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News for the ‘world of warcraft’ Category

New WoW ‘free trial’ So Restricted It May Doom New Sales @blizzardcs

(Addendum: If you’re a Blizzard customer service rep reading this, as I’m unsure if you guys DO read public relations issues like you should given that you’re a faceless American corporation where consumer rights are considered a mamby pamby thought experiment like communism, I wish to inform you my reader demographic broke 9 million yesterday, with 100k cascading viewers across all social networks. Keep this in mind when realising what a PR kick to the balls this issue is from my keyboard to my viewers eyes alone. So seriously, pick your fucking game up guys.)

Below is an article from Fairfax outlining the changes to WoW’s 14 day free trial becoming unlimited. I was chatting to a journalist about it, when we discovered the restrictions on accounts was … well, patently absurd.

The 14 day free trial restrictions were moronic, as you REALLY couldn’t experience anything that most of us consider main reasons to play as it was.

The new system, while it sounds good (unlimited free play) has the most absurd restrictions I’ve ever imagined could be imposed. You can’t even /tell, or participate in general chat, or /say apparently. You can’t join a guild, or parties unless they’re lowbier than you. You can’t do much of anything.

The reason this is so bothersome I’m posting about it is, WoW needs new blood. EVERY expansion their membership growth rate has HALVED, and player retention is unspectacular.

I run an extremely large guild (follow us @malleusvindicta or take a peek at our website and ask for an add if you play on US-Moon Guard), I’m an objective play by numbers kind of guy. I’ve seen more people leave the game of age and lifestyle enough to fund ongoing play than join which means one eternal thing.

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is bleeding both cash and players.

What does this mean to players? It likely means they’ll find ways to make the game more of a grind, so everything takes longer. They’ll likely break a demographic class beyond repair for a few months causing you to rage and roll a new character (ie: hunters broken during every expansion to date, druids … well, always crap) to escape the horrors.

As it is you grind to end game, grind all your faction rep up, grab that gear to grind a charity tier, use that to grind a full tier, then bam, new tier, grind grind grind grind bloody grind. It’s like a twisted Skinner box experiment without cheese as a reward.

My recommendation to Blizzard is, pick up your game, let them experience WoW properly, perhaps limit trading and partying with people too high a level above. For the instigating article, read below.

Ps: It’d be nice if you allowed us to PURCHASE level 85 status with in game stuff or even bloody cash, I don’t have the time to level a new 85 every time you ruin my classes in question, and you can kill the power-leveling industry you so seem to hate (even though it causes longer player duration, and gold sales balance your very VERY poor concept of an economy) and will allow us to not have to spend several months of the year just grinding through the same boring crap grinds.

 

THAT impenetrable fortress of online gaming, World of Warcraft, has made a concession to the free-to-play hordes that gather in an effort to chip away at the empire – it’s also free.

At least, WoW‘s new Starter Edition is free.

Replacing a more customary 14-day trial and scrubbing its time limit, the Starter Edition nonetheless carries over the trial’s restrictions.

In place of a time limit is instead a cap that halts character progression at level 20 out of a possible 85.

Coincidentally, it takes about two weeks playing a couple of hours each day to reach level 20, but on the other hand, those with the Starter Edition can grind out as many sub-20 characters as they like.

So what can’t they do? Well, the social experience is significantly diminished: there’s no voice or public chat, no guilds, no item trading (a key part of WoW‘s internal economy), and Starter users are prevented from creating or joining parties that contain members over the level 20 threshold.

Oh, and there’s a wealth limit of 10 gold – but that’s actually a decent amount in WoW terms.

For now at least, WoW remains steadfastly focused on converting new players into paid subscribers, bundling in the Burning Crusade expansion for those that pony up.

Other massively multiplayer games (MMOs) that become free-to-play – Lord of the Rings Online, Champions Online, and (soon) LEGO Universe and City of Heroesmake money by means of an in-game shop that offers extra items and quests, with optional premium memberships taking the place of a subscription tier.

Some, like Allods Online and Vindictus, launch as free-to-play from the off.

Guild Wars 2 will require a one-time retail purchase only; and then there are the brave few, such as RIFT, that pursue a fully fledged subscription model in an effort to beat the 12-million subscriber WoW at its own game.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/gaming/world-of-warcraft-finally-hitcches-a-ride-on-the-free-to-play-bandwagon/story-e6frfrt9-1226084867336#ixzz1QjtHYUde
Posted: June 30th, 2011
Categories: game reviews, games, rant, reviews, warcraft economics, world of warcraft
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Chinese Prisoners Forced to Goldfarm in MMO’s

Imprisoned for “illegally petitioning” the government over corruption in his town, the former Chinese inmate known as “Liu Dali” has told the U.K. Guardian that in addition to back-breaking manual labor he and other prisoners were forced to play video games for hours on end. Not as a form of punishment or leisure activity, but because their overseers had assembled a massive “goldfarming” operation, wherein they exploited prison labor to earn money playing online games. From the Guardian:

“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” Liu told the Guardian. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [£470-570] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”

While the idea of prisoners being forced to play video games may seem chuckleworthy, and it certainly is absurd, it is no laughing matter. Again, from the Guardian:

“If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things,” he said.

Goldfarming is now extremely widespread in China, where the Guardian reports nearly $2 billion in online currency was traded accounting for 80% of the world’s goldfarming. While for some of the world’s poor population, goldfarming could mean a better life, the use of prison labor is bizarre and more than a little troublesome. It also complicates international trade, since some countries refuse to accept exported goods made in prisons.

Liu speculates that many other prisoners are likely still forced into goldfarming operations, and assumes that the practice must be widespread. His belief is backed by University of California researcher Jin Ge, who describes China as “the factory of virtual goods.” One wonders how comfortable gamers would be if they knew that the items and credits purhcased for a game came at the cost of forced labor.

Update: The Telegraph reports that Chinese officials have denied the story, saying that gold farming would allow prisoners to communicate with the outside world, which they would never allow:

[A]n official at the central office for labour camps in Heilongjiang denied that inmates were forced to play games online. “I have never heard of this. If you want to see for yourself, come to one of our labour camps,” he said.

The official, who declined to give his name, said: “We do not allow our inmates to do high-risk occupations, such as coal-mining. We do not have large numbers of computers. And we do not allow our prisoners to have any contact with the outside world. If they were playing these online games they could easily communicate with other people. We would never allow that.”

(U.K. Guardian)

World of Warcraft Content Update 3.3

The latest content patch for World of Warcraft is quite an epic patch as far as size and application goes, with a lot of changes. Some classes get a buff or ten, others get massively nerfed. Hunter took a big hit, shame because I miss playing a hunter, Death Knights (which my main character of interest is, simply due to farming abilities) however get mad buffs and the coolest armour I’ve seen in a while. It’s nice to see they’re finally updating armour rather than just repainting old tier sets too! Here’s an excerpt summary of changes from the WoW site itself.

At last. In the Fall of the Lich King content update (3.3), the great doors of Icecrown Citadel will be forced open. The mightiest heroes of the Horde and Alliance will confront and finally defeat Arthas, the Lich King — but the lord of the Scourge will not easily part with his sword, his life, or his frozen kingdom.

This update includes an all-new raid and winged five-player dungeon; numerous interface improvements, including detailed quest tracking and instant cross-realm dungeons; scores of new quests and achievements; the epic tier-10 armor sets, and numerous class and system updates. You can find specific info, patch notes, and extensive details on all of the additions below.

The price of victory in Northrend grows higher with each passing day. Charge the gates, and bring an end to the wrath of the Lich King!

Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls
Looming over the stark wastes of Northrend, the Icecrown Citadel awaits those who would see the Lich King and his Scourge brought low and the threat they pose wiped from the face of Azeroth. The heroes who venture within will face some of the greatest challenges and horrors yet seen. But before you burst in the front door of the Citadel itself, an alternate means of entry awaits you, with an epic journey into the new five-player dungeon, Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls.

Journey with us into our preview of Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls to find out more of what’s in store.
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Tier 10 Armor Sets
As the threats within Icecrown Citadel continue to take shape, so do the rewards for the brave souls who seek to face them. Check out high-resolution images of the tier-10 armor sets that wait to be acquired within the halls of Icecrown Citadel.
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New Quest Feature
We’re making several improvements to the user interface for tracking quest objectives in our 3.3 content update. These new features will serve to improve the questing experience for players through a multitude of new tracking options.
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Warcrack update, gearing.

So the weekend past was Alterac Valley weekend in World of Warcraft, which means higher honor points are awarded if you play the battleground Alterac Valley.  I decided to jump on Tamp’s account, considering mine was banned a few years ago, and see if I can sort out one of his characters gear.  Please note, I didn’t name her, and once geared I will probably cough up for a race change (HoT racials FTW) and name change, no offence to Mr. T. So, in one weekend I managed to grind up about 80,000 honor and got her Deadly Gladiator’s Dreadplate Shoulders and Deadly Gladiator’s Dreadplate Gauntlets while grinding up enough gold in the meantime to gem the above plus Icebane Girdle. Not bad for two days work, surplus of about 800 gold, up from 0.

Posted: November 25th, 2009
Categories: warcraft economics, world of warcraft
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