Monday, June 30, 2008

Diablo 3. Whee.

Yeah, yeah... the buildup was huge and I knew it'd be something blah... so now the cat is out of the bag and Diablo 3 has been officially announced... and I just can't seem to get excited about it.

The franchise's hallmark is that it is rooted in the 3rd person isometric view, and it just seems to me that the 3rd person isometric view is a dated throwback to a more technologically constrained era that should be abandoned, now that gaming rigs have the horsepower to be free and truly 3D, not 2.5D iso.

Then somebody (Psyclone) pointed out, "they already made a full 3D free-camera Diablo... it's called WoW."

So, color me non-plussed, for now.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Warhammer Online Newsletter Issue #32 (June 2008)




Guild Leaders - prepare your recruits for WAR!

It has been one year since the first call for guilds to join the battle was answered and now the moment will soon be upon us. Mighty guilds, long lying in wait, have raised up their banners to make ready and the drums of war resound within their great halls. Legions of fierce warriors form their ranks, and will soon mount their attacks on WAR’s vast battlefields. They stand on the precipice in anticipation, ready to vie for honor and glory in the name of their Realm.

Now is the time for the best of the best to band together as one and clash against their enemies. Starting in July, these guilds and thousands of players will compete for domination in the great arena of the Age of Reckoning.

Like a fine wine, our Closed Beta and all that it encompasses has only improved with time. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our talented development team and the invaluable feedback of thousands of testers, the game is looking great and stands poised, ready to play host to a legion of guilds and their members.

The guilds we’ve selected have touched most every MMO released, and several hail from the frontlines of popular First Person Shooters. These testers cover every play style under the sun, and truly embody the social diversity we will welcome and encourage at launch. These guilds, and many more like them, will be the foundation of a great community that we look forward to serving for years to come.

Guilds and new testers alike will have their hands full as they experience the variety of tools, systems, and content that our development teams have been perfecting these many months. Over the course of this Beta phase, players will experience first-hand many of the great things WAR has to offer, including:

- All 3 Campaigns from Tiers 1-4
- Contested & Peaceful Cities
- Continued Career Updates, Including the Introduction of the White Lion
- PvE Dungeons, such as Gunbad & The Bastion Stair
- New Scenarios
- New PQ's
- Updated User Interface
- Heraldry & Standards
- Guild Rewards & Tactics
- Crafting
- Real Time Website Updates with Character Profiles and RvR Stats

And much more!

The summer months are really heating up here at Mythic and we can't wait to give many of you a world of reasons to stay indoors and enjoy the air conditioning.

We look forward to seeing your standards on the battlefield and hearing your tales of victory.

WAAAGH!!!


"Warped psychic energy given form, nightmares made reality, an army of insanity and terror - are they not beautiful in their perfection? No doubts, no fears, no pain, no loss; embodiments of destruction and carnage. Tzeentch's daemonic masses are the forces of anarchy loosed upon this world...and all within my hands."

- Kaltira the Daemoncaller

A Magus of Tzeentch is a devoted follower of the Raven God, and has spent his entire lifetime studying pure sorcery with a fevered intensity. Desperate for even a bare glimpse of Tzeentch's great plan, the Magus has learned through his research that Tzeentch's daemonic minions are creations and reflection of the Great Changer, and he focuses his search for knowledge obsessively on this fact - for perhaps, by understanding the servant, he may better understand the master. While it is plainly impossible for a mortal mind to grasp even the smallest fragment of Tzeentch's thoughts without being shattered into gibbering insanity, it nonetheless amuses Tzeentch to allow his mortal followers to continue in their pursuits. To that end, a particularly powerful and devoted Magus may be gifted with the services of Tzeentch's daemons.

Even for the strongest of Tzeentch's followers, to call a daemon is no small task, for these chaos-spawned nightmares are often equally happy to devour either their summoner or his enemies. A Magus has just barely enough control to ensure that any daemon he calls forth will focus its unnatural attention on his foes instead of on himself, but even that slight leash is enough to serve his purposes - after all, ordering a daemon to rend and destroy is redundant, since the daemon will do so regardless.

The Magus can call forth several different types of daemonic fiends, but can only maintain the concentration needed to restrain a single one at a time. A clever Magus therefore makes sure to best fit his summoning to his need: a Pink Horror which flings bolts of fire corruption at distant enemies, a Blue Horror which spews out waves of warping energy around itself, or a Flamer which spits blasts of fire at groups of enemies.


Join your friends in discovering whether or not the peasants’ outlandish claims of monstrous rats scurrying about the Altdorf Sewers are true, fight alongside your Realm’s bravest in facing murder incarnate at the Bastion Stair, or aid in the effort to rescue the Everqueen in the Lost Vale. These are just a few of the several dungeons in Warhammer for mid to high level players to enjoy.

Dungeons come in three varieties: Realm-instanced, group-instanced and warband-instanced. Survive the challenges and epic boss fights found inside to earn the most coveted of weapons, armors and loot.

Introducing The Bastion Stair


View the Video

The foul winds whipping across the Chaos Wastes carry with them a faint charnel scent and tortured screams. Those who in their madness or lust for power follow the winds to their source will eventually come to the horned gate of the Bastion Stair, and gaze at last upon the insane creation of a violent god.

Erected by the malicious will of the Lord of Skulls, the Bastion Stair towers over a twisted and torn landscape, walls stained red with the blood of countless sacrifices. Stairs never meant for human feet climb toward burning skies where the vague outline of the Bastion itself can barely be seen, and beyond, the faint flickering light of the Rift of Rage. For it is the rift itself which draws both Order and Destruction to this place, a source of Chaos power with which the servants of Tzeentch could remake the world in the twisted image of their dark god… if the defenders of the Empire cannot find some way to close the portal first.

The Order of the Griffon is first lured to the Bastion Stair by the promise of recovering Myrmidia's Spear, the sole remaining artifact of the Empire goddess of war. But all too soon the corruptive influence of the place begins to work upon those first sent, and the Order realizes the Stair must be cleansed entirely. The alternative would be too terrible to imagine; the servants of Chaos left free to work their mischief, and the threat of dishonor hanging over their august order. The presence of the Raven Host is, seemingly, much more straightforward.

A small force is sent from the Inevitable City, tasked with securing the Bastion Stair by Tchar'zanek himself. Unfortunately the denizens of the Stair prove too difficult to eradicate quickly, and by the time the Raven Host realizes they are not proof against the allure of bloodlust their numbers have dwindled too far to conquer the Stair without reinforcements.

Those who have the courage to enter the Bastion Stair soon find themselves in an antechamber of horrors; a cavernous, brass-lined room dominated by a fanged skull from whose mouth pours molten brass. Three doorways lead to the outer reaches of the dungeon, dizzying stairways that twist and wind throughout the chaos-infused structure, each home to one of Khorne's loyal armies and presided over by a hand-picked champion of that dark god.

The final wing of the Bastion Stair is known as the Steps of Fury, and those who would traverse the Steps must first win past the Brass Legion, a daemonic army which guards the approach to the top of the Bastion Stair. Five sealed gates separate would-be conquerors from their ultimate prize, gates which can only be opened by invoking the power of Khorne. The mystery of the seals and the vicious nature of the daemonic forces guarding them have thus far proven more than enough to bar anyone from proceeding to where Kaarn the Vanquisher waits beyond.

The defeat of Khorne's champions opens the way to the top of the Bastion stair, where the true battle for control of the Rift of Rage can begin. For what awaits those who have come this far is a creature beyond all mortal ken - a Bloodthirster of Khorne. Such an abomination cannot be truly destroyed, only banished back into the realms of Chaos from which it has come, and it has at its disposal all the terrible power of the Blood God.


This month in the WAR Closed Beta, testers revisited the Greenskin vs. Dwarf racial pairing for the first time since last fall. Much of our Beta community has never experienced this very iconic setting before, and we’ve been working non-stop to address the feedback from the previous round to bring the WAAAGH! to its ultimate fruition. Players were also able to explore both Altdorf and the Inevitable City during this phase of Beta. Here’s a sample of what testers experienced:

Expanded Content
- Greenskin and Dwarf Tiers One, Two and Three
- High Elf and Dark Elf Tiers One, Two and Three
- Eighteen careers open, with Career Mastery
- Peaceful Altdorf!
- Peaceful Inevitable City!

Order Careers
- Dwarf: Ironbreaker, Runepriest, Engineer
- High Elf: Swordmaster, Archmage, Shadow Warrior
- Empire: Witch Hunter, Bright Wizard, Warrior Priest

Destruction Careers
- Greenskin: Black Orc, Shaman, Squig Herder
- Dark Elf: Disciple of Khaine, Witch Elf, Sorceress
- Chaos: Chosen, Zealot, Marauder

Game Systems
- Siege Testing
- Crafting, with an improved interface

Here is a sampling of what our beta testers have to say:

"The crafting system is so much fun! I'm impressed. I'm really bad at making potions but having them blow up in my face is still some what satisfying... great job!"

- Level 6, Sorcerer

"Great class which is definitely unlike anything I have ever played."

- Level 11, Engineer


"Black Orcs are so awesome in quality. So ignore subjective or aesthetic taste... Just look at raw quality: detail of their armors, the naturalness of their stances, the style of their animations, the visual power and growth of their armor... They are just badass. Perfect visual growth and representation."

- Level 11, Black Orc

"The map is incredible." - Level 5, Zealot

"Love the attention to detail in the art/game. Fog in Shadowlands, light reflection on the weapons/armor, metal sound as you unsheathe weapon...some great polish already."

- Level 19, Ironbreaker

"The PQ's really add a sense of teamwork and unity and will definitely help in RvR. I think they are one of the most innovative aspects of WAR. Keep up the amazing work, and thank you."

- Level 4, Shadow Warrior

Check out the latest News From the Front, featuring greenskin vs. Dwarf beta news, and be sure to keep your eyes posted to the WAR Herald for more news from the Beta!


If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to pre-order the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector’s Edition. It is selling fast and we won’t be making more of them when they are gone! This is your only chance to gear up with exclusive in-game items and exciting collectibles. Pre-order your copy today!

The Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector’s Edition includes:

  • An exclusive Games Workshop Miniature of the Greenskin warboss, Grumlok, and his shaman, Gazbag
  • An original 128-page Graphic Novel commission specifically for the Collector’s Edtion
  • A beautiful 224-page Art Book filled with original art from the game
  • Bonus In-Game Item – The Librams of Insight
  • Exclusive In-Game Content – 12 new quests with exciting item rewards and unique players titles
  • Exclusive Character Customization Options

To learn more about the Warhammer Online Collector’s Edition, please click here.

The WAR Collector’s Edition is available now for Pre-Order. Special Pre-Order Bonuses Include:

OPEN BETA ACCESS
Be one of the first players to experience the glory of battle and the thrill of WAR when the Open Beta phase begins.

LIVE GAME HEAD START
Begin your adventures in the Age of Reckoning before the raw recruits arrive!

BONUS IN-GAME ITEMS
Equip your characters for the journey to the frontlines with two helpful bonus items!

For more information about the Collector’s Edition pre-order program, visit www.warhammeronline.com/ce_preorder.

COLLECTOR’S EDITION PRE-ORDER PARTNERS
The Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Collector’s Edition is available for pre-order from these fine retailers:

United States Retailers:
Canada Retailers:

Episode 6: Gates of Ekrund and Mourkain Temple
by Brian Wheeler, Lead RvR Design

Welcome folks to another episode of Scenarios 101! With this episode we continue on our Greenskin vs. Dwarf track covering Tier 1 and 2 Scenarios!

The Gates of Ekrund offers players three opportunities to claim their enemies land with three capture-the-flag locations within the map. You'll need to plan your defenses well if you plan to hold this ground. Mourkain Temple is all about the murder ball! You want to be the Realm who grabs it and don't just take off running once you have it. Get in the thick of things and use the extra power of the murder ball to earn more points from enemy kills.

Read more from Scenarios 101 >>


Archmage Career Masteries

The High Elves are known far and wide as the most powerful mages in the world, and the Archmages are the best even among their own kin. Capable of weaving all of the Winds of Magic together in complex and subtle ways, the Archmages can easily turn the tide of battle in their favor.

The High Elves are the only living beings who can grasp the depth and subtlety of true High Magic. By understanding the true natures of all of the Winds of Magic, the Archmage can transfer the power of his destructive spells directly into his beneficial magic, using this balanced power to make his healing abilities less expensive.

Archmage Masteries

Path of Isha
The Path of Isha is focused on restoring health and life to the Archmage's allies. A skilled Master of this path will be adept at weaving offensive magic in with his healing magic, greatly extending the efficiency of his beneficial spells.

Path of Asuryan
The Path of Asuryan is primarily aimed at bringing forth the destructive side of the Winds of Magic. An Archmage who specializes in this path will become adept at raining down doom upon his foes, while simultaneously manipulating the flows of arcane power to fuel his healing magic as well.

Path of Vaul
The Path of Vaul is a subtle Mastery that focuses on both crippling the Archmage's enemies, and strengthening his allies. The specialist in this Mastery relies on cunning effects to lead his foes to an inevitable doom which they won't even realize is approaching until it's too late.

Disciple of Khaine Career Masteries

Dark priests of the Bloody Handed god, The Disciples of Khaine can be found on the frontline of any Druchii assault. In combat, the Disciple is a master of shifting the balance of a fight, for what they reap from their enemies they give to their allies - what was once your strength will soon become their own. Disciples must be watched carefully and their fell magic countered in short order or you will find your very essence trapped in servitude to Khaine.

Using wicked ritual blades, a Disciple harvests the essence of their enemy and offers it to Khaine in exchange for blessings and dark powers. These dark gifts allow the Disciple to tend to the needs of the Dark Elven host, mending bones, suppressing pain, and even raising critically injured warriors to fight again.

Disciple of Khaine Masteries

Path of Ritual
The Path of Ritual is focused on the healing gifts that Khaine grants to his faithful priests. A master of this path will be able to focus more power into the essence that they tear from their enemies, greatly empowering their healing abilities.

Path of Torture
The Path of Torture is a pious Mastery focused on worshipping Khaine - of course, Khaine demands this worship at the edge of a knife, and hears prayers only when bolstered by the screams of his enemies. A specialist in this Mastery has practiced long and well with their brutal sacrificial blades, and has trained themselves as a deadly warrior.

Path of Sacrifice
The Path of Sacrifice is a deceptive Mastery that simultaneously damages enemies and strengthens allies. Instead of focusing quite as much on either building or consuming essence, a master of this path favors attacks that not only damage the enemy but also momentarily steal away a portion of their strength.


Nurgle Chosen
Beast Lord Rakarth
Corsair
Rune Lord Kragg the Grim
Trainer
Luthor Huss
Handmaiden of Everqueen
Assassin
Imrik

Warhammer Online Podcasts are now available on iTunes! Subscribe today!


Click Image to Watch Podcast

This month Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer, shares with us details about Guild Standards and Standard Bearers. The Standards offer so many benefits to Guilds on the battlefield including group affects, increased tactics, trophies, Renown, Tome unlocks and more! Watch the video to prepare your guild for this tactical side of battle.

Bonus Video!


Click Image to Watch Podcast

We know our fans will go to great lengths to secure beta invites, but "capturing" our lobby tops them all!


Join Creative Director, Paul Barnett, and his trusty video phone for a truly unique look at the making of WAR. This month, Paul scopes out some really cool in-game features, such as the Dwarf Gyroharness in action and a statue of the Chaos Champion, Tcharzanek. Also, watch closely for a sneak peek of the second cinematic trailer currently in production.

View the Video Blog >>

Just can't get enough of Paul?

Visit Warhammer Online and Paul Barnett at San Diego Comic Con - July 23 -27, 2008! Paul has been given a panel all of his own where he is sure to offer up some great insights into the industry of video games. You never know, he may even share a Warhammer secret or two.

You must be a registered attendee of Comic Con to attend Paul's Presentation:

Saturday, July 25, 2008
2:00PM - 3:00PM
Room 2






The team is preparing to launch the next phase of beta which will include Guild features, the starter zones for each of the races, and more capital city testing. Don’t waste any time, sign up now to take part in one of the largest beta tests ever for an MMORPG. More than 700,000 players have registered so far, but we are always looking for new recruits. Sharpen your sword, unleash your inner mutation, and prepare to meet your destiny on the battlefields of Warhammer Online.

Sign up for the WAR Beta at:
betacenter.eamythic.com

WAR is coming! Are you ready?

There are a million stories in the Age of Reckoning just waiting to be told. What is your tale?

This month, a grudge-bearing Dwarf shares his hatred for the greenskins and a tale of his determined efforts to defend the Gates of Ekrund from them.

Read This Month's Beta Journal Entry >>


WAR is coming! Are you properly dressed?

Do you feel like you’ve been lacking accessories in your WARdrobe? Well not any more! Now available exclusively at the EA Mythic Store is the new WAR pewter belt buckle.** Supplies are extremely limited so order now!



Visit the EA Mythic Store!

** Offer valid for U.S. residents only



EARN A SPOT IN THE CLOSED BETA!

Feeling creative? We know we have some talented fans out there and now is the time for you to demonstrate your skills. Send us your WAR-inspired art and we’ll showcase the best submissions in upcoming newsletters. Plus, featured artists will be invited to join us in the closed beta test!*


Absorbing Souls
by Rosie

Blazing Sun
by D. Nagata

What Was That Noise?!
by Casey G.

Fog of War
by Evan Jenkins

Death by Squig
by Tyler Derk

Der Anfang vom Ende
by Spezies

Elfa Bruja
by Gabriel Garcia Yag├╝e

Koutpou!
by Thibault Krasnelt

Champion of Chaos
by radiokill


Visit the Fan Art Gallery >>

Submit your artwork >>



Welcome to the WAR Grab Bag, where our friendly neighborhood community team answers the most pressing, the most popular, and the most interesting questions from fans. Keep those questions coming, as we’re eager to hear what you have to say!

Check out this month’s Grab Bag >>

In the future we will collect grab bag questions from a different fansite each month. If you have a question you would like to submit for next month's grab bag please submit your questions on Warhammer Vault dedicated forum page.

Baltimore Games Day Q&A with Jeff and Josh

Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer, and Josh Drescher, Associate Producer, opened the floor for questions at the recent Baltimore Games Day. Watch the videos below for answers to many questions about WAR that you may have as well.

Video: Part 1
Video: Part 2
Video: Part 3



"My hope is that players truly get into Warhammer, not just as players, but as someone who is participating in a battle that will determine the fate of the world. I also hope that when players log on, they're looking forward to bashin' dem stunties or crushing the last of their ancient kin, immersing themselves in the world we have created and enjoying every minute of it."

Developer Profile >>

"I feel too many MMO's these days do not do a good job of bringing the world to life. You enter a town, and everyone is just standing there! I hope to change this. You should enter a town, and see NPCs walking around, repairing artillery, reporting to their offices, or sitting down taking a break. Refugees from the war might be running by you, seeking the safety of the guards."

Developer Profile >>



The team is is preparing to launch the next phase of beta which will include Guild features, the starter zones for each of the races and more capital city testing. Each month we'll randomly select 20 names from the newsletter subscriber database for entry into the Beta Test.* If you are a current Warhammer newsletter subscriber, then you're automatically entered into the drawing every month. If you are not yet a newsletter subscriber, visit betacenter.eamythic.com to register for the Beta and subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

June Winners:

R. Uehara/North America H. Coulter/Europe
M. Vert/North America T. Bettis/Europe
M. Adams/North America J. Dey/Europe
A. Hellspong/North America D. Milinovic/Europe
M. Otto/North America M. Ceola/Europe
D. Kim/North America R. Laute/Europe
S. Marquez/North America M. Rodriguez/Europe
R. Bova/North America S. Sangster/Europe
S. Nimmo/New Zealand D. Sendow/Australia
G. Chazal/South America J. Peterson/New Zealand



This month, decorate your desktop with more images of WAR.










May 2008
April 2008
March 2008

February 2008
January 2008
December 2007


Each month we’ll be shining the spotlight on WAR fan sites that exemplify what we consider to be the best in WAR community spirit.

Get Creative!

To celebrate the recent release of the Spore Creature Creator (you can download a free version of the Creature Creator at www.spore.com.) we’ve got a little challenge for you WAR fans! We want you to get creative and put some WAR in Spore. Use the Creature Creator to create your best Squig and use the video tools to submit a video of your creation to YouTube. It doesn’t matter what type of Squig you make, be it a Horned Squig, Spikey Squig, Gassy Squig or one of your own invention, just make sure it’s a Squig!

Once you’ve perfected your masterpiece, send a link to your video to
war-contests@ea.com.

We will announce the winners in next month’s newsletter; all entries must be received no later than July 14, 2008. The best of the best will receive an invitation to our closed beta test (as always, subject to eligibility) so if you haven’t done so already make sure you’ve signed up for a Beta Center account.

Good luck and have fun. We can’t wait to see what you create!

Is your fan site doing something cool, informative, or fun? Let us know by sending an email to war-community@mythic.ea.com and you could be featured in the next community spotlight.

Download the WAR
Fan Site kit.

The views expressed in the linked sites are the views of the respective owners of each site, and do not necessarily express the views of Electronic Arts, its wholly-owned subsidiaries or Licensors. Electronic Arts does not endorse and is not responsible for content on third party sites, including fan sites.



What is going on in this picture? Send us your best caption and we’ll send the winner into the Closed Beta! Please keep your captions clean if you want them to be printed!

Enter your Submission!


Last Month’s Contest Winner



Winner:

"Tip: When out of Waagh, jazz hands are a viable substitute."

Runners-Up:

"You can always tell who just got in beta."

"Despite all of his Goblin teachings, Letch still had a soft spot for the musical arts."

"Look I'm a High Elf."


Get your hands on the latest
build of
WAR at one of
the following events:


San Diego Comic Con
July 24-27, 2008

Chicago Games Day
July 26, 2008

Gen Con Indy
August 14-17, 2008

LA Games Day
August 23, 2008

Penny Arcade Expo
August 29-31, 2008

Stay tuned for more information
about our upcoming 2008 show schedule!




*In order to participate in the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Beta you must agree to a Beta Test Agreement, in which you will represent and warrant that, among other things, you (a) are eighteen (18) years of age or older, (b) are not a principal, employee, agent, independent contractor, officer or director of a developer or publisher of video or computer games (other than EA), and (c) are not a principal, employee, supplier, independent contractor, officer or director or of any entity that participates either directly or indirectly in the sale of in-game items, including but not limited to, in-game currency, armor, weapons, etc., whether these sales are to the general public or to a third-party.

Please know that at EA Mythic, we don't want to send you information you don't want to receive. If you no longer want us to contact you, please click here to be removed from our mailing list or to change your preferences. You can also write to: Privacy Policy Administrator, Electronic Arts, 209 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94065.

'Warhammer' ©/™ and/or ® GW Ltd. Newsletter © 2008 Electronic Arts Inc. All Rights Reserved.
EA and the EA logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the
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