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Thursday, March 29, 2007

When Experts Expound on Things They Know Nothing About

Via Poorer Than You, an article on CNN Money called "Second Life's looming tax threat."

The only "news" in this article isn't news -- if people in "Second Life" are making real live U.S. dollars, the government wants its cut. Snore.

But the article goes further, making the absurd suggestion that entirely virtual economies, like the one in "World of Warcraft," should be taxed by the U.S. government.

Riiiight.

Grace Wong, CNN Money staff writer, quotes Christopher Frenze of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, who sensibly points out that "as long as virtual activity stays within the virtual economy, it shouldn't be taxable."

But there are always two "sides" to any argument, and trust the mainstream media to find the "dumbass" side. "As soon as you start looking at what's going on in these worlds, they look a lot like real economic transactions," says Texas Tech professor Bryan Camp. According to Wong, Camp believes that "profits that come from, and stay in, the virtual world are taxable." I hope that's a misquote.

As Stephanie from Poorer Than You says, "Unless the IRS is prepared to tax my Monopoly winnings, they should really stay out of this."

So is there really a controversy here? Is the IRS going to tax my WoW gold? No. Although Ms. Wong would like to imply an impending danger, she quotes an IRS rep:
"Any time someone wins a tangible prize or award, the value is reportable as taxable income. An accumulation of 'points' would not result in tax consequences, but redeeming or selling them for money, goods, or services would."
So, there's no there there. Thanks, CNN Money!

Link.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The PvP Report #4: Think Different

I've published my fourth weekly "PvP Report" for GBT, covering the WoW Arena Tourney scene.

In this column, I reply to Mahmood Ali's column criticizing WoW as a pro gaming platform:
I don't see WoW's "leveling requirement" as making it inferior to traditional pro games. I see it as different. Different from FPS games, different from RTS games. But not worse. It's just another way to play a game.

One of pro gaming's major problems is the supposed dearth of pro games. "Quake 4" sucks, so we're left with "Call of Duty" and "Counter-Strike," plus Q3 and UT. There's "StarCraft" and "WarCraft III" on the RTS side, both because they are well-balanced games, and because the Hangukin love them. But that's pretty much it.

Every time a new game comes along that might possibly add to the pro games stable, it immediately gets shot down by the community. Take "Battle for Middle-Earth 2," for example. Is BFME2 as good as "StarCraft" or "Warcraft 3?" No, it absolutely isn't. But is it good enough for pro play? Yes, it absolutely is. Would a new, fresh game breathe life into the moribund pro gaming scene? Yes, it absolutely would. (Should SC and WC3 play suffer, to make room for a new, inferior game? No. But it wouldn't have to.)

Is WoW PvP as good a pro game as any of the above listed? Let's take it as granted that no, it isn't. But would the pro gaming scene benefit from a "new" game, part of an immensely popular franchise, created by a venerable pro-gaming company, that pro-gaming n00bs would understand and appreciate? Only if it genuinely tested the skills of the best players.

Does WoW PvP test those skills? Yes, it does. And automatically rejecting this game from the competitive community would not only be (actually) elitist, but damaging to pro gaming as whole.
Check it out if for nothing more than the pic of me as Xerxes from "300."

Link.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hilarious German Web Terms

This is from a translation of a German article, giving funny definitions of web terms. Definitely worth a read.
MySpace
MySpace was founded by the music industry and is the largest MMORPG in the world. Kind of like World of Warcraft, but the graphics suck. Everybody who can make up a nickname for himself may join. The goal is to add as many other players (called "friends") as possible to your own profile. The winner is the player with the most "friends". If you leave the game or get kicked out, you also lose all your friends.

Second Life
Second Life is a virtual swinger club for journalists. The platform is financed by the big media conglomerates of the world with the goal to replace editorial staff restaurants, work outings and conference rooms. And also to finally allow sexual harassment at work to the unemployed.
Via Hitchhiker's Guide to the Web.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Should An E-Sports Site Cover "World of Warcraft Tournaments?

I've published the third edition of "The PvP Report" on GBT.com.

I list this week's top teams in Arena Tournament 5v5, and discuss whether an e-sports site like GBT should even be covering WoW:
PvE play may be a simple matter of repetitively launching macros (although relying on simple strategies will eventually get your character a ticket to a Corpse Run); but PvP players must adapt to the personalities of their adversaries, to their skill, and to their mistakes. PCs are unpredictable. A mob will always respond the way you expect; but a PC might do something brilliant, something inexplicable, or something just idiotic. Whichever, you have to adapt – and if you have committed yourself to the wrong strategy, you are screwed.
I also wrap up the whole The Armory controversy:
1. The Armory places women and children in danger. This claim is false, prima facie. The Armory data contain absolutely no personal information. A WoW player cannot be harmed in any way by another WoW player unless they exchange personal information.
2. The Armory empowers griefers. This could be true, although I personally doubt any griefer will make the effort to look up their targets on The Armory. Fortunately, Blizzard has included a feature that renders you impervious to griefers, called /ignore. And also fortunately, Darwinian evolution has included a feature in your brain that renders you impervious to griefers, called ignore.
3. If one player copies another player's build ideas, this is somehow "theft." Again, this is a community game, not a competitive one. If someone "steals" your idea, you lose nothing, and they are not cheating. Maybe it would be in another game, but that's not this game.
4. Guildmasters may strong arm guild members into specific builds. They can do that now. I don't think lying to guildmasters is the solution -- after all, the only reason to keep your stats secret from a guildmaster is so you can mislead him or her. No, the solution is to find a better guild.
Link.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Does the Armory Violate Player Rights?

I've published my feature story on the controversy over The Armory, the "World of Warcraft" web page that presents a complete database of WoW character data.

Many players are complaining that The Armory will skew PvP results, and is a violation of privacy.
It is easy to imagine that the users of a service like “Second Life” would have both ethical and legal objections to the creation of a site like The Armory. “Second Life” players conduct personal business, and often live out virtual personal and sex lives through the site. And on sites like Facebook and myspace, users share their real personal information.

“World of Warcraft” is nothing like “Second Life.” While a small minority of players use WoW as a personal communications tool, it is not meant for that purpose. And WoW player profiles do not contain any personal data about a person whatsoever. How one prefers to play WoW is not private in the sense that what one checks out from the library and who one befriends should be private.

The players who complain about privacy aren’t able to present a rational argument, because they do not have one. I wonder whether they even understand the important arguments for privacy in the real world – they just have a gut understanding, and are now applying that understanding in a knee-jerk way to a situation that does not merit it.
Link.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

How To Pick Up Women, WoW-Style

A guide to picking up women, explicated in the jargon of "World of Warcraft."
The reason behind the need to approach an instance such as a bar with a group and not solo is simple, almost all women travel in packs, especially in an environment such as a bar. (of course there will be some women who go to bars by themselves, but these will be considered epic bosses due to the fact that they will most likely wtfown you if you make any mistake in pulling them. And its a sad thing to see a man out in the parking lot crying.) Therefore any man who attempts to solo a group of women will soon be either zoning out of the instance, or having to make a corpse run back to his dignity.
Via qfocus.com.

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Monday, March 5, 2007

Maybe The New WoW Armory Isn't So Damn Cool After All

Well, maybe the Armory isn't so great after all.

Complaints are beginning to pour in from the PvP community. Some players believe the Armory stats give an unfair advantage to opposing players.

Others don't think the information makes a real difference in tournament play.

I'm collecting opinions from both sides for a feature article on Thursday. What do you think? Let me know in the fora!

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Leeeeeeeeeroy Jenkins Interview

The Heroes of Warcraft: WC3's JaeHo "Spirit_Moon" Jang & WoW's Ben "Leeroy Jenkins" Schulz.
Back in May, my good buddy Carmac interviewed the man behind the legend, the World's Most Famous "World of Warcraft" Player, Ben "Leeroy Jenkins" Schulz.

Ben handled some tournament events for us at E3, so we had the chance to hang out with him, and he's a very cool guy.

I noticed that this old interview was getting some hits, so I thought I'd post a link to it here. Enjoy!

Also, the video link inside the story is nerfed -- this one works.

Link.

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Thursday, March 1, 2007

The New WoW Armory Is Very Damn Cool

I was so busy using the brand-spankin' new WoW Armory site to check out Arena tournament action, I missed the fact that it's a complete, publicly accessible database of every single WoW character and guild!

Here's the character sheet for my main character, Verthandi. And here is our guild, the Silvermoon High School Cheer Squad.

Once Blizzard makes it possible to embed a character sheet or gamer tag on your web site or in a forum, the functionality will be complete.

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"The PvP Report" Launches On GBT

My weekly feature, "The PvP Report," launched today on GBT.com. I'll be covering the action in the "World of Warcraft" Arena Tournament, right up to the global live finals event later this year.
With the launch of their “World of Warcraft” Arena Tournament, Blizzard Entertainment adds a third major game to the e-sports pantheon. While some FPS and RTS purists still scoff of the idea of a professional competitive MMORPG, Arena Tournament allows the best players in the international WoW community to prove themselves in official tournament ladders.

Although WoW Arena tournaments have existed for a while, this is the first time Blizzard has hosted an inter-server, worldwide competition with live events. With WoW's large user base and high media profile, this tournament stands to become the most famous event in the history of e-sports, in this writer's opinion.
Linky.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Emotional Azerothians - Males - Part 2

See Part 1 of this post -- the ladies!

Ok, so I got around to posting them earlier than tomorrow! Behold the male /flirt and /silly.

RACE

/FLIRT/SILLY
Night Elf
  • I hope you're not afraid of snakes.
  • Wanna bring out the animal in me?
  • I'm a force of nature.
  • Baby, I'm mortal now. Time's a-wastin'!
  • You're an emerald dream come true.

  • Who wants to live forever?
  • What? I didn't hear that.
  • Last night I went to an awesome stag party.
  • I don't know about you but I can't understand a thing those Wisps say. I usually just nod.
  • I don't mind the gnomes but I'm always worried about tripping over one
  • Man I was halfway through the emerald dream when I had to pee.
  • You know those ancient protectors in Darnasus? They're not that old.
  • Gnome
  • Hey, nice apparatus.
  • I like large posteriors and I cannot prevaricate!
  • Everyone keeps talking about beer goggles. I can't find the plans
    for them anywhere!
  • I have a number of inventions I'd like to show you back at my place.
  • I do hope to find some interesting gadgets around here. I do love tinkering with things.
  • You know, I really wish I had a garden where I could put a couple of human statues.
  • I think that last vendor shortchanged me. Oh… oh... that was a bad one.
  • I look bigger in those mirrors where things look bigger.
  • I had an idea for a device where you could put small pieces of bread into it to cook, but in the end I really didn't think there would be much of a market for it.
  • I'd like to give a shout out to my boys in Gnomeregon. Keepin it real - Big T, Snoop Pup and Little Dee's. Y'all are short but you're real baby!
  • Dwarf
  • Where ya from? Not that it matters.
  • You look pretty, I like your hair, here's your drink. Are you ready
    now?
  • Enough of this chit chat. Let's get to it then!
  • You'd like to run your hands through my beard, wouldn't ya?
  • Let's get on with it then. I've got a quest to do in 15 minutes.

  • I like my beer like I like my women; stout and bitter.
  • I don't drink anymore. Course I don't drink any less either.
  • Heigh ho… heigh ho … errr… uh… Second verse, same as the first!
  • I don't have a drinkin' problem. I drink, I get drunk, I fall down. No problem!
  • Oh, I'm just a social drinker. Everytime someone says "I'll have a drink" I say "So shall I!"
  • ::Rip:: Oh... I'm havin' a wardrobe malfunction ::spring sound:: … Oooh.. There's me hammer!
  • Ah, Winter… Yes... Winter.
  • Human
  • Hey babycakes!
  • How ya doin?
  • You're tag's showing. It says .. uh.. "made in heaven."
  • Are you tired? Cause you've been running through my mind all day!
  • If I said you had a good body, would you hold it against me?
  • What's your sign?
  • A duck walked in to an apothecary and he said "Give me some chapstick and put it on my bill."
  • So, an orc walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. The bartender says "Hey, where'd ya get that?" The parrot says "Durotar! They got em all over the place"
  • How does a Tauren hide in a cherry tree? He paints his hooves red.
  • A guy walked up to me and said "I'm a tee pee… I'm a wigwam … I'm a tee pee … I'm a wigwam!" I said "Relax man. You're two tents!"
  • Cover for me! I gotta whiz behind a tree.
  • So, I have this idea for a great movie. It's about two gnomes who find a bracelet of power and they have to take it to the Burning Steppes and cast it into the Cauldron. They form the Brotherhood of the Bracelet.
    Along the way they're trailed by a Murloc named Gottem who's obsessed with the bracelet, and nine bracelet boogey men. It could be a three parter called "Ruler of the Bracelet." The first part would be called "The Brotherhood of the Bracelet" followed by "A Couple of Towers", with a climactic ending called "Hey the Kings Back!"
  • Draenei
  • You know, I had a girlfriend but I lost her in the crash. That is the bad news. The good news is I AM AVAILABLE!
  • You know, what happens in Shadowmoon Valley stays in Shadowmoon Valley…
  • Would you be offended if I said you have a beautiful transgoto. The
    other one? Ooh hoo. That's not bad either.
  • I will now speak words of love to you in the language of our people…
    Oongwa Awgwau Eghee egleaahaec.

  • I love this planet. I come here, I see cow and chicken and ride little horses. This planet has everything.
  • We did not realize, but in our language Exodar means "defective Electurd."
  • You know, our tails add to our natural balance and agility -- ::CRASH::
  • We have it all figured out. Step one. We land the Exodar. Step three, we defeat Legion and go home. There is ony one detail missing…
  • When we arrived here I lost many jewels that had been in my family for generations. If you could get your hands on my family jewels, I would be deeply appreciative.
  • What do you mean there's an octopus on my face?
  • Troll
  • We trolls mate for life. Course, we believe in frequent reincarnation.
  • Want some of my jungle love?
  • I hope you're well rested. You're going to need your strength.
  • You look pretty. Pretty tasty!

  • I heard if you cut off an extremity it will regenerate a little bigger. Don't believe it.
  • Cookin's done. Stew here!
  • New Troll here.
  • I got a shrunken head. I just came out a da pool.
  • I like my women dumpy and droopy with halitosis.
  • Orc
  • This is true love. Do you think this happens every day?
  • I love you like a fat kid loves cake.
  • Um… you look like a lady.
  • Lady from the moment I see you I … I did not expect to get this far…
  • That armor looks good on you. It would also look good on my floor.
  • You have six different smiles. One for when you're angry, one for
    when you tear flesh, one for when you chew flesh, one for when you loot bodies, one for when you skin game, and one for when you want to kill something.
  • I will crush and destroy and …. ooooh shiny!
  • It's not easy being green.
  • Orc smash!
  • Stop poking me! Well… that was OK.
  • Man, Dog, it's like I'm feelin you but I’m not feelin' you...
    Ya know?
  • I come from the orcs. We eat with spoons and forks. We love to eat our pork.
  • Blood Elf
  • Hey.. Why don't you come over here and … OOH… watch the
    hair!
  • Want to see my good side? Muhahaha... That was a trick question. All
    I have are good sides.
  • Your eyes are like the Sunwell. Before the explosion that doomed us all, of course.
  • You look almost as good as I do.
  • You know what I love about your eyes? When I look deep enough, I can see my own reflection.
  • I know every rose has it's thorn but if you would just pour some sugar on me we could rock and roll all night and party every day.
  • Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot… like.. me?
  • I'm trying to cut back on arcane magic. Look, I got the patch!
  • The problem with these Horde characters is that they lack sophistication.
    ::fart::
  • So I was in line at the bat handler yesterday, with some undead guy in front of me, and all of a sudden he just lets one go. Didn't even try to disguise it! I don't know what he ate but it did NOT agree with him. I thought, what crawled up YOU and died!?
  • We're allied with the Tauren!? Fantastic! We'll be having steak twice a week.
  • ::sigh:: I could really use a scrunchie. Yeah you heard me!
  • Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to … ghewwww… just give me some freakin magic before I kill somebody!
  • Undead
  • You have beautiful skin. No maggot holes at all.
  • Don't mind the drool. It's just embalming fluid.
  • I don't smell that bad for a dead dude, do I?
  • If rot was hot, I'd be a volcano.
  • Check my breath. ::blow out:: Is it bad enough for you?
  • Once you go dead, you never go back.

  • Hey diddle diddle the mucas and the spittle. The corpse sank in the lagoon. The murloc said ::lick chops:: and the dwarf spanked the babboon.
  • I can't stand the smell of orcs.
  • I'm dead…. and I’m pissed!
  • Anyone have any odorant? Either wet dog, fresh garbage or low tide would do.
  • Roses are grey. Violets are grey. I'm dead and color blind.
  • Tauren
  • Are you comfortable with complicated machinery?
  • Hey, you into leather?
  • Hey, you work out?
  • You mooove me.
  • You know, older bulls really only have one function…
  • Free rides, for the ladies.

  • Here's the beef!
  • Mess with the bull, you get the horns!
  • You know, Taurens are born hunters. You ever see a Tauren catch a
    salmon out of a stream? Really is quite exciting. Have you ever seen a Tauren stalk a python? 'Course you haven't. That's because Taurens are so adept at blending in with their surroundings.
  • Moo! Are you happy now?
  • Homogenized? No way. I like the ladies!
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    Emotional Azerothians - Females - Part 1

    Check out part 2 of this article -- the gentlemen!

    I recently spent about 5 hours and sifted through every race/gender to collect all of the /silly and /flirt in WoW.

    Below is the compilation of the Females. I will post Males tomorrow. ENJOY!

    RACE

    /FLIRT/SILLY
    Night Elf
  • I'm the type of girl my mother warned me about.
  • Sure, I've got exotic peircings.
  • There's nothing like sleeping in the forest under the moonlight.
  • Actually I'm more of a morning elf.
  • I think guys just use the Emerald Dream as an excuse to avoid calling me back.
  • You know, Wisps are actually pretty useful for personal hygene.
  • Oh I'm dancing again! I hope all your friends are enjoying the show.
  • You know I have to keep moving at night or I'll disapear.
  • Gnome
  • Your ability to form a complete sentence is a plus.
  • At this time I think you should purchase me an alchoholic beverage and engage in diminutive conversation with me in hopes of establishing a rapport.
  • I do not find you completely disagreeable.
  • I don't feel the 1 to 10 scale is fine enough to capture subtle details of compatibility. I'd prefer a 12 dimensional compatibility scale with additional parameters for mechanical aptitude and torque.
  • You are CUUUUTE.
  • You know, squirrels can be deadly when cornered.
  • I apologize profusely for any inconvenience my murderous rampage may have caused.
  • I've discovered that being pummeled by a blunt weapon can be quite painful.
  • Someday, I hope to find the nuggets on a chicken.
  • Dwarf
  • I like tall men.
  • Enough with your flirting. I know you think all dwarven women look the
    same.
  • I'll have you know I can flatten steel with my thighs.
  • I'd like to see you in a kilt.
  • I won't fall for any bad pick up line. You got to try 2 or 3 at least.
  • No, they're not real but thanks for noticing.
  • It's like my father always use to say -- shut up and get out.
  • I like my ale like I like my men -- dark and rich.
  • I give myself a dutch oven pedicure every night. I've got no foot fungus at all. My toes are pristine.
  • My uncle has brass balls. No really!
  • I don't like to be underground. It reminds me of death.
  • Human
  • I need a hero.
  • ::giggle:: You've got me all a flutter.
  • My turn offs are rude people, mean people and people who aren't nice.
  • I can't wait 'til this quest is done and I can look for another Garibaldi artifact.
  • I like to fart in the tub.
  • I can't find anywhere to get my nails done.
  • Why does everyone automatically assume I know tailoring and cooking?
  • Do you ever feel like you're not in control of your own destiny? Like, you're being controlled by invisible hands�?�
  • Me and my girlfriends exchange clothes all the time. We're all the same
    size!
  • Sometimes I have trouble controlling THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE!
  • Draenei
  • The nights are so chilly on this planet.
  • Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Good, bring ample supply of butter and Goblin Jumper Cables.
  • Yes they are real AND they can cut glass.
  • This planet has a tremendous supply of sandstone. The inhabitants must be wealthy beyond their dreams.
  • How exactly do you crash into a planet? That's what I want to know.
  • Why does everyone have trouble with the name of our people? It sounds just like it is spelled.
  • Stop and ask for directions I told him but NO... It's interdimensional, he says, what can go wrong?
  • Look at my hoof! Does this crack look infected to you?
  • Single Draenei female seeks blacksmith with grinding wheel to take care of me and my gorgeous hooves.
  • Troll
  • When enraged, and in heat, a female troll can mate over 80 times in one night. Are you prepared?
  • You're the type I like to sink my teeth into.
  • I won't bite you where it shows.
  • Aren't you going to ask me out?
  • I know, my natural beauty is intimidating.
  • I got all this and personality too.
  • If cannibalism be wrong, I don't want to be right!
  • The way to a man's heart be through his stomach, but I go through the ribcage.
  • I feel pretty, oh so pretty... ::spit::
  • Strong halitosis be but one of my feminine traits.
  • Orc
  • You had me at "zug zug."
  • Don't talk, just follow me.
  • I'll give you crazy love.
  • Let's not ruin this moment with chit chat.
  • I like men who aren't afraid to cry. Cry UNCLE!
  • You'll do. Let's go!
  • Get between me and my food and you'll lose a hand.
  • I have no respect for people with small peircings. I say go full hog. Put a spear through your head.
  • Man, I think that boar meat's comin' back on me. I gotta hit the can. Anyone have a hearthstone?
  • What's estrogen? Can you eat it?
  • ::sigh: Aww... I need to get my chest waxed again.
  • I feel very feminine, and I'll be the crap out of anyone who disagrees!
  • Blood Elf
  • I'm the girl the ESRB warned you about.
  • No... No I won't do that -- but my sister will.
  • I'm addicted to you baby.
  • Is that a mana worm in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
  • Do you believe in love at first site or should I walk by again?
  • My mana tap brings all the boys to the yard!
  • Normally I only ride on epic mounts but let's talk.
  • Do you think the expansion will make me fat?
  • I hate Thunder Bluff. You can't find a good burger anywhere!
  • So you mean I'm stuck with this hair color?
  • Mirrors can't talk. Luckily for you they can't laugh either.
  • I went to Undercity to get a facial. Have you seen these people? I said, you don't have a lower jaw and you're gonna give ME a facial? She got mad. At least, I think she did. You ever heard someone try to talk without a lower jaw? ::noises:: Ha ha...Oh... she SOUNDED like a murloc!
  • So, I went to this troll spa the other day and I wound up with dreadlocks and a friggin' bone in my nose. I mean, come ON, who pays for that!?
  • How can I miss you if you don't go away?
  • Undead
  • Nice butt.
  • I don't need to get funky, I'm already there.
  • I don't care that much about romance. I fell in love before and look what happened to me.
  • I can't wait to suck the juice out of your eyeballs.
  • Us undead girls really know how to have a good time because after all, what's the worst that could happen?
  • One good thing about being dead? Biological cloc seems to have stopped.
  • I heard a kneeslapper once, and skipped my kneecap right across a lake
  • This stinks.
  • I'd paint my toenails, but I'm not sure where they fell off.
  • Ahhhh doornails!
  • You know, once you're dead nothing smells bad anymore. Rotten eggs? No problem. Dead fish? Like a spring breeze!
  • I'm in a rotten mood.
  • You don't need deodorant when you don't have any armpits.
  • Yes, they're real! They're not mine�?� but they're real!
  • Tauren
  • Come over here, sailor.
  • Wanna see some good clog dancing?
  • I'm tired of the same old bull.
  • I've got big soulful eyes, long eyelashes and a wet tongue. What more could a guy want?
  • I want a man with soft hands. Preferably four of them.
  • You know how hard it is to get your groove on with the spirit of your great grandmother looking over you?
  • Happy Taurens come from Mulgore.
  • I once laughed so hard I milked all over the floor.
  • In my native tongue, my name means "Dances With Tassles."

  • Check out part 2 of this article -- the gentlemen!

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    A Magnificent WoW Birthday Cake

    Silvermoon High School Cheer Squad Is Now Recruiting!

    Our brand new "World of Warcraft" guild is recruiting!
    Are you pretty and popular? The Silvermoon High School Cheer Squad is recruiting! Female Blood Elves only! Show your Sin'Dorei pride! Mail or PST our Dance Captain Aktrez, or Cheer Captain Verthandi for an invite! No geeks or freaks. Gooooooooooo Hawkstriders!
    Becky and I started the guild on Korialstrasz, inspired by the female belf /joke and /flirt emotes. We're working on a web site and saving up for a tabard.

    Click here for more info.

    GOOOOOOO HAWKSTRIDERS!

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    Azerothian Pick Up Lines: Ladies

    The ladies of Azeroth are all vying for your affection. The night is young and you have 10 girls feeding you pick up lines. Based on the lines, alone, who will you be going home with?

    Who would you go home with?

    Your ability to form a complete sentence is a plus.
    I'm the type of girl my mother warned me about.
    I won't fall for any bad pick up line. You got to try 2 or 3 at least.
    My turn offs are rude people, mean people and people who aren't nice.
    Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Good, bring ample supply of butter and Goblin Jumper Cables.
    When enraged, and in heat, a female troll can mate over 80 times in one night. Are you prepared?
    You'll do. Let's go!
    Normally I only ride on epic mounts, but let's talk.
    I can't wait to suck the juice out of your eyeballs.
    I'm tired of the same old bull!
    pollcode.com free polls

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    Monday, February 26, 2007

    Runing Naked Through Hillsbrad & Arathi

    My Blood Elf Warlock, Verthandi, got the succubus quest in the Undercity.

    The first thing you have to do is go collect the hearts of two virtuous men. One of them hangs out at the Greymane Wall in Silverpine Forest, which is a pain in the ass because the area is chock full of level 20 humans, wolves and lycanthropes, plus a nasty 24th-level Son of Arugal that enjoys attacking from behind. Plus the guy you have to kill takes a really, really long time to respawn.

    After I killed him, I had to walk all the way to the frickin' Wetlands to find the second time. This means you have to run all the way through the redundantly-named Hillsbrad Foothills, and halfway through the Arathi Highlands (I suspect that "arathi" is the Elvish word for "highland"). Parts of both these areas are inhabited by nasty 30th level mobs, and even if I stuck to the roads, I was likely to get attacked and killed.

    So I just decided to sprint for it. And to keep my armor and possessions from getting damaged in an attack, I did it naked.


    Here's Verthandi, running naked through the Hillsbrad Foothills, not long after stripping naked and leaving Silverpine Forest.


    Look! Thoradin's Wall!


    These Alliance losers are staring at my sweet young body. There were a number of rude comments from passersby.


    Running, running, running.


    Here I am standing in front of the Thandol Span, just before reaching my objective. I was only killed three times!


    Back in the Undercity, I have slain myself a succubus!


    And here I am with my new best friend! I call her Kitten (as in "Kitten with a Whip").

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    Friday, February 23, 2007

    The Many Adventures of A. Dora Belle

    Dora sings: My name is DoraBelle ... My minions? Straight from hell. Don't mess with this doll, pink hair and all. I'm a gnome and I'm proud and I sing out loud. MY NAME IS DORABELLE .... my minions? Straight from hell!
    Hey there all you Azerothian explorers! My name is A. Dora Belle (friends call me Dora).

    I will be travelling the world of Azeroth looking for fun and exciting things to bring back to YOU, my avid exploring friends!


    Today, I visited the chilly city of Anvilmar. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by one of my cousins ...



    .... At least, I think he's my cousin... I mean, I haven't done the appropriate genetic research on it yet however, I've been told there is some kind of family connection. Have you ever seen someone that looks like THIS be a cousin with someone who looks like me!? I think Professor TinkleTop needs to design some sort of gadget that detects the molecular structure of genetic ..... Oh, you're still here!? RIGHT... RIGHT.. my adventures....



    Anyway, my cousin informed me that some puppies in the area were causing damage to the property. He wanted me to go kill the puppies and bring the meat back to him for dinner. What a MONSTER!!! How could puppies cause THAT much damage to the property? It's made of STONE. Well, he was very forceful about it (I still have the bruise) So... I had to do his bidding...



    /wipes tear from her eye

    Poor puppy!

    While I was out being a nasty gnome.... a group of Troggs decided to come say hi.


    My milkshake brings all the Troggs to the yard!



    It was all OK until they started showing me THEIR milkshakes ... so I bolted!

    I handed in the evil meat (The blood... I can still ... smell... the BLOOD!!) and decided to go into the city for a little R&R.



    I sat down next to a dwarfy and we began having a GREAT conversation about Quantum Physics (although, dwarfy was kind of shy and didn't talk much..) Then, he piped in with an invitation to drink with him.

    Well... when in ROME!


    Unfortunately things got a TAD out of hand



    I ended up being walked out by the gaurds.



    What a fun day in Anvilmar!! Next stop: IRONFORGE

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    Monday, February 19, 2007

    More from the Cheat-o-sphere -- Blizzard Sues WoW Glider

    Blizzard Entertainment is taking legal action against the site that sells WoW Glider, a bot program that basically plays WoW for you. I learned about this from a rambling post over on Markee Dragon, a site that links to various bots, cheatware and gold famers.

    I didn't know about the WoW Glider situation because, of course, I don't cheat. Hell, I feel guilty when I use the "World of Warcraft Atlas."

    Again a games developer is using? abusing? copyright law to control how its game is used. And again, I am torn. I don't like publishers bullying gamers into using a product a specific way.

    But I really, really don't like cheaters.

    WoW Glider sits and plays WoW while you are not at your computer, following a complex set of instructions. Some people think this isn't cheating, since the user is not manufacturing illicit items or making walls invisible. After all, it's just a more advanced example of the macros Blizzard lets you create, right? Right?

    I'm not a lawyer. Avataritoria's Paul Ang, who went to law school, always tells me there are no good or bad lawsuits -- you either win or you don't. This is a very lawyerly thing to think. He also reminds me often that the law has nothing to do with what's right and what's wrong. Also very lawyerly.

    I have no doubt Blizzard will prevail in this legal action, since the current climate in law and politics is slavishly servile to corporate interests over fair use. But should Blizzard win? Do they have a point?

    1.) Blizzard accuses WoW Glider of violating its intellectual property rights. This may be valid under the law, but it's bogus in reality. Intellectual property law was invented to protect the right of artists to make money off their creative labor. It was not intended to prevent anybody else on Earth from ever making money off your labor ever, or to keep your ideas from being used in ways that annoy you or make your life harder. Intellectual property law has been amended to include these things, but it should not have been -- fair use, a vital part of cultural development, has been hobbled and nearly eliminated as a result.

    2.) Blizzard says that WoW Glider encourages users to violate the WoW Terms of Service. This is undeniably true, but I have two problems with it. First, I have no interest in non-negotiable boilerplate contracts that strip all of my rights as a consumer, and permit a corporation to change any provision they wish at any time. I'm not aware of any particular instance of Blizzard abusing their EULA, but cell phone companies do it all the time. The potential for abuse is enormous.

    My other problem is, "yeah, so what?" WoW Glider permits users to break the rules. That makes the cheater the problem, not the cheat bot. WoW Glider has no legitimate use, to my knowledge -- but the EULA isn't violated until you log in and use it. Lots of people want to make bongs, lock picking kits and hack programs illegal, but I don't. It's not wrong to have the tool, it's wrong to use it, and the distinction is important. (I'm well aware this goes against my long-held views on gun control; but guns kill people, and serve no other purpose at all, ever. I resent the idea of a device someone can point at me, press a button, and I'm dead.)

    3.) Blizzard has pointed out that going after WoW Glider users and banning them costs Blizzard money. Yeah, well, boo hoo. As a paying, non-cheating WoW player, that's why I pay you guys. Going after bot creators will never stop the creation of bots, any more than napalming cocaine farms cures drug addiction.

    This all makes it sound like I support WoW Glider and oppose Blizzard. This is absolutely not true. I'd love to see cheatbots eradicated from the Earth, or at least from Azeroth. Players who cheat are scumbags. (I have respect for the people who break something like WoW apart, figure out how it works, and find all the hacks. But again, there's a sharp clear line between hacking the game out of curiosity, and using that knowledge to ruin the game for everyone.)

    But using the law to eliminate cheating makes me very nervous, not because Blizzard is doing harm, but because they may set precedents that will allow others to do harm. I'd really rather Blizzard stuck to finding cheaters and banning them.

    That said, you won't find me donating any money to WoW Glider's legal defense.

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    Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    Blizzard Announces "World of Warcraft" Tournaments

    Mahmood Ali has the details over at GBT.
    Blizzard has announced its inaugural season of the World of Warcraft Arena Tournament, which will pit player-vs-player teams against another in an effort to find the best PVP team in the world.

    The tournament is scheduled to begin in just two days time (Feb. 16th) in Europe and North America, and March 3rd in Korea. The best ranked teams from each region will fight it out on private realms and then advance to regional finals, after which they will advance to the Global Finals.

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    YellOw Pimps for Blizzard

    China's Yu "YellOw" BaoHui, "Warcraft III" cyberathlete for Team MeetYourMakers, has apparently been drafted by Blizzard for a Korean ad campaign promoting "Burning Crusade."

    I wonder if he even plays WoW?


    Click to enlarge.


    See more images at TeamLiquid.net.

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    Friday, February 9, 2007

    Sylvanas Windrunner and the Runnettes!


    Verthandi with Sylvanas Windrunner, Royal Quarter, Undercity. 2-9-07 3:13am.

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    Cloud vs. Star

    I, like a lot of you, have had a few weeks to play the "Burning Crusade" expansion for "World of Warcraft" now. I've substantially leveled a couple of new characters*, one of each of the new races (Blood Elves and Draenei if you like, have a life or something) and noticed pretty key differences between the two.

    It's not really the new abilities or classes that make the difference, but rather the starting areas, and how they relate to quest progression. WoW was an evolutionary step up in MMORPG design in that it had quests that logically flowed by level and race to new areas that were always level-appropriate. Players were not forbidden to go into areas that they're too low level for, but neither did any of their quests necessarily lead them there - exploration was still possible, and even rewarding - but not a part of the leveling chain. Completing quests was substantially more rewarding than just grinding through countless rats and selling their teeth, and also kept you moving from area to area that progressed naturally in terms of both difficulty and reward.

    Still, there were many jokes about the "World of Walking" due to a lot of quests involving running back and forth across the same stretch of terrain several times to deliver things. Sure, one could throw the item to be delivered into a sack and complete the quest when it's convenient, but lots of us knocked out one quest at a time. This lead to a lot of wasted time - and by wasted I mean we weren't exploring new areas, or completing quests, or engaging in combat, or even - Light forbid! - doing roleplaying. How many times did you trot across the Crossroads on the Horde side; a vast area that had little to commend itself visually, and less in terms of ease-of-travel?

    The developers at Blizzard have learned some lessons, and improved on the design of quests in the expansion, mostly. The starting area for the Draenei resolves this problem; the starting area for the Blood Elves, for the most part, does not. Blood Elves get quests the old-fashioned way; you're given a quest to go to an area and do something (kill things, explore, acquire something, whatever) and then return to complete the quest. Upon completion, another quest opens up, and you head out again - trotting back and forth across the starting zone many times. Sometimes it's possible to pick up several quests and complete them all in one run - but for the most part it's one at a time - the star pattern method. I call it this because your path of travel makes a star, a whole bunch of radial arms emerging from a central point - that central point being the quest giver.

    The Draenei, on the other hand, have it easier. You arrive at the area with the quest-givers, and there are many quests to pick up all at once - all of which lead you to the same general geographical area. In that area, there's a cluster of things to do - NPCs to interact with, creeps to slay and loot, stories to advance. It's easy to further a story this way, too - a whole tableau of a situation is presented upon arrival, and through your efforts, the conflict is resolved. Once that cluster of quests is completed, you run back to the central area and turn them all in at once - and either get directed to a new central area, or get a new batch of quests. I call this the cloud method - your path of travel concentrates in a cloud in each place, with a minimum of back-and-forth just traveling.

    Now that I've played through most of the starting quests up to level 20 in both starting areas - which they're designed to do with minimum pain and maximum fun - I'd say the cloud method is a lot more appealing. I appreciate the scenery in Azeroth, and WoW's success has a lot to do with how attractive the environment is - but in reality (so to speak!) we're spending a lot of time in the same vicinity, and the novelty of the backdrop wears off after wandering around looking for that fourteenth Mistbat Vampire - or whatever.

    This is not to say that the Blood Elves' area is entirely free of anything like quest efficiency - it's just that it's more prevalent, and more carefully laid out for the Draenei. As a result, I just had more fun playing the Draenei character - even if they don't do little spinning moves when they jump up and down. I hope that future releases or content updates for WoW follow more the cloud pattern, and less the star pattern.

    *(Draenei - Iri, Blood Elves - Neeky; Both on Korial'strasz. Say hello!)

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    Because Sex Sells!

    We've all ogled the sexy night-elf dance. I know, you sneer at "naked elf dancing" as a phenomenon as much of any of us, but you still look. And who hasn't had that conversation - about which of the WoW races are the hottest?

    Now you can get a closer look. Kotaku Feature has an interview with the makers of a series of hardcore WoW-themed porn movies, called "World of Whorecraft" (totally NSFW!) The interview details producer Dez's struggles with filming porn in full plate armor, of finding stars that are sympathetic to the material (and, according to starlet Hannah Harper, subsequent fascination and addiction), and personal inspiration; Dez has been a gamer for years.

    Says Dez, "People play these games and see these sexy elves, but they don't ever get to see the elves have sex," he said. "A lot of people try to roleplay in the game, but I decided to bring it out into the real world and do it right."

    Dez claims that the movies are episodic, and include recurring characters - something rare in pornography. They also include bears - something I'm sure equally rare in porn, though entirely too common in Azeroth. I wonder, is there a scene where a character is sent to collect a dozen bear pelts before getting a "reward" of the kind that the average WoW player is quite unlikely to actually collect in or out of the game?

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    Wednesday, February 7, 2007

    Cosplaying a Blood Elf



    I've decided to start going to work on my very first MMO based cosplay costume. I'm so in love with my blood elf that I believe I'm going to become her!

    I recently found these great contacts that I think would be PERFECT for the costume.


    These actually glow under black light.

    The rest of the costume will soon follow. Any ideas, tricks or advice?!

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    Hey! That Chick's Not Wearing Underwear!



    Verthandi at Tranquillien, Ghostlands. 2-7-07 6:47pm PST.

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    The World of "Whorecraft"

    Kotaku has a full-length feature on "Whorecraft," a series of online pr0n shorts based on D&D and "World of Warcraft."

    The author interviews "Dez," the series' creator (nice to see an old D&D player make good) and the women who star in the films.

    "People play these games and see these sexy elves, but they don't ever get to see the elves have sex," he said. "A lot of people try to roleplay in the game, but I decided to bring it out into the real world and do it right."
    Link (sfw)

    Thanks to DasWookie!

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    Thursday, February 1, 2007

    WoW Is A Rip-off Of "Warhammer Online," NOT The Other Way Around!

    For some time now, I've been planning to write a post on this topic. This discussion thread on mmorpg.com nudged me into finally doing it.

    I've been a gamer since the earliest days of anything that can properly be called "gaming." My first video game was Pong. My first computer was a TRS-80. My first role-playing game was “blue book” D&D. My first anime was Macross. I’m the original paleogamer.

    I played all the great Games Workshop games; "Warhammer Fantasy Battle," Warhammer 40,000," "Space Hulk," "Blood Bowl," and "Talisman." "Chaos Marauders" is one of the greatest games of all time, and I still play it.

    I've also followed the efforts of the Blizzard folks, who have yet to make a bad game. "Lost Vikings" 1 & 2, "Warcraft" 1-3, "StarCraft," "Diablo" 1&2, and "World of Warcraft." Hell, I even played "StarCraft: Ghost" at Blizzcon.

    That said, I can assure all you young Padawan gamer n00bs that "Warcraft" is a direct and obvious rip-off of "Warhammer." I have been informed by a reliable source that in the beginning, this was intentional -- Blizzard and Games Workshop had an abortive relationship. But much if not most of the look, feel, and characterization of the "Warcraft" universe was at least inspired by the "Warhammer" universe.

    Am I criticizing Blizzard in saying this? Nah. It's really not a big deal. It's all just a rip-off of Tolkien anyway. And Blizzard has certainly developed the "Warcraft" franchise into its own original, massive creative endeavor. The two legendaria have evolved in different directions; the "Warcraft" universe features serious storylines intermixed with light comedy and anachronisms, while "Warhammer" is noted for dark comedy in a grim and gritty world. At this point, saying that Azeroth is a ripoff of the World of Warhammer is just sniping.

    What's annoying is when uneducated howards, munchkins, n00bs and trolls complain that "Warhammer Online" rips off "World of Warcraft." You know, because WoW was published first. Let's ignore the fact that each game is part of a legacy of games.

    They also complain that WOAR's control scheme mimicks the WoW interface. No god, I should hope so! WoW has the best interface of any MMO I've played to date. Please, MMO publishers, steal WoW's interface. I'm begging you.

    In conclusion, WoW is a great game, indeed my favorite game of the moment. But it's a rip-off of "Warhammer." And I am very much looking forward to "Warhammer Online."

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    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    If WoW Were Made By A Korean Company

    Someone called "meteo" on the mmosite.com fora has posted a list called "If WoW Was [sic] Made By A Korean Company."

    The jokes are hit or miss, but some are pretty funny...
    If WoW was made by a Korean company... almost everybody would have a cute little pet.
    If WoW was made by a Korean company... there would be many grammatical errors and typos in its text.
    If WoW was made by a korean company... it would be marketed and advertised to preteens.
    If WoW was made by a korean company... it would have two versions, the Korean version and the "International Version." The International Version would be used strictly to fund and add content to the Korean Version.
    If WoW was made by a korean company... PVP would consist of two individuals. -- the LONGEST PLAYING PLAYER vs THE PLAYER WITH MONEY.
    If wow was made by a Korean Company... female character models would have chests larger than their heads, with plenty of detail and animation around that area.
    If wow was made by a Korean Company... the emotes would not be performed by your character, rather a chat bubble would pop up with a "cutsie" anime face performing the emotion.
    If wow was made by a Korean Company... there would be three hair styles, three colors, and three face styles.
    Linkage.

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    Monday, January 29, 2007

    WoW Census

    Just like in real life, the citizens of Azeroth are watched and calculated! Want to find out how many belfs roam Silvermoon City? Want to know how many Paladins trade in Ironforge?

    Check out Warcraft Realms to see what YOUR server consists of!

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    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Look At Me! I Have A Tabard of the Frost!

    The items you can collect by collecting points from "World of Warcraft CCG" cards are mostly pretty lame. I mean, wallpaper? Please. Nothing like the prizes you get from loot cards. God, I want a turtle mount.

    But I did get the exclusive Tabard of the Frost. I don't know what it represents, except "hey, I bought a lot of CCG cards." Or in my case, "hey, I got a lot of free CCG cards through work."

    But I'm in love with the idea of in-game items that other people can't have. Why, oh why when I was at Blizzcon did I not get a murloc pet Murky?

    Anyway, here's a pic of my 18th level Human Paladin with her Tabard of the Frost. She had to go to Booty Bay to get it, which at her level meant swimming in the ocean all the way from Westfall. (Trying to walk there would have gotten her killed.)

    Unfortunately, I'm planning to pretty much stop playing this character, and focus on my Blood Elf Warlock. I should have given the Tabard to her -- she's a fashion junkie.

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    Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    GameDaily's "Women of WoW" -- Separated at Birth?

    GameDaily has a hilarious little feature comparing the female avatars of "World of Warcraft" with real-life celebrity counterparts.

    I think Draenei females are damn not, though I wonder if Charlize Theron would appreciate the comparison. And Natalie Portman as a gnome? That's just not cool.


    A troll female and Pink -- separated at birth?

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    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Player Makes WoW Cash Through Prostitution -- No, Really

    In a story about gold farmers, a Korean online newspaper mentions the adventures of Rob Conzelman of Philadelphia, whose WoW character "VillageBike," earns gold as a prostitute. She stands outside of inns wearing nothing but a bikini, and other players pay her to go upstairs and lie down on a bed so they can lie down on top of her.
    I have to admit that VillageBike looked hot even on my extremely low-resolution screen. She could compete with Lara Croft -- the first and most successful attempt at profiting from horny gamers -- any day. Before long, a level 20 Mage approached with a predictable clunker: "Village bike, huh? Can I take you for a ride?" he asks. "Sure thing, baby, we can take this party upstairs for 5g," answered....
    Why do I have a feeling only 14-year-old n00bs are paying for this?

    Conzelman has a column on Dragonfire [warning: heinous, deplorable, and wholly unnecessary Flash interface), and discusses his activities there. Conzelman claims he could earn $4 real-world an hour this way, although he doesn't reveal if he actually has.

    And you thought this kind of thing only happened on "Second Life."

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    Sideshow Collectibles Announces WoW Figures



    "Thousand Oaks, CA (January 18, 2007) - High-end collectible manufacturer Sideshow Collectibles has joined forces with leading game developer Blizzard Entertainment® to produce a ground breaking new line of licensed high-end collectible polystone figures and dioramas. The original sculptures will be based on the world's leading subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game: World of Warcraft®, and its highly anticipated expansion World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade™."

    Can we say HOLY ISHT!?! Sideshow Collectibles is one of the most detailed and amazing creators of high end sculptures on earth.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Sideshow Collectibles.... take a gander at some of their most recent creations:








    So, let's place bets... who do you think will be the first character created!?

    A Blood Elf ..... perhaps!?

    (Photoshop by Aktrez)

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    Monday, January 22, 2007

    European BC Launch Events WAAAY More Interesting Than American

    Here is a gallery of pictures from European "Burning Crusade" launch events.

    Looks like these events were a lot more fun -- cosplay, crowd signs, all sorts of shenanigans.

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    Friday, January 19, 2007

    WoW Player Levels To 70 In 28 Hours

    Well, it had to happen. A French player called “Gullerbone” was the very first player to reach level 70 in “World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade,” just 28 hours after the expansion was released. Gullerbone and his guildmates used an exploit called “tap-leveling” to achieve this monumental feat.

    Let me explain tap-leveling to those who don’t play WoW. You see, and this is a bit complicated, so pay attention and let me know if you don’t understand anything… HE CHEATED.

    If you must know more, there's a brief interview on mmosite.com.

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    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    "Burning Crusade" Hardware Performance Guide

    Gamespot has an excellent article called the "Burning Crusade Hardware Performance Guide." They played with BC's video settings while running it on a GeForce 6600 GT, and compared the results.

    I was happy to see that BC runs just as well with 1GB RAM as with 2GB. I have 1.5GB on my machine.

    Look at the difference between Terrain Distance Min. and Terrain Distance Max.:



    Yipes.

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    Why Do MMO Players Hate Role-Playing?

    About a year ago, and I was playing my female natural stalker, Lucy Liunatic, in “City of Villains.” I was in the Pocket D zone, where villains have to hook up with hero characters from “City of Heroes” in order to complete missions.

    Now, I don’t normally bother to role-play in MMOs, primarily because no one else does. CoX doesn’t have role-playing servers, so there’s really no role-playing going on.

    Nonetheless, I decided to be cute, and make my requests for hero partners “in character.”

    [Broadcast] Lucy Liunatic: I am looking for weak-willed, morality-addled so-called “heroes” to serve me on a mission.
    [Broadcast] Lucy Liunatic: If you serve me, then when I rule Paragon City, your death shall be quick and painless!

    Most people ignored me, because pretty much every character in Pocket D at that time was a villain. But after a couple minutes I started to get angry responses. One player complained that I had insulted him. Another told me he was going to report me to the gamemasters for offensive behavior.

    Players were upset that I was acting like a villain. In a game called “City of Villains.”

    WTF???

    I started playing table-top roleplaying games back in a decade with a “7” in it. I remember when the only MMORPG was the original MUD. I lived through D&D, “Tunnels & Trolls,” AD&D, “Ultima,” “Wizardy,” “Traveller,” “Gamma World,” “Paranoia,” GURPS, “Champions,” “DC Heroes,” “Warhammer FRP,” “Warhammer 40K,” “Fantasy Hero,” TMNT, “Marvel Super Heroes,” “Space 1889,” “Shadowrun” and the entire World of Darkness.

    The most annoying type of RPG player was the “power gamer.” This person cared nothing about the plot, characterization, or any other aspect of role-playing – he (never she) only wanted to build the most powerful character possible under the rules (often by tweaking and deliberate misinterpretation), and then level up as quickly as possible.

    The majority of role-playing gamers considered power gamers to be losers. They were usually annoying teenage newbies anyway. The whole point of a role-playing game was role-playing, oddly enough; so power gamers were often met with hostility and frustration.

    But role-playing is rare in 3D graphical MMORPGs, the acronym notwithstanding. This isn’t because computer games are poor role-playing environments; online games like “EverQuest” and “Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption” are popular with real role-players.

    Other games, like CoX, don’t encourage role-playing in their communities, so very little of it exists. Of WoW’s 222 servers, only 16 are designated as “RP” servers, with specific rules designed to promote role-playing.

    The fact is, the power gamer is the norm in the world of MMOs, while role-players are the minority. As I said, I have no problem with this. Role-playing online seems awkward to me.

    What I don’t understand is the hostility towards role-players. Try to role-play, even in jest, on a WoW non-RP server, and you will be ridiculed. Bring up the subject with MMO players IRL, and you will get laughter and baffled looks.

    Pro gamer Jared “cha0ticz” Cugno suggested to me that MMOs have been overrun by casual gamers, aka “normal” people, who are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the whole idea of role-playing. They don’t want to be seen as the kind of geek who paints lead miniatures and goes to conventions dressed as their character; so they view anyone who reminds them of such behavior as the enemy.

    This hypothesis has the ring of truth to me. But the fact is, there is absolutely no reason MMOs can’t support both styles of play, even on the same server. Just let people play how they want to play, and understand that there’s nothing “weird” about role-playing.

    WoW wouldn’t exist without "Warcraft," which wouldn't exist without "Warhammer," which wouldn’t exist without D&D. Get used to it.

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    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    Ten Things to Do While Waiting for WoW to Patch

    1.) Make a tangy three-bean soup.
    2.) Take care of your calluses and corns.
    3.) Prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
    4.) Carve a gourd into a birdhouse.
    5.) Make a starship Enterprise out of a floppy disk.
    6.) Learn to read Old Icelandic.
    7.) Annotate your copy of “Moby Dick,” paying special attention to passages that support the theme of “the deceptiveness of fate.”
    8.) Give yourself a home henna tattoo.
    9.) Give yourself a home real tattoo.
    10.) Experience spitirual enlightenment by drilling a hole in your own head.

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    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    "Burning Crusade" Collector's Edition

    Thanks to Jason “Unholy” Carlton, who stood in line at Fry’s while we were freezing to death at Citywalk last night, we have a precious, precious copy of the now unavailable “Burning Crusade Collector’s Edition” box set.

    Jason paid $69.99 at Fry’s. If you still want one, you can pay $169.99 on Amazon, or $560 on eBay.

    For your extra cash, you get:
    A big ol’ green cardboard box.
    The expansion on both DVD (1 disc) and CD (4 discs).
    A behind-the-scenes DVD, to dispel the dreams of those of you who imagine it’s fun to make video games.
    The hardcover “The Art of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade,” which is very beautiful with high-quality printing. If you paid $69.99, this was well worth the additional $30. If you paid more, well…
    A code for a Netherwhelp, the exclusive in-game pet, and the only reason I wanted the Collector’s Edition. Now I have to get my turtle.
    TCG starter packs. For those of us who want the turtle.
    A mouse pad with a map of Outland printed on it. No sign of Opus the Penguin, though.
    A soundtrack CD. Trust me, you’ll be hearing enough of this music while you play.


    Becky "Aktrez" Young with the "Burning Crusade" Collector's Edition.


    If any of you bought the CE, please let us know what you think of it in the fora!

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    "Burning Crusade" Midnight Launch!

    Last night hundreds of fans stood for hours in sub-freezing temperatures to be the first to buy “Burning Crusade,” the first ever expansion for “World of Warcraft.” Also braving the Arctic temperatures were iTG’s Hogan “kam-RA” Carter & Rance “djRoME” Costa, as well as your faithful correspondent, Avataritoria’s Erik “Kunochan” Even.

    By midnight, roughly 250 people were in line at the EB Games on Universal City’s storied Citywalk. The earliest arrivals had been waiting since 8:30am, but most arrived sometime after 5:00pm. EB employees worked the line and gave out prizes such as t-shirts and posters, while Blizzard reps set up the booth where WoW developers would sign “Burning Crusade” collector’s edition boxes.

    We interviewed dozens of fans, and these clips will be featured on “Epileptic Gaming” this Thursday. I did learn few important facts:

    1. Some people do actually care about the plot and characters of “World of Warcraft.”
    2. No one, and I mean no one, actually role-plays in WoW, “MMORPG” notwithstanding.
    3. Many WoW players actually have jobs. But the best way to level-up fast is to be a home-schooled teenager.
    4. Lots of fans are disappointed because BlizzCon was too expensive.
    5. Horde FTW.
    6. Undead females are sexier than Tauren females.

    Click here to see all the pics, hosted by GBT.com!

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    Monday, January 15, 2007

    EB Games Midnight Openings for "Burning Crusade"

    For all of you who don't live in California, here is a list of every EB Games store that will be open at midnight tonight.

    Have fun in the cold! I know I will!

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    Burning Crusade Midnight Live Events

    Happy National Burning Crusade Day! (Oh, there's something about some civil rights guy too.)

    The lines are already forming to be the first to buy the "Burning Crusade" expansion when it goes on sale at midnight tonight, January 16th 2007 at 12:01 am.

    All these events are in California, so if you don't live here, you are a LOSER.

    Fry's Fountain Valley pops10800 Kalama River Ave
    Fountain Valley, CA 92708
    4500 copies
    Fry's Anaheim pops3370 E. La Palma Ave
    Anaheim, CA 92806
    4500 copies
    Fry's Sunnyvale pops1077 E. Arques Ave
    Sunnyvale, CA 94085
    4500 copies
    Universal Citywalk Gamestop/EB Games pops1000 Universal Studios Blvd (Cross Street: Buddy Holly Drive)
    Universal City, CA 91608
    1500 copies

    Blizzard has promised some developer-celebrity action at the Citywalk store. We will be at that location tonight, so we'll see. Check back tomorrow for coverage and pics.

    Here's the one thing that SUCKS about the BC launch:
    We are not offering online purchase or download of The Burning Crusade at this time.
    It seems like some people just don't understand the Internet. Even people who produce one of the most popular Internet products.

    Why do I have to leave my house, go to a store, and purchase atoms in order to upgrade my online game? I'm sure this all fulfills some arcane marketing or financial need on Blizzard's part -- but does it fulfill any needs for the user? No, it does not. It just makes us go out in the cold and stand in line. It makes us prop up EB Games' failing business model.

    Thanks, Blizzard. I'm still levelling my Undead Rogue and my Human Paladin. Maybe I'll wait for Burning Crusade until it's a free download.

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    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    WoW Patch Prepares for "Burning Crusade"

    The latest "World of Warcraft" patch (2.0.3) unleashes changes and story content that lead up to the January 16th launch of the "Burning Crusade" Expansion. It's really happening, folks.

    Looking over the changes, here's what I care about: "Due to various talent changes, Rogues will have all talent points refunded." Do I keep my current talents, or do I have to repurchase? (I suspect the latter.)

    Dauðafylga the Undead Rogue is unamused.

    Here are the full details on the patch.

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    Tuesday, January 9, 2007

    Hilarious Podcast: Old Guy Tries To Understand "World of Warcraft"

    David Warlick is a middle-aged teacher who produces his own podcast. In the most recent, he interviews his college-aged son as the young man plays "World of Warcraft."

    The interview is alternately hilarious and cringe-inducing. Mr. Warlick treats his son like an anthropological informant, and WoW like some strange ritual from an alien planet. To the man's credit, he works very hard to understand what's going on, and asks insightful questions.

    If you're a WoW veteran, you'll probably find this painful. But if you're a n00b -- or even better, a concerned parent -- who knows, this might be the best introduction you'll get.

    Link.

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