Posts Tagged ‘World of Warcraft’

Chinese prisoners sentenced to WoW gold farming

Friday, May 27th, 2011

We want zee gold, Lebowski! Give us zee gold or we f**ks you up!

(Yahoo) – Rocks by day, gold by night. After a day of grueling physical labor, inmates in Chinese prisons would be forced to engage in 12-hour sessions of online gaming to rack up credits. This was the work cycle for many Chinese prisoners in years past, the Guardian is reporting.

The virtual work environment proved to be a perplexing part of daily life for many inmates. The prison guards invested a lot of time and energy into making sure the prisoners met quotas for faux currencies, which the guards later traded for real world money.

The Guardian told the story of Liu Dali (a pseudonym) who was imprisoned for three years from 2004 to 2007. “If I couldn’t meet my work quota, they would punish me physically,” he said. The trade of gold for cash was widespread in Chinese prisons because of how lucrative it is.

“Gold farming” is the moniker for this business. There are scores of gamers across the globe that would pay real money for game currency just so they could progress in the game. World of Warcraft was one of many games the inmates had to trudge through to accrue certain amounts of online cash.

Gold farming, however, is not relegated to prison inmates. This is a job for some people, and there are gamers who would pay good money for fake money. For Liu Dali and his comrades in shackles, as the Guardian reported, none of their virtual labor translated into profit for them.

This, of course, is not what game makers intended. The practice of gold farming, however, is not an easy thing to regulate. Virtual currency translating into real world profits is a relatively recent thing, and since it does not exist in a physical space, it is very easy to manipulate.

While Liu Dali may no longer be in prison, his fear that this practice still exists could very well be true. Gold farming puts policy makers into an integral position as the forced 12-hour sessions can be physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.

Guitar Hero Gets the Axe

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Is Guitar Hero now axed from your party game playlist?

(CNN) – The stock price for Activision Blizzard hit a sour note Thursday, the day after the video game company said it was abandoning “Guitar Hero” and focusing on battle games such as “Call of Duty.”

“Due to continued declines in the music genre, the company will disband Activision Publishing’s Guitar Hero business unit and discontinue development on its “Guitar Hero” game for 2011,” said Activision, in its fourth-quarter earnings statement Wednesday.

241Email Print Shares were down 10% Thursday after the company posted its quarterly earnings and released its forecast for 2011, which was below what analysts were expecting.

Investors may not be happy, but analysts say the company is making a move that’s necessary to stay competitive.

“These guys are smart and they realized that the packaged goods business is going away,” said said Todd Mitchell, analyst for Kaufman Brothers, referring to games such as “Guitar Hero,” which is loaded via a compact disc and uses mock plastic guitars. “They want to shift to a digital model. It was a choice they made to exit businesses they felt were subpar profitable.”

Despite its brand recognition, “Guitar Hero” sales have been on the decline, said Mitchell. So Activision is focusing on games such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” which can be played online against online opponents.

A few years ago, it would have been hard to imagine “Guitar Hero” getting ditched. The game took the video game industry by storm after it was launched in 2005, reaching $1 billion in sales within a 26-month span, according to Activision.

[Full article at CNN.com]

Night Elves and Blood Elves living together, oh my! (NSFW)

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Developers behind the sexy adventure game BoneTown have now released a trailer for their new project BoneCraft.

BoneCraft is a fantasy/sci-fi game parodying the MMORPG powerhouse World of Warcraft / Starcraft. The game is also noted to contain the likeness of elf and orc ‘women/men of the night’, and wild adventuring drunken space marines. We have no premise of what the other gameplay will be just yet, but you can bet your +2 Vorpal Long Sword it will be 18+ content.

And just know that you were warned now, before you get to the ‘elf toe licking’ scene. NSFW.

Guild kicks Warcraft player for being deaf

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Unwelcome gets unwelcomed by his WoW Guild

World of Warcraft player “Unwelcome” suffered an accident that permanently robbed him of his hearing this recent year. Upon finding himself feeling abit alienated and shunned by his friends in real life, he also found out his Warcraft buddies to be a shunning experience.

Some games require a certain level of hearing, nowadays with subititles implemented for many story plot lines, most are not the case. Warcraft is very “deaf-friendly” overflowing with text-filled quests that don’t require aural cues to complete.

In Unwelcome’s case, his raiding guild was not so understanding:

“So i came back to wow. Now I’ve been playing with my guild for about 4 years. We have all become close friends. We have even done some rl (real life) guild parties. I explained why i have been off for so long to the guild. I explained my condition. Everyone was pretty supportive for about 5 minutes.

Do you know what the first question i got from my guild leader was? He asked me if i could still use (popular voice chat program) vent (Ventrilo). I told him no, but tried to assure him it wouldn’t be a problem as i usually research the fights beforehand and use dbm (deadly boss mods – a popular dungeon helper mod).

He tells me that i can’t raid unless i have vent. Guild rules and all. I was pissed. After a huge blow out between us i get removed from the guild and put on ignore.”

Since the happening, there has been many respondents to Unwelcome’s original post and most have clearly stated that there are plenty of ways to get around having a deaf raiding party member.

Unwelcome being quite despondent, later realized the World of Warcraft community at large rallied behind him with supportive words. Some did argue that his guild leader was within his rights to ban Unwelcome from raiding, arguments have been well-spoken and without malice.

Not quitting his World of Warcraft experience, Unwelcome has decided to make something of his own guild called ‘That Canadian Guild’ started by him and his brother on the Llane server in the aftermath of the incident.

I just became a Busy-er Gamer

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Sometimes I go long stretches without playing games. It’s rare but it does happen. Either there isn’t anything to catch my interest or there’s just not enough time for it. And then the end of the year rolls around and I find myself buried up to my ears in choices and most of them happen to be some of the most Busy Gamer unfriendly games you can imagine. We’re talking about time investments galore from games that I really enjoy playing when I can make the time for the titles.

So I’m looking at the round up from the past few and the upcoming few weeks and having to set down some guidelines. For me, I can either split my time among several titles and not get the full experience or I can pick one, fully enjoy it, and hope that I won’t get too sucked in by the overall experience that my other titles start collecting dust.

I’m putting my list together and looking at how I’m going to divvy my time. If you’re as torn as I am and wondering about the pros and cons of certain games, I’m about to go over what I see as blessing and curses with each of the following five titles listed in no particular order.

The goblins are gonna getcha.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm: It’s a whole new world with the latest Blizzard crackfest, literally. Azeroth gets a makeover, the level cap is raised to 85, and the new talent system looks and plays great so far.

Pros: I’ve been looking forward to this for awhile. Blizzard raises the bar with each expansion it launches for the WoW franchise and from the hands on I’ve hand, this time looks no different. New areas, revamped areas, new enemies, new dungeons, old dungeons with heroic mode, new gear… The list could go on for days a long time and each item on the list makes me want to play again.

Cons: Every time an expansion for WoW comes out, I go into the new areas with what used to be my badass gear. I get my ass handed to me by some new mob and then a green drops that makes me want to punch myself in the throat because it’s better than that shiny purple that took so long to get. Not my favorite feeling. Then there’s the fact that as an 80 and with the new talents, I have to relearn my class from scratch instead of growing into it as I have over the past few years. That means I’m going to be schooled by people who just started new characters because as new skills became available, they played with them to see what they could do. Instead, I’m stuck trying to figure out what each does on the fly.

Conclusion: I may avoid this one for a while. Oh, I’ll pick it up on launch day and tool around in the new areas but I may just have to sit back and read the boards for awhile to know what to look out for when I make it back.

Fallout: New Vegas: I’ll pretend that some of you don’t know about my infatuation with the Fallout series and my post-apocalyptic interior designer addiction I picked up in Fallout 3. Suffice it to say I both cringed and rejoiced when a new DLC for Fallout 3 was announced. I rejoiced because I loved that Bethesda had managed to capture the old school feeling of the franchise and wrap an FPS around it. It made for a whole new experience and I wanted to explore every inch of it. That’s what made me cringe. I had to know what was behind every burned out building and under every rock. I had to see all of it and the world was HUGE. I’d start at one corner of the map and just pick a direction to explore and I would find something new every time. And now there’s a whole new world to explore.

Pros: Post apocalyptic gaming goodness. Anyone who was a fan of the original series was most likely won over by Bethesda’s portrayal of the Fallout world. From the 50s type vision of the future to the reintroduction of old characters, they nailed the feel of the franchise. Fallout: New Vegas looks to be more of the same and that is absolutely the right way to go. New perks, new faces, old enemy organizations. I like the sound of that.

Cons: Seriously, I explore everything. Every building, ditch, gulley, sewer grate, cave, whatever. If you can crawl, walk, or run into it, I was there. And I can’t stop. It’s like an addiction but instead of a dealer, I get mutant cockroaches. Very little difference, I know. Definitely a time sink for anyone who might get the explorer bug as bad as me but this one may be the one that wins out in the end as far as my title to beat.

Fallen Earth: I’ve been tooling around with this game and I can honestly say I’m very, very impressed. Beyond what we saw at PAX this year, Fallen Earth is easily one of the most well put together games in regards to “classless” game play. Devoting points to one stat doesn’t mean you are going to get stuck playing as one role. There’s enough bleedover between the different professions that a build that works with one choice can easily swap out to another. It’s easy to get interested in the game mechanics and overlook the story and the well written aspects of it as you go along but if you choose to pay attention, there’s a lot to be had here.

Pros: Easily one of the most “crafter” friendly games I have ever seen. You pick up your mats, queue up the recipe, and then you can go run around killing things. You’re not stuck standing in one place while a progress indicator climbs and falls. The learning curve is up there but this game has one of the friendliest and helpful playerbases I’ve ever seen.

Cons: I mentioned the learning curve. It’s more of a mountain some times. As you play, you begin to understand why it’s so high but from the bottom, it is intimidating. If you’re not the type to ask questions or read the help files, you’re going to be frustrated until you can figure everything out for yourself. And if you’re the type who enjoys crafting, you may suffer full on withdrawal when you have to log off for a period of time. The crafting system is *that* good.

Borderlands: Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution: I’m a fiend when it comes to Borderlands. It’s only the second game I’ve played on the Xbox 360 that made me want to get all of the achievements. I’ve played every class through at least one playthrough and every DLC up to now. The new free DLC comes out prior to the level cap being raised to 69 (for those who bought Secret Armory, 58 if you passed on it) and sets the old areas to match your new level when you beat the game in its entirety. In other words, you can go run around in the old areas and still feel challenged. Just what I needed. I’ve held off on this content specifically waiting for the free DLC to raise the level cap so I don’t feel obligated to play through the DLC more than once… for each class.

Pros: I never tire of the humor in Borderlands. From standing around listening to the various Claptraps, the radio announcements in T-bone Junction, or Marcus telling the story of Dr. Ned. More of the good stuff, please. Old enemies get overhauled by having their levels raised which means I won’t feel like a bully when I go back to Firestone and beat up Bonehead anymore.

Cons: I could play this game for hours at a time and not get bored. Run to the old stomping grounds, hunt for loot, listen to Tannis go insane, there’s just a lot I enjoy about this game. I can see the combo of the Claptrap’s DLC and the level cap being raised as being very dangerous to my mental health. There’s just so much to do and so much humor-y goodness to be had. In the end, the amount I devote to this one will end up depending on who I am playing it with in Multi-player. Other addicts like me and I’ll end up losing entire days of my life to it. Hopefully I’ll manage with just a couple of sessions with casual gamers.

Just in time for Halloween, some Red Undead...

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare: Oh, geez, where to even start with this one. Zombies and the old west. If that doesn’t scream “Match made in Heaven” to you, then you probably didn’t get in on the game before there were going to be zombies. And you missed out if that’s the case. No other game has made me feel more like a cowboy than RDR and that’s the way I like it.

Pros: New single player missions involving the creepy crawlies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one new multi-player mission using the new content as well.

Cons: I have to be careful with RDR. I can set the game down for months and then decide to fire it up one day and the next thing I know, my entire weekend is gone. From running around playing shoot ‘em up in multi-player to riding on patrol and dodging bears in single player, RDR appeals to that part of me that never outgrew playing Cowboys and Indians.

So that’s my list. I’d be interested to see if anyone had any thoughts on their own “to play” list or in regards to any of the games I’ve listed but for now, I have to go make some hard choices.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

BG Welcomes Lhars Steck, our PAX Gamette!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Lhars Steck - BG's PAX Gamette 2010

The time has come for us to introduce you to our PAX Gamette. Yes, we know, we’re big teases, we’ve had her picture up on the sidebar for a month now but we’d like to point you to the first word in our name… Busy. We think you’ll forgive us as soon as you meet this lovely new addition to our Gamettes.

Lhars is a veteran Aion and World of Warcraft player with a wicked sense of humor and a way of making you feel at ease around her almost immediately. When it comes to MMOs (especially WoW), she knows her stuff. After speaking to her for a few minutes about her WoW character, we implemented a “no talking about WoW” rule that had absolutely nothing to do with her having better gear than us. Really.

So take a few minutes out of your day to welcome Lhars to our site, read her interview, look at her pics, and remember… Her character is way better dressed than yours.

Give us a brief description of how it felt to be chosen as our first official PAX Gamette. We know we’re super awesome so it’s okay to faint a few times while you go over it.
Well uh… /passes out. It’s a super honor and was great to meet the group at such a fun event that I look forward to every year!

We know you’re a huge WoW fan. Tell us about your best WoW moment and your worst WoW moment. Extra points if you shed a tear while writing about either one.
Totally best WoW moments are server first boss kills, nothing feels better than progression before it gets nerfed for everyone else. Or wait… is my favorite moment wiping out a raid of the opposite faction… shit, tough call. Worst, hands down when any of your core people get hacked, especially yourself (or in my case my husband as well). Puts a real damper on things.

What’s your favorite WoW class?
Mage/ Warlock / Boomkin (I’m a DPS junkie)

Is your WoW char’s gear nasty?
She is definitely a nasty girl!!!! But in all honesty gear only goes so far, it comes down to the player themselves. Good player + Little Fire + Heroic DFO = Could probably eat people alive wearing nothing else.

Read Lhars’ full interview and see her pictorial here!

Tenacious D to perform at BlizzCon 2010

Monday, October 11th, 2010
Time to melt faces.

Time to melt faces.

Last October, Jack Black starred in Electronics Art’s Brutal Legend as protagonist Eddie Riggs. This year, at BlizzCon 2010, Black will perform under the banner of Blizzard.

(Gamespot) – Blizzard today sent word that rock group Tenacious D, a band composed of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, will perform at this year’s BlizzCon during the closing ceremony on October 23. The band is known for its HBO show Tenacious D: The Greatest Band on Earth, as well as its two albums, live concert DVDs, and feature film Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny. According to Blizzard, Tenacious D will debut new songs during their set.

As in years past, BlizzCon will feature a variety of activities catering to the tastes of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo fans. Those in attendance will be able to play prerelease builds of Blizzard’s upcoming games, including World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Diablo III. The show will also include a variety of panels form Blizzard developers, casual and competitive tournaments, contests, a silent auction, and a merchandise store.

Some 20,000 tickets were sold at $125 a pop to BlizzCon 2009, though Blizzard has said that the event remains unprofitable. Highlights included the announcement of WOW’s third expansion, Cataclysm, as well as a live performance by metal maestro Ozzy Osbourne.

BlizzCon 2010 will be held October 22-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. The event is sold out, but those interested in the latest Blizzard news can purchase a BlizzCon 2010 Virtual Ticket for $39.95 to watch more than 50 hours of content from the event over at www.worldofwarcraft.com.

Woman charged with using WoW to entice underage person

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

No really, I'm 20. In Elf years.

(Buffalonews.com) – A woman from Michigan is accused of traveling to Amherst to illegally have sex with a teenager she met while playing an Internet video game called “World of Warcraft.”

Law enforcement officials called the arrest of Angie L. Jenkins, 35, highly unusual, because she is believed to be the first woman to be charged in Western New York with the crime of using the Internet to entice an underage person into sexual activity.

Jenkins, who appeared Tuesday in Buffalo’s federal court, is from Lowell, Mich., near Grand Rapids. She traveled to Amherst on June 11 to meet a 16-year-old from the Buffalo area and have sex with him in a car parked in a department store parking lot on Transit Road, FBI agents said.

The youth was 15 when he met Jenkins online and was 16 when they had sex, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango said.

The two met online in 2009, while playing a game called “World of Warcraft.” They communicated online and sometimes by phone over a period of several months before the sexual meeting took place, Mango and FBI Special Agent Dan Bradley said in court papers.

“[The victim] stated that he initially told Jenkins that he was 20 years old and that Jenkins stated that she was 21,” Bradley said in a court affidavit.

At one point in their conversations, the victim told Jenkins that he was actually 15 years old, and Jenkins told him that “it did not matter how old he was,” the agent said.

Jenkins initiated discussion about traveling to Amherst to meet the victim, and she also initiated the sexual contact, Bradley said in court papers.

Mango said the FBI found out what screen name Jenkins used while playing “World of Warcraft” and issued an administrative subpoena to Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of the Internet video game.

The company then provided Jenkins’ name, address and telephone number to the FBI, Mango said in court papers.

During a brief court proceeding on the felony charge, Jenkins told U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott that she has five children, has been married twice and receives public assistance. The woman appeared to be distraught over the arrest.

More money for Blizzard!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

For 3 bucks a month you can grab that leet gear from your phone!

Blizzard to levy extra $3 subscription fee for buying and selling items through Web browser or Mobile Armory iPhone app.

(Gamespot) – Blizzard Entertainment already charges over 11 million World of Warcraft players up to $15 a month for access to the world of Azeroth. Now the company hopes those subscribers will be willing to tack on a few extra dollars each month for access to new WOW-related features.

“I have one copper piece from the terrifying gentleman with the glowing eyes. Do I hear two copper pieces? No? Going once, going twice…
The company has announced a beta testing period for World of Warcraft Remote, a $3 monthly subscription service that will allow players to manage their in-game auction house activities from a Web browser or through the World of Warcraft Mobile Armory app for the iPhone and iPod Touch (Blizzard is considering adding support for other mobile devices). During the beta, players will be able to test out all the features of World of Warcraft Remote for free.

Once the service goes live, World of Warcraft players will still be able to use some features without paying for the additional subscription. Browsing auctions, receiving notifications when auctions close or players are outbid, and viewing various character information and status updates will all remain free.

However, bidding and buying out auctions, placing items up for sale, collecting gold, relisting items, or cancelling actions will all be limited to those players who sign up for the additional subscription fee. A list of the in-game realms currently running the World of Warcraft Remote beta test is available on Blizzard’s official World of Warcraft forums.

[Full article at Gamespot.com]

Consumables, IRL

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Gamer Consumables: +5HP or -3HP?

I knew gaming was becoming a part of the larger culture the first time I encountered a World of Warcraft poser. (He said he rolled a level 42 Orc. I said I’d always wanted to play an Orc and asked how he liked it. He said Orcs are the best..)

But now, not only do people want to seem like bigger gamer geeks than they are, but companies also want to sell products that say “I’m such a gamer that even my _____ is specifically for gamers.” Headsets? Sure. Mousepads? Okay. Tee shirts? Been there… now what? Well.. we’ve come to expect consumables in game. Now we can have them IRL too! While I am yet to encounter a product that can truly increase my fire resistance, during a recent expedition to Fry’s I was able to acquire a Mana Energy Potion, a Health Energy Potion, and a little snack pack called Gamer Grub. I fearlessly tested these products on myself, and am now back with my report.

Gamer Grub:
Gamer Grub at first glance seemed to be nothing but a title slapped on a product as a marketing ploy. But on closer inspection, I realized that the pouch it comes in is functional- its meant to be poured into your mouth from the pouch, thereby avoiding greasy fingers and crumbs in the keyboard. That’s something that my abused keyboard is definitely pleading for. It comes in flavors such as Pizza, “PB&J”, Wasabi, and Chocolate.

Tested during: World of Warcraft dungeoning and Mini-Ninjas.

Taste: Very good. I chose the pizza flavor. Like pizza, but with sort of a trail mix feeling of wholesome-ness. It doesn’t suck.

Gamer appeal: Eat out of the pouch- easy to eat while gaming. Scientifically formulated to “support fast cognitive performance.” I couldn’t tell if my brain was working better than normal or not, but the pouch system works well, and it has MAJOR hunger fighting power.

The verdict overall: It’s a good product. I’d eat it again, and I’d try some of the other flavors, but at about four bucks a pop for a 4oz. pouch.. well, I’d rather you bought it for me.

Rika Stead by Brian Hilson

BG Writer Rika Stead by Brian Hilson

Mana Energy Potion
Mana Energy Potion gains instant appeal because it’s cute. It’s blue, and it comes in a little potion bottle. It has 25 calories per serving, and contains various B vitamins, vitamin C, caffeine, and taurine, among other things. Basically, it’s an energy potion because its a single-shot energy drink, and its for gamers because it knocks off WoW without quite being a copyright infringement and non-gamers probably think it’s dorky.

Tested during: L4D.

Taste: Bleh. Popsicles, flat soda, and somehow, Red Bull with dirt in it. It doesn’t make you gag, and it’s easier than a shot of say Rumpleminze, but its not that good.

Gamer appeal: We all need energy for late night marathons of course. Cute potion style bottle. It’s called Mana!

The verdict overall: Mediocre. An hour after taking it, I felt energized but jittery. Two hours afterwards, I got hit with a hard crash. It’s a nice novelty, but aside from that, I don’t see much of a reason to buy this as opposed to 5 Hour Energy, which in my experience, works better.

Health Energy Potion
Health Energy Potion is the counterpart of Mana. It has slightly different vitamins, and its red, but its packaged in a similar World of Warcraft-reminiscent style. I went into the Health trial a bit more biased however, because Health got me in trouble in the airport- I got detained at security because I forgot it was in my laptop bag.

Tested during: CoDMW2, WoW leveling, and editing some nerd videos.

Taste: I thought Mana was lack luster.. then I tasted Health. Its the same popsicle and dirty Red Bull flavor, but with syrupy red food coloring and a dash of cinnamon. It’s not over powering cinnamon like Hot Damn, just enough to be unexpected in an annoying way.

Gamer appeal: Once again, energy for late night gaming, and cute potion packaging- but this one’s for tanks!

The verdict overall: So so. After getting jittery off of Mana, I decided to take this one in increments instead of in one shot. It kept the jittery-ness at bay, but I never felt a distinct surge of awakeness. Much like Mana, the only inspiration I see for purchasing this is novelty. If you are putting together a gift package for an obsessed WoW player (esp. if they were a tank during the pot chugging era!) then get it. If you want energy, get 5 Hour Energy.










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