Tag Archives: Future US

Blizzard Throws in a Sparkle Pony as a WoW Magazine Parting Gift

As mentioned a while back, The Official World of Warcraft Magazine shut down after five issues.

As part of the settlement for those of us who still had a subscription, Future US, the publisher, and Blizzard offered a buyout option that included all of the current WoW companion pets and a 2 year subscription to PC Gamer.

You can have this, or you can try and get your money back

The alternative option was to write a letter… the real, physical, on paper, delivered by the post office kind… requesting a refund.  Given that they closed that option with the “Yeah, good luck with that,” I opted for the pets and the magazine subscription.

But the good people at Blizzard apparently felt that was not enough, and sent me this note today.

Hello,

As you may have already heard, the Official World of Warcraft Magazine has ended its run as of issue #5.

If you haven’t already, you should soon be receiving a letter from Future explaining your options for a refund or premium for the remainder of your subscription. In addition, the folks here at Blizzard wanted to reach out as well and thank you directly for your support. We hope you enjoyed reading the magazine as much as we did working on it.

As a token of our gratitude and appreciation, we’re presenting you with a code for a free in-game Celestial Steed mount so you can cruise the skies of Azeroth in style.

Your code is: [Redacted]

Simply visit Battle.net Account Management at, https://us.battle.net/account/management/redemption/redeem.html, to redeem the code and receive your new mount. Of course, if you already have the Celestial Steed, you can simply give this code to a friend instead.

Once again, thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm for World of Warcraft. The upcoming battle against Deathwing will require all the strength that the inhabitants of Azeroth can muster; the forces of the Horde and the Alliance should be proud to count you among their numbers.

Sincerely,

The World of Warcraft Team

The code appears legit.  I started to enter it, but cancelled at the confirmation because… I already have a sparkle pony.

$25 value if purchased retail

So now I have codes for two companion pets and a celestial steed.

I am going to have to get my act together and have a contest soon.  I think the WoW Travel Poster idea is probably going to be the winner, as long as there is some interest in it.

WoW Magazine Decision – Mulling Over a WoW Related Contest

I decided to go with the easy option in regards to my World of Warcraft Magazine subscription and take the WoW companion pets and the subscription to PC Gamer.

You can have this, or you can try and get your money back

While I am sure I could have worked the required letter writing campaign in search of a refund into a series of posts, I feel a certain amount of apathy over a small amount of money spent some nine months back.

It helps that I only have two of the pets listed and that the pets are bound to your account so that all the characters you have or ever make in the future will get them.  So Future US and Blizzard are off the hook, having successfully followed the principle of “never give the customer their money back” in my case at least.

Still, this pet hand-out makes me wonder why Blizzard didn’t offer up a special custom pet for subscribers to the magazine.  One of those a year would have made the magazine too successful to consider shutting down.  Ah well.

So all of my characters, now and forever, will have all of the Blizzard store companion pets.  Go me.

But now I have two codes left over.  I have an extra Lil’ KT and a Pandaren Monk.

So I immediately thought about having a contest of some sort in order to give the codes away to a lucky/skillful/attentive reader.

But what sort of contest?

Being in many ways a stereotypical guy (I am visually oriented and can often see better than I can think), I am drawn to a screen shot contest of some sort.  It is just a matter of figuring out what the focus of such a contest should be.

Screen shot contest ideas so far:

  • Best of WoW
  • Most exciting boss encounter
  • Azeroth Travel Posters
  • I love WoW/I hate WoW

I am leaning towards the travel poster idea, allowing said poster to be Photoshopped to the submitter’s hearts content, but I am not completely sold on the idea.

So I am looking around for any other ideas as well as any sort of expression of interest in the contest.  I’d like something interesting, but also something people will enter.  There is little point in go forward if only two people are going to enter. (Though that makes prize distribution pretty easy.)

Tell me what you think.

World of Warcraft Magazine – Dead After Five Issues

Just in my mailbox this afternoon:

Dear Subscriber,

The World of Warcraft Official Magazine is ending its run, and the current issue, #5, will be the last one.

This has been a difficult decision to come to. Although both Blizzard Entertainment and Future US are very proud of the magazines that we have created together, we have each decided to focus our efforts on other areas.

We really appreciate your support for the magazine and would like to offer you a premium based on your remaining subscription term, or, if you prefer, a full refund of your remaining balance instead. To redeem your premium or request a refund, please visit www.worldofwarcraftthemagazine.com by September 30, 2011.

On the website, you’ll need to input the following code to access your options:

[Code removed… mine, not yours!]

(Please be aware this code is non-transferable and can only be used once.)

Again, we would like to thank you for your continued support and hope you enjoy reading issue 5 as much as we enjoyed making it.

With thanks,
Future US and Blizzard Entertainment

Well, I wonder what brought that on?

2 weeks notice to think on their offer on my remaining subscription.  Here is what they are giving out:

Worth $95 They Say

Or I can, if I follow the very tiny fine print at the bottom of the page, just get my money back, which should be about $60.

Accepting your special offer eliminates the possibility of getting a refund.

Some WoW pets and another magazine, or cash… that will no doubt take forever to arrive?

Searching for World of Warcraft Magazine Issue 5…

Judging from my search engine traffic, people are beginning to wonder when the next issue of the “quarterly” World of Warcraft Magazine is going to appear.  So I get to dredge up an old topic and complain about World of Warcraft, The Official Magazine again. (If you have read my past gripes on the topic, you are excused.)

Quarterly is in quotes above because you would think, under the normal rules of publishing, that a quarterly magazine that delivered its first issue in December 2009 would be rev’ing up to send out their 7th issue, not their 5th.  That is more than implied in their subscription form.


But then, one might expect that an MMORPG that will enter its seventh year this Fall might have shipped more than three expansions.  The Magazine truly reflects the game, though I’ve been down that road before.

The official site for the magazine (which was having a certificate issue earlier, something that always instills confidence!) is still pushing issue 4, which came out back at the beginning of April.

Mid-August and the site still shows this...

Issue 4  seemed to have wrapped up their coverage of the Cataclysm expansion.  Since Cataclysm has been the meat of the magazine so far, I suspect they might be at a loss as to what else they might cover.

So much happens with WoW in time frames that make a quarterly (or longer) schedule look positively geologic in duration that one wonders what they will be able to grab onto and cover in the 148 ad-free pages they put our every… well… whenever they get around to it.

Anyway, if you’ve arrived here because you are looking for information on issue 5 of the magazine, the publisher, Future US, hasn’t given any sign about when it might show up.

You might consider dropping them a note to ask about it.

In the mean time, I am beginning to regret resubscribing way back when issue 3 shipped.

Addendum: As soon as I posted this, I found the WoW Magazine Facebook page, where they were swearing just a month ago that they would be shipping issue 5 “soon.”

Addendum: And now I have been told that there will be no issue 6 ever.

World of Warcraft Magazine Issue 4… Here At Last

I arrived home today to find that World of Warcraft Magazine Issue 4 had finally made an appearance.

Preview of the Elusive 4th Issue

You could make the case that this issue would still be counted as “late” even if it were number 5, given that the first issue carried the date “Winter 2009.”

Still, it did make it here.  And it looks as shiny as any of its three siblings.

Now to see what they have to talk about in the post-Cataclysm world.  And to see if I care.  I haven’t been playing a lot of WoW lately.

World of Warcraft Magazine Issue 4… Coming Soon… We Promise…

This is one of those things that seems to happen to me regularly.  I complain about something just before I get the answer for which I was looking.

Yesterday I was griping about the fourth issue of the Official World of Warcraft Magazine, and this morning something about it shows up in my mail box.

From our friends at Future US:

The most earth-shattering event since Cataclysm is almost here!

From the depths of Blackrock Caverns to the top of Vortex Pinnacle, a celebratory cry can be heard: Issue 4 of World of Warcraft Official Magazine is on its way!

The Cataclysm has arrived, so prepare yourself for our most jam-packed issue yet. Think you know everything about Deathwing’s blight on Azeroth? Our private army has scoured the land for every devastating detail on the latest expansion, including an in-depth tour of its new dungeons, an exploration of the five new high-level zones that highlight Deathwing’s reign of terror, and behind-the-scenes peeks at how the worgen and goblins came to playable life. Then venture inside the mind of Blizzard artist Samwise Didier, share some screen time with the cinematics team, discover how to cook in-game dishes in your very own kitchen, and much, much more.

Thank you for subscribing. We hope you enjoy reading Issue 4 as much as we’ve enjoyed crafting it!

Sincerely,
World of Warcraft Official Magazine

This was a form letter and clearly not in response to anything I might have written.

More than a bit of hyperbole in their message, and issue 4 is still 3 months late by my reckoning, but at least it might finally be on the way.

What should I complain about next?

Are We Going to See Another Issue of the World of Warcraft Magazine?

The Official World of Warcraft Magazine shipped its first issue just about 15 months ago.  It was tagged as the Winter 2009 issue.

Vol. 1, Issue 1, Winter 2009

The magazine itself was billed as a quarterly publication, a term which has a very specific meaning in the world of magazines.  But for most of us it just means that if you subscribe for a year, you should get four issues of that magazine.  This is reinforced by the subscription options you are shown when you order the magazine. (Or when you resubscribe like I did… sucker than I am apparently.)

To this date, Future US, the publisher of the Official World of Warcraft Magazine, has only produced three issues.

They are talking about a fourth issue.  Images and previews of it are displayed on the official web site of the official magazine.

Previews for the Elusive 4th Issue

But on the customer service page, and elsewhere on the site, they list the third issue as the current one, which seems to indicate that the fourth issue may not be coming any time soon.  Email I’ve sent to their customer service on the subject (wwccustserv@cdsfulfillment.com) have gone unanswered.

And to compound that, the big items for this issue appear to be a behind the scenes look at BlizzCon… something that happened nearly 6 months ago now… and an interview segment with the team that does the cinematic elements for Blizz… a team that had its own very interesting session at BlizzCon, so I hope the magazine can come up with something new.

Of course, I was worried about content for the magazine after issue three came out, as past issues were built up heavily around what Cataclysm would bring.  Cataclysm is here now, so they will have to find something else about which to write.

We may have to give EVE Online its due in another category.  It might be the only MMO that can effectively sustain its own magazine.

It probably helps that EVE does two major updates a year, so there is always something new.

Truly the Official World of Warcraft Magazine!

They just had to ship four issues of the magazine within a year to live up to being a “quarterly” publication.

But here it is, a year and a month since I wrote about the first issue of the magazine (which is to say, some time after I received and read it) and that fourth issue is nowhere in sight.  Issue two showed up in May, and issue three just after BlizzCon back in October.  But now we’re in February.

And lest you think I misread the fine print, here is what you see when you go the magazine site to subscribe:

One year, four issues.

The site itself still shows the cover for issue three, so I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss issue four somehow.  They were all keen to get me to resubscribe a while back lest I miss an issue.  It looks like that was a bit of an exaggeration.

Who knew that when Future US took on the job of creating a WoW magazine that they would also adopt the Blizzard credo of slipping dates and shipping only when they were ready?

Renew With Confidence!

You know you are dealing with an old media magazine company when they start sending you renewal notices six months before your subscription expires.

And so it is with Future US, the publishers of the official World of Warcraft Magazine.

They haven’t been spamming me with notices, but I have had a few, the first of which coincided with the second issue.

Now I am looking at the last issue in my year subscription showing up some time in the next month or three, so when the renewal notice showed up in my inbox again yesterday, I thought I would go ahead and resubscribe.

Renew Already!

So I clicked on the link, which took me off to the renewal form.  Simple stuff really, though I was a bit worried when I was done and was told that my first issue should show up in the next 8-10 weeks.

Okay, maybe that is just standard.  Maybe they don’t really think I am a new subscriber.  Maybe they would be smart enough to send me to the right page for renewals.

And then, hours later, a confirmation email showed up:

Thank you for subscribing to the &&language&& language version of World of Warcraft the Magazine. The first issue will arrive at the address below in 8 to 10 weeks*:

Please print a copy for your records.

Payment Reference Number: &&ref_num&&
Subscriber Info:
&&name&&
&&address&&
&&email&&

Your account will be charged in the amount of &&price&& for &&issues&& issues.

* For direct debit payments, order processing depends on payment approval.

Well, that didn’t do much to inspire confidence in the process.  Isn’t this sort of data processing taught in your first computer science class?

I suppose I should be happy that they got the email address correct, even if they couldn’t quite fill in my name, address, order reference number, or language.

We’ll see what I end up getting.  I already have the Future US customer service link handy.

Massive Blips Bloops

Massive Blips is gone.

I woke up this morning and found their feed down.

Their site now redirects to this message (click to enlarge):

Thank you for your interest

Massive Blips was, until yesterday, a site that tracked and helped promote MMO related blogs.  It was one of a set of similar sites under the DailyRadar brand which also included WoW, Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, and other gaming categories as well as a large number of non-gaming topics.

DailyRadar was somewhat in the Digg category of business models.  It produced no content of its own.  It just tracked the what other people were posting on their blogs, but tried to chop things up into categories of interest.  You could also sign up for an account and vote for posts.

I ran their Top Stories feed in my side bar for just over a year as a second source, after VirginWorlds, of posts in the MMO blogging community.

While the purpose of the site was to direct people to the community, Massive Blips never generated much in the way of traffic for me.  But as a site it seemed to be… under utilized.  A post with a dozen votes was huge.

And their tracking model did produce some questionable results, like SynCaine being flagged as the top WoW blogger for weeks on end.

But I still I found the site interesting to watch.

It was a good way to find blog posts on the same subject.  During the RealID revolt, you could find all sorts of posts, both pro and con, on the subject by heading over to MassiveBlips.

They tried to track which MMOs were being talked about the most, though with WoW in the picture, the top three tags tracked for the last year have been World of Warcraft, Blizzard, and Cataclysm.  I didn’t really need MassiveBlips to tell me that.

But the tag that was in fourth place was often a reflection of what was going on.  Star Wars: The Old Republic occupied that spot frequently, but not always.  Lord of the Rings Online was there for a few weeks after the announced their free to play transition.  And recently, also after a free to play business model announcement and the announcement of EverQuest Next, EverQuest bubbled up to the fourth spot.

It was also a good way to find new blogs or interesting posts from blogs you might not read regularly.  And the barrier to entry for having a story listed was pretty low.  If somebody linked from a post to your post, that was usually enough for your post to be listed and tracked.  You could also submit stories manually.

And the system didn’t get abused very often.  There was one WoW gold selling group that kept submitting their own stories and once in a while some porn site would try to get their stuff listed.  And then there was Temerity Jane.  I have no idea why her posts were regularly listed on the site.  We did certainly get to read a lot about her and Phil.  But other than TJ, the editorial staff kept things pretty much under control, so spam was never a bit deal.

The company which ran the site, Future US (which produces magazines as well, including PC Gamer, Nintendo Power and World of Warcraft: The Official Magazine) still runs quite a few other site, including GamesRadar.

But DailyRadar, and the MassiveBlips site, those are now gone.

So my blog outlives another gamer/blogger community site.  And my blog isn’t even that old.

Is anybody else doing something like MassiveBlips?

EQ2-Daily still does this sort of thing for EverQuest II posts, and they even have the voting aspect now, but is there anything else out there like this for the MMO blog community in general.