Category Archives: World of Warcraft

Blizzard Will Give You a Mount if You Will Just Subscribe to WoW for Six Months

I think we’ve seen this before.

Back during Cataclysm Blizzard offered players a “free” copy of Diablo III if they would just commit to subscribing to World of Warcraft for a year.  The old Annual Pass gambit.  It seemed like a ploy back then to keep subscriber and revenue numbers up during the second year slump time of Cataclysm.  Is there a Battle for Azeroth slump already that they need to run this sort of deal again?

This time around you won’t be getting a video game with a $60 shelf price and a mount.  This time it is just a mount.  But you only have to commit for half the time.

For a limited time… between now and October 21, 2018… if you go to the Blizzard store… in game or at the web site… you can buy in on a special offer that gives you six months of game time for $77.94.

That is the usual price for a six month subscription, the longest time increment currently offered, coming out to $12.99 a month.  The bonus is the mount.

This is your bonus

The alleged reason for this is yesterday’s Talk Like a Pirate Day celebration, but I have to wonder if there isn’t another reason that Blizzard wants to lock players in for half a year.

If you were going to stay subscribed to WoW in any case, then this is basically a free mount.  If you are uncertain however, you might want to ask yourself how badly you really want this ride in Azeroth.

Others react:

Quadratic Foundry Character Name Generator

In the grand tradition of the old WoW Guild Name Generator from Nick Yee, his organization, Quadratic Foundry, has created a Character Name Generator.

Rather than being completely random, the generator lets you specify a starting letter, an ending letter, or a string of letters you would like the name to contain.

Starts with ‘W’ and ends with ‘M’ gets you…

And it even gives you variants on the name with special characters if you simply must have a specific name but find that it has already been taken.

As with the WoW Guild Name Generator, the core of this was based on previous research done on World of Warcraft and the names harvested as part of that.

Anyway, if you’re stuck for a name you now have a new place to try.

Honest Game Trailers Battle for Azeroth

Honest Game Trailers is back with a stab straight at the heart of World of Warcraft and the Battle for Azeroth expansion.

Honest Game Trailers tends to hit a little harder than the movie side of the house, but this one hits hard enough to leave a mark.  Still pretty funny, but oh so very honest.

August in Review

The Site

I think the big news for the site in the successful conclusion of Blaugust.

Blaugust Reborn

I managed to post every single day in August and then some, for a total of 40 posts including this one, so met the highest bar set for participants.  Unwilling to waste a posting opportunity, I will have a summary post about the whole thing later, including one last listing and linking of all those who joined in.

I did put up a feed for Blaugust participants post in the side bar, down towards the bottom.  I used RSS Mix for it, which is very easy to setup, but is not as reliable as I would like.  It shows as down about half the time I look at it.  But it is free and isn’t meant for a dynamic side bar situation, so I can’t be too critical of it.  It is better than it has any right to be.

They don’t really have a logo…

As tends to happen during Blaugust, with my posting a bit more, every day of the week rather than mostly on weekdays, traffic to the site was up.  It is always gratifying to see more results for more effort.  We shall see if that holds come September when the event fades and some of us will no doubt stop actively checking up on other participants.

However, as happened last month, the most viewed posts list for August and Blaugust is again dominated by old posts.  Some I understand as they are Google favorites.  I realize there is a bias towards individual posts popular in Google searches as new posts can be read via RSS or on the main page without clicking on the post itself so may not get traffic.  But why my February in Review post from this year is getting search traffic I cannot say.

One Year Ago

ArenaNet announced the Path of Fire expansion for Guild Wars 2.

In Lord of the Rings Online the Mordor expansion went live with all sorts of new… activities.  I was able to get in and claim my expansion items.

In a Friday Bullet Points post I was looking at financial numbers from Blizzard, NCsoft, and SuperData.  I was also wondering if Raptr was dead.

Age of Empires IV was announced, or hinted at, or something.  I wasn’t sure it was a good idea.  And StarCraft Remastered was launched.

The summer blogger Fantasy Movie League wrapped up, with Liore winning.

I was feeling the urge to go play a flight sim game.  The problem is that I am bad at flight sims game, no longer having the patience to get good at them.

In EVE Online there was the Hakkonen deployment, where the Imperium went to go tangle with NCDot and Pandemic Legion on their doorstep.  I will just list out the post rather than trying to weave a narrative from all the links.

As part of the ops, and because of the seeming impending demise of POSes, I did a post about blowing up POS towers from each of the four empires.  As of this writing the Player Owned Starbase is still a thing in New Eden.

There was also an update for EVE Online in August, which among other things remove the captain’s quarters.  There was also the Alpha Strike event later in the month.  The monthly economic report showed Delve was still booming.  I hit 180 million skill points.

In other news, Vince Draken was asked to step down from CSM12 and Andrew Groen’s Empires of EVE came out in audiobook form.

I summed up my year of playing Pokemon Go.  I started late.  I was tempted to do that again this year… but I had too many posts already in August.

I was pondering replacing my aging Logitech G15 keyboard.  I haven’t yet, mostly because I would miss the LCD display… and because it still mostly works, even if it doesn’t light up quite the way it used to.  A year later and it is still there on my desk.

And, finally, a game dev was arguing that a good video game ought to cost $1,000,  which got me into rant mode as whiny entitlement tends to do.  And I was pretty sure we already had a game that expensive in the form of World of Warcraft.  Blizz was just smart enough to not ask for all the money up front.

Five Years Ago

I wrote about the hunter class in WoW, and how things used to work in the old days.

My summer in Lord of the Rings Online found me finishing up the waterworks and arriving on the far side of Moria at last.

We were trying to do something in Neverwinter.

There was the announcements that both The Elder Scrolls Online and WildStar would be going with the monthly subscription model.  I tried to tie this all up into one neat conspiracy theory.

We had the big EverQuest Next announcement, which I summarized with two pictures.  A lot of people were blogging about SOE’s big new MMO plan.  Cyanbane even put up a site dedicated to tracking EverQuest Next news. But I wondered, given SOE history, if they could keep the excitement going.  No they could not.

All that talk by SOE about voxels reminded me of NovaLogic’s Delta Force series of shooters.  So I went back and played the original.

And in EVE Online, the war in Fountain petered out a we took TEST’s last system in the region and began deploying to Delve.  We’re always in Delve during the summer.  The CFC changed long standing policy and created the Greater Western Co-Prosperity Sphere in order to rent space in null sec.  We were also being encouraged to train for dreadnaughts.  And I also wondered who had the longest standing sovereignty claim in null sec, along with other bits of space trivia, including dumb ways to die.

And finally there was the Star Citizen Propaganda Video of Strongly Beating Spirit.  Is Star Citizen really a thing yet?  As far as I can tell it really isn’t anything more than a few isolated semi-playable alpha level pieces five years down the road.

Ten Years Ago

After what seemed like endless delays, Darkfall went looking for beta testers for real.  Many asked if this product would shed its “vaporware” reputation and see the light of day, and if the feature set would be anything close to what was promised.

Warhammer Online was rolling on towards release with a preview weekend.  The CoWs were gathering.  I looked at races and classes as well as my general opinion of the game as I saw it.  I thought I was generally positive, though I wanted to be able to open up the quest log with a single keystroke.  Rabid fans sensed faint praise and whined a lot in the comments.  Still, Google liked me as I got the top spot for the search on “WAR Preview Weekend.”

Suicide Ganking was the plague a EVE OnlineI suggested that the Secure Insurance Commission be given the power to extract the cost of insurance payouts from high sec gankers as a way to make this “throw away character” exploit a bit less lucrative.  In the end, CCP just made CONCORD a bit more responsive to attacks right under their noses and, eventually removed the insurance payout.  Didn’t change much, but there it was.

Meanwhile I was getting fat selling overpriced Kernite needed for story line missions.  I also gave ice mining a try.

In World of Warcraft the instance group we were hitting level 70 and starting on the Caverns of Time dungeon Escape from Durnhold Keep. We managed the Auchenai Crypts before that, but instances were starting to get tough for us and it would take a revamp of our talents and some work on gear before we would be able to take on an at-level instance on the first try.

Also in WoW, Zhevra fever.

We went down to LEGOLand for vacation, but I left a vacation cliffhanger post to keep people amused.  The cliffhanger was another problem with the World’s Collide mission.  I blew up again.

LEGO Indiana Jones came out, and while it was a lot of fun, I wasn’t sure if it was worth list price.

And finally, people were fretting about Diablo IIIIt was too colorful!  Internet petitions were deployed and accomplished what they generally do… nothing.

Fifteen Years Ago

Motor City Online, something of a spiritual ancestor to Need for Speed: World, went offline.  But it was an EA produced MMO, and we know how EA can get.

Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  2. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  3. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  4. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  5. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  6. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More
  7. Honest Game Trailers – Animal Crossing
  8. H1Z1 – Going Live in Time to be a Zombie
  9. February in Review
  10. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  11. Rift Prime Time
  12. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!

Search Terms of the Month

wow bfa is a let down
[ten days before launch and already calling it…]

baltec fleet
[A Megathron and Apocalypse doctrine named after Baltec1]

eveonline best mining corp
[KarmaFleet maybe?  I don’t know.]

eve online capsuleer insane lore
[It’s all pretty insane frankly]

pedipowered posterior punter eq2
[Yes, this was a thing in EQII ]

wow is main bag upgrade account wide
[Yes, you get the four additional slots on all characters]

EVE Online

The War in the North continued to be a focus.  We had a couple of titan-killing Keepstar fights, which are always exciting… at least to read about.  And to write about, really.  Being there though can be a trying experience for many.  But for the most part we carried on trying to sap the will of the defenders with an ongoing entosis campaign in Fade with Circle of Two’s Keepstar as our eventual objective.  Will we get there in September?

Minecraft

I have been pottering around in Minecraft a bit, enough to put it back up on the “games I play” list in the side bar.  After finding my way to a warm ocean I had to find my way back home again then figure out a way to get from one to the other.  That always means more road and rail work.

Pokemon Go

I was having the login crash problem for a bit this month, though deleting the app and installing it again from the App Store seemed to fix it.  I have six friends on my list in the game and several of us send gifts back and forth regularly.  Each gift shows the PokeStop from which it came, which is interesting.  Not all that enthusiastic about 7km eggs.  They seem to hatch 5km stuff but take longer to get there.  Ah well.  Also, I finally got the 400 candies to evolve Swablu.  Now on to Wailmer.

Level: 33 (+0)
Pokedex status: 335 (+2) caught, 354 (+3) seen
Pokemon I want: Still Lapras, still don’t have one
Current buddy: Wailmer

Oh, and if you want to friend me/enable me on Pokemon Go, my trainer code is: 3216 2939 2424

World of Warcraft

Battle for Azeroth went live, as you probably know if you read any MMO blogs during Blaugust.  Those playing it are generally gushing about it, while those not are posting about not playing it.  I suppose that is a measure of popularity, when people feel the need to point out that they are not involved.  I have been playing and enjoying the expansion.  How long the new expansion smell will last and how things will evolve once I hit level cap remains an open question, but I am good for the moment.

Coming Up

It will be September.  The days will be getting shorter, the last blasts of summer heat will hopefully die off, and my state will hopefully stop being on fire quite so much.  I am surprised there isn’t a variation of the “This is fine” meme about the north end of the California this year.

Battle for Azeroth enthusiasm will likely continue.  I will keep on working through the quest lines and such with my main.  Alts will figure in later, though maybe I will move my hunter into Kul Tiras sooner than later.

In EVE Online the war in the north will continue.  We will see what the Monthly Economic Report for August has to say about its impact.  There could be another Keepstar fight.

CCP will be starting to prep for what will likely be their autumnal release.  While we get patch updates about every month, they see to be back on the “two named updates a year” schedule.  I expect that we will at least get a dev blog about the end of player owned starbases and the final plan for the structures that will replace them this month.

And speaking of expansions, we are now drifting into the time frame where  Daybreak usually announces expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  There was that rumor, now mostly discredited, about this being the last year for expansions, but we’ll see.  There is also alleged to be a new Norrath-based game in progress, so maybe we will hear about that.  Probably not, but we can hope.  It would offset the news about Just Survive.

Finally, I will probably get back on a more normal writing schedule.  I wrote so far ahead of myself for Blaugust that I still have a five days worth of posts to run before I need to get back to work.  Expect a few topics to arrive a bit late to the party, and a couple more to be of dubious merit, but whatever.

Kickstarter and the Return of the World of Warcraft Diary

I wrote about the first run at the World of Warcraft Diary back in March.  I was concerned that the ask for the project was too much ($400,000) and that the publicity groundwork hadn’t been done for the project.  One of the rules of Kickstarter campaigns is that your core audience should know it is coming and be ready to support it.

Anyway, the campaign failed, but the author took what he learned to heart and said he would be back again with a second run with better groundwork and a more reasonable ask.  And so here we go with round two of the World of Warcraft Diary Kickstarter campaign.

And it has funded already.

I got an email via the original campaign because I was a backer letting me know that the new round would be showing up this week.  But by the time I got around to check on it the campaign was already funded.

Op Success

That is crazy first day success, and the first day isn’t even done as I write this.  My usual minimum benchmark for success is 20% in the first 24 hours, but this is already past 1049% and the number keeps going.  The charts over at Kicktraq show the tale of the campaign.

So yes, this book looks like it will be a thing.

The level of success doesn’t really surprise me.  World of Warcraft is huge and still popular and has enough of a fanbase to support this level of effort… or even the first $400K level of effort… so long as the word gets out to the fans.

I mean, if Andrew Groen can get huge numbers out of the comparatively tiny EVE Online fan base, then the WoW fan base should be able to beat that in a blink.  I will be interested to see where this campaign ends up with such big initial interest.

Anyway, if you are interested the campaign will run through to the morning of September 25, 2018.  Again, you can find the campaign page here.

Why are there Levels in Battle for Azeroth?

This is one of those question that I am pretty sure I know the answer to, but I want to ask it out loud just to see what else might shake loose.  What am I not considering in this mix?

It is here…

I am playing through the Alliance side of the expansion right now.  My paladin is already through the Tiragarde Sound zone on Kul Tiras and I am enjoying the new content.  The environments are beautiful, the quests are good, varied, and plentiful, and the various side tasks and ventures change things up.

But, as I write this (ten days before the post went live because I kept pushing it off to post something else), my pally is already past level 116 and I expect will hit level 120, the level cap, long before I am finished running him through the base content.

Not that I will suddenly stop when I get there.  But I will spend most of my time in this expansion… call it two years less the three weeks at most it will take me to meander to level 120…at the level cap.

So why bother having levels at all at this point?

The zones scale with you so gaining a level confers no special benefit.  In fact, there is a downside to it.  All the gear you get along the way is set for the level you at which you acquired it, so you have to keep replacing gear for ten levels to keep it abreast of your progress… after which you can then work on replacing gear to boost your item level.  And, as we found out, collecting gear upgrades actually makes getting through the new zones more difficult.  You are better off keeping your item level low, a seriously messed up situation that Blizzard seems just fine with.  I mean, I was afraid of what ilevel scaling was going to do when they introduced it in Legion, but this goes well beyond what I would have imagined.

Whatever.  If people complain enough Blizz will grudgingly fix it eventually.  Back to levels.

Traditionally levels have been used to gate content, and Blizzard does do some of that.  As you hit certain levels things are unlocked for you.  But with ten fast moving levels players will still be unlocking content after they hit 120 via various other means.  I don’t have to look much farther than the achievements to know that there will be plenty to do past hitting the level cap.  There will be world quests to unlock, new content to enjoy, faction to grind, and the groundwork to unlocking flying to start in on.

EverQuest, the king of MMO expansions, is almost six years older than World of Warcraft, has released 24 expansions so far, and has a level cap of 110 last I checked.  If you look down the list of expansions you will see that not every one raised the level cap.  You can see streaks of two or three expansions in a row with the same cap.

Then again, they do keep raising the level cap in Norrath every so often, so levels have their draw.  But it clearly isn’t a necessity.  SOE found alternate methods.

The downside is that levels are intimidating and/or silly after a certain point.  That the level cap is 120 with Battle for Azeroth has to work against it somewhat.  Purists like to say that you need to play through the whole thing, but when you are trying to collect new players, the starting proposition that you must play through 110 levels in order to get to the new/good stuff is a losing one.  Just having 120 levels can be seen as a pretty big barrier to entry.

So why have more levels when it is pretty clear you can do without them?

The answer, to my mind, is because people expect them.

Blizzard is a very conservative company when it comes to their successful properties, and none of them is more successful nor a bigger money maker than WoW.  When you have the goose that keeps on laying golden checks every month… and when you have made changes in the past they haven’t necessarily turned out well… you do all you can to maintain it with screwing things up.  Launching an expansion with a boost in the level cap… and a 10 level boost because 5 level expansions were not as popular…  is just part of the recipe for success to which Blizz feels they need to adhere.

Basically this is the way they’ve always done it and it works, so why change?

Addendum: There is a closely related post over at GamingSF this morning as well.  Armagon Live also has a post about that as well.

SuperData sees League of Legends Slip and Fortnite Possibly Peak

With the end of August at hand SuperData Research has their digital revenue numbers out for July.

SuperData Research Top 10 – July 2018

For only the second time since I have been covering this monthly update League of Legends is not in first place on the PC side of the house.  The last time was back in March, when Dungeon Fighter Online overtook the dominant MOBA.  As happened then, I am not sure if LoL sagged a bit in July, DFO saw a surge, or if the two are just close enough in general that this should happen more often.  Certainly last year’s revenue summary from SuperData had LoL out in front by nearly half a billion dollars, but that could have changed.

Otherwise the usual top four remain secure again at the top of the list as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which disturbed the status quo by jumping into third place last month, fell back into sixth place behind its nemesis Fortnite.

World of Warcraft held onto seventh place overall and World of Tanks held eighth again while DOTA 2 and CS:GO swapped spots from last month, leaving no newcomers on the chart for July.

On the console chart Fornite held onto its top position, with FIFA 18 behind it in second again.  GTA V had a new update which helped the five year old title roll back into third position.  No Man’s Sky got some good press with its latest update as well as launching on XBox, helping it into an impressive sixth spot while Overwatch fell off the list for July.

When it comes to mobile Honor of Kings stayed in its usual top position while Pokemon Go held onto the third rank spot it achieved last month.  Candy Crush Saga, the perennial match three title on the list, stayed in eight position for the month.

Other items from the SuperData monthly report:

  • Fortnite’s peak may be behind us. Fortnite revenue is up only 2% from June. Growth was modest despite Epic releasing Season 5 of the game’s battle pass midway through the month.
  • No Man’s Sky has its best month since launch. No Man’s Sky generated an estimated $24 million across all platforms in July after releasing its much anticipated NEXT DLC and launching on Xbox One. Over two million players were active in July, a 10x increase from June.
  • Overwatch revenue continues to slide despite consistent playerbase. Overwatch additional content sales across all platforms declined year-over-year and sequentially from June. On the other hand, monthly active users increased due to a free-to-play weekend and the release of a new playable Hero.
  • Grand Theft Auto returns to form with “After Hours” update. We estimate GTA Online had its highest earning month of the year so far, and second only to December 2017 for highest month since launch.