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Posts with tag technology

Breakfast Topic: Is Azeroth's technology too advanced?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

The party agrees to meet just outside the dragon's lair at sunset for a surprise attack.

First to arrive is the Night Elf Allara; the huntress silently tests her bowstring, as the nightsaber at her feet opens its mouth for a huge yawn. Next is Grizz, the mighty Dwarf; he adjusts his plate armor carefully, tightening the straps. Then Doria, a Worgen rogue; she slips in amidst the pair unnoticed and greets them with a huff from her canine nostrils. Fourth is Elden, an aged Human priest; he moves with serene grace, his simple robes making a gentle hiss in the cool evening air.

And lastly ... "Hey guys! Sorry I'm late!" roars Nitpik the Gnome as he gallops in atop a clanking Mechanostrider. His mace -- a rotating gear -- creaks loudly as he hops to the ground, landing with a crunch in his jet boots. The tiny technophile adjusts his goggles and pats the mechanical chicken at his side. "What'd I miss?
"

Azeroth has a lot of advanced machinery. From the Gnomish Death Ray to the Goblin Rocket Launcher, from biplanes to zeppelins, from logging robots to entire mechanized defense systems, the World of Warcraft is an odd blend of fantasy and science fiction. In Cataclysm, the emphasis shifted away from robots and ancient machines -- the elemental planes have a distinctly organic feel, and the other zones are all rooted in the natural world -- yet we also saw the addition of playable Goblins, a race that's arguably brought more new technology to the landscape than almost any other.

Do these technologies belong in a swords-and-sorcery fantasy setting? Do you think there should be a cap on how advanced technology can get in such a world, or should it be allowed to run wild? Does seeing a sword-wielding Orc alongside a Goblin with a shotgun ever strike you as odd, or do you find it perfectly acceptable?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Jeff Kaplan looks back at WoW's launch

The 5th anniversary press continues -- this time it's a site called Techland, where our friend Tracey John (who also writes for Massively) interviews Jeff Kaplan about his reflections on the last five years of the game. It's surprising to hear that early on, Blizzard wasn't so sure of their success. Despite the fact that even before WoW, they had made some of the most classic PC games of all time, they weren't sure that going the subscription route was a good idea. But one of the companies' founders stood up and gave a pep talk, and promised a whole million subscribers, apparently. Of course, they'd go on to make many times that, but that was good enough to get the team going again.

Kaplan also says that he is a little bummed that Blizzard didn't scale back raiding earlier -- 40-man raids were a little unwieldy, he admits now, and smaller raids would have meant more content in the vanilla days. But he does say that since the game has been updated so much, most of the stuff they wish they'd done different has actually been done differently. And in the future, he says that better technology will play a big role -- bigger instance capacity, and things like cross-server instances and other innovations. The next five years, he seems to hint, should be just as interesting as the first.

[via HolyPaladin]

Filed under: Patches, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Raiding

Creators of Epic Advice working on Epic Plan encounter planner

Now this is interesting. Our old friend Jesta, who made the EpicAdvice.com site not so long ago, is working on a new project at EpicPlan.com, and while it's still hidden away in pre-alpha, you can see what they're up to in this thread on EA. It's a slideshow/diagramming web app, basically -- you can take maps of the game's instances, lay out icons and symbols on them as you wish, and then animate and caption boss fights and encounters. The end result is a very clear way to show off different raid strategies, and we're told the slideshows are embeddable on other sites as well (you may even see some here eventually on WoW.com).

Unfortunately, they're only taking signups for the beta of the service right now, and while you can watch a show in action on the technology demo, you can't make your own quite yet. But it seems like a very impressive tool for raidleaders, both to share plans with the public and players seeking help, as well as your own raid members. It'll be great to be able to make a quick and easy visual display of where to stand and what to do during boss fights and instance encounters.

Filed under: Instances, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Creative to unveil World of Warcraft headset at BlizzCon

Creative Labs posted a World of Warcraft-related teaser yesterday, and today WoW.com is proud to deliver an exclusive reveal: they're promoting a brand new product called the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft headset. This will be a state of the art gaming headset available in both wired and wireless versions, complete with all of Creative's high end gaming audio technology, including THX TruStudio PC Surround, which they say is the "most advanced 'virtual' 3D surround" on the market today. Creative's CMSS is already recognized by many as the best virtual surround sound in gaming, and THX TruStudio PC is supposed to sound even better. The headset also features Creative's VoiceFX technology (so you can disguise your voice with a few different effects), and they say the wireless version of the headset will feature an uncompressed signal that sounds terrific as well.

The headset itself is designed in coordination with Blizzard, and the ear cups (which are complete over-ear) actually feature lighted glyphs, available in Horde or Alliance flavors at launch (with other designs released eventually), and illuminated by programmable RGB LEDs. They have their own software interface, so you'll be able to choose from 16 million colors. Price isn't set just yet, but we'd expect it'll be in line with other high-end headsets, from $100 to $150 depending on what options you go with.

The headset releases in November, but Creative also sent us the pre-prototype render at right, and they've updated their teaser with a picture of the Alliance glyph. Creative tells us they'll have the headset on display at BlizzCon, so if you're there this weekend, stop by their booth and check it out. And be sure to stay tuned to WoW.com -- we're working on a way to give you the chance to win one of these for yourself.


BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, BlizzCon, Hardware

Gaikai promises to stream PC games like WoW straight to your browser

David Perry is one of those game developers who doesn't do anything small -- he started out with a company called Shiny Entertainment, responsible for great old games like Earthworm Jim, MDK, Messiah, and the Enter the Matrix movie tie-in game, and nowadays he's moved on to the MMO market, where he's developed all kinds of crazy ideas (including, we're not kidding, a dance MMO). This is the kind of guy who has ideas and chases them down.

His latest idea is a system called Gaikai, a "game streaming service" that allows players to jump right into any PC games they'd like, no installation or hard drive space necessary, online. There are a number of services like this springing up lately, including the much-discussed OnLive, where instead of depending on your local hardware to render and produce the game you're playing, you just send and recieve information with a remote server. As you can see above, Gaikai is focusing on PC games, and anyone who's planning on running a PC gaming service has to include World of Warcraft. Starting at about 6:00 into the video above, he shows off a version of WoW that requires no installation or loading at all; just sign in and play.

Read more →

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

An Authenticator in your Visa

This is only slightly WoW-related, but it's worth a mention, I think, considering that when it happens, you'll be able to tell all your friends just what these things are. Our good friend Relmstein reports that Visa is planning to put an authenticator, of all things, in their credit cards. We of course all know how the Blizzard Authenticator works: you punch a button on the Authenticator, it gives you a code, and then that code can be used to synch up with the server. The Emue Card that Visa is testing right now works the same way: you punch in a PIN, it'll give you another code to enter on an online shopping site, and thus no one who just gets your card information can actually use your card (much like right now with a Blizzard Authenticator, no one who just gets your password can actually sign in). But it's all built in to the normal credit card.

Very interesting. What Visa's doing with their credit cards might not be completely relevant to WoW, but it is relevant to note that of all of the accounts and passwords in your life that you might like to keep secure, a Blizzard account with an Authenticator attached is probably the most locked-down. Companies have started using Authenticator-like technology to have their employees log in to local networks, and obviously credit card and banking companies are testing things like this. But when it comes down to actual widespread usage, Blizzard is way ahead of the curve. Odds are that your WoW account right now is even more protected than your checking account. We'll likely be using the same authenticator system for other secure connections in the future.

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

The Queue: But there are cats in Azeroth


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

I feel sorry for Alex and his significant other. They can't have pets in their apartment so they got a Roomba. Now I can have pets in my place, and the girlfriend and I have a nice little kitty named Max. In fact, Max was talking to me last night as I wrote today's Queue and told me he'd like to eat Alex's Roomba.

He only started talking after I fed him some Papa Hummel's Old-Fashioned Pet Biscuits.

Actuality asked...

"I was wondering how the Argent Tournament will work with phasing in Icecrown. Will the Tournament be open to all, or only those who have made it to the final Icecrown?"

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

BBC: WoW's patches may push some over the bandwidth limit

We've posted a few times already on the bandwidth limits recently introduced by some ISPs, and in general we've decided that WoW doesn't use nearly enough bandwidth to get you in trouble with your Internet Service Provider. That's likely still true, but as this columnist at the BBC found out, if you're close to the limit, this month's 2gb patch might have been enough to put you over the top. Generally, while the WoW connection does require a strong bandwidth hookup, it won't use too much bandwidth sending data back and forth. But patches and other downloads definitely add to the total, and on a patch like 3.0.2, you're looking at a lot of data flying back and forth.

I'll still maintain it won't get you near the limit -- if this columnist really did have a 25gb limit, the 2gb download was still just a fraction (he's been downloading a lot of other stuff, seems to me). So it's not time to start worrying yet -- if your ISP does send you a letter, then you can look at your internet usage, and see, if like this columnist, it's time to switch ISPs.

But he's got another point, and that is that gaming is clearly having a large effect on computers and technology in general. Would we be fulfilling Moore's Law every two years if we didn't have 3D graphics that needed upgrading? Would high bandwidth connections be as prevalent today around the world if it wasn't for games like WoW that required a high bandwith hookup? Gaming is affecting the basic technologies and economies of the Internet these days, for better or worse.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money

Phasing is the new instancing

In an interview with Eurogamer, Blizzard's J. Allen Brack revealed just a little more about the advancements developers have made with Wrath of the Lich King. As I raved about in my post about the Death Knight starting experience, I effused about how the entire experience was instanced, creating a feel of progression through the world. It turns out I was wrong. The Death Knight starting experience isn't instanced at all. It uses what Blizzard calls "phasing technology".

In my defense, even Tom Chilton made the same mistake in the interview, saying "(the Death Knight starting area uses) instancing quite a lot more... the world changes dynamically as you move through the story." This prompted Brack to interject a correction, "It's actually not instances. What we do is we have different world states, and depending on what quests you've completed, it changes what world state you're seeing." He also mentions that the new phasing technology is used in other parts and other quests all over Northrend.

Read more →

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

Dell's XPS line not cancelled after all

You might remember yesterday that we reported on the Wall Street Journal's report on the canceling of the Dell XPS line, which includes the World of Warcraft laptop. It seems that the Wall Street Journal got it wrong, according to Dell spokeswoman Anne B. Camden, speaking via Dell's official blog.

She took issue with almost every aspect of the Wall Street Journal's report, saying that both Alienware and the XPS line are hardly in trouble, and are known for excellence and have gained many awards and accolades, and that Dell was dedicated to both. In fact, she specifically praised the XPS M1730, which is the base for the World of Warcraft laptop.

In short, the WoW laptop will probably still be available for your buying pleasure, if you are inclined to drop between 2500 and 3000 dollars on a souped up gaming laptop and a couple of extra toys.

[Thanks to all the tipsters who sent this in!]

Filed under: News items, Hardware

Dell to end its World of Warcraft computer line

Fresh from the Wall Street Journal comes some news from Dell: They're phasing out much of their XPS gaming line, including their Warcraft laptops. You might remember the Dell XPS M1730 from our giveaway contest, hand-ons analysis and reviews back when it first hit the market. According to the article, the phaseout begins next month, so if you've been thinking about getting one of these bad boys, you'd better act fast.

The website still doesn't mention anything about the phase out, but it seems likely it'll be pulled soon. the $2999 price tag still seems a bit steep to me, but it's probably better than than the initial $4500 price tag, and better than the price that would probably be asked for any versions that might appear on various auction sites once Dell officially discontinues it.

We don't know for sure if the Laptop sold well, since Dell doesn't release sales information, but according to the article, the main object of this phase-out is to bolster the flagging Alienware line, which has lost much of it's luster since being purchased by Dell. Whatever the reason, the laptop is going bye-bye, so if you want it, go and get it. But you better hurry, because it may not last.

[Thanks for the tip, Surely!]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Hardware

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