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Posts with tag audio

Breakfast Topic: Do you rely on game sounds to help you play WoW?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

There are many reasons why WoW is a great game, but to me, one of the things that sets it apart from other MMOs is the sound design. The music is top quality, the voices are entertaining and memorable, and the sound effects are relevant and informative. As a matter of fact, sound effects are critical to the way I play.

Even if I turn down the game music or environment sounds, I leave my sound effects turned way up. Why? Simple. Without them, I would be a less effective player. I rely on the casting sound to tell me when my heals will land and when I can cast the next one, and I listen for the thud of a tank's block or the clink of a parry to let me know when damage has been mitigated. My druid's inarticulate grunts tell me to back away from adds or to move out of the fire, and even when I'm watching the health bars instead of the characters, the game sounds tell me what spells my party members are casting.

I don't always recognize all these things literally, but the presence of Blizzard's sound effects gives me an idea of how the fight is going by sound alone. In the midst of a tense encounter, I can't always keep track of all the visual cues, but sound effects help me follow what's going on.

Do you use sound effects to keep track of what's going on in combat? Which sounds are the most identifiable to you? Without the sound effects, would you be as effective a player?>

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Congrats to our Creative headset winners

A couple of weeks ago, we announced a huge contest with Creative to give away twenty-five of their new World of Warcraft wireless headsets, one for each person in one big lucky raid. That contest has been over for a little bit, and we've finally picked a winner: congrats to all of the winners in the guild Rusty Blades on Cenarion Circle! They, along with the nine random winners in each of our single headset giveaways, as well as the lucky winners in the five man contest (who've all been contacted and confirmed) will all get their very own units when the headsets are finally released later on this month.

And if you didn't win, don't worry -- Creative will of course be selling the headsets, so you can make sure to put them on your Christmas list, and maybe a loved one will help you out. The latest that we've heard is that they're still due out for release sometime this month, so stay tuned and when we know more about the release, you will too. Since our 25-man contest was actually a bit of a trivia contest as well (guilds had to find five locations in-game and then take pictures at each place), we've put the Rusty Blades' excellent answers after the break. Hopefully you haven't been wondering desperately about the answers for the last month but in case you were, there you go.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Contests, Screenshots, Galleries, Hardware

WoW Insider Show live this afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern

Our podcast (which, if you haven't heard, is award-nominated now -- please give us your vote every day until the end of November) returns to the series of tubes this afternoon on Ustream, and the great Michael "Belfaire" Sacco is coming along with it. Turpster, Sacco and I will chat about night elf mohawks, and what's up with the patch 3.3 PTR (including how to get the gear and some axe that people might like) and the next expansion. And as usual we'll chat live with the chat channel, answer your emails, and just generally have a good time talking about the World of Warcraft.

The show kicks off at 3:30pm Eastern/ 8:30pm GMT on our Ustream page, or we've also embedded a feed in the second half of this post, so you can just go there. If you're planning to be out and about, you can also listen to the show on your iPhone or iPod touch (assuming you've got the Internet connection required to do so). And of course even if you can't make it to the live recording, we'll have the show on the feed next Monday as we usually do -- you'll miss the aftershow, but such, as they say, is life. Hopefully we'll see you today.

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Filed under: Podcasting, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, WoW Insider Show

Enter to win your own Creative WoW Wireless headset

Hey, you, reading this blog. You like playing World of Warcraft? You like listening to the sounds of the game as you do it? You got ears and a distinct predilection for playing in either the Horde or Alliance faction? Then boy do we have a headset for you: the Creative World of Warcraft Wireless gaming headset is going to be the hottest thing you can put on your head since the trucker hat, and here's your chance to win one by commenting on this very post.

As usual, the contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), and everyone who enters must be 13 or older. To enter, leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, October 21st, at midnight eastern, and please be sure to use a real email that you check often to enter, so we can contact the winners when we choose them. You may enter only once, and each winner will get a Creative World of Warcraft Wireless Gaming Headset, with a retail value of $150. Please note: winners will not receive the headset until it is released later this year. Click here to read the official contest rules.

Good luck to you all! And don't forget, if you want to win five of these things, there's only one day left in our five-man contest. Just by submitting a shot of your group, you can pick up five headsets, one for every group member. That one ends tomorrow, so get your entry out ASAP!

Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Contests, Hardware

Enter to win a wireless headset from Creative and WoW.com

Hey there, time once again to give away one of these snazzy Creative World of Warcraft wireless gaming headsets. Not only is this thing kitted out with some of the best audio hardware in the business (including Creative's awesome 3D positional audio, good enough to make you think you really are in the World of Warcraft), but it also comes with either Horde or Alliance "glyphs," which you can place on the earcups near colored LEDs to show off your factional allegiance in style. And you could be the lucky commenter to win one this week!

As usual, the contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), and everyone who enters must be 13 or older. To enter, leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, October 21st, at midnight eastern, and please be sure to use a real email that you check often to enter, so we can contact the winners when we choose them. You may enter only once, and each winner will get a Creative World of Warcraft Wireless Gaming Headset, with a retail value of $150. Please note: winners will not receive the headset until it is released later this year. Click here to read the official contest rules.

Good luck to everyone who enters (but trust us when we say we're really pulling for you to win). And hey, even if you don't, there'll be yet another chance to pick one of these up next week. See you then!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Contests, Hardware

Hands-on with Puggable


We first heard about Vivox's Puggable service back at the Austin Game Developers Conference -- Vivox is a company that runs voice chat for online games, and Puggable is their attempt to target the WoW audience with a quick and easy way to put a group into voice chat. The site is still in a closed beta, but it's slowly opening up, and so as soon as we got a chance to jump in and test the service out, we took it.

So what's the verdict? While Puggable's basic mechanics seem to work (by following their instructions, you can get a group into voice chat), the system itself is not quite ready for prime-time. Not only does it have an installation process that most cautious WoW account holders will scoff at (you have to install an Internet Explorer or Firefox addon, and restart your browser to use the service), but the real draw of the system, being able to browse and see player information at a moment's notice, aren't all there quite yet. Read on for our experiences.

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Filed under: How-tos, Raiding, Guides

Live Ustream of the WoW.com reader meet-up

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

Looks like the gang's getting started at the Tangerine Patio of the Annabella Hotel, and we've got the live Ustream feed here so you can hang out virtually!

If you're in the Anaheim area, swing by to say hello to the gang, and we've got prizes and giveaways from Upper Deck, Steelseries, WoWTCGLoot.com, Swagdog, and Creative Labs in addition to guests, a (we hope functional) kitchen and a cash bar! We may be able to give prizes away to virtual attendees as well, so hang tight. More updates will follow throughout the evening.

UPDATE: Yup, audio's lousy, we're working on it. Turpster apparently has another microphone. Now if only we could find Turpster...

Additional notes and updates beyond the cut.


BlizzCon 2009 is here! WoW.com has continuing coverage, bringing you the latest in Cataclysm news, live blogs, galleries, and reports right from the convention floor. Check out WoW.com's Guide to BlizzCon for the latest!

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Filed under: Podcasting, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, WoW Social Conventions, Features, BlizzCon

Reminder: WoW.com BlizzCon meetup tonight at 7:30pm

This is it. The day has come. This evening at 7:30pm on the Tangerine Patio at the Anabella Hotel in Anaheim, we'll be hosting our annual BlizzCon meetup, and trust us: it's sure to be amazing. There's the people, for one thing: many of your favorite WoW.com writers will be in attendance, ready to talk some shop with you. Many of our friends and neighbors in the WoW community will be stopping by as well -- we can't name names, but let's just say that if you've ever seen or heard them on WoW.com, they'll probably be there. Then there's the prizes: Upper Deck, Steelseries, WoWTCGLoot.com, Swagdog, and Creative Labs are all bringing some sweet swag by the meetup for you readers to take home for them. And there'll be a cash bar (all attendees should be 18+ or accompanied by a parent) with an open kitchen as well, and we promise the bartender will be faster than the slowpoke last year.

Plus, for the first time ever, those of you at home will get a chance to attend virtually. Starting at 7:30pm Pacific, we're going to be streaming live video and audio from the party over on our Ustream page, and you'll be able to chat with us, our guests, and anybody else there who wants to chat with you. If you're good, we might even give away some prizes to virtual attendees.

It's going to be a blast. And hey, we even hear there's some kind of convention going on in Anaheim this weekend, so that should be fun, too. If you're in Anaheim, we'll see you there tonight, or if you're at home we'll see you on Ustream. Can't wait!


BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

Creative posts World of Warcraft teaser


Computer audio manufacturer Creative Labs sent us a note that their Soundblaster page has a brand new teaser on it, which appears to be hinting at... something. Something World of Warcraft-related, apparently: the Lament of the Highborne song plays in the background while an image of the Maelstrom and some circular hardware gives way to a glowing Horde symbol and the message "to be continued..."

What is it? Given that Creative makes audio equipment, it's probably something audio-related, and given that BlizzCon is later this week, it's probably something released in partnership with Blizzard. But other than that, the guessing is up to you. A new WoW-branded sound card? Something music-related? It's anyone's guess. Stay tuned to WoW.com to find out more soon.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, Hardware

World of WarCrafts: Sounds like a whole new Stratholme


World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by contacting our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts) -- not-for-profit work only, please.

In this week's World of WarCrafts, the "dark and haunting tale" of Stratholme comes alive with a custom audio build from Ashram of Darksorrow-EU. Ashram paid a visit to the burning city, capturing it on video and then setting it to all-new audio - from spell effects to NPC voicing to birds cawing in the background, all set against an atmospheric soundtrack that injects an eerie edge of desperation to an instance that's become old hat.

Ashram brings a good bit of recording and audio experience to the project, having spent several years singing in a band and recording most of their material. "This is the first time I've ever attempted something like this with a full rebuild of a game's audio," he admitted. "This project was much more complex than anything I'd ever attempted before."

We visited with Ashram (thanks for the tip, Foulbourne!) to learn how he brought dread and despair back to old Stratholme.

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Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff, Features, Interviews, World of WarCrafts

WoW Insider Show live tomorrow featuring special guest host Kevin D.

Yes, after a short and tumultuous journey into the world of video last week, our podcast returns to its audio roots, and this week, Turpster and I welcome a special guest host, direct from Brigwyn's Child's Play charity auction. Listener Kevin D. was kind enough to step up and donate a very generous amount of money to Child's Play, and for that (and because he's a cool guy), we'll be welcoming him on the show. He's got a few things he wants to talk about, including how guilds work together, how to balance WoW and life, and why people are or aren't shy as they play the game. And of course we'll answer a few of your emails (you can send those to theshow@wow.com now), and during the meat of the show, we'll talk about the most popular posts from the last week.

Should be a lot of fun, and hey here's this: by the time we go live, we'll all know whether we have BlizzCon tickets or not. Scary, no? Join us over on the our Ustream page at May 30, 2009 3:30 PM EDT , or you can jump after the break to see an embedded feed. And if you don't make it, don't worry -- we had some unfortunate issues with all of the video last week, but I can guarantee that this week, our audio will be back in the feed ready for your ears on Monday.

Should be a lot of fun -- we'll see you on Saturday afternoon.

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Podcasting, Humor, Guides, Interviews, WoW Insider Show

WoW Insider Show special video edition live tomorrow

The day has arrived. A little while ago, we challenged you fans to get us over 9000 Twitter followers, and somehow, some way, you delivered. So now we have to keep our promises -- tomorrow, the WoW Insider Show, which has only ever been an audio podcast, will include video with our live feed, and you'll be able to see the faces of all your favorite bloggers (for better or worse). Turpster and I will be dressed in our finest threads, we'll be toasting champagne (so bring your own if you want to toast with us, 21+ please), and we'll host a cavalcade of bloggers and friends of the show on live video. We've got some surprises planned, and hopefully Ustream will hold up under the strain -- whatever happens, it'll surely be wild.

The show begins our Ustream page at May 23, 2009 3:30 PM EDT , or you can jump after the break to see an embedded feed. The audio archive of the show will appear here on Monday, and we'll have a video version on Ustream, but unfortunately Ustream will only save one video stream -- mine. So if you want to see Turpster and our guests on video, someone in the live audience might have to Fraps it out. And directly after the show, we'll be spending some time on Zangarmarsh (It Came From the Blog is our guild over there on Horde side, and I'll be hanging out and dueling Peggle if you want to stop by).

Whew. It will be memorable, I can guarantee that. We'll also talk a little bit of Warcraft, and of course we'll talk about the new WoW.com and what it means for the podcast as well. We'll see you (and by see you, I mean you'll actually see us) tomorrow afternoon.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, WoW Insider Show

Breakfast Topic: Choosing the best mob noise in game

There's a fun little discussion on the forums right now about the best noise out of a mob in the game, and people have all kinds of different opinions. Among the many brilliant things Blizzard has done with World of Warcraft is the way their sound design makes each and every encounter with a mob very memorable, so that even if you're not paying close attention, you know a) when you've aggroed something, and b) what you've aggroed. We all know what a wolf growl sounds like, we know what it sounds like when the caster you're trying to sneak past starts casting (and many of us can probably tell what spell, just from the sound), and of course, probably most memorably, we all know what that gurgly murloc sound means, especially when you hear it in numbers.

Lots of the best audio clips are actually from bosses (all of Molten Core's bosses were memorable, for some reason, and "Too soon!" has even reappeared in the game since). My personal favorite lately is the quote from Elder Nadox, the first boss in Ahn'Katet's Old Kingdom. He shouts an otherworldly phrase (apparently in Nerubian) and it ends with a "k-k-k-k-k" sound that must have been edited together -- it definitely doesn't sound human. Every time I hear that (and he says it a few times throughout the fight), I get the feeling that we are fighting something that is very, very old and very, very evil.

But of course lots of the audio cues help pull you into the game like that. What are some of your favorite mob noises in the game?

Filed under: Human, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Lore, Classes, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Insider Show Episode 78: Thrusting Hodir's shoot 'em up aces high

It was chaos on the WoW Insider Show this past week -- we had Zach Yonzon on from the Philippines, Turpster in from England, and Michael Sacco from Austin, TX, so we were stretched across the world (and you can probably hear it in our audio). But we still got some good WoW discussion in, including our favorite daily quests (I've done Shoot 'Em Up every day since we recorded this, and I still really like it), a little bit about Ulduar and what we might find in there, and the coming PTR and what we might see there as well.

Plus, as scrambled and confusing as this show may be, it has probably the funniest moment in my memory of all our recordings -- I think we were all pretty much "ROFL" at the new Meat of the Show intro, as they say on the Internet. If you want to send in an intro, a comment, or anything else, feel free to send it along to theshow@wow.com, and you might even hear it on the next recording, next Saturday at 3:30 Eastern as usual.

Enjoy. We'll see you next week.

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

Listen here on the page:

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasts, Podcasting, Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Quests, Humor, Raiding, WoW Insider Show

Setting up your audio just right

Kestrel's has an interesting post up about how he deals with audio while playing -- he listens to game audio (or music, apparently) through his computer's speakers, and pipes Vent audio in through his headset. The headset is hooked up via USB (so the sound signal can be different from the speaker signal), and of course the speakers are hooked up to the regular sound card. I'd have thought the way most of us do it (though we do know that some players don't listen to game audio at all, instead choosing music or even a movie over any of the sounds from the game), but apparently Kestrel had some people ask him about it, so maybe it's not that widespread.

Personally, I play with a laptop next to me, so I run Vent on that, and let the WoW sounds play on my desktop computer. But there are probably lots of people out there who use just one computer, so must alt-tab out to run Vent, and thus have their game sound and Vent sound coming through the same speakers. And there may even be a better way to do it -- maybe it would help things to have Vent coming out of a different speaker instead of through the headset, like from the surround sound speakers behind you.

In fact, it's too bad the in-game voice chat (remember that?) isn't a little more imaginative in how it plays the sound out -- it would be interesting to have players' voices positioned in 3D space around you, much like the game sounds already are. Vent is more or less necessary for raiding in big groups, but it's too bad that extra audio can sometimes break the illusion of the game.

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

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