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Filed under: Realm News

Free character migrations for select realms

As of yesterday afternoon and lasting through January 28th at 2:00 PM PST, a number of free realm transfers have opened up in the US in an attempt to repair some harsh population imbalance. Bornakk does warn, however, that if they fulfill the transfer quota before January 28th, they will end transfers early so they don't end up in the exact same situation on opposite ends. If any of the below transfer offers suit your fancy, get it done before it's too late.

What's interesting is that in a few of these instances, they're only extended the offer to Horde players. These servers include Illidan, Mal'Ganis, and Warsong. Considering Mal'Ganis is home to the infamous Goon Squad, this isn't the most surprising thing in the world. Interesting, yes. Surprising? Not in the slightest.

For further information on the available transfers, hit the forum thread. You can also check out the source and destination realms behind the cut below.

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Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status

Realm maintenance for January 5th [Updated]

This morning we were given a pleasantly early notice regarding tomorrow's maintenance downtime for North American and Oceanic realms. Realms will be going down at 3:00 AM PST, and are expected to be down until 11:00 AM PST at the earliest.

Though we haven't seen official word on the topic yet, it's expected that the next wing of Icecrown Citadel, the Plagueworks, will open tomorrow once realms come back online. This wing will include the bosses Rotface, Festergut, and Professor Putricide. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if we also saw a minor bug fix patch tomorrow, but only time will tell.

If we hear anymore regarding either of those things throughout the day, we'll be sure to keep you updated.

Edit: I know how to use a calendar. Really. I do.

Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status

Scheduled downtime for December 8th, 2009

Looks like we're in for a long maintenance period with a great reward for our patience this week, folks. Blizzard announced their window for this week's scheduled downtime on the official forums, and given its length, we'll be seeing Icecrown tomorrow after all.

Maintenance is scheduled to start at 1 AM PST/4 AM EST and end at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST. Given that this is a patch day, it's likely that maintenance will be extended at least once, likely several times, meaning your forays into Icecrown might end up a little later than you expect. Just remember that this is the big one, the one we've been waiting for, and that you can wait a little bit longer.

In the meantime, brush up on what's coming with Patch 3.3 in our big ol' guide.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Realm Status

Let loose The Swag Dogs of war

If the quest for bigger and better loot leaves you craving still more, maybe you need a guild that takes things to the next level: a shot at WoW loot you can wear in real life, too. Enter The Swag Dogs, a brand new guild created by our friends at SwagDog. The Blizzard-approved apparel specialists have created a family-friendly guild where players can make new friends, get in on raiding groups on the ground floor -- oh, and get a shot at free WoW swag and BlizzCon tickets.

You'll recognize SwagDog as the folks behind those sweet guild tabard-style T-shirts you've seen on recent posts here at WoW.com, including our recent WoW 5th anniversary T-shirt giveaway. The SwagDog crew are pretty good people. They sponsor our WoW.com Guild of the Month contest, giving out a $100 SwagDog gift certificate to the winning guild every month.

When we heard SwagDog was forming an in-game guild, we smelled a marketing rat -- but as it turns out, there's no pressure to buy. Instead, The Swag Dogs have created the guild as a conduit between players and the SwagDog design team, to encourage players to bring their ideas for new products and designs directly to the source. Those who participate actively will gain a shot at special giveaways ... And of course, the pleasure of getting into a friendly, casual guild from the get-go.

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Filed under: Realm News, Fan stuff, Features

Compensation for last week's extended downtime

In what will surely please anyone who follows or was affected by extended realm downtimes, Blizzard has quietly announced compensation for the realms affected by it last week. We covered the downtime last week as it occurred.

Even after having worked at Blizzard, I'm unsure as to how the decision is made to or not to offer compensation for downtime, but I'm glad that it does get offered periodically. It's no fun to have a day off or a light workday and then discover that the realm that houses your main is down, again.

Regardless, if you were on any of the realms listed after the cut, you should see that a 24-hour credit has been added to your subscription on your Account Management page. Take this, your blue badge of courage, and hold it high to the heavens, your karmic reward for not pitching a fit. "We cool, Blizz. We cool."

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Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, News items

More server outages for Whirlwind and Emberstorm [Updated]

There are more server outages hitting this afternoon, unfortunately impacting the same realms that were down for around ten hours last night. The Seattle datacenter was hit with a nasty power outage yesterday, but we currently don't know the reasons for the current downtime. There are no blue responses yet, but my gut says there's some lingering damage that will need to be dealt with this afternoon.

Then again, we might be lucky and they'll be back in ten minutes. Who knows with these things? Keep an eye on WoW.com and we'll keep you posted should we hear anything. If you're not sure if you're part of one of these battlegroups, the full list is behind the cut.

Update #1: Blizzard is aware of the issue. Not much else at the moment.
Update #2: Looks like most servers are coming up. Our poor friends on Quel'Dorei are still down for the count.
Update #3: Maintenance on these realms not necessarily 'done' says Malkorix.
Update 11:57pm: Both battlegroups went down 12 minutes ago. More as we know it.
Update 12:18am: Blizzard says they are working on it and that any compensation will come after the problems have been resolved.
Update 3:37am: The servers are up temporarily, but will be intermittently taken down while they continue to resolve the underlying problem.

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Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status

Updatedx3: Urgent maintenance complete

Blizzard has announced that they are conducting urgent maintenance on several realms. Though the official Warcraft twitter account announced it would only go on until noon PST (the tweet was about account maintenance), the in-game and forum messages state that they do not know how long the maintenance will take. They expect to have more information by 12:30 p.m. PST / 3:30 p.m. EST.

The list of affected realms is after the break (which includes Zangarmarsh, the It came from the Blog server).

We will keep you informed as the status changes.

3:25 p.m. PST: All realms are (supposedly) online and playable.
Update 3 p.m. PST: More info at 3:30 PST.
Update: More info at 1:30 p.m. PST.

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Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, Blizzard, News items

China's GAPP halts WoW review, calls collecting subscriptions "illegal behavior"

Just when NetEase was finally getting back to business in China (they were even planning for a Wrath release next month), they hit a huge snag: China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) office has apparently halted their review of the game and told the company to stop collecting subscriptions and signing up new subscribers. They've also passed on the company's application to go into business, and have called the new subscription signups "illegal behavior," threatening even suspension of the company's Internet service.

We're not sure what happens from here -- an official from the country's Ministry of Culture has also said that the suspension of the review is "not appropriate," especially since the content under review had already been approved while the game was being run by The9, which may mean that it will be overturned just as quickly as it went down (and the game will be back in business before long). On the other hand, Netease may have jumped the gun -- they've been collecting subscriptions for a while, which they apparently weren't supposed to do without official GAPP approval (and we've heard before that GAPP might just want to delay the release of foreign games as long as possible). We'll keep an eye on the issue -- most analysts are saying that despite the threats, this is just another roadbump for NetEase, and they should still be back to collecting payments for the game soon.

Update: Stranger and stranger -- NetEase has released a statement saying they've gotten no official word from GAPP outside of the official press release. When you consider that along with the Ministry of Culture's comments, it seems that the government isn't quite sure whether they're approving the content or not.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, News items, Expansions, The Burning Crusade

Emergency European maintenance this evening

A little while ago, 2 am Paris time, servers went down in the EU for emergency maintenance. More specifically, "emergency database maintenance." They're estimated to be down until 4 am Paris time, which by my estimate is another hour or so. Should that maintenance be extended any further, we'll be sure to let you know right here on WoW.com.

Many thanks to our followers on Twitter for alerting us of this downtime, because our European staff members are apparently off doing silly things like sleeping. Thanks a lot, guys. Because of that, I'm now inflicting cultural stereotypes on you all in the form of the picture at the top of this post. Don't take your rage out on me, take it out on the warlock.

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, Europe

World of Warcraft in the 'net's traffic patterns


Arbor Networks is a company that continually monitors the Internet and its usage -- they keep track of Internet outages and site visits on a global scale. They just recently released a report of when traffic peaks in the evenings around the world, and at least one of their results is about the game we're all playing, none other than World of Warcraft. In terms of just general consumer traffic online, the numbers tend to peak, according to the report, at around 8-11pm -- the time right before bed when most Americans are done with dinner, and have a little free time to jump online and browse around. In terms of what they're doing when online, simple web browsing makes up most of that traffic (52%), what's the rest of it? Gaming, including WoW.

More than any other gaming service (they also take a look at Steam), WoW's chart is extremely interesting -- it peaks solidly at 8pm every night, and then falls back down just as sharply around 11pm. In other words, the biggest audience for WoW (during this time period -- this is over ten days in July of this year) is raiders, who show up on time at 8 and end the raid around 3 hours later. In other words, if you want to avoid the crowd, show up after 11. Or even better, raid in the mornings. Interesting stuff -- certainly Blizzard has much more detailed information on when people log into the game (and where they go when they do), but as an overview of traffic patterns, Arbor's research all makes sense.

[via Network World]

Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances

Breakfast Topic: How to be realm-famous


I like this post on the General forums about being "realm-famous" and how to get there. World of Warcraft has a gigantic community around it, but sometimes my favorite part of the game is that there are all sorts of little micro-communities in that big one. There's the player base at large, and then groups of people who read WoW.com or other sites. Then you've got the realm forums denizens, and that's a different group than the factions on either side of each realm in-game. And then you've got your guild, and then within that, your raiders and maybe even your friends list. We're all part of one big group -- we all play the game together -- but there are all sorts of little identities in all of these little micro-groups as well.

And people can become "famous" in these groups. It's tough for us at a macro level to cover all of that stuff, though I like trying to keep up with some of it in our Guildwatch column (and the picture above shows what happens when someone can become "realm-famous," or realm-infamous as the case may be. What's your experience with realm-fame -- can you name people on your own server, or have you ever gotten "famous" for nabbing a realm first or earning a reputation?

Filed under: Realm News, Guilds, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Forums

Guildwatch: Redemption


Many whelps! Handle it! Oh wait, you did. In the Wake on Zul'jin (as you can see in the video above) was just one of the many guilds to take down Onyxia since she returned to the game in a more powerful form, and while obviously there wasn't much new to this fight, most guilds give it a thumbs up: it was a little old-school raiding taste in a new-school difficulty level. Not that it's too hard (c'mon, it's Onyxia), but it's nice to see the fight pretty faithfully recreated. Makes you wish for more, doesn't it?

Lots more raid downings, and of course the usual drama and recruitment notices in this week's Guildwatch. If you've got a tip for us about your guild or just one you saw on the forums, please send it along to guildwatch@wow.com, and please do your best to make it look like the ones below -- if you send us five pages on the entire history of your guild, it probably won't show up here. Read on for more.

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Filed under: Realm News, Guilds, Odds and ends, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch

Searching for the most popular server


Kris over on the WoW LJ has an interesting question: what's the most popular server in the game? Blizzard never has (and likely never will) singled out one server as the most popular in the game, as the QQ that would ensue might bring the forums down (not to mention that it must change pretty often, as people transfer and reroll on other realms. It seems that everyone on a high population server thinks they must be top dog when they see queues during prime time, but the most widespread concrete numbers we have are probably from the unofficial Warcraft Realms census: they claim that, with over 35,000 characters on it, Whisperwind is number one.

Of course, even that can't be trusted -- those numbers are picked up from the site's addon, all within the last 30 days, and it could just be that WR has more info about more people on that server. But at the same time, I'd guess that Warcraft Realms' numbers are in the ballpark, as long as you're talking about Yankee Stadium. Whisperwind, Cenarion Circle, Stormrage, Moon Guard, and Proudmoore are all big servers, I can promise you anecdotally, while Laughing Skull, Blood Furnace, and Malorne are definitely at the other end of the spectrum. As for a most popular realm, there probably isn't one specifically (it changes periodically, if not even at different times of the day). But if your realm is near the top of Warcraft Realms' list, it's probably busier than the others.

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances

Server maintenance for September 29th

While we were given ample notice regarding last week's server maintenance, this week we weren't so lucky. We were only informed earlier today of tomorrow's maintenance, which will start at 5:00 am PDT and last until 11:00 am PDT. If you're not sure what time that is in your particular time zone, that's what the World Clock is for, you ninnies.

As usual, WoW.com will be here all morning and afternoon to keep you busy while you slack off at work during your WoW-less lunch break. Or, if Valve is a benevolent sort and lets us get our grubby, pallid hands on it early, you could just play Left 4 Dead's new map while the servers are down. That's what I'll be doing the whole time.

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status

Server Status: Coming back online


Not that this should surprise any of you, but the servers are not yet up. 11:00 a.m. PDT has come and gone, and many folks are still staring at a blank screen. A large batch of realms will be offline until at least 12:30 p.m. PDT. That list is after the break.

If your realm is offline, I suggest reading up on everything in WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2.2. At least that way you'll be prepared for Ony when the time comes.

The full list of realms undergoing extended maintenance after the break.

Update 12:20 p.m. PDT: Most realms are now coming back online.

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Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Realm Status, News items

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