World of Warcraft Gold Seller Performance Art

Posted by on June 3, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Gold sellers are an eternal irritation in World of Warcraft, but it seems they’re becoming quite imaginative in their quest to part WoW players from their cash. A strange new wave of WoW gold seller performance art has hit the game over the past few weeks, according to the official forums, evolving from the previous practice of “corpse art”. Corpse art was achieved by numerous gold sellers killing themselves and arranging the corpses in order to either spell something out or simply attract attention.

The above picture, however, shows an even greater exploitation of game mechanics, as it is achieved by taking advantage of the tolerance that is built into the system for lag. Using characters in different poses, standing, sitting and sleeping, the gold sellers then hack the client to move them just enough to form the advertisement without setting off WoW’s  anti-cheating routines, as it looks like the players are simply lagging a little. Inventive, yes, but I’ve no doubt the GMs already have their hands full trying to combat it.

Blizzcon Tickets Should Be Distributed by Gearscore

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - 10 Comments »

Terrible news everyone! None of the Lore Hound staff got a BlizzCon ticket thus far. Pixiestixy and Amatera both got decent spots in line, or so we thought, then were horribly disappointed to get booted from the queue when tickets sold out as they crept up to only a few hundred spots from the front of the line.

However, more tickets will be available on Saturday morning.

The queueing system is a solution for too many people trying to buy tickets at once and crashing the server. In essence, it stretches the refresh page race out from an immediate purchase page to a leisurely activity once you are actually able to get into the queue. It allows them to optimize a queueing server and a checkout server for the rush and give people enough time to make sure their purchasing information is correct. Its a genius solution to the problems that used to plague ticket sales, and a model for businesses like Ticketmaster — but is there a better way to put players in a queue?

The way I see it, the people most likely to want to go are the people most into Blizzard games. They have all of your gaming information on your Battle.net account, so why not use it? A gearscore of 6800? You get to cut a thousand people into the queue. Rated above 1800 in arena? Take another few steps forward. Diamond league in the SC2 beta? Come on down! Combined /played is more than 3 years? Instant front of queue.

And why have the queueing system at tickets? Blizzard should sell hotel rooms and match you with roommates. It could suggest your guildmates and people from your friends list. Even better, you can suggest a role, like main chef (orders pizza), PPS (photos per second), or cleaner (to keep your slobby roommates from dying in their filth of pizza grease and sweat from the con floor). I can guarantee you I am on a paparazzi level of PPS. I have a perfectly timed rotation with flash, snap, flash, snap, switch SD card. I deserve to get roomed with the best main chefs and cleaners.

How do you think Blizzard should handle the queue? Is the randomness of the first-come-first-serve system fair?

Turbine Details DDO Update 5 – Rise of the Guilds

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - 5 Comments »

Turbine Entertainment sent me a polite e-mail a few moments ago.  It contained a quiet reminder that Update 5, better known as Rise of the Guilds, for Dungeon & Dragons Online is only a few weeks away!  The latest update for the F2P gem will be going live shortly after E3 2010 (where we expect to get a taste of the new goodies) on June 28.

As the title suggests, the upcoming patch focuses heavily on guilds.  Players, and all of our buddies, will be able to earn Guild Renown during our adventures.  In conjunction with renown, basically guild XP, members will be able to polish guild trophies that are looted from monsters and treasure chests.  “Levels, power, and treasure,” do we need much more incentive to join a guild?

Turbine thought so, so Guild Airships (guild housing) are going live.  Members can decorate their Skies of Arcadia-esque crafts with special gear, decorations and amenities ranging from taverns to auctioneers.

No update would be complete without a new adventure pack, and Update 5 does not disappoint.  The new adventure pack, “Carnival of Shadow,” even correlates to the guild focus of Rise of the Guilds.  Assuming carnies can be considered a guild.  The adventure pack brings four new dungeons.  We’ll have David and Goliath scenarios, secret societies and circus freaks to entertain us.

Last but not least, the usual round of bug fixes, balance tweaks and optimizations.  Many classes are receiving additional spells, feats or enhancements and rogues get to make new traps!

I guess it’s about time to make the LoreHound guild for our DDO sessions.  What to call it…

Read the full details here.

The B Team: Proof Of Concept Episode 0.2

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - 6 Comments »

Today brings us the second part of the proof of concept for The B Team (first installment).  It records <The B Team> running through the middle section of Wailing Caverns, just before Skum.  Again, it’s proof of concept, so bare with the letterboxing, erratic cuts and things of that nature.  The video was created to see if our goal was possible.  We had many other ideas in mind to better organize, edit and develop the series.  Assuming there is interest, we hope to fulfill those desires.

The last, and final, Proof of Concept video will be available next week.

How do you like the series at its most basic?

Pocket Hound: Chocobo Panic is Fast-Fingered Fun

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - No Comments »

If you’re looking for a game to fill that chocobo-shaped hole in your heart between Final Fantasy XIII and FFXIV, your saving game might just be here. Maybe.

Chocobo Panic, which Square Enix just released last week for the iPad and iPhone, includes some fun innovations that make good use of the touch screen platform. Just don’t expect any story line or RPG action. Read on for the gist of this cute, twister-like game for fingers.

Read more…

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures – Hit Television Series Gets MMO

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - No Comments »

Sony Online Entertainment has announced its latest endeavor with Lucas Arts and game developers Bioware. Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, a new MMO based on the animated television series is set for a Fall release.

The game will be a kid-friendly, free-to-play MMO that will feature lots of online mini-games based on the popular cartoon series like tower defense style play or typing drills. Players can also create and customize a character, purchase pets and compete against other players in daily challenges. Although its free to play, gamers can upgrade their account based on a monthly membership fee to unlock further advances and more stuff to do. Like many new MMO’s, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures also offers a Farmville-like microtransactional system using Sony’s Station Cash.

To check out official site of Star Wars: Clone Adventures, click here.

Final Fantasy XI: June Update Promises New Moblin Maze Mongers Instance

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - No Comments »

Final Fantasy XI’s development team recently released details on a new maze (FFXI’s version of an instance) stuffed with a new villain and a plethora of deadly bosses set to launch in their scheduled June update to the game.

The announcement of the new addition to the popular maze system puts players at the mercy of the subtly evil-named Sadistiq who throws your team up against a uniquely powerful monster every fifteen minutes and hands out rewards based on how well your team squares off against the creature. Interestingly enough, even if you can’t take down the beast you’re tossed in with, certain rewards are still granted.

Although the FFXI team hasn’t released many details on their forthcoming addition, this latest news shows that the Final Fantasy XI June Update offers a nice take on instancing and promises other cool goodies in store based off previous ideas that worked well in the game.

For the official announcement from PlayOnline’s Final Fantasy XI team, click here.

The Novel Post: World of Wacraft: Mage Review

Posted by on June 2, 2010 - No Comments »

This edition of The Novel Post is written by guest blogger, DJTyrant. For more of his manga reviews, check the byline at the bottom.

Tokyopop has upheld a strong tradition of providing quality stories in the World of Warcraft extended universe. The second in a series of class-focused “Original English-Language” manga is based on the Mage.  In World of Warcraft: Mage, written by Richard A. Knaak with art by Ryo Kawakami, there is a good balance of exploratory dialog and strong action sequences.

The story follows Aodhan during his training to become a mage. Through flashbacks, we can see that the nascent spell-flinger actually comes from a line of strong Warriors and Paladins, but is considered physically weak, and thus desires to prove himself as a Mage. Trouble rises, of course, as soon as the story begins, where Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight are laying siege to Dalaran. The situation turns dire for the Mages of Dalaran, unaware of the danger young Aodhan is venturing into when they send him to the Violet Hold.

What unfolds is a story of treachery, family history, as well as a deeper understanding of Malygos and the Blue Dragonflight and why some Mages have joined their side. We also learn a bit of the history of the Violet Hold, and the story gives a more detailed understanding of how it came into existence. Even a couple of monsters show up that you just might recognize.

The story written by Knaak is solid as always, but if you’re not a fan of his writing, this isn’t about to change your mind. Leader of the Kirin Tor and patriarch of Dalaran, Rhonin Redhair, also plays a key role in the proceedings. Kawakami’s art work holds its own as the character designs really fit into the Warcraft lore and in certain places his armor designs really shine. The action sequences are equally as good and it’s easy to follow exactly what is going on.

I think this is a great purchase for nearly every fan of Warcraft lore. The story is solid and provides some extra background information on Dalaran and the Violet Hold, while introducing a few new minor characters into the story. For fans who are not necessarily big on the lore aspect, it is still worth checking out. The read is brief and fun, but also a great introduction to the expanded Warcraft universe. The only major complaint I have with the manga is that it tends to drag a bit in the middle as one of the characters talks at great length (nearly half a chapter, of six) about Aodhan, his past, and his family ties. Other than that, it is a fun, light read that I recommend to any WoW fan looking to get a little bit more from the series outside of the game.

World of Warcraft: Mage is the second in a series of class-based manga that Tokyopop has planned. You can read DJTyrant’s  impressions of the first volume, called Death Knight, on About.com. Next up is Shaman, slated for October 2010, coinciding with BlizzCon and most likely hitting shelves after the release of Cataclysm.