This blog will be on my toons in the MMO game World of Warcraft and Diablo 2

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A revisit of the Deadmines instance

Silverhp the warrior went through the new Deadmine instance with a random pick up group.
This instance has been updated, it is totally new, with new quests.
The old boss Van Cleef is no more.
A new set of bosses await.

At a start of the instance, a replay of the demise of Edwin Van Cleef.
His daughter witnessed it, and vowed to avenge for his father's death.
Too bad she only appears in the Heroic version. We don't face her in a normal run.

First boss, a two headed ogre.

Second boss, a Goblin that sets bombs on the floor

Third Boss, a Mech Reaper.

Van Cleef's old boat.

Fourth Boss, a Worgen Admiral.

He has some cool special attacks, a mist of shadow

Final boss, a Murloc Captain sits in a pot, and throw you rotten food.

a new achievement.

Overall, a very nice and enjoyable instance. But I do miss the old version of Deadmines, wish Blizzard gives you an option to replay the old version.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More on Silverhp the Warrior's adventure in Elwynn Forest and Westfall

Fighting the first named boss

Victory Rush, first skill learned

Trick or Treat, first achievement earned

Some old quest bosses: Princess, Goldtooth, Hogger

Level 10 !

50 Quests completed

Can I keep him ? my first pet, a balloon

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A test run of Blizzard's free Wow trial version

I downloaded the free Wow trial version and played for 20 mins.
The character can be played until level 20.
There are quite a few changes since I last played Wow.

I created Silverhp, a female human warrior.
First quest, to kill worgs in Northshire Valley !

First quest completed

Level up, I like the new interface

Learning the first skill, Charge

Option to upgrade to the full version

So far so good, I guess I will play until level 20

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

World of Warcraft subscription down to 11 million in July

It looks like World of Warcraft, Blizzard's nigh indefatigable roleplaying behemoth, may finally be experiencing some serious attrition. The number of paying subscribers for the online game dropped to 11.1 million between May and July, down from 11.4 million in May and 12 million back in October, 2010. That's nearly a million down in less than a year, despite the launch of Wrath of the Lich King in China and Cataclysm internationally, as well as a new free-to-play angle with a feature paywall.

Many online game publishers would kill just to have a quarter million subscribers, all told, but even for Blizzard, an exodus of 300,000 in 30 days time (or about 3 percent) seems a little steep.

Of course Blizzard's calling that "business as usual." telling investors during a call yesterday that declines are expected after major content drops like Lich King and Catacalysm. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaine chalks it up to increasingly experienced players chewing through content more quickly with each new release.

Morhaine's not-exactly-inspired solution? Develop more content. Specifically: more raids and dungeons. I know—how utterly thrilling for those of you who've spent the last seven years chewing through...raids and dungeons.

Nonetheless, the game remains the world's most subscribed MMORPG, or at least that's what the game's apparently contentious enough for an edit-lock Wikipedia page says.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

World of Warcraft offered 'free' until level 20

Popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft (WoW) is to be offered free up to level 20.
Previously fans of the game, which has 11.4 million subscribers, had to pay a monthly fee of £8.99.
Under the new system, players will be able to build an unlimited number of characters but they will not be able to join guilds or accumulate more than ten gold coins.
The move is seen as a way of attracting new players to the game.
Free bonanza
World of Warcraft is an online game in which players create characters, such as warriors, warlocks and shaman, who they then take on adventures to gather loot and items to make the avatars more powerful.
It is among the most successful of the so-called massively multi-player online games.
Blizzard Entertainment, maker of WoW, has previously offered free trials of the game but only for a limited number of days.
The free version will have no time restrictions.
Tim Edwards, editor of PC Gamer, estimates that it will offer someone new to the game around 10 to 15 hours of game-play.
"It is a really good offer and will allow people to get a flavour of the world," he said.
More and more companies are offering games for free as they aim to attract more PC owners to gaming.
"It is a free-to-play bonanza for gaming right now," said Mr Edwards.
"Team Fortress 2 went free over last weekend and it tripled its players overnight. If customers like the game it is pretty easy to get them to buy stuff," he said.
Users wishing to take advantage of the WoW free offer will still have to buy the base game, which costs around £10.
There are also three expansion packs for it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chinese prisoners were forced into 'gold farming'

China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work

World of Warcraft
Chinese prisoners were forced into 'gold farming' – building up credits on online games such as World of Warcraft.

As a prisoner at the Jixi labour camp, Liu Dali would slog through tough days breaking rocks and digging trenches in the open cast coalmines of north-east China. By night, he would slay demons, battle goblins and cast spells.

Liu says he was one of scores of prisoners forced to play online games to build up credits that prison guards would then trade for real money. The 54-year-old, a former prison guard who was jailed for three years in 2004 for "illegally petitioning" the central government about corruption in his hometown, reckons the operation was even more lucrative than the physical labour that prisoners were also forced to do.

"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."

Memories from his detention at Jixi re-education-through-labour camp in Heilongjiang province from 2004 still haunt Liu. As well as backbreaking mining toil, he carved chopsticks and toothpicks out of planks of wood until his hands were raw and assembled car seat covers that the prison exported to South Korea and Japan. He was also made to memorise communist literature to pay off his debt to society.

But it was the forced online gaming that was the most surreal part of his imprisonment. The hard slog may have been virtual, but the punishment for falling behind was real.

"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 known as "gold farming", the practice of building up credits and online value through the monotonous repetition of basic tasks in online games such as World of Warcraft. The trade in virtual assets is very real, and outside the control of the games' makers. Millions of gamers around the world are prepared to pay real money for such online credits, which they can use to progress in the online games.

The trading of virtual currencies in multiplayer games has become so rampant in China that it is increasingly difficult to regulate. In April, the Sichuan provincial government in central China launched a court case against a gamer who stole credits online worth about 3000rmb.

The lack of regulations has meant that even prisoners can be exploited in this virtual world for profit.

According to figures from the China Internet Centre, nearly £1.2bn of make- believe currencies were traded in China in 2008 and the number of gamers who play to earn and trade credits are on the rise.

It is estimated that 80% of all gold farmers are in China and with the largest internet population in the world there are thought to be 100,000 full-time gold farmers in the country.

In 2009 the central government issued a directive defining how fictional currencies could be traded, making it illegal for businesses without licences to trade. But Liu, who was released from prison before 2009 believes that the practice of prisoners being forced to earn online currency in multiplayer games is still widespread.

"Many prisons across the north-east of China also forced inmates to play games. It must still be happening," he said.

"China is the factory of virtual goods," said Jin Ge, a researcher from the University of California San Diego who has been documenting the gold farming phenomenon in China. "You would see some exploitation where employers would make workers play 12 hours a day. They would have no rest through the year. These are not just problems for this industry but they are general social problems. The pay is better than what they would get for working in a factory. It's very different," said Jin.

"The buyers of virtual goods have mixed feelings … it saves them time buying online credits from China," said Jin.

The emergence of gold farming as a business in China – whether in prisons or sweatshops could raise new questions over the exporting of goods real or virtual from the country.

"Prison labour is still very widespread – it's just that goods travel a much more complex route to come to the US these days. And it is not illegal to export prison goods to Europe, said Nicole Kempton from the Laogai foundation, a Washington-based group which opposes the forced labour camp system in China.

Liu Dali's name has been changed

Sunday, January 2, 2011

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Review

An ancient evil lies dormant within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane. Hidden away in a secluded sanctuary, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing has waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth and biding his time until he can reforge the world in molten fire. Soon, Deathwing the Destroyer will return to Azeroth, and his eruption from Deepholm will sunder the world, leaving a festering wound across the continents. As the Horde and Alliance race to the epicenter of the cataclysm, the kingdoms of Azeroth will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

In now it's third expansion, Blizzard has released World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and like much of the marketing says about this game it truly has changed the World of Warcraft for the better. For starters, the games travel options have gotten a much needed upgrade. So firing up WoW as if it's you first time, will allow you to open flight hubs in the old worlds. Long gone are the days of miles long treks to get from zone to zone. With this, it also gives veterans a reason to return to older areas being much more accessible than ever before. There are actually quite a few tweaks to the game that have made life easier in the World of Warcraft for this expansion. The starting zones for all classes have been redone to offer a more streamlined and story driven approach. This helps immensely in guiding the newcomer in the game. There has always been a clearly visible barrier to entry in WoW, and that barrier was a very steep learning curve. In Cataclysm, while the core principles of questing for loot and XP are still the central part of the game, they do have a much more linear feel. This leads you down a more defined path, opening new areas in a way that is a more traditional gaming experience than ever before.

Aside from the reworking of the starting zones for the classic alliance and horde character classes, two new races have been introduced in Cataclysm. The Goblins and Worgen are the newcomers to the Horde and Alliance respectively. Notably, these two new races look better than nearly all of the old races. Many of the details in the new character models can make the old ones feel a tad dated. But like all races, these two new ones have unique traits that make them good fits for certain classes. The major reason for playing with one of the new characters are the all new adventures that begin in the starting zones of the new characters. Much more so than before, the game gives your character a bigger role in a smaller story before disembarking onto the rest of the game.

Much of the good that was added to WoW looks to have had the beginner in mind, no? Well there's quite a bit of content for the WoW veterans out there as well. The new high level zones are for the most part, story focused. If you were looking for more on the whole Deathwing storyarc you are going to get that in the new zones. Five in all, and none of them disappoint. And although you may cap out before you finish all five of the new areas, there are certainly some unforgettable moments to be had by seeing them all the way through. New high level dungeons have been thrown in for good measure as well, and while not as large as some previous incarnations, the new dungeons require much more teamwork than before. Tackling them with friends that communicate with each other is the preferable way to go, because running in LeeRoy Jenkins style is gonna get you a case of the black and white real quick. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm offers great content for the experienced player as well as the rookie.

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