You’ve seen the commercials. You know what’s up. According to television – which never lies – Ozzy Osbourne is a level 80 undead warlock who managed to solo his way up until a fateful -- and lopsided -- showdown with Arthas. The metal legend has every reason to be at BlizzCon. So when a DirectTV listing for BlizzCon popped up with Ozzy’s name front-and-center, we weren’t too surprised.
Obviously, Ozzy’s purported “special appearance” at BlizzCon would seem to suggest a performance of some sort – hopefully of both the rock and roll varieties, and not some tearful unveiling of Ozzy’s secret affair with WoW cosplay.
Guess we’ll find out for sure next week, when BlizzCon blows through Anaheim. So, who’s going? And who wishes they were going now that Ozzy’s thrown his tier six hat into the ring?
The number of decent videogame movies can scarcely be counted on two hands (and even then, it only works if you count Metal Gear Solid 4 as a movie), but World of Warcraft’s cinematic debut is looking to turn that trend around. First, the film snagged The Dark Knight’s producer, and now Spiderman director Sam Raimi is lending his significant skills in the field of not being Uwe Boll to the project.
“Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures have a shared vision for this film and we searched at length to find the very best director to bring that vision to life,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard.
“From our first conversation with Sam, we could tell he was the perfect choice. Sam knows how to simultaneously satisfy the enthusiasts and the mainstream audience that might be experiencing that content for the first time. We’re looking forward to working with him to achieve that here.”
In addition to the Spiderman films, Raimi has also directed “Evil Dead” and the recent “Drag Me to Hell,” among others. Honestly though, while we’re sure Raimi‘s got something special planned for the WoW movie, we’d love to see Blizzard’s cinematic team branch its talent tree into the realm of movie magic. If WoW looked as mind-blowing as they make it out to be, well, even the four people who aren’t currently addicted to Blizzard's potent substance might give it a shot.
Earlier this week, we (along with every other tech/gaming site on the Internet) reported that the Chinese government had put the kibosh on gold farming once and for all – something that, to many, sounded like a dream come true. Well wake up, because reality has decided to toss a cold bucket of water on your spam-free fantasy land. Richard Heeks of the University of Manchester explained:
“This is a government restriction on the use of the quasi-Paypal-like currencies (mainly QQ coins) that are used extensively in China to pay for virtual game stuff. As announced they can now only be used to pay for virtual stuff, and you can’t buy real things with them as game companies were allowing to happen, nor can you gamble.”
“This therefore is not about what gold farming clients do: use real money to buy these virtual currencies; it’s the mirror image. And it’s not about the major trade in gold farming such as World of Warcraft, which relates to other types of virtual currency.”
So there you have it. Rumors of gold farming’s death were greatly exaggerated. Shame, too because BUY GOLD BUY GOLD BUY GOLD AT WWW.AREYOUBUYINGGOLDYET.COM, YOUR SOURCE FOR GOLD THAT YOU CAN BUY.
Tired of seeing dingy ol’ Orgrimmar day in and day out? Unable to play nice with your buddies in the Alliance? Recently perform the biggest guild heist in recorded history and need to flee the country and start a new life to get The Law off your tail? Well, looks like the planets have aligned in your favor, because faction changes are no longer just a pipe dream (or, in some cases, nightmare) for WoW players.
"The basic idea is that players will be able to use the service to transform an existing character into a roughly equivalent character of the opposing faction on the same realm," Blizzard wrote. "There's still much work to do and many details to iron out."
“As with all of the features and services we offer, we intend to incorporate the faction-change service in a way that won’t disrupt the gameplay experience on the realms, and there will be some rules involved with when and how the service can be used.”
Perhaps, then, this service will finally dispel the thick, foggy stereotypes that cling to both factions, uniting players by allowing them to take a stroll in one another’s chainmail greaves. Horde and Alliance will meet in grocery stores, eye each other’s respective Mtn Dew bottles, and – instead of engaging in low-budget CG combat – meet with a warm embrace. The CG budget will then be spent on one of those studio audiences that goes “D’aaaaaawwww.”
Or, if the service is badly implemented, Horde and Alliance will unite in one giant, 12-million-strong wail of disdain for Blizzard. So either way, the two supposedly disparate sides are about to get a lot closer together.
Massively multiplayer online everythingamajig Second Life’s total player numbers may be debatable at best, but the dedication of said, er, eclectic legion sure isn’t. According to a study conducted by Nielsen Media Research, Second Life gets more average playtime per week than games like StarCraft, Warhammer Online, and even World of Warcraft!
Lest you cry foul of Nielsen’s study, however, know this: World of Warcraft players still far outnumber those of Second Life, racking up 46.710% of total PC gaming time, while Second Life picks up a silver medal with 3.206%. Second Life’s significantly smaller group of players, then, just loves its game of choice a bit more than players powering Blizzard’s piggybanks.
Even so, however, Second Life still far outstrips most every other MMO on the market -- in terms of average playtime and total percentage of the pie -- including Warhammer Online and Eve Online, both of which didn’t even make the top ten.
Just for clarification’s sake, the study was conducted among a sample of almost 200,000 people –- not just hardcore gamers. It was, apparently, a random sample.
The only thing that makes us question this study? That’d be Dark Horse of Might & Magic in third place. Um, really? Not to question the alchemy behind Nielsen’s algorithms, but do you know anyone who actually plays that game anymore -– on a regular basis, no less?
And now, a letter from the future, courtesy of older Nathan Grayson’s toaster/time machine combo:
“URGENT WARNING: SEND THIS TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE. IF YOU RUN OUT OF PEOPLE, GET MARRIED AND MAKE MORE.
Hello there… oh, hold one second…. Right then, where were we? Oh, right – the warning. Uh, just another quick break. No, really; this is the last one. It’s just that, you know, I’m smack dab in the middle of a quick Peggle match and, wouldn’t you know it, I’m so, so close to finally smashing that little silver ball right through the high score I achieved the day after I dropped out of college.
Oh, yes, college just ended up not being your cup of silver balls bouncing everywhere every time I close my eyes. You know, what with Peggle taking up all your study time and whatnot. After they put the ungodly addictive casual game Peggle into World of Warcraft with a free, no-hassle add-on on April 23, 2009, they decided to jam it into every appliance that registered on the visible light spectrum. Cars, calculators, dogs – you name it. Complete and total submission was unavoidable.
So, I’m just gonna go check out a few Peggle hints now for some please send help. Really, it’s probably best that I skedaddle now anyway; people are probably starting to wonder why – even though the entire world is in an apparent state of technological and cultural stagnation – we’ve managed to invent cheap, compact time machines and fuse them with common household appliances. Er, I fear I’ve said too much.”
It sure is a good thing we received this message in tim—oh lord it's April 24 we're all doomed!
Nine of last month’s 20 best-selling PC games’ titles contain the word “war” in some way or another, including colonial chart-topper Empire: Total War. Special honors go to Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II for having “war” in its title twice. Videogames encouraging violence? No way.
Here’s the entire, blood-soaked chart for your viewing pleasure:
Empire: Total War / Creative Assembly / $48
World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King / Blizzard / $38
The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $19
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II / Relic / $48
World Of Warcraft Battle Chest / Blizzard / $38
World Of Warcraft / Blizzard / $20
The Sims 2 Apartment Life Exp. Pack / EA Maxis / $19
Spore / EA Maxis / $49
World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Expansion Pack / Blizzard / $29
Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst / Big Fish Games / $20
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / EA LA / $28
StarCraft Battle Chest / Blizzard / $20
Fallout 3 / Bethesda / $49
Civilization IV / Firaxis / $21 (Average)
Empire: Total War - Special Forces Edition / Creative Assembly / $70
The Sims 2 Pets Exp. Pack / EA Maxis / $19
Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning / EA Mythic / $29
The Sims 2 University Exp. Pack / EA Maxis / $19
Call Of Duty: World At War / Treyarch / $50
Diablo Battle Chest / Blizzard / $36
With the way mainstream headlines have been going lately, we can’t imagine that “Country X Delcares War on Country Y, Videogames to Blame” is far off.
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.