September 13, 2013

Hello, and welcome to the very first issue of RPGamer's newest column. RPG Elements is home to all of the games, books, comics, toys, events, and assorted merchandise that doesn't quite fit on RPGamer's main page, but is still of interest to RPGamers and video game fans in general.

For example, this is the perfect place to talk about the latest Mass Effect Comic, the newest Shin Megami Tensei action figures from Japan, or the Diablo III tie-in book, The Book of Tyrael. The coverage won't stop at just merchandise. Persona 4 Arena and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy were both games that were popular among staff and readers, but since they weren't exactly RPGs they didn't really have a home on RPGamer. They do now. In the future, I plan on bringing guests from the RPGamer staff to give impressions or even review those types of games in this column.

So while the things I talk about in this Column may not be Role Playing Games in their own right, they certainly have many of the "Elements" of your favorite series and the genre as a whole.

With that said, on to the stories!

First up is an action figure that was announced earlier this summer that Persona fans are sure to love. From Bandai's Tamashii Nations D-Arts line of figures comes Velvet Room denizen Elizabeth, modeled after her Persona 4 Arena appearance.

Elizabeth, like other D-Arts series figures, is highly articulated and comes with a number of accessories. She comes with interchangeable faces and hands, a tarot card, a persona compendium (open and closed), and most notably, a Velvet Room chair. Overall, the sculpt, articulation and accessories look fantastic. It may not seem like much, but the inclusion of the Velvet Room chair really makes this figure pop and makes me want to make space on my desk for Elizabeth and her furniture.

Unfortunately, that fancy chair does increase the price of this figure compared to other similar D-Arts line figures. It's about a $5 premium that raises the price to around $50.99 USD. On the bright side, if you want to get your hands Elizabeth, you won't have to import this from Japan and pay an even higher price once you factor in shipping and mark up. Bluefin Corp Distribution is the exclusive U.S. distributor for Bandai's Tamashii Nations line of collectables and has made several distribution deals with stores both big and small. The most notable of these is, who sells the figure directly and is eligible for Prime Shipping.

Elizabeth is set for a December 27 release in the U.S., and you can pre-order now at various retailers. Check out the gallery below for a more in-depth look at D-Arts Elizabeth.

Now that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls has been announced, it's time to dig deeper into the Diablo lore that leads up to the expansion. Storm of Light is a prequel novel that fills the gap between the base Diablo III game and its expansion. Nate Kenyon, who penned the previous Diablo III book, The Order, is back to once again provide his take on the franchise. This time, however, rather than starring a character from the games themselves, the book features Jacob and Shanar, two characters from the Diablo III prequel comic The Sword of Tyreal which was first released in 2011.

Below is a summary of what you can expect from Storm of Light:

"The High Heavens are healing after the fall of the Prime Evil. The Angiris Council has recovered the Black Soulstone and now stands vigil over the cursed artifact deep within the glimmering Silver City.

Amid these momentous events, Tyrael struggles with his position as the new Aspect of Wisdom, feeling out of place as a mortal among his angelic brethren and doubting his ability to fully embody his role. As he searches within himself and the Heavens for reassurance, he senses the Black Soulstone's grim influence on his home. Where harmony of light and sound once reigned, a mounting discord is threatening to shroud the realm in darkness. Imperius and the other archangels vehemently oppose moving or destroying the crystal, leading Tyrael to put Heaven's fate in the hands of humankind...

Drawing powerful humans to his side from the far ends of Sanctuary, Tyrael reforges the ancient Horadrim and charges the order with an impossible task: to steal the soulstone from the heart of Heaven. Among the champions entrusted with this burden are Jacob of Staalbreak, former avatar of Justice and guardian of the angelic blade El'druin; Shanar, a wizard with phenomenal powers; Mikulov, a lithe and reverent monk; Gynvir, a fearless and battle-hardened barbarian; and Zayl, a mysterious necromancer. With time and the forces of both good and evil against them, can these heroes unite as one and complete their perilous mission before the Heavens fall to ruin?"

Diablo III: Storm of Light is slated for a February 2014 launch.

While on the topic of Blizzard, let's talk about BlizzCon 2013. After a hiatus last year, the fan conference for all things Blizzard Entertainment is back this November 8-9 and is promising a ton of news on all four of their big games (I'm including the Hearthstone card game).

While tickets to attend the show in person have been sold out for months now, you can still attend virtually. For $40, you get access to all of the various Blizzard panels, developer interviews, the costume contest, and closing concert. You also get an unannounced exclusive virtual item for Diablo III, Starcraft II, World of Warcraft, and Hearthstone.

Whether or not the $40 price tag is worth it or not depends on how much of a Blizzard fan you are. I do know that RPGamer's own Chris and Anna Privitere are big fans of the virtual ticket and love the convenience of being able to watch the show at home. The virtual goodies don't hurt either, I'm sure. Either way, you don't have to decide right now. You have until the show starts on November 8 to decide.

For more info check out the official BlizzCon Virtual Ticket Page.

Finally, I have a story that I thought would be of particular interest to the kinds of people who attend BlizzCon, either virtually or in person. World of Warcraft: Trivial Pursuit features 600 questions across six categories, including: Geography, Player Characters, Lore, Loot, Villains, and Encounters. If you are the kind of person who reads WoW novels and devours all things Blizzard, this might be for you. It's set to release by the end of September on for a TBA price.

You can find more info and pictures on the official USAopoly site.

Thank you for joining me for the first edition of the RPG Elements column. I hope this was a nice sample of what to expect in the future. With just about every video game company branching off into merchandising and spin-off titles, I think that I will have plenty to talk about from Japan, North America, and Europe.

This column also gives me some flexibility to talk about events like AnimeExpo or IndieCade and provide some coverage to topics that are certainly of interest to RPGamers, but might not necessarily fit on the front page. Either way, I hope that this column will continue to grow and evolve into something great.

Until next time!

Emanuel Merino

Follow me on Twitter: @MerinoEm

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