Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Friday, August 08, 2008

'Wrath of the Lich King' looking good, 'WoW' fans say

Since its launch in the fall of 2004, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft has shattered expectations at every turn.

Prior to its release, no American massively multiplayer online game (MMO) had ever reached what was then seen as the magical million subscribers level--even major hits like EverQuest and Ultima Online. Yet almost before anyone could blink, WoW, as it's known, had surpassed 4 million paying users and now has more than 10 million worldwide, and at $15 a month for most users, it may well be bringing in more than $1 billion a year.

Then, prior to the January 2007 release of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, no one had ever heard of the kind of nationwide midnight madness lines associated with iPhone and Xbox launches for a game expansion. Sure enough, however, people lined up at game stores everywhere for hours for the right to be among the very first to buy Burning Crusade, and the update went on to sell millions of copies.

And now, with the second major WoW expansion, The Wrath of the Lich King, in beta testing, Blizzard is getting ready to prove yet again that when it comes to American MMOs, it is the undisputed gold standard.

"It's just beautiful," said longtime WoW player and Lich King beta player Katrina Glerum. "The game really feels epic in a way that The Burning Crusade didn't....Burning Crusade felt like an extension of the (original) game. This really feels epic, and that you're part of something grand."

All Lich King players will have to upgrade from Burning Crusade, in particular because the new expansion extends the top level players can reach to 80 from 70 in Burning Crusade, and 60 in the original game.

Right now, the Lich King beta has only recently opened up to those lucky enough to get invitations--or those they have passed their access codes onto. Indeed, the codes are selling on eBay for $150 or more, a testament to the passion or many hardcore WoW players, especially given that the game is still months away from its public launch and riddled with the kinds of bugs common to early beta releases.

There's no way to be sure, of course, that the new expansion--for which an official launch date has not been announced--will be a success, but there does seem to be a lot of enthusiasm being expressed for it, both among players like Glerum and on various WoW blogs and forums.

"I think it'll be just as big, if not bigger" than the Burning Crusade expansion," said Mike Schramm, the editor of WoW Insider. "BC was the biggest-selling PC game sequel ever, I think. Wrath might be a little lower than that, but there'll certainly be lines for it."

Much of the early adoption of the expansion will almost certainly come from the most accomplished Burning Crusade players who want to continue to take the game as far as is possible.

One of the most important new feature of Lich King, according to J. Allen Brack, the production director for WoW, is that it introduces death knights, which are a hero class of character and the first new class to be brought into the game since the original version.

"There will be a lot of pressure to buy it, and anyone who has a character at the highest level will pretty much consider it a necessity," said Schramm. "You'll be walking through the Barrens (an area in WoW), and you'll see a steam tank drive past you with five people sitting in it, or you'll see a death knight clad in frozen armor with five ghouls walking behind him. This stuff is Wrath only. After seeing that, who wouldn't want the expansion?"

To Glerum, there are several areas of the game that Blizzard has made major strides with. Some are practical, while others are directly related to the visceral feeling of being in the WoW universe.

"They took it up a notch, with the complexity of the scenes and the intricacy," said Glerum. "They have some areas which are now misty, which is a really interesting effect, walking through a mist. Previously, they had sort of grayed out the scene and called it mist, but now it's hard to peer through."

More...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tradeskill Recipe Merchants

Alright, will try to compose a list over the different Merchants who sells rare/limited Tradeskill recipes...

Becoming a Master Merchant - World of Warcraft

Okay, I'm probably going to nerf the hell out of my strategy but I've been milking it enough I
guess. :-) This takes what other people have said to a new level.

I have 6 characters so this is pretty easy for me. I have one character that just sits in front of
the bank in Ironforge, which of course is right across from the auctionhouse and has a handy
mailbox nearby.

Remember all of those supply vendors you pass by? Well look at their inventory and always
check the last page. There's usually some limited supply recipes that you can buy. The ones
that are in weird places are even better. The goblin in moonbrook sells rage potion recipes,
there are 2 goblins in duskwood, the one on raven hill sells shadow oil recipes and the one on
the road north out of duskwood sells goblin jumper cables. All of these recipes sell for 200-
1000% profit in the auction house.

My biggest secret? I buy 5 different tuxedo patterns from the tailor in ironforge for around 40s
each and turn around and sell them in the auction house for 2g or more! There are also 2
thorium recipes off of the engineer supplier in the gnome area that sells for pretty good. People
are just lazy or don't know that vendors sell these recipes. Keep in mind they're all limited sell
so if a recipe isn't there check back in 20 minutes.

I also have a night elf druid and when she good her port to moonvale i was in heaven. Port over
to moonvale and buy the runecloth recipe from the tailer there. I can't remember which one but
one of the recipes soulbinds to you so be careful. I think it was the boots recipe. Also in
moonvale is the arcanite rod enchantement and some other high level recipes. All of them can
be purchased for 1-2g and buyout in auction for 5-7g. Once you have your recipes hearthstone
back to auberdine and drop them in the mail to your mule guy in front of the auction house.
Periodically while your other characters are doing their thing look up the nearest supply vendor
and buy out their recipes. If you're always logging out in an Inn (which you should) this should
be a piece of cake. If you have a character logged out in Darnassus, be sure to pick up the
Greater Rage potion recipe, Free Action Potion, Martial Linnen Shirt and Greater Adapt Robe
pattern.

If you do it right you should have about 20 auctions going at a time and it doesn't draw
suscpicion like putting up 10 auctions all for the same item (a great way to kill your profits by
the way). I make about 20-30 gold a day from about 30min work. The best part is you can do it
at any level.

Some other good places for recipes, Ashenvale has a ton of good stuff at Astranar and that
other post. You can get the expert cooking book and the big bear steak recipes (the bear
recipes cost like 20s and you can sell it for 1g alot of times, and its unlimited supply). The
Wetlands has a vendor in the middle of the map. Stormwind in the old town district has a pub
and upstairs a guy sells about 20 different cooking recipes, many of the same ones you have to
quest for.

Link

Make 100 World of Warcraft Gold a Week in Just Minutes a Day

Make 100 World of Warcraft Gold a Week in Just Minutes a Day

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WOW!

Can't believe I haven't posted anything since September. Well, yes I can, I stopped playing then.

But, as of about two weeks ago I started back up. And, for now, I'm pretty addicted. We'll see how long that will last. I started a male Draenei shaman. He's level 19. And I have done pretty well at the Auction House, I have 15 gold and nice bags and wearing alot of good green stuff. I'm doing herbalism/alchemy and my alchemy is a little over 100.

I'll see if I can't get back on Allakhazam and get his profile up on the right-hand side.

- Marc

Ok, got back on Allakhazam. Here is Treesyin's (an anagram of Serenity) WoWReader profile.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fun and Profit at the Auction House

Introduction

This guide was written to help players enjoy the time they spend at the Auction House (AH). Every player of WoW will visit the AH many, many times during their gaming career. Why not get the most out of it? Spend a little less gold for the items that you need and get a little more gold for the items that you are selling. Do that often enough and those expensive materials for that high level enchantment will now be affordable. The advanced section is for those gamers that want to become traders on the AH and make some serious gold.

The basics of selling on the AH

In this guide I will be using examples of AH prices. A notation of 12/20 (17) means opening price of 12g, a buyout of 20g and an expected selling price of 17g. The expected selling price is your own personal opinion of what you think that item will sell for on that day. That number will become easier to predict as your experience grows. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know what something is worth then talk to a trusted group mate or guildee. If your friend from school plays on a different server his/her advice may be wrong as prices can vary considerably from server to server.

Never create an auction like 1/50 (40). Nobody will buy it out at 50, they will bid 1g and hope for a windfall. It takes many, many bids to move a 1g starting price up to around a fair price of 40g. You will likely end up selling that 40g item for 5g. You would be much better off listing it as 35/50 (40) particularly if the initial fee is high. The 35g initial price should attract some bids and then you can hope for either continued bidding or a buyout by some player with more gold than brains. Even an auction like 1/30 (40) can backfire on you. Buying a 40g item for 30g is attractive to players but a lot of them will try to bid the 1g and hope for the big score.

Try to bracket the estimated selling price when you set the initial and buyout prices. The example of 35/50 (40) is smart. The initial bid price is a little below what you think the item will sell for. The buyout is about 25% higher than the expected sell price. Always set a buyout since many players simply refuse to bid and will only buy items. If they need something now they buy it now. Not a smart way to buy but their loss is your gain.

You can see if other identical items are for sale on the AH by browsing. Many players just undercut the lowest price currently on the AH when they create an auction. Simple, but effective. The problem is that you may be entering a price war. You can often maximize your selling price by waiting until there is less competition for your item (More on this in the advanced section.).

The AH charges a fee for every item that you try to sell. You will see the fee listed when you place the item in the auction box. It varies, from nothing on nexus crystals to multiple gold for a weapon. Also the longer the item will be listed, the greater the fee. You will pay this fee immediately when you create the auction. If the item sells, the AH will charge you a 5% commission, and you will then get the initial fee back. That is why the item you sold on the AH for 100g shows up as 97g in your mailbox. Think of it as 100 – 5g (5% commission) + 2g initial fee = 97g. It is important to note that you only netted 95g even though 97g was in the mailbox. You paid the initial 2g fee when the auction was created. If the item doesn’t sell then it will show up in your mailbox when the time expires and you will have lost the 2g initial fee.

You can set the length of the auction as 2, 8 or 24 hours. A lot of items are best sold on the 24 hour basis. This gives you the best chance of finding a customer. The 24 hour fee is negligible if you are fairly certain of selling the item in that time period. Some items like player equipment have very high initial fees and are best sold on an 8 hour basis during a busy time on your server. It can be brutal to list an item for multiple 24 hour periods and end up paying more in fees than the item was worth. This is the situation for Darkmoon Faire cards on my server. I laugh every time I see a time limit of very long on a card that has a 2g buyout. Somebody is just giving his or her gold back to Blizzard. Be mindful of the time when your auction expires. Starting an 8 hour auction at 7pm means it expires at 3am. If you have a low minimum bid compared to the buyout then it may sell at minimum price.

It is an old saying in business that the secret to success is to “buy low and sell high”. That is very true for the AH. Most players make the mistake as thinking of the AH as just another NPC vendor in the game. It is not. The difference is that vendor prices are static and AH prices change over time. Recognizing those price cycles is very important. Some price cycles are predictable and you need to take them into account.

Each server has a varying number of players online at any given time. I will use North American servers as an example as they are the most common. In the early morning (2am to 8am server), the players are at a minimum. During the day the number of players is increasing. A lot of players start logging on around 4pm and the numbers peak from 6pm to 11pm. Why is this important? Say you were lucky enough to win a lifestone by rolling 100. When should you sell it? If you rush to the AH at 1am and try and sell it you will only have a few potential buyers online. You’d be far better off waiting until 5pm the next day and trying to sell it then. If everyone is off on guild raids from 7pm to 11pm on your server then you might try to list the item at around 5pm on a 2 hour basis. Seeing a short or medium time limit on an auction does tend to attract more bids.

Server load also varies on a weekly basis. Some players have a life and Friday and Saturday evenings are generally lighter load than other evenings. However, Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoons are busier than weekdays. Generally, it is better for selling when you have more potential customers online.

The basics of buying on the AH

Buying items on the AH for resale will be covered in the advanced section. In this section, I will be discussing buying items for personal use. Items that fall into this category are materials for enchantments, potions and equipment purchases. If you have no gold then you are at the mercy of the sellers in the AH. Without some gold on hand you are unable to take advantage of bargains that you find in the AH. Go farm some herbs, minerals, cloth or leather until you have made some gold.

Mats and potions are commodity items. They will have dozens or hundreds of that item for sale at any given time. The key to getting the items that you need cheaply, is to buy over time. If you are looking to buy 3 x nexus crystals for that uber enchantment then start looking at nexus crystal prices at least a week in advance. Why pay 60g each on Thursday when they are selling for 42g each on Saturday? If you know what nexus crystals are selling for on your server then you can spot the bargains and snap them up.

Potions are the same except you probably want to maintain a stockpile. If you are using 2 stacks of major mana pots a week then you should try to have (say) 8 stacks in the bank. This allows you to avoid buying them at high prices and stock up when a price war is ongoing.

You can sometimes spot bargains by looking at the quantity for sale. If the quantities of illusion dust for sale are 1, 1, 3, 4, 8, 5, 5, 7, 10 (when listed in order by price) then take a closer look at the 8 quantity. Its current bid is lower than the 5’s that follow. If the 5’s are fair priced then the 8’s minimum bid is a deal, it might be worth a bid or even a buyout if the buyout price is also a deal. Be aware that if the 5’s are overpriced then the 8 may not be a bargain. Even if you only need 6 illusion dust, it may still be cheaper to buy the 8 set and sell the 2 leftover.

Equipment purchases are different because they are unique and often expensive items. You will only be buying one in your lifetime. If you are leveling up your character and want a certain item then start browsing for it in advance. That way you will be able to spot the bargain when you see it. If you buy it at a good price and haven’t equipped it yet then you can still resell it if a BoP item comes to you while leveling. An expensive rare item for sale in the AH for 100/200 (150) may be an opportunity to make a deal. If the seller is online and close to you then you might send him a tell offering him 125g. If he takes the item out of auction he doesn’t have to pay the 5% AH fee. So a 125g selling price to him is roughly equal to 131g at auction. A certain 125g may be just what he wants at the time. Yes, you can hope for getting a deal if you bid 100g but low bids like that don’t often end up the winning bid.

You can see if an item already has a bid on it or not. If you click on the item you will see the amount that you will bid on the bottom of the screen. If that is the same as the current bid price then nobody has bid on that item yet. Some sharp player will have an alt place a bid on their items just to make you think that you should buy it out now instead of bidding. If you want to bump a bid up faster than the small increments the AH goes by then you can fill in your bid amount in the same box.

It is harder to find the right time to buy something than to sell something. Basically, you want to find the time when the AH has lots of items for sale but players haven’t snapped up the bargains yet. On my server that seems to be about 5pm, but I am sure that it will vary from server to server. At 5pm a lot of the prior day’s 24 hour auctions are close to expiring and you can buy at minimum bid instead of buyout. Also, the sellers will be creating their new auctions and an occasional deal can be found.

Advanced AH

Think of the AH as a mini game within WoW with gold as the scorecard. To many players, that game would be boring but to a few of us it is worth playing. The benefits are that your character will have the very best enchantments available at all times. You can use pots and oils to enhance your effectiveness. You can help your guild and your guildees with donations. You and your alts will be sporting epics and enchantments and using pots and oils and be wicked solo and very popular in groups.

What does it cost to win the AH game? You need a starting fund of about 200 gold and about 30 minutes a day of time spent in the AH. You have to be willing to take some risks. By spreading your risks around you lower your total risk. Over a few months you will see a solid return on your investment.

The skills you need to sharpen in the AH are knowing what the fair price at the moment for a particular item is and predicting where the price is headed. Once you reach that point you can easily spot the bargains and know when to buy and when to sell. It may take a week or a month of watching the pricing before you have the confidence to invest your hard earned gold. That is not time wasted.

The timing cycles discussed earlier are still applicable but now you have some larger timing cycles to track. You have to watch out for major holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, March break etc as they break up the raiding schedule. Less raiding means fewer consumables used but the farming continues steadily. School summer holidays means more farming. These all influence pricing as it is based on supply and demand at the AH. The Darkmoon Faire also can affect pricing of certain items when it is active.

Other larger changes in your server are also important. On a server that is just reaching Molten Core raiding, you can expect the prices on fire resist gear and pots to rise along with the mats to make them. A mature server with many high level players may have a strong market for items that appeal to alts. As I write this I am anticipating the changes from new instances and the importance of nature resistance. A trader in the stock market pays attention to the business cycle and the news. An AH trader has to think ahead as well.

It is almost impossible to be an expert in pricing of every item at all times. It would take hours each day just to track the market. You need to specialize. I specialized in herbs and alchemy, but any category of items will work. Every day or two, I take the time to look at pricing of key herbs and potions to see how they are doing. If I spot any bargains I bid on or buy them out. I have no idea about equipment, leatherworking, tailoring, mining, enchanting, fishing or cooking pricing. I only pay attention to some herbs and some alchemy.

As stated before the key is to buy low and to sell high. It works even better if you provide a service like turning herbs into potions but it can work with just buying and selling. You have to be much sharper on your pricing when you are reselling as the AH fees will wipe out your profits very quickly. I used to sell on AH with pricing like 9/16 (13?) and now I sell at 12/14 (13) because I know the 13 much more accurately.

The initial fee that the AH charges for listing an item can get expensive if a lot of your items fail to sell. You should be targeting a sell through rate of over 50%. At that level, more than 50% of your listed items are selling in 24 hours. If you sell through rate approaches 80% then your prices are too low. Some items like nexus crystals have no initial fee. Players go a little crazy with pricing in those cases. They have nothing to lose.

You also have to understand the quantity of each item that is being used each day. If you know that roughly 8 stacks of major mana pots are being bought each evening then it allows you to get a better price as a supplier of major mana pots. You no longer have to sell at the lowest price. Say that 13g is the fair price for major mana and it is busy time in the AH just before major raiding starts. Say I saw a price listing in AH of 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 15, 15, 15. There is no need to undercut the lowest price. I would buy the 7g stack and offer 3 stacks at 13g and probably sell them. The 9g is not worth buying and reselling as major mana cost 45s a stack to put in the AH for 24 hours. Too risky to buy and sell for thin margin. If the pricing in the AH was 11, 15, 15, 17, 17, 17 then I might put 5 stacks up for sale at 14g. If the listing were 10, 10, 11, 11, 11, 12, 12, 12, 18, 18 then I would not try to sell that day. The key is knowing that roughly 8 stacks are what your server is selling an evening at this time.

You have to know your market. If the market only buys 2 of an item a day on average then it is pointless to offer 10 of those items for sale at one time. In fact, if you offer 10 on the market a lot of buyers will stop buying as they anticipate a drop in market price with such an oversupply in existence.

With few exceptions, items that are listed for sale by your competition will eventually be sold. Maybe they won’t sell today or this week, but eventually the owner will drop the price and dump them. If they get tired of paying 45s to list their major mana pots at 18g then they may dump 20 stacks on the market at one time at 10g a stack. Such are the ups and downs of the market place. If they are desperate enough in their selling prices then an opportunity may be available to you to buy and resell.

It costs about 20g to create an alt with 12 or 14 slot bags, bank and a couple of bags in the bank. That can hold about 100 slots. I highly recommend creating a selling alt. My main manufactures potions for resale and mails them to my alt. The only things my alt does is sell items on the AH and mail gold back to my main. It keeps things simple and reduces the storage load on my main.

You can also invest in a stockpile alt that holds stuff for the long term. Investing in a stockpile of an item can be risky. If the price crashes or even just stagnates then you lose. If artha’s tears or elemental air ever skyrocket then I am going to make a killing. Early in my career I stockpiled a lot of elemental items and did well on fire and earth but other items were dogs. Since then I learned to specialize more. The biggest risk I ever took was stockpiling 200 stacks of dreamfoil. Yes 4,000 dreamfoil or enough to fill two alts bags and their banks. I did well but sold out long before dreamfoil reached its current silly price on my server. I had so much gold invested in dreamfoil I had to delay the purchase of an epic mount for over a month. Sorry, I wont tell you what I am stockpiling at the moment but it wouldn’t help you very much anyways as each server is unique.

Stockpiling allows you to ride out the price fluctuations of day-to-day and week-to-week. If the price of dreamfoil skyrockets then I just use my stockpile to continue to offer major mana pots in the AH. When the price of dreamfoil crashes then I refill my stockpile. In a sense stockpiles is provide server stability on prices.

Mods

There are some popular mods out there for AH trading. I know some players swear by them but they never worked well for me. They also take away the fun factor. The thrill of finding a great deal on the AH is gone. If many people are using the same mod then your profits from running that mod will be minimal. As mods are constantly changing my comments here may be quickly out of date.

Auctioneer tracks pricing history. It finds deals on the AH for you. The problem is that it fails if prices are declining. In the early days of WoW prices were rising steadily. Auctioneer tells you that a particular item is a good buy but it turns out that it only looks cheap compared to what it was selling for a month ago. It is also very slow on a laggy server. As far as I know every server is laggy. When Auctioneer was creating error messages on my screen deep inside BWL I removed it.

I am currently using Auctionit. It has some interesting features and does speed up things a bit. It helps you offer multiple items for sale at the same price by filling in the pricing details for you after the first auction is created. Unfortunately, it is out of date and doesn’t save its settings very well because of a conflict. It has no ability to find deals for you on the AH. That is fine as I am capable of finding my own deals.

Conclusion

An average of thirty minutes a day can yield you thousands of gold in profit after a few months. Yes, you could kill mobs and sell the loot but you are probably pretty tired of that. If you think of the AH as a mini-game within WoW, then why not play the game to win? Some of the skills you acquire at the AH may benefit you in real life. Good luck and good profits.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This was a comment that I thought needed posting...

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Sirg and a bit with the Origial poster.

Leveling in the outlands is easy and doesn't take much time.

The quests in the outlands seem more clustered together. You go to the various forts/bases in any given zone and you grab between 4 and 8 quests at each fort.

Then you go out and do the quests, many of which may overlap.

Additionally, to level up faster, only play when you have rest experience. The best way to maximize this is to play ever other day when leveling up, and then logout when you have used up your "rest-experience" bonus.

If you have ever wondered how those people who brag about hitting lvl xx in 6-13 days. It's because they only play when they have rest experience and they collect all the quests at once to reduce the time running back and forth to the quest givers.

You don't need to know where everything is.

There are very useful mods to help with questing.

I recommend. Doublewide, TomTom, and lightheaded.

These all affect questing in great ways.

Doublewide improves the quest log display. Lightheaded displays everything you need to know about the quest and TomTom (while using Lightheaded) allows you to click on NPC's related to the quest in the quest log and have them show up as a dot on your minimap and regular map.

So no more wasting time looking for quest goals/targets, etc.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How to Break a World of Warcraft Addiction

The definition of "addiction" is the state of being enslaved to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (such as narcotics), to such an extent that to discontinue the habit or practice can lead to severe trauma. In other words, you love something so much that you have developed a habit of using it or playing it, to such an extent that not doing so leaves you feeling cranky or nervous; and you are becoming rather inept in other areas of life.

Some experts believe World of Warcraft can be "addictive". Here's a way to break your WoW "addiction".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

WoW: Lich King Announced


Blizzard Entertainment on Aug. 3 announced plans for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion to the hit massively multiplayer online role-playing game. The news came at the company's BlizzCon gaming festival in Anaheim, Calif., before an audience of more than 8,000 gamers.

Wrath of the Lich King will open the forbidding wasteland of Northrend to exploration, with new levels of power, new dungeons and encounters, a new character profession and the game's first hero class.

Players last visited Northrend in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, when Arthas Menethil fused with the spirit of Ner'zhul to become the Lich King, one of the most powerful beings in the Warcraft universe. He now broods atop the Frozen Throne deep in Icecrown Citadel, clutching the rune blade Frostmourne and marshaling the undead armies of the Scourge. In Wrath of the Lich King, the forces of the Alliance and the Horde will battle the Scourge.

WoW Film Details Emerge


Representatives from Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures hosted a panel at the BlizzCon gaming festival in Anaheim, Calif., over the weekend in which they discussed the upcoming film based on the hit massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, according to video-game blog Kotaku.

Speaking at the panel were Blizzard's Paul Sams and Chris Metzen, as well as Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull and Chief Creative Officer Jon Jashni. They confirmed that the film will be live-action and will feature some computer-generated environments and effects. The script is still in development, but according to Metzen, the story will take place about a year before the events of World of Warcraft and will be told from the Alliance perspective. There is no director attached yet, but the producers are anticipating a release date in 2009.

Friday, July 13, 2007

'Warcraft' in China replaces skeletons with healthy humans

HONG KONG — The operators of "World of Warcraft" in China have replaced skeletons with healthy human bodies in the local version of the popular monster-killing online game, a spokesman said Friday, amid a recent government campaign to clean up Internet content.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the changes had sparked a backlash among Chinese players, and that 500 players signed a petition saying they would boycott the game.

James Zhao, spokesman at the Shanghai-based online gaming company The9 Ltd., which is licensed to run "World of Warcraft" in China, said the changes were made to match designs due to be unveiled in an updated version of the game called "The Burning Crusade."

"These are just small operational changes," Zhao said in a phone interview, denying that they were motivated by government policy.

Asked why the skeletons will be replaced by human bodies in the updated version of the game, Zhao said he wouldn't comment on details of the update.

New York-listed The9 launched the new designs amid stricter government scrutiny of Internet content.

President Hu Jintao ordered regulators in January to promote a "healthy online culture" to protect the government's stability, according to state media. In April, Hu was quoted in state media as urging Communist Party leaders to "curb the spread of decadent and backward ideological and cultural material online."

Though China's communist government supports Internet use, it has also set up an extensive surveillance and filtering system to prevent Chinese from accessing material it considers obscene or politically subversive.

The government has banned local authorities from approving new Internet cafes this year.

Xinhua also reported earlier this week that the Chinese update to "World of Warcraft," "The Burning Crusade," is still awaiting government approval. Zhao declined comment.

The report identified a second change to the current game — bones symbolizing dead characters in the game were replaced by graves. Spokesman Zhao said he wasn't aware of any changes other than the bodies for skeletons swap.

Launched by Irvine, Calif.-based Blizzard Entertainment Inc., "World of Warcraft" is the world's most popular online game. In China, it has more than 3.5 million subscribers. Blizzard is a unit of French media company Vivendi SA.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Report: 'World of Warcraft' fan site sold for $1 million

Editor's Note: This blog originally implied that Wowhead trafficked in the secondary market for World of Warcraft gold. But the company says it does not.

There's a lot of buzz in the World of Warcraft fan site universe this morning, with reports and rumors flying about fan sites being sold, about $1 million sale prices and even scuttlebutt about the uber company in the business of selling WoW gold, IGE, having been sold.

According to a report from the blog, TechSoapBox, the WoW site Wowhead has been sold for $1 million.

Another blog, meanwhile, claims that, in fact, Wowhead was purchased by IGE's ex-parent Affinity Media.

Getting away for a second from the complexities of what it all means in the WoW, that's a pretty impressive number if it's true.

Whether or not Wowhead is involved in the WoW gold business--the company says it's not--it's huge business, and it's changing with the sale of IGE, and other recent developments. I don't know any exact numbers--nor does anyone else since the buying and selling of WoW virtual assets, and those of most online games, is prohibited by the games' publishers. But by some estimates, the so-called secondary market for these virtual assets (of all online games) is approaching $1 billion a year.

And if Wowhead doesn't traffic in gold as it claims, then $1 million for a fan site is a lot of money.

More interesting, perhaps, is the fact that IGE has been sold.

When I was at the Virtual Goods Summit at Stanford yesterday, I had a talk with Brock Pierce, IGE's founder, and he didn't say anything about it. It's true, he was wearing a badge from "Affinity Media," and admittedly, I am not entirely up to speed on the latest news in this industry, but rather than suggesting IGE had been sold and Affinity was getting out of the secondary market business, he hinted he wanted to get out.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

WoW Visa Credit Card

The card that pays you to play.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Thoughts on Powerleveling..

“Level 1 – 60 in 20 days guaranteed! Only $XXX!”

I’m sure these ads look familiar. You seem them on blogs and WoW-related sites. How many of us have used such services? Some Wow players despite it while others are active users.

Sites such as the The Unknown Gamer level your account as a service, and I see no reason as to why someone should be penalized for using such a service. If I want my to skip some of the boring, early levels of the game and get right into the later game action, I shouldn’t be penalized for using a power-leveling service.

Though others would argue it to be ridiculous to pay for a game and pay someone else to play it. Such is the controversy associated with power-leveling in WoW. Furthermore, there is tons of basic knowledge and strategy to the game that only game play experience would provide. Power-leveling overlooks that for first time players.

On the other hand, at the higher levels, it takes an incredible amount of time to just go up a few levels. And what if I want another rogue? Starting a rogue or warrior all over again is entirely out of the question. Leveling from 52 – 57 is ridiculously hard, and I’d prefer to have no part of it. I shouldn’t have to bother of leveling just because I’m on a new realm.

Is Power-leveling for WoW worth the risk of Blizzard or suspending your account? When might it be worth the risk?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Outsourcing your 'Warcraft' skills

According to an estimate from a company called Power-levels.com, it would take someone starting from scratch 768 hours to reach the highest level you can hit in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

Or, for someone who had already topped out at level 60 in the original WoW, it would take 384 hours to get to the top level, 70, of Burning Crusade.

That's a lot of hours, and if you're one of the many people with limited time who still wants to play online games like WoW at the highest levels, Power-levels.com and a growing number of competitors may have just the solution. That is, if you're OK with breaking the rules, as well as what some say is the spirit of the games.

These game consultants sell what are known as power-leveling services. Essentially, that means that for a fee, they will take over your account in any one of a large number of online games and put in the work required to get you where you want to be.

That level 70 Burning Crusade power-up costs $556. The jump from level 60 to 70: $239.

For some time, high-level wannabes have been able to go to places like eBay to purchase entire accounts from retiring players. In doing so, they acquire special weapons, armor, tools or spells with the aim of getting to a place in a game beyond what they could do without help.

But in the wake of eBay's decision to delist all auctions for the assets of online games, some may be wondering where else they can turn. The power-leveling companies think they have the answer.

"They give us their character name, their password and they tell us which level they want us to reach for them," said Flora Chen, manager of Guy4Game, a power-leveling company based in Canada that also has operations in China, Korea, Japan and Mexico. "Some just want to reach levels as fast as possible, so they say to (play for them) 24 hours a day."

Outfits like Guy4Game, Power-levels.com, Power-level.net and GmLvl.com say they're pulling in serious business. For example, GmLvl.com says on its Web site that it employs more than 2,000 people solely for the purpose of helping clients get where they want to be. By comparison, Guy4Game's has a staff of 150 full-time workers.

Chen said Guy4Game has a client list of more than 100,000 customers, though there is no way to verify that number.

There's no telling how many power-leveling companies exist: online searches using various terms easily produce dozens. But that such an industry exists--for dozens of online games--is noteworthy, particularly because publishers of online games like World of Warcraft, EverQuest and City of Heroes don't allow their players to engage in such behavior.

Against terms of service
"Sony Online is aware that it happens, and we do not condone it," said Courtney Simmons, head of public relations for EverQuest II publisher Sony Online Entertainment. "It is against our terms of service...You (cannot) give anyone else access to (your) account."

Blizzard Entertainment, publisher of WoW, takes the same position as Sony Online.

"Making use of a power-leveling service," Blizzard said in an e-mail statement Monday, "is a violation of our account-sharing policy. This policy is discussed in World of Warcraft's terms of use, which players agree to prior to playing."

Blizzard added that because customers paying power-leveling services give over full access to their accounts, there is no way to prove that the services perpetrated any fraud (if a customer has such a complaint) while those accounts were in use.

Fraud or no fraud, if a customer wants to jump to level 70 of Burning Crusade and have a flying mount and a high riding score, but doesn't have the time to achieve such a goal, he can have someone else do it for him.

Chen said Guy4Game's clients ask for all kinds of things. Some want to rise to their desired level as fast as possible. Others want steady progress, but still want to be able to play when they want. So they ask to have access to their own accounts for certain hours of the day. The rest of the time, Guy4Game is in charge.

Similarly, some players demand to deal with power-leveling service representatives who speak English, or Japanese, or Korean. That's why Guy4Game has employees in those countries, Chen said.

In the eyes of regular players, however, those who utilize power-leveling services aren't sticking to the spirit of the games.

"Using a service to level a character is pretty universally regarded as a 'lamer' move," said Eric Haller, a San Francisco investor and long-time WoW player. "You will definitely not earn anyone's respect if they know you have paid for your levels."

In fact, Haller said he thinks the general perception of people who use power-leveling services, as well as those who buy well-stocked characters or advanced weaponry off of eBay or other secondary markets is that they are unfairly cutting corners.

"I think it is perceived as a form of cheating," Haller said. "Not necessarily in the sense of breaking the rules, but more in the sense of being a somewhat weak player who is unable to use (their) skills to acquire things. (It's) sort of like it is confusing to me why someone would pay $50 for a game and then $20 for a guide to walk them through it. Isn't the fun in the play?"

To Simmons, the problem behind power leveling has to do more with logistics than with fun. That, she said, is because Sony Online Entertainment gets customer service complaints all the time from players who have had their accounts stolen or compromised after using power-leveling services. Sony won't ban players who get caught using contractors, but they're on their own with customer service problems.

But Sony has little sympathy for such customers.

"Players are responsible for the security of their own accounts," Simmons said. "And players that use those types of services are at risk of having their accounts stolen or compromised."

By Daniel Terdiman
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Friday, February 02, 2007

'Warcraft': A world in transition

'Warcraft': A world in transition It might seem odd that World of Warcraft's publisher decided to tinker with the game's core experience in releasing the new expansion World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade.

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game, after all, has reached more than 8 million players and is among the most popular online games of all time, especially in the United States. Why mess with that kind of success?

Yet tinker Blizzard Entertainment did, and the WoW community has responded with enthusiasm: the company sold more than 2.4 million copies of the $39.99 Burning Crusade expansion in the first 24 hours after its January 16 launch. Among other additions, the expansion includes a new continent, two new races and a new profession: jewel crafting.

But while players seem largely satisfied with BC, as it's known, some also worry that the millions of people still playing the original game, especially those at the highest levels, are left with a somewhat barren version of the adventure they're used to.

"Blizzard deliberately killed their (original) game," said Katrina Glerum, a veteran WoW player who, like thousands of others, stood in line for hours to be among the first to purchase the expansion. The original game "is dead," she said. "Most of the work Blizzard did for the past two years building interesting content to keep (players of the original game) amused is dead."

World of Warcraft launched in 2004. Players in the U.S. pay $15 a month to play, and that has brought hundreds of millions of dollars into Blizzard's coffers.

Glerum said she is, for the most part, enjoying her experiences with BC, but it's clear she and the millions of other players who have upgraded are in transition. That adjustment is fueled mainly by the fact that players of the original WoW topped out at level 60, while BC permits going up to level 70 (higher levels give players access to stronger weapons, tools and so on).

A higher maximum level means several things for players, Glerum said.

First, many guilds (groups of players) that previously spent much of their time on raids in search of loot or in battles with monsters or other enemies, have either disbanded altogether or been forced into a waiting period as players busily try to work their way up the level scale.

WoW Burning Crusade

"(Raiding) guilds' main activities were organizing and holding raids and high-level runs for loot," Glerum said. "They are all completely on hiatus until everyone gets their (characters) up to 70. In fact, many of the super high-end raiding guilds stopped playing and even broke up a couple months ago in preparation for BC."

For its part, Blizzard said it hasn't abandoned the original game, though it does acknowledge wanting to give it a swift kick in the pants.

"I don't feel we deliberately killed the (original) game," said Jeff Kaplan, lead designer of WoW. "What we were attempting to do was give people a new ceiling on the game. In a level-capped game (where people can't rise above a certain level), when the level is raised, what people came to know would grow. We would have ended up losing a lot of people for lack of anything new."

Kaplan added that by extending WoW, raising the level cap and adding new races and content, Blizzard was trying to ensure the continued existence of the WoW franchise.

"We have no intention of letting it stagnate," Kaplan said. "What I think we attempted to do with BC is extend the life of World of Warcraft a little longer and give people more of the WoW that they had come to love."

For the Rev. A.K.M. Adam, a real-life Evanston, Ill., priest who also plays the role of a priest in BC, the expansion has been an enjoyable experience, albeit one that leaves him a little wistful for the original version.

Adam said he likes the scene design in BC, as well as some of the content that's been added. But he noted that one change, which limits raiding parties to 25 players instead of the old limit of 40, has been disappointing, even if it is understandable.

"I miss the large 40-(person) raids," Adam said.

At the same time, he sees how smaller raiding parties mean individual players play a more important role than in the larger ones found in the original version.

"By making the smaller-group instances as valuable as the large raids, they allow players to enjoy the game to the fullest in ways that differ along with their preferred style," Adam said.

Kaplan agreed, saying Blizzard felt that the 40-player raiding groups left some feeling marginalized.

"Certain players started to feel a little bit alienated by the larger raid size," Kaplan said. "With the smaller raid size, your individual contribution counts a little bit more...We felt that 25 was enough to capture the epic feel of raiding."

For Kelly Wallace, an Atlanta attorney who had been playing with four level-60 characters in the original game, BC is an entirely new experience.

"In my opinion, it's really made WoW a very different game for those folks who had been playing at level 60," Wallace said. "It is as if a big reset button was pressed."

Wallace said he has had little trouble transitioning to BC, but notes, like Glerum, that the expansion has basically rendered the original game moot.

"This is now the game of Warcraft," Wallace said. "There is absolutely zero reason for players to ever go back to (the original game) because the rewards available in (BC) are better and, for the most part, easier to obtain."

But he noted that central locations from the original game, like Ironforge, an important city, are now nearly empty.

"Previously, players on my server with slower or older computers had a hard time navigating in Ironforge because of all the other players in that zone," Wallace said. "These days, Ironforge is a ghost town. Just about everyone is in Outland (a main region in the expansion), and I can't imagine that any of the old capitals will ever experience the bustle that they had pre-BC."

Kaplan said Blizzard has made a point of ensuring that there are still things to do in the original cities like Ironforge and that there is still plenty of traffic there.

"There's not the same density as there used to be," Kaplan said, "but I don't think it's hit the level of ghost town yet either."

To Glerum, one consequence of the expansion is that there are relatively few opportunities for level-60 players to continue to participate in player vs. player battles without upgrading.

That, she said, is because there are few battlefields left on which to fight non-upgraded players, a condition that's exacerbated because the WoW universe is in transition as most players are off fighting non-player characters in their attempt to "level up" to 70.

Still, that is more an observation than a complaint. In fact, Glerum said she's very impressed with BC.

"The art is gorgeous," Glerum said. The writing of the two new races of characters introduced in BC and the new quests "is beautiful," she said. "The new music is generally good (and) sometimes inspired. I am finding it just fun to play."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

WOW: Crusade Breaks Records

Blizzard Entertainment announced that World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the first expansion of its massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has broken first-day sales records to become the fastest-selling PC game ever in North America and Europe. The title has sold a total of nearly 2.4 million copies worldwide in its first 24 hours of availability, the company said.

The Burning Crusade was simultaneously released in North America, Europe, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia on Jan. 16 and in Australia and New Zealand the following day.

Blizzard supplied more than 4 million game boxes to retailers worldwide, and more than 5,000 stores throughout the world had their doors open at midnight to welcome thousands of expectant players.

Day-one sales totals on both continents were similar, with an estimated 1.2 million copies sold on the first day in North America and an estimated 1.1 million copies sold in Europe within the first 24 hours of launch. By the end of the first day of availability on both continents, a total of more than 1.7 million players had already logged in and upgraded World of Warcraft to play The Burning Crusade.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The first expansion for Blizzard's uber-selling online RPG launches. Here's our day one review.

By: Mike Smith

Posted: 16 Jan 2007

Logged into World of Warcraft lately? Yeah, you and 7,999,999 other people around the world. Very soon, you'll notice Azeroth suddenly filling with female Blood Elf paladins and male Draeni shamans, while all the level 60 characters suddenly discover lots of new and exciting things to do. That is, if you can log in at all. Yup, the Burning Crusade is upon us, and we have the skinny.

First up, Burning Crusade tackles three problems that have faced Warcraft's character range ever since its launch. Specifically, the Horde can't play paladins, the Alliance can't play shamans, and all the Horde races are an ugly bunch (which is, admittedly, aligned with the faction's nature). Now the full set of character classes is open to both Horde and Alliance players, plus, perhaps more importantly for Alliance-skewed PvP servers, the Horde has a race with cute-looking female models.

Meanwhile, the Alliance has a race with ugly blue blobby models. It's tough to get too excited about the Draeni just because of that, although their racial abilities -- a heal, a couple of passive party bonuses, and a bonus to the new trade skill Jewelcrafting -- are decent. The Draeni city, Exodar, is constructed from the wreck of a giant dimension-jumping spacecraft, even. Best of all, their dance animation is inspired by the great Daler Mehndi.

Sure, these pseudo-sci-fi lands of the Draeni are appealing, in a sterile sort of way. We're wondering what a race that can build spaceships is doing poncing about in fields waving swords, but that's another story -- and there's probably some hackneyed Warcraft lore explanation for it all. No, the Blood Elf lands are the place to be, with their second stopping zone, Ghostlands, being the best looking WOW zone so far.

Besides, Blood Elves get to ride on chocobos. Chocobos, man! Sure, the game calls them something else, but we don't care. That's reason enough to play a Blood Elf right there, as if the lithe models and appealing magic-focused racial abilities weren't enough.

Jewelcrafting, the new trade skill added by Burning Crusade, promises to add more customizability to your kit. Experienced jewelcrafters can make rings and necklaces, but most of the appeal comes from their ability to prepare gems for insertion in special "socketed" armor and weapons. Diablo II player will recognize this idea, of course.

Is it worth giving up an existing profession for it? You'll need a lot of materials to level jewelcrafting up, and they'll command high prices in the early days of the expansion as everyone and their dog tries it out. All this supply will also mean you'll have a hard time selling goods you create. It's quite the money sink, but it's certainly worth checking out if you're creating a new character.

So how about the new zones? Your trip to the Outlands will start with a stroll through the imposing Dark Portal and continue with what'll likely be quite some time in Hellfire Peninsula, probably the largest and most complex zone in the game so far. Your journey to level 70 will take in plenty of new zones, new instances, flying mounts -- you know, the usual stuff.

Did we say flying mounts? Yes: gryphons for Alliance characters and wyverns for the Horde, although there are rarer ones for the more uber players. Some Outlands content simply can't be accessed without one, so even without the considerable coolness factor, they're an essential purchase on reaching 70. Sadly, you can't use them outside the Outlands - these zones simply aren't set up for flying, although there's a chance that'll change in future.

Don't be in too much of a hurry to head through the portal, though, especially if you're on a PvP server. Remember how crowded the starting zones were when the game first released? Although Blizzard promise they have new strategies to adjust spawn rates to cope with demand, it remains to be seen how well they'll handle the launch day crowds. If you are on a PvP server, you'll not only have crowds, you'll have gankers to contend with as well. In other words, it's not going to be pretty, even if the servers can take the strain. If they can, it'll be a first for Blizzard.

Those who opt to leave the Outlands for another day and create Blood Elf or Draeni characters aren't guaranteed a smooth ride, either -- those zones will be nearly as crowded, although new characters should leave the 1-10 starting zones faster than the level 60 crowd will vacate Hellfire Peninsula. However you slice it, you're not going to find a low-stress Burning Crusade experience for some time.

But you should buy it anyway. Why? Because we're all ready for more, and there's plenty more here. Burning Crusade is an essential purchase for any serious World of Warcraft player -- but then we knew that, right? Any serious World of Warcraft player has had their Collector's Edition on pre-order for months already, and they've already polished their staffs in anticipation of dressing up for the midnight launch ceremony. (Speaking of, check back later this week for our video coverage of this event!)

Casual players, unless you're hurting for things to do with your level 60s or just can't live without playing a Blood Elf, need not be in so much of a hurry. Skip the queues and the aggro; let the hardcore, poop-in-a-sock crowd have their fun, because the Outlands will still be there when they've all raced through it and are farming whichever new instance has the best loot-to-effort ratio. In fact, casual players -- or, indeed, anyone with a low frustration threshold -- might just as well plan on finding something else to do with the next few weeks.

When it finally smoothes out, Burning Crusade players will have a whole new continent to explore, two compelling new races, a useful new profession, and a pile of other worthwhile changes. Launch issues aside, there's absolutely no reason why any World of Warcraft player should hesitate to pick it up. Consider it essential.

Finally, the Warcraft wait is over

Blizzard Entertainment due to release new expansion today
DALLAS -- Each day, millions of people around the world gaze at their computer screens to explore a dangerous fantasy world of treasure-filled dungeons and flame-breathing dragons, a land where mortal enemies lurk around every corner.

It's the World of Warcraft, the most successful online game ever, and it's a world about to get a whole lot bigger with today's release of a $39.99 enhancement called The Burning Crusade.

From China to the United States, from Australia to Europe, more than 8 million registered users now pay up to $15 a month to gather with hundreds of other real people who masquerade as digital avatars in the never-ending fantasy world of Azeroth.

The Burning Crusade adds new locales such as Karazhan, Hellfire Citadel and Tempest Keep to Azeroth, and presents a spiraling war against demonic forces where the game's two opposing factions — the Alliance and the Horde — will face powerful new enemies.

Trey Hancock, 26, has been shooting fireballs and frost novas to crush his mortal enemies in the video game World of Warcraft since it first launched in 2004. In his years of playing, the Houston resident led a guild of more than 200 people and raised four characters to the current top level of 60 — including his main character, a mage named Oraj.

Like many others, Hancock said he took a break in anticipation of the expansion, where his first goal will be to take Oraj to level 70.

"I haven't played for the last week because I know once it comes out, I'm going to be playing it nonstop," he said.

It's just the sort of enthusiasm the company behind the game, Blizzard Entertainment Inc., is banking on.

"We were going to be happy if we got a million worldwide subscribers; we didn't feel like that was shooting the moon," said Rob Pardo, Blizzard's vice president of game design and the lead designer for World of Warcraft. "The way it blew up is far beyond our wildest expectations. But now that we are at the mark we are, we feel there's still an ability to grow that customer base even further."

Released in November 2004, World of Warcraft brought several new elements to the genre of massive multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs. Most significant, it was simple to play and a had high level of polish, according to Jon Wood, managing editor of the gaming Web site MMORPG.com.

"I think Blizzard looked at what was out there and found out what worked and what didn't work," he said. "The truth of the matter is, the game is very polished. The fact that it's very smooth and easy to learn has put them out front."

Pardo said polish has always been the mantra for the game's creators.

"It's extremely complicated, all the things we have to get right," he said. "We were on track for a Christmas release, but we really felt like we should make sure the product's right for our customers."

Warcraft's popularity has transcended video game culture and spawned a series of action figures, comic books, novels and trading cards.

The game was even the focus of a recent South Park episode where Eric Cartman and friends balloon into overweight, pimply video addicts bent on defeating a rampaging player who threatens the very existence of the game.

The pop culture references extend into the game world, too. If you type "/dance" as a male Blood Elf, for example, your character will strut around with moves similar to the ├╝berdorky hero of Napoleon Dynamite.

"We're all entertainment geeks ourselves," Pardo said. "Part of our design process is having fun and putting in those references. It's kind of our way of giving homage to the things that inspire us."

David Daryani, owner of Tru-Gamerz video gaming center in Dallas, said his customers regularly queue up to play the game, especially on the weekends. As a longtime WoW player himself, Daryani, 38, said he hasn't played much lately but was looking forward to seeing the new content and returning to his favorite activity: player versus player combat.

"If you have a bad day, you get on and say 'I'm just going to kick some Alliance butt,' " he said. "It just relieves some stress."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Late 'Warcraft' expansion pack to debut

DALLAS — Each day, millions of people around the world gaze at their computer screens to explore a dangerous fantasy world of treasure-filled dungeons and flame-breathing dragons, a land where mortal enemies lurk around every corner.

It's the "World of Warcraft," the most successful online game ever, and it's a world about to get a whole lot bigger with Tuesday's release of a $39.99 enhancement called "The Burning Crusade."

From China to the United States, from Australia to Europe, more than 8 million registered users now pay up to $15 a month to gather with hundreds of other real people who masquerade as digital avatars in the never-ending fantasy world of Azeroth.

"The Burning Crusade" adds new locales such as Karazhan, Hellfire Citadel and Tempest Keep to Azeroth, and presents a spiraling war against demonic forces where the game's two opposing factions — the Alliance and the Horde — will face powerful new enemies.

Players will have access to the new realm of Outland that's nearly as large as the existing game world, and the highest level characters can achieve has been raised from 60 to 70.

There are two new races to choose from as well: the remnants of an ancient space-faring civilization called the Draenei, and the Blood Elves, who are addicted to arcane magic.

But in a market already overpopulated with dwarves, paladins and trolls, is there room for even more of the same? If fans are any indication, the answer is a definite yes.

Trey Hancock, 26, has been shooting fireballs and frost novas to crush his mortal enemies in the video game "World of Warcraft" since it first launched in 2004. In his years of playing, the Houston resident led a guild of more than 200 people and raised four characters to the current top level of 60 — including his main character, a mage named Oraj.

Like many others, Hancock said he took a break in anticipation of the expansion, where his first goal will be to take Oraj to level 70.

"I haven't played for the last week because I know once it comes out I'm going to be playing it nonstop," he said.

It's just the sort of enthusiasm the company behind the game, Blizzard Entertainment Inc., is banking on.

"We were going to be happy if we got a million worldwide subscribers, we didn't feel like that was shooting the moon," said Rob Pardo, Blizzard's vice president of game design and the lead designer for "World of Warcraft." "The way it blew up is far beyond our wildest expectations. But now that we are at the mark we are, we feel there's still an ability to grow that customer base even further."

Released in November 2004, "World of Warcraft" brought several new elements to the genre of massive multiplayer online roleplaying games, or MMORPGs. Most significantly, it was simple to play and a had high level of polish, according to Jon Wood, managing editor of the gaming Web site MMORPG.com.

"I think Blizzard looked at what was out there and found out what worked and what didn't work," he said. "The truth of the matter is, the game is very polished. The fact that it's very smooth and easy to learn has put them out front."

Pardo said polish has always been the mantra for the game's creators.

"It's extremely complicated, all the things we have to get right," he said. "We were on track for a Christmas release but we really felt like we should make sure the product's right for our customers."

"Warcraft's" popularity has transcended video game culture and spawned a series of action figures, comic books, novels and trading cards.

The game was even the focus of a recent "South Park" episode where Eric Cartman and friends balloon into overweight, pimply video addicts bent on defeating a rampaging player who threatens the very existence of the game.

The pop culture references extend into the game world, too. If you type "/dance" as a male Blood Elf, for example, your character will strut around with moves similar to the uberdorky hero of the movie "Napoleon Dynamite."

"We're all entertainment geeks ourselves," Pardo said. "Part of our design process is having fun and putting in those references. It's kind of our way of giving homage to the things that inspire us."

David Daryani, owner of Tru-Gamerz video gaming center in Dallas, said his customers regularly queue up to play the game, especially on the weekends. As a longtime "WoW" player himself, Daryani, 38, said he hasn't played much lately but was looking forward to seeing the new content and returning to his favorite activity: player versus player combat.

"If you have a bad day, you get on and say 'I'm just going to kick some Alliance butt,'" he said. "It just relieves some stress."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Burning Crusade CE fetching $$$ on eBay

Sold-out deluxe edition of first expansion to popular MMOG is drawing almost three times its retail price on online auction site.
By Tim Surette, GameSpot
Posted Jan 4, 2007 4:58 pm PT

The eBay bonanza of next-gen console auctions was all the rage over the holiday season, with shoppers hoping to snag a hard-to-find Wii or PlayStation 3 and willing to pay extra for the convenience. The console auctions have since settled down dramatically, but now a new gaming product high in demand and low in supply is getting attention in auctions.

The Collector's Edition of the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Expansion Pack is drawing bids of almost three times its retail price on eBay. The add-on to the popular PC game will be launched in mid-January, and preorders of the expansion's deluxe edition have been sold out for months.

The CE of The Burning Crusade retails for $69.99 and includes the Art of the Burning Crusade book, a behind-the-scenes DVD, two WOW trading card packs with three exclusive cards, a mouse pad, the soundtrack, and an exclusive in-game pet.

In addition to the aforementioned goodies, the CE is a rare commodity for those who play the game, which had amassed 7.5 million subscribers worldwide as of November.

When asked how many copies of the Collector's Edition would be released, a Blizzard representative told GameSpot, "We're unable to provide a specific number, but we can say that a very limited quantity of them will be made and no more will be reprinted after the initial allotment."

Currently, some auctions for the CE of the original World of Warcraft are going for more than $300.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On the Blogger home page...

The new version of Blogger in beta is dead!
Long live the new version of Blogger!

(P.S. The old version of Blogger is not dead, but it would like to retire for a little while... maybe go to Hawaii or play World of Warcraft all day? It begs you to let it play World of Warcraft all day.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I'm still playing...

I have been 29 since August playing in the BGs. I play nearly every night too.

I so enjoy the PvP.

Game Statistics

Welcome to the Game Stats page! This page provides you with up-to-date statistics about some of the most important aspects of World of Warcraft: most sought-after items in the Auction House, most common player-created items, the fiercest killers in the NPC kingdom, most gathered and found items, most looted items, and the most popular quests. Click on one of the banners below to see more.

These stats are updated daily and you can even do a side-by-side comparison for up to seven days to see how the statistics are progressing, so make sure to check back often!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I started playing again...

Back in the second week of June thanks to my buddy TK.

I started a mage and have been enjoying him. I did not want to try PvP but TK had me play one game of WSG and I was hooked. I stayed 19 for weeks and now I have been 29 for weeks. I hate to move on.

Chinese Coke / WoW commercial

Friday, September 08, 2006

Warcraft Conquers The World

Less than two years after its introduction, World of Warcraft, made by Blizzard Entertainment, is on pace to generate more than $1 billion in revenue this year with almost 7 million paying subscribers and has become the first truly global video game hit since Pac-Man in the early 1980s, The New York Times reported.

That makes the massively multiplayer online role-playing game one of the most lucrative entertainment media properties of any kind, the newspaper reported. Almost every other subscription online game, including EverQuest II and Star Wars: Galaxies, measures its customers in hundreds of thousands or even just tens of thousands.

Warcraft has more players in China, where it has engaged in co-promotions with major brands such as Coca-Cola, than in the United States: There are more than 3 million players in China and slightly fewer than 2 million in the United States. And as with most video games, a clear majority of players worldwide are male.

There is also a rabid legion of fans in South Korea, which has the world's most fervent gaming culture, and more than a million people play in Europe.

Since the game’s introduction in November 2004, the company has expanded to more than 1,800 employees from around 400. Almost all of the additions have been customer-service representatives to handle World of Warcraft players.

There are servers customized for six written languages: English, both simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, German and French. Spanish is in development.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Recipe Database

If you have ever wanted to know what recipes are available for your profession, Warcry's World of Warcraft fan site now has a complete list of recipes, including what reagents they require, and what they create, all able to be arranged by profession type.
World of Warcraft WarCry : Recipe Database