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Posts with tag commentary

Conan O'Brien takes over Arena casting at BlizzCon

We're all used to some serious names taking the commentator's seat for the Arena Global Invitational at BlizzCon, but this year a first-round series between Skill-Capped and Flash Wolves got a special treat from the world's best gamer, Conan O'Brien. Conan took his Clueless Games segment to BlizzCon and joined Adam "Hoodrych" Brown and Jared "VHell" Coulston to lend some gravitas and real gaming knowledge to the commentary.

The full 25-minute version you see above will no doubt be condensed down into something far shorter for the show itself, as on watching it I certainly found the whole thing rather stilted and awkward, but there are some funny moments tucked away in there which will no doubt make for great TV. It's also possible that I'm just not used to Conan's comedy style. But I certainly cracked a smile at certain points, especially where he was grabbing the more knowledgeable casters' tidbits on, for example, gateway usage, and accidentally saying just the right thing! Oh and paladin healers? Conan says to make sure you use your potions.

Filed under: PvP, BlizzCon, Worldwide Invitational

"Crash Bandicoot" creator comments on Cataclysm's problems and the evolution of WoW

'Crash Bandicoot' creator comments on Cataclysm's problems and the evolution of WoW
I didn't see this until recently, but I'm really glad I did. Andy Gavin, the co-creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter, ran a series between the end of November and mid-January examining WoW, its four expansions, and how each of them succeeded or failed through both personal and professional eyes. His particular focus is the endgame in each and how it worked to attract and retain players -- or, in some cases, didn't.

While there's certainly been no shortage of player commentary on how WoW's developed, Gavin's experience as a game developer who's not involved with Blizzard is a pretty unique perspective. I found his article on Cataclysm to be particularly adept at putting into words a lot of things I felt but had difficulty articulating. Most of the expansion's developmental time had to go into a revamped leveling process that few people saw unless they wanted to level a new alt. The content at 85 that greeted more casual players got bottlenecked in a series of difficult heroics that frustrated players dropped constantly.

Personally, I still consider Cataclysm to have been a necessary expansion -- it did a lot of stuff that Blizzard had to do for the game even if it wasn't as eye-catching as what BC and Wrath did -- but I think Gavin's assessment is accurate and measured. (And many of Blizzard's own observations aren't all that different.) Funnily enough, with lots of people leveling new monks in Mists of Pandaria, more people might be seeing Cataclysm content now than they did during the expansion that was actually dedicated to it.

I've linked Gavin's full series here. While it's long, it's an incredibly interesting and detailed read:

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion livestreams Halls of Reflection Friday at noon PST

Halls of Reflection, the 5-man in which we're going to face down Arthas (finally -- we've been waiting for this moment since the end of Warcraft III) is now live on the PTR, and the staff of is going to head on in there to see what there is to see. And you get to watch -- we'll be streaming our run of the brand new 5-man this Friday afternoon, starting at noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern. We'll be live on our Ustream page, with full in-game video and commentary from yours truly, as five intrepid bloggers go and see what the Wrath of the Lich King really looks like.

Of course there will be spoilers, although if you're interested in seeing what the PTR has to offer, this will be as good an opportunity as any to do it. We've embedded the Ustream feed after the break on this post, so just come back here on Friday at noon to jump in, chat with us and other viewers live, and check out the action. If you have the Ustream iPhone app installed, you should be able to see it on there as well, so if you're out and about that afternoon, you can still watch. And we'll be recording the whole thing on Ustream, so if you can't watch it live, you will be able to come back later and check it out for yourself. Should be fun -- we'll see you back here on Friday afternoon at 3pm Eastern.

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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

Dealing with temporary changes in-game

Larisa's got a good rant about something I've considered before in a slightly different context: players aren't very good at anticipating how temporary game changes will work out. We, as a group (not individually necessarily), are quite quick to judgment when we see changes to the game, and the word Larisa uses is "conservatism" -- she notes the examples of the reaction to the zombie outbreak and the Children's Week batleground issues, and says that players "tossed the gift away, like spoiled kids." We (again, in general, not you specifically) have a very short view of how temporary changes will affect the game, lambast Blizzard for changing what didn't need to be changed, and very often, when the dust settles and the zombies are gone or the event is over, we realize that it wasn't so bad after all.

She's not talking about class changes here -- those are more permanent changes that affect the basic rules of the game. But specifically with temporary events (I'd even throw the Brewfest controversies, and the Headless Horseman complaints in the mix), players sometimes have reactions that are way out of proportion to the events themselves. These holidays and world events are temporary: shouldn't we just enjoy them while we can?

It's definitely a valid point, and something to remember for the next time a temporary event throws off your usual routine in-game. The fact is that we players are spoiled -- Blizzard generally does a great job keeping this game fun, and so when even a little issue sneaks into the game during a temporary event. But Larisa promises that next time she gets shaken up by a temporary change, she'll give it another chance. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances

BigBearButt on finding your WoW cheese

John "BigBearButt" Patricelli is one of the writers on this fine blog, gracing us with the Shifting Perspectives column, and appearing on our podcast whenever he can. But has also has his own blog at, and just recently he put up a very nice post about "finding your cheese" in the World of Warcraft. And he doesn't mean Alterac Swiss.

"Who Moved My Cheese," as he says, is one of those corporate management books that's a little trite for anyone but executives to actually read seriously -- it's got a fable about two mice who find a chunk of cheese, and then have to deal with what happens when change hits them and that cheese runs out. And BBB then takes that into the act of playing WoW: right now, this game is giving us plenty of cheese, and when the expansion drops, things will be even better. But at the same time, there's no reason to stick with the game if it isn't giving you what you want, and as we've said before, if you're not interested in the game, feel free to go find something else.

BBB's post is a great read, and it's refreshing to hear an honest take on what it might mean to finally end a career in WoW (not that BBB is doing that yet). There's a lot of stuff left to do in Azeroth (and there'll be more to do in Northrend). But at the same time, there's nothing wrong with making your own path and going off to find yourself some fresh cheese.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Leveling

WoW Insider Show Episode 25: Craziness on the PTR

We reached our 25th episode of the podcast this last Saturday, and it's all up right now for you to listen to over on WoW Radio's site. Turpster (who, I hear, has posted something on Massively today), Matthew Rossi, and I all sat down to talk about all the biggest stories in World of Warcraft over the past week, including, but not limited to:
I'll give you a hint: it's not Uwe Boll. Listen in to the podcast every Saturday afternoon starting at 3:30pm EST on WoW Radio, and hear intelligent er, interesting, um, audible commentary like this every single week! And in the meantime, if you have something want to share with us, feel free to drop an email to, and you may hear us talk about it on the next show.

Enjoy this week's podcast, and we'll see you next week.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Odds and ends, Humor, Lore, WoW Insider Show

WoW Moviewatch: Azerothian Super Villains 5 commentary

Ian Beckman (whom we interviewed a while back) recently released a DVD-style commentary video about his latest machinima, Azerothian Super Villains, Episode 5. In the video, Ian, and guest star Michael DeCamp, discuss the making of ASV5, as well as reveal some surprising facts about the film. At almost 11 minutes, it's quite informative.

For example, they point out the guest appearance by Drewbie, the disastrous Blackbird contest, and many of the special references that they made about real life events. They even briefly mention how they filmed scenes in the movie! Most of the content will spoil the film for you, so if you haven't seen it yet, I suggest watching Episode 5 first.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

Filed under: Machinima, Humor, WoW Moviewatch

Stratics Chat: Live with the Devs

As promised, I'll be reporting on anything and everything going on in the Stratics chat. I'm hopeful that the devs will pick some of the truly tasty questions that have been offered up to answer.

For those who want to join us on IRC for this, you can get all the pertinent information here. For those of you who are unable to get on IRC but still wanting to keep up with the action, just refresh this post periodically. I'll add my running commentary here via edits as the chat progresses.

(Please note that all timestamps are EST.)

Pre-show: Had a lovely chat with TotalBiscuit from WoWRadio and caught some of his Devchat pre-show while waiting. Great guy -- and a great site. If you haven't checked them out, be sure to do so!

5:45 pm: Drink? Check. Snack? Oh man. I knew I forgot something...

5:50 pm: Wow, this channel is packed. There are easily several hundred in here. Of course, considering the guests of honor, that's really no surprise.

6:00 pm: Brannoc has said they'll begin shortly. So far, so good. Eyonix, Drysc, Neth are here as well as Kalgan and Tigole. More official people seem to be joining.

6:07 pm: They're going through the introductions now. -- Ah, first question. Wants to know when Azeroth will begin getting a significant revamp as it's a ghost town now.

6:09 pm: Tigole says that they're looking at revamping some older zones at some point. Also planning future expansions, mentions Karazhan and CoT as examples of future content plans.

(The rest lives behind the jump)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Interviews

International co-operation

The recent news of a Spanish localisation didn't surprise me too much; WoW has been spreading like wildfire across Europe, and a key way to capture territories outside the UK is to offer a native-language version. However, in my travels across a number of European servers, I've seen very few Spanish players.

However, there seems to be a preponderance of Nordic gamers, and I've also encountered several Dutch speakers in my travels. With the lack of specific-language servers (let alone a client version), these players often post messages in general chat searching for fellow countrymen--on some servers, any foreign language is met with venom, but on others players are very helpful. Having observed this on several servers now, it seems that PvP and RP-PvP server residents are most hostile towards any non-English speakers, although that's something of a generalisation. Perhaps it's due to the frustration of having to type names like Bjørn.

Playing in Europe is a great way to get an international flavour to your gameplay, although it's sometimes surprising to find out someone is from Holland or Belgium when they have been speaking better English than the UK-based players for weeks.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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