentioning that it is a "great time for Warcraft", and how it made Blizzard think back a lot about the early days. How the DNA of World of Warcraft came from the Warcraft RTS, about how a large number of World of Warcraft players have never experienced the stories of the past, the origins of the DNA of World of Warcraft. The main story of Warcraft began 30 years ago, lore time, with the opening of the Dark Portal. The races of Azeroth had to band together to fight against the Orcs, and it was darks days for everyone.

"What if those dark days could come again?" Chris Metzen asks. "What if a pantheon of the greatest villains of Warcraft could come again?"

The Alliance are specifically mentioned; "the dark days ahead will test you," Chris Metzen says. But the Horde have their own honor to be had. The Horde "have a chance at a new start in this brave new world".

"So... Are you guys ready? Are you with me BlizzCon?" Chris Metzen says. "Blizzard is proud to present to you the next expansion set for World of Warcraft! We call it: Warlords of Draenor!"

The cinematic comes on, and it shows off the new character models, the new areas to explore, the concept of "fortifications", the level cap being raised to 100 and allowing new players to have their levels boosted to 90, and other tidbits.

 

Chris Metzen enthusiastically thanks everyone for being at BlizzCon 2013 this weekend, and bows out to the end of the opening ceremony.

Unfortunately, after the opening ceremony ends, Mike Morhaime says on the livestream interview, "There will be no news about Legacy of the Void today."

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