It was BlizzCon 2010. I was sitting outside the exhibit hall at the Anaheim Convention Center, pecking out a text message on my phone, when I heard someone say, "Oh hey! You work for WoW Insider!"
His voice was so excited that I was a little surprised when I looked up and realized the young man in front of me wasn't just another general attendee of BlizzCon 2010 but an actual employee of Blizzard. "I love you guys!" He exclaimed as I boggled over his official staff shirt and badge. Was this really happening? Wasn't I the one who worked for a fan site? Shouldn't I be excited about him?
He didn't notice my cognitive dissonance and motioned to the empty space on the bench next to me. "Can I sit down?"
A few months ago, my girlfriend finally got me to take the leap and start a WoW account. I realize now that in most cases, this is the other way around. Admittedly, I did not know too much about the backstory or how to effectively play my class. Like most players (I hope), I made some serious noob mistakes, such as leaving my pet on aggressive while in The Stockades and Ragefire Chasm. Luckily, I quickly learned what I was doing was wrong.
Being a hunter means that I often played solo a lot, and I figured as long as I am leveling and not dying that often, that qualifies me as being a "good" player. However, it only took one wipe before the final boss deep within the Sunken Temple to alter my viewpoint. The group quickly began to disband, leaving me wandering the Swamp of Sorrows desperately looking for my corpse. The last member of the group remaining started blaming the wipe on me and attempting to really go to town on how terrible I was. I tried to be civil about it and why she felt that way -- or if she had any advice that would help me -- but that did not work at all. I finally lost it and went on my own rant in retaliation.
From that point on, I wanted to be the best, to know all about not only my class but my race as well. That one wipe seemingly snowballed into my seeking out fan sites and reading novels not only on lore but books taking an academic approach to the game, as well. Now I cannot seem to shake this WoW obsession.
What was that crowning moment that pushed your interest in WoW over the edge ? Was it piece of incredible lore, some jerk from a RDF group, or something different entirely?
I've told this story a few times before: I actually started out on WoW.com as a comment troll. A few years back, Jennie Lees was the lead blogger here, and she posted something silly about a wallpaper or a plush doll, I don't remember. I was also reading the forums at the time, and Blizzard had just dropped new priest patch notes. "Why are you posting this junk," I commented angrily, "when the priest notes just dropped?" She was nice about it -- she actually emailed me and said that the priest updates post was coming soon. And I felt so bad about it, I never activated the comment. But a little while after that, when WoW Insider posted that they were looking for some new writers, I applied, and said that I was sorry for that comment, but that I was working on becoming a writer and could help out with posting on the site when needed.
When I started writing for WoW Insider (now WoW.com, obviously), I was working retail in Chicago, writing part-time in the evenings. The site itself got only a few thousand hits a month, with one or two weekly features and maybe ten comments per post. Now, over three years later, I'm a fulltime freelance writer, I've been to three BlizzCons, I've written over 1.7 million words in over 3,300 posts here about everything in Azeroth, and the site itself rivals some of the best blogs on the Internet, routinely garnering millions of hits a month. I helped build this site with my own two hands, and while I definitely can't claim all the credit (there was and is a huge team of people who keep this thing running), it's with a fair amount of sorrow that I'm here to tell you today will be my last day on WoW.com.
I have to admit that even with the massive amount of information on classes and mechanics, my favorite part was the goofy fan stuff. I love how some people really get into their costumes and dances. I think I missed out most by missing the WoW Insider meet up. It's amazing that real people get so into our favorite game franchises.
For those of you who went last year, or even were following along with me, what's the best BlizzCon memory that you carry with you?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.
Hoo boy, what a show at our podcast on Saturday. After one of the craziest starts our show has ever had (BRK's house decided to go a little nuts right before we started), we got as professional as we could and got down to business. After answering emails (including more on why you should listen to your mother), we talked about the addon changes and how they'll affect players and developers, Blizzard's plans for a mobile authenticator, and more of the latest news out of patch 3.1. We also brainstormed new flavors for Mountain Dew, and finally, we played what everyone was waiting to hear: Turpster's new WoW Insider song.
Yes, because our fans were kind enough to get 4,000 people to join in on our Facebook page, we recorded that abomination of hilarity. You can download it as an mp3 right here, for use in remixes or machinima or whatever you want to do with it, and I've posted the lyrics and liner notes after the break. Enjoy.
And don't forget we're currently in a campaign for OVER 9000 Twitter followers. Join up to Twitter and follow us, and please tell your guilds and friends to do the same -- if we can meet our goal there, we'll do a live video version of the podcast that you'll be able to see right here on the site. Enjoy the show as always, and we'll see you next week.
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
WoW is a fairly good-looking game, especially when compared to some other MMOs, but let's face it: it hasn't had much of a change to its graphics quality since its release in 2004, and you can tell. To give you an idea of how pretty it could be, Youtube user qelss has rendered several models from WoW with more light and some additional filters; you can see one above, and more on his profile page. As MMO-Champion notes, these are fan-made and not previews of anything, but it's still fun to look at the gleaming swords and armor.
I was looking through the Blizzard fan art pages recently, with the thought in my mind that I could do a "Best of Blizzard Fan Art" feature for our dear WoW Insider readers, when I found that selecting the "best" was extremely difficult. I kept copying so many pictures into my own "best of" folder that I began to feel like I might as well just link you all to the entire fan art site and call it a day. Most of it is really very fun to look at many many times.
So today I went back determined to try again and found that they had redesigned the entire site. It loads much faster, and presents the art to you in a much smoother interface. You can see many more thumbnails per page, and change the size of the thumnails depending on how many you want to see. Once you click on a picture, you can then easily scroll through from one to another very quickly, without having to wait for the entire page to reload again and again. Also, they managed to provide a nice fade effect, so that the transition between pictures is smooth. The only downside is that you can no longer link to a single piece of art.
Oh -- and also, you can no longer just click and download each picture to your own computer. I'm sure there must be a way (short of taking a screenshot), but it's beyond me. I'll take it as a sign from heaven, since I can no longer conveniently build my "Best of" folder, that the "Best of Blizzard Fan Art" site is the whole Blizzard fan art site itself. Now, with the tediousness of complicated page-loading removed, you may find browsing through the artwork gives you a whole new experience.
It's been a good few weeks since we've had an iPhone-related post here at the Insider, so it's probably time for another one. While this may not be any form of playing WoW on the iPhone, it's definitely pretty cool: this is a WoW theme that can be applied to the iPhone, changing all its menu icons and background image. And in my opinion, it's pretty sweet. If I had an iPhone I'd definitely take this for a spin.
This is the work of Dimos (Darkspear-H), and if you want to Blizz up your own phone, the files to do so are at ModMyiPhone.com. I particularly enjoy the Phone icon being a hearthstone. A common conception on RP servers is that the hearthstone is what enables us to communicate in chat channels, serving as some sort of radio-like device. I don't know if this is what Dimos was going for, but it pleases me either way. The Safari icon is also an uncanny match -- does anyone know what that icon is used for in-game?
Please be sure that you are entering your own works, as there have been reports of plagiarism in artwork submissions. Dalayur, previously of Forte, had his artwork submitted by someone else last week, but many of us had already seen his artistic endeavors and notified Blizzard of the error. This is actually the second time this has happened to Dalayur, but Blizzard has given proper credit to him for this submission.