Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Female Worgen Models Unveiled

After a long wait and lots of doubt, Blizzard finally rolled in the new Worgen female models into the latest iteration of the Cataclysm beta, and they certainly look fiercer and more complete than the previous ones did.

Over at WoW Insider they have a gallery of several of the new models, and there are scowly, growly faces abound – which kind of matches up well with the male models, I think.

But enough about what I think – what do you think? Has Blizzard finally ditched the “super-sexy” approach to just about every female model in the game? If you’re inclined to play female characters in-game, will you roll a female worgen? Sound off in the comments!

Blizzcon Virtual Tickets on Sale

If you didn’t snag a ticket to Blizzcon and you still want to attend, you have two options: try and score a ticket between now and the convention from someone who has a spare or is willing to sell theirs, or buy a virtual ticket to stream the event from DirecTV, who will be broadcasting much of the event live on the Web. Tickets for access to the stream are $39.95 USD.

DirecTV has expanded their coverage of the event this year with four different channels of content from different areas of the con, so you don’t have to worry about missing a penel or an event that you desperately want to see because another event is being streamed instead. Granted, four channels isn’t nearly enough to show you everything going on at the convention, but it’s a huge step up from last year’s single-channel coverage, where if it wasn’t on screen and it was happening at the same time, you were missing it.

Brief Updates from MBHQ

You’ve no doubt by now noticed that the sites got a bit of a re-design and some things got changed around last week. We wanted to highlight two changes to make sure everyone knows what changed.

The first and biggest is COMMENTS! Registration is no longer required to post a comment on any post. Of course if you already have an account you can still login to ensure your comments are attributed to you, but those who don’t can now post a comment without any long term commitment. Also, on the right you can see some of the recent comments so you’ll always know what the active discussions are. This was the most requested thing we’ve heard from people since our last redesign and we’re excited to see where it leads.

The next change is also something that was heavily requested, and that is a change to the ADS on the sites. You’ll immediately notice fewer of them, but what might not be as obvious is those smaller square ones to the right are specific to this city only and are being sold for a flat rate for a period of time rather than a confusing CPM/traffic/network model. Depending on the city, these range from $7-$175 for a full week. If you purchase one, during that time your ad will be the only one in that spot and will show on every page. We set these up both to make it easier for smaller local businesses to get their ads on our site, and also to help us bring in ads that relate better to our local audiences. Also, keeping these sites online is expensive and every little bit helps.

There are a bunch of other things we changed but we’ll leave those to you to investigate and take advantage of. Hope you like it, and we look forward to seeing you in the comments!!

Love,
The folks at MBHQ

Get Your WoW On…at Twitter!

failwhale

What do you do when you’re at the office or it’s Tuesday during server maintenance or you’re somewhere else where you have a computer but you can’t play World of Warcraft? Sure you could always do some work, surf the rest of the intarwebs, or write your own World of Warcraft themed blog, but if you wanted to do that you wouldn’t be here, would you?

If you’re like me, you still enjoy reading about WoW, even if you can’t play. If you’re still like me, you probably have a Twitter account you use to stay in touch with friends, family, maybe even your guildmates or fellow players. That’s where you can stop being like me. Seriously, it’s getting creepy.

In any event, if you’re on Twitter, there are enough WoW bloggers, personalities, Webcomic artists, and character journals to keep your Twitter feed rocking all day, and in many cases, all night. Of course, there’s always me: @halophoenix, but there are people out there who talk about WoW in their Twitter feeds a lot more than I do! Some examples? Want to hurry up and start following people? Let me oblige with a few picks:

WoW Insider on Twitter
@WoWInsider – the venerable WoW Insider blog has a presence on Twitter, and it’s more than just recycled RSS content from the blog’s front page. The authors and editors regularly give away TCG codes via Twitter, host polls, link to really interesting posts, and interact with their readers. If you’re a WoW fan, they’re a must-follow.

@mikeschramm – if you’re a fan of WoW Insider and listen to the WoW Insider Show, you’ll know the venerable Mike Schramm, Senior Editor at WoW Insider. He’s charismatic, funny, knows how to keep a podcast rolling forward without letting the guests rathole into ridiculous (but still funny) topics, and he has his own Twitter account.

@the_t – Ah, The T – Turpster! The hilarious voice on the WoW Insider Show but also known from the WoW Radio days and host of his own show at Massively, Turpster never fails to bring the funny, even on Twitter.

Stompalina on Twitter
@Stompalina – Stompalina taught me everything I know about being a druid, and that’s not saying a lot because I don’t play one. But she makes me want to pick one up! She owns the blog Rawr Bitch Rawr, and hosts the Rawrcast show, and is always fun to read.

@holydueg – I found the good Mr. Dueg thanks to a WoW Insider rush of people they suggested following. You might be tempted to think his blog, Holy Dueg! might be entirely a priest’s blog, but if you thought that you’d be horribly wrong. Dueg has some incredible columns under his belt, including a recent one on whether or not Ulduar will flat out break your guild. Is your motley crew up to the task of taming Ulduar? Possibly not, and it’s worth reading why.

@AllThingsAz – If you listen to the All Things Azeroth podcast, now’s your chance to interact with the crew on Twitter! They’re incredibly responsive to the community, and accept show ideas and topics from their Twitter followers.

@brigwyn – Now we’re talking. I’m a hunter, so I’m biased, but Brigwyn runs The Hunter’s Lodge, a resource I’ve used for hunter tips and tricks more than once. From shot macros to pet suggestions to build advice, it’s all there.

@cadistra – Cadistra is the author and artist behind the WoW-themed webcomic WoW, eh? which I enjoyed long before I found her on Twitter. She doesn’t exclusively post about World of Warcraft, but if you love the comic and want to know how it’s coming, following her is the only way to know. Plus she posts sketches and other artwork that she’s working on.

@greyseer – If you’re a lore fiend, Greyseer, owner of Lorecrafted, is someone worth following. He’s incredibly responsive to the community, and has no problems getting into the nitty gritty of dispelling all of your altruistic notions about the Alliance or the bad-guy image of the Horde.

So all of these people are lovely and informative, but they’re twice as entertaining when you toss some character journals into the mix. For example:

Yogg-Saron on Twitter
@yoggsaron – the cuddliest old god ever! Seriously, before 3.1 came out, you should have read how much he was obsessing over his puppy who ran away (who goes by the name Brann, re-watch the beginning of the 3.1 trailer if you’re not sure where that came from!), and who’s now currently rolling about as a little Yogg-Saron plushie, impressing all the ladies, specifically Cadistra.

@cthun – C’thun hasn’t been as chatty as he used to be, but when he does speak, it’s hilarious. He’s evil, he’s sarcastic, and man is he willing to call out his little brother (Yogg-Saron) when he gets the urge.

@regent_lord – What’s going on in the shining spires of Silvermoon City? Regent Lord is busily tweeting, apparently. The character journal of Lor’themar Theron.

Thrall on Twitter
@warchief_thrall – The orc, the myth, the legend. The best part? The person behind this character journal has Thrall down pat. Seriously.

@archimonde – Apparently Twitter is full of character journals of some of Azeroth’s most evil characters. Didn’t we kill this guy? Regardless, he’s alive and kicking and posting his thoughts, apparently.

Admittedly there’s a kind of an insular, self-cannibalizing community among the character journals and some of the other folks above that’s hard to break into if you’re on the outside or not a character yourself, but the interaction is fun to watch at the very least, and that’s the nature of Twitter, I think.

At the very least though, you can brighten up your Twitter feed with a few dozen posts daily from people who are as avid World of Warcraft fans as you are! So, I’m sure I missed people, so if you have any character journals that you own or follow, or find yourself posting or reading tons of WoW-related material on Twitter, let me know!

Tracking Guild Progression in Ulduar

Patch 3.1 goes live today, and with it comes the release of the Ulduar raid dungeon. My guild has been preparing for weeks to storm the instance, but an interesting thread (warning: heavily trolled) popped up on the Blackrock forums last week that has us somewhat undecided as to how we should approach the encounters.

In a nut shell, a few guilds are arguing over what criteria should be used to rank guilds in WOTLK. It used to be simple: you kill a boss, your guild moves up a rank. First guild to clear an instance “wins.” Now, however, with the advent of achievements, ranking a guild has become slightly more complicated. Encounters can be done several ways, and if you voluntarily choose to do an encounter the “hard” way you get an achievement. Clearing an instance without doing any of the optional achievements is easy by design. However, completing all of the individual raiding achievements is itself an achievement (known as a meta achievement), and guilds that do so are rewarded with a special prize. The guilds that are fighting want to have their idea of progression be the “official” method of ranking a guild. Not coincidentally, their idea of progression also happens to put them on top.

The guilds that cleared the instances on “easy” mode wants to be recognized for the simple act of defeating the dungeon first, which is how guild rankings used to work. The guild that managed to kill Sartharian the Onyx Guardian and all three of his lieutenants at the same time wants to be recognized as the top Alliance guild because they consider that to be the most difficult encounter in the game. Lastly the guild that completed the meta achievement first, which is all raiding achievements including the Sartharian achievement, wants to be considered the top guild.

On the surface, it seems to make sense that completing the meta achievement would be the logical way to rank a guild, as Blizzard itself rewards you with a special mount for completing it. However, the difficult part about completing the meta is an achievement called The Immortal. To get The Immortal, your guild must kill every boss in Naxxramas without a single person dying. It’s the rarest raiding achievement in the game, and guilds (usually the ones that can’t do it) are claiming that it’s not fair because sometimes people die to circumstances beyond their control. Now, I don’t agree with that assessment. My guild was the second guild to complete the meta achievement after Death and Taxes, and we never considered The Immortal to be out of our control. Then again, we’re not a guild based in Singapore that is plagued with random disconnects and international lag either, so you can probably see their point.

So now the debate rages on inside my guild. Do we go for the quick clear tonight, or do we work on hard modes from the get-go? We’re a leading edge content type of raiding guide; going straight into hard mode isn’t beyond our capability. But is it worth it to adjust our progression strategy just so we can juice up a forum thread? I’m really not so sure. There are already websites like wowprogress.com that do an amazing job of tracking guild progression, and they’re using much more advanced scoring techniques than any forum thread I’ve ever seen. They already rank us as the top alliance guild by achievement. My gut feeling tells me to just ignore what goes on in the forum thread, refer potential applicants to wowprogress.com and just do our own thing. At the same time, I also know that being recognized as a top raider means a lot to quite a few of my guildies. I hope we end up just doing a quick clear the first week, but we’ll see. Raid starts in 3 hours.

Keep Your Add-Ons Fresh with the WoW Updating System

I know, after you’ve installed all of those essential add-ons for Wrath, you’re having a heck of a time keeping them all up to date as patch after patch rolls out. 3.0.8 break some of your favorite add-ons and now you have to go dig up new versions? I know that pain.

Well, the WoW Updating System (WoWus for short) was created for those of us who hate the process of going through and updating our add-ons one at a time. The app promises to make it easier to update all of your addons at once with their most recent respective versions, or disable specific addons from ever being updated if you prefer.

This is how it works: when you install WoWus (Windows only, requires Microsoft .NET 2.0 or higher), the app scans your WoW installation for add-ons that you have installed. The tool then creates a database of your addons, and checks against its own online database of add-on versions. If you’re running an old version, you’ll see it’s version number in red, and you can update it. If you prefer, you can select all of them and click to update all of your installed add-ons at the same time. You can also tell WoWus to check for updates when Windows starts, and if you have WoW installed in a custom directory, you can tell it where to check for your Add-ons directory.

In addition to giving you an easy and simple way to keep your add-ons up to date, the app can also perform complete backups of your WoW install, game files and everything – which is perfect for those times when everything stops working and you want to go back to a known, good install without having to reinstall everything.

One Last Push…

One Last Push before WOTLK

With the Burning Crusade winding down and the Wrath of the Lich King looming on the horizon, my guild has finally reached the last raid boss of the Sunwell Plateau, Kil’jaeden. To be honest, I’m spent. Naxxramas at level 60 was probably the greatest gaming experience I’ve ever had because it was huge, it was fun, and it was challenging. Sunwell Plateau at 70 has not been anywhere near as great. Now the reasons why so many guilds are reporting difficulty and frustration with the Sunwell Plateau have been debated endlessly on other blogs and forums. I don’t need re-hash those same complaints here. If you’re already in Sunwell, you know damn well what I mean. But whatever; I’m sticking it through and killing this guy, even if it’s only once.

Now, I’m also in the beta and I’m having an amazing amount of fun there. I’m confident that Blizzard will fix many of the problems with raiding that exist in the game today. I know something better is coming very soon. What I need right now is some perspective that will make me want to go wipe 80 times on Kil’jaeden on “live” until we kill him and have fun doing it. I’m really struggling with this. I’m considering raiding tonight with a really bad German accent. Or something. Help?

Digital Bits

The following links aren’t exclusively Warcraft or Azeroth-specific, but they are of interest to anyone who plays games or MMOs.

First: Griefer, a story by a fellow Metblogger (in Atlanta) Will Hindmarch that extrapolates the concept of griefing into a real-world, near-future(?). Well worth your time.

Second: Another link to The Escapist, this time on the topic of how or why “regular” folks view gaming: The Myth of the Media Myth.

Third: Winner of the “best comment” award on MetaFilter for this tongue-in-cheek “review” of the MMO “Outside”.

The respawn rate of objects and players is ridiculously slow. A dead player can expect to wait for years to respawn, and will be set back to zero assets and a tiny, nearly helpless form. Death is hardcore, and resurrection all but impossible. Outside is not a game for the QQers out there!

Happy Wednesday!

Finally, a Mount I *like*

brewfestram.png

At last! Something to blog about in WoW! While <Conviction> has been keeping me busy killing Gruul & Mag and working on SSC and The Eye, I’ve felt that I was missing something in my WoW playing. I needed more cowbell Whimsy. Brewfest has brought me just that, I suspect All Hallows will do the same. Dammit, I want my cool non-combat pumpkin-headed lasher! But yeah, I am proud to say I gathered up the 600 tickets necessary to make it all happen. Check out me on my sheep! Suck it, Alliance!

A Tale of Two Communities

There’s a storm going on in the WoW fansite teacup right now, which most of you are probably unaware of. I’m going to write about this, since if you’re reading this you are a member of the WoW community, and you probably read both of the blogs/communities in question – but I’m not going to link to either community, quote any posts, or anything else. If you’re a member, then you know what I’m talking about.

As the web director of a social networking site, I am very involved in the theory and function of virtual communities. When it comes to something like Warcraft, you probably spend a lot of non-game time on various blogs and sites, participating in the community, contributing to it, getting advice and tips, reading about breaking news, etc. The social network in Warcraft extends beyond the game mechanism, and can be just as vibrant and enjoyable as the time that you spend ingame.

What happens when you sever those ties with the rest of the community?
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