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World of Warcraft News 59

A week's worth of WoW news to share. Last weekend saw the first anti-Ebaying lawsuit as Blizzard makes good on it's claim. This week they've released a patch for the game, adding in new content and unleashing the Holidays on Azeroth. Blizzard has also put up an intriguing preview of PvP Battlegrounds. From that article: "Lower-level players who wanted to contribute in other ways to the battle could also do so by undertaking PvP-related quests, such as capturing wolves or rams to provide mounts for cavalry charges, claiming a nearby mine and ferrying resources back to the main base to upgrade allied troops, or capturing enemy graveyards to lengthen the run back to the frontlines for revived adversaries."
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World of Warcraft News

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  • Hard to say how endgame will play out, especially with varying populations between the Horde and Alliance. Currently I play Horde on the Argent Dawn roleplay server, and from the info there there are 3 times as many Alliance members as Horde members. Here's to hoping there's some way server population evens out.
    • Don't worry... On Argent Dawn, along with the other RP servers, I think my allies (I'm a Night Elf on AD) are generally more interested in questing, while the Horde players tend to be more PvP oriented.

      Of course, if you even set foot in Darkshore with your flag on, we'll hunt you down and kill you :)
      • Well first off, I'm mid-40s, so Darkshore frankly is pretty wussy for me. But I've been there and last time my guild visited it was something like Guild: 40, Alliance: 6. Seriously.

        Either way, good luck catching me once I go wolf or mount up.

        See you in Battlegrounds.

  • Great Game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Manan Shah ( 808049 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @01:39PM (#11169438)
    True to its nature, Blizzard has created a game that improves on almost every aspect of the genre instead of trying to be too original. The largest drawback to their game is the lack of meaningful PvP, which many seasoned veterans are drawn too. However, there is some speculation that they will go the DAOC route (with keeps, PvP points, realm wide benefits) that will add some meaning to PvP. Even in beta, it was more polished than most games were after two-three years in the market. Even with a spectacular launch where over 250,000 units were sold in just the first day, and had a record 100,000 playing on the afternoon of the launch, they seem to be commited to improving and growing the game, and that is very good to see. It is not everyone's cup of tea, but game companies can definatly take some lessons from someone like Blizzard. Their reputation is well earned, and they continue to live upto it.
    • Re:Great Game (Score:3, Informative)

      by dr00g911 ( 531736 )
      I've been playing since open beta and launch day, and I have to agree a billion percent with most of your points.

      The level of polish in the game, the questing system, the crafting system, the sheer amount of content, the auction houses, almost zero downtime between fights -- it puts all the other games that I've played on the market to shame.

      After downloading the latest patch, I was giggling like a kid for hours seeing all the new holiday themed content. I got into snowball fights with alliance members in
      • Agree 100%, although I've just started playing and haven't been able to enjoy anything more than the holiday wreaths in the Undercity (on a side note, the Undercity is pretty damn jolly for a ruined, plague infested sewer populated by rotting corpses).

        I'd like to mention the technical smoothness of the game, too, which is a hallmark of Blizzards. WoW, like other Blizzard games and unlike all to many others, doesn't fuss if you alt-tab away from it. It runs fine in windowed mode, with excellent performance.

        • Jump on the blimp to Orgrimmar from right outside Undercity.

          In front of the auction house in Org is where the majority of Horde holiday quests are starting.

          • Last time I rode the blimp I accidently fell off in the middle of the ocean :(. They need seatbelts on those things.
            • Only happened to me once, back in OB.

              I normally just stand on the prow of the zeppelin, Titanic-style, have a seat, and pan around looking at the (incredible) view.

              Side note: a couple months into playing the game, I'm still slackjawed every time I ride a wyvern/griffin/hippogriff/bat or the Zeppelin. Freaking gorgeous.
      • I'm going to have to agree on the name of the server determining the balance. This is especially true on the PvP servers. I play Alliance on Burning Legion about 90% of the time. There seem to be a lot more Horde than Alliance playing there. Also, I occasionally get a chance to play alongside my best friend as Horde on Laughing Skull, and that seems to be more Horde than Alliance as well. I'd like to see hard numbers for this though.
    • Even with a spectacular launch where over 250,000 units were sold in just the first day, and had a record 100,000 playing on the afternoon of the launch, they seem to be commited to improving and growing the game, and that is very good to see

      I'm confused, why would a spectacularly successful launch not lead to improvements and growth? I mean in general. With Blizzard specifically it should be even less surprising given that they have a history of supporting games for many years after release and that is
    • WOW did it right.
  • ... like 10 free days or so. Money's very tight, I've been burned before, and I tend to be oddly picky about what games I allow to become my masters. Something that you have to pay for upfront and then to continue using (versus say UT or the likes where online is free) needs to have a very good way to prove it's worth its customers' money. Star Wars Jump to Lightspeed just offered something like that but you have to sign up for a $15 subscription to FilePlanet, a site that offends me by its very money-gr
    • If you know somebody with a Collector's Edition box, they got a 10-day trial pass that's supposed to be given to a friend. You can get someone online to get you the code, but finding the software might be a little difficult. You can just patch up the open beta client, but I don't know if anyone has that available for download anymore.
    • As mentioned, there is a "guest pass" system, currently only used by the Collector's Edition. If you search Google for "World of Warcraft" beta installer you should be able to find the 2.6Gig installation package.

      Or you could wait for the load to calm down enough for Blizzard to start doing magazine cover DVD 10-day demos. You know it's going to happen.

  • they've really gone all-out. every major city is decked out in colorful lights, there are vendors selling snowballs and cookies and candy canes, there's even an orc dressed up as "Greatfather Winter" (Santa), and 3 new holiday-related quests. one them requires you to kill a big yeti named "Mr. Greench", and the reward is a random holiday related prize, such as the ability to turn yourself into a snowman at any time, or the ability to build a showball-making contraption.

    they've even got a whole backstory
    • Note: From the quest, I got a recipe for Elixir of Frost Power from santa (I've got alchemy as my profession, so it worked out for me, but I don't know if it actually checks your profession or if it's somewhat random), and then maybe an hour later I got the snowman disguise in the mail.
  • by glowimperial ( 705397 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @01:57PM (#11169616) Homepage
    A lot of us veteran MMO players place a lot of value on the effectiveness of the first patch, post launch. Blizzard appears to be doing its job well. Many areas of the world were slighly modified (addtional mailboxes, npc with repair capabilities, etc...) to make irritations that don't add to gameplay go away. They seem to be struggling with implementing a satisfying fishing system, but are rightfully concerned with keeping fishing from being a botting paradse. Although there is nothing spectacularily ambitious with the first patch, it shows a commitment to quality playing and a dedication to attentive management rarely seen in online games.

    Blizzard seems to be aggressively tackling the PvP system, and players, including PvP endgame folks seem hungry for the content that they are promising, but patient for its delivery. If Blizzard is able to add excellent PvP content quickly, and without bugs or hitches, they will pull off a major coup.

    One of the critical issues of several other MMOs is that they are often released with critical issues at launch and have to spend the first 6-12 months addressing those issues, or
    inserting launnch content post launch. WoW's launch was so smooth, that they seem able to really dive straight into the management and improvement role that a developer should be in, as opposed to a crisis management mode, as often is the case with ambitious MMOs, post-launch.
    • I dont want to get into the Whiner vs. Fanboys war that the WoW forums became, but the game is far from smooth. They are having weekly crashes of at least a couple of hours (last night was like 6 or 8 hours), almost no feedback to the comunity (except for some "servers are down, we are working, no ETA"), some classes have bugs since beta(like vanish in rogues, blink on mages) and a long etc. Sure, the game is still fun, but its far from perfect, and specially not well administered. Each routine projected do
    • The gameplay is good. But the patching and quality assurance sucks.

      Major patch 1 week before Xmas was not a good move. They have a lot to learn about patch timing.

      BitTorrent downloader sucks by popular consensus. Either you're uploading faster than downloading, or not connecting at all. It downloads full patches every time, it should be incremental to save a 10 minute install once you've got the whole patch. The HTTP alternative couldn't connect either. People are resorting to hosting it themselves.
  • by jafuser ( 112236 ) on Thursday December 23, 2004 @02:59PM (#11170341)
    WoW is a great, and addictive game. It has tied together a lot of great ideas that have developed over the years into a casual fantasy game that likes to make as much fun of itself as it provides fun to the player.

    I think at the core, a lot of the annoyances of other MMORPGs have been removed or significantly reduced, while at the same time not making it too easy.

    The holiday additions are nice, but I expect they will be short lived considering the effort they required to be implemented. I just hope they didn't spend too much effort on content that will probably only be fitting for a week or so, while so many other problems need addressing.

    - Some basic powers (ie Arcane Missiles) have unpredictable bugs which can get you easily killed when they simply don't do anything. There are several others which don't do what the description says (Blink should free you from rooting).

    - The Auction House and Mail systems have frequent lockups, even at slow times, such as early in the morning. They are often unpredictable too -- for example, you could conduct a series of actions which take only a second or two each, and then suddenly one takes a minute or two, during which everything queues up and happens at once.

    - Blizzard's first response to a bot problem (with fishing) has resulted in a wild overreaction which not only took the fun out of playing the profession properly, but now it even *encourages* botting, since that's the only way you could get any use out of it anymore.

    - Maintenance windows are inconsistent. Some mornings there's maintenance, some there aren't. And when there's not, it seems like everything is running very slowly.

    - Yesterday's major downtime had *VERY* little feedback as to what was going on and when it was expected to be resolved. The nearly complete lack of communication on a downtime that significant is something which needs to be reviewed.

    - In fact, there doesn't seem to be much PR presence on the forums, or anywhere for most issues. I don't get the feeling there is anyone listening to our concerns. I get the feeling there is a huge tall stone wall between the players and Blizzard, and occasionally they toss down a message written in blue ink, which has very little value content-wise to assure us of specific resolutions that are being made to the most pressing problems.

    Don't get me wrong though. These are minor issues which I have faith will be ironed out with time, and there is still tones of fun to be had. It is still a *very* new game which has a long road ahead of it.

    Obviously being this new, I expect there to be some problems. However, coming from a technical background, it can be frustrating when many of these problems seem very simple in nature to fix; and the poor communication makes it all the worse when there's noone to "absorb" our frustrations.
    • Don't forget the fact that STA and INT gained at level do not do the same thing as STA and INT gained from items. This is contrary to all sense and any documentation, but so far Blizz maintains that it's "working as intended" -- while providing no information as to actually how it IS working. It is obvious though that STA and INT from leveling give no boost to HP or MP, whereas STA and INT from items do.

      It's a pretty big issue that is being summarily ignored at this time.

      Otherwise, great game, lots of fun
      • No, it's giving you the same bump as sta/int from items. Like when I hit 34 the other night: you have gained 35 health and 30 mana (close, not exact, don't kill me) along with 1 stamina and 1 int. Thing is, all I actually gained from a level perspective was 25hp and 15mana, bolstered by the extra 10 from the 1 sta pt and 15 from the one int point. It just aggregates the total gain into your hp/mana values.
  • Mod me off-topic if you like, but I'm too lazy to go find an answer to this.

    I'm thinking about getting WoW, but I'm curious if I want to purchase two accounts (one for me and one for my wife) so we can play on seperate machines, do I need to purchase two full copies of the game? Or will one copy with two paid accounts be enough?

    • You'll need two copies.
    • Re:Question (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Kris_J ( 10111 ) *
      Detailed answer:
      • You need to buy a retail pack to create a single account.
      • A single account can have multiple characters, but you can only have one log on at a time.
      • You can install the software on as many PCs as you want (I still use the open beta installer as the base).

      So, if you and your wife don't want to play at the same time, one account will let you have separate characters, but those characters will never be able to be on at the same time. If a family has one hardcore player and one casual player, my

  • iMac G5 owners, and probably owners of most other mac setups, should be aware that right now World of Warcraft has major graphics performance problems on that platform.

    I have a Windows Pentium M _laptop_ with a mobile graphics card that just creams my brand new 20" 1.8ghz G5 iMac in WoW playability.

    Apple + Blizzard + NVidia may be able to help this in future, but as of the latest MacOS & WoW patches the problem is still there.
    • I'm playing on a Dual G5 2x2.0 and the game does work very well. Of course, you might expect that from that costs so much!

      I haven't had any trouble... but 10.3.7 brings along new graphic drivers and Blizzard has already said it would help quite a bit once they have time to implement the fixes in the game.

      I haven't tried on my x86 laptop... I always figued it would't work all that great...I guess I'll try now. CoH wasn't so great on it.
    • The most recent patch (the holiday one) plus the 10.3.7 updates have made my below-recommended-spec Powerbook G4 play the game nearly as well as my 'gaming' PC.

      512mb of RAM is a bare minimum, but beyond that, here's the settings that have my PBG4 12"/ 867 (with crap gen-1 video hardware) running smoothly:

      Rez: 1024x768 / 60hz
      Use Ui Scale: on @ .64
      Terrain distance: Low
      Environment detail: Medium
      Terrain texture: Low
      Texture detail: Low
      Gamma: middle
      Enable all shader effects: On
      Terrain highlights: off
      Full screen
      • I've been testing WoW on some low-end PCs -- something the games sites appear reluctant to do (perhaps they get kickbacks from hardware manufacturers).

        Fujitsu Laptop: 1.1GHz Pentium IIIm, 384MB of RAM, Intel 830m video, WinXP. Originally 6 FPS (7-9 after a driver update and general clean, haven't tested since the new patch.)

        Spare parts PC: Celeron 733MHz o/c to 770, 128MB of RAM, GeForce3 ti200, Win98SE. Gets the first frame then connection is kicked.

        Mini-ITX PC: 1GHz, 256MB of RAM, on-board S3 video (blech

    • The G5's have the Nvidia 5200 base, The lapop has (guessing) ATI 9600 or 9700.

      The G5's have enough power, just crippled with older video cards, G4's really have it tough. Put in an ATI 9800 or better, and the game should fly...

      My G4 with ATI 9000 gets 20fps (low details), my PC with ATI 9700pro gets 60+fps with max details. But then, my gfx card cost over 300 bux when I bought it.

      Pick up a high end gfx card for your mac, and enjoy. I'm rather miffed a ATI 9800 for g4 mac is so expensive.
    • The problem with the G5 iMac is the graphics card - the Nvidia 5200 was a very bad choice by Apple as it's a very poor card.

      It's of note that both Nvidia and ATI cards have issues with shader support on Mac OS at the moment, due to driver problems. Apple have been petitioned by games developers about this and are aware of it.

      My PowerBook (with a 1.5 Ghz G4 with 1 GB RAM and Radeon 9700 Mobility 128 MB) plays WoW admirably however, it's very playable with settings on all high/some on medium.

      And I say that
      • I've got a Powerbook with the same specs as yours, and I was curious about how WoW displays. I remember that in Warcraft III, the interface was designed for a 4:3 screen ratio so both the interface and the in-game 3d models looked really squished and distorted when you displayed it on the Powerbook screen. Did they fix this for WoW, or does everything still look squished?
        • Ooops saw this but forgot to respond!

          They have a number of resolutions available including IIRC a set of PowerBook native resolutions (I'm not 100% certain exactly what resolutions are avalible as don't have it hear to check). You have the option not to stretch the display at least.

          Fortunately, I don't actually think stretched resolutions like 800x600 happen look that bad in WoW, but that's open to personal interpretation really.

          One thing of note is that with both the Radeon AND Nvidia cards on Mac OS X
    • I've got a 2x2.0 G5 with an ATI 9600XT and it runs good from what I've seen, no problems with choppiness unless I go to window mode.

      But I've also got 2 gigs of RAM
  • A bit nit picky I know, but there isn't a lawsuit yet, just a cease and desist letter. Companys send out thousands of those for every real lawsuit they file. I am watching for the first real lawsuit on this. Fairly large real money is in this market and it is still completely unclear if it is legal or not. It will be a big deal when the first lawsuit sees its way thru to resolution in court.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker