Tag Archives: wow

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.

How to Pay it Forward

When was the last time someone did a small favor for you? How did you repay their kindness? There are many ways to bestow a benediction and not all of them will cost money. Have you ever taken the time to pay it forward online? Did you even realize that this is something you should be doing each and every day?

Doing something nice for others is a basic human rule we should all live by. Sharing a friend’s site link with your network to help bring recognition to your comrade is one way to give back. Sharing invite codes with people who may not otherwise have access to them (instead of giving them out to the usual early-adopter crowd) is another friendly gesture that goes a long way. You most likely got where you are with the help of your followers, so why aren’t you giving the same hand up to others?

Gamers can play it forward, as well. A poster on the site will offer a game at no cost and a thread commenter is chosen to receive the gift. That person plays the game. If they like it, they should purchase another copy to give someone else. If they don’t end up liking the game, they are encouraged to gift a different game to a random player using the same site.

Speaking of gaming, my assistant Kat is a casual World of Warcraft player. Last weekend, her Mage was hanging out in one of the main cities while Kat was busy talking to her fellow guild members. Some random player sent our Kitty an in-game whisper, asking if she would please create a portal for them to another city. Most players do things like this for others in exchange for a tip of gold. Kat, however, always refuses the tip. Instead, she tells the character to pay it forward to another player in some way. Her talking about this to me is what gave me the idea to write this post. I know there are hundreds – if not thousands – of small ways we can help others while we are busy living our lives online.

You don’t have to be a gamer in order to participate, of course. You can be a Twitter addict or Facebook junkie. Why not give something to your friends’ Farmville crops without expecting (or begging for) items in return? Perhaps you know someone new to Twitter whom you believe has good things to say. You could always throw out a dreaded #FF Tweet to help them make new connections.

My challenge to you is simple: think back to the times someone has helped you for no reason other than to be kind. Now, go forth into the online world and pay it forward. I’d love to hear the ways you accomplish this task, so be sure to leave a comment here and share your experience with the community.

World of Warcraft on Kinect

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The Kinect has been “hacked” once again, but this time the stakes are more exciting than before. The new Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST) technology works with the Kinect to allow a gamer to control World of Warcraft completely with body movement alone.

FAAST can be used to control video games – such as World of Warcraft. Since these games would not normally support motion sensing devices, FAAST emulates keyboard input triggered by body posture and specific gestures. These controls can be dynamically configured for different applications and games. FAAST allows for basic commands and movement to be done via body motion and sound in the game.

Who says that gaming is bad for your physical health? By getting up and getting your body into the entire game, you’re taking the experience – and your health – to a whole new level.

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?

Are You Ready for the Cataclysm?

All of our gamer friends know that World of Warcraft Cataclysm release date is getting closer. Things around Azeroth will never be the same, but most players are excited about that prospect. It’s always good when a game shakes things up and makes them almost new again. It keeps players interested, right? There are lots of cool things going on to help promote the launch, and we’re happy to be taking part in a giveaway right here in our community.

Our friend Rubin and his team over at DiabloSpot have graciously donated some seriously cool items to give away. We will be doing two random giveaways – one begins today and the other will be next week! You have two chances to win, simply by sending a tweet. Your tweet must include @Chrispirillo, @diablospot and #Cataclysm in it. By sending that tweet between now and midnight on Friday night (October 29th), you are automatically in the running for this week’s prize.

This week, four lucky people will win Limited Edition Warcraft Trading Card Game Cards… each of which are still sealed in foil and were signed by the artist! At this point in time, there is no monetary value placed on them. I would definitely hold on to these if you win one… they could be worth some decent bank one day.

Are you looking forward to the Cataclysm? What do you feel will be the best change to the game? If you missed out on BlizzCon, be sure to check out the information that Rubin and the gang put up over on DiabloSpot – and don’t miss out on all the talk of Diablo 3.

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?

What is the Purpose of the Internet?

Avenue Q is a wildly popular show which has run all over the world. It is the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who comes to New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account. Poor Princeton quickly finds out that the only place he can afford to live is on Avenue Q. The neighbors seem harmless enough, so why not take a chance? Brian is an out-of-work comedian engaged to therapist Christmas Eve. Nicky is a complete slacker with a big heart who is roomies with Republican investment banker Rod. Trekkie is addicted to the Internet… and porn. Kate, the Kindergarten teaching assistant, is sweet and naive. Princeton and the gang sail through the entire show struggling to find jobs, dates and their purpose in life.

JobbeJoe created a fantastic music video to go along with this fun song, and included many characters and backdrops from World of Warcraft. It’s very well put together – nearly seamless. However, I didn’t only embed this particular video for the laughs it is sure to bring. If you really listen to what is being said, you’ll see how true it really is.

The Internet is not “for porn” as Trekkie claims. Many older people who do not use the ‘net regularly actually assume that connecting to a website will result in being faced with all sorts of dirty things. Yes… there is porn online. Yes… it can be found quite easily. However, WE all know that’s not what it’s all about.

The Internet is a gateway to information. You can find anything your heart desires online, from health care reform to taxation and politics… to porn. I’m not sure where the hell I was going with that though. No matter what I say, all of you will jump to remind me that “The Internet is for Porn!”

Enjoy the video.

Blizzard Cashes in on Virtual Game Spending

I think I am in the wrong line of business. I knew already that Facebook’s Farmville was a huge hit. Every time I log into the site, I see people harvesting their crops and begging me to fertilize them. I’ve also seen people cooking up delicious things in their restaurants on Cafe World. I’ve heard (and read) that you can use real money to advance yourself in these games. I had no idea, though, just how huge of a market this is until now.

The people behind World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, struck gold this week – literally. In the past, they have occasionally offered limited-edition virtual pets for sale in their online store. Pay Blizz some real money, and you can have yourself a seriously cool pet on the toon of your choosing. This week, the geniuses introduced a new Celestial Steed, which allows you to “travel in style astride wings of pure elemental stardust.” I’ll admit that the steed is pretty cool looking. But I can’t see paying twenty-five real dollars for it if I was already paying fifteen every month just for the privilege of playing the game.

Apparently, one heck of a lot of people disagree with me, though. Blizz is reporting that in the first four hours that the mount was available they made an astonishing two MILLION dollars just off of that pet alone. That is over eight-thousand smackers per minute.

The mount doesn’t give a player any advantages in the game over other subscribers. It simply looks cool. Who knew that you could make a fortune in moments through a virtual game? I need to put my brain to work to come up with one of my own.

Photo courtesy of MMO Champion and Blizzard Entertainment.

You don’t have to play WoW or even join Facebook in order to see what’s new in our software center.

An Insider’s Look at the New Game Aion

XX0wnsXY (Becca) is a girl gamer geek. She’s hardcore, boys, and regularly beats out her male counterparts in various games she plays. She’s been a part of our community for quite awhile now, and has contributed insights and commentary in the past when we’ve talked about various games.

Becca emailed me today, with the below review/guide for her new favorite game Aion. She took the time to write a very comprehensive piece for all of you, so I wanted to post it in full. Credit for the below goes entirely to Becca!

This is my first MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role – Playing Game). (I used to be so against RPGs, but this one has swayed me). So, my review is submitted from a new user’s point of view. I would really like it if anyone with past MMORPG experience can reply and offer an experienced point of view on the game. I think the two contrasts would be interesting.

So the game is called Aion (“Eye-On”). It is, as I said, a MMO-RPG. It’s categorized as PvPvE (Player vs. Player vs. Environment). It’s been out in Korea for a year or more, and was released in the US a month ago.

The story line, in simple terms (although they go into great detail in multiple cut-scenes throughout the game, with awesome graphics):

A world of peace began to crumble after some of the race called “Draken” rebelled against the God “Aion”, and in turn, a huge battle broke out and the world was shattered in to three pieces. These events became known as “The Cataclysm” (Kat-a-Cliz-em) This created three races: “Elyos” (good) who live in “Elysea”, and Asmodians (Evil) who live in Asmodae, and Balaur -(The Draken renamed after their rebellion; not a playable race, NPC’s only, and are hostile against both Elyos and Asmodians, (which plays into the PvPvE.) who reside in the Abyss. The third piece, known as the “Abyss” is the space between Elysea and Asmodae, where both factions gain access at level 25 and begin the true PvP (Player vs. Player) aspect of the game.

You are able to choose which faction you would like to be at the start of your game. You begin your game by choosing one of the 4 classes, Male or Female; Warrior, Mage, Scout, or Priest. I, personally, chose to start as a Priest. You can customize your characters appearance greatly (from hair, skin, eye, and lip color, to extremety thickness, voice and much more).

You begin your journey in the “starter area”, which is different for each faction, of course. You level from 1-9 with simple quests that help you get acquainted with the various menu options and NPC’s. You also become acquainted with your current skills and abilities. Along with that, you become acquainted with the game’s travel systems, which are:

  • A Flight Transporter – Allows you to pay a fee to fly (on a winged animal of some sort, very cool looking) to your destination. The graphics are awesome during flight.
  • A Teleporter – You simply pay a fee and jump into a portal – and your game loads into your destination.

You can bring up your map by pressing “M”. It will give you a full overview of the area you are in, along with surrounding areas. You can press “N” and a smaller, more transparent version will appear, which is convenient while walking/flying and still needing to see where you are going. When you are grouped with other people in the same area, they will appear on the map as blue diamonds.

You will also become acquainted with Soul Healing and resurrection. Should you die along the way (and you will, believe me), you will be given the option to return to the place where you last bound your soul (You bind your soul to obelisk’s in major cities), or you can choose to wait (up to 30 minutes) and ask for someone to come resurrect you. Chanters and Clerics have the ability to resurrect. There are also resurrection stones that can be bought and acquired during quests that can be used on another player.

If you are not resurrected, you return to your bind point, and beside you will be a Soul Healer. For a fee, you will be healed of soul sickness (this makes your movement slow and you are unable to fly/glide) and you will recover your experience that you lost. The amount of experience lost depends on your level. The price of soul healing goes up the more times you die, and becomes very expensive over time, so you must be careful. You don’t have to worry about soul healing when it comes to PvP. If you are killed by the opposite faction, soul healing only costs 1 gold and you do not lose any experience. You do, however, lose Abyss Points (discussed later).

At level 9, you receive an “ascension” quest, which will allow you to become a “Daeva” (advanced humans who have tapped into the power of the Aether to gain new abilities and strengths that put them far beyond the power levels of any mortal human) and choose your subclass. The subclasses are:

  • For Warrior – Gladiator or Templar.
  • For Scout – Assassin or Ranger
  • For Priest – Chanter or Cleric
  • For Mage – Sorcerer or Spirit Master

I started as a Priest, so I chose to evolve into a Chanter. I won’t go into too much detail about the classes/subclasses, as that would take entirely too much time, but each one has its positives and negatives. I like being a Chanter, because we can adapt to pretty much any situation (I.E – we can heal, have buffs, have decent DPS – Damage per Second, and are needed in many group situations).

Shortly after you have completed your ascension quest, you receive a quest to earn your wings. Yes, you can fly in this game, which is something I hear is much different from any MMO out there. The flight ability in this game is so much fun and adds a new and interesting aspect to PvP. You will find that pre-abyss (lvls 1-24), you will use your wings mostly to glide down long hills to make your trips a little faster. There are a few designated areas where you are free to fly, otherwise you can only glide.

If you are interested in PvP before level 25, there are opportunities for this. There are temporary openings from one world to another (Elysea to Asmodae and vice versa) that allow you to go to the opposite factions world and hunt the enemy. These are known as Rifts. However, you have little chance to stay alive, unless you are grouped with other people. I found this annoying at times, because I would be trying to complete a quest in my world, and out of nowhere, comes a group of enemies and of course, I get killed. When the shoe is on the other foot however, it’s fun. Yeah Yeah, I can dish it but can’t take it. Enemies of the opposing faction show up on your radar as red diamonds. You will have to worry more about this in the Abyss.

The good thing is that rifts close after a certain number of people enter them, so they do not last forever. There are even spy quests that you can acquire that require you to go to the enemy’s world and complete a mission. They are very hard, but offer great rewards. I have yet to complete them… like I said, very hard.

Throughout your leveling experience, you will occasionally need to learn new skills/abilities. These are learned from your class trainer, and are in designated areas in the game. As you level, the price of learning your abilities goes up and can become quite costly. (At level 28 I paid over 70,000 gold for my new abilities).

Once you have bought your skill manual, it will appear as a book in your inventory (Hit I to access your inventory). Double click the book, and that skill will be learned. You can then press the letter K on your keyboard, and it will bring up a list of all of your skills. You can find your new skills and drag and drop them into your skill bar at the bottom of your screen:

Don’t worry, gold is plentiful in this game, and easily acquired. If you manage your gold right, you will have no trouble. If you do find yourself needing more, there are options to receive gold through the in-game mailing system. All you have to do is ask a friend for gold and they can attach it to mail and send it to your in-game mailbox (found at most major cities, in game). Gold is not hard to acquire through Grinding (Killing NPC enemies), either. There are also other options like selling items you have acquired via the Trade Broker (also found in major cities), or general goods merchants.

Like with many other games of this type, you can learn professions. Along with the professions, you can also Gather, which eventually evolves into Extraction. You begin gathering different plants/herbs. As you level, you receive the ability to extract the essence of an item, rather than the item itself, called Extract Vitality. After that comes Aether extraction, which is extracting from the sky (you must fly and risk falling to your death if you are not careful). I suggest leveling these things as you go. Many people say that it is not important, so I did not bother with it at first. When I reached level 20 I realized that many of the NPC’s gave quests to gather/extract an item and bring it to them. I skipped many quests and they add up! I spent many hours going back to level my gathering/extraction. Major setback, but I’m glad I did it. Definitely do this as you go.

Leveling solo is very do-able until level 20+. You will begin receiving quests that require a group. They will have the [group] prefix, letting you know to not even attempt to do the quest without more people to help. These are the most fun for me. You get to interact with other players and become an important part of the other players success. Very few of the quests you acquire are [group] quests, however they offer such great rewards, that they can’t afford to be skipped. Aion offers a LFG (Looking for Group) chat channel, which makes it easy to find people to group with.

Grouping is used for [Group] quests and instances. You can join the “LFG” Chat channel and ask for more people to help with your quest. Usually typed in this format: “Level 31 Chanter LFG Legendary Amethysts. PST (please send tell, which is just a whisper.). You will hopefully get some responses and from there, can invite people to your group (right click their name and select “invite to group”).. rinse and repeat.

One of the most menacing problems for MMO’s are the gold spammers (Those who want to sell you gold – it’s illegal, but people do buy so it keeps the gold spammers running rampant). They spam the chat with their links and make it hard for you to read any conversation going on between your legion or group. One easy fix to this is to create a new chat tab, and customize the options to allow only chat from your legion or group. To do this, open chat and right click on one of the tabs. From there you can choose “Add Tab”. Name it, and customize tab options. Voila!

At level 20. you can acquire “Stigmas”, which are basically extra abilities that you can receive that can separate one of the same class from the other. There are many stigmas that one class can choose, and that’s what makes me (one chanter) different from another. You must complete a quest to enable you to equip stigmas, but after that as you level, you will acquire more stigma slots. To view your current stigma slots, press “P” and select the Stigma tab.

Stigmas can be acquired from quests, NPC drops, or bought from the trade broker. Some are more rare than others. Each stigma requires stigma shards (can be acquired in the abyss from NPC enemies) to equip, and can only be equipped by a stigma master.

The next milestone is level 25. This is when you receive your “Abyss Entry Quest”, which is quite long, but very easy. Once you complete this quest, you gain entry access into the Abyss – the main PvP area. During the quest, you have to pick which area of your world you will access the Abyss from. Once you pick, you can enter the abyss by flying to the portal in the sky only in that area.

The Abyss offers many things, and has beautiful graphics. It offers many high experience/pay/item reward quests, and of course, it offers PvP. The Abyss can be very overwhelming at first. When you enter the Abyss, you are in a safe zone. There is an Aetheric Field around this area that prevents any enemy from penetrating. Once you venture out, you can collect quests, grind abyss enemies for high experience and abyss points (Points collected in the Abyss that when enough are acquired, you can get special items), and PvP.

Venturing out into the abyss requires flight. You can teleport to some areas, but you will have to fly a lot. There are flight rings that you will find between certain areas that you can fly through to gain flight time. You can refer to the bar at the bottom right of your screen to monitor your flight time drain. If you strafe through the rings, you can refill your bar quickly. There are also potions that increase flight time, along with equipment perks.

The ultimate goal of the Abyss is to capture fortresses from the opposing faction. I have no experience in this, but a month into the game, people are already doing it. You can see which fortresses are owned by which faction by pressing “M” to bring up the map and refer to the color key.

PvP is the most exciting feature for some MMO players. I like a little bit of both PvP and PvE. As I said before, when venturing out into the Abyss, you will run into an enemy from the opposing faction. They will appear on your radar as red diamonds, and when you are close enough to them to actually see them, their name will appear in red. They will have a rank (ie Rank 7 soldier), which is in reference to their abyss points. The lower their rank the more abyss experience they have, so beware of going against anyone too much lower than you. You are also unable to see the opposing faction’s level. Some like it this way, some don’t. Personally, I think it adds an interesting twist and requires a bit more strategy when approaching an enemy. To view your Abyss points/ranking press “P” and hit the “Abyss” tab:

As I continue to level, I learn more and more about the game. I do not have anything to compare the game to (first RPG), but I not only experience nothing but good things, I also hear good things, for the most part. The graphics are probably the best part of this game. They are absolutely beautiful. The storyline is interesting to follow, and it isn’t a total grind-fest to level. The pace is good, and the Abyss is fun.

Aion, like any other MMO (from what I’m told) has it’s problems. There are gold spammers and bots. The game has been out for a month in the US, and so far the development team has been working hard to keep them at bay. I’m not sure they will ever be totally rid of them, but I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

There are many guides for Aion out there, all of this content was written by me. All screen shots were taken in – game by me. Some sources were used for the storyline.

Very, VERY well-written and detailed guide, Becca! Thanks so much for sending this in. I have a feeling several of our gamer Geeks are now salivating to get their hands on Aion!