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Steamwheedle Cartel holding a "Black Market" crafting event

I love this idea a whole lot. A group of folks on Steamwheedle are holding an RP even (which they've done before), but it's a different kind of event than the usual party or dueling tournament. Instead, it's going to be completely peaceful -- they're having a Saturday morning crafting bazaar. Down in the empty vendor stalls of Undercity, they'll have crafters of all types and levels, some with their mats, some where you'll have to bring your own mats, making items aplenty for players. On January 24th, they're holding a "Black Market", where you'll be able to get almost anything crafted that you want (providing you've got the goods). They're also having a raffle, and they'll be serving food and drink as well. What a great idea.

In fact, I'd love to see something like this come to the game at large -- maybe Blizzard could provide a bonus to crafting when it's done at a certain time in a certain place, like create a "crafter's market" weekly on Saturday mornings (scheduled just like the Sunday fishing tournament), where crafters can make sure to be in a certain area ready to craft for any players who might need it, and can get bonus items or currency or mats for their trouble.

For such a social game, combat seems to always end up being the only way for players to connect regularly (not that there's anything wrong with that, but the only way to bond in game seems to be killing things). It would be nice to see more of this type of connection encouraged by Blizzard, with players using the skills they've earned to help each other and both sides getting a nice reward for it.

Filed under: Herbalism, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Enchanting, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Jewelcrafting, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription

Forum Post of the Day: To each according to his need

It seems the vast majority of drama we've heard regarding guild banks comes from ninja schemes and disgruntled members. Vaela of Hyjal expressed her exasperation with guild banks in the Guild Relations forum. She feels that there is an imbalance between players who donate resources to the guild bank and those who make the most withdrawals. The original poster asked for suggestions on systems to fairly distribute guild bank resources.

The responses focused on cooperation and reciprocity with the guild bank. The purpose of the guild bank is to fun the guild's activities and exchange objects of value. In the end, the system comes off as a communist type of public ownership arrangement, as opposed to the free trade system that rules the auction house. To quote Karl Marx, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Communism as we've known it has largely failed, most likely because people don't fully buy into the system.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Economy, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Age of Conan for World of Warcraft players

Funcom's new MMO Age of Conan opens up their servers today (the game is set for release tomorrow), and like many WoW players, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Our good friends over at Massively have put together a guide specifically for you -- it's a look at Age of Conan from the point of view of a player of World of Warcraft.

A lot of things are the same between the two games -- talents are very similar, and there are a lot of comparable mechanics and spells (DoTs, healing, and aggro, of course, all play a role in AoC as well as in Azeroth). But there are a lot of differences, too: Age of Conan's combat is based on real-time, which means you actually press a button to strike, rather than just setting a target and going to town. Instances play a different role, too -- you start out in a private instance, and can level in a world by yourself for a much longer time than in World of Warcraft. And Funcom has put in quite a few things designed to pull us away from WoW also: mounted combat, a deeper guild system, player cities, and some more PvP mini games.

Of course, even if you do go to play some AoC, Wrath of the Lich King will probably bring you back to WoW anyway -- as fun as killing stuff in the Hyborian Age is, it doesn't hold a candle to meeting Arthas Menethil, in our humble opinion. But if you've heard about Age of Conan and are wondering what the difference is, Massively's guide has you covered.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Leveling

LFG Armory uses Armory to match up characters and guilds

LFG Armory is a new site that's aiming to beat the official Armory at its own game. Blizzard's site, as complete as it is, is still occasionally buggy and slow, and LFG Armory is looking to give players an alternative. And it works fairly well -- while the FAQ claims that data may be a little behind (due to caching of Blizzard's information), both the guild and player profile pages look pretty good and load quickly (and if the site can stay up after we link to them here, that'll be a real sign that it's a stable server).

But the real feature that makes LFG Armory something more than Blizzard's official site is that it has a guild and arena team matching system built in. Once you register your name and your characters, you can do a search for guilds and arena teams and try to find one that matches what you want -- percentage of level 70s, class makeup, and number of members. On the guild side, you can set your guild as looking, and then when you hit a match, LFG will match you up.

It's an interesting system, but like all social networks, it all depends on participation -- when I looked for a guild for my Hunter on Cenarius (who could use a guild, by the way), nothing came up, because likely no one on the server was looking (for a Hunter at least). But as an alternative to the Armory, LFG is looking pretty good. If they can get people to the site and stay up, they might give Blizzard's official site a run for its money.

[Via World of Raids]

Filed under: Guilds, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Raiding, Classes

GoDaddy invades WoW Armory

In one of the most bizarre things I've seen happen to the World of Warcraft in my three years playing, the WoW Armory site today is pointing to a generic domain parking page. The screenshot above was taken at 1:08 p.m. CST on March 2nd, 2008. WoW Insider has received numerous reports of this. It seems to be a DNS related issue. The domain name expires today, and it appears as if a registrant has grabbed the domain name as soon as it expired.

DNS entries for and point to, while the DNS servers for are currently pointing to While some of you might be seeing work correctly, others are not. The ISPs of people who are seeing it work have not had their DNS records updated yet, however within the next 48 hours they will see go down as well; unless Blizzard fixes this before then (I am sure they are already aware, or becoming aware of it).

Stay tuned to WoW Insider for the latest on this story.

Thanks to Matthew Rossi and his wife for contributing to the technical sleuthing in this post.

Updated 2:34 p.m. EST: You can access the armory using a sub-domain of by going to

Updated 3:03 p.m. EST: is now working again. It looks like Blizzard really jumped on the issue and fixed it.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

How to calculate Arena Ratings and Points

If you've been playing arena PvP every week and wondering just how your rating translates into points, wonder no more. Our friend Boubouille has created a nifty and easy little Arena Rating calculator-- just punch in your ratings (or your points, if you want to know what rating you'll need to get a certain number of points, and hit calculate and you're set.

The mathematical relationship is a little complicated (hence the reason for the calculator), but the rules of earning Arena Points aren't real hard to figure out-- every week, you earn points according to the highest team rating you've got. And a higher rating on 5v5 is worth more than 2v2, because 5v5 teams are harder to both fight and keep up with. This leads to a little bit of system gaming (and a lot of team jumping), but so far Blizzard has been fine with all of that-- they want 5v5 to become the most rewarding type of arena match, and they're willing to accept that you can often earn more playing 5v5 than 2v2, even if you lose.

Unfortunately, the actual Arena Rating system is a little more complicated-- it's based off of a chess rating system called ELO (named after the guy who made it, Arpad Elo), and the rating of your opponent actually determines how your rating changes as you play. Unfortunately, with no way to tell who your opponent is before you play a match, it's extremely hard to figure out your rating depending on how many matches you play (players are generally saying that the fewer matches you play, the better, as the higher your rating gets, the more difficult opponents you face). But of course the best way to come out with both a great rating and lots of points is to, y'know, actually be good.

Filed under: Tips, Tricks, PvP

Blizz: Don't take non-personal system information grab personally

It only showed up for a fraction of a second (not even long enough to grab a screenshot of it, or barely read what it said), but after logging in today, you may have noticed the login screen flash a quick message: "Submitting Non-personal System Information." Say wha? What did Blizzard just grab from my computer?

I tried logging in again to see the message again, but no dice-- apparently it was just a one-time process after the first login. I can't remember whether I was given an option to opt out of that system check (I usually say no on that stuff, just because I don't want Blizzard finding out that I'm dumb enough to run the wrong drivers on my sound card or something), but I'm sure it's legal. I'm just not sure that sneaking that in for a split second was the right way to do it.

Nethaera says it's not personal-- they were just grabbing some random system spec info (and I'll speculate that it was to determine a good way to fix all of the graphical errors lately). It's not wrong for companies to have that data necessarily-- Valve does the same thing with Steam, and they've gotten some great info about what gaming PCs are like. It would be nice if Blizz shared info like that, but for now they're just using it to work on their product.

Some gamers aren't real thrilled about the implementation either-- if it's so non-personal, why did they throw up a warning we could just barely see? I just hope that if Blizzard is second-guessing their system reqs, they keep the rest of the process as open as possible.

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

Reader WoWspace of the Week: March 7 - 20

This week, Ben sends in some interesting images, and writes:

I've been tempted to send in a shot of my workspace for a few weeks now after seeing the WoWSpaces of the week, and now I guess I've gotten around to it.

So here 'goes, from left-ish to right:

- my Logitech X-230 speakers
- a note from my mom congratulating me on the arrival of my new PC
- a newspaper clipping about DST changes
- under that, a greeting card and some weird round orange post-its
- my television remote
- cream soda x2 (awwww yeah)
- a J!NX bumper sticker (yep, it's stuck on right on there)
- a page from an old Nintendo Power magazine about Ken from Street Fighter II
- partially under that, my DS charger

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Filed under: Reader WoWspace of the week

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