Time Flies - 6.3.2010

So, it's been about nine and a half months since I last posted anything here on Blogcraft. Somehow, the blog still gets a healthy amount of hits, thanks to all you crazy loyal readers! :p

Time really does fly when you're having fun. This past year has been the best year of my life. The last time I posted on this blog is also about the same time I last logged into WoW to play for real. I don't get paid for posting things here, so it almost became something like a burden to post. I felt like posting here would take me away from my real life, which has been better than ever. Now, if I'd been making money, it'd be a different story (and I do need a job right now *cough, anyone reading this who could use my writing, cough*). Anyways... Now I find myself here, still living life to the fullest, but feeling like I owe the loyal readers some kind of an explanation.

Sometimes I wanted to post. For example, on October 13th, 2009, which was Blogcraft's three year birthday, but I just never did it. I feared going back to a life that wasn't the great life I was currently living. So much has happened with WoW since the last time I posted. Believe me, although it seems like I've been completely wiped off the face of the earth WoW-wise, I've continued to follow the game religiously. There are so many things I could have written about, I just didn't.

Right now, my life is about to begin a transitional period. So, who knows? Maybe I'll start posting again sometime soon, or maybe not. It's not something I can give a definite answer to. I wish I could, but I can't. Only time will tell...

P.S. - I made some damn good predictions. :p

-Matt Graham

WoW: Cataclysm - 8.21.2009

So, ummm, I guess my "WoW 4.0" series is done with. :p Who am I kidding? Like I was really posting anyways.

So, the plan is to start posting again. Sometimes "the plan" doesn't work out. We'll see what happens.

Oh, by the way, the new expansion for WoW was announced today at BlizzCon 2009. Anyone whose even semi-involved in WoW outside of the actual game probably already knew everything about the game a week ago anyways - thanks to MMO-Champion. Here's some key info for the new WoW: Cataclysm.

What is the story of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?
While the attention of the Horde and Alliance remained fixed upon Northrend, an ancient evil has been lying dormant within Deephome, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane. Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth, nursing his hatred for the inferior creatures that infest the surface realm...and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire. Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deephome will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation. The face of Azeroth is altered forever as the destruction left in Deathwing's wake reshapes the land and reveals secrets long sealed away. Players will be able to re-experience familiar zones across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, rewrought by the cataclysm and filled with new opportunities for adventure.

What are the features of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?

Some of the new features of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm include:
  • Two New Playable Races: Adventure as one of two new races--the cursed worgen with the Alliance or the resourceful goblins with the Horde.
  • Level Cap Increased to 85: Earn new abilities, tap into new talents, and progress through the path system, a new way for players to improve characters.
  • Classic Zones Remade: Familiar zones across the original continents of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms have been altered forever and updated with new content, from the devastated Badlands to the broken Barrens, which has been sundered in two.
  • New High-Level Zones: Explore newly opened parts of the world, including Uldum, Grim Batol, and the great Sunken City of Vashj'ir beneath the sea.
  • More Raid Content than Ever Before: Enjoy more high-level raid content than previous expansions, with optional more challenging versions of all encounters.
  • New Race and Class Combinations: Explore Azeroth as a gnome priest, blood elf warrior, or one of the other never-before-available race and class combinations.
  • Guild Advancement: Progress as a guild to earn guild levels and guild achievements.
  • New PvP Zone & Rated Battlegrounds: Take on PvP objectives and daily quests on Tol Barad Island, a new Wintergrasp-like zone, and wage war in all-new rated Battlegrounds.
  • Archaeology: Master a new secondary profession to unearth valuable artifacts and earn unique rewards.
  • Flying Mounts in Azeroth: Explore Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms like never before.

Why are you revisiting the continents of Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor?

As we developed new content and expansions, we learned a lot of techniques to provide players with a better game experience--but the majority of the new content we were creating was for high-level characters only. We felt we could apply the lessons of Outland and Northrend to improve the gameplay experience while leveling in the original two continents. Imagine revisiting a familiar zone like Darkshore only to find Auberdine destroyed by the cataclysm--and then discovering entirely new towns and quests in other parts of the zone. Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms are central to World of Warcraft lore, and we want those areas to remain an important part of the game, not just a place to train or auction. Our goal is to make questing, leveling, and the overall story more fun for new, returning, and existing players. By redesigning areas of the original continents and introducing new content that matches or exceeds the quality of Wrath of the Lich King, we can revitalize the nostalgia and coolness of Azeroth.

How did you decide upon the two new playable races, worgen and goblin?

The community has been requesting to play as the goblins for quite some time now, and we wanted to stick with at least one race that players were very familiar with. This expansion was the perfect time to bring the goblins to the forefront and offer more insight into their past, since the catastrophic events of the expansion really hit close to home. As for the worgen, players have been hoping to be able to learn more about them since Silverpine Forest. This is a great opportunity to explore their lore and the mysteries of the Greymane Wall. The worgen are an aggressive and beastly race, which is something you see often among the Horde races, but is unique among the Alliance races.

Will the two new races have all-new starting experiences?

Yes, we are creating all-new level 1 to 15 starting zones for both races. Players will start their adventures with the worgen in Gilneas, which was sealed off behind the Greymane Wall. Goblin players will start on the Isle of Kezan and then head to the Lost Isles in the South Seas before joining the mainland. Each starting experience will be presented in a fashion similar to the death knight starting area in Wrath of the Lich King, and these starting zones will make extensive use of our new phased-terrain technology.

Which classic zones have been overhauled? What are some examples of changes?

Nearly all of the game’s original zones are being altered to some degree, but the extent of the changes varies by zone. For example, Darkshore is flooded and has been completely redesigned with all new quest hubs. The Barrens have been split in two; one half is for low-level players and the other is for higher-level players. Azshara is now a low-level zone for Horde players and connects directly to Orgrimmar.

Is another Hero class being added to the game?

We are not planning to add a new Hero class in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. For this expansion, it was more appropriate to focus on the two new races, the goblins and worgen. We never intended to include a Hero class in every expansion. As you saw with death knights, adding a new class changes the dynamics of the game dramatically, which is not something we want to do in every expansion. We still have plans to introduce new Hero classes in the future.

Will I be able to use my flying mount in the redesigned Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor?
Yes. While the original Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor weren’t designed for flying mounts, we’re redesigning the continents with flying mounts in mind. However, we’re still determining whether there will be any restrictions on where you will be able to fly, at what level flying will become available, or whether you’ll need to do anything to unlock it. We’ll share more details about this in the future.

Will I need the expansion to be able to experience the Cataclysm changes?

When the Cataclysm occurs, it will occur for all players, whether they have purchased the expansion or not--you will no longer be to play in the original version of Kalimdor or the Eastern Kingdoms. However, certain features such as the new zones, new races, and new level cap will only be accessible to players who purchase the expansion.

Will “phasing” be used more extensively in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm?

Yes. We’ve come up with a number of new, cool ways to using phasing since we introduced it in Wrath of the Lich King, and plan to use it more extensively to change the world as players progress. We are also now able to phase terrain, which players will see in the starting areas for the goblins and worgen. We’re also adding some UI improvements to help determine when another player is in a different “phase” from you.

Will there be any updates to the graphics and changes to the minimum system requirements?

Yes, there will be incremental tweaks and updates to the graphics engine in this expansion. For example, we’ve made improvements to the way that water is rendered. We’ll announce the exact system requirements closer to the expansion’s release.

I might post more info later. But, to be honest, there's enough places out there for info right now. So, I'll probably post commentary instead.

Here's an HD version of the trailer for Cataclysm that was shown at BlizzCon a few hours ago. I anticipate it to become the most popular copy of the trailer on YouTube, just like my video for Wrath. :)

-Matt Graham

01010010 01100101 01110100 01110101 01110010 01101110 - 7.31.2009

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WoW 4.0: Part I - 6.1.2009

Because of time, and because I basically promised a post today in yesterday's post, I'm going to have to deliver this post in separate parts. Basically, it's a rundown of my opinion on the next expansion.

Let me begin by saying that I am completely opposed to the idea that the Emerald Dream will be the focus of the next WoW expansion. Hell, I'm totally against the idea that it'll even ever have its own expansion. But, that's the key there. "Have its own expansion." I'm not saying that the Emerald Dream won't appear in a future WoW expansion, I'm just saying it won't be the focal point. By the way, I don't think that it'll be a "part" of the next expansion either. Maybe the next expansion after the next, when WoW is probably going to be slowing down (but boy, has that prediction been wrong before), but not for a while.

Now, you might be disappointed to hear my prediction because you've heard it a thousand times before. But hey, if you've heard it so many times it must be a a good prediction... right? My prediction is... drumroll please... the Maelstrom/South Seas/Great Sea/Whatever the hell body of water with a giant whirlpool-storm thing in it. It's all the same, and I don't want to hear otherwise. You know what I mean if I mention one or the other. So, we're going to go with "The Maelstrom Expansion". Sound good? Okay.

The areas and zones that would be included in this expansion have been "planned out", in a small sense, for a while. I just think that it would really only make sense if we saw the Maelstrom expansion next. Because I don't think that the Emerald Dream will be its own expansion, I just can't think of of anything else that Blizzard would want to add to the game before something like the Elemental Plane, the Twisting Nether, or other planets having to do with the Burning Legion.

So, changes to Azeroth? Probably. I assume that this would be the best possible expansion for Blizzard to be able to go back and change up a lot of things in Azeroth. Obviously the biggest change would probably be the addition of Gilneas in northern Eastern Kingdoms. That place has just been taunting me for ages. It's like it was supposed to be in the game at the beginning, but Blizzard forgot about it or something. Oh, wait...

Then, other zones like Kul Tiras, and island not far from Gilneas, Kezan, Tel Abim, Zandalar, the Plunder Isles, and the Broken Isles would be added as well. Obviously, the Maelstrom would be the Icecrown type place of this expansion.

Hero classes, instances, mounts, items, etc. are all discussion being saved for a later date.

-Matt Graham

Time - 5.31.2009

You know what they say? "Better late than never."

I really want to post stuff every single day. I really do. There's just this little thing called "time" that keeps on stopping me from doing so. I've finally realized that this beast cannot be defeated. It's something we all have to live with.

Someone once told me to, "adjust and overcome." Your environment, or your surroundings, may not always be ideal. But, you don't just give up on your dreams because of that, do you? No. You adjust and overcome. This is all new to me, and I'm trying. Trust me, I am.

I know I've said it before and nothing has come of it, but I'm going to go ahead and say it again. I'm going to attempt to post regularly again. I really do miss it. It's just that damn "time" issue.

I always have great ideas for posts in my mind while away from the computer, but I never manage to get the time to write them down.

I'd like to say that June 1st, 2009 will be a whole new beginning for World of Blogcraft. You have no reason to believe me, as I've let you down before, but I really am going to try. Wish me luck!

-Matt Graham

Blogcraft Is Looking For Writers - 4.14.2009

Some of you may remember Joe Zara. Joe (aka Phoee) was a bleeding edge raider in classic WoW as well as BC. While Sunwell was the top raid instance in the game, right before WotLK, Joe decided to bid farewell to WoW, and Blogcraft too as a result. Joe was known for his great knowledge in the raiding department of WoW; it came from his first hand experience there. Throughout his short time here, he made eleven high quality posts. It might be hard for anyone to live up to new expectations Joe created when he raised the bar.

With that said, I'm looking for someone to help me here. As you can see, as of late, I've been unable to post as frequently as I'd like. So, having another body creating posts alongside myself might help to keep Blogcraft's page more populated with posts.

I'm looking for anyone, preferably age 16+, that has a passion to write and thinks that he/she can bring something new to Blogcraft. I think it'd also be great to get someone, like Joe, that has great knowledge as far as the raiding game goes. I don't post a whole lot about endgame raid encounters because I'm not hardcore with it and I don't feel I'm qualified.

So, if you think that you have what it takes, e-mail me at worldofblogcraft@gmail.com with the following:

1. Your name or online handle. I know that some people don't like having their last name out there, so that's optional.
2. Your age. (This is also optinonal, but it's preferred that you let me know.)
3. Why you want this job.
4. What you plan to bring to Blogcraft.

So, apply now and I'll get back to all the people that follow the criteria. Good luck!

P.S. - Please know that you will not be paid for this job. It's just a fun little side-project next to real life. :D

-Matt Graham

UGH! - 3.29.2009

UGH! Real life has been so frustrating lately. I really do wish that I could get more time to play WoW and post on Blogcraft, but it's been crazy lately. Things are getting complicated, things are changing, and things are just getting straight up confusing. Whatever happens, I want to assure everyone that Blogcraft is NOT dead. I WILL be returning sometime and I'll get back to posting regularly. I would say that it'll happen sometime soon, but I said the same thing back in January. I'm not making any promises because I don't want to end up looking like a liar, but I will make an effort to getting back to this blog more often. The more I post on this blog, the more it means that my real life is on a clear path, right?

-Matt Graham

BlizzCon 2009 Announced - 2.17.2009

Could there have been a better day for my return to posting regularly than today?

Earlier today, Blizzard posted a press release on their website announcing yet another BlizzCon event for 2009. As always, the event will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The event is fairly far off though. The announced dates are for August 21st and 22nd, so just about six months from now.

Something that I find interesting is that they will be expanding to four convention halls this year. Now, if I remember correctly, it was just last October, at BlizzCon 2008, when Blizzard had to expand to three convention halls, versus the two they had the previous year. It sounds like this event just gets so much bigger every year!

IRVINE, Calif. - February 17, 2008 - Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans for its fourth BlizzCon® gaming convention, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22. BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment®’s Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® universes. In response to the festival’s increasing popularity, this year’s event has been expanded from three convention halls to four.

“We’ve been amazed by the incredible response to each of our previous BlizzCon events,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re pleased to be bringing the convention back to Anaheim this year, and we look forward to this new opportunity to meet Blizzard gamers from around the world.”

BlizzCon will offer a wide variety of activities throughout the two-day event. In addition to serving as a gathering place for Blizzard Entertainment gaming communities, attendees will be able to enjoy:

  • Hands-on play time with upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games
  • Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
  • Competitive and casual tournaments for players to showcase their talents
  • Community contests with great prizes
  • Commemorative merchandise based on Blizzard Entertainment’s game universes
  • A silent auction
  • More exciting activities and attractions to be announced
Further details, including ticket availability and pricing, will be announced on the official BlizzCon website, www.blizzcon.com, as the event draws closer.
So, here's the big news. I am going to try my best to make BlizzCon 2009 the first BlizzCon event that I attend in person! I also hope to bring you readers the best possible coverage of the event! Now, no promises, but I'll be trying my best!

-Matt Graham

Twitter - 1.30.2009

Let me begin this post by saying that I will be back soon! My "busy season" ends in just a couple of weeks. I can't wait until I get to return to posting regularly!

Now, I also wanted to bring up something else. For those of you that don't know what Twitter is, it's basically a form of mutual stalking. Okay, so not technically, but kinda. I'm sure most of you out there already know about Twitter though, so I'm not gonna get too in depth. If you have in fact been living under a rock though, just click the following link and mess around on the site; it's really not complex to figure things out at all. So, I decided to start using Twitter a bit. Click this hyperlink to start following me!

P.S. - Woah! First post of 2009!

-Matt Graham

Merry Christmas! - 12.24.2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you're enjoying the holidays as much as I am! Soon I'll be back to posting regularly! For now, here's a little holiday song!

The Twelve Days Of Warcraft

On the twelfth day of Warcraft, Blizzard gave to me…

Twelve angry murlocs,
Eleven nagas swimming,
Ten priests renewing,
Nine ‘locks-a-sharding,
Eight moonkin dancing,
Seven rogues-a-gankin’,
Six night elves naked,
Five lazy peons…
Four calling nerfs,
Three ranging hunters,
Two exploding sheep,
and a pally in the retribution tree!

-Matt Graham