Blizzard Insider


The Blizzard Insider is an online newsletter of all things Blizzard. In each issue, the Insider provides exclusive, breaking news on Blizzard games, interviews with the Blizzard development teams, special offers available only to Blizzard Insider subscribers through our online store, and much more.
 Blizzard Insider 25
IN THIS ISSUE
Anatomy of a Dungeon:
Utgarde Keep
World of Warcraft® Patch –
The Gods of Zul'Aman
World of Warcraft Battle Chest Launches
StarCraft® II Content Roundup
World of Warcraft Comic Series Launches in November
Series 1 World of Warcraft Action Figures Available Now
Web Spotlight
FORUM WATCH
World of Warcraft Weekly
FROM THE FANS
SCREENSHOTS

F
ive-person dungeons are a cornerstone of World of Warcraft. The experience of teaming up with a small group of fellow players to take on challenges --and gain rewards -- beyond the reach of a single player has lasting appeal. With Wrath of the Lich King, dungeon design is being pushed to a new level of immersion, refinement, and sheer fun.

The Insider sat down with the World of Warcraft design team to get insight into the overall philosophy behind five-person dungeon design in Wrath of the Lich King. In the process, they dish out the details on one of the first dungeons players will experience in Northrend, Utgarde Keep, as an example of these ideas in action. Here's a sample:

"Utgarde's design ties closely into the creation of Howling Fjord as a whole. Less high-concept than the otherworldly and wildly diverse regions of Outland, we want the zones in Northrend to follow a geographic theme that's more consistent with the familiar geography of Azeroth. Many of Northrend's regions originally appeared in Warcraft III – such as Howling Fjord, one of the two starting areas and also where Utgarde Keep is prominently located. Howling Fjord's Azerothian feel stands in sharp contrast to the stark, alien beauty of Hellfire Peninsula, and this should help players establish an immediate connection to the expansion's new environments."

Read the full article




T
he next major content patch for World of Warcraft, The Gods of Zul'Aman, will add an impressive array of new challenges, features, changes, and rewards to World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

Zul'Aman is a 10-person raid dungeon located in the Ghostlands, with enemies and spoils that pick up where Karazhan leaves off. This outdoor raid dungeon is home to the vicious Amani forest trolls and their leader, the infamous Zul'jin. You and your band of heroes will battle the dungeon's six bosses, including four avatars of Zul'Aman, each bearing the aspect of a different ferocious creature. Zul'Aman also features a challenging bonus reward structure based on completing certain objectives within a time limit, which provides an extra level of challenge – and thrills – for seasoned raid groups.

The other defining characteristic of The Gods of Zul'Aman is the bounty of rewards, both material and intangible, that it offers many types of players. The powerful epic items found in Zul'Aman are just the beginning. There is a host of new purchasable rewards as well, from the gladiator rewards of Arena Season 3, to the dozens of new Badge of Justice rewards and the full set of new Honor rewards. There are also more useful and fun items such as the new Flying Machine flying mounts, which can be built and operated by skilled engineers. Among the more abstract benefits to players are faster leveling to 60, the revamping of Dustwallow Marsh with new quests, new daily quests for dungeons and battlegrounds, and many class balance changes. This is just a sampling of the bounty that awaits in The Gods of Zul'Aman. Find many more details about this massive new patch in our Under Development page.

Read more about The Gods of Zul'Aman




T
his ultimate World of Warcraft value is now available at retailers throughout North America. The World of Warcraft Battle Chest contains the original Game of the Year and its blockbuster first expansion set, The Burning Crusade. Also included are Battle Chest Guides from BradyGames to aid you (or a friend) in the quest to level 70. The Battle Chest includes:

  • Complete original game, World of Warcraft, on DVD
  • Complete expansion set, The Burning Crusade, on DVD
  • World of Warcraft Battle Chest Guide from BradyGames
  • The Burning Crusade Battle Chest Guide from BradyGames
Buy it now at the Blizzard online store (it makes a great Christmas gift)



T
he mounting tension in the StarCraft universe continues to heat up as more units enter the fray, each bringing its unique capabilities to battle. The most recent unit updates on the StarCraft II website showcase some of StarCraft II's heavy hitters: the Mothership, Carrier, Thor, and Banshee. Each now has a detailed profile complete with video, images, concept art, and background information.

In addition to the new unit profiles, we've released the official StarCraft II fansite kit, a potential bonanza for those wishing to build their own StarCraft II-related fansites. The downloadable kit contains art assets including screenshots and concept art, site design elements, text content, and tips – everything you need to get your site off the ground.

In other StarCraft II news, community manager Karune answers questions on all aspects of the sequel in an ongoing forum thread. This is just one of many discussions happening right now on the official StarCraft II forums.

Visit the StarCraft II features page
Download the StarCraft II Fansite Kit
Visit the official StarCraft II forums


Launches in November

A
 new, ongoing comic series based on World of Warcraft kicks off with the first issue of a twelve-part story arc on November 14. Available at comic retailers throughout North America and published by DC Comics, this epic series is written by Walter Simonson (SUPERMAN, HAWKGIRL) and illustrated by sensational French artist Ludo Lullabi and Sandra Hope (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA).

In Issue #1, a human is found unconscious on the shores of Kalimdor, with no memory of who he is or how he arrived there. Enslaved by the orc shaman Rehgar Earthfury, this man must fight for survival against members of both the Alliance and the Horde, striking up tentative relationships with other races in his quest to find the secrets of his past.

Read a preview of the first six pages from Issue #1.

Visit www.dcwarcraft.com for more information.


Available Now

D
C Unlimited, the new toy and collectible brand of DC Comics, is unleashing a line of action figures based on the diverse heroes of World of Warcraft. These amazingly detailed figures include a blood elf rogue, orc shaman, undead warlock, and dwarf warrior as part of Series 1 and are available in stores now.

You can view the figures now at DC Unlimited's World of Warcraft site. They are available at Toys "R" Us, comic book stores, and specialty stores nationwide. Call 1–888–266–4226 or head to the Comic Shop Locator Service to find the store nearest you.

Click here to find the one nearest you.



R
ecent updates for Wrath of the Lich King and The Burning Crusade have kept Blizzard's team of web goblins busy indeed. Here are some notable selections for your perusal:

  • Wrath of the Lich King Updates: Some tantalizing new content is now available on the Wrath of the Lich King website:
  • New Blizzard Movies: Using state-of-the-art gnomish filmmaking technology, we've captured some indelible moments in the Blizzard game universes for your enjoyment. You can download or stream our recent offerings:
    • Lament of the Highborne
      Gain insight into one of World of Warcraft's major characters, Sylvanas Windrunner, with this haunting musical montage.
    • I Am Murloc
      The latest rocking video from Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain!
    • Brewfest Trailer
      A celebration of, well, brew.
    • BlizzCon 2007 Highlights
      This video captures the overall atmosphere of fun and camaraderie that was BlizzCon 2007.
  • Armory Updates: The Armory, the official searchable database for World of Warcraft, has been made smarter, better, faster, and stronger with a series of upgrades. Its overall speed and performance have been optimized, resulting in faster search results. A new Arena Calculator allows you to determine how quickly you'll receive your next reward and how many points you'll get in a given week. Lastly, the new Browser Search Plugin allows you to search the Armory from your browser's integrated search field.
  • World of Warcraft Machinima Page: This new resource is an ongoing archive for a selection of machinima – short films created with the World of Warcraft engine. It also contains guidelines and insight for aspiring filmmakers to assist in the ongoing development of this emerging genre.




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