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Posts with tag oc-register

Blizzard celebrates the WoW anniversary

The good folks at the Orange County Register got invited to Blizzard's official WoW anniversary party that took place last Thursday on their Irvine campus, and their report is now posted. It sounds like quite the event -- lots of free food and beer, head honchos regaling employees with their tales of the early days, and Rob Pardo suggesting that just like geek culture helped define this game, this game might help define geek culture going forward.

The picture gallery included with the piece is a good browse, too -- you can see all of the Blizzard heavyweights hanging out together, and the great spread set up on the campus. The Register's also been asking Blizzard about their memories of the game -- they've got more memories from Samwise, launch day stories from Shane Dabiri, and some thoughts from Pardo and Frank Pearce (who, strangely enough, at first didn't believe that Blizzard belonged in a hardcore niche market like MMO gaming -- he didn't want to make "a game that never ended," he says). All good stuff. Congrats once again to Blizzard on five years, good to see they celebrated in style.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Galleries

Samwise's best memory of the last five years of WoW

Our good friends over at the Orange Country Register have jumped in on the fifth anniversary interview extravanganza, and they've posted information from a short chat with none other than Samwise Didier, Blizzard's primary artist. They asked Samwise for a crazy memory from the last five years, and he came up with a time when he was rolling through a Pollo Loco drive-through, and the guy behind the window called him out by name and said he "liked your show." Which show? Didier is of course the lead singer of TAFKAL80ETC, a.k.a. The Artists Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain, Blizzard's in-house rock band. Pretty awesome that a video game artist is now literally a rock star thanks to this game.

The OC Register (don't call it that -- did you think I'd get through a post about them without saying that?) is also looking for memories from fans as well to be printed in their paper -- you can jump in the comments on their site and share some memories of your own. We'll also be celebrating the game's fifth anniversary here on WoW.com, so stay tuned around November 23rd for a nice look back at where this gigantic game has accomplished in the past five years.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

BlizzCon tickets: how it went, and what's next

Yes, if you were around on Saturday, you know that the first round of BlizzCon tickets sold out, and sold out fast. Tickets went on sale right around 10am PST (which was 1pm EST), and sold out just about 28 minutes later. If the queue numbers are trustworthy, over 21,000 people (we've heard as high as 25,000 at a time) logged in to buy tickets that day, and from unconfirmed reports around the web, it seems like about 5,000 to 8,000 tickets were sold: most people who got in line around number 5,000 were able to pick a ticket up, and that was a few minutes in already. Some of those people are already selling tickets on eBay as well.

We believe (though aren't sure) that they'll be selling more than 15,000 tickets this year, since that's what they sold last year and they're using even more of the convention space. If that's true, then Blizzard probably went through only about half of the tickets, and will sell the rest during the second session on the 30th. But that's probably not much of a consolation -- given the frenzy around this last Saturday, there'll probably be more people trying for tickets, and given the prices on eBay, possibly more scalpers clogging up the queue. We'll see.

Update: Lots of people point out, rightly so, that I missed something in my guesstimates of how many tickets were sold: you could purchase up to five. My personal guess is that the majority of people bought only one or two, but even if you go with three as the average, 5,000-8,000 people in the queue is actually 15,000-24,000 tickets. Blizzard probably did sell the majority of tickets on Saturday then, not just half. So the process on May 30th will presumably go even faster.

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.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, BlizzCon

"My Life as a Night Elf Priest"

A University of California Irvine anthropologist named Bonnie Nardi has been studying one of the strangest cultures known to man lately, and she's going to be presenting her findings in a book called "My life as a Night Elf Priest" -- that's right, she's been taking notes on the weird sociological experiment known as Azeroth. It sounds pretty interesting -- she's been examining the way Chinese and American players play the game (and of course the differences between them), and she's also looking into how games like WoW can bring us closer together rather than isolating us socially.

It's funny -- as a genre and a technology, MMO games are actually in the absolute earliest phases of their history. Socoiologists and psychologists have been studying real humans for thousands of years, and yet it's only in the past few decades that they've gotten access to MMO games, like little petri dishes of condensed human behavior. Nardi may be one of the first to try and scientifically examine how players use (and are affected by) this technology, but she'll definitely be far from the last.

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

Bronze Orc statue footage via GametrailersTV


We've already seen pictures of Blizzard's bronze Orc statue finally arriving on their campus courtesy of the OCRegister, but Gametrailers TV has done one better: Video.

The clip, while brief, has really been making the rounds through the community. I can see why! Even though it's only a short glimpse, it gives a much better sense of scale than pictures did. It's some fairly heavy duty equipment swinging the pieces of the statue around! It's really a shame that Blizzard (or someone doing it on their behalf) didn't film the whole thing for us to watch, I really would have loved to have seen it. This statue has been hyped up quite a bit for awhile now, it's sort of a shame that the 'ceremony' wasn't very easy for most of us to see.

My favorite line about this particular statue came from Mike Morhaime at BlizzCon 08, long before it actually appeared on their campus. I don't remember the exact quote anymore, but he said something to the effect of, 'The statue is going to be cast from solid bronze. Long after all of us are dead, that statue will still be floating around somewhere. Thousands of years from now, an archeologist will dig it up and think to themselves, 'Wow, humans were ugly back then.'

Many thanks to everyone that's sent this link in over the last day or so!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Blizzard finishes courtyard statue

That statue of an Orc on a Wolf (the same one that every Blizzard employee got a copy of when they moved into their new HQ a little while back) is now completed and standing outside of their main building in Irvine, California. The OC (don't call it that) Register took a trip over and got some pictures of it, and you can see the whole amazing thing in their photo slideshow.

Cool office decoration or the coolest office decoration? The statue was sculpted by the Weta Workshop in Australia, and shipped all the way into Irvine. No easy task, considering it's bronzed and 12 feet tall. Though from the pictures, it looks like it was installed in two separate pieces -- the wolf mount first, and then the Orc on top. And it also looks like Blizzard had a short unveiling ceremony, but it seems like it may have been just for employees from inside the building.

Bet that statue is more awesome than whatever's outside whatever building you're in right now. It's more awesome than what's outside mine, and I'm in Chicago.

Filed under: Orcs, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Australian AG: MMOs like WoW must be classified

The good folks over at the OC (don't call it that) Register's Blizzard blog have gotten some more information about that recent flap with many MMOs being unrated and thus legally unable to be sold there. They talked to Daniel Gleeson of the Australian Attorney General's department, and he said that yes, the MMO games like World of Warcraft will have to be rated to be sold in the country. But he also reiterated what we'd heard a little while after Massively posted their story: that games were still being sold on store shelves, regardless of the actual legal tangles.

The Blizzard Blog also spoke with the IEAA, the classification board down there for games, and they were told the same thing that Massively was: while the board thought that MMOs did not require a rating, it has since become clear that they do. The difference, says the AG guy, is that the IEAA believed that "games" like WoW were actually services, not games, and thus didn't fall into the classification system.

But now it's clear to everyone that they do, so we'll expect to see the IEAA pass out a rating for World of Warcraft and the other MMOs on sale down there, and then this will all be over. It's interesting to note that ratings may be a very cultural thing -- here in America, ratings are pretty strictly issued by the ESRB, partially because the videogame industry is worried about governement intervention in the system (if the industry can't police themselves, angry parents may ask the government to step in). But in Australia, the government obviously seems largely unconcerned about the ratings. Then again, Aussies aren't completely laid back about everything having to do with MMOs.

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

Paul Sams and his Blizzard collection

The Orange County Register was all over the place yesterday -- being the hometown newspaper of Blizzard's hometown, they posted all day about the release and what Blizzard was doing for it (they've got some really good coverage of the event in Anaheim, which our own Dan O'Halloran attended as well). But perhaps most interesting is this post about Blizzard COO Paul Sams -- we haven't heard a lot from him in press before, but apparently he's a bigger Blizzard fan than any of us, with a collection of Blizzard items that includes a mint Spectral Tiger Card, Blizzard skateboards (which are apparently a licensing deal that never went through, so you can't buy those anywhere), and the second Frostmourne ever made -- we assume the first one went to Arthas.

And not all of it is Blizzard stuff -- he's got a first edition of The Count of Monte Cristo, and lots of sports memorabilia, too (but let's be honest -- a signed jersey is nothing compared to a Frostmourne. It's real.). Sams also collected his wife from Blizzard, too, apparently, and he says he'd be happy spending his whole career with the company. Sounds awesome to have someone who's such a fanboy sitting in one of your top exec positions.

Sams' favorite item, though, is probably the coolest: three drawings by the man Chris Metzen himself. That would be awesome to see. Check out all of Sams' collection in the OC Register's gallery.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art

Ezra's father thanks the WoW community for their support

The Orange County Register's Blizzard Blog has posted a message from Micah Chatterton, father of Ezra "Epheonix" Chatterton, who, as we reported yesterday, passed away earlier this week. Micah's pain is tangible, but he says that Ezra loved his life, and the greatest tribute that he or anyone else can pay to Ephoenix is by trying to love life as much as he did. He also thanks the WoW community for their outpouring of support. There's no question that we can be a little silly and raucous at times (which is what makes, as Ezra certainly knew, being around this game so much fun), but when it comes down to it, we are a community, and when one member of the community suffers, we all do.

Once again, we pay our condolences, along with all of our readers who posted comments yesterday, to Micah and his family in this time of grief. Definitely give his statement a read -- it's extremely sad to hear about the suffering that Ezra went through, but Micah is exactly right: Ezra's life and the smile he had even when facing a tragedy like this should be an example for us all.

Micah also forwarded the message along to us, so we've posted it in full after the break.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves

A sneak peek at the BlizzCon floor


Our good friends at the Orange County Register were lucky enough to be let into BlizzCon yesterday (we'll be on the floor in just a few hours here), and they've got a preview gallery of what it's like in there up on their site right now. There's nothing super revealing in there, but there are lots of pictures of vendors setting up, and the various stages they'll have at the event. The Illidan statue from last year is making a re-appearance, and he's joined by someone Starcraft fans will want to see.

We can't wait to get in there -- Diablo 3 will be playable, and of course we'll have coverage from all the panels, tournaments, and booths inside the convention center all day today and tomorrow. The Opening Ceremony starts at 11am PST, so stay tuned here to watch our coverage as it goes down live.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Galleries, BlizzCon

UC Irvine studies differences between Chinese and US players

Our good friends at the OC (don't call it that) Register have an article up about how the University of California at Irvine has received a grant to study the differences between US and Chinese players of World of Warcraft. And the differences are fairly interesting: apparently US players use many more UI mods and addons than Chinese players do. Additionally, more Chinese players play the "more challenging version of the game" (seems like they mean PvP servers to us, though that may change with yesterday's big news), and Chinese players, say the researcher, tend to talk more about color schemes and architecture than American players. Finally, the demographics are fairly different -- here in the states, women make up 20 percent of the playing audience, and in China that number is almost halved. And while people here may play with parents or even grandparents, in China, the older generation isn't interested in the game at all.

These observations seem more to be based on anecdotal evidence of Chinese players in cafes more than anything else, but the study is just getting started, so maybe with some more research they can come up with some more solid numbers (or even more reasons) showing why this is the case. But it's interesting that inspecting how people play this game in two different countries can reveal something about the cultural differences between each.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Ezra Chatterton suffers a stroke

Some time ago, Blizzard helped Make A Wish fulfill the wish of Ezra Chatteron, young boy with brain cancer, to be a game designer for a day. He was able to design Ahab Wheathoof and his quest, as well as get his character name on an arena crossbow. It's a nice gesture, and good proof that Blizzard does have a heart.

Unfortunately, things have not been going so well for Ezra lately, as OC Register reports that he recently suffered a stroke. Micah, Ezra's father, reports that he was doing well up until the stroke, and was enjoying playing around with possible new talent builds for his character in Wrath of the Lich King. He can communicate again, but is plague by pain, vision problems, lethargy, and weakness on his right side. While his outlook is currently grave, both he and his father are hoping that a new round of treatments will work.

We here at WoW Insider would like to wish Ezra and his father all the best and a swift recovery, and like Gadgetress, we hope to one day interview him as a developer on a future Blizzard game. If you'd like to send him your own well wishes, you can do so at ephoenix at earthlink dot net.

Filed under: Fan stuff, News items

Blizzard responds to the BlizzCon ticket problems

Tamara Chuang from Blizzard's hometown Orange County Register has been following the BlizzCon ticket story here at WoW Insider, and she finally heard back from her queries to Blizzard about what happened earlier this week. The Q&A is up on her blog right now -- Shon Damron of Blizzard's PR team responded to a few questions about what happened on Monday and Tuesday at Blizzard and what they'll do differently to sell tickets to their events in the future.

Not surprisingly, Blizzard says they just weren't prepared for the demand -- last year, tickets sold much slower, and the close release date of the next expansion, in addition to the growth of WoW over the past year and, on the horizon, interest in Starcraft II and Diablo III, pushed fervor for tickets to a high. Blizzard thought by adding in more space and selling more tickets they'd account for demand, but they say a review of the entire process is now in order.

Damron says a lottery (like the one they plan to use to sell the extra 3000 tickets) will be a definite possibility. We'll have to see exactly how that process works as Blizzard sells off the rest of the tickets for this year's BlizzCon, but it does definitely sound to us like they are taking serious considerations to make sure that buyers of BlizzCon tickets, many of Blizzard's biggest fans, don't go through what happened earlier this week again.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, WoW Social Conventions, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon

The OC Register on the BlizzCon debacle

WoW Insider's own Mike Schramm recently talked with Tamara Chuang from the Orange County Register about the trials and tribulations of the recent BlizzCon ticket sales for an article she wrote concerning the debacle. Mike is in some good company, with executive editor of GameSpy.com David Kosak also contributing to the analysis of Blizzard's failure. Yesterday, Mike wrote an in-depth account of the problems we all faced obtaining tickets to the event.

The OC Register article makes a good point noting that some major events, such as the World Series, have had ticketing problems in the past. However, it is also pointed out that other sites such as NBCOlympics.com still stay up even under the pressure of lots of traffic.

With Mike Morhaime's apology late last night, and his offering up 3,000 additional tickets via a lottery, it will be interesting to see what this does to appease the fans in the long run. It is good to see that this issue is getting some wider coverage outside of the game and fan sites. While bad press isn't exactly good, it usually leads to things being better the next time around.

Filed under: Bugs, Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon

"Employee only" bronze Orc and wolf statue finds its way onto eBay

Here's an eBay auction that might be worth watching: A rather spiffy looking bronze statue of an Orcish Wolf Rider. While the statue looks pretty awesome on its own, what's intriguing is the source: the seller claims that this is the statue created exclusively for Blizzard by WETA employed sculptors Eden Small and Daniel Cockersell. You may recall this article in the OC Register (Alex Ziebart reported on it for WoW Insider here), which mentions the commission of a 12 foot high version of this statue for the courtyard of their new headquarters, to be installed this summer.

Certainly, the statue looks pretty good, and it has an impressive pedigree. Daniel Cockersell himself has also created some pretty good looking Warhammer sculptures, and Small and Cockersell have also worked together on official merchandise for the upcoming Prince Caspian Movie and Doctor Who, among other things.

I'm not sure I'll have the money to get in on this auction, since I imagine it'll get pretty high, but I do sort of want to head down to Irvine this summer just to drool over the larger version. I'm sure it'll look pretty sweet if this smaller statue is any indication.

I have to admit to being curious as to which Blizzard employee decided they'd rather have a bit of extra pocket money instead of the statue, though, or if there's another reason that this statue has appeared on eBay, and from a seller in Ireland, at that.

[Thanks for the tip, Lim!]

Filed under: Orcs, Blizzard, News items

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