April 1st, Blizzard Style

    Tomorrow is April Fool?s Day, a day with a long and proud tradition in Blizzard history. More than any other company I know, Blizzard plays with April Fool?s Day. Last year was the epic announcement of the Pandaeran Empire, a new race in WarCraft 3. In June, debate was still raging as to whether the Pandaerans would actually be in the final game. Such is the legacy of Blizzard… the give us hoaxes we really want to believe, but after being tricked so many times before, how can we? Well, if you have not looked at the WarCraft 3: The Frozen Throne expansion pack sites lately, you might be surprised to learn that the Pandaerans, or at least one of them, has indeed made the cut. So, was Blizzard really kidding? Or did they make the joke so convincing even the programmers could not resist adding Pandas to the game? Only Blizzard knows.

    On a much less pleasant note, for the second consecutive year, this web site has the chance to pull a joke about the 1.10 patch for Diablo 2. Last year?s joke was a long list of changes they claimed to be known to be in the patch that would have left any gullible gamer frothing at the mouth, and anybody with a sense of humor rolling on the floor. Sadly, a year has gone by and 1.10 has yet to make an appearance. I do not know if diabloii.net will pull out another 1.10 hoax this year, or if they will even pull an April Fool?s Day at all, but another round of 1.10 humor would certainly be possible.

    The question, of course, is what will Blizzard do? Thousands of people will be rolling out of bed in the morning (or staying up late tonight) and navigating directly to the Blizzard web page to see what Blizzard does. And then the debates will begin on whether or not Blizzard is really kidding, or if they just want us to think they are kidding and are really serious, or are really kidding about wanting us to think they are kidding and very serious, or if the announcement is really Blizzard at all. Whatever happens, it promises to be fun, and a tradition well worth continuing.
    Three things I hope Blizzard does not do:

    1) Announce 1.10 has been released. That would just be cruel.

    2) Bring back the Pandaerans. Not that a new round of Panda debate would not be amusing, it is just that we have been there already. And with the Brewmaster in the game now, it would be three times as confused. That might be why they do it.

    3) Announce they have been purchased. By anyone. Including the tooth fairy. The potential for mass panic would be too great. Remember the response to the Microsoft rumors? Replace Microsoft with someone like Enron or Holiday Inn Express and we would have no idea whether to sob, laugh, or pretend to be certain it is only a joke. Again, that might be why they do it.

    We can make a bit of a guess as to what we might see, however. Likely it will concern Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne or World of Warcraft, the two games under known production. They did a new race last year, but that does not mean we will not see such again this year. Remember the Baker? He was in effect a new race for Diablo 2. A new race for World of Warcraft is very much a possibility, as is a new land to explore, a fake chapter of history, or the human faces being replaced with pictures of Bill Roper. Fake new features are Blizzard?s specialty, and there is no reason to think that will not continue.

    Unless of course they announce a whole new game. Now that would start the forums burning. But the guess here is large, new addition to World of Warcraft that will have just enough truth to it to be utterly believable. A new continent that is populated by women who fight with spears and bows for instance, or a new character type imbued with somewhat different skills. Or Pandaerans. I would take a Pandaeran or three.
    While we are waiting on Blizzard to leave us all scratching our heads and hunting up our forum passwords, I will leave you with a few suggestions of tricks to play on the people you know who might need a trick or two played on them.

    1) Re-map the desktop shortcut for Diablo 2 (or any game) to some CD-less application. The defragmenting application works great for this. Causes panic and improves system health.

    2) If you are good with command lines, changing the startup sound for the computer can be entertaining. This can be difficult to do on some older systems unless you know the text commands, however. I would suggest the Deckard Cain Rap as a nice replacement for the standard startup sounds. Who would not want to hear Cain go to town every time the computer starts up?

    3) Go on the realms, and try trade with worthless items. Might be amusing (provided others in the game have a since of humor) to watch other players response to your passionate and glowing descriptions of that cracked skull cap you are willing to painfully part with in return for twelve SOJs. Or how about a Lightbrand? Isenhart?s Lightbrand anyone? Awesome sword, only three Wedding Bands! It will have a damage of 600 after the patch! What a deal!!!


    Disclaimer: Salem’s Fire was written by Luke Blaize and hosted by diabloii.net. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

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