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Finishing the Burning Crusade December 10, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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4 comments

The Burning Crusade came out quite a while ago, didn’t it?

That sounds like something of a “well, duh” question, but as I started out on this post I had to look up the ship date for the expansion, as it was in that hazy time range of “not recent, but since I got married.”

The Burning Crusade went live on January 15, 2007, which would put it about four months after I started this blog.  The blog passed the 7 year mark a while back.  That would put us back to the days when Vanguard and Microsoft Vista were both launching.  And what a problematic pair they turned out to be.  Lord of the Rings Online was in the near future, while Warhammer Online seemed ages away at that point, and EverQuest II was feeling revived after the Echoes of Faydwer expansion.  I was buying my last AGP video card.

And then there was The Burning Crusade.

Looking out from the Portal

Looking out from the Portal

This has never been my favorite World of Warcraft expansion for a number of reasons.

The first was that I simply wasn’t ready for it.  The instance group started off fresh with its weekly adventures during the October that preceded it, so that by the time it launched we were still shy of level 40 as we took on the Scarlet Monastery.  So, while I bought the expansion the day it shipped, we were months getting there.

And then once we were there, it wasn’t exactly a thrill.  As Blizzard’s first expansion to WoW, the philosophy for the overland content seemed to be, “If killing 10 rats is good, then killing 15 must be better!”  It seemed like an illustration of how to annoy an MMO player.  All the things we complain about were there.  Kill 15.  Loot 10 items that only drop about a quarter of the time.  Murder shopping lists, to kill 8 of these, 12 of those, and 5 of the other.  And everybody’s all time favorite, where you have to run back through the area you just cleared… which has now respawned… and kill the boss.  Couldn’t you have put him on the list before I went out there the first time?

Then there was Hemet Nesignwary and his first 9 quests, which required you to slay a total of 270 mobs.

Everything was a long slog and quest hubs handed you as many as a dozen quests at once.  Directions in the quest text was vague at times, wrong at others.  I remember spending a lot of time finding the right location for a number of quests in Zangarmarsh.  And if you were not paying attention to your quests, you could find yourself covering a lot of ground repeatedly.

It was not ideal.

The instance group itself did not actually get into the first instance, Hellfire Ramparts, until over a year after the expansion launched.

Hellfire Ramparts, Feb. 2008

Hellfire Ramparts, Feb. 2008

And thanks to summer vacations and a hiatus into Warhammer Online, the last instance I recorded us hitting was Sethekk Halls, the 8th of 16 instances, the week before Wrath of the Lich King launched.

After that, we were into Northrend, starting with our epic ride to Utgarde Keep, and into what I would call the peak of the instance group in Azeroth.  We dove into the expansion and played it to its fullest.

Meanwhile, Outland lingered behind us.  On short handed night we might drop back into it to run an instance over level.  At some point I did the faction grind in Nagrand, because I have all of the talbuk mounts on my list.  But I never got into the end-game dailies or even the actual end of the story.  We did get back to Outland for a bit in the horde version of our group at one point, but that stopped once Cataclysm got close.  And I have run a couple of characters through it.  But the whole expansion has remained something like fly-over content… literally, now that you can fly at level 60… on the way towards level cap.

So when I ended up with a druid spec’d for healing sitting at level 61 in Outland after my return to the game back in September, I decided to buckle down and follow the progression of the instances.  Instances are far and away the easiest route through The Burning Crusade these days and, thanks to the cross-server nature of Dungeon Finder and the propensity of WoW players to roll up alts, it is surprisingly quick to get into an instance, even as DPS, during peak hour.

So I queued my druid up for each instance in turn and leveled my way to 70.  It was quite a fun review of the content.  I am not sure that anybody would find it all that challenging.  The many reworks of classes over the years, which always focuses on the most recent expansion, has made characters pretty powerful relative to the way things were back in 2007/2008.  Death Knight tanks… and you run into a lot of Death Knights as you run through these instances… are particularly durable.  Monks also do well as tanks as do Paladins.  Warriors seem less over-powered in that role, though there were relatively few warrior tanks as part of my run.

The usual problems one associates with Dungeon Finder did come up now and again.  At off-peak hours, getting a group is heavily dependent on a healer and a tank being in the queue with you.  And if you are in a group late on a week night and your tank disconnects, you aren’t likely to get that instance done.

And the tank really sets the pace for the run.  I was in groups where the tank made sure everybody was with him and at least announced when he was starting a boss fight, and I was in groups where the tank was clearly interested only in speed.  I was on one run where the tank literally did not stop moving until we hit the final boss, leaving a trail of trash mobs in tow for the DPS to clean up.  And then he complained about the wait when we had to stop and listen to the monologue before the final fight.  At the end he said he had a bet with a guild mate about how fast he could run the instance with a random group.  I am not sure if he won the bet, but we sure did it quickly.  As healer, I just follow the rule of keeping line of sight on the tank and keeping him healed.  Good thing druids have some insta-cast heals, as I was also constantly in motion.

As things moved along, I chucked my “in order” plan, as queues for specific dungeons were starting to take longer and longer.  You can get a Hellfire Ramparts groups in seconds, but at the far end of the list people are starting to level up and into Northrend.  So I just started queuing for instanced I had not done yet and eventually got down to the last three, which according to my achievements, I had not completed with any character; Shattered Halls, Arcatraz, and Magisters’ Terrace.

It was late on Friday night when I was at that point.  I managed to pull Magisters’ Terrace first, where I got to see Kael’thas Sunstrider.

Give us your monologue!

Give us your monologue!

That happened to be the super speed run, so while we finished fine and I got the achievement, I queued for that one again so I could actually do the quests and perhaps see what was going on.  And I got another, slower run at it, which was worth the time.  The last fight is fun, though it must have been tough back in the day.

Next I managed to get into Arcatraz which also went smoothly enough.  The tank wasn’t in total “run run run” mode and I felt like I got the full tour.

And here we see Harbinger Skyriss...

And here we see Harbinger Skyriss…

Then I was left with just Shattered Halls.  I queued for that one and it took a while.  It was getting late and, though we seemed to be able to get a tank, the DPS players kept timing out when the group got called.  I suppose they had been sitting there for a long stretch and had gone AFK.  Eventually a group was rolled where everybody joined and we headed off into the last instance.  And then, after the first boss, the tank disconnected.

Do we wait an hour for another tank?

Do we wait an hour for another tank?

We waited for another tank to queue, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.  So I called it a night one instance shy of my goal.

The next afternoon four of us were on and working on alts when I said I was going to try to finish off that last instance.  As it so happened, all four of us had characters in the right level range.  So we formed up, one player shy of a full group, and headed to the instance on our own.  That meant finding the right entrance, which isn’t all that obvious.  But with flying mounts it was manageable.  Later, when I died and nobody else could ress, running back to the instance on foot as a ghost took quite a stretch.

The instance used to require a key to enter, but all of those locks have long since been removed, so in we went.  And, as I mentioned before, even with just four of us, we seemed a bit over-powered.  When I died it was in the middle of a “pull the room” moment where an early heal hit before Earl had aggro solidly in hand and the whole crowd switched to me and pummeled me into paste.  Fun fun.

That moment aside, we did make it to Kargath Bladefist, the final boss and one of the orc chieftains mentioned in the Warlords of Draenor presentations at BlizzCon, and managed to defeat him, which set off a chain of achievements.

Achievement Jackpot

Achievement Jackpot

In addition to the achievement for the instance itself… which got shoved off screen before I could get a screen shot of it… the guild got credit for a guild challenge, earning us some additional guild experience and gold for the guild vault and I got the Outland Dungeonmaster achievement, which means I have now done all the five person, normal mode instances in The Burning Crusade.

Which, just as capping off the last three instances in Northrend meant we had “finished” Wrath of the Lich King at last, meant that I now felt like I had finally “finished” The Burning Crusade.  It just took me nearly seven years to get there.  And now that I have a druid through that lot, it is time to work on my Death Knight.  The instances are fun, not too difficult at this point in time, and represent quite a bit of the history of the game at this point as they are mostly unaltered… aside from moving the quest givers into the instances… since back in the day.

As for the group, now all of the unvisited five person instances lay ahead of us in Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.

Really Cheap World of Warcraft November 28, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, EverQuest, EverQuest II, World of Warcraft.
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1 comment so far

Blizzard is making a big push to get everybody ready for the Cataclysm expansion.

We’ve gotten a revamp of classes.

New starter experiences are in for the current races.

The sundering has occurred and we have changes all over old Azeroth.

They have cut the experience needed to get from 71-80, so you can hurry up an get ready for the expansion.

We get to see the trailer for Cataclysm any time we want from the game logon screen.

But just in case you were feeling behind, just in case you didn’t have all the expansions, Blizzard has a deal for you it seems.

Discount WoW

For a limited time you can get all of WoW, the base game and both already released expansions for $20.

I guess Blizzard hasn’t released enough expansions yet to have to worry about consolidating them all in each running expansion there after.  They can stick with their Battle Chest combo offer for now and worry about the EQ/EQ2 method (both of which have way too many expansions to juggle individually at this point) at some later date.

How many expansions do you have to have before you just start rolling them up?

And as SynCaine would no doubt point out, you can get all of the current game for less than the price of a sparkle pony.

Hellfire Random Remix May 27, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, World of Warcraft.
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6 comments

It was a long Saturday for some of us and it looked to be a long Sunday for others, but we all still logged on at 9pm Pacific time for instance night.

A couple of us admitted that we would not be heartbroken if we skipped a week and that a long dungeon crawl might not be our fondest desire at that moment.  So after a run through the options, we decided to just let the dungeon finder pick our destination for the night.

We also had a character change this time around, the first change out in our horde group and only the second since I traded out Blintz, my rogue, for Vikund the paladin way back in the day.

This time around Potshot decided to put in his death knight, Maliverney, in place of his druid, Azawak.  So a tank change in the lineup.  That gave us the following group for the night:

59 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
60Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
60Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
60 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
60 Undead Deathknight – Maliverney (Skronk)

It was just a little after 9pm when we were all grouped and selected the random option.  Take us away dungeon finder!

And we ended up in Hellfire Ramparts.

Enter the Ramparts

Looking at the dungeon finder interface, once you hit 60 you are apparently too high of a level to get a classic dungeon a random pick.  You are limited to the Outlands.

Well, what the hell… so to speak.

A couple of us had already wandered into the Burning Crusade expansion in order to pick up our flying skills and mounts and, while there, ran just a couple of the initial quests for a gear upgrade or two.  I think Enaldie, Hurmoo, and Bigbutt all had a new had and pants.  But the rest of our kit was strictly classic Azeroth.  Hurmoo, for example, was still swinging the Scepter of Celebras.

Because of this, there was one school of thought that felt an Outlands instance might be a challenge.  We hadn’t ramped up on the gear, we were working with a new class tanking, and we hadn’t actually been there at level for more than two years, at which point we had problems finishing up, all of which seemed to add up to a non-faceroll experience, to use the SynCaine term.

The reality though…

Okay, Hurmoo died two fights in when we pulled a group and got a patrol in addition, though the reason Hurmoo got jumped on was that he was playing with Wild Growth before Maliverney had a solid aggro lock on everybody.  And even then, the fight went down okay with some healing from Earl and Enaldie.

No, we were in for a quick kill AOE fest with no crowd control required.  Once we settled down a bit and Maliverney got into the tanking groove, we were splashing through the trash pretty quickly.  The first boss, Watchkeeper Gargolmar, gave up the ghost pretty fast.

Soon we were past him, up the ramp, and clearing out the courtyard with the two remaining bosses within sight.  We went left first and took on Omor the Unscarred.

Omor Awaits

There were some vague recollections of this being a tough fight, with Omor summoning some sort of helpers part way through the fight, but we didn’t spend too much time dwelling on that.  We asked Enaldie to keep her consecrate going in order to pick up any random adds and went straight and Omor.

I think Omor only got to summon a single felhound.  I couldn’t recall if he had any other special attacks, everything went by so quickly.  And when he died, we got the instance achievement.


That seems kind of flimsy, handing out the achievement for the second of three bosses.  Then again, the last boss has all of the cool stuff, so they probably figure you are going to go after him no matter what.

Then it was on to the last fight, the event with Vazuden and his dragon mount Nazan.

This fight left a couple of lasting impressions with us.  For example, we all remembered that the battle event starts when you kill the last pair of guards.  Those guards look just like any number of guards in the instance, so it is easy to think you’re just clearing some trash rather than kicking off the event.

Also, it was well recalled that we need to step out of the blobs of fire that Nazan shoots at people during the fight.

After those two facts, things were a little blurry.  But those two facts turned out to be enough as we went into the fight.

Fight Finale

The fight was exciting, if only because people had to keep on the move.  That can be tough on the casters.

You can see the end of the fight above, with Hurmoo casting tranquility while standing in one of those blobs of fire.  That was enough to keep us all going and finish off Nazan.  That finished the instance and got us our bag of goodies.


We looted the chest at the far end of the platform, took our victory shot, and looked at the clock.

Nazan Defeated

The time was 9:50pm.

So we decided to do it again.

And when we finished that round it was 10:40pm.

So we decided to do it one more time.

We did get sloppy on the third round, when early on, in the exact same fight where Hurmoo died the first time, we ended up pulling two groups plus a patrol leading to more damage hitting the tank than the healer could keep up with.  But we didn’t, technically, wipe, since we were close to the door.  So Hurmoo ran out when everybody else was dead, then came back to ress people.

But after that we pressed on and wrapped up the third run at around 11:30pm.

Weapon upgrades

Three runs through yielded some good drops, getting upgrades for all of us.  You can see Earl’s new Crystalfire Staff (which looks like he took it off of one of General Grievous’ bodyguards) and Enaldie’s Hellreaver in the picture above.

The evenings run left us with another idea for how to go forward.  We might just see if we can run through the Outlands, and how quickly we can manage it, doing nothing but random dungeon finder instances.  How much of the expansion can we avoid this time through?

Three Zones Through the Outlands April 7, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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The Outlands occupy a strange place now in World of Warcraft.  They represent a hurdle between classic Azeroth and the current destination location of Northrend.  Most people, it seems, don’t want to get to the Outlands, they just want to get past them.

Put me on that list as well, I guess.

My daughter, my mother, and myself have been lingering in the Outlands for a couple of months.  This slow progress has been mostly because my daughter spends a lot of her time distracted making alts, figuring out how to get on top of buildings, and taming new pets for her hunter.

Once in a while though she is driven to actually concentrate on her main character for a bit.  And so it was, a couple of  Sundays back, when she suddnely declared she had hit level 68 and was now ready to venture into Northrend.

That meant there was some catching up to be done!

I was not horribly far behind, sitting around level 65.  I had been through the Hellfire Peninsula quests and was working my way through Zangarmarsh.

A diligent weekend afternoon got me through Zangarmarsh, after which I jumped to Nagrand, which seemed most appropriate for my level.  And then another couple of focused hours in Nagrand got me to 68 and ready to ascend to Northrend.

So three zones worth of content was about enough.

I did divert into Terokkar and the Blade’s Edge Mountains for a couple of “go talk to…” quests, but never ran down the follow-ons.

I also ran one and a half instances with the dungeon finder.  And the half instance was barely that, as I got kicked because, as healer, I couldn’t keep the level 61 tank alive when he pulled full rooms of mobs in the Steamvault.  The group did me a favor on that one.  Good luck to the next healer, I thought, if a level 67 resto spec’d druid running HealBot can’t keep this guy alive.

So there were some other sources of experience, but not enough that I would have had to visit another zone.  I left Nagrand with quests left on my plate.

And so I left The Burning Crusade for Wrath of the Lich King.

I knew the Outlands had more content than needed to get you from 60 to 70, but when you only have to get to 68, you pretty much shave off a whole zone or so worth of content.

And when you can fly at level 60, even the run through those few zones goes pretty quickly.

Now just another seven levels until I can fly again.

No Crusade at Fry’s April 5, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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12 comments

I was at Fry’s the other day looking for, among other things, a copy of The Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft for my daughter’s account.  She decided she likes blood elves during the 10 day trial of the expansion.

In the past Fry’s has had stacks of the expansion on the shelves, including collector’s editions.

But there was not a copy of The Burning Crusade to be found.

This is an unusual state of affairs at Fry’s.  The shelves still have several old EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions despite the fact that later cumulative expansions are next to them on the shelf.  Fry’s is the only place I know where you can still find a copy of Total Annihilation: Kingdoms on the shelf.  I was frankly surprised not to find a copy or two of Tabula Rasa.  They have a lot of shelf space and an aversion to throwing anything away.

But no Burning Crusade.

Which strikes me as a bit odd.  You cannot use Wrath of the Lich King unless you have Burning Crusade already.  You can get BC as part of a World of Warcraft Battle Chest, but if you have the original box (which is still on the shelf) your options are somewhat limited.  I ended up just upgrading her account via the account management page, since the iMac she plays on already has both expansions installed. (If your account has one of both of the expansions you cannot play on a machine that lacks them.)

Now, I did not go out and scour local electronics stores to see if anybody else was stocking Burning Crusade.  But, as I pointed out, Fry’s does not pull anything off their shelves unless somebody gives them a refund, so I suspect that I would find the same situation at other major chains.

I cannot decide if this is a serious blunder or a very shrewd move on the part of Blizzard.

It seems awkward, not being able to just buy the first expansion off the shelf since you must have it for the second one.  On the other hand, more cash probably goes into Blizzard’s pocket if people upgrade via the account management page, and if you’re buying the expansion but don’t want the Warchest version, you probably already have an account.

Part of me suspects that Blizzard isn’t quite sure what to do with a game with more than their usual single expansion.

December in Review December 31, 2008

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, Diablo III, DS, entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Month in Review, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Sony Online Entertainment, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft.
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On Events in 2008

I sit here on the final day of 2008 looking back and saying, “WTF?”

Pirates of the Burning Sea set sail, but foundered.  Excellent ship to ship combat turned out to not be worth a monthly fee.

Age of Conan should have launched in March because it came on like a lion, but is now more like lamb in size and competitive vigor. (Or maybe a salt marsh harvest mouse.)  Folks in Oslo have since been heard saying things like, “Third time is a charm!”

Warhammer Online screamed “WAAAGH!” in September, but within six weeks the Mythic team was trying to consolidate its population rather than adding new servers, something that Mark Jacobs himself had previously said would be a sign they were in trouble.  Not that Mr. Jacobs is now saying they are in trouble, but I just love that quote as an example of things not to say. Meanwhile, even some WAR fanbois have changed their mind on the game.

Tabula Rasa, after a statement of support by NC West President of Publishing David Reid, was declared untenable just weeks later and slated to be closed at the end of February 2009.  The Bane issued a press release declaring total victory over the humans while General British, Colonel Blackthorn, and Major Miscalculation fled into space.  A blank slate indeed.

Sony Online Entertainment talked a lot about cool upcoming products, but shipped no new games.  Aside from two expansions and a lot of small content additions, the big headline of the year for SOE seemed to be, “EverQuest and EverQuest II: Now with RMT!”  While I won’t argue with Grimwell’s declaration of success on that front, the reaction seemed to me to be mixed.

All the while the Wrath of the Lich King seemed to be getting lukewarm support at best over the summer with many a blogger picking apart individual features or weighing the whole and declaring it “too little, too late” after nearly two years of waiting.  Then, as the day approached, people began filing back into Azeroth after their summer vacations in other lands.  On the ship date Wrath broke previous sales records set by The Burning Crusade, pushed WoW to a new subscriber peak (sure, just half a million people… small when compared to 11 million, but still more than almost any other subscription based MMO you care to mention has total.), and was generally declared wonderful by those who have enjoyed WoW in the past.

So screw convention wisdom, I’m going back to wild and crazy predictions.  Diablo III will generate more revenue than Toyota when it ships and StarCraft II will cure cancer and lead to the reunification of Korea.

The Site

I cleaned up the right hand bar quite a bit.  The most obvious piece that is missing is the counter for Feedburner.  I originally put it up there to encourage people to subscribe to the site via FeedBurner, since it offered some statistics.  However, most of the people who read the site via RSS use the WordPress.com feed, so the counter was displaying about 10% of my RSS readership.  Since WordPress.com has since added some minor stats about RSS, I decided to just remove the counter.  The FeedBurner feed is still live and will remain so, there just won’t be a link to it now.

One Year Ago

December 2007 seemed to be a busy time for the SOE.  First there was the whole “moving a whole guild from test to a live server” brouhaha.  Then there was the rumor of SOE being purchased by Zapak Digital Entertainment.  And, finally, there was the deal with Live Gamer to take over transactions on the Station Exchange servers, at which time Smed himself said that this did not mean that they were going to open the flood gates of RMT on any of their servers not currently served by SOE’s own Station Exchange RMT plan.  All of which I wrapped up in one post.

The yearly EverQuest Nostalgia Tour was off to the usual activities.

I put up my predictions for the “Next EverQuest II Expansion,” which I have yet to score.  I will have to get a post together comparing The Shadow Odyssey with my own guesses.

The Saturday Night Permanent Floating Instance Group was finishing up Blackrock Depths.

Dr. Richard Bartle brought up the “why so much fantasy” question for its regular beating to death.

I was interviewed over at World IV.  So far that is the only interview I have ever been asked to do.

I lost my first battlecruiser to pirates in EVE Online.  Meanwhile, after pissing away a lot of ISK on invention, I was not getting a lot of results.

And I bought a new gaming computer full of Quad Core goodness.

New Linking Sites

A big holiday thank you to these sites who link to The Ancient Gaming Noob.

Please take a minute to visit these sites, one of them may be your new favorite blog!

Most Views Posts in December

  1. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  2. Getting Upper Blackrock Spire Access
  3. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  4. Howling Fjord Quest Night
  5. Best MMO Expansion in 2008?
  6. Do You Name Your Ships?
  7. 2008 MMORPG Progdictionations
  8. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  9. Five LEGO Video Game Titles I Want
  10. The Name Generator (which has nothing to do with #1)
  11. Is There Hope for a Science Fiction MMORPG?
  12. The Way Questing Used To Be

Best Search Terms

world of warcraft hot to get out of gnomergen
[A lot of people are]

which mmo
[A question that plagues so many of us]

new lego emperor
[That is what we all seek!]

Spam Comments of the Month

ignorant christmas wallpaper cell phone :PPP
[Not a random string at all!]

I use WoW code all the time as it saves time!
[added to my Know Your WoW Code post and linked to a gold seller.]

Deleted Comment of the Month

Die in a fire you ‘tard.
[Like almost all of the really hateful comments I get, this came from an EVE Online player.  The game inspires passion, both good and bad.]

EVE Online

EVE Has been quiet for me this month, not so much out of a lack of desire to play as a lack of time.  The first half of the month I was busy shipping a product before the holidays, and then came the holidays.  Still, I ran a mission or two, hauled freight when needed, kept production going, and brought in another pile of ISK.  Still no freighter though.

EverQuest

I have not played ANY EverQuest.  There has been no 2008 EverQuest Nostalgia Tour.   EverQuest II might be old enough now that it is suitable for nostalgia.  That certainly fits what I have been doing there.

EverQuest II

In Norrath I have been mostly involved with the adventures of Reynaldo Fabulous of Freeport, a swashbuckling berserker who has been cutting a swathe through the original level 1-50 content in EverQuest II.  With the support of his friends and his guild he has managed to get to level 52 and remain fabulous.

Lord of the Rings Online

The call of Moria seems to have hit Gaff.  Having a lifetime membership means I can pick that game up any time.  However, now he is talking about starting over on a new server.  Damn his eyes, I finally have horses on all my guys on the old server.

World of Warcraft

Holiday commitments and illness has kept the instance group from playing as often as usual.  Still, we are banging away in Northrend and expect full victory in Utgarde Keep any day now!

Coming Up

Santa delivered more than just LEGO kits to our house over the holidays.  There were also a few Wii and DS games that I will mention in future posts, though it seems at the moment that Cooking Mama II is the surprise DS hit with my daughter.

And, of course, tune in tomorrow for my predictions for 2009.  I’d better start working on them!

One MILLION Chinese! April 12, 2008

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, World of Warcraft.
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2 comments

The Burning Crusade in a black bean sauce

[Said in that Mike Meyers/Dr. Evil voice.]

Yes, Blizzard’s partner in China, The9, put out a press release to announce that World of Warcraft hit a concurrent play record with one million players logged in and playing on their servers.

While perhaps not the hottest news bite of the day, it is quite a feat.

Only CCP releases similar numbers, and I think the last number for EVE Online was around 40,000 concurrent players. (But all on one server!)

Now somebody is going to be a wet blanket and point out that the players in China only pay twenty seven cents a lunar year to play and so on. But like Stalin said, “Quantity has a quality all its own.”

And then there was the rather silly comment over on WarCry about many of these people being gold farmers. Silly because gold farmers play on US and EU servers, not on the mainland China servers run by The9. Selling gold to people who can only afford such a low price point is not a winning proposition. To make money, you have to sell to people who have dollars or Euros… okay, just Euros.

The real question is what would happen if all million concurrent players pressed the space bar and jumped at the same time?

Of course, one of the interesting things about this press release was ending up, after a few clicks, on the official World of Warcraft China site. I like seeing game screen shots in other languages.

While they were behind the US and Europe getting The Burning Crusade, they appear to be all caught up now and enjoying Patch 2.4 with everybody else.

No Shortage of The Burning Crusade January 16, 2007

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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At least not in Santa Clara County California.

I drove over to Fry’s in Sunnyvale at 11:30am to get a case for a new cell phone and to see what the supply situation was for The Burning Crusade.

I wish they would let people take pictures in the store, because I could have shown the huge piles of copies right where you walk into the store.  A 50″ project TV was next to that display running the demo reel for the expansion.  Walking around the store I counted no less than four pallets of boxes on the sales floor in addition to the shipper displays that were around the store.

If no place else was, Fry’s was ready for the launch of The Burning Crusade.

In the presence of so many copies, I weakened and picked up a copy for myself at the full retail price of $39.99.  I’ll be pissed at myself if the price goes down in the next few weeks.  Given how many copies there were in the store, that might happen.

When I checked out of the store, the cashier laughed when he saw the box.  He explained that people had been lining up since Sunday to get their copy of the game while here I was at 10 minutes to noon on the big day and I just walked in and picked up a copy.

I did not see anybody else walking out with a copy either.  I compare this to the biggest sales day I have ever seen at Fry’s, the day when the original Star Wars Trilogy came out on DVD.  On that day there was an ant-like stream of young-to-middle-aged men walking into the store, to bins in the DVD section that frantic employees kept refilling, and then snaking into line at the cashiers, all with the very same item in their hands.

How did stock look by you?  Did you get a copy?