Posts Tagged ‘World of Warcraft’

The RPG Scrollbars: Second Chance Servers

It is a truth universally accepted as a buggerance that nothing good lasts forever. The server of your favourite online game will go down. History will move on. The Grim Reaper will move in to slash the network server connection, mumbling about what an obvious waste it is of his talents. Ah, but in the world of digital, things are only over when everyone agrees it’s over. As long as enough of the dissenters have sufficient technical skill and cash for servers. And a little bit of luck avoiding lawyers.

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World of Warcraft 7.3 now available in public test realm

World of Warcraft [official site] 7.3 represents a dramatic shift in the war against the Burning Legion. Taking place after the Tomb of Sargeras raid, the heroes of Azeroth are going to be taking a trip to the Legion’s unpleasant homeworld of Argus, where they’ll become the invaders. The patch is now available in the Public Test Realm.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Language Of Uncommon Tongues

The sign of a truly hardcore world is that it has its own languages. Klingon. Dothraki. Elvish. The term for these is ‘Conlangs’ – aka ‘constructed languages’ – and whether you see them as a vital part of world-building or a joke-in-waiting on The Big Bang Theory (they’re due a third one one of these days), there’s more to them than just slapping together some uncommon syllables and hoping it sounds alien. Well, actually, that’s exactly how Klingon started, but never mind. Done right, paying attention to language offers more than just another DVD extra. Or at least, it can do…

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The RPG Scrollbars: A Meal Fit For A Hero

“mage food pls”

Gladly! Speaking as a carbon-based lifeform with the need to convert sustenance into continued existence and also poop, I consider myself quite the food devotee. I’m not sure what I’d do without it, except to curl up and die. This, of course, is where most RPG characters have the advantage over us, or at least, have for the last twenty years. Who can forget the Ultima crew, stuffing baguettes and cheese and grapes down their gullet like a production line, only to instantly complain about being hungry? How long ago those days are now. Now, food is typically an optional extra; a way of starting the day with a little more power and a Well Fed flag.

Gosh. If only the same happened when their food entered our realm. As it does, on occasion…

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Blizzard due $8.5 million in legal battle with botmakers

A company who make and sell cheats for Blizzard games including Overwatch, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft must pay Blizzard over $8.5 million, a US court has ruled. This is the latest development in Blizzard’s battle with cheaty botters Bossland, which has so far spanned five years, the courts of several countries, and even more cases. This latest ruling says that, along with paying up, Bossland are ordered to stop selling their software in the US as it “circumvents technological measures that control access to Blizzard’s games”. Other cases are still ongoing, mind. Read the rest of this entry »

The RPG Scrollbars: Back To World of Warcraft: Legion

Like many, my relationship to World of Warcraft [official site] has shifted over the years, from second home (though never second job, unlike many) to an occasional jaunt to go catch up with my Undead Mage and see the latest fun stuff and twists and turns in Blizzard’s ongoing demonic soap opera. Sure, it’s a theme park, but so’s Disneyworld. I like making return trips to The Haunted Mansion too. And, with Legion, Blizzard’s done a much better job than its previous expansions of providing reasons to either stick around or come back. With Patch 7.2, Tomb of Sargeras, I decided to check back in on the battle against both The Burning Legion and the six-month content drought. From my perspective as a casual soloer, sure, but there’s quite a few of us.

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Blizzard phasing out Windows XP & Vista this year

World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Diablo 3, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm are all to stop working on Windows XP and Windows Vista as Blizzard start phasing out support for ye olde operatinge systemes later this year. Other, older games will still work fine, but folks will need to upgrade to keep playing those newer ones. Windows XP is now fifteen years old and Vista ten, Microsoft have long since stopped updating either, and Blizzard say “the vast majority” of players have upgraded, so they’re knocking old Windows out and smashing ’em in a big skip. Read the rest of this entry »

WoW Tokens can now be used to buy Overwatch items

WoW® Token

As the song goes, “WoW® Tokens make the world go around, the world go around, the world go around…” but obviously by “world” they mean “Blizzard-iverse” because you can now convert the WoW® Tokens you buy with gold in World of Warcraft to a digital currency called Battle.net Balance which you can use to purchase Blizzard games as well as in-game items for Hearthstone, Overwatch and the like. Read the rest of this entry »

The World before time: original WoW, revisited

Last year, I tried to indulge my nostalgia for Dun Morogh, the wintry original Dwarf & Gnome starting zone in World of Warcraft, by returning to it as it is now. It did not go entirely well – in the 11 years since WoW’s launch, much has changed. Where once this was a slow-starting MMO, defined by long wandering, hard work and a certain degree of solitude, these days its early questing is an explosion of instantaneous rewards and high-speed levelling. I thought that this first World of Warcraft was lost forever. But there is a way back.
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The power of gaming communities

For three years, many of my evenings and weekends have been spent online with the Rock, Paper, Shotgun community – posting announcements, managing servers, and hosting events. By doing this I’ve met hundreds of people and have developed some great friendships. I’ve enhanced the experience of playing games for myself and others, and in the process I’ve gained skills to progress my career in ‘real life’.

My experience is not unique. I’m here to convince you of the power of getting involved in gaming communities – and that game developers should take more responsibility for fostering and highlighting what their community is doing.

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I Dream Of Dun Morogh

It seems absurd to have nostalgia for the 2000s. Surely it was just a heartbeat ago? Yet that is where I find myself. So much has changed in the last decade and a half – politically and personally (child, mortgage, increasing awareness of own mortality) of course, but also in games. These are times of pre-order DLC, culture wars, UHD, annual sequels and developers saying contentious things on Twitter. So much noise, so much division, so much complication, so many games, even. I know I am not alone in finding it exhausting – a friend recently picked up an original Xbox, a CRT TV and a ceiling-high stack of games for pennies, and is absolutely delighted by his return to what feels like a simpler era. It’s not “the games were better then” – if anything, most were worse – but that the entirety of games and gaming seemed so much calmer.

Me? I dream of Dun Morogh, the snowy Dwarf and Gnome starting zone from World of Warcraft. Read the rest of this entry »

Heading back to World Of Warcraft with Nostalrius

Last week saw the return of World of Warcraft‘s most controversial server, Nostalrius. It’s a private server which aims to recreate the experience of ‘vanilla’ World of Warcraft – that is, WoW as it was at or shortly after launch, before being supplemented and re-shaped by a hundred updates and multiple expansions. Logging on, I’m told “Position in queue, 3801. Estimated time: 47 minutes”, before being ushered into a world of lag and people complaining about random disconnects. So, uh… yeah! Congratulations to the team for perfectly recreating the vanilla WoW experience!

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Nostalrius Sharing WoW Legacy Bootleg Server Code

That’s BlizzCon 2016 come and gone, with announcements including a new Overwatch character, another Hearthstone expansion, Diablo throwbacks, and other odds and ends… with no mention of reviving old versions of World of Warcraft [official site].

Blizzard made clear that they would have nothing to announce, that they were still discussing it internally, but some folks have grown impatient. The folks behind Nostalrius, an unofficial vintage WoW server which Blizzard shut down earlier this year, are sharing their source code and documentation with other unofficial servers to help improve them and keep the ‘legacy’ community going. Read the rest of this entry »

The RPG Scrollbars: Size Matters

Even by Blizzard’s standards, The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan is taking the piss. In case you missed it, which I know you didn’t, but work with me here, it’s the newest Hearthstone expansion. The trailer is wonderful. The setting is a corrupt crime-town full of gangsters, hoodlums and mugs, all fighting for cash and control in a tongue-in-cheek mix of Lord of the Rings and Bugsy Malone. I’d love to play a full adventure/RPG/heck even shooter set in that world, not just play with a new set of cards using it as a theme. In just a minute of charismatic art and a fun song, Blizzard fleshed out Gadgetzan with more love and more detail than some games manage in their entire runs.

But, uh, here’s the thing. This is what Gadgetzan actually looks like.

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Blizzcon Roundup: World Of Warcraft, StarCraft II And Heroes Of The Storm

There’s a lot going on at Blizzcon 2016 – new Diablo classes, Hearthstone cards and long-rumoured Overwatch characters for a start. If Blizzard keeps making games, how large could Blizzcon become in the future? Could it grow too large for Anaheim, California, perhaps? At this rate it’s only a matter of time before it engulfs the whole of the US West Coast. But for now: more announcements.

Between all of the show’s marquee announcements, and all its eAthletes competing for big cash money prizes, there’s also been the usual bevvy of updates unveiled for StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm. Time for a roundup!

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The RPG Scrollbars: Nine Years In Karazhan

Can a tower be a star? If you’ve been paying any attention to Blizzard’s wacky worlds recently, you’ll have spotted that it’s giving it a pretty good shot. Karazhan, home of Medivh, the Last Guardian of Tirisfal, whose corruption by the Burning Legion led to the orc invasions of Azeroth. A central location in the movie, as well as the mythos. A whole Hearthstone expansion dedicated to its wacky inhabitants.

This week, a new World of Warcraft patch called, yes, Return To Karazhan. But what is this place, for those who weren’t around the first time? What makes it so important?

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WoW Players Can Return To Karazhan On 25 October

Return To Karazhan

Return to Karazhan kind of implies I’ve been to Karazhan even once. It’s like when you meet someone new at a party and they say “So good to see you again!” and you have to decide whether to tell them you’ve never met or just go with it, trying to work out who they think you are and generally besmirching that other person’s reputation. Oh hang on – is it about someone ELSE returning? ANYWAY let’s ignore that awkwardness and talk about World of Warcraft [official site] Patch 7.1 and the fact it’s going to launch on 25 October.

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Logging Off: Blizzard Dropping The Battle.net Name

After twenty years, Blizzard plan to step away from the name Battle.net for their online platform and services. The Diablords and Warcrafteers today announced that they’ll be “transitioning away” from the name Battle.net, which they’ve been using since the first Diablo way back in 1996. No, Blizzard now want to name elements boring things like Blizzard Streaming and Blizzard Voice. Ah, the end of an era. Another icon falls.

Look, let’s be honest: names which are also domain names had become daggy by ooh we’ll generously say 1999. But don’t you see, Blizzard? A ’90s revival is going on – for the first time in yonks, the name Battle.net currently sounds cool.

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The RPG Scrollbars: MMO Jails And Virtual Porridge

Backstage areas have always fascinated me. Behind the scenes in theatres, where all the glitz and glamour dies instantly the moment you step where the public isn’t meant to see – down lethal staircases and in filthy preparation rooms. The tunnels in places like Walt Disney World, where cast members travel to avoid ruining the magic, and tough security guards probably not wearing mouse ears emerge to haul off trouble-makers. And in games, especially online ones, there’s often parts that we’re just not meant to see, from developer tricks to places for the GM team to hang out.

Quite often, these include prisons. For the really naughty players to go.

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He Was The Lore: Blizzard’s Chris Metzen Retires

Blizzard lorelord Chris Metzen (‘senior vice president of story and franchise development’, if you want to be technical) has handed in his badge and his loregiver (his keyboard, obvs) and taken The Long Walk into The Cursed Earth (idk, Reddit?). After nearly 23 years of laying down the lore and voicing characters from Thrall to the good ol’ Terran Battlecruiser, Metzen last night announced his retirement. He’s off to spend time with his family, see.

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