World of Warcraft players, make sure you’re prepared for the next expansion – Wrath of the Lich King will contain the Northrend continent, but you’ll need to be at least level 68 to venture there. 1UP has tons of details, as the upcoming issue of Games for Windows: The Official Magazine has a cover story with tons of details.
Among what we know is that the new level cap will be 80 and there’s a new class – the Death Knight, a Hero Class character. But there won’t be any new content for newcomers to WoW, or those that aren’t fairly high-end – the original world won’t be seeing many changes.
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Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned about Hellgate: London as I got a tour of a few levels with Tyler Thompson, Flagship Studio’s director of technology.
Release date: Still shooting for summer 2007 - which, let’s face it, is right now. According to Tyler, “We’re still working for that. If it takes a little bit longer, then we’ll let it take a little bit longer.” In industry speak that means, “If you don’t see it by August, you’ll see it for the holidays.”
Look: Flagship Studios, at its top levels, is populated by ex-Blizzard brains, including Diablo creators Erich Schaefer and David Brevik (and don’t forget Bill Roper, who played an integral role in the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series). So, think Diablo, but much, much better looking. Tyler told me that the game is in the alpha stage. I’m used to seeing games in alpha looking a bit rough around the edges. This game was, in the levels he toured me, free of jaggies and visual glitches. The word that comes to mind is “shiny.” I found it to be very reminiscent of Diablo in look and feel. Of course, bear in mind the tour was guided, which means I only got to see the best looking areas.
The biggest improvement in look, and, ultimately, playability, is the improved camera from Diablo 2. Gone is the fixed, third-person isometric camera in favor of 360-degree, fully rotational viewing.
More after the break.
Legendary Pictures’ website has listed Diablo as a title under their “In Development” section. The same guys who brought you 300 and are also working on a big-screen adaptation of World of Warcraft are apparently set to send you to Hell.
We’re praying that this isn’t going to be based directly upon either of the Diablo games, which – when you really look at what they boil down to – essentially offer up the gameplay equivalent of Windows. Now don’t get me wrong – I spent thousands of hours playing Diablo II, taking part in more Baal runs than I wish to recall. But it’s just not the sort of thing that you make a movie out of.
But at least there’s more promise for a real plot here than there is in the WoW movie – there’s quite a lot of Diablo backstory, and a number of novels out there based upon the games (which, sadly, one of which I have actually read. While it hasn’t been revealed, WoW is an open-world game, whereas Diablo follows a tight narrative. Regardless, hopefully these monster series of Blizzard’s are done justice. Just keep Uwe Boll far away, and they’ve got a shot.
Guild Wars has been a tremendous success since its inception into the realm of online RPGs several years ago. It has spawned two campaigns in addition to the original, but it was recently announced that future GW campaigns were being canned. In their place would be the first expansion in the series, as well as a full-blown sequel. The expansion – titled Eye of the North – will be unlike the previous releases in that it will require you to own at least one Guild Wars title to play.
Today, gamers have the opportunity to take part in a chat with NC Soft, the developers of Guild Wars. Starting at 4:00 p.m. Pacific / 7 p.m. Eastern on May 11, GameSpy Arcade will be home to an NC Soft chat session. You’ll have to head to the GameSpy Arcade LiveWire lobby for the exclusive event about “upcoming developments” in the franchise.
I’m personally a huge fan of Guild Wars, so I’ll be in attendance. The game’s focus on strategy, as opposed to number of hours played, make it attractive to a whole lot of people. And with NC Soft’s promise that future Guild Wars games will continue to be free to play, the MMORPG world and its subscription fees better be worried. ‘sup, World of Warcraft?
Read More | GameSpy Arcade
For those gamers who might be trying to avoid the time-sink that is The Burning Crusade, Blizzard just pushed the crack pipe a little closer. Some addicts might try and keep themselves away from retail stores to avoid the temptation; Blizzard has eliminated that excuse by making the new content available for download. Gamers can now simply log into their accounts online and click to download. If there is already a credit card account stored, then a simple click on a link and $39.99 will get the download started.
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Blizzard Entertainment has broken PC sales records by selling over 2.4 million copies during the first 24 hours of availability of their expansion World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. According to their press release, the company sold over 1.2 million copies in North America and 1.1 million copies in Europe, and over 1.7 million users logged in the first day. The press release did not state how many of those people wound up queued for their game servers, or how much productivity is dipping during the week of the game’s release. Blizzard assures gamers that have not yet purchased the expansion that more copies are shipping daily; while GameStop and EBGames made an insightful decision to just order enough copies to cover pre-orders, local Fry’s Electronics stores reportedly have stacks of the game available for purchase.
The full press release continues after the jump.
Blizzard today announced that gamers looking forward to playing the World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade expansion this year will now have to wait until 2007 for the anticipated add-on. The company currently intends to ship the expansion pack in January of 2007 to allow a few more weeks of development and beta testing to ensure that the content meets Blizzard’s standards. While the announcement is disappointed to those waiting for the expansion, this is one less item that will be competing for gamer’s play time this holiday, with the Wii and Playstation 3 shipping, as well as several other high profile titles for the Xbox 360 and the PC.
Blizzard’s full media alert continues below.
Read More | World Of Warcraft Forums
A forum post from Blizzard’s official World of Warcraft site indicates that the company is laying the groundwork for the first external closed beta testing for their upcoming expansion pack, Burning Crusade. According to the post, selection criteria included past PTR contest winners and BlizzCon attendees, but Blizzard is looking for a wide demographic for their first phase of beta testing. Future beta opportunities will expand this group in the future, but to finally have word that Blizzard is opening up the new content to external users is a great indication of progress towards a final release.