One of the highlights of the interview is that Connie thinks Blizzard will begin monetizing the UI. "Based on all the changes Blizzard is making, I believe the Blizzard business model is to "Monetize" UI Mods/add-ons by developing them in house and offering them for sale to players "
Now I don't necessarily agree with the end analysis, but her arguments are compelling and make sense.
It will be interesting in another year or so to see where this UI policy change lands us. We'll have to wait and see!
"Full-time guild director" being hired on Craigslist - Wed, 01 Apr 2009 18:00:00 EST It's a tough economy out there, and everyone's looking for a stable job that won't drive them nuts. Enter this kind fellow from Santa Barbara, California -- he's offering "fulltime" pay to someone willing to become a PvP guild director. Duties include picking up skilled new recruits, delivering summaries of what's been going on in the guild, and keeping tabs on raid stats, guild banking, auctions, and so on. He's got a three-box setup you can use when he's not on it (hence, the money to burn), and while pay isn't much at first, he does have plans in mind for a bonus schedule (if the guild gets three people in the top Arena rankings, you get a frozen turkey?).
Pretty wild, but as long as someone is willing to pay for something (and I know a lot of guild leaders who'd love to outsource their "jobs" if they had the cash), you can turn it into a real job. And who knows -- putting "WoW Guild Director" on your resume might be really helpful. If you do get hired, be sure to let us know.
When you log into the game today, and if you're updated to the latest version, you'll hear a modem sound ring across your speakers. This is a joke, this is only a joke, and you have no need to be alarmed.
We've gotten many tips in about this, mainly people thinking that it's the Confiker virus which was supposed to start today. Well, it's not. And from the look of things Confiker is bust too (at least for now). So you're safe and okay, and can be angry that you've been had by an add-on author. Or just laugh about it, which is what I've done.
"My Life as a Night Elf Priest" - Wed, 01 Apr 2009 16:00:00 EST A University of California Irvine anthropologist named Bonnie Nardi has been studying one of the strangest cultures known to man lately, and she's going to be presenting her findings in a book called "My life as a Night Elf Priest" -- that's right, she's been taking notes on the weird sociological experiment known as Azeroth. It sounds pretty interesting -- she's been examining the way Chinese and American players play the game (and of course the differences between them), and she's also looking into how games like WoWcan bring us closer together rather than isolating us socially.
It's funny -- as a genre and a technology, MMO games are actually in the absolute earliest phases of their history. Socoiologists and psychologists have been studying real humans for thousands of years, and yet it's only in the past few decades that they've gotten access to MMO games, like little petri dishes of condensed human behavior. Nardi may be one of the first to try and scientifically examine how players use (and are affected by) this technology, but she'll definitely be far from the last.
Noblegarden removed from in-game calendar - Wed, 01 Apr 2009 15:00:00 EST Thanks to the astute eyes of reader Jadissa, we can report that Noblegarden is no longer present on the in-game calendar. This is likely a clear indicator that the in-game world event is getting pushed back. Based on what we know already (that it will be part of other achievements), it should not be assumed that the event was removed.
There has been no indication from Blizzard when exactly it will start up, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it go live towards the end of the month. We'll have to wait and see when this start date is, and we'll be sure to announce it here on WoW Insider as soon as we know.
Blizzard announces new Dance Battle System (that isn't real) - Wed, 01 Apr 2009 14:00:00 EST Blizzard never fails to exceed expectations on April Fool's Day -- in the EU, they reported on a brand new Pimp My Mount option (featuring tiger-mounted gatling guns), over on the forums, they RP'd the place up a bit, and now on the North American page, they've announced the game's newest feature: a Dance Battle system. They say that sometime soon in the game (that is, if this wasn't April 1st), players will be able to have dance-offs around the world, culminating in a huge dance tournament to take place in Kael'thas quarters in Tempest Keep. Wait, isn't that guy dead? Players will be able to form crews, which can then battle each other using player controlled dance moves and a vehicle-like interface.
Of course, none of it is true, which is an extra poke in the heart to fans who really are waiting for the new dance system. We doubt it'll have a battle component, but the interface and the rewards are pretty intriguing -- so close to what we're really hoping for, and yet so far. And yes Blizzard, nice Lonely Island joke hidden in there. It was, in fact, a horror film.
There's even a trailer for "Azeroth's Best Dance Crew (hosted by Acy Slater)," though we looked closely and didn't see any really new dance moves in there, either. But it's cute, and (maybe this is what Blizzard intended) only whets our appetite for the real new dances, supposedly still coming soon.
Blizzard has made a nice cinematic tweak to the forums today -- as you can see in this impassioned Engineering QQ thread, they've added a little bit of font flavor and some roleplaying text to everyone's posts. Instead of just whining about Engineers, "Aurainsoph's brow furrowed in concentration" before speaking, and after every paragraph, we get a much clearer picture of what our characters are doing, whether that be "putting on her robe and wizard's hat" (yuk yuk yuk) or "liberally applied his custom fragrance, which was made with bits of real nightsaber." Wait -- eww.
And every post ends with a nice RP finish as well, most of them more silly than dramatic. All in all, it's very well done -- not only are there lots of different combinations, but the syntax works, and each post really does read like some bad fanfiction. Players seem to really enjoy it, even though their hair was a bird, and they found their point to be invalid. Whatever that means.
With patch 3.1's steam winding down, I predict its release in the next three weeks. Our most recent change was a simple increase to Deadly Throw's velocity: hardly groundbreaking. We should begin finalizing new builds, and planning our gear upgrade paths.
Between the Argent Tournament, Ulduar, and new PvP gear, Rogues everywhere will be very busy collecting all of the new leather gear that we'll have access to. Read on to find out where to pick up the best upgrades, and how to prepare by stockpiling now. And to any Warriors looking for a wishlist: Sorry guys, leather is for Rogues (& our pictured feline friends)!
Blizzard Europe today announced on their website a new feature called "Pimp My Mount"! According to the page, you'll be able to spend around 30,000g and equip your ride with the latest mount pimpage and pwn the face off of everyone that sees you.
There are many options available for a pimped out ride. You can choose how much turbo boost you have, how many ejection seats, different kinds of lights, trims, sound systems, drink dispensers, and windows.
Perhaps the coolest thing is that it allows you to purchase an onboard companion. At first I was going to go with a "Hot Night Elf Girlfriend" who occasionally cast Blessing of Might on me, but I've since decided to go with the "Onboard goblin engineer for emergency repairs." Mainly because I'm a bad driver and have a tendency to smash into other people.
If you've been following the emergence of the "Belf Rap" genre, then you're already somewhat familiar with Abandonation. He's done collaborations already with Nyhm, Gigi, and other similarly-inclined artists. While working on other upcoming projects, Abandonation hooked up with a new machinimist who goes by Red Eye Lobine. Red Eye, of course, is the chap who put out the awesome preview for his own work, Frontline. (That song is actually performed by the rock band Pillar, but the gorgeous animation is all done by Red Eye.)
This is another preview video, so be warned that it cuts off a little abruptly. That being said, I think the preview provides a very strong feel for what the final video will be like. Abandonation is responsible for the music, and Red Eye for the video itself.
The music basically works for me. The soundtrack itself seems to get louder and softer without warning, and can be distracting from the lyrics. I chalk that up to being a preview, and not a finished production. I like the fast paced lyrics and clear skill Abandonation shows in mastering them.
I think Red Eye is creating a very clear, distinctive style for his videos. The attention to each character's models, flattering shots, and sort of gritty, inner city backgrounds give the otherwise "fabulous" Blood Elves a more down-to-earth feel.
The video's exciting, and I can't wait to see the finished project. As I've said before, I think this collaborative group is doing a lot to bring a new genre to machinima. I'd really like to see them succeed.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch ..
Blizzard's merchandising hasn't stopped with Mountain Dew, no sir. This past week the WoW Insider staff received a lovely surprise in the form of a package from Swanson. Many of the producers of Blizzard-licensed products (such as UpperDeck) tend to send us advance, review copies of new products. Swanson followed suit and has sent us a variety of the new Hungry Man dinners that will be hitting stores this summer.
Hungry Man Gamer Grub (which we've dubbed 'Hungry Gamer') is a line of World of Warcraft themed frozen dinners. It seems this is yet another company jumping on the bandwagon of catering to the gaming demographic, but it would be unfair of us to write this product off from the start. To be completely fair to them, neither the box art nor the documentation that came with our package made any cracks about gamers as these things usually do. Essentially, it just seems like Hungry Man is trying something new. Gaming is 'in' now, you know! After the WoW line, I'd bet we'll see Halo Hungry Man or Noby Noby Boy Hungry Man. Well, maybe not that second one.
Anyway, we were given one or two of each of the upcoming dinners to taste test. We took volunteers from the staff to try them out, and in the following pages you'll find our thoughts and reviews. Some were a hit, but others? Not so much. Click through the button below to find our reviews, and if you want to see a larger picture of the box art for each of the meals, simply click on the picture and it will take you to our gallery.
"Have you checked the Dalaran fountain lately?" said the blood elf death knight. "There's actually a hole in the bottom of the pool now. You can't see it, but if you keep swimming downward you'll stumble upon it. And if you go all the way to the bottom of the hole and fight a shark, you'll get an achievement and a rideable murloc mount!" Sadly, the realization that it was April Fool's Day came far too late for Endario and the valiant level 1 gnome (and one dwarf) alts of <La Familia de Stonewall> on Proudmoore. The blood elf simply looked on and laughed, before resuming his 18-hour search for a VoA group that wasn't full on death knights.
Do you have any unusual, clever, 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.
BtDP up for Scribe award, Warcraft audiobooks delayed - Wed, 01 Apr 2009 09:00:00 EST Here's a few bits of WoW book news from our friend Medievaldragon over at Blizzplanet. First up, the good news: Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden have been nominated for a "Best Adapted" award from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (just proving that for everything in the world, there's an association for it) for the World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal book that they wrote together. Pretty groovy, and supposedly well-deserved -- if you ever sit down to read any of the Warcraft literature, we've heard that's a great place to start. Winners of the prizes will be announced at GenCon this year, so good luck to the writers there.
And secondly, a bummer for those who've been waiting on the audiobook versions of the Warcraft books -- Medievaldragon says that he heard from Tantor Media, the company behind the productions, that they've been postponed. He's convinced that they've only been held off temporarily, but we're not so sure -- given the current economy, Tantor may have figured it wasn't worth the licensing and the trouble. But you never know -- apparently they've all been recorded, so perhaps we'll see them at some point in the future, even if it's only in digital form. We certainly hope so.
While I enjoy playing World of Warcraft, there are times when it feels like too much work and I need to take some sort of forced vacation. I got that last week when I needed to take my wife to the hospital and we were both properly pried away from the game. We were unable to play for a few days, she bedridden and I keeping watch in a sad, Internet-less room. It was actually refreshing. I watched some TV and my wife finally started on Brisngr.
As soon as she was up and about again (thankfully), of course, she was right back on top of her game, commandeering the Auction House, performing her usual daily quests, and raiding left and right. In some ways, getting back into Azeroth was theraputic for her (the Inheritance Cycle has been put back on hold). On the other hand, just a few days out of the game and I found it hard to get back into my groove. I've only played one Battleground since we got back from the hospital, one game of Wintergrasp, and not a single Arena match.
Actually, I'd found myself spending more of my online time tending to a virtual pet and lately, a virtual restaurant. I guess being so frazzled over the love of my life made me want to relax a little bit, and I don't want to get into the adrenaline-raising tedium of smashing heads just yet. Maybe later.
How about you guys? How do you find getting back into the game after a short (or long) break? Do you get right back into the action (like my wife) or do you dilly-dally (like me)? When our lives force us to take a short break or change of pace, how do you get your groove back?
Something really amazing happened the other day -- Jalabharxo, as you can see in the chat above, asked for some help in the Trade chat. But unlike what usually happens (someone insults his mother or people make fun of his lack of knowledge by calling him a noob), the unthinkable took place: someone respectfully answered his question. He couldn't believe it, and even though he sent us the screenshot, neither could we.
Because of this crazy change to the way the game is played (People helping each other? Who'da thunk it?), we've decided to change up the format of Guildwatch. Usually we cover downed and recruiting news from guilds around the realms, as well as all of the crazy guild drama. But the drama is always so vicious, and no one ever seems to like it too much, so from now on, we're going to be covering a different side of the game: guild goodness. We're sure you'll love this change -- the new GW starts right after the break. And as always, you can send us news of your guild or anyone elses at email@example.com.
Bornakk posted a tentative date for the announced end of ArenaSeason 5, indicating that the season can end "as early as April 14" or a week after. It should be noted that the first four Arena seasons had no breaks in between, with one season beginning immediately after the last ended. Arena seasons were only suspended upon the release of Patch 3.0 leading up to Wrath of the Lich King, with the first season of Level 80 Arena play beginning on December 16. This time around, however, Bornakk makes it clear that the next Arena season will not begin immediately but have at least a one week break before Season 6 begins.
This should also be taken as an indication of when Patch 3.1 will be released. Blizzard has stated that they plan to unleash Season 6 almost simultaneously with the new raid content, so if Season 5 ends within two or three weeks, it should be expected that Patch 3.1 is just around the corner. It might even come sooner rather than later, as Blizzard has noted that Season 5 would "end with or shortly after" Patch 3.1 goes live. All of the necessary files such as Season 6 items are contained in the patch, so this only makes sense.
Bornakk reminds all players who feel they will be eligible for end of season rewards, such as titles and the Deadly Gladiator's Frostwyrm, should refrain from transfering their characters to another realm until after Season 5 ends (or until rewards have been handed out to be safe). During the break between seasons, all ranked matches will be disabled and all Arena points and ratings will be wiped [EDIT: Arena points and ratings will continue to be available during the one week break to allow players to spend their points, but will be wiped when Season 6 begins.]. However, players will retain their matchmaking ratings and Honor points.
Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, our author ferrets around her inbox for several unanswered questions concerning patch 3.1.
Greetings, Druids. For a while now I've been adding to a list of questions I've had for the upcoming 3.1 patch. Some of these are questions I got from other players, some are questions that occurred to me while reading various versions of the 3.1 PTR patch notes, and others are mostly-illegible bits scribbled in the middle of testing Ulduar fights -- dasiewlerjewDIFEEIRKdfklsd? 3349FHDFHDIOJKfkdsfadioer. REIOWEL?
Must've written that one on Kologarn. I believe it is a super-secret, devilishly clever guide to the fight that brilliantly exploits group positioning to produce a clean, one-shot kill on the first attempt, but alas, we will never know. Such are the dangers posed by bad handwriting, people. Study your Palmer Method!
This evening, I will attempt to answer all of the following questions, or to point you in the direction of other bloggers who have. These deal with all three Druid specs, so let's get started!
Once upon a time, the only raiding in WoW was 40-man raiding, and we did it uphill, both ways, and flasks went away when you died. And we liked it. Later on in Classic WoW, some 20-man raids were introduced in the form of Zul'gurub and Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, and they were generally seen as successful.
So successful, in fact, that when Burning Crusade came along, there were no more 40-man raids - only 10 and 25. At the beginning, the only 10-man was BC's entry-level raid, Karazhan. Everything else, from the small T4 raids (Gruul, Magtheridon) on up through T6, was exclusively 25-man. Notably, Gruul and Mags returned the same quality of rewards as KZ. Eventually a second 10-man raid (Zul'Aman) was introduced, with roughly a T5 level of difficulty, and of rewards.
Blizzard noticed that people really liked these 10-man raids. And so it came to pass that in the current expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, every raid instance is available in both 10- and 25-man versions. However, in a departure from all previous tradition, the 10- and 25-man instances at the same tier (which is to say, T7, at the moment) reward different levels of gear: Naxx-10 gives you ilvl 200 epics, whereas Naxx-25 rewards you with ilvl 213.
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.
Slightly continuing in the vein of "alternatives to," today's Addon Spotlight looks at an addon that some prefer to the mighty Auctioneer. Auctioneer is one of the all-time great WoW addons; it's been around forever and offers pretty much every auction-related feature you could possibly think of. Unfortunately, massive feature set and good book-keeping facilities come at a cost: system resources. There's no denying that Auctioneer is well up there on the list of mods that use rather a lot of memory and CPU.
Enter AuctionLite. The "lite" applies both to its feature set and its resource footprint. It doesn't cover everything Auctioneer does, but the core use cases, at least for me, are covered:
Track average prices
Suggest prices for listings based on what's on the market right now (undercut)
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
In today's World of Warcraft, there aren't many dedicated craftsmen left. As early as a year ago, I wrote about the death of the salesman: "Most enchanters don't enchant for the general public at all, unless you provide mats and a tip. And in any profession, with so many other players on the servers who have the same patterns (even rare patterns are generally available from more than one player) and so many easy ways to make money (hello, daily quests!), there's little reason to hang around town to build a regular clientele. Components provided or created by other professions are readily available on the Auction House - there's no need to seek out and nurture relationships with another player from a complementary profession. "
That situation has solidified in the Wrath era. Players roll up new professions strictly to earn achievement points or use a specific crafted-only item to plug gear gaps until they can loot something better.
But if you look carefully, on every server, you'll find a tenacious handful of players who've made crafting their meat and potatoes. These are the folks you see in town for hours on end, buying and selling and crafting endless items for newbies and 80s alike. They're the go-to guys for their professions, and their reputations earn them customers even when their prices aren't scraping bottom.