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Posts with tag travel

Breakfast Topic: Is world travel too easy, too restrictive, or just right?

Breakfast Topic Is world travel too easy, too restrictive, or just right
When was the last time your max-level character needed a flightmaster? How about a boat or zeppelin? For that matter, when was the last time you breadcrumbed hearth points from inn to inn across a zone you were leveling in? Unless you've been playing WoW more than a handful of years, it's unlikely you've done any of these things with regularity. We hearth and port and click and "cloak" our way around Azeroth with an ease undreamed of in WoW's earliest days. We set our hearthstones at places (like Dalaran) that appeal to our hearts, because getting back into the action is just a few clicks away.

Perhaps you view travel as a tiresome chore, a unnecessary roadblock to the game's real content. For me, travel is an inseparable aspect of the game world. Without a need to respect distance and time, the sheer size and scope of a game world become irrelevant, making the sweeping vistas of Azeroth feel smaller, easily mastered, even trivial. To those of us who relish the feeling of "living in" a game world, the dilating effects of lengthy travel hold value. Trivializing them leaves us feeling compressed in a smaller world with foreshortened horizons.

Yet facility of movement fuels our ravenous appetite for content. We zip to our reputation bases, zoom to the city for pre-raid repairs and banking, and zap back to whatever we were doing when the group wraps up for the night. With such a variety of places and spaces, how could we truly feel constrained, anyway? It's about economy of time and cutting straight to the content, right?

In today's era of accessibility, it seems inevitable that travel must become curtailed. Even as I miss the feeling of distance and momentous journeys, I consider that what we have now might represent the most likely balance. Like me, do you mournfully salute the drooping, irrelevant flightmasters and innkeepers before turning to port jauntily home to a city in the clouds? Have we achieved a reasonable balance, or do you think we haven't come far enough, that limitations on movement and resources such as auction house locations hold back what should be completely fluid entry to any point of play?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Faces of BlizzCon: It's a long way to BlizzCon

Blizzard fans from Denmark
Can't make it to Anaheim for the convention? WoW Insider takes you behind the scenes at BlizzCon 2011.

It's a longer teleport to BlizzCon for some groups than for others. Guild groups from across the United States and Canada knit BlizzCon into epic road trips and shout across the aisles of flights packed with players comparing specs and progression. Still, it's not as uncommon as you might think to discover that the fan next to you in line is from another continent entirely.

BlizzCon is the trip of a lifetime for 21-year-old Christian Olsen and 22-year-old Mickey Exaudi of Roskilde, Denmark. The best friends are spending nine days here in America. Yes, they're planning to hit Universal Studios and the other Southern California tourist standards -- but Blizzard and BlizzCon is where it's at for this focused duo.

"I don't believe in religion -- I'm an atheist -- but this is the closest thing to me," Christian says with utter earnestness. Mickey laughs, yet he agrees with the sentiment. One of the first things the pair did after arriving was a pilgrimage to Irvine to see Blizzard headquarters. "Yeah, we could only just drive by and see the outside," Christian admits, "but wow. That's where it all happens. Wow."

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Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon

Packing for BlizzCon: Tips for booking air travel

BlizzCon is upon us! Get ready for the convention with travel tips, tricks, and preparation articles from WoW Insider.

BlizzCon 2011 is happening soon -- Oct. 21-22, to be exact. You have nine weeks to wait until the biggest Blizzard event of the year. We're all preparing for the big trip, and now's a good time to talk about air travel arrangements. If you've already gotten your plane tickets, good for you, you early bird. For many people, now's the time to purchase plane tickets.

Did you know that the Guardian thinks that the best time to purchase airline tickets is about eight weeks before traveling? That's soon! Here's some information to help you when purchasing tickets and flying in to BlizzCon.

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Filed under: BlizzCon

Guest Post: Northrend truckers -- a tale of WoW OTR

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

After spending three years crammed into a call center with 600 reps sitting in quarter-cubes so small I could hear the other reps on all sides of me, I decided it was time to ditch the tech support world and go see America. Four weeks and $2,200 later, I had my Class A Commercial Driver's License, thanks to a truck driving school outside Springfield, Mo.

Before venturing out, I wanted to purchase a decent laptop for gaming (we were attempting to do full clears of Zul'Aman when I decided on my career change). I ended up purchasing a HP Compaq NC8430, after catching it on special. It had the Intel Core 2 Duo T5600, ATI's Mobility Radeon X1600, and I upgraded the memory to 4GB of DDR2-667. After loading WoW and all my addons, I was happily running around Shattrath at 60 FPS! I also purchased Skyworth's 19", 12-volt LCD TV to use as a second monitor and to also watch television on in the few occasions I stopped overnight near a big city (Big Bang Theory is not available online).

I didn't want to mess with a laptop and a GPS system, so I purchased Microsoft Streets 2006. MS Streets came with a plugin USB GPS that had about a six-foot cord on it along with a suction cup. Through blind luck while surfing the web, I also found Jotto Desk, a very nice laptop for semis that mounts to the base of the passenger seat and has an arm that extends over to the driver seat for easy access. While a bit of a pain to install, the effort was well worth it. The people who invented the Jotto Desks deserve an award or a free case of Bawls or something. Having successfully installed Jotto Desk and mounted my USB GPS to the front windshield, I was almost ready to hit the open road! All I had to figure out now was a way to get internet no matter where in the United States I happened to be.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Guest Post: Raiding on the road

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

I have been playing World of Warcraft on the road for the last three years now, and what an adventure it has been. I started out on an old HP Pavilion zv6000 weighing in at about 8 pounds, with a 800 x 600 resolution and 800 MB of RAM. Not only was the beast of a laptop fun to haul through security lines at the airport, but it was heavy and slow. 25-man raids were next to impossible (I'm talking to you, Heigan), with frame rates under 5 FPS most of the time. I was eventually convinced to buy a new machine, and I decided to go with a MacBook Pro. I'm currently running version 4, which is the 17" widescreen with the Intel Core 2 Duo with 2.6 Mzh GHz processors and 4 GB of RAM. It's a pretty decent machine, with frame rates in the 30s in Dalaran and 25-man frame rates around 5-25 FPS, depending on the fight (less if I'm trying to FRAPS a fight or Marrowgar's fire is involved).

The biggest changes I have made between playing on my desktop (Dell XPS 720 series) at home and my MacBook on the road have been in regard to addons and special effect details in the video settings. I have optimized every addon I use to keep the lowest memory usage possible (for example, Skada instead of Recount), making use of all 4 GB I have on that machine and ensuring my machine is doing the best it can. I use Addon Control Panel to turn off every non-essential addon come raid time, including Auctioneer, Jamba (for when I am dual-boxing), SexyMap, etc. I love Addon Control Panel, as it lets me save addon sets in different states depending on what I am doing. I have a raiding 10-man version, a raiding 25-man version, and questing-, leveling- and auction-based sets that I can flip between at the click of my mouse.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Raiding, Guest Posts

Call for Submissions: On the road with World of Warcraft

Do you play World of Warcraft while you're on the road? Tell us about your setup: hardware, connectivity, voice comms ... What about jittery performance on netbooks or older laptops -- worth it, or not? Are there hotels that always offer a great connection, or others that are sure WoW-killers? Do you use WoW as a way of staying in touch with those back at home?

WoW.com is accepting article submissions on playing WoW on the road. Submissions should be between 750 and 1,000 words. We will not accept articles submitted under player names or pen names; please use your full, real name and email. Artwork is not mandatory, but any you choose to include must be your own work or from creative commons.

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business, Guest Posts

Guest Post: The epic journey that is BlizzCon

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

BlizzCon: The final frontier ... No wait, that's not right. BlizzCon is an epic journey, though -- at least it was for me last year, and I am sincerely hoping to make the pilgrimage to Anaheim again this October. "But that's a lot of work just to go for two days!" I hear all the time. You're right. It is. It's also quite costly if you're not from California. I can also say that by the end of Day Two, you'll be drop-dead tired, cranky and your feet will hurt.

Paradise, right?

My husband and I trekked out to California from Florida for BlizzCon 2009. We were a little leery about it, but I can honestly say that it was one of the best vacations of my life. We have been raiding with the same guild since right after we were married in April of 2008, and there's a very solid core of people who have always been there. Turned out, some of them were going to BlizzCon. We figured it would be a great way to tie that voice over Ventrilo to a face. We were able to hang out for two straight days with people we raid with several nights a week -- experiencing Cataclysm's launch together, doing the fishing daily and many other fun things.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Guest Posts

A chat with Check Six, WoW Arena team

The official Microsoft Sync blog (apparently the blog isn't official -- they fooled me) has posted a video interview (which you can see above) with Check Six, one of the high level World of Warcraft Arena teams showing up in tournaments lately. The video is somewhat tame, but that actually works in its favor -- this high-level Arena play can be complicated and hard to follow, and so simplifying it a little bit actually makes it more palatable. You high level Arena players won't get to hear their opinions on the latest builds or balance tweaks, unfortunately (for that, you can check out our Coliseum column), but the rest of us can at least put some faces to one of these team names floating around, and hear a little bit more about how these guys run these tournaments.

They've been playing together for about two or three months, and they practice quite a bit: together, they do about ten or twelve hours a week, but I'd assume they play outside of the team as well. They say that WoW has a pretty "easy skill cap to reach," but after that, it's a matter of getting the right team members together, because they say teamwork is more important in Arenas than even a game like Counter-Strike ("CS"). And they kind of surprised me with how young they are -- it's a big deal to go running around the world and playing in tournaments when you're probably dealing with school and an early career at the same time. It's not the most well produced Arena interview you'll ever see, but I liked the frank look at the guys and what they're like away from their computers.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Interviews, Arena, Rumors

Preparing for BlizzCon: Last minute travel tips


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza. These helpful hints are particularly suited for convention rookies. But if you are a con veteran, we'd love to hear your advice and wisdom in the comments as well.

BlizzCon is this week! Here are some last minute tips for making your trip incident-free.

Air Travel
  • Is your flight on time? Almost all airports these days have websites that give weather and flight status. Also, you can call your airline to verify everything is ok.
  • Get there early. If you are checking luggage, this is particularly true. Check in at least an hour before your flight if you are carrying on all your things. 2 hours is best if you are checking luggage.
  • Check in online. Most airlines will allow you to check in online and print your boarding pass 24 hours before your flight.
  • Don't forget your I.D. You absolutely need your I.D. for getting on the plane and getting your BlizzCon badge. Keep it in a safe place on or severely close to your person.
  • Pack properly. Overweight and oversized luggage costs extra. This is the link to what you cannot bring on the plane. Also, if you are carrying your toiletries on, don't forget 3-1-1.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Events, BlizzCon

Preparing for BlizzCon: What to pack in your suitcase


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza. These helpful hints are particularly suited for convention rookies. But if you are a con veteran, we'd love to hear your advice and wisdom in the comments as well.

If you don't travel often, packing can be rather daunting -- particularly with all of the post-9/11 air travel precautions. Because you'll probably be bringing back more than you take, I recommend checking a bag rather than trying to carry everything on the plane. Yes, the baggage claim area adds extra time, but checking your luggage will allow you to bring a larger bag and you'll avoid having to worry about 3-1-1.

Though I have been humbled (and educated) by reading the exploits of a truly expert packer, I used to travel a lot for business and have several tips for the infrequent traveler heading to BlizzCon.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Events, Fan stuff, Guides, BlizzCon

Preparing for BlizzCon: What to pack in your backpack


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza. These helpful hints are particularly suited for convention rookies. But if you are a con veteran, we'd love to hear your advice and wisdom in the comments as well.

Backpack, messenger bag, extra large purse -- whatever you are toting into the Anaheim Convention Center should be filled with a few basic things in order to get the most from BlizzCon. The catch is that it cannot be any bigger than 10"x20" and it cannot contain any of the following:
  • Desktop computers, laptops, electronic storage devices (unless you have a press pass)
  • Glass bottles, cans, large containers (this limits some of your food options should you choose to carry-in)
  • Alcohol (leave your cool flask or teeny airplane booze bottles in your hotel room)
  • Weapons and fireworks (Captain Obvious is making giggle noises.)
Join us after the break for what you can and should stuff in your BlizzCon-bag.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, BlizzCon

Fast travel, and why it's hard to find in MMO games

Rock Paper Shotgun has an interesting piece up looking at travel in massively multiplayer games, and while the analysis is really about travel in all MMOs, of course World of Warcraft gets placed front and center -- with the notable exceptions of Mages and Warlock summons, it's a game that squarely places you in its vast world, and asks you to make some solid decisions about where you want to be. While travel has certainly gotten easier (and will continue to do so), it's still an important part of the world -- sometimes, when you're in a backwater zone and your hearthstone is down and there's no summons available to you, you've just got to get on a griffon and put the time in to fly around.

Why is that? Why can't we just teleport around at will to places we've been before (a la Fallout 3 or Fable 2, if you've ever played those games)? Why does Blizzard make us traverse the wide world? RPS lands on two solutions: either they just want you to play the game more (certainly possible, especially since big worlds with long travel times and subscription fees are a trademark of the MMO genre), or they're just being jerks about it. But their panelists, and Blizzard, have offered one more suggestion: they want this world to feel vast, and one way to do that is to make you move around it rather than warp anywhere you want at a moment's notice.

Then again, that's some deep psychology, and sometimes you just want to get in an instance with your friends and fight (hence the recent changes to summoning anywhere, queueing from anywhere, and so on). Travel definitely serves a purpose in MMOs, but the genre has shown in the past few years that while instant travel all the time might shrink the world a little too much, sometimes you just need to get to where you want to be.

[via Slashdot]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Mounts

Preparing for BlizzCon: Getting there by car or rail


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza.

On Friday, we talked about getting to BlizzCon by air. Until teleportation technology is invented (and not deadly) or "The Big One" hits causing Anaheim to become coastal, the only other two ways to get to BlizzCon are by train or car. (Edit: Ok, there is the bus, but yeah, ugh. AishaLove is right. I can't recommend it.)

Trains: Anaheim is a stop on the Pacific Surfliner route. Amtrak can be pricey, but with a membership in AAA and a watchful eye on their specials, you may be able to come up with a price that is comparable to flying. The train stop is just down the road from the Anaheim Convention Center and is close to most of the hotels. Of course, trains take much longer than planes, but the trip can be part of your vacation fun.

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Filed under: Tips, BlizzCon

Preparing for BlizzCon: Getting there by air


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza.

You have some time to make travel arrangements for BlizzCon, but you should be aware of your options now and be looking for deals. In general, it is best to make your reservations at least 2 weeks in advance for most carriers, but there are sometimes last minute deals and also specials run periodically. Take your time and choose wisely.

There are many airports in the local area, but here are the 3 best options:
  • Los Angeles: LAX is the largest airport near Anaheim, but is an hour away, with good traffic (a rarity in Los Angeles). Regardless, it may be your cheapest option and most airlines fly there.

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Filed under: Tips, Events, BlizzCon

New zeppelin and portals coming in Patch 3.2


Another patch 3.2 announcement today, this time from Zaryhm concerning a few travel options in Azeroth.

First, there will be a new zeppelin route between Thunder Bluff and Orgrimmar. We heard about this before, but now we know in what patch / context it will be released in.

Secondly, there will be portal in Stormwind and Orgrimmar leading directly to the Stair of Destiny at the Dark Portal. No more need to haul yourself out there at level 58. Just take a portal instead!

The portal in particular should help people level in Outland much easier. It should also help to significantly decrease the use of Hearthstones for traveling back and forth between Outland and Azeroth. Now you can fly to Shat in your 150% flying mount at 60, take a portal to Stormwind to train, and then portal right back to the entrance to Outland where you can hop on your flying mount again and return to grinding levels. Very quick, very easy, very smooth.

Filed under: News items

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