Tag - Starcraft II

Razer StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm Peripherals Review

I try not to be biased towards a company when it comes to reviewing their products but it seems like Razer is one of those companies which takes great pride and love in their products that it can’t help but be contagious.  I was at one of their new distributors in town getting some work done on my PC when they brought out a NAGA gaming mouse to use as a display model. I must have restated my entire review of the Naga gaming mouse the staffers there and even game some possible suggestions on the best way to display it.  During CES, I got several hours of hands-on time to fall in love with their new Edge gaming PC/tablet. I also got to know some of the Razer staff and experience their love and awe of gaming first-hand.  Knowing I am a rabid StarCraft II fan, sometime after CES our Editor-in-Chief and Razer got together to gave me the opportunity to experience it at in the best possible way: with the complete StarCraft II: HOTS Peripheral System.

Each part of this system works great as an individual peripherals that improve your gaming experience as well as your gameplay. If you can get the whole set of these peripherals, you will find yourself fully immersed in the game so much so you will feel like you are in the commander’s cockpit. First, I’ll do a quick breakdown of the features of each peripheral then how the “APM system” works with video of yours truly getting his ass handed to him while improving his game.

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Official Features:

  •     Volume & Mic Control Buttons on the Headset
  •     APM-Lighting System
  •     10 preset EQ
  •     Detachable Microphone Boom
  •     Dimensions: 183mm(L) * 90mm(W) * 200mm(H)
  •     Inner Ear Cup Diameter: 60 mm / 2.36”
  •     Cable Length: 12.13 m / 7.0 ft
  •     Approximate Weight: 297 g / 0.65 lbs
  •     Frequency Response: 20 – 20,000 Hz
  •     Impedance: 32Ω at 1kHz
  •     Sensitivity (@1kHz, 1V/Pa): >102dB at 1 kHz
  •     Drivers: 50 mm, with neodymium magnets
  •     Frequency Response: 100 – 10,000 Hz
  •     Sensitivity (-42 dB ± 2dB @1kHz, 1V/Pa)
  •     Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >58 dB
  •     Pick-up pattern: Uni-directional

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Hands On:

The headset not only provided a great sound experience with sound isolation, comfortable padding all around, and a StarCraft designed feel, but the lighting on the side also helps block your peripheral vision to immerse you in the game.  This looks like it could have come right off the bridge of one of the battlecruiser Hyperion (all the peripherals do, for that matter).  The lighting not only helps with gameplay with a 48 color palette and 16 custom slots but it also allows you to make your own visual statement, even going as far as lighting each of the three sections differently.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to use regular speakers since getting them.

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Official Features:

  • Lightweight, Fingertip-Grip 5 Button Mouse
  • 5600 DPI Laser Sensor
  • Ultrapolling (1000Hz Polling / 1ms Response)
  • APM-Lighting System
  • Button Force Adjustment
  • Always-On Mode
  • Ultra-large Non-slip Buttons
  • 16-bit Ultra-wide Data Path
  • 200 Inches per Second and 50g of Acceleration
  • Zero-acoustic Ultraslick mouse feet
  • Gold-plated USB Connector
  • Braided 7 Foot USB Cable

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Hands-On:

This is quite possibly the most comfortable mouse I have ever used.  It took a little getting used because of the large right and left mouse buttons but, once I did, I felt I could relax my hand on my mouse much more than usual.  Tracking is spot on and smooth with no issues whatsoever.  Besides the standard buttons there are two thumb buttons all of which can be programmed to your specific needs per game.  Working with the APM system, they can even represent macros.  When you are playing a game where you are expected to do hundreds of actions per minute, the mouse had better be smooth working and extremely comfortable as one mistake could cost you the match.

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Official Features:

  • Full Keyboard Layout with integrated number pad keys
  • Reduced Desktop Footprint
  • APM-Lighting System
  • Laser-etched Keys
  • Optimized Key Travel & Spacing
  • Ultrapolling (1000Hz Polling / 1ms Response)
  • Braided 7 Foot USB Cable
  • Approximate Size : 400 mm / 15.75” (Length) x 182 mm / 7.16” (Width) x 32 mm / 1.26” (Height)

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Hands-On:

Of the three peripherals in the system, this is the one that took the most getting used to. Once I did, I found it difficult going back to a normal keyboard (we have three to five computers going in our household at any one time).  This keyboard is designed for pure efficiency – possibly redundant keys are removed from it, bringing its size down greatly.  This also makes the keyboard more compact for both travel and desk space but also for gameplay.  With less space required to cross the keyboard, the hands can hit the necessary keys faster – without compromising key size.  So, there are no individual arrow keys or delete button or keys that would normally be assigned their own space around the number pad – those are all gone.  They have all been assigned secondary functions on the number pad keys.  Most keyboards do this already, particularly laptops, but most have the separate keys as well.  Razer understood that when you have to make hundreds of moves a minute the less distance you have to cross the better your play.  It Actually kind of makes me wonder why more keyboards, particularly gaming ones, haven’t been designed this way.

Something else I liked, but also took a moment to get used to, was the texture of the keys. They all have a pleasant,  rubberized feel to them.  I have worked with A LOT of keyboards over the years and I think this might be the first one I felt like this.  I can see this being a long term and travel measure, as with smooth keys, the letters and numbers can wear off. If the key label printing is molded into the key itself, the longevity should improve.

All three of the pieces are designed to last with metal-looking shell designs and thick joints, though extremely comfortable they are made to be rugged and travel.  The keyboard is less than 16 inches across but comes in at almost two and a half pounds making its claim of “armored assault” feel quite believable.

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The APM System:

The StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm peripheral system is not just designed to let you enjoy a game, it actually interacts with StarCraft II to improve it. It does this through its own custom configuration that detects events in the game and signals the player in customizable ways.  For instance, maybe a player wants to speed up their gameplay to make sure they remain competitive.  The system can detect how many actions-per-minute (APMs) you are making and let you know if you are falling below or exceeding the limits you choose by changing the lighting configuration. If you are new, you may want to make sure you are between 50 to 100 APMs, if you want to be professional tournament competitive, this will help let you know it you are running between the 250-300 APMs necessary.

The Razer APM system doesn’t even come close to being done there.  You can also make it so that the system alerts you to when your base or units are under attack, building, training or upgrades are complete, resources are exhausted and many other options.  Some might argue that the game already gives you in-game alerts about all these things, so why would you need the headset’s notifications?  Because the headset, keyboard, and mouse gives you customized alerts using their lights.  So let’s say you are listening to music while you are playing and your base gets under attack or maybe you have the game sound down because you are using a team talking program.

The system, all three pieces, can be designed to flash red 5 times, for example, to let you know that your base is under attack or flash green twice when one of your units gets produced.  The lights are bright enough that you can see them flash next to in your peripheral vision and onto your computer and screen in unison – or individually to alert you to different events, each in a customizable way.  Also, it shows you your APMs by the color it turns when there are no alerts. These colors can be changed but default set if you have a blue light to you are going less than 50 moves per minute and if you get it going white you are breaking 350 APMs.

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So, as you play, you strive to get your system to change a different colors, thereby increasing your actions-per-minute and your game in general.  It even can be set to let you know when your ally’s base is under attack so that you have better situational awareness and can come to their aid.  All this makes it so that you can speed up your gameplay and improve your situational awareness dramatically.  I hope that APM configurations may come out in the future to interact with other games, I would love to be able to tell by the color of the lights how much DPS I am doing or flashes telling me the healer is taking damage.

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As promised here is some video of me trying to speed up my gameplay while taking in the system’s alerts.  I am purposely clicking hard so you can tell how often you have to click to up your game and I am purposely dropping my defenses so the attack alerts will pop up.  If you were watching the gameplay it isn’t pretty but I wanted to show the lighting.  This really doesn’t show you how amazing immersive it makes the game, but it does show how easily I can tune out the world.

This system is revolutionary and the practical applications once interfaces are developed are outstanding.  It is also amazingly immersive in just about any game but particularly StarCraft II.  With all the lighting matching and surrounding you it is easy to block out the outside world.  When playing SCII it also lights up everything around you in ever changing colors as if you are in a cockpit and the alerts are coming in to your command.  This makes me think that a first person mech game using this interface would be absolutely incredible as well, your screen being just a view out the cockpit window while all your peripherals are lighting up together.  The only way to get more immersive would be an actual cockpit.

StarCraft II Razer Messenger Bag Zerg Edition:

If you really want to complete your Razer StarCraft II set you need the messenger bag as well!  With the perfect size for a laptop or the StarCraft II: HOTS gear this warns other players they mess with you, they risk getting zerged.  Inside the fold is additional printing of a zerg base and a zergling on the innermost flap.

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Official Features:

  • Armored with a tear-resistant, weather-proof heavy duty 1680D ballistic nylon outer shell.
  • Water-resistant Ripstop nylon inner lining for added durability.
  • Single shoulder sling design for added mobility. Easy one-handed release chest clasp enables quick and convenient access.
  • Built in compartments for up to 15″ laptops, gaming peripherals and portable gaming devices.
  • Padded inner lining protects electronic devices and provides ample shock absorbency while on the road

Last Call:

The StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm peripheral system is the best and most unified system I have ever seen.  It not only improves the game it is designed for but improves and helps with the immersion and it makes you a better player! If used correctly, it could help make you a professional-grade player. There simply isn’t a better system combination on the market right now – especially for StarCraft II.  In fact, we at GamingShogun.com feel it deserves our Seal Of Excellence!
[easyreview title=”Razer StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm APM System Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”5″ ]

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SteelSeries Releases New StarCraft II Gear

steelseries-qck-starcraft-ii-hots-kerrigan-edition_retail-box-image

March 12, 2013 — You might be primed for the all-new action coming in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, but is your desktop ready to roll out? SteelSeries is pleased to announce asecond gaming mousepad design for Blizzard’s acclaimed RTS franchise. The high-quality cloth mousepad features the game’s protagonist, Sarah Kerrigan, in her newly regained human form. Featuring a brilliant color palette, a smooth-glide surface and a rubberized non-slip bottom, this new mousepad is an ideal addition to the desktop of any StarCraft II player. The SteelSeries QcK Heart of the Swarm Kerrigan Edition mousepad is available now on the SteelSeries web shop and at select online stores at a suggested retail price of $14.99 (€14.99) each. Visit www.steelseries.com/hots for more information and be sure to visit our Facebook page during ‘Heart of the Swarm Week’ beginning March 18 for daily contests and promotions!

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Launch Events Announced

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IRVINE, Calif.—Tune in or turn out and be absorbed into the hive mind at the global StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm launch party! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today shared its plans for the official Heart of the Swarm launch events taking place in the US, France, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico starting in the evening of March 11. At each of these events, Blizzard developers and key retail partners will host gamers from around the world who want to be among the first to join Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, in her quest to reunite the zerg Swarm.

In addition to the nine official launch events, thousands of stores worldwide will be open at midnight to welcome players and help roll out the next chapter in the epic saga of StarCraft II. (Check with local retailers for hours and availability.)

To kick things off and follow the celebration as it spreads across the planet, Blizzard will be cohosting a special 21-hour launch broadcast with noted eSports personality and commentator Sean “Day[9]” Plott, in conjunction with Twitch.tv, at http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. Starting at 3:00 a.m. PDT on March 11, the stream will give viewers around the world the opportunity to watch the Australia, South Korea, France, and US launch events live. Viewers will also be treated to additional exclusive content, including community-created videos and “King of the Beta” tournament matches between top pro gamers, hosted by Day[9], who’ll be transmitting from a bunker deep inside Blizzard’s Irvine HQ.

“The StarCraft community has been anticipating Heart of the Swarm for a long time,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “I believe you will find it was worth the wait. We’re looking forward to celebrating the release by hosting an awesome global launch party in two weeks and delivering our best StarCraft content to date.”

In the US, the official launch event will be hosted by Blizzard and retail partner GameStop at:

The Great Wheel Court of the Irvine Spectrum Mall
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA  92618

Local festivities will start at 9:00 p.m. PDT on March 11, and will feature special guest hosts from the StarCraft II and eSports community, including commentators Day[9] and Mike “Husky” Lamond. Live eSports show matches will be played by top pro gamers from the US and South Korea, and demonstrations will introduce the crowd to some of the powerful new features included in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. A series of epic prize giveaways will round out the celebration, and when the clock strikes midnight, gamers will be able to pick up their copies of the expansion as well as have them autographed by members of the StarCraft II development team.

Attendees at the official StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch events will have the opportunity to purchase the standard edition of the game (suggested retail price $39.99) as well as the retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition (suggested retail price $79.99), which contains the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:

  • Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft’s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.
  • Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of 11 tracks from the game.
  • Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.
  •  Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector’s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.
  • StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.
  • StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.
  • World of Warcraft® In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene.
  • Diablo® III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.

Heart of the Swarm picks up the story of StarCraft II where Wings of Liberty® left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.

New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm‘s multiplayer, including new units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities. New features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systemsunranked matchmakingGlobal Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat trackinguser interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral looking battles; multiplayer replays, to watch replays with friends; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.

Learn more about StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at http://www.StarCraft2.com, and for further details on the global launch events and the 21-hour broadcast, visit http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently open—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

† Limited to supplies on hand.

Blizzard to Release New Heart of the Swarm Trailer on Twitch

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Blizzard is planning to release a new trailer for their upcoming StarCraft II: Heard of the Swarm, during a  live, online event at Twitch. Checkout the info below for the aire date and time.

Official Release

Vengeance is coming! With StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm arriving in just a few short weeks, Blizzard Entertainment is looking forward to unveiling a new trailer — entitled “Vengeance” — during a special live online event on Tuesday, February 26 at 12 p.m. Pacific on Twitch. Here’s what you’ll see:

  • Discussion of Heart of the Swarm and the making of “Vengeance” with Blizzard developers
  • The world premiere of the “Vengeance” trailer for Heart of the Swarm
  • An exclusive Heart of the Swarm eSports showmatch casted by commentators John “TotalBiscuit” Bain and Shaun “dApollo” Clark.

Viewers can participate in the discussion segment by sending questions via Twitter using the hashtag #Vengeance. Tune in next week Tuesday at noon at www.twitch.tv/starcraft.

StarCraft II: Flashpoint Now in Stores

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that the new novel, StarCraft II: Flashpoint, is now in stores.

About StarCraft II: Flashpoint

The zerg have lost their queen. 

The tyrannical alien-human hybrid that held the Swarm together is gone, and her armies run wild — scattered and diminished. The terrans of the Koprulu sector can now move out from under the shadow of annihilation which has loomed overhead for so long. Only one question remains:  where is the Queen of Blades?

Jim Raynor, ex-Dominion marshal and rebel leader, knows the answer. A powerful Xel’Naga artifact has transformed the Queen of Blades back into her original human form: that of Sarah Kerrigan, a woman who is struggling to find some hope — and some humanity — in the shattered memories of her past. But with the Dominion forces of Arcturus Mengsk scouring the star systems for any trace of the deposed queen, Jim is going to need more than his wits, his fists, and his loyal Raiders to keep Sarah alive. 

Blizzard Announces StarCraft RISK and WoW Monopoly

CARLSBAD, Calif. (February 10, 2012) – USAOPOLY (under license by Hasbro, Inc.) announces a partnership with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. to release fresh takes on two classic board games. MONOPOLY®: World of Warcraft® and RISK®: StarCraft® combine tried-and-true foundations with new designs and gameplay elements inspired by Blizzard’s popular gaming universes. Those who dare to engage will discover a new chance to claim supremacy, both over their friends and over the battle-torn lands of Azeroth and the Koprulu Sector.

 

MONOPOLY®: World of Warcraft®

Descend into a world of myth, magic and legendary adventure to battle for control of World of Warcraft’s iconic locations. Featuring custom graphics from Blizzard Entertainment’s world-class artists and designers, the MONOPOLY game’s land grab includes coveted real estate such as Twilight Highlands, Grizzly Hills and the Swamp of Sorrows. In the rush to rule over the faction capitals of Orgrimmar and Stormwind, players will feverishly buy, sell and trade in true MONOPOLY fashion, until one player controls the lands and vanquishes all comers.

This handsomely crafted MONOPOLY game formally debuts at the 109th annual Toy Fair, this February 12th in New York City. World of Warcraft players, however, will be treated to a sneak peek via the World of Warcraft Facebook page and have the opportunity to vote on the game’s iconic tokens. Ten options, including Murky, Chen’s Keg, Mechagnome, and a Spellbook, will be presented; the six most popular tokens will be represented in the game when it launches this May.

Other notable highlights of the Monopoly game include custom sculpted houses (Warcraft towns) and hotels (Warcraft cities) plus a red and blue die representing the Horde and Alliance factions. There has never been a better time to engage face-to-face in World of Warcraft’s epic power struggle. The game retails for $39.95 and will be available in specialty stores across North America.

RISK®: StarCraft®

The forthcoming release of RISK®: StarCraft® should whet the appetites of StarCraft players who will once again find the StarCraft universe in jeopardy. Players will choose from the Terran, Protoss or Zerg factions and six unique heroes to ultimately bring order to the galaxy. The struggles portrayed in this real time strategy game series adapt perfectly to classic tabletop RISK gameplay, and the winner will be determined by astute deployment of military might and strategic field tactics.

RISK: StarCraft includes 3 play modes and sports over 290 custom playing pieces. More details about the game will be revealed as it moves toward release; it launches this summer and will be available in specialty stores throughout North America with a suggested retail price of $49.45.

Blizzard Announces Battle.net World Championship, Cancels BlizzCon 2012

Here is a letter we received the other day from the good people at Blizzard Entertainment PR, in which they tell of the upcoming 2012 Battle.net World Championship – enjoy! Although, we must warn you, they also announced that in lieu of this tournament they have canceled BlizzCon for 2012. 🙁

Hello,

Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, a major global eSports event featuring some of the best pro-gaming competition in the world. Slated to take place in Asia toward the end of 2012, the Battle.net World Championship will host this year’s StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship tournaments. Blizzard gamers and eSports fans from around the world will be invited to attend and witness some of the most skilled pro players on the planet battle it out for cash and glory.

We’re excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into players’ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, we’ve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.

More details about the 2012 Battle.net World Championship and BlizzCon 2013, including specific dates and locations, will be coming in the months ahead.

Blizzcon 2011 – Thoughts from the Show Floor

This past Friday and Saturday marked the sixth time that Blizzard invaded the Anaheim Convention Center with their very own show, aptly named Blizzcon.  I made it to the convention center just in time to grab a spot and check out the opening ceremony, which this year was filled with big news, surrounding four upcoming releases from Blizzard.  Let’s take each release in turn.

Diablo III

Diablo III was the lightest this year in terms of actual news.  The Collector’s Edition was introduced and looks very substantial.  Besides receiving Diablo III, you get a 4GB USB drive that contains Diablo II and its expansion, The Lord of Destruction, you also receive a very cool looking Diablo stone head to store your soul stone USB drive.  Also including is a 208 page art book, a two disk DVD/Blu Ray behind the scences look at the making of Diablo III, and the soundtrack for the game.  As for in game items, you will receive armor dye, and exclusive banner and Tyreal’s wings for Diablo III, Fetish Shaman pet for World of Warcraft and Starcraft II unit decals.

During the Diablo III portion of the opening ceremony, it was also announced that World of Warcraft players can get themselves a free copy of Diablo III by subscribing to the Wow Annual Pass.  For a one year commitment, you will receive a free copy of Diablo III, entry into the Mist of Pandaria beta and Tyreal’s Charger mount.

The build on the floor for Blizzcon was pretty much the same build we saw at last year’s show, with some fine tuning.  The game looks and plays amazingly well and I am truly excited to see the final product from Blizzard.

Starcraft II

This Blizzcon focused on the upcoming expansion to last year’s Wings of Liberty, named Heart of the Swarm.  As the name hints at, this expansion focuses on Kerrigan and the Zerg.  While there wasn’t any real news in regards to this expansion that we hadn’t already heard, Heart of the Swarm was playable on the show floor, both in multiplayer mode and single player campaign.  I was able to play through the first mission in the single player campaign, and have to say that I am very excited about this release as well.  The first mission pits you against feral Zerg for control of the planet, and the mission ran flawlessly.  This will be quite successful, when it is finally released.

Blizzard DOTA

Blizzard also released news on their very own Blizzard Defense of the Ancients game.  Featuring Blizzard characters from all of their intellectual properties, Blizzard DOTA doesn’t reinvent the game, but puts Blizzard’s own special touch to a tried and true game.  Blizzard DOTA was playable on the show floor, but unfortunately I was unable to get my hands on this game.  If you are a fan of DOTA or even League of Legends, this game will be a must have for you.

World of Warcraft

Blizzard, in dramatic fashion, saved their biggest news for last.  For months, many have speculated as to the next WOW expansion and what content would be involved.  Chris Metzen put all of that speculation to rest with his own brand of style during the opening ceremony, announcing Mists of Pandaria.  Yes, folks, we finally get Pandarens as a playable race, and I for one couldn’t be more excited about that.  Pandarans will be Warcraft’s first ever neutral race, meaning that once you reach level 10, then you will have the choice on which faction you will align yourself with.  Pandarens will be seen on both sides, in the Alliance and in the Horde.

We also get a new class, the Monk.  The monk will be a new DPS/Tank/Healing class that will be able to do it all, depending on how you specialize.  The monk focuses on the use of Chi, very similar to the use of energy for the rogue, to complete combinations of punches and kicks to defeat enemies.  The monk class feels right in regards to the Pandaren, but when you look at Warcraft classes as a whole, it feels a little unnecessary.  Time will tell on this as we get more information.

The first two features of the Mist of Pandaria expansion were greeted with great applause and cheers from the crowd, the rest, however, was met with a little more reservation.  With the expansion, we will receive a completely redone talent system, a new vanity pet battle system, level cap raised to 90, and challenge mode dungeons that will cater to smaller group sizes.  There will be no large boss battle in the Mist of Pandaria expansion, like there has been for the last three expansions.  Instead, Blizzard wanted to refocus on the main conflict of Warcraft, Horde versus Alliance.  This expansion will focus on all out war between the two factions.

One Last, Very Cool Thing

As many of you probably already know, Mega Blocks makes a full range of Halo figures and sets that are based off of the entire franchise.  Starting in 2012, Mega Blocks will now be releasing World of Warcraft sets and figures, than in 2013 they will begin releasing sets and figures based on the Starcraft series.

I was able to visit the Mega Blocks booth and view some of their planned releases for 2012, including both Orgrimmar and Stormwind, complete with Thrall and Varian Wrynn respectively.  In their preview display, there was two goblin zepplins shown, Deathwing flying over Stormwind, Horde and Alliance seige machines, and various character figuers and mounts, including the engineering mount.

I was told that there are also plans in development to create armor sets that will focus on the various tiers that are found throughout the game.  You will be able to change the armor on your characters to different armor sets as they become available, adding a whole level of creativity that isn’t found in the Halo series of figures.  I am already clearing sections of shelving off to make way for this series once it hits stores in 2012.