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GDC Roundup, day four

The tenth annual Game Developers Conference is in full swing in San Francisco, CA, and our sister sites Joystiq and Massively are on the scene! No matter what kind of games you're into, there's a ton of news on its way out of the convention, and we're compiling some of the stuff that might matter to you in daily roundups just for you. If you want the whole GDC news experience, check out all of Massively's and Joystiq's coverage, or previous roundups. I apologize for my appalling lack of Michael Sacco-ness. Saccosity?


Massively's Interview with DC Universe Online
"We're hitting major milestones right now. We're pushing as hard as we can right now to get a launch date out there. [...] We're trying to get it in your hands as quick as possible. The great thing about Sony is we really are taking our time. We have been given the opportunity to make this right."


Fable 2 Episodes Massively Successful
"That was hugely successful. There were something like over half a million. I think it was 600,000 downloads of the first episode, which was very, very cool."




"Save your fork, there'll be pie"
After confessing to having a big appetite for Borderlands, the Gears of War developer used the pie analogy to explain to Joystiq how games without any sort of DLC "hooks" are becoming increasingly rare.





GDC 2010 Microtalks: Big ideas, tiny speeches
Ten lecturers -- all from different sectors of the game industry -- each spoke for five minutes and each were allowed to use 20 different slides. Naughty Dog's Richard Lemarchand set the stage for the speakers, announcing the theme of the talks as "come play with us."




Massively's Interview with Dungeons and Dragons Online
Today, the numbers speak for themselves. Their revenue is up 500%, they've had over one million new players, and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who would refer to the game as "forgotten." Turbine has arguably set the standard for a hybrid free-to-play business model, and it's paid off very well. However, it wasn't always a sure thing and it certainly wasn't a snap decision.



GDC 2010: The Future of Champions Online
At the end of our brief discussion on the future of Champions, Bill had this to say, "Past that, I think it's just about remaining as responsible as possible to what the community is telling us they want." That sounds the right approach to us.

Filed under: News items

GDC roundup, day two

The tenth annual Game Developers Conference is in full swing in San Francisco, CA, and our sister sites Joystiq and Massively are on the scene! No matter what kind of games you're into, there's a ton of news on its way out of the convention, and we're compiling some of the stuff that might matter to you in daily roundups just for you. If you want the whole GDC news experience, check out all of Massively's and Joystiq's coverage, or yesterday's roundup.

Sony has the power to Move you
Though it might look like a black Wiimote topped with a scoop of sherbet, Sony's PlayStation Move motion peripheral aims to take the motion-sensitive gaming field to eleven. Joystiq's got all the Move info you need, and you can dance to it.
38 Studios swings for the fences with two new titles
World Series champ Curt Schilling's 38 Studios is developing an "epic single-player RPG" codenamed Copernicus, and an MMO project codenamed Project Mercury. Oh, and fantasy novel fans: R.A. Salvatore is in charge of building the universe where both games take place.
Welcome to Poisonville, population 4,000
Bigpoint Studios says their browser MMO Poisonville is the most expensive browser-based MMO to date, with a budget of two million dollars. It certainly seems to have been spent in the right places in this full-featured GTA-alike.
It's the DLC Age at EA
EA's John Schappert says that Dragon Age: Origins downloadable content has made over a million dollars so far! Digital distribution in total netted them $575 million last year and projections place next year's DD profits even higher. EA is ready with DLC strategies for several upcoming games.
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition overflowing with new booty
LucasArts' beloved Monkey Island franchise saw a resurgence with the release of a remastered Secret of Monkey Island last year, and now Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is getting the same treatment, with new art, developer commentary, and improved controls.
Sakaguchi's latest Story looks like a picture book
Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's Mistwalker Studios is hard at work on a new RPG, and they released some truly beautiful artwork of the game's island locale to whet our appetites.

Filed under: News items

GDC 2010 roundup, day one

The tenth annual Game Developers Conference is in full swing in San Francisco, CA, and our sister sites Joystiq and Massively are on the scene! No matter what kind of games you're into, there's a ton of news on its way out of the convention, and we're compiling some of the stuff that might matter to you in daily roundups just for you. If you want the whole GDC news experience, check out all of Massively's and Joystiq's coverage!

Sword of the New World: Let's get political
GamersFirst's achingly pretty MMO import Sword of the New World, née Granado Espada, is getting new content in its Political PvP system, allowing players to "run for office, control the colonies, and be a tyrant" in the SotNW universe's bizarro-America.
Battlestar Galactica MMO on its way to your browser
TV space opera Battlestar Galactica follows in the footsteps of that other popular space show and gets its own MMO -- right in your browser. That's right, you can be a forsaken and a Cylon at the same time if you so desire. Somebody knows their audience. Massively gives it an in-depth look right here.
Indie Fund wants to help your indie game get off the ground
Ron Carmel of 2D Boy -- creators of indie superhit World of Goo -- unveiled plans for Indie Fund, an innovative funding and mentoring system for indie developers who might not have the capital to get a game completed and published on their own.
Taikodom blasts its way to America
Taikodom takes the mine-space-rocks economy of EVE Online and throws in a dash of twitch shooter for flavor, and GamersFirst is launching it stateside, with plans for a closed beta by summer and a release by year's end.
Fallen Earth iPhone app is, well, basically Fallen Earth
Icarus Studios wants you stay connected to their post-apocalyptic romp Fallen Earth, and to that end, they're developing an incredibly comprehensive FE experience on the iPhone, allowing you to check out your inventory, browse the auction house, chat with friends, and even craft items, all on the go.
Civilization V is bringing hexy back
Firaxis' latest entry into the Civilization series doesn't want you bogged down worrying about stuff like cardinal directions. You don't even need most of those anyway! Civ V goes old-school with its hex-based grid. Oh, and they also built a whole new engine from the ground up. Hug that DX11 card.

Filed under: News items

Joystiq talks to Frank Pearce about the past and future of Warcraft

Our friend Kevin Kelly over at the Joystiq mothership got a chance to talk to Frank Pearce at Blizzard about the Warcraft anniversary, and he did us proud. Not only did Frank Pearce do some nice reminiscing about Blizzard, where they've come from, and how the massive World of Warcraft undertaking has changed them as a company (they've gone from 500 employees to about 4,000 in just the last five years), but he also touched on some issues we've really been wondering about over here at WoW.com as well.

Like, say, the reason we haven't seen a girl in the ads yet. Pearce says they're open to it, and he wants some names submitted, so we'll offer up Felicia Day as a no-brainer, and if you guys have other ideas, share away below. He also talks about server capacity, and says that at nearly every step, Blizzard has been surprised by their success. He attributes race and faction changes to thinking that realms were big enough on day one to bring everybody together who wanted to come together, but they later realized that wasn't what was happening. He mentions China and NetEase and says they wish the process there was faster. And finally, he talks, surprisingly, about the BlizzCon Vegas that wasn't, and seems to confirm that Blizzard was considering a Vegas show. Interesting. Where else did they consider holding the convention, we wonder?

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Cataclysm

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

Our friends at Joystiq reported on this fascinating survey by GamesIndustry.com 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

Blizzard at PAX this weekend


As we reported a little while back, Blizzard will be in attendance at the sold out Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, Washington this weekend, and Crygil has posted on the forums that they'll have everything playable that they had at BlizzCon: the new Diablo III Monk class, the Cataclysm expansion, and the Starcraft II singleplayer campaign. Somewhat strangely, they don't actually say that the Cataclysm expansion will be the same starter zones that we played at BlizzCon -- they may actually have some of old world Azeroth open and playable. But on the other hand, they'd probably announce something like that if it was happening, and given that they'll have a smaller setup than BlizzCon, we don't imagine there'll be anything really new there.

In other WoW news at PAX, our friends at The Guild will be screening the entire season 2 on Friday evening -- Jeff Lewis and Sandeep Parikh will be there, along with producer Kim Evey and Wil Wheaton (Felicia is headed off to Dragon*Con this weekend). Unfortunately, the screening is during the Friday evening concert, and so you might have to miss Anamanaguchi, Metroid Metal, and MC Frontalot. My favorites Jonathan Coulton and Freezepop are playing on Saturday night, though, so you can fit in both of those if you like.

Read more →

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, Comics, Cataclysm

The Queue: A message from the past


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday afternoon. I know I am! Well, actually, I don't know that. I'm writing this Sunday night, and I don't have a time machine powerful enough to show me what's happening tomorrow afternoon. Ideally, though? I'm having a wonderful time. Ask me tomorrow (which is today), and maybe I'll have a different answer.

Ryael asked...


"I was watching the BlizzCon feed online and there was a short interview with a man that was advertising how you could purchase a sizeable poster with one of our characters on it. Any idea what site that was from?"

Read more →

Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon, The Queue

All about our BlizzCon coverage

BlizzCon is upon us today. WoW.com and the Joystiq network are pulling out the stops unlike any year before. There's a total of 15 staffers on the ground during the convention this year, representing the entire Joystiq Network (WoW.com, Joystiq, Massively, and Big Download). We're going to be brining you non-stop coverage throughout the day. And while there could very well be 20 or so posts on WoW.com alone in the next 24 hours, there's only a few places where you need to look to find it all.
  • WoW.com's BlizzCon Guide – Everything that happens about the World of Warcraft at BlizzCon will be listed there. I'll be updating this everytime we get something new in.
  • The Joystiq Network BlizzCon Page – Coverage of everything that's not posted directly on WoW.com: Diablo III, StarCraft II, and any unannounced games that might just be announced.
  • WoW.com's Twitter – Expect to hear lots from myself, Mike, Alex, and the rest of the team. Let us know your questions about the con and we'll try to find you answers!
  • WoW.com's Side Bar – See that nifty "BlizzCon Live Blog Schedule" on WoW.com? That's when our writers will be blogging live the various panels. When the live blogs are happening they'll be the top post on our site, and when they're done you can access them by links that will appear there.
Good times had by all! And don't forget to say hello to anyone wearing a WoW.com shirt. We might just have a surprise for you!

Filed under: WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

WoW.com meets Michele Boyd of The Guild at E3


World of Warcraft isn't actually at this year's E3 -- Activision Blizzard has a great big booth with lots of cool games in it, but none of them are Blizzard's. We guess they're saving everything for the big event at BlizzCon. But we still found someone cool to meet on the floor -- The Guild's Michele Boyd (you can see her here in the last Season 2 episode) was working on the show floor for THQ, and was kind enough to stop by and talk to me before she went off to actually, you know, see some videogames (we heard there's some here, but we've been too busy writing about all the cool stuff we're seeing on Joystiq and Massively).

As you can see above, she's hosting a series on Discovery Channel (and she's got the science chops to do it), she's currently rocking an Enhancement Shaman (in Outland, not Northrend -- what can I say, I was confused by her awesomeness), and she's got some good thoughts on what's up in the next season of The Guild. Big thanks again to her for chatting with us, enjoy the video!

Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Interviews, BlizzCon

The Queue: I can't help it if it's true


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Just gonna let this one speak for itself. Oh, and if you want to know what today's obligatory Reading-The-Queue-Music is, it's of Montreal.

lgnorman420 asked...


"So I've been wondering as my guild has been running through Ulduar about the various machine names one might encounter throughout the game. Mimiron's creation, the V0-L7R-0N combat system or the XT-002 Deconstructor are two examples. Also the mechanical chicken quests back from mid-40s to 50s leveling also come to mind. Do these number/letter codes have any significance or are they just random sequences to give them a machine sounding kind of name?"

I don't think there's any naming scheme across the board for robotic things in WoW. How they got their names differs from one to the next. For example, V0-L7R-0N is just a Voltron joke. I don't think XT-002 has any significance except that maybe (maybe) the 2 signifies that he's the second creation of Mimiron that you fight in Ulduar. The second line of defense or what have you. Someone smarter than I am should figure out what XT stands for. The robochickens are named after the zone you find them in.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, BlizzCon, The Queue

WoW.com's RSS feed issues should be fixed now

A lot of you have noticed some issues with our RSS feed this afternoon (and a little bit last night) and trust me, we know that you know. Our inbox has been absolutely flooded! So to try and help the confusion (and slow the flood of e-mails), here's what happened: Our network (us, Joystiq, Massively, Engadget, etc) was hit with a few database problems over the last 24 hours.

It's nothing to worry about, everything is fixed now and should be just fine. In the process of making things fine, our RSS feed was pinged with all sorts of 'new' information, causing the duplicates that a lot of you saw. Seven postings of the latest Around Azeroth? WTF? Yeah, sorry about that. We definitely keep an eye on our own RSS feed to make sure everything is going smoothly, so if it isn't, we'll know about it pretty quickly.

Again, we're sorry about the spam to you guys using our RSS feed. To those of you that aren't using our RSS feed... why aren't you using it!? Google Reader is probably one of the most convenient things ever. You can find out about our various feed offerings over here.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Daily Quest: Dave Arneson rolls a 20


D&D co-creator Dave Arneson passed away earlier this week. While you might not have played D&D, know that he and the late Gary Gygax were the pioneers of this genre of games. I would not be surprised to hear from Blizzard on this in the upcoming days.

On a personal note, I ran into him around the age of 10 while in a St. Paul, Minnesota comic book store (Schinders, for those of you wondering). I was looking at Magic cards mainly, but he was browsing around and came over and talked with me when he saw I had turned my attention to one of the D&D 2e books. The clerk later told me as I was checking out who he was.

Filed under: News items, The Daily Quest

Activision loses money, Blizzard to release one marquee game per year

Activision-Blizzard held a conference call for the press yesterday, and so there's all kinds of financial and release news floating around out there. The biggest news isn't necessarily Blizzard-related, but it does mean that our game's company is finally feeling the crunch a bit: Activision-Blizzard reported a loss of $72 million in the last quarter, and their outlook for the coming year fell short of analysts' expectations. Even though that sounds bad, it doesn't mean things are necessarily bad, though: Blizzard themselves added nearly a billion dollars to the total, so while A-B might not be doing so well, B is doing just fine.

Blizzard CEO Paul Sams also announced during the call that the company is now aiming for "one 'frontline' title per year," though not necessarily World of Warcraft related. That likely means that we'll see the first Starcraft 2 this year -- our friends at Joystiq have a quick report on the beta appearing soon, as well as the Battle.net revamp we've been waiting for. And it also means that (unless Blizzard is really rolling on Diablo III, which I doubt, given its condition when we played it at last year's BlizzCon), that we'll be looking at mid/late 2010 for the release of the next WoW expansion.

Besides the loss of the $72 million (it's always in the last place you look), things seem to be hopping at Blizzard and their parent company. Should be a pretty busy 2009 for them.

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

Blizzard isn't going to E3 after all


So remember this story I did a few days ago about Blizzard showing up this year at E3?

Yeah, turns out it's not going to be happening after all.

While "Activision Blizzard" is going, only the Activison part will be showing up to smile for everyone. It appears the Blizzard part will be staying at home playing Wrath or tiddlywinks and sticking their tongue out at everyone, much like the girl in the picture (which I shamelessly have stolen from our sister site Joystiq who brings us this news).

But I can understand, because Blizzard really doesn't have anything to show at E3. I mean, it's not like they're making three of the hottest games on the planet or anything... Wrath? Diablo 3? StarCraft 2? Never heard of 'em.

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items

Blizzard to attend E3

Activision-Blizzard (or is it Blizzard-Activision?) will be attending E3 this year from June 2nd to June 4th. E3 is also called the Electronic Entertainment Expo and features a wide variety of companies and their products. The expo is being held at the LA convention center, so it's right outside Blizzard's Irvine offices.

Activision-Blizzard didn't attend the 2008 E3. No one really knows why. But this year their attendance will be welcomed for all those going. And if you're thinking about going, you probably won't be able to – unless you work in the industry. But fear not, the Joystiq network always sends a crew out there to cover it. Our own Dan O'Halloran should be in attendance as well.

Check out our sister site Joystiq for more information.

Oh, you thought you could get away from the pet image? Haven't seen it on the site for a few months? Oh no... snap.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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