Some people might question the necessity of this maneuver, but I find that the big trend these days seems to be choice. Where you get your information, and how you get it, is completely up to you. It’s the reason why Google integrates into everything and everything integrates into Skynet Facebook (yes, even Twitter). Maybe you already have a good method for figuring out when the servers are up or down (refreshing the in-game browser ad nauseum for three hours straight doesn’t count). Maybe you’ve got a bookmark on the status page, or have it hooked up to an RSS feed.
But if you don’t? Well, now you can keep up with the times on Twitter, by following the official BlizzardCS account. Now, don’t go thinking you can spam it every time your game crashes. This is less for accepting complaints and more for disseminating mass information and updates quickly:
You can now follow all Blizzard Entertainment Customer Support news and updates on Twitter. Just head over to @BlizzardCS, (http://twitter.com/BlizzardCS) for the latest Support related news, events and more. We will be providing constant updates during Tuesday’s maintenance and service outages. Additionally, you will be able to view updates to our Queue Times for Game Master interactions, account investigations and escalated tickets alike.
Of course, we’d be remiss if any mention of Twitter went without a convenient link to our own account. Yes, our ancient Sparklepony contest is still going on because we’ve yet to hit the magic number. Scratch our back and we’ll scratch yours! All you have to do is follow @Lorehound today!
I’ll be splitting this into two posts: First one will be opinionated, and the second will be informative. For those who disagree or agree with what I have to say, feel free to post in the comments.
I should admit, I’ve been “brainwashed” by Blizzard in to thinking what an MMOG is, how it should play and which features it should have. However, I overcame this as soon as I fired up Fallen Earth.
In some respects it reminded me of All Points Bulletin in the sense that you are given the basics of the game, and then there’s little infrastructure about what you should be doing next.
I want to point out what makes me so thrilled with this game: the pure bad-ass it makes you. I mean, look to the photo to the right. You can look like that in-game. You begin to customize your character with low-level items — which arm you want that armband on, and the one with the shoulder cloth.
Customization is furthered by an expanse weapon system. Players can roll around the wasteland with six weapons on you at the same time; all of which are displayed on your character. The six weapon slots — two primary 2-handed melee/ranged weapons on your back, two one-handed melee/throwing weapons on your belt, then two one-handed guns — grants customization just based on what weapon you have placed where. Continue Reading
New Guild Wars 2video showcases developers, gameplay. Watch it, it delivers on some of the promises.
Rumor: Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s space combat to be on-rails. Space combat trailer is now in the wild.
GamesCom 2010: BioWare announces 10 advanced classes. Guild Wars 2 demo video here, necro class confirmed
It’s a busy week with news, announcements trailers and teasers, yet no game releases since APB, which isn’t doing so hot. With WoW in a downswing and nothing on the immediate horizon, do you think this window is a missed opportunity by developers/publishers?
Patrons of Blizzcon probably have a small collection of murlocs from attending the events. If you are attending the convention this year or purchasing the live streaming coverage, you will receive this cute little guy, Deathy, for all of your current and future WoW characters:
If you are more of a Starcraft II player, you can grab some goodies as well. You’ll get a Murky the murloc marine portrait and some “deep sea decals”.
"I was just keepin' the seat warm for ya, Mr. Morhaime, I swear!"
Apparently, crime does pay — that is, until you get caught! Private servers in-and-of-themselves aren’t a pox on the gaming community. For instance, they’ve been used by die-hard fans of certain titles to continue playing online long after official servers have been shut down. But that changes when you’re jacking users from a still-active, and very popular MMORPG.
Such was the idea of one Alyson Reeves, who operated her server under the name of Scape Gaming. There are plenty of private servers out there, so you might be wondering why Reeves was singled out by Blizzard? Well, not only was she allowing her users to circumvent the customary subscription fee normally required to play the game, but she was charging them money for effortless level-ups and rare items, all under the guise of “donations.” According to data obtained through PayPal, this makeshift cash shop earned Reeves at least $3,052,339 in revenue. Continue Reading
StarCraft 2 recently came out and sold one million units on day one. Analysts predict that this figure will increase somewhere between five to seven million units sold by December 2010, and those estimates are conservative. When faced with this information, people often shrug and say something to the effect of, “It’s Blizzard, what did you expect?”
Gamers are so accustomed to associating success and quality with the blue Blizzard logo that we are willing to spend money on their products without giving it too much thought, knowing that polished gameplay and high production values come with the package.
Only a minority realize that this widely accepted view is the result of a lot of money and effort spent on Blizzard’s behalf. The company pays an extraordinary amount of attention to the way it is perceived by customers and has managed its reputation so well that most of them believe Blizzard is simply unable to release a bad game.
How many of you have heard of Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans? Probably not many because this point-and-click adventure based on the Warcraft universe was canceled. After a year of intense development, magazine interviews, press tours and built-up hype, Blizzard decided that the game was just not good enough. Fans were in uproar, and an online petition to resurrect the game was formed mere hours after the announcement hit. Blizzard responded to the community but remained adamant in the company’s decision, citing that the game did not provide enough value for their customers and that the company would not sell out on the quality of their games. Continue Reading
Back in the later part of June, I reported about Blizzard’s Global Writing Contest. I had even begun to write my story, which I eluded that I would. After much procrastination and conceptual thinking, I came up with a story ripe with references.
For those who read this and know me, either in-game, or outside the Internet (yes there is something outside of the computer!), you know I am currently writing a book. You also know that procrastination gets the best of me…I haven’t written a word for it in over two months. Well, arch-nemesis Procrastination didn’t get me this time. After much toil, sweat, anger, and hard work, I pulled through and managed to write out a 2,500-7,500 word short story.
One of the design goals of StarCraft II‘s multiplayer is to match players with opponents such that they win 50% of their games on average. The system does this by matching players very close in MMR (matchmaking rating); the closer the MMRs, the better. Players identical in skill level should often have close and exciting games, a recipe for fun! The details of the search algorithm are not known, but it seems that it begins by searching for players in a a very small range around your MMR and slowly expands it (perhaps the “expanding search?”) (and probably in a logarithmic range as opposed to linear) as time searching progresses. Once players are found, they are put into a game.
MMR itself is never displayed and as such the details of its calculation are very hard to gleam. Assuming its similar to Elo, the system will increase a player’s MMR by more if they defeat a relatively more skilled opponent and decrease it by less if they lose to a more skilled opponent. The Elo-style math is a bit messy, but essentially the algorithm calculates a percentage chance that each player will win based on the players’ MMRs. The chance scales logarithmically with their differences; a 400 point rating difference might means A has a ten times greater chance of winning than B, eg, about a 90% chance to win. If a player wins, the system increases their MMR by the chance that they would lose times some system-wide constant, K, and does the opposite for their opponent. For example, if K is set to 12 and player A has a 90% chance of winning against B, and A does indeed win, his rating would increase by only .1*12=1.2, while B’s rating would decrease by the same. If B won, his rating would increase by .9*12=10.8 and A‘s would decrease by the same amount. The system does not punish B very much for having to play A, but rewards him significantly if he does well. Continue Reading