World of Warcraft: The Burning
Developer(s) Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s) Vivendi Universal
Designer(s) Rob "EnoYls" Pardo
Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan
Tom "Kalgan" Chilton
Release date(s) January 16, 2007
Rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen)
OFLC: E (Exempt)
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X
Media CD, DVD
System requirements See System
Input Keyboard, Mouse
World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade is the first game expansion
for World of Warcraft. Per the press
release from Blizzard on November
10, 2006. The release date is set as
January 16, 2007 in Europe and North
America. It will be available in a
similar time frame in Korea,
Australia, New Zealand, and
Singapore as well, and availability
for mainland China and the regions
of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau will
be announced in the near future.
The initial information about the
expansion was announced on the first
day of BlizzCon 2005. Some points of
* The Sword Of 1000 Truths from the
South Park episode Make Love, Not
Warcraft is likely to become
available in The Burning Crusade.
* The Blood Elves will be the new
Horde race. Their starting zone,
Sunstrider Isle in Quel'Thalas, site
of their capital of Silvermoon, is
north of Eastern Plaguelands. Their
classes will be: Rogue, Hunter,
Mage, Priest, Warlock and Paladin.
* The Draenei will be the new
Alliance race. Their starting zone,
the Azuremyst Isles and their
capital city Exodar are located off
the northeastern coast of Kalimdor.
Their classes will be: Warrior,
Priest, Paladin, Mage, Shaman, and
* The expansion pack will feature a
new profession, jewelcrafting, which
will allow players to create rings,
necklaces and trinkets, as well as
place mined gems into socketed
items. Other professions will be
augmented with recipes that include
sockets for special jewels that will
* The level cap will be raised from
60 to 70 with new abilities, spells,
and talents for all characters and
* A large new land will be available
for exploration via the Dark Portal
called Outland. This area is the
remains of the ruined planet of
* The talents for all classes have
been revised and updated to allow
for the new level cap of 70. You can
read the changes here (Note: The
talents that have been decided as of
now are not final and may be subject
to change before release)
* The landmass of Azeroth will be
increased by 25% (This likely refers
to the size of the gameworld, as
opposed to land-area).
* A flying mount will be obtainable
at level 70, after completing
repeatable quests, which will be
usable only in Outland. Some of the
areas in Outland will only be
reachable with this mount. The
Alliance will get an armored Gryphon
and the Horde will get an armored
Wyvern. Both factions will be able
to get the Nether Drake. In
addition, Druid characters gain a
flying form at level 68.
* New dungeons include the Caverns
of Time, the Hellfire Citadel,
Karazhan Tower, the former sanctum
of Medivh, and more.
* A new battleground called 'Eye of
the Storm" located in Outland.
* Some content will be available to
all players without the expansion,
such as new talents and new items
(such as items crafted with the
Jewelcrafting profession). To level
past level 60, play as the new
races or to play in Outland,
however, one will need the
expansion. Other features that
require the expansion will be
* On July 21, 2006, it was announced
that Blood Elves will be able to
play as Paladins, which were
previously unavailable to the Horde.
Similarly, the Draenei will be able
to play as Shaman, previously
unavailable to the Alliance.
* New endgame instance raids are
capped at 25 members (previous
instances had a limit of 40
* New dungeons will have scalable
difficulty levels. What this means
is that when you advance in levels,
you'll be able to return to lower
level dungeons and play them at
increased difficulty, which will
also yield better item drops.
Blizzard is considering adding this
feature to currently existing
dungeons but has no plans to
implement them yet.
* World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade is currently undergoing a
closed beta test in Korea. As with
the World of Warcraft closed-beta
test that occurred in Korea in 2004,
participants can acquire beta keys
from various fansites.
* Invitations for the United States
Closed Beta were sent via email to
those who had gone to BlizzCon on
October 11, 2006, and the beta test
is currently taking place.
* There was a conference for
GameStop Store Managers from
September 26, 2006 to September 30,
2006, in which store managers signed
up for betas for the Burning
Crusade. GameStop store managers
were also high priority recipiants
for the betas for World of Warcraft
when it was first coming out.
* Blizzard has announced that the
release of The Burning Crusade will
be January 16, 2007.
World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade Collector's Edition
World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade will ship in standard as
well as Collector's Edition
packages. The Collector's Edition
will come in a special box that
contains exclusive extras,
* World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade on both CD and DVD
* World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade Behind-the-Scenes DVD
* The Art of World of Warcraft: The
Burning Crusade Hardcover Art Book
* Exclusive In-Game Pet: Netherwhelp
* Two World of Warcraft Trading Card
Game Starter Packs, plus Exclusive
* Map of Outland Mouse Pad
* World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade Soundtrack CD
"Several years have passed since the
Burning Legion's defeat at Mount
Hyjal and the races of Azeroth have
continued to rebuild their once
shattered lives. With renewed
strength, the heroes of the Horde
and Alliance have begun to explore
new lands and broken through the
Dark Portal to investigate the
realms beyond the known world. Will
these heroes find friends or foes?
What dangers and rewards lie in wait
beyond the Dark Portal? And what
will they do when they discover that
the demons they thought vanquished
have returned to renew their
terrible Burning Crusade?"
In the first expansion pack for
World of Warcraft, the Dark Portal
leading to the ravaged home world of
the Orcs will be opened. Many new
things await the adventurers of
Azeroth as they will meet new
enemies and forge new alliances and
fight epic battles to save their
homeland from the Burning Legion.
New playable races
Main article: Blood Elf
The Blood Elves and their starting
The Blood Elves and their starting
The Blood Elves are the remnants of
the High Elves who survived the
destruction of Quel'Thalas by the
Undead Scourge. They style
themselves as Blood Elves in
remembrance of their slaughtered
brethren. At first they remained
loyal to the human forces in
Lordaeron and their racist human
commander, Grand Marshal Garithos,
but it became increasingly clear
that they were no longer welcome in
Blood Elves are highly adept with
magic, but their skills have led
them to become addicts to that
power. Blood elves cannot live long
without it and will do anything to
wield it. After the Scourge
destroyed the Sunwell, their source
of magical power, they began to
experiment with demonic energies.
One group, led by Prince Kael'thas,
joined with Illidan and the Naga in
exchange for magical power. The
Blood Elves remaining in Azeroth now
seek the Horde's help in reaching
Outland, so they can be reunited
with Kael'thas and achieve the
destiny which he has promised them.
The Blood Elves had re-established a
firm foothold in Quel'Thalas, and
have rebuilt many of the lost spires
and buildings that fell during the
Siege of Quel'Thalas. The Blood
Elves are constantly threatened by
the Winnowed, who are devolved Blood
Elves who succumbed to their
addiction to magical energy and lost
much of their sanity. Their
ancestral homeland of Quel'Thalas
also borders the Deatholme region,
which has been heavily infested by
the remnants of the Scourge that
occupied Quel'Thalas. One faction,
named Tranquillien, consists of
Blood Elves who wish to purify the
region of the Undead.
* They join the Horde alongside the
Orcs, Trolls, Undead and Tauren.
* Their racial traits are centered
around their addiction to magic,
which include Mana Tap (Drains
enemy's mana) and Arcane Torrent (An
AoE silence that silences for 2
* Their starting zone is Sunstrider
Isle, located in Eversong Forest in
* Classes available to Blood Elves
are: Priest, Mage, Warlock, Hunter,
Rogue, and Paladin. It was announced
that the Blood elves would be the
only race not to have warriors to
keep the amount of classes fair
compared to other races. In
addition, with the exception of the
rogue, all of the available classes
use mana to symbolize their racial
addiction to magic.
* The male dance for the Blood Elves
is apparently the dance that
Napoleon does at the end of the
movie Napoleon Dynamite.
* The female dance for the Blood
Elves is Britney Spears' Toxic dance
routine however some people
speculate that it could be something
known as "Yogurting" from another
* The Blood Elf mount will be the
* The voice of the male blood elf is
done by Cam Clarke.
Main article: Draenei
These uncorrupted Draenei share
lineage with the Eredar, one of the
Burning Legion's major races.
Whereas their Eredar brethren were
twisted by shadow magic, Draenei
have aligned themselves with the
The Draenei were led by Velen, one
of the three highest ranking members
in Erudean society. The name Draenei
means "exiled ones" in Erudean
language, because they were chased
out of their ancient homeland of
Argus by Kil'Jaeden. Kil'Jaeden and
Archimonde were two other great
lords of the Eredars, who fell to
Sargeras' corruption and became
The Draenei and Velen fled Argus,
and were helped by the Naaru,
enigmatic beings that blessed the
Draenei with light-given knowledge
and power. With the Naaru's help,
they settled on a peaceful world
which they named Draenor, meaning
"Exile's Refuge" in the Erudean
They had somewhat peaceful relations
with the indigenous shamanistic Orc
tribes in the region for centuries.
However, Kil'jaeden discovered their
secret refuge on Draenor. He
corrupted the orcs into a
bloodthirsty frenzy, and the orcs
killed over 80% of the Draenei in
Many Draenei who fought the Orcish
horde were also devastated and
affected by the fel energies wielded
by the Orcish warlocks, and mutated
into lesser forms, resulting in
subspecies. The Broken and the Lost
Ones are two genetic mutations. The
Broken are led by the great sage
Akama, and serve Illidan in Outland.
The Broken retained some of the
characteristics of the once-majestic
Draenei. The Lost Ones are further
devolved forms of the Draenei, and
hold almost no resemblance to the
Draenei. The Lost Ones are Draenei
who were mutated by arcane and fel
energies that were released when
Draenor exploded and crumbled into
Outland. Most Lost Ones inhabit the
Swamp of Sorrows in Azeroth, and
carry great hatred for Orcs. Save
for few tribes, the Lost Ones have
lost their sanity and are hostile to
The surviving and uncorrupted
Draenei fled to relative safety in
their interdimensional ship, the
Exodar. They crash-landed on the
Azuremyst Isles of Azeroth, and
pledged their support to the
Alliance to fight the Burning Legion
and the Orcs. Their capital city is
named Exodar after their
interdimensional ship that
crash-landed in Azeroth, and is
built out of the largest husk of the
remains of the ship.
* They join the Alliance along with
Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes and Night
* Their dance is confirmed to be
from the Tunak Tunak Tun music
video, by Daler Mehndi.
* Their starting zone is Ammen Vale,
located in the Azuremyst Isles,
which are off the western coast of
* The following are available
classes for Draenei: Warrior,
Priest, Paladin, Mage, Shaman, and
* Their racial traits are centered
around Holy powers, which includes
Blessing of Naaru (Heals 50 damage
over 15 seconds, which scales with
level), Heroic Presence (1% bonus
added to chance to hit for party
members up to 30 yards, may scale
with level), Shadow resistance (+10
Shadow resistance), and +15 skills
bonus to Jewelcrafting.
* The Draenei mount is confirmed to
be the Elekk, an elephant-like
Since April 10, 2006 Blizzard has
released information on several new
enemy races to be featured in the
Burning Crusade. 
* The Broken
* Fel Orcs
* Forest Trolls
* Fungal Giants
* Ogre Lords
* Rock Flayers
* Spore Bats
* Spore Walkers
* Warp Stalkers
This section is a stub. You can help
by expanding it.
There will be three new areas
accessable in Azeroth in Burning
Crusade: Quel'Thalas (the home of
the Blood Elves), Azuremyst Isles
(the home of the Draenei in Azeroth)
and Mount Hyjal, which is only
accessable via the Caverns of Time.
Main article: Quel'Thalas
The starting area for the Blood
Elves, Quel'Thalas is located in the
Eastern Kingdoms, north of the
Eastern Plaguelands. Quel'Thalas
will be divided into two areas.
Eversong Woods will be the starting
Zone for levels 1-10, and will have
the "typical" features of a starting
area - a secluded new character
zone, a low-level town and the
capital city of Silvermoon. The
Ghostlands will be a level 11-20
zone and will connect to the Eastern
Plaguelands, as well as to Zul'Aman.
The Azuremyst Isles are the lands
the Draenei claimed as their own in
Azeroth, where the dimensional ship
of the Draenei, called the Exodar,
crashed when attempting to escape
Draenor. They are now the
westernmost location in Kalimdor,
located off the southwestern coast
of Teldrassil. At present, there are
three major areas - Ammen Vail,
where new Draenei players start out;
Azuremyst Isle itself, where the
Draenei capital of Exodar is
located; and Bloodmyst Isle, for
further adventuring (similar to Loch
Modan for the Dwarves and Gnomes,
Westfall for the Humans, or
Darkshore for the Night Elves). The
Azuremyst Isles are for levels 1-20.
Outland, the remnants of Draenor, is
accessable via the Dark Portal in
the Blasted Lands. The Outland side
of the Dark Portal is in the
Hellfire Peninsula. Draenor was once
the homeworld of the mighty orcs but
was destroyed by the magical
energies unleashed when Ner'zhul
opened numerous portals to other
worlds at the end of Warcraft II:
Beyond the Dark Portal, thus
creating what is now known as
Outlands. Outland is also the refuge
of Illidan Stormrage, also called
Illidan The Betrayer, brother of
Malfurion Stormrage. Illidan seeks
to conceal himself from Kil'jaeden
because he failed to destroy the
Frozen Throne and the Lich King.
Netherstorm is a zone intended for
level 67-70 players. It is home to
two neutral cities, Stormspire and
Area 52, as well as a battleground
instance named Eye of the Storm
(though only accessible through the
battle masters in major cities, it
is suposedly in Netherstorm), and a
high-end raiding dungeon called
Tempest Keep, home of Kael'thas
Sunstrider, the leader of the Blood
Elves. Tempest Keep is one of the
areas in Outland that is unreachable
without the use of a flying mount.
Zangarmarsh harbors two Alliance
posts (Telredor and Orbeor
Harborage), two Horde posts
(Swamprat Post and Zabra'jin), and
two neutral faction posts (Cenarion
Refugee and Sporeggar). The specific
nature of the faction that holds
rules over Sporeggar has not been
released. Zangarmarsh is also home
to the Coilfang Reservoir raid
dungeon, where Lady Vashj and her
Naga minions reside.
Nagrand contains four cities: an
Alliance town named Telaar, a Horde
town named Garadar, and two neutral
towns, Aeris and Halaa. Nagrand is
mainly a PvP area. Aeris is run by
The Consortium, a new faction of
merchants, similar in motive to the
goblins. Nagrand is similar in
appearance to the Barrens with more
vegetation. Grom Hellscream's newly
discovered son, Garrosh Hellscream,
resides in Garadar.
Terokkar Forest has three cities: an
Alliance town called Allerian
Stronghold (possibly named after
Alleria Windrunner, a High Elven
ranger that was part of the group
thought lost when the Dark Portal
closed), a Horde town named
Stonebreaker Hold, and a neutral
city, Shattrath City. Shattrath is
meant to be the major quest hub in
Outland, is as big as a faction city
and comes with its own city map. The
instance Auchindoun is located here
consisting of four wings: Auchenai
Crypts for levels 64-66, the Shadow
Labyrinth for levels 65-67, Sethekk
Halls for levels 67-69, and the
Mana-Tombs for levels 69-70.
Shadowmoon Valley is the highest
level zone in the expansion. Illidan
and the Black Temple can be found
Due to its harborage of the Dark
Portal, Hellfire is the first
accessible zone for players who have
just entered Outland. It is intended
for level 58-63 players and has
various quests that pit the Alliance
against the Horde and vice-versa.
The Alliance town of Honor Hold and
the Horde outpost of Thrallmar are
located in Hellfire. There are three
towers in the middle of the map
similar in function to the towers in
Eastern Plagueland. Ownership of all
three towers by a specific faction
provides a zone wide +5% damage buff
to that faction.
Blade's Edge Mountains
Contains "Gruul's Lair" a new raid
instance allegedly involving two
raids; the King of the Gronns and
his Council, and the titular Gruul.
The Alliance town of Sylvanaar, the
Horde town of Thunderlord
Stronghold, and the Ogre-led
Gronn'bor Shrine can be found here.
Auchindoun will be located in
Outland's Terokkar Forest. It
contains 4 wings and the level range
changes for each wing. The first and
easiest wing will be Mana-Tombs,
with a level cap of 64-66. The
second wing, Auchenai Crypts, will
contain mobs at a level of 65-67.
The next wing, called Sethekk Halls,
contains mobs 67-69. The last wing,
named Shadow Labyrinth, contains
level 70-72 mobs. In the Warcraft II
expansion, Auchindoun is a fortress
that the Alliance destroys to
further their expeditions. (Note:
Often mistranslated as 'Arcane
The Black Temple will be one of the
final destinations in the expansion.
This instance is found in Shadowmoon
Valley in Outland. This instance
will be one of the new 25 man
instances planned for the expansion.
The Black Temple is rumored to be
home to the Betrayer, Illidan.
Caverns of Time
The Dark Portal as it will be seen
after players travel back through
time to aid Medivh as he opens it.
The Dark Portal as it will be seen
after players travel back through
time to aid Medivh as he opens it.
The Caverns of Time, located in the
desert of Tanaris in southern
Kalimdor, is not a single instance
but a sort of portal to a number of
different instances, similar to the
Scarlet Monastery, but on a much
bigger scale. The Caverns of Time,
guarded by the bronze dragon flight,
allows players to travel through the
history of WarCraft and relive some
of its most exciting moments. This
provides a tremendous opportunity
for Blizzard to implement a near
infinite amount of new content,
should they choose, allowing players
to fight the epic battles seen in
their previous strategy games.
Currently Thrall's escape from
Durnholde Keep, the opening of the
Dark Portal, and the Battle of Mount
Hyjal are all events slated to be
included in the Caverns of Time upon
its release, and the possibility of
a PvP Battleground set in Hellfire
Peninsula during the time period of
Warcraft II has been mentioned. The
Caverns of Time is being designed
for players between level 60 and 70
The Coilfang Reservoir will be found
in the Zangarmarsh in Outland and
home to Lady Vashj, the leader of
the Naga in Outland and a lieutenant
of Illidan. The Coilfang Reservoir
is for players between level 60 and
70. The instance is not completely
submerged drawing parallels to the
Sunken Temple instance in the Swamp
of Sorrows on Azeroth. The Coilfang
has a 25-person raid wing in
addition to a 5 or 10-person wing
similar to the Hellfire Citadel. The
five man wings are called Slave
Pens, The Underbog, and The
Steamvault. The raid is called
Players reach all four instances by
swimming down a tube in Serpent
Gruul's Lair is an upcoming raid
dungeon found in the Blades Edge
Mountains in Outland. Blizzard
representatives have hinted that
this dungeon will contain mostly
Ogres. The dungeon will focus around
two encounters, an Ogre "Council" of
some sort, and then Gruul, a 25-man
raid encounter. Gruul, one of the
giant Ogrish demigods is probably
one of the cycloptic Gronn.
Hellfire Citadel, located in
Outland's starting zone will be the
expansion's first and easiest
dungeon. Blizzard recently revealed
this dungeon will be mostly
populated by fel orcs and will
feature three 5-person winged
instances and a raid encounter
ending with the Pit Lord,
Magtheridon. The three five man
instances are Hellfire Ramparts, The
Blood Furnace, and Shattered Halls.
Hellfire Ramparts is populated by
fel orcs from the Shattered Hand
clan and Bleeding Hollow clan, and
has 3 bosses: Watchkeeper Gargolmar,
Omor The Unscarred, and Vazruden The
Herald, which is actually Vazruden
and his dragon mount Nazan. Killing
each boss yields Thrallmar or Honor
Hold reputation and a powerful item.
Interior shot of Karazhan.
Located in the southern Eastern
Kingdoms, in Deadwind Pass,
Karazhan, the former home of Medivh
now lies in ruin. Blizzard has
stated that this dungeon will be
larger than Upper Blackrock Spire
and Lower Blackrock Spire combined
making it one of the game's largest
dungeons. Within the tower, players
will fight many spectral mobs and
experience scripted boss encounters.
One such encounter occurs in an
Opera House within the tower where
players will fight on stage with a
boss. Karazhan is slated to be a
10-person raid instance for players
at level 70. There will be a save
function in Kharazan so that players
do not need to run through the
entire instance each run, likely in
the form of a transporter, which
possibly needs the player to
activate save points at the end of
different sections, much like in
conventional games. Speculation of
the final boss, who fans had
suspected to be anyone from a Shade
of Medivh or Sargeras, to the
missing dragon Neltharion (known as
Deathwing after his betrayal during
the War of the Ancients) to the
Death Knight Teron Gorefiend took a
strange turn when IGN stated that
the final boss was a "Prince
Malchazzar." This claim seems
dubious as the character seems to
come from nowhere in the most
lore-heavy instance in the game, as
well as the fact that Karazhan has
not yet been populated, according to
videos taken of the instance from
Medivh's staff - Atiesh, Greatstaff
of the Guardian - can be used to
open a portal to Karazhan's front
Tempest Keep will be located at the
northern tip of the Netherstorm in
Outland. This dungeon consists of
four wings, three of which are
five-man instances, the fourth,
which is the keep itself, is a raid
instance. Here, players will
encounter Kael'Thas, leader of the
Blood Elves in Outland and the
second of Illidan's lieutenants. The
raid portion of this dungeon will be
approximately the size of Molten
Core. This instance will be for
max-level players and is split into
four wings: The Mechanar, The
Botanica, the Alcatraz, and Eye of
the Storm. Also, there are rumors of
The Burning Legion taking hold here.
This dungeon, a 10-man raid is
located in Quel'Thalas and is home
to the Forest Trolls. This raid is
intended to display more myths about
Trolls, and it is also designed to
be harder than Zul'Gurub, a 20 -man
raid in Northeastern Stranglethorn
Vale in Eastern Kingdoms
Player vs. Player
World PvP in Outland.
The Burning Crusade will contain
numerous changes to PvP. This
includes a PvP Arena System and the
ability for players of either
faction to capture the neutral town
of Halaa located in Nagrand. The
interactive map displayed on
Blizzard's website shows multiple
'neutral' cities, however it isn't
clear as to how similar they will be
to Halaa. The new PvP Arena System
will allow players to compete
against other 'Arena Teams'
regardless of their allegiance. It
has also been confirmed that the
Honor System will undergo major
changes. It has been stated that
there will no longer be 'Ranks' as
before but players will still earn
'Honor Points' that will be spent
like currency. Lead game designer
Tom Chilton stated in an interview
that their goal with the Arena
system was to separate the
competitive PvP from the
non-competitive PvP. The Honor
System will behave more like a
"non-competitive grind" in order to
make it feel like "something that
you can work toward over time." The
Arena System and the Honor System
will have separate rewards.
of a new battleground have been
confirmed by Blizzard.
Arena games are split into two
sections: rated and non rated games.
To enter a rated game, you must form
a arena group in Nagrand. You must
also be at the highest level in the
PvP rewards currently have a buy
price of honor and battleground
tokens. Honor doesn't decay from
week to week, so a player can now
gain honor at his or her own pace in
order to purchase rewards.
As of 24 October 2006 several
Blizzard posters have announced that
the PvP review will in fact take
place in the upcoming Patch 1.13.
The last patch, 1.12, was designed
to be the final major update before
the expansion, but the pushing back
of the release date to January has
allowed them more time to implement
certain aspects before it arrives.
New "Looking For Group" interface
The Burning Crusade expansion will
contain a substantial change to the
process of finding a party or raid.
The new interface will allow players
to select 'Looking For Group' or
'Looking For More', dependent on
whether or not they are currently in
a group. Players will then be
allowed to select the type of group
they are looking for: dungeon, zone,
raid, quest or battleground. Once a
category has been selected, further
options will appear to refine the
player's search, and a group will
automatically be found for the
player if there are other players
with the same goals. It is suggested
that this feature was implemented
after user feedback in relation to
"spam" on the global channel.
This section has no references.
You can help Wikipedia by including
Please see the relevant discussion
on the talk page.
World of Warcraft: The Burning
Crusade runs natively on both
Macintosh and Windows platforms.
Boxed copies of the expansion use a
hybrid CD to install the game,
eliminating the need for separate
Mac and Windows retail products.
* Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4);
Windows XP (Service Pack 2)
* Intel Pentium3 800MHz or AMD Duron
* 512 MB RAM
o 1 GB RAM recommended
* 32MB 3D graphics processor with
Hardware Transform and Lighting,
such as an NVIDIA GeForce 2 class
card or above.
o 64MB VRAM 3D graphics processor
with Vertex and Pixel Shader
capability, such as an NVIDIA
GeForce FX 5700 class card or above
* DirectX compatible sound card
* Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer required
* 933MHz G4/G5 processor
o 1.8GHz G5/Intel or better
* 1GB MB RAM or higher
o 2GB DDR RAM is recommended
* NVIDIA or ATI graphics processor
with 32MB VRAM,
o 64MB VRAM recommended
* 6.0 GB free HD space
* A keyboard and mouse are required.
Input devices other than a mouse and
keyboard are not supported
* Connectivity:You must have an
active internet connection to play.
* Mouse: Multi-button mouse with
scroll wheel recommended.
Burning Crusade delayed?
Rumors are flying that Blizzard will miss the "Q4 2006" release date
for the Burning Crusade, and release the expansion only in January
2007. I don't know if that is true. On the one hand releasing it
before Christmas would make better business sense, this is the prime
season for computer games. On the other hand Blizzard is known for
releasing things "when they are ready", which is often later than
Of course Blizzard isn't saying anything, as usual. The only release
dates you can read are from the different online retailers. And the
fact that they all give a different date proves that they are just
guessing as well. I remember that Blizzard announced the official
release date of the European version of World of Warcraft only one
week before the actual release date.
The source of the rumor of a delayed release is probably the beta.
Now that depends whether you consider the current BC beta as being
"closed" or "open". Starting the "closed" beta in mid-October would
indicate that the game won't be ready by end of November. But if you
consider that inviting 100,000 players per continent is pretty much
an "open" beta, they could just make it.
Playing the beta sure showed me that some things weren't finished
yet. I have items with a big red question mark as icon, the real
icon not having been designed yet. I met an orc guard whose
graphical representation was just a small, checkered 3D cube. I had
the beta freeze on me once, but of course that could have been my
computer. The current beta is certainly playable (and less
bug-infested than lets say Star Wars Galaxies), but I'm not sure it
up to Blizzard's stringent quality control.
Some people argue with the time it takes to produce the "gold
master" and produce all the CDs. But of course that isn't much of a
problem with a MMORPG, you just put a nearly finished version on the
CD and patch it the day it goes live.
So the only thing we really know about the release date is that we
don't know anything. Blizzard might surprise us and mid-November
announce an end-November release date. Or we all wait until
end-November and only get a press release saying that the release is
delayed to Q1 2007.
While everybody is burning to see the expansion (excuse the pun),
Blizzard gets my respect for their willingness to delay releases on
quality reasons. There are far too many half-finished games
released, and especially MMORPG often are nearly unplayable on
release. One company releasing their games and expansion only when
they meet high quality standards and are nearly bug-free is a
refreshing change. Even if waiting is sometimes hard.
Drums of War
the first time in the history of World of Warcraft, you will be able
to face off against players from other realms in the Battlegrounds.
PvP Battlegrounds link Alterac Valley, Warsong Gulch, and Arathi
Basin so that players from several realms will be combined into one
huge matchmaking pool. Replenish your mana, sharpen your blades, and
get ready for some brand-new challengers!
stage is set for intense, objective-based land battles as Horde and
Alliance vie for control over important strategic positions and
resources around Azeroth. Head out for Silithus and Eastern
Plaguelands to engage the enemy on the field!
* Threat Reduction
This system has been
redesigned to eliminate inconsistency in how the effects work.
Previously, some were additive (for example: 30% reduction + 20%
reduction = 50% reduction) while others were multiplicative (30%
reduction and 20% reduction made 44% reduction, from 0.7*0.8). They
are now all multiplicative. This also prevents unpredictable
behavior when the total reduction percentage was equal to or greater
than 100%. Please note that in almost all cases, when stacking
multiple threat reduction effects you will experience less threat
reduction than previously.
* Haste and Slow effects
Previously Haste and
Slow effects worked inconsistently, with spells working differently
from weapons, and hastes and slows not acting as inverses of each
other. We have revised the system so that all haste and slow effects
work the same way, and haste and slow percentages of the same
magnitude perfectly cancel each other out (30% haste and 30% slow
combine to no change). As a result, we had to change the tooltip
numbers on all spell haste effects, and on all melee and range slow
effects. The numbers in the tooltips are different, but the game
functionality is unchanged (other than slight rounding errors).
Those tooltips that changed will now display larger numbers than
they used to display. Conceptually, haste values indicate how much
more of that activity you can perform in a given time. 30% melee
haste means 30% more swings in a given time. Slow values indicate
how much longer an activity takes to complete. 30% slow means an
action takes 30% longer to finish.
* The deserter debuff
will now continue to expire even while you are offline.
* Honorable Kills now
diminish at a rate 10% per kill rather than 25% per kill.
Barkskin: The tooltip has been changed to 25% due to the haste
* Cat Form: This form now has an innate threat reduction component.
* Ferocious Bite: Book of Ferocious Bite (Rank 5) now drops off The
Beast in Black Rock Spire. In addition, Ferocious Bite now increases
in potency with greater attack power.
* Furor: This talent now works correctly with Cat Form again.
* Improved Shred: The discounted cost for Shred will now be
displayed correctly even when you are not in Cat Form.
* Rip: Lesser potency Rips will no longer overwrite greater potency
* Fixed a bug where the incorrect sound was being played by the Claw
Spirit Bond: This ability will now be correctly reapplied when you
resurrect in a battleground and your pet is polymorphed or otherwise
unable to act normally.
* Improved Concussive Shot: The effect of this talent will now still
be placed on the victim if the hunter is killed before their shot
reaches the target.
* Growl now correctly initiates combat when used by a pet in passive
* The Ferocity talent now correctly applies to non-physical hunter
pet abilities such as Lightning Breath and Thunderstomp.
* If a hunter has tamed one of the following creature types, they
will no longer potentially change colors if resummoned:
o Son of Hakkar - Red
o Frenzied Bloodseeker Bat - Brown
o Deep Stinger - Red
o Dark Screecher - Gray
o Cave Creeper - Brown
o Bloodaxe Worg - Black
o Scarshield Worg -Brown
Arcane Missiles: It is no longer possible to cast this spell on an
evading mob. In addition, the animation will now stop when the
target is dead.
* Arcane Power: It is no longer possible to gain the benefit of this
spell and Power Infusion at the same time by careful timing.
* Frost Armor Chilled effect: Due to the haste effect change, the
tooltip has been changed to 25%.
* Ice Armor Chilled effect: Due to the haste effect change, the
tooltip has been changed to 25%.
* Ignite: The effect of this talent will now still be placed on the
victim if the caster is killed before their spell reaches the
* Impact: The effect of this talent will now still be placed on the
victim if the caster is killed before their spell reaches the
* Frostbite: The effect of this talent will now still be placed on
the victim if the caster is killed before their spell reaches the
* Polymorph: This spell will now be removed when a player leaves a
battleground. This prevents some bugs involving polymorph from
* Evocation will no longer be usable while silenced.
* Reduced the number of messages that appear in the combat log when
* Winter's Chill: The effect of this talent will now still be placed
on the victim if the caster is killed before their spell reaches the
Divine Shield: Due to the haste effect change, the tooltip has been
changed to 100%.
Mind Control: Due to the haste effect change, the tooltip has been
changed to 25%.
* Psychic Scream: This spell now uses the same resistance checks as
the Warlock spell Fear.
* Spirit of Redemption: Fixed an issue preventing Twisting Nether
from retriggering when the Spirit of Redemption effect runs out.
to significant talent changes, Rogues will have all talent points
refunded and can be re-spent. Training costs for all talent spell
replacements have been significantly reduced.
* Vanish now removes effects that allow the caster to always remain
aware of their target (currently Hunter's Mark and Mind Vision).
* Pickpocket can now be used on targets that are in combat, as long
as the rogue remains stealthed.
* All manner of rogue reagents can be found in locked junkboxes
(obtained from pickpocketing)
* Fixed a bug where the Slice and Dice ability wasn't playing an
* Lethargy Root has been removed from poison vendors and is now a
* Reduced the number of messages in the combat log when using the
* Fixed a bug that made Combo Points disappear from your target when
* Eviscerate: Manual of Eviscerate (Rank 9) now drops off Blackhand
Assassins in Black Rock Spire. In addition, Eviscerate now increases
in potency with greater attack power.
* Garrote: The damage from this ability has been increased. In
addition, Garrote now increases in potency with greater attack
* Relentless Strikes: This ability will no longer trigger when your
finishing move does not hit your target.
* Rupture: Rupture now increases in potency with greater attack
* Sap: Enemy rogues will now always lose stealth when you Sap them.
Reincarnation should now display the cooldown timer when used.
* Chain Heal - After the initial target is healed, the healing
effect will jump to the most damaged target (by absolute health)
within range. In addition, if a raid member is the initial target it
will look for valid raid targets to jump to rather than non-raid
targets as a priority, making it consistent with group targeted
* Lightning Shield: Air Bubble pockets in underwater regions will no
longer consume a charge from this spell.
Cripple (Doomguard): Due to haste effect change, the tooltip has
been changed to 45%.
* Curse of Tongues: This spell will no longer debuff the target if
they are immune to the spellcast slowing effect.
* Enslave Demon: Due to haste effect change, the tooltip has been
changed to 40%.
* Health Funnel: This spell will now work correctly on low-level
* Howl of Terror: This spell now uses the same resistance checks as
the Warlock spell Fear.
* Siphon Life will now properly gain a benefit from Shadow Mastery.
* A soul shard will be refunded to the caster any time a summoned
pet despawns rather than dies.
* Aftermath: The effect of this talent will now still be placed on
the victim if the caster is killed before their spell reaches the
* Improved Shadow Bolt: The effect of this talent will now still be
placed on the victim if the caster is killed before their spell
reaches the target.
* Life Tap: This spell now benefits from effects which increase your
spell damage. At rank 3 and above, the base amount of health lost
and mana gained will increase by 80% of your bonus spell damage
effects. Talents and items can further modify those values. Rank 1
and 2 receive reduced effect.
Bloodthirst: This ability will now correctly benefit from attack
power bonuses versus specific creature types.
* Flurry: The text on the tooltip has been corrected to indicate it
triggers on all types of attacks.
* Shield Slam: This ability will sometimes no longer remove more
than one beneficial effect from the target.
* Thunderclap: This ability was left at 10% despite the haste effect
changes. This means its potency has been reduced slightly.
US Congress steps into cyberspace
Trade is central to many
US politicians could soon be rubbing shoulders with orcs and night elves in
World of Warcraft.
The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of the US Congress has announced it is
investigating the amount of commerce taking place in virtual game worlds.
The investigation is unlikely to mean that in-game trading will start to be
Many popular virtual worlds such as Eve Online and Second Life revolve around
trade of one sort or another.
In a statement announcing the investigation, the Committee said its probe was
prompted by the "dramatic increase in the popularity of online gaming".
It said it was interested solely in the "universe of transactions" that occur
within online worlds such as Second Life.
Although an economic value can be put on this trade because in-game currencies
do have an equivalent real world value, committee chairman Jim Saxton said its
investigation was not being carried out with a view to slapping taxes on this
"There is a concern that the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) might step forward
with regulations that start taxing transactions that occur within virtual
economies," said Mr Saxton. "This, I believe, would be a mistake."
Shop in World of Warcraft, Blizzard
Buying better gear and selling the old is a big part of game play
Instead, he said, the investigation wanted to get a better understanding of
where the line falls between taxable and non-taxable trade. Studies of game
activity suggest the time and effort put into these online worlds has an
economic impact equivalent to the GDP of Namibia.
Players of online fantasy games such as World of Warcraft know that much of the
game revolves around looting of dead monsters and selling the booty. Cash
generated by the sales is usually used to improve the gear worn and used by that
player's in-game avatar.
Some players of these games have amassed huge fortunes of game currency by
exploiting the quirks of the virtual world's monetary and trade systems.
There are reports that many people in nations such as China earn their entire
salary by "gold-farming" in which they play the game solely to get gold which is
then sold for real world money.
The JEC statement said: "Clearly, virtual economies represent an area where
technology has outpaced the law. The goal of the forthcoming JEC study is to
help lawmakers understand the issues involved and head off any premature attempt
to impose a tax on virtual economies."
success in online gaming
By Dan Simmons
Reporter, BBC Click Online
As online gaming becomes increasingly
popular, real-world trading of virtual items used in these games has rocketed.
Dan Simmons finds out what happens when fantasy gaming meets cold, hard cash.
Playing an online game
The communities created by online gaming attract millions of players
With the spread of broadband connections, multi-player fantasy gaming, in which
thousands of gamers can play simultaneously, has taken off.
Stunning virtual worlds promise adventure and glory, often for a monthly access
fee of around $10 to $15 (£6 to £8).
The most popular titles have attracted more than three million subscribers. The
social interaction between players often leads gamers to develop tight-knit
communities, forming in-game allegiances.
It is a formula that has also led to some seriously dedicated playing. Around 20
hours a week is the average.
"You've got a lot more human emotions coming in to play, you're getting friends,
a social group and you may have a social standing within the group," says
Rhianna Pratchett, a gamer and games writer.
"It can be very addictive and the hoarding of weapons or getting the best weapon
or getting to the next level up or getting the next spell is addictive."
One gamer in China even killed a fellow player over a sword used in an online
Paying to win
But dedicating so much time and effort is not the only route to success.
Over the past year the trade in virtual items and currencies used in these
online games has been booming, despite it being outlawed by most of the game
People who spend money to buy gold or weapons or even to have their characters
levelled up are just plain cheaters
Matt Royle, gamer
It is called the secondary market. Rather than relying on skill and guile,
players can use cash to buy the items they need.
Hundreds of dollars can change hands for anything from swords to flying carpets
on auction sites such as eBay. And many online companies have started offering
direct selling services.
This year in Asia the amount of money changing hands for in-game goods is
expected to be more than for the games themselves.
But there has also been a backlash from many gamers.
Matt Royle, who spends four to five hours a day playing World of Warcraft, says
richer players are getting an unfair advantage.
You can't buy a gold medal and then claim you're the world high-jump champion
Professor Richard Bartle
"People who spend money to buy gold or weapons or even to have their characters
levelled up are just plain cheaters, to be honest.
"People who play for the real amount of time and for the gaming experience are
getting a raw deal because other people come along and just ruin it with their
high-level characters or their weapons that they haven't actually earned."
And some experts, including lecturer and games consultant Professor Richard
Bartle, who helped invent the first online multi-player game, agree.
"Most of the players hate this kind of activity, really, really hate it. As far
as they're concerned, they're playing a game," he says.
"And if someone comes along and turns it from a game into work, they think: 'I
work all day, and now my fun is being spoilt by these people buying success.'
"You can't buy a gold medal and then claim you're the world high-jump champion.
You have to jump something."
Sony Online Entertainment, responsible for EverQuest 2, at first tried to ban
the trade in virtual artefacts. But just a few weeks ago it did a u-turn,
opening up its own official trading site to US players, called Station Exchange.
Chris Kramer, of Sony Online Entertainment, says: "The decision for our company
to create Station Exchange was kind of a long road for us.
Items in a game
Genuine players are suffering from the trading of items
"Over the last five years we've seen the secondary market for sales of virtual
goods go from a few guys selling our characters on eBay to about $200m in sales
"We can no longer ignore a secondary market that has reached levels as high as
Sony Online says it offers casual gamers who are time-poor a way to keep up with
friends who play more often.
It also gives new players the option of joining a version of the game that
allows real-world trading or one that aims to control it.
Some players clearly like the shortcuts that cash offers as well as the chance
to make money.
Rhianna Pratchett says: "It's always a kick when you find a great weapon in the
game anyway, and if you're actually thinking: 'That's great, I can go and sell
that on eBay and get myself some DVDs or buy my Mum birthday present' or
whatever, I can imagine that can be a lot of fun."
Trading in fantasy games can make you serious cash. One player made $4,000 in
With real money at stake, these virtual worlds are being used as very real
In some countries, groups have been set up simply to collect valuable items and
gold, a forbidden practice known as "farming".
Others use automated programmes or bots to do the job, but the result is fewer
in-game goodies for the genuine players.
The gaming companies try to stop them, but it is unclear how much success they
Two online sales companies told us it was possible they were being supplied by
Stopping the secondary market may just be a fantasy
One, which claimed to do 300 sales a day to World of Warcraft gamers, reassured
me that I was unlikely to be banned from the game, or taken to court, if I
traded with them.
The games developers hold the intellectual rights to everything in the game. So,
technically, even if you buy or sell gold or items, they are owned by the game's
Blizzard Entertainment, publishers of World of Warcraft, says it monitors what
happens in-game as well as on the internet regarding real world trading of
items, but it would not reveal how it does this.
It says it has taken action against more than 1,000 players. While it does not
support independent companies buying and selling its in-game creations, it has
not yet decided what action to take about this problem.
Blizzard estimates more than 90% of its own World of Warcraft subscribers
disapprove of buying virtual items with real cash.
Because most real world transactions are completed in-game between characters,
some think they will never be stopped.
Others believe the gaming hosts are not doing enough to curb it.
For those who like to use their cash to get ahead, it enhances their gaming
But those seeking a level playing field, where success relies purely on skill
and dedication, may soon be left high and dry, dreaming of a fantasy world.
One Lawsuit to Rule Them All
And so, it begins.
"This letter is to notify you that you are violating the World of Warcraft End
copyrights and trademarks, and contributing to the copyright infringement of
Patrick at Gamersloot sent us the above extract from the C&D letter they just
received from the senior counsel at Vivendi Universal (ie Blizzard's parent
company). It goes on:
"Specifically, Blizzard is the owner of the trademarks and copyrights for the
computer game World of Warcraft and all related content, including but not
limited to all game characters, objects, and artifacts. Section 3 of the EULA
specifically provides that “all title, ownership rights and intellectual
property rights in and to the Game and all copies thereof (including, but not
limited to, any titles, computer code, themes, objects, characters, character
names, stories, dialog, catch phrases, locations, concepts, artwork, character
inventories, structural or landscape designs, animations, sounds, musical
compositions, audio-visual effects, storylines, character likenesses, methods of
operation, moral rights, any related documentation, and "applets" incorporated
into the Game) are owned or expressly licensed by Licensor.” Similar language is
contained in Section 10 of the TOU."
It goes on to say that Gamersloot must stop infringing immediately as well as
tell them how much money they made from it. Or else. (Actually, Gamersloot don't
sell virtual assets, but presumably others who do have also received the C&D).
The way that the property interests are framed is actually quite interesting.
The range of property claimed ranges across copyright and trademarks, and is
typically overbroad: Since when do character names attract copyright? Since
Blizzard doesn't create those names, how could they be its in the first place?
And "character likenesses"? Please. And so on.
On quick reflection (this isn't my considered opinion since all the analysis was
done while my son was climbing on my head and insisting on being tickled) I
actually think that Blizzard's position is remarkably weak on the copyright and
trademark claims. No copying of the works/marks is ever done, and since Blizzard
retains control of the assets (they are in its database after all) they have a
weak claim on the primary infringement side. And on the secondary infringement
side I think it's screwed.
Of course, there's always the trusty ToU: the virtual world contractual
equivalent of the 19th Century fairy tales where you agree to give away your
first-born child in return for ten minutes of good gameplay. This one will be
tougher for IGE and other secondary-market actors to beat, but there's always
the doctrine of privity that means that unless IGE signed the contract they
can't be bound.
God I love the law...
Posted by Dan Hunter
WOW News: Buying your way to virtual
By Jeremy Rue, CONTRIBUTOR
ON MANY DAYS, 23-year-old Andrew
Caruso can be found trotting through
the pixilated green videogame
shrubbery of the virtual online
world of "World of Warcraft."
Attached to the back of his
character is a giant, highly coveted
orange hammer of Ragnaros.
This weapon is
so rare, so valued, it took Caruso
five months of what he calls "24/7
playing" on his computer to achieve
the level 60 status to acquire such
At the time he
earned it, only two such items were
known to exist among the 17,000
players who participate on the same
server as Caruso. And after long,
grueling hours of game play, he
became the proud owner of this tool
that gives him online omnipotence.
deep pockets have advantages, even
Caruso months of playtime can be
achieved in mere days at the right
price. Buying or selling virtual
characters and items is an incipient
marketplace that is capturing the
attention of millions of gamers
connect players with "power
levelers," people who will level-up
a character. For about $250, these
power levelers can get a character
to level 60 — the highest level in
the game — in about 15 days.
Multiplayer Online Role-Playing
Games — or MMORPGs — such as "World
of Warcraft" are not anything like
your average Nintendo game. They
require hours, days, weeks — even
months of playing to acquire
level-ups and virtual "gold," the
It is that
type of dedication some say makes it
"It's a drug,"
says Charles Drum, a technology
consultant from Fremont. "People are
addicted to it. But now it's
becoming an expensive habit."
with Ken Hu of
an online broker based in Fremont
that allows players to trade cash
for characters or virtual gold. His
going price: $100 for 1,000 gold,
though discounts for bulk purchases
The game is time consuming. Before
you needed to play one week (to get
1,000 gold) now you just pay a
hundred bucks," says Hu. "We offer a
Here's how it works. Hu has contacts
in China. He says one contact works
from a room filled with about a
dozen players who play constantly
around the clock; building levels,
earning gold. Hu works as a
middleman to connect buyers with
power levelers, or with "gold
farmers," who hoard virtual gold to
sell for real money.
This virtual marketplace is growing
like wildfire, Hu says. He has
customers who will spend thousand of
dollars to buy characters that are
already at level 60. Such a feat
could take months to achieve for a
new gamer. Hu also offers brokerage
services for 13 other online games.
Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of
"World of Warcraft," boasts more
than 5 million players worldwide,
each one paying a monthly
subscription fee to play.
The company does not condone such
virtual transactions. In fact, if
one is caught, the company bans a
player's account, with the potential
of erasing month's worth of work.
But Hu contends what he does is not
illegal. As a broker he stays in a
"It's not fair," says Hu. "The
players spend $50 to buy the game,
then they pay the subscription fee,
and invest lots of time to get the
gold. But now Blizzard says we can
ban their account anytime? It's not
fair at all."
For many of the most loyal players,
Blizzard's stance comes as welcoming
news but also with little relief.
"Some people have the money to buy
whatever they want. They can buy any
character," says Tim Huang of
Fremont. "When we play, it's hard
earned. Not like someone else who
goes and purchases it."
Huang said gold farming has also
taken a toll on the game's virtual
mini-economy, where players buy and
sell equipment legitimately within
the game. Ever since buying gold
with real money has become more
common, virtual prices have
Huang said finding out who has
purchased characters or gold is easy
because camaraderie among players is
strong and news travels quickly.
"You can sort of tell," Huang says.
"These people are casual players,
you know they only play once in a
while ... then it's like, 'how did
these people get so much money?'"
While the virtual marketplace for
"World of Warcraft," the most
popular game, maintains viability
under illicit circumstances, Sony
Online Entertainment taking a
different approach: sanctioning the
virtual marketplace and even
providing players a safe haven to
buy and sell goods.
The Station Exchange is an eBay-type
setup where players of Sony games
like "Everquest II" can auction
their characters or equipment. Sony
touts that the Station Exchange
interface provides a secure, private
and seamless method to sell items in
a secondary market.
WOW News: Going for gold
Is it fair for online gamers to
pay big bucks to get ahead, or should they earn their wares through time and
The News Tribune
Published: February 12th, 2006 02:30 AM
If you’re not a
big fan of the whole “reap what you sow” thing, maybe goldfarming is for you.
earning wages through hard work and perseverance, you might be able to earn a
decent living – or at least some extra spending money – by harvesting nothing
more than “a bunch of ones and zeroes,” as longtime online gamer Dan Brunton
playing computer games just to earn virtual currency and then sell it for
real-world dollars – is part of a thriving secondary market in the gaming world.
It’s getting something for nothing, trading game goods and gold for real money.
And though the practice has been going on for a few years, the market’s worth
may be poised to eclipse that of the primary game publishing market.
Some South Sound
gamers are looking on with equal parts amazement and dismay.
“In theory …
your game gear should be the result of your work and not your pocketbook,” said
Brunton, a Lakewood resident and a systems integration analyst for Intel. He’s
not a big fan
of gamers who
support the goldfarming market by buying their game currency at Web sites such
as eBay and
IGE.com and then using their virtual
wealth to outfit their game characters with high-level weapons and armor.
issues of the haves and the have-nots are creeping into game worlds,” Brunton
of choice these days is World of
WarCraft, a “massively multiplayer online role-playing game,” or MMORPG.
He’s not alone.
WoW boasts more than 5 million subscribers. And a growing number of gamers
are wandering away from the practice of earning gold, the game’s currency, in
favor of buying it from farmers – those who do nothing but earn gold.
monsters, earn some gold. Finish some quests, earn some gold. Sell some weapons
and armor you found, earn some gold. Farmers play for days on end, stockpile
gold and put it up for sale online.
is simple. A recent check showed more than 200 auctions of
WoW gold on eBay. Use a credit card or Internet payment service to order
your gold, and a farmer will either meet you in the game or use the game’s mail
system to transfer gold from his or her character to yours. Some players are
paying $300 or more for a few thousand pieces of virtual gold that can be spent
inside the game on new equipment for their characters.
gear is a reward or a badge to say I’ve been through all these adventures,”
Brunton said. “It cheapens the experience when people just buy their gold and
then buy their gear.”
There’s a stigma
attached to both the practice of buying gold and farming it, he said. On his
server, suspected farmers and buyers are ostracized.
Eric Sayer, 16,
of Auburn, and Joe Kulp, 20, of Lakewood, play
WoW as often as possible in the Gamerz Hub area of the Thrill Zone
entertainment center in Fircrest. They said goldfarmers have thrown off the
game’s economy more than once on their
WoW server. An in-game auction house for players who just want to trade in
virtual goods is sometimes flooded with high-priced items sold by farmers. That
sometimes makes nonfarmers jack up their own prices. Eventually, players who are
unable or unwilling to spend their real money on virtual gold are priced out of
Still, Sayer and
Kulp are among a growing number of gamers who have tentatively accepted
goldfarming and will readily admit to buying their gold.
bought about 3,000 gold all together,” Kulp said, adding that he has purchased
it a little bit at a time. “I just hate being poor. And there’s always something
I want to buy.”
Many players on
their server purchase gold, they said.
Both gamers have
reached the top level for their characters and are working on the game’s final
dungeons. They say they want to focus on those adventures without worrying about
how they’ll pay for supplies and armor repairs for their characters. Kulp has
even used “power
leveling” services. He has paid someone to play a second character for him,
get the character to the highest level and have it outfitted with top-notch
So who is
accumulating, or farming, all this game gold?
A call to the
good doctor earned some answers.a
Kun “Ken” Hu is
Dr. Hu of
Dr-Hu.com, a Web site that facilitates
the trading of virtual gold and offers some of that
power leveling for players who are too busy to play all day. Based in
Fremont, Calif., Hu said he is a “middle man,” a broker who connects North
American gamers with gold farmed in Asia.
there’s lots of farmers,” Hu said during a recent phone call. “They have, like,
small studios with one or three people. But some have maybe 100 computers and
players and play World of
companies approve of farming and some don’t, he said. Blizzard, the creator of
WoW, does not. But it’s not illegal, so Hu keeps matching gamers with
farmers for business.
allow people to sell the gold,” Hu said. “It’s … a gray zone. There’s no law to
say it’s right or not right.”
know that many farmers work in organized groups in Asia, a side effect to the
farming business has been a hesitancy on the part of North American players to
group with Asian players. On Brunton’s server, many players, Asian or not, who
simply don’t speak fluent English get lumped into the farmer category. Gamers
often make lists of the character names of suspected farmers and post them
online. In the game, those players sometimes have trouble finding groups to join
“I have seen an
obvious bias against people who are not English-speaking,” Brunton said.
Farming is going
to take place one way or another, said Heather Gore of Internet Gaming
Entertainment, the world’s largest marketplace provider for farmers and
Gamers can go
IGE.com to buy and sell their virtual
gold, gear, characters and services.
“There needs to
be a safe and secure, well-lit place to perform these transactions,” Gore said.
headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London. They
don’t employ farmers; they just provide the marketplace. But they don’t condone
what Gore calls “disruptive farming,” practices that negatively affect a game’s
economy. Anyone who disrupts game play is removed from the IGE marketplace.
is trying to ban farming, having recently canceled 18,000 accounts of suspected
WoW farmers, Sony Online Entertainment has taken the opposite approach. The
publisher of popular MMORPGs EverQuest, EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies,
Sony brought farming into the fold and created its own marketplace for it. At
the online Station Exchange, players can buy and sell their virtual goods with
“We feel that
really validates our business,” Gore said.
high on both sides of the issue, she said. Some gamers appreciate the freedom of
being able to focus on improving their characters without worrying about how
much new weapons and armor might cost. Other players see it as cheating or
giving an unfair advantage to those who can afford to spend real money on “a
bunch of ones and zeroes,” as Brunton of Lakewood puts it.
Referring to a
combination of internal research and a recent Nielsen study commissioned by IGE,
Gore said goldfarming is becoming an accepted practice in North America. Only
about 20 percent of gamers disapprove, she said, but they make up a “vocal
and Chinese markets are so far ahead of us because they don’t see this as a
debate,” she said. “They don’t see it as a problem.”
IGE is a
privately held company. Following common practice, Gore did not give any
information about company profits. But she did say the secondary gaming market
could be worth $9 billion to $10 billion annually by 2009, when it likely will
surpass the game-publishing market.
Buying your gold
and then outfitting your character with high-end weapons and armor might be fine
for some players, but Brunton said it takes more than that to get the most out
of your chosen MMORPG.
“Just having the
best gear in the game doesn’t necessarily make you a good player,” he said. “You
still have to have some talent.”
Step 1: Play a
“massively multiplayer” online game on your computer. The most popular these
days is World of
WarCraft, a role-playing game, or “MMORPG.” In
WoW, hundreds of players can log in to the same server, or “realm,” for
simultaneous adventuring. There are hundreds of
WoW realms all over the world, and more than 5 million people pay monthly
subscriptions to play the game.
Slay some enemies (also called “mobs”). When you do, you can loot their corpses
for items you can later sell to a computer-controlled merchant. In
WoW, if you slay a bear, for instance, click on its corpse and you might see
a column of icons representing teeth, fur, meat, claws, etc. Click the icons to
add them to your inventory. Some enemies yield, or “drop,” weapons and armor as
well as copper, silver or
WoW, players can carry as many as five backpacks, each with more than a
dozen “slots,” or spots for loot icons. When your packs are full, head to a town
or city and find a computer-controlled merchant.
Click on the merchant and then click on your backpacks to open them. Click on
the icons in your backpack to sell them to the vendor, who will give you coins.
Slay, loot and sell about a million times.
While you’re out slaying enemies, keep an eye out for rare items. These can be
weapons, armor, trinkets or even crafting patterns that other players might
want. You can tell how valuable an item is by looking at the color of its name.
Green items are “uncommon,” blue items are “rare,” and purple items are “epic.”
In most parts of the virtual world, epic items don’t drop very often.
If you get some of these green, blue or purple drops, put them up for sale for
gold on the in-game auction house. Sometimes epic items are sold for real
money in online marketplaces such as eBay or
When you have collected about 1,000 pieces of
gold (that can take many days of nonstop killing, looting and selling), put
it up for sale on eBay,
IGE.com or some other online
Here’s how the sale goes on eBay, for example: Someone who plays in the same
realm as you wants to buy your 1,000 pieces of
gold. He has a winning bid of $75, and the cash moves from their credit card
to your account. You arrange to meet him in the game and give him your
WoW also has an in-game mail system for sending notes,
gold and items to other players.
Repeat this process 100,000 times. Or, as some have done, open a factory in
China, and pay 100 people a few U.S. dollars per month to do it for you.
The game development studio that makes World of
Short for “farmbot,” a playable game character programmed to automatically slay
enemies and loot their corpses. Creating bots usually involves hacking, a
practice most game companies do not endorse.
Noun: A single piece of loot. Verb: To appear, as sellable items do, in a loot
window when a player clicks on the corpse of a slain enemy.
Or “farmer,” one who plays a MMORPG solely for the purpose of harvesting and
selling loot, accumulating gold and then selling that virtual gold for real
money in online marketplaces such as eBay or
Noun: The items that drop from slain enemies. These can be common items such as
pelts or cloth to more valuable items such as armor or weapons. Verb: To take
The window that pops up when a player clicks on a slain enemy. The loot window
displays the items (as icons) that can be looted from an enemy’s corpse. Looted
items are added to a player’s personal inventory.
Massively multiplayer online game, a game played simultaneously by hundreds or
thousands of players
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game, a MMOG that focuses more on
fantasy role-playing and adventuring than, say, World War II shooting action or
the re-creation of battles from ancient history.
Computer controlled enemies. In
WoW, mobs are a mix of common animals, fantasy creatures and monsters and
human or humanoid foes.
A player who, when grouped with other players, steals loot from the corpses of
cooperatively slain enemies instead of waiting to divide it fairly.
A player who, when grouped with other players, steals loot with the intent to
A Web site
that categorizes and cross-references the loot dropped by
WoW enemies. Thottbot also gives rough estimates (percentages) as to the
chance that particular items might drop from particular mobs.
The publisher of
WarCraft, the current top MMORPG with more than 5 million players worldwide
A World of
There are more people playing World of Warcraft in the U.S. today (two
million) than had indoor plumbing 100 years ago. There are more people
with blogs today (31 million) than had internet connections ten years
Thomas Edison said it best: "Change happens with ball-flattening speed."
by David Wong
If you don't know what an "MMORPG" is, don't worry. It's a geek term,
like "e-mail" used to be a geek term. For now let's just say it's the
most instantly gripping, involving and demanding entertainment
technology ever invented. The addiction rate appears to be about twice
that of crack Cocaine. There are 10 million MMORPG users in the world
and their population is doubling every two years.
Hold your hand about three feet above your monitor. That's where the
graph will be in 2010. It's an infection, it's a tsunami, it's a
volcanic eruption. All at the same time, waiting, like a nest of
plague-infested rats next to a ticking hydrogen bomb in an underwater
volcano. Or something. What I'm trying to say is, it's The Next Big
Some of what you're about to read will sound like science fiction.
You'll be tempted to dismiss me along with those who for decades have
been predicting sentient robot maids and hotels on the moon. But for
every delayed technology there is another sudden, completely unexpected
advance that jumps us from the shadows. For instance, none of the
illustrations used in the article below were done with human hands. Each
was rendered automatically by a remarkable piece of software called
Nedroid, which can scan any piece of text, "read" it for comprehension
and, incredibly, render artwork to match the context.
Did you even know that was possible before now? Truly, this morning's
science fiction is this afternoon's science not-fiction.
So where will MMORPGs will take us?
In your lifetime...*
1. Everyone will look like a Greek god or goddess.
If you don't understand the gravitational pull of an MMORPG (Massively
Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), I'm going to enlighten you with
just a dozen words: you get to pick what you look like and what your
That's the real beauty of it. The first thing you do in the MMORPG World
of Warcraft is design your own body and decide what your strengths will
be. You pick your race. What could be more seductive than that, the
ability to turn in all of the cards you were dealt at birth and draw new
ones from a face-up deck? If you have friends who've gotten sucked into
the WoW black hole and you don't understand why they never talk to you
any more, this is it. I remember being a chubby teenager with bad skin
and astigmatism and pants that didn't fit quite right. What would I have
given to be reborn as a strapping warrior with rippling pecs and armor
of hammered silver?
On that kid's screen now is a dozen noble warriors of exotic races,
brandishing elaborate weapons and charging a gigantic demon across a
fire-scarred mountaintop. The dwarf next to him is controlled by an
accountant planted at his own computer in Cleveland, two babies sleeping
in the next room and his pregnant wife on the sofa. The robed priest in
the back casting healing spells is actually a 250-lb. ex-gangster,
playing from the computer lab of a maximum security prison in
Pennsylvania. The elf on his left, sprinting and drawing his mighty
magical bow, is the digital body of a wheelchair-bound 12 year-old girl
It's not just for fantasy geeks, of course. Even The Sims lets you pick
a version of yourself with low body fat and cool hair. And this idea is
what's going to push the expansion of MMORPG technology in the way that
porn pushed the expansion of the internet, the desperate-but-untapped
desire to interact with others without the bothersome interference of
genetic flaws and poor diet and exercise habits.
But it's not just the physical image that changes. In that world, I am a
dragon slayer. There, my reptutation and history are just as
awe-inspiring as my look. Even now, much of the satisfaction for WoW
gamers is in the very real sense of accomplishment they get, a person
glowing with a burst of golden light when they gain a level in
experience and strength. How can the real world compete with that?
Wouldn't those long Calculus lectures have been easier to sit through
if, every time you learned something important, gold light shot out from
In the future, long after World of Warcraft has gone the way of ARPANET,
everyone will have a virtual-world twin. An upgraded, digital
representative of yourself which I'll henceforth refer to as Awesome
You. And you'll see a time in your life when more people know Awesome
You than know the real you.
Some people live like that already.
2. All will play in the same virtual world.
Gamers rejoiced back in April when it was announced that Blizzard,
Square/Enix and Sony were merging their virtual worlds so that online
characters from one game could stride seamlessly into another. It made
perfect business sense and I was the first to say I wasn't at all
surprised by the news. I had been predicting it for months. The fact
that it turned out to be an April Fool's joke and entirely false only
proves my point. Ahem.
As this kind of community gaming becomes the nation's pasttime,
convenience will demand that some day each person's online identity be
able to move from one realm to the next, from the suburbs of the next
Sims Online game to WoW's Spiderskull Mountain. And with that
convergence of virtual worlds we'll have the first real, primitive
incarnation of something not unlike the matrix, or what old science
fiction authors called the metaverse. A simulated, virtual world.
You won't have to be into fantasy to participate. You can spend your
gaming time in a virtual suburb and build a virtual family and enjoy
growing a virtual garden, while your best friend goes off to fight the
Orcs of Thunderclaw Valley. Your cousin can go re-fight World War 2
every day. It will still be mainly a game at this stage of its
evolution, but as the experience is tailored to every single taste (all
under one virtual roof) more and more people will participate. And once
everybody's there, why not do all of your chatting and text messaging
there? Half of the WoW experience seems to be just a
beautifully-rendered and animated chat interface anyway.
The first steps will likely come with the next game consoles, expanding
the pool of gamers beyond those with pimped-out gaming PC's. The
Playstation 3 will have at least one huge MMORPG on it (Final Fantasy
VII). The XBox 360 should have World of Warcraft. And then if you get
the console users hooked, and if the the console makers succeed in their
plan to get a box in every single house in the civilized world, and then
if they expand the interface so you can use your cell phone to check in
on your game... You get the idea.
3. Someone will go to jail for stealing a Bonebiter.
You may have heard about a guy who recently was convicted of murdering a
man during a dispute over a rare, valuable sword. That sword that was
not made of metal or anything solid, but rather of 1's and 0's inside a
computer hundreds of miles away. It was a sword he had won in the MMORPG
Legend of Mir 3.
Insane, right? I mean, let's say our friend John has his Bonebiter (one
of countless powerful weapons in WoW) and a man steals it somehow.
Should the thief be convicted of a crime and punished in the real world?
Did you snort with laughter at that question? Why?
The victim worked many hours to "earn" the object. The victim used it
daily and depended on it. He derived happiness and satisfaction from it.
So why shouldn't depriving him of it be punishable by law? If you say,
"but it's just something he used in a game," I'll say that golf is also
just a game. Want to see what happens to me when I steal a new set of
If you say, "but the Bonebiter doesn't even exist," I'll say it exists
in exactly the same way that the songs and software I download off
Bittorrent exist. And yet stealing them is a crime. The only difference
is that when I steal a song, nobody else is deprived of the song. When
that guy stole John's Bonebiter, he was left unarmed and forced to go
find a replacement. That theft actually hurts more, not less.
So when will we start to see laws prohibiting the theft and misuse of
game-world objects? As soon as members of the gaming generation become
lawmakers, that's when.
4. You'll meet someone who plays an MMORPG for a living.
Let's take this a little bit further. You earn gold in World of
Warcraft, gold with which you can buy these in-game objects. If this
game gold is truly valuable to my life, if it lets me get more value out
of the pasttime I already pay real-world money for, what's to stop me
from paying real money for game money? Nothing. Go to Ebay and do a
search for World of Warcraft Gold and let your jaw drop open.
Here we have game currency being traded for real currency, and at a
better exchange rate than the Iraqi Dinar.
If we go further still, we can imagine a person winning rare weapons and
selling them on auction sites or directly to other players they meet. We
can imagine somebody working full-time to gather in-game gold by slaying
gold-shitting squirrels (or whatever you do to get gold in the game) and
then exchanging it for real dollars to pay the real rent with. Sure, it
may be decades before you see this kind of-
Oh, wait. There are people doing that right now.
And if you're chuckling and shaking your head at the glazed-eyed geeks
who can't tell the difference between game money and real money, let me
ask you something: when Square bought Enix for $727 million two years
ago, do you think they they actually stacked crate after crate of cash
on a flatbed truck and then drove the $727 million over to their
No. That money only existed as numbers in a computer. In fact, not even
10% of the money in the American economy exists as physical, printed
currency. All of the rest exists on servers and hard drives and in the
imaginations of the people. It has value for the exact same reason WoW
gold has value: because people think it has value.
I'm guessing that if you started this article thinking it was a joke,
this is the point when you sobered up and realized that, as author H.G.
Wells predicted, "the future will accost us with boob-slapping
5. They'll take the "G" out of "MMORPG."
We'll stop thinking of the online world as a game right around the time
you find yourself strolling through Witchblade Village, or some such
fictional online town, and see a Target store open there. You'll enter
it just like you do the in-game stores, and you'll be able to view the
merchandise in realtime 3D, pick up objects and turn them over in your
virtual hands, and buy them the same as if you did it on Amazon.com.
So now our fledgling metaverse isn't just a place to slay
computer-generated dragons and nazis. Now it's where you go to shop, to
chat, to have cybersex with actual nudity and everything.
Just think of how porn changes when the user also gets to go in with the
toned body of an underwear model. It'll make our current online porn
look like just the tip of the assberg.
The joy of experiencing life as Awesome You, as the stronger, handsomer
avatar of yourself, will take all of those activities to another plane
of cool. The casinos will be there, the movies will play there, concerts
will be performed there. The metaverse will stop being a playhouse and
will start becoming the interface through which we interact with
reality. And every step you take will be as Awesome You. Cool,
Nothing invented yet has had such universal appeal.
6. You will find yourself momentarily forgetting whether you're in the
real or virtual world.
Fans were astonished when a leaked video depicted a Nintendo virtual
reality headset intended for its upcoming system, complete with
high-resolution 3D screens and surround-sound earpieces. That it turned
out to be a hoax put forth by a lonely, psychotic fan should not detract
from the amazement. Today's hoax is always tomorrow's reality (except
for that fake picture of the guy holding a huge cat.)
What is not a hoax is this machine somebody invented that operates on
the user's thoughts. Yeah, that's right. You think it, the machine does
it. That machine exists right now, as you're reading this.
Total immersion, the kind that could really fool you, won't happen
tomorrow. But as time goes on it is absolutely inevitable that the
graphics will become life quality, that visual displays light years
beyond monitors or cumbersome headsets will hit the market. The keyboard
and mouse will be long gone, everything done by thought and voice. It is
the logical end of everything game developers and console makers are
trying to do today and they will not stop until they have it.
And that, my friends, will be a watershed moment in human history. The
point where we can trick the senses into thinking a piece of software is
real, thinking a real supermodel is in our bed or a dragon is in our
front yard or our dead mother has come back to give us advice, that's
when everything changes. The metaverse will still be less important in
many fundamental ways. Goods won't be produced there, food won't be
grown there, babies won't be born there. But in the minds of a whole lot
o' people, visits to the physical world will be just brief interruptions
to the "real" world as they live it, the world where all of their
friends and hobbies and ambitions are.
7. You'll meet a couple who have been married for years and have never
seen each other's real-life faces.
If the metaverse interface is good enough, why not? You have a woman
who, in real life, weighs 400 pounds and has a thick, neatly-trimmed
beard. But she has a heart of gold. A thousand miles away you have a guy
with three eyebrows and a hairlip. In reality he lives in a trailer with
his 14 cats. In the metaverse he lives in a stone palace with 14 magical
flying cats. They marry, the woman showing herself as a beautiful
princess, the man a handsome prince. What do they lose by not meeting in
the flesh (or "meating" as they will call it)?
If you're one of the thousands of people I just heard shout, "sex!"
you're being naive. If you think the interface technology will go this
far without developing a damned good and convincing sexual intercourse
device, then you understand nothing about the world. Hell, if you Google
it you'll probably find one for sale already.
Can anyone prove that such a marriage would be less "real" than the ones
we have now? Are not economic hardship and increasingly unattractive,
flabby bodies the main (though often unspoken) reason couples spend more
and more time badgering each other as the years wear on? Neither, in a
perfect world, should be valid reasons to kill off the flower of
romantic love. So doesn't the metaverse actually remove a layer of
bullshit in that case? Doesn't the symbolic princess with her fair skin
and spill of blonde hair more accurately represent the kindness of the
aforementioned woman than the bloated body life really gave her? So why
not use it instead?
Once again, if this seems ridiculous and alien, remember how many
societies had (hell, still have) arranged marriages, often where the
groom didn't see the bride's face until their wedding night. Wasn't the
change from that to the modern method of getting matched up with girls
by internet dating sites just as strange?
Aristotle said it best: "society is a house, change is a tornado full of
8. There will be a branch of government to rule the virtual world.
If we're going to make theft illegal in the metaverse (and hackers will
always devise ways to steal, or at least vandalize, digital goods)
someone has to make and enforce those laws. Obviously no team of IT guys
or game moderators will get to decide how the everyday lives of billions
are lived, arbitrarily giving and taking goods and abilities as they see
fit (would not a common punishment in the virtual world be to shave a
foot off a person's height and add 150 pounds to their weight?)
But this raises an avalanche of questions. First, do you limit the
amount of "gold" available in the game? You'd have to, once real-world
goods can be purchased by metaverse gold (or whatever is used for
currency in the virtual world). The exchange rate with real currency and
the inflation rate of the virtual currency both become key as
corporations depend on both for their profit.
If you don't understand the complication here, remember that in the
metaverse if you want a 36-room mansion with a giant guitar-shaped pool,
you can have it for free. No construction crew needs to be paid to build
it, no materials have to be bought, no piece of real property had to be
bought or paid for. It's just bits and bytes. So do you even have "gold"
in the metaverse at all? How would it have any value if goods can be
created from thin air, for free? What if I'm an interior decorator in
the metaverse, going around and using my creativity to dress up their
virtual homes for pay? How do they pay me for my effort and time? How do
I, in turn, pay for porn?
If you say, fine, we'll just have to go back to using real money to pay
for things, remember that real money means nothing to me because I don't
spend any time in the real world. What am I going to do, buy a real
metal-and-rubber car? For what? Where do I drive? It'd be like Monopoly
money to me.
But wait, there's more. What about those who live in different countries
in the real world - and under different laws - but who inhabit the same
household in the metaverse? Which laws apply? Are metaverse laws
universal? How could you get everyone from different cultures to agree
to the same set of metaverse laws?
Would prostitution be legal? Especially if there is no real body-on-body
contact with the real hooker? If not, what if the prostitute isn't even
controlled by a real woman but is just a bot program meant to simulate
What about the customers who want to simulate sex with a bot who looks
like a six year-old? Legal? Illegal? No real child is being harmed.
And just how do you punish a rape committed by one virtual character on
another, if the real person's body is left untouched?
9. There will be a whole class of wealthy people without a dime to their
The trailer park guy I mentioned before, the one with a virtual world
palace, brings us to yet a new plane of strangeness to consider. In the
metaverse, unlike real life, everyone can be wealthy. It doesn't matter
if you have actually invented anything or held a job of great
responsibility or even came from a family of great wealth. Metaverse
wealth has nothing to do with life achievement because there is no
reason every man can't be a king there. As I said, it doesn't cost the
metaverse servers any more effort or resources to render you a sprawling
estate than it does to give you a one-bedroom efficiency apartment in
You get to live a king's lifestyle, without a king's responsibilities.
This is another reason the real world won't be able to keep up with the
virtual world once it takes hold. Imagine an unskilled kid, doing a
minimum-wage job like data entry from home. The job pays poverty-level
money in the real world, but pays a fortune in virtual gold. For the
guy, his smelly one-bedroom apartment is nothing but a storage area for
food. It needs only three rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom, and then a
little room with a comfy chair he uses to jack into the metaverse. The
real apartment becomes only an unpleasant little commute on the way to
his "real" life. Hell, you could even sleep in the metaverse, the
interface tricking you into thinking you're lounging on a king-size bed
with sheets of silk.
This works out wonderfully for society, as you now have entire classes
of the population who live in what used to be considered abject poverty,
and are thrilled with it. You can give them everything they want and
need with 200 square feet of apartment and enough electricity to run the
metaverse interface. Their food can be chewy protein bars that the
interface will convince them is a 5-course meal.
Most jobs will be online and can be done from within the metaverse (most
manufacturing and farming and manual labor will be done with robots at
this point, or, as I predict, genetically-engineered land dolphins). If
you work the complaint counter at a government office, the office will
exist only in the metaverse and thus neither the worker nor the
complainer need leave their homes. And get this: if the complainer
explodes in rage and tries to attack the guy behind the counter, no one
is harmed. You can't really hurt anyone from within the metaverse.
10. The rise of the metaverse will go almost completely unopposed.
You won't have to trick people into jacking themselves into this one. It
legitimately makes their lives better. Everything we've done a as a
civilization from the caves until now has been about making a better
world. Well, the metaverse will just be a shortcut, won't it? We'll have
our Utopia of unlimited wealth and friction-free homogeny.
Population growth will be kept easily under control, since most sexual
partners will live separately and won't be having meat sex at all (a guy
can't get a girl pregnant from 100 miles away unless he's, you know,
me). To have an actual baby will take so much effort and planning that
only those who really want one will get one. That would have to be a
change for the better, right?
The people are ripe for it. You've heard stories about how ticket sales
are plummeting at movie theaters, in favor of home DVD viewing. Why? Why
do so many people want to work from home now? Because we're sick of
having to sit with other people. We want that extra layer of control
that meat interaction will never give us. We want a world without the
unpredictability of real, unrestrained humanity.
This could not have been attempted say, 100 years ago, even if the
technology had been around. Back then people believed in all sorts of
unchangeable gods and spirits and philosophies that live beyond what a
person can see and smell and taste in front of them. But the Age of
Reason did away with all of that, taught everyone to believe in nothing
but the real, physical world. And if the stream of sense data we call
"the real, physical world" can be altered to display a superior world,
then it's impossible to say with any conviction that anything has really
been lost in the transition. The modern "I believe it when I see it"
religion will be satisfied by simply giving them something new to see.
It was only a matter of time. Humans got fed up with this world, and so
we invented a new one. I suspect some theologian will come forward in
the future to suggest that, in fact, our world was created in the same
way. The gods got sick of their boring spiritual realm and made a more
exciting, physical one to replace it.
You shouldn't be disturbed by this. Jules Verne was wrong when he said,
"the future is a jockstrap made of bees." Anything manufactured by
machine is destined to be better and more free of defect than anything
created with human hands. Why not extend this idea to reality itself?
It's the end of evolution, and I welcome it.
There is nothing to fear, and it will happen in your lifetime.*
* Unless you're already old or have a terminal disease.
by David Wong