There could be up to a million Chinese gold farmers - Tue, 05 May 2009 19:00:00 EST A new report on MMO gold farming claims that there are about 400,000 working in China on gold farming and trading, and that there could be as many as 500,000 to even a full million. Of course there's no way to tell exactly how many people are employed in the business (and the number almost certainly doesn't stay constant for long), but according to interviews and surveys done of business there, that's the number they've come up with. They also claim a $10 billion a year turnover, however, and that number seems way high, though remember that they're talking about all MMOs, not just World of Warcraft. The report has some other interesting information about how China does gold farming: there are a number of brokerages staffed by English speakers in the larger cities that handle the actual transaction, and then the farms themselves are usually outside the cities, where cheaper labor is available. Typical pay in the farms is about $140 a month plus food and board, working in about ten hour shifts, while pay is higher in the city-based brokerages. Most employees are younger guys, who play while drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and lots of their ingame tasks are automated with custom-made and adapted software.
The idea behind "Bring the player, not the class" is that raid stacking shouldn't be as big of a deal as it was during, oh, say, Sunwell. For each buff and debuff, we have a few different classes that can provide it, so raid leaders don't have to go too far out of their way to get good coverage.
However, what single buff was the biggest factor causing guilds to stack a particular class in Sunwell? Ten points if you said "Bloodlust/Heroism." And that is, irritatingly enough, one of the few remaining buffs that no other class has; if you want Bloodlust, you need a shaman, period.
When patch 3.1 went live, Destruction warlocks (and 0/40/31s) had a lovely time smacking everything in sight with massive Conflagrates. This was promptly nerfed, for PvP purposes; the devs felt it was overpowered for 'locks to be able to do that much, that fast. However, it was acknowledged that Destro would need some PvE buffing to make up for it.
The first part is entirely reworked, and the second part used to only apply if your target's Immolate had 5 or fewer seconds remaining.
There was also a brief and terrifying time where they were considering changing Glyph of Conflagrate to give an entirely different effect, but fortunately, the current plan is to leave it as-is. Will this F&B revision be enough to make Destruction competitive with Affliction again? We'll see; I know I'll be trying it out.
Blizzard just announced that tickets for BlizzCon 2009, the third fourth installment of their phenomenally successful Blizzard-themed convention, will go on sale on Saturday, May 16, for $125 each. That's a week from this Saturday, friends. Additional tickets will be sold on Saturday, May 30. Edit: You'll be able to buy tickets at blizzcon.com at the appointed times.
BlizzCon 2009 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center on August 21 and 22. For those unable to make it, DirecTV is once again selling a pay-per-view package of the event for $40, which seems a bit steep for a two-day video feed, but will include exclusive video and this year's in-game item. This will also be available as an internet stream, presumably for those not subscribed to DirecTV. (Though the press release isn't clear on that point.)
Last year's BlizzCon ticket sales were marked by a figure affectionately known as the Failoc, which was displayed when Blizzard servers utterly failed to respond to crushing demand. This year, they think they're prepared: "the company has made upgrades to the Blizzard Store, including a first-come, first-served queue system and a fixed time limit for completing purchases," according to their press release. Check out Blizzard's FAQ for details on the new queue system.
What does it take to bring WoW fanatics the freshest World of Warcraft news on the planet? Imagine, if you will, a guy who sleeps literally no more than three or four hours at a stretch so he won't miss any World of Warcraft news. Imagine a guy who spends hour upon hour digging through game database files searching for anything that appears remotely different. Imagine a guy who no longer raids because he's so weary from 10-hour stretches on the PTR (public test realm).
Meet Boubouille, the force behind MMO-Champion. The hard-working Boubouille is also one of the friendliest, most genuine voices in the WoWosphere. Ever notice how often WoW Insider links developments, new items and spells and breaking news back to MMO-Champion? While Boubouille's first on the money, he's also quick on the tips and first to share a really interesting scoop - that's just the way he rolls. We poked our heads into his insane, non-stop schedule to find out what keeps him ticking along and where MMO-Champion is headed as WoW evolves over time.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a new UI blog for all classes. So how about them 3.1.2 changes?
The upcoming 3.1.2 patch is introducing some minor modifications to some of our Priestly spells. I'd have to say that it's an overall net nerf to Discipline. But in all honesty, I did feel we were slightly overpowered. Yes I'd say some of these were designed to address PvP concerns. Now I don't PvP competitively but when Priest/Rogue or Priest/Anything starts to have mass appeal, I pay a bit more attention and I ask questions to the players that do arena often. It's not that I don't like to arena or hit the battlegrounds. It's always been a time factor for me (due to raiding, writing and school). PvP simply gets the short end of the stick and ends up being something I can't get involved with.
Having fun with the Patron/Matron titles - Tue, 05 May 2009 15:00:00 EST There's some fun to be had out there with everyone's new Patron and Matron titles. And by fun I clearly mean instituting a level of confusion and raised eyebrows that only a transformative romp through the wilds of Storms Peaks can give you.
Secondly, display the title and fly out to Brunnhildar Village. You want to head towards the area where you change forms into a Hyldnir Frost Vrykul. You know, the big blue women.
As you form goes "poof," so will your title. If you were a man and are now a woman, you gain the Matron title. Don't you feel special now? Of course as soon as you fly out from the area and shapeshift automagically back to your original form, your title will change back as well.
There are reports in which people have experienced similar behavior being sheeped in PvP. Apparently all sheep are male? Who knows...
Boubouille over at MMO Champion has once again been ferreting around in the patch files and he's discovered the next set of loot from Upper Deck's next TCG expansion Field ofHeroes which is due out on 30th June.
There is a legend of El Pollo Grande, the scariest chicken in all of Azeroth, the black chicken of death. For years he has been the stuff of myth, summonable only by Niby the Almighty during a Felwood quest chain. Now, however, he has once again returned, this time as a mount. Yes, you heard me right, a giant chicken mount. This El Pollo Grande is not as dark or mean as his namesake, instead looking like a regular -- albeit giant -- chicken and will be an epic land mount. So if you've not yet reached level 60, then consider this your motivation.
Also in the cards (see what I did there?) are an ogre pinata (which I'm surmising will be a BoP item with no charges, like the Goblin Weather Machine). Finally, for those of you who walked the Path of Illidan, there's the Path of Cenarius which leaves flowers in your wake. Nice.
Someone made of stricter stuff than myself would probably say that it was wrong to use the shirt at all, but I have to admit -- I don't have it in me to condemn Karatechop's initial impulse to try it out. GM items don't officially exist for players; we know about them only because they've been data-mined, and you'd have to be a fairly frequent habitué of Warcraft fan sites to have any inkling that they're in the game at all. If I'd been in Karatechop's position, like many players I would've believed that Martin Fury was a joke when I first saw it. Who honestly expects to run across an item like that, let alone one that was mailed to a guildie's level 13 Warlock? I don't believe Karatechop was wrong to try the shirt when he had no reason to believe it was anything other than a joke or some bizarre glitch.
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.
There was a good, and amazingly civil, discussion yesterday in the comments to the Queue about which instance a tank should head to first. Most of the debate came about via my suggestion that Utgarde Pinnacle was a good candidate for a tank's first heroic. The nice thing about this game is that there is no right or wrong answer (most of the time).
However one of the only truths about the game is that you can get better at it by discussing it and debating the aspects of it with other people. So I do humbly recommend that no matter what question you ask, you always look for more than one answer and compile all the answers into one that fits you best. And with that said, ask your questions about the game in the comments and we'll see if we can't help you on this path of enlightenment. /zen
"I'm pretty sure that suggesting Utgarde Pinnacle for a new tank is the height of sadism."
I love theorycraft. One of my favorite things about WoW is the fact that you can do math about it, and that math can help you play better. One of the better examples of theorycraft out there was MK, author of A Dwarf Priest, who did some seriously cool work on Holy gear ranking for Wrath.
However, MK hasn't been seen around lately, and hasn't updated the information for patch 3.1, with its big changes to spirit and to Priest talents. Fortunately, a blogger named BobTurkey has stepped in and thoroughly reworked all the numbers, at great and interesting length. It's times like these that I really love the WoW community.
Here's where it gets interesting. One bot state is blue, and one bot state is red. These blue and red colors match up pretty darn close to the Mountain Dew product that's on the horizon. Take a look after the break for side-by-side comparisons.
It's been a little while since we've had a guild recruitment video on Moviewatch, so I was pretty happy to get a note from Horror. He told us about the Scytheguard Recruitment Video, which he'd built for his Forsaken-only roleplay guild on Sentinels.
The video's got a few good ideas behind it, and has a few things that could be improved. First, I liked Horror's idea for a voice-over. Since his guild is exclusively for the undead, starting off with that nightmarish "you can't breathe anymore" idea is a great start to roleplay. That being said, I think the opening went a little longer than needed. Anyone checking out a trailer needs fast-paced action, or they'll wander off.
I think showing snippets of Northrend is also a good idea. There's enough random footage of gameplay out there that you want your prospective recruit to know you're progressing, and enjoying current content. Otherwise, they may assume your guild's just a few friends who threw a Fraps up on YouTube. (And while there's nothing wrong with that, it might get in the way of recruitment.)
Now, this was Horror's first and only video so far, so I can see why he's using an unregistered Fraps. But if he does more videos, he should go ahead and grab the registered version, and get the watermark off the top of his video. The video looks neat, but the watermark's a little distracting.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
WoW Insider: Blizzard seem to be treating each major patch as more of a mini expansion, what are the reasons for this?
Tom Chilton: I would say the biggest reason is because we're always pushing ourselves to do as much as we can in every patch. We're never really satisfied with what we have in the patch versus what we didn't have. Maybe the developers get a little out of control - but in a good way as that's good for players. More than anything else we want to make sure that in a patch we have content for everyone.
We feel like one of the things we didn't do so well in the past was to deliver content for everyone, we would deliver content for different parts of the player base at any given time like a 25-person raid or a 10-person raid or here's a new battleground, back in the day of Arathi Basin. However we didn't really hit everyone at the same time so we're trying harder to do that while at the same time maintain our pace of Expansions ... our blindingly rapid pace of Expansions.
So what happened to all those Noblegarden rabbits that were hopping around just a week ago? For Ayalafatalis of The Sentinels, his brief foray into bunnyhood ended in a bright new future as a squashed rabbit carcass. Ah, the beauty of the food chain in action.
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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.
Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all MMOs, including WoW! Check out this roundup of the latest news from the wider MMO world.
Champions Online Press NDA lifts: See our impressions This last weekend, press had the opportunity to spend my time within the Champions Online beta. After playing more than I would safely recommend, I bring you my personal takeaway in an effort to get out as much crunchy information goodness on the upcoming MMO as possible.
Five free to play MMOs that are ahead of the class Times are tough, the wallet is tight, and you still need a game to play. But what free games can you wrap your hands around that just don't suck, right? That seems to be the trouble with free to play games -- many selections all with very low quality. But the market is not as bad as you might think. There are certainly some gems out there in the free to play market, just waiting for you to wrap your hands around them and play. Finding them however, hasn't always been easy, until now.
Massively's post-launch interview with Free Realms Free Realms has launched, the floodgates have been opened and the servers have multiplied like little fluffy bunnies. Despite a slight delay, the launch's feedback has been predominantly positive. Not only is this rare for an MMO launch these days, considering the factors, but it's also a testament to the team involved.
I'm not in a WoW place right now. I tend to move through phases of being a casual or a hardcore player. It depends on the content available (such as a new patch) and my workload. I did most of the Noblegarden achievements but now Children's Week is here I suddenly feel burnt out. Except for a quick romp through Gun'drak with my guildies last night and a pit stop to pick up my orphans, I've been strangely distant from Azeroth.
The thing is, I know precisely why. It's the pressure of achievements and festivals. Let me be clear, no one is making me do these things but me. Last year I enjoyed Children's Week because it was my first time doing the Outland version, I got rep, money and the smug feeling you get from taking a cute Draenei orphan around to see her heritage. Now all my guildies and most of the other people on my sever are frantically going for the achievements and, in some ways, it feels like the holiday has been cheapened a little. Being so close to Noblegarden probably hasn't helped either.
But it makes me wonder if I'm the only one? Right now I'm a casual player, but do you think the point of these holidays has been lost by the desire to get a Violet Proto-Drake?
Happy Tuesday Morning, everyone. We're expecting a short downtime this morning, 5 AM - 11 AM Pacific. Patch 3.1.2 probably won't go live quite yet what with the new build on the PTR, so hopefully this will be a relatively smooth downtime. As always, the downtimes is great time to catch up on the news from the past week, and there were a few good stories that broke over the past 7 days.
Win more TCG loot with WoW Insider - Tue, 05 May 2009 07:00:00 EST Good morning, WoW Insider! It's maintenance day, and you know what that means: WoW Insider has shinies for you. Yes, courtesy of WoWTCGLoot.com, we have another batch of loot codes to give away to you guys today. Be warned: These codes are region locked, so they're only valid in North America. Sorry, rest of the world. We'll do what we can for you guys another time.
What loot cards do we have today? Well, thanks for asking! We have...