PETA has decided – in a nutshell – to grief a bunch of WoW players because they’ve taken to bonking adorable-ish piles of pixels with equally imaginary weapons. Can we do Mac users next?
“That’s right, gamers, get ready: This Saturday, World of Warcraft (WoW) players will have the opportunity to combat a team of four Horde seal killers. We need your help to stop them from bashing in the heads of any more seals!” reads a post on PETA’s blog.
“Activists from across the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor are banding together to put a stop to the atrocious seal slaughter. Anyone who slaughters baby seals for their fur must surely be in service to the evil Lich King.”
So, putting aside the fact that PETA’s storming a sand castle while the real deal lies only a few feet away, what exactly is being protested here? Are we trying to teach Blizzard a lesson for granting an infinitely-respawning virtual seal utopia some form of population control? Because really, in that case, why not just stop subscribing to World of Warcraft altogether?
And, of course, if PETA’s brandishing its Rolling Pin of +10 Guilt at the players, why not do it in a less infuriating way? Honestly, if you – in the process of going about your daily WoW duties – found yourself steamrolled by a bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ PVPers, would you immediately think, “OH MAN, THE BABY SEALS NEED MY HELP”? Personally, we’d probably take a boot to one of the big-eyed little buggers, if only to relieve our frustration.
So yeah, just donate to Sea World or something. It’ll be a much better use of your time. Unless you just love griefing other players, in which case, go right ahead. It’s a free country.
During a GDC panel last week, Blizzard designer Jeffery Kaplan claimed that WoW players tear into 16 million quests per day, as though possessed by some deep-seated, primal need for collection of tiny animal innards.
Since July 2009, Blizzard’s favorite fans have completed a grand total of 8,570,222,426 quests. Hemet Nesingwary must be a very happy man.
We’re going to go lie down now. Numbers shouldn’t be that large. It just isn’t natural.
Like a down-and-out, washed-up action movie star, Blizzard’s Battle.net service – once a pimp-my-wagon pioneer of online gaming service form and function – is beginning to look a little silly in a world where relative youngsters like Steam and Xbox Live give the Internet the buddy cop treatment. However, instead of stinking up a beloved franchise or wrestling California into submission, Battle.net’s hopping back into the ring with an all-new image.
Most notably, Battle.net’s new groove (or possibly, the proactive reclamation of its old groove) brings with it a single online identity, which will consolidate all of your Blizzard game accounts into one mega-handle. Currently, merging accounts is optional, but you’ll eventually be forced to Brady Bunch your accounts together and experience convenient organization and other such terrifying prospects.
"As we continue to build additional functionality into the new Battle.net, we will eventually require all active World of Warcraft accounts to migrate over to Battle.net Accounts in order to continue playing," read the official Battle.net site.
The new Battle.net also allows you to manage purchases in Blizzard’s online store, which leads us to wonder if the service might eventually try to compete with Steam. After all, World of Warcraft means Battle.net comes equipped with 11 million users right out of the box. The potential’s certainly there.
As children, we were always taught that ingesting red and/or blue fluids – generally those found in that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil otherwise known as “the cabinet under the sink” – wasn’t among the better choices we could make, no matter how devilishly tempting it might’ve been.
Only now, however, do we fully comprehend the breadth of our parents’ bounteous wisdom.
For some maniacal reason, Blizzard has decided to pair its uber-successful World of Warcraft franchise with another one of man’s more inexplicably addictive creations: Mountain Dew. The result: a taste bud-burning crusade of what some might even venture to call “flavor.”
The drink comes in two varieties: Alliance Blue (“with a punch of Wild Fruit Flavor”) and Horde Red (“with a blast of Citrus Cherry Flavor”).
Both flavors will attempt to give Bawls – and other gamer-centric energy drinks -- a thorough licking this summer. We'll probably end up downing a bottle or two ourselves in penance for that terrible joke.
The apparent state of <insert WoW class that’s constantly nerfed and obviously in need of buffing here> may have led you to believe that Blizzard’s exceedingly affluent staff doesn’t want to hear from you. Well, given the nature of the mega-publisher’s current contest, it’s pretty obvious that you were wrong. See, Blizzard only wants to hear from one of you.
The contest, which is open to aspiring word jockeys all around the world – from London to the Bay – invites Blizzard’s biggest fans to prove their mettle not with sticks or stones, but with words, the most powerful force in the entire universe. In order to qualify, your piece must be 3,000-10,000 words long and – as expected – set in one of Blizzard’s three fictional worlds.
Should your modern classic catch the eyes of Blizzard’s finest Lorecrafters (note: not a real job title), you’ll be flown out to Blizzard’s offices in Irvine, California where – and this is just a pet theory of ours – you’ll be surreptitiously assassinated by the same people who judged you worthy of setting foot on Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft’s holy birthing grounds.
Why? Simple. According to the contest rules, upon arriving at Blizzard’s pad, you’ll be given a replica Frostmourne sword (to defend yourself, obviously – you know, honor and all that) and a sumptuous meal (presumably a last meal, but also a possible attempt to weigh you down during the inevitable conflict). But wait – you’re probably wondering why Blizzard would go through all of this trouble to help you, a simple fan, meet the real Diablo? Well, after little to no research, we’ve surmised that – like a paranoid dictator – Blizzard’s current writing staff is afraid of competition, and would like to hold onto the swankest gig on earth for as long as possible.
So yeah, don’t enter the contest. We’ll, uh, just go ahead and take the fall for you. Without other entrants, we’re sure to “win” – if you could even call it that – and then we’ll put a pointy, meticulously sculpted end to all of this nonsense once and for all. Wish us luck.
We’ve always taken issue with the Internet’s highly malleable list of steps for rocking ultimate. "1) Do a thing, 2) Do another thing, 3) ???, and 4) Profit" are all well and good, but our generation’s best and brightest seem to have omitted the final step: Get sued by a tiny, opportunistic company over some patent that holds about as much water as a shattered snow globe.
Worlds.com, currently in the process of suing NCSoft -- while almost assuredly sliding its fingers down a bountiful mustache and readjusting its monocle -- has voiced its diabolical intentions: First NCSoft, then the World… of Warcraft. Then the world.
Worlds.com CEO Thom Kidrin said as much when he told Silicon Alley Insider that his company “absolutely” intends to send the gavel crashing down on games like WoW and Second Life if its suit against NCSoft succeeds.
Apparently, the conspicuously convenient patent arises from a collection of Starbright patents, which provide “an architecture for enabling thousands of simultaneous users in a 3D virtual space.” Worlds.com now owns said patents and decided they might – like an errant $20 bill in a recently washed pair of jeans – be useful.
So, where does mean old man Jenkins’ money-grubbing plot fall apart? Let our good friend and super sleuth Thomas McDonald explain it for you:
“This must be news to Steve Colley. Back in 1973, he and some other young programmers interning at NASA created MazeWar… Not only did you navigate a maze, but each player was represented by an avatar (an eyeball), people could shoot each other, and the whole thing was networked, complete with online chat!”
“But MazeWar wasn’t Colley’s work alone. Others had inspired him, and subsequent people built on his work, drawing on the potential of new technology to forge the entire gaming industry. No one person or company can claim ownership of these ideas.”
Stanford Professor Byron Reeves is a Planeteer, and you can be one too -- if you’re an MMORPG player. Reeves’ plan hedges its bets on the idea that you’re willing to install a Smart Meter, a device that monitors electricity usage in your house and sends a report of your wasteful excesses to power companies.
However, instead of giving power companies the skinny on your war against the Energizer Bunny, Reeves hopes to send pertinent information to games like World of Warcraft. He outlined his energy-saving plan during radio show Living on Earth’s Green Gaming segment:
"So imagine that you're in your home, you're signed into [the] game… and you make a decision in the game to turn off the lights in an unused bedroom [in real life]. As soon as you do that, the Smart Meter recognizes that, sends the information through the network to your computer and your house [in the game] turns a shade of green that it wasn't before,” he explained.
“And if I'm using less electricity, my team might do well. I get gold pieces and points… whatever the game designers think is fun. You get feedback in an entertainment game about what you're doing in the real world."
Sounds good to us, though implementing it – especially in a game as colossal as World of Warcraft – might be a bit rough. Then again, Blizzard did invent a race of hippie cow-people, so you never know.
We hate jumping the gun on things, but we’re feeling pretty confident in our expert assessment that StarCraft II might just drop in 2009. Hell, it’s about time. Today’s announcement that the sci-fi head of Blizzard’s quality-focused hydra is “in the final stretch,” then, already has us jumping the gun on StarCraft II’s release date. And you know how much we hate that.
“We don't want to lie about the Beta, and we don't even want to lie about the next Battle Report. When we know a date (for anything) for certain, we'll let you know,” said StarCraft II lead designer Dustin Browder.
“Hang in there. We're in the final stretch,” he added.
So yeah, that’s basically the article. Thanks for coming out tonight, everyone! It’s been great.
Looks like Blizzard’s shadowy new MMO is kicking it into high gear. Today, World of Warcraft lead designer Jeffery Kaplan finally typed /gquit of his own accord (and didn’t end up naked in the middle of Orgrimmar) – leaving behind World of Warcraft in favor of Blizzard’s “unannounced MMO.”
“I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I’ve switched roles here at Blizzard to work on our upcoming, unannounced MMO. World of Warcraft has been such a central part of my life these past six and a half years, and it’s success would not have been possible without the tremendous community around it, so I wanted to say thank you to all our players who’ve shared this amazing experience with us so far,” Kaplan said.
Does this mean that WoW is taking an exceedingly slow drive over to the retirement home, though? Kaplan said no, but in a far less succinct manner.
“I still plan to be very involved with the future course of World of Warcraft, but will leave the day to day operations of World of Warcraft to my partners in crime, Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack.”
Unfortunately, if Blizzard’s “one frontline release per year” strategy holds up, we probably won’t actually play this game – or maybe even hear anything about it – until at least 2011, assuming StarCraft II hits in 2009 and Diablo III in 2010.
In other words, don’t cancel your WoW subscriptions just yet, folks.
So, did you know that Worlds.com invented massively multiplayer gaming and has a pair of patents to prove it?
It came as complete news to me, even though I wrote a column on massively multiplayer gaming back when the genre was just beginning. Apparently, Worlds.com created some kind of branded virtual spaces that used avatars and scalable chat, got somebody in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rubber stamp its nonsense applications, and now is going to sue the entire MMORPG industry into submission, starting with NCSoft, possibly because it has less frightening lawyers than Blizzard.