World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Developed by Blizzard?

Posted by on April 3, 2010 - No Comments »

Just a little MMO-related news that many may not have been aware of. What follows is a joint press release by Blizzard and a new company, Cryptozoic Entertainment:

CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRADING CARD GAME LICENSE

Wrathgate booster set for tabletop game based on Blizzard Entertainment’s award-winning World of Warcraft series slated for May release, followed by Class Decks in June

Irvine, California – (March 24, 2010) – Cryptozoic Entertainment is pleased to announce that they have signed a long-term licensing agreement with Blizzard Entertainment.  The multi-year arrangement grants Cryptozoic the right to produce the trading card game (TCG) based on Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely popular World of Warcraft® massively multiplayer online role-playing game series.

“This is an exciting time for us and for players of the trading card game,” said John Nee, Cryptozoic Entertainment’s CEO.  “Our first priority will be to maintain the current programs that the community has come to expect and then build from there.  The game itself is fantastic, and will not change.  The community can rest assured that we are committed to providing them with the high quality product and organized play that they deserve, worldwide.”

“It’s important to us and to our players that every entertainment experience set in a Blizzard Entertainment game universe matches the standards we’ve established with our games,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re proud of the quality and accessible gameplay that the World of Warcraft TCG has offered to date, and we’re confident that Cryptozoic is the best team to help us continue that tradition.”

Cryptozoic will continue to expand the World of Warcraft TCG for years to come.  Players will soon have a slew of exciting new cards to test their skills and defeat their opponents with at the upcoming Continental Championships in June and the World Championship in August.  The first product release from Cryptozoic will be the Wrathgate boosters in May followed by the Class Decks in June.

“Having been fully involved with the development of the World of Warcraft TCG from day one, I’ve always been passionate about taking it into the future,” said Cory Jones, Cryptozoic’s President and Chief Creative Officer, and formerly Blizzard Entertainment’s lead business and development liaison for the TCG.  “I’m pleased to say that the players have a lot to look forward to as we continue developing and evolving the game to match the action and spirit of World of Warcraft.”

To start, players can get the latest news on the World of Warcraft TCG at www.cryptozoic.com.  Then in just a few weeks a brand new website for the TCG itself will launch.  Cryptozoic promises ongoing updates on everything from organized play to product releases as well as a regular dose of strategy articles and spoilers as they get closer to their initial product launch.

As you may have noticed, one of the co-founders of Cryptozoic, Cory Jones, is a former Blizzard employee. What’s more, the company Cryptozoic was founded recently, and at this point exclusively, for development of the WoW TCG. It seems like Blizzard has decided to take a much more active role in the trading card game with this re-launch, much as it always has with its World of Warcraft merchandise. That Cryptozoic is, for now, Blizzard by another name is a theory given credence by the trouble the Warcraft developers had with Upper Deck Entertainment, the original creators of the TCG. It may be that Blizzard has decided that keeping business “in the family” is the best way forward.

As a player of both World of Warcraft and the accompanying trading card game, I can only hope that the close ties between Blizzard and Cryptozoic will be of benefit to the product.

The Lore Hound WoW Podcast: Episode 1

Posted by on April 2, 2010 - 3 Comments »

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Join the Lore Hounds as they discuss this week’s news in WoW. This week’s lineup is Heartbourne, pixiestixy, and Juggynaut. World first Heroic Lich King kill, 10% buff in ICC, and April Fool’s pranks, and more are on the agenda today. Click the player above to listen, download the podcast, or subscribe via RSS, and leave a comment to let us know how you liked it!

PAX East 2010: A First Look At The Upcoming Line-up From Perfect World Entertainment

Posted by on April 2, 2010 - 3 Comments »

Unless you keep your ear to the ground in the free-to-play scene you probably haven’t heard of Perfect World Entertainment.  The company started off by making a game based upon its own name, Perfect World International, before expanding via publishing agreements.  PWI was followed up by two other F2P 3D MMORPGs, Ether Saga Online and Jade Dynasty.  Both titles are well regarded and continue to thrive.  You may have heard of them thanks to one of last year’s most surprising titles, Torchlight.  Perfect World Entertainment has signed an agreement to publish the MMORPG version of Torchlight in the near future.

Enough about Perfect World’s past though, what about the present.  I was fortunate enough to sit down with Perfect World’s Sam Houston to go over the company’s upcoming line-up during my stint at PAX East 2010.  The first thing that was made clear to me is that Perfect World is striving to make solid games.  Not good-for-a-F2P-game solid, but solid, period.  It was refreshing for me to hear someone from inside the F2P industry admit to that sector’s major stigma.  Hopefully Perfect World can meet its goal. Read more…

Rounding Up the April Fools

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

Since it’s that time of year again, I thought I’d round up the April Fool’s jokes that are related to MMOs or MMO developers. Feel free to comment with any that I’ve missed.

As always, Blizzard have attacked on multiple fronts – beginning with truly the greatest use of a “bar” since MMOs were invented. Presenting, the World of Warcraft EPEEN.

Also from Blizzard comes the best and brightest way to interface with Battle.net – the reality twisting Neural Interface!

Despite not being related to MMOs themselves, Blizzard’s final two April sensations deserve honourable mentions as well – the Diablo X-Treme Gamer Blanket and the Blackthorne 2: Thorne Harder mobile game.

On the more independent front, the GMs of Wurm Online bring us something in between a moral encouragement to not judge by appearances and a drug-induced hallucination typed up.

Finally, posted earlier today by Brian we have the crafty tale spinners at BioWare bringing nightmares to life with their (hopefully) fictional Sarlacc Enforcer class for Star Wars: The Old Republic.

May I finally learn how to recognise these pranks before becoming curious, excited or terrified before next year.

Blizzard Mocks Gear Ratings (for April Fool’s Day)

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - 4 Comments »

An e-peen meter, or a reference to the growing popularity of GearScore-like addons?

As we heard earlier today from Juggynaut, Blizzard has been up to its usual April Fool’s Day shenanigans, giving us all a laugh in the process. But one of their jokes hit on a topic that may be a sore spot for some – the GearScore add-on that’s been growing in popularity, especially since the rollout of ICC content.

Here’s how Blizzard described its “Equipment Potency Equivalence Number” :

With this new system, you’ll no longer have to wonder about your perceived or actual worth as a player. Your Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number, automatically derived from the quality of the gear you currently possess, will be placed on your character sheet and in the Armory, and also displayed over your character’s head in-game as an easy-to-read bar-like object that steadily grows as you acquire loot. Thanks to this new system, no one will be able to ignore the fruits of your long, hard journey toward gear perfection.

Here’s how it will work: With every new piece of gear you obtain, your number will grow; if you attain a high enough number, you’ll graduate to the next tier (more on that below) and gain access to exclusive rewards. If you’re looking to boost your number even more, activities such as earning raid and Arena achievements or realm-first titles will help you get it up, and you’ll also begin receiving in-game mail with exciting offers for additional ways to enhance it.

Sound familiar? Now I know, it’s not just Gear Score that attempts to do something similar to this fake Blizzard rollout. WoW Heroes and IMBA perform similar gear checks via a web interface. But with more than 1.4 million downloads (I’ll admit, I’m one of them), Gear Score probably is the most prolific in-game occurrence of measuring gear.

Read more…

The Sun Sets on Cheyenne Mountain, The Stargate has Closed.

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

This is my least favorite type of blog to write. But as my title says, I must remain true to my cause.

I noticed from an article posted past thursday and followed it to the official Cheyenne Mountain website. Where I read an open letter to shareholders the details of the Cheyenne Mountain bankruptcy. They have gone into “recievership”, which is -

“A Receiver is a court appointed person responsible for custodial control over the property of others which can include tangible and intangible assets and rights. In this particular instance, the Receiver, who is an officer of the court, has been appointed (as quoted from the court order) “as “receiver to take over the assets, affairs, management, operation and control of CMG and CME?”

This basically means that all assets of CMG and CME will or have been sold off and proceeds will be given to the reciever who will give it to whoever is contracted as an investor in CMG that needs to be reimbursed.

This contains the shooter they recently released, Stargate Resistance, will be owned and operated by a group of investors called “Fresh Start Studios.” When a company goes ‘rupt, as we call it down at WS they sell everything down to chairs, desks and paperclips. Don’t believe me? Well someone bought the Enron ‘E’ from an auction for $44,000.00

Do I know what happened internally? No, nor do I want to comment. Some businesses fail because of internal conflict, lack of support, faulty product…etc. etc. The list goes on. But I will tell you that some of the rumors about the employees not getting paid ring true. Check this out:

  • Cash funds on deposit in known bank accounts controlled by the company are less than $10,000.
  • Unpaid past due general creditor obligations of approximately $2.0 million may exist. There could be more.
  • CME or CMG is named in 5 complaints with estimated potential liability of approximately $10.1 million which includes a disputed landlord claim on space that was never occupied or utilized.
  • Payroll wages of over $1.1 million dating back to March of 2009 remain unpaid.
  • Federal and State payroll tax obligations of $3.0 million have not been paid.
  • An Arizona state tax credit for 2009 that may net $3 million in funds to CMG has been applied for which could be used to cover some or all of the unpaid payroll tax obligations. It has been represented by the CPA firm handling this matter that it could take up to 60 days to realize that credit.

For now, understand that the Stargate World MMO is finished. What will survive is the Stargate Resistance  FPS for as long as Fresh Start Studios can keep it running.

I was excited about this game and the possibility of a fresh new MMO coming to market with a strong IP. The Stargate IP had a lot of followers and would have had a good turnout.
The company had continued to be hit with setbacks that it couldn’t recover from, it happens in the corporate world sometimes. From running low on oil and Dan Ellgren leaving not before telling the interwebs through his blog, CMG has had it rough.
Cheyenne Mountain, I tip my hat to you as you go. Good luck to all involved.
Play safe,
Inktomi

I was excited about this game and the possibility of a fresh new MMO coming to market with a strong IP. The Stargate IP had a lot of followers and would have had a good turnout.The company had continued to be hit with setbacks that it couldn’t recover from, it happens in the corporate world sometimes. From running low on oil and Dan Ellgren leaving not before telling the interwebs through his blog, CMG has had it rough.Cheyenne Mountain, I tip my hat to you as you go. Good luck to all involved.Play safe,Inktomi

New Armory Features (for April Fool’s Day)

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - 2 Comments »

If you haven’t already figured it out, today is not a great day to be gullible. While not all news is made up, most things you hear that are too weird, good, or out of this world to be true probably are. Blizzard’s Armory team has joined in on the fun and added some features for this day of pranks.

Most noticeably, everyone is a Tuskarr. And apparerntly, male and female Tuskarr look alike. Every character you look up and every embedded Armory profile shows a Tuskarr. If nothing else, It’s worth watching the awesome Special attack animation on someone’s profile.  To go with the new race, every profession on the armory is shown as Fishing. Lastly on the Tuskarr front, everybody has a nice new profile icon with their character eating a fish. Click on the image to see it more clearly.

A slightly subtler change is the new background. You might notice the main scourge guy in the background has a chat bubble before the Armory loads, but it can take some work (or a slow connection) to see exactly what he’s saying. Again, click the little image for a much larger one.

Another less prominent tweak was done to the activity feed. Instead of Looted, the feed now says Ninjaed (it’s good to finally know the correct spelling of the word).  Instead of (equipped), it now says (vendored). And every achievement has now been Cheesed. Thanks Blizzard. Now I can’t trust anybody.

These funny new features are a great addition to Blizzard’s other April Fool’s shenanigans. If only I could be a Tuskarr in someplace other than Dalaran. That special attack animation is worth not having to raise fishing three times. Here’s to hoping that Tuskarr will be an unlockable race once your EPEEN gets high enough.

SWTOR – They Got Me!

Posted by on April 1, 2010 - No Comments »

The Ultimate "Nom Nom"

When I saw the notification that Star Wars: The Old Republic was revealing a new class, the Sarlaac Enforcer, I got a bit excited. Shame on me for not realizing today is April Fool’s Day. Bioware released a mock player class of a sarlaac on their website today, which is probably the best MMO April Fool’s joke I can remember. The absolute best part of the joke are the videos on their website (under Combat Tactics). I am glad to see that Bioware has a good sense of humor, and I hope to a degree they include some of that in the game. Joke aside, it is interesting to see that the sarlaac will be present on Tatooine. Its great hunger knows no bounds apparently, as seen in the screenshot of the sarlaac eating a sandcrawler. Look out Czerka Corporation, there is a new foe in town!