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Posts with tag public

Realm Championships and a 2010 preview for the TCG

The WoW TCG has just finished up their year with the World Championships, but apparently they're not sitting back on their laurels -- they've just sent word that their Realm Championships will be going down November 14-15, 2009, in cities around the world like "San Diego, Philadelphia, Helsinki, Manchester (England), Singapore and Melbourne." These are invite-only tournaments, but they're always accompanied by events that are open to the public, including lots and lots of TCG playing, giveaways and door prizes, and sometimes even special realms of the online game set up for players to join. If you've never seen a TCG event and one is headed to your city, it's worth checking out.

Additionally, the TCG folks have outlined their plans for 2010 over on their website, and it sounds like it'll be a busy year. They're kicking things off with the Scourgewar release, including the TCG loot of the mini-mounts (finally, a pony!), the Tuskarr Kite, and a Spectral Tiger Cub. And later in the year, you can look forward to a Naxxramas dungeon deck, another expansion called Wrathgate (with likely more in-game loot to go after), and finally, an Icecrown Citadel raid deck release. Should be an exciting 2010 for the trading card game -- we'll definitely be watching for that new expansion and the loot items due out with it.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW TCG

Divining just what that "non-personal system information" might be

As Eliah noted the other day, Blizzard is running another hardware survey -- your WoW client will be sending them information about what kinds of hardware are in your computer. They've done this before, and as you may have realized, this type of information helps them determine system requirements for future games. A few people have already speculated that they're testing the waters for another WoW expansion, but I doubt any expansion is that far along in the process yet: my guess is that this latest round of hardware testing is actually being done for final calibration on Starcraft II, due out this fall. Blizzard doesn't share this hardware information with us, but Valve, another company that has a really wide install base with its Steam service, does release regular information about the kinds of computers its games are running on.

There is, of course, another question here: do we really want Blizzard jumping in and taking this information from us? There aren't any obvious reasons to protect this information (most computers will give it up to any Internet-connected application without issue), but you never know: do you really want Blizzard checking out what's on your hard drive or what accessories you've hooked up to your computer? We'd presume that they don't dive into software information (like checking your computer's HD for signs of competing MMO installs), but certainly they could. The list of what they check includes: "CPU, RAM, operating system, video, audio, HD/CD/DVD, and network connection," but we don't know if that's everything or not (the Terms of Use, under "XVIII Acknowledgements" says something similar). And as Blizzard's alert says, while we do get a momentary notification that this information is being sent, users who have merged their Battle.net accounts will no longer even see that flash of a message, even though their info is still being sent. The ToS says Blizzard doesn't have to notify us of the survey, but they have in the past anyway.

Read more →

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

New PTR build incoming

Maaven posted a short time ago that the 3.0.8 Public Test Realm (PTR) servers are being taken offline for an update tonight. There is no ETA when the PTRs will be back up.

There was a recent update to the PTR patch notes, and there has been a lot of activity on the PTR forums from the blues. It should be noted that Ghostcrawler once again today reiterated that dual spec will not be unveiled in 3.0.8.

There's a few of us here that will be up tonight, so check back and see what the new build brings. I'm placing my gold on more clam updates.

Filed under: Patches, Realm Status, News items

Living without General chat

I have a confession to make: all the whining, questions, and confusion that's been in General chat for the last few days? I haven't heard any of it. As soon as I logged in after the expansion, I typed "/leave general" and strangely enough, haven't looked back. I usually enjoy General -- it reminds me that I'm not playing a singleplayer game, and most of the comments there, while not really the smartest, are at least pretty entertaining. I figured if you're going to play a game with other people, you might as well give them the opportunity to talk with you.

But Northrend has been different -- I didn't want the inane chatter, the constant stream of questions (sometimes answered, usually not), and the occasional desperate requests. I wanted to be in Northrend by myself, more or less, and explore the world as if I wasn't on the same server as thousands of people. And it's been worthwhile, for the most part -- while I've dived back in there once or twice just to check and see if certain quests are bugged for anyone else, I've mostly stayed out of there, and I think it's made the game better.

Some of you will probably think I'm late to the game -- you may have removed the General channel on day one, and the Trade and World Defense channels along with it (I'm keeping the Trade channel, though -- when I am in cities, I kind of appreciate the bustling back and forth, and I've found a few deals in there). For the moment, though, I appreciate a quieter Northrend. No General for me, thanks.

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

PTR closed with a thank you from the blues

Bornakk and Maaven posted a thank you note to everyone in the Public Test Realm (PTR) forums this afternoon. The PTRs are now closed since patch 3.0.2 is coming out tomorrow. It was an interesting note in that it made sure to mention all of the feedback that they've gotten.

The feedback for this patch (and Wrath of the Lich King in general) has been different from previous times. There has been a ton of constructive, well thought out posts on the official forums about all the changes. Often times they've attracted the attention of Lead Class Designer, Greg Street (aka Ghostcrawler), and the discussion that results from such series of posting are quite enlightening and entertaining.

So no more PTR, a nice little thank you from Blizzard, and a whole lotta patch to look forward to tomorrow.

Filed under: Patches, News items

Blizzard helps host art show at Laguna College of Art and Design


The Laguna College of Art and Design has worked pretty closely with Blizzard in the past -- some of Blizzard's employees are on faculty there, and they've sent artists over to work with students before. They've also put on art shows there, and this week, they're putting on another one. The exhibit will open on October 1st and last through the rest of the month, and they're having a reception event on October 23rd (it's open to the public, and you can bet that there will be more than a few Blizzard artists there to say hi to).

Sounds like fun. Here's a slideshow of student art scheduled to be in the show -- none of it looks to be strictly Warcraft-related, but there is a little Blizzard flavor in a few of them (especially this one, I think). It all looks well done -- maybe we'll see some of this stuff exhibited at BlizzCon as well. If you're in the area and you do go see it, make sure to tell us what you think.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Fan art

PTR 3.0.2 Patch mirrors

Everyone seems to be having problems downloading the Public Test Realm (PTR) client still. This can be a real problem for some, especially if you don't have access to a high speed internet connection all the time. You can read the PTR patch notes multiple times over and still not be finished with the download.

WoWWiki has a great list of a few mirrors, and I've linked to the most trusted ones I use all the time after the break.

Please keep in mind that it is always possible, although highly unlikely, that one of these files might contain a virus. You should be running something to scan for viruses on all incoming files, like the free AVG.

See below after the break for the mirrors list.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, News items

PTR 3.0.2 Patch Notes

Patch 3.0.2 will bring with it major changes to the way the game is played, all in preparation for Wrath of the Lich King. Mechanics for virtually all aspects of game-play will change somewhat, and all classes will get new talent trees and spells. The patch notes are long and extensive, and they're not even done.

The notes give a clear warning "The current patch notes are incomplete, but will be progressively more comprehensive in each patch." Things are not done. Indeed, these notes even go on to mention that Blizzard is still modifying and balancing the classes.

Read below after the break for the complete PTR 3.0.2 patch notes. Sit back with a drink and read over them all, it's going to be an interesting patch!

(Psst! Looking for the short version? Check out the TLDR version here.)

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Filed under: Patches, News items

PTR 3.0.2 client is available for download


You can now begin downloading the PTR (Public Test Realm) client for patch 3.0.2. We reported earlier today that character copies have been made active, and those are going along nicely as far as we can tell (my Warrior copied across with no problem). To download the client and copy your characters over to the PTR, login to your account administration at worldofwarcraft.com.

We are expecting a lot of out of this patch. From new talent trees, to class and raid mechanics changes, to the removal of the Amani War Bear. We'll have a lot more on this as we get more information in. Patch notes are not available yet – though we expect to get our hands on them soon.

Stay tuned!

Filed under: Patches, News items

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

PTR goes up

Usually Blizzard is pretty definitive when they take something down. However today they've decided to take down the PTR (Public Test Realm) in the morning, and then put it back up early tonight. I'm reminded of a recent Simpsons episode I watched where Homer is sitting in his hospital bed awaiting a heart bypass surgery and goes "Bed goes up, bed goes down. Bed goes up, bed goes down." PTR goes down, PTR goes up.

All of these announcements come from the same person, Hortus, so it's not an issue of him being confused or anything (unless the whirly jig in his head has gotten to him). Hortus does tell us that they've put it up for "some additional testing," which really isn't a surprise given it's a test realm.

This probably means that patch 2.4.2 won't go live tomorrow if there is maintenance. Once we know more we'll post and keep you updated.

Filed under: Patches, News items

Patch 2.4.2 notes released

Blizzard has released tonight the patch notes for patch 2.4.2, which means the PTR will probably be up and running sometime soon. Patch 2.4 will likely be the last major patch before Wrath of the Lich King, and we expect to see a couple more of these minor patches before WotLK comes out.

Highlights of 2.4.2 include:
  • Changes to the way arena points are calculated - essentially what Drysc talked about earlier.
  • Void Shatter no longer has a cooldown, and other cooldowns have been reduced.
  • Illidan will no longer despawn if a raid wipes during his death speech.
  • If you are sheeped / polymorphed by a mob, you will no longer gain back health (ie: the mass sheep in Aran, which regens your health before he fire blasts the raid). This is a potentially large change.
  • Many main hand weapons are now one hand weapons.
  • A good list of bug fixes, including several problems associated with sounds.
Full patch notes for your convenience after the break!

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, News items

PTR is up and running


Good evening ladies and gentlemen (cue the WoW Insider Show intro music). For tonight's entertainment, I present to you a fully functional PTR – complete with Sunwell Plateau and lots of goodies to play around with. Well, at least it's evening if you're up with me at 3:00 a.m. when I'm posting this.

But even if you're not a night owl, now is probably your last chance to head over to the PTR and test out all the goodness that is patch 2.4. Blizzard had shut it down until now, possibly to just test out one or two other things before releasing the patch soon. My bet is still on March 25th. I have no little birdie in my ear saying that's a for sure thing, but I just have this gut feeling I'm right. If you've participated in the guess the release date contest, you might be under a week away from winning a nice 60 day game card.

I had to apply a couple of patches when logging onto the game tonight. It only took about 10 minutes though. Not too bad. We've looked over the patch notes and in-game items and can't find anything different – although perhaps there are some changes we're overlooking. However with that said, often times Blizzard will make the "undocumented" changes on the PTR right before they release the live patch. Who knows what those are...

Happy PTRing!

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Realm Status, News items

All the World's a Stage: Drawing the line on ERP

All the World's a Stage is brought to you by David Bowers every Sunday evening, investigating the mysterious art of roleplaying in the World of Warcraft.

There are some people out there who use online games as a venue for their erotic fantasies, from husbands and wives spending some imaginative time together online, to complete strangers flush with desire and looking for some sort of satisfaction in each other. Most of these people who try out Erotic Role-Playing (or ERP) in WoW realize the need to keep it private; they do whatever they do in private chat channels, where it stays their own affair.

But there are a rare few who take ERP to an extreme: they form a guild whose whole purpose is to engage in ERP, and proceed to garner a largely negative reputation for themselves. They wear their suggestive guild name like a sign above each of their character's heads, as if to draw as much attention to themselves as possible. Their members indulge in various sexual fantasies, some of which may even be extremely distasteful and objectionable, played out in an environment where everyone is encouraged to "explore" with one another in anonymity.

Obviously, the moral danger here is that young people may be tempted to wander in, way before they are mature enough to understand or deal reasonably with what they experience there. We generally assume adults to be responsible for themselves in such matters, but children may very well be confused and curious, even willing to lie about their age in order to unravel such adult secrets. Indeed, ERP is a subject matter that the vast majority of players do not want to see -- least of all parents who like their kids to grow and learn from their interactions with others within the game, or at least have a safe and fun experience. Therefore, roleplayers of any sort have a responsibility to keep the public environment clean and safe for all who play there, and for the few involved with ERP guilds to do otherwise is dangerous and unethical.

Read more →

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

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