Just in case you needed any more Twitter in your life (I'm getting to the point where I really don't), enter the PlayXpert Twitter widget, part of the PlayXpert gaming toolset, a free Windows application that you can download to run alongside your PC games (very similar to Xfire and that type of application). It's a little bloaty if all you want to do is run Twitter alongside WoW, but unfortunately, that functionality will never be available in an addon, as addons can't interact with any other outside sites.
The poor man's solution here is to just run WoW in windowed mode and have your Twitter browser or client open right next to it -- you don't need a big application if you really need to be connected at all times. But if you want to livetweet your raid without sacrificing screen space to windowed mode, PlayXpert is one way to do it. It'll even do some autotwittering for you if you want.
And of course if you're on Twitter already, don't forget to follow our WoW Insider Twitter account. We've already hit our goal of over 9,000 followers (and yes, a video version of the podcast is coming soon), but we're constantly throwing out little pieces of news, discussion and even some giveaways over there, so follow us if you're interested.
If you're a speedy reader, you've got a few minutes to get yourselves down to Xfire. We'll be taking part in a live chat with them starting at 1800 CEST/12:00pm ET (that's in a few minutes!). To sign up for the event and join in, add Chatteox to your Xfire friends and you'll get an invite to the chat room. You'll be able to ask us anything about the invitational you like, so fire away! The chat ends at 1830 CEST/12:30pm ET.
We've told you before about Nihilum's new planned broadcast of a Sunwell Plateau raid, hosted by XFire. We just wanted to remind you that the big day's right around the corner -- the broadcast starts live on Wednesday, June 25th at 19 CEST. This time around, there's 4,000 view slots available, and you'll be able to watch the raid over the shoulder of a Warrior, Hunter, Druid, or Warlock. The broadcast is set to run about 3 to 4 hours.
As Natalie warned you before, make sure you have the Dyyno plug-in installed and ready to go ahead of time. (Dyyno runs "best" under XP on Internet Explorer, but should work fine with Firefox.) Check out the event's web site for more instructions. Nihilum doesn't promise a Kil'Jaeden take-down -- but why risk missing it?
If you missed Nihilum's first live streaming raid in May -- and you probably did since they only had 1,000 spots available -- you'll want to install the plug-in ahead of time. (Note that Dyyno has been tested for XP and will run under Vista but Mac/Safari is not yet supported.) The upcoming event has a 3,000 viewer limit, but log on early so you don't miss the chance to view one of WoW's top guilds blast their way through formidable end-game content. During the live broadcast, you'll be able to interact with other viewers in the Xfire chat rooms.
Nihilum's raid will take place on on June 25, 2008, at 1:00pm Eastern Time (convert the start time into your own time zone). The entire broadcast will last 3 to 4 hours so bring your snacks and make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in the upright and locked position. Good luck to Nihilum! I'll be watching and rooting for you.
In fact, our friends at Xfire have another number that they've shared with us: in the month of April alone, Xfire users spent 16,000 years online -- that is, if you add up all the time spent online by all the users of the client just in April, you get a time period longer than pretty much the whole history of civilization on Earth. That's huge.
Which makes us wonder just how long players actually spend in WoW -- surely not all WoW players are using Xfire, so the number has to be much bigger than that. At any rate, Xfire is apparently banging, and odds are that WoW is playing a big part.
Nihilum, in conjunction with Xfire, will be streaming their Sunwell Plateau raid on April 30th live to internet. This is an amazing opportunity for raiders around the world to see how one of WoW's top guilds raids high end content – unedited and uncut.
Xfire has a limit of 1000 people on the stream, so you'll have to get there early if you want to watch it. My guess is that 1000 streams is quite inadequate. Based on numbers that I've gotten on the YouTube video's I've posted here, they could easily have ten times that and still be short. Hopefully there'll be more of this, and the number of available streams will increase.
Nihilum's raid will take place at 19:00 CEST April 30th, which is 12:00 p.m. CDT, 1:00 p.m. EDT, and 10:00 a.m. PDT (all on April 30th, no crossing of the international date line).
Mark your calendars for this one. I know I will be!
We've seen WoW played with a Wii controller before, but this looks like a really serious effort to get the Xbox 360 controller compatible with our favorite MMO. A company called Blue Orb Software has released an app called Switchblade, a free download that lets you use your PC-enabled Xbox 360 controller specifically to play World of Warcraft.
Why would you want to do this? Their press release cites gamers "hooked on the console experience," and so their controller will let you play WoW console style. You can see the basic settings on their site-- it looks like the left and right triggers are used as toggles, turning the four action buttons into 12, and allowing you to use any icon on one of the action bars in WoW. Probably not quite versatile enough for running PvP, but for running daily quests and grinding, it looks just crazy enough to work.
The download is available through Xfire (and it looks like you need to download Xfire to get Switchblade), and the program should work with any wired Xbox 360 controller (if you have a wireless only, you'll have to buy an extra receiver from Microsoft). I think I've got a wired controller sitting around here somewhere, so I'll give it a try and get back to you on how it works. In the meantime, someone download it, and let us know in the comments-- is it worth installing this thing to play WoW with buttons and joysticks?
Gamesindustry.biz is reporting a huge drop in /played time over the past month for World of Warcraft players. From August to September, Xfire users played WoW 18 percent less than the previous month.
But it's likely not necessarily because of the oft-delayed 2.2.2-- the drop is probably just the difference between students out of school and in school. Over the summer, students were obviously able to play a lot more with all the freetime they had, but as school starts up again in September, there's more homework and less rep grinding to do. Still, 18 percent is a huge drop-- while school starting up is definitely a big part of it, I wouldn't be surprised if the slowdown in patch releases (even though it's since picked back up again) also had a hand in it.
Though it can't be that big a difference-- both Guild Wars and Silkroad Online (the other two big MMO titles on Xfire) saw similar drops. It'll be interesting to see what happens next month. I wonder if Brewfest (and soon, Hallow's End and 2.3) was able to convince students to take their homework breaks in Azeroth.
Robin, Elizabeth, Amanda, Barb, and I all had a great time at BlizzCon, and there's quite a few people that we should thank for helping us out there. First, a huge thanks to Blizzard for putting it all together, and especially to their CM staff and the PR department for setting us up with a press pass and getting us the access we needed. Another big thank you to all the guys at Xfire, who not only co-presented coverage with us, but did a terrific job of their own, and even let us in a few doors that we couldn't have opened otherwise. Upper Deck also was kind enough to sit down with us (and provide some information on their upcoming products that I'll be posting soon). We were excited to meet Ian Beckman, maker of Azerothian Supervillians, as well as the two guys who run WoW Drama, a blog about serious business in WoW. And Kevin Kelly from Joystiq joined us for most of the convention, and helped out immensely with his experience and knowhow. Back here at the ranch, we have to thank our homebound bloggers for filling in the blanks of our coverage, and we have to give a nod to our friend Boubouille over at MMO Champion, who was not only instrumental in getting some of the leaks out (and getting Frank Pierce angry at us), but also hooked us up with a few links and said some very nice things about our coverage. The guys at WoW Radio were also seen almost nonstop at BlizzCon, and gave us a nice nod as well.
And last but farthest from least, we have to thank you, our readers, who not only came up and said hi, hello, and thank you to us at both the WoW Insider meetup on Thursday (the video above is a short sweep of the crowd there at the Lost Bar, right before our trivia contest), but also on the floor as well. Back here on the site, you read your way through our 99 posts over the weekend, gave us record numbers of page views, and helped us out with comments, questions, and tons of support. Thanks very much for everything-- we really, really appreciate it.
We're far from done (we've got more BlizzCon news to report on, and of course we need to get around to the discussion of whether we really want siege weapons or not), but now that the event itself is over, we just wanted to take a second and say thanks. So thank you.
Yes, even though we've been extremely busy here at BlizzCon, the guys from Xfire (who stopped by our party on Thursday, as did a few folks from Upper Deck and Blizzard), haven't been slacking off, either. They've posted quite a few live chats over the weekend, and here's a roundup for you to browse through.
Their biggest event was probably a chat with Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan-- I actually was standing right next to him when they did this one. If you're an Engineer, check it out for sure-- he says they'll be able to craft flying machines!
And we have no idea why they wanted to do this, but before the Con, they even sat down to chat with us-- here's part 1, part 2, and the Lightning Round! (guess which is my favorite part) Amanda, Elizabeth and I all made predictions about what would happen, and we got a lot of stuff right (and, ok, some stuff wrong).
Plus, Xfire has lots more from the floor, including pictures, updates, stories, news, and tons of other stuff. Thanks to them for all their help this weekend, and go check out their coverage!
Oh Illidan and Kael'thas, you two are so silly. The folks behind Azerothian Supervillians put together a fun little trailer for Xfire featuring two of Azeroth's most heinous masterminds.
But what they're planning is what we're doing-- covering every single second of BlizzCon. WoW Insider has teamed up with Xfire (yes, the use of "teamed up" was intentional there) to cover Blizzard's big event like it's never been covered before. If you haven't checked out Xfire's main BlizzCon page yet, here it is. And if you haven't gotten an Xfire account yet, do that too (it's easy and free), because on Thursday (tomorrow) at 4pm Pacific, WoW Insider bloggers (including myself) will be chatting live on Xfire. You'll have the chance to ask us about our official predictions for the show, check in with what we think of Anaheim so far, and tell us exactly, in chat-room person, what you think should be covered at BlizzCon.
Get on Xfire and get online (put the account "blizzcon2007" on your friends list) tomorrow, Thursday August 2nd at 4pm Pacific to chat live with WoW Insider from Anaheim. And of course, stay tuned all weekend for great BlizzCon open-to-close coverage, courtesty of Xfire and WoW Insider.
Our BlizzCon coverage continues all this week-- we're sending our staff out to Anaheim (I'll be out there on Tuesday laying all the groundwork), culminating in the second BlizzCon event on Friday and Saturday. So whether you're going or not, stay tuned to WoW Insider all week for breaking news, liveblogging events, and pictures, video, and tons of coverage from Blizzard's big get-together.
And don't forget that all of our coverage is being co-presented with Xfire. In addition to their BlizzCon info page, they've also set up a special "blizzcon2007" account, and both Xfire and WoW Insider staff members will be blogging there during the event. Also, if you have an Xfire account, be sure to add "blizzcon2007" to your Friends-- that way, you'll be able to get invites to Xfire chats later this week coming directly from the BlizzCon exhibit hall. And if you don't have an Xfire account, then get one for free!
So this is it. It's time to hear about Zul'Aman and the next expansion. It's time to see Starcraft II playable and in action. And maybe it's time to hear about that third game Blizzard is working on? At BlizzCon, you never know. Stay tuned to both WoW Insider and Xfire to find out.
Blizzard has, inexplicably, been keeping the schedule for BlizzCon under wraps. We at WoW Insider have been frantically planning coverage here, and yet we haven't heard a peep from Blizzard about what to expect during the show. But now WorldofWar has posted what seems to be a leaked schedule for the event (no word on how they obtained it), and we'll finally have some idea of how the days are laid out. Here's what to expect if you're headed to BlizzCon:
An opening ceremony (where they'll announce a new game or expansion?)
Panels on WoW classes, dungeons and raids, professions and items, and PvP
A Starcraft II gameplay demo
More panels on Warcraft Art, Blizzard Sound/Music, Careers in Gaming, Cinematics, Starcraft II Lore and Art, WoW UI mods, the TCG, and the Expanded Universe (likely the Warcraft novels)
And the convention will wrap up with a big concert from L70ETC and Video Games Live hosted by Jay Mohr.
Sounds like a full few days! Of course there will also be an exhibit hall open the whole time, but we haven't heard much of what will be in there (don't forget that Xfire will be there, as well as Upper Deck and all the TCG folks, and of course the WoW Insider party will be before the convention starts on Thursday night). Stay tuned for more details as we get them. Under a week left!
You may not have realized this yet (I didn't until just now), but we are only a week and a half away from Blizzcon. On August 3 and 4 in Anaheim, CA, Blizzard will host its second huge convention, and WoW Insider will be there covering every second of it. From top to bottom, from start to end, from sign-in to close, we've got you covered. Whether you're going or not, we'll have exclusive interviews, tons of pictures and videos, and everything you need to know about Blizzard's premiere event.
And to make our coverage even better, we're teaming up with Xfire-- they're also going to be at Blizzcon, and they'll be hosting live online chats all weekend long, as well as posting their own Blizzcon coverage as well. Various WoW Insider staffers will show up on their service as well (for a few exclusive chats), and they're even planning to do a live chat directly with the Blizzard team.
Things are going to get crazy in the next week, and even crazier as the world of Azeroth heads to Anaheim. If you're coming to Blizzcon, we'll see you there, and even if not, stay tuned for the best Blizzcon coverage on the 'net. Blizzcon is almost upon us-- ready check!
The transcripts from the sixth Xfire Debate Club ("Best and Worst Classes in WoW") are now available on Xfire's main site.
On the main floor, I moderated a debate between such heavy hitters as Wowhead's Skosiris, Curse's Mek and Teza, Ming the rogue, and arena masters Tarde, Nuvas and Tiz. I wasn't able to format the full transcript for WoW Insider, but feel free to visit the link so you can see me ask questions and the panelists ... well, ignore them and keep arguing about the last question, or fight about which arena is the most interesting, or claim that the other panelists will one day be working for them. But it was fun anyway!
Xfire also has a transcript from the open debate room, where Xfire users debated the questions themselves. I'd like to thank everyone who came to the debate or proposed questions to ask. I hope to see you all again on Xfire!