This is purely anecdotal, of course (everything is with this column), but it seems to us that there are fewer incidents of drama nowadays after Wrath (probably due to changes with the endgame and the loot), but the few incidents out there are much harsher. Take this pic as exhibit A -- it's an instance ninja, which happens occasionally, but it's a very unrepentant instance ninja. People aren't jerks to each other as much (because presumably they have less opportunity to do so), but people who are jerks... are really big jerks.
That's what we've seen anyway -- if you've seen otherwise, let us know: send your drama, downed and recruiting news to email@example.com. This week's guild updates after the break, including some awesome TLDR drama, and lots and lots of new guild downs.
Gamesindustry.biz has a quote from Senior VP of merchandising at GameStop Bob McKenzie, indicating that it's not just Wrath of the Lich King doing well. These numbers haven't spiked because of all of the returning customers, WoW is gaining plenty of new ones, too. The base WoW package and the World of Warcraft Battle Chest are still doing quite well. Better than last year, he specifies. So while those base package purchases are certainly fueled by the Wrath hype, it's bringing in new customers, not just the returning customers.
WoW may not be the kind of game for every gamer out there, and the game isn't without its flaws. Despite that, it has proven over and over that it's by far one of the best games out there, and definitely the best of its genre. I don't expect it will be going away anytime soon.
Episode 4 of The Guild's second season released - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 17:30:00 EST The latest episode of The Guild is up, and as has been the case with previous episodes of this season, if you're not seeing it on XBox Live or Zune yet, it'll surely be there soon. It's a great episode, with plenty of the laughs we've come to expect from The Guild. I'm curious to see what impact this new character will have on the crew!
In other Guild news, a gag reel for episodes 1-3 is also available. It's short and sweet, but their bloopers are just as funny as some of the real scenes. It's not super surprising that even their flubs would be hilarious given the cast they have, I suppose. I'm almost as much of a fanboy of Sandeep Parikh and Jeff Lewis as I am of Felicia Day. Almost.
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.
The internet is abloom with emoticons - fragrant flowers peppering the soil around posts filled with fertile viewpoints, hoping to soften and breathe context into black and white text. Posters struggle to assume an innocuous mantle. Not Tobold. MMORPG blogger Tobold has built a reputation as a straight-shooter. He unabashedly gulps down macro and micro topics alike, spitting out analyses minus the ubiquitous apologies and humble posturing that characterize so many blogs. Opinion as opinion, fact as fact - and an audience of readers who appreciate the opportunity to volley between fact and opinion, hardcore and softcore topics.
The man behind the blog is really a pretty humorous and easy-going guy, and our e-mail interview with Tobold actually did start out with an emoticon. Find out what made Tobold smilie, after the break.
WoW Insider's Loot-idays: Day two - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST Hey hey it's our holiday buddy Great-father Winter! What's up, GFW, how's your holiday going? It's going great? Good to hear!
What's that? You've got more presents under the tree for our readers today, thanks to WoWTCGLoot.com? You've got six prizes in total, four dance grenades, and two pet biscuits, and you want to give them away to six lucky commenters on this post in the next 24 hours? You say the codes work on both US and EU realms, so all players need is to comment with a real email (so we can reach them when the contest is over) and make sure their characters are on one of those realms? Well that sounds just peachy, GFW! Thanks so much!
Boy, that Great-father, he's quite a guy. Oh, what's that, Great-father? You were hoping that we brought cookies and milk for you? Oh... errr, ummm... we actually ate them already. Sorry about that. But thanks for the giveaway, and good luck to everyone who enters!
Tweaks to enchanting in 3.0.8 - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 15:15:00 EST Are you an enchanter? Have you started tearing out your hair at how hard it is to get things to DE to Infinite Dust or Greater Cosmic Essence, while Dream Shard after Dream Shard piles up in your bank even after you've bought all the enchants? In my case it's Essences that are the issue. Nothing I disenchant seems to want to turn into them, while even lowly greens keep turning into shards. I have all the enchants to learn, I simply can't get enough essences to do any enchants.
Turns out this is being retuned in 3.0.8 although I'm not sure I like how it sounds. See, the solution of jacking up how many shards enchants need would certainly make shards more valuable on the AH, but I don't sell mine anyway. Meanwhile, am I going to be getting essences from DEing now? Dust isn't that hard to get in my opinion (certainly not as hard as GC seems to think it is) - it's essences I can't get enough of, and essences that limit the enchants I can and can't do. On my server a Greater Cosmic Essence can run you 50g for one, and when I need 10 for an enchant and only have 1 after DEing two days worth of farmed/quested greens, that's a problem for me. I don't see how making it take more shards to do an enchant would be any great favor unless those shards somehow took the place of Greater Cosmic Essence, and if they do, what's the point of GCE at all? Here's hoping I'm just being reactionary and the changes coming in make it easier to level this profession.
Servers seem to be coming up a little earlier than the most recent estimates, though there aren't a whole lot of them up yet. As I write this, there are only a dozen or so servers active and ready to go with more coming up every moment. Update: Looks like most servers are now up at this point, if not all of them. Huzzah!
For those of you who are on vacation and are eager to play, go on! Have fun! Hopefully there will be no more issues today and your holidays in Azeroth will be uninterrupted. For those of you who are sitting at work or school right now, I am sorry. Come over to my place, I'll share my cookies with you.
And no, I don't play on Argent Dawn. Sorry! Lowbie alts for the win.
Technically it's more like second time squared, as I'm leveling two characters to 80 right now, but the point still stands that I think now that the initial rush for most folks to get their mains to 80 is over, questing in Northrend is just plain easier.
Obviously this is in large part due to the fact that you're not competing with everyone for the same kills. When I did the Ned, Lord of Rhinos quest the first time it was a chaotic melee as something like twelve groups (groups, as in two or three people per) vied to tag the guy as soon as he spawned. And even as parties would get their kill and move on, more would keep arriving so that some people waited for upwards of an hour while those that have the better instant casts tended to get the tag off. When I did the quest on my shaman a couple of weeks ago, it was much more managable, I basically just waited until the horde party tagged him and got him on the respawn. And when I did it on my night elf last night, I basically had Ned all to myself. Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord are effectively deserted compared to their state after the launch.
You'll probably be doing the same thing we are for those additional two hours: Wasting time at WoW Insider. We'll be sure to keep you updated, whether realms come up early or maintenance gets another extension. Keep an eye on the site, and we'll keep an eye out for you, and thanks to everyone who did the same for us and wrote into our tipline!
I'm a dork. I admit it. I love my mage and I love making portals for people, even non-tippers. In fact, you have to work pretty hard not to get a port from me. Which is why, even after decades of dealing with anonymous jerks in BBS chat rooms and on the internet, I was a little shocked at how rude a level 62 Tauren Shaman who shall remain nameless was when demanding a port from me. Maybe he just didn't know any better. So here is a little guide as to how to increase your chances of getting a port from a mage you don't know.
Since these changes haven't gone live yet, your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not they'll all combine to meet or even exceed GC's predictions. My shaman's elemental gear is solidly in that category of gear he states 'won't see quite such a lift' so as soon as I manage to get on the PTR and test it, I still won't be in the gear needed to really verify this.
Our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe - it's not all just World of Warcraft over there. Which is not to say we don't love WoW! Our weekly roundup will try to give you a look at the best WoW-related content on Massively from the last week. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed to follow our ongoing coverage of your favorite game.
Massively's picks for the best of 2008 Massively doesn't hand out awards. We're not the Oscars, we're not the Emmys. What we are, though, is a bunch of opinionated MMO bloggers. Like it or hate it, 2008 was an enormous year for our favorite genre of games. We took a poll among the staff of the site, taking stock of an entire year in gaming. What follows are our picks for the best, the most surprising, the games that we just can't wait to play.
The WoW vs. WAR debate makes Top 10 list of video game rage Alec Meer of Rock, Paper, Shotgun recently put a new twist on the 'top 10' lists that are cropping up at year's end -- a sort of top ten of gaming rage as expressed on the intertubes. Much of this list is focused on single-player titles and the industry itself, but Meer's 'Orc vs Orc' (#8 on the list) caught our attention.
Fill out your "WoW Code" to show your Azeroth pride If you've ever woken up in the morning and said to yourself, "Gee, I'd like to appear nerdier today," then do we have the story for you! Scare your real life friends and confuse even the staunchest gaming nerd. Use "WoW Code" in your forum signature!
Player Consequences: Movie Magic and MMOs Video games have quickly grown into one of the most popular forms of entertainment in this day in age. Almost everyone under eighteen plays them and developers are getting better at making games that appeal to older generations. Still, there are other forms of media that enjoy more mainstream awareness.
Behind the Curtain: Multiple MMOs Is one MMO ever enough? Lots of people play more than one MMO. Among the staff here at Massively, you would be hard pressed to find a writer with only one active subscription. Ever the exception however, I am a one-game kind of guy.
I hate the long, drawn out build-up to Christmas you see these days. Christmas is a holiday, not a season that lasts from late September to early March, alright? I think my love of the holiday as a season died when I worked at a retail store that spent the entire year assembling Christmas trees back in the warehouse. A necessary evil considering how many they sold each year, but impaling yourself on little green needles year 'round sort of crushes the soul a little.
With that said, if anything can get me back into a celebrating mood, it's Oxhorn. Especially when those celebrations include beating Elves brutally until Christmas spews forth from their broken frames. I even like Elves! Okay, saying something like that could put me in a sticky spot. I like most Elves. Is that better?
Fixing instance server errors - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 11:30:00 EST You may have seen this same error what9000 is getting every time he tries to enter an instance: he gets bounced out of the portal and "Additional Instances Can't be Launched" pops up on the screen. Just in case you've never quite heard exactly how the game works, the World of Warcraft is actually a series of servers, and as you travel across it, you contact more than one system of computers. Your realm is one group of servers, but within that group, there are many different computers sending information to and from yours -- when you're in Azeroth, you're talking to one server, when you go out to Outland, you visit another, and in Northrend you're on yet another. And there are even servers that track non-location information: how much money you have, what you're wearing, and so on.
Likewise, instances have their own system of servers, which is why you can sometimes be in an instance when the world server "outside" will go down, and if you leave that instance you'll get disconnected. And Instance servers can be overloaded as well. This error message is likely a way for Blizzard to keep from crashing the instance servers -- if too many instances of a dungeon have already been created, new players trying to get in are not allowed.
It's hard for a gnome to look dignified, but Sicutvulpes of <Knights of the Forsaken> on Drenden has made a pretty good attempt. He's got a trim beard and mustache, normal-colored hair, and a beautiful background from the Halls of Lightning. Could this be Sicutvulpes's Facebook pic? Nah. It's not nearly blurry enough or taken in the mirror.
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. 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.
Yeah, I definitely have to put out a mea culpa here. Alas, Lichborne is a little bit late again. I have a valid excuse, I swear. It involved a flaming plum pudding, a flailing geist, and a sudden snowstorm at the Shadow Vault over in Icecrown. But after an emergency eye transplant by a Forsaken Death Knight who used to be a member of the RAS, I'm back in the saddle and this week's column is only a few days late.
Anyhow, this week I thought I'd take a look at the deeper implications and meanings behind some of the Death Knight changes coming our way in 3.0.8. Our newest Mike has summarized and analysed quite a few of them, but I have just a few more things I want to say, especially about a new change that was added in a recent PTR update.
Poll: Should 40-mans make a come back? - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 08:30:00 EST Peeking around the official forums, I saw a few threads dedicated to the reincarnation of 40-man raids. Do you remember the old, pre-BC epic AQ-40/MC/Naxx days? I can honestly say I really do not. I was a freshly minted 60 when BC came out. I got my feet wet in ZG and AQ-20, but that's it. Perhaps I'm missing out on something important. It's entirely possible that others feel the same way.
Since Blizzard has tuned Wrath raids to both 10 and 25 person versions, what's stopping them from rounding it out to a full 40. Perhaps they could even go for more. Many are already complaining that Naxx is too easy. They're looking for a real challenge. I don't know if Blizzard is open to the possibility of tuning up the dungeons, but we've seen evidence that the developers do listen to player feedback.
Sure, getting together with 40 of your best friends and leading an epic raid on the alternate faction's capitol city can be fun, but I have to say that there's fun to be had doing things all by yourself, too. Someclasses were soloing Onyxia at level 70 -- and it seems like justabouteveryone can solo her at or near level 80. (For those thinking of trying this yourself -- it's good fun and not a bad amount of gold for the effort.) Zul'Gurub and Ahn'Qiraj (the 20-man wing, at least) have both been cleared (mostly) by a lone player. Karazhan has been cleared with a group of 3 -- though in our post-Wrath world, I'd imagine that everything save Netherspite could be easily managed with less. (And at some point even Netherspite is bound to be overcome by brute force.)
To solo or not to solo, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Hunters (who sometimes seem to think they have a monopoly on soloing content) or to take arms against a sea of dragons (dragons, elementals, demons -- we're not picky), and by opposing, earn epic (albeit under-level) loot. So, tell us, what have you soloed lately?
Tuesday Morning Post: It's still not patch day, is it? - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 05:30:00 EST So we have a 3 AM to 11 AM Pacific downtime today. But honestly, I'm sort of hoping it's not for patch day, because I have a Death Knight column going live later this morning that assumes testing's going to go on for another few weeks. Besides, they just added a few new tweaks to the PTR, so they probably want more time to test them. But just in case today is patch day, here's a pre-emptive mea culpa on that column.
But regardless of whether today is patch day or not, we're still talking at least 8 hours of downtime here, and as usual, I choose to take the optimistic view on it. That's right, it's a perfect time to catch up on your World of Warcraft news.
As usual, you'll find a list of some of the best content from the past 7 days or so here on WoW Insider after the break. Don't be afraid to dive in and start browsing categories or clicking buttons on the sidebars or the menus above, too. You won't break anything. I think.
The Guardian on The Guild - Mon, 22 Dec 2008 18:00:00 EST British newspaper The Guardian has a look at our favorite web series, The Guild, and how it has taken the MMO community by storm and vaulted its way up into one of the most popular television series that's not actually on television. There's no question that The Guild's popularity online was fueled by the fact that it follows a group of people who spend most of their time online, and with a built-in audience the size of World of Warcraft's, you might think that all they had to do was get the references right.
But as The Guardian notes, success for The Guild isn't just a matter of hitting a niche audience. Felicia Day and Kim Evey say they spent eight hours a day emailing the show around when it first came out. And while the show is of course sponsored by Microsoft now, the whole first season was powered by hard work and donations. The Guardian attributes The Guild's success to "direct marketing of content to a niche peer group" -- find an audience, and then make sure they know what you're doing.
And of course, as a Guardian commenter notes, it doesn't hurt that the show is funny, and as Felicia told us herself, they've gone out of their way to explain and convey the WoW-related stuff to an audience that might not always play MMOs. The series is attracting a lot of attention these days, not just as an MMO story, but also a how-to guide of how to get a television series off the ground without actually being on broadcast television.