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WoW Moviewatch: ABATAP

This is more than just a movie we wanted to be made. It was a movie that had to be made. ABATAP is an Azerothian remake of Avatar, featuring all the blue-skinned trolls you could ever want. Somewhere between an epic remake of an awesome movie and a giggle-worthy parody of Azeroth's environmental issues, this might be the finest thing I've seen the week. Take some time, check it out, and let us know what you think!
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Breakfast Topic: If you worked for Blizzard, what would your forum icon be?

Enchanted Broom
I'm going to have to steal today's Breakfast Topic conversation starter directly from Convert to Raid's Pat Krane on Twitter.

As soon as Pat posted that, my Twitter stream utterly exploded and I ran screaming, all the while hurriedly scribbling the question on my notepad for a Breakfast Topic. Good one, Pat. (Although I reserve the right to get you back another time for blowing up my Twitter feed like that. Ahem.)

So yeah, animated icons. My official Blizzard employee icon would clearly be a scritching, scratching quill, reminiscent of the Enchanted Broom. And so yeah again, that's not in the game; I'd take the Enchanted Broom if necessary. Because editing.

If you worked for Blizzard, what would your animated forum icon be?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Do any of your avatars use the ugly face?

Breakfast Topic Do any of your avatars use the ugly face
Roleplayers, you're off the hook for this morning's Breakfast Topic for obvious reasons, but it's time for everybody else to 'fess up. Be honest here -- no saving face (har, har). Do any of your characters have the ugly face? You know the faces I mean. There's the shopworn gnome shown above (although you have to wonder if she's meant to be homely, old, or perhaps just exposed to too much radiation), and of course there's -- sorry guys, gotta be honest here -- the whole male human race.

I have an ugly banker. She's a human with the ugly/old/mean face, created that way specifically because she feels ugly and mean about being a class I would love to level but don't have time for. Otherwise, my avatars all use the most serious, intent expression available for their races. I think it lends gravitas to what I'm doing in the game. Still, I don't like to be downright ugly. I'd love an older face to match the my dwarf's platinum braids, but only if it didn't look doughy and irradiated like the gnome in the header image.

Are you running around with one of Azeroth's infamous ugly faces? If so, what made you choose that face? Did you regret it once you were in game and had leveled up a bit, and would you change it now if you could? Or you happy to stand apart from the googly-eyed, pillow-lipped doll faces of Azeroth?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Amazing player-animated and -rendered WoW avatar

Mother of sweet things! I saw this on Reddit's /r/wow community a few days ago and realized that I'm kind of a slacker when it comes to my own forum signatures (which is apparently the whole purpose of the project). Thovald, the player responsible for the video, wrote that he did it in 3D Studio Max and didn't actually change the female troll model itself. The big difference is an increased polygon count for the robes and (I would assume) the graphics of the fire spell being cast. It reminded me more than a bit of the perennial favorite Blind, and it's all the more amazing that Thovald is apparently self-taught.

We know that Blizzard is working on an update for character models, but it's pretty cool to see what players can do with them in the meantime. They might be old, but as Thovald noted, they're still a surprisingly expressive bunch.

Filed under: Arts and Crafts

The Lawbringer: Mailbag 6.0 and Rogers updates

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Welcome to another exciting edition of The Lawbringer, where your questions about the esoteric topics revolving around WoW and MMOs potentially get answered, usually if the question is compelling. You know the drill -- ask a question, and maybe I can hash it out or at least point you in the right direction to get things under control.

Mailbags are fun, and updates are even more fun. This week, we have a couple of questions from the mailbag and an update to the situation with Rogers Communications up in Canada. Remember back a few months ago, when the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission demanded that Rogers find a way to stop the admitted throttling of World of Warcraft data because it appeared to be peer-to-peer traffic? Well, the Canadian government wants a plan by Tuesday. More on that in a bit. Questions first, yes?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: A prelude to avatar rights

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The concept of avatar rights is a strange and new concept, only really going back as far as people have demanded rights for their virtual counterparts. In the early days of the MMO genre, players would populate MUDs (multi-user dungeons) or similarly designed constructs online and do pretty much the same things we do today -- hack, slash, chat, and adventure with other users. From MUDs, we got graphical MMOs, and from graphical MMOs, we got the second and third generations of the massively multiplayers we know today. World of Warcraft comes from a rich history of all of the games that came before it, as did the concept of the virtual self. The one thing all of these games have had in common over the years is the avatar.

This week's Lawbringer is the first in a multi-part series discussing avatar rights -- where the concept came from, where it's going, and who has the power to set the rules. We're going to talk about the venerable Raph Koster and his avatar rights manifesto, who your avatar is and what is so damn special about him, and some really interesting concepts dealing with what people feel they are owed. Strap in -- this may get crazy.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

WoW Moviewatch: Avatar Days

The film Avatar Days was the winner of the 2009 Rushes Soho Shorts festival's documentary category, and is now being released to the public after the completion of that year's circuit. Avatar Days also won the award for Best European Documentary Short at the European Independent Film Festival. It was originally created for the Darklight Festival's '4 Day Movie' project, and has been widely circulated on the internet in the last week.

Avatar Days is the product of Piranha Bar and it tells the story of four people whose daily lives deeply contrast with their online personas. I think there's a little bit of each of us WoW players reflected in the story. I found the end especially moving; I loved the moment when the gamers step up to a mirror. We are clearly told there are not identity issues here: for all that each gamer knows and honors their online characters, it clearly their own self they see in the mirrior.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Breakfast Topic: The Personal Aesthetic

Recently, a commenter on a post mentioned that I use a similar screenshot for a lot of my The Care and Feeding of Warriors posts. I looked over it, and he was right: since I race changed to draenei, in fact, quite a few of the screenshots have been silhouetted, facing downwards shots that I often take just because I am playing my character and suddenlt stop and say "wow, that's cool" - I'm not a terribly sophisticated visual thinker (for that, I go to my wife, who has a landscape artist's eyes and a remarkable grasp of light and nuance) but I know what I like.

One of the reasons I like playing draenei and tauren are connected to the classes I like to play: shamans, warriors and DK's are the only classes I've consistently gotten to max rank, and in all of those cases I tend to play large characters. When race change became available I agonized over it (silly as that is) even though I'd always said I'd go draenei because I'd grown so accustomed to the way my human character moved, and watching old avi files of Burning Crusade fights I'd tanked really brought it home to me. In changing my character's race, I've changed his silhouette, I've changed the way he swings a weapon, I've changed the way he looks in every aspect of the game. I don't do that spinning one handed smash when I tank anymore, it's much more of an arching, down-angled slash. My Shield Slam is different.

Granted, I'm okay with that. But it got me thinking about why I choose the races I do and the classes I do.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Guild season 3 finale

The Guild has come to the end of season 3, and it's all come down to this. Codex is facing off what's left of the Axis of Anarchy, Riley has appeared to ruin Zaboo's game, and all of the other issues this season come to a head as the showdown reaches its conclusion. And being that this is the season finale, there's a few surprises in the mix as well, and a shocker of a finish. You can watch the show over on MSN (which is now calling itself Bing), on the Xbox Live and Zune marketplaces, or right after the break below.

The gang has also released the final gag reel of the season, with outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage from the last three episodes. Lots of fun stuff in there as well, though definitely be sure to finish the season first -- as you might expect, there's some spoilers. And I'm sure the gag reels, and lots of other special footage, will end up on the eventual DVD release for this season. We'll let you know about that, and season four, when we hear about it. Long live the Knights of Good!

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 episode 12 above. 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!

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Filed under: Guilds, Odds and ends, Humor

Potential character model revisions in Cataclysm

WoW's fifth anniversary and the interviews surrounding it have ended up providing us with some previously-unknown tidbits of information -- which is a good thing, especially when it comes to stuff we've been wanting to hear about for a long time.

This particular tidbit comes from the Warcry network interview with J. Allen Brack and Samwise Didier about the game's anniversary, and it's about a subject near and dear to our constantly-complaining hearts: new character models. They might even be coming in Cataclysm.

Says Brack:
"Even though things would be better with new (character) models, we'd probably spark a lot of player outrage. So we've talked about giving players a choice between the classic models or the new ones, but it might not be something we want to take on at the same time as we remake Azeroth."
That's pretty big news.

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Filed under: News items, Expansions, Interviews, Cataclysm

Felicia Day unleashes geeky pop single

I'll confess that I never had a crush on Felicia Day, the Internet sensation behind The Guild. I mean, I always thought it was cool that she wore her geek cred with pride, but it was just that -- awesome, attractive geek chick. Alright, so maybe it helps a little (ok, fine, it helps a whole freaking lot) that she Tweets about her D&D campaign or delights over gaming dice. But if you're an idiot geek like me who never got into the whole Felicia Day thing, resistance, as they say, is futile. The multi-talented entertainer, who showed her vocal chops in Joss Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, also seems geared to become a pop star with the release of (Would you like to date my) Avatar, a catchy song about MMOs. And man, if you don't crush on her after this, you need to turn over your geek badge (even you ladies).

The song debuted at the recent San Diego Comic-con, with the cast of the Guild sending fans into a frenzy when they took to the stage in full costume. Felicia Day goes wild with MMO innuendo, crooning, "don't care what's in your character bank, how 'bout a little tank and spank?" and "I'm better than a real world quest -- you'll touch my +5 to Dexterity vest." The song, available on Amazon for $0.99, is pure geek pop win. But if you want the full experience, the video features the entire cast of The Guild and their antics -- Vork and Zaboo with a short rap segment, Clara doing some back-up vocals, Tink stepping up with her dance, and Bladezz, well, he looks seductively at the camera.

Check out the embed below to see what the video holds for you. If you're a fan of The Guild and headed to BlizzCon, you'd be happy to know Felicia Day and her crew will be making an appearance. Get the song or the video, memorize the lyrics, and who knows, she just might grant you an autograph. If you'll be at home during BlizzCon, just "grab your mouse and stroke the keys" because at least, as Codex sings, "in Cyberspace there's no disease."

The video after the break!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

Feitan offers up even more WoW icons for your enjoyment

Feitan has posted another terrific set of WoW-related icons over on WoW LJ. Combine all of those with the first set, and throw in all of the other ones we've collected for you in the past, and you've got a really nice set of perfectly-sized choices from World of Warcraft to use as your icon on whatever service needs an avatar.

Like, for example, our own comments. While the cartoon Ogre we've got as the default is quite cute, you might want to make yours a little more personal -- all you've got to do is click your name after commenting, and you'll be taken to a page where you can log in and edit your profile, see your comments so far, and yes, update a new profile picture. If you're still using the default commenter icon with our brand new commenting system, now is definitely the time to make the upgrade.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Screenshots, Fan art

Daedalus Project updated

Nick Yee's excellent MMORPG survey and data site, the Daedalus Project, has been updated with new survey results on the following topics:
  • Guild demographics: What influences players to choose certain guilds, how attached they become, the likelihood of their knowing guildies in real life, and how long they stay. What I find fascinating here is the graph displayed above -- 26% of surveyed players have been with their guild 2 years or more. Alex Ziebart mentioned the other day that his guild has been together so long across multiple games that guild chat's gone from talk of teenage dates to coaching expectant parents through morning sickness. I get the feeling that this is only going to become more common in long-haul games like Second Life and WoW.
  • Character creation: How players choose characters, the elements of character selection they consider most important, and whether classes and races tend to be researched extensively before they're picked, or chosen based on impulse. Character class seems to matter to the most people; starting area the least.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, News items, Classes

Fansite awarded NPC honor

If you're a vanity pet collector you've probably visited WarcraftPets. Breanni of Scarlet Crusade, the master of this has clearly put a considerable amount of effort into researching non-combat pets. The site lists news and information on all minipets found in the World of Warcraft. The site features a small-pet FAQ, a calendar of events featuring vanity pets, a guide to collecting non-combat pets, and more.

Breanni is getting special recognition for her efforts in the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King Expansion. Breanni posted in the general forums that she will be getting an NPC Avatar in Dalaran. Care for all your pet needs with Breanni's Pet supplies. This is not the first honorable mention that the site has won. Breanni has also been placed on the World of Warcraft map, as created by Tim Howego.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, NPCs

WoW Moviewatch: The Gods of Zul'Aman

The arrival of a new patch used to be noted with a simple entry on the update page of the WoW's site. Now, it's heralded with its own movie trailer. Blizzard has released a short trailer exploring the story behind Patch 2.3's Zul'Aman and challenging the players with: "This is our land. You wanna stay? You stay here forever. We gonna bury you here."

It's a well done trailer, especially the camera moves, sound design and music composition. But am I the only one who thought the montage of the Zul'Aman gods at the end was a little...Power Rangerseque?

Previously on Moviewatch...

EDIT: Oops, this was already featured yesterday on our site. Ah well, for those of you who missed it, here it is. For those of you who saw it yesterday, see it again for the first time. And I still stand by my Power Rangers comment.

Filed under: Machinima, Raiding, WoW Moviewatch, Lore

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