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Enter to win a TCG Feast of Winter's Veil set from Upper Deck and WoW Insider {WoW}

Dec 5th 2007 5:18PM Dear Greatfather Winter,

I would like to find more qualified and interested raiders on our server so our guild can continue on into Hyjal and not have to disband... please and thank you!

A disheartened raider

Will merging servers help low pop realms? {WoW}

Nov 6th 2007 6:29PM Well... having played WoW since closed beta, here are my two cents.

We picked up our LE WoWs on Tuesday Nov 23, 2004 at 8am, and rushed home to install them. We'd been locked out since beta closed and we were eager to finally level characters we could keep for good. We chose Alleria, one of the very first handful of servers to go live just after midnight.

For a long time Alleria was wonderful. The faction balance, while never 50/50, was about 60/40 in favor of Alliance. Epic battles at Tarren Mill were the norm. There were healthy guilds of all kinds on both factions. There were more raiding guilds on Alliance side, but Horde players had a number to choose from as well.

Alleria was so popular, we got realm splits several times. Each time we lost a few high-end raiding guilds to the free transfer destinations. Some of them were tired of queues. Others wanted to take advantage of being able to re-do the opening of AQ event on a new server. But through all that, Alleria remained pretty high pop and had lots of active raiding and social guilds on both factions.

Then came paid character transfers.

Several things happened immediately. Alliance side had a massive influx of people who wanted to raid, and were following the reputations of guilds like Risen and Surreal. While Alleria was always high pop, you still knew most people before transfers were allowed, even if it was only name recognition. Suddenly, we had unguildeds in t2 flooding the server. People who either wanted to go to AQ40/Naxx, or whose old guilds died, or needed a place to make a new reputation because they'd ruined themselves on their old server. Tons more DPS, of course, than healing, which created a whole new set of issues for guilds to deal with. It really changed the guild and social dynamic of Alleria's Alliance side.

The second, and worse, thing that happened was this: Allerian Horde players left. We are now 80-85% Alliance, depending on whose population stats you look at. Every single Horde player I was friends with has transferred off Alleria, most in 2006 with a last few stragglers leaving when BC dropped. There are now only a handful of Horde raiding guilds left, and no longer anyone I know over there.

Paid character transfers have resulted, for at least some servers, in severely factionally unbalanced populations. Likewise, we have half a dozen "Scarab Lord" toons running around the server. Yes, that's the person who banged the AQ gong. Yes, that means that at least six people who opened AQ40 on other servers have transferred to Alleria.

There is no WAR on Alleria. It's become the World of AllianceCraft. The world is owned and operated by Alliance players. It's not uncommon to wander Shattrath and not see any Horde.

I got to laughing at a guild mate the other day who is foaming at the mouth to get to Lake Wintergrasp, and raving about how wonderful it will be. I asked him who, exactly, he thought he was going to fight there, since we have so little Horde left. Halaa is perpetually under Alliance control. Horde takes it occasionally to access the vendors, and we let them. They then leave as soon as Alliance start showing up because they are so severely outnumbered within minutes.

Would I support server merges? Yes, I would. I think low pop servers should be merged, but furthermore, I think they need to do something about balancing factions across servers. World of Warcraft isn't Warcraft when it's all Horde or all Alliance on a server.

PTR Patch notes for Sunday, Nov. 4 {WoW}

Nov 5th 2007 8:04AM The patch won't drop on the 6th. The background downloader didn't start until mid-week last week, and the patch is a couple hundred MBs. Blizzard generally allows at least 10 days for these big patch pre-downloads, primarily to give their dial-up customers time to download before go-live.

Combined with the fact that the PTR is still up, and got another build pushed just yesterday, I would not expect to see this patch go live any sooner than November 13. If they continue to push new builds to the PTR this week and do not shut the PTR down, expect to adjust the drop date outward by another week.

Did you accomplish your Hallow's End goals? {WoW}

Nov 2nd 2007 8:24AM Sadly I felt the horseman's loot table was terribly done. The fight itself was really cute, and fairly fun to do repetitively. But I killed horseman 5 times a day for the entire duration of the event, and we never saw a pet drop. I'm in a pretty big guild and lots of us were going, and none got a pet. This is one part of the Hallow'een festival I won't do again, unless perhaps I can solo it at 80 and not have to find and drag four people all the way to SM on a daily basis.

For something that has absolutely no effect on game balance, why make it such a low drop rate? All it did was upset/annoy people. Quite a few folks in my guild really wanted one and are disappointed.

Money money money by the pound {WoW}

Oct 30th 2007 11:29AM Umm... there's nothing to tell you except learn some self-control. :)

I can tell you that in my household, I am the saver and my husband is the spender. And that carries over to WoW; I have gold, and find accumulating it fairly easy to do, while my husband is continually broke. I ask where it went: "well I went to the auction house" or "I needed to get something crafted, so I bought the primals".

What do I do? I do not buy anything on the AH. I farm my own crafting mats - the only thing I have to pay someone for is their primal nether. I do daily quests consistently. Not every day, but several days per week. If I'm having a busy day, I at least try to take 10 minutes to log in and do the bombing quest in Skettis, an easy 12 gold for about 10 minutes (including flight time from Shattrath to get there!).

Gold is easy to get, what's hard is not spending it. Self-control. Put a note on your monitor like dieters put on their refrigerators. Ask your guild mates to nag you if you go to IF/SW/Darn. Just say no. There is almost nothing in that AH you cannot farm for yourself if you just get up and do it. And while you farm those primal airs, you'll get greys, greens and blues to sell for even more money.

Then again, if playing Warcraft to you means supporting an army of alts, then that's good too. But you need to accept that that is how you want to play the game, and that it means being broke all the time. ;)

Mythic founder: WoW "will be in its decline" in a few years {WoW}

Aug 20th 2007 5:39PM @15 - Yes, the majority of WoW players are no longer raiders. A lot more USED to be raiders - remember how easy it was to get into MC, for almost anyone? At least it was on my server. But now, all but the most hard-core of the hard-core highly skilled players are shut out of the raiding experience entirely, because the encounters will not tolerate anything other than excellence and vast amounts of time. Besides - don't you feel like casuals should have a shot at going to these places? I do.

As for your arguments regarding casuals - I hear they are out there, but I don't see them. I have a guildmate who has dropped his main (a DPS class) and is raising a healing class to help out the guild raids. The under-60 zones are empty of all but NPCs. And I do mean empty. I go out and help him when he needs to kill an elite for a quest or do something that requires more than one person, because there is no one his level in the zone to help. You can't buy runs of the under-70 instances anymore, unless your guildies take pity and run it with you. So I don't know where the casuals are... presumably they've also stopped hunting Outlands, because the auction house is barren of the goods one would expect them to be selling.

@20 - You have to realize that all games have an ascendancy, a peak, and a decline. Even in decline, most games are profitable for the companies that run them. Blizzard has already recouped, in spades, every development and infrastructure dollar spent. Even if they never released another expansion, and just left the game as it is to slowly erode over the next few years as people drift off to play other games, they will continue to make profit dollars during that period of time. The original EverQuest continued to turn a profit for years past its "peak customer total"- which was, by the way, around the time the game was 2 years old - as far as I know, it is still a profitable game.

This is the nature of the industry, kids. It isn't a slam at WoW, or any other publisher out there. Games come, people love them, people play them til they get tired of the game, people move on. World of Warcraft will be 3 years old in a few months (it's older, to those of us who spent much of 2004 playing the beta). WoW is getting a bit tired for many of the U.S. original players, the people who first drove up the subscription numbers in 2004 and 2005, and a lot of us have left or are soon to leave for other arenas. As I said, emerging markets for the game, places overseas that didn't have access to it until 2006 and 2007, that's where the new numbers are coming from.

Mythic founder: WoW "will be in its decline" in a few years {WoW}

Aug 20th 2007 3:40PM I hate to say this but Mythic is, in fact, correct, if a bit "politically incorrect" by saying what they did.

WoW's paradigm is getting old. My particular server, a formerly high-pop realm that was one of the first stood up on opening morning in Nov. 2004, has shrunk considerably in the last seven months. We went from supporting more than 25 guilds fielding 40 man raids on MC/BWL last fall, to currently about 12 guilds running 25 man raids (according to wowjutsu.com). That means we went from roughly 1000 "raiders" per week (fluctiations as people swap in and out of raid spots for each other, of course, but the number of people required to float the raid doesn't change)... to now, only about 300 people doing the 25 man raids.

Our auction house is sparse compared to the old days. Many on my friends list, in my guild, in my friends' guilds, have quit. Half a dozen people from my guild are beta testing WAR and are making comments like "this is a much more polished version of Warcraft, with better x y and z".

The Wrath expansion is being made fun of in my guild's voice chat during raids. I'm sorry but if they're so stretched for something cool to advertise that they're putting in stuff like "change your hairstyle" and "new dances" as something that might entertain me for more than 30 seconds, they need some serious clues. :)

As usual, they have borked the high-end raid content to be so intolerant of average to above-average raiding groups that few have seen them, and few will see them. Fewer than 75 people on my server raid Black Temple, and I don't expect that to change appreciably in the next six months.

Raiding guilds across the server are recruiting - the thread begging for people on our official realm board is very very long. Guild officers are rolling up critical classes so we can continue to progress, since we cannot find many competent players to recruit.

Most telling was our warlock class lead, who needed to recruit another lock as three of our locks have quit the game in the last two months. He got so desperate that he was sitting ingame doing /who warlock 70 to find people, and sending likely candidates tells. The most common response? "Sorry I'm not interested in raiding anymore, it's not fun."

There's only so much faction grinding you can do, also - once you have farmed for your 300 skill, and you've farmed your netherdrake, Skyguard rep, Ogri'la rep... you run out of things to do. In the
"old game" the natural progression was to join a guild that went to MC, and spend one night a week raiding for your tier 1. These days, the natural progression is to try and join a guild that's capable of running Karazhan, but then find that every other week your run has to be cancelled because the MT cannot make it or whatever, and there are no backups - because any tank or healer who really wants to raid has an easy ticket into the 25 man raiding guilds, because they're starved for critical classes.

Guilds on our server have disintegrated since they could not get the right people together for raids; Our raiding population has shrunk by 2/3. People are BORED. My guild is raiding SSC and TK - mostly because we just want to play together a few times a week. We find the raid content to be poorly designed and buggy as all hell. There is no "recovery", as if any key class disconnects during the fight, it's a wipe no matter what. Blizzard's desire to move beyond "tank and spank" bosses has led them into creating fights that are just ridiculously choreographed, given the vagaries of the internet and people's connectivity issues- what a pain in the arse, for the most part.

We have already as a guild decided to leave for WAR as soon as it opens.

Now you can argue with me all you want - the population on my server has shrunk tremendously. 80% of my friends list as of December 2006 has now quit the game. Some are playing LoTR til WAR opens, some are taking a break from MMOs til WAR opens, but we'll go to WAR big and several hundred strong, when the time comes.

How long has it been since Blizzard needed to add new servers to the US realm list?

So yeah - I don't doubt that Blizzard's numbers might be climbing (I used to work for a gaming company in the 90s, and I do know how numbers can get fudged and inflated using trial accounts, prepaid cards, and the like), according to their math. But I do think that if the numbers are climbing, the biggest source is overseas, where WoW is new to some markets. In the United States, WoW has passed its zenith. Consumers here are ready to experience something new.

Enter to win a Spectral Tiger Mount from WoW Insider! {WoW}

Jul 25th 2007 7:34PM Spiffy! Want! :)