Blizzard HQ In Pictures

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - No Comments »

Ars Technica donated its first baby (what, companies can have babies) for a trip to Blizzard Entertainment’s decadent HQ.  The glorified slideshow shows off countless behind-the-scenes shots, including a developer pumping iron in the 24-hour gym, employees munching down at the subsidized cafeteria, a nerd’s dream library featuring hundreds of games, books and other activities and art.  Lots of art.  Heck, lots of different kinds of art.

Just check it out over at Opposable Thumbs.  Picture’s worth a thousand words and all that.

Lore Hound MMOcast: Episode 5

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - 3 Comments »

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Join the Lore Hounds as we discuss the latest news in the MMO world. The lineup this week includes, iTZKooPA, pixiestixy, and Heartbourne.

This week the discussion covers:

  • All Point’s Bulletin beta registration open
  • Runes of Magic Chapter III has begun!
  • Turbine Time: LotRO 3rd anniversary + DDO Store discount
  • Guild Wars 5 year anniversary
  • Fallen Earth v1.4 release date!
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic combat trailer.
  • Star Trek Online: Deep Space 9 trailer
  • R.A. Salvatore interview as a Creator of Worlds
  • Discussion: Are anniversaries that big of a deal? Why don’t developers do more retrospectives?

Click the player above to listen, download the podcast, subscribe via RSS, or subscribe on iTunes.

Also, get involved with our podcasts! E-mail us at podcast@lorehound.com or leave us a voicemail using the button below or simply call us at (304) 884-LORE.  Remember you can follow us on Twitter for a chance to win a Celestial Steed mount, too!

Goblinism 101: WoW’s Economy and Real Life Economies

Posted by on April 28, 2010 - 2 Comments »

Goblinism 101 connects real-life economic principles with the markets that exist in World of Warcraft. It seeks to teach about capitalism’s WoW analogue, goblinism, through examples and stories.

World of Warcraft has a bustling in-game economy. Millions of gold exchanges hands daily. Players have to make valuation decisions, and the economy of World of Warcraft has a lot of similarities with real world laissez-faire economies. There are some important differences, but it is a close model of a no-government free market.

One of the biggest differences between a typical WoW economy and a modern real world economy is that there is hardly any major product differentiation and little to no innovation. The Saronite Swordbreakers you get crafted by your guildmate are identical to the ones you buy from strangers on the auction house, which are identical to all others. In addition, it is impossible to create or discover new, more useful items. Nobody can say “gee, I wish this belt had more spirit on it” and research ways to craft belts with more spirit. There are some exceptions, particularly when recipes are difficult to obtain. Jewelcrafting gem cuts are a great example; there are hundreds of cuts and few people have a vast library of recipes. Players have to buy them by spending time on dailies or money on Titanium Powder, an equivalent of research and development in the real world. There are some other exceptions, like Northrend Inscription Research, but by and large there is no innovation or product differentiation.

More on crafting, regulation and the auction house follows the cut.

Read more…

DDO: Popping My Cash Shop Cherry

Posted by on April 27, 2010 - 2 Comments »

I’ve always eschewed the idea of the free-to-play MMORPG, primarily on the pretense that you’d end up spending more money that way than you would if you were paying a consistent, monthly fee. I don’t really care for cosmetic upgrades (alright, they’re nice, but still nothing I’d pay extra for), and experience boosts really aren’t my thing, either. I’m a stubborn gamer, and I usually like doing things the hard way, because I feel like I’m getting the most out of it by maximizing the time spent playing.

It doesn’t help that a lot of free-to-play games out there utilize the pull of their loot-filled cash shops to mask the hollow shell of a game beneath. Let’s face it, some people will always be drawn in by the prospect of spending gobs of money to make themselves feel superior. It happens in the real world, as well as the virtual one. And when the virtual world sucks, there’s nothing there to keep me playing.

But I’ve been bitten by a bug. Now I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription that can cure it is more content! What possible piece of software could I be talking about? Well, it’s the one that’s been occupying my time while I wait (impatiently) for something new from the World of Warcraft — Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited. Read more…

Too Long: Didn’t Read – Varian Wrynn

Posted by on April 27, 2010 - 1 Comment »

Is your ability to read hampered by TL:DRitis? Ever want to just know the basics of a character in Warcraft?  Tired of scrolling through tomes of information you already know?  Want bite-sized lore that can be expanded into hour-consuming sessions on a need-to-know basis?  Then “In 250 Words or Less*” is for you!

The young Varian Wrynn, son of the King of Stormwind, Llane Wrynn, took over the crown after he witnessed the assassination of his father by Garona Halforcen.  The ensuing chaos led to Varian’s exile to Lordaeron, where he befriended Arthas Menethil.  With the aid of Lordaeron and the rest of the Alliance, Varian reclaimed his kingdom.

The lull in warfare allowed Wrynn to focus on rebuilding his land, and his family.  During this time Katrana Prestor refused to pay the Stonemasons for their hand in restoring Stormwind.  Her tampering ultimately lead to the rioting in Stormwind, the death of Tiffin, Varian’s wife, and the kidnapping of Varian by the Defias Brotherhood.

During his struggle to escape, Varian lost his memory and was captured by a traveling band of gladiator combatants.  His military training kicked in, allowing him to lead his team to numerous victories, earning him the name of Lo’GoshAegwynn manages to clear his fractured memory, revealing him as the lost king of Stormwind.  Lo’Gosh began his journey home only to discover that an impostor had claimed his throne.  Lo’Gosh disclosed Katrana as Onyxia and pursued her to her lair with his impostor.  His soul as one, Varian returns to Stormwind, with Onyxia’s head.

Whole again, Varian returns to his duties only to learn of Bolvar’s death at Wrathgate.  In his honor, Varian leads a charge into Undercity to kill Varimathras.  The betrayal is the last straw for Varian, who confronts Thrall and vows that peace will never come.

Related extended universe works:

Other notes:

Varian does not play a major role in the attack against Icecrown Citadel.  He does have a cameo in which he tells Bronzebeard to stand down and allow Saurfang The Elder to reclaim his son’s body.  Varian will play a major role in Cataclysm.

*Count does not include the introduction or footer.

Follow Lore Hound on Twitter, Win a Celestial Steed

Posted by on April 27, 2010 - 10 Comments »

The title of this post says it all: Follow @LoreHound on Twitter, and you will automatically be entered to win a loot code for a shiny new Celestial Steed.

We’ve already announced this nifty new contest in a few different places on the site, but this post now makes it official. We’re aiming to hit 2,000 followers. Once we do, we will randomly choose one of our followers to receive the lucky prize.

So, please. Save a pony from being put down. And help me get all this sparkly, stardust out of my hair. Follow us on Twitter. And spread the word to your friends. She-Ra will thank you.

**Update** Yes, the contest is still on! Keep sending Twitter followers our way so we can get up to our goal and give away a beautiful Celestial Steed. In the meantime, also enjoy this video of pixie pimping the contest:

Wizard101 Updates with Pet System and World of Celestia

Posted by on April 27, 2010 - No Comments »

KingsIsle Entertainment has announced the two major content updates for their award-winning MMO Wizard101. The first one is an Advanced Pet system coming out this spring. The Advanced Pet system will bring a new dimension of interaction within Wizard101 as players can race their pets in the expansive Pet Derby, participate in new pet-themed minigames, feed and train them, and use them as allies in magic duels. Players will be able to level their pets from an egg to ancient beings with incredible powers.

The second big content update, the world of Celestia is coming out this summer and will give players a giant new location to explore. Inspired by Atlantis, it will put all you young wizards deep beneath the sea, filled with dangers and rewards. Celestia also increases the level cap in Wizard101 from level 50 up to level 60, as well as introducing three new secondary schools of magic. Celestia will officially open in late summer. Starting in June players can undertake new quests to discover the secrets of this new world and begin to unlock the story behind Celestia. These are Wizard101 updates planned this year. Visit the website for more info.

Faunasphere Celebrates Caretakers

Posted by on April 27, 2010 - No Comments »

Faunasphere is holding its first annual Caretaker’s Celebration, and everyone is invited to join! The celebration offers continued bonus experience from the past week, as well as new backgrounds, new items, new nest ideas, and a commemorative gold trophy for every caretaker. There will also be a special hunt several times a day with extra special awards. A special goal is also available with a lucrative reward for those who participate, and community projects have had their restart time dropped to two minutes to help all players enjoy the festivities. More information on the game as well as the event is available here.