Bring on Blizzcon

Shh!! Do you hear that? It’s the fearsome sound of 20,000 rabid MMO fans converging on Texas! Don’t worry, I’ll get to Blizzcon but first lets talk about that other games convention that took place this week.

Gamescom has come and gone, and by all accounts was a major success. As has been rumored  for about a year now, Sony did in fact launch a lighter, slimmer, cheaper PS3. New snack sized “app store” style games are indeed headed the PSP’s way, fifteen of them by on October 1st and a further thirty five by years end. What, you don’t believe that Sony actually finally unveiled the mythical PS3 Slim? Fine, here’s some proof, watch this unboxing video, now keep telling yourself you don’t need one right now.

On the 360 front, Lionhead Studios and Mr. Molyneaux were also kind enough to do more than just hint at Fable III,  he also promised us it’s gonna be absolutely awesome, oh, and if you’re a huge Mass Effect fan like me, you’re going to want to see this.

If you’re into Nintendo (and who isn’t these days), I told you not to hold your breath, and it seems I was right, the big N didn’t make much of a splash at Gamescom. Don’t worry though, I got a little sumn’ sumn’ for ya in the dessert section of this article :)

Across the MMO-verse there’s been a glut of information released over the past week.  Age of Conan (or AoC if you’re hip and with it) has had its first full expansion revealed in some detail. Rise of the Godslayer will take the skull crunching, combo queuing mayhem to the Far East and venture into the lands of the troubled  Empire of Kithai. It’s odd however, that Rise of the Godslayer will introduce only a single new class; the Kithan. Perhaps Blizzard’s approach to introducing WoW races two at a time (Wrath of the Lich King excluded) has spoiled us. Still, it’s early days yet for AoC and in MMO terms it’s still very much a baby.

Godslayer (which totally sounds like the name of a German death metal group) is promising oodles of new high level content for group and solo questing, no doubt in an attempt to appease disgruntled early fans of what I hereby christen “Classic AoC”, yes, original I know. New areas include the idyllic Chosain Province, the desert of Kara Korum, the jungles of Paikang and much more. So you want to see actual gameplay? Look no further. Never say I’m not good to you.

Now it’s been a while since I read up on my Howard, but I’ll bet my bottom Kinah there’s some nasty God that needs slaying, possibly a large serpentine one holding a scantily clad lass hostage.

Speaking of Kinah, Did you know Aion: Tower of Eternity has gone gold? Well it has. As a matter of fact we had a little tea party here at EpicToon HQ just to celebrate, unfortunately the EpicToon Intern brought diet instead of regular – bleh!

Ahem, anyway, has this really neat little look at one of Aion’s primary Realm vs. Realm zones called The Abyss. Do yourself a favor, have a look-see and be reminded just how darn purdy Aion is.

Meanwhile, Kotaku has been kind enough to do a well written piece detailing some of the major changes to Aion over the past year or so. Changes including extensive localisation work, new character presets, revamped graphics, a new tutorial system, and brand new instances among others. All in all they sound pretty impressed, now just cross your fingers and hope NCSoft don’t pull a Conan… ooooh! Low blow, I know, I know.

Also at Kotaku, you’ll find some smart soul was good enough to take some pics from Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic booth at Gamescom. Still, apart from the announcement of the Sith as a playable race TOR seems to have had a surprisingly low key week.

If you were wondering just how similar or different Final Fantasy XIV is shaping up to be from FFIX, you’ll be able to get a bit of an idea by having a look at these two gorgeous videos of the game in action. Personally I’m glad it looks like they’re moving away from FFIX’s somewhat clunky combat system. It doesn’t look too radically different though, currency is still called gil, and you can bet there’s at least one character named Sid (or Cid) running around somewhere.

Meanwhile, The Guild have seen it fit to grace us with their latest piece of ungodly genius, this time it’s an eminently hummable tune called “Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?” I should warn you though, it’s likely to get stuck in your head all day long.

Random thought number one: How much WoW gold do you think it would cost to buy a Luck Dragon? Do you think if I had Falkor between the sticks Felicia Day would want to date me? * shakes head vigorously * I digress.

So here we are, Blizzcon 2010 is finally upon us. Unfortunately, you’re stuck at home, unable to afford the plane ticket or make the time to head on over to Anaheim for the show. Fear not, Blizzard’s got your back… for a price. If you don’t have DirectTV (LOL, pauper!), you can head on over to this Blizzard page, fork over forty bones and sit back, relax and take the whole thing in, in gloriously choppy steaming interweb video. Ain’t technology grand?

But what can we expect from Blizzcon this year? Blizzard’s pretty good at keeping secrets, and everyone here at EpicToon HQ has got their fingers crossed hoping for some bombshells. In my earlier post I daydreamed a bit about the unveiling of their next big MMO but that’s unlikely to happen. I doubt Blizzard’s going to want to take the focus off the WoW: Cataclysm expansion, still, who knows for sure right?

On that subject, while we’ve covered most of what Cataclysm is likely to offer, the fine folks at GameTrailers (purveyors of fine er, game… trailers) have put together a video highlighting some of the features they’d like to see introduced in the next expansion, it’s another one of those amazing GT productions and well worth a minute or twelve,  if you can spare ‘em.

Anyway, bottom line is that no matter what Blizzcon brings, the cool thing is that you can be sure to be blown away.

Rounding out the WoW news, Blizzard’s put up a preview of the latest issue of the World of Warcraft comic, issue 22. Have a look.

Random thought number two: Why am I not playing Diablo III like these lucky basterds are?

And because I can’t mention one without the other, I expect you’ll want to have a gander at this StarCraft II clip, wherein we get to see lead writer Andy Chambers attempt to avoid the somewhat overzealous advances of an enthusiastic black microphone. By the way, does it please anyone else to no end how old school and utterly “hardcore StarCraft” that HUD looks?

Oh yeah, has anyone out there tried that Mobile Armory app for iPhone? Is it actually any good?

See ya Tuesday folks!


Free download of Legend of The Princess, a wonderful homage to Nintendo’s emerald clad lad.

-by Chris Coker

Photo by Stephen Matta / CC BY 2.0