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Connected Realms updates for US realms

It's another round of updates for the process of connecting up our realms.

Today, Thursday, August 21st we should be seeing the following realms connected. The process should have already begun (5:00 AM PDT) and will hopefully conclude by 1:00 PM PDT, allowing anyone playing on these realms back in at that time. This is of course subject to change based on circumstances. The realms connecting today are:
  • Lightninghoof and Maelstrom, The Venture Co
  • Shattered Hand and Coilfang, Dark Iron, Dalvengyr, and Demon Soul
  • Sisters of Elune and Cenarion Circle
So if you play on these realms, you should have more folks to play with soon. Yay!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Lore updates for the official World of Warcraft site

Lore updates for the official World of Warcraft site
Making sure to keep things up to date as we rush towards patch 5.4, the official site has not remained idle. If you're interested in the lore of the game and what's been going on, there's now three new features to take a look at. There's this synopsis of Patch 5.2's Thunder King storyline, which gives players an outline of why the Horde and Alliance forces are taking part in the operation. Then there's a round up of patch 5.3, explaining the Darkspear Rebellion and the Alliance's intelligence operations in Durotar.

Finally, if you're interested in the lore, there's this new character page which gives you a brief rundown of the various figures of import. Especially nice is that each individual's page has links to related characters and content that can tell you more about them. So head on over to the official site and take a look.

Filed under: Blizzard, Lore, Mists of Pandaria

What do you think deserves an update?

What do you think deserves an update ANY
The story is always the same: I find a particularly intriguing piece of transmogrification gear, one that will totally make that midnight blue set I've been working on piecing together. And the piece is pretty easy to get, relatively speaking; it's a drop off of a boss in one of those old Burning Crusade-era heroics. Easy enough to solo at level 85, so it should be a snap to get, right?

Well ... not quite. Because for some reason, all of these old heroics still have their old lockouts in place. Despite the fact that you really don't get anything of consequence from these dungeons and you haven't been able to for years, you still can't repeatedly head into these dungeons. Now I realize there is a five-dungeon-per-hour limit to keep people from excessively farming, and I get that. I really do. But when you introduce a game feature that encourages farming old content, it seems silly that you not only have to cross your fingers that the item drops, but you can only attempt to get it once a day.

And really? That's not the only thing that could use an update in today's World of Warcraft.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Gold Capped: Mobile Auction House functionality updated

auction house mobile versus in-game
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen and Fox Van Allen aim to show you how to make money on the Auction House. Email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

The WoW Remote, or Mobile Auction House, has been upgraded. Here are the new features that have been announced:

-Automatic price undercutting: Set the default buyout price of your auctions to match or undercut the current lowest buyout price for an item
-Aggregated buyout search results: Multiple auctions posted at the same buyout price can now be viewed as a single group
-Support for the following Guild features: Level, Perks, Rewards, Achievements, News, Events, and MotD
-Realm Status
-Search now suggests terms based on previous searches and matching items
-Talent Calculator
-Various bug fixes


While some of the features are available to everyone, whether they pay the $36 a year mobility fee or not, most of this concerns auctioneers. There are a bunch of welcome and much-needed changes and bug fixes in this patch -- so many, in fact, that it's left the vanilla (unmodified) Auction House so far behind that it's actually eating the in-game Auction House's dust as it laps it.

Read more →

Filed under: Economy, Add-Ons, Gold Capped

WoW Insider Show tomorrow at 3:30pm Eastern

My last episode of the WoW Insider Show is on the air tomorrow afternoon -- it'll be sad (I really love doing this show for you all), but hopefully it won't be too maudlin. Fortunately both Matthew Rossi and Chase Christian have agreed to join us, and of course Turpster will be on with us as well -- whenever the T is around, you know it'll be a good time. We'll be talking about the most popular stories in Warcraft for the past week, including the arrival of Winter Veil, patch 3.3.0a and all of the other hotfixes this week, and just because I think it's interesting, we'll talk about the Battered Hilt as well.

And as usual, we'll answer your emails and chat live with all of the folks in the chatroom. You can email us any time of night or day at theshow@wow.com, and you'll be able to listen in to the show on the feed over on Ustream itself, or right after the break below. Please do join us, should be fun.

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Filed under: Podcasting, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, WoW Insider Show

WoW.com's top ten stories of 2009

What a year it's been for the World of Warcraft. We've had three big content patches, a BlizzCon, an expansion announcement, and perhaps out of all of the five years this game has been running, this was the year with the most surprises. A few things players thought would never happen (including faction changes) finally did, and we saw quite a few new tricks from Blizzard, both in terms of game features and in the way they run the game at large. 2009 was also a year of expectation: we thrilled to leaks and rumors about Cataclysm, and all year long, we looked forward to the villian that has been set up for us ever since 2008's Wrath release: the Lich King himself.

As we've done for the past couple of years, let's take a look back at the most popular stories of 2009 here on WoW.com. We'll start first with number 10, which also came as a surprise to many players, right after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

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

Potential character model revisions in Cataclysm

WoW's fifth anniversary and the interviews surrounding it have ended up providing us with some previously-unknown tidbits of information -- which is a good thing, especially when it comes to stuff we've been wanting to hear about for a long time.

This particular tidbit comes from the Warcry network interview with J. Allen Brack and Samwise Didier about the game's anniversary, and it's about a subject near and dear to our constantly-complaining hearts: new character models. They might even be coming in Cataclysm.

Says Brack:
"Even though things would be better with new (character) models, we'd probably spark a lot of player outrage. So we've talked about giving players a choice between the classic models or the new ones, but it might not be something we want to take on at the same time as we remake Azeroth."
That's pretty big news.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Expansions, Interviews, Cataclysm

World of Warcraft: The Magazine still coming later this year

A few readers have sent us notes asking what happened to their World of Warcraft: The Magazine subscription, and so here's a quick followup to the magazine you might not have heard about since BlizzCon. As far as we know, it's still on track for release in "late 2009" -- the website went live a while back, and they're updating on Twitter. The first issue should almost be done, and it's supposed to have a feature on the WoW TCG, something about Inscription, and memories of the game for the 5th anniversary, as well as lots of other stuff, we're sure.

Additionally, even if you haven't ordered a subscription yet (I haven't, actually, but I meant to), there will be previews of the issue online at some point. Or, on the other hand, if you're tired of waiting, you can contact them with support help and questions via email as well. But as far as we've heard, it's still coming before the end of the year, so keep an eye on your mailbox. It'll be a little different from some of the news you've seen online (it's completely official, which means everything in there is approved by Blizzard before it goes out, not to mention that they'll have some nice access in terms of news about upcoming content), but it definitely seems like it'll be an interesting read.

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

A WoW player's guide to microtransactions

Well Blizzard has finally done it. After charging only for out-of-game services like faction changes and character customization, with the release of in-game pets on the Blizzard store, they've finally moved on to selling virtual items for real money. And there's a word, dirty in the mouths of some, that's floating around that some of you may not have heard or understood before: microtransactions. We wouldn't blame you -- some of our own staff didn't even know what they were just a little while ago. But with the decision to sell in-game items for straight cash, Blizzard has entered the fascinating and treacherous world of microtransactions. And if you're going to follow them off into this world, you might as well at least know what they're all about.

And so, we're here to help. Whether you've never heard of microtransactions before, you're convinced that they're the devil and that Blizzard has grown too greedy for their own good, or you can't wait to open up your wallet and get a Pandaren Monk to follow you around, let's take a second and look at the history of the microtransaction model, what it means that Blizzard made this decision, and what might happen to the game in the future.

Read more →

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money

Improving the character selection screen


I really like this post over at Mend Pet -- after five years in a game's life, no part of the WoW interface should be remiss from getting the occasional update, and they mention possibly the only part of the game (even the login screen's been updated quite a few times) that's been the same since day one, the character selection screen. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, as you can choose your character and get into the game. But everything can be better, no?

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Tips, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Add-Ons

Additional instances can now be launched


Crygil has the official word: Blizzard has completed their updates to the servers, and they are now saying performance is much better: all realms have "shown an improvement in instance performance as well as a noticeable reduction in the amount of players hitting the instance limit." Note that they don't say the issues have been solved (no one would say that everything was fixed, because it never is), but there should be a marked improvements in the "additional instances" bug. In the immortal words of the great Douglas Adams, "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."

And we're sure lots of players will welcome this news. At least until Cataclysm, when the flood of rerollers and werewolf fanatics taking on all of the new content and areas in the old world brings the servers back to their knees once again. But until then, enjoy your runs.

Thanks, FerrioClef!

Filed under: Patches, Realm Status, Blizzard, Instances, Hardware

Achieved shares your achievements on Facebook

While we were all wildin' out at BlizzCon last week, reader Peter G. sent us a little note about a Facebook app he's been working on called Achieved that will take your achievements and insert them into your various Facebook feeds however you like. If you want to go the whole nine yards and have your wall plastered with a story whenever you ding an achievement, you can do that, or if you just want to leave it as a small box on your profile page, you can do that as well. The app allows you to leave your actual character name out of the post (if for some reason you're not comfortable with sharing it with all your friends), and there's even a paid option: if you can throw in at least $.99 Canadian, the app will update straight from the Armory without any help from you to refresh (normally, I guess, you've got to log in to Facebook to get updates).

I like the app's minimalism more than anything else -- it doesn't show character information or any flashy graphics, just updates people on what you're doing with achievements. The app has a really active changelog, too (Peter is working hard on updating it pretty often, it seems), so if you have a request, you can always throw it in the pot and you might even get it granted. It's not quite as comprehensive as some of the other WoW Facebook apps out there, but if you want a quick way of showing Facebook friends what you're up to in game without excessively spamming them on every little ding or gear upgrade, give it a look for sure.

Filed under: How-tos, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Out with the old

In response to a what I'd call a troll on the forums, Zarhym gives some thoughtful insight to a problem that's been raising its head more and more often as the game gets older and older: items and achievements that once required lots of time and/or skill to obtain are becoming easier than ever to get. Usually, when this topic comes up, we're talking about epics, but that's not always the case. Here, the item in question is the Warlock mount. It used to require a long quest chain to obtain, but after a series of decisions on Blizzard's part, you can now train it right away from the trainer as soon as you hit the required level.

Zarhym says that it's just part of the game's evolution -- originally, the dreadsteed quests were part of the endgame, and just like the Hunter Rhok'delar quests, were designed to show that players had reached the pinnacle of the class. But nowadays, level 60 isn't what it used to be, and the best way to do those quests is to have a higher level character tag along with you. That's not how Blizzard designed it (and it definitely doesn't fit within the "lore" of the quest), so they ditched it.

That questline is still in, just not required, but some questlines and rewards are obviously removed from the game completely -- their achievement no longer represents an equivalent challenge, so Blizzard decides to take them out. And that really seems the best way to do it -- though it's always a shame when today's players can't experience the quests the same way veteran players did back in the day, the alternative would be to have them play through content that makes no sense, and no one wants that. As Zarhym says, there will always be new challenges to take on.

Filed under: Hunter, Warlock, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Get addon updates via Twitter or RSS

I am pretty notorious for not updating my addons often enough (I think some of the versions I have must be years old by now), but maybe with this, I'll be better: Reader Fin runs a website that tracks RSS updates of addons from most of the database sites, so all you need to do is hook that feed up to your reader of choice, and then whenever a new addon drops (either one that you're waiting for, or all of them, if you just want to watch them go by), you'll see it pop up in your reader, ready for inspection or a download or whatever you like.

He's also hooked it right up to a Twitter feed, so you can also tune in on Twitter and watch the new addons go past. I thought there might be too many going out, and that all those addons might spam up your Twitter feed, but actually if you've got a full slate of follows already (I've got about 200 talkative folks), it's not bad at all -- enough to keep you interested, but not so many that you feel flooded.

Of course, this probably still won't help me get my addons updated -- only putting an extra hour or two of free time in the day will help me accomplish that one. But it'll nice, at least, to know they're out there.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Hardware

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