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Should Warcraft be an Olympic sport?

Professional e-sports exist and can draw in significant interest - people watch streams on Twitch, top players can earn significant money, and we've seen people come out to watch them at places like BlizzCon and the Worldwide Invitational. But is it really a sport, and should we be seeing it in the Olympics? Rob Pardo, former chief creative officer at Blizzard, argues yes in this interview with the BBC.

In the interview, Pardo discusses the physical and mental ability of some of the best players in the world, how many decisions they made in a short period of time, as well as the draw of the games as a spectator sport. To be fair, he's mostly talking about games like Starcraft, but his other point about games and cultural definition as to what is and isn't a sport seems more likely to hamper gaming at an Olympic level than anything else. It's just not very common for an activity that takes place in front of a computer to be seen as a sport.

For the complete interview, head over to the BBC.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items

The Snowy Owl arrives with winter

The northern hemisphere observed the winter solstice earlier this week -- which is relevant to World of Warcraft for one reason: the Snowy Owl. The Snowy Owl battle pet can only be caught during the winter season, which officially began on December 21. If you're looking to get your hands on it, head out to Winterspring.

The Snowy Owl's summer equivalent, the Qiraji Guardling, will be unavailable until June 20. At that point, the Snowy Owl will go back into hibernation.

Filed under: News items

Around Azeroth: Loves me like a rock

Ah, crap. My bad, guys. I honestly thought I'd clicked off the Odd Polished Stone buff before the boss fight. Okay, we can salvage this. Does anyone have an empty plot in their garrison and really want a souvenir of this victory? I figure we can get a couple of warriors to chip away at this thing like a pinata until we can reach our loot. It should only take a couple of months. Oh, come on, a /gkick? That's a little excessive. Everybody makes mistakes. (Thanks to submitter Corvinna of alea iacta est dignitas on Earthen Ring (US-H) for the screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

The Queue: Boxing Day, Warcraft novels, Did Thrall cheat?

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Today's first question is about Boxing Day. I didn't see that coming when I wrote today's Breakfast Topic.

JeffLaBowski asks:
Canadians: What is boxing day like? Do people have nice meals and exchange gifts? Are stores closed? Do you go to church? Any fun traditions?
Non-Canadians: Do you have any day after X-mas traditions? I usually like to head out to a store or two (in the afternoon), if I got a gift card I wanted to use. Might go see the new Hobbit movie.


I already talked about this in today's Breakfast Topic, but basically, around here at least (here being Edmonton) Boxing Day isn't very dissimilar from Black Friday - there are a lot of big sales and special deals and stores open early to accommodate people coming in to make exchanges or spend Christmas money. It differs from Black Friday mainly in that there's a lot fewer stories of people trampling each other on Boxing Day.

I happen to be non-Canadian, despite living in Canada, and so I could theoretically answer the second part of the question. But frankly, I don't have any fun traditions.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: WoW needs a Boxing Day

If y'all don't know what Boxing Day is (I didn't until I moved up here) it's basically pretty awesome. It started out as a day where the people who ended up having to work on Christmas (people like servants of nobles or tradesfolk) would still get something from the people they worked for. It goes at least as far back as the 1600s, and might actually date back further. Nowadays, it's mostly an excuse for sales as companies try and shift their unsold stock and people bring presents they didn't want in to be exchanged.

What with folks trying so hard to get that specific present under the tree yesterday (and it not always working out for them) I think it would be cool if there was a Boxing Day which allowed us to go exchange stuff we didn't want for stuff we did. But I guess that depends -- did it work out as you intended? Do you wish you could make a switch? Or did you get what you were looking for?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Frozey the Snowman


Wowcrendor is definitely having a great Winter Veil with his 10 Days of Winter Veil countdown and a new machinima every day. We're half-way through the countdown now with Frozey the Snowman, an appropriately Azerothian take on on the Frosty the Snowman story.

So just how do you make Frosty the Snowman into a uniquely Warcraft creation? Well, I'd hate to give away the ending, but maybe bringing a random snowman to life just isn't the best thing you could do with a magical hat. Maybe.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


What was under your Winter Veil tree?

Everyone loves loot drops, and for many of us, today is the biggest real-world loot drop of the year. So today seems like the ideal time to talk about holiday gifts: just what did you find under your (real-life) Winter Veil tree this year? Did you snag any great gaming gifts or did you just find lumps of coal (or cheerfully tacky holiday sweaters) in your gift haul this year? And if you're not celebrating (or got a disappointing gift selection), what's the best in-game gift you've gotten this holiday season?

Happy holidays, everyone!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Around Azeroth: Peace on Draenor and good will towards birds

Submitter Aibelle of BloodOath on Ravencrest (US-A) noticed that her Pepe was getting lonely in her garrison. Also, she was becoming a little tired of constantly cleaning bird mess out of her hairdo. So she was rather pleased when she built her new stables and noticed Sky'reen had taken up residence. Now Pepe has another avian friend, and Aibelle can explore coiffure options beyond "basic night elf ponytail."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

The Queue: I am not Santa

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

I am, however, incredibly vain and egocentric.

WalterAnderson asks:
Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? If not were you happily surprised with what you did get?

Honestly, I didn't want anything. I tend not to want things aside from books, and I usually buy those for myself, so I'm an incredible pain to shop for. Get me an Amazon gift certificate or hand me fifty bucks and drive me to a bookstore, and I'm good. I'm writing this Queue Christmas Eve, so I don't know what I got yet, but I'm sure it was good.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: The Day At Last

Hopefully, if today is a holiday for you, you're spending it with loved ones of some description, or enjoying it in whatever way you like best. For some of us, that includes a heaping helping of World of Warcraft - in past years I participated in special raids on Christmas day, or did a day of dungeons, or even ran AV all day (this was back in the day, of course). So it behooves me to ask you, if you're going to be playing WoW today, and if so, what're you up to in the game?

And have a happy holiday, if you're celebrating.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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