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Posts with tag rights

The Lawbringer: Avatar rights as expectations

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

Last week, I introduced the concept that the denizens of a virtual world may have gained, over time, the right to rights within that virtual world. Raph Koster, the lead developer of Ultima Online, explored the idea over 10 years ago when the MMO genre was in its developmental infancy. These rights synced up with a world where there was a distinction between free-to-play MUDs and for-pay subscription worlds in the U.S. and European markets. Today, the MMO has transformed into a new beast from the close-knit communities of MUDs and the relatively forgiving user base of EverQuest and Ultima Online.

The people who made WoW are the contemporaries of Raph Koster and children of the MMO genre that EverQuest cemented as important. How then, in over 10 years, has Koster's declaration of the rights of avatars held up to the incredible growth of the industry and Blizzard's own impressive growth? The short answer: The code of conduct you follow in World of Warcraft is pretty lenient, all things considered. The long answer: Well, there's always a long answer.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

The Lawbringer: A prelude to avatar rights

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The concept of avatar rights is a strange and new concept, only really going back as far as people have demanded rights for their virtual counterparts. In the early days of the MMO genre, players would populate MUDs (multi-user dungeons) or similarly designed constructs online and do pretty much the same things we do today -- hack, slash, chat, and adventure with other users. From MUDs, we got graphical MMOs, and from graphical MMOs, we got the second and third generations of the massively multiplayers we know today. World of Warcraft comes from a rich history of all of the games that came before it, as did the concept of the virtual self. The one thing all of these games have had in common over the years is the avatar.

This week's Lawbringer is the first in a multi-part series discussing avatar rights -- where the concept came from, where it's going, and who has the power to set the rules. We're going to talk about the venerable Raph Koster and his avatar rights manifesto, who your avatar is and what is so damn special about him, and some really interesting concepts dealing with what people feel they are owed. Strap in -- this may get crazy.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

[1.Local]: The relative value of being "First!"

Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Hang on, guys, while I reach back for my Drama Mamas hat ... Just a sec, turning on my helm display ... There. Ok, here's the score: I delete all "First!" comments on my posts, so readers don't have to wade through nonsense posts simply to get a shot at making relevant conversation. Those who persist get hit with the Hammer of Ban Justice. (Don't say you haven't been warned!) Off-topic comments are pointless and rude, and they achieve nothing but demonstrating how spectacularly clueless you are on how to comport yourself in public on the internet. Don't do it, please.

/unequip [Drama Mama Helm]

Ok, now that that's on the record -- shhh, c'mere. Peek around the corner with me, because this "First!" on a recent Around Azeroth turned out to be rather entertaining. (Just don't tell anyone it was me who told you so.)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Humor, [1.Local]

Rumor: The9 loses WoW license in China to Netease

The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.

The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.

Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.

Update: Confirmed. Thanks for playing, The9. Their stock is down big time since the announcement, and Netease's is up.

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

Fans create a petition for a live stream of BlizzCon

A Hungarian site about Starcraft has put together a petition that a lot of folks who weren't able to grab BlizzCon tickets will probably want to sign: they're asking for Blizzard to create a live Internet stream of BlizzCon. Of course, DirecTV will be streaming the whole show (for a price, of course) on television in the US, but Blizzard fans in Europe and elsewhere have no such luck.

To tell the truth, we're not sure why Blizzard made this deal with DirecTV -- well, to be fair, we know why (to make more money), but they did provide a live stream of the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, and while sure, there were occasional problems, it worked far better than I ever expected it to. Why Blizzard didn't just upgrade the servers and send the stream of BlizzCon out into the world for free (as much as DirecTV wouldn't like it) is a good question.

The petition has already 1800 signatures as of this writing (more, we'll note, than the actual number of tickets sold to BlizzCon of course Blizzard has sold thousands of tickets, not hundreds. Sorry about that.), and we're sure it'll be way more than that soon. It's likely that Blizzard has tied themselves down by selling the rights to stream the show to DirecTV, but you never know -- maybe a groundswell of public support for an internet stream will make them reconsider.

[via BlizzPlanet]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Podcasting, Blizzard, News items, Making money, BlizzCon, Fan art

Blizzard to Boll: Thanks, but no thanks

There is probably no name more reviled in the realm of film than Uwe Boll -- he's the man behind such horrible games-to-films as House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark (the latter of which, I am somewhat embarrassed to say, I tried to watch). And while it isn't really news that Uwe Boll isn't directing the World of Warcraft movie (we already knew, from back at Blizzcon, that Legendary Pictures is handling it, and Boll usually uses his own financing and production companies), but this is too great a story to pass up. Apparently when Boll heard that a Warcraft movie was being made, he actually went to Blizzard to try to get it done, and they told him straight up: no, never, not in a million years.

Actually, Boll himself tells the story over on MTV Movies as "we will not sell the movie rights, not to you.... especially not to you." Which is pretty hilarious. He himself also says that "because it's such a big online game success, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongoing income, what the company has with it." So yes, he pretty much guarantees that any movie he makes would be a bad movie anyway.

So there's at least one great thing we can say about the Warcraft movie so far: Blizzard at least cares enough about the quality of the flick to not let Uwe Boll make it. This doesn't guarantee us a good movie, of course. But it's nice to know that the higher ups at Blizzard know to keep their property away from this nut.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Humor, Rumors

Blizzard apologises for GLBT blunder

We previously reported on Blizzard's run-in with Sara Andrews as she was recruiting for her GLBT-friendly guild; fortunately, there's a happy ending. Blizzard's decision has been reversed, and they are reviewing their policies (including their wording). Additionally, as the incident is being put down to a poorly trained GM, we'll be seeing GMs with added "sensitivity training" in future.

According to In Newsweekly, another outcome of this is that a special "guild recruitment" channel is going to come into existence soon, making it easier to advertise and find guilds.

Also, several academics have created and signed an "Open Letter to Blizzard" as a result of this issue, encouraging Blizzard to come forward and "make a public statement that the mention of homosexuality in general chat is not offensive. Beyond this, we also suggest that Blizzard investigate ways of making WoW more inclusive for GLBT guilds and players." It looks like this single GM reprimand has touched a very sensitive nerve.

Filed under: Blizzard

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