| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

World of Warcraft

Raph Koster explains how WoW changed MMOs

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items

There's liable to be a lot of virtual ink spilled over World of Warcraft as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month. You can save yourself some time by just reading famed MMO designer Raph Koster's lengthy and informed analysis, though. He covers a ton of ground, both negative and positive, including WoW's roots in EverQuest and the DikuMUD while also touching on all of the genre features that Blizzard cut in the name of "fun" and accessibility.
Among the things left by the wayside were features that were proven. Gone were the richer pet systems that had driven so much engagement from players in earlier games. Player housing, past and future source of endless devotion (and revenue) in other games, absent. Never mind stuff like towns and politics and the like. Crafting took massive steps backwards from the heights it had been developed into in [Star Wars] Galaxies or even Sims Online, and went back to being more like that in EverQuest. Even the robust character customization that we slaved over in Galaxies, a system which today is in every RPG on earth, was gone.
Koster credits WoW as the true innovator of the quest-led game, but he also points out that the game stifled MMORPG innovation in numerous ways.

Continue Reading

WoW previews Highmaul raid, kicks off anniversary events today

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Lore, Endgame, News Items, Dungeons, Subscription

And this time, slightly less than a year between updates!
Are you ready to start in on the raid cycle of Warlords of Draenor? Yes you are; that's what you do here. You can start by checking out the latest World of Warcraft development blog that shows off Highmaul in all its glory. The raid's release will be staggered into four parts, with Normal and Heroic releasing on December 2nd, Mythic and the first part of the Raid Finder difficulty releasing on December 9th, and the final two wings being added to the Raid Finder on December 16th and January 6th.

Highmaul contains seven bosses, three of which are optional and two of which are mandatory. Players will take on Kargath Bladefist to kick off the raid experience, while the ultimate encounter leads players against Imperator Mar'gok, the pinnacle of ogre power in the region. You can also take the time to play around with the game's new Twitter hashtag campaign while you wait. That won't help you with the raid at all, really, but it will help pass the time.

In other WoW news, Blizzard will be kicking off its previously announced anniversary events today. Both the 40-man, level 100 version of Molten Core and the Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battleground will become available to players through the raid finder and battlemaster queue, respectively. Everyone who logs in will receive a molten corgi pet as a happy birthday present from the team. The events end January 6th.

The Think Tank: Assessing Draenor's launch

World of Warcraft, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Launches, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Opinion, Massively Meta, Miscellaneous, The Think Tank

WoW
World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor launch has come and gone, driven by the chaos we've come to expect from this year's MMO launches. Was it a bad launch... or the baddest launch ever?! In today's Think Tank, I asked the Massively writers, as players or industry watchers, how the launch and Blizzard's response stacked up next to those of 2014's other offerings.

Continue Reading

WoW subs back over 10 million, WoD sells 3.3 million

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, MMO Industry, News Items, Subscription

World of Warcraft's global subscriber base now numbers over 10 million, and several of those subscribers can even log in and play!

In all seriousness, Blizzard did announce that its MMO is experiencing "growth across all major regions," not to mention that it sold 3.3 million copies of the Warlords of Draenor expansion in its first 24 hours.

Blizzard defines subscribers in its press release:
World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet game room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.

New WoW video is proof that Blizzard hates Gnomes

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, Humor, Subscription

It's been a long-running contention of the World of Warcraft Gnome community that Blizzard, erm, hates that race with a molten passion of a thousand forges. Now our pint-sized characters have proof.

Blizzard posted a new video today showcasing Warlords of Draenor's updated character models. Depending on how you look at it, the video could either be a cheeky promotion of the expansion feature or a horrific exposé on a developer straight-up torturing a Gnome.

We have it for you to watch after the break. Consider it NSFW if you are a diminutive underground gadgeteer.

Continue Reading

World of Warcraft apologizes and compensates for Warlords of Draenor issues

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Subscription

wow
Blizzard is so, so sorry for the expansion launch issues -- and it is trying to make things right.

This is the word from World of Warcraft Executive Producer J. Allen Brack, who issued a public mea culpa on the forums for the problems with Warlords of Draenor's launch. "The quality of the content does not excuse the subpar launch experience we delivered, and I apologize for that," Brack wrote.

He outlined the events and studio response over the past weekend, saying that the team is expanding its instancing tech to reduce queues on realms. To compensate players for their troubles, Brack said that Blizzard is giving five days of game time for all subscribers as of last Friday.

The Stream Team: World of Warcraft has a new thing

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Launches, Patches, PvP, PvE, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Subscription, MMORPG

World of Warcraft
Massively's Mike Foster started his MMO career with World of Warcraft, cruising the hills of Stranglethorn on a completely incompetent priest. Later he became a Mage, Death Knight, a Rogue, a Shaman, and... everything but Paladin, basically. Thus, it's only fitting that he dive immediately into Warlords of Draenor, WoW's most recent expansion, to see what's new. Tune in tonight to watch Mike as he investigates some Warlords of Draenor content and attempts to re-learn his PvP-centric hotkeys.

The action starts at 7:00 p.m. EST, as long as the queue gods treat him right.

Game: World of Warcraft
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

Continue Reading

WoW's Dark Portal has reopened in a Shanghai subway

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (Real-World), Lore, News Items, Subscription

WoWA Shanghai subway station now boasts its very own World of Warcraft-flavored Dark Portal, and all we got was this lousy beat-up taxi.

Polygon reports that in honor of the Warlords of Draenor launch, the Xujiahui subway station in Shanghai has been decorated with WoW promotional materials, including a scaled-down but still swanky replica of the Dark Portal with a flat screen positioned in the center where the portal ought to go. Cameras embedded in the structure teleport subwaygoers into the action.

In WoW lore, the Dark Portal was once the gateway between Azeroth and Outland but now links Draenor to the core gameworld. Plus, it looks pretty badass as a real-life simulacrum.

We've included the promo video below.

Continue Reading

Warlords of Draenor's rocky launch saga and Reddit controversy continue

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Launches, Subscription

wow
We've heard a lot of "it's a good problem to have" in regards to the struggles that World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor has faced this past week, as a huge influx of players have met laggy servers, lengthy queues, and DDoS attacks. But we're sure that Blizzard would prefer no problems, period, which is why the studio has been updating the community on an hourly basis regarding its efforts to stabilize the game.

Blizzard says that it's currently monitoring the servers and has seen an improvement in performance around the world. In the past day, the studio has performed rolling restarts, hotfixes, and increased the population caps on various servers. Massively's own writers have had mixed experiences thus far; while we had to cancel Mike's Friday stream because of queues and the servers were down a large portion of Saturday, by Saturday night queues and lag issues were clearing up on some servers, like Bree's, no doubt thanks to increased capacity.

But some gamers are taking their reaction to the extreme. The core moderator of the WoW subreddit shut that subreddit down last night in protest over his personal login difficulties. While the forums have since been restored with apologies from other Reddit mods, participants are still arguing over the events. "r/WoW shouldn't be a hostage," Blizzard bluename Zarhym admonished via Twitter.

Blizzard fights Snail Games over panda design

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Legal

pandaaaaa
Fresh off of a win with its Hearthstone lawsuit, Blizzard is jumping right back in to the legal waters with a fight against Snail Games.

What did Snail do to anger the glacial giant so? Apparently, the developer is coming out with a mobile game named Taichi Panda that features a panda, and you can already see where this is going. Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase claims that Snail's panda design is far too similar to those seen in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. NetEase also has an issue with Shaman and Goblin art styles in the mobile game.

NetEase is requesting that Apple take down the mobile app, while Snail is defending its design choices.

World of Warcraft deals with downtime, bugs, DDoS attacks [Updated]

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Patches, News Items, Subscription

What do you call an expansion that's late and still rushed?
If you had been hoping to experience the launch of World of Warcraft's expansion without queues, well, that was never going to happen. If you had hoped to face the launch without issues like disconnecting from the servers as soon as your character moved or major Garrison bugs, well, that shouldn't be happening, but it apparently is. A number of hotfixes have already been applied to the game with more on the way, including several increased spawn rates for enemies in heavily congested zones. This comes on the heels of DDoS attacks that have made logging in and playing even more difficult and make it difficult to identify genuine bugs amidst server issues.

Fans have compiled a list of the most common errors experienced on launch, some of which seem perfectly normal (long queue times after many server merges prior to launch) and some of which are not (server crashes from flying mounts). If you want to take a little time off from trying to get in and play, you can take a look at the recently posted glance at the creatures of Nagrand. Otherwise, there's not much to be done other than waiting for the latest round of hotfixes and hoping that corrects the major issues.

[Massively's sister site WoW Insider has published a detailed editorial explaining the launch issues and who bears responsibility for which ones. Managing Editor Adam Holisky argues that while Blizzard is responsible for the quest bottlenecks, broken terrain, server funneling, and griefing toys, it can't do much about DDoS attacks and their resulting latency and lag and queues, and therefore the studio should not be blamed for them.]

The Daily Grind: Have you made use of an advanced character in an MMO?

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Business Models, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind

WoW
World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion launched yesterday, and if you managed to preorder in time, you now have a shiny new level 90 character upgrade awaiting you. WoW isn't the first or only game to offer advanced characters, of course; RIFT, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online, among others, all sell boosted characters so that players can skip over the early game and jump right to the new stuff. This feature has been tremendously helpful to some of my guildies who haven't played WoW in a while and wanted to join us in the new content without catching up an old toon. Without the feature, I'm not sure some of them would have returned at all.

I've taken advantage of the feature in UO especially to avoid the tedium of skill grind. On the other hand, I've still never had the urge to seriously play the cute Gnome Mage I rolled the last time Blizzard offered free character boosts. I just have too many characters with history already (plus my husband mains a Gnome Mage!).

What about you, Massively readers? Have you ever made use of an advanced character in an MMO? What did you think of the experience?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

World of Warcraft hit by DDoS attack on expansion launch day

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Bugs, Expansions, Legal, Subscription

wow
There's something about a major launch that brings out all of the cyber griefers, and Warlords of Draenor's launch day is no different. Blizzard confirmed this evening that the game was hit by direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks that have been causing issues, and the studio is taking steps to combat it, including temporarily lowering the maximum populations on servers:
We're excited to finally launch Warlords of Draenor and explore this new world with you, but we know that the experience has been less than ideal as we approach our first full day of launch. Europe was our first region to launch, and we encountered a few issues due to the sheer number of players attempting to enter Draenor from a single location. We worked to add multiple new ways to access Draenor, and this helped ease some of the initial rush into the new expansion as players were able to access it from their capital cities, as well as from the shrines in Pandaria. While that solution helped a ton for our North American launch, we ran into a few other issues, including a distributed denial of service attack, that resulted in increased latency.
Later this evening, Bashiok updated players on the ongoing server issues as they unfolded over US prime time:
We're continuing to work toward greater realm stability and address the service issues impacting latency. Our current biggest hurdle is the concentration of players in specific areas and zones, and an unexpected effect of that concentration on the realm stability. We're continuing to maintain a lowered realm population cap to help with the stability, which is resulting in increased queue times. We're seeing some increase in individual zones drop which are causing localized player disconnections as we get into primetime in the Americas, and if someone is disconnected they will quite likely run into a queue to log back in. Work is progressing on improving realm stability through fixes targeting individual in-game issues, as well as on the backend game and network services.

World of Warcraft's garrisons 'like a personal guild'

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Dev Diaries, Subscription

wow
Experiencing garrisons in World of Warcraft is no longer an exercise in daydreaming but an immediate reality with this morning's launch of Warlords of Draenor. That doesn't mean that Blizzard is finished with talking about it, as it's shouting a final garrison dev diary today to the crowd that's already streamed out of the front door.

This fourth dev diary is mostly concerned with showing how this feature can benefit players and how they can be accomodating to different playstyles. "Your Garrison operates more like a personal guild that you lead," Blizzard posted. "Whether you check in on it multiple times per day or a few times a week, you can set up your Garrison to give you rewards and present you with challenges at varied intervals."

Every two levels of the expansion will open up more garrison options, and these instances will also offer weekly quests that tie into the storyline. You can even end up building a monument to your mighty ego if you overcome one of a handful of significant tasks.

You're too late: People are already 100 in WoW

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Subscription

WoW
Too bad for those of us stuck working today instead of playing video games: There are already folks at the level cap in World of Warcraft.

The Warlords of Draenor expansion launched early this morning amid complaints of lag, queues, and horrifically bottlenecked quests, but that hasn't been enough to stop the truly dedicated. On my home server, which my guildies affectionately refer to as Crashridge, there appear to be no 100s roaming the world yet, but Eurogamer reports that European servers have several dozen apiece thanks to the earlier launch there. The level-capped rushers took advantage of legitimate garrison-related experience bonuses and dailies but also repeatable turn-in quests deemed exploits by Blizzard, which temp-banned and de-leveled at least one Polish player for using them as seen in this colorful video.

So much for that world first!

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW