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Maintenance for Thursday August 6th

According to the in-game announcement, there will be two hours of maintenance tomorrow August 6th on all realms. The maintenance announcement has changed throughout the evening, but seems to have settled on this downtime.

The downtime will happen from 5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT and last until 7:00 a.m. PDT / 10:00 a.m. EDT. This of course assumes that there'll be no extended super-fracken-duper maintenance put on top of that. And we know just how much Blizzard loves to increase their maintenance periods. If there is you'll hear it here.

While the maintenance is going on, you can check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 and read up on all the things you missed, or think you missed. There is also the beginnings of a list of bug fixes; a list that's sure to grow over the coming days.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Behold, the power of macros

I don't PvP that often (especially not with my Hunter), but I still found this list of Hunter macros over at Huntman's Lodge really awesome. Whether you just want to make some common tasks easier (the one-button target/Hunter's Mark/pet attack/start attack is a macro every single Hunter should have), or you want to cut out some keystrokes (the /use [target=player] Heavy Frostweave Bandage is a macro that's great for every class out there), macros can provide a lot of solid support to your game in any situation. For some reason, we all use addons, but macros are generally overlooked, despite the fact that the system Blizzard has built in for macros can be pretty powerful all by itself.

Garwulf has even more macros for Hunters on a special page, and of course there are lots and lots of suggested macros and macro guides available online. Especially since macros started being saved to the server instead of your individual machine at home, if you're still using regular abilities on your bars, looking over the available macros for your class should help you out a lot.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Fan stuff, PvP, Leveling

Blizzard responds to extended maintenance and instance problems


Blizzard EU has released a long and detailed statement concerning the recent waves of extended maintenance and how it's connected to the problems associated with launching instances. For several months players have been plagued with the message "Additional instances cannot be launched." The message was being caused by overloaded instance servers, and for a long time there was seemingly nothing Blizzard could do about it.

Blizzard's statement today clearly informs us that all the extended maintenance we've been seeing is directly due Blizzard implementing fixes for the problems server-side. While the statement comes from an EU source, once can assume rather easily that it applies to the US as well.

While no timeframe is given as to exactly when this will be done for all realms, it is very good to know that stuff is getting done behind the scenes. And this look at exactly what Blizzard is doing to their servers represents a rare glimpse into their inner workings. Usually Blizzard is pretty tight lipped about what exactly is happening with their hardware.

The full statement after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, Blizzard, News items, Instances

Login issues reported this evening


WoW.com has been getting a massive number of tips in regarding problems people are experiencing when trying to log into the game. There is no official Blizzard word yet, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one soon.

The problems seem to be originating from people who have not yet merged their World of Warcraft accounts with their Battle.net accounts. To do so, go into the account management page and select the appropriate options.

There have been some stability issues with the login servers the last few days, and this seems to just be the latest.

If you can't get in, check out our Guide to Patch 3.2 - we're expecting the patch to drop within the next few weeks. And if you haven't heard already, the Warcraft Movie has landed a director - Sam Raimi. It's World of Spidercraft, baby.

Update: Now there is an official Blizzard response to the problem, although there is no ETA on a solution.

Update #2: For those wondering, the issue was fixed overnight.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Maintenance for select realms tomorrow


Maintenance came and went today, and many people were initially pleasantly surprised to see their realm up early. However this quickly became a thing of disappointment as they found the instance servers were laggier than normal, and the realms themselves were rather unstable.

While there were a series of quick restarts to correct many of the problems, several issues still existed. And of course another maintenance period has gone by without any fix to the dreaded "Additional instances cannot be launched, please try again later," error.

Those words are nearly burned into my monitor now.

Tomorrow morning from 5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT until 8:00 a.m. PDT / 11:00 a.m. EDT the following realms after the break will be down for additional maintenance and hardware upgrades. These short downtimes usually mean that nothing too special is happening, but in case there's a cataclysmic event we'll be sure to let you know. (See what I did thar?)

The list of affected realms after the break!

Read more →

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

A leveling server, just for leveling

Reader Tiago sent us an interesting idea I thought was worth sharing. He suggests that Blizzard create a "leveling server" -- a server that would be marked as specifically for new characters, so when you rolled a new toon on there, you'd be surrounded by a bunch of other people pre-80. And the key here would be that when you hit 80 on this server, then you would get a free server transfer off. In other words, Blizzard would have one server (completely optional, of course) designed for people to level on, with a realm full of people playing in the old world and leveling through the old quests.

Sounds good, right? Like most of our ideas, Blizzard probably won't go for it -- they've already knocked down the idea of vanilla realms, and while this isn't the same thing (you'd be able to level to 80, the idea is just that you'd leave the server when you got there), it does mean creating a different ruleset for a brand new type of server. Plus, to a much lesser extent, it could create an even more lonely existence on the normal servers. Not to mention that Blizzard has been focusing on speeding past the low levels, not emphasizing them.

But I like the idea anyway -- it doesn't seem too tough to do (mark one realm recommended, and provide free server transfers off of it), and it seems like an excellent way to get people who enjoy leveling up all together in the same place. And that's really what MMOs like this are all about, right?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Leveling

May Guild of the Month: Dragon Knights on Area 52


We're running late on this one (the beginning of the month was quite busy), but it's not any less exciting: congratulations go out to our latest Guild of the Month for May: the Dragon Knights on Area 52. They sent us a nomination along with many other guilds in the game, and were selected for their originality, community, and raiding performance. Among other interesting things about the guild (which you can read in the second half of this post), they run a guild podcast, an email newsletter, and even a lotto, all along with raiding competitively and leveling up as a guild.

In addition to being profiled here on the site, the Dragon Knights will also win a raid pack from Swagdog.com, where they (and you) can pick up customized shirts and hats with their guild name and logo printed on them. Our Guild of the Month contest is ongoing, so stay tuned to the site for the next chance to nominate your guild to be recognized here on WoW.com. Read on to learn more about the Dragon Knights and why they're our winners for May.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Contests, Raiding, Bosses

The limits and possibilities of Bind to Account

Aeuis brings up an interesting point over on the forums: even though some of the items we get are called "Bind on Account" (or, more properly, Bind to Account, even though most people use BoA as shorthand) they're really not that, because you can't actually send them across factions or realms. Of course, that's pretty obvious to people who've been playing the game for a while -- Blizzard has never really encouraged cross-faction interaction at all (you can "send" items through the neutral AH, though even that is a bit of a hack, not really the intended purpose). So BoA items are actually bound to account, server, and faction.

But Wyrxian is surprisingly open about "future possibility:" he does say that while Blizzard could allow us to send items between factions if they wanted us to, they also wanted to leave things open just in case the functionality came into view in the future. That doesn't mean we can expect a change in the next patch, but it does seem to mean that Blizzard is still open to the "possibility." You'd think it be tough technically (character inventories are all over the place, especially cross-server), but considering that we can now have cross-server battlegrounds, all it would probably take is a tweak to the in-game mail system. One character sends an item, another character receives it.

And really, the only possibility that might come open is just ease-of-use -- that's why BoA and Heirloom items are in the game already, and if Blizzard determines that it would be easier to have you share items between your characters' factions and servers (perhaps if they upgrade the character re-customization feature to include a faction change?), then it will likely happen sooner or later.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard

Maintenance for Tuesday June 2nd


Maintenance, you say? Unheard of! After all, what is wrong with a Paladin standing upright while riding her horse? Or what's wrong with constant errors telling intrepid adventurers additional instances cannot be launched?

Well, okay. Something might be wrong with those things. Hopefully tomorrow's maintenance will bring fixes to them. But more importantly based on all account it'll be bringing patch 3.1.3 with it as well.

Maintenance will last from 3:00 a.m. PDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT. Unless, of course, you on one of the few dozen realms listed after the break. For those special realms, maintenance will last from 12:01 a.m. PDT until 12:01 p.m. PDT. Why is it starting at the :01? Because Blizzard wants you to have an extra minute to complete raids tonight. That's how much they care. And you know what? So do I... (Click it... I dare you.)

The full list of realms under the extended maintenance after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, News items

Breakfast Topic: Your favorite routes


Vince sent us this tip from Just my Two Copper: a quick Cobalt circuit in case you're a high level miner and want to spend a few minutes making some ingame money. Truth is, everyone has this various routes that they take in game, whether they be your recent run of dailies, a gathering run (I used to know the Swamp of Sorrows by heart when I was leveling up Herbalism, and even now I've got my own places to go in Sholazar to pick up as much leather as possible), or even a run around to see if you can find some of the rare spawns (the Time-Lost Proto Drake or maybe the spirit beast).

What are some of your favorite, most ingrained (in your mind), or most profitable runs in game? They aren't really a trade secret -- AHs tend to change from server to server, and even if a certain ore or item comes into demand, it's usually because no one wants to farm it, not because it's not out there to find. But we do get set in our patterns -- what are some of yours?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Making money

Cinco de Mayo server maintenance

There'll be some good ol' sever maintenance for us all tomorrow, lasting from 5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT.

We are not expecting patch 3.1.2 to drop tomorrow, given there is a new PTR build tonight. That makes the chances a patch will drop highly unlikely.

There have been some recent Ulduar nerfs that have come into being, and we're on the lookout for additional hotfixes they'll apply during tomorrow's downtime.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Breakfast Topic: Patch 3.1 after the dust has settled

Annoyed cat
Patch days are often disastrous, and in their aftermath, there is a lot to tweak, hotfix, and repair. Realms have been unstable, Authentication servers unreliable, and bugs abound.

Earlier this week, we asked you what your impressions are of live Patch 3.1, and now that you've had a few days to adjust to the changes, we want to know, how are you feeling about it now?

My pick for the most annoying aspect would have to be the new quest tracker that shows the icon of the quest item, if there is one, next to the information. Or, rather, on top of it. Somehow, knowing that I've killed 1... doesn't really help me. Is that 1 of 12? 11 of 12? 13/17? Who knows.

Despite this easily-fixable problem, I'm loving it. Thursday night raiding was smooth as silk, and not only are dual-specs extremely handy and fun, it also makes it easier to answer questions about your off-spec. How many hit points does my Tankadin have unbuffed, you ask? Give me under one minute, and I can tell you! I can't wait until the Equipment Manager is live.

How are you liking the changes and new features, now that you've had a few days to play around with them? Have your opinions changed from how you felt in the first day or two after it landed? Why?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Common updating problems and tips for fixing them

It's patch day, of course, and people are having plenty of troubles with upgrading their clients to the latest 3.1 version. But worry not -- most of the issues we're seeing, while relatively widespread, should be fixed by the time the realms come back online. Here's a few tips to help you get through the time of trouble.

Help! My patch isn't downloading? It's stuck at 68%/73%/xx%!
It probably is downloading -- be patient and let it run. Blizzard uses a Bittorrent-based system to distribute the game's patches through the official client, and those systems depend not just on Blizzard and their ability to distribute the patch, but also how much of the patch all of your peers have. If everyone around you has xx%, that's all you'll get for now. But an hour from now, someone will have spread the full patch around, and then you'll pick it up no problem. Patience is a virtue, and until the realms come back up, you can't play anyway.

Also, the patcher will stop showing progress around 70% or so -- at that point it'll start installing the patch, and you'll need to click another button to see installation progress. But if you just let it run, it'll update.

What does "The tracker is not responding" mean?
Another Bittorrent issue that should resolve itself after a little while. The patch will need some time to disseminate, and if you get a message like this, it just means your client hasn't found all of the connections that it can. It will.

I get a weird "Unable to Validate Game Version" message when I log in. Is my client broken?
No. Blizzard's servers aren't all upgraded yet (hence the reason we can't play). When they are all upgraded, your client's version will match the server's, and everything will be hunky dory.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

Tuesday Morning Post: Seriously, You should read this book edition

If I may be allowed to indulge in a little self-aggrandizing on this fine Tuesday morning, I'd like to posit that the best article written this past week was posted on Sunday and written by me. This article is the review of Christie Golden's new Warcraft novel, Arthas. Now, before you accuse me of the sin of Pride, I should say that Alex totally agrees with me, so it's all good. Besides, I had some awesome inspiration courtesy of the book.

But my point is, you should go read the review, then go pre-order your copy. It's a pretty good book. If you're a lore or fantasy fan, there's a pretty excellent chance you will not be disappointed. That said, the release date is still a couple weeks off. This means that, in the meantime, you have no Arthas book, so you'll probably want to do the next best thing and read some WoW Insider, like during that 15 minute window while your server's down from rolling restarts this morning. Or longer if you're on one of the servers that may or may not get extra downtime. Here's a few reading suggestions:

Read more →

Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items

Urgent authentication database maintenance underway

The opening announcement on the login screen has just let us know that there is urgent maintenance being performed on the authentication servers. The maintenance will continue until 1:00 p.m. PDT / 4:00 p.m. EDT.

During this time you may or may not be able to log into the game. Pretty much the luck of the draw and beyond your control.

Account management and posting on the forums will be offline during this time as well, so the troll's trolling will have to terrifically terminate 'till temporally soon.

We'll update this post when things are back to normal, or if there are additional issues.

Filed under: Realm Status, News items

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