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Over the last week the Martin Fury scandal has rocked the world ... of Warcraft. I got the chance to sit down with Karatechop, the player at the centre of the scandal, to hear his side of the story.
WoW Insider: Who are you? Karatechop: I'm Karatechop, the Guild Leader of The Marvel Family on Vek'nilash-US.
There are postings on the net where someone purporting to be Karatechop says they work for Blizzard. I'm assuming this is not the case? I'm not an employee of Blizzard. I'm not a hacke., I'm just a person who had a pretty tight regular group of people who liked playing WoW.
How did this whole thing start? One of my guild members, Leroyspeltz, had his account hacked back in December. He was an Officer at the time and whoever hacked his account ravaged the guild bank, which happens. Once Blizzard was able to rescue his account, he noticed several of his toons were gone.
Medievaldragon over at WorldofWar.net points out that there may still be trouble ahead: while Blizzard has gone with Netease for their service in China, they still have to make it past the Chinese government's approval process, and there may actually be service outages if things aren't approved quickly. But that won't affect Activision's business very much, and given that the company still has a bright future (even in a harsh economy), picking up a few shares is probably a relatively good investment.
Please note: I am not a financial expert, and none of this should be taken as serious financial advice. You invest in the stock market and any other financial institution at your own risk. If you're getting stock tips from WoW Insider, it's probably better to keep your money in your pocket. AH tips, on the other hand...
We'll have the full interview up for you soon (later today hopefully, or tomorrow at the latest), however one thing we learned from the interview is that his account has been closed, permanently. While we cannot verify this with Blizzard directly, as there are privacy concerns that forbid them from talking about other people's accounts, we can verify that the account administrator who dealt with the closure is real, and that the template used in disseminating the account closure information is legitimate.
The account closure email was forwarded to us from Karatechop during the interview, and we are confident in its authenticity. You can see the full email after the break. We have his express permission to reproduce and report on the actions taken against his account.
The other thing to note is that despite claims on other websites, he is not an employee of Blizzard. There is no evidence to support such claims, and he made a point of telling us today that he is in no way affiliated with Blizzard Entertainment, which we believe.
The full account closure email, sans personally identifiable information, after the break!
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
While this week's Two Bosses matchup was a fairly straightforward victory for Ahn'Kahet's Prince Taldaram over the Maiden of Grief from the Halls of Stone, this week's scenario is a little farther off the beaten track: Herald Volazj (Ahn'Kahet: The Old Kingdom) versus Novos the Summoner (Drak'tharon Keep). What insanity will ensue?
Let's review the ground rules: Assume that these foes share similar levels, health pools and damage output. The battle will take place in neutral territory. For the sake of this battle, since Novos is invulnerable to damage until his shield is broken down, we'll say that each round of Novos' summons and Volazj's Insanity follows one after the other, without pause.
Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter. Focus your debate on the three S's: Style, Story and Scale. Consider the flavor each villainous gladiator brings to bear, leave your comment on what you think would happen and why, and then cast your vote for who you think would come out on top.
Wait, that's not what he really said? Well that's what we heard -- he says that the cinematic folks go for what seems most awesome, and Gnomes have just never been a part of that combination. He says Trolls have gotten nearly the same treatment, and while that's true, you can see a Troll for a split second in the Burning Crusade cinematic -- they haven't had the complete shutout that the shorter denizens of Azeroth have had so far.
In fact, Murlocs have gotten more screen time than Gnomes have. But the good news is that the more Blizzard leaves Gnomes out, the more awesome it'll be when they finally appear. The cinematic team can't leave them out of the game forever, right?
Dealing with old currencies - Thu, 30 Apr 2009 16:00:00 EST Gaviedrummer has exactly the problem that I have, only mine is probably worse: he has about 50 Badges of Justice left over from the last expansion. True, I've only got about 30, but I've also got stacks of Apexis Shards, Spirit Shards, Halaa Tokens, Obsidian Warbeads, and pretty much every other old reputation and currency item from the Burning Crusade sitting around clogging up my bank. And while some of it is just me being lazy (I could turn the Warbeads in, and I think I could probably grind out a few more Halaa tokens to pick up something there), as gaviedrummer finds out, most of it is completely useless. Yes, we can still trade for level 70 items, but who needs those any more?
It would be nice, especially with the soulbound stuff (I presume I will someday have an alt coming up through Outland that might need some help), for Blizzard to give us an out. Even if it requires level 80 to do, and even if the exchange rate is terrible (something like one level 80 badge for five or ten level 70 badges), at least we'll be able to get rid of the old stuff. Obviously, they're worried that if they offer exchanges for new items, people will go back and grind the old instances for the old currency. But there has to be some middle ground or a level requirement or something, some rate that allows us to get something for the old junk, while keeping current level 80s from exploiting the system. Heck, even cloth has a reputation turn-in value, at the very minimum.
The Stone Keeper's Shards at least have a turn-in for honor, and at the bare minimum, that's what you'd want for any currency -- something cheap that you can just cash out of the system with all of your leftovers. Blizzard may say what's past is past (and like I said, I may just need to spend a weekend cleaning out the bank), but it would be nice to have an NPC in Shattrath that can say "Oh, you're level 80? Let me just take those old tokens off your hands at a discounted price!" And it would be an Ethereal, of course.
We were all taken by surprise this afternoon when we heard the PTR has gone live for Patch 3.1.2, because we had little indication that it was going to have a public testing phase at all. It makes some sense looking at the content of the patch, because it seems they're trying to implement the Equipment Manager again, rather than waiting for the next full blown content patch. This patch also contains the new round of Argent Tournament mounts described a short while ago.
When full content patches hit the PTR, the developers generally do not allow premade characters to be created so it doesn't taint the data gathered from dungeon and raid testing. However, this PTR period doesn't have any content like that, so they are allowing premades. If you've been wondering how X or Y class plays at 80, this is a good chance to play around a little bit.
Swine Flu strikes Azeroth! - Thu, 30 Apr 2009 15:00:00 EST I'm sure you all will be quite happy to hear that the Swine Flu has struck Azeroth.
Yes, you read that right.
Out in the Borean Tundra, Unliving Swines near Warsong Hold will cast the debuff Swine Flu on you when you're fighting them. The pigs are dirty little creatures, and luckily anyone can cure the disease that has such an ability.
The Swine Flu disease itself is benign, however every time you attack something it has a chance at triggering an Outbreak. An Outbreak of Swine Flu will cause a fever that inflicts 120 nature damage every 2 seconds for 8 seconds total, and reduces movement speed to 70% of normal. Like Swine Flu, Outbreak is a disease that can be cured.
We should note that this isn't some joke recently put into the game. It's existed since Wrath of the Lich King released, so all the conspiracy theorists that are suggesting Blizzard manufactured the real swine flu in order to make more people stay home and play their game are clearly wrong. Clearly.
Oh noes! There's a knock at the door... I think Ghostcrawler and Belfaire are here with an offer I can't refuse.
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
This post is called The Queue, and it's about a queue, and the questions, but question is not the name of the post, that's just the name of the post, and that's why I called the post The Queue.
You can get anything answered you want at The Queue, You can get anything answered you want at The Queue, Walk right in it's around the back, Just a half a mile from the railroad track, You can get anything answered you want at The Queue.
Gamer am I asked...
"Why did Blizzard make the achievement School of Hard Knocks, which requires quite a bit of PvP skill and preparation, required for the meta for Children's Week? It seems as if they only want PvP'ers to be able to get a 310% mount."
World of Warcraft has four classes that can heal and four classes that can tank. Two of the tanking classes are classes that can only tank or DPS, and two of the healing classes are classes that can only heal or DPS, leaving two classes as jacks of all trades who can heal, tank or DPS. In general, of WoW's 10 classes, we have therefore six or so classes that can perform at least two, if not three, roles. This leaves four classes with three talent trees each which only perform one role, that being DPS.
Should this be the case? Or should the remaining four 'pure' DPS classes... the Rogue, Mage, Warlock, and Hunter... be given the same 'hybrid' flexibility as the other six? We've seen great changes from the old days especially with the release of Wrath of the Lich King bringing real viability for hybrid classes to fulfill whatever role they spec and gear for, especially with tanking and healing: each tanking class can perform the MT role, for instance, although each can be said to have strengths and weaknesses to some degree in certain aspects (Warriors and Druids struggle with AoE tanking compared to Paladins and DK's, for instance). Some healing classes excel at group healing, others at tank healing, but all should be more than capable of solo healing a five man and all are valuable in raids.
It's been a remarkably grueling month for me, so I can't say I'll be sorry to see April finally end. As much fun as the new content is, a lot of personal issues (including a sick rabbit,vet trips and the like on the top as a kind of panic frosting to everything else) have made it hard to squeeze in the time to do anything but raid nowadays. I fell asleep trying to do the Argent Tournament dailies. I picked up the saddest ring ever last night (let the search for a sadder ring commence) and got to thinking about the peculiar way warriors have to rely on loot luck. (Yes, I'm aware all classes have to rely on luck for drops.) Since frankly I don't want to write the often threatened nerd rage post over fury (and I'm starting to be discontented by arms' performance, as improved as it is) I thought talking about gear less from a 'here are the stats of every drop you want in Ulduar' way could be interesting.
We all know eventually I'll be doing that, too. But since the instance still hasn't revealed all of its goodies, Ulduar loot discussions are always an exercise in finding out you missed something. It seems worth it to me to wait for more things to be discovered before tackling that job.
I plan to talk more about a recent gathering at Stanford, which was focused on the growth and trends of "machinima law." But for Moviewatch today, I wanted to highlight a small artifact of work that was displayed at Stanford. Specifically, Myndflame created this Best of Myndflame Machinima to help illustrate the power of machinima.
Like many nostalgia or memorial reels, "Best of Myndflame Machinima" recaps several different pieces. You might recognize them all, or you might see a preview of something new. I was definitely inspired to go back and re-watch some old favorites, like the Slim Jim commercial or HMS Theramore.
This video reminded me of the long history machinima has with WoW. While I know many folks haven't "gotten into" the whole machinima thing, it's hard not to discuss the WoW community without eventually talking about videos like Big Blue Dress or Escape from Orgrimmar. It's all linked together in my mind, and Myndflame's highlight reel brings back warm memories of time we've all spent seeing these movies.
Their contribution can't be denied, even if it's not central to our daily gameplay. Machinima brings a rich aspect to the game. Innovators like Myndflame or Baron Soosdon, and even new machinimators just getting started, are part of what makes the World of Warcraft more than "just a game." Their art enriches and adds value to the hobby. I guess that might just be me, but I can't imagine spending so much time with WoW without these guys being part of our collective experience.
"Close fight that goes to Taldaram," called Jawajoey. "Shock of (Sorrow) won't help her much in a one-on-one, especially with an intelligent, mobile enemy and all the storms and pillars she'll throw around. Embrace of the Vampyr will be a nice tool -- though assuming the Maiden is smart enough to keep Pillar of Woe on him and keep him moving with Storms, it won't dominate her. "
Sneaky Hordelings (from left) Unteeka, Cataca and Escargotage, all of <Initech> on Cairne, recently, uh, "found themselves" in the notorious Dancing Troll Village of Darkshore. Stumbling upon an abandoned boat, they decided to recreate the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River. It's not a perfect copy by any means, but you have to remember that Washington was totally exploiting when he got the river-crossing achievement. He's got twelve people in that ten-man boat, and look at how the rest of the raid is doing the work while he's just standing there AFK!
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Breakfast Topic: If you could be a real GM what would you do? - Thu, 30 Apr 2009 08:00:00 EST Gamesmasters have been in WoW news a lot recently. We've had reports that a GM mistakenly sent Martin's Fury out to a player leading to pwnage in Ulduar. For the last twenty four hours, my inbox and those of the rest of the team seem to be full of screenshots showing a weird new bug where player characters suddenly become GMs, if only cosmetically (they get the little Blizzard logo next to their names, but none of the power).
Since I started playing back in 2006, I've been fascinated by the Blues. Players speak their names with reverence. They exist unseen throughout Azeroth and have amazing abilities. Like many other players, I've opened tickets and engaged them in-game. I've even met a few in real life as well at the Darkmoon Faire and last year's WWI.
Now I know the life of a GM is not all roses, that their powers are kept in check by rules and regulations, but if you had the chance to be a real GM for five minutes, what would you do? Personally I'd go hang out on GM Island or walk into the hardest instance and smote everything before me. So come on, readers, if you had the chance and the power, what would you do?
For whatever reason, it appears Blizzard is going after even free programs released on the iPhone that use their information from the Armory. We're not quite sure why -- an optimist might guess that they're planning to release an Armory app of their own on the iPhone, or they're worried that people might confuse the official iPhone app with one that's unofficial. Or maybe they're just being cautious of their copyrights, though that's a pretty harsh assessment -- there are other MMOs who surivive and thrive off of unofficial iPhone and desktop apps.
It would be a real shame if Blizzard legal was simply going after fans who have invested a lot of time and effort into these apps even when there's no clear reason for them to do so. Clearing the field for an official app is one thing, but closing down a useful product for your players built solely by your fans just to erase a perceived threat is entirely another.
The Queue: Mercenaries - Wed, 29 Apr 2009 20:00:00 EST Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
Today's edition of The Queue is nice and lengthy again, after a spree of shorty-shorts. See, good things happen when people actually ask questions! Although since it's being posted so late in the day, I bet Adam will have trouble again tomorrow. Do him (and yourselves) a favor: Ask Adam a bunch of completely absurd questions so he has something to write for all of you tomorrow!
"In the Ulduar Cinematic, the Horde and the Alliance both reject the idea of going into Ulduar, yet the players go into Ulduar and are on the Factions of the Horde and the Alliance, Why do we not Listen to our leaders or do they even matter because it seams the Horde just does whatever they want no matter what Thrall says?"
New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.
Just spent half an hour fruitlessly spamming the Trade channel in hopes of getting your new gear enchanted? Maybe (just maybe) the players on your server aren't the most unfriendly, unhelpful people this side of Silithus. Maybe you simply haven't figured out the most effective way to use [2:Trade].
According to loyal WoW Insider reader Sarabande, there's more to successful in-game transactions than simply advising someone to "use the Trade channel for trade." We agree - so this week, let's cover some basic tactics to get your sales sold, your portals ported and your enchantments enchanted.
Addon Spotlight takes a look at the little bits of Lua and XML that make our interfaces special. From bar mods to unit frames and beyond, if it goes in your Addons folder, we'll cover it here.
I love it when people send in tips for cool addons. There was a time when I could subscribe to the RSS feed for an addon site and check out each new mod as it came out, but the scene is too big now; I'd be at it all day. Today we'll look at DagAssist, which was submitted by Rodney earlier this afternoon.
DagAssist puts a single, quite attractive button on your minimap that, when clicked, opens a pop-up menu containing things like:
Teleports and portals, for mages
Summons for warlocks
You can see what it looks like for my warlock at right.