Category: MMO


Cataclysm Nerf? *Rant* move along…

Blizzard hotfixed Warlock damage last night and gave a 12% nerf to a vast number of skills and people are massively up in arms and claiming losing THOUSANDS in DPS. however, this just isn’t true. They aren’t stopping to think about how this works anymore, and they emotions are overriding the actual value.

Skills scale to level now, so let’s assume that you have a skill that at level 1, does 100 damage, and level 2 it does 200 damage, and it increments at that point all of the way up to level 85. AT which point it’d be 8,500 damage. So they say it’s too powerful at level 85. So they do a 12% nerf on the skill from the top down because what they are worried about is the future of end game and not needing to rebalanced *again* at 85.

So that means they take the percentage amount from the total skill at level 85, and run it backwards. Which means each level takes approximately 0.14% of a nerf. Which means over 5 levels you’ve lost 0.705% Damage. And over 85 levels you lose 12% over its values at level 85. So people who are at 80, screaming that they’ve lost thousands of DPS since the patch are full of it and want to just scream.

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In a not so surprising turn of events. When the players decided to take matters into their own hands and started to post information that was publicly attainable and for free the names and addresses of higher end Blizzard and Activison employees they suddenly. To Change their mind on the subject.

Nathaera posted a notice from the co-founder of Blizzard officially changing their tune. The word is that Blizzard isn’t going to force players to use their real names but instead use battle.net names with a number value that will remain static.

Full post is listed here. I’ve posted it below for people who do not have access to blizzard forums while at work.


Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

Clearly they did listen. A thread that goes 2,600+ pages of outcry is hard to ignore. Blizzard made a terrible PR move even considering this. I’m glad to see it change.

My personal grips were more than just my public name. It’s that they always said that usage of the forums were optional, however I cannot count the number of times I was told that I’d need to Take my issue to the forums Which makes my usage of the forums not-so-much-optional anymore.

Blizzard’s Real ID.

Anyone who plays World of warcraft and frequents their forums knows of how troll infested they are. It’s beyond stupid. Blizzard has implemented something called “realid” It allows us to track our friends by first and last name .. real names across server lines and be able to talk to them This alone is pretty cool. I’d only use it for people who I do know in real life and anything that falls into the gray area is going to be ignored.

Yesterday, Blizzard announced that everyone on the forums is going to be forced to use their Real ID. When this goes live all 11 million players now have their Identities just hanging out there. The reason?

The Trolls. Forums Trolls. There are lots of people who log into the forums to mock, make fun of and otherwise tear down people. If people are held accountable then the theory is that it will stop. This is an interesting Idea in practice but in actually implementation it’s a nightmare.

Currently, there are companies that when they start doing interview request your facebook/myspace account. They want to know what you do on your off times. I know people personally who have lost job opportunities because they play games. Because the supervisors view games as if they are “for children”. Not realizing that it’s an escape for many people from their real lives. It’s a mini vacation every single day.

The amount of damage that can be done by your own name if someone steals your ID information is absurd.
I’ve been playing wow for years, and this may be the final straw. If I ever find that I have to use the forums for any reason at all, I’ll just cancel. My privacy is more important than blizzard trying to get their out of control trolling issues under control. They would be better off re-establishing guidelines making them more strict then start banning people left and right for 3 days at a time

OR.. here’s an EASY TO DO thought for you blizzard. FORCE people to use 1 name. no more hopping characters. While it’s not their real name they will be quickly discounted as being a troll and people will stop reacting to them.

Either way, this is a stupid move Blizzard.

Save us Turbine Man!

There has been an awful lot of press release info on the Warner Brother Purchase of Turbine inc. The most interesting speculation, has been what new MMO’s Turbine is working on. There has also been a lot of speculation that this MMO is a Harry Potter MMO. There is a lot of Credence to this thought process and it the HP franchise lends itself heavily towards this as a theory. It’s already got a built in story, Houses, classes, factional, plus an element of PVP, and fluff content, plus a great set of villains and plot lines. Truly, after seeing the world that Turbine has done with Lord of the Rings, if anyone could pull off an HP MMO. Turbine could, and they could do it well.

But The more I Thought about this, there were a few things that came to mind.

First. The HP Franchise for WB has been a cash cow. they’ve made money Hand over fist, and it would in a lot of ways Behoove them to keep the cash cow going. But I think this is also a target audience that also likes HP, may not be so Interested in an MMO. The Demographics really just don’t fit well enough to Risk that kind of Venture.

The proper answer didn’t occur to me until just recently when a my brother in law, a fellow geek showed me a new MMO he’s playing and how much he likes it. After some discussion about it’s highlights and what he loves about it. The answer struck me. While yes, This seem cliche and over used it makes a lot of sense.

Lets take a look of what other franchises and or companies that WB owns. Castle Rock, New Line, Fine Line, Tolkein, DC comics. Granted this is a fraction, but these are the ones that I would declare had some significance. The one that has been over looked is DC comics. DC was purchased by Warner Brothers in 1969 and they’ve put out a handful of mediocre Superman and Batman Films, and they’ve put out a few REALLY good ones. But it’s mostly been an under used IP Franchise That still has a lot of popularity. As Marvel was being purchased by Disney, and the Comic Book fan were in an uproar, WB was giving Feeding Turbine Money to the tune of 80 Million+. And Quietly putting together a new MMO. The WB Purchase went off without a hitch, and people cited that WB had controlling interest in the Tolkien Franchise, and Seeing that it was WB giving money to Turbine the automatic assumption was an HP MMO. Not really thinking, or knowing that DC is owned by WB. It happened long enough ago that most Comic book fans didn’t have the public outlet that we have now. The purchase wasn’t a world wide announcement. I’m willing to wager that Most DC Comic Fans realized that DC is owned (subsidiary) by WB

City Of heros, City Of Villians, Champions online, All have hit a demographic that is kind of exclusive to the hard core comic fan. Champions online Character creation is so extensive that if you were willing to put the time in you can custom create a character that is so accurate to the original it’s almost plagiarism. I first played Champions on my Brother in laws Account, and built a Character that looked so much Samus Aran that you’d mistakenly think that it was. Plus it was fun to play. My In law has this fantasy book in his head that he’s writing. He’s used Champions online to build his characters, he’s tweaked out every detail of how they should look. All of these MMO’s have done very well for both the fan and the non fan.

So when you sit back and look at the larger picture. Turbine has made a very successful MMO based off of a movie and series of books that New Line Cinemas did a fantastic job with. (also part of the WB)

Warner Brothers is seeing Marvel Rake in the cash from their IP’s and are starting to realize that their own DC IP is very under utilized in todays media. WB has announced a series of new Movies leading to a Justice league movie, Marvel is doing an avengers movie. There is some creditably to suggest that WB is after a demographic that is mostly of untouched by most mainstream MMO’s. It’s not far fetched to assume that WB is after a DC MMO to run in Sync with their own Movie franchises.

The blizzard effect

I’ve come up with a name for specific situations. I’ve deemed this “The blizzard effect”.

Most gamers and non gamers alike know who, what, and/or at least have heard of World of Warcraft. When WoW First went public, it was ran sacked with hackers, item dups, money dups, 3rd party programs that would level your character and craft *FOR* you. To attempt to control this complete out of control situation, Blizzard introduced a monstrosity into the internet with something they called the Warden client.

The Warden client alone is single handed one of the most invasion programs I’ve ever ran through a de-compiler.

It loads with the launcher, then loads into memory and sits dormant for an unknown amount of time, until something is sent over the TCP/IP line to trigger it and turn it on. It at that point scans your task bar, what you have open, what webpages you have open what programs/processes you have running, if you have your Root directory of your C: open in a window it’ll scan through every folder on your drive looking for anything that might be suggestive that you Hack.

They have security reasons for doing this and it has cut down and eliminated this kind of cheating. It doesn’t change the fact that the Warden client is still scanning your tax records, photos of your family and your private porn collection of your spouse/wife. The client can be disabled using the Sony Rootkit, which if you know how to use it will pull it out of memory. Those instructions are readily available but not easily follow. Most are written obscurely.

The reason why I bring this up is because clever hackers have gotten a hold of it, reverse engineered it, and are using its roots to do exactly what it’s intended to do. Personal invasion, secondary effect. Infect people with Viruses, and probably attempt to steal password, and Credit card Social security numbers. They take screenshots of popular scanners and copy their interface they check your processes to see what’s running, download the proper interface to make you *THINK* that you have a virus and wait for you to click a button so it can install itself on your machine. Most of this really high virus technology, is already programmed into the delivery method via the Warden Client, that blizzard now provides to all hackers free of charge!

Blizzard updates the warden client to keep it from being removed, and Sony releases a new root kit for other reasons, which just happens to also remove the new warden client, and viola, the blizzard effect strikes again now new and improved and even HARDER to get rid of.

Symantec posted on it’s blog that it uncovered a server that had 44 Million stolen gaming accounts. The numbers and values of said accounts ranging in price from $5  to $28,000 .

World of Warcraft for example had 220,000 stolen accounts in this database. two of the biggest “losers” in this DB was A company called Wayi Entertainment. Which is a Website in Taiwan, which I’m not sure if it’s peddling Hentai, mail order brides or if it’s a dating website.

And PlayNC which is a division of NCsoft. (Guild wars, City of Heros, Linage 2)

For  more information click the attached link

http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/44-million-stolen-gaming-credentials-uncovered

Online grief

I read this article written by Jaime Skelton, about Real death in a virutal world, I felt it meritred repeating as most people just *don’t* get it.

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The virtual worlds we live in like to gloss over issues of mortality. In most MMOs, characters die and then can instantly respawn, either at a graveyard located not too far from the scene of their death or, in some circumstances, right at their freshly-fallen corpse. Even many of the game’s heroes seem incapable of dying, coming back in a phoenix-rising fashion, while villains merely have setbacks. In order to preserve a perpetual world, MMOs offer a sense of perpetual life.

In a sea of anonymity, where even in the darkest world life is still pretty good for the player character, it can be easy to forget that somewhere beyond the renders and wild landscapes, beyond the outlandish armor and flawless persona, there are real people. This is an argument often brought up when players find themselves ruthlessly trolled, insulted, and harassed online by the anonymous crowd, a group of people who feel it’s safe to say whatever they like because there are no real world repercussions. Set aside the crude behavior, however, and you’ll find that every player is at some point guilty of showing a lack of human awareness for the person on the other side. This ignorance isn’t usually voluntary; the nature of our gaming simply creates a wall that acts as any long-distance communication does. It prevents us from the face-to-face, non-verbal communication that proves crucial to human understanding.

Words like “cancer”, “hospital”, and “coma” have a draw powerful enough to bring a person out of their virtual sanctuary and into the realm where life and death situations are real. These are words I’ve had to deal with this week, as I received surprising news that a dear uncle of mine had cancer, was in the hospital in a coma, and wasn’t expected to make it through the night. My uncle isn’t a gamer, but his sudden plight – and the word “cancer,” which chills me deep in my marrow every time I hear it – brought to mind the second person I loved and lost to cancer in my life.

I met Naganatae in Lord of the Rings Online. She was a deeply dedicated officer of the guild I had joined, and would spend her entire day working hard to help both the guild as a whole, and to help individual members. By all online appearances, she appeared to be one of those people who didn’t “have a life”; the kind that lived off of Cheetos and Dew in mom’s basement while spending all their time online. Given that “Naga,” as we called her affectionately, was a very secretive, quiet person, it was easy for anyone to make assumptions about her and her lifestyle.

Over time, I got to know Naga better, and we soon became fast friends. She was still very secretive, but I found we had many interests and viewpoints in common. There were days when she would suddenly get upset and log off, or she would say she was feeling sick and disappear for a few days before returning. Every time she came back, however, she promised me she was okay. I believed her.

It wasn’t until the last month I knew Naga that I found out “sick” meant cancer. She made me swear to secrecy; even our guild leader, a very kind and empathetic man, had no idea. There were only three of us who knew her condition, and only one who knew how bad it really was. When she disappeared from having ISP problems, and time passed into over a month, the one person who knew her best finally voiced his fears and said that he was sure she had passed away. It wasn’t until a few months later that we received the obituary and I found out so much more about the friend I had lost; how amazing she was as a person in the real world as well.

You can call me a sap, but life in LotRO was radically changed for me after losing Naga. I tried to hold a memorial service for her with the guild, but plans failed to follow through. I fought with other guild members who hadn’t been as close to Naga as I had, and didn’t show the level of mourning I wanted them to in my own grieving state. My interest in the game faded fast, and I eventually quit. Even though I’ve returned to LotRO since then, I haven’t been able to bring myself to the multi-game guild (which I’m still a member of) or even the server I once played on. It’s as if I’ve been frozen in that emotional moment.

The loss of an online friend is nothing new, but something experienced on a larger scale when it happens in an MMO context. A player may have been known by hundreds in his gaming community, even though very few may have actually known the person behind the avatar. Not many people are forthcoming about their personal mortality in a virtual setting; it’s as if we want to minimize our impact if we should “go.” We want our lives to remain anonymous, even to the point of shielding some good friends from the truth.

When death strikes an online friend, it’s hard to know exactly what to do. There are no established standards of etiquette or grieving for virtual worlds. Certainly many of the stages of grief are the same as losing someone you knew in person, simply because the understanding of another human being’s identity crosses long-distance barriers. Some things, however, get lost in translation of distance and personal, physical connection. There is no attending funerals for closure, no connection with family and friends outside the virtual space, no easy way to obtain real-world information to pay a visit to a grave or send condolences to a family.

To the outside world, the grieving that online players suffer seems strange. Many grieving players have been told, “They were just an online friend – it’s not like you actually KNEW them.” The assumption is that online relationships have less value, less emotional meaning, than in-person relationships. While I’m not one to idealize text or graphically simulated relationships, there is plenty of evidence that online relationships can offer, at the least, the foundation for meaningful interpersonal relationships. That is to say that there is some essence of a “real” relationship when we speak with and get to know other people in cyberspace. Our grief, too, is real, even when the relationship developed had no in-person contact.

In order to cope with their loss, many players set up memorial services and role-played funerals. These events can be a great method of closure, but often end up experiencing a different matter of ‘grief’ as other players intrude on the ceremonies to disrupt and disturb them. Such acts are often a mix of intent to make other people miserable, and a political statement made to mock emotional attachments to virtual relationships. Funeral crashing is nothing new, however, and little can be done except to make ceremonies more private and to report offending players for harassment.

Closure is better found elsewhere when it comes to grief and loss in virtual worlds. Our virtual gaming communities are not geared well to cope with death, something that seems to result from the lack of in-person interaction that can offer physical comfort – a hug, a smile, and physical closeness that offers a specific psychological benefit. The best thing to do when confronted with loss is to turn to the people who can offer that physical closeness and comfort, to the same people you’d seek out when losing a friend in the “real” world. Then find a way to honor the person you lost, in a way you know best to do. For some, that may simply mean taking a meaningful action in-game. In my case, losing Naganatae made me take up supporting cancer research in her honor.

Death may be the hardest confrontation for any player. For all that have lost an online friend, and for all those that will, know that your grief is normal and that you are not alone. After all, there are people being the characters we meet, and some can touch our lives quite profoundly.

Hard like Heroic

Parody of  “Bad touch” From The Bloodhound Gang

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xciuYTeu4Qc

D&D0 Just made my cool list.

This is the ending Cinematic for the Fall of the Lich King, after you kill him. Blizzard has been pushing really hard to get this video off of YouTube. I really have no idea why. They included it as part of the download in the last patch. Any fanboi can see this without completing the dungeon.

(Warning: This does contain MASSIVE spoilers, if you do not wish to be spoiled do not watch.)

(Note: doesn’t seem to work in Chrome, Or some versions of Firefox not sure why, but if you have WoW installed and updated, you already have this video.)

http://player.swf