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Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty release date announced

The hotly anticipated RTS game, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty has been slated for release on July 27, 2010.

If you haven’t already pre-ordered the game, you can do so on Amazon and recieve a free beta key!
The Collector’s edition also includes, but is not limited to, the game’s soundtrack and a 2GB USB thumb drive that contains the original Starcraft and the expansion pack Brood War. This intrepid RTS fan will be getting the collectors’ edition. Pre-order either version via the links below!

Standard Collectors’ Edition

[via Kotaku]

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$20 Game of the Week: Warcraft 3 Battle Chest (PC)

warcraft3Little known fact for all you World of Warcraft players: before it was the massively multiplayer online hit that it is now, Warcraft was a real time strategy series that, while it may not have been the cultural icon that its online cousin is, it was just as critically acclaimed. In fact, Warcraft 2 (along with Command and Conquer) are credited for establishing many of the 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) concepts prevalent in most RTS games, and many of the events in WOW are based on Warcraft 3, which is collected in this box. Like the Starcraft Battle Chest, the Warcraft Battle Chest contains Warcraft 3, its expansion, strategy guides and manuals for both games, and a 2 week trial for WOW. If you played Starcraft, then you should feel right at home, as many game mechanics here are similar.
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Powet Alphabet: D is for Diablo

Since the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

diablo-movieCreated in 1994 for the PC, Diablo was meant to be a compliment to Blizzard’s popular Warcraft series, which had come out a few years prior and was deemed a success. Diablo, meant to be much darker and more gothic than Warcraft, also had a much different change in gameplay. Instead of the strategy of starting off on one side or the other and amassing a huge amount of warriors and weaponry to bash your enemies with, Diablo took to the Dungeon Crawler type of gameplay that was popular with games like DOOM, and added an RPG-type of flare to it like Final Fantasy.

The world of Diablo is deeply rooted in the heaven vs. hell archetype of story telling. Diablo, Lord of Terror, is one of the 3 Prime Evils, which are the highest level of demon in existence, and he and his brothers are in a huge war against the forces of light in a bid to destroy them and take everything over. Humans are the middle ground and both sides try to win them over through either benevolence or violence. Some powerful human mages on the side of good and backed by heavenly forces were able to capture the Prime Evils after they’d been defeated and banished to Sanctuary (aka: pseudo-Earth) and seal them in powerful Soulstones in order to bind them forever. (Apparently high-level demons can’t have their souls destroyed easily and can always resurrect if given the chance) With the souls of the Prime Evils locked away, the Soulstones were scattered and hidden away, with Diablo’s being buried in a catacomb beneath a church that later became the central point for the town of Tristrim. However after a few centuries the Soulstone weakened and Diablo was able to exert influence over the people of Tristrim, which led to massive slaughter and the kidnapping of the King’s son. So begins the game of Diablo.
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Powetcast Episode 8.5: Mermans in SPACE

powetcast Sometimes we get to be so awesome that we run over time. Since we’re committed to making these podcasts shorter and more cohesive, sometimes things just fall by the wayside. Sometimes those things are so awesome that we still want you to hear them, hence “Mermans in SPACE.”

So here are some extra bits from last episode to tide you over until episode 9 tomorrow!

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Show notes after the jump!
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Starcraft 2: Battle Report 1

IGN has posted a full 21 minute video of gameplay in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. The battle features Terran vs. Protoss and gives a decent look at some of the new units and abilities.

You can see that video here.

One of the abilities I was intrigued by was that a newly built command center was able to carry 4 SCVs with it to immediately start mining at the expansion base. Another new feature shown was not only the ability to traverse terrain at different levels with certain units, but also that some parts of the terrain could be interacted with, in this case a pile of boulders blocking/protecting the entrance to an expansion site. They were also pretty quick to point out that this is still an alpha version and you can probably bet on a somewhat lengthy beta version to work out all the bugs. That being said, things are looking very good so far.

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Diablo III Site Launched

Fans of Blizzard’s Diablo series may now rejoice. After 8 years of anticipation since Diablo II’s release and wondrous results, the big boys at Blizzard finally broke the long silence about another sequel to the dark fantasy MMORPG – Diablo III.

Diablo first came out in 1997 for the PC, and after a fairly positive reception, Diablo 2 followed a few years after with resounding fan approval. It featured elements that would later be seen in Blizzard’s money-making giant, World of Warcraft. After the success for the first two games, word of a third Diablo game remained strictly amongst fans, as Blizzard seemed to keep a tight lip as to even remote possibilities of a game ever being produced, and truly the idea was overshadowed once World of Warcraft came out. However, with announcements last year of Starcraft finally getting a true sequel, whispers once again started to stir of Diablo’s resurrection. Thankfully, fruit has been borne of those desires.

The launched site features a surprising amount of eye-candy in terms of media and visual accounts of actual gameplay. Two classes have been released thus far on the site: the return of the Barbarian-class from Diablo 2, as well as a Witch Doctor-class that no doubt will be replacing the Necromancer from the previous game. New and old monster classes have been released in small doses as well, and no doubt additional character and monster classes will be revealed as time goes on.

Check out the site here – Official Diablo III Site

No announcements on a projected release date for the game have been given, though speculation suggests that it will be either before or after Starcraft 2, to give the respective giants their space.

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Blizzard Announces New MMO Not with WoW

Blizzard LogoNot too long ago, it was revealed that Blizzard (now formally known as Activision Blizzard) had another MMO game in the works for the near future. With Starcraft II still being months if not years away from completion and release, it would be hard not to assume the highly likely chance of the game being associated with or a size-story of Blizzard’s crowning achievement, World of Warcraft.

Turns out that those assumptions would be wrong. Blizzard has recently announced that the new MMO will be it’s own separate game, and not linked to WoW or any of the other games produced in the past by the company. While this very well might not be the Diablo III that many of Blizzard’s loyal fans have been wishing for, it seems as though the PC gaming giant may be trying to spice up it’s MMO’s with something new.

At the very least, it could be the respite that people who don’t wish to shell out gobs of money a month have been waiting for. That, and it would be a welcomed fix for those twitchy individuals anxiously awaiting for more development to be released about Starcraft II.

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$20 Game of the Week: Starcraft Battle Chest (PC, MAC)

As featured on our game night two weeks ago!

starcraft.jpgProbably the second highest selling PC game ever, (The Sims being the first) it’s also one of the best real time stretegy games ever made. Player scan battle through an intensive single player campaign with three different factions (each with their own different abilities), play free online games on Blizzard’s, or even create their own levels in the Campaign editor. This game is especially popular in South Korea, where players compete in televised gaming leagues! Even though this series has only 1 game and an expansion pack, (and a canceled third person spin-off) it rivals the entire Command and Conquer series in RTS action. With this special box set, you get Starcraft, it’s Expansion (Brood War), two strategy guides, a skill development chart, and even a free 14 day trial to Blizzard’s other big game, World of Warcraft.

So what makes Starcraft so special? For one, it’s gameplay is different. Instead of simply building units and hoping to overrun your opponent by creating as many as possible, players have to take into account the abilities and limitations of the units that are produced by their race. For instance, the Terran units each have advantages and disadvantages against different units, so creating a mix of different units is a key to a good offense. The Zerg however, are weak alone, but are cheap enough to be produced in massive quantities. Resource management is also a key factor, as you constantly need units to gather gas and minerals, while keeping an eye on their depletion levels. Between levels, a sci-fi plot complete with cinematics will keep you on the edge of your seat. With Starcraft 2 having just been announced, now is a good time to check out the original. Oh yeah, this game was also ported to the Nintendo 64 in 2000.

System Requirements:
Operating System: Windows 95 or later (including Vista)/Mas OS 7.6 or higher Power PC
Processor: Pentium 90, equivalent, or greater
RAM: 16 MB (32 MB RAM for multiplayer on MAC)
Storage: 100 MB Hard Disk space/80 MB for Mac
At least 2x CD ROM drive (4x for cinematics)
Video Card: Local Bus SVGA, Direct X compatible
Sound Card: DirextX compatible soundcard for audio


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