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Filed under: Virtual selves

[1.Local]: What alliances we have

Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Tomorrow's the Big Day for one of WoW.com's own. Join us in congratulating Michael Gray and his bride Katherine on their marriage. It seems that this couple has been treading on geeky ground from the very start. Now, Michael has given us permission to share excerpts from the ceremony with the gang at [1.Local] here today. We've tucked in the wedding benediction at the end of this week's column ... Best wishes to the happy couple!

And now, on to the week's comment highlights.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Humor, [1.Local], Warcraft Movie

Drama Mamas: Spoilsport speed demons

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

What happens when the Dungeon Finder matches up a group of players with the right mix of roles but the wrong mix of goals? Who "wins" when veteran players want to speed-run a lower-level instance, while the new players want to savor every surprise and puzzle over every trick? Lisa and Robin are on different sides of the fence this week. No matter which philosophy rings true for you, it's something worth agreeing on with the rest of the group at the beginning of the run.

Dear Drama Mamas: Having played a mage for the last 18 months, I decided to level my first alt, a priest. I ran into unexpected drama problems running my priest in the entry level instances using the random Dungeon Finder. You've offered excellent commentary on issues arising in endgame instances. I am soliciting your insight on conflict unique to the low-end random instances.

In contrast to endgame instances, where gear issues arise, random entry-level instances are mixing highly experienced players with people who are new to World of Warcraft. The principal conflict that arises is the first group wants to get geared and leveled as quickly as possible. The new players are there to experience what the instance offers. The first wants to run the instance quickly, the second need time. Regards, Anonymous

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Leveling, Drama Mamas

The Classifieds: News briefs on guilds and players

The Classifieds brings you weekly updates on guild recruiting, rankings, splits and merges, progression and more. Have guild news or a Random Act of Uberness to share? E-mail The Classifieds.

Welcome to our first installment of The Classifieds, an evolution of our former Guildwatch feature. As more and more players move into endgame raiding, we thought it fitting that our guild news should evolve, too. The Classifieds gives you more of the news you can use: who's progressing, who's marking milestones, who's recruiting. But it's not only about guilds. Because we're all down there in the trenches of Dungeon Finder groups at every opportunity, The Classifieds lets you send a shout-out to that player who made your last PUG a thing of real beauty (whether through pure technical finesse or a winning attitude). And if you're curious about how WoW intersects with the world at large, we'll be passing along links to academic research studies seeking participants, as well.

Editor's Note: One thing you might notice missing in Guildwatch's new incarnation is the "Drama" section. In the interest of fostering community growth and positive interaction, we're checking the drama and negativity at the door.

Let's open the Classifieds!

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Features, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder loot advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Yes, we're going to go on about the Dungeon Finder again this week. This time it isn't about Gearscore or DPS, but about the loot issues that have cropped up. The thing about cross-realm PuGs is that you may never see your fellow dungeon runners again. Or when you do, you may forget that you have -- unless you meticulously document all ne'er-do-wells by hand. Blizzard attempted to mitigate some of the issues they knew would arise by changing the Need Before Greed loot rules and requiring it for random dungeon rewards. But you're still going to get players working the system in order to line their pockets as well as upgrade their gear. And they aren't worried about their reputations Battlegroup-wide. At the same time, many people are expecting their fellow PuGgers to abide by loot rules designed to better a guild as a whole rather than a random crew of strangers.

This week we are tackling two letters as well as concerns from other sources in an effort to provide a solution for the Dungeon Finder loot drama:

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

Teen runs away to meet older WoW soulmate [Updated]

Before we delve into this story, I just want to say that everything turned out alright. No Canadian laws were broken. No authority figures taking advantage of underage people in their care. The teenager is home safe and his online lover is allowed to return home whenever she likes. Here are the facts:
  • A 16 year old boy in Ontario had an online affair with a 42 year old mother of four in Texas.
  • They met in WoW, but much of the affair took place in MSN chat.
  • The parents knew of the relationship for over a year.
  • The boy told the woman that he was 20.
  • The consenting age in Ontario, Canada is 16.
  • The boy had a history of addiction to WoW, had seen a counselor and was given computer privileges again as a reward for good behavior.
  • She came to visit him for the Christmas holidays and asked him to meet her in a hotel.
  • He asked his parents for permission. They said no.
  • He snuck out at 2 am and went to her anyway.
  • The parents and local authorities made a plea to the public for his safe return.
  • The boy and woman were spotted together in public two days later and brought in.
  • Again, the boy is home safe and the woman is not being charged with anything in Canada.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

15 Minutes of Fame: The Pi Guy

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Sorry, no typos in the headline. It's not the pie meme that's the topic of today's 15 Minutes of Fame. (You'll have to turn elsewhere for your just desserts.) We really do mean pi -- you know, 3.14159 ... We're not quite sure how pi and WoW go together. And frankly, neither are players on US Llane, where the mysterious Pi Guy holds court in Trade. "He's in Trade chat spamming pi and other fascinating formulas, like how 99.9 = 1," writes our tipster, "which makes sense after he shows you the steps ... which he does. He's got top-of-the-line gear, which in itself is a nice thing. But on top of that, he's a math genius. A very mysterious math genius."

We suppose community fascinations have formed up around more bizarre memes than pi. But a mysterious mathematician lurking in Trade? How could we allow this stone to remain unturned? Without further delay, we offer up for your consideration the curious tale of Gauss, the Pi Guy.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

All the World's a Stage: The curtain falls

All the World's a Stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players. They have their stories and their characters; and one player in his time plays many roles.

It's a strange feeling to look back on four years of roleplaying in WoW, more than two of which were spent writing "All the World's a Stage," and feel as though the curtain is coming down on this part of my life, just as many new things are rising up to take its place. It's a sad thing, and it's a happy thing at the same time.

Part of me doesn't want to change -- it just wants to go on having more of all those experiences I've enjoyed, which have helped me grow and become the person I am today; but the other part of me embraces these changes, and looks forward toward the experiences that will make me into the person I will be tomorrow.

The fact is that I need to put WoW on indefinite hiatus, but before I go, let me share some of the things I have deeply appreciated about playing the game, especially how roleplaying filled an important niche in my life, and actually helped make me a better person.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The Guild comic available for pre-order

The comic adaptation of the popular, award-winning web series The Guild is now available for pre-order from Things From Another World (TFAW). Published by Dark Horse, the comic is written by series creator and actress Felicia Day herself and drawn by indie comic artist Jim Rugg, who drew the Plain Janes graphic novel. The first issue will be available in two variant covers done by Cary Nord and Georges Jeanty.

Readers will learn about the origin of the Knights of Good, as the comic chronicles Cyd's life before she joins the guild, how she became Codex, and how she meets her fellow guild members. The story includes tidbits not found on the web series, making it a delight for fans and serve well as an introduction for those who have never watched the show. The 32-page comic is scheduled to hit the stands in March 24, 2010, and will sell for $3.50.

Like The Guild? We do, too! We've got all the episodes of season 3 posted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and the season finale. We've also chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. And as if that wasn't enough Guild, here's the liveblog of their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned for more Guild here on WoW.com!

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Comics

15 Minutes of Fame: Retirement home

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Is there such a thing as retirement guilds for burned-out players? When Sharaya and Boltac of Vanguard of Norrath spotted that innocuous question on the Blackwater Raiders realm forums, they recognized a familiar face: their very own guild. A collection of former hardcore gamers from the EverQuest era, VoN has become home base for a more casual approach. "We've all done the hardcore raiding thing, which comes with wanting to see everything and do everything in a high-content mass online game," explains VoN officer Sharaya. "We all have had our stints with guilds sporting the usual raid schedules, leveling needs, gear requirements and members constantly preening about scores from tertiary web sites with convoluted ranking systems. In the beginning, we all did this as a choice. It let us see everything, and let's face it -- it was fun.

"But as in most games with such demands, many good players get burnout," he continues. "They don't tire of the game; they tire of the routine. They tire of 'having' to log in to make events or risk /gkick. They tire of the constant fighting over drops and arguing about who gets invited to what. The game ceases to be a game and becomes a chore. It truly is a 'daily.' What we realized is this is not a fault of the game; it's a fault of the guild you're in."

So they created Vanguard of Norrath to offer a refuge from the grind, a place to indulge what Sharaya calls "the ability and know-how to blitz most anything we wanted but ... on our schedule, at our pace and without any pressure." The big surprise? How many other players have been attracted to VoN for exactly the same reasons.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW Insider Show Episode 121: So long and thanks for all the Fah-jords

Our podcast reached the end of part one last weekend, as both Turpster and I announced that we'd be leaving the show. But we didn't let it become a sad affair -- Matthew Rossi and Chase Christian both joined us for some Warcraft discussion (including when it's ok to votekick someone, and lots of Battered Hilt discussion), and we finally were able to have one of our favorite guys stop by: Scott Johnson from The Instance podcast. It was a great show, and as usual, you can tune in at all of the links below.

Thanks again for everything -- even though Turpster and I are moving on, the podcast will continue, so be sure to come back and see what they brew up for you. But it's been a heck of a ride these past two-plus years, and we've had measurable metric tons of laughs and fun together. Thanks so much for listening and chatting with us and all the emails and excitement. Enjoy the show, and don't forget to grab your sword and fight the Horde.

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:

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Filed under: Podcasts, Podcasting, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, WoW Insider Show

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Most of us have been having a great time with the new Dungeon Finder. (And if you haven't, then you really, really should. It's a gamechanger.) We have our good PuG stories and, of course, the bad PuGs. My first experience was in a dungeon where all but the main boss had been downed. I got in because the rogue whose place my mage was taking had quit in order to turn in a quest. None of us could figure out why he didn't want to wait the three minutes, get the random dungeon rewards and then turn in the quest. But his loss was my gain. He was a bad PuGger (PuGgie? PuGinator?) because he left his team hanging and waiting to pick up a 5th person before they could finish their dungeon and move onto the next one.

Here are some more examples of bad PuGgers that I think most of us can agree on:
  • The player who puts the tank on follow and doesn't participate.
  • The tanks who don't pay attention to healer mana and then complain when they die.
  • The players who don't manage their aggro, regardless of role.
  • Rude and/or spammy chatters.
  • Players who make careless mistakes and repeatedly wipe the group. (One mistake does not a bad PuGger make.)
But what about the player in blues and greens who doesn't make mistakes, is perfectly pleasant and cooperative, but isn't putting out the numbers you think he or she should?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

WoW Insider Show tomorrow at 3:30pm Eastern

My last episode of the WoW Insider Show is on the air tomorrow afternoon -- it'll be sad (I really love doing this show for you all), but hopefully it won't be too maudlin. Fortunately both Matthew Rossi and Chase Christian have agreed to join us, and of course Turpster will be on with us as well -- whenever the T is around, you know it'll be a good time. We'll be talking about the most popular stories in Warcraft for the past week, including the arrival of Winter Veil, patch 3.3.0a and all of the other hotfixes this week, and just because I think it's interesting, we'll talk about the Battered Hilt as well.

And as usual, we'll answer your emails and chat live with all of the folks in the chatroom. You can email us any time of night or day at theshow@wow.com, and you'll be able to listen in to the show on the feed over on Ustream itself, or right after the break below. Please do join us, should be fun.

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Filed under: Podcasting, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, WoW Insider Show

Farewell and thank you, WoW.com

I've told this story a few times before: I actually started out on WoW.com as a comment troll. A few years back, Jennie Lees was the lead blogger here, and she posted something silly about a wallpaper or a plush doll, I don't remember. I was also reading the forums at the time, and Blizzard had just dropped new priest patch notes. "Why are you posting this junk," I commented angrily, "when the priest notes just dropped?" She was nice about it -- she actually emailed me and said that the priest updates post was coming soon. And I felt so bad about it, I never activated the comment. But a little while after that, when WoW Insider posted that they were looking for some new writers, I applied, and said that I was sorry for that comment, but that I was working on becoming a writer and could help out with posting on the site when needed.

When I started writing for WoW Insider (now WoW.com, obviously), I was working retail in Chicago, writing part-time in the evenings. The site itself got only a few thousand hits a month, with one or two weekly features and maybe ten comments per post. Now, over three years later, I'm a fulltime freelance writer, I've been to three BlizzCons, I've written over 1.7 million words in over 3,300 posts here about everything in Azeroth, and the site itself rivals some of the best blogs on the Internet, routinely garnering millions of hits a month. I helped build this site with my own two hands, and while I definitely can't claim all the credit (there was and is a huge team of people who keep this thing running), it's with a fair amount of sorrow that I'm here to tell you today will be my last day on WoW.com.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Facebook vs. World of Warcraft

They both have millions of users across the world. They both have made and broken friendships and relationships, and they both have raised millions if not billions of dollars for their respective companies. And chances are that they're both so popular even your grandma knows about them. Gamasutra has written an interesting post comparing both World of Warcraft and Facebook of all things, and they say that the two are more alike than you might think: both enable you to create an identity, and use that identity to interact with others, and both give you a wide variety of options to do so (in WoW, you can slay dragons together, and on Facebook, you can tag pictures or post on walls). Gamasutra wants to get to the center of where exactly the interactivity lies, and in doing so, figure out what makes Warcraft a game, and Facebook a network.

One major difference is in the interface -- obviously, WoW is wrapped in a fantasy world, so that in between all of the socializing, you're also fighting the Scourge or the Burning Crusade. Facebook has games, but it doesn't have that overarching narrative. WoW also rewards group teamwork and coordination, while Facebook leaves collaboration to its own rewards. And of course the cost is another big difference: WoW is still a subscription game, while Facebook pays in other ways. But the amount of similarities between the two are pretty fascinating. And comparing the two, as Gamasutra does, really makes you think about just what interactivity means, and how two apparently very different types of interactive media aren't that far apart after all.

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Forums

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