[B]Psychic Ready[/B]
    They nerfed the Amazon, balanced the Huntress, and now they?re trying to discourage power-leveling in World of Warcraft. Yes, it?s clear that Blizzard hates you and everything that you stand for. And what better way to show them how you feel than through a boycott ]]>

    But before you do that, maybe you should take a look at the following:

    [B]The Tale of the Super-Secret List of Things and Stuff that Blizzard Doesn?t Want You To Know About, or How I Saved Christmas[/B]
    I was out walking the dog in Central Park the other night, in blind contradiction to the reality that I don?t own a dog or live in New York.  I was in the process of enjoying a late-night snack of terrier and chips, when on a whim I decided to drop in at Blizzard?s Headquarters (in Irvine, California) and have a snoop around. The plan was that if anyone questioned my activities I?d claim to be Bill Roper?s ghost and attempt to scare them off by running around and shouting a lot.

    This actually worked, and I soon found myself in Ecuador holding a suitcase packed with Most Secret Things, as well as some stuff I stole from Brett Wood?s desk. Important stuff, it was. Stuff that had the potential to be dangerous, were it to fall into the wrong hands. So immediately I decided to put it up on the Internet, for ?safe-keeping?.

    Also I saved Christmas. The End.

    What does all this mean, beyond a significant lack of coherency in my articles in general? (Please don?t e-mail me with an answer; the question is little more than a literary device I?m using as a crutch to support an otherwise weak introduction. Furthermore, the answer is contained in the next sentence.)

    It means that what follows is a list of Blizzard?s planned future titles, complete with addendums detailing how they fared commercially (thanks to the time machine Geoff Frazier invented in 2012, minutes before he wasn?t shot by an irate fan). Hold on to your Harlequins:

    [B]2004 ? World of Warcraft[/B]
    The Rundown: ?Who would have thought that two grown men pretending to be female orcs seducing one another could be so much fun?? This has been our mantra from the beginning, and we?re pleased to report that things are continuing to run according to plan. We hope to penetrate the sexually-confused 18-to-25 demographic like a rusty needle through a hobo?s ear.

    The Result: Things got off to a flying start, until one bewildered forum-goer pointed out the similarities between the cultures of the Orcs and the Native Americans. The story ended up being run in an obscure local newspaper in Saskatchewan, and despite being stupid and grossly inaccurate it went on to attain a level of infamy not seen since the re-election of George Bush Junior. The copyright lawsuits which followed forced us to take down our servers and devote all available resources to our next project. Suggest giving Orcs a slight armour buff before retail release.

    [B]2006 ? Starcraft: Ghost[/B]
    The Rundown: Think Metal Gear Solid II, only with a female heroine instead of a male one. Plus there?s Zerg. What more needs to be said?

    The Result: It outsold Diablo II in a day, possibly due to our decision to leave Nova in a permanent state of undress. Though personally I believe it was the inclusion of the Ewoks that really did it for people.  Surprisingly, the fact that it was available exclusively on Phantom did nothing to deter buyers.

    [B]2007 ? Starcraft II[/B]
    The Rundown: Seven playable races, each more interesting and unique than the last (with the exception of the first race, obviously). Game-play will be perfectly balanced from the word go, and special AOL-filters will turn every battle.net session into a positively Shakespearean event. This will be our Magnus Opium.

    The Result: We were forced to remove Protoss in the alpha stages, as they were ?too powerful to be considered a playable race?. In the Beta we lost Terran, Xel?Naga, Ewoks, and the Burning Legion, which left only Zerg and Space Orcs. Still, the finished product managed to outsell bread on the day of its release, and the game is widely considered to be the best turn-based cosplay simulator on the market.

    [B]2009 – World of Vikings[/B]
    The Rundown: I used to dream of a world where fat, bearded midgets would roam about in the confines of a Flying Saucer, all in the name of edutainment. That dream was to be realized with Warcraft II, except that it wasn?t. World of (the Lost) Vikings promises to be everything that Tides of Darkness failed to be, and then perhaps a little more if we have time.

    The Result: Unfortunately the market for games in which thousands of Nordic gentlemen stand around playing guitars in a confined space proved to be two, and they both died of starvation when their mule got stroppy and refused to walk across a bridge.

    [B]2009 ? Starcraft: Zergling[/B]
    The Rundown: Think Animal Hospital, only with a diseased, gibbering hellspawn running around biting the faces off infants. Frankly, I fail to see how this could be anything but a hit.

    The Result: Zerglings don?t have breasts. Consequently, the game tanked.

    [B]2010 ? Diablo: The Electronic Card Game[/B]
    The Rundown: Trading card games involving magic and strange monsters are nothing new. Indeed, the field is a very lucrative one, with over 8000 Magic The Gathering tantrums occurring every week. We?d like to infiltrate this market, bleed it dry, and use the profits to purchase Camaros for our spouses. Diablo: The Electronic Card Game will utilize Microsoft?s patented Solitaire engine, and will include all the hot card-on-card action people have come to expect from Blizzard titles.

    The Result: Everyone was too busy playing Minesweeper III ? The Revenge to notice. We had to make do with Segways instead.

    [B]2011 – Starcraft Pinball[/B]
    The Rundown: Ever wanted to hit a ball around a table while the nauseating tones of Sarah Kerrigan berate you for missing the Ultimate Triple Bonus Score? Well too bad; you?re going to buy this game, and you?re going to love it. Love it!

    The Result: It became so popular that the government was forced to declare its usage ?consumption of a dangerous and illicit substance?. The game was banned in April, and the ban subsequently lifted in Late April.  >From this point onwards the price of the game now included a special ?make us rich? tax. Oh those kooky capitalists!

    [B]2012 – Sam & Max Hit the Road Again[/B]
    The Rundown: By this point in time we plan to have acquired the license to these two fantabulous critters, and fans can rest assured that we at Blizzard will not adhere to the Lucasarts policy of ?not releasing anything good ever again, ever?.

    The Result: As predicted, Star Wars Episode III ? My Lovely Horse proved to be a commercial failure, insofar as the total and complete annihilation of everything even remotely associated with George Lucas could be considered a failure. Apparently the film?s premise of ?a man in a lumberjack shirt singing to farm animals for one-hundred and eighty minutes? didn?t go down so well. As Defence Secretary Howard Stern – the man who ordered the napalm strike – put it, ?Lucas?s crimes were beyond reprehensible. He left us no choice. We did what we did to protect the American people and the American way of life. Trust me, that movie really blew. Err, can I say ?blew? on television??

    With no surviving relatives, and the man himself put into a coma following a rather severe rogering with a scale-model of a Y-Wing, Lucas? intellectual copyrights were declared null and void under the ?Bring Back Sam & Max? legislation newly introduced by congress.

    And there you have it: Blizzard?s no-longer-particularly-secret list of planned future titles, reproduced for your benefit. Well, to be truthful the actual list was much longer, but before I could finish my dog ate it.  So as for the rest, it looks like you?ll just have to wait and see.

    Or you can go back to boycotting Blizzard and throwing paint at Mike Morhaime. Whatever.

    [B]Disclaimer:[/B] [I]The Lion’s Toes[/I] was written by Leon (Robert McGrath-Kerr) 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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