The9 stock continues to rise, despite possible Blizzard renegotiation
For you international trading speculators out there, World of Warcraft continues to see its name in lights. In Chinese e-commerce news, Yahoo! Singapore Finance is reporting continued strong gains in The9 stock despite Blizzard's talk of seeking a new WoW operator in China.
The9 Limited's stock is up around 90% in 2006 and continues to rise, based on the strong performance of its World of Warcraft, or WoW, online role-playing game. But investors will look for the company to dispel rumors that have WoW's developer, Vivendi Universal's (V) Blizzard Entertainment, considering a renegotiation of terms as the game's next expansion pack approaches release in late 2006.
BusinessWeek Online interviews Edward Castronova, an economist who has become something of an authority of MMO / "virtual world" economies. He touches on World of Warcraft and Second Life, and it's always interesting to see knowledgable folks talk about the blurring line between reality and fantasy.
As if that's not enough, do you have other concerns about online games?
I'm also concerned that this commercial impulse could swallow up the separateness of these places. I would hate to see all that lost because of unregulated profit-seeking.
I would like there to be some kind of provision, like a wilderness preserve sort of law, for these places. We would need to have a law saying that if you promise you will seal off this world so people can't money-launder with it and can't liquidate the returns, we won't come in and tax all the transactions, and we won't subject you to child labor laws.
Cnet notes poor server performance of World of Warcraft
You saw it first at TenTonHammer, then (oddly enough) the Chinese media picked up the banner. Finally, the mainstream internet media is calling Blizzard to task for poor WoW server performance, including rampant downtime and chronic login problems. This, from Cnet:
Ito said the server problems have been particularly frustrating for him and his guild members because of the particular flavor of virtual "quests" they often run in WoW.
"Difficulty logging in (and) servers going down--it's become a normal part of our lives," Ito said. "It really does suck for us because we're running higher-level (quests) where it takes us a few hours to get to the (goal) and sometimes the server suddenly goes down right near the end before we finish. And they are unannounced (and) you just see people on the server--guild list--start dropping off."
With CEOs consulting with World of Warcraft guild leaders , WoW-TenTonHammer's Messiah sought out one of these paragons of leadership advice for an interview. He spoke with Bind, a guild master for "Visions of Anarchy" on the Dragonblight server. Visions of Anarchy is a large and successful Horde raiding guild.
Messiah: I hear a lot of "we" in your responses, what exactly is the guild structure and how do you break up duties?
Bind: The guild is basically me and a band of dedicated officers. We all pitch to get all the work done. Between running a raid, and doing the points, all officers get pretty beat up after a long week of raiding. I refer to we since it is really a big team effort with all of use doing a ton of work to keep things running smoothly.
VU Games, parent company of Blizzard and subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, reported extremely strong first quarter earnings. Thanks largely to World of Warcraft sales and subscription revenues, VU Games saw a revenue increase of 18.6 percent compared to last year. This from Next Gen:
Subscription and retail revenue for WoW continued to roll in, driving sales of 134 million euros ($165 million) for the quarter. VU games also cited strong performances from Ice Age 2 and older releases including 50 Cent: Bulletproof and Crash Tag Team Racing.
So soon, I'm shocked. Yes.. shocked. So what is it that they have in store for us this time? Find out here.
# Guild Recruitment channel functionality has been improved to be turned off for players already in guilds, and turned on for players not in guilds by default.
# Fixed a bug which caused players to drop from combat after destroying a totem.
# Fixed a soft-lock bug that occurred under certain conditions when players were near ships, zeppelins, elevators, and the Deeprun Tram.
Oh give me a home, where the Tauren druids roam...
WoW @ TenTonHammer has a new city guide, complete with a detailed map, quest listing, and lore section. This one's all about the Horde city of Thunder Bluff, home of the tauren race:
With the help of Thrall and the orcs, Cairne Bloodhoof and the Tauren have pushed back the hated, warlike centaur and given up their ancestral wandering; founding the mesa city of Thunder Bluff high above Mulgore's grassy plains. The proud heritage of the Tauren is reflected in the vestigal longhouses, totems, and peace pipes that adorn the precipitous city, more temporary constructs reminiscent of more nomadic days. Would-be invaders take note, judge the Tauren "backward" at your peril. Not only do Tauren hunters employ guns with savage effect, Thunder Bluff is a technological masterwork against incursion in and of itelf. The city is only accessible by air or from carefully guarded elevators in its southeast.
Blizzard is shopping around for a new Chinese operator, according to a press release late last week. Methinks this says a lot about about how the company operates, but first: a quote.
In a press release issued on Thursday, Blizzard said it is "actively exploring and discussing cooperation opportunities and further expansion of its business with local potential partners for mainland China".
The reasons why Blizzard's dropping hints about a change in China: "poor customer service" and "overloaded servers". Poor customer service is always inexcusable, but over-crowded servers? Come on! Given World of Warcraft's historically unreliable performance on North American servers, perhaps they should reevaluate their US partnership with... themselves. Let's make the attempt to shift blame a little more obvious. Read the entire article at gamesindustry.biz.
There are new beasts to be had in World of Warcraft's upcoming expansion Burning Crusade.
The orcs of Outland were not the only ones to suffer the Burning Legion's demonic corruption. The Broken, led by the great Akama, fell prey to the
demons' sinister influence, and just like the orcs, they too were changed by the corruption. Though they lost some of their former powers, the Broken still present a clear danger to all of Illidan's enemies throughout Outland. It almost seems like a miracle that the Broken somehow managed to preserve their shamanistic heritage, yet no one can say for sure how many of their traditions are still intact. From the safety of the fortified villages the Broken hold in Outland, they lord over their lesser cousins, the wretched Lost Ones.
I Won you to Won me.
Blizzard has cut the monthly subscription rate of World of Warcraft by 20% in Korea.
"Blizzard, whose "World of Warcraft" remains third in the country's online multi-user network game rankings, announced it will charge 19,800 won for a 30-day package, down from 24,750 won. The one-week package went down from 8,800 won to 7,040 won."