Archive for the ‘Jane Public’ Category

Join the Metroblogging Azeroth Flickr Photo Group!

See those rotating photos on the right side of the page there? Those come from the Azeroth Metblogs Flickr Photo Group, which has a couple hundred photos in it but has become a little stale as of late. So what would we like to do? Jumpstart it, of course! Let’s get some new screenshots and images in there!

The group is open and available to anyone with a Flickr account, and you any screencaps that you upload to Flickr and add to that pool will appear on the right side of the page there. Join in! Join the group and share your screenshots with us – especially now with The Shattering and Cataclysm launching next week. We’ll even feature some of the best images periodically on the site here!

Is This a Leaked Blizzard Product Slate and Schedule?

You can click the image above to get a larger view.

So this image comes to us courtesy of a post at MMO Champion who report is was posted at a Chinese game site called MMOGameSite.com, and they offer the same warning that we’ll offer here, blockquoted so you can’t ignore it:

This document, even if it is real, is already outdated. It is very likely that it is not real at all. Even if it is real, Blizzard will never acknowledge it as such, and you should not – not now, not ever – go posting on the official forums claiming there’s a “timeline” according to this image and that you’re “wondering where XXXX title is.” Got it?

Now then, the slide itself, if it is real, likely comes from some internal presentation of product strategy, but I even have a difficult time believing that – most companies have a standard template for presentation slides, and this really isn’t it. Then again, it could be a template-stripped export, so who knows – anything is possible, and a lot of people are concluding that it is the real thing.

The timeline however, especially as it pertains to World of Warcraft isn’t anything special – the expansion schedule looks solid and makes sense. Based on this, we would be looking at a new WoW expansion every year and a half, give or take, and that jives with previous release schedules. I’m a little put off as to why Blizzard would have the timeline of the World of Warcraft Movie on their internal documentation for anything but planning – as far as I know, it’s Blizzard’s IP, but they’re not controlling the filming or production schedule.

I also have to say – I’m really interested in the “WOW/Mobile” inclusion there. Mobile? There’s no way to tell what they mean, but Blizzard has been pushing in the direction of mobile devices, but how far they’re planning to go we’ll have to wait and see.

“Titan,” which everyone is assuming is Blizzard’s so-called “Next Generation MMO,” is undoubtedly going to be pushed from that date, but the biggest thing I’m interested in is that Diablo 3 release date: I would be a very very happy boy if we saw Diablo 3 at the end of next year. Although I’ll be interested to see if Blizzard really does take the tack of releasing “expansions” to Diablo 3, the same way they’re stretching out StarCraft 2 content – which is also reflected on the slide.

What do you think? True or false? Real or fake? Or does it not matter at all?

Signed Cataclysm Poster Up on eBay!

All of the devs hard at work behind Cataclysm got together to sign this one-of-a-kind poster featuring Deathwing prominently in the center and their signatures in silver all around the perimeter of the poster. Why? So they could put it up on eBay, and donate the proceeds from the sale to Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, who take in homeless Retrievers, care for them, and try to find them new homes.

The auction has been up for a little while now but it still has 6 days to go, and the bidding is already up to $500 US with 17 bids on the poster at the time of this writing – it looks like the charity will get a sizable donation, but it’s not too late to toss your hat in the ring. Head over to eBay and bid now, and when you win make sure to get that bad boy framed and hung in a place of pride. Those devs do good work.

Blizzard Unveils New World of Warcraft Community Site

Blizzard unveiled the new World of Warcraft Community Site yesterday, which completely revamps the interface, updates the look specifically for Cataclysm, and among other things completely revamps the forums and the software that back-ends them.

The new community site looks cleaner and is definitely more up to date and interactive, includes more features and links to featured news, is easier to link to, and all in all performs much better than the old site. The site has a blog embedded on the front page with links to news that you can get from the front page and link around the Web more easily.

Perhaps most notably though are the changes to the forums. Take a look here:

The new forum layout is definitely different, but it’s much more well spaced and has a number of hover-over features that allow you to see recent posts in a specific thread and visual cues to let you know if the thread is active or has been posted in recently.

All of these new previews herald the eventual lock and removal of the old forums and the decommissioning of the old community site. Don’t worry, change may be difficult, but I don’t think you’ll miss the old site very much when you see the new one.

The Best Gifts for World of Warcraft Players

My friend Brian Heater over at PC Mag asked my input for a feature that he was putting together at a blog that I also contribute to, Gearlog, called The Best Gifts for World of Warcraft Players.

Now now, I just gave him some ideas, he assembled the list and penned the piece all by himself, and you have to admit, he did well, and he doesn’t even play! You can bet that if someone just “happened” to get me anything on that list for this year’s holiday season, they’d have a very very happy WoW player on their hands.

What’s on the list? Some of the items you can probably guess (like our little plush Murloc friend above,) but there are a few new items in there worth thinking about for the gamer on your list – or things worth putting on your wishlist if you’re looking for a Warcraft-themed gift under your tree/menorah/shrub/etc this year. Head on over and check it out!

WotLK Bucket List

I sort of met a new blogger through random chance on Twitter. It’s a very small world, in the grand scheme of things, when you start posting what you’re doing in game on a site like Twitter. I started doing it simply for a couple of my friends, one of them including the blogger Kurn. There’s a whole bunch of backstory here, but to put it simply, come Cataclysm, Kurn is bring back the ol’ gang. And so, because of the the forums have been reopened for all of us who are transferring or have transferred1.

Through Kurn I kinda met Apple. Followed Apple on Twitter and then we were chatting and DruidMain joined in the mix.

DruidMain has made herself a WotLK Bucket List. And I started thinking, what would I put on that list if I were to make one. I have yet to actually sit down and create my list, but I’m sure some of my items will look similar to DruidMain’s list.

With Cataclysm just around the corner, what sort of things would you put on your WotLK Bucket List? What achievements or things would you like to see and do before the expansion comes out?

1: I transferred a couple days ago due to some ridiculous nonsense on my old server.

SDCC 2010

Last week was a wash for me regarding blogging about WoW. Between work, travel, San Diego Comic Con, and more travel, the chance to sit down (with functional internet) was nearly impossible. So here is a run down of all of the WoW related stuff I encountered while at the San Diego Comic Con this year.

Preview Night: Oh, see, I have a confession to make. I love Murlocs. I know, I know. They are such a pita when you’re playing the game with large aggro radius’, casters, socially aggro (meaning if they’re too close you get many instead of one), and the damn healing caster Murlocs (I said this already didn’t I??). Ugh! Believe me, I feel your pain. I really really do. My love for them came when I did those quests where you have to wrangle up the babies in a Murloc costume and for some time they follow you around googooing, laughing, and generally being omgsocute!! Yeah, I was a goner and I loved the little buggers. Somewhere in the middle of the mad dash for the boyfriend and I to snag each and every exclusive we had on our lists, I saw someone wearing a plush Murloc. Um, wut?!! Yes, and adorably cute plush Murloc. Oh hell, what the hell do I have to do to get me one of those!! I was desperate! It now became my sole focus, to get me one of those cute adorable plushie Murlocs. I was not leaving the con without one!

The catch was that I had to sign up for a year of the World of Warcraft magazine for $39.99, but the magazine does not feature any advertising and is all WoW related. Plus, they promised me the cute Murloc plushie right then and there! Hell yes! Quite possibly the most expensive plushie I’ve ever purchased, but lookit how cute he is!! He now sits on my desk at home and often gets random hugs from this very adult human female.

Wow Panel: I was late in attending the World of Warcraft: Epic Loot panel, and was a little saddened by this. My boyfriend and I had a bit of a hotel issue regarding shuffling from one to the other, and missed out on the beginning of the panel. The best part about catching even just the tail end of it is getting to hear some of the creative staff mention that there is and always has been a larger plan for World of Warcraft. Cataclysm will rock the old world and as players we’ve been hearing and seeing the changes over the course of months. I wish I could remember who was speaking (but I missed the introductions and was stuck at one of the furthest in the back points of the room), but they pointed out that all things in the game are happening for a reason. Even if it isn’t apparent on the surface, or even with the introduction of Cataclysm, the bigger story is always at work. The ebb and flow of the game will continue on, and even as Cataclysm takes out so much of the game that we once knew, that there is always change.

Exhibition Hall: I’m going to take a stab in the dark here and guess that the lack of more WoW related paraphernalia was due in large part to Cataclysm coming out soon(ish) and Starcraft II’s release a few days after SDCC ended. I found a handful of boxed figures and one or two of the trading card booths had WoWTCG boosters and starters, but for the most part, there was very little.

I did, however, enjoy immensely walking up and down Artist’s Alley within the Exhibition Hall if for no other reason than to see all of the beautiful artwork! I wish I had infinite amounts of money (for many reasons, but in particular) so I could buy lots and lots of artwork and line my walls with it all. I picked up a print by Emily Warren. And a few others, but it didn’t compare to stumbling across some of the artwork by Samwise. At first it was his wife manning the table and the art. My boyfriend and I chatted with her, asking if she played WoW (she did/does). She shared that one of the prints was modeled after her character. When Samwise returned we chatted with him as well. I picked a piece and asked him to sign it for me as a gift. The boyfriend asked some Cataclysm questions which both promptly shared they could not talk about (without giving up her first born child, her words, not mine). The following day (or was it 2 days later) I went back and bought another print. This one was for me. It is far lovelier in person.

Conclusion: The con was a success. We spent a lot of money, got a lot of epic loot, and some new armor, and was happy with all of the art purchases.

And wouldn’t you know it that when the boyfriend took off for the hour long trek to the nearest Best Buy to pick up the Startcraft II Collector’s Edition sets he preordered for us, that he’d return home only to have me flipping through the artbook after unboxing and yelping. On the first page is an introduction to the book and what to expect… written by the Senior Art Director of Blizzard… Samwise.

Well color me dumbfounded!! I’m glad I didn’t make a complete spectacle of myself while he was around and kept the uber-fangirl to a minimum. Ha!

Have an Authenticator? You’ll Need it for the Forums

If you have an authenticator (and if you don’t, you should probably get one! Here’s what they’re all about.) you’ll get a special treat in the coming days, as Blizzard changes the forums to require that, for players that already have authenticators only, that they periodically authenticate using their authenticator to the forums in order to post.

Essentially, all this means is that if you already have an authenticator, that level of account security will extend to your activity on the forums the same way it does to the community site and your Battle.net account.

The change is something of a non-issue and I would leave it there if there weren’t some needless confusion about the topic of authenticators and the forums. For example, over at the World of Warcraft livejournal community, one frequent poster took this to mean that if you don’t have an authenticator you can’t use the forums, which is absolutely false. (That same poster seems to have a resistance to authenticators in general, whose concerns I addressed in a column last year called Why the Resistance to Authenticators?)

So before everyone goes off terrified of authenticators and complaining that Blizzard is moving to a model where authenticators are essentially required to play the game (which frankly, I think they should considering the number of people who play and the economy around hacked characters, gold farming, and account sales – the problem is that if an authenticator is essentially required for Battle.net games, they should give them away to anyone who wants one free of charge…they’re already close by making the apps available for the iPhone and Android for free) keep in mind that this is a change that applies only to people who have an authenticator, and means nothing will change to the people who don’t have one.

And if you don’t have one, seriously, you should get one.

Discussion :: How Do You Feel about Cataclysm Spoilers?

We’ve been tempted here several times to discuss some pretty significant Cataclysm spoilers – a lot has come to light now that the beta invites have started flowing and more and more people have been getting their accounts, logging in, and working their way through the quest chains. Some of those spoilers and videos have been so good that I’ve been actively trying not to post them, even though a number of other sites have (I know, I could just post them behind jumps, but still, that just increases the temptation to click, you know?)

So what do you guys think? Are Cataclysm spoilers just unavoidable at this stage in the game? Is there any hope for anyone who wants to install the expansion when it’s released and play it all through seeing all of the sights and reading all of the stories for the first time ever? Or are you holding out hope that there are some community sites that haven’t resorted to posting spoilers, even though we may talk about Cataclysm anyway?

To that end, should we go ahead and post videos and reports from the beta that may contain spoilers? (under a cut, of course!) Let’s hear your thoughts about spoilers (and of course, whether we should post them) in the comments!

Blizzard Reverses Course, Real Names to Not Be Required on Official Forums

Blizzard made an announcement this morning I thought they wouldn’t make. Here’s the meat from Nethera’s post on the official forums about it, where she’s reposting a message from Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime:

Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

I didn’t think Blizzard was going to retract the policy this way, but clearly the demand got to them and they decided that this was a bad idea.

So, now let’s see if the people who threatened to or went ahead and canceled their subscriptions return to the game, or if the spectre of Real ID in other forms and implementations is enough to keep people away from the game for privacy concerns. What do you think about the reversal? Sound off in the comments!

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