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Blizzard raises over $330,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Blizzard raises over $330,000 for St Jude Children's Research Hospital
Were you lucky enough to get a server blade? What's a server blade, you ask? Server blades are pieces of hardware, and in the case of WoW, they're pieces of hardware that once housed realms from World of Warcraft. In October of last year, it was announced that Blizzard would be auctioning off these collectible and frankly, awfully pretty items via eBay.

As for the proceeds, they were headed toward St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer and other catastrophic diseases that affect children. It was an amazing fundraiser for an equally amazing cause, and today Blizzard posted the results of the auctions. Over $333,000 was raised for the cause, and Blizzard has posted a heartfelt thank-you on the official site. $330,000 is a pretty astonishing number. Frankly, it's moments like this that make me step back, smile just a little and take a whole lot of pride in the gaming community.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Last chance to bid on retired server blades for charity

Blizzard's charity auctions of retired server blades seemed to go pretty well, with each blade going for several hundred dollars on eBay (and all of that money going to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital). Most of them ended before the holidays, which is unfortunate for those of us who missed grabbing the physical representation of a server community near and dear to our heart. But if you play on a European server, you might just be in luck -- Blizzard is offering a series of last-chance auctions for EU server blades starting today! Each server blade comes mounted in a nice case with an engraved plate ensuring authenticity and signed by members of the WoW dev team.

The full list of servers and end dates is available on the official Blizzard site. Good luck and happy bidding, EU folks!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

The Lawbringer: Real money transactions and some eBay history

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?

eBay and massively multiplayer online role playing games have a deep, rich and occasionally sordid past. As social beings, we've been bartering, trading and selling our time and goods for the entirety of human history. The internet just made things even easier. Hell, buying some gold or an item off of eBay isn't the first time you've probably spent money for a work-around in a game. Ever heard of Game Genie? We paid money for that at one point in our lives.

This week, The Lawbringer delves into the past, remembering the good ol' days when the internet came in three varieties: 28.8k, 33.6k and 56k v.90. Also, 14.4k, but only losers had such weak baud. Please don't make me go back further in time. You're probably making modem sounds right now, pretending to go ksshhhh ksshhhh bee doo be dooo wha wha wha wha wha wha wha beeboobeeboobeebeeboobeep, so we should probably start this up.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

BlizzCon 2009 ticket sales are done

BlizzCon 2009 tickets went on sale for the last time on Saturday at 10am PST, and were reported as sold out less than 30 minutes later. As expected, there were lots of disappointed Blizzard fans, but compared to the way things worked last year, this year's system was much more fair and much less frustrating. Unfortunately, you had to be quick -- while the sellout time was actually around 10:24, tickets really sold out in a matter of seconds, because if you clicked the buy button even 30 seconds to a minute after it went live, you were too far back in the queue to buy tickets at all. But even though it was a very small window of chance, it was at least a fair chance -- Blizzard's meter for tickets left on Saturday started at around 50%, which indicates that they split the two days of sales right down the middle. As long as you showed up and clicked at the right time, you had as much chance as anyone else. At least we got a great game out of it.

If you have tickets, enjoy the show (and don't forget: our meetup will be on Thursday night!). But if you don't, what now? The DirecTV stream will be available both via their service and on the Internet. And even if you don't jump in on that deal, we'll of course have plenty of up-to-date coverage, as will lots of folks in the community. And if you want to go a little black market, tickets will probably be available online in a few different places. We've already heard that Blizzard is starting to crack down on eBay, but certainly there are other places tickets will appear for sale. And as time goes on, we're sure people who were planning to go won't be able to make it, contests will be held in various places, and a few more tickets will free up.

So all hope may not be lost. But unless you want to call in a favor or pay a premium, BlizzCon tickets are sold. We say: the fourth weekend in August can't come soon enough.

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

BlizzPlanet is giving away some BlizzCon tix

Our good friends at BlizzPlanet have obtained a ticket to the happiest place on Earth (BlizzCon, of course -- right next to some dump called Disneyland), and they're giving it away over on their site. There are a few hoops to jump through, but then again, how much do you want to go to BlizzCon? They will have you hunting around their archives for a few things, running over to the Mountain Dew website to earn some points and take a screenshot, and even checking out some comic books over at DC (their contest is probably part of the official fansite program, which would explain why you'll be visiting lots of Blizzard's licensing partners).

Do all that stuff by June 9th, and be one of the lucky winners, and you'll pick yourself up one of three shiny tickets to Blizzard's big event in Anaheim. It looks like airfare and hotel might be on your own, but no worries -- you can eBay the goodie bag stuff and use that money to put yourself up in Anaheim for both nights. Everybody wins! Good luck -- if you end up being chosen as the winner, be sure to come say hi to us while you're there.

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

BlizzCon tickets: how it went, and what's next

Yes, if you were around on Saturday, you know that the first round of BlizzCon tickets sold out, and sold out fast. Tickets went on sale right around 10am PST (which was 1pm EST), and sold out just about 28 minutes later. If the queue numbers are trustworthy, over 21,000 people (we've heard as high as 25,000 at a time) logged in to buy tickets that day, and from unconfirmed reports around the web, it seems like about 5,000 to 8,000 tickets were sold: most people who got in line around number 5,000 were able to pick a ticket up, and that was a few minutes in already. Some of those people are already selling tickets on eBay as well.

We believe (though aren't sure) that they'll be selling more than 15,000 tickets this year, since that's what they sold last year and they're using even more of the convention space. If that's true, then Blizzard probably went through only about half of the tickets, and will sell the rest during the second session on the 30th. But that's probably not much of a consolation -- given the frenzy around this last Saturday, there'll probably be more people trying for tickets, and given the prices on eBay, possibly more scalpers clogging up the queue. We'll see.

Update: Lots of people point out, rightly so, that I missed something in my guesstimates of how many tickets were sold: you could purchase up to five. My personal guess is that the majority of people bought only one or two, but even if you go with three as the average, 5,000-8,000 people in the queue is actually 15,000-24,000 tickets. Blizzard probably did sell the majority of tickets on Saturday then, not just half. So the process on May 30th will presumably go even faster.

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, BlizzCon

BlizzCon tickets already on eBay


The first batch of tickets to this year's BlizzCon in Anaheim sold out less than thirty minutes after they became available on Blizzard's Battle.Net store. While some buyers included sincere conference attendees such as our own Matt Low, the latest crop of goods over at eBay might provide another insight as to why the tickets fizzled so fast. A quick scan of BlizzCon items already include the goody bags from the August event, highlighted by Grunty, the Murloc Marine. Some are also selling tickets outright, with some auctions already going over $800.

It's a testament to the popularity of Blizzard and their games that the first wave of BlizzCon tickets has sold out yet again this year, and damning evidence of the lengths some people will go to make a buck. In this frazzled economy, who can blame them? Grunty, the Murloc Marine, that's who! Grunty doesn't appreciate being put in the black market like some dead fish! At any rate, congratulations to those of you who were able to score tickets (and actually plan on using them). The good news is that the rest of us who clicked too slowly this round can look forward to another wave of tickets on the 30th. The bad news is that those scalpers are going to be waiting to click right along with us.

Filed under: BlizzCon

Lil' Game Hunter achievement now set to 75 pets


In patch 3.0.8 there is a new achievement call the Lil' Game Hunter, which you get upon collecting a very large number of pets. The achievement gets you the pet pictured above, a little fawn. He's cute, and hopefully won't stop in his tracks when he sees my motorcycle's headlight.

Previously the achievement required getting a total of 100 vanity pets, however that total has now been lowered to 75. That is much more accessible for people to achieve, and really requires just a little bit of farming and AH watching. Definitely within the grasp of more people than when it was 100, which would have required more-or-less getting your hands on some super rare pets and/or ebayed TCG loot cards (a subject which some feel is borderline ethical).

Click on the above image to get a better view of the fawn, and start collecting now!

I plan on taking him for a walk through Elwynn Forest when I get him.

For help with tracking your non-combat pet collection, head on over to the most excellent Warcraftpets.com.

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Filed under: Patches, News items, Achievements

WoW Insider's 2008 holiday gift guide


Yes, it's that time of year again -- the lights are up around town, the weather is cold and snowy, and you've got a long list of nice (and maybe even some naughty) people who will need gifts this year. But what will you get? If anyone on your list is a Warcraft player, worry not: WoW Insider has compiled a list of ten Nintendo Sixtyfoooooooour-level gifts for the Warcraft player in your life, five out-of-game and five in-game.

Whether they're level 10 or level 80, odds are that they'll love any of this stuff, and whether you've got just a little bit of time and/or money to put in or want no expense spared, there's something on this list for you. Click into the gallery below to check out all of the gifts, and be sure to have a happy holiday season -- here's hoping there will be a little something more exciting than coal in that stocking!

Looking for non-Warcraft related gamer gifts? Joystiq has up-to-the-minute news on the best holiday deals and tips around for Holidaze 2008. And our friends at Big Download have a nice set of guides up as well, featuring anything and everything you might need for a PC gamer.



Winter's Veil is almost here. Watch the 12 Days again, wonder what might be new this year, or settle down with some cocoa and some tasty... bark?

Filed under: Tailoring, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Events, WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends, Economy

DirecTV replay still available, showing tomorrow

Reader Stephen dropped us a note to let us know that if you missed the DirecTV stream of BlizzCon the first time around, you've got another chance tomorrow: they're going to show the whole thing again starting tomorrow morning. Seems pretty meh to us -- from what we heard, the stream wasn't all that great. And what you missed in terms of official panel information, you can get right from us here on the site. Anybody hear otherwise? Is this worth watching at all?

Of course, even if it's not, there is still one reason to order it, and that is of course the BlizzCon bear. Apparently people who purchase this replay will still get a code good for an ingame bear, and given that the bear and the Starcraft II code from the convention is going for as high as $200 already on eBay, shelling out $40 for just the code might be worth it to you.

And you'll pick up 16 hours of high-quality video along with it -- who wouldn't want to see Ghostcrawler in HD, right?

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

Online retailers point towards a November 4 release for Wrath


We'll begin this post with the usual: this is Blizzard we're talking about, and Blizzard doesn't release games or the dates they'll start selling those games until they're good and ready. So any speculation about Blizzard's release dates, is, by its nature, pretty useless -- if Blizzard wants to announce at BlizzCon that Wrath isn't coming out until January, they will.

However, as many readers have noticed, there's been an interesting development in the rumored release date lately. Before now, all the online stores have had all kinds of different dates: some were saying October, some were saying early November, and some were saying late November. But over the past week or so, almost all of the online stores have settled on a single date: November 4. The sign above, sent in by reader Daniel A., is from a JB HiFi store in Australia, and beckons toward a midnight release on November 3rd.

So. We'll stress again: retailers often set their own release dates way in advance of an official announcement, just so they can sell preorders of a game. It's very likely this means nothing, and Blizzard will release their game whenever they want -- don't start filling out your vacation form yet, because this is not an official date. But something has pointed all of these online retailers toward Election Day of this year, so if you want to guess at a release date, that's as good as any.

Thanks to Ollie, Daniel A., and everyone else who sent this in.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Scalpers raid eBay, didn't take long

It's probably not helpful to hundreds (thousands?) of customers who suffered the slings and arrows of BlizzCon ticket purchase, but scalpers are already selling tickets on eBay. Since Blizzard has done quite a bit to try and make the event scalper unfriendly, this is entirely an example of folks attempting to profiteer on an honest effort.

Blizzard's rules for BlizzCon are set up to mitigate scalpers' ability to resale on eBay and other internet venues. The ticket pickup rules, from the official BlizzCon website say:

Tickets and badges must be picked up at the Anaheim Convention Center; Blizzard Entertainment will NOT be mailing the badges out. To pick up your tickets, you will need to provide the credit card used to make the purchase. There are no exceptions to this.

And as one eBay scalper says in his auction, he'll have to deliver the tickets "near" the convention center. So, the buyer should beware. You don't have any assurances your scalper will actually show up, and you could find yourself out a grand or two pretty. Of course, you'd kind of be bringing it on yourself anyway.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon

Forum post of the day: Beta buying blues

Now that Blizzard has confirmed that beta keys from Blizzcon 07 and Worldwide Invitation 08 will be used to get into the Wrath of the Lich King test, they've become a pretty hot commodity. Sure they're for sale on eBay ranging from about $200 to $600, but what are they worth. I kind of wish I'd been able to go to one of those events to guarantee a spot in the beta. This same thing happened during the beta release of the Burning Crusade.

Cheesytacos of Dragonblight thinks it's unfair to folks who win the beta lottery that folks are selling their beta keys for profit. For those willing to part with their keys, the sale price is at least worth the price of admission. I have to admit, it's well, annoying that folks who went to Blizzard's little soirées are granted passes into the new content. We come across the issue of property ownership many times in WoW.

In general the assumption is that all things WoW are not actually the property of the players but of Blizzard. Are beta keys the property of the key holders to do with what they please until activation?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Blizzard Authenticator may or may not be for sale again

In what may or may not be good news today from the Blizzard Store, it looks like the Blizzard Authenticator was back on sale for a short time. It sold out rather early, and there was some rockiness with some orders, but it looks like Blizzard's at least trying to get back on track in delivering this extra layer of account security. Unfortunately, although it was showing as purchasable just an hour ago, it once again shows up as Sold Out currently.

There's no word yet on whether they've fixed any problems with keeping the Authenticator in stock, so it may be that they simply got in one shipment and are waiting for another. Hopefully, that shipment comes soon and they can work out their stocking problems a little more permanently. Until then, I'd sit tight and wait a bit. At the least, you don't want to be like the poor folks tipster Aaron pointed out to us, who are bidding up to $93.00 for one on eBay.

Thanks to everyone who sent us a heads up on this!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Hardware, Account Security

The Archangel Tyrael pet revealed

You may remember that we recently told you that Worldwide Invitational attendees would be receiving a Tyrael pet as part of their goodie bag haul as soon as patch 2.4.3 went live. The PTR servers when down for a little bit of an update a while ago, and when they came back up, WoW Insider commenter Darkra came through with the picture of my new favorite pet, which you can see above.

It's actually pretty strange, he looks both cute and bad ass at the exact same time. I'm not sure how it pulls it off, but I suppose that's just the awesomeness that is Tyrael. Congratulations to all you WWI attendees on what is surely the coolest non-combat pet to date, and for those of us unlucky enough not to make it to the WWI in person, let the Ebaying begin!

Filed under: Items, Events, News items, Worldwide Invitational

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