2011 Here Goes…

We knew this was coming…

When Cataclysm sold-through a record 4.7 million copies during its first month alone, we knew Warcraft will only get bigger and bigger.  As a brand, we predicted declared early last year, World of Warcraft have proven itself as competitive and irresistible.

Cataclysm is now “the fastest-selling PC game of all time.” (Contrast that with Warcraft’s second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, which sold a then-record 2.8 million copies during its initial 24 hours.) But, of course, for the zealous gamer– it’s still the game.

And that’s probably the reason why we at Agency News loves reporting every bit about Warcraft.

Last year, these posts were Agency News ‘attraction’ of 2010

(Or at least what an automated mail told me about the site…)

The posts and pages that got the most views last year were…

Although if I have to list our own top 5 reports, for our first 12 months of blog-ging, the list might include these 3 gems:

China’s approval of Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King– Weren’t we glad when the Chinese decided these two expansions could come to their shores after all 🙂 The news read interesting but who would have thought that an MMO could generate such a tantalizing story over there.

Mr T Parade, Draenor– NAH!, it’s not the Sydney G&L Mardi Gras folks but the Mr T Parade on our server. Revelers were yelling WTH! when hundreds of dancing Mr Ts stunned unwitting players in Stormwind Trade District.

And then there was Icecrown Trailer by Vodka– who can ever forget that trailer that was decisively more memorable, more unforgettable than Blizzard’s own. Simply shows ‘love’ by fans of the game.

Here goes 2011 and we promise to keep providing the best Warcraft, MMORPG, net technology news on-line  :)

To all readers of Agency News… Many thanks for supporting us!

Guild To Star In NASCAR

Grats Puggernaut!

SURE HOPE YOU’D HAVE  a long, memorable relationship with NASCAR!


Oh wait… it’s an April Fools’ joke :oops:

BUT MORE ON PUGGERNAUT, it seems one of its founders, Thorhoof, is leaving Draenor US. (Hopefully this doesn’t mean the group is ditching its root)

The main objective of the move, according to reports, is to bolster Puggernaut’s memberships (now 800!) and get raids going on so-called hit list servers. The group has so far named Aerie Peak and Shu’halo as potential bulwarks.

World 1st Kill For Paragon, Blizzcon 2010 Announced

Via Zam News. Celebrations all around! It looks like the elite raiding team, Paragon, has, after a staggering 170+ attempts, managed to bring down the 25-person Heroic Mode Lich King! Not only is the entire guild enjoying the accolades that come with a World First kill, but their lucky Warlock, Tsukky, also got to walk away with Arthas’ Invincible Mount, the first of its kind in the World of Warcraft.

This year's event will showcase discussion panels with Blizzard's developers, giveaway prizes, and contests/ tournaments for dedicated fans.

ALSO Blizzard just announced that the 2010 BLIZZCON will be held on October 22- 23 at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Nope it won’t be in Vegas). The annual convention will serve as a gathering place for the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo gaming communities. It’ll showcase discussion panels with the company’s developers, giveaway prizes, and tournaments for dedicated fans.

“BlizzCon offers us a great opportunity to meet with our players and share our enthusiasm for gaming with one of the most passionate communities in the world,” said CEO Mike Morhaime in the press release.

ICC Mage Tidbits, and LFG Solution

ICC Strats For Mage: DPS is your role, but staying alive is your job

Courtesy of Puggernaut.com

Marrowgar: Your wards are you friend, especially specc’d into Incanter’s Absorption (even if this talent will be nerfed to the ground come 3.3.3 this will not be effected by it) save yourself some damage from Coldflame, though outside of bonestorm, there is no reason to not stand in melee range and not have to dance around them.

Deathwhisper: Make sure you are SPELLSTEALING off the Deformed Fanatics it will prevent them from healing if they manage to hit someone while they are kited, and it heals you for a brick-ton

Gunship: Eh nothing special.

Saurfang: remember to use Frostfire Bolt to help slow the beasts, a little extra security is nice (my favorite is saving PoM for this ==instant FFB) also, of course, nova if the get close and either run or blink away

: Blink is your best friend. from blinking to spores, blinking in/out of the group for injections, out of slime, away from angry green slimes you name it. just make sure you know which way you’re facing

Putricide: Blink buys extra time on the green slime since you are frozen, also on the orange while kiting. 2nd best friend: Invisibility. when tear gas goes out you can invis and not be affected by it, allowing you to sink some damage either into Putricide himself or perhaps polish off an add that wasn’t dropped before the tear gas. this occurrs twice in the fight, more than plenty of time for the cooldown

Blood Princess
: Blink can be equally handy and deadly in here. getting away from people for empowered vortex on valanar, but you can also blink from one set of people into another, chance for getting you/others killed. For taldaram, a well-placed blink can get you away from the fireball, buying time for others to soak damage, or get you under fire to soak damage for someone else, perhaps get you in range of a kinetic bomb about to drop that a pet wasn’t able to cover. Keleseth is simple, just don’t pull aggro, or wait to dorp your images while attacking this boss depending on how much threat the tank has into him, it’s not often hard for mages to unexpectedly jump high on aggro from a few nicely lined up crits.

Blood Queen: I don’t think i can really praise blink enough in ICC so many ways to get in trouble, and this can often get you out (even if only for a moment, those critical mili-seconds can be life or death) If you have swarming shadows, blink to the edge of the room and kite the shadow ‘fire’ much like legion flame only really nasty. after her air phase with aoe fear, if you are bitten, this is an easy way to get to your target, or get to your biter. I would not recommend blinking on pact of the darkfallen, the movement is too jerky and can get you and others nearby killed from unnecessary aoe damage.

Dreamwalker: it’s a big room, blink around to get to you target, or across the room to help the other side. If you are in a lull, but sometimes the travel isn’t worth it, that one’s an in-the-moment judgement call. frost warding is vital to keep up, when the liches are out, but fire ward is easily as important when the blazing guys are out if you are not killing them fast enough before they get their room-wide aoe off. the void-zone-esque mana-drain pools dropped are a good time to blink away as they cause a slowing effect. as a mage it is your duty to place Amplify magic on dreamwalker herself (yes that spell is still in our books) have your counterspell handy for the frost guys too, I know our cooldown is long but every bit helps.

: FROST WARD every chance you have, careful with that if affected by unchained magic, but absorbing the damage is kind to your healers (constant frost aoe being taken raid-wide) and points in incanter’s absorption will give you free spellpower and frost warding will give you free mana and glyphed frost ward will give chance to reflect the damage. BLINK away from her after being pulled in for blistering cold, best way to guarantee you’ll be out in time, jsut make sure you know which direction you are facing before you blink.

Lich King: Blink again! (i swear we have other spells in that damn book, I promise!) blink is good for phase shifts due to remorseless winter, or the ground dropping off from beneath your feet. blink towards your val’kyr target as she flies off with your comrades, a PoM-FFB is also a handy secondary slow if others fail. Blink away from your group if defile lands on you, the more to the edge away from the action the better as it will quickly swallow the raid if anyone else is nearby.

Ed. For guilds desperate of players showing up to raids, the always innovative Puggernaut has just launched the WoWTwitter LFG. Basically, it’s  LFG box direct to your browser, and they’ll send you raids notification via email. Advance warning though, WoWTwitter is not part of the in-game LFG system. Kapish 🙂

Shadowclan of Ravenholdt: Hordereview interview

If you’re into role-play, be sure not to miss HordeReview’s interview with the Shadowclan.

Shadowclan of Ravenholdt (US) that has been around for over 10 years now. Shadowclan began in Ultima Online as a group of players emersed in the roleplaying aspects as a tribe of orcs that are distrusting of other non orcs, or other tribes.

Here’s some of it (Hope Bess wouldn’t mind :))

Shadowclan appears to have been around for a long time and survived through multiple games on the market. How did this group initially form?
In 1997 a small group of now-historical individuals (we call them Elders) playing Ultima Online wanted a more intelligent enemy to fight than the NPCs. They ended up putting on NPC orc armor and helms, playing as orcs, and becoming that intelligent enemy for others.
What is it about World of Warcraft that drew the guild in to begin with?
Orcs! That we could be orcs again was one of the first things that caught our attention. Of course world PvP, the shine of a new gaming world, and the quality of the game were important too.
Is there a particular event or memory for the guild that stands out from their time in World of Warcraft these past five years?
For many of us, some of our best memories are of early PvP experiences or events, such as the Yeti Cave defenses in Hillsbrad, or the assault on Duskwood when we ended up holing up in a barn just outside of town while swarms of Alliance characters fought to get inside and wipe us out. Some of us also fondly remember the six weeks after launch, during which we spent large amounts of time in-game testing new members, holding basic boot-camps (new member training), and putting the clan together in-game.
In World of Warcraft, you maintain a strong hostility toward the Alliance, being on an RP-PvP realm, but you also remain a clan of orcs untrusting of the Hordes other racial alliances (reportedly aside from the occasional troll who has proven his or her worth). Does this present you with a challenge with any aspects of gameplay given your limited access to World of Warcraft classes?
Class limitations have definitely been a challenge (probably more so in the past). But Shadowclan overcame these obstacles by learning how to use what we had and work together as a team. We defeated the Dwarf Army room in Blackrock Depths when everyone said it couldn’t be done without a mage. We cleared Upper Blackrock Spire with all-orc raids, when again it was claimed to be impossible. We defeated Mechanar with a four-orc group of three shamans and one warrior. We even ran through Heroic Shattered Halls with one troll priest and four orc warriors! It does require a certain stubbornness, and a willingness to keep trying and alter strategies to fit our group composition. Some players who are more loot-focused can get frustrated with this sort of play style, but often those victories were a lot more satisfying then the times when we were able to blaze through dungeons with no troubles at all.

Responsible Gaming

"It's just a game"

The market value for MMO games in the West alone hit $1bn for the first time in 2006*– that was before the global financial crisis. It is predicted that by next year the industry will generate $1.5 bn in consumer spending and this will continue to grow. So it’s no wonder that we’re hearing a lot more now about “MMO addiction” and its intricacies.

Being a 21st century ‘commodity’, however, video games and the addictions that sometimes come with them are largely ignored.  Warned a report commissioned for top guild Ensidia: (When) people are addicted to video games that that doesn’t mean that they’re just, to put it bluntly, screwed. Despite the grim news—perhaps many to even mention, MMO games particularly World of Warcraft are still in the hands of an increasingly responsible players.

It’s not all dire.

Games are outpacing all other forms of entertainment in viewership. With this rising sense of obligation and prestige to both investors and buyers I doubt companies like Activision-Blizzard, Sony and NCsoft will just snub this big issue—and it is now.

The continued emphasis on moderation by in-game guilds like Ensidia (and other fansites like ours), and self-control and accountability by numerous raid leaders and GMs on raids, guild management and raiding times are all, to me, exemplary. And to top it all, these are all unpaid, selfless tasks by in-game players themselves.

* Available in PDF at www.researchandmarkets.co.uk/

—— Violence and WoW ——

The case of 27 year old player James Swan who threatened to kill his mother after being told to quiet down.

—— Addiction or Cultural Phenomena ——

A short (well-done :)) documentary, made from the gamers’ point of view, about how playing World of Warcraft has affected their lives and how they see it fit in with modern society. (9.5 mins)

Guild applications and a ninja-tale

Perils of Guild Recruitment

Regulars to this blog have probably noticed that we often take a leaf from HordeReview. The blog (or is it fansite) is still in its infancy. However, what a like about this blog is that it doesn’t profess to be another WoW.com. That and the fact that the website is sponsored by another late-night PST guild (Nephenteum) which is much like TA.

Recently, the site offered some sensible advice for recruitment officers/ guilds.

One of the many amazing things about Warcraft to me is the unwritten code of conduct, and self policing nature of the people who play the game. We have to constantly keep our selves in check for fear of being flamed or labeled on our own servers that we may be a ninja, or unpleasant to play with. We often spend large amounts of gold at the auction house on mats and then search through tells for a player who we may never have spoken with to trade those mats with in good faith that they will craft the desired item and return it to us. Sometimes though there are players or circumstances that tempt players to violate this code and take advantage of other players, or even their own guild. Read More

And a cautionary tale.

We had a guy named (removed) who played a warlock (who)… was actually an officer in our guild which gave him complete access to almost everything, we trusted him as a model member of our guild as well always showing up on time, farming mats, etc. One day however we log into the game only to be horrified that we had been the lucky visitor of a ninja who took a large amount of valuables from the G-Bank, and Izirii had mysteriously G-Quit. As we checked the logs of the G-Bank our suspicions were realized that Izirii was the culprit, and he had made a clean get away.

Recruitment varies for many guilds. Casual guilds prefer to use (I call it spamming) trade chat, list their availabilities on recruitment threads, ninja from other guilds (happens!) and your guild website. Persistence and patience are important too, specially if your guild is on a low-pop server.

There’s nothing wrong with being upfront during the ‘interview process’, and to avoid as much buyer’s regret as possible.  Works both ways. If you’re after quality-not-quantity, don’t hesitate to ask for a boss parse 🙂 Naturally, if you’re trying to recruit an inter-server player, make sure there’s no misunderstanding with the person/ guilds raid time. Trial period is essential. It’ll probably take 2-3 weeks to assess a raider’s fit for your guild. There’s no set rules on how you should conduct your trial period, however, it’s not going to make things easier if your new recruit is away most of the times. So be sensible.