MTV interviews Blizzard execs - Tue, 08 Jul 2008 19:00:00 EST At the Worldwide Invitational, MTV interviewed two Blizzard executives: Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer, and Frank Pearce, Executive Vice President of Product Development. It's an interesting read -- if not the best interview I've ever read -- which includes more info on Diablo 3, mobile apps, and thoughts about MMOs in general. The duo leaves the door open for Blizzard to create an MMO that might "cannibalize" the WoW player base, although for some reason they are not convinced that Diablo 3 will impact that base. (I, for one, disagree. The huge response we got to the Diablo news on WoW Insider tells us that there is a huge amount of crossover between the franchises.) They also don't believe that there's much overlap between Starcraft and WoW. Frank stressed that, regardless of what the marketing research might say, "those aren't necessarily the data points that we use for decision-making when it comes to the games that we want to make."
Read on to see what Blizzard says about time between game releases and new MMOs.
Activision shareholders (and a little regulation-fu) were the only hold ups to the process. Today, Activision shareholders voted 92% in favor of merging with Vivendi. Which means that 8% voted against the deal -- I have to wonder what they were thinking. The old Vivendi folks have a 52% control of the new company (called Activision-Blizzard), which is projected to clock over $3.8 billion dollars annually.
The close date is tomorrow -- it's still technically possible that an enormous asteroid may fall from the heavens, plunging the entirety of the Earth into a post-nuclear wasteland. Or, zombies could attack. Maybe Zombie Murlocs, with their own MySpace accounts. But short of a Murloc invasion (I, for one, welcome our new Mrlglglglge overlords), there's nothing left for the merger but for the fat lady to sing.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus. This week, unforeseen and uncontrollable forces have delayed the column by a week and a few days. For the next few weeks, I'll be taking a look into the depths of Black Temple from a Priestly perspective starting with Naj'entus, Supremus, and Shade of Akama.
Black Temple used to be the most challenging raid instance in the game. Now that honour belongs to the Sunwell. This week, I will help guide you through the trials and tribulations enroute to Illidan. I wanted to write this column for a while but I did not feel it was appropriate since I had no Illidan kill under the belt. We killed him last week and I want to share what I've learned to Priests that are fighting and progressing their way through this milestone instance. I'm only going to list stuff that's relevant for Priests to know about.
The Paladin class hasn't gotten much love from Blizzard from what we've seen so far in the development of the Wrath of the Lich King. Of all the class updates delivered during the recently concluded Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, the Paladin was one of two classes (the other was the Mage) that didn't receive much by way of news. On the other hand, leaked information from the Alpha revealed some new whopper spells for Mages, including cool and explosive (literally) 51-point talents. Hunters don't have new talents yet, either, but the exciting news is that in WotLK, their pets will.
From out of the blue. But good things come to those who wait. Tipster Delsin helped shed some Light on the slow development pace by linking to what is purportedly a forum discussion with Ghostcrawler, a developer of the new expansion. The responses from the blue were supposedly sprinkled over a couple of weeks, with the first and oldest post revealing little we didn't already know. It detailed the design directive the developers were taking, noting four important points:
Retribution Paladins need to have better utility in raids
Holy Paladins shouldn't feel so punished during encounters which require lots of movement
Protection Paladins need to be great tanks not only for 5-person content but also for raids; at the same time, all four tanking classes should maintain their niche
Paladins, more than any other class, need diverse sets of gear depending on their spec and role. Itemization is being fixed across the board to make it easier for healers and tanks to do damage without needing a whole new set of gear
These key points illustrate that Blizzard has a good grasp of what plagues the class, and is moving in the right direction. In two more responses in the same thread, the developers explain why the Paladin developments are taking so long and the issues they're looking at. Read more after the break.
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and get mad purpz. Today, we look at what happens when a raider moves guilds.
In a previous Ready Check, I posted about some of the problems many Sunwell raid guilds have been experiencing, ranging from member attrition and an unsatisfactory recruitment pool to divided aims and skill levels within the guild itself. This column will look at the aftermath of some of these issues, nearly a month later.
A suggestion from commenters that was overlooked both by myself in said column, and by those of us discussing future options within the guild, was simply to break for the summer if summer was taking such a hard toll on us. However, in a guild where a core of members are very active and want to kill Kil'Jaeden whatever it takes, an enforced summer break would likely have caused more key players to leave for other guilds. This might work if you aren't so close to 'beating the game' or if other alternatives aren't viable, however, so I wanted to quickly touch on it as an option that I'd omitted previously.
Turpster talked with us about WWI, what he thought of the big event in Paris, what it was like to play a Death Knight, and why he thought it was even better than last year's BlizzCon (including why this year's BlizzCon might be even better).
Kyle spoke with us about being a player who's just now getting back into WoW, and what he's excited for in the next expansion.
Definitely a fun show (and it features the only time I've ever gotten really angry at Turpster, though it turned out to be no big deal, and he's probably not fired from the show. Probably.). Give it a listen over on the WoW Radio page, and if you have a question comment, or insight about something we said, don't hesitate to email the show itself -- firstname.lastname@example.org is the address.
Thanks for listening as always, we'll see you next week.
15 Minutes of Fame: WoW from the Ivory Tower - Tue, 08 Jul 2008 14:00:00 EST 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 at 15minutesoffame (AT) wowinsider (DOT) com.
Academic types will find a way to analyze just about every aspect of life - life in Azeroth included. Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader, published in May by The MIT Press, explores what it calls "the cultural and social implications of the proliferation of ever more complex digital game worlds." Whew.
Props to the authors of this anthology for not only playing the game they're pontificating about - they actually created their own guild, where they play with other Digital Culture contributors. 15 Minutes of Fame talked with Jessica Langer, author of a chapter on the ways in which narratives of colonialism and otherness functioned in different ways throughout the game, about what she plays, what she writes, and how it all comes together in the World of Warcraft.
Welcome to another edition of He Said/She Said where Amanda Dean and David Bowers take on some of the deepest gender issues in the World of Warcraft universe.This time we discuss the expectations of men and women in guilds and how WoW reflects the larger society.
Amanda: I don't know how many times I've heard of women flirting their way into raids or excellent gear. Perhaps this happens in some cases, but these are the bad apples. I find myself growing kind of tired of the stereotype that girls can't play WoW. The truth is that many women play WoW, and many of us are very good at it.
Despite the absence of a flesh and blood Baron Soosdon, it was interesting to see the convention from the eyes of a first-timer. If you look carefully at the part where he discusses the costumed girls, you'll see a real live Dopefish, though! Other coverage includes the Blizzard museum, dance and costume contests, and the closing ceremony.
He wasn't able to capture the machinima contest because it literally lasted only a few minutes. In one of the most disappointing displays, Blizzard cited that they had run out of time with the other contests and only showed a few seconds of each winning video. We know that Olibith managed to win three prizes, though!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Illusionary Tactics documents my perfectly reasonable preoccupation with items and quests that change your appearance. After all, how long can you really look at one character's back before you start getting tired of it? So much better to turn into a tree periodically. (No, I'm not talking about you, Druids; your column is that way.)
Blizzard must have really had a good time designing the Draenei and Blood Elf starting areas for Burning Crusade; there are a lot of great and frequently hilarious quests there, and this is one of them. The reason I'm talking about it here is because it's one of them that happens to turn you into a tree.
Although I find it unlikely that anyone would want to avoid spoilers for a level 8 quest chain, I'll put the rest of the discussion behind a cut just in case.
Remember that Calvin and Hobbes when Calvin kept a snowball in the freezer all through the spring and summer so he could cream Susie with it in June, and then he ended up boffing his throw? It's kind of like keeping snowballs in your bank for six months so you can become a snowman during the Midsummer Fire Festival. Man, I miss that comic. Anyway, Backstage of Warsong took this picture of this improbable holiday mishmash in Orgrimmar. The fiery effect is caused by the Sandals of Summer and Vestment of Summer. Caution: melting may occur.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing email@example.com 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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it.
This week we complete our two part Moonkin gear guide for preparing for Karazhan.
In part one, we covered most of the basics about gear choices, and the reader comments that followed offered excellent additional advice. This week, since we are covering Belt slots through Weapons and Idols, there are just a few more notes to cover before we begin.
A few notes about weapons:
If your guild already has Kara on farm and you're just getting your character ready to join in, you may expect to get upgrades fairly quickly. The Staff of Inifinite Mysteries drops from Curator and the Nathrezim Mindblade drops from Prince, so some of the epic weapons listed here may not be worth the effort to attain. However, to the character whose entire guild is now getting ready to start Kara, or simply someone who has the time/gold to spare and wants the best gear they can get, the options are certainly there.
Also worth mentioning, is that while the majority of Season 2 PvP gear is worth looking at for any equipment slot you feel weak in, the weapons available from Season 2 really shine. Even the Season 1 weapons blew most pre-Kara options away, and now that Season 2 is available for honor, it's really no contest. But, if you don't enjoy PvP, these other avenues for gear are perfectly acceptable; these are the weapons that people were "meant" to be using when going into Kara for the first time.
And of course, when upgrading from a 1H/off-hand to a staff, be sure to hold onto those two items. You never know when you might get a really awesome 1H weapon or off-hand that will make the combo better than your staff.
American arena's best of the best will be back in action this weekend as MLGs PC Circuit continues in Orlando.Once again, the winning team will be awarded $12,000 and three Blackbird Gaming PCs.There is a lot on the line with a total prize purse is $31,500.You can watch the tournament live on GotFrag TV.Broadcasts will begin Saturday and Sunday, July 12th and 13th at 9am Eastern time.
Many of the same teams from the San Diego event will be representing in Florida.GotGrat's Knitt Quinn posted a preview analysis of the teams to beat.The analysis describes the strengths and weaknesses of each team.You can expect to see some well known teams and a few newcomers to the MLG scene.Many of the teams have a pool of known compositions to draw from:
Of course, the definition of evil in this case isn't quite written in stone -- what your character thinks is OK to do may not be what you think is OK to do. My undead Rogue took a lot of pleasure in killing Stanley, even if I would be horrified to hear about someone doing the same thing in real life. But in the same vein, while I was fully convinced in character that setting off that Mana Bomb in Outland was the right thing for my character to do, personally, I thought the kill count was a little shocking. At what point does my hero become a mass murderer?
Good Morning everyone. On this Tuesday morning, most of us can rest easy: Just a quick restart at 5 AM PDT, and we'll be good to get back in the game. There a few servers, however, that will have to deal with an extended maintenance period, lasting until 11 AM PDT. You can see the full list of those servers here.
For players on those servers, and those of us who can't sneak in some WoW time at school or work, I bring you the perfect solution: A roundup of some of the best news and analysis from the past week here at WoW Insider. Dig in, and keep it here throughout the day for more breaking news, guides, and analysis.
Starting your day with a crossword puzzle can be both fun and mentally stimulating. How about giving this WoW-themed one a try?
Is buying your way through tier 6 raid content an insult to those who work hard to take down bosses on their own, or is a win-win situation for rich casuals and guilds in need of reagent and repair money? Join the discussion.
If that's not enough for you, we have fresh Wrath of the Lich King and Worldwide Invitational news waiting after the break.
It looks like the issues is not so much faction pride as friends and familiarity.Probably the most important factor is having friends or guildies to play with on the other side.Millaneous of Norgannon said that he doesn't care which side he plays, as long as he's playing with friends.Rummi of Ysera finds difficulty in breaking the link with his main character when playing on Alliance side.It's kind of Lonely and outside of one's established element.
This week I headed off to Bleeding Hollow's Horde side to talk with players about the biggest story of the past week: the opening up of the opt-in for the Wrath of the Lich King beta. The server was really busy, and in fact, someone's been busy in Orgrimmar there -- there are quite a few bits of corpse graffiti around, with names like "Pvpfails" and "Blizzsucks."
But nevertheless, I did find two willing victims interviewees for the column this week. See what we talked about after the jump.
PvP in its purest form is a beautiful thing. Amanda Dean, always obsessed with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat brings you news you can use in the Arena.
When I first started the arena, I thought "Hey, me and my friends can just get together and play."And we can, but there are limits to success based on composition.Some of the most successful teams are based on archetypal compositions such as Rogue, Mage, and Priest (RMP).These typical compositions are based on synergy among classes.Focused mana draining is another fairly successful team structure.
The key to successful arena play is usually to control the playing field.Drain teams deny their opponents the ability to attack or heal.Drain teams focus on characters that have mana depleting abilities, plus have a few other tricks up their sleeve to pull out when necessary. Your main contenders are Hunter, Priest, and Warlock.
What's wrong with leveling? - Mon, 07 Jul 2008 20:00:00 EST This post isn't going to be about how to "fix" leveling or make it faster or easier or anything like that. Instead, I'm writing in defense of the leveling process. I actually enjoy it even though I'm having a hard time thinking of anyone else I know who doesn't just want to get it over with. I enjoy questing and I enjoy the charge I get when I learn a new spell or add a new talent point. When I hit level 70 I was quite disoriented without the XP bar to cheer me along. I can't get my head around the idea that I no longer need to log out at an inn because the resting bonus doesn't apply any more. In fact, I'm such a quest addict that I'm still doing leftover quests all over Outland.
Everyone seems to want to get to the endgame as soon as possible. An entire dirty business of buying level 70s has sprung up around the idea that power-leveling is king. But for me, it feels a little bit like the endgame is the End of the Game. There is a shade of "now what?" flying through the back of my mind. No more content to experience, no more places to explore that I haven't already wreaked havoc through. One way to replace XP as a motivation tool is to work on gaining faction chits, I guess, and battleground marks. Sigh. What a grind; it doesn't have the zing that dinging a new level does, or even just seeing the blue bars fill up across my screen. On top of that, there are so many dang factions and rewards and things to collect I need an accountant to help me keep track of what items I should be collecting -- or even what gear, for that matter!
I guess gold is my new XP since those epic flying mounts cost so much. Let's say that I decide to measure my success by my gold balance. I can do enough quests and sell enough stuff at the Auction House to get the 5000G eventually. Then what? I have this super-fast flying mount and no reason to do anything with it.