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Blizzard offering free Alliance and Horde Xbox Avatar shirts

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In preparation for Mists of Pandaria, why not show your Alliance or Horde pride on your other gaming systems? While World of Warcraft may not be available for consoles, you can still show your love for the game. Blizzard is offering Xbox Live players a free shirt for their Xbox Live Avatars.

To claim your free shirt, simply log into Xbox live, click on the Mists of Pandaria advertisement and watch the trailer. Once it's finished, you can click on the "Free Avatar Gear" button to pick the shirt of your choice. Ads on the Xbox Live dashboard are usually random, but the Mists of Pandaria ad will be available on the Home screen all day today.

An alert reader pointed out that if you can't make up your mind between shirts, you can press B to go back and get the other shirt, so you can have both in your collection. Don't waste any time, though -- the promotion ends October 6, 2012.

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

The Guild: Season 5 to debut July 26

<a data-cke-saved-href='http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=y0egtxm3&from={from}' href='http://www.bing.com/videos/browse?mkt=en-us&vid=y0egtxm3&from={from}' target='_new' title='The Guild Season 5 Trailer' >Video: The Guild Season 5 Trailer</a>
Have you been missing The Guild? I know I have. Luckily, fans don't have too much longer to wait. Season 5 of the series created by Felicia Day is coming to Xbox Live on the Zune video Marketplace and to MSN Video on Tuesday, July 26. Picking up where season 4 left off, the newest season of the show follows the Knights of Good to the gaming convention MEGAGAME-O-RAMACON. In addition to the regular cast, season 5 features recognizable guest stars from the science fiction community as well as over 200 extras.

The Guild will also appear for the fourth consecutive year at the San Diego Comic-Con with daily signings at booth 4201 and a panel at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, in the Hilton Bayfront Indigo Ballroom. A preview of season 5 will be shown along with a Q&A, so if you're headed to Comic-Con, be sure to check it out.

If you're looking to catch up with the series, all four previous seasons are available for viewing on MSN Video, or you can watch them all on Hulu as well.

Filed under: News items, Humor

The Guild picked up for season 5

The Guild just keeps going -- all the way to season 5, according to a post on Facebook by the award-winning web series' creator Felicia Day, who posted last week to let the general public know that The Guild is a go for next season. As in seasons past, new episodes will run on Xbox Live, MSN Video, and the Zune Marketplace.

Season 4 of The Guild focused on several different themes: Codex's ill-fated attempts at romance with Axis of Anarchy leader Fawkes, her attempts to repair her failing computer, and the attempts of the Knights of Good as a whole to pull together enough gold to fund a much-coveted guild hall purchase. Everything ended on a mostly positive note, and it looks like season 5 will surround the Knights of Good as they travel to every gamer's paradise: a convention.

While there's no release date set as of yet for season 5, you can always pick up the DVDs, or simply watch the prior seasons online courtesy of MSN Video.

Filed under: News items, Humor

The Guild season 3 finale

The Guild has come to the end of season 3, and it's all come down to this. Codex is facing off what's left of the Axis of Anarchy, Riley has appeared to ruin Zaboo's game, and all of the other issues this season come to a head as the showdown reaches its conclusion. And being that this is the season finale, there's a few surprises in the mix as well, and a shocker of a finish. You can watch the show over on MSN (which is now calling itself Bing), on the Xbox Live and Zune marketplaces, or right after the break below.

The gang has also released the final gag reel of the season, with outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage from the last three episodes. Lots of fun stuff in there as well, though definitely be sure to finish the season first -- as you might expect, there's some spoilers. And I'm sure the gag reels, and lots of other special footage, will end up on the eventual DVD release for this season. We'll let you know about that, and season four, when we hear about it. Long live the Knights of Good!



Like The Guild? We do, too! We've got all the episodes of season 3 posted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and episode 12 above. We've also chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. And as if that wasn't enough Guild, here's the liveblog of their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned for more Guild here on WoW.com!

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Filed under: Guilds, Odds and ends, Humor

The Guild goes to battle in episode 11 of season 3

Apparently MSN video has now been rebranded as Bing, and that hasn't stopped The Guild from posting their latest video, but it does mean that you'll have to install Microsoft's Silverlight to watch it there. If not, you can hit up Xbox Live to watch it in HD if you happen to have one of those, or jump after the break below to watch it embedded here on the site. This week, the Guild goes to battle, with nothing less than their very existence on the line. And all of this season's other storylines move towards their finale as well, from Clara's relationship to Tink's rebellion.

Good stuff. And speaking of good stuff, Jeff "Vork" Lewis finally got his own account on Twitter the other day, and we all benefit: he used the account to give permission to share these classic pictures of Vork as a kid. No offense to Jeff, but man, the dude was born to play the part of a guildleader. Stay tuned for next week's final episode of the season!

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, PvP, Humor

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.

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

The pros and cons of Battle.net


Well it's finally happened -- as of next month, you'll be required to have a Battle.net login to get into the game, so you might as well head over and merge your account up right now. It's not like we have a choice in the matter any more, but that doesn't mean lots of players still have apprehensions about the process. Naissa puts some of the concerns together clearly over on her blog -- putting all of her accounts under one username scares her, and that's a legit point. Not only can Blizzard presumably cut access to all of their games for just one (or even one false positive) ToS violation, but presumably, one hacker could now gain access to all of your Blizzard games with one hack. The online profile is another concern -- Bungie already has something like this running with Halo, and from my online profile, you can see clearly just how bad I am. With the Armory, there's a level of anonymity (you can't see your account name, just character names), but if Blizzard starts posting profiles under account names -- or even worse, "Real IDs," which are apparently real names -- that's one more layer of separation lost. Surely, they'll have to have a way to opt out of that.
Of course, the changeover isn't all bad.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Bugs, Virtual selves, Blizzard

The Guild episode 6 of season 3, Jim Rugg drawing the comic


It's Tuesday, which means the new episode of The Guild is out, and this week the guildies deal with being down a member by reaching out -- Clara tries to get her husband into the game, Vork makes a new friend, and Codex spends some getting-to-know-you time with Riley. Yup, they get to know each other well. Real well. What an episode. And look out at the end, as the guild rivalry gets knocked up a notch. You can watch the episode in the usual places: below the break on this post, over on MSN, or in HD on Xbox Live.

And here's some more Guild news: Felicia Day reveals in this interview that the upcoming comic will be drawn by artist Jim Rugg. He's the artists behind the young adult Plain Janes series, and his work has been described as Daniel Clowes-esque -- perfect for the quirky folks of The Guild. No word yet on a release date (as far as we know Felicia is still working on it, and it sounds like she's busy lately, what with the Fallon appearance and all), but we're looking forward to it.

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Fan art

The Guild releases episode 5 of season 3, retail DVD in stores now


Episode 5 of The Guild's third season is out now, and it's a good one -- with Tink out of the picture, the guildies are seeking a new member, and the applications they've got are.. a little unnerving (I do believe they are the folks who submitted video for that contest a while back, and there's even a pigtailed Kim aka @randysmolly from AIE and the new Ladies of Leet podcast in there with a cameo). In the end, it comes down to two familiar faces, and Codex puts herself in another situation with her newfound guild leadership skills. The new ep is available right now on MSN, and should be on Xbox Live as well. We've also put an embedded version right after the break if you'd rather see it there.

In other Guild news, they've also announced a brand new retail DVD that's apparently in stores today -- it's the same DVDs from the first two seasons that you could buy from them before, though it's dressed up in a brand new box, with space for both discs. They're also having a contest -- if you post a picture of yourself actually buying the DVD today (9/29) to their Facebook page or to Twitter with a #myguilddvd hashtag, they'll send you another copy, this time autographed. And even if you don't have the time or money to pick it up today, you can also add it in to your Netflix queue, which will spread the word over there. Good stuff. Stay tuned every Tuesday for another new Guild episode -- this latest season is getting hot and heavy (and painful for Zaboo, apparently) very quickly here!

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Humor, Fan art

The Guild season 3 episode 3 out now


After last week's shocking breakup, it's all up to Codex to put the pieces back together this week, as The Guild not only deals with the loss of one member, but tries to jump into a brand new expansion, even while some new wrinkles invade the guildies' lives. This season is starting to get some darkness to it -- not sure how it's all going to play out, but it's interesting to see our characters facing down some real-life struggles as well.

As always, the episode is available for download over on MSN Video or in HD on Xbox Live. We've also put an embedded version right after the break, so you can click down there to see it as well. Enjoy!

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

Read more →

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Fan art

The Guild episode 2 of season 3


Episode 2 of The Guild's season 3 is out now on MSN Video and in HD on Xbox Live (thanks, tipsters!), and it's the first new Guild footage we've seen since BlizzCon a few weeks ago (episode 1 came out last week, but there'd been a sneak peek of that before the season started). And Vork wastes no time at all mixing it up with Wil Wheaton playing the new rival guildleader -- he throws down as only Vork can, history lesson style.

Unfortunately, the Axis of Anarchy turns out to be more than a match for the Knights of Good, and that leads to a shocker that The Guild will probably be dealing with for a long time to come. Or at least until next week, when the new episode (and hopefully the game's new expansion) comes out. You can see the entire episode embedded right here after the break -- enjoy!

Like The Guild? We do, too! We chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. We also saw their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned here every Tuesday for a brand new episode of season 3!

Read more →

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Fan art

Season three of The Guild launches on MSN Video

<a href="http://videoguide.msn.com/play/?g=6f31eb66-4360-439a-ad62-f2bdf28f550e" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time">Video: Season 3 - Episode 1: Expansion Time</a>
Everyone loves The Guild, the popular online series created by Felicia Day, especially us here at WoW.com, just check out the pictures from our BlizzCon meetup and the liveblog from The Guild panel. The third series kicked off in the wee small hours of this morning when the first episode went live on MSN Video and (for Gold members) Xbox Live. It looks like it's off to a cracking start as well, the Knights of Good are still in chaos after the final episode of season two. However Codex hopes that the release of a new expansion will mend the rifts between the guildies. You can check out the first episode above.

The trailer was released last week and promises a guild war! Yes, they've found their nemeses in the form of a hotter group of players called the Axis of Anarchy (led by geek heartthrob Wil Wheaton who makes his series debut). On top of that the personal lives of the guildies seem to be in meltdown with Bladezz in four grand of debt, Tink is avoiding him and Vork's feeling like he skipped out on his GM duties. Oh and Zaboo's got a girlfriend! Due to the deal with Xbox Live, it's going to be a while before The Guild hits YouTube so for now check out the MSN Video page to get your fix if you don't have a 360.

Filed under: Fan stuff, News items, Humor

BlizzCon 2009: WoW.com interviews Felicia Day, continued

That's the last money question that I have. You work with all of these actors, the first season it was like you were kind of the face of the show, and you were talking to everybody, and the other actors have kind of come up. And this BlizzCon I think is one of the first ones where people are really diving in and saying this person is my favorite, I really want to talk to Robin, I really want to talk to Jeff. You wrote the stuff, you even talked on the panel as well about how the actors are kind of taking over your characters. How has that been, in terms of how your actors are becoming the characters you're writing about?

As of the third season, I've written them hundreds of pages, at this point. So they've as actors really helped me define, it's kind of a metamorphosis. Every TV show, if you watch a pilot, a lot of characters change a lot, from the time they do that first pilot. For this one, the actors though, they bring so much to the table, Jeff and Sandeep do a lot of improv, and ad-lib a lot, they're adding a lot of ideas with their characters. At the same time, honestly, I've been pushing them forward as far as press and stuff and meeting fans and stuff, because I'm out there on the Internet a lot, I get sick of myself, honestly, I'm sure some of your readers are like, "I hate this girl."

[Laughs] No! They do have trolling tendencies.

Which is cool, they will, but that's cool, everybody doesn't have to love me. [laughs]

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor, Interviews, BlizzCon

The purpose of Achievements, and how it's changed over time

Moonglade has a good post up about the pros and cons of achievements. Nowadays, achievements are everywhere, but when they were introduced to the game a while ago, they were seen as a great way for Blizzard to integrate an idea that had really taken off on Xbox Live (and that an impending competing MMO, Warhammer Online, was implementing for themselves). They were mostly seen as a benefit for the solo player -- even if you hit level 80 and nabbed some awesome gear, there'd be some optional fun for you to have in the future.

Since then, achievements have changed quite a bit -- I'd argue that they're actually more used in groups than in solo play, as raids check players for achievements when inviting them, and guilds use achievements to rate where their proficiency lies. There are certainly still lots of things for solo players to do (every holiday, achievements come to the forefront again), but titles and mounts have become the main goals there, not just optional points. As Moonglade says, instancing and checking up on what players have done seem to have become the main point of achievements. What was just a bragging competition on Xbox Live has transitioned to a real yardstick in terms of what a player focuses on in game and what they've done so far.

Is that bad? I don't think so -- Blizzard has done with achievements what they've done brilliantly with all of the other features of their games: borrow them, polish them, and then make them better. If you look through that old thread, most of the talk was about achievements pushing people to keep playing the game, and that happened, but I think one thing Blizzard has done is use achievements as a way to see what people have done so far as well: what instances have you run, what quests have you completed, what titles do you have already? There's lots more value to achievements than what any of us originally envisioned.

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

Blizzard on the Battle.net update


Activision-Blizzard held their second quarter conference call yesterday, and in addition to addressing the Starcraft II delay, both Mike Morhaime and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick shared some insight into what the revamped Battle.net will be like. The brand new system (which is currently up and working, albeit in a very skeleton form so far) will have "social networking features, cross-game communication, [and] unified account management," in addition to features that will let players "share experiences" with each other online (we'd presume that means things like screenshot galleries and leaderboards, but who knows?). Kotick also spoke up, and compared the service to that other popular online community, Xbox Live.

Blizzard is still saying the new Battle.net will come in conjunction with the new Starcraft, so we'll have to keep an eye out for them both in the first half of 2010. It'll be interesting to see what other features Blizzard adds in, and exactly what form features like "cross-game communication" take -- do they mean actual in-game messaging across games, or just status updates and messages on a social network? Kotick's comparison to Xbox Live raises some questions, too, as that's a much wider service than you'd think Battle.net would be. But then again, the guy's a CEO, and all CEOs have a tendency to overestimate exactly what their company is doing. Like most of Blizzard's upcoming releases, we'll have to wait and see on Battle.net.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Account Security

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