The9 and Soft-World to carry Wrath in Asia - Mon, 14 Apr 2008 19:00:00 EST Blizzard announced today that the forthcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion will be published by The9 in mainland China, and Soft-World in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. The9 and Soft-World have brought both the original WoW and Burning Crusade to their respective regions, so it's not surprising that they'll be handling Wrath as well. Release dates, of course, are still TBA, there as here.
However, if there's one thing I like to do, it's speculating based on insufficient data. The agreement with Soft-World to carry BCappears to have been made just a month before BC's January 2007 launch in North America and Europe. So if Wrath follows this pattern, it will be out next month. On the other hand, the agreement with The9 to carry BC in mainland China was made in February 2007, a month after BC came out here, so if this holds true for Wrath as well, we should have been hitting Northrend a month ago. Either one of these is pretty unlikely; maybe there's not much information to be gleaned from this announcement after all (aside from that WoW is still doing well in Asia).
We've seen all sorts of fan-made World of Warcraft crafts from clay sculptures to tiny felt dolls. Now, a fan from China has come up with some interesting paper sculptures of WoW characters. Posting on a forum, a fan showed some mad papercraft skills with paper renditions of familiar Warcraft NPCs such as Keeper Remulos, Gordo, and Baron Rivendare. The crafter also seems to be more of a Warcraft III fan as one of his works is an Acolyte unit from the popular RTS, as well as a Crypt Lord and some ships from the scenarios. Come to think of it, most of his sculptures look more like War3 units than WoW-themed, but they certainly look nice enough. Besides, they all belong to same World, anyway.
Hopefully, when the official iPhone app store drops in June, we'll see some non-jailbreak uses of this stuff -- right now, to use either one of these themes on the phone, you have to hack into the firmware and go places Apple doesn't officially want you to go. But those WoW icons definitely work great for all kinds of things: even Blizzard officially put them to OS use in a downloadable theme for XP. There are so many WoW icons floating around that they're a natural (if not exactly legal) fit for almost any use -- here's hoping that in June, Apple's SDK will turn out at least one theming program, and we'll be able to do this stuff without hacking away at the iPhone.
Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.
Oceanic players continue to snarl this week at continued server performance issues that cramp their play. Oceanic subscribers playing from the other side of the world have dedicated servers, yes - but the servers are physically located in North America, and no consideration seems to have been given to shifting maintenance and resource-intensive background processes to non-peak local hours.
Needless to say, a good number of Oceanic players are up in arms over spiraling post-2.4 performance issues. Blue reps continue to take the heat from red-hot flames, reflecting a continued determination to work through the problems. We decided to pop in on a couple of Oceanic servers themselves, away from the heat of the forums, to see what the player temperature seemed to be.
Here at WoW Insider, we've noticed an unusual and disturbing glut of people having trouble with being keylogged or otherwise hacked soon after installing new addons lately (which wouldn't be a surprise -- lots of people were grabbing addons after patch 2.4, so that makes them a likely route for attackers). While it's too early to make any definite connections, It seems like there's one new lead that's just popped up: popular addon site wowui.incgamers.com (not linked for obvious reasons) is apparently passing off bad files, according to reports from Stopbadware.org and other anonymous sources.
If you've been using the site for your addons, especially in the past week or so, it might be a good idea to exercise some caution and run your favorite anti-virus or anti-malware program. The site has already been in trouble recently with reports that their UICentral addon updater (now discontinued) was using copyrighted code, and now it looks like there's more trouble abrewing for them.
A few times now, I've had the opportunity to laser etch some of my tech stuff, and yeah, I've always thought it would be cool to get a neat pic on my iPhone or my old Powerbook. But I've never had a good enough idea to etch into metal. Of course, if I'd seen this Dark Portal laser etching, though, I might have thought of some Warcraft-y ideas.
It's done by a company called Austin Laser Art. Justin, who owns the definitely Epic (or maybe even Artifact?) MBP, says that it took about 20 minutes to etch the laptop itself, though they did a few test etchings on paper to make sure it worked out all right first. The result looks pretty cool -- tons of detail and some really good looking shading. Plus, now we know what's behind that far portal in Nagrand: an Apple store.
Well, well, well, who doesn't love a surprise ending? Despite rampant and on going accusations that I have fixed this deathmatch series in Illidan's favor since the beginning (which is laughable because I only took over the feature a few months ago), it looks like Scourge of the Outland was, say it with me now, "not prepared."
Kel'Thuzad, the Archlich of the Plaguelands, trusted lieutenant of Arthas, final boss of Naxxramas and of pre-BC WoW, laid the smack down on all the haters. Two bosses may have entered, but only one has left. Final results below.
That wraps up this series we started all the way back in June with 32 bosses. Each pair entered a neutral arena and you got to vote who walked away the victor. Whether based on abilities, lore or random poll clicking, you chose the ultimate winner.
When Wrath of the Lich King launches, we'll be bringing about another round of Two Bosses Enter with a mix of all new bosses and some returning favorites. Until then, thanks to everyone who participated and made this a fun event for everyone involved.
Special thanks the reader Ian for the pointing us to the pic of Kel'Thuzad above. Kel's publicist would be proud.
Not quite cool. The latest tactic of ISPs everywhere to make more money is to charge not customers, but content providers for their traffic -- i.e. if YouTube wants their site to work fast on your ISP, they need to pay the ISP a certain amount, and then everyone on that network will experience the site quickly. So in this case, Virgin would be asking Blizzard, responsible for all the World of Warcraft traffic, to pay a premium price for customers to receive it quickly. And anyone who knows Blizzard knows they probably aren't too excited about paying such a price -- they'd likely call Virgin Media out for slowing the connection down before paying protection money for their data.
At any rate, it seems like there's a battle coming, and your character's information may be caught in the middle of it. As always, you've got to fight with your wallet -- if Virgin or any other ISP threatens to hold data hostage like this, it's time to find a different ISP to pay your money to every month.
Many realms still down - Mon, 14 Apr 2008 14:30:00 EST The saga of the Rampage and Shadowburn (US) battlegroups continues. All realms in those battlegroups have been down since at least 11:00 AM EDT this morning. Blizzard says they're working on it, but so far all we've seen is an ETA given, which was promptly missed -- that ETA was 1:30 EDT. The new word is to expect an update roughly now; I'll be keeping my eye on it and will update this post if there's any news.
Once again, the affected US realms are Agamaggan, Alexstrasza, Alleria, Azshara, Baelgun, Balnazzar, Blackhand, Cho'gall, Dark Iron, Destromath, Dethecus, Detheroc, Emerald Dream, Garona, Gorgonnash, Greymane, Gul'dan, Hellscream, Illidan, Kael'thas, Kalecgos, Kirin Tor, Lightninghoof, Maelstrom, Malfurion, Moonrunner, Nazjatar, Ravencrest, Sargeras, Spinebreaker, Staghelm, Stormreaver, Twisting Nether, Ursin, Whisperwind, and Wildhammer.
Zul'Jin is also reportedly down, as well as Burning Legion and Lothar; I'm unsure of the status of the rest of the Ruin and Vindication battlegroups. Update: It looks like Ruin and Vindication are down in their entirety. Meanwhile, Blizzard updated to let us know they're still working on it, and they expect the Rampage and Shadowburn realms to be up by around 1 PM PDT/4 PM EDT.
Update 2: Apparently the Ruin and Vindication issues are a hardware problem; Blizzard knows about it and expects to have those realms back up by 3 PM PDT/7 PM EDT.
I actually considered asking my boss if this post could be the first in a new series called "Stupid WoW Criminals," but honestly, I'd prefer to think that this guy is one of kind.
So, here's the deal: A young Warlock named Kiranth of the Aman'thul server (Who has since deleted his post, but you find it quoted a couple posts down from the top in the thread) came to the customer service forums, and in this thread here, claimed that he somehow lost his epic flying skill after buying it on a Monday and playing until Tuesday morning maintenance. He claimed that he'd been trying to contact the GMs for months in order to get the skill back, and that he was incredibly frustrated and about to cancel his 3 accounts if he didn't get the skill.
MMO-Champion was able to take a sneak peek at some items released on the official WoW Armory and discovered some truly brutal news: if the items go live as they appeared on the armory, the new personal rating requirement to wear Season 4 shoulder pieces will now be 2200. This is a steep ratings increase from Season 3, where shoulder pieces required a personal rating of 2000. As of this writing, the two items that MMO-Champion was able to scope out cannot be searched for on the official WoW Armory -- either hidden from searches or removed from the database entirely. The Brutal Gladiator's Mooncloth Mantle and Brutal Gladiator's Ornamented Spaulders no longer appear in the item database although MMO-Champion was quick to take screenshots. [EDIT: Apparently, the items are viewable in the EU Armory, you can view the Mooncloth shoulders and healing plate shoulders. - Thanks, BaboonNL!]
There is no guarantee that these item changes will make it live or if the weapon requirements -- currently 1850 for Season 3 -- have also been raised. Although Tharfor has gone on record to state that it's likely that Season 3 items' ratings requirements will be lowered in Season 4, Blizzard didn't mention raising the rating requirements for Brutal Gladiator pieces. According to Realm History, this means that roughly 12% of players in 5v5 teams will qualify for the shoulder pieces; 11% of the 3v3 bracket; and about 9% of the 2v2 bracket. As much as Patch 2.4 catered to casual content, if these details make it live, it seems as though Arena play has become even more hardcore than ever.
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Over the years, World of Warcraft has gotten some bad press from people who invest too much time into the game.Some people have had trouble with work, school, and relationships as a result of spending too much time in the virtual world and losing touch with the real world.One woman cited WoW as the reason for her divorce request; her husband dedicated all of his off time to playing, while neglecting his other responsibilities.In perhaps the most sobering case of game addiction, a young lady died of exhaustion as a result of a marathon WoW session.
As much as we may complain about Blizzard, there is no doubt that they have made a fantastically engaging role playing game.True, from a psychological standpoint they have mastered reinforcement schedules and give goals that compel you to keep going.It's an excellent game, but along with its MMORPG predecessors, it can become all-consuming and soul-sapping. Just remember that it is your job to make sure your WoW time is safe, sane, and balanced.
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The reception to Darrowshire has been so great that I wanted to highlight Big Blue Dress, the Warcraftmovies recommended film with over three million views on YouTube. Cranius didn't need a fancy Model or Map Viewer program. He was able to capture footage in-game that conveyed what he needed to for the scenes over two years ago, yet the movie is still popular to this day.
36 US realms down - Mon, 14 Apr 2008 11:35:00 EST Starting at least half an hour ago, and continuing through to now, 36 US realms, comprising the battlegroups Rampage and Shadowburn, are down. Blizzard notes that they are "currently unavailable and are being worked on," and that they don't have an ETA right now, but will give us an update around 8:50 AM PDT/11:50 AM EDT. So we should hear more about this in 15 minutes or so, at which point I'll update the post with any new information.
Welcome to the part 2 of my ongoing, in-depth, casual raiding how-to! For part 1, click here. Last time I talked about filling the all-important raid leader position and choosing the right loot system. Based on the responses I got last week, most of you seem to think I'm on the right track, so I'll keep going with this topic. In this column, I'm going to talk about two crucial intangibles that you need to address before you even set foot past a swirly green wall instance portal.
The tale of the Sword in the Stone is famous. A sword is stuck in a stone for ages, and whoever pulls it out will be the true king of England. On New Year's Day, a tournament is held for all who wish to try to pull out the sword. At the tournament, an arrogant knight realizes he has left his own sword in the inn, and sends his squire back to get it in time for the jousting competition. However, the boy can't get into the inn, and instead takes this sword that was just lying around stuck in a rock or something. The squire is crowned king, and goes on to become the legendary King Arthur.
This appears to be WoW's very own version of the sword in the stone, found by Lessaya of Dragonblight on the border between Nagrand and Zangarmarsh. Actually, wouldn't WoW's version of the sword in the stone be Arthas and Frostmourne? It's kind of the same story, except with the evil and the soul loss. Anyway, it's a nice reference, and I bet whoever pulls that thing out will get a nice epic one-hander.
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 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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. The warmth of the sun contrasts with our cold, cold hearts.
Ask WoW Insider: Help a teacher compete with WoW - Mon, 14 Apr 2008 09:00:00 EST Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week a Swedish teacher writes in:
Dear WoWI, I am a teacher in Sweden, teaching kids aged thirteen to fourteen. I am also a WoW player, something that has both pros and cons when dealing with my students. Among my students a great deal of the boys are playing WoW and most of the time, not a day passes by without they not discussing the latest content, the coolest instance and the best gear. This is a huge dilemma, especially when most of the boys don't do anything else but talk about WoW.
In Sweden, teachers today have to compete with WoW in a frustrating way. We have huge problems with students who can't focus on school due to they playing too much. Since I am a WoW player myself, I have started to think about how I could use this in school, to get my students to actually learn something. I am teaching English and it is obvious that WoW players in this age, have developed their skills a lot and this is something good.
My questions are, if the readers of WoW Insider have any constructive ideas on: 1) how I can compete with WoW and gain my students focus and concentration on school work 2) how I can use WoW in my teaching to develop their language and communication skills
What I am doing now is both a desperate try to get things back to normal, but also something that has never been done here before. have figured that I will have to use my students' interests in my teaching in order to reach them. Considering I play WoW myself, that should be easily done. But I also get dead tired of listening to them chatting every single minute about Wow and never put any effort in school work.
So I need help, suggestions, ideas from other WoW players.
Back when I was a young-un, the big distraction for me was Dungeons and Dragons. We'd sit in the back of the room drawing up dungeons on graph paper. In addition to walking uphill in the snow, both ways, to school, the personal computer hadn't been invented, much less WoW-not that that's a bad thing; I look back on my time in school and am grateful MMOs didn't exist at all, or my barely 2.5 gpa back then would have seemed honors worthy.
I can't offer any advice on #1, so I'm hoping some other educators chime in on this one. In terms of #2, it's been my observation that most WoW players need language and communication development themselves, so good luck with that.
Anyone who's taught instead of daydreamed learned able to help out?
Got questions? Don't wait! Send them to us at ask AT wowinsider DOT com and your query could be up in lights here next week.
Breakfast Topic: The easy/hard grind - Mon, 14 Apr 2008 08:00:00 EST I'm currently working through Zangarmarsh on my Hunter, and this weekend I spent a lot of time grinding two completely different kinds of mobs. The Withered Bog Lords in northern Zangarmarsh were cake for my Hunter -- they weren't exactly gentle with my pet, but he was able to eat the damage, and I could have grinded right away on them all day. At the exact opposite end of the grinding scale, however, were those stupid Umbrafen Eels -- not only were they under water (always annoying), but they've got this on-hit electrical damage thing that just drove me nuts. I stayed to play with the Bog Lords for a long time, racking up the XP, but as soon as I was done with the Eels, I got out of the water and stayed out.
Fighting these two back to back got me thinking: what's the easiest/hardest mob to grind on? Some mobs (like the tigers in Stranglethorn or the bears/spiders in Ashenvale) are super easy to grind -- they have no special abilities, they're spaced out, and they go down fast. But others -- most gnolls, in my experience, and lots of casters -- are just annoying as all get out; they run around, pull others, heal up when they're almost dead, and give you lots of headaches while taking them down. Those are the mobs you don't sit around and grind on -- they're the ones you avoid completely after you've done whatever quest requires you to kill them.
What are your favorite or least favorite mobs to just grind on in the game?
Vote for the best piece of advice! - Sun, 13 Apr 2008 21:00:00 EST Last week I asked you to leave a comment with tips of anti-advice you could give to players. Things like "Be sure to move in the flame wreath so you're not cold when the blizzard hits!" or "Just walk up to Archimonde, he won't agro until you hit him." You all responded in force and gave lots of good tips and pieces of advice. Now for fame and no-fortune, lets vote for the best one!
I'll close the voting next weekend and announce the winner on Monday April 21st. Vote now! I did!
World of Warcraft allows all of us an unprecedented ability to modify our user interface to meet our needs. Each week WoW Insider will bring you a fresh and detailed look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send it, along with your character name and server, to email@example.com.
Today's Reader UI of the Week comes from Zerfall, and UndeadWarlock on server Eonar. He has many addons working together to support his game play. What I particularly like about his UI is that it's not cluttered, allows for good visibility, and uses what I would consider to be critical addons that everyone should at least try out.
I always find that Warlocks and Tanks have the most complicated UIs. Tanks because of the necessary information they need to have about everything and everyone, and Warlocks because of the large amount of spells at their disposal. Zerfall does a good job at organizing all his abilities using his action bars. One area is for miscellaneous items, one area for his pet bar, one for his curses and often used spells, and another for his lesser used spells and abilities. I always find that this kind of distinction is critical in a successful UI.