Archive for July, 2009

Sam Raimi’s Production Diary


I know I’ve been talking quite a bit about the upcoming Warcraft-based movie, but this tidbit from Wired’s Underwire blog called Alt Text: Sam Raimi’s Warcraft Movie Production Diary was just too good to pass up.

Some of the highlights? Check it out:

Day 1
I’ll say it: I, Sam Raimi, am a genius. My decision to hire actual World of Warcraft players as extras was a stroke of brilliance. We get lots of publicity, they work for free and some of them are bringing their own swords! This is going to be great.

Day 2
OK, problems. To start with, there’s a huge line of extras waiting to get on the set, and every time we get a bunch of them in, the scenery crashes. My technical advisers say this is normal for a launch, and they’re working on it. In the meantime, they suggest that I build several identical sets, and encourage the extras to transfer to the other sets.

Oh, and that’s only the beginning. It gets so much better.

Alliance v. Horde


I stumbled on this a couple of weeks ago and immediately thought it was hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a preference in faction really – my first world of warcraft character ever was a Tauren Druid, and my second was a Night Elf Hunter. Granted, I’ve come to play mostly Alliance characters these days, but that’s just because that’s where my friends have been. (If you play horde and know some nice people on a good server, let me know! I’d love to meet you!)

But that being said, there’s no debate that there are simply more Alliance players in the game overall than horde players, and the old stereotype that horde players are a little elitist doesn’t come for no reason. A lot of it’s been diluted since Burning Crusade, but old habits are hard to beat.

Speaking of stereotypes, it looks like there’s some validity to the whole “Alliance players are all kids” one, as proved by the first episode of Alliance v. Horde:


Whew. I’m not that bad thankfully!

More Thoughts on a WoW Movie

night elf

A while back I put out the call to my friends on Twitter and at the end of this post about Sam Raimi directing the upcoming Warcraft movie asking what a Warcraft-themed movie would actually be about. I’m personally more interested to find out who’s writing the movie than who’s directing it, as the writing will give me much more insight into whether the screenwriter’s portfolio is full of smart, interesting work or dry, stale bread.

Some of the feedback I got was particularly interesting; @greyseer, of Lorecrafted fame, had perhaps one of the most poignant thoughts: that whatever they do the movie about has to both be appealing to current players, and also can’t require that the viewer has played through three games to understand it.

In other words, don’t expect some huge moment in Warcraft lore to be played out on the big screen – something that you’d only know if you were a hardcore PvE-er, or played through Warcraft II to see the ending. Don’t expect any re-enactments of The Sundering, don’t expect to watch the slow seduction of Queen Azshara by the combined influence of Sargeras and her own lust for more magical power, don’t expect a recap of the Tauren v. Centaur wars.

Do, on the other hand, expect the thrilling adventures of Elling Trias, Master of Cheese and secret agent for SI:7! Do expect to watch an “adventurer” who might be the role of the “player” meet figures well established in the current game and in lore and maybe go up against the Defias. You see where I’m going.

The folks over at CurseNetwork on Twitter (of Curse Gaming) thought that it might be the story of Varian Wrynn, which I think might be a little too “new” for a lot of WoW fans, but may still make a good story that brings people into the game now and still appeals to lore fans who already know Varian’s story.

Whatever the movie about, I hope it doesn’t fall too heavily on one faction or another, as in entirely from the perspective of the Alliance and portraying the Horde as savages, and I hope they don’t wind up retconning something in the process. There’s a wealth of suitable topics that would make the current World of Warcraft fans happy while simultaneously tickling the sweet spots of serious lore fans.

One Player’s Plea for Less Content


A couple of months ago I asked the question “Is there too much to do in World of Warcraft, and one of my good friends, Transrelativity used his blog to write an empassioned plea for less stuff to do. Not that Blizzard should actually remove things from the game per se, but that there’s already a wealth of content and a lot of it is coming so fast and hard that we don’t really have the time to absorb and really envelop ourselves in the content we already have.

Transrelativity admits that a great deal of the post is personal opinion and that there are tons of people out there dying for more more more content, more dungeons, more raids, more loot, more everything – but that being said, I have to agree to a certain extent. While I’m equally puzzled as to whether or not Casual-Hardcore is an intrinsic oxymoron, I think it would be much easier to dive in when you really want to and get both hands into the game when you feel like it when you know you have the time to experience the content on your own schedule. If you know that it’ll be gone and replaced by something bigger and better in 2 weeks, you either rush to do it right this second just to have it done (and thus don’t really enjoy it) or you don’t do it at all and wait for whatever that next best thing is and hope it’s more interesting (and thus feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to do).

What do you think? We may be far beyond the point where there’s only enough endgame content that everyone is doing essentially the same thing, but is there so much that players are fractured and it’s difficult to get people together to do anything? Or is Blizzard taking the “something for everyone and every play type” approach and that’s just fine by you?

WoW Fan Re-Engineers the Sounds of Stratholme

[youtube] [/youtube]

The venerable tipped us off a while back that a one brave World of Warcraft fan had a dream: a dream that the game were full of richer, more lively, more intense audio for everything from looting corpses to the battle sounds of swords clashing and dying demons. So what did Ashram (Darksorrow-EU) do?

He head into his home studio, grabbed some free sounds and clips from the Web, and created his own audio track to match up with his run through Stratholme, that’s what he did. And it sounds fabulous! interviewed Ashram about the process, the equipment he used, and how he feels about video game music and why it needs to be immersive.

This is just the first project from Ashram, here’s hoping we see more in the future and that Blizzard takes notice; there’s a lot of work that can be done with the game sounds and while they’ve done great work with the game and the sounds are fabulous as is, they’re so often underrated and there’s always room to improve.

Sam Raimi to Direct Warcraft Movie


You may know him as the man who directed the travesty that was Spider-Man 3 or the man who directed the hilarious brilliance of Army of Darkness and Evil Dead, or perhaps the writer behind the scenes of the short-lived but fantastic TV show M.A.N.T.I.S (okay maybe I’m the only one who remembers him from that), perhaps the producer behind the long-running Hercules and Xena TV shows (and that Cleopatra 2525 offshoot, meow!), or perhaps you’ve only heard of him recently through the Spider Man movies, his traditional horror background, and the recent success Drag Me to Hell.

Regardless of how you know Sam Raimi, you’ll hear a lot about him in the coming days if you haven’t already – it’s being reported that Raimi will be directing the Warcraft or World of Warcraft-based movie that we all knew was on the way. Whatever it’ll be called, Raimi will be behind the scenes, and depending on your perspective this is good or bad news for fans of the Warcraft franchise.

Some people have already started weeping for the future movie, claiming he’ll give it the Spider-Man 3 treatment, and others are cheering and hoping he brings the Army of Darkness/Evil Dead wit and some Drag Me to Hell intellect to the screen. The movie has barely been formally announced, and I think this amounts to as much as a formal announcement as possible – previous accounts of a Warcraft movie have been largely speculation – so we don’t know anything else about it or what the movie will be about or what part of the Warcraft franchise it will live in. Will it be completely based in World of Warcraft time, or pick from an important moment or moments from Warcraft lore?

Thanks to for the tip off! Blizzard, late to the party, has issued a press release confirming the news after it was broken by Ain’t It Cool News.

What Would Make You Change Faction?

one of these things is not like the other...

one of these things is not like the other...

Now that Blizzard has announced that soon you’ll be able to change your faction, a lot of people are thinking about doing it and even more are talking about how it’ll work. Blizzard has all but said that you’ll have to either keep your class so you’ll only be able to change to a race that has that class, but they haven’t said if they’re doing one-to-one changes or any mage can choose an opposing race that supports mages.

Some guilds are talking about switching faction en masse – either to get better racial bonuses (horde to alliance) or to take advantage of high/low pop servers (a horde guild on a low horde pop server switching to a high horde pop server to find more people to recruit, for example), and other people are talking about switching just to get a chance to play with friends who are on the other side.

What about you? What would it take for you to take one of your characters now and change their faction as opposed to just leveling an alt of the opposing faction or rolling a death knight?

How Casual is Too Casual?


I’ve known a number of people who gave hardcore raiding a try and left in favor of a more laid back casual guild environment: a group of people who were friends as well as teammates, where people logged in to do more than just hit the scheduled raid time. The huge hulking raiding guilds are usually comprised of people who are more serious about the game than they really are about being social with one another (yes, I realize there are a number of exceptions to this), so some players are confronted with the choice: raid and progress, or make friends and play together. Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of room in between these two, but most people will come down harder on one side or the other. This isn’t really an RP, PvE, PvP issue – there are plenty of people who come down on either side regardless of the game style they prefer. But let’s talk about the casual, friendly side for a bit.

I’ve been in a number of guilds since I started playing the game, some of them incredibly personal, some of them ridiculously impersonal and hostile to new people, some of them so insular that you could never penetrate the wall of clique that was already there, some of them warm and inviting. All of them however have been largely social guilds with light, casual raiding – never more than once or twice a week, usually weekends when everyone had some time off work or school. But one thing that’s happened to nearly all of them is that the casual simply grows too casual – people start drifting off, leveling alts that aren’t in the guild, the raids go from stuffed so full people have to get benched to so empty they’re cancelled for months at a time, and eventually to the point where you can sign on during peak hours and there’s no one there.

This happened in a guild that I ran for a while, and again in a guild that I’m happily a member of because I have many many friends in it. So this brings me to the question: how many of you has this happened to? Lots of people love casual guilds, but how casual is so casual that you’re willing to leave it for another guild-even if you have friends in it? Is there such a thing as a “too casual” guild, or is that the very definition of casual, and “casual raiding” is an oxymoron?

I’ll admit that partially this is me dealing with my own thoughts, but partially I’m curious how universal this experience is. Fire away in the comments, and I’ll include your responses in a follow up post later!

What Loot System Does Your Guild Use?


Loot rules for guilds vary about as widely as guilds do; more often than not no two systems are truly alike. Even so, most of them can be traced back to some similar system, like the widely used and adopted DKP system. WoW Insider wrote about SWAPS this week, a new system I hadn’t heard about before, but what about your guild? What loot distribution system do you use? How do your raid leaders decide who gets what?

Our guild doesn’t really have a system, and perhaps that’s one of the defining factors of a casual guild – the people who make the runs get to roll on anything they want or need – need if you need it, greed if you want it or no one needs it, and usually our folks are good enough to ask up front “mind if I roll need on that?” and we can scorn them if they shouldn’t or approve if they should. It’s never really backfired on us.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been the occassional “but that’s a bigger upgrade for me than the person who outrolled me” drama, or the ocassional confusion from people who are filling slots on a raid with us. But while that works for us, the biggest raids we’ve ever organized have been 10-mans.

If you’re in a raiding guild, how does your guild handle loot? How do you manage pugs? Do you think the rules would be different for guilds running 10-mans versus 25-man instances? Does your guild’s loot system work for you, date back to the old days of 40-mans, or is it fundamentally broken? Let us know in the comments!

Goon Squad Captures Wintergrasp in 62 Seconds

Witness this in all it’s glory, as the Goon Squad of Mal’Ganis starts from scratch and within 62 seconds completely dominates Wintergrasp.


They’re billing it as the fastest Wintergrasp ever, and while I suppose that could be true, it’s definitely one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. The trouble now is that everyone will wind up trying to duplicate this strategy, and while I applaud the Goon Squad for their epic conquest, they were also pretty lucky: I don’t see this happening terribly often.

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