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Thursday, July 2, 2009

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Apple Games Features Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games' latest feature returns to the magical world of Harry Potter with a review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the latest game in the series based on the popular books and movies. Apple's article includes an overview of the game's action, commentary from executive producer Jonathan Bunney, a description of the main characters, and a run down of the various side tasks players will encounter.

Dueling has also returned for The Half-Blood Prince, and Bunney and I later take in a meeting where Harry and Ron battle with their wands for the right to represent Gryffindor’s dueling club. You can now move around while dueling, allowing you to dodge your opponent’s spells while launching some of your own. You won’t have much trouble defeating Ron, as Bunney and I observe, but more intense matches against members of other Hogwarts houses await. (You can also join the flying and potions clubs, letting you practice those skills any time.)

“We’ve rebuilt wizard dueling to make the controls tighter, more fun, and more powerful,” Bunney remarks. “We’re allowing players to see what it would be like to take part in a series of competitions that J.K. Rowling only briefly covers, but everything we do is approved by her, so we and our players know it’s real.”

As Harry and Ron run off in search of further adventures, Bunney and I take a seat in the large hall where the duel took place. Other Gryffindor students mill around, full of excited chatter about the dueling club, and the subject turns to Rowling’s participation in the game’s development. “We send her scripts very early on and get her feedback,” Bunney explains.

He continues: “It’s almost always positive — because we love the fiction — and always constructive. For example, she might recommend that we use a different character because a line or situation may be more fitting for them. And since the movie studio is only about an hour away from the game studio, we get amazing access to their work and regularly share our work with them.”
Read the full article at the link below.

Apple Games: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
Electronic Arts
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

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Warcraft III, Diablo II Patches Coming Soon
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Diablo community manager Bashiok recently offered an update on the status of the promised 1.13 patch for Diablo II. Work on the patch was unexpectedly delayed when the team had to shift focus quickly to resolve a harmul Warcraft III custom map exploit which could allow malware to be spread to users' computers. Now that the Warcraft III patch is in testing work on the Diablo II update will soon resume.

The Warcraft III patch is now on the Public Test Realm (PTR) and testing is progressing. Once that patch is released work can shift back to Diablo II and the 1.13 patch, and we'll be working to getting that patch up on its own PTR as soon as possible. This could be a matter of weeks. Once it's up and in a testing state for all of you, it's then going to be a matter of ensuring the features are good and it's a solid patch. The more people we have testing the patch and providing valid feedback, the better the patch will be, and hopefully the quicker it will be released. So that's my challenge to you. You've been waiting a long time, you want an awesome patch, you want a reset. To get all that, we need good solid testing and feedback, reproduction steps for bugs, detailed descriptions of issues or errors, etc. So once this goes live on the PTR, I expect some crazed-youruinedtheeconomy-testing.
For more information click over to the links below.

Diablo II Forums: Diablo Patch Update
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo II
WarCraft III
Buy Diablo II
Buy WarCraft III

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WoW: Faction Change Service In Development
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Blizzard Entertainment has announced work on a new faction change service for its popular MMO, World of Warcraft. When finished the service will allow Horde and Alliance players to switch sides on the same realm, transforming an existing character to an equivalent type on the opposing side.

We wanted to give everyone a very early heads-up that, in response to player requests, we’re developing a new service for World of Warcraft that will allow players to change their faction from Alliance to Horde or Horde to Alliance. There’s still much work to do and many details to iron out, but the basic idea is that players will be able to use the service to transform an existing character into a roughly equivalent character of the opposing faction on the same realm. Players who ended up creating and leveling up characters on the opposite factions from their friends have been asking for this type of functionality for some time, and we’re pleased to be getting closer to being able to deliver it.

As with all of the features and services we offer, we intend to incorporate the faction-change service in a way that won’t disrupt the gameplay experience on the realms, and there will be some rules involved with when and how the service can be used. The number of variables involved increases the complexity of implementing this service, but we plan to take the time needed to ensure that it lives up to expectations before officially rolling it out. We’ll go into much more detail on all of this here at as development progresses. In the meantime, we wanted to let you know that because this type of functionality requires extensive internal testing well in advance of release, you may be seeing bits and pieces of the service in the test builds we use for the public test realms moving forward.
Learn more about the game at the pages linked below.

WoW Forums: Faction Change Service
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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Robert Clotworthy To Return As Voice Of Jim Raynor In SC II
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Robert Clotworthy has confirmed that he will be returning as the voice of Jim Raynor in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard Entertainment's next installment in the successful StarCraft RTS franchise. This is a change from Blizzard's original intention to hire another actor to voice the popular character. There is no word yet on whether or not the company might also reconsider its decision to drop Glynnis Talken as the voice of Kerrigan.

Joystiq recently interviewed Chris Sigaty about StarCraft II single player. This interview revealed that the former voice actor behind Jim Raynor had returned, despise their decision to change its direction with a fresh voice actor, one that met Chris Metzen’s original plan. For those who think to have read wrong, I contacted Robert Clotworthy, who I interviewed twice in the past two years. This is what he said this afternoon:

Robert: Yes, I can confirm that I’m working with Blizzard Entertainment to reprise my role as the voice of Jim Raynor in StarCraft II. I’m looking forward to the release of the game and I hope that StarCraft players will enjoy going into battle with Jim and following his adventures throughout the galaxy.
Head over to the Blizzplanet page below to read more.

Blizzplanet: Robert Clotworthy's Jim Raynor Returns To SC II
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Mac Games News for Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Foreign Legion: Buckets Of Blood Comes To Macs6:00 AM
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince Available This Week6:00 AM
IMG Reviews Coyote's Tale6:00 AM
Issue 15: Anniversary Released For City Of Heroes6:00 AM
Star Defender Arrives For OS X6:00 AM
WoW: Death Knight Q&A6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, July 1, 2009 on one page

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