Posts Tagged ‘Breaking news’

Would smell as sweet

July 6, 2010

I’m not sure what I could say that could properly preface Blizzard’s latest announcement, so I’ll just let their words speak for themselves:

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm.

Nethaera

I read this and my jaw dropped. I passed on the link to others, read comments, reread the post, saw the Blue amendment (old posts will be unaffected), went to lunch and came back. And now that I’m back from lunch, I think I’ve managed to sift through my thoughts and find the relevant bits, beginning with this:

What the FUCK are you thinking, Blizzard?

Yes, I just dropped the f-bomb. Because something like this deserves it.  I was fine – and continue to be fine – with the Real ID friendlist because I can choose who knows who I am. Not that I exactly go to great lengths to conceal my identity, but I don’t need some random pug tank calling me by my first name.

A person’s name is their identity. Yes, that sounds obvious but let me elaborate: you’re walking down the street and you hear someone say your first name. Immediately you pause – that name is your personal identifier, after all – and turn towards the voice, only to see someone else approaching the person like old buddies. It may be that person’s name as well, but to the both of you it is something personal.

I’ll admit to only half-listening to my husband at times, but if he says my name he has my full and undivided attention. It triggers something primal, a mental flag that I need to get serious, because whatever is happening warrants the use of my specific identifier. My name is personal, and if I don’t want someone to use it I can tell them to their face.

Blizzard doesn’t have a face. It’s a company that I’ve believed for a long time only wanted the best for its customers. So instead I will say this publicly: Blizzard, I want you to use my name to bill me. I do NOT want you to use my name to tell the entire World Wide Web that I play a tauren hunter, or that my undead mage yells gibberish in battlegrounds, or that my night elf druid has been sitting unplayed for over a year.

Blizzard, it’s not fair that I trusted you with my name, my moniker, only to have you tell me that I have to share it with the entire world to be a part of your forums. And now, I value my privacy too highly to post on your forums ever again.

I understand you want to reduce the amount of trolling on your forums. I don’t have an easy solution for you. But I will tell you that doing this will not only pare out just a few trolls (because the worst ones have no moral difficulty with lying to you in the first place), but additionally serve to alienate the most competent and intelligent section of your fan base. They are the ones who understand the value of their name, and they will shun you.

Don’t do this, Blizzard, I implore you. It will only serve to tarnish your company’s reputation. Or does your name mean as little to you as mine?

Edit 7/7/10: My post on the official thread, response number 19761.

Invasion of the CareBears

September 11, 2008

From Nebu on the main site, WorldofWarcraft.com:

Providing a smooth and enjoyable experience for all players is always a priority for us, and we are continually re-evaluating our policies and programs to do so. As the state of the game has matured substantially since the inception of Paid Character Transfers, we will now be allowing PvE-to-PvP transfers on a full-time basis to provide players with more mobility and freedom to easily play with their friends.

Keep in mind that all of the other standard cooldowns and restrictions will continue to apply; we’re just opening the option to transfer characters on Normal realms to Player-vs.-Player realms. Please review the Paid Character Transfer FAQ if you have any questions on how this service works.

Very interesting.

Ever since the PCT surfaced, there has been cries of foul from players who want to transfer from their hum-drum PvE servers to the exciting world of PvP realms. “Why can’t we?!” they’d cry in droves.

“Because,” Blizzard would reply, to the cheering crowds of already-established PvP realm players, “you had it too easy. It’s just not fair to let you carebear your way to 70 and then jump somewhere to gank noobs.”

This was understood as fair (except by the people who just wanted to make the one exception for them, just that once).

Now, this.

Am I affected? Not one bit. I hate PvP. I rarely participate in it, and the thought of playing on a PvP server frightens me. I am a carebear through and through, thankyouverymuch, and I’ll stay happily on my RP-PvE realm.

The thing is, I’ve had the old way of thinking (PvE->PvP is unfair, lol) too deeply ingrained in me. Isn’t this unfair to the people who had to suffer 70 levels of ganking and corpse-camping? I can’t help but think so.

In the end, I suppose this is all just another step by Blizzard to make the game more accessible to players before the expansion hits. First it was the uber Recruit-a-Friend buff to get people into the game and leveled. Now they can finally transfer off the easy-peasy PvE realm to join their real friends in PvP-land.

But there’s a nagging bit at the back of my brain that’s wondering what that will do to PvP combat on especially well-known PvP realms. Will the quality decrease? Increase? No change at all? Explosions? Invasion by Spore-created monstrosities?

Only time will tell.

If you really wanted my approval, you should’ve made it a unicorn.

August 6, 2008

If you’ve visited the WoW main page within the last day, you should already know about the new recruit-a-friend incentives. The old one was pretty nice: refer a new account, and get a free month when that account buys their first month of subscription time. Pretty sweet within itself, kind of like the bonus we’d get at our old apartment complex for referring a new tenant.

But now there are new products bribes bonuses!

For each person you refer who upgrades to a retail version of World of Warcraft and purchases two months of game time, you will be able to give a character on the account you sent the invitation from an exclusive in-game zhevra mount.

If your friend goes above and beyond the one month requirement for the original incentive, then you get a shiny new zhevra mount! Not my thing, but I can see people scrambling for this one. At any rate, not a bad offer. As much as I like the cute freebies Blizzard throws out there, they’re always random stuff with no *real* impact on the game, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out because I didn’t spend the money (i.e., Blizzcon giftbag, WWI treats, TCG loots).

But wait, what’s this?

What in-game benefits do we get while the accounts we play are linked?

1. Characters on both accounts can summon each other once per hour.

Okay, I can stand behind this. Especially since the article goes on to mention that a character can only summon another that is the same level or lower, which keeps level 5 priests from summoning their 70 friend to help them kill pigs in Durotar. Actually, this would be fantastic for pranking your buddy as well. Summoning a level 5 friend into the middle of Netherstorm has the potential for hilarity.

Looking at this from another angle, let’s take this the town portal way: two friends out questing together, one makes a town run on their hearthstone. When finished, he’s summoned back by the other. With two summons per hour, that’s a lot of run time to and from town that’s significantly cut down on.

2. While adventuring with your linked friend/family member, you will each gain triple experience.

Triple experience? Apparently rested double-experience wasn’t enough. It appears that rested experience will just sit and accumulate while the triple experience buff is in place, too. Is this really necessary? For three months (the length of the linking), two accounts can quest together and never need to stop to rest. While this is great for two friends playing together, they’d have to be careful not to outlevel each other, for then only the littlest character gets the buff.

What this will really affect are two classes of players: dual-boxers (who are perfectly legit and I have no ill will against) and botters. Triple experience, no down-time, 90 days – how many 70’s could two accounts grind up? Four apiece? Perhaps even more. But that’s what Blizzard’s willing to dish out in exchange for more active accounts, apparently.

3. For every two levels the new player earns, the new player can grant one free level-up to a lower-level character played by the veteran player.

Wut.

This is where it goes too far, Blizzard. Buy another account/subscription for a free mount? Okay, fine. Get more xp for it as well? That’s starting to push it, but I’m willing to let it slide. Give out free levels to the veteran account? Watch your step, Blizzard, you’re teetering dangerously close to business practices I refuse to support.

World of Warcraft may have only been my second subscription MMORPG, but I’ve played in numerous free ones before I started in Azeroth. Beta and free-to-play games dotted my hard drive for years, and I found that the ones I despised the most were the ones that offered in-game amenities at an out-of-game cost. When the company sells advantages to its players, the playing field is suddenly as level as my chest. Fair play goes out the window for quick cash, and the players don’t take long to follow.

Something I’ve always loved about WoW is how it was fair. Blizzard condemns gold-buying, gold-selling, cheating, hacking, botting, the works. They want it to be fair. But these ‘incentives’ are just one step away from official gold selling, and one step away from me cancelling my account.

Good news, everyone!

July 15, 2008

It’s hard to find a single WoW player who hasn’t heard of the Glider software. We all know what it does: automates your character in the game, completely breaking the terms of use, and setting your account up for a near-guaranteed closure. But while the legitimate players know of the pains those bots can cause, the shady ones have had no problems in botting their way to a soon-to-be-banned 70 or five.

Well, quite a while back, Blizzard brought down the banhammer on Glider itself – bypassing all the players and going straight to the source code. The lawsuit has been only talked about in murmurs since, until today:

Blizzard has won its summary judgment motion against World of Warcraft bot maker MDY on copyright grounds.  Blizzard also prevailed on its tortious interference claim.  This means that liability for contributory and vicarious copyright infringement and tortious interference is completely off the table and will not go to the jury at trial in September, assuming that the parties do not settle before then.  The only issue before the jury on these two claims will be damages.

Virtually Blind, 7/14/08

What does that mean? Well, all the legal bits aren’t over yet. And I haven’t dug through the legal documents to see what points each side won on. But the meat of the issue is that Glider was in fact breaking the law with their program. That’s right! It wasn’t just helping people break the contract with Blizzard, but actually breaking the law.

So if the suit continues, it’ll be mainly about how much money Glider owes Blizzard.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go laugh maniacally.