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Blizzard should disentangle Real ID from its Good IDeas

July 13th, 2010 No Comments

With all the hubbub about Blizzard’s reversed stance on the use of real names in the forums (for now), it’s easy to forget that the Real ID system brings in a wide array of changes, most of which are staying in place. While much of the functionality is handy, the implementation of the system comes with significant drawbacks. After watching Facebook, Blizzard’s new partner, get torn apart in the media over privacy concerns, one might think that Blizzard would be a bit more careful in implementing features that involve a player’s real name. This week, we look at Blizzard’s Real ID, and the pros and cons of the various aspects of the system.

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Blizzard Thinks You’re Holding Out, Wants More

May 19th, 2010 No Comments

Every level 1 bank alt who dreams of trade war instead of that other kind is plagued by a common threat: griefers. That’s right: every auction house in Azeroth is positively teeming with opposite faction rogues. Before you can /spit, they’ve ambushed you and you miss that discount boar meat as you jog back to [...]

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Blizzard Earns $1M for Charity, Keeps Remainder

February 17th, 2010 1 Comment

News item If you doubt the viability of cosmetic fob microtransactions, Blizzard has 220,000 reasons why you’re wrong. That’s how many people bought a Pandaren Monk pet from the Blizzard store. The MTV Multiplayer blog crunched the numbers from Blizzard’s Make-a-Wish charity drive, which announced a $1.1 million take for sick kids. At $5 a [...]

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Blizzard Impatient for Augmented Reality

February 5th, 2010 No Comments

The World of Warcraft is impinging on real life again. Not to worry, nobody’s recently dead or addicted, but you can now reach out and touch Azeroth by 3G. According to Icrontic, Blizzard is integrating Warcraft‘s auction house with the popular Armory website. Warcraft fans will already be familiar with the Armory; it’s a web-accessible [...]

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Blizzard Misunderstands the Micro in Microtransactions

November 4th, 2009 1 Comment

Blizzard is apparently trying to change the acronym MMORPG to mean Massively Monetized Online Role Playing Game. Gamasutra reports that the developer has opened a new pet store as a branch of the greater Blizzard store. The first virtual offerings available will be a Pandaren Monk and an impossibly cute miniature Kel’Thuzad. The pets are [...]

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Learning To Play Warcraft After It’s Too Late

August 17th, 2009 1 Comment

I know this girl, let’s call her Sara, with a gaming problem. You see, her boyfriend is a hardcore World of Warcraft raider, which is a 20-30 hour commitment every week. There are certainly raiders out there who spend much more time with the game, but it’s still the kind of time that could really chew into your relationship. However, this isn’t another one of those Widows of Warcraft problems, because the boyfriend has lucked out: Sara wants to play the game with him, and they’ve used the recruit-a-friend program to whirlwind Sara from level 1 to level 61 in no time flat. They’ve had a grand old time tromping around Azeroth, killing X of Y and running the odd fetch quest, but now the boyfriend’s raiding responsibilities have grown, and Sara is twisting in the wind.

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Warcraft Shrinks by Half

July 10th, 2009 No Comments

Shortly after Blizzard tried to transfer their China licensing to a new third party, the national World of Warcraft servers went silent. This fracas has been ongoing for a month now, and the blogosphere has been doing some speculative math about it. It turns out that about five million of Warcraft’s eleven million subscribers are [...]

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Blizzard Breaks Warcraft . . . Again.

January 24th, 2009 No Comments

What is it about Warcraft that makes a patch a newsworthy story? Oh right. Whenever Blizzard screws it up, 11 million people pay the price. Apparently the patch released this past Tuesday was a doozy, too. According to WoW Insider, the biggest snafu of the latest patch happened in Wintergrasp, where whenever one side took the PvP objective, Northrend crashed. Think of the players as Indianna Jones, the PvP objective as the idol, and Northrend as the boulder, and you’ll get the idea. In addition to the non-functionality of a $30 expansion pack, a number of intended features were not implemented, and the mail system is outright losing mail again.

Now this all happened a handful of days ago, so Blizzard has been on the march, fixing what they can and disabling everything else. Just be sure you really want it when you decide to win out in Wintergrasp.

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Call of Duty 4 hits 14M. WoW blanches.

January 9th, 2009 1 Comment

So World of Warcraft recently hit 11 million subscribers–big freakin’ deal. It turns out that Call of Duty 4 has 14 million (though in all fairness, it’s not terribly surprising that more people are playing a 5 minute multiplayer action game than a 300 hour MMORPG). In apparent celebration of this fact, Robert Bowling, Infinitum Ward community manager posted some basic descriptive statistics about the popular FPS on his blog.

Probably the most interesting factoid is that, of all the people kicking your butt when you log on, only about half have bothered to complete the game. It’s certainly true that fighting humans demands a different skill set than fighting scripted AI, but this means that most players have missed Call of Duty 4′s succinct and generally excellent campaign mode. Hell, after listening to the chatter, I’m pretty sure that half of them don’t even know what a ghillie suit is.

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You Die in Warcraft, You Die in Real Life

January 3rd, 2009 No Comments

Ok, by now everyone who has so much as touched a computer has experienced the effects of anonymity on human behavior (nsfw). We need feedback from vocal tone, facial expressions, and general body language to keep us grounded, especially as we develop. When you lose the feedback, you can’t judge when you’ve overstepped yourself. Need [...]

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