Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime has apologized for the video clip that ran during the final performance at BlizzCon. That video clip featured comments from George Fisher of Cannibal Corpse talking about the game, and using a number of homophobic slurs. He also performed at BlizzCon as part of the Blizzard rock group Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. Morhaime, who is also a member of that group, threw himself on his sword in a letter to GayGamer.
The closing performance at BlizzCon 2011 by Level 90 Epic Tauren Chieftain has drawn strong criticism from gay and lesbian advocacy group GLAAD. The performance featured an opening video from guest singer George 'Corpseater' Fisher of the metal band Cannibal Corpse. In the video he talks about how much he hates Alliance using strong anti-gay language that we can't repeat here. While most of the foul language was censored in the video, those who saw it knew exactly what he was saying.
Blizzard Entertainment will host a series of special charity auctions featuring server-blade hardware that was originally used during the early days of World of Warcraft. The money generated from the auctions will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, one of the world's premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. The auction consists of the original HP Blade System servers that once housed hundreds of different realms across North America and Europe.
Blizzard Entertainment announced that its virtual pet sale has raised more than $1.9 million for Japan's earthquake relief efforts. Thanks to the generosity of World of Warcraft players, around the world who purchased the in-game pet, the Cenarion Hatchling, the company has managed to raise nearly $2 million for continued efforts to help those in Japan affected by earthquakes and tsunamis that hit the country earlier this year. More from Blizzard:
Blizzard Entertainment announced that its new World of Warcraft feature, Real ID Party, is now available for public testing. According to Blizzard this feature allows World of Warcraft players to invite their Real ID friends of the same faction to a party regardless of the realm they play on, and then queue up for a 5-player normal or Heroic dungeon.
Blizzard also sent along a handy dandy mini-FAQ, which you can read below. For even more information on this feature, check out the Battle.net Real ID.
Real ID Party FAQ
While World of Warcraft isn't going to free -to-play any time soon, Blizzard is taking steps to open it up to more people by creating an "unlimited trial period." And by unlimited they mean you can play it as long as you want without paying up to level 20. Anyone signing up for a free trial can now play the game indefinitely, though players cap out at level 20. That might seem like a big deal until you consider that, with all the latest expansions, you can play the game up until level 85. Trial restrictions still apply, of course.
Blizzard more than likely adjusted its trial period - which used to be ten days - to draw in more subscribers. The company has slowly been losing subscribers over the last year and it is trying to come up with new ways to reel current and new subscribers in. While the new trial is one way to do that, the company also said that it is trying to shorten the time period between expansions to keep players engaged.
In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Trion senior VP of publishing David Reid said that he knows why Blizzard lost 600,000 subscribers - detailed in Activision's most recent earnings call: because of his company's new MMO Rift. Rift recently hit its one million games sold milestone, and according to Reid, this has a lot to do with the decline in World of Warcraft subscriptions.
"We're really pleased with what we're seeing," said Reid. "And beyond that, it was a pleasure to see that in the latest Activision Blizzard earnings call, they inquired about Rift when Blizzard announced that their subscriber numbers went from 12 million to 11.4 million."
"You can do some math... We know very well where those 600,000 people are," he added.
That study conducted by Divorce Online suggested that 15 percent of divorces filed with the company are a result of video game addiction - usually World of Warcraft or Call of Duty. But a deeper look at the methodology, the actual numbers, and what is required to file a divorce in the UK paints a slightly different picture.
Divorce Online, a website dedicated to getting rid of that dead weight in your marriage, claims that 15 percent of the divorces it has handled can be attributed to spouses that are addicted to online games such as world of Warcraft and Call of Duty.
According to a press release issued by Divorce Online, an examination of 200 unreasonable behavior petitions filed by women using its service between January - April of this year found that 15 percent complained that their husbands were happier playing video games than they were paying attention to them. They called their "gaming addiction" an unreasonable behavior that lead to the divorce they were seeking.
The release also offers comments from one disgruntled 21-year-old wife from London named Jessica Ellis, 24, who married husband Michael in 2008.
Blizzard Entertainment posted a reminder on Battle.net that tickets for its annual fanfest, BlizzCon, will go on sale this weekend. The very first round of tickets will go on sale Saturday, May 21 at 10 a.m. PT through the online Blizzard Store. If you intend on attending the event, you'd better act fact because these tickets tend to sell out very quickly.
A second round of tickets will go on sale Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets for the special pre-BlizzCon charity dinner to benefit the Children's Hospital of Orange County will go on sale Saturday, May 28 at 10 a.m. PT.
For more details on all the activities planned for this year's BlizzCon, check out www.blizzcon.com.
Source: Blue's News
During its post-earnings call this week, Activision blizzard revealed that World of Warcraft subscriptions are down by about five percent. In October 2010, the popular MMORPG had around 12 million subscribers. Now the game enjoys about 11.4 million subscribers. To deal with the drop off, Blizzard's president Michael Morhaime said that the company has to release future expansion packs in a more timely fashion to contain player drop-off.
"As our players have become more experienced playing World of Warcraft over many years, they have become much better and much faster at consuming content," said Blizzard president Michael Morhaime during a conference call. "And so I think with Cataclysm they were able to consume the content faster than with previous expansions, but that's why we're working on developing more content."
iPhone and Android phone users can take Blizzard's World of Warcraft Remotes service for a test drive. Blizzard is offering a week-long free trial of the service beginning today but it is only offering it (initially anyway) for the most popular Mobile operating systems.
World of Warcraft Remotes cost $2.99 per month and lets users control a couple of in-game functions. Remote Auction House lets users check on active auctions, allowing them to bid, buy and create auctions, and more. It also provides notifications for those more important auction activities and allows you to renew those expired auction offerings. The second part of Remotes is Remote Guild Chat, which obviously lets you chat with your mates without actually being logged into the game.
You can download the free trial from Battle.net.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation announced that World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment has given an $800,000 donation to the charity dedicated to making the dreams of sick and terminally ill children come true. The donation amount represents 50 percent of the total sales during November and December 2010 of a special World of Warcraft in-game pet, the Moonkin Hatchling. Ultimately, that generosity is the result of WOW players, who spent the extra money to get the in-game pet.
Blizzard Entertainment celebrated the donation on World Wish Day (April 29) by granting the wishes of two boys at the company's headquarters in Irvine, California. Blizzard welcomed the two fans and their families to enjoy an exclusive learning experience with the World of Warcraft development team, including an inside look at how the game is created.
Blizzard Entertainment has released a new World of Warcraft companion to the pet store, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to relief efforts for Japan. World of Warcraft players that purchase the new pet can take comfort in the fact that they are getting a new in-game friend and that all the money they paid for it goes to help Japan with its ongoing relief efforts. The Cenarion Hatchling costs $10 USD.
The Cenarion Hatchling is the twin of the rare Hippogryph Hatchling pet players could randomly encounter in the first World of Warcraft Trading Card Game set, Heroes of Azeroth. Now he is available for your pleasure. For every Cenarion Hatchling purchased between now and July 31, Blizzard will donate 100 percent of the $10 USD "adoption fee" to the American Red Cross's Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief efforts.
For more information, check out this page.
The FBI has raided the apartment of two University of Michigan students to investigate what it has called "potentially fraudulent sales or purchases of virtual currency that people use to advance in the popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft." The story comes from Computer World. The FBI thinks the two students are terrorists who are doing "something" in World of Warcraft to further some sort of terrorist plot. It's hard to say what exactly they suspect from the two within Blizzard's virtual world, but they obviously aren't going on a hunch here.
Could you imagine finishing World of Warcraft (hitting the highest possible level) without killing a single thing? It is hard to imagine, but it is apparently very possible to do. Incredibly hard? For sure. Impossible? No. According to one player named Everbloom he managed to hit level 85 without killing a single creature. How did he accomplish such an arduous task, you ask?
He claims that he spent the last five months picking herbs, digging up bones, exploring the wilderness of Azeroth, and doing all manner of tedious tasks to gain experience. He did this by taking advantage of the Professions system, gaining small amounts of experience for advancing in various extracurricular activities.
Below is his announcement, taken verbatim from the Battle.net forums:
Two new Colorado State University studies examines the potential positive effects of video games using world of Warcraft as its testing grounds. The studies explore how video game players can become deeply involved in their games to the point where they may block out the "external environment" and temporarily feel that their play environment is as vivid and important as the real world. Researchers at Colorado State University say that such "absorptive experiences" can be positive ones, providing important mental health benefits.
Two studies recently published by Jeffrey Snodgrass, associate professor of anthropology at Colorado State, examine different types of video gaming experiences and the effects they can have on players’ lives, including their levels of stress, satisfaction and happiness. In both studies, Snodgrass and his research team examined the popular online game, World of Warcraft.
Blizzard Entertainment announced some of the things fans can expect from the sixth annual BlizzCon gaming convention, this year taking place at the Anaheim Convention Centre in Anaheim, California October 21 - 22.
This year's event dedicated to all things Blizzard (StarCraft, Warcraft, and World of Warcraft) promises hands-on play time with the latest Blizzard games (we assume that means players will get to try out Diablo III, the latest chapter in the StarCraft II series, and any new WOW stuff Blizzard has planned), casual and competitive tournaments for players of all skill levels, community contests with special prizes, "commemorative" merchandise based on the company's various game universes, and the usual assortment of keynotes, workshops, and discussions.
World of Warcraft gold sellers using PayPal as their preferred method of payment are getting a surprise from the wholly-owned eBay subsidiary: a threatening letter.
Last week Blizzard sent out complaints to PayPal, accusing gold and virtual property resellers of " intellectual property." This week PayPal jumped on a number of companies, issuing the following letter:
"You were reported to PayPal as an Intellectual Properties violation by Blizzard Entertainment Inc. for the sale of World of Warcraft Merchandise.
If you feel your sales do not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of the Reporting Party, please complete the attached Objection to Infringement Report by January 21, 2011."
Companies can certainly appeal the ruling (to what end we do not know), but to be compliant they have to cease their activities and remove all incidents of "intellectual property violations. "
Organizers of the Game Developers Conference revealed more happenings during its 2001 event including new lectures and details on the Game Developer Challenge. Blizzard Entertainment's Tom Chilton (game director, Cataclysm expansion and lead designer on Burning Crusade and Lich King) will deliver a presentation called "Remaking the World of Warcraft through Cataclysm." The presentation details what approach the design team took when creating the expansion, including what does and does not work when trying to recreate and revitalize existing content.
Correction:An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that Blizzard / Activision had served the maker of the World of StarCraft mod with a "Cease and Desist" letter. This was not the case, and we have corrected the record, headline, and story below to reflect that. Apologies to all parties involved. Corrected story below:
Activision has made a copyright infringement claim on YouTube, successfully getting a mod makers video removed from the service. The developer of World of StarCraft, an online StarCraft 2 MMO mod that combines the lore and gameplay elements of both games. Naturally the mod maker known only as "Ryan" is hurt and shocked by this action. Speaking at length on the mod's official forum, Ryan appeals to Activision to give him a break:
The creators of the x-rated game BoneTown, are setting their sights on a sci-fi fantasy world game called "BoneCraft." Announced at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) this week, BoneTown developer D-Dub Software takes aim at the fantasy MMO market with a risqué game involving humans, elves, orcs, "BoneTown-style fighting," and of course - sex..
BoneCraft is described by its developers as a "fantasy/sci-fi parody game that will appeal to both the adult gamers who have always loved BoneTown and to the legions of fans of the fantasy/sci-fi genre." Players will "be able to experience what has never been possible in other games of the genre— taking the action all the way to the bedroom." The game plays off the popularity of Blizzard's World of Warcraft and StarCraft games.
Saucy, naughty and NSFW. The CEO of D-Dub does his best to explain what the game is all about:
Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the third expansion for its popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has "sold through" more than 4.7 million copies in its first month of release. Blizzard claims that this milestone sets a new record for monthly PC-game sales. The numbers are based on "internal company records," digital distribution numbers, and "key distribution partners."
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm was simultaneously released in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand on December 7, and became available in Korea and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on December 9.
For more information visit www.blizzard.com/games/cataclysm.
A Herald-Tribune article details the odd work situation that Ryan Van Cleave finds himself in since writing his book, "Unplugged: My Journey Into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction." The topic of his book, game addiction, does not sit well with some faculty and students at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., where he teaches English and writing, because the school has close ties with the field of video game development.
The article describes him as somewhat heretical, because the school teaches computer animation, comparing him to a Hershey employee warning consumers not to eat chocolate.
Video game retailer GameStop reported record sales of $3.02 billion for the nine-week holiday season that ended on January 1. This marked a 5.4 percent increase over the same period last year, driven by Kinect sales, and "strong sell through" of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The company also reported 32 percent growth in gift card sales during the month of December.
New hardware sales improved 7.4 percent based mostly on the successful debut of Microsoft's Kinect. New video game software sales increased 3.3 percent.
Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies have software that enables PC games to work with Microsoft's Kinect sensor. The software is called Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST). It apparently emulates custom configured keyboard controls that are activated by body movements.
The most interesting part about this software can be seen in the video embedded in this story - it shows researchers playing World of Warcraft using the Kinect and the toolkit.
While the software is interesting for games, it may have other more practical uses such as "active gaming" to fight childhood obesity or "motor rehabilitation" for stoke victims.
Check out the video. For a technical overview of the software, check out ict.usc.edu.
While Blizzard was launching its biggest product of the year, behind the scenes it was having some serious problems with a data leak in China, according to a report on VentureBeat. According to that report, citing several news stories from MMOGameSite, Blizzard's release schedule and subscriber numbers were leaked from its China offices, and the general manager of the studio, Ye Weilun, was subsequently fired for it - allegedly.
Blizzard let us know that it has released two new World of Warcraft pets in the Blizzard Pet Store: Lil’ Ragnaros and the Mookin Hatchling. The Moonkin Hatchling is of particular interest to us because 50 percent of the proceeds go towards the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Last year Blizzard did something similar with the Pandaren Monk and ended up raising an impressive $1.1 million USD for the organization dedicated to making sick kids' dreams come true. Each pet cost $10 from the Blizzard store. Here's more on the Moonkin Hatchling: