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A lack of Alliance pride

Larisa makes an interesting observation about the Battlecry mosaic that's being assembled over on Blizzard's website. There certainly are a lot of Horde symbols there, and not quite so many Alliance symbols. The best information we have access to actually says that Alliance outnumber the Horde, and ancedotally, we know that's probably true. So why aren't the Alliance representing?

Now, it could just be specific to this outlet -- perhaps Horde players spend more time online, or have more free time in general, and thus have the knowhow and chance to submit their pictures. But this issue has come up before (on our podcast as well): while many Horde players are ready to jump in and shout "For the Horde!" at a moment's notice, not so many Alliance players are as open about their allegiances. As Larisa asks: where's the faction pride?

Read more →

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP

Wintergrasp lag a big issue after patch 3.1

Zarhym has got some answers to the widespread problem of lag in Wintergrasp after patch 3.1 the other week. He says Blizzard figures the problem is simply population based -- there are many more people playing in the battleground than there were before the patch. For that reason, they're having trouble coming up with good solutions: the battleground is designed to be non-instanced, and that's why a lot of people like it, so putting a limit on the amount of people in there is not the way to go. Hardware isn't a solution either -- Blizzard's hardware is already top-of-the-line, and not only would upgrading it take a while anyway, but my guess is that most of the lag issues come not from Blizzard's side, but from the connections between players and them, which they may not have any control over anyway.

So yes, we're more or less out of luck -- as long as Wintergrasp is extremely popular (and even Zarhym remembers the naysayers before the release with a smirk), there will always be a certain amount of lag in there. There are a few good suggestions floating around the comments thread -- one is that Wintergrasp should always be conquerable, which seems like it would keep down on the flood of people, though of course there'd be other issues if that were implemented.

At this point, Wintergrasp lag may just be something we have to live with. Eventually, you have to think the population will drop back down, and then those of us still in there will enjoy lag-free battles again. But Blizzard has taken on quite a goal trying to do non-instanced PvP full of vehicles and towers without any lag at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Battlegrounds

Urgent authentication database maintenance underway

The opening announcement on the login screen has just let us know that there is urgent maintenance being performed on the authentication servers. The maintenance will continue until 1:00 p.m. PDT / 4:00 p.m. EDT.

During this time you may or may not be able to log into the game. Pretty much the luck of the draw and beyond your control.

Account management and posting on the forums will be offline during this time as well, so the troll's trolling will have to terrifically terminate 'till temporally soon.

We'll update this post when things are back to normal, or if there are additional issues.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

WoW still on store shelves in Australia

Our good friend Tateru Nino (who is in fact an Aussie herself) has a followup over at Massively about the report that World of Warcraft was no longer legally available in Oz earlier this week. The issue isn't in the rules -- those are the same: unclassified games like World of Warcraft are held to the same rules as banned games -- but in the lack of enforcement. Since the issue has gone public, stores are continuing to sell the game (though some have removed larger sale displays of the games), and law enforcement has made no moves to try and get the games off of store shelves.

The real problem here, of course, isn't that Australia wants to ban these games, but that they're falling through the cracks of what seems to be an extremely lax rating system. There's really no rating assigned to these games, so according to the rules, they can't be sold. But the rules make no sense in this case: no one, as far as we've heard, actually wants to ban these games in the country, and no one cares whether they're being sold on store shelves or not.

Still, Massively does expect action, eventually, even if it's an apparently much-needed rejiggering of the ratings system to include these "unrated" games. Bottom line right now is that if you want to buy or sell World of Warcraft in Australia, no one's stopping you from doing so.

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

Rolling restarts for selected realms this afternoon

Fresh from the news bulletin upon login is an announcement of rolling restarts for a handful of realms this afternoon. At 12:00 noon PDT the realms of Dreadmaul, Caelestrasz, Nagrand, Aman'Thul, Barthilas, Thaurissan, Dath'Remar, Frostmourne, Khaz'horoth, and Jube'Thos will be going down for restarts.

Many people have still continued to experience connectivity issues and major lag since patch 3.0.2 dropped nearly two weeks ago. Instances seem to be a particular problem with people not being able to zone in, getting disconnected upon loading, or generally having issues with mobs and other objects appearing correctly.

I wouldn't be surprised to see more realms added to this list today, and perhaps some extended maintenance (if not an outright patch) this upcoming Tuesday.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Solving the holiday boss summon problem

We've heard about a lot of problems with the Headless Horseman summon this year already (and Coren Direbrew had issues as well), but Kimberly over on WoW LJ has the worst story I've heard so far -- a group asked her to heal, claimed they all had summons, and then after killing the HH with her summon, ditched her, presumably to find some other sucker with a summon. That's not just scamming someone into taking you along for a round of summons (as we heard about in Guildwatch yesterday), it's actually scamming someone out of the rest of their chances, because, assuming Kimberly is honest for the rest of the day, why would another group take her?

So this is clearly a problem. Let's fix it for Blizzard: how can we make sure everyone has five chances a day at summoning the Headless Horseman (one per day per group member) without ripping off people for helping their guildies or friends? Basically, we need a clear way of seeing whether someone has a summon or not -- maybe a debuff that resets at midnight every night, or a changing number of candles on the pedestal based on how many people in the instance can still do the daily quest? Right now, there's no accountability at all, and with droprates the way they are, getting screwed out of another chance at the HH (or even four chances, in the worst cases) can make the difference between having the achievement and not.

Any other good ideas on how to solve this problem and keep players accountable? I'm sure players with less than upright morals have no problem claiming their brother used their summon or lying to steal the summons of others, but it would be a lot more fair for everyone if the possibility for scamming wasn't there at all.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Raiding, Bosses, Mounts

Maintenance tomorrow - no patch expected

The opening announcement on the game is currently letting us know that realms will be down for maintenance tomorrow from 5:00 a.m. PDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT. While the realms are going to be down, we are not expecting patch 3.0.2 to drop.

Earlier last week it was announced that 3.0.2 would come when season 4 ended. Season 4 was announced to end on October 14th, and thus we are all expecting patch 3.0.2 to come on October 14th.

However if for some reason it starts raining cats and dogs and the patch does drop, we'll let you know. But I wouldn't count on it.

Filed under: Patches, Realm Status, News items

AT&T maintenance tonight to cause connection issues

A news announcement on the login screen is letting us all know that AT&T, the people who provide data center service to Blizzard, will be performing maintenance tonight from 12:00 a.m. EST until 5:00 a.m. EST.

This will likely cause problems with both being able to login to the game and stay connected. This is an odd maintenance announcement, and one that I don't recall seeing before.

Hopefully this will not develop into anything more serious – such as extended network outages or other such issues.

Filed under: News items

Realms are up

Good news, everyone! Several realms are up and running, with more coming online shortly I'm sure. This means you can get your World of Warcraft fix for the week starting now. And lets be honest, for any serious WoW player the week starts on Tuesday afternoon when the servers go up, and lasts until Tuesday morning when they go down.

There is no patch 2.4.3 on the live servers yet - expect that in the next couple of weeks. Additionally, if there are any server stability issues to report on throughout the day you'll see a couple posts go up here.

Happy Tuesday!

And for the record, I've been wanting to use Buddy Christ in a post for a while, but haven't been able to find an excuse yet. Him seeming all happy for something (like the realms being up) felt like a good enough reason for me.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Extended downtime for Tuesday May 6th

The announcement on the login screen tonight tells us that the realms will be down for extended maintenance on Tuesday May 6th, from 3:00 a.m. PDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT. It's curious how extended maintenance used to last from five until eleven, but now lasts an extra two hours – from three until eleven.

Today we've seen the PTR (Public Test Realm) go down, and then come back up again. Earlier we thought this was a good indication that patch 2.4.2 was going to be released on May 6th, however with the PTR still being up, we don't believe that will be the case. Of course I could be completely wrong here – and we all might get a shiny new download screen tomorrow morning.

Only time will tell, and stay tuned to WoW Insider for the latest. We'll also keep you abreast of when the realms come back online, and any lingering issues that may arise.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Escapist does MMOs and WoW for a week

Escapist Magazine (who have really been hitting it on all cylinders lately-- hard to believe they're the same folks who did the subtle PDF/graphic hybrid a year or so ago) have released an issue called "Raid" this week, looking at MMOs in general, and WoW in particular.

Of interest: their features is an article called "World of Germcraft," about the Corrupted Blood plague that spread through Azeroth, and how scientists used it to study real outbreak patterns (we've also covered this here before). "The Angel in the Guild" is an interesting article about a young woman who finds herself dealing with her guildies' real life problems, and "The Good Ending" is Sean Sands' story of leaving Azeroth with a bang.

All excellent reads-- I've always liked the Escapist's professional and insightful tone (if a little haughty-- it's like the Granta of online videogame media), and reading about World of Warcraft there is just icing on the cake.

[ via incgamers ]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Features

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