Prepare…. The Reckoning Is At Hand.

By Angie Quidim

Tonight at midnight, millions of Blizzard fans will be lining up to pick up their copies of  World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  This long awaited expansion tears the world of Azeroth a new one and makes everyone start over (that includes new mods and quests).  Blizzard has been hyping their redo of the Eastern Kingdom and Kalimdor since the release of Wrath of the Lich King.  Players are constantly coming and going and the main complaint was, “there is nothing new…. same old starting areas, same old characters, same old combinations.”

Blizzard’s heavy hand of destruction is Deathwing.  A huge mother*$&!(*% dragon that you probably see now on your login screen when you start the game.  For the Horde you get the pleasure of him perching atop Stormwind.  The Ancients (the elements) are at unrest and the world really has been torn up. In other situations you will see things that may surprise you.  The passage of time has really taken place.  You just don’t see the same old fishing pond near the Undercity.  New races include the Goblins for the Horde and the Worgen for the Alliance.  New towns have been set up for each; New Gilneas (past the Greymane wall) and the Goblin Slums in new Orgmimmar.  That means new mounts, new quests and a whole new lot of combinations.  The collector’s edition of  Cataclysm is pictured below with a ton of goodies (alot similar to the extras that came with WOTLK).

The land of Azeroth will open up to players young and old with flying mounts and new terrains.  There are numerious more flight paths and the grinding for levels isn’t as bad as it was.  The game has made a change to accomodate new players and getting high level gear is only a couple of dungeons away.  Justice Points will allow  Jolly Joe the Paladin access to Item levels 230 and above. 

Blizzard has also forseen from previous expansion releases that the servers will be flooded with anxious gamers.  Patches have been slowly released so that the impace and installation time on game release day won’t be as horrible.  I would recommend picking up your game and waiting a day or two to let the populations settle down.  Usually release night tends to be ridiculous and the queue times to get into servers are just insane.

Here is the intro to the game:

So saddle up and get ready for some intense MMORPG!

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WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: CATACLYSM™ COLLECTOR’S EDITION ANNOUNCED

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans for a limited-release Collector’s Edition of World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm, the third expansion for the world’s most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game,* World of Warcraft. The special Collector’s Edition package, which will only be available at retail stores, will include the following exclusive bonus items in addition to the game disc:

CATACLYSM EXCLUSIVE BEHIND-THE-SCENES DVD:

• Over an hour of developer interviews and commentaries, discussing the game’s development from early design through finished gameplay.
• The Cataclysm intro cinematic and major content patch trailers complete with Director’s Commentary.
• A special Warcraft retrospective examining the rich gaming history of the Warcraft universe.

COLLECTOR’S EDITION SOUNDTRACK:

• Seventeen epic tracks from Cataclysm.

THE ART OF CATACLYSM:

• 176 pages of art, featuring never-before-seen images from the archives of the Blizzard Film Department and the World of Warcraft development team.
• Progressive visuals from every stage of development – from early concepts through to finished, detailed art.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT®: CATACLYSM™ PC/MAC GAME:

• The full World of Warcraft expansion set on CD-ROM and DVD-ROM.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT TRADING CARD GAME STARTER PACKS AND EXCLUSIVE CARDS:

• One 60-card deck from the new Wrathgate series featuring two extended art cards and visuals from several of fantasy’s top creators.
• Two exclusive hero cards, marking the first appearance of goblin and worgen heroes in the WOW:TCG.
• One full-sized rule book to teach you how to play.

EXCLUSIVE IN-GAME PET:

• He may not be a breaker of worlds… at least not yet… but Lil’ Deathwing will still aid you in your titanic struggle to save Azeroth from his much, much larger counterpart.

CATACLYSM MOUSEPAD:

• A special-edition mouse pad depicting Deathwing menacing the ravaged continents of Azeroth.
  

The first two World of Warcraft expansions, The Burning Crusade® and Wrath of the Lich King®, each shattered PC game sales records upon their release. In Cataclysm, the face of Azeroth will be forever altered by the return of the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing. Players will explore once-familiar areas of the world that have now been reshaped by the devastation and filled with new adventures. In an effort to survive the planet-shattering cataclysm, two new playable races — worgen and goblins — will join the struggle between the Alliance and the Horde. As players journey to the new level cap of 85, they’ll discover newly revealed locations, acquire new levels of power, and come face to face with Deathwing in a battle to determine the fate of the world.

The beta test for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm is currently underway. To set up a Battle.net account and sign up for a chance to participate, please visit the official Battle.net website at http://www.battle.net.

The World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Collector’s Edition will be available on DVD-ROM for Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 and Macintosh® at a suggested retail price of $79.99. The release date and other details for the game will be announced in the months ahead

Star Craft 2: Ultimate Experience

Having gotten my copy of the Star Craft 2 Ultimate Wings of Liberty Experience, I immediately opened it up and tried to install the game…

Sadly, the game itself actually knows what time it is and promptly alerted me that I have to wait until midnight tonight to be able to install it… and as such I’ll start my review taking one step back… to the Ultimate Edition itself.

Collectors Edition Box

Quite a nice box it is, as you can see by the pictures of the box that I quickly put it back together.  As a quick run down here is what is contained within:

Open box

  1. DVD install disk
  2. Behind the scenes DVD with developer interviews, all 13 minutes of pre-rendered cinematic, and 32 minutes of in game “story mode” movies (with director commentary).  *NOTE* if you are interested in playing the story without spoilers, do not watch this first
  3. Soundtrack
  4. Starcraft comic Issue 10
  5. Art book (176 pages)
  6. Jim Raynor “dog Tag” USB Drive
  7. World of Warcraft cosmetic pet (Baby Thor)
  8. Battle.net downloadable exclusives

contents

I’ll go over each one in turn and we’ll see if this box is worth the 100$ price tag.

First off is the game itself, which retails itself for the standard 60$.  With this in mind we can move on to the other 40$ of potential content.

Behind the Scenes DVD: This item is a hit or miss type of deal.  I know some people who love this sort of thing.  Getting designers insight to the game, and watching all the wonderfully rendered cinematic over and over and over again.  (You know who you are)  Then there are those who would toss the extra disk aside never to be pulled from the shrink wrap as they can’t wait to play the game.  Personally, I have the DVD playing while I write this part of the review, but only because I can’t install the game itself for another 11 hours.  Don’t get me wrong, the movies are every bit the visual orgasm that you expect it to be, and Blizzard can officially give Square Enix solid competition for CGI.  With that said, if not for this 11 hour gap I have no need for this extra piece.  If it was at the register counter for an extra 2$ I would pick it up, so that is what I’m going to place its value at.

Soundtrack: Here is another extra of questionable value.  Once again, the quality here is high.  However, I doubt that I will ever be driving in my car, and feel the need to listen to the sounds of battle.  I’m not sure I would even pay 1$ for this one.  But, as I suppose it has to have some value for nerd sake to have this on your shelf… 1$ it is.

Comic: Issue 10?  Really?  I doubt I would read it if I had the first issue, but I definitely don’t have a need for a comic book 10 issues in, it doesn’t even have nerd value unless you have the first 9.  No value here.

Art of Starcraft:  Now this is worth something, hard cover, nice jacket, and 176 pages of art (with almost no pages wasted on text).  Even if you don’t collect art books, the fact that you are thinking about buying the Ultimate Experience box means you are probably a Star Craft fan.  All in all, this little piece might make the entire thing worth the price.  But since I started this review I’ll give it a price tag of 25$.  To some it may seem like a lot, but that’s what art books cost, and this one is a pretty good one.

art of starcraft

Dog Tag USB Drive: 2GB – Not a bad size.  Design – Pretty good.  And if you are a Star Craft nerd it comes with a nice surprise.  Star Craft and Brood War expansion set are preloaded on the drive.  The game may be old, but I’ll slap a 10$ price tag on this just for nostalgia and a useful 2GB usb drive.

usb  drive

In game Baby Thor for World of Warcraft: While WoW might be the most played MMO, if you are about to get serious into SC2, then I suspect you won’t have much time to log on.  Still, there will be a few thousand players who are bound to be willing to trade off quite the few Epic level items to get this.  I would say it’s worth at least a few thousand gold worth of items in game.

Exclusive Battle.net content: ah, now here is something worthwhile for SC2 players.  Army icons, Avatar portraits, exclusive version of the in-game Thor unit.  Nothing that unbalances the game, but all things to let other players know that you picked up the Ultimate edition and they didn’t.  Now all that’s left is to Zergling rush them into oblivion.

All in all, it looks like there is 41$, an epic ring or two, and on and offline nerd cred.  To be honest, as far as Ultimate/Special editions of games go, this one really is quite good.  I would personally recommend picking up the Ultimate Experience pack.  So with that said, I’ll see you all online tonight.  Hope you like my special edition Avatar as my exclusive skins for the Thor units shoot you dead.

Chris Hori