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Posts with tag money

Azeroth United and Raid for the Cure running charity giveaways

Halloween is over and we're headed towards Thanksgiving, which means it's the time of year that charities everywhere ask you to open up your hearts and wallets and support some good causes. Azeroth United, the recently-formed community for WoW players, just revealed the prizes in their "Hearts, Hands, and Voices" charity giveaway. They're officially supporting Child's Play (they got mentioned on the main website), and your donation there (of $10 or $20) will get you into two tiers of giveaways, featuring prizes of all kinds from all over the WoW community. Sounds like a great chance to both support a good cause and maybe even win some free stuff.

And from our old friend John "BigBearButt" Patricelli comes news of a "Raid for the Cure" -- on Saturday, November 14th, a group of players from both factions will walk in-game on the Kael'thas server from Darnassus to Ratchet (and on to Booty Bay) to raise awareness and funds for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity. Pink shirts will be handed out at the event, and making a donation of any kind over on the WoW page for the charity will enter you in a raffle to win a guest appearance on the Sidhe Devils Gone Wild podcast (a member of that guild has been dealing with breast cancer, and the in-game run is in support of her and her cause).

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, News items, Making money

Researching virtual economies to learn about real ones


Researchers are apparently using economies in virtual worlds like Everquest, EVE Online, and of course our own World of Warcraft to determine how real-world economies work, according to this article by Reuters. Scientists have, of course, used WoW to model real-world behavior before, but that was specifically for something biological, and thus there were quite a few differences between the virtual model and the real application. In economies, however, it's all just money and numbers, so researchers can easily see real patterns and movements in the data.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't go too deeply into their results (and it only talks about their findings from Everquest), but there is one nugget of conclusion: the economists saw inflation spike in one server over 50% in just five months. They say that the population rose on the server, which apparently made some items hard to find, thus raising prices. Economists say they've seen that same thing in the real world before: in developing nations, and in war zones. We can probably see similar effects right around a patch, or even just on weekends. As more people run to the AH to buy certain items, inscriptions or enchants, the price on those is going to rise. Interesting stuff -- it would be cool to hear what other similarities these guys have found between the virtual world and the real.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

Wikia turns a profit, thanks in part to WoWWiki


Wikia has been doing a little bit of press lately -- they're the for-profit company that has spun off of the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation that runs the huge Wikipedia website. Wikia has announced, as reported in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, that they've hit profit early. While they didn't expect to actually make any money running ads next to user-generated content until next year, they've actually made some money this year already. They credit the growth of all of their miniwiki sites, which has expanded greatly over the last year.

So why are we reporting all of this here? You may have already guessed: one of their largest sites, if not the largest, is the World of Warcraft-related wiki, WoWWiki (which we definitely read and use here at WoW.com all the time). WoWWiki is mentioned in a few reports as having 70,000 pages (almost 1/3 more than the next-biggest site in the network, a cooking wiki). In fact, at least one reports credits WoWWiki, along with the Twilight-related wiki, for the growth entirely. We're not sure how much of a part they actually played in the new reported profits, but they are definitely growing, and are a terrific resource for those of us in the WoW community.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Lore, NPCs, Making money

Yogg-Saron in blues


This story's from last week, but I love it anyway -- over at the Greedy Goblin, Gevlon's guild was getting a little tired of all of the achievement-checking and gear requirements for endgame raiding, and so they set out to do something that many experienced raiders might admit seems impossible: take down Yogg-Saron with nothing but blues on. That means no epics at all -- no epic gear, dropped or crafted, no epic enchants, no epic gems. They did use profession bonuses, but everyone should have access to those by now (all it takes is money, and all that takes is time). And of course, they did it: toppled Yoggy with the group you see on the page there. The combat log is also posted, and it's about what you'd expect: none of the damage numbers are crazy high, but the group works so well together and plays so evenly that they get it done. That's the message to be taken away here: gear is nice, but nothing will get you farther than a well-oiled group of solid players.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses, Leveling

Achieved shares your achievements on Facebook

While we were all wildin' out at BlizzCon last week, reader Peter G. sent us a little note about a Facebook app he's been working on called Achieved that will take your achievements and insert them into your various Facebook feeds however you like. If you want to go the whole nine yards and have your wall plastered with a story whenever you ding an achievement, you can do that, or if you just want to leave it as a small box on your profile page, you can do that as well. The app allows you to leave your actual character name out of the post (if for some reason you're not comfortable with sharing it with all your friends), and there's even a paid option: if you can throw in at least $.99 Canadian, the app will update straight from the Armory without any help from you to refresh (normally, I guess, you've got to log in to Facebook to get updates).

I like the app's minimalism more than anything else -- it doesn't show character information or any flashy graphics, just updates people on what you're doing with achievements. The app has a really active changelog, too (Peter is working hard on updating it pretty often, it seems), so if you have a request, you can always throw it in the pot and you might even get it granted. It's not quite as comprehensive as some of the other WoW Facebook apps out there, but if you want a quick way of showing Facebook friends what you're up to in game without excessively spamming them on every little ding or gear upgrade, give it a look for sure.

Filed under: How-tos, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

BlizzCon 2009: WoW.com interviews Felicia Day, continued

That's the last money question that I have. You work with all of these actors, the first season it was like you were kind of the face of the show, and you were talking to everybody, and the other actors have kind of come up. And this BlizzCon I think is one of the first ones where people are really diving in and saying this person is my favorite, I really want to talk to Robin, I really want to talk to Jeff. You wrote the stuff, you even talked on the panel as well about how the actors are kind of taking over your characters. How has that been, in terms of how your actors are becoming the characters you're writing about?

As of the third season, I've written them hundreds of pages, at this point. So they've as actors really helped me define, it's kind of a metamorphosis. Every TV show, if you watch a pilot, a lot of characters change a lot, from the time they do that first pilot. For this one, the actors though, they bring so much to the table, Jeff and Sandeep do a lot of improv, and ad-lib a lot, they're adding a lot of ideas with their characters. At the same time, honestly, I've been pushing them forward as far as press and stuff and meeting fans and stuff, because I'm out there on the Internet a lot, I get sick of myself, honestly, I'm sure some of your readers are like, "I hate this girl."

[Laughs] No! They do have trolling tendencies.

Which is cool, they will, but that's cool, everybody doesn't have to love me. [laughs]

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor, Interviews, BlizzCon

NPD: World of Warcraft has sold 8.6 million boxes at retail

Gamasutra has received an interesting stat from the good folks at NPD: after hearing that The Sims 3 sold over 800,000 copies in its first month, they were curious to see what kind of unit sales our own World of Warcraft has experienced. And the numbers are pretty big: among the original game and all of the expansion packs since the vanilla release over four years ago, NPD says 8.6 million boxes of WoW have been sold in the US. That's a little misleading if you're comparing it to actual subscription numbers: remember that this is over three different releases (so the actual number of all-time players, not current players, is probably 1/3 of that), and it includes different collectors' editions of each of the three game editions. So there are nowhere near 8.6 million US players of WoW -- that's just how many times players have come through the retail line with the various releases.

What that is, however, is a lot of money. Gamasutra estimates that at an average of $30 for each unit sold (the vanilla game currently retails at $20, but the expansions all sell at $40, and of course the original game was more expensive once upon a time), that's $258 million in income for Blizzard. In short, Blizzard's making a mint at the retail counter, even before they sign anyone up for subscriptions.

Then again, if you look at their own costs, those aren't insubstantial, either -- Activision's Bobby Kotick claimed that anyone starting up an MMO to compete with WoW would have to throw at least half a billion dollars into the mix just to get started, so we can presume Blizzard has spent at least $500 million on their staff, development, and hardware. So it's not like they're taking it all to the bank, though we can at least presume they're sitting firmly in the black.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Preparing for BlizzCon: Money -- you're going to need it


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza.

If you have the resources to pick up some extra cash or the space in your budget to save some more over the next couple months, I recommend that you do. The ticket is paid for, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. You already know you need money for lodging and getting there, but here are a few more things for which you are probably going to want to have extra cash in the bank:
  • Food: It really isn't practical to bring your own and in some cases, not allowed by Blizzard. For example, anything in glass, large containers or cans are a no go for the convention. Many hotels consider a tiny box of cereal or a couple slices of toast a "free breakfast", so don't count on them either. The food in the Anaheim Convention Center is convenient but overpriced, as is normal for conventions. In the evenings, most people will be dining at one of the many delicious Downtown Disney eateries, which are great fun and usually pretty expensive. All in all, your food bills will likely be far greater than your normal food budget.

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, BlizzCon

A WoW player's guide to Free Realms


Our good friends at Massively have written up a post just for you WoW players about the new hotness in MMOs lately, a game called Free Realms. I haven't gotten a chance to play it, but it's all the team over there can talk about, and the game itself just hit a whopping three million players. It's a free-to-play game (with more premium memberships getting more features -- the minimum is about $5 a month) put out by Sony Online Entertainment that aims towards a more casual audience, with extra content placed in for more hardcore gamers. The questing and leveling itself is very forgiving -- you have a dotted green line leading you to quest targets, and combat only takes place in instanced areas. But the crafting and other various minigames (in order to do mining, you actually play a Bejewelled-style matching game, and there's even a "Kart Driver" profession) can get pretty hard. Just like WoW, those who want to collect pets or build skills can do that, while those who are more interested in dungeon crawling have that option as well.

I've been meaning to pick up the game and check it out (on the free level, of course -- with my WoW subscription running, I'm not made of MMO money), and Massively's guide is an excellent first overview to how the game relates to our favorite MMO. If you're getting a little bored in Azeroth waiting for the next expansion announcement and are looking for something else to try, Free Realms might just be it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Instances, Quests, Leveling, Classes

An Authenticator in your Visa

This is only slightly WoW-related, but it's worth a mention, I think, considering that when it happens, you'll be able to tell all your friends just what these things are. Our good friend Relmstein reports that Visa is planning to put an authenticator, of all things, in their credit cards. We of course all know how the Blizzard Authenticator works: you punch a button on the Authenticator, it gives you a code, and then that code can be used to synch up with the server. The Emue Card that Visa is testing right now works the same way: you punch in a PIN, it'll give you another code to enter on an online shopping site, and thus no one who just gets your card information can actually use your card (much like right now with a Blizzard Authenticator, no one who just gets your password can actually sign in). But it's all built in to the normal credit card.

Very interesting. What Visa's doing with their credit cards might not be completely relevant to WoW, but it is relevant to note that of all of the accounts and passwords in your life that you might like to keep secure, a Blizzard account with an Authenticator attached is probably the most locked-down. Companies have started using Authenticator-like technology to have their employees log in to local networks, and obviously credit card and banking companies are testing things like this. But when it comes down to actual widespread usage, Blizzard is way ahead of the curve. Odds are that your WoW account right now is even more protected than your checking account. We'll likely be using the same authenticator system for other secure connections in the future.

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

ATVI is a "conviction buy"

Well, The9 is going down in flames, but if you're looking to make some money in the stock market lately, you could do like BRK and buy some stock in Activision-Blizzard. Goldman Sachs has upgraded ATVI to "buy," and even marked them out as a "conviction buy" -- while the stock price is almost $11 right now (it jumped up about .75 on this news this morning), GS says it's headed to $14 eventually. "Conviction buy" just means that the wily traders at Goldman Sachs expect the stock to outperform in the future -- Activision is already saying it will do well, but GS thinks it'll do even better.

Medievaldragon over at WorldofWar.net points out that there may still be trouble ahead: while Blizzard has gone with Netease for their service in China, they still have to make it past the Chinese government's approval process, and there may actually be service outages if things aren't approved quickly. But that won't affect Activision's business very much, and given that the company still has a bright future (even in a harsh economy), picking up a few shares is probably a relatively good investment.

Please note: I am not a financial expert, and none of this should be taken as serious financial advice. You invest in the stock market and any other financial institution at your own risk. If you're getting stock tips from WoW Insider, it's probably better to keep your money in your pocket. AH tips, on the other hand...

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy

Curse releases premium add-on download client


Curse has released a premium version of their add-on client. The service they are offering goes for $30 a year on their annual plan, or $5/month if you choose to pay like that. There are some features of the premium client worth looking at if you're interested in spending the money.

The premium client offers one-click updating of all your add-ons, which is a very nice feature for those of us that have a few hundred of them floating around. When I tried this earlier today the updating went smoothly and without any problems.

Another feature of the premium service is that you're not subjected to all the ads on the Curse website while you're logged into your account. This is good if you're still going to the site often, but I'm not sure how often you'll go to their site if you're using their add-on downloader client.

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Filed under: News items, Add-Ons

Study: MMOs bringing in $1.4 billion a year

If America's bankers want to get back into Moneytown, apparently they could do a lot worse than designing a hit MMO -- a study by a group named Screen Digest says that the MMO market is hotter than ever. After dropping down to a total of $701 million in 2008, games like World of Warcraft are seeing their revenues rise again, up to a total of $1.4 billion. And not surprisingly, WoW is still leading the charge -- while their overall market share is dropping very slightly, from 60% of the market down to around 58%, they're still making more money than ever. And while other games are picking up some numbers, according to Screen Digest, they're not really stealing players from Azeroth -- they're actually pulling new MMO players in.

Which is understandable -- during times of economic downturn, online games like MMOs are actually positioned to do very well. Why spend $15 on one night at the movies when you can spend it on a whole month of entertainment? World of Warcraft may have brought the MMO monster to the surface, but according to numbers like these, this is a game genre that's going to be extremely popular (and profitable) for a long time to come.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money

Possible addon business models

Ever since that new addon policy came to light, some addon devs are furious, and threatening to stop publishing their addons completely. But others are being a little more optimistic -- instead of shutting down their addons, they're trying to figure out new ways around Blizzard's rules in order to get compensated for their work. selenite on WoW LJ has one such idea: he suggests a method of "ransomware," where the creators of a mod ask for donations (on their sites, not in-game, as that's against the new policy) and set a goal before they release a new version. BRK had a good point on last week's podcast as well -- he suggested that, like the popular WoW Web Stats, some addons (Recount was one suggestion that came up) can offer information out of game rather than in-game, thus making them able to charge for it, or show advertising on it.

Now, some may say that even these types of models will still go against Blizzard's rules (in fact, the rule that says addons may not charge for distribution also hints that they may not charge for "services related", either), but at this point, we don't really know what these rules mean, since, as far as we know, Blizzard hasn't actually shut down any addons. Blizzard may be trying to say that any attempt to make money off of an addon will get it shut down in the game (a strong statement, since you'd think anyone putting time and work into an addon should get something back for it). And if they really do have issues with people who help players play the game making money off of it, what about sites like Wowhead? What about us here at WoW Insider?

At any rate, the ideas are out there. If developers really want to get something back for their work, and they have an addon or an idea that's worth paying for (keep in mind that competition is always there -- if an addon like Recount does charge to go visit another site and get DPS meters, they'll have to make sure it's worth paying that amount rather than just using a free addon), there will probably be a way for them to get compensated.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Add-Ons

Addon devs respond to Blizzard UI policy changes

Blizzard dropped a bombshell on the addon community last Friday with their new addon policies (among a few other clarifications, addon developers can no longer charge for their addons or even ask for donations in-game), and developers are reeling. Already, the creator of the popular QuestHelper has responded on his changelog, saying that the addon is "dead." He says that he has tried to get donations without having an ingame link, it doesn't work, and that without any money coming in, he doesn't see any reason to keep the addon in development. Likewise, the developer of Outfitter has pulled his addon from the usual outlets, saying that he "will no longer add value to the World of Warcraft" and that Blizzard is trying to "continue a system of treating addon developers as if their time and products are worthless."

Blizzard may not be too worried about Outfitter -- they're planning to add an official Equipment Manager into the game soon (and Tobold makes a point that Blizzard may want addons to be worthless). As far as we've heard, there's no word from the folks behind Carbonite yet -- there's lots of speculation on their forum, but we've contacted them to try and get an official statement. They are the addon that's believed to have kicked this all off -- they were actually charging (and holding up full time jobs) for their addon, and word is going around that Blizzard released these new policies to put the kibosh on them.

We'll have to wait and see on the long term policies of these changes -- a few developers have already called for a strike, though who knows how successful an idea like that would be. We'll definitely see a few devs hold back from working on their addons, but it's unlikely changes like these will shut down the community completely.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, News items, Add-Ons, Quests

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