Join Nathan Grayson in His "Free From WoW for a Whole Year" Bash!
August 22, 2008 (Dallas, Texas) -- Nathan Grayson, a Maximum PC freelancer and unanimously-voted "snappy dresser," has, on this day, officially avoided Blizzard's World of Warcraft MMORPG for an entire year.
"It's been great finally living life on my own terms," said Nathan, flashing a gloriously bright smile. "To mark the occasion, I'll be canceling my WoW subscription tomorrow. What? Oh sure, I could do it today, but, uh, tomorrow for sure. No problem."
To be sure, the journey from his luxurious armchair into the comforting grip of real life wasn't an easy one.
"Oh, it's been a wild ride," he quipped. "On cold, lonely nights, my mind used to slip back into Azeroth, and I'd dream of raids, epics -- legendaries, even! But it's been, er, I've -- I mean, whew. Anyone have a PC handy? I, uh, just need to check on some things. Sure, I'll follow the cue cards again afterwards."
Nathan Grayson's soul is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com, NASDAQ: ATVID). Nathan is a great guy -- single, too. Really, he's one in approximately 10 million. Among other things, he's well known for posing the following question: Have you ever found your claws locked into your keyboard, signifying your irrevocable addiction to a game? Sound off in the comments section. Passers-by don't really know what to make of it.
He also runs Maximum PC's Gaming Roundup, available every week day. Peep today's edition for all of the latest World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King news and info. Oh, there's some other stuff too -- something about how suing file-sharers is a bad idea -- but that's not really important. The phony PR-speak ends after the break.
"I'm not a huge fan of trying to punish your consumer," EA Sports CEO Peter Moore said. "Albeit these people have clearly stolen intellectual property, I think there are better ways of resolving this within our power as developers and publishers."
His reasoning? Simple: Why ignore the mistakes of other industries?
"If we learned anything from the music business, they just don't win any friends by suing their consumers," he observed. "Speaking personally, I think our industry does not want to fall foul of what happened with music."
However, Moore lacks the one thing we most need: a solution to the problem. So, do you have any grand ideas on how to plug the never-ending flow of free content that comes with owning a PC? Do you even want to?
Stress tests. MMOs and other voluminous multiplayer games live and die by them. They're more or less akin to dropping a morbidly fluffy guy onto the end of a diving board to see whether or not it'll snap, crackle, and pop.
However, DICE's experimental free-to-play FPS Battlefield Heroes, keeping with its wild streak, is forgoing such things altogether. Instead of a buggy "big splash release," DICE plans to bring more players into the Heroes fold over time.
"We're not going to turn on a switch one day and suddenly our audience gets 100 times bigger," DICE executive producer Ben Cousins explained. "It's really our plan, within the closed beta, to get a very high number of peak concurrent users and we expect in the later phases of the closed beta to be about as big as Bad Company is today in terms of online numbers."
In that sense, he noted, "the game is already out."
Remember WoW: The Burning Crusade's last-second delay? A promised holiday release date thwarted by Blizzard's ceaseless pursuit of perfection? Ring any bells? Well, shortly after this holiday season, we could be in for a sequel. (To the delay, I mean. Not the game. I'd hope you already knew about that.)
“If we can get it to the point where you’ll have a great experience, then it’ll come out this year," WoW production director Jay Allen Brack told VG247. "If not, it will not.”
Beta players, how's the game looking? Spick, spam and ready for launch, or a hive of bugs and glitches?
Blizzard's reasoning: Classes like the Necromancer are nearly perfect, and therefore shouldn't be used. Meanwhile, the Barbarian's report card is splotched with red, "Room for improvement" scrawled across the top. It's just like the high dropout rate for straight-A students. Yep, the one that doesn't exist.