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Posts with tag hardware

15 Minutes of Fame: Mr. Big


15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

This guy's is bigger. Really. In fact, this interview is expressly designed to provoke e-peen envy. Because really now, if I have to interview this chap while squinting at my (admittedly not-so-tiny widescreen) monitor (because it's still T minus 5 days to my optometrist visit, and respeccing my prescription is definitely in order) in the face of this visual largesse, then all of you people need to hunker down along with me. Misery loves company, and once you get a look at this WoW setup, we'll be able to finish this 15 Minutes of Fame in green-eyed envy together.

Because this is an impressive view of WoW. We're sure there are plenty of you out there nodding along right now, muttering, "Oh, that ain't nuthin', little lady – mine's easily as big as that one ..." Well, folks, I've got pictures of this one. And it's big, really big ... 133 inches worth of big, to be exact.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Razer is giving away a sweet Asus rig

In case BlizzCon today isn't enough excitement for you, Razer, maker of fine gaming hardware of many kinds, is teaming up with Asus to give away a killer gaming computer. It's custom-painted with a ghost from Starcraft (anyone excited about SC2?), and it features some serious hardware. Intel i7 at 2.66 GHz, 9 GB of RAM, a GeForce GTX260 with 896 MB RAM, a 1 TB hard drive - it should run pretty much everything you want to throw at it. And it's so pretty! Of course, it comes with some Razer peripherals too.

All you need to do to win is leave a comment on their Facebook thread saying what your favorite Blizzard game is, and why. This means you will need a Facebook account, and you also need to become a "fan" of Razer first from their profile page. The winner will be randomly chosen on Monday, so you have until then to get in there.

Filed under: Contests, BlizzCon, Hardware

Creative to unveil World of Warcraft headset at BlizzCon

Creative Labs posted a World of Warcraft-related teaser yesterday, and today WoW.com is proud to deliver an exclusive reveal: they're promoting a brand new product called the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft headset. This will be a state of the art gaming headset available in both wired and wireless versions, complete with all of Creative's high end gaming audio technology, including THX TruStudio PC Surround, which they say is the "most advanced 'virtual' 3D surround" on the market today. Creative's CMSS is already recognized by many as the best virtual surround sound in gaming, and THX TruStudio PC is supposed to sound even better. The headset also features Creative's VoiceFX technology (so you can disguise your voice with a few different effects), and they say the wireless version of the headset will feature an uncompressed signal that sounds terrific as well.

The headset itself is designed in coordination with Blizzard, and the ear cups (which are complete over-ear) actually feature lighted glyphs, available in Horde or Alliance flavors at launch (with other designs released eventually), and illuminated by programmable RGB LEDs. They have their own software interface, so you'll be able to choose from 16 million colors. Price isn't set just yet, but we'd expect it'll be in line with other high-end headsets, from $100 to $150 depending on what options you go with.

The headset releases in November, but Creative also sent us the pre-prototype render at right, and they've updated their teaser with a picture of the Alliance glyph. Creative tells us they'll have the headset on display at BlizzCon, so if you're there this weekend, stop by their booth and check it out. And be sure to stay tuned to WoW.com -- we're working on a way to give you the chance to win one of these for yourself.


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.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, BlizzCon, Hardware

Divining just what that "non-personal system information" might be

As Eliah noted the other day, Blizzard is running another hardware survey -- your WoW client will be sending them information about what kinds of hardware are in your computer. They've done this before, and as you may have realized, this type of information helps them determine system requirements for future games. A few people have already speculated that they're testing the waters for another WoW expansion, but I doubt any expansion is that far along in the process yet: my guess is that this latest round of hardware testing is actually being done for final calibration on Starcraft II, due out this fall. Blizzard doesn't share this hardware information with us, but Valve, another company that has a really wide install base with its Steam service, does release regular information about the kinds of computers its games are running on.

There is, of course, another question here: do we really want Blizzard jumping in and taking this information from us? There aren't any obvious reasons to protect this information (most computers will give it up to any Internet-connected application without issue), but you never know: do you really want Blizzard checking out what's on your hard drive or what accessories you've hooked up to your computer? We'd presume that they don't dive into software information (like checking your computer's HD for signs of competing MMO installs), but certainly they could. The list of what they check includes: "CPU, RAM, operating system, video, audio, HD/CD/DVD, and network connection," but we don't know if that's everything or not (the Terms of Use, under "XVIII Acknowledgements" says something similar). And as Blizzard's alert says, while we do get a momentary notification that this information is being sent, users who have merged their Battle.net accounts will no longer even see that flash of a message, even though their info is still being sent. The ToS says Blizzard doesn't have to notify us of the survey, but they have in the past anyway.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware, Account Security

Gaikai promises to stream PC games like WoW straight to your browser

David Perry is one of those game developers who doesn't do anything small -- he started out with a company called Shiny Entertainment, responsible for great old games like Earthworm Jim, MDK, Messiah, and the Enter the Matrix movie tie-in game, and nowadays he's moved on to the MMO market, where he's developed all kinds of crazy ideas (including, we're not kidding, a dance MMO). This is the kind of guy who has ideas and chases them down.

His latest idea is a system called Gaikai, a "game streaming service" that allows players to jump right into any PC games they'd like, no installation or hard drive space necessary, online. There are a number of services like this springing up lately, including the much-discussed OnLive, where instead of depending on your local hardware to render and produce the game you're playing, you just send and recieve information with a remote server. As you can see above, Gaikai is focusing on PC games, and anyone who's planning on running a PC gaming service has to include World of Warcraft. Starting at about 6:00 into the video above, he shows off a version of WoW that requires no installation or loading at all; just sign in and play.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware

WoW bundled with WildTangent software on new PCs

WildTangent is a company that started up around ten years ago (they originally made game plugins for Winamp, if you remember that) that's recently gotten a reputation for "bloatware." They've made deals with PC manufacturers like Dell, HP, and Acer to bundle in their software on the harddrive when you buy it. (Most users familiar with PCs find these software bundles more of a nuisance than anything else.) But nevertheless, WildTangent claims up to 20 million users worldwide, and they continue to make deals, the most recent one being with none other than Blizzard. According to a press release on their website [PDF], World of Warcraft's trial downloader will now be included with all installs of WildTangent's ORB software, which means that whenever you buy a new computer from a dealer WildTangent has hooked up with, there'll be a program already installed on your PC that will let you download and play World of Warcraft, among the many other games WildTangent has already included.

This likely isn't targeted at you, dear audience -- odds are that you've already got the discs for WoW, and if you do buy a new PC, you'll probably still delete WildTangent's app and install WoW yourself. Instead, it's a stab at picking up new subscribers -- people who might not already know about World of Warcraft or PCs may see the icon on their new desktop, double click it, and find Azeroth for the first time. The press release even notes that WoW subscribers still in their trial month are counted as subscribers, so odds are this is a random attempt to pick up a few more subscribers from people who aren't willing to go get the game themselves.

There's one more thing to note here: Activision isn't mentioned at all.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

New computer shipped with malware that targeted WoW

Here's a big oops -- a company named M&A Technology accidentally shipped out a unit of their Companion Touch PC that contained some malware on it, including a password stealer that targeted World of Warcraft. It was an accident -- apparently someone at the factory decided to upgrade the computer's drivers and software before shipping it out, but they used a USB stick that had been infected with the bad apps, and thus in the process infected the brand new computer. Fortunately, the person who received the computer apparently scanned and caught the bad code before any damage was done -- I guess if you buy a computer from a brand you've never heard of, it's worth giving it an antivirus and malware scan at least once before you use it.

And/or you can just use an authenticator -- even if someone nabs your password, the Blizzard Authenticator makes sure that they can't log in without a current code. So there's not too much to worry about here -- while computers do occasionally get shipped with software that could jeopardize your security, as long as you're vigilant about what's on your hard drive, and take caution before using apps and hardware that you've never used before, you generally won't have any problems.

[via WoW LJ]

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Hardware

Fixing FPS issues with patch 3.1

A few people are experiencing slowdown issues with patch 3.1, and since our last bit of technical help went over so well, we figured we'd do a little troubleshooting for you on this one, too. If your computer is running slower since you updated into patch 3.1, the first thing to do is check your video options -- Blizzard has tweaked a few things in there, and chances are that by tweaking them again, you might be able to fix your problem (or at least make it a little better). Specifically keep an eye out for the new Video Mode Ultra setting -- that specifically is not designed to be used unless your computer is current and top-of-the-line. Shadows also are quite a drag on the video card and CPU, and turning them down won't affect gameplay that much.

If your options are already low, the next thing you might do is check your videocard's make and driver version (scroll down to the "manually" section there -- you don't need to run Intel's program). Nvidia, who makes the common GeForce series of video cards just updated their drivers to version 182.50 on April 2nd, so if you have an earlier version than that, running the update will probably help. If you have an ATI card, you can find the drivers over on their site.

And of course if all of your software is set up and you're still having issues, there's always the possibility of updating your hardware. That can be quite an ordeal, though, so if you're not so sure on how to install new RAM or can't recognize the difference between SATA and IDE, you might want to enlist a friendly techie for a little help. WoW is still very forgiving, but Blizzard has been slowly adding on the graphical goodness, so if you've been playing with the same PC since launch four years ago, it might just be time for an upgrade.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Hardware

Rumor: The9 loses WoW license in China to Netease


The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got WorldofWar.net reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.

The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.

Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.

Update: Confirmed. Thanks for playing, The9. Their stock is down big time since the announcement, and Netease's is up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Rookie: Will my computer run WoW?

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Playing WoW is no fun at all if your system doesn't cut the mustard. If you've just started playing on hardware of questionable power, you may believe you're clicking along just fine -- only to watch your frame rate come to a grinding halt the first time you're faced with a raid or Battleground full of players moving, casting and otherwise wreaking havoc (to both the game environment and your system).

Lots of players start out playing WoW on hand-me-down computer systems. In fact, the spouse who starts playing on an old hunk o' junk, only to become hooked and then upgrade to a hotter rig than that of the established player, has become something of a gaming cliché. The thing to remember here is that a system that will run WoW will not provide the same enjoyment as a system that runs it well.

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Filed under: Features, WoW Rookie, Hardware

SteelSeries WoW mouse dangerous in no uncertain Terms (of Use)

We had an article here not too long ago about the SteelSeries WoW mouse, purportedly das ubermaus, replete with glowing fissures and lookin' all like a Templar helmet. We actually had kind of a hard time finding out just how the mouse performed -- it was advertised months before it came out, and it doesn't appear that many gamers actually got to use the mouse prior to pre-ordering it and did so based on Blizzard's official licensing of the WoW name on the product.

The few that did use it, those that played around with it at BlizzCon, actually reported to us that it felt cheap, flimsy, and about to break. That was a bit disconcerting to read, of course, and it wasn't actually an isolated incident--all of the emails we've received about it thus far have been negative reviews. Folks complained of broken buttons or strange key reassignments with the accompanying software.

Now, our sister site Engadget just released their own impressions on the device and they appear to like it, offering a large size, good weight, and robust software among their list of pros.

The inconsistency in reviews of the product thus far isn't what really bothers me, though. It's the fact that the mouse is a WoW-licensed product that performs functions that are against Blizzard's policies.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Hardware

Steelseries WoW mouse not so wow-worthy?


Reader Richie mailed us a review of the Steelseries World of Warcraft mouse some time back, but it's gotten to the point where his frustration made him put a post up on his own blog. Some of his major concerns involve the custom software remapping his keys, such as making his character jump when he presses 'M' to bring up the map. He also claims that some of his buttons now stick, instead of springing back into place as they should after a few days of playing. He writes that he's contacted customer service several times and was told that it was "a known issue" and was told to "snap" his buttons.

How has your experience with the Steelseries mouse been? Are you one of the lucky Europeans who won one in Blizzard's Holiday giveaway or managed to snag one of these lately? There aren't too many reviews over the web by players who actually play World of Warcraft, so it's interesting to see if Richie's is an isolated case (although a couple of posters on his blog concur with his findings). The mouse doesn't have a driver for the Mac, and Steelseries doesn't seem to be producing one soon, so I haven't popped out the $99.99 (or more expensive 89.99 EUR) for it. After reading Richie's review -- or rant, rather -- I'm not certain I still want to, either.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Hardware

Logitech launches salvo of G-series gaming peripherals


If you thought that Logitech was onto something good when they launched the WoW-ready G13 gameboard, the bigwigs at Logitech tuned into your brainwaves and decided to expand their gaming line. Engadget reports that Logitech is set to launch a slew of gaming peripherals to complement the success of their gaming pad.

The first of these is the $199 G19 keyboard, which has a GamePanel LCD, a 320x420 color monitor that displays "valuable in-game information" for over sixty games including -- ahem -- World of Warcraft. Aside from macro-bound buttons, the keyboard also has a switch for disabling the Windows button, so players don't accidentally lock themselves out of their game when they nerd rage.

There's also the G35 (I don't really know where they pull the number suffixes from), a $129 headset with 7.1 Dolby surround-sound capability and a "voice-morphing" option that allows players to disguise their voice or -- as the Logitech press release states -- "sound like (their) World of Warcraft character". With three different, swappable headbands, the headset seems configurable in more ways than you can shake a Snufflenose Command Stick at.

Finally, there's the equally configurable G9x mouse, a $99 variant of the award-winning G9 mouse and should give the Steelseries World of Warcraft mouse a run for its money. Or your money, since that's almost a full hundred smackers for interchangeable snap-on grips, five ready-to-play profiles, and on-the-fly adjustable dpi. The keyboard and headset will be available by the end of the first quarter, and the mouse soon to follow.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Hardware

Fixing instance server errors

You may have seen this same error what9000 is getting every time he tries to enter an instance: he gets bounced out of the portal and "Additional Instances Can't be Launched" pops up on the screen. Just in case you've never quite heard exactly how the game works, the World of Warcraft is actually a series of servers, and as you travel across it, you contact more than one system of computers. Your realm is one group of servers, but within that group, there are many different computers sending information to and from yours -- when you're in Azeroth, you're talking to one server, when you go out to Outland, you visit another, and in Northrend you're on yet another. And there are even servers that track non-location information: how much money you have, what you're wearing, and so on.

Likewise, instances have their own system of servers, which is why you can sometimes be in an instance when the world server "outside" will go down, and if you leave that instance you'll get disconnected. And Instance servers can be overloaded as well. This error message is likely a way for Blizzard to keep from crashing the instance servers -- if too many instances of a dungeon have already been created, new players trying to get in are not allowed.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Hardware

Hardware check before WotLK

All right, so not only are the system requirements out for Wrath, but new MacBooks came out yesterday as well, and we're just now heading into the holiday season. So now might be a great time to do a hardware check on your computer, and see how it stacks up to how you'll be playing WoW.

So here's a quick look at who will be able to run what where in the future. Keep in mind that Blizzard is extremely kind on system requirements -- they design their games to run on almost anything (which is one reason why they have so many fans), so odds are pretty good that if you run WoW well now, you'll run it well after Wrath (though you may also have to tweak the ingame video settings a bit, and you may not get the benefit of the cool graphical touches they're adding in). But if you do want to upgrade the way you see the game, there are a few things you can do, from upgrading a few parts to getting a whole new computer.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

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