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.