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Blizzard has just announced their plans to implement BattleTags into Battle.net, which seems to be another form of player-chosen nickname. Here is how Blizzard describes a BattleTag:

A BattleTag is a unified, player-chosen nickname that will identify you across all of Battle.net -- in Blizzard Entertainment games, on our official websites, and in our community forums. Similar to the Real ID system, BattleTags will ultimately give players on Battle.net a new way to manage public profiles, find and chat with friends they've met while playing, form groups, and stay connected across multiple Blizzard games.

 

The entire article is rather long, also having an FAQ section.

When will World of Warcraft and StarCraft II support BattleTags?
Our plan is for all current and future Blizzard games to support BattleTags eventually. However, we don’t have any announcements to make regarding when BattleTags will be integrated into World of Warcraft or StarCraft II at this time.

Will this affect my World of Warcraft or StarCraft II character names in any way?
Your World of Warcraft character names will continue to exist and work as they currently do. We’re still in the process of determining how we will handle StarCraft II character names once BattleTags are integrated into the game.

 

So basically, BattleTags sit between Real ID and Character Names, allowing people to keep in touch across Blizzard games without revealing personal information in the method of Real ID. We'll post more news about BattleTags as information is released, but in the meantime, you can create your BattleTag here.

Source:
Battle.net - Introducing BattleTags



On May 26th, 2011, StarCraft: Legacy staff was invited over to Blizzard HQ for the first-ever look at Heart of the Swarm. Within, we took in the sights of all the artwork and statues that Blizzard Entertainment prided itself with. Now, the pictures that were taken within Blizz HQ and the Blizzard Museum are all posted here, for everyone to admire.

Source:
StarCraft: Legacy - The Blizzard Museum



Today Activision-Blizzard's 2011 First Quarter Earnings Call was broadcast live over the web to investors and the press. During the call it was suggested by the presenters that it StarCraft II's second installment, Heart of the Swarm likely wouldn't be released until 2012. However, Mike Morhaime, Blizzard's President, did announce that portions of Heart of the Swarm will be shown to the worldwide press later this month.

Even more exciting for Blizzard gamers is the announcement by Morhaime that later this year - we might be playing Diablo III in a closed beta later this year.

"We began internal company-wide testing last week. The game looks great and we're currently targeting a Q3 launch for external beta testing."


However, Morhaime was quick to follow up that statement with a typical caveat - Blizzard would not compromise quality to hit a release window. As hardcore gamers, we can appreciate the sentiment.

If you're interested in seeing the slides or listening to a recording of the call, make sure to check out the source. Just beware of the investment bankers' questions as the end whose interest lied solely in the direction of subscriber numbers and the monetization of various gaming services and content.



Source:
Activision.com - Activision Blizzard First Quarter Calendar 2011 Results Conference Call"

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has announced an exhibition called The Art of Video Games. It is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies.

Around 240 games were on the ballot for selection but only 80 were selected. Blizzard Entertainment games on the winning list include: Diablo II, StarCraft and World of WarCraft. World of WarCraft is one of the five playable games that will be included in the exhibition.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is located in Washington, D.C in the United States and is known for its extensive art collection. This exhibition will be on 3rd floor North from March 16, 2012 to September 30, 2012.

Source:
Smithsonian American Art Museum - The Art of Video Games

As a part of Blizzard Entertainment's continuing celebration of its 20th anniversary, co-founders Frank Pearce and Mike Morhaime play a fun game of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty on the NASDAQ stock exchange's big screen in New York City, moments before ringing the closing bell on Monday, March 7th.


Blizzard Entertainment recently turned twenty years old and Blizzard has slowly been adding to its special anniversary mini-site. Today, Blizzard released a 48 minute video that looks back at the origins of current day Blizzard Entertainment. Full of old photos and interviews with influential Blizzard employees, the video offers a candidly rare look back at the history of the developer, their early years, and the project choices the ever-evolving team has made. As Blizzard looks forward, if you're interested, make sure you check out its past.


Sources:
Blizzard Entertainment: 20 Year Anniversary - Blizzard Retrospective
Kotaku.com - Blizzard Shuts Down NASDAQ

From its humble beginnings in 1991, and the twenty years leading up to present day, Blizzard Entertainment has kept growing and developing the games we all know and love. In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Blizzard has launched a new mini-site, found here, which currently only has a short video message but with more content to come.

In 1991, three guys fresh out of UCLA decided to start their own game company. Their goal: make cool games and have fun doing so. Twenty years later, the company has become a world-renowned game developer and publisher, with offices across the globe and millions of players enjoying its games in more than a dozen languages.

In 2011, Blizzard Entertainment marks its 20th anniversary. Over the course of the year, we'll be celebrating two decades worth of games along with you, the community of players who made it all possible through your passion, enthusiasm, and support. Join us for a stroll down memory lane on this anniversary site: revisit the history of our games; participate in our global community contest; check out the photo gallery to witness how our epic hairstyles have evolved over the years; and much, much more.

We hope you enjoy this look back at the past 20 years of Blizzard Entertainment, and we look forward to bringing you even more epic entertainment experiences in the 20 years to come.

 

Thank you Blizzard for giving us games and memories these past 20 years, ones that we will surely never forget.

Source:
Blizzard - Blizzard Entertainment: 20th Anniversary



Today Activision-Blizzard's Fourth Quarter Earnings Call was broadcast live over the web to investors and the press. Of special interest to Blizzard gamers ,Thomas Tippl, Activision's COO, stated that if no Blizzard games are released this year, we can expect them next year:


"Because Blizzard Entertainment has not yet confirmed the launch date for its next global release, our outlook at this time does not include a new game from Blizzard in 2011. Should we not release a major title from Blizzard this year, we would expect for planning purposes to launch a minimum of two Blizzard titles in 2012."


Presumably, those two titles would be Heart of the Swarm and the long-awaited Diablo 3. Blizzard president Mike Morhaime spoke on the call after Tippl and promised that more information was coming about both. Blizzard's developers, he said, are hard at work on Heart of the Swarm, and we'll hear more "in the coming months." Speaking of Diablo 3, Morhaime also said that he would discuss it "and the upcoming beta on the next call," which will be in around three months. However, despite Tippl's suggestion that two Blizzard titles will be released in 2012, Morhaime added a word of caution:

"Until we get to beta and have the community help us test the game, we're not going to lock in a release date."


Be sure to take all of this release date information with a grain of salt. Just because Activision-Blizzard plans on shipping two titles in 2012, doesn't mean it will actually happen. Blizzard runs on Blizzard time to ensure that it's titles are as polished as possible before shipping.

Source:
Activision.com - Activision-Blizzard Investor Relations

BlizzCon 2011


BlizzCon 2011, the sixth gaming convention hosted by Blizzard Entertainment, has been announced and will be held October 21-22, 2011.

IRVINE, California -- February 7, 2011 -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced plans for its sixth BlizzCon® gaming convention, to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2011. BlizzCon is a celebration of the global player communities surrounding Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® universes.


"We look forward to holding another exciting BlizzCon this year, filled with some great entertainment and competition, as well as the latest news about Blizzard games," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "BlizzCon is built from the ground up with our community in mind -- we're pleased to be able to host an event where players can come together to have fun and celebrate their passion for gaming."


Stay tuned for further information regarding the event. As usual, StarCraft: Legacy staff will be in attendance to bring you some of the highest quality and professional coverage live from the event floor!

Source:
Blizzard.com - BlizzCon 2011 Announced
BlizzCon.com

Gamasutra, the gaming site tailored towards the business and creative side of game design, recently posted an interview they conducted with Blizzard's Greg Canessa, Battle.net 2.0's Lead Designer regarding the Battle.net service, the challenges of building such an ambitious project, and where it could be heading in the future.


You believe it's really important [for the service team] to be integrated, working closely with the game design team. Did that you think that caused the delay in launch?

GC: Oh no.

But it certainly didn't help things, as far as the timeliness of the game?


GC: It was one of many factors. There were a lot of risk factors, a lot of complexity. There was a lot of engineering complexity. There was a lot of risk related to the WoW integration, risk related to being able to staff up a team, risk related to being able to deeply integrate -- certainly design and coordination with the game team. [Figuring out] what the meta-social Battle.net experience will be around StarCraft was a challenge for us. It was a contributor.

I wouldn't say it was a primary driver, but it definitely was kind of more of a cautionary note for everyone to realize that there's a lot of complexity there when you're working with two different teams and you're working on a unified experience that's supposed to be deeply integrated.

It's a very complex thing to do and to pull off really effectively. It's one implication of the deeply integrated approach, right. If it's a platform -- like Xbox Live, right? It's a platform, there's a dashboard, and then there are games that sit on top of it. Those two don't really interact with each other that much. There's the heads-up display where you can access your friends list and such, but that's kind of an overlay.

Bungie can do whatever they want underneath with Halo: Reach, and this is kind of an overlay. That's not the approach we took. Battle.net is not an overlay on top of a StarCraft experience that would be, "Those guys would own that. We would own this." No, it's a meeting of the minds.

If you're interested in the development of Blizzard's game service checkout the rest of the interview and watch for StarCraft: Legacy's BlizzCon wrap-up post coming soon!

Source:
Gamasutra - Building Battle.net


Today, Blizzard released the schedule of events and panel descriptions for this year's BlizzCon event.


Here are the descriptions for the StarCraft panels:

StarCraft II Art

Saturday 12pm, Developer Panel Stage
Get a look at the tools used to create the art of StarCraft II, and find out how our artists develop the unique visual identity of the StarCraft universe. You'll see a range of epic artwork created for the game in this panel.

StarCraft II Custom Maps and Editor

Friday 3pm, Main Stage
Dive in with the designers of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign and learn more about the creation of custom maps using the powerful StarCraft II Editor.

StarCraft II Multiplayer

Saturday 1:30pm, Developer Panel Stage
Interested in the science behind the thrill of competitive gameplay? The StarCraft II developers give you a behind-the-scenes look at data collected from multiplayer matches, leagues, and ladders, and explain how it all comes together in the art of balancing races and units.

StarCraft II Secrets of the Masters

Friday 1:30pm, Developer Panel Stage
Hear strategies and advice for players of all skill levels, find out how to move up the competitive ladder, and learn more about the nuances of resource management.

StarCraft II Story Q&A

Friday 4:30pm, Developer Panel Stage
Finished the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign and still have unanswered questions? Sit down with some of the storytellers who crafted the epic saga to learn more about the lore.

The story panel will hopefully wrap up many of the loose ends left by Wings of Liberty. In addition to these five panels, there will also be a StarCraft cinematics panel on Friday. The amount of time booked for StarCraft II matches is very impressive, with matches almost running nonstop throughout the event. Obviously there are many other Diablo III and World of Warcraft panels to choose from too.

It promises to be another awesomely busy weekend. The StarCraft Legacy crew will be on site and we'll be bringing you high quality articles, videos, and great web coverage of the entire event. What part are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments. BlizzCon 2010 takes place on Friday, October 23rd through Saturday, October 24, 2010.

Sources:
BlizzCon.com - 2010 Event Schedule
BlizzCon.com - 2010 Developer Panels

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