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C.K. Sample, III

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C.K. Sample, III, co-lead blogger for The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) and contributor to PSP Fanboy, TV Squad, and Cinematical began his gaming career with Pong. Since then he has owned and played almost every gaming console that the world has thrown at him. His all-time favorite games are Populous, Legend of Zelda, Super Puzzle Fighter Turbo II, Diablo II, and, of course, World of Warcraft. He also loves making the PSP do more than it was originally intended to do to such a degree that he authored a book on the subject: PSP Hacks.

Bill Gates Plays WoW?

bill gates in azerothThis is a totally fictitious article, but it's somewhat amusing and WoW related, so I thought I'd share: "While you can't turn a corner without seeing [Bill Gates] pimping the Xbox 360 these days, he actually prefers PC gaming. Most folks think he's dreaming up the next big thing for Windows when he's locked away in his office. Uh-uh. He's working to level up on the Mal'Ganis server in World of Warcraft."

Take that XBox 360 Fanboy!

I especially recommend that you read the comments on the Digg page where I found this. My favorite is by Toecutter who says: "He wouldnt level up anyways he would just pay someone." Ha ha.

[via Digg]

Filed under: Odds and ends

In the game: solo vs. groups

cks dancing
Since it's a slow weekend, I thought I'd throw up a post about our gaming. Earlier today, Damien and I were questing through Azeroth together. We're building up our Undead Warlock characters and just bought a guild charter so that we can start a WOW Insider guild for everyone to join in on. Damien will post later with more details on that. In any case, this shot was taken while I was waiting for him and I decided to start dancing. I had just helped him get his VW, as the day before someone else had helped me get mine. I've been playing a lot on my own, and, so far, I haven't felt the group pull. It seems like every time we go to group quest, we're all at slightly different points in the game from our solo gaming. This means that some of us have to repeat quests we've already done and we have to ask help from others. In any case, thanks to Damien, I finally finished The Family Tomb, which is the quest that I currently hate the most. I died so many times. Anyway, do you prefer parties or solo? Let us know.

Filed under: Undead, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion

NYT on WoW gold farming

chinese gold farmers
Josh posted a bit about gold farming the other day, but now the New York Times is following suit with an article, aptly titled, Ogre to Slay? Outsource it to the Chinese by David Barboza. We just love seeing NYT headlines like this one.

In any case, it's an interesting read, giving us the gold farming experience from the perspective of actual Chinese gold farmers. We already knew that Blizzard sees gold farming as being illegal, but it's interesting to see the people involved in it as a business talk about it as if it were akin to working on Wall Street.

One 23-year-old gamer, named Wandering in Azeroth (so watch out for 'Wandering') notes: "I make about $250 a month, which is pretty good compared with the other jobs I've had. And I can play games all day." $250 a month for playing World of Warcraft? Perhaps we should look into launching a WOW Insider Chinese. If these gold farmers can write, they could probably make more money blogging the game than gaming the game and the gold farming industry would diminish (Yeah, right!).

Thanks to WOW Insider Reader, Dr. Funbags, for sending this one in!

Filed under: News items

WOW Insider Flickr Group

wow insider flickr
Josh set up a WOW Insider Flickr group for us earlier today and membership is open to the public, so get in there, join up, and start sharing your favorite shots of Azeroth with us. Don't forget that Josh started another Flickr pool for your custom UI in WoW.

Also, if you happen to have shots of your most embarrassing death, we'd really love to see those too.

Filed under: Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business

Has WoW ruined your life?

World of Warcraft
You've all heard the stories. People have died from exhaustion from playing video games too much. People have started affairs and ruined marriages in virtual worlds like World of Warcraft.

If this sounds familiar: here's your chance to share. It's Jerry Springer on WOW Insider time: Has your devotion to the world of Azeroth ruined or negatively impacted your real-world life? Give us all the dirt.

Filed under: Polls, Virtual selves

WoW Student Ethnographies

wow ethnographyIs the general population of WoW sexist or gender-biased? Are there way more fanboys than fangirls playing the game?

If your answer was: "Who cares?" Then you may want to skip this post. Otherwise, check out this group of student blogs from a class called "Games for the Web: Ethnography of Massively Multiplayer On-line Games." [Side note: why didn't they offer courses like this when I was going through?] The blogs don't just cover sexism, as each blog details a different student's progress in a research project and paper examining ethnographies in World of Warcraft. Pretty cool stuff.

[via BoingBoing]

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves

How much time do you spend designing your characters?

orc A comment (which hasn't been cleared yet, or I'd link to it[link]) on Damien's post about naming conventions in WoW got me thinking about how much time everyone spends designing their characters.

I tend to hit randomize until I see something in the ballpark of what I'm looking for and then tweak the individual features from there until I have something I like. How many of you spend a lot of time customizing the looks of your characters? How many of you just hit randomize and jump on in and start killing things? Let us know.

Filed under: Polls

Well met: Roll call

undead warlockNo, this isn't a pimp-the-bloggers post. Although, we will most likely have such a post in the future.

What we want to know is: do you like to play Horde or Alliance? How many different characters do you have in World of Warcraft? Which one is your highest ranked?

What's your favorite Realm? How much do you play a week?

Give us all the gritty details in the comments.

Filed under: Polls

WOW Insider Video Podcast: Halloween edition

wow halloweenI put together this video podcast for Joystiq back in October, but due to various issues, it never saw the light of day. I decided to go ahead and release it here for all of you as a sign of things to come from WOW Insider, as we've got some pretty good ideas for some video content bouncing around in the WOW Insider back offices.

The entire video was captured from within Argent Dawn using Screen Capz Pro on OS X. There is one error in the film, as I n00bishly proclaim the little colorful bobbles dangling from the huts in the middle section Halloween decorations, but they are, in fact, part of the normal design of the huts. Here's a direct link to the file (right click and save) and you should also be able to subscribe to our podcasts using the following URL:

http://wow.joystiq.com/category/podcasts/rss.xml

The entire video lasts three minutes and is formatted for playback on the new video capable iPod, but will also play in QuickTime or iTunes 6. We'll try to offer future versions in both PSP and iPod compatible versions. If there are any particular flavors of video or special content or stories you'd like to see us cover in-world, then let us know in the comments to this post.

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Is WoW overpopulation becoming an issue?

World of WarcraftForget what I said the other day about the more the merrier. Why the heck am I constantly having to queue up to log in to servers where I already have characters?

Last night, I tried logging into 5 different Realms, before finally giving up and creating a new character in a new Realm. I, for one, would like to see Blizzard do something about this. Either make a population cap or let us migrate characters from other Realms or spider all the Realms together. Something. Sometimes I just want to log in and play for a little bit, and the queue destroys that. Do I really need to create a different character for every Realm and spend hours and hours trying to grow them all? What do you think?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status