Aussie WoW servers at last

As of Tuesday maintenance the Oceanic realms will be moved to Australia. I ranted about wanting this half a decade ago! As reported by GamePlanet:

Blizzard announced the news tonight at a World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor pre-launch community event in Sydney.

 

For almost a decade, ANZ World of Warcraft players have played on US servers hosted in California. Select US servers were only categorised as Oceanic, and displayed Australian Eastern Time. The move to local hosting should significantly reduce lag for players in Australia and New Zealand.

The change-over will occur as a part of next week’s scheduled maintenance on Tuesday, October 28, local time. The Oceanic servers will be down for an extended window. When the servers come back online, they will be hosted in Australia.

 

Australian and New Zealand players with characters on other non-Oceanic US servers will be offered free character transfers to the Oceanic servers for a limited time.

Incredible that it is happening, but I have to say about time too. I’m excited by what that will mean for interactions where latency is an issue. The pvp improvements and impacts (assuredly) will be great. I’m thinking of the pve encounters where movement is needed quickly and accurately.

Heigan’s exploding slime floor in Naxx used to give people issue on poor connections, and there have been many fights since. I won’t blame Ultraxion as such, but it didn’t help.

Special thanks to UntamedHellCat for the Facebook PM with the news. So darn stoked.

Now where did I put my credit card and my two handed axe?

building the dark portal

WoD’s great cinematic

Aside

The WoD cinematic is really good. As a semi-retired lore nerd I love seeing this stuff, just as much as I love seeing the Mage cast a Sheep spell in the first trailer, or Arthas summon an undead dragon. The MoP trailer did what it had to do (show us the Pandaren) and did it in a way which was fun. It certainly makes me think this is Orcs vs Humans … of Warcraft.

Non-serious aside – It does feel like a story set to make us like killing Orcs, and as an Alliance player I don’t really care if that is the wrong view. Orcs have proven themselves weak willed, power hungry, and generally the bad guys in the lore. Guldan gets his historic plans thrown asunder, but we’re still facing Orcs as the foes. These Warlords just reenforce the point. Thrall was the exception, and only that because some silly human made an effort to civilize him instead of kill him.

Now wonder he liked Jana. I’m happy to kill orcs, wargs, goblins, any sort of green or brown skinned filth.

(edit: truthfully that trailer makes the idea of playing an orc seem very appealing)

Is it as good as the others in terms of placing the players “in the world” and throwing down a challenge? Probably not, but then the excitement from an expansion is only partly attributed to the pretty non-gameplay video. There is not much that would top “you are not prepared“. As a video to continue the hype and announce a release date it was fine; great in fact.

Bring on more cinematic media for players, add more online comics, give us preview pages, lore updates, stat blocks to drool over. Complete the character models (I know, I know) and a few decent armor sets and it’s finished isn’t it? All of it. Build the hype with many strings of your bow Blizzard.

WoW sub stats published – Unsurprisingly Downward

I know reading about World of Warcraft subscriptions is more click bait and flame war material, but I can’t help be interested. The stats show a clear downward trend in subscriptions, and I find that obvious.

Without new content the player base leaves, and it has been a long time since new content has been put into the game. Further the community has been told that it will be a while to go before the Warlords updates, which acts as a negative incentive to keep subscribed during the quiet time. Wrath was the game’s peak, but The Burning Crusade added a huge amount of players to the game.

Graph of subscriber numbers, via MMO Champion

Graph of subscriber numbers, via MMO Champion

At 6.8 million accounts the game is back to subscriber numbers from the Original release. Warlords will be the 5th expansion for WoW, and any gamer or marketer will know that holding interest over ten years and 4 previous expansions is difficult. Continue reading

New Toy for WoD – Haunting Memento

Discussing WoW and other MMOs a few friends were pondering what our favorite items were and how much the might be worth. I love my Legendary items and also love the Haunted Memento.

haunting-momento-wod

The Memento dropped as part of the Scourge Invasion many expansions ago, and allows a strange shadow to follow your player as long as you have it in your inventory. An item of years go which is special within the world.

WoD (listed as patch 6.0.1) will add a new Haunting Momento to the game as a toy, obtainable through the Darkmoon Fair. I like the fact they are adding the toy for those who were not around for the previous expansion, but also hope they make it different somehow, both in the cosmetic effect and also the application. It appears that it can be used on another target, which is already nice – and perhaps the haunting will have a different animation?

The Sha default model would be very suitable as an alternative to the typical specter model used in the original. An odd thought, and odd too that a similar item is being added to the game in WoD.

Gone fishing, err Hunting, but watching WoW regardless

Aside

I’m still watching the blogs and news for WoW despite not being subscribed. Interesting to see what others are still doing in game, and to reflect that it does not entice me back into a subscription yet. Later probably, but now – not at all.

One interesting set of information has been launched around the “cosmetic class items” as a way of rewarding players for participation and also allowing for character customisation. A good and interesting mini-feature. I see bags and quivers for Hunter types, and spell books for caster types (or is that a libram for Paladins?). These could be bracer on the hip, or shoulder of character models, hand from belts, attach to forearms, or even float about the character(?).

What would be great is to see them merge with the colour palette of the character gear as well. Why? Well the spell book looks fantastic as concept art, but will be way too hapy-happy-joy-joy for a soulful purple-black themed Warlock. Keeping the emo kids happy is somewhat important, and most of us MMO players are emo about something or other.

Anyway, I’m glad they’re adding these and hope vials, off-hand frills, sub-weapons, hunting kit, crosses and prayer beads, ioun stones, boot knives, random pockets, ghost-haunted crowns, and all sorts of other widget-like oddities might come. Collect them all…buy them… Happy Killing, TyphoonAndrew.

The Trial of Garrosh, idiots.

A trial for Garrosh was bloody stupid. Likewise was any attempt to make the process fair and legitimate. I’m finding it hard to want to read the new Warcraft novel because I think the end of the Mists story and setting was utter balderdash. I like the Warcraft novels and can forgive a lot when it provides more lore to consume – but in all seriousness the axe should have fallen on Garrosh as soon as it could. Too many times inaction has let to disaster in WoW lore.

Has Warcraft become so soft that the heroes can only dispatch a foe if they are corrupted by an old god? It takes pervasive corruption to allow an execution, but the “heroes” can murder hundreds of opponents in daily quests with impunity? C’mon.

I think some players like to rationalise the setting to their own morals and ethics, but I think the setting has lost it’s way when a figure like Garrosh wasn’t killed at the first opportunity. That would make the setting less PG13 than probably desired, but it is needed. This is (was) Warcraft folks, and the idea that one faction or race has more claim to judge Garrosh is missing the point.

Those factions should be arguing about the division of the trophy head, axe and body, not still trying to for a delegate sub-committee to investigate the correct division of voting rights, for the membership to the partisan review group, in order to make a recommendation to the yet to be confirmed leaders…

Garrosh didn’t ask for permission to destroy Theramore with a mana-bomb. I’ll see if somebody I know grabs the book and perhaps I can borrow it for a while in a few months. It makes me wonder if the end of the Iron Horde will see them all placed in work programs to rehabilitate them back into “normal” society.

Grumble.