• WoW and Other MMOs See Drop in Online Hours

    xfire

    According to data from the Xfire community and data application for the month of September, average hours spent by users who play World of Warcraft daily have dropped 18 % since August. These findings correlate to the overall drop in MMO gameplay with other top ten titles.

    Guild Wars, the second most popular MMO, showed a 13% drop and third-placed Silkroad Online fell by 27%. Some of the drop in online play is being attributed to the summer holidays being over for the under-18 crowd and college students.

    Other favorite MMO titles remained steady in the number of hours contribited, with MapleStory, Flyff and Eve Online taking fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively. Lord of the Rings Online remains in eighth place.

    The top ten FPS have also taken a dip in online activity, although no change was seen in the top five most played titles. Call of Duty 2 Multiplayer and Counter-Strike Source took the top two spots, even with taking a 12% and 18% drop respectively. Battlefield 2, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and Counter-Strike 1.6 rounded off the top five.

    Xfire is an application which tracks gameplay statistics for its user base of over 8 million, based mostly in Europe and North America.

    I seriously doubt anyone is too worried about these new statistics considering that Christmas break is coming soon. What better way to avoid your family and your drunk Uncle Curtis than by logging on to an MMO where you can take your dysfunctional aggressions out on complete strangers.

  • Former Soft-World Executive Joins Moliyo as GM

    According to local sources, former Soft-World executive Zuo Yulong as joined Chinese online game company Moliyo as the General Manager for Greater China region. Prior to Moliyo, Zuo served as the project manager for the operation of World of Warcraft in Taiwan, Hongkong and Macau. Pearl Research believes Zuo will bring the experience of operating world-class games to the company and his relationship with international publishers may aid Moliyo in expanding its game portfolio.

  • Blizzard culls erotic World of Warcraft guild

    Wow_logo We’re a little late picking this one up but it does raise a few interesting questions that will no doubt be important to the very future of Massively Multiplayer Online gaming. Last week Blizzard forcefully closed down a and erotic roleplaying (ERP) guild called Abhorrent Taboo, which was found on the Ravenholdt server. Practises within the guild consisted of simulating sexual acts through “grinding avatars together” and an array erotic text chatting.

    Hey, whatever floats your boat. The problem was that there were a few even less savoury aspects to the guild’s unusual practises, which started to ring alarm bells at Blizzard HQ. For example, their welcome post  read: "NOTE: Be advised that we frequently ERP in guild chat and often engage in even potentially offensive kinks such as (Extreme) Ageplay, Bestiality, Child Birth, [censored by the WoW forums], Watersports, or any other kink those playing may wish to explore."

    Given that there are obvious paedophilic connotations in there, you can see why Blizzard might have panicked. Although, I’m actually left wondering it was that was considered so depraved it had to be censored from that list. The mind boggles.

    The guild itself claimed that no one was allowed to join unless they were over 18, but it would really have been very difficult to prove either way. The counter-argument is that if the guild aren’t involving other players, they should be allowed to ‘play’ in any way they like. To be honest though, shutting the thing down was probably by far the most sensible move at the moment, but you can bet it will be back in some other guise sooner or later.

    The risks faced by Blizzard – and other games when in some far off, murky point in the distant future, some other game comes along to steal the MMO crown – is how to prevent similar things happening or regulate the if they do. Similar instances could sorely undermine a game’s age rating, not to mention the scale of bad publicity it would kick up if Blizzard hadn’t got to it first.

    But, arguably, the very point of a virtual world is that you are able to experience it how you want. If your tastes lie in things so particularly taboo, then so be it – without a police-state level of player regulation, it is going to be pretty much impossible to keep track of all such goings on.

  • No character previews in World of Warcraft patch 2.3


    A lot of players are undoubtedly curious about what their characters will be getting in World of Warcraft patch 2.3. Those who rolled a Shaman are no different, asking whether new information will be made available via a class preview.

    According to Blizzard Poster/ Community Manager Bornakk in the WoW forums, that won't be the case. He gave word that Blizzard has no plans of releasing the information on a per class basis. The changes will be announced all together once patch 2.2 is released and the classes have been finalized.

    It looks like players will have to wait a little bit longer for any update on the changes slated for 2.3. Well, this blogger is hoping that Blizzard balances the classes much better in the upcoming 2.2 patch without having to do any major nerfing.

  • Exploring World of Warcraft's huge popularity

    Have no idea what World of Warcraft is, but curious to discover why your son/boyfriend/once-good-friend-but-I-never-see-him-anymore can't stop playing it?

    Then read on, and hopefully the following attempt to demystify the curious invention that is Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft might prove helpful.

    More than just an RPG

    Games like WoW fall into a very specific genre that is relatively young compared to staples like first-person shooters or action platformers.

    It is classified as a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. If this sounds confusing, then lets break it down into its two core components.

    First, it is an RPG, meaning it follows traditional role playing convention, you create a character and pick a class, gain experience and advance in levels by killing various monsters, who then reward you with cash or gear to equip on your character, such as swords or pieces of armor.

    It is placed in an entirely online world whose central servers are maintained by Blizzard's army of ITs. This allows players to interact with other adventurers from around the world in real time.

    That massive bit is no exageration. Currently, the game boasts more than 8.5 millions subscribers. By my own very unscientific calculations (i.e. I used Wikipedia) this is bigger than half the countries in the world.

    Basically, the popularity is a direct result of combining something entirely nerdy, like Dungeons and Dragons, with the cutting edge in Internet interaction, a social networking site akin to MySpace. Take that 8.5 million, multiply it by the $14.95 monthly subscription fee and you get a very profitable formula for Blizzard.

    Also, this is large enough for the game to develop its own localized culture, economy and even politics.

    But before those three aspects can be discussed, it is important to understand the basic gameplay mechanic on which the game operates.

    Lots of mouse clicking

    You use the keyboard to navigate your online avatar and the push of a mouse button to attack hostile creatures, speak to friendly townsfolk or loot the corpses of fallen foes.

    Sounds tedious, no?

    In fact, for a while it was quite boring. The most popular MMORPG before WoW, Everquest, barely reached one million subscribers.

    Blizzard, however, established a winning formula by using nine interesting classes (warrior, druid, warlock, rouge), a simple and intuitive interface (point, click) and player-versus-player combat (bragging rights).

    And while this satisfied a large 'casual' gamer audience, they also catered to the 'hardcore' base by providing epic rewards for completing difficult, time-consuming tasks.

    These tasks, called quests, also take the form of more simple, easy adventures, such as carrying a letter from one village to the next. They form the bulk of the activity most WoW players engage in.

    Characters begin at level one, with relatively few talents and abilities, and can advance all the way up to 70, with a veritable host of skills and spells.

    So, this in essence, forms the structure that enables the game to become such a time-consuming endeavor, as there is usually one more quest to complete, one more level to gain or one final piece of equipment to acquire.

    The Republic of Blizzard

    As mentioned before, like a small country, the game has created its own internal culture and indeed, its own language. For example, to most people, the phrases 'hearthstoning' 'ubrs' 'nerf' 'rick-rolled' 'PvP' are an utter mystery, nor would they know what to do if someone asked them to 'hop a griffin to IF' or 'pwn that ganking noob in STV.'

    While Blizzard maintains absolute authority in terms of the games rules, the rules themselves are under constant debate. Indeed, it could almost be said WoW is a two-party system, split along lines such as 'raid' and 'PvP' or 'casual' and 'hardcore.'

    The game's currency, gold pieces, boasts the remarkable achievement of being a virtual note often bought with real money.

    Whole Web sites and companies have made a business of selling gold 1,000 pieces at a time to players who seek a quicker route to acquiring digital wealth.

    Of course, Blizzard considers this practice illegal and a violation of the game's rules, but it' quite possibly is the game's single greatest accomplishment.

    Ultimately, however, most of the game's success stems from the fact it is fun to play.

    Now, at first this may seem the obvious and primary directive of a video game, but so far Sony has based its business model for the Playstation 3 on it costing lots of money while Sony pumps out endlessly mediocre games. Thus, when a game emerges that is actually enjoyable, gamers take note and flock dutifully toward it.

    Frank Johnson is not a syndicated columnist or published in newspapers nationwide, but he did almost reach level 60 once.

  • New guide from Wikia: Will help Runescape, World of Warcraft & Second Life gamers


    Wikia & Playxpert have a new tool that will expand from World of Warcraft to many other games which is awesome, gamer’s guide of all guides just for you. Wikia the people behind it are offering gamers who love online games the ultimate chance to use their guides to help you navigate landscapes and even beat of those enemies by using tools developed by Playxpert.

    As we already know World of Warcraft players are already using a widget which gives you access to over 30,000 pages of advice via WowWiki, if you are a Runescape player or even a Second Life or Final Fantasy player then you need not worry as there will be similar widgets very soon.

    The picture above is nice so i put it there.

  • World of Warcraft coming to your mobile phone

    nullWorld of Warcraft (WoW) is coming to your mobile phone, but don't get too excited — all you'll be able to do is to bring up your character's details.

    GoWare has announced a plug-in for its DoMo HomePage personalized mobile portal that gives players of the popular World of Warcraft MMORPG the ability to access and share their WoW character data from a mobile phone.

    Using DoMo Homepage mobile portal, players can automatically load their WoW character into their DoMo HomePage.

    Now when friends ask about their character, players have the answer right in the palm of their hands!

    And through the DoMo HomePage Snapshot feature, players can even send character content via text messaging.

    DoMo HomePage is available to the public as part of a free beta trial at http://www.domohomepage.com. The new plug-in will be available on Monday, August 6, 2007.

    DoMo HomePage is designed to take the frustration out of using the mobile device for accessing and sharing content from the Web and PC by letting mobile phone users create personalized mobile portals for convenient delivery of all of their content through their mobile browser.

    Using any browser, DoMo HomePage makes it possible for users to access a mixture of Web content (news, blogs, podcasts), PC files (documents, photos), and application data (Outlook, QuickBooks), quickly and easily from their mobile device. In addition, DoMo HomePage includes functionality that allows the user to share their portal content — both publicly through the DoMo HomePage Community site, as well as privately via SMS.

  • World of Warcraft PTR: Europe to get premades, with patience

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    After Hortus dropped the big bomb (of potential fun) for the Public Test Realm players over at World of Warcraft North America, you may have pinched yourself with the knowledge that the Europe realms would follow suit soon. But without blue words to reassure European gamers, they were starting to turn a bit yellow - with envy.

    And then suddenly Tootamia drops by to whistle a tune that goes along the lines of: with a little patience, comes premades. Okay, okay, so it came with typos, but the meaning sticks. And if you're running a little low on the Karate Kid virtue, you could always opt for other sources. Kudos goes to Kazgarth of Moonglade, who says, "[Want to buy] patience."

    When can Europe expect the official announcement? We can't say for sure, but tomorrow sounds like a good time as any, wouldn't you agree?

  • Skeletons in Chinese Version of World of Warcraft Fleshed Out

    Gamers in China who were playing the Chinese version of the massively multiplayer online role playing game, World of Warcraft received quite a shock. According to Reuters report, bones and skeletons have disappeared from the game thus receiving vicious criticism from the gamers over there.

    However, a spokesperson from The9, which runs WoW in China, said that these changes were made according to China’s particular situation and relevant regulations. He also added that the bones were turned into graves and skeletons were fleshed up to promote a healthy and harmonious online environment. The public relations director of The9 also mentioned that the changes were part of an ‘operational strategy’.

    These changes have come at a time when Chinese authorities are busy cracking down on internet and gaming cafes in order to curb obesity and addiction and increase censorship. But that has not gone down with the gamers in China. They have already started to protest against this. Many gamers are of the view that the modifications have made the game very dull and have now voiced their opinion on the official World of WarCraft website and have filled pages and pages of criticism. There are reports that more than five hundred Chinese gamers are planning to boycott the game altogether.

    The changes related to bones and skeletons in the Chinese version of World of WarCraft were a little harsh to the gamers over there as first they had to wait for a while before the game was made available in their country and now they find these alterations. Chinese gamers even have to suffer various levels of censorships when posting online or blogging their opinions.

  • Cloak of Shadows bug in World of Warcraft

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    If you're on a PvP server in World of Warcraft, refrain from activating the Cloak of Shadows during a run on any PvP objective. Why? Because when you deactivate the cloak, it removes the flag from your inventory. This can be particularly nasty if you're almost at the end of the run since you'll have to redo the entire instance.

    The above mentioned bug was reported by a poster named Rhoderic on the WoW Europe Forums and Blizzard Localization QA Tootamia gave word that they're going to look into the problem. So far, there's been no word whether or not it has been fixed.

    Knowing Blizzard, the fix could come anytime between one day to as long as a couple of months. Rogues will probably be want to wait until Blizzard has fixed this bug before making any more runs. Once again, don't activate the Cloak of Shadows when doing a PvP objective on a run.

    Unless you're absolutely sure they've fixed the bug. You'll probably end up getting very frustrated if you do.

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