Tag Archives: blizzard

Where Does the World of Warcraft Gold Come From?

As of March, 2011, there were more than 11.4 million subscribers to the popular World of Warcraft game. Every one of those people need in-game gold in order to buy gear, enchant and gem said gear, buy potions or food and repair things after being killed by enemies. Most people get that gold into their hot little hands the old-fashioned way: they earn it. Grinding through quests, dailies and heroics is time-consuming, though. Some players simply don’t want to have to work that hard in order to reap the benefits having a lot of gold in your bags can bring. Instead, they choose to buy their in-game money with real money… a practice that is frowned upon by Blizzard Entertainment and most hard-core players.

There are websites out there which will sell you mass quantities of gold in exchange for your hard-earned cash. Many of them offer as much as 20,000 gold at a time, with delivery promised within the hour. The question, though, is where that gold comes from. It’s a well-known fact that gold farmers suck. I’ve heard horror stories from players trying to complete quests who cannot because a gold farmer is busy camping an area in order to kill repeatedly for the money drops. Who the heck is behind this farming?

A recent article in The Guardian ran a story on Wednesday about this topic, and the post shocked many. Chinese citizen Liu Dali was a prisoner at the Jixi labour camp. During the day, he was forced to do hard labor outdoors. At night, he was forced to kill demons, animals and even other players… farming WoW gold. He claims to be only one of many prisoners who were literally forced to play games like WoW for many hours every day, earning gold to later be sold for real money.

“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. 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.

It is believed that about 80% of the people who farm for gold in games like WoW are located in China, and that there are more than 100,000 people doing so. With such a lucrative business venture, it’s hard to tell how many of those people are being forced to play, and how many are doing so for very VERY low wages while their bosses rake in the profits.

I do NOT want to know if you are a WoW (or other game) player who buys in-game gold or credits. That’s just something we don’t need to share, y’all. I’m not putting anyone down or judging them. Your way of playing is your own. However, I know that if I were playing one of those games, I’d find it much more satisfying to earn my bankroll the hard way.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Smashes Records

The newest expansion for World of Warcraft – Cataclysm – launched just a week ago to much fanfare. Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the popular game, released day one sales figures today. Within 24 hours of launch, the game had sold an unprecedented 3.3 million copies… smashing records left and right. This means more than one out of four WoW subscribers bought the expansion within 24 hours of its release – making it the fastest-selling computer game of all time.

According to Mashable, “the iPhone 4 saw a paltry 1.5 million units moved in its first 24 hours; and only 2 million songs by the Beatles were sold during the entire week of that band’s iTunes premiere.” That shows you quite an interesting twist on just how many copies of the game sold on the first day.

Does these numbers really surprise you? The cinematic trailer – embedded above – received more than a million views during its first full day on YouTube. I’m told that the original teaser video for the expansion was released during BlizzCon 2009 – which fell during Gnomedex 2009. I later found out that more than half of our attendees sent their laptops and notebooks to the Blizz site to check out the expansion news while listening to speakers on our stage! This game is that popular amongst people of all ages, races and geek-levels. The fans are rabid – and rightfully so, I suppose.

I’ve never been a fan, you already know that. My assistant Kat is, though, and is in love with the expansion. She reports she’s only played about three total hours so far. She restricts herself to logging in on weekends if she doesn’t have other things (family stuff) going on. She well knows how easy it is to get sucked into game-playing when you’re supposed to be working!

Are you a WoW player? What do you think about Cataclysm thus far?

Take Winter by Storm and Be Prepared for Weather Emergencies

The people behind Take Winter by Storm want to make sure all of us in Western Washington are prepared for the upcoming La Nina winter. A typical La Nina season can bring severe storms, high winds and a lot of snow. How will you stay in touch and receive emergency help if your electricity goes out?

I was asked to speak about this during the news report. You should remember to try to keep your phone or other mobile device as fully charged as possible. Always have a car charger handy or a backup battery. Keep in touch with the latest developments quickly by following your local news station on Twitter or even Facebook.

Being prepared is the key. Keep batteries, flashlights, candles, blankets, canned goods and bottled water in a place that is easy to get to. Make sure you have enough of the basic food staples for yourself AND your pets on hand should an emergency arrive. Know where you will go if you are forced to leave your home for any reason, and the route you should take to get there.

This season, Take Winter By Storm will be using more social media to get the word out on preparations using “twips” through Twitter.

Take Winter by Storm has an emergency preparedness checklist for you, as well as contact cards you can fill out. They also host a plethora of resources, such as for road conditions, flooding resources and human services.

Are you ready for La Nina?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Release Date Announced

Fans of the popular World of Warcraft game have been waiting for more than a year to hear when the newest game expansion would be released. Today, Blizzard Entertainment finally made the proclamation that caused millions of fans to sigh in relief. Don’t get your credit cards ready just yet, though. The Xpac will not hit store shelves until December 7th, 2010, just in time for the holiday season. Cataclysm will bring about massive changes to the game you have come to know and love over the years.

Not everyone is excited to see these changes hit their realms. After all, nothing will look exactly as it once did. There will be new races (Goblins and Worgen), new play areas, new talent specs and new levels to achieve. According to Blizzard:

The first two World of Warcraft expansions, The Burning Crusade(R) and Wrath of the Lich King(R), each shattered PC game sales records upon their release.* In Cataclysm, the face of Azeroth will be forever altered by the return of the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing. Players will explore once-familiar areas of the world that have now been reshaped by the devastation and filled with new adventures. In an effort to survive the planet-shattering cataclysm, two new playable races – worgen and goblins – will join the struggle between the Alliance and the Horde. As players journey to the new level cap of 85, they’ll discover newly revealed locations, acquire new levels of power, and come face to face with Deathwing in a battle to determine the fate of the world.

However, many dedicated fans are chomping at the bit to get their hands on this release. My assistant Kat is one of those people, and is already saving her pennies to have them ready for December 7th. She says that this is what keeps the game exciting… not staying stagnant, always creating new and exciting challenges and writing lore she loves to immerse herself in.

Are you looking forward to the expansion, or are you dreading the changes that will make their way to Azeroth?

Is it Time for Summer Yet?

The weather in Seattle has been amazingly beautiful for the past week. Kat couldn’t believe her luck when she visited for a week, and had nothing but sunshine and warm temps. I couldn’t help but grumble. I know this will mean we’re going to end up having an extremely hot summer this year. I am not a fan of extreme temperatures in either direction. The rain has finally returned to the Pacific NorthWest though. Kat only missed it by two days.

However, the same day she returned home from Seattle, she left with her family to drive to Boston. They have a family member in the hospital there who has been seriously ill. Instead of heading back home today, though, they had to drive further north to stay with her fiance’s parents for a few days. There’s currently a lovely blizzard nailing much of New York and Pennsylvania, making it impossible for her to drive home. With her away from home, our work flow has gotten all twisted up and turned around. If we’ve missed something we were supposed to get done for you, we both deeply apologize! We’re tag-teaming to get everything done as scheduled!

I know Kat isn’t the only person ready for winter to end. Personally, I prefer Spring or Fall. I know a lot of you out there are pining for Summer, though, waiting on the hot temps and gorgeous sunshine. Are you one of them?

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to see the latest deals we’ve put together for you!

GPS Failure Could Mean Disaster

One couple is lucky to be home safe and sound in Reno right now. They credit the fact that they always travel prepared for being alive and healthy. John and Starry Rhoads always travel by car with food, water and warm clothing packed in the trunk. This time, it proved to literally save their lives when their GPS led them astray.

The couple was traveling home to Reno from a visit in Portland. They were driving on Highway 31, which goes through Silver Lake Orgeon. The GPS unit told them to turn right onto a forest service road. They followed that, as well as some smaller spur roads, about 35 miles. Their SUV then became stuck in over a foot of snow.

For nearly three days, neither John nor Starry had any reception on their cell phones, so they couldn’t call for help. On the third day, a freak of nature (or change in the atmosphere) caused them to suddenly have weak signals. They took turns calling 911. Emergency crews were able to use the phones’ GPS tracking to locate the Rhoads’ and pull their truck out of the snow. They then returned safely to Reno.

We rely so much on devices such as the GPS. Sure, they give us the shortest route. But is it always the safest route? In this instance, the answer is unequivocally no. I know it doesn’t happen often, but one life lost would be one life too many.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that we perhaps rely a little too heavily on automated devices like this to get us from point A to point B in our lives?

How to Make Money Playing World of Warcraft: WoW!

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One of the live callers the other night is a professional World of Warcraft player. He and his team travel around the country playing in tournaments. In just one that they won first place, each team member won $5000.00!! I’m serious – five grand for winning a WoW tournament!

Since the team has no official name and are playing again at the upcoming BlizzCon, they wanted to know if they could name themselves after our Geeks site! Heck yeah they can!! Apparently the tournament will be broadcast live, with thousands of people watching.

Speaking of Geeks and WoW… we do have a group especially for WoW players and fanatics! There are 280 members of it at this point in time, and quite a lot of discussion, tips and tricks being shared in there. Be sure to stop by there if you’re a WoW player!

Good luck to you guys at Blizzcon. Sadly, I won’t be able to actually watch the tournament live, as it’s the same weekend as my Gnomedex convention. However, we’ll be pulling for you guys!

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