Archive for October, 2009

New Looking for Group System Coming in 3.3


The way you look for an available group in World of Warcraft now is clunky at best, and still relies on people having back-channel discussions outside of the LFG system in order to find other players to run dungeons with them. It essentially relies on people queuing up for dungeons and sitting there until someone speaks up.

Right now on the PTR Blizzard is testing a new system, one that allows you to drop yourself or your group into a Looking for Group/Dungeon/Raid system that will automatically match you up with other people to round out your party. The beauty of the new system is that it’s far more passive, and allows you to essentially make yourself available and the game will find someone to match up with you – you can even drop yourself in alone, choose your role, and the system will find a group for you if you’re by yourself and looking to PUG something.

On the up side, that means that it’ll be even easier for people to find PUGs and for casual players to dip their feet into deeper waters than their guilds may currently be swimming in, but on the down-side the lack of that back-channel discussion may lead to this tool forming groups that instantly fall apart as soon as someone deemed undesirable joins the group, or PUGs that fall apart quickly because of an undesirable deviate or a loot ninja.

Over at they have an excellent discussion thread about this, and point out that some of the other enhancements to the system involve the limitation of certain classes to roll on certain items (for example, melee characters can’t roll on spellpower gear) and the ability to disenchant an item straight from the need/greed roll screen if everyone passes on it.

Add to this the fact that the new LFG tool will automatically teleport you to the instance you’re queued up for when your group is assembled and you have what looks to be an exciting addition to the game, and one that will make it even easier to find and assemble a PUG for just about anything. But is it necessarily a good idea? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Druid Main’s Art Contest: Grand Prize? A 60 Day Gamecard!

Ice_Fail_Stick_Cat[5] Icedragon, of the blog Druid Main, has a little problem. See, she can’t draw.

So she’s looking for a little help filling in the gaps on her site with some artwork, and she’s holding an art contest to draw in some submissions and reward the artists who take their time to support her and enter the contest! She says:

All of my images are done via Photoshop and using digital models from the WoW Model Viewer, but they’re not as high-grade as they could be in terms of digital/artistic quality. Most of my work is for banners, logos, emblems, etc but no “artsy” pieces. Seriously, I cannot draw anything for myself other than stick figures, and stick figures just aren’t good enough for this post (see right)! So I’m turning to my readers and any artistic folks that want to get their creativity groove on.

Artists of all types and stripes are invited to enter, and the full rules are over at the contest announcement at Druid Main. All of the winners will find their artwork posted on her site, but Icedragon promises that of all of those entries she’ll choose a grand prize winner, an Arch-druid winner, if you will, who will be the lucky recipient of a 60 day World of Warcraft gamecard she happens to have and is willing to get rid of!

And yes, frankly – I can’t draw either, but if I could, I’d probably enter myself and keep this quiet so I’d increase my odds of winning. But alas.

So if you’re an artist, love or play World of Warcraft, or a WoW-related artist, head on over and enter the contest! The deadline for entries is November 5th!

Discussion: Would Blizzard Ever Allow Character Copies?


Now that we have race changes, faction changes, server changes, appearance changes, and so on, one topic I’ve been thinking a lot about is whether or not Blizzard would ever allow us to copy our characters to new realms. I’m not referring to character transfers, where you take a character, uproot them from one server and then land them in their destination – I mean copy, duplicate a character that’s currently on one realm and make a copy on another realm.

It would be a paid service, of course, but I could see it being in exceptionally high demand with two classes of people, both of whom would make Blizzard a lot of money:

1. Entire high-end and raiding guilds that are focused on progression who would be more than happy to duplicate their characters on as many servers as their core raiding team has money to do in order to achieve world-firsts and titles on as many realms as they can.

Clearly this would make Blizzard a ton of money – a lot of high-end progression guilds have real money behind them, as we’ve seen with entire guilds that do faction changes or server transfers, but if you tacked a $25 or $30 USD fee to a character copy you might see some guilds do it two, three, or four times before their ranks run out of actual cash. Or alternatively, they’ll keep doing it every so often as long as they can raise the money in the interim. Blizzard could mitigate this by capping the number of copies for a character, or putting a relatively long time-limit between copies, like 3-6 months.

2. Casuals who want to try their hand at raiding or join new friends on another server in new guilds without being forced to roll alts and start leveling from scratch on those servers.

Sure, they could just roll death knights, but don’t we have enough of those already? Also, don’t we already see people rolling DKs on servers where they’ve made new friends so they don’t have to level to 55 but also don’t have to transfer their main that’s happily at home on another server, possibly in a guild where that person already has friends?

I’ve seen more DKs join my guild because they came to spend time with a friend on our server than I’ve seen character transfers, and I’m personally in the same boat – I have friends who play on two different servers than the one my main is on, and while I love my main to death, I’m bored on my server. I don’t want to leave the friends I have on my server, but I also balk at having to level up to 80 from scratch on another server. It would be great if I could copy my 80 hunter to another server, join my friends’ guild there, and just move on with life, without having the pressure of pulling my main out of my guild on my current server and leaving my friends there with alts.

Granted, this crowd of people may make Blizzard less large sums of money, but probably more money over time than the previous group. If you could copy your 80 to a new server where, for example, you just met a coworker who plays WoW and could use your class in their weekend raiding guild, wouldn’t you? Especially if you could still leave a copy of that same 80 on your current server in your current guild that raids on weeknights?

Is this a good or a bad idea?

That being said, this idea also fosters laziness that some people say is running rampant in the WoW community. No one apparently wants to level or experience the game pre-level cap anymore, so if Blizzard allowed something like this, would it just cheapen the leveling experience? Would someone level to 80 and then just copy their character around instead of rolling new classes and trying alts? Also, the disincentive to this is that you could save yourself the fee entirely by just leveling a new character on the server you’re considering playing on – it may take more time, but it at least doesn’t cost money.

Also, this just marches down the path of cheapening choices – you made a choice to play on a server, should you be held to it, and punished if you want to move, either financially, through only having one of your character on each server, or by being forced to level on any future server you choose as home?

I’m of multiple minds, obviously – I admit the example of my 80 main and the two servers I’d love to play on is real, and my personal conflict about not wanting to pull my main out of my current guild is also real. I could fix the problem easily by just rolling new characters on those servers and leveling them, but part of me wonders if I’m the only person who’s had this thought – and if I’m not, are there enough others who are willing to pay money to make this idea worthwhile to Blizzard?

What do you think? If Blizzard allowed you to, for a fee, copy a character to a new server, leaving the existing one intact and just making a duplicate, would you spring for it? How many times would you make the copy? What if there were a time limit between copies? Let us know in the comments!

Race Changes Live!


Well it’s finally happened: we said they were coming, but they’re finally here! Race Changes are now live on US realms! That means if you have you’re looking to change your human to a night elf or your gnome to a draenei, you can do it now – for a fee – $25.00 USD, to be exact.

You’ll be able to change your race to any other race in your faction that supports the current character’s class, and you can change your race again to go back to the original if you don’t like what you chose, but it’ll involve buying another race change – so it’s one way: make sure you know what you’re doing before you switch! Read the full FAQ here.

That all being said, it does come down to the whole notion of whether or not choices still matter in WoW – now you can change your faction, change your race, change your server, change your appearance – the only thing you can’t do right now is change your class. I wonder what’s next!

Blizzard’s Blizzchat: Developers Take Questions Over Twitter


Blizzard just hosted its first ever #Blizzchat developer chat on Twitter! The @warcraft twitter account took questions from other WoW fans on Twitter and took time to answer them all in a nice huge blue-laden forum post, posting the questions and answers as they went along!

Among some of the questions, well, there’s the one above sadly (click the image above to embiggen) – it means my hunter will never have a level 80 druid to love. But seriously, the questions are fabulous and the answers, while not always forthcoming, are entertaining to read. Of course the thread dissolves into your standard WoW-forum behavior after too long, but the blue posts are more than worth it. It’s clear that Blizzard is planning to do this again and make more use of its Warcraft Twitter account in the future, but for the time being? We have some amazing questions and answers.

Kalecgos is Back!


Spoilers be damned, full speed ahead!

The screenshot above was taken by Livejournal user PredictiveMemo and posted both at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community and her blog, ALT:ernative in a post here.

It comes from the PTRs, currently running 3.3, and indicate that we’ll see good old Kalecgos return as part of the upcoming Qule’Delar questline. Looks like Kalec has some doubts as to whether we can handle it, and some are predicting that maybe now with Malygos’s demise at our hands in The Eye of Eternity, Kalec may rise to become the next aspect of the Blue Dragonflight. How he’ll do that without the Titan-blessed power that Malygos had is another quesiton, but it’s speculation at best.

Anyone else on the PTRs that have seen this or been through this questline? Shout it out in the comments!

Hallow’s End is in Full Swing!


It is over, your search is done! Let fate choose now, the righteous one!

The Hallow’s End world event is in full swing, started on Sunday and lasts until next Saturday, ending on Halloween! The achievements list is pretty hefty this year, so if you haven’t gotten into the game to start getting transformed by your friends and collecting masks and PVP’ing under the influence of G.N.E.R.D.s, you’d best log in and get busy. A number of people have already managed to finish up their achievements, and for some people this is the last holiday required to get the What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been achievement and the reward: a Violet Protodrake.

Thankfully, with the exception of the masquerade achievement (being transformed by different wands) and the mask collecting achievement, I’ve managed to finish up. How are you and your guild progressing with the achievement? Let us know in the comments.

Discussion :: When Do You Think Cataclysm is Coming?


So progress on the PTRs marches forward, and the next major set of updates to the PTR imply that Icecrown Citadel will be open for testing soon…which also means that Arthas’ day of reckoning is close at hand. We know that 3.3 is going to be Wrath of the Lich King’s last major content patch, with maybe a only a few other minor events between 3.3 and Cataclysm.

Between that and the reports from Blizzcon earlier this year that the next expansion looks remarkably polished, and you just have to wonder: is Cataclysm closer than we think? Admittedly, to counter that argument there’s the fact that PTR testing is taking its sweet time, and we don’t have even the slightest indication that we’ll see 3.3 live in the immediate or near future. This and the fact that we know Blizzard hasn’t announced an alpha, much less a beta of Cataclysm, so as much as it might seem that it may be closer than we think, there are other signs that it’s pretty far off.

My guess? We’ll see it around the beginning of the holiday season next year – that would be about a year from now we’ll be eagerly placing our pre-orders and wondering if Collector’s Editions are sold out at major retailers, ahead of a November 2010 release. What about you? When are you betting Cataclysm will be hitting store shelves? Am I on the money or am I way too late?

Ulduar: Defiance – Part III


So today’s the big day: the final installment of Ulduar: Defiance has been posted, and it’s just as amazing as the first two. I mentioned the first video back at the beginning of September, and the second video was posted only a few weeks ago. Now, the final episode is up in all of its high-quality, epic, beautifully created glory.

The video above doesn’t really do it justice: you have to head over to YouTube and watch it in high-quality and full-screen. The last video takes our intrepid crusaders through the last remaining bosses in Ulduar, complete with audio and beautiful shots that do an excellent job of re-creating the epic feel, the visions and sounds you hear, and ultimately the entire experience of the dungeon itself.

It’s my hope that the creator of the trilogy, Atraira, doesn’t stop with the Ulduar series of movies (and to be fair – without spoilers – there’s an indication in the video that there may be something more, or at least we’ll see the primary character again) – they’ve been spectacular, and considering this is probably the only way I’ll personally see the content anytime soon, I hope she moves on to create more videos – maybe for Icecrown Citadel?

Robert Rodat to Write the Script for the Warcraft Movie


So the word broke yesterday that Robert Rodat, the man who wrote such screenplays as Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot, will be the man behind the script of the upcoming Warcraft-based movie.

I said in a previous post that I was more interested in the writer of the script than the director, Sam Raimi, and now we know who’ll be penning the story behind the movie.

We still don’t have any details at all about the story, and as reports, he hasn’t said much about the movie, but I’m sure more details will emerge soon.

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