Path of Exile – Crowdsourcing Funds

Image Credit: Grinding Gears (Path of Exile) - Supporters pack Kiwi (in game pet)The very excellent MMO “Path of Exile” by Kiwi game developer Grinding Gear Games has managed to raise US$2.5 million (yes that’s million, little finger to the corner of your mouth Dr Evil styles…) through crowd-sourcing future development funds from the online gaming community.

This is not the first success they’ve had with funding via the web but, as an indicator – the climbing value of funding is testament to the belief their community has in the work they are doing with the game.

A personal HUGE congratulations goes out from my keyboard to the Grinding Gear team, it’s awesome to see New Zealand companies doing so well on the world stage without resorting to filling paddocks with cows. 🙂

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 on the ASUS EEE

Okay, so I did a painless upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 LTS while it was still in pre-release, but now that I’ve been playing around with the system for awhile, it’s apparent that my needs are changing and the easiest way to cater to these needs is a full reinstall from scratch, putting in place the learnings I’ve gained since initially getting the EEE and blowing away the default Xandros installation.

Update 19/05/2008: Added a few more applications to the HOWTO

Update 22/05/2008: Added a ‘Weirdness’ Section after having problems removing files from Trash.

Continue reading “Installing Ubuntu 8.04 on the ASUS EEE”

The Death of a Blog…

I transitioned my content from the World of Warcraft blog I originally set up back in 2006, back into this site today. I’ve been having issues maintaining the discipline to post regularly in this blog, let alone attempt to maintain another blog devoted to the wonderful World of Warcraft thus, in an effort to simplify my online hosting, I’ve killed off the blog and moved the content. Sorry WoW Blog, we didn’t really seem to hit it off… /mourn

UK Bank blocking WoW payments

Just got sent a link by a friend (who doesn’t quite understand my addiction, but that’s another post) to an article on how Halifax Bank in the UK has blocked payments to the World or Warcraft subscription servers, quoting “a significant number of fraudulent transactions through Blizzard’s gaming sites” as the motivation behind this move.

Personally I find this an interesting move as, to the best of my understanding, UK banks are not beholden to sort out fraudulent transactions, the onus being on the card owner to prove their innocence – this is the complete opposite of US/NZ banks (including other countries) who will deal to the fraud themselves, leaving the subscriber only liable for the first $50 of the fraud.
The limit of risk for non-UK cardholders certainly may drive less responsible behavior than that of their UK compatriots who are in the stink for the whole amount.
Factor in also the lack of security many World of Warcraft players apply to their account details, and the source of the add-ons they install and it doesn’t take a security expert to see who so many Warcraft accounts get hacked by dirty, stinking, toon raping, gold farming, sell off everything you’ve ever quested for… scumbags.

I kind of think it’s a responsible move as it forces the user to make a conscious and active choice around their payments – and you know how I feel about trusting the end user

WoW – A Chinese Gold Farmer Article…

I’ve heard references to a movie on gold farming via The Instance podcast, but this is one of the first major papers I’ve seen to carry an article on the virtual goods trading phenomenom.

It’s been awhile since my last post on this subject, so seeing the $1.8 billion figure quoted was interesting, given that around this time last year when I wrote, it was projected that there would be a $5 billion market for non-subscription revenue (i.e. virtual goods trading) by 2011. That’s still 4 years away, looks like we’re well on track, of course, if gold farming offends your sensibilities, you could always start up a player community centric website to support an MMOG, then sell it for over $1 million. That’s what WoWHead did, and now they’re part of the same conglomerate which owns the 2 other major World of Warcraft community sites, Thottbot (my personal favorite) and Allakhazam.

So what you ask? Well, Affinity Media – the conglomerate which now owns 3 of the most trafficed player sites for World of Warcraft used to own IGE, which is/was one of these gold dealing companies. They now claim that they have sold that company and based on that, it appears that the people over at WoWHead are now comfortable selling their online property on to Affinity. So, a well designed site, rich with publically avalible information, embracing a niche community is worth some good (real world) coin. Who said community content would never make anyone any money?

Virtually there

Todays entry was sparked by a story from WoW Insider, one of many sites which features in my RSS feeds. The column, from Azeroth Interrupted, tells a story of two brothers who are using the WoW universe to reunite and learn about what has happened in the many years that they have been seperated.

This got me to thinking of my own WoW interactions (I use that word because it scares me less than the ‘addiction’ word 🙂 ). I’ve been playing for little over a year now and have made many friends, some of them quite close and most of them I’ve never met in real life. My collegue Karen started around that same time as me (in fact, she babysat me through the Night-Elf starting zone and explained the acronyms that everyone was using) and we are both Guild Masters (well GM2’s) in our guild Searing Sun (Guild Site / Armory Profile). It’s been loads of fun and we’ve even got my wife to play after much initial reluctance – and now she’s loving it! (and hating it, pretty standard feelings for most WoW players I think). Anyway, on the back of this ‘getting to know each other’ story, I started reflecting on the relationships that I’ve made in the game. There was the husband and wife team who invited me to their guild whose marrage since dissolved (along with the guild), there was the annoying twink guy who bugs my banker toon whenever I log in to check my auctions with continual duel requests, and there’s my other family – the people in my (our) guild. Things in our World of Warcraft guild have taken a turn of late, and I too must admit to starting to become disengaged once more…

Backtracking a little for context, WoW is a game which used to have a level cap at 60 (i.e. you could get to Level 60 and that was it, no more levels for you – go kill some super l33t monsters to get awesome gear so you can… kill some more super l33t monsters).
At this point a number of our high level players branched off to for an ‘Elite’ guild so those characters could focus on end-game raiding. Things get pretty serious in these kinds of guilds as people are solely focussed on gear and, due to the difficulty of the monsters you must now face, mistakes by anyone can kill the whole party. We stayed in our guild, happily helping out the lower levels get to 60, and building our own alts (other characters). Then came the release of the Burning Crusade, with a level cap of 70 and a whole new world to explore and better gear to get. The ‘Elite’ guild had imploded by this stage due to a number of reasons, but mainly due to the personality issues between the members of the guild, some who were taking things too seriously, some who just wanted to enjoy their game. These guild members all went off to join other guilds, and we got a number of them returning ‘home’ to us. With their experience and drive, we all started heading to 70, then trying to get the reputation and quests needed so we could all head to the big scary end game zones (where the cool gear drops). We found ourselves getting ‘too serious’ and we’d lost the culture of assistance which we’d previously been so proud of. Our guild master (mistress?) pulled the plug on the drive toward raiding, asking us to focus on recovering our previous culture. Interestingly, the week after she did this we started getting a large number of new recruits, I started back on leveling up my priest alongside my wife (who also plays) and all was well… almost.
The people who were looking forward to raiding (and I count myself amonst that number) started to leave, unrelated reasons of course, we lost our main tank (MT) and main healer (MH) to another guild on another server where they were going to meet up with their friends from school, our Raid Leader soon followed them, others left for raiding guilds within our own server. The interesting thing was, by and large, most of them left one or more of their alts in our guild, so they could come back and say hi. Our raid leader even went so far as to create an identical character to the one who had left, albeit without the level 70ishness and the funky gear 🙂

And now, on our guilds forum is a posting from our guild master – she too has left the server to follow her friends. She has been the rock on which the guild has been built and the glue which has held it together. Following her announcment, we lost 2 more of our high level players to the same server and it will be interesting to watch and see how the guild reacts to the news over the next few weeks and months. It’s with a heavy heart that I watch the changes which are happening to my group of close, but virtual friends – What started out as an investigation into the psyche of MMOGs and the people who play them has almost become a lifestyle. I am missing the people who have left already and am tempted, if they don’t plan on playing their alts too often, to start looking for a new home myself – time will tell, we’ll wait and see.

Yet another WoW Podcast launches

Well, this week my RSS reader finally picked up the first show from ‘The Epic‘, this isn’t a news and views shows like my favorite WoW podcast audiocast ‘The Instance‘, but probably worth a listen to as their intention is to cover more in-game strategies. Their first show sounds… well, like a first show, the presenters talk over each other, the show lacks structure and their site is REALLY hard to find as the site doesn’t appear to have any form of search engine optimisation done on it, so good luck if Googling – you may be better off following the link in this post 🙂

If you’re a PvPer then you may enjoy the long discussion about the new honour system, they discuss mods (or the lack of them) and chat about the new patch – in their special first show fragmented kind of way. I think I’ll perservere with listening, at least for a few more shows and hopefully in that time they’ll find their feet and the presenters will lose their uncontrollable urge to make comments and talk over each other (blah blah blah Sophia blah blah blah me me me…).

Anyway, a good first effort – I can’t really complain too much as I’ve not got off my a$$ to do an audiocast which may or may not be better, so good on the crew from The Epic – I await your next show with great expectation.

Edit 18/02/2008: Still waiting… mind you, I’m no better, I’m transitioning my WoW blog which never really happened back to my main blog location.

For those who are interested, here are the RSS feedlinks for WoW Audiocasts I listen to:

Oh – and for my fellow guildies RDiva, Cyd and the other ladies of the guild… be sure to check out Women of Warcraft

Crikey… A PC built “specifically for World of Warcraft”

Heh – it must be a sign, just a few minutes after posting my first entry in this blog, my RSS feed catcher popped up this story from Gizmodo.

Widow PC The PC costs US$1495 and it’s main selling feature is a funky network card designed to improved network performance… SERIOUSLY people, your home network is unlikely to be presenting you with much if anything in the way of lag, the problem lies past your sphere of influence and 30 or so hops away across the vast wasteland of routers and switching gear which makes up that magical thing we like to call the interweb.

But still, if you’ve got the money and like the look… purchase away.


Seperating the worlds

Well – I’ve been playing WoW for 9 months now and during that time I’ve written a few posts in my other blog. I’ve covered the long suffering of my wife, the fascinating world of in-game economies, and how fast and vast some of these immersive online communities are growing

Things in-game have taken a turn for the ‘more involved’ and so I felt that it’s time to separate out my and create a dedicated (and themed) blog on Blizzards brilliant World of Warcraft.

Edit 18/02/2008: Hey, look… this hasn’t turned out to be a happening thing, so I’ve moved the old blog content back into Rob the Geek. These things happen…

Some of you will be yawning and thinking ‘yadda yadda yadda, another Warcraft blog’ and you’re right – that’s precisely what this is, you can probably click away to another corner of the web if you were looking for something special as my intentions for this blog are somewhat selfish, I’m planning to use this as a musings point, and to capture some of the interesting things I learn in my in-game and real world research into the World of Warcraft.

First things first, I need to tweak up this theme so it’s not so… ‘Hogit’, it’s a great theme, but personalised for the original author – who’s nicely written blog (in character) you can find here. The theme you can grab off this link at sourceforge.

If you’re going to personalise the template for your use, you will also need to find the Warcraft webmaster files and change the ‘Hogits Story’ logo (logo.gif) to something more reflective of you (or your character(s)). Other things which need changing to personalise the theme are the post-author-*.gif and the sig-*.gif graphics. I intend to do another post on this later once I’ve found the base graphics I need and had a look at the template code.

So anyway, that’s about it for my first post in this blog, I’ll introduce my characters and do some posts around what I’ve found useful in the future.

* Characters
* Talents
* Skilling Up
* Tactics
* Guilds
* Gameplay / Community
* Annoyances (bloody bots!!)
* Mods / Addons
* Rolling your own website

Righto, that’s enough of a top of mind list to write about in future posts. Until next time…