Quality may not always happily skip hand-in-hand with sales (See: Psychonauts, and then go buy it, please), but when it does, we wear unnaturally large smiles, ecstatic that there's justice in this cold, depressing world. You can imagine, then, that our pearly whites are on the verge of breaking free from our unhinged jaws thanks to Mythic's announcement that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has lured 750,000 players into its overtly war-packed world.
"Thanks to our players, the war between the Realms continues to escalate at an incredible pace," said Mythic co-founder and general manager Mark Jacobs.
And he's not just spouting nonsense from his PR-approved book of hyperbole either; Warhammer's 750k sprint has topped those of both World of Warcraft and Age of Conan, who reached similar numbers within three months and two months, respectively.
But don't start ordering Waaaagh Kool-Aid as a refreshment for WoW's funeral just yet. It should be noted that boxed copies of Warhammer Online came with a free one month voucher, cancelling out the game's subscription fee for a limited time. With the game's money vacuum soon to be fully operational, will players stick around for another month?
We sure hope so. Warhammer seems genuinely different from other MMOs, and it'd be a shame to see it sink. Also, gaming just wouldn't be fun anymore if we couldn't constantly tell our friends "It's 'hammer time," before darting off for a play session.
StarCraft 2 will likely be so great, many players will want to buy it twice. Unfortunately, however, after today's BlizzCon announcement, they'll be doing Blizzard (and themselves) a huge disservice by only making two StarCraft treks. Simply put, they'll be missing 1/3 of the spacefaring RTS' universe-spanning plot, because Blizzard has announced that StarCraft 2's campaign will clear the launch pad on three separate occasions.
Predictably, each release will focus on one of StarCraft's trifecta of races. Terrans: Wings of Liberty will be first out the gate, presumably with the national sport that is the game's multiplayer mode. Zerg: Heart of the Swarm and Protoss: Legacy of the Void, then, will be pseudo-expansion packs.
Don't get the wrong idea, though. Blizzard executive VP of game design Rob Pardo explained that the Zerg and Protoss titles will "be like expansion packs," but that they'll bombard players with content. "We want them to feel like standalone products," he said.
In order to accomplish this, each campaign will break off from the rest of the pack with its own feature set. The Zerg's flesh-crawling installment will include RPG elements, while the Protoss are going the diplomatic route. Terrans, on the other hand, seem to be getting the short end of the stick with only a Protoss mini-campaign to their name, but we'll see.
Pardo also noted that Blizzard sliced and diced StarCraft 2's campaign not for fat stacks of cash (WoW would get jealous, after all), but in order to avoid delaying the game or cutting corners on quality.
As for how long in between installments we'll be hanging from cliffs, Blizzard wouldn't say. However, knowing Blizzard, we're guessing the games will be less of a Zerg-rush and more of a Zerg-Half-Life 2 Episode Three.
The small town of Monticello, Minnesota has emerged victorious in its legal battle against TDS Telecom. Unimpressed by the DSL and cable services being offered by TDS Telecom, the town with a population of 10,000 people decided to build a fiber network on its own.
But this riled up the telecom company’s feathers. TDS quickly adopted a browbeating approach and filed a suit against the town over the proposed fiber network. The company argued that revenue bonds can not be used for something – broadband internet – that isn’t actually a “utility”.
Facebook is the most visited social network globally and Britain is no exception to this fact. The website is the second most popular website in the UK after Google UK, according to Hitwise. Its popularity in recent times can be gauged from the fact that it registered a staggering growth rate of 2905% from September 2006 to 2007. Of course, the website is probably never going to replicate its performance during that period – its halcyon days. Its annual growth rate has come down to a more digestable level of 88%.
Its growth in the UK is certainly slowing down. There was only a 4% increase in its traffic between August and September, which is almost negligible compared to the 50% growth during the same period last year. Facebook’s average session time has also come down to 20 minutes.
Is there a message hidden in these numbers? Are social networking websites marching towards their popularity threshold? Will there be a corrective decline in their traffic?
The technique leverages the parallel processing power of Nvidia’s latest graphics cards to speed up the “password recovery” process by 10,000 per cent. Global Security Systems (GSS) has advised enterprises to deploy VPNs for safeguarding their WiFi networks.
We, too, can only advise you to secure your office WiFi network using VPN encryption before professional industrial sleuths start waging brute forcing blitzkriegs using ordinary graphics cards.
Google has made a subtle addition to Youtube. Now users have the option of hearing an audio preview of their comment before posting it. The audio preview feature, apparently, has nary a practical purpose to serve, but the possibility of some people puffing up with vanity after hearing their insightful comments can not be ruled out. The origins of the useless feature can be traced back to a XKCD cartoon by Randall Munroe. Hopefully the audio preview feature will stir the conscience of spammers and make them reach for the backspace key.
In what may be the biggest thing to happen to cryptography in a very long time, the world’s first computer network built with working quantum encryption technology has been demonstrated in Vienna. The network connects six locations with a total 200 km of fiber optic cable and the encryption system is said to be completely unbreakable, according to the BBC.
The network transmits a stream of millions of individual photons a second through the cable, and can detect if anyone has attempted to listen in on the stream.
Gilles Brassard, of Montreal University explained to the BBC how the system can be unbreakable: “All quantum security schemes are based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, on the fact that you cannot measure quantum information without disturbing it. Because of that, one can have a communications channel between two users on which it’s impossible to eavesdrop without creating a disturbance. An eavesdropper would create a mark on it.”
If an intrusion is detected, the data transfer is immediately rerouted through different nodes.
Pretty cool, huh? Let us know what you think of this new technology after the break.
Research In Motion, maker of the Blackberry, is in a bad way. The recent economic crisis has seen their stock fall from $148 to $60 in just 4 months, Reuters reports, leaving the company on shaky footing.
At the same time, Microsoft is looking to strengthen its presence in the handheld market, an arena recently invaded by two of the Redmond giant’s key rivals: Apple and Google. There have been rumors of Microsoft’s interest in RIM for years, but the Blackberry maker’s present financial situation has renewed and reinvigorated talk of a Microsoft takeover.
Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams has said “RIM is a massive strategic fit [for Microsoft]. I’m fairly certain they have a standing offer to buy them at $50.”
It’s unknown how strongly the co-CEOs of RIM would oppose such a deal. If they resisted strongly, it’s considered unlikely that Microsoft would attempt a hostile takeover.
By now it should be clear that the netbook craze isn't going away, at least not any time soon. Intel, who has a vested interest in the netbook market with its Atom processor line, has seen the writing on the wall and has picked up the netbook.com domain.
Right now the URL redirects visitors to Intel's product page for its Atom processor, but eventually it could morph into a fully fledged portal into the Atom-powered netbook world, particularly as more manufacturers continue to jump on the bandwagon.
For you budding entrepreneurs out there who are now kicking themselves for not picking up the domain name on the cheap, don't be too hard on yourself. Netbook.com wasn't available when Intel purchased it, and instead the chip maker bought it from the site's previous owner for an undisclosed sum, according to Notebooks.com.
It would take three hands with all digits intact to match the number of buttons on SteelSeries' new World of Warcraft MMO mouse. That's right - 15 programmable buttons grace the rodent's funky cyborgish exterior, and each one of them was designed in conjunction with Blizzard specifically with WoW addicts in mind.
The new mouse level's up its macros skillset by affording macros up to 160 characters long, with over 130 predefined commands for drag-and-drop macro creation in place. But you might find yourself spending the majority of your time grinding away at the light scheme. The world's first WoW mouse boasts no less than 16 million illumination choices with 3 intensity and pulsation levels.
Dedicated MMO players can preorder the mouse now for $99.99, with shipping slated for November 13, 2008.
Update: Press release and another image after the jump!