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All the World's a Stage: Odd man out

Robin Torres is subbing for a very busy Michael Gray. Please ignore the muffled sounds coming from the other room, as it is just my pet ... hedgehog ... yeah. And pay no mind to that mostly used roll of duct tape. I was just making some plumbing repairs.

When trying to become a better RPer for the For Gnomeregan! project, I went through and studied many recent All the World's a Stage columns. But I have to admit, I didn't even glance at the "You can't be a vampire" article because, well, I figured it was just vampire RP bashing. (The Twilight photo was a bit of a deterrent as well.) I read it last night, however, and discovered it was actually about how to discourage someone who is derailing your group's roleplay by playing a far-out character. This week, we're going to look at the other side of the coin, and offer suggestions for the person who wants to play that challenging character who doesn't quite fit in.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Is WoW's audience still increasing?


I'm not sure how much of this is legit, but stick with us for the information first, and then stay for the debunking. Edward Hunter over at Gamasutra decided to do some poking around in comScore's MediaMetrix application (which can track, based on a survey of a few million users, access to various applications on a computer -- which programs are run when), and he found something that surprised him: despite the economic downturn and the emergence of a few other popular MMOs recently, World of Warcraft's audience is estimated globally at 13.1 million. In other words, it's still growing from the last official numbers (11.5 million players worldwide) we heard.

Now, the first issue we'd have with these numbers is the situation in China -- Hunter doesn't mention it at all, and in fact his graph (from comScore) doesn't have any dips at all in it, even though the game, and presumably its millions of players, went offline over there earlier this year. That right there throws a wrench into all of these estimations -- it's very likely comScore's information is just plain wrong.

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

Issues with Mobile Authenticator get it pulled from the App Store


Blizzard's mobile authenticator updated recently, and as soon as it did, we started getting tips on the tipline saying there was a major issue. Apparently the update reset the code associated with your authenticator, which meant that if you applied the authenticator update (and had the authenticator connected to your account), there was no way to actually get a code to login to your account. In short, if you apply the mobile authenticator update, you won't be able to log in to your account until you take the authenticator off completely (I'd assume you can then reinstall and reuse the authenticator, though people will probably be a little more trigger-shy about that one). There are instructions for how to do all of this over on the forums.

Of course it's a major issue, and in response, Blizzard has acknowledged the problem and apparently pulled the Authenticator from the App Store. So if (like me) you haven't updated yet, you won't need to worry about it, and hopefully the next version will fix the issue. But yes, if you have updated, you'll need to go through the steps above to remove the app from your iPhone and account, or just call Blizzard customer service at 1-949-955-1382 and they should be able to help you with the issue.

Update: So far we've only heard about problems with the iPhone version, and of course the issue is when you go from the old to the new version. If you use another phone, or have only used the new version, you shouldn't have any issues.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware, Account Security

Ask WoW Insider: Nodes and ninjas

This week's question for you, our readers, comes from an anonymous asker. He wants to know what the best option is for a widespread problem in this time of high realm populations and camped quests aplenty:

There's been a lot of talk on your blog about people ninjaing spawns but I'm not entirely sure that it's as cut and dried as that. Consider this: I was in the Borean Tundra and had to kill the mob on the island that's up the top of the steps. when I arrived there were around 10 other 'toons all waiting around. I had no idea who was there first, who might be grouped, or anything else about them. The first thing I did was /s 'group?', at which point someone invited me, and I grouped with them. Second time it spawned one of us tagged it, I looted, disbanded the group and left. Did I ninja it? If so, how was I supposed to have acted? With new people coming all the time, no knowledge of who had been there longest and no visible queueing system I'm not sure how else to behave. Thoughts?

A little more analysis after the break, and don't forget to post your own answer in the comments below. If you've got a question for our readers, send it to ask@wow.com, and we'll ask it for you.

Previously on Ask WoW Insider...

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, Quests, Ask WoW Insider, Forums

Can Blizzard fix all their launch problems in Wrath?

Our good friend Relmstein (who I was able to finally meet in person at BlizzCon this year) is back to blogging about World of Warcraft, even though he was on a WAR trip for a while there. But we're glad to have him back -- yesterday, he posted about how Wrath might tackle all the launch issues we saw with the Burning Crusade.

Everyone knows by now that Blizzard has split the entry area into two different areas (with four total Northrend entry points, one for each faction), and of course there's also Death Knights to roll, so hopefully the lag problem is helped (hard to believe it could actually be solved). But Relmstein has other ideas in mind: the dynamic spawn system (mobs will spawn faster the more people there are around killing them) causes some crazy repops last time, and hopefully that's been evened out a bit. He's also worried about the "leveling truce" on PvP servers -- during the last expansion, everyone was more interested in exploring than fighting for the first few levels, but if you missed that ad-hoc "truce," you had new level 70s beating you down as you were trying to explore the world. Hopefully the Lake Wintergrasp PvP zone will keep PvPers busy without griefing all of the people trying to see Northrend for the first time.

And later on, the Karazhan bump is a worry as well -- lots of guilds, early on in BC, were crushed by Karazhan's 10-man limit and the gear checks in there. Will 10-man Naxx also cause a ton of guild breakups, or will the 10/25 man split help guilds play what they want to play? We'll have to see how it all works out -- this is only the second time Blizzard has released this amount of content into the game, so while they're sure to have evened out some problems, you have to think that there will still be a few bumps in the road.

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

Last round of BlizzCon tickets (Update: Sold Out)


The maintenance SCV is back for one more round of BlizzCon ticket selling. Here's hoping that if you haven't seen tickets yet, you'll get them in this final round.

We'll keep an eye on what's happening here on this post -- feel free to comment if you're waiting for tickets, and if we see the sold out sign (or a notice from Blizzard that they're all gone), we'll let you know when to refresh. We don't know exactly how many tickets Blizzard wants to sell tonight, but we know it'll be less than they've sold so far, and actual selling time is less than an hour or so by our count. So these will likely go fast. Updates after the break.

Update: At 11:21pm, the main site is reporting that tickets for BlizzCon are completely sold out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: Hunter problems and predictions

Scattered Shots is for hunters. 'Nuff said on that topic. The Freezing Trap David was stuck in last week also wore off a little bit, thanks to Daniel, permitting him to write once more without his fingers snapping off from the cold.

In the wake of the recent confusion regarding Scare Beast, once again some hunters have gotten to complaining a lot about the state of their class. While on one hand, there are certainly problematic issues hunters are having, it's really not fair to say that the class is broken. It isn't -- being a hunter is more fun than its ever been, and it looks like this class will only get better in the future.

Nonetheless, looking at the problems we do have might give us a clearer sense of where we're going in the future. With more and more information coming out about Wrath of the Lich King, and especially since Blizzard started asking for feedback from hunters, it's worthwhile to have a look at what holes do exist for our class, and how future changes might seek to plug them up.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Addons for shot timing, threat tracking, and pet training


Last week, Scattered Shots hit the bull's eye on which professions are best for a hunter. Today, we take aim at some interface problems hunters have, and the addons we can use to eliminate them.

A user interface is an ever-evolving work of art. You can use it one way for a long time and then suddenly find one simple addon that lets you change everything and make it much better. Especially with all the problems that show up every patch, I've begun to look at my interface as a constant work in progress. As such, I'm usually in a constant state of getting rid of old addons, enjoying the ones I use now, and looking for new ones that might help me even more in the future. Every choice of what to put in or what to take out is a conscious decision about what will help make my game play smoother, more successful, and more visually interesting.

As hunters, there are a number of needs that we have which other classes don't have - and special hunter addons are there to help in many of those cases, while in other situations, one of the more generalized addons might fit our needs best.

Today I'll cover three of the most glaring interface problems for hunters and show you how I deal with them at the moment. In the comments section, feel free to share your own different interface issues, as well as your own solutions, for the benefit of our readers. Keep in mind that a user interface is an extremely subjective thing, and one solution may not work for everyone. Nonetheless, often times just sharing your idea will inspire someone else to vary it a little and make their own thing out of it, which is even better.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Add-Ons, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Forum Post of the Day: I'm a WoW Widow

And Belfaire doesn't care.

Reader Kyver tipped us off to a gem of a post on the Customer Service Forums today, titled "I'm a WoW Widow" (moderately NSFW, PG-13 rating). The story goes like this: A girl, Missmegan, lost her boyfriend to the Burning Crusades [sic]. They used to play together horde side, but after buying the expansion he turned to the alliance and is dedicated to his guild mates. All is lost, as he's no longer interested in his girlfriend's "assets" and rambles like a two-year old.

Of course this makes our forum posting protagonist upset, and she needs her boyfriend back. Now obviously this is a joke. At least I hope it is. And Katie (my girlfriend), if you're reading this I promise I'll never let it get this bad. I mean, I only play for 5 hours a day, not 13 as the boyfriend in the story does. And I make money with all this, so it's okay, right? Sweetie? Darling? Honey... D'oh....

Tagging the first response to this thread is Belfaire The Mighty, with the simple response "Dear WoW Widow, It's actually Burning Crusade. Yours, Belfaire." This had myself and the other writers here laughing. We had to share it.

So dear readers, I ask you, are you a WoW widow?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Humor

Loot Reaver gets his revenge

Void Reaver, after 2.4, is apparently, "wrecking fools," according to Korin on the Silver Hand. We all called him Loot Reaver before 2.4 -- if your guild could finish off Karazhan, and survive VR's trash, he was basically a pushover. But a whole combination of factors, including addon problems (with DeadlyBossMods and VoidReaverAlarm) that killed the addons that made it cake, as well as a few bugs and other problems with the fight after the patch, means Loot Reaver is getting his revenge. He's back to being a real challenge in Tempest Keep.

The hardest part of the encounter is avoiding these orbs he shoots out at random spots where a guild member is standing. When he shoots one out, everyone in the guild has to move away from that spot and each other, since getting hit with one is instant death. Those addons were meant to tell you when an orb had been fired, as well as let you keep an eye on the proximity of where it was hitting (so you could easily dodge it). But without the addons, people are back to judging where the orbs might land, and guilds that haven't practiced the fight much aren't that great at judging. Not to mention that there are some bugs, apparently -- some of the orbs are invisible, and others may even be moving through walls and underground.

The fight is still doable, but apparently Blizzard wasn't happy with how easy it was to waltz in there with some addons and collect your loot. Whether it's bugs or addon changes, Void Reaver is currently back to "wrecking fools."

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Fan stuff, Add-Ons, Raiding, Bosses

WoW, certain routers causing network problems

Datth on the forums confirms that WoW is causing some home networks to go down completely. After hearing reports that on some networks, logging into or playing the game would cause the entire network to lose their internet connection, Blizzard asked players to report technical specs if the problem happened. And after researching, they've reported now that the problem supposedly lies with folks who have a "Siemens, 2wire or older model Motorola modem or Netgear router."

So if you have one of those and are having this problem, Blizzard has at least identified the cause. They say they're working with the router manufacturers to come up with a fix, but if there really is a problem in the router itself, odds are Blizzard won't be able to hotfix it on their site, so you may have to go to the router's manufacturer for a fix (all that information, when it becomes available, will likely be on their site).

I am surprised, however, that this problem didn't appear before now. Blizzard says that the most recent patch (would that be 2.3.3 and the improvements to load time?) is responsible for "revealing a bug in the hardware," so if the router manufacturers don't release a fix, Blizzard may have to reverse whatever changes were made. At any rate, a fix is coming, no matter where it comes from.

Thanks, Jonate!

Filed under: Patches, Bugs, Blizzard, News items

WoW is a Work of Art, part 1: A journey into Azeroth

The day I walked into the store to buy World of Warcraft, I had been taking care of my mother as she underwent chemotherapy for brain cancer, and I desperately needed something to do that wasn't cooking, cleaning, sorting pills, or running errands. I needed something that would connect me with people while at the same time letting me stay at home and care for someone I loved.

When I picked up a box with a pretty, yet severe night elf woman's face on the cover, I wasn't thinking, "I want to get to level 60 and start raiding Molten Core for epic gear!" or even "I'm going to be a PvP god!" Instead, I was hoping to create characters with a personal background, with feelings and ideas all their own, and act them out in an imaginary world where no one knew who I really was, a world in which our purpose was to share creatively and interact as a team, not to make money or exchange gossip.

In short, I wanted to roleplay. But what I got was something much more than even a roleplaying experience, more than me and my characters, more than an endless stream of quests and rewards, experience and reputation, monsters and loot. I found myself in a world filled with its own people -- real people -- and a series of problems for these people to overcome together in order to progress and travel even deeper into this world. At every stage, I found something new opening up to me, whether it was access to more abilities of my own, more ways to interact with others, more vast landscapes to please my eye, or more stories to capture my imagination.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Breakfast Topic: Refreshing addons

I'll admit it-- I'm a lazy addon user. Whenever Blizzard updates the client, I always manage to forget about my addons. I'll log in, realize I have no addons working, and then jump back out and just "enable out-of-date addons." Eventually, those addons will show bugs, so I'll log back out, disable them, and then keep playing without them for a while.

And sooner or later, as happened this past weekend, someone will point out that I'm not running KTM, or that I don't have the latest version of CTRaid up and running, so I'll write down a list of everything I need, go and download them all at once, and refresh them all completely. When I do this, it's a good feeling. It makes the game seem new again to me-- everything works, and everything does what I want it to once again.

Until Blizzard puts out a patch, and then the whole grueling process starts over. I would just download new addons when a new patch drops, but addon authors aren't all on the same schedules. And I know programs like the WowAceUpdater help (by checking for updates for me), but so far I've never gotten around to installing those programs either.

But that's just me, and I've got to deal with my own problems. How often do you refresh your addons completely? Do you have a good system for keeping your addons up to date, or, like me, do you only get around to redownloading everything when something stops working?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Breakfast Topics

New Nvidia drivers for Windows Vista may fix WoW problems

Reader Scott kindly dropped us a note (thanks!) that Nvidia released new drivers for Windows Vista on Tuesday, and hidden in the release notes is a note that the "low frame rates" within WoW have been fixed.

So if you're running WoW in Vista, have an Nvidia graphics card (with one GPU), and still having graphical problems, a driver update definitely wouldn't hurt. Things seem to have calmed down on the graphics issues since a few patches have hit, but maybe there are still a few of you out there looking for a solution.

As for us Windows XP users, looks like we're still stuck with an older driver version. If you've updated your drivers on XP and are still having problems, the best thing to do is probably just to let Blizzard know about it.

Update: Whoops, Slashrude (and other commenters) point out what I missed: these are beta drivers, which means installing them may not be such a good idea. Update at your own risk.

Filed under: Patches, Bugs, News items

WoW Insider RSS issues

A few readers have sent us tips already to let us know that there are issues with the RSS feed here on the site. We appreciate you all letting us know, and we are aware that some of the older articles are getting published on the RSS feed as new. We've also noticed that the RSS feed will sometimes publish new articles twice, leaving you with two copies of the same article in your reader.

We're aware of both issues, and have forwarded information onto our tech guys about it-- they say a fix is coming. If you have any other issues or questions, feel free to post them in the comments below, or send us tips via our tips page. Thanks for reading, and for sticking with us through these issues-- we're hoping to get them worked out soon.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends

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