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Posts with tag free

Real ID grouping feature out of beta, remains free

The Real ID party grouping feature, which allows players across realms to group up and run dungeons through the Dungeon Finder with same-faction Real ID friends, is officially out of beta and remains a free service.

When the service was first announced, a premium price was going to be attached to the service, but since launching, Real ID grouping is not part of the premium package -- it's free for everyone. Blizzard reserved the right to add features to the premium suite of WoW services, but this one is here to stay for free.

I was skeptical about the costs associated with the service in the beginning, but after trying out the service with fellow WoW Insider editors, I was hooked. Paying for the service, however, was not something I would have done. Players have a certain expectation about what they get with their monthly subscriptions, and in a world where free-to-play MMOs and games charge small amounts all over the place for items and boosts, a subscription game in the vein of World of Warcraft has a harder time justifying the extra costs because of the nature of the monthly subscription beast. It is nice to see that Blizzard is adding this feature for all players, no cost attached. Hit the jump for the full announcement and FAQ.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Veteran WoW players given free copies of the game to gift to new players

Many WoW players were shocked and confused to learn that they had a free copy of World of Warcraft Classic (it's the new "official" vanilla) sitting in their inbox starting last week. In a push for more subscribers before the big patch 4.2 push, tons of free copies of the game were distributed out to veterans to give to friends to introduce them to World of Warcraft. Not only is the game free, but these veteran reward accounts come with 30 day subscriptions for your buddies.

Nethaera commented on the veteran emails being sent out -- they are not scams and are being sent to players who selected to receive news and offers from Blizzard. If you haven't gotten an veteran rewards email, check your spam folder or contact Blizzard support. I postulated on a recent Lawbringer what the world would look like with free WoW, and this seems like a good first step to getting more WoW into more hands.

WoW Veteran Reward free copies
The veteran award email and offer are legitimate and are being sent out to veterans who have previously opted in to receiving news and special offers from Blizzard Entertainment. We may run more of these types of promotions in the future, so if this is something you are interested in, we suggest opting in as soon as possible so you don't miss out.



The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Win EveryAir for your iOS device from WoW Insider


EveryAir is a really cool app for iOS devices that acts as a remote desktop -- but the reason why we like it is because it lets you play World of Warcraft on your iOS device. That's right! Play WoW on your iPad or even your iPhone, with minimal latency. We interviewed the app's creators (dedicated WoW fans themselves) a few months ago, and they were kind enough to give us a lot of coupon codes to get EveryAir for free on the App Store.

And now they're doing it again! WoW Insider is happy to give our readers the chance to win one of 50 copies of EveryAir. And all you have to do is leave a comment on this post before Sunday, Feb. 13 at 11:59 p.m. EST. This contest is valid for readers from the United States and Canada (excluding Quebec). You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. And make sure your email address is up to date, because that's how we'll contact you if you're a winner!

See the full giveaway rules.

Filed under: Contests

Win a Lil' XT from WoW Insider


Our fourth and final contest to celebrate the sixth anniversary of WoW has us giving away two Lil' XT pets from the Blizzard Store. You know the drill by now -- comment on this post by 12 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 24, for a chance to win a Lil' XT. We'll randomly pick two winners from the comments.

As usual, rules apply. You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec). You can only enter once. Make sure your email address is up to date, because that's how we'll get hold of you! Official rules here.

Filed under: Contests

Creative giving away WoW headsets on Facebook

Creative is giving away 20 of the new Soundblaster World of Warcraft Headsets from their Facebook page. Just become a fan and comment on the appropriate thread in order to enter the drawing.

These highly anticipated headsets are only available for preorder at this time, but word has it they are fresh off the assembly line and will be available soon. We gave away a few at the end of last year and also got to play around with the prototypes at BlizzCon.

They've given their first three headsets already. So if you are interested, hurry over and leave a comment about what features you are most looking forward to. The contest continues until March 15, 2010.

Note: Commenting here will not enter you in the contest. You must comment at the provided link for your entry to be valid. Also, please go to Soundblaster's facebook page (click on the above picture) for any rules and restrictions.

Filed under: News items

Rawr updated to 2.2.25 [Update: 2.2.27]

Rawr is a great third-party app (it's open source, and doesn't interface with the game at all) that's designed to help you figure out everything you need to know about your character, including how to best buff, enchant, and gem up your gear and set up your stats for whatever you'd like to do. It started out as an app strictly for tanking druids, but recently, it's grown to include pretty much all classes and stats. Our good friends at sister site Download Squad just recently found out about it, and they've got a nice basic writeup posted that serves as a good overview if you've never used the app before.

They also mention that the app just got another update, to version 2.2.25, and all of the release notes are posted over on their site. They're also looking for help -- if you're a C# developer, or know one who can work on their rogue and hunter models, be sure to let them know. Since the program is open source, anybody who knows the code can jump in and add their own features, or fine-tune the class choices, which then helps out everyone who uses the software. Rawr is definitely an excellent resource for anyone looking to get their gear perfected -- it's a free download for Windows on their site right now.

Update: Since this post was written, the app has been updated to 2.2.27. That was fast!

Filed under: Items, Tips, How-tos, Classes, Buffs

Happy Fourth of July from WoW.com


It's that time of year again -- Summer is in the air, baseball is well underway (I'm still pulling for the Cubs, even though it's a rollercoaster as usual), and things are grilling on the, um, grill. Here in America, today is Independence Day, and we're celebrating our independence from you EU folks -- don't take it personally, but we'd had it up to here with your taxation without representation, and we just wanted to spend some time on our own for a while. So while most of our bloggers are relaxing and lighting explosives on fire, posting might be a little slim around here today. Just in case you need something to read, you can always catch up on all the amazing Patch 3.2 details, dream about going to BlizzCon (or just ogle the costumes), or finish up your Midsummer Fire Festival achievements.

And if the last few years are any indication, there'll be some celebrations in Azeroth this evening as well (yes, even on the EU servers), with fireworks aplenty (we're pretty sure they do them on the hour every hour this evening -- Booty Bay always has a nice display, not to mention that the bruisers are drunk there today), and free beer and food outside the capital cities. So if you're here in America with us, be sure to have a very happy and safe Fourth of July from all of us here at WoW.com!

Filed under: Items, Tips, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard

Popcap's addons updated

Popcap kindly sent us a note to say that both of their free addons (Bejeweled and Peggle) for World of Warcraft have seen updates lately, so if you're still playing the versions you downloaded when they first came out, better give them a refresh. Bejeweled, the classic gem matching game, is now up to 1.1, and features a completely updated score system (you'll be asked to convert it the first time you load) that tracks all kinds of new features. In addition, the Achievements now have their own screen, so they're all easier to track as well. And a bunch of bug fixes have gone in, to make the game smoother and faster.

And Peggle has reached 1.02, with some new code to try and keep users with different versions from having compatibility problems, as well as a few options to keep the chatspam down to a minimum. If your guild is angry that you keep accidentally hitting "Publish" and getting your score in their guild chat, get this new version, as it allows you to control where that goes, as well as change the name from "Publish" to "Brag," to more accurately describe what it is.

Both versions can be downloaded right over on Popcap's WoW site, or from the usual suspects at your favorite addon databases. It's great that they're still updating these (still for free!), but, completely selfishly, we still kind of want Zuma next.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Two more WoW-related iPhone apps off the App Store

Blizzard has laid the legal smackdown on two more WoW-related iPhone apps. As Double Bubble reports, both Warcraft Chest and WoW Realm Status have bit the dust, most likely after Blizzard's legal department sent them a cease-and-desist (that's what recently happened to the popular Warcraft Characters app). We don't know for sure that Blizzard went after them, but considering that Warcraft Chest was completely free, there can't be that many other reasons why it's not on the App Store any more.

It's still not clear yet either why Blizzard is doing this -- originally, since they started off going after only paid applications, it was plausible that they just didn't want other people profiting off of their game (similar to the new addon policy). But they've taken down both free and paid apps here so far, and Double Bubble also has a list of both free and paid addons still up. At this point, we have to wonder what Blizzard's real intentions are here -- they're squashing valuable resources that fans have made and are giving away for free. If they were planning an Armory or realm status app of their own, that's one thing, but the only reason we can see so far is that their legal department has decided to act against the company's own loyal fans for their own interests. Not a great strategy for encouraging customer loyalty.

And what about sites like Wowhead or the Firefox realm status addon? Why is Blizzard only targeting helpful applications on the iPhone? We can only guess that Blizzard will eventually go after the rest of the apps on the App Store, so if you're working on one or planning to release one soon, guess you might want to think again about how that time might be better spent.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Add-Ons

WoW Insider exclusive: PopCap releases Peggle for WoW


Yes, when PopCap released their Bejeweled addon a while back, the first question on everyone's minds was: when are we getting Peggle? And here you go: as of this morning, you can download the brand new Peggle for WoW addon from PopCap's site.

WoW Insider got a chance to play with the addon from its early beta on, and it's extremely impressive -- not only will you find the usual addictive peg-hitting gameplay that we've come to know from Peggle, but PopCap and creator Michael Fromwiller (whom we interviewed about Bejeweled, and who we're told is actually being hired on full-time at PopCap as soon as he finishes school this spring) have really added a new level to the game by tying it right into World of Warcraft. The game rewards you with "Talent points" that can change the gameplay itself, and you can challenge other players within World of Warcraft to duels and score battles. There's even a "Peggle loot" setting, which, when used as Master Looter, will let your guildies and friends with the addon actually take Peggle shots against each other to determine who gets loot drops.

It's really wild. Read on for our early impressions of the addon, check out the gallery below for exactly what it looks like, and then go head on over to PopCap's site to download it for free yourself.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Screenshots

Free play-time given for server trouble

If you're one of the people who tried to play this past Tuesday, you experienced the same thing as the rest of us. The servers, they were just plain dead. Even since then, the instances and world servers have been a little less than friendly. This was all to put in Patch 3.1, but there were definitely some hiccups along the way. The game just hasn't been running smoothly, and some folks haven't been able to play at all.

Bornakk dropped by the forums to tell us that they plan on doing something about it. All World of Warcraft accounts in good standing will get one day's free play time. Your account has to be based in the North American, Latin American, or Oceanic servers, but it will definitely show up in your Account Management login within the next few days. Totally classy move on Blizzard's part, in my opinion.

EDIT: EU and Russian servers, too!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Carbonite going free, continuing development

The guys behind Carbonite have finally responded to Blizzard's new addon policy, and probably not in the way you might have guessed: they're continuing development, and they're making the addon free. Carbonite was rumored to be the addon that started all of this trouble: they had a partial version up for free download, and were charging for the full version of the addon, which apparently Blizzard didn't appreciate. But rather than shutting down the addon completely, they've decided to go free for everyone, and they're continuing development -- version 3.00 is supposed to be out next week.

It's worth noting that they still have a number of donate buttons on their download page, which Blizzard is supposedly fine with -- all Blizzard wanted was the donate buttons out of the game itself. And of course, if you find this addon (or any other) helpful, you should definitely support the people who make it.

Reaction on the addon's forums is grateful as expected -- lots of people figured that this addon would be shutting down for good, so many are glad to see it will be continuing development. And one developer does say that Carbonite will be removing any obfuscation from their code, as per the new policy, so it's possible that other addon developers will be able to more easily hook into their code and use their techniques. Of course, whether the addon will still be financially worth it for the devs remains to be seen but for now, they're going along with the new policy and widening their audience at the same time.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Add-Ons, Making money, Hardware

YouPlayorWePay goes free with a new plan

As promised, YouPlayorWePay has returned, and they've got a whole new plan in place. Originally, as we reported earlier, they wanted to create a site where players would pay a fee for the opportunity to get reimbursed for lost playtime in World of Warcraft, but after outcries from the community, they have outlined a whole slew of changes on the site.

And the biggest of these is that the service is now free. Instead of charging users, they plan to support a limited number of registrants (for March, when they begin, they're opening up 150 spots), and when downtime or queues occur for those registrants, they'll be given "YPOWP credits," which apparently will be used either towards compensation or towards "contest prizes," which will update every month. They've got some new stats on the front page, too, including the realms with the most calculated downtime, and how many compensation and contest prizes they've given out every month.

Very interesting. From the beginning, the founders have made it clear that they didn't want to scam anyone (they told us as much in our interview), and they now say that not one person has been charged a cent for compensation. This new model, however, seems much more fair -- there's no cost up front for people who register, even if the "compensation" might not be worth as much as the cash they originally promised. What do you think of the new plan?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Contests

Warcraft Chest and WoWTalent for iPhone

We posted about the Warcraft Characters app for the iPhone a while ago, and it's still the best way on Apple's mobile device to check your (or anyone else's) Armory entries. But a few other iPhone apps have popped up that might be useful to World of Warcraft fans -- both of these are free and both are worth checking out.

Warcraft Chest will let you look at drops from all bosses in dungeons and raids, rep rewards, Badge items, and PvP rewards. So if you want to drool over your favorite items while away from the game, it'll let you do just that. Unfortunately, the interface is a little boring, as it's just your normal iPhone app; it would be nice to see some kind of Loot List functionality, where you could sort items by class or type. But if you're invited to a Heroic and want to see what drops in there without alt-tabbing out of your game, there you go.

And WoWTalent will do the same thing for class talents -- you can browse through all the talent specs of every class, including all the Hunter pets and the various talents that come with each tree there. You can load and save trees to show your friends later, but unfortunately, there's no way right now to share them online -- the WoWHead talent trees are pretty URL-hackable, and it would be nice to be able to export a tree you create in WoWTalent out to a URL you can email or even tweet. But for browsing talents away from the game on the iPhone, it too works. As I said, both apps are free and available now.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Bosses, Talents, Hardware

The gold standard: A WoW economics course proposal

If you're like me, you're ... well, you're probably incredibly handsome and charming. But you're also probably interested in WoW's economy, given that it's the biggest and most involved metagame in WoW and a fascinating microcosm of a free-market economy.

I personally think that the how and why of WoW's economy is worth a deep look, and it appears there are a lot of people who agree with me--even some academics. It might even be worth just as much as any other book-learnin'.

At least, that's the basis of David Friedman's World of Warcraft economics course proposal. Friedman is an academic economist from San Jose, CA who's assembled this article as a think-tank for what a WoW economics course would entail if you had to fill it with a semester's worth of content. There's a lot of neat stuff in here, talking about relative prices of ore based on character level and rarity of ore and supply/demand, but he also asks for your input as to possible course material, which I'm sure you could gladly provide in the comments section of his page.

Good idea with sound academic basis, or another in the long list of high falootin' academia's attempts to justify playing WoW on the government's dime? WE REPORT. YOU DECIDE.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Economy, Making money

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