Who was there: Blizzard Entertainment's senior vice president of creative development Chris Metzen was joined by a number of the World of Warcraft maker's licensing partners. These included DC Direct design director Jim Fletcher (action figures), Cryptozoic president and chief creative officer Cory Jones (collectible card games), WOW magazine editor-in-chief Marty Cortinas, and Wildstorm and World of Warcraft comic editor Hank Kanalz (comics). Blizzard publishing lead Micky Neilson and licensing project manager Kat Hunter were also party to the panel.
What they talked about: Merchandising! Merchandising! Merchandising! Yogurt's famous (infamous?) words from Spaceballs were the name of the game at the World of Warcraft: Epic Loot panel, which accounted for Blizzard's only presence at the 2010 Comic-Con in San Diego today.
With comics being the dominant entertainment medium of the event, much of the discussion was given over to Kanalz. The World of Warcraft comic line has transitioned from a monthly release to a heavier emphasis on special miniseries and graphic novels. Therefore, Kanalz spoke about the first new miniseries, which will focus on the Worgen, a new race that will be introduced with WOW's third expansion, Cataclysm.
Titled Curse of the Worgen, the series is being penned by Micky Neilson and James Wong, and it will focus on fleshing out the new wolfman race in advance of Cataclysm's launch later this year.
Kanalz also offered word on a new original graphic novel highlighting the Alliance, which will be written by Mike Costa and ties in to the Worgen origins. The Horde won't be denied, as a second graphic novel dedicated to WOW's evil side is also en route, courtesy of writer Doug Wagner. Only concept art was shown, primarily of Taurens and Orcs, and Kanalz also showed what appeared to be mock-ups of yet one more project involving the Pandaren character.
The panel also spent ample time hyping up new releases in the WOW collectible trading card game, which will now be developed by Cryptozoic, a new company that was formed specifically for WOW's CCG. The first release from the company will be a class starter deck designed to give players the ability to re-create their in-game characters. Future releases include Ice Crown, which will deal with the Scourge War storyline and is due for release in September.
Blizzard's Chris Metzen also briefly discussed the World of Warcraft movie, which will be directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan), and produced by Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight). Responding to a fan's question, Metzen said that development is ongoing, but the production remains in the "notes stage."
Quote: "Especially in the past month, we've been back and forth on a treatment [Sam Raimi]'s been working on…Hopefully, we'll be moving very very quickly, very soon."--Chris Metzen, on the progress of the WOW movie.
"Are you ever planning on making a real murloc costume?"--A very young and eager fan.
Takeaway: The cottage industries surrounding World of Warcraft continue to grow, and fans of Blizzard's massively multiplayer online role-playing game certainly have a number of ways to experience the game away from their computers. And while fans certainly eat up the action figures and comics, it's clear that major interest lies in the forthcoming film.