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Tickets for Blizzard’s upcoming major event, the 2008 Worldwide Invitational, are about to go on sale in two days. On the 20th of March – this Thursday, fans of Blizzard and their games will be able to purchase tickets to the event.

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What exactly is planned for the event?

The Worldwide Invitational is a two-day event bringing together the company and gamers in a convention atmosphere, featuring:

  • A chance to try World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II
  • Discussion panels with Blizzard developers
  • Artist and developer signings
  • Competitive and casual player tournaments
  • Costume, dance and other player contests with great prizes
  • Live musical performances
  • Merchandise; a silent auction; and much more…

In last year’s WWI in Korea, Blizzard used the opportunity to announce and exhibit StarCraft 2 for the first time. We’ve already speculated what this year’s event has in store for us. Since the Zerg race has already been announced, our other prediction will possibly come to be – the StarCraft 2 beta might be announced.

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Where and when will the event take place?

  • Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th of June 2008.
  • Hall 5 of the Porte de Versailles Exposition Center, Paris, France.

The price of one ticket is 70 € / £55, and it’s worth every penny:

In addition to invitational tournaments featuring top eSports competitors playing for a total of $100,000 in prizes, the Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational will also host casual tournaments for attendees, costume and dance contests, live musical performances, and more. All attendees will also receive a goody bag of Blizzard Entertainment items including a beta key for an upcoming Blizzard Entertainment game and an exclusive World of Warcraft in-game pet.

See you there!

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christie-golden.JPGOver the last five months, Blizzplanet has conducted two interviews with Christie Golden, author of the StarCraft trilogy of books that serves as the introduction to StarCraft 2.

Christie has a rich background – she’s worked on Star Trek: Voyager, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft and more. For Blizzard, she’s created the Warcraft: Lord of the Clans and World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde novels.

The interviews deal with the plot of the books and the way they relate to the story of the game.

Check out the first interview, about The Dark Templar Saga: First Born, here. The book was released in May 2007, alongside the announcement of StarCraft 2’s development.

Will we see protoss characters we have been previously introduced to, such as Raszagal, Zeratul, Adun, Tassadar and Artanis? Will there be terrans such as Raynor, General Edmund Duke, Arcturus Mengsk, Dan Liberty or other characters from previous novels or from the game? What role will they play?

 

Christie: Yes, you will see all kinds of familiar faces throughout the series. Since this is set after Brood War, though, no Duke I’m afraid. Don’t want to give too much away, but this is a very big and important series and many of the main players in the game will make appearances. Some of them have very significant roles indeed! It’s been very exciting to be able to use well-established characters in addition to creating my own. I hope the readers enjoy it!

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Read the second interview, about The Dark Templar Saga: Shadow Hunters, here. The book is slated to be released on the 27th of November, 10 days from today.

How will the trilogy fit with the single player storyline of Starcraft II?

 

Christie: It’s interesting—when I was first contracted for the trilogy, it was intended to be rather small scale. While of course computer games take years to develop, nothing had been made public at that time about StarCraft 2. I began work on the trilogy, then I shifted attention to RISE OF THE HORDE so it would be out in time for the WoW expansion of The Burning Crusade. When I got back to the trilogy after that little delay, the decision had been made to announce StarCraft 2 along about when the first book was due out. Suddenly my trilogy went from being a small scale storyline to something quite major, as a way to get readers excited for the game (like that would be hard—StarCraft players love their game with a passion!). It was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time. There are challenges that go along with that, because as the game is constantly changing as it develops, we all of course want the books to reflect that as much as they can. So I do a lot of rewriting, but hey—that’s part of the fun of being involved with something so cutting-edge! Unfortunately books have to get “set in stone” at a certain point, so often changes are being made to the game after the books have been turned in. But we all do everything we can to make it as close as possible within those constraints. So to answer your question, it’s my hope that it will be a very, very good fit indeed.

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If you want to know what the books are about without actually reading them, look no further than this Wikipedia synopsis.

… Jake finds a dying Protoss who transfers her mind into his brain beforing finally expiring. Jake eventually discovers the Protoss inside his mind was a female named Zamara, a Protoss Preserver that was in charge of housing the memories of both dead and alive Protoss. Zamara warped Jake’s brain to be able to house the memories of all the Protoss, essentially making him a preserver.

Driven by the living memories of a long-dead protoss mystic and hounded by the Queen of Blades’ ravenous Zerg, archaeologist Jake Ramsey embarks on a perilous journey to reach the fabled protoss homeworld of Aiur.

Seeking a vital piece of protoss technology, Jake finds that Aiur has been overrun by the Zerg. Descending into the shadowy labyrinths beneath the planet’s surface, he must find the sacred crystal before time runs out — for him…and the universe itself.

Yet, what Jake discovers beneath Aiur is a horror beyond his wildest nightmares — Ulrezaj — an archon comprising the seven most deadly and powerful dark templar in history….

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StarCraft Legacy has conducted an interview with Chris Metzen, Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President of Creative Development. They got to ask him many questions regarding StarCraft 2’s story and lore, to which he extensively replied.

Here are a few interesting highlights. The full interview is massive, so if you’re interested in reading it in its entirety, head over to SCLegacy.

So, what’s up with that Duran guy?

SC:L – Can you put more emphasis on this quote: “…her (Kerrigan) rebirth into the Zerg Swarm has sped up my progress…” (Duran, Dark Origins)? Why exactly?

 

Metzen – That would be telling… We’ll just have to wait and see what Duran’s motivations are and how Kerrigan’s true role within the Swarm ties into all this galactic-scale maneuvering.

Next up, Chris talks about Zetaras’ good friend – the new Protoss heroine in StarCraft 2, Executor Selendis.

SC:L – Please tell us more about the new Protoss Executor, Selendis: her history, her new role etc…

 

Metzen – Selendis – Protoss Templar Executor: Selendis was a student of Artanis. In the new hierarchy now ruling the Protoss she has been elected executor: overall leader of the combined Protoss military forces. At her command, many new weapons and robotic fighting machines have been developed to help preserve Protoss lives in battle, and she is eager to take the battle to the Zerg and reclaim Aiur. Selendis represents the best and brightest of what the Protoss can be–fiercely loyal to her race’s ideals, completely dedicated and focused beyond any mere human capacity.

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What ever happened to the Arbiters?

SC:L – Why did the Protoss abandon Arbiters during the time of StarCraft II and what ships do the Judicators now pilot (as Arbiters were “their” ships)?

 

Metzen – After judicators were eliminated from the Protoss power structure, the arbiters quickly fell into disuse. When the Protoss fled to Shakuras, the arbiters were lost along with Aiur.

The return of Tassadar?

SC:L – And last, for our own curiosity – you referred to Tassadar as a “twilight messiah” during the lore panel on BlizzCon – is there ever a chance of seeing his return in some form or another?

 

Metzen – What goes around comes around. You know our Blizzard heroes: they roll back from the brink of death more often than the original X-Men. Seriously, though – given what the Khala is, and some of the other upcoming themes we’ve devised – it’s probable that Tassadar’s spirit is out there somewhere. However, I wouldn’t count on his pulling a “Medivh” any time soon… (if ever).

The rest of the answers deal with other, more minor characters in the StarCraft lore and reveal some more of the history of the universe. This level of detail sets a precedent in the RTS world (with the exception of WarCraft, perhaps), which usually revolves around stale, historical stories or shallow, formulaic “Sci-Fi” settings. With StarCraft 2, Blizzard is taking the story to a new level.

We can’t help but feel the build up for the inevitable release of World of StarCraft.

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