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Drama Mamas: Make it work

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Wives get a bad reputation. We are often portrayed more like evil stepmothers than the helpmates and lovers that we would like to be seen as. Some of us deserve it, from time to time. But often we are just trying to be the voice of responsibility in the face of a spouse who's behaving more like a carefree teen. Supervisors and guild leaders are also put in uncomfortable situations, where they are forced to be The Bad Guy in order take care of their responsibilities. This week, we mamas put on our stern caps and wag our fingers a bit more than usual. But we really hope things turn out well for the letter writer and those he interacts with.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Blizzard at PAX 2009 wrapup


PAX wrapped up over the weekend in Seattle, and from what we've heard of our friends' experiences over at Joystiq, it was a wild, wild time. Blizzard was there as expected, and it sounds like the setup was pretty awesome. They had all three playable demos up from BlizzCon, including the Starcraft II singleplayer game, the Diablo III monk class, and of course the Cataclysm Worgen and Goblin race starting areas. We hear that Blizzard had their GMs in attendance as well, and reader Aveiceae (whose pictures you can see in the gallery below) reports that she saw both Drysc and Bornakk there. She also says that Blizzard gave away some of their famous hand sanitizer throughout the show -- very important, especially at a gaming convention during swine flu season.

Tisoi also has a report over on WoW LJ, including a few pictures of the setup on the convention floor, as well as a few (sneaky) screenshots of the Worgen and Goblin areas. He also got to meet Jeff "Vork" Lewis and Sandeep "Zaboo" Parikh of The Guild. Felicia Day wasn't there (she spent the weekend at Dragon*Con, where there was other WoW-related shenanigans going on), but as Sandeep reported on his Twitter, she wasn't needed, thanks to cosplayers. Sounds like a great time was had by all. Next year, PAX is headed out east -- we'll have to keep an eye out and see if Blizzard is going there as well.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm, Worgen, Goblin

Blizzard gives out a day of compensation for the downtime

Blizzard's been on shaky footing this week with all the downtime, from their forum issues to in-game mail problems, and even their main site has had trouble. But there's good news for those affected by the outages (everybody?): we're all getting an extra day of playtime. Tyren says that they believe the problems are now fixed, and that players will recieve a free day of gameplay sometime within the next two weeks.

Personally, I wasn't affected much, but free gametime is free gametime. The real test will be this evening and this weekend -- if Blizzard can keep their realms up even under the pressure of so many people checking out the expansion, it'll be a feat. But odds are that, considering how many players are likely to try checking out Northrend in the next few days, the shakiness is not quite over.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard

LA Times covers the WoW community

Wait, what's this? A mainstream media story that actually -- gasp -- shows the world that playing MMO games together can actually be fun and healthy for relationships? Thrall be praised, apparently someone at the LA Times gets it. Yup, Brad and Cynthia Murdock, like millions of other players of this game, play the game together and have a great time doing it. Of course, near the end of the article, they get back to Mike Akers, a "self-described recluse" who plays against his wife's wishes and once made her wait for 10 minutes while in labor so he could defeat an "end boss," but we guess we can look past that -- the headline is about people playing the game in a healthy way, and we need more stories like that. since there are a lot more players like that.

Blizzard's Frank Pearce also shows up in the story, and admits that Mages could use a higher damage output at endgame. No, we're just kidding, this is a story meant for non-players, so he just says that the game has a "huge social element," and a giant community that supports everyone who logs in. That's you guys! Take a bow!

And not even the LA Times can get Blizzard to give us a Wrath release date -- they try, but Pearce waves them off with an understatement: "We typically try to avoid launch windows." Blizzard? Avoiding release dates? Sounds about right.

[via WorldofWar.net]

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

WoW on Zazoox stations

Soley saw something strange at the airport in Denver: a console with PC games on it, including none other than World of Warcraft. Apparently there was a kiosk with a bunch of different games installed on it, and for a small fee, you could jump in and play any number of games, from Valve's FPSes (including Portal!) to our own big MMORPG.

The company doing this is called Zazoox -- they have a site that shows off all of their different consoles and offers them (for a price and a service charge) to vendors who can then put them up in public places. World of Warcraft isn't actually on their games list yet, so apparently it's just being tested in Denver and other places. Apparently, the price is 25 cents a minute, but as some of the commenters to Soley's post say, if you're entering your WoW password on what is basically a public computer and something goes wrong, it could cost you a lot more than that.

Of course, overseas in Asia, this kind of thing is common -- the vast majority of WoW players there play in public cafes and Internet houses, and in fact the pricing scheme of the game itself there is per hour, not per month like it is here. But for some reason, this kind of ubiquitous public gaming has never taken off in the West -- maybe Zazoox's consoles will get people playing out in public.

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

Why PvE has been, and always will be, the only real game


World of Warcraft has two distinctly different types of play: Player versus Environment and Player versus Player. The styles of play are dramatically different and there are few, if any, skills that cross over from one style to the other. WoW started out as a PvE game, adding in PvP content as the player base expanded. And despite the numerous PvP fanbois out there, the real game in WoW will always remain the PvE game.

There are a few reasons why I think this. First and foremost, you cannot progress in PvP without first completing a large potion of the PvE content. You start out at level 1 and progress up to level 70. You don't level up by PvPing against one another. You level up by fighting against the environment. Put simply, without the PvE there would be no PvP.

Secondly, PvP is an addition to the game. If you remove PvP from the game entirely, the game itself would not fundamentally change. However if you remove the PvE elements, the game would be nothing like it is. Everything would just exist like the Arena Tournament server. That might be fine for some people, and this is evident in the success of the Arena Tournament server. Even I enjoy spending a couple hours a week on there, but by no means would I want to just exist on a server where the only thing to do is kill one another.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

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