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April Fools at Blizzard – 2014 April 1, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, Humor.
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The day is upon us, April Fools, where we must filter through the funny, the flat, the trite, and the just plain mean.

Blizzard has always spent some effort on this front, and usually has something interesting for us each year.  You can look at past reviews:

Last year we got mostly retreads of previous April Fools entries.  This year Blizzard has a few new items.

Draenei Female Model

First up is a news item about the character model updates.  The new models, announced at BlizzCon, have been the focus of front page posts before.  But today’s look at the female Dranei model turns the character into an outlet for someone’s Miley Cyrus jokes, getting some special emotes such as /twerk.

You can find it here.

Blizzard Outcasts

Then there is also a “new game” announcement for Blizzard Outcasts: Vengence of the Vanquished.

Blizzard Outcasts

Blizzard Outcasts

It purports to be a fighting game for using characters from Blizzard lore who… well.. die.  Wirt.  Deckard Cain.  Liddy Raynor.  The video included shows it to be an 8-bit side scrolling fighter akin to Street Fighter.  The game also includes a special new controller that includes a credit card interface to play.

The page for the game, including a list of heroes and a FAQ, can be found here.

Happy Reaper

The Diablo III site features a Blizzard entry into the mobile market, Happy Reaper.

AF02HappyReaper

 

A spin on Flappy Bird, there is even a playable demo (Unity plugin required) linked from the announcement.

Herald of the Stars

There is an announcement regarding the name of the next StarCraft II expansion.  The Protoss focused release is alleged to be called StarCraft II: Herald of the Stars, which purports to be playable with the time stream running in either direction.

AF03SC

The full announcement is here.

WoW 6.0 Patch Notes

All the changes destined for Warlords of Draenor.  Flightmasters will now be Walkmasters, to prevent confusion with that other Blizzard game, the “Hearthstone” will now be called the “Homerock” and so on.  Find the full forum post here.

New Hero of the Storm

Blizzard’s MOBA has announced a new hero today.

Pajamathur!

Pajamathur!

Others Entries

That is all I saw on my early morning run through the Blizzard web sites.  They may put up more later, which I will add when I get a chance.  The new release games, such as Hearthstone and the Reaper of Souls expansion, seem to be free of direct parody, probably to avoid mixed messages with titles still getting established.

So we got some fresh items this year.

Who else has some decent April Fools entries?

 

April Fools at Blizzard – 2013 April 1, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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April Fools at Blizzard this year is either less ambitious or more subtle than before.

Or I am missing something.

On the World of Warcraft site, there is the return of Crabby, who was part of the 2011 April Fools.

He's been done before...

He’s been done before…

He has some new and amusing dialog and I guess is part of the tradition now.  And if you go down the right conversational path, the one where you talk about sports, you can watch him try on various hats.

Crab hat!

Crab hat!

But I have to wonder, how many people even remember Clippy, of which Crabby is a parody.

But other than that, all I could spot was some disagreement as to when the Noblegarden event was taking place, with it either being March 31 through April 6 or April 24 through May 1.  That must be funny in some way I am not getting.

The Diablo III site seems to be completely free of April Foolery, unless that thread asking Is This Game Good Yet? is some sort wry commentary.  But if it wry commentary you want, there is better to be had, pointed at juicier targets.  And then there is the great Diablo III non-joke from GDC.

And over at the StarCraft II site there is a somewhat predictable April Fools joke.

Warhound revived

Warhound revived

The Warhound was a unit slated to be part of the Terran forces in the Heart of the Swarm expansion for StarCraft II.  However, it was found to be too powerful and was removed during beta.

But today’s announcement says it is back, but they have a plan to cure the balance issue.

  • The Warhound has been added for Terran because robots are cool and the art is amazing
  • The Warhound has been added for Zerg to remain competitive with Terran.
  • The Warhound has been added for Protoss to keep Protoss players from whining about them on the forums.

There is also a Dev Q&A page about the Warhound that answers questions like why their isn’t a female Warhound as well as linking to its background story page.  But at least they did something.  Almost as much fun as a space cockroach.

A check of the European versions of the sites showed similar entries all around.

So did I miss something?  Are they holding out for a mid-day US/evening EU reveal?  Is this a year of subtle humor?  Or did a busy 2012, in which they did not even have time for BlizzCon, keep Blizzard from going as far with April Fools as they have in the past?

The following links will bring you to past coverage of Blizzard April Foolery as a comparison:

Addendum – April Fools in some other online games:

April Fools at Blizzard – 2012 April 1, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, Humor.
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Blizzard was too busy for BlizzCon this year, but was not too busy for a few April Fools jokes.

Well, compared to previous years, it does feel like they were a bit under the gun for time.  But a tradition is a tradition, and so there are a few April Fools bits to enjoy.

Zergotchi

Blizzard introduces a new advance in authenticator technology with Zergotchi!

Currently Sold Out

Zergotchi combines your authenticator with a virtual pet.

Zergotchi Features

Further information is available on the Zergotchi product page.

Supply Depot 2

A newly announced game for iOS and Android, Supply Depot 2 puts you in the role of… a StarCraft supply depot, strategically placed to block the path of both friends and foes alike.

Actual Game Dialog

You can play the demo in your browser at the Supply Depot 2 site.

Blizzard Kidzz

Blizzard is introducing a line of educational games with suspiciously familiar titles.

Blizzard Kidzz Titles

The Map from Westfall Trail

Descriptions of the entire selection of education games, including a demo of Zergling Teaches Typing, can be found at the Blizzard Kidzz site.

Fledgling Heroes – Blizzard Novels for a New Generation

I was not sure this was an April Fools item at first glance, but on reading the synopsis for the first novel, it was clear this was part of today’s entries.

The series is a set of novels for teen and tween readers set in popular Blizzard IPs.  As with Blizzard Kidzz, the plots seem suspiciously familiar.  While there is no page set up for Fledgling Heroes (so no book covers, darn!), you can read the plot summaries in the press release to see if you can spot the parody.

Dragons: April Fools Comes Early to World of Warplanes March 30, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor, World of Warplanes.
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Or so I hope.  This press release just showed up in my mail.

Here Be Dragons!

Majestic Dragons Add Fire to World of Warplanes

30th March, 2012 — Wargaming.net, the award-winning online game developer and publisher, is proud to announce the next faction to join the current set of nations in the highly-anticipated flight combat action MMO World of Warplanes: dragons! The all-new line of majestic creatures will set the sky on fire when the game enters its beta stage later this year.

The initial tech tree will include 12 dragons and will eventually expand to more than 60 creatures. Each mystical animal will have its own peculiarities and strategic employment. Players can upgrade several key characteristics including fire intensity level, color, number of claws, horns, wingspan and skin thickness.

The addition of these fire-breathing beasts will add more diversity to the gameplay since a dragons’ behavior requires a different approach in terms of controls and tactics.

“Adding dragons into World of Warplanes has been one of the most challenging aspects of game development so far,” said Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi. “Dragons are so different from planes; they are much more edgy and self-willed, but if you put in just a little more effort, they will serve you well. I’m happy we’ve finally announced them!”

There are, of course, screen shots.

Dragon vs. Germans

Jets and Dragons

Flames and Biplanes

A dragon tech tree.

How to Train Your Dragon

And an accompanying video up on YouTube.

Just setting us up for the big “April Fools!” post on Sunday, right?  Please?

Quote of the Day – April Fools Foreshadowing October 27, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, Humor, World of Warcraft.
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4 comments

Talents are now automatically chosen for a player based on the main specialization chosen.

From the 2011 Blizzard “April Fools” WoW Patch Notes

Somewhere else I wrote that the difference between Blizzard on an average day and Blizzard on April Fools Day is like turning the silly knob from 10 to 11.

So I am not saying that the quote above is how talent points are going to work in Padaria, but the difference seems like a mere turning of that knob from 10 to 11.

Oh, and those patch notes also contain a paragraph about customizing companion pets.  Where have I seen something like that?

A mere coincidence?  I think not.

What else have they been hiding in their so-called “April Fools jokes?”

April Fools at Blizzard – 2011 April 1, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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There were April Fools pranks all over the internet this year like every year.  Many were quite amusing, like EVE Online’s announcement of player mounts being included as part of the Incarana expansion.

But nobody goes over the top the way Blizzard does.  Last year they had a number of April Fools jokes and this year they have kept up the tradition.

Last year there were items that only appeared on either the US or EU sites.  This time around it seems like it was a unified effort across the two geographic areas. (Though I did not do a thorough search, so if I missed something, speak up!)

There is Crabby the Dungeon Helper, a send up of the old Microsoft Office Paperclip helper.

You Cybernetic Crabby Pal

And to just rub Crabby in our faces, he is also present on the Tomb of Immortal Darkness page, a preview of the most challenging WoW instance ever.

Crabby will not be deterred

He also hangs out on the WoW community page as well, and keeps talking while you are trying to read the faux Patch 4.1.11 Release Notes, which includes items like the Random Guild Finder and and appearance tab… for non-combat pets.

Then there was the Horadrapp, a Horadric Cube iPhone app that can be used to transmute your current iPhone apps into new and more powerful apps.

Horadric Cube App

On the StarCraft II front, there was the StarCraft Motion Overdrive video, showing StarCraft II being played via the XBox 360 Kinnect as well as the StarCraft II Patch 1.4.11 Patch Notes.

And while all of this is very amusing, it does lead one to wonder what might have been accomplished if the time that went into these things was spent focusing on the actual games involved.

Building the Wilhelm Arcturus Brand for the Wilhelm Arcturus Decade April 1, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
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17 comments

A little over a month back I was, quite rightly recognized as a force on the internet.

The Say 100 Site is, undoubtedly ahead of the curve (yet years late!) in taking note of me,Wilhelm Arcturus.

And yet, one of the things that stuck with me was something they wrote about all of the people, plus Wilhelm Arcturus, who they recognized.

At SAY Media we believe the power to shape opinion is shifting from the faceless editorial voice of mainstream media to individuals, many of whom are taking advantage of simple technology to create their own properties and build their own media brands.

Wilhelm Arcturus has totally not been building the Wilhelm Arcturus media brand effectively!

And what use is Wilhelm Arcturus if Wilhelm Arcturus has no internet brand?  How can Wilhelm Arcturus continue to grow without one?

So today marks the beginning of a major operation at the site.  How things will be done here will change dramatically.

The updates will include:

  • Change of blog name – The new name is “The Wilhelm Arcturus Experience!”
  • Change of blog theme – The old one was not in tune with the new brand image (be patient on this one, we’re still working out the kinks.)
  • Change of handle – Wilhelm2451 is out, Wilhelm Arcturus is in
  • Change of character names – All characters will be named Wilhelm Arcturus. Games that do not allow that will be ignored
  • Change of URL – WilhelmArcturus.com is on order
  • Change of Avatar – A new avatar picture projecting the new Wilhelm Arcturus image (see below)

Wilhelm Arcturus - More Suave Than You Will Ever Be

And most importantly, a change in editorial focus.  Wilhelm Arcturus will report much less on games and game mechanics and more on about how he feels while playing games, what he eats while gaming, and what apparel he prefers to wear while in game. (Wilhelm Arcturus is close to an endorsement deal on that last, expect to hear about the new Wilhelm Arcturus line of clothing at Wal-Mart.)

I think that people are going to stop thinking about themselves, and start thinking about me, Wilhelm Arcturus.

That’s right. I believe we’re entering what I like to call the Wilhelm Arcturus Decade.

Oh, for me, Wilhelm Arcturus, the 2010’s will be pretty much the same as the past decade. I’ll still be thinking of me, Wilhelm Arcturus.

But for you, you’ll be thinking more about how things affect me, Wilhelm Arcturus.

Welcome to the Wilhelm Arcturus Experience.

Addendum:

Okay, that was fun. But April Fools is over… at least in UTC time.  If you missed it, here is what the site looked like for a few hours today.

The Wilhelm Arcturus Experience

Now to set everything back to the way it was.

I think, however, I get to change the sub-title of the blog.  I am at 25 years of online gaming this year.

Imagine that.

Another iPad Arcade Tease December 3, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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Remember that April Fool’s Joke over at ThinkGeek?  The iCade?

This is just a dream...

Well, that immediately came to mind when I was looking at the Brookstone catalog last night and saw they had a Pinball Magic stand for the iPad.

Not quite the iCade, but a start

Not quite the killer app for the iPad, but interesting enough that I went to go look at their site online to see if there were any more details about it.

There were not any further details.  There were no details at all.

They had a tiny version for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but no iPad version.

Tiny iPhone pinball

So I started to dig around to see if anybody else had only to find… nothing.

Nothing but an article over at CNet wondering what became of the Pinball Magic stand for the iPad.  So the iCade seemed to be a pretty apt comparison, only it isn’t April.

I guess the big available retro option for the iPad is the Etch-a-sketch case.

Somebody go pester the guys at ThinkGeek about that iCade.

iPad Arcade Stand April Fools April 2, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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Now it is things like this April Fools ad over at ThinkGeek that make me just cry.  It looks so good, but you click on “Buy It” and get the big “April Fools” page.

The iCade

Didn’t think you needed an iPad? Think again!

When the iPad was announced, we all crammed into a conference room to watch live and drool over every shiny corner and reflecty icon. After the glow of the initial announcement wore off, many of us came to the conclusion that the iPad was actually pretty useless. “It’s a giant iPhone!” some said. Others exclaimed, “WTF, no Flash!?”. Still, we knew that most Apple fanbots (us included) would have to have one anyway.

Knowing that many of our loyal geeky customers would eventually get their retractable claws on an iPad at some point, we knew we needed to take it to the next level. What cool things could we do with the iPad that you, our lovely geek customers, would squee over? A few brainstorming sessions later, the idea of a MAME cabinet came up and we knew we’d struck gold. How cool would it be to slide your iPad into a desktop-sized arcade cabinet and rock it old school with some Pac-Man or Space Invaders?

Why is this an April Fools joke?  Why isn’t this real?  Somebody get off the dime and get to work on this!

Okay, it seems a bit small.  I’d want something a bit bigger to play arcade games, but still.  This would tempt me to buy an iPad.

Curses to my friend Scott for sending me this link and simultaneously raising and crushing my hopes.

April Fools Contest – The Winner April 1, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor, World of Warcraft.
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And now comes the time that… several of you have been waiting for.  It is time to announce the winner of The Ancient Gaming Noob’s April Fools Contest!

It's a hat!

I’ve gone through the list, solicited opinions from key individuals, and reviewed the results of the poll.

Now to come to a decision!  Who will it be?

(more…)