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Posts with tag video-games

Breakfast Topic: Do you play other games besides WoW?

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

2011 looks to be a great year for gamers. The return of Duke Nukem. Portal 2. BioWare's trifecta of Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3 and The Old Republic. A new Final Fantasy. A new Legend of Zelda (and a remake of the greatest game ever made, Ocarina of Time -- flame on, but you know it's true). The return of Kid Icarus. The already-released Dead Space 2. There is no shortage of great stuff to play. And all the while, sitting smugly on my desktop and the desktop of 12 million others worldwide, is that little golden "W."

When the Steam holiday sales rolled around, I found myself drowning in a sea of backlogged games. The past five years that I've played WoW, I have seen very little of games outside of it. So when I should get sucked into Mass Effect, I realized there was a massive (no pun intended) collection of great games out there I had missed! I must play them all. The challenge then was playing these other games and still playing WoW -- a balancing act I have yet to master.

With the smorgasbord of excellence awaiting gamers in 2011, how will you find yourself sneaking time outside of Azeroth? Will you succumb to the deluge of games and break away from Azeroth entirely for a time, or will you find ways to incorporate WoW and other games into your gaming schedule?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: A little sumpin' sumpin' on the side

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

We've all been there before -- that magical moment when we let go of our loyalties to the object of our affection and simply give in to those inner desires for something new and exciting. Before we know it, we have turned away from our first love, leaving it huddled up in the corner feeling dirty and unwanted. Even if we don't personally engage in this abandonment, we are always anticipating the next story of someone else's doing it and the nitty-gritty details that come out. No, I'm not pulling headlines off the latest celebrity gossip columns again; I'm talking about your loyalties to WoW!

From old crushes like EverQuest and Star Wars Galaxies to newer flames such as Star Trek Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, we all have games whose siren songs draw us into their grasp, away from our beloved WoW. With plenty of new and exciting MMOs on the horizon (we're looking at you, The Old Republic), now is the perfect time to start experimenting with a polygamous online gaming habit. While the frozen shores of Northrend have been nice, a trip into the Mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings Online may be the perfect thing to liven things up a bit and get that passion for your first love back.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Video game world size compared

Digg recently featured a side-by-side comparison of video game worlds, and Azeroth as depicted in World of Warcraft found itself in competition against the sprawling universes of Grand Theft Auto, Guild Wars: Nightfall, Lord of the Rings Online and Just Cause 2.

As is obvious from the picture, WoW seems to compare poorly when it comes to the sheer size of the worlds in question, but the map being used is both outdated and somewhat misleading. It's a pre-BC version omitting the Azuremyst Isles, Quel'thalas, Outland and Northrend, and it obviously doesn't include the acreage being added to the game with Cataclysm, either. Regardless, it's an interesting comparison, and other people have tried figuring out exactly how big Azeroth is, with some curious results.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Two pieces celebrating the 5th anniversary

Blizzard's onslaught of fifth anniversary press continues. As we said on the podcast last week, Turpster and I both are kind of "meh" about the whole thing at this point -- just how much can you read/hear about how the game has changed over the last five years? But just in case you're still interested, here's two good pieces from two big publications about WoW's 5th birthday. First up, Prospect magazine has a piece by Tom Chatfield about "the world's most famous computer game" -- he plays with his wife, and says that the game represents quite a few things he's enjoyed. It's diverse, all-encompassing, lets you act out (or show off) your fantasy self, and constantly rewards rather than punishes. It's this brilliant game, he says, which has allowed gaming a "bridgehead" into the mainstream. Interesting.

Even moreso, here's another article from The Guardian that tags on to the whole "video games equal art" argument, using Blizzard's MMO as exhibit A. Writer Sam Leith compares the game to a cathedral, not only for the fact that the art and look of Azeroth will match up against any stained glass, but also because, like an old European cathedral, the game has so many functions and purposes. It's a social space, full of ritual and traditions. It's full of stories and emotion. And it's the creation of many over a long period of time. You might not think you'd ever have heard an MMO compared to the cathedral at Chartres, but the comparison is apt. When you think about it that way, it's no surprise that Blizzard is expecting many more years out of this game.

Thanks to everyone who sent these in!

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

WoW and its partners at Gen Con 2009

Gen Con Indy 2009 is just around the corner (it's the weekend before BlizzCon), and if you're headed out for the "best four days in gaming," keep an eye out there for some of this Warcraft stuff. Blizzard won't actually be there, as far as we know (it's more of a convention for board games and roleplaying than video games), but lots of their partners will. Upper Deck will probably have the biggest presence -- both the WoW TCG and the WoW Minis games will have setups where you can sit down and play either one, and they'll be running the Continental Championships as well, where they'll crown some of the best players in the country. And there'll be other tournaments and gameplay for both games going on as well -- the guys from wowtcgscrub.com are organizing a tournament of their own, and Upper Deck will have other ways for you to compete at all levels all weekend long.

Fantasy Flight Games, the makers of both World of Warcraft: The Board Game and World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game, will also be in attendance. They haven't announced anything special for the Warcraft games, but they'll likely have them out and playing in at least one demo space. And Warcraft will be there in attendance through the fans as well for sure.

In fact, I'll be there for the first time this year -- my friend and I are going to be checking out the show on Saturday. I have no idea what to expect, but i've heard from a few readers that are going already, so if there's interest, we might try to schedule a WoW.com meetup that evening. So if you're headed for Gen Con this year, keep an eye out for the World of Warcraft there.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, WoW TCG

WoW as a channel for news from Iran?

Normally, this wouldn't rate too high for us -- lots of people have ideas about how to use World of Warcraft, and many of them never actually come about. But then again, this is in the Wall Street Journal of all places, so we'll give it a look. If you're on Twitter, you've probably heard about what's going on in Iran right now -- there was an election, the "official" results given were judged as rigged by many involved, and the government seems to be cracking down on both news media and citizen journalism, as well as protesting citizens, to very sad results. How does World of Warcraft fit in to all of this? Andrew Lavallee of the WSJ's Digits blog points to this report by Craig Labovitz, which talks about how Internet traffic has been filtered out of the country around the election. At the very end of his analysis, Labovitz points out that channels for videogames, including both Xbox Live and World of Warcraft, have shown very little government manipulation. That suggests that if the government in Iran does continue to shut down certain channels, citizens there might be forced to spread the news through any virtual route they can, including possibly Azeroth.

This is obviously all just analysis and speculation so far -- while there clearly (from those charts) has been interference in the media, no one (as far as we know) has yet had to resort to chatting in World of Warcraft to get their message out, and though what's happening in Iran is made up of some very serious (and seriously unfortunate) situations, the fervor online about using brand new channels like Twitter to share real-time news is often overstated. Personally, I believe that even if Twitter didn't exist, this information would find another way to get out. Still, the interesting thing to take away here is that even our "silly" video games today are actually media on a global level.

Thanks, Cedars!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Virtual selves, News items

Kaplan to speak at the Game Developers Conference

Jeffrey Kaplan (also known as Tigole) is scheduled to speak at this years Game Developers Conference, which should prove to be really, really interesting for us WoW players. The conference is aimed at sharing knowledge among game developers, and Kaplan's panel is aimed at discussing World of Warcraft's questing system, as well as how gameplay has an effect on lore and story.

As someone who regularly geeks out about the lore of Warcraft, it disappoints me that I can't be there to listen to it in person. Gameplay always has a really large effect on how the lore of a video game world is allowed to play out (especially in MMOs) but a lot of those constraints have been overcome with the advances made in Wrath of the Lich King. The things they've done to overcome those issues largely come from Tigole's team of developers.

I very much hope that transcripts of GDC's panels find their way to the web shortly after the conference. One of my favorite parts of BlizzCon and BlizzCast is the somewhat behind the scenes look into the process, and the philosophy that goes into how and why Blizzard does what they do. This pretty much sounds right up my alley, and I know a lot of you have expressed the same sentiment each time a new BlizzCast has gone live. I'll definitely be watching for any transcripts that pop up.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard

Cheating on WoW

Most of the other WoW gamers I know are simply gamers that play WoW, meaning that they play other games in addition to their Azerothian addiction. My guild forums often have a thread or two going about other games that members are playing, recommending them to everyone else, and there are many references to other games within the world of Warcraft itself. It's obvious that the core audience for this MMO plays other games as well.

Personally, with an aging computer and a smallish gaming budget, I've missed out on a lot of the "must play" games of the last few years. World of Warcraft has served me well in that regard, since I haven't really needed to upgrade my hardware to keep playing it and it's a good value for the amount of entertainment it provides. Nonetheless, I have played other games from time to time, but I still find myself logging into Azeroth (and/or Outland) most days of the week, sometimes just to check auctions and mail. Oftentimes, playing other games gives me a needed break from Warcraft, even if only for a week or so. Undoubtedly, these short breaks are one of the things which have kept me playing WoW all these years.

All of this leads me to wonder how other players balance their WoW time with their other gaming pursuits. Are you a WoW purist, only playing the one game? Do you own multiple consoles and buy every table-top and computer game that's released? The last few patches have coincided with the release of some pretty big titles and there are more on the way this holiday season. Have you had to make some difficult decisions about how to spend your time and money?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

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