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World of Warcraft

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

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

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

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

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!

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor launch-day roundup

World of Warcraft, Betas, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Launches, New Titles, News Items, Subscription

The fifth expansion to 2004's World of Warcraft MMO is now live.

First announced at BlizzCon 2013, Warlords of Draenor opened its doors at 3 a.m. EST this morning, so you would be forgiven for having slept through the start. And what would a launch day be without rolling restarts, giant patch notes, and overloaded, bottlenecked entry zones? Wheee!

In honor of the launch, we've rounded up the best WoW and Draenor stories from the past year for your perusal during today's inevitable downtimes. Who's playin'?

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World of Warcraft vows faster expansion development

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

Many Azerothian eyes are fixed on tomorrow's release of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, but what happens after that? Will players face a severe content drought as they just did while they wait for expansion #6?

Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas said that the team is pushing to increase the pace of expansion development: "Our goal is certainly to release expansions a little faster than we have been... we've increased the size of our team, and we feel like we're in a place where we should be able to move faster than before." He also fielded the eternal question of a hypothetical World of Warcraft 2, saying that the team would need "a different vision" and mechanics that allowed for new types of gameplay.

To help with your Warlords of Draenor countdown, Blizzard put out a few expansion-themed posters as well as an Age of Iron trailer that you can watch after the break!

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Watch the unboxing of World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor's CE

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, Expansions, News Items, Subscription

Does not include intangible emotions from unboxing, such as brief excitement followed by boredom followed by disappointment and regret.
Tomorrow is the launch day for World of Warcraft's fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor. It's quite possible that you already have your collector's edition pre-ordered and ready to go, and you can't wait to open it up and see what's inside. So wouldn't you like to watch someone else open it up and see what's inside before you get to do that yourself?

Michele Morrow (who also helped host the official coverage of BlizzCon 2014 this past weekend) has posted an unboxing video for the Warlords of Draenor collector's edition, going over the various bits and gewgaws located within the box. Sure, you've known about what's in the box for a while, but here's your chance to see it before you get it. If you can't wait until tomorrow to peek inside, jump on past the break to see the video.

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Global Chat: Why we blog

World of Warcraft, Culture, Opinion, The Secret World, RIFT, Global Chat, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar

Why an MMO player decides that he or she needs to take up an additional hobby of writing about these games isn't much of a mystery. We may all blog about a huge variety of topics, but the impetus behind it tends to be very common: We have so many thoughts about and so much love for these games that we can't hold it in.

To blog is to open up and share experiences, observations, and hopes. It's to connect with others and to perhaps give another layer of meaning to the time that we spend in-game. We don't blog because we have to; we blog because we simply could not not blog.

So let's see a few examples of what MMO bloggers couldn't keep inside of them! From spooky stories to rapturous tales of exploration, it's a testament to the power of words and goofy rejoinders.

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WoW's Iron Horde declares war on Times Square

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Galleries, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Humor, Promotions, Subscription

Finally! Here's the Blizzard we know and love. Why promote a World of Warcraft expansion with a pat press release and gory trailer when you can beat up an actual taxi in Times Square with a 15-foot replica of the epic Gorehowl axe? And that's exactly what Blizz did this morning to bemuse passing New Yorkers. Surveil the carnage in the gallery below.

WoW's Warlords of Draenor expansion launches this Thursday. Holla if you know of an Etsy shop where we can buy some #WARLORDS crime scene tape; that has to be a thing someone makes, right?

Watch the full World of Warcraft: Looking for Group documentary

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry

You might have missed the "other" Warcraft movie reveal at BlizzCon this past week, but we're here to make sure that you don't let it slip by completely. Blizzard premiered a special World of Warcraft documentary at the convention called Looking for Group, and you can watch the flick in its entirety right now.

Looking for Group examines the phenomenon of the MMO's creation and operation over the past 10-plus years. According to the studio, the documetary will allow you to "explore the history of WoW with its creators, and journey into corners of Blizzard and the WoW community you've never seen before."

Grab your Michael Jackson comment popcorn and watch it after the break!

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WoW Archivist: The zombie plague event

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Lore, PvP, Subscription, WoW Archivist

Zombies attack
WoW Archivist is a biweekly column by WoW Insider's Scott Andrews, who explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold? It first appeared on our sister site on November 5th and is included here by permission.

We have one more week of the Iron Horde invasion event before we can take the fight through the portal to Draenor. Most players seem to think this event is serviceable, if unexciting. Like all such events, it lives in the shadow of the most memorable pre-expansion event in WoW's long history: the zombie plague. It debuted almost exactly six years ago, and Blizzard has never topped it.

If you need evidence, just look at the comments on the previous WoW Archivist about patch 3.0. I only mentioned the event in passing as a topic for a future column. Even so, readers posted more about the plague event than about any of the other 3.0 features like achievements, glyphs, or pally nerfs.

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Liveblogging the opening ceremonies of BlizzCon 2014

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Diablo III, Subscription, Hearthstone, E-sports

You call it snark, I call it a healthy dose of world-weary cynicism.
Dear readers, I am going to be wholly honest with you. When I was asked if I could do this liveblog for BlizzCon, I thought I was being asked if I was capable. Like asking "can you ride your bike with no handlebars" or "can you sing to a cat until it leaves the room in disgust." But here I am now, so apparently the question was significantly less rhetorical than I had originally assumed and now I need to actually do this.

You can watch the standard definition feed of the convention's opening ceremonies on the official site for free. I'll be liveblogging the important announcements in the comments if you're in a place where you can't watch along (at work, misplaced your headphones, hiding in an Amish barn and fearing discovery should your phone give away even the slightest beep); highlights will be collected past the break. There will probably be announcements about Blizzard games! Like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone and maybe, if it's very lucky, StarCraft II.

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The BlizzCon line has already been started by one dedicated player

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

Well, you've got to have a hobby.
BlizzCon 2014 starts tomorrow, and if you're already in California for the event, you've got a whole day of ambling about ahead of you. You might think there's no reason to even think about the lines or the waiting that will come around tomorrow. But you'd be wrong: There is already a line to get into the convention that starts tomorrow, a line started by one dedicated fan waiting patiently at the front gate.

Massively's sister site WoW Insider reports that the fan is Brendan "Tibs" Thibodeau, a Navy veteran who has been playing World of Warcraft since 2005 and has racked up 29 level-capped characters with five legendary cloaks among them. Tibs has attended six BlizzCons and been at the front of the line for four of those, due in no small part to the dedication necessary to get in line a day before most people even think about queueing up. At last update, however, the second spot in line is still available.

BlizzCon returns to Anaheim during the weekend of November 7th and 8th, 2014! Whether you're anticipating World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor expansion or the latest news from Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm, we aim to have it covered!

Blizzard updates WoW's garrison game guide

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry

Blizzard has updated its game guide to World of Warcraft's garrisons. In case you missed it, garrisons serve as your Draenor ops center and allow you to collect resources, send followers on missions, and "create wondrous items to aid you in your journey," the firm says.

You've still got a few days before Warlords of Draenor releases on November 13th, so why not give the new guide a look-see?

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