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Posts with tag New-York-Times

The New York Times goes to BlizzCon

It's rare to see the mainstream media cover anything related to World of Warcraft with a generally approving tone, but no less prestigious an outlet than The New York Times reported on this year's BlizzCon quite favorably indeed. Seth Schiesel, in covering the convention, bypasses the media's usual narrative and notes that the big draw of an event like BlizzCon isn't what you'd expect. It's not the StarCraft 2 tournament with the big purse, the company's annual announcements, or even the closing concert. It's simply the chance to meet and enjoy your fellow gamers, whether you're a developer or a player.

I think Schiesel nails it here:

... the most powerful and important games are the persistent online dimensions like World of Warcraft and Eve Online. That is because they're not really about the games; they are about the relationships players form within them.

I'm surprised but gratified to see a reporter in a major media outlet who really gets it. Of note is also a comment by Rob Pardo (Blizzard's executive vice president for game design), who observes that Blizzard could easily fill larger venues than the Anaheim Convention Center (my suggestion: rent Wyoming) but prefers to keep the con local for the benefit of Blizzard employees who want to come.

I think it's safe to say that gamers are still working toward mainstream acceptance (possibly because people often don't consider things like Angry Birds and Farmville to be "true" gaming), and it's really nice not to see the usual caricature of the angry, antisocial nerd rearing its head.

Filed under: News items

The Shattering hits The New York Times best-seller list

Blizzard has let us know that after only a short time available on bookshelves, The Shattering by Christie Golden has hit The New York Times best-seller list. This makes The Shattering Golden's and Blizzard's second NYT best-seller after Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. Congratulations to Christie and Blizzard, as the book is awesome and totally deserves the recognition that it is getting.

The Shattering – New York Times Best Seller
Despite having just been released earlier this week, The Shattering by Christie Golden has rocketed into the New York Times best seller list.

This prelude to Cataclysm follows major faction characters as they adjust to life after the war with the Lich King, before being abruptly attacked by the land and elements themselves. What is leading to these devastating earthquakes and ship-sinking squalls? Magni believes he has found the secret through his brother's research, while Thrall believes an already shattered world holds the secrets. If you're looking forward to the Cataclysm expansion, this is a must-read to catch you up and prepare you for the epic story about to be unveiled.

The book is available in the Blizzard Store ( and all fine book retailers.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

NYT: GAPP and Ministry of Culture clashing over Chinese WoW regulation

The New York Times has brought its journalistic bear to the story earlier this week about China deciding not to approve WoW's release over there under new service provider Netease, and it seems what we thought was confusion between two agencies has turned into a war. On one side, you have the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), who earlier this week said that Netease (WoW's local provider of Blizzard's game in China) could not legally be collecting subscriptions on a game that GAPP hadn't yet approved. But on the other side is the Ministry of Culture, who did approve WoW's content when it was run by The9, and are now saying that GAPP "overstepped its authority" by thinking it could "penalize online gaming" at all.

Which means that the silly game of World of Warcraft has fallen smack dab in between two government agencies lobbying for power. In the past, says the NYT, GAPP has approved games pre-release, and the Ministry of Culture has overseen games once they've started running online. But WoW is a weird exception (it has been online for a few years already, and only went offline when Blizzard switched providers), and it looks like both agencies are grabbing for power and the sizable fees that come along with regulation. If they continue to clash, it'll be up to the State Council, China's cabinet, to determine who's in charge. And the NYT says if that happens, the Ministry of Culture has the edge, with lots of friends in the cabinet already.

Meanwhile, Netease hasn't taken the game offline yet, apparently -- they still haven't been given official notice to do so. There's no word on how long this will take to shake out, but even China's players are tired of the fighting; they just want to get back into Azeroth and play.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Realm Status, News items, Economy

Golden's Arthas on NY Times bestseller list

Need any more evidence that World of Warcraft has gone mainstream? Arthas, the latest expanded universe novel about none other than our own Lich King (that got rave reviews from our own writers), has reached number 16 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover fiction. We're sure that makes Christie Golden happy -- I don't believe that any Warcraft-related novels have ever made the list before. Rise of the Horde is the most popular one I can think of, and I don't think that appeared there on first release. It's not the only videogame-related book of fiction to make the NYT, though -- the latest Halo novel did that a few years ago.

At any rate, just shows you how popular the Warcraft universe really is, even outside of the videogame audience. You can pick up the Arthas book at a bookstore near you, or order it up from Amazon as well.

[via WorldofWar]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard

The New York Times opines on Wrath of the Lich King

The New York Times has covered WoW before, and a couple days ago, they did again. Via sister site Massively, we find this article by writer Seth Schiesel. In it, he provides yet another paean for Blizzard's amazing work on the expansion, and touches a little bit on the casual versus hardcore dichotomy.

In Burning Crusade, he was the hardcore, racing to level 70, eschewing sleep and sustenance to get those server firsts, eventually causing him to burn out and quit the game for a time. In Wrath of the Lich King, he's been a casual wanderer, enjoying leveling slowly, surrounded by the other hoi polloi and "journeyman adventurers" taking the game at a slower pace. In the end, though, what pleases him most is that the friendships.

The article is a nice little testimonial of the way this game has shaped our lives and forged and strengthened friendships, and it's certainly a nice read on a cold Saturday afternoon like today, whether you're casual or hardcore. After all, we're all just players.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

All the World's a Stage: Background story

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Your character is like an arrow. He was launched from the birthplace of your imagination with the aim of creating spontaneous stories with other creative people. Your character's personality is the particular direction he travels in, and his background story is the bow which set him on his way.

The bow-string tension that gives a good backstory its momentum is its lack of resolution. The desire to find resolution propels your character forward into the game, but it doesn't predict with certainty where your he or she will end up. Realizing this can free you of a great burden: your story doesn't have to make the New York Times Bestseller List. In fact, the whole idea here is to purposely leave your backstory unfinished, ready to be resolved through roleplaying. Too much emphasis on a dramatic background leaves you with not enough room for an interesting foreground, and little else to contribute other than the saga of your epic past.

Obviously, people aren't logging into WoW to read your miniature novel. They generally won't want to hear your backstory unless they specifically ask you about it (which they might!), but even then they'll care less for its narrative value and more for its ultimate impact on your character as a person. It's best to think of it less as a story in itself (e.g. "How I got to be this way"), and more as a prologue to the story you want to roleplay (e.g. "How do I get out of this mess?"). Its purpose is to set up challenges for your character to overcome with other people, and it should establish a direct line to your character's desires and aspirations.

Read more →

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

New York Times can't let WoW duo get away with it

Reader Roland (thanks!) pointed us to this weird WoW reference in the New York Times. In the wedding section of all places, there's a story about a couple that used World of Warcraft to play and have fun as a duo, and it's too damn bad that the NYT falls back into the old media idea that playing videogames as a couple isn't healthy.

Can we get one mainstream media article that breaks the mold? Can we get one portrayal of a WoW player (or players, in this case) that doesn't fall back into the old line of MMOs being the territory of cave-dwelling social outcasts? That's most certainly not the case in reality -- how long is it going to take for mainstream reporters to forget this moronic angle and report on what's really happening here: two people in love sharing a hobby in between the rest of their full and fulfilling lives.

There are now ten million people playing this game around the world, and the large, overwhelming majority of them are healthy, fulfilled individuals who lead great lives both in and out of game. In fact, the two people this article is about are two of those individuals. It's perfectly healthy to sit down and play a videogame with your significant other, on a beautiful spring day or at any other time (yes, it's never healthy to do one thing all the time, be it videogames or TV watching or anything else, but that's not what's happening here). And it's crazy that the NYT bent over backwards to make it seem like that's not the case.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items

More information on the Activizzard merger

The strange timing of this massive announcement aside, details are starting to come to light about what the merger of Activision and Blizzard means to all involved. First, Blizzard has made an official announcement in their forums, followed by a separate post with a FAQ about the merger. The FAQ basically says absolutely nothing will change on the Blizzard side. No layoffs, no managerial changes, no ship date changes. This is no surprise since no one in their right mind is going to mess with the success that is the Blizzard name and the team behind it.

The official press release mentioned in our first post today is a bit dense on the corporate speak, but the interesting parts are:
  1. The new Board of Directors will have 11 seats: 6 of those filled by Vivendi, 2 by Activision and 3 by independent directors from Activision's board.
  2. There will be a live webcast with the management of the two sides tomorrow morning at 8:30am EST and can be viewed at and
The BBC site has a very good summary of the merger along with a brief background on both companies. And The New York Times site has a deeper analysis from a business perspective. It points out that Activision is trying hard to compete with EA Games and adding Blizzard will not only put its annual revenue on par with its main competition, but will give it a criticial foothold in the online gaming and Asian gaming markets.

Kudos to our own Art Orneck on the "Activizzard" reference. It sure beat out my "Blizzvision" for cleverness.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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