Ahh Beta Bugs…You are so Exotic

Warning: The above pic is not of a real Cataclysm Beta bug.

After playing the Cataclysm Beta for about a week now one of my favorite things is searching for (and inevitably finding) very strange and bizarre bugs.  Azeroth is full of them as Blizzard is busy destroying and rebuilding the entire world.  I’ve found a few great ones but I’m not the only one as beta testers all over the Internet are taking full advantage of the lifted NDA to post screenies of some of the bugs they have found as well.  Here are a few of them; some funny, some frustrating and all of them…uh…buggy. Continue reading

MMO-Champion.com Bought by Curse

Curse.com, a portal that offers many tools for MMO players, has purchased MMO-Champion.com from Major League GamingMMO-Champion.com is one of the most popular World of Warcraft news sites boasting more than 7 million unique visitors and over 80 million page views a month.  The site is popular for it’s simple design and Blue Tracker as well as providing many sneak previews of upcoming changes to WoW.  MMO-Champion’s founder and administrator, Fabien Bonte, will be joining Curse as a full-time employee and maintains that “99% of the decisions on the site” will still be made by him.  While Curse has been a leading provider of MMO tools and resources since being founded by Hubert Thieblot in 2005, some gamers will also be wary of the deal since Curse, along with WoWInterface, led to the downfall of WoWMatrixContinue reading

Spell Check – WoW Spells That Gotta Go

As Cataclysm approaches everyday news comes out about the changes that are being made to the game.  A lot of what we are finding out is that some things are going away completely and the game is being simplified in many respects.  Simple may not always be better but there are quite a few spells that seem extraneous or poorly designed that may have had a purpose at some point but now have outlived their usefulness.  Should Blizzard just dump them all or is there anything salvageable?  Let’s take a look at some spells that either need to be dumped or get a tune-up.

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You Can Take Our Subscription Fees…But You Can Never Take…Our Freedom!

In a huge victory for the thousands of posters to the Blizzard official forums over the last few days Mike Morhaime posted a response to the recent uproar about Blizzard requiring Real ID names on the forums:

“I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.”

And there was much rejoicing.

Real ID Moves to Blizz Forums, Trolls Worst Nightmare?

Blizzard ignited a huge debate in their forums with an announcement on the official forums.  Around the time of Cataclysm’s launch all posts made on the forums will use Real ID names which are also of course the real names of the posters.  At the time of this writing there are multiple threads on the US and EU forums, some with over 1400 pages and counting.  Some of you may know as listeners of The Instance, Scott and Randy are not known for their fondness of the official Blizzard forums but what does this mean for future of the forums? Continue reading

Goblin dance data-mined…Soulja Boy? Seriously?

Check out the data-mined male Goblin dance in this youtube clip featuring a pretty fantastic bug (when Goblins turn sideways they get very excited).  Is it for real?  If it is I think this means that officially the Horde dances crush the Alliance across the board.  Let’s face it Horde have Napoleon Dynamite and MC Hammer while the Allies get Travolta and the Macarena?  Can’t wait to rock these moves.

Ask CDev answers have begun

Blizzard opened up the floor to questions on the forums and were promptly flooded like crazy.  The answers are now starting to come in and the thread is a great way to learn more about the lore of World of Warcraft.

Bornakk!

A couple of my personal favorites:

  • Q: Are Mimir and Mimiron supposed to be the same entity, or are they relatives?
    A: Same entity, though only his close friends are allowed to call him Mimir.
  • Q: What happened to Algalon after Ulduar? It didn’t seem like he was just going to go back to business-as-usual.
    A: As shown in the World of Warcraft Special #1 comic, Algalon is currently monitoring the activities of the mortal races of Azeroth. His outlook on life and the titans’ plans has been called into question, so he seeks to understand what makes Azeroth so different from the countless worlds he has observed before.

You can find the complete thread here

Will WoW ever be F2P?

Recent developments in the MMO industry have led some to believe that World of Warcraft will one day indeed become free-to-play.  The addition of micro-transactions in the form of the Blizzard Pet Store as well as several notable games such as Lord of the Rings Online switching to the free-to-play model have stoked the embers of the discussion.

Are micro-transactions like the Pandaren Monk pet the future of Warcraft?

A recent news story on pcgamer.com features some quotes from WoW lead designer Tom Chilton who even goes as far as saying that, “at some point, it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee.”  These are some strong words from someone in the know and they lend credibility to the WoW free-to-play prophets.

I’ve personally had several discussions with a somewhat deranged individual who claimed that WoW would become free-to-play eventually.  Generally I would scoff at him and call him crazy but I may have to eat my words, although it does seem that Chilton and the rest of the Blizzard team realize that this is not an option for the near future.  With Cataclysm around the corner, the Warcraft well is far from dry and so far the nature of the free-to-play model has been a way to stay competitive.  World of Warcraft is still beyond competitive.

The implementation of the micro-transaction free-to-play model is a scary proposition to me personally.  One thing that makes WoW so wonderful is the fact that everyone starts at the same ground level and what you do from there is what sets you apart from the rest of the players.  If there were a division on what content was available based upon the amount of money a player was willing to spend then I believe many players would step away from the game.  However, if the micro-transactions were limited to aesthetic items and novelties then I do believe that WoW could stay profitable if the day comes when it is not the undisputed subscriber king of the MMO landscape.

It’s always going to be tricky to change the way a game is distributed so drastically but if Blizzard has proved anything over the lifetime of World of Warcraft it is that they are thoughtful and deliberate about making these sorts of decisions and I expect that will not change anytime soon.

What do you guys think?  Post some comments and share your opinions.

Quick Look at the Last Raid of Wrath – The Ruby Sanctum

It’s all over the internet.  The buzz is almost as deafening as the vuvuzela.  The release of the last raid instance in Wrath of the Lich King, the Ruby Sanctum, is ever so close.  Let’s take a quick peak at some of the things that we do know about the Ruby Sanctum from the perspective of someone who has not been on the PTR.

Baltharus the Warborn

The first thing that caught my eye about the Sanctum is the inclusion of three sub-bosses Savianna Ragefire, Baltharus the Warborn and General Zarithrian.  At first I assumed there would be an activated hard mode a la Obsidian Sanctum but that is not the case.  I admit I’m somewhat disappointed since I am a fan of the activated hard mode.  Each of these bosses will drop a frost emblem and have some interesting mechanics that I won’t spoil here.

Halion, the main boss of the Ruby Sanctum

The main battle of the Ruby Sanctum is with Halion.  According to much of the information available, Halion is not the most complicated fight a raid team will find in Northrend but does require some teamwork and strategy.  Again, I won’t spoil the mechanics here because if you’re at all like me you enjoy entering new fights with a bit of ignorance.  Did the player base want an extremely hard experience in the final stage of WotLK raiding?  I can’t say since everyone differs in preference but I will say that for a one-off raid instance it looks like Blizzard has a firm idea of how they prefer to tune these encounters, and that is generally less difficult than the full-fledged, 10+ boss instances.

Lastly, let’s talk gear.  It’s important since these are the purples you will wear until Cataclysm when you start to get those “epic greens”.  You will not be replacing everything you have gotten out of Icecrown Citadel but you can patch some holes in your gear.  There is a little something for everyone and the iLevels are equivalent to those that you find on Lich King gear.

Overall the Ruby Sanctum does what it sets out to do.  It begins the story arc towards Cataclysm as well as give players a little something to hold them over while they wait.  Let’s face it, we’ve been in ICC for the past 6 months and some people are starting to get a bit weary of the fights and this will give those players something to do in the meantime.

Post a comment with your views of the upcoming Ruby Sanctum and you will be entered to win a DVD from the German Medieval Martial Arts series entitled “German Medieval Marital Arts:  The Poleaxe“.  What could be better than that?  A winner will be selected at random.

Some quick links to Ruby Sanctum info: