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Posts with tag wow

World of Warcraft as a teaching tool?

Things you don't always think about. According to a study by Pia Sundqvist and Liss Kerstin Sylvén, games like WoW are causing boys in Sweden to pick up English faster. Essentially, by playing multi-player games where the language of choice is English, the boys are learning the language faster in order to increase their proficiency at the games in question. There's also discussion of WoW in Schools, a program designed around using the MMO to instruct.

What's interesting to me in the Slate article is the reference to situated meaning, the concept that something is easier to learn if it has a context provided by actions rather than simply being told its definition. It's easier for people to learn what words mean if they're using the words to mean things, rather than simply reading what they mean. That fascinates me - it actually makes me want to start playing WoW on a server where the language is one I want to learn. Maybe I need an EU account.

For the complete article, head over to Slate and give it a read.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

The whole World of Warcraft in 41 minutes

It's no secret that I like the lore of World of Warcraft, so it should be no surprise that I decided that you needed to see this video. Nobble's done lore videos before, but this is quite frankly his masterpiece - a fairly concise (for what it is covering) run-through of all of the background of World of Warcraft and the Warcraft franchise as a whole. It's definitely worth your time.

Soak in it, my friends, the gloriously messy, chaotic, crazy lore of World of Warcraft.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: Talisman of Binding Shard, the lost legendary

This edition of WoW Archivist was originally published May 24, 2011. Given Blizzard's recent retrospective on Molten Core, we felt the piece of Warcraft history was worth another look. All references to time, space, and current content should be viewed through the lens of this piece's initial date of publication.

Last week, we finally escaped the morass of World of Warcraft's beta to discuss patch 1.2, the first major content patch of the post-release game. We're going to take a break from patches for a while to examine some other myths and legends that arose in vanilla WoW. Today, we're going to look back to one of the legends of Molten Core.

Molten Core is rather unique in that it's the home of more than one legendary item. Both Thunderfury and Sulfuras have their roots in Molten Core, though one does require items from Blackwing Lair to complete; Blackwing Lair hadn't even been implemented yet when players started receiving the first pieces of these legendary items.

Everybody knows about Thunderfury and Sulfuras, though. Not as many people know Molten Core once had a third legendary.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Recommended reading for Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor, the next WoW expansion, will feature a trip to a world we've only seen one version of. Although we've visited Draenor in game, it was the shattered version of a world post-Horde, taken over by Illidan Stormrage, his allies, and the Burning Legion. Now called Outland, there's very little to see of the old Draenor in the wake of Ner'zhul's disastrous attempt to open portals to other worlds in the hopes of continued Horde domination.

In Warlords, we'll be visiting an alternate version of Draenor -- a version in which the corruption of the orcish race was halted. This alternate version will highlight and showcase former faces of old in a new light, through the meddling of Garrosh Hellscream. Now united as the Iron Horde, the orc clans of Draenor past have turned away from the Legion, instead embracing their strength on their own. But just because this is an alternate version of Draenor doesn't mean there isn't material out there to be found about these characters. The situation may be different in Warlords, but there's a pile of relevant material that will help players understand exactly why the cast of Warlords are a force to be reckoned with.

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Filed under: Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Suffering from WoW withdrawl

I can't play WoW right now.

It's not that I don't want to, it's that I cannot, as in, physically I don't have the means to run the game. My computer, which is designed expressly around the ability to play games and work as a word processor/editor, is currently nonfunctional due to a parts failure. So I'm borrowing a computer, and while doing so, I find myself desperately jonesing for some World of Warcraft - I'd even take some Timeless Isle right about now. At a time when other players are complaining about being bored or arguing that they've done all they can do, I'm sitting here desperately wanting to do those things, but being unable to do them.

Neither Blizzard nor World of Warcraft are perfect. There's plenty I find annoying about the game at times - for starters, I still hate the PvP gearing mechanic and I'll never stop hating it, and I'm never going to be a fan of doing daily quests to earn the rep I need to get another group to let me do their daily quests, either. But right about now, I'd eagerly do the original Golden Lotus grind. If you'd told me a week ago that I would be sitting here today missing Siege of Orgrimmar I'd have thought you were suffering from some exotic brain parasites, and yet, I got sad last night knowing that my guild was fighting heroic Thok and I couldn't be there.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Swedish supermarket invites you to grind to 90 this weekend


Swedish Supermarket Willys has found fame on reddit with their latest marketing campaign. Why am I looking at a load of shopping bags with writing on them in a language I don't understand, I hear you ask? Well, this is the version of the Reddit image from the Willys Facebook page. And the bottom right shopping bag reads "Grind to lvl 90 this weekend -bag". Appropriately, the bag appears to be packed with energy drinks and cheesy snacks!

Panser's recent video on the history of the World of Warcraft showed off a few other adverts for companies like Toyota, but subtle advertizing like this makes me wonder whether there are other little nods to the game we all love in advertizing or other media.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard's New Player Guide covers human starting zones

If you know a someone who's eager to get started with WoW, first you ought to hit them up with a Recruit A Friend invitation -- but your next step should be to send them to Blizzard's New Player Guide. The latest installment walks newbies through the human starting zone, and though it may seem awfully basic to you and me, for a brand new player this can be just the sort of information necessary to get their gaming experience off to a good start. Especially handy are the tips scattered throughout, explaining simple -- but important -- concepts like tapping monsters, how to see your equipment, and why you should travel on roads. It even warns players about murlocs, which, having lived (and died) through numerous murloc invasions ourselves, we find a bit unfair... though we suspect newer players probably appreciate the warning.

The guide currently covers the human starting zone, broken into levels 1-5 and levels 5-10 -- just enough to launch players into the big, wide world of Azeroth, but with the tips to help newbies land on their feet.

Filed under: News items

WoW Moviewatch: Burning Crusade The Movie

Let me tell you about this guy named Jack. Jack makes some of the absolute best movie compilations of kill videos that I have ever seen, and probably ever will see. The pinnacle for me was always the movie shown above, simply titled Burning Crusade The Movie. It's not just about the stunning visuals, it's also about the clever use of in-game sound files from various NPCs in order to tell the tale. It's a long video, but it's well worth watching -- not only for the nostalgia factor, but because it has gotten me even more ridiculously excited to see Warlords of Draenor and a return to an Outland that isn't really Outland at all.

Jack has done a crazy amount of WoW movies over the years. You can check out his Youtube channel for movies dating all the way back to the original vanilla 40-player version of Naxxramas. Sadly, we haven't seen any Mists-related content from Jack, and I don't know if we will at this point. But Burning Crusade The Movie remains one of my favorite kill-compilation videos to date, and it's always worth a re-watch.

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

New addon Explore the World offers trivia, exploration fun

Sometimes, in the rush to get to level 90 and reach the ever-alluring temptations of endgame in WoW, players forgo all the really cool stuff there is to see while going about the process of getting there. It was with this in mind that Symphonym came up with a new addon called Explore the World -- an addon deliberately crafted to pique player's interest in the world around them. The addon is currently in the beta stages, but can be downloaded and tested via Curse for those interested in a lively bout of exploration and fun.

Explore the World is a game within a game -- a trivia game based around what you see and find while out and about in Azeroth. But there's a twist to the game: you have to actually travel and be in the relevant location in order to answer the questions. There are four categories to choose from -- Tracking, which requires you to track down and target an NPC based on clues and 3D models, Investigation, which requires you to locate an area and answer questions based on its surroundings, and Exploration, which involves locating a particular sub zone in the game. The fourth is called Group Questions, which appropriately enough simply requires 2-5 players to be in a party to answer the questions as a group.

This is a really cool idea, and something that sounds like a really engaging, fun way to get people out there and actively looking at the world around them while playing. An interactive virtual trivia game that involves actually running around and participating in a virtual world. At the moment there are only 50 or so questions to answer -- Symphonym is using this initial release to test the addon and its features, as well as judge the general demand for the addon itself. If this sounds like something that is right up your alley, I'd suggest downloading the addon and giving it a spin -- it's definitely a far more creative take on the usual trivia minigames, and sounds incredibly fun.

Filed under: News items, Add-Ons

Orcish Army Knife on taking great screenshots in WoW

I love taking screenshots. Writing for WoW Insider is largely about the writing, but it's also about the layout, and having snazzy images to go along with whatever it is I'm writing about. That said, I have a truckload of screenshots from every expansion on my computer, because it's become some kind of collecting disease to me. If I'm going a really good quest, I'll screenshot the different parts of that quest. If an NPC is talking, I'll invariably take a screenshot of what they're saying. But just snapping away while playing the game doesn't guarantee you're going to have a good image to work with.

And if there's anyone that knows anything about taking great screenshots, it's Fabulor, a.k.a. Rades from the blog Orcish Army Knife. For quite some time now Rades has been entertaining his readers with tons of posts pointing out both the silly and the serious in Warcraft, always illustrated with plenty of gorgeous screenshots to help tell the story. Over the past week, Rades and guest author Hugh Hancock from MMO Melting Pot and more recently Death Knight Love Story have been sharing their tips and tricks to capturing the perfect image.

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Filed under: News items

Microtransactions: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Iron Skyreaver Mount on Store
News surfaced last week, thanks to the Blizzard Jobs Directory, that the company is seeking microtransaction specialists. While it's highly likely that these potential new recruits will not be set to work exclusively on Blizzard's only sub game, it seems only logical that they will examine the current offerings. As Sarah Pine mentioned, while WoW is currently running from a sub-based model, it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Over the weekend, I played a good number of hours of a game called Warframe. The movement was great, combat was fluid, it's one of the only games I've played lately that has that instantaneous feel you get from WoW. But the microtransaction and grinding methods that upgrades were behind were pretty sub-optimal. Yes, you could go into this largely PvE-based game and grind out the materials to get an upgrade. But the quantities required to achieve even a low-level upgrade seemed huge, let alone those required to unlock high-end ones, or other classes to play outside the basic three. And it's inspired me to think about WoW, and its transactions. What's bad, what's good, and where does WoW's current system fall in the grand scheme of microtransactions?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Reminder: WoW's 9th Anniversary event begins today

Festivities for World of Warcraft's 9th Anniversary begin today! During this two-week event, players can log on and take advantage of a 9% boost to experience and reputation gain for all characters. In addition, logging on during this time period will grant you a Feat of Strength. Players logging on during the event will receive an in-game mail with a Celebration Package attached. Using the item will grant the XP and reputation buff -- but only during the event!

Although World of Warcraft officially launched on November 23, 2004, this two-week event surrounding that auspicious date allows players to get a leg up on leveling those pesky alts that they might want to dust off before the launch of Warlords. New players can take advantage as well, of course. The event ends at noon on December 2, so be sure to log in on all your characters and nab those Feats of Strength before they're gone for good.


Filed under: Events, Achievements

Doodlegnome answers all of your Warlords of Draenor questions

Doodlegnome answers: What will be the new legendary item?
Doodlegnome has done it again.

Five months ago, the World of Warcraft community watched, spellbound, as a certain precocious gnome enthralled us with her scrawled tale of a crab, the floating skull who loved him, and the nerf bat-wielding child they weaned on the tears of irate forum posters.

The Doodlegnome, Paululum, has been busy since that 251-page official forum thread finally came to an end -- she's continued to draw at a prolific rate, even starting up her own webcomic and crafting some amazing BlizzCon badges -- but she hadn't created a new epic forum thread since she took the Zarcrawler idea and ran with it as far as her little legs could carry her.

Until this week, that is.

On Wednesday, fresh from an invigorating weekend at BlizzCon, Paululum took to the official WoW forums once more to offer up scribbled answers to any and all questions about the upcoming expansion, Warlords of Draenor. Thirty-one pages, more than 600 posts and over 50 drawings later (and still counting!), we've got ourselves a Warlords encyclopedia the likes of which the world will likely never see again. In fact, so valued are Doodlegnome's posts that Community Manager Bashiok swooped in to make sure that each link within her posts in the thread could be clicked, even though WoW forum settings don't normally allow for non-blues to have clickable links.

Here, for your education and neatly categorized viewing pleasure, are each of Paululum's "Ask Me Anything" responses about the expansion. (We'll keep this post updated as/if new doodles are added.)

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Filed under: Comics, Arts and Crafts

Warcraft as a whole: story balance between RTS and MMO

I was perusing the forums (like you do) when I came across this forum thread from poster Xewie, and I found it an interesting place to start thinking from. Xewie's points aren't entirely ones I agree with - I frankly found Mists of Pandaria one of the richest expansions in terms of lore and story and feel that anyone who dismisses it simply because there are pandaren in it is deliberately and willfully blinding themselves to an excellent ride with some astonishing highs and lows - but there's a certain truth in the points about the RTS vs. WoW itself. As others (including our own Michael Sacco) have pointed out, Garrosh Hellscream is really one of the first big lore characters we've had in World of Warcraft who was born in the MMO, evolved over its course and became a faction leader and finally an end villain.

I think part of the problem is that the RTS features these characters, so even when it kills a few (like Terenas Menethil) it offers up a few more. But the MMO features us, ultimately, so when we put down Lady Vashj or Arthas, there's no immediate replacement. To be sure, there have in fact been tons of new faces over the course of World of Warcraft - Ragnaros, C'thun, Nefarian were all first introduced in classic WoW, not the RTS. The problem is, we introduce these characters and then, well, we dispatch them. Sometimes, like Ragnaros, our first encounter with them isn't a final one, but even if we know they'll eventually be back, it's not like their luck will hold out forever. I called this the "Joker problem" once, and to a degree I think it is an issue for the MMO.

However, does it follow that we need an RTS to create stories? Since I think Mists of Pandaria did an amazing job of building up the story, and in fact I'm really much more of a Cataclysm booster than most, I don't agree with that idea. In fact, in many ways, WoW has done more to broaden and expand the Warcraft setting than the RTS ever did.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Activision earnings call offers more insight on WoW subscriber losses

In addition to the news that Titan may not be subscription-based, today's Activision investor call also shed some light on WoW's most recent round of subscriber losses. Blizzard says that the subscriber loss was more or less evenly split between Eastern and Western markets, which is to say that they've lost subscribers in North America, Europe, and Asia. However, patch 5.2 and 5.3 both had a positive impact on subscriber numbers and Blizzard is working on making returning to the game easier for players who have left.

While there's been a lot of panic over the subscriber losses, Blizzard isn't throwing in the towel yet: in this call they assured everyone that they're committed to the World of Warcraft playerbase (that's us!) in spite of the subscriber downturn and other projects like Titan on the horizon.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

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