The Mystery Ends - 6.29.2008

So, the mystery of the splash screen has ended. The new game is Diablo III. Thanks to my awesome ISP, I have been unable to post for the past few days - perfect timing, eh? So, I was wrong. I disagreed with the community, and was proven wrong. I should have learned this long ago with Blizzard, but you always have to believe what the community says. They are always right when it comes to saying what Blizzard will be announcing: Draenei, WotLK, Diablo III, etc.

Now, let me throw out my opinion on Diablo III. I could get flamed for this, but it's my blog so I don't care. :p In my eyes, the day of the "helicopter-view" RPG is dead. It's just plain dead. I don't want to see it anymore. It's slightly understandable with Diablo III because that's the "style", but sometimes gameplay must change to stay with the times. Let me just say that I CAN handle this type of gameplay on one condition. If this game shows up on the Xbox 360 with character movement via joystick, I WILL play it, but if it doesn't, I won't go near this game. I don't wanna sit at my computer, staring at at the top of my character's head, while spamming (and possibly breaking) my mouse button.

There you have it. Besides this post, I probably won't be covering Diablo III very much.

-Matt Graham

The Mystery Continues - 6.26.2008

The mystery of the splash page continues! Over at MMO-Champion, the original discussion is now at a MASSIVE 122 PAGES!

The splash has changed over the past few days, but it hasn't been worth posting again until now. You can see that the ice is being broken through and it seems like a small pair of eyes are now visible, but who knows. DiabloII.Net has already reported that they have confirmation, from a reliable source in the industry, that Diablo III will be announced at the World Wide Invitational on Saturday. I don't really know what to believe right now. Knowing Blizzard, something probably has been leaked, meaning that D3 would be announced. However, my gut feeling is that we won't be seeing D3 yet, if ever - but I've been wrong before. I'd like to see a new MMO. I'm not sure if I'd leave WoW or WAR for it, but it's always nice following new MMOs. Whatever it is, I'm sure that it'll be amazing. Blizzard has yet to disappoint me with a game.

-Matt Graham

The Mystery of the Splash Page - 6.23.2008

Most people probably now know about the mysterious splash page that has been spurring much conversation. Originally, it appeared only on the main Blizzard website, but now it seems to be on all Blizzard websites, including the main WoW site.

Basically, it's a big picture of ice - that's it. Some people are noticing "hidden" runes and pictures in the ice, but I don't really think it means anything - it's just coincidence. The main discussion seems to be a Diablo announcement vs. a WotLK announcement for the release date or beta. Now, my personal opinion is that it is an announcement for WotLK, but it's not for something as small as the beta and it's too far away for an actual release date (for Blizzard anyway). I think we'll be seeing a HUGE announcement for WotLK: another new hero class, another new profession, something completely new, etc.

Now, there is always the possibility of it being for a new franchise. However, I don't see Blizzard doing that right now because it could potentially take hype away from Starcraft II and WotLK. Plus, it's a picture of ICE for goodness' sake!

-Matt Graham

World of Workcraft - 6.22.2008

The below video is one of the better machinimas I've seen for a while. The basic story is a bunch of dragon-slaying heroes in Azeroth who enjoy coming home to "World of Workcraft" every night - paying 15 gold a month to play! While you might think that the concept is fairly simple and not extremely creative, the way it's carried out is pretty amazing. I HIGHLY recommend watching this anytime you want a good laugh.

UPDATE: I was not able to embed the video. Alternatively, you can watch it by going to this link.

-Matt Graham

Bloghammer Online - 6.20.2008

Well, Blizzard isn't the only one expanding.

I'd like to introduce you all to Bloghammer Online - my new Warhammer Online blog! Yes, my new obsession for WAR is true. It's kind of a weird situation though because the game isn't even out yet. I know that WoW won't be dying anytime soon, so I'll always have something to write about here on Blogcraft, but if Paul Barnett and the rest of EA Mythic end up screwing up, Bloghammer is out of commission. However, I'm gunna roll the dice on this one. I've never felt so good about a game before (besides WoW and it's expansions), so I really do think that this game will find its place in the always growing MMO world.

A perfect world (for players, definitely not developers) would be where WoW and WAR can coexist with 10 million subscribers each - at least for me anyways - but I think that's out of the question. There seems to be only room for one dominating MMO and I don't doubt that it'll be WoW for many years to come. My hope is that, well, WAR is a good game, but also that WAR can maintain a healthy population of committed players.

So, jump across the pond that is the internet, and visit my new blog about WAR, Bloghammer. Until the release, you'll probably find posts that are very similar to any of my posts about WoW expansions before release. I hope you enjoy!

-Matt Graham

The Beginning of the End...? - 6.19.2008

After my short-lived case of burnout from WoW two weeks ago, I ended up coming back and casually leveled my Dwarf Paladin from 36 to 40 in Dustwallow Marsh (and some STV). However, just days later I am once again sick of WoW. Possibly my new found distaste for WoW was created by my "discovery" of Warhammer Online.

A few months ago, I was one of the people that wanted to yell "FAIL!" every time they hear about Warhammer Online. My basic though of Warhammer Online was WoW with slightly more advanced PvP but WoW's PvE minus anything good. But really, in the end, even if it does end up being very similar to WoW, why is that really so bad? If WoW is amazingly fun, then why would a copy with new "skins" for different races, classes, and environments be any different? It wouldn't.

This is not the first time I've felt a lot of hype for another MMO, Age of Conan being the most recent, but it is definitely the most prolific. I honestly hope that this isn't the beginning of the end of my WoW career, but I am feeling different than I ever have before when taking a "break" from WoW. However, until I physically get my hands on WAR, I won't make any huge judgments, good or bad - so don't expect any absolute WoW > WAR or WAR >WoW posts for a while. :p

-Matt Graham

Blogcraft Asks: What do you wanna hear in a WoW podcast? - 6.10.2008

"Blogcraft Asks" is a new feature here on Blogcraft in which I ask the readers a question that they may comment about on this post. Before we get into the question, I would also like a special picture for this feature to put on the blog; So, if you are talented at making cool graphics and want to help out Blogcraft, send a "Blogcraft Asks" graphic to . If there are more than one entry, I'll pick the graphic I like the most. Don't worry though! Even if your graphic is not selected, you will be credited for your contribution! Okay, so now on to the question!

What do you wanna hear when listening to a WoW podcast? (Specific features or segments, discussions, etc.?)

I look forward to your comments on this post!

P.S. - This question is very important, so I hope you get a chance to answer!

-Matt Graham

Kil'Jaeden, The Deceiver - 6.7.2008

The final boss of The Burning Crusade (probably) has been defeated. Rejoice young ones; go forth into the streets and make merry with vast quantities of mead. Or alternatively, read my article! Either is good.

I was looking for a single phrase I could use to sum up this fight, and indeed the whole Sunwell instance, and whilst I came across many excellent choices; I think I will have to settle upon 'Short and Sweet'. It has a fairly nice ring to it, for starters, but it also expresses my feelings about Sunwell, and Kil'Jaeden, rather nicely.

Allow me to explain; the 'Short' obviously refers to the small number of bosses within the Sunwell, only 6 encounters are actually available to raid. In comparison to the last raid instance of Vanilla WoW, Naxxramas, which had a lovely 15 encounters, this is somewhat annoying. Top guilds can potentially clear the place in a few hours; hardly a fitting end to a superb expansion. Which leads me to believe there is more in store for the TBC raider, regardless of what Blizzard suggests. Secondly, it is a somewhat opinionated description of the Kil'Jaeden fight itself - I won't go into specifics, but i was hoping for a +15 minute epic encounter the likes of which raiders had never seen. Whilst there's no denying the encounter itself is very challenging, it can easily be done in under 11 minutes. I'm sure that sounds fairly long for many of you, but personally, I was hoping for something a bit more strenuous.

'Sweet' of course can be used to describe all the encounters within the Sunwell. All of them are particularly demanding for what they require from the raid group; unlike say, Shade of Akama in Black Temple, which you can pretty much AFK on these days. This demand for skilled play from the whole group is definitely what raiders have been looking for, and a special mention must go to M'uru and Kil'Jaeden, both very difficult boss fights. Kil'Jaeden specifically requires that special combination of spatial awareness and skill that separates the truly exceptional player from the good one. And for that I am glad; it is a testament to each guild that has downed him thus far.

Speaking of, the 'Epic Battle' between Nihilum and SK-Gaming was brought to a close on the 25th of May, with SK-Gaming clinching the world 1st with ease. A well deserved kill, SK has been following in the shadow of Nihilum (back when they were Curse/MyM) for a long while now, and it's refreshing to see them take pole position for once. Nihilum is still a force to be reckoned with of course, taking the world 3rd, after Method.

Will direct your attention to WoWProgress again for the most accurate Sunwell leading guild list, and also this nifty new feature - Detective, which basically tracks server transfers to and from your server. No more hiding behind another name!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to Blogcraft. I've decided to stop writing as I'm not planning to be raiding in the next expansion, and therefore wouldn't have much to write about! Would like to say thank you to Matt for letting me blog with him, and I hope Blogcraft lives on for many years to come. Best wishes to all readers, Joe.

-Joe Zara [Phoee]

Goodbye and Thanks, Joe - 6.6.2008

Joe Zara (Phoee) will be making his final post on Blogcraft tomorrow. The high end raider has decided that he has played enough of WoW - and he doesn't plan to return with WotLK. For him, it's time to leave Azeroth, but his legacy is not leaving with him. Joe is one of the more successful WoW players I've have contact with in my life - he's a raider in the world top 10 guild, Inner Sanctum. So, if you gunna go out, I guess it is the best time to do so. :p

I'd like to thank Joe for everything he's done for Blogcraft. He's been with the blog since last November and has put out 11 quality posts pertaining to the "hardcore" side of WoW. He brought a whole other dimension to the blog, and I can't thank him enough for that.

Good luck in your future endeavors, Joe!

P.S. - I know that you didn't really want me making a "goodbye post", but I just had to. >.<

-Matt Graham

Blogcraft Asks: What are the top five things you love most about WoW? - 6.5.2008

"Blogcraft Asks" is a new feature here on Blogcraft in which I ask the readers a question that they may comment about on this post. Before we get into the question, I would also like a special picture for this feature to put on the blog; So, if you are talented at making cool graphics and want to help out Blogcraft, send a "Blogcraft Asks" graphic to . If there are more than one entry, I'll pick the graphic I like the most. Don't worry though! Even if your graphic is not selected, you will be credited for your contribution! Okay, so now on to the question!

What are the top five things that you love most about World of Warcraft?

Here is my personal list:
1. Lore
2. Environments (Zones)
3. World PvP With Friends
4. Leveling Alts
5. Reaching Max Level

I look forward to your comments on this post!

-Matt Graham

Burnout - 6.5.2008

No, this post is not about a crazy, arcade-style racing game - although it could be.

I'm currently suffering from burnout in WoW. It's as simple as that. I haven't played WoW since maybe a week and a half before my recent vacation. The WoW posting isn't going to stop - I just simply won't be logging on for a while.

I'm going to take this time away from WoW to take care of some things in the real world, as well as casually game on my Xbox 360. Yesterday, I downloaded Fable from the Xbox Live Marketplace in the "Xbox Originals" section. I had never played Fable before, but I always wanted to. So, now I'll casually work my way through that, and when I finish, I hope to buy Pyschonauts through the same system - another game I have never played, but always wanted to.

So, that, and posting here on Blogcraft, is what I'll probably be doing for a little while. Hopefully WoW will feel very fresh and new when I get back to playing it in the future.

-Matt Graham

I'm Baaack - 6.4.2008

While I had a great trip, I'm happy to be back home. There truly is no place quite like home. Also, I'm no longer sick. So, everything is pretty great right now. =D

Expect some new posts coming soon!

-Matt Graham