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Posts with tag internet

Drama Mamas: Taking guild drama to Facebook

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Drama is as drama does.
Dear Drama Mamas,

This is something I thought you'd be interested in. WoW being a social community and Facebook being the king of social connectivity right now, I'd like to share recent activities in my guild involving Facebook.

To start from the beginning, about a year ago I quit my first guild with a large group to go form a raiding guild. The guild we left was a very large rp guild on an rp server. I was reluctant to leave the guild, as I had a lot of friends there, including the GM and it was my first guild ever. Needless to say, the way the group presented our leaving did not sit well with the gm of the guild we left. Toons were kicked, we were black listed, harassed, snubbed, etc.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Drama Mamas

Guest Post: Northrend truckers -- a tale of WoW OTR

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

After spending three years crammed into a call center with 600 reps sitting in quarter-cubes so small I could hear the other reps on all sides of me, I decided it was time to ditch the tech support world and go see America. Four weeks and $2,200 later, I had my Class A Commercial Driver's License, thanks to a truck driving school outside Springfield, Mo.

Before venturing out, I wanted to purchase a decent laptop for gaming (we were attempting to do full clears of Zul'Aman when I decided on my career change). I ended up purchasing a HP Compaq NC8430, after catching it on special. It had the Intel Core 2 Duo T5600, ATI's Mobility Radeon X1600, and I upgraded the memory to 4GB of DDR2-667. After loading WoW and all my addons, I was happily running around Shattrath at 60 FPS! I also purchased Skyworth's 19", 12-volt LCD TV to use as a second monitor and to also watch television on in the few occasions I stopped overnight near a big city (Big Bang Theory is not available online).

I didn't want to mess with a laptop and a GPS system, so I purchased Microsoft Streets 2006. MS Streets came with a plugin USB GPS that had about a six-foot cord on it along with a suction cup. Through blind luck while surfing the web, I also found Jotto Desk, a very nice laptop for semis that mounts to the base of the passenger seat and has an arm that extends over to the driver seat for easy access. While a bit of a pain to install, the effort was well worth it. The people who invented the Jotto Desks deserve an award or a free case of Bawls or something. Having successfully installed Jotto Desk and mounted my USB GPS to the front windshield, I was almost ready to hit the open road! All I had to figure out now was a way to get internet no matter where in the United States I happened to be.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Survey says 15% of overall gameplay time is in an MMO

Our friends at Joystiq reported on this fascinating survey by that broke down responses from 13,000 US and EU citizens about how they spend their gaming time. While they don't have specific numbers for World of Warcraft, the survey says [PDF link] that overall, 15% of gaming time is spent playing MMOs. US players spend about 14% of their gaming time on MMOs, while EU players range from 8% to 16% by country. In the EU, 14% of all players have played an MMO, and in the US, 21% of everyone playing games has played a massively multiplayer online game.

Again, these numbers aren't specifically for World of Warcraft (and because the survey went down to age 8 and up, they do include the vast virtual worlds aimed at children, like Club Penguin and Disney's Toontown, which probably throw the numbers off quite a bit), but they do show the effect that WoW has had on the gaming population over the last five years. Five years ago, MMOs were definitely a niche -- some hardcore gamers played them, but most people didn't have the Internet connections to play an online game, much less pay a subscription for one. Nowadays, MMOs represent over one out of every ten minutes of overall playtime, and those numbers are only going to go up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Quests, Leveling

World of Warcraft in the 'net's traffic patterns

Arbor Networks is a company that continually monitors the Internet and its usage -- they keep track of Internet outages and site visits on a global scale. They just recently released a report of when traffic peaks in the evenings around the world, and at least one of their results is about the game we're all playing, none other than World of Warcraft. In terms of just general consumer traffic online, the numbers tend to peak, according to the report, at around 8-11pm -- the time right before bed when most Americans are done with dinner, and have a little free time to jump online and browse around. In terms of what they're doing when online, simple web browsing makes up most of that traffic (52%), what's the rest of it? Gaming, including WoW.

More than any other gaming service (they also take a look at Steam), WoW's chart is extremely interesting -- it peaks solidly at 8pm every night, and then falls back down just as sharply around 11pm. In other words, the biggest audience for WoW (during this time period -- this is over ten days in July of this year) is raiders, who show up on time at 8 and end the raid around 3 hours later. In other words, if you want to avoid the crowd, show up after 11. Or even better, raid in the mornings. Interesting stuff -- certainly Blizzard has much more detailed information on when people log into the game (and where they go when they do), but as an overview of traffic patterns, Arbor's research all makes sense.

[via Network World]

Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances

Felicia Day on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Our favorite DIY web series star Felicia Day showed up on network television last night, and you can watch the result after the break below. She appeared on Jimmy Fallon's late night show to promote the release of The Guild's new retail DVD, in stores right now. I watched it in HDTV on my regular television, and it was a pretty surreal experience: this is the Internet gaming culture moving mainstream as we watch it. Sure, it's just Fallon (and he's made a commitment to gaming and its culture already), but to have people talking this frankly and honestly about the gaming experience on network television is a nice step forward.

The two chat about their first meeting, where Felicia helped Fallon roll up a draenei, as well as Dr. Horrible and how all of The Guild DVDs are made. And at the end of the interview, Fallon even hooks her up with some tickets to a NY show. Looks like it was a lot of fun, and it's great to see someone who's worked so hard on something they love get a nice bit of recognition for it.

Update: Sorry, forgot that Hulu only works in the US. Here's another video that should work outside the States.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items

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 as a channel for news from Iran?

Normally, this wouldn't rate too high for us -- lots of people have ideas about how to use World of Warcraft, and many of them never actually come about. But then again, this is in the Wall Street Journal of all places, so we'll give it a look. If you're on Twitter, you've probably heard about what's going on in Iran right now -- there was an election, the "official" results given were judged as rigged by many involved, and the government seems to be cracking down on both news media and citizen journalism, as well as protesting citizens, to very sad results. How does World of Warcraft fit in to all of this? Andrew Lavallee of the WSJ's Digits blog points to this report by Craig Labovitz, which talks about how Internet traffic has been filtered out of the country around the election. At the very end of his analysis, Labovitz points out that channels for videogames, including both Xbox Live and World of Warcraft, have shown very little government manipulation. That suggests that if the government in Iran does continue to shut down certain channels, citizens there might be forced to spread the news through any virtual route they can, including possibly Azeroth.

This is obviously all just analysis and speculation so far -- while there clearly (from those charts) has been interference in the media, no one (as far as we know) has yet had to resort to chatting in World of Warcraft to get their message out, and though what's happening in Iran is made up of some very serious (and seriously unfortunate) situations, the fervor online about using brand new channels like Twitter to share real-time news is often overstated. Personally, I believe that even if Twitter didn't exist, this information would find another way to get out. Still, the interesting thing to take away here is that even our "silly" video games today are actually media on a global level.

Thanks, Cedars!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, News items

London teacher contacts 14-year-old student through World of Warcraft

This story is really only tangentially related to our game, but we'll mention it anyway: a London teacher has been accused of sending sexually-related text messages to a 14-year-old student that she contacted while they were playing World of Warcraft together. Apparently the woman met up with the student in Azeroth, and then was able to somehow get his phone number from him. Later, the boy's father discovered explicit text messages from her on his son's phone, and she now faces jailtime as a result.

Of course, this says nothing at all about World of Warcraft -- there are man, many ways of communication on the Internet, and the game happens to be just one of them (and shame on the Escapist for even suggesting this is an argument against games in education -- the fault here lies with the teacher, not the game). You should be cautious about who your children are corresponding with no matter where they are or what they're doing, and in fact, this boy's father was.

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

Fans create a petition for a live stream of BlizzCon

A Hungarian site about Starcraft has put together a petition that a lot of folks who weren't able to grab BlizzCon tickets will probably want to sign: they're asking for Blizzard to create a live Internet stream of BlizzCon. Of course, DirecTV will be streaming the whole show (for a price, of course) on television in the US, but Blizzard fans in Europe and elsewhere have no such luck.

To tell the truth, we're not sure why Blizzard made this deal with DirecTV -- well, to be fair, we know why (to make more money), but they did provide a live stream of the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, and while sure, there were occasional problems, it worked far better than I ever expected it to. Why Blizzard didn't just upgrade the servers and send the stream of BlizzCon out into the world for free (as much as DirecTV wouldn't like it) is a good question.

The petition has already 1800 signatures as of this writing (more, we'll note, than the actual number of tickets sold to BlizzCon of course Blizzard has sold thousands of tickets, not hundreds. Sorry about that.), and we're sure it'll be way more than that soon. It's likely that Blizzard has tied themselves down by selling the rights to stream the show to DirecTV, but you never know -- maybe a groundswell of public support for an internet stream will make them reconsider.

[via BlizzPlanet]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Blizzard, News items, Making money, BlizzCon, Fan art

How to keep raiding when the power goes out

The thing I love most about summer is the thunder storms. Forget the constant days of 90 degree weather making my apartment bake even when the air conditioning is on, it's those storms rolling in with lightening striking a few hundred feet from me that I love. My guild-mates are going to love that too, especially when I'm raiding with them.

We've had our first couple weeks of this in game, and already I've heard "Be right back, Tornado," from some guildies living down in Kansas. Luckily everything was okay and no one got hurt, but the fact still remains – we lost our head Mage for 30 minutes, and that's 30 minutes of our life we can't have back!

While a Mage having to take a break in the middle of raids isn't a show stopper, having the main tank (my role) go offline is. I've had the unfortunate situation of having that occur a couple days ago. The computer I was raiding on wasn't plugged into my UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), so I was disconnected from everything when we lost power for about 30 seconds. However with a bit of tinkering around, I was able to put myself in a situation that lets me stay on even when the power hiccups.

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Hardware

Why do people blog about WoW?

Why do we feel compelled to spill out our guts all over the intertubes for the entire world to read? The answer, of course, is a subset of the larger question, why do people blog about anything? It's probably a variation of the same question that medieval bards asked the operators of the first printing press: "Dude, why do you want to put yourself so, I don't know, out there?"

The "serious" answers get all sociological and some junk. We want to be heard popping off about our opinions on talent trees, bragging about one-shots, or feeling part of the larger WoW community outside our own servers.

However, as a WoW blogger myself, I know that the truth about us isn't nearly that pretty. We blog to brag about Kara exploits or show off our expertise on the Hunter class, a frame addon, or prime Oily Blackmouth fishing spots . We dream of demi-celebrity status in the WoW community. We try to provoke people into replying, sometimes with generous link love. We like to have the first scoop on expansion news (essentially, more showing off). We gossip about guild drama, sometimes wrapped up snuggly in the ignorance of our fellow guildies that we even have a blog. (There is a sweet freedom in finding the comfort of internet strangers.) We blog for artistic expression and to make others laugh.

And the main reason we blog? The same reason we feel itchy when we haven't called Mom in a few weeks: guilt.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves

When you are the weakest link

Our team tanked 76 points tonight. Despite winning five straight Arena games worth about 3 rating points each, we ran into a team that was pretty well-geared but were clearly playing below par. Unfortunately, our leader disconnected midway through the match, and even though we were outplaying the opposing team, the loss of our primary DPS and tunnel vision (he plays a Rogue) was enough for the opposing team to eventually burn us down for a 27-point loss. Just like that, all our previous wins were nullified and we found ourselves lower than when we started. Familiar with the opposing team's make-up, we counter-comped and proceeded to beat them thrice in a row until the fourth game where, in the middle of the battle, everyone started running in place on my screen and nothing was happening. It was my turn to get disconnected.

I restarted my router and modem, waited a minute, and logged on to find we'd dropped another 25 points. Eager to recoup our losses against a team we were certain we could beat, we queued again. Not three minutes into the queue, my Vent went silent and I feared the worst. After making certain I had disconnected, I sent an SMS to our leader to tell him what had happened, went through the motions of connecting again and when I finally got on, I found that our team had tanked a total of 76 insane points. And it was largely my fault.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Arena

Vint Cerf enjoys WoW with his son

Esquire has an interview up with Vint Cerf, "father of the Internet," about the things he likes: The Swiss Family Robinson, Shakespeare, and yes, World of Warcraft. Cerf is apparently a player of the game, along with his son. He does say that "it may seem like a waste of time" to play WoW, but he praises the game for presenting a simple and solvable set of problems and an online framework around which to solve them together. Cerf, as you may imagine, is a casual, though -- while he says it probably does take a lot of playtime to do well at WoW, he'd rather play at his own rate (so he'd enjoy our WoW, Casually column, seems like).

Elsewhere in the conversation, Cerf actually vindicates Al Gore for his famous "I invented the Internet" comment. So chalk another one up to Mr. Gore -- without him, there'd be no Internet, and without the Internet, there'd be no WoW. And what else would we and Vint Cerf be doing on a Sunday evening?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Humor

Another man dies after three day gaming binge

CNN is reporting that it's happened again in China-- a man has died after a three-day gaming binge in a cyber cafe.

So many things wrong with this story. First of all, how does someone sit in an internet cafe for three days without anyone else noticing? I'm sure that it must have been a huge, 24 hour, windowless warehouse type of place, with people coming and going all the time, but still, what business would allow people to basically live in their building?

And then, of course, there's the gaming angle. Videogames and the Internet didn't kill this man, people, despite what CNN says:

The paper said that he may have died from exhaustion brought on by too many hours on the Internet.

Actually, I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure he died from exhaustion brought on by staying awake for too long. If he'd been playing ping pong for three days straight, he probably wouldn't have come out of it very well either.

The article says they don't know what game he was playing, so this may not even be World of Warcraft. But while it is a very sad story, it's too bad CNN fell into the old lines of "omgz internets killed a man" instead of actually pointing out that this man made some very serious mistakes of his own.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

Real friends vs. virtual friends

A few weeks ago, I had some trouble with my real life friends-- they were organizing an impromptu run to the movies, but I had committed to a Gruul's raid, and had to decline, to their consternation. And yesterday, the exact opposite happened-- I went on a raid with my guild for the first time in a few weeks (because different real life issues had kept me from raiding for a while), and they gave me a little ribbing about being so behind.

It just doesn't seem fair. I'm getting trouble from both my real life and my internet friends for choosing to hang out with one over the other. Of course, both groups aren't really angry at me for doing what I choose to do-- my guild isn't really bothered by my absence of late (although I don't exactly get first choice at loot rolling any more, understandably), and my real-life friends can't blame me for staying in sometimes and playing videogames (although they worry about me if I do it more often than not).

As ippy says, there are really two camps on this-- either you think that real life is always more important than virtual interaction, or that both are equally worthwhile. In the past, I've been closer to the first option-- that I should always go hang out with people in real life rather than stay at home playing WoW or Bioshock (which I will be tomorrow, no matter what my friends are doing). But lately, as my relationships in WoW grow stronger, I'm feeling more of a pull to give that priority sometimes, at least when it doesn't affect my other relationships.

Is that bad? This seems like a topic for our Azeroth Interrupted column (featured today, by the way, on the front page of the BBC's tech site-- cheers, Robin!), but I'd like to hear what you all think as well. Does real life get priority always, or is it more nuanced than that?

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

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