World of Warcraft Magazine – Issue 3

The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.

Rob Gordon, High Fidelity

If the team at Future US, the publisher behind the official World of Warcraft Magazine, was making a mix tape, they would be spot on in adhering to that advice.

However, they are not making a mix tapes, they are making magazines, and I am not sure that cooling it off a notch is ever in the plan.  But that was sort of what I felt happened with this issue.

Not that it was something they could really help.  They have to release the World of Warcraft Magazine quarterly, regardless of what is going on, and what is going on (Cataclysm launch on Dec. 7) influences how I view this issue.

As before, there is still a lot of focus on the Cataclysm expansion.  However, issue 3 having gone out just after BlizzCon, if you pay much attention at all to Blizzard and WoW outside of the immediate game, you might be feeling a bit of Cataclysm weariness.


Enough talk, just ship me the damn thing already.  And you might feel that all the more so if you had access to the beta.

Or maybe that is just me.

The magazine is still of the glossy high quality of the first and second issues.  It sticks to the 144 page format with no ads and fills them all with color and text that goes into depth about the game so many people love (or hate… or both).

Cover - Issue 3

In this issue they presented:

  • Rumblings Before Cataclysm – A guide to what is going on, lore-wise, during the run up to Cataclysm, in all the main cities.  There is a lot going on.
  • The Story So Far – An interview with/profile of Chris Metzen who is one of the main creative forces behind the Blizzard games, especially the lore aspect of them.  He is always the guy you want to listen to at BlizzCon.
  • Putting Yourself to the Test – Being in the Cataclysm Beta.  since the beta closed shortly after this came out, not so useful I suppose.
  • Ride of Your Life – A guide to mounts in WoW.  What is rare, how to get the achievements, and people who have up to 137 in-game mounts.
  • Dressed to Impress – WoW costumes and Cosplay.
  • Defending the Ruby Sanctum – More dragon lore and dragon related raiding.
  • Raiding the Physical World – Players meeting up in real life… and not just at BlizzCon.
  • Moving to Cataclysm Means Shifting Gear – A summary of the gear and stat changes for Cataclysm.  A decent primer on the topic, but you’ve probably seen all this before.
  • Epic Looters – An interview with the team that creates and balances drops.  Ghostcrawler is on that team.
  • Bid Business – A short guide to the auction house in WoW, with some addon recommendations.
  • Auctions are Never out of Your Range – The remote auction house app.
  • Crafty Crafter’s Guide to Jewelcrafting – Just as advertised.
  • Action on Display – A look at DC Unlimited’s WoW action figures and how they are designed and made.
  • The Fight for Gnomeregan – A look at the new gnome starter area.
  • Target: Echo Isles – A look at the new troll starter area.
  • Storming to Victory – A guide to the Eye of the Storm battleground.
  • Doomhammer – A lore piece about Thrall’s weapon and its history.
  • Location Aware – The regular tanking column.
  • Four Commandments to Rule Them All – The regular DPS column.
  • Love is a Battlefield – The regular healing column, which actually talks about healing in battlegrounds.

So they have quite clearly set a pattern for each issue of the magazine.  You get some lore, you get an interview and profile, you get to hear from a design team, there is a guide to a trade skill, they highlight a new area and aspect that is coming out with Cataclysm.  They want to hit on something for everyone.

Certainly, this is where I pick up a lot of my lore knowledge, never having been big on the WoW lore before to the point of embarrassment.

Doom what? Thrall who?

But I do wonder how things will turn once Cataclysm is out in a couple of days.

All in all, a good outing, comparable to E-ON, the highly regarded EVE Online official magazine, in fit, finish, and relevance, with something there for everybody.

But now we’re at issue three, patterns have been set for the magazine while the world outside is changing.  Will they be able to carry on when there is no new Cataclysm areas to talk about, when they’ve gone through all the professions and all the battlegrounds?

Okay, that will take them a while, but I still wonder how flexible their pattern will be.

14 thoughts on “World of Warcraft Magazine – Issue 3

  1. SynCaine

    Point of amusement: The mag comes out quarterly, yet you still wonder if they will have anything to talk about due to how ‘quickly’ Blizzard puts out content. And this very valid concern is brought up literally days before an expansion is set to hit. Crazy.

    EON seems to never have that issue (not to mention only one of those mags has ‘kind of a big deal’ guest authors :cough:)

    Btw did you see that interview with one of the top Bliz guys (forget who now), talking about WoW compared to EVE, with his statement that EVE has less content, and so it’s easier for them to upgrade the graphics? In that same interview, and I can only assume with a straight face, he states that they put out content ‘rapidly’. Fantasy land, beyond Azeroth.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Again, the usual apples and oranges comparison. You define content in a very specific way then complain about a game you hate not delivering as much a game you like. Funny how that always works out.


  3. SynCaine

    So you agree with Blizz that they put out content ‘rapidly’? Or that they have more total content than EVE?

    Sure, you can measure content in a lot of different ways, but in what legitimate way (not: which games has more $25 ponies) would you argue WoW has more content than EVE?

    Off the bat: PvP, nope. Econ, nope. World size, nope. Alt-like activity, nope. Player-driven, nope. PvE, nope, because at any one point you have access to more viable PvE content in EVE than you do in WoW, even at the cap.

    Keep in mine I’m not talking quality of the content, b.c that’s pure opinion, but in terms of total pure content, I’m not seeing how it’s even close.


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Syncaine – So content can be just a place, an empty system with no planets, no stations? Yes, EVE has greater “world” size. It is outer space, and it is 99.99% empty.

    Giving us a new ship, is that a boost in content? That would be like counting a new armor set as content? Will you give Blizz credit for armor sets?

    “Player driven” is content?

    Economy is content?

    PvE… now you’re just deluded. There are what, 450 or so missions total in the game, counting the same mission (e.g. Worlds Collide) with variations in enemies? There are more than 700 quests on Kalimdor alone. And, of course, you choose to discount quality. Stack the deck a bit more, won’t you? Story and lore are no doubt not content either in your opinion.

    This is you pissing and moaning and looking for ways to slam WoW. Oh no, this theme park game doesn’t have all my sandbox features, so it must suck as a theme park. Apples v. Oranges.

    I like EVE. It has many great features. But to compare it to WoW is an asinine effort, one you repeatedly wallow in, but they are so very different in design and intention.

    I will say, if you count every code change as a feature, the way you apparently do, then Blizz puts out content quite rapidly.


  5. SynCaine

    It’s not apples to oranges, because both games are considered MMOs, and both (in different ways) lead the market. That someone at Bliz tried to excuse why they can’t keep up with EVE in certain areas is confirmation enough that things are not as separated as you try to paint them.

    At the end of the day, both games should have been designed to last for years, as all good MMOs are. That one company, despite having by far the most resources, can’t do so in such a crucial area like graphics and world updates (cap cities), is a sign of bad design, not a sign that the two products are just ‘different’. That’s an excuse, especially because similar games HAVE done significant upgrades (DAoC) with a fraction of the manpower/budget.


  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @SynCaine – It is absolutely apples and oranges at the level you were previously writing about. You were comparing design decisions (the market is NOT content) and counting them as features.

    Can’t keep up with EVE? That would be a lot more convincing if there wasn’t an order of magnitude of difference in their customer base. Small companies with a single product have to pretty much ship everything they make, they cannot afford not to. Big companies with lots of resources spend time working on this that they end up never shipping. It is the way of the world. CCP is great, but they ship a lot of stuff that doesn’t quite work out (factional warfare) that they never go back and touch.

    Finally, since you haven’t been in the world since before Wrath, you certainly haven’t seen the world since the 4.0 patch, which did get quite a bit of updates. The more you say on that, the more it is clear you don’t know what you are talking about. A massive rework of the entire 1-60 experience including graphics updates, and you’re steaming about the fact that some capital cities didn’t get huge updates compare to others. I’m sorry, you’re just talking out of your ass now.


  7. SynCaine

    “entire 1-60 experience”

    Now now, don’t lie. I consider Mulgore part of the 1-60 experience, along with Undercity, Thunderbluff, etc.

    Subs is the only thing you can bring up that WoW clearly has over EVE, and we both know where we stand on that. The pet rock was huge too.

    The small company/big company thing is making my point, not yours. When you get outpaced by the little guy, and claim to not be able to keep up, that’s embarrassing. If you have more resources than ANYONE else in the space, you have no excuses.

    The little guy should be saying “we just don’t have the money/time/people to update as often as WoW, so we have to pick our fights”. The ‘little guy’ runs laps around Blizzard in graphics, sound, content delivery, server tech, retention, sustained growth, etc. Can you imagine what would have happened if CCP had made a fantasy MMO rather than something as niche as spaceship-only Sci-Fi?


  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @SynCaine – That every graphic wasn’t changed does not change the fact that the 1-60 experience has been completely redone. You’re just desperate to find fault.

    The big/small thing shows that CCP shovels some crap out and then never goes back to fix it. Blizz wouldn’t let something like factional warfare sit like it has for ages. They would keep reworking it.

    As for running laps around Blizz. Graphics? Space is easy. The landscape is six giant background pictures, a planet, and a few rocks. Sound? Bullshit, plain and simple. Content delivery? Shove it out, if it doesn’t work out, let it sit. Growth and retention? The percentages always look good when you start your growth with a small number.

    And no, I cannot imagine what a CCP fantasy MMO would look like because they haven’t done anything that convinces me that they have solved the technical challenges of a hundred animated avatars in close proximity moving along a landscape each animated doing their own actions, making their own attacks, casting their own spells.

    It is, again, apples and oranges no matter how hard you try to pretend that it is not.

    You’ve spewed enough WoW hate here today. If you have more bile in you, take it to your own blog.


  9. SynCaine

    That every (graphic/quest/item/NPC/entire-zone) wasn’t changed does not change the fact that the 1-60 experience has been completely redone.

    Blizz wouldn’t let something like (world PvP, the ‘core’ of the lore) sit like it has for ages. They would keep (incorrectly) reworking it.

    As for running laps around Blizz. Graphics? (DX10) is easy. Sound? (I like the soundtrack + voice)

    Growth and retention? The percentages always look good when you start your growth with a small number. (Over 7 years which is very common in the genre)

    And no, I cannot imagine what a CCP fantasy MMO would look like because they haven’t done anything that convinces me that they have solved the technical challenges of a (THOUSAND, hundreds is kids play for CCP, see Jita) animated avatars in close proximity moving along a landscape each animated doing their own actions, making their own attacks, casting their own spells. (And here, you greatly, greatly overestimate what the WoW engine does server-side. Client-side the game works on a toaster, so. Hit detection, animation timing, terrain detection, none of it matters more in WoW than it does in EVE. Look at what happens in DF if you want to see what those kind of calculations look like, and hey, THAT game got Lake Wintergrasp-style PvP to work without an instance, go figure)

    I’ll leave this be, but come on now, stick to 12m and ‘accessible’, don’t go down this path.


  10. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    “That every (graphic/quest/item/NPC/entire-zone) wasn’t changed does not change the fact that the 1-60 experience has been completely redone.”

    You haven’t played it, I have, feels like a big change to me. You’ll always feel differently so long as you can grab onto one crumb, so you’ll never be convinced.

    DX10 does not a graphics champion make. Or does LOTRO trump because they have DX11 support?

    The sound track? That is your yardstick on sound? Okay, I’ll admit, I listen to the EVE soundtrack and not the WoW soundtrack out of game, but still that is a pretty tenuous way to make the sound claim. I was thinking in-game environmental sounds. Stuff that makes you feel immersed.

    As for the rest, still apples vs. oranges. That CCP optimizes for something that Blizz does not because they have different goals does not make your argument. I know your own agenda will not allow you to admit that drawing a few hundred animated characters on a screen driven by a toaster is somewhat different than spaceships that are mostly outside of visible range.

    You can’t pull criteria that fits one game with a specific set of goals and apply it to another game with a very different set of goals and expect your argument to be taken seriously. I’d say don’t go down that path, but you can’t seem to help yourself.


  11. SynCaine

    I saw 11 comments, and my first thought was that someone had interrupted our conversation. Figures it’s just you double posting to rack up your comments count. Typical WoW player, always grinding towards some achievement that means nothing.

    Did you beat Cata last night?


  12. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I was in Cataclysm long enough to go get the flight skill for the old world, then I went and played EQII Extended for a while.

    And when I want to inflate comment count, I post pictures or movies feature cats. I have more cats coming on Friday. Just you wait.


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