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Updatedx3: Urgent maintenance complete

Blizzard has announced that they are conducting urgent maintenance on several realms. Though the official Warcraft twitter account announced it would only go on until noon PST (the tweet was about account maintenance), the in-game and forum messages state that they do not know how long the maintenance will take. They expect to have more information by 12:30 p.m. PST / 3:30 p.m. EST.

The list of affected realms is after the break (which includes Zangarmarsh, the It came from the Blog server).

We will keep you informed as the status changes.

3:25 p.m. PST: All realms are (supposedly) online and playable.
Update 3 p.m. PST: More info at 3:30 PST.
Update: More info at 1:30 p.m. PST.

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

Widespread "Logging in to game server" errors - Updated (again)


We've had tips of a problem some players are having logging in to WoW tonight, but I can attest to it since it's happening to me as well. I can log into any US or Oceanic server except the one I usually raid on. I was on, and about to pull the first encounter in 25 man Trial of the Crusader when I was suddenly disconnected and unable to log back into the server. Several attempts to log back in later, I found that yes, I could log on to other servers, just not Norgannon, my usual home. Attempts to flush my DNS, restart my computer, my router and my modem provided no relief. I could play anywhere, save where I have characters to play. As of 9:40 pm the problem persists. So if it's happening to you, take heart in that you're not alone.

Blizzard is aware of the issue, but currently has no ETA as to when it will be fixed.

Update: Blizzard poster Claudiog says that the issue seems to have been resolved. For my part, I am finally back online and raiding as of 11:12 PM EST.

Update #2: seems that problems persist and Blizzard is asking affected players to help them lock it down. If you can post your ISP and a traceroute to that forum thread you should probably do so. We're also getting widespread reports from EU players that there are several kinds of problems with their login servers as well. We have an image of the European client's Breaking News box after the jump.

Update #3: There's now a list of affected servers. We'll include the entire list after the jump: still no ETA on when the issue will be resolved.

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

Emberstorm and Whirlwind battlegroups down

We're receiving reports that servers on the Whirlwind and Emberstorm battlegroups, located in the Seattle datacenter, are currently experiencing downtime. These were the same battlegroups that were scheduled to recieve their local power supply upgrade today, so there may have been some unanticipated issue in the process.

Don't panic! It's likely only temporary and they should be back up soon.

We'll update you guys with more info when we get it. The full list of affected realms is under the cut -- feel free to hit us up on Twitter @wowinsider if yours comes back up and we haven't reported on it yet.

UPDATE 4:18 AM EDT:

Blizzard has posted a thread regarding the issues on the Battlegroup forums.

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Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status

WoW currently free to play in China, fate still being decided by government

The trials and tribulations continue for Chinese MMO players, WoW, and its new Chinese provider NetEase. IncGamers is reporting that the beta of the game is continuing - effectively making the game free to play for those lucky enough to be taking part - while the Chinese government decides if enough changes have been made, such as the removal of corpses, gore and other unpleasant parts of the MMO experience, for the game to get a Chinese relaunch.

Since handing over the baton from from The9, things have not gone very well. After an extended hiatus which saw the game's servers offline while the data was transferred over, the game is still awaiting the final go-ahead from GAPP (the General Administration of Press and Publication). The beta was originally supposed to last around a week but because of the delay has been going on for nearly a month. However IncGamers is also reporting that according to NetEase, all the internal testing has been completed and once the GAPP are done, the game should launch pretty quickly.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

Guildwatch: They should ninja a dictionary


Blizzard's "new" approach to the endgame is nowhere more apparent than right here in Guildwatch: final endgame bosses use to only be the domain of world firsts and sponsored guilds, but one look through our Downed section this week shows that even casual guilds can now roll all the way up to Yogg-Saron and take him out. Sure, Algalon, that "destroyer of raids," is still no pushover. But the endgame is definitely much more accessible than before.

That downed news can be found after the link below, along with all of the drama and raiding news we've received lately from around the realms. Click on to read this week's Guildwatch, and feel free to send us your tips at guildwatch@wow.com -- you might see them right here next week.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

China's Ministry of Culture approves WoW content

Blizzard has been having all kinds of issues trying to bring World of Warcraft back online in China, but here's one piece of good news for them: China's Ministry of Culture has gone through the game and approved all of the content in it. They apparently were concerned about some violent content (we know they've already made changes in the past to the Undead models), but that's now been cleared, and the only thing left is final approval by the General Administration of Press and Publication. There's no date on when that might happen, but it seems that will be soon (not soon(tm), just soon).

Blizzard should be extremely happy to see these content checks cleared, as it means that they're not only that much closer to bringing the servers back online, but that they can also finally bring out Wrath of the Lich King there. The whole issue with Netease and The9 backed things up, and then these content checks were a problem, but hopefully most of the obstacles have been cleared by now, and Chinese players can soon start making their way back into the game and up to the snowy shores of Northrend.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Can you have too many alts?

I installed the new Armory app on my beloved iPhone a few mornings ago and I love it. Seriously, it had to be the best app yet. Now if only there was one which would let you send in-game mail/work the AH without logging in but that's for another Breakfast Topic. Today's is all about alts, specifically how many you have and whether it is possible to have too many.

Loading up the app, I was distracted not by the cool sound effects or the sparklyness of the app but by the number of alts I have lying around. By that I don't mean active alts, I generally focus my attention on my main Serisa, but I do have a lot scattered around numerous European servers. It's quite odd to have an app tied to my account which shows all my alts, rather than ones I select (as with previous non-Blizzard iPhone apps).

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine. He seems to have a thousand alts, so many that he didn't have a precise number. I asked if he had any idea of the cap for such and he guessed it had to be about fifty. He assured me if there was a cap, he hadn't hit it yet. But looking at the app, I was quite surprised by the sheer number of level 1-10 toons I have lying forgotten on servers I never visit anymore, from days when Daggerspine was down and I wanted to play Horde on another realm (usually Blood Elf females).

So, come on readers, I ask you. Can you have too many alts? If yes, what's your record?

Filed under: Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Alts

The Queue: Are you a god?


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

A simple question instead of an introduction.

Are you a god?
Yes7207 (66.4%)
Yes3647 (33.6%)


Go get her, Ray!

Some music too which you can listen to while reading today's Queue. And some more. Don't watch the videos, they're dumb. But the music is great.

Angus asked...

"Why is there a defense channel for every zone? Specifically, why would anyone be attacking the Twisting Nether? I found this to be my most amusing channel. The raid or instance ones are funny, but this one always cracks me up."

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast topic: Do you wish there were worldwide realms?


One of my big beefs with MMOs is that I have friends all around the world and can't play with them. For example, most of Team WoW.com play on US realms, a couple on Oceanic and me and the T in the EU. Of course the biggest problem with playing any MMO will be timezones (especially if you like to raid) but that doesn't stop some titles having just one massive server, regionless servers or allowing you to change realms on the fly. Sadly WoW has none of these and it frustrates me that there's such a divide, even though here in Europe there are cross-language battlegroups and more servers than you can shake a stick at. However given the number of players across the US, EU and China I can understand the reasons for it.

So readers, putting aside region restrictions, logic and languages for a moment, do you wish WoW had just one giant server? Would you like the ability to move from server to server for free at a moment's notice, depending on where your friends were playing? Would you rather the game was a bit more like Guild Wars in that it didn't matter where you purchased the game from?

Filed under: Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Battlegrounds, Europe

With the game offline in China, others aim to step in

As you may or may not have heard, the World of Warcraft is currently offline in China, thanks to a fight between the game's former licensee, The9, and its current licensee, Netease. Yes, if you think a day or so of downtime is bad here in the US and the EU, that's nothing compared to this: the game has been down since June 7th, and neither Blizzard nor Netease have given an estimate of when the game might be back online. An analyst from China does say that they expect most players to return to the servers once they return, but in the meantime, many players have spread over into Taiwan's WoW server. We don't believe that Blizzard allowed transfers during this time, so they've likely started and leveling brand new characters over there.

And don't think that other games haven't noticed this unique window of opportunity: there are currently millions of MMO players looking for something to do in China, and there are at least three big other games looking to give them something to do. Aion, which is currently in beta here in the US but is apparently up and running in Asia already, is making as much of a play as they can, and there are two local Chinese games, Zhuxian Online and Chibi Online, both developed by a company called Perfect World, that are also aiming to steal some of China's WoW players.

Very interesting situation over there -- imagine how much the MMO world would be thrown off here if WoW just completely disappeared for multiple weeks, if not longer. Blizzard is likely scrambling to get things moving over there as fast as possible.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Realm Status, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions

Guildwatch: System error beep bop


We have no idea why Coridane is so against Warlocks getting made fun of in the game (he must not be a fan of our very own Warlock-hater, Christian Belt), but apparently it's serious -- serious enough for him to kick you from a raid. We do especially like that the need to assault downed Warlocks is actually a system error ("beep bop"): we would just have assumed that was normal protocol. It sure is in our raids.

More drama like this, along with downed and recruiting news, in this week's Guildwatch. If you have tips for us, feel free to send them in -- just drop us a note (please keep it short, sweet, and clear) at guildwatch@wow.com, and you might see it here next week.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch

wowTwitter is a Twitter just for your characters

I'm not sure how well this will scale, but it's an interesting idea: while it's certainly possible to just create a Twitter account for your World of Warcraft characters (so anyone interested can always see what you're up to), the folks behind a new site called wowTwitter have gone a step further, and recreated Twitter's functionality specifically for Azeroth's virtual denizens. It's very barebones right now, but basically, after you register, you can punch in any of your characters, "verify" them by changing something about them in the Armory (like unequipping the piece of gear on your wrist), and then you can send and receive messages on that character, with special channels created for the guild, your realm, and so on. I thought it used Twitter somehow, but it seems completely separate: they're running their own database and servers, so while the two work the same way (there are "@" replies and hashtags), they don't interact at all.

Which means they'll also have all of the problems that Twitter has had -- when only a few people are using your database, it runs fine, but if it starts to scale up at all, then you run into lots of "Fail Whale" downtime. And I'm not sure we need a whole other system just for WoW characters (though this one does have the nice bonus of "claiming" your character so it can't get impersonated). At any rate, they're in beta right now, and actually hosting a cash money prize contest for the most characters verified and tweets posted, so a link from us will probably show them how ready their system is. If it's your thing, go forth and wowTweet!

Filed under: How-tos, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Contests, Hardware

An official server for South Africa

Here's an interesting post from what looks like a site in Zaire wondering if Blizzard will ever bring World of Warcraft to South Africa. It's true -- we all take it for granted that here in North America and Europe, the game is available, but in many parts of the world, it's not. And apparently there's a market in a place like South Africa -- Blizzard says they have about five to seven thousand players down there already (we'd assume they're playing on EU or US servers), and that probably doesn't count any of the players on private servers, which could be as many as 20,000.

iGame is a division of an ISP called iBurst down there, and they say they're prepared to run an official server (within 24 hours' notice!) if Blizzard gives the OK, but Blizzard has told them that they need at least 40,000 players in the area to make it worth running an official server.

There's another option called a "peering" server, which apparently does hook up to Blizzard's servers, but uses local connections and networks to make things a little faster. But again, Blizzard needs to assent to that, and it seems like they're hesitant at the moment.

Oceanic realms have had issues for a long time, but at least the players there do have a chunk of servers dedicated to them. Are there any other major places in the world that don't have official WoW support yet? South America? India?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware

Armory temporarily disabled to cut server load

Today being BlizzCon ticket sales day, Blizzard is anxious to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. In an attempt to lessen load on their web servers, they've temporarily disabled the Armory. In fact, this has been the case since last night, when I went to check out our main tank's armory after the raid (he had just gotten Shieldwall of the Breaker and I wanted to see what he was upgrading from).

This is going to be inconvenient for those of you attempting to form PuGs, especially PuG raids. Hopefully BlizzCon tickets will sell out relatively quickly, and this madness will be over, and our beloved gear-checking, snobbery-enabling service returned to us. How will you be vetting players in the mean time?

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Maintenance extended further for many realms [updated]

In completely unsurprising news, extended maintenance for the realms that were undergoing it has been additionally extended today. These realms were suppose to be brought up at noon PDT today. The latest news is that there is no current ETA for them to come back, but that we should get another update by 1 PM PDT (at which time I fully anticipate they will tell us to expect another update by 2 PM PDT). The good news is they're doing hardware upgrades, so when the realms come back up, they should be better than before.

The affected realms are: Aegwynn, Akama, Aman'Thul, Arathor, Azjol-Nerub, Barthilas, Blackrock, Bloodscalp, Bonechewer, Boulderfist, Bronzebeard, Caelestrasz, Chromaggus, Crushridge, Daggerspine, Darkspear, Dath'Remar, Draenor, Dragonblight, Dragonmaw, Draka, Drak'thul, Dreadmaul, Dunemaul, Eitrigg, Eldre'Thalas, Feathermoon, Firetree, Frostmane, Frostmourne, Frostwolf, Garithos, Gundrak, Gurubashi, Hakkar, Jubei'Thos, Khaz Modan, Khaz'goroth, Kil'jaeden, Kilrogg, Korgath, Kul Tiras, Malorne, Mug'thol, Muradin, Nagrand, Nathrezim, Ner'zhul, Perenolde, Proudmoore, Rexxar, Runetotem, Saurfang, Scarlet Crusade, Sen'jin, Shadow Council, Shadowsong, Silver Hand, Silvermoon, Skywall, Smolderthorn, Spirestone, Stonemaul, Stormscale, Suramar, Terenas, Thaurissan, Thorium Brotherhood, Tichondrius, Uldum, Vek'nilash, and Windrunner. All other realms should be available for play now.

We will keep you posted as soon as we hear more on when the realms in question will be brought up.

Update: As predicted, they have updated to let us know that they still don't know when these realms will be back up, and they will have another update for us at 2 PDT.

Update 2: Blizzard has announced that they expect these realms to be available for play by 2:30 PDT.

Filed under: Realm News, News items

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