All Quiet On the Azerothian Front

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - 4 Comments »

Most of you reading Lore Hound right now were probably fans of the site we all used to work for and, quite frankly, you must be wondering “why the heck are they talking about all these other games for? Isn’t this supposed to be a World of Warcraft-focused site?” It’s a valid query, of course. Here are Lore Hound, we do plan on covering a variety of topics because, let’s face it, WoW ain’t the only game in town and some of these other titles really do deserve your attention.

But we still love Warcraft. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be here. The truth of the matter is that, at this moment, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about. Blizzard has been awfully hush-hush on the expansion for months now beyond reiterating and repackaging the information they doled out at last year’s BlizzCon (such as the stat changes). As far as the content goes, we know about as much now as we did just after Cataclysm was announced, and the last time the official site was updated was back in September.

But I feel it, folks. I feel like we’re on the verge of something big because we really have to be.

Read more…

Sociologist Discovers the Warcraft Civilization

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - No Comments »

The sociologist William Sims Bainbridge, known for his work exploring the sociology of religion, has published a new book entitled The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World. A strange leap? Given Bainbridge is a founding member of a pro-spaceflight organisation known as the Order of Cosmic Engineers, a name ripe for use by a World of Warcraft guild, it may not be such a departure after all.

Here is the publisher’s description of his latest work:

World of Warcraft is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoW contains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noticed, it’s not entirely unlike today’s world. In The Warcraft Civilization, sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further than this, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war.

Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character’s narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue–such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity–through the lens of that character’s experience.

What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.

I’m genuinely curious about the contents of this book, if only to discover the Bell curve of madness a sociologist might travel in the course of studying the Warcraft Civilization for over two thousand hours.

Hi-Rez Adds (More) Backstory To Global Agenda

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - 1 Comment »

I’ve been barking for more information, more universe, more soul in Global Agenda since the game went live in February.  During the company’s initial marketing push there was a concentrated effort to give the game a direction.  Advertising chided the conventions of the greater MMOG market, mainly fantasy games and elves.  During this time, those already interested in the title were treated to short stories detailing the formation of the current struggles.  Unfortunately, since launch the background stories (ie things to do during maintenance or lunch break) ceased to be produced.  Until now. Read more…

Perks for Guilds with Shadowmourne

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - No Comments »

Tabard of the LightbringerThey say loot is in the hands of the Shadowmourne-holder, or something along those lines. While Blizzard plans to implement guild-wide achievements in Cataclysm, guild members of Shadowmourne have not gotten any specific perks for assisting in that grand questline. This has recently changed.

While hardly anyone has Shadowmourne currently, the top guilds are slowly picking them up. The longest part of the questline involves collecting Shadowfrost Shards, which players cannot even do until they kill Sindragosa. Once they do, they have to be very lucky to even see them drop. The droprate is rather low off of normal mode ICC bosses, but the Lich King and heroic mode bosses have a higher droprate. Players need to collect 50 of them in order to continue in the questline, which amounts to many weeks of ICC farming, even on heroic. The item is very good, and there is now a guild-wide perk.

If a player with Shadowmourne equipped is in the raid during a Lich King kill, he drops a special quest item. It seems to be lootable to only 1 person per kill. Once players take it back to Darion Mograine, they can receive momentos from Arthas’ friends in life. Returning them to their owners gives special rewards. It seems like you receive all of the items and rewards if you got the box, but its not clear. You can get:

  • Jaina’s Locket: Once you return this to Jaina Proudmoore, you get to keep the locket and use it to create a portal to Dalaran for your group (on a 1-hour cooldown)
  • Muradin’s Favor: Once you return “Muradin’s Lament” to Muradin Bronzebeard, you can a reusable item that turns you into a Frostborn Dwarf for 10 minutes.
  • Sylvanas’ Music Box: Upon returning “Sylvanas’ Vengeance” to the Banshee Queen, players receive an item that lets them summon Sylvanas’ Lamenters, who sing the Lament of the Highbourne.
  • Tabard of the Lightbringer: After returning “The Lightbringer’s Redemption” to Tirion Fordring, players receive a special tabard that makes them glow with the light on use.
  • Reins of the Crimson Deathcharger: Players return “Mograine’s Reunion” to Darion to receive this mount, which is a special skin of the Death Knight Deathcharger.

I’m super excited to be able to run around with these goodies. Its unclear if both factions will be able to turn in all of the items, as each faction has two turn-ins specifically related to leaders of their faction. In any case, being a glowing Rogue on a Deathcharger with singing banshees in my wake is very appealing.

For the Hoard Episode 1.2 – Continued Questing for the Venomhide Ravasaur Mount

Posted by on April 5, 2010 - No Comments »

In this episode, I venture back to Tanaris for the second of 4 daily quests encountered for the Venomhide Ravasaur mount. This critter is making me work to help him grow up! Let’s see how I fared this time around:

The Lore Hound “Other MMO” Podcast: Episode 1

Posted by on April 3, 2010 - 4 Comments »

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That’s right, this week we have not one, but two podcasts for you. We decided to split up the content and let listeners pick what they want, so listen up this week as the Lore Hounds launch the “other” MMO podcast by chatting about a bunch of MMO news from tons of games including Global Agenda, Stargate Resistance, Final Fantasy XIV, APB, and Fallen Earth. Check out the new format and let us know what you think!

Click the player above to listen, download the podcast, or subscribe via RSS, and leave a comment to let us know how you liked it!

Lore Hound Infiltrates iPad Launch Day

Posted by on April 3, 2010 - No Comments »

Looks like the iPad is going to bring a whole new level to handheld gaming, and here at Lore Hound we are all about bringing the latest to our readers. But first, I have to score an iPad! I attended the launch day here at my local Apple store. How do I do at getting my hands on one? Watch the video to find out, and keep watching as we roll out a ton of new content on mobile gaming in the days and weeks to come.

World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Developed by Blizzard?

Posted by on April 3, 2010 - No Comments »

Just a little MMO-related news that many may not have been aware of. What follows is a joint press release by Blizzard and a new company, Cryptozoic Entertainment:

CRYPTOZOIC ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES WORLD OF WARCRAFT® TRADING CARD GAME LICENSE

Wrathgate booster set for tabletop game based on Blizzard Entertainment’s award-winning World of Warcraft series slated for May release, followed by Class Decks in June

Irvine, California – (March 24, 2010) – Cryptozoic Entertainment is pleased to announce that they have signed a long-term licensing agreement with Blizzard Entertainment.  The multi-year arrangement grants Cryptozoic the right to produce the trading card game (TCG) based on Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely popular World of Warcraft® massively multiplayer online role-playing game series.

“This is an exciting time for us and for players of the trading card game,” said John Nee, Cryptozoic Entertainment’s CEO.  “Our first priority will be to maintain the current programs that the community has come to expect and then build from there.  The game itself is fantastic, and will not change.  The community can rest assured that we are committed to providing them with the high quality product and organized play that they deserve, worldwide.”

“It’s important to us and to our players that every entertainment experience set in a Blizzard Entertainment game universe matches the standards we’ve established with our games,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re proud of the quality and accessible gameplay that the World of Warcraft TCG has offered to date, and we’re confident that Cryptozoic is the best team to help us continue that tradition.”

Cryptozoic will continue to expand the World of Warcraft TCG for years to come.  Players will soon have a slew of exciting new cards to test their skills and defeat their opponents with at the upcoming Continental Championships in June and the World Championship in August.  The first product release from Cryptozoic will be the Wrathgate boosters in May followed by the Class Decks in June.

“Having been fully involved with the development of the World of Warcraft TCG from day one, I’ve always been passionate about taking it into the future,” said Cory Jones, Cryptozoic’s President and Chief Creative Officer, and formerly Blizzard Entertainment’s lead business and development liaison for the TCG.  “I’m pleased to say that the players have a lot to look forward to as we continue developing and evolving the game to match the action and spirit of World of Warcraft.”

To start, players can get the latest news on the World of Warcraft TCG at www.cryptozoic.com.  Then in just a few weeks a brand new website for the TCG itself will launch.  Cryptozoic promises ongoing updates on everything from organized play to product releases as well as a regular dose of strategy articles and spoilers as they get closer to their initial product launch.

As you may have noticed, one of the co-founders of Cryptozoic, Cory Jones, is a former Blizzard employee. What’s more, the company Cryptozoic was founded recently, and at this point exclusively, for development of the WoW TCG. It seems like Blizzard has decided to take a much more active role in the trading card game with this re-launch, much as it always has with its World of Warcraft merchandise. That Cryptozoic is, for now, Blizzard by another name is a theory given credence by the trouble the Warcraft developers had with Upper Deck Entertainment, the original creators of the TCG. It may be that Blizzard has decided that keeping business “in the family” is the best way forward.

As a player of both World of Warcraft and the accompanying trading card game, I can only hope that the close ties between Blizzard and Cryptozoic will be of benefit to the product.