World Of Warcraft Players Are Pissed Their Characters Can’t Fly

World of Warcraft players are, in a very literal sense of the word, grounded. Many of them don’t like that one bit.

Hoping to hit up a WoW forum or comment thread to chat about raid issues or how weirdly detailed male orc butts used to be? You might want to wait a bit. People are almost exclusively talking about one thing right now: flying. It’s out of the picture, and players are pissed.

Ever since World of Warcraft’s second expansion, Burning Crusade, players have been able to obtain flying mounts—usually after seeing much of each expansion’s new content on foot and hitting the new level cap. However, Blizzard’s decided to change that for the most recently released expansion, Warlords of Draenor, and likely WoW expansions to come. Speaking with Polygon last week, lead designer Ion Hazzikostas explained:

“Having looked at how flying has played out in the old world in the last couple of expansions, we realized that while we were doing it out of this ingrained habit after we introduced flying in The Burning Crusade, it actually detracted from gameplay in a whole lot of ways. While there was certainly convenience in being able to completely explore the world in three dimensions, that also came at the expense of gameplay like targeted exploration, like trying to figure out what’s in that cave on top of a hill and how do I get up there.”

“The world feels larger, feels more dangerous [without flight]. There’s more room for exploration, for secrets, for discovery and overall immersion in the world. At this point, we feel that outdoor gameplay in World of Warcraft is ultimately better without flying. We’re not going to be reintroducing the ability to fly in Draenor, and that’s kind of where we’re at going forward.”
Despite the fact that Blizzard plans to make automated, taxi-like flights between major locations as convenient and plentiful as possible, players have not exactly given the change a resounding “zug-zug” of approval. Flight, after all, is something they have in other areas, and many of them have spent heaps of gold on rare flying mounts. Many players are downright infuriated:

Some players, however, will tell you that flying is only a drop in a near-bottomless bucket of grievances, and this explosion of general anger at Blizzard seems to suggest as much. Flying, in some ways, seems like a focal point for diffuse rage against the most recent expansion, a lightning rod smack dab in the center of a brewing storm. People are upset about other “removed” features, raids, and—perhaps most of all—Blizzard themselves.

Blizzard isn’t blind to players’ debatably sighted rage, but their responses so far have been piecemeal at best. They more or less reiterated their previous statement on the subject in a forum post, adding that, “We appreciate everyone who has taken the time to weigh in on this topic. You’ve provided some great insight and feedback, and we ask that you please be respectful of one another as you continue to discuss your thoughts and experiences.” Blizzard will also be doing a fan Q&A about flying… on June 6th, nearly two weeks from now.

Current and former WoW players, what do you think about the flying issue? Even when you couldn’t fly until you hit the level cap, did you feel like it discouraged you from exploring, from finding pleasant surprises you couldn’t see from your celestial steed? Personally, I didn’t feel like that was a problem, but I do think there’s something to Blizzzard’s assertion that flying makes their worlds feel smaller, even less intriguing. After gaining the ability to fly, I stopped feeling a sense of wonderment. I started viewing the game world more as a series of points (A to B, C to D, etc). I witnessed less life, less activity, less PvP. I’m undecided on the issue overall, though, and I haven’t played the game in a bit. What’s your take?

World of Warcraft halted an army of cheaters with a massive player ban

A “large number” of cheating World of Warcraft players were banned from the popular game for six months for using “bots” that allow players to automate some of their play, the popular game’s maker announced this week.

Although Blizzard Entertainment’s statement on the ban didn’t include an exact figure, it’s possible that more than 100,000 players are on an involuntary vacation from World of Warcraft. That number comes from a conversation between one player and a Game Master, an in-game employee of Blizzard. A Blizzard spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

What is clear from Blizzard’s statement, however, is that many of the banned users were using the World of Warcraft equivalent of performance-enhancing drugs: “bots.”

“We’ve recently taken action against a large number of World of Warcraft accounts that were found to be using third-party programs that automate gameplay, known as ‘bots,'” the statement reads. “We’re committed to providing an equal and fair playing field for everyone in World of Warcraft, and will continue to take action against those found in violation of our Terms of Use. Cheating of any form will not be tolerated.”

The statement also encourages people who spot other players using a “bot, exploit, or cheat” in violation with the game’s terms of service to report them to Blizzard.

World of Warcraft- a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (or MMORPG)-has more than 7 million active subscribers, according to Activision, which owns Blizzard.

The company has previously punished users who violate their terms of use-and has even taken bot-makers to court in the past. But the mass ban came as many of the game’s users were becoming fed up with the increasing presence of automated players, particularly those using a piece of software called “Honorbuddy” to fight their battles for them.

Bots, essentially, allow players to have software automatically play parts of the game for them. Although it might sound like a bot ruins the point of even bothering to open an account for a game-why pay to play if you don’t actually want to play?-there are some elements of World of Warcraft that make automation tempting for dedicated players who want to progress to higher, more interesting levels of play.

If you’ve ever played an online multi-player game, you’ve probably heard the term “grinding.” Essentially, “grinding” means the same thing here as it does in the workplace, unless your workplace is a secret revival of MTV’s “The Grind,” in which case it does not mean the same thing at all.

In gaming, a “grind” is a repetitive task. Players can grind by killing the same monsters over and over again in order to gain experience and progress to a higher level in the game. In World of Warcraft, players might grind a crafting skill like mining in order to progress to the point where they can make cooler items. You might also hear the term “farming” to refer to similar repetitive tasks that are aimed at acquiring specific, usually rare items that sometimes drop from certain enemies in the game. “Farming” is about as action-packed as an actual day of vegetable farming.

If this all sounds kind of boring well, yes. It certainly can be. Which is why some players will use a third-party bot do the work for them.

Is Wildstar ditching subscriptions and going free-to-play on Steam?

Elder Scrolls Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lord of the Rings Online have all ditched subscriptions, and now it looks like Wildstar might do the same.

A listing on SteamDB (via PC Gamer) suggests the massively multiplayer online role-playing game is going free-to-play.

It’s listed as “Free on Demand”, which is how SteamDB advertises its free-to-play games.

According to a recent NCSOFT earnings call, the game only made a quarter of the revenue of the firm’s second lowest performer Lineage II between January and March.

WildStar is a multiplayer online game in the vein of World of Warcraft that takes place against the science fiction backdrop of the planet Nexus.

Currently, purchasing the game at retail or downloading it online unlocks 30 days of free game time, as well as three guest passes, which can be given to friends.

The game’s business model also gives players the opportunity to avoid subscriptions by purchasing play time using in-game gold.

FIFA 15 issues another free Ultimate Team rare 25K pack today

Seems like EA is giving away freebie packs for Ultimate Team in FIFA 15 left and right these days. Last week they dished out three across a Community Weekend and today theyre offering another 25K rare gold pack to everybody.

This is tangentially connected to last nights maintenance, which by the sounds of things was in order to make Ultimate Team store improvements.

Heres the twitter post announcing the latest pack giveaway. As tends to be the case with these, the players are not tradeable.

6pm UK time was about ten minutes ago at the time of writing, and the FIFA 15 Ultimate Team packs have indeed been given out. Since the Web App actually seemed to be working, I was able to check (and open) the pack through that method. I got a Dutch lad named Douglas (and a few guys who were worse.) Not terribly exciting, but thats the luck of the draw.

World of Warcraft, 10 years in: Looking back on the MMOs history

World of Warcraft turned 10 last November-one of its most popular memes passed the decade mark this year-and the massively multiplayer online game has remained one of the most popular titles in gaming.
How has one title maintained such ubiquity for over a decade, crossing over into the mainstream with even a major film adaptation on the way?

Find out as EW takes you through the history of World of Warcraft, from its production to the massive player community that has stuck with it for so long. Hear from players, developers, and personalities who have all helped to make WoW one of gamings biggest phenomena.

And for more on what the game has meant to its players, read about how WoW actually brought real-life couples together.

The World of Warcraft Leeroy Jenkins Meme is 10 Years Old

Forty-three million YouTube hits later, the legendary World of Warcraft meme Leeroy Jenkins is now 10 years old.

The meme evolved from a video of a group of WoW players planning a raid when one player, known as Leeroy Jenkins, went rogue and spoiled the raid. The video, uploaded in May 2005, went viral before “going viral” was really even a thing. It was alluded to on TV shows including My Name is Earl and in movies like Wreck-it-Ralph. There were spinoffs on YouTube and a hit on South Park.

And yet, one question remains—was the whole thing staged?

According to the real-life Leeroy, Ben Schultz, it’s up to the viewer to decide.

World of Warcraft sheds 3 million subscribers

The release of the World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor last October led to a serious bounce in subscriber numbers, pushing it back over the magic ten million mark for the first time in years. But it didn’t last, and in fact the post-Warlords drop-off is shockingly precipitous.

Activision revealed in its first quarter financial results for 2015 that World of Warcraft has slid to 7.1 million subscribers. That’s still an awful lot of people throwing money at the game every month, and WoW is in no immediate danger of losing the “biggest subscriber-based MMO in the world” title, but the figure is actually less than it had just prior to the Warlords of Draenor release. Nonetheless (and entirely unsurprisingly), Activision did its best to put a positive spin on the slide, which it described as “expected and consistent with our experience following prior expansions.”

“World of Warcraft’s revenue performance at constant FX has been more stable, driven by continued strong uptake on value added services, and price increases in select regions, which partially offset subscriber declines, particularly in the East,” it wrote. “World of Warcraft remains the No. 1 subscription-based MMORPG in the world.”

And that’s the bottom-line truth of it: World of Warcraft is still a wildly successful money-printing machine. But the decline to pre-Draenor numbers is unprecedented in suddenness. The Warlords of Draenor rollout didn’t go very smoothly, which may have driven returning players away at faster-than-expected pace, and Blizzard said last September that it would release World of Warcraft expansions more quickly in the future in order to combat player fatigue.

Even so, I have to think that somewhere, deep in the bowels of its Irvine offices, brows are furrowed, and plans for a post-WoW world are being considered with heightened urgency. But I wouldn’t fret over Blizzard’s prospects just yet, what with mobile money pit Hearthstone recently passing 30 million players. The King is dead, as they say; long live the King.