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Shipping costs removed from Authenticators

We'd already noticed last week that the Authenticators in the US store had gone free shipping, but now official updates on Blizzard's site say it's true in the EU as well. American authenticators still cost $6.50, but you no longer have to pay anything extra for shipping, and EU authenticators have had their price dropped to €6.99. That's still over $10, but they're at least cheaper than they used to be. There's a drawback, however: apparently they went with cheaper shipping, because you can no longer track shipments of authenticators, and shipping will take a little longer (up to 15 business days in the US). Which makes sense, given that you want these things as cheap as possible.

Ancilorn answers some other Authenticator questions as well -- there's no discount for buying multiple units at all; what you see is what you get. And while the only authenticator for purchase at the moment is the Corehound branded unit, there may be more art available in the future, and of course you don't need a Corehound-branded Authenticator to get the Corehound Pup pet. Any Authenticator will do that, including any of the authenticators made for mobile phones, as long as it stays attached to your account. Whew -- that should answer all the questions anyone has. As we said the other day, if you don't have one of these yet, it's probably time to look in to getting one. Not only will your account be more secure, but you'll get that free pet as well.

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, Making money, Account Security

Survey says 15% of overall gameplay time is in an MMO

Our friends at Joystiq reported on this fascinating survey by GamesIndustry.com that broke down responses from 13,000 US and EU citizens about how they spend their gaming time. While they don't have specific numbers for World of Warcraft, the survey says [PDF link] that overall, 15% of gaming time is spent playing MMOs. US players spend about 14% of their gaming time on MMOs, while EU players range from 8% to 16% by country. In the EU, 14% of all players have played an MMO, and in the US, 21% of everyone playing games has played a massively multiplayer online game.

Again, these numbers aren't specifically for World of Warcraft (and because the survey went down to age 8 and up, they do include the vast virtual worlds aimed at children, like Club Penguin and Disney's Toontown, which probably throw the numbers off quite a bit), but they do show the effect that WoW has had on the gaming population over the last five years. Five years ago, MMOs were definitely a niche -- some hardcore gamers played them, but most people didn't have the Internet connections to play an online game, much less pay a subscription for one. Nowadays, MMOs represent over one out of every ten minutes of overall playtime, and those numbers are only going to go up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Quests, Leveling

WoWTCGLoot giving away an X-51 and other prizes

Our good friends at loot card database WoWTCGLoot.com (they've helped us out with some good contests in the past) are giving away some loot card codes of their own this week. They've put a short quiz on their site, and just for filling it out, you'll be eligible to randomly win one of twenty-three loot card codes, including a chance at an X-51 Nether Rocket mount (seen above), a Foam Sword Rack, an Imp in a Ball, or a Path of Cenarius. All of them are awesome (though, let's be honest, that rocket mount is a little cooler than the others), and all the cards work on US or EU realms, so no matter where you're reading this from, they could be yours.

Like I said, just run over to the site and answer the quiz questions (hint: both answers can be found by following links from this post) before November 25th, and after that, 23 of you will be giving thanks for the loot card codes you've won. Good luck to everyone, and thanks again to WoWTCGLoot.com for putting this on.

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

Official WoW EU sites covers upcoming player-run events

I don't think this page is necessarily new, but I haven't seen it before, and I think it's a great idea. Over on the official WoW Europe site, they've started tracking player-run and community events on their Community Events page. Slorkuz is even posting on the forums when specific community events are coming up, including their latest, an in-game beauty contest called "Miss Undercity" happening on the EU Darkmoon Faire realm this weekend. I think that's great -- these are completely unofficial player-run events, but Blizzard is still helping spread the word about them on an official page.

In fact, I wish they had something like that on the US page -- if there is one in there, I don't see it linked in the "Community" section as it should be. As an example (and a reminder), Sleeper Cartel is hosting that Dead Man's Party this coming Saturday evening on Perenolde. It would be great for Blizzard to give a little extra official punch (and maybe even some pie) to these player-planned parties.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Is China's WoW delay politically motivated?


I don't presume to know much about trade policy or international relations, so I'll just pass you this link to a story over on VentureBeat and let you decide for yourself. You probably have already heard that Blizzard has had plenty of trouble trying to bring World of Warcraft back online in China -- they've been waiting on approval from the Chinese government's General Administration of Press and Publication, which has already mandated a few changes to the game. Dean Takahashi at VB suggests that rather than being a technical issue, the delay may actually be political and/or economically motivated: the US and China have been bumping gently lately over exports and imports, and Takahashi suggests that Blizzard's game may have gotten caught in the middle. The GAPP, he says, may be holding the game back, concerned that such a popular foreign game might be released again on their soil.

Fortunately, even Takahashi says it's unsubstantiated -- WoW is likely to go back online in China in a matter of days, and the delays could just as easily have been administrative errors. But I do agree with Takahashi that it's worth watching -- China is cautious about allowing foreign manufacturers to sell to their citizens, and video games are no exception.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Economy, Wrath of the Lich King

Zoltan scores over 10,000 achievement points


Zoltan of Aegwynn is the guy who's been sitting on top of the overall achievement point lists for a while, and he's just recently cracked the incredible total of 10,000 points. At the time of this writing, he's finished off a total of 908 out of 931 achievements currently in the game, giving him a total of 10,005 achievement points.

The Champion of Ulduar is the one that put him over the top according to his Armory profile, and strangely, he doesn't appear to have any of the Feats of Strength (edit: never mind, I read it wrong -- he's got plenty). He is only missing the two World Event achievements left (Brewmaster and the meta-achievement, neither of which are yet possible), the Sea Turtle achievement, and then a few more Heroic Ulduar endgame points. Given that the 3.2 patch achievements will likely come out before Brewmaster, there's no way yet to clear everything completely, but he's as close as it gets.

Very impressive indeed. Zoltan has just one or two people on his heels, and then the numbers drop out to a few hundred below 10,000 (and strangely enough, the top five players are all EU folks). There's no reward for all of those points (and Blizzard has no plans to offer any), but it's quite, as you might say, an achievement.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items, Instances, Achievements

Enter to win some loot cards from WoW.com and WoWTCG.com

Is it just me, or have we had lots of EU-only contests lately? First, Lesley gives away some loot cards for the EU, and then Turpster gives away some more. This is July 4th, and it's about time we served the North American side of the globe! (Canada, we missed Canada Day, so we'll throw you in the mix, too). Courtesy of our good friends over at WoWTCGLoot.com (be sure to visit them if you need to know anything about the TCG Loot cards), let's give away some loot codes!

We've got 10 in total that we'll give away to ten random commenters on this post before tomorrow night, Sunday July 5th, at midnight. There's an Epic Purple Shirt, two Sandbox Tigers, three Papa Hummel's Pet Biscuits, and four Party Grenades up for grabs -- to enter, just leave a comment on this post, and since it's Independence Day, how about telling us what your favorite kind of firework is. I was always partial to the black snakes -- most people though they were boring, but I knew how the big ones blew up, and I never really understood just how those darned snakes worked.

One comment per person in the US and Canada only, please, and do be sure to use a real email address when you comment (that you check often) so we can get in touch with you ASAP if you win. Good luck to everyone, and happy Independence Day!

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Odds and ends, Contests, Humor

Battle.net registration now online in China

World of Warcraft has, as you have probably heard, been offline in China for a while now. Even though The9 originally said they'd transfer over their servers to NetEase, they later decided to fight it out, leaving WoW offline for a matter of weeks. And it isn't quite up yet, but they're getting there -- this (very roughly) translated article says that Battle.net servers are now up and running, so Chinese players can now at least sign in to Battle.net, if not into the game itself. We already went through the same thing here in the US and the EU, so Azeroth should be back online in China any day now.

Meanwhile, the poor folks at The9 have not been doing so well -- they were on top of the world last year, but when World of Warcraft up and flew the griffon out of there, they lost the majority of their business. A new AP article has them revising their expected earnings down by an "estimated 55 to 75 percent." Ouch.

Let that be a lesson, NetEase. Keep your instances running and your downtime low, because if Blizzard pulls the plug on a game you're running, they'll be taking a ton of money with them.

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

Gentlemens Club achieves Herald of the Titans world first (Edited)

Via Guildox, we've just gotten word that Gentlemens Club of Korgath-US, Hordeside, has just become the world-first achievers of Herald of the Titans. This achievement requires that you defeat Algalon on 10-man difficult with no gear above iLevel 226. In other words, they were not wearing a single piece of Hard-mode Ulduar 25-man gear (While we haven't looked closely at their armory, the achievement would allow for normal mode 25-man gear, though even normal mode 25-man weapons would be off limits). [EDIT: iLevel 226 is actually the item level of gear from Normal mode 25-man Ulduar, not Hard mode as previously stated. It is also the item level of gear that drops from Heroic or 25-man Malygos, Kel'thuzad, and Sartharion with at least 2 drakes up. Hard mode 10-man Ulduar also drop iLevel 226 items, which indicates that the Achievement is intended mostly for 10-man progression.]

While 10-man and 25-man raids were technically meant to be seperate tiers of progression, it seems like many raiders freely mix the two, and while that's certainly to be expected, and there's nothing wrong with it, it's cool to see at least a few guilds focus on mastering that path of progression and arguably challenging themselves to at least the 10-man Algalon fight as Blizzard meant it to be fought.

In short, they've managed to proclaim themselves Kings of the 10-man game in Patch 3.1, even if other guilds technically beat them to 10-man Algalon kill itself. Congratulations to everyone involved in the raid!

Filed under: Horde, Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

Shadowburn BG down for emergency maintenance


We've received a lot of tips in the past few minutes, and now it's official: the Shadowburn battlegroup is down for emergency maintenance. The realms are estimated to return in two hours, around 3:30 EST, but we'll keep you posted if we hear anything new.

The affected realms are Agamaggan, Azshara, Baelgun, Dark Iron, Detheroc, Emerald Dream, Greymane, Kalecgos, Lightninghoof, Maelstrom, Malfurion, Moonrunner, Nazjatar, Sargeras, Staghelm, Twisting Nether, Ursin, and Wildhammer.

What are you guys going to do in the mean time? I hear there's a good WoW blog around here somewhere that you might enjoy browsing through.

Update: The realms are back up.

Filed under: Realm News

Reminder: Enter WoW Insider's Guild of the Month contest


Don't forget: if you haven't entered our Guild of the Month contest yet, do so now -- we'll be choosing April's winner in just a few days. All you have to do is send about 200 words on how awesome your guild is to guildofthemonth@gmail.com, and be from either the US or Canada (excluding Quebec -- sorry Quebecois and EU folks, them's the legal rules). The winner will get a profile of their guild right here on WoW Insider (our first group of winners, back in March, was doing some amazing things with both raiding and professions, but we're awarding the prize every month based on the criteria of performance in raiding, originality, and community), and they'll also pick up a raid pack for their officers from our friends at Warcraft.Swagdog.com.

If you entered for March, you've got to enter again for April (we want to give everyone a chance every month), and official rules are right here if you need them. Good luck to everyone who enters -- we've gotten some terrific submissions already, and we can't wait to spotlight one of the best guilds in the game.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Guilds, Contests

Free US character transfers

In honor of patch day, Blizzard have opened up some free character transfers on many US realms. These are open now and scheduled to run until Tuesday, April 21 at noon PDT.

  • PvP:
    • From: Blackrock, Tichondrius, Emerald Dream, Lethon, Warsong
    • To: Ursin, Ysondre, Nazjatar, Gul'dan
  • PvE:
    • From: Aggramar, Borean Tundra, Aerie Peak, Azuremyst, Proudmoore, Bronzebeard, Anvilmar, Alexstrasza, Blade's Edge, Silvermoon, Dragonblight, Bladefist, Antonidas, Arygos, Cairne
    • To: Nesingwary, Garrosh, Winterhoof
  • RP:
    • From: Feathermoon, Cenarion Circle, Earthen Ring, Argent Dawn, Moon Guard
    • To: Wyrmrest Accord

I worry about their servers slightly, between patch traffic and these character moves, but we'll see if they can take it. This is more server transfers than we usually see at one time. I'm intrigued to see Arygos on there, since it really doesn't feel like a high-population realm to me, at least not on the Horde side. So who's moving?

Filed under: Realm News, News items

The Queue: I love London


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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

One of our questions today comes from a reader who's moving to London for a couple of months, and I just wanted to take a moment to say that I've always wanted to go there. Consider yourself very, very lucky! London has all kinds of great things I've always wanted to see, like Big Ben, Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, and Papah?naumoku?kea. One day, hopefully, I'll get to go myself!

Let's get started, hm?

SithVicious asked a pair of questions...


"Will Blizzard ever allow cross server chat?"

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, The Queue

Reminder: Enter WoW Insider's Guild of the Month contest

Don't forget -- we're just a few days away from the end of the month, which means we're going to be wrapping up the first month of our new Guild of the Month contest. If you think your guild is overly exceptional, really original, or just generally awesome, let us know about it: we're asking for 200-word entries, which you can send along to guildofthemonth@gmail.com (remember also that you need to be in the US or Canada excluding Quebec -- official rules are here), and next week we'll be choosing our first winner.

They'll be profiled right here on WoW Insider, and they'll even pick up a raid pack from our friends over at Swagdog. Even if you don't win, you can go over to Warcraft.Swagdog.com and pick up customized guild gear, both shirts and hats with your guild's logo and name on them. Very cool.

If you haven't entered the contest yet and think your guild can be chosen as the best of the month, please do enter. And stay tuned -- after the first of the month, we'll reveal the winner for March, and then the contest starts all over again.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Guilds, Odds and ends, Contests

Figureprints in the EU


Our buddies over at Figureprints, the company that makes custom 3D printed sculptures of your WoW characters, have expanded their business yet again -- this time, they're opening the doors to you EU players. Ed Fries, who we have spoken with twice now, says that they are finally ready to expand overseas, and EU players can now order their own custom figurines through the website.

There is a small catch, however -- at this point, while there is no lottery as far as we know, they are charging European customers €129.95, which ends up being about $166, or about $30 more than the US price of $129.95. And obviously shipping overseas from the company's HQ here in America probably won't be too cheap either, and shipping is extra no matter where you're buying the figures from. It looks like Figureprints just figured they'd charge "129.95" to both sides of the world, but thanks to the exchange rate, EU folks are actually paying more.

But then again, we're guessing that people who have been waiting for their chance in the EU to pick one of these up will probably go for the higher price anyway. Figureprints started out a little rough with their limited production capabilities, and a few early bumps in quality, but lately it seems like they're rolling along better than ever.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Making money

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