Monday, March 30, 2009

Gone Fishin'

UWoW will be on holiday the week of March 30. This is a scheduled break, no sudden "unforseen circumstances" to take care of or whathaveyou. We shall be resuming our normal posting duties next Monday.

I do assume though that the blog shall still be rife with activity on All Fool's Day, so please check back on April 1.

The blog may be down periodically this week for brief intervals as we try some new templates.

Fred never posted his strange story this past weekend; I'll see what's going on with him but that will be up this week in our first "Lost in Space" post.

Towards the end of the week I'll post a "Greater Good" letting you know of the developments (we're allowing ourselves to speak with each other this week so we can fine-tune and set a more uniform tone to our posts).

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back this week for more excitement.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In the Chamber: BoE & BP!

Two for your pleasure today:

Bind on Equip Episode 18 [explicit]

This past Tuesday Assault version of Blue Plz! is also now available over at WoW Radio for now while they get their archive sorted. I hear there's a classic rant on the unfairness of Blizzard requiring ad-on creators to remove an in-game donate button from all mods that culminates in his own take on the classic Martin Niemöller poem "First they came...."

Bind on Equip should be fun... I think I was listening to Epic Dolls yesterday and they said something that made me laugh... that Bind on Equip was a cute name for a podcast. And I think they were being serious. I'm pretty sure it was that show, one never knows really lately it seems a lot of the shows are blending together in my scrambled brain. But before I get caught in a cute vortex here and say something like "I thought it was cute that they thought it was cute," it was kind of cute that they thought it was cute. Sorry, haven't had any coffee yet.

By the way, Epic Dolls included a thoughtful discussion on this latest episode about being a good guildie and being a good guild leader. While what they cover might seem like common sense to most seasoned players in established, well-run guilds I think their discussion can probably be a great resource for new players or new GMs and officers regardless. Oftentimes it's the simplist things that people are or aren't doing that could avoid lots of drama so give them a listen and see what you think for yourself.

About the blog today, Pete Pete will finally get something up today... he's got a Quick Hit coming on Starting World of Warcraft that is done and approved but he's paranoid about me inserting errors into it so he's proofreading. :-) Toothy's been making a couple of slight changes to things he's previously written and I think there's more of that today from him. He also has one interesting email from someone wanting to revive the Alliance guild No Drama on Anvilmar-US, apparently our emailer is the last remaining member of the guild. It's really strange that of all of the emails we've received no one really comments on podcasts. They seem more interested in us personally, or interested in telling us about themselves!

Finally our resident blog hippie chick Melissa has uncovered a couple of new shows too and may have a "New on the Radar" or somesuch post ready for us today or tomorrow. I think the blog has had a little more bite this week which is encouraging and from what I've seen of this Mel isn't doing a fluff piece here.

FYI - the blog may be down for approximately 10 minutes later today as part of a rescheduled Blogger maintenance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the Chamber: The Cheese Stands Alone

Nothing today, not one. According to the WoW Radio site the latest Essence of RP should probably be out sometime tomorrow. There was also a live Blue Plz! yesterday and the archive of the show should be up by Friday, which coincidentally is the date of the next Blue Plz! I was late getting to the show in my allergy-medicine haze so hopefully I can take in the full show on Friday.

I received a couple of notes yesterday that I'm "taking over the blog" again this week. Partly true, partly not. I have been the only one posting, but not the only one writing.

I rejected Pete Pete's Quick Hit of All Things Azeroth yesterday for being too positive. I gave their latest episode a listen and not only does co-host Graece get into some weird territory when she gets angry with the Chinese government for "being sticks in the mud" about the release of Wrath in China, which is one of the most absurd and unsubstantiated things I've heard regarding the topic, Medros doesn't challenge her on it and instead lets her dangle out there on her own. Med probably has to walk a fine line since his show has sponsors but really, what was that all about? So I rejected Pete's flowery review because yeah, Graece, China has nothing better to do than fuck with Blizzard. You know what else? I heard China is now under consideration for a supporting role as a high school football star bully in the next Adam Sandler film. That China just has all the luck, doesn't it? Melissa is going to review the next ATA for us now and Pete's moving on to Starting WoW.

I also rejected a poorly written, rambling piece by Fred on Monday which covered nothing in particular. Fred has sort of been lagging lately to be honest and Pete has accused him of resting on his laurels since he was mentioned by Totalbiscuit on Blue Plz! a few weeks ago. To be fair, even though he's retired he's a tireless researcher and has lots of academic commitments in the community so UWoW isn't exactly his highest priority. But he could at least make sense when he does contribute. His piece was sort of like a combination of William Burroughs, E.E. Cummings, and Samuel Beckett. I'm all for experimenting but at least try to stay on topic. Maybe that will be a good candidate to post this weekend when we go "off topic."

All for now... hopefully someone other than me will get something up today!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WoW Radio Update

We all seem to be dealing with growing pains these days and it's no different over at WoW Radio. The archiving system of their new website is suffering from an error which prevents podcasts from going out on their RSS feeds. This is already in the process of being resolved and they hope to have normal service resumed as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you can find links to their latest shows on the individual show forums and right in the latest post on their main site. We'll do our best to let you know when a new show has been posted as well.

In the Chamber: The Code Strikes Again

I'm glad so many of you are following us from the beginning and experiencing our growing pains along with us. Imagine a year from now when we're on some stylish website and some noob starts complaining about our site and you can say "STFU noob, I've been reading since they were on their crap Blogspot site... they're about one thing and one thing only - the writing!" Of course by then we'll have completely sold out and every post will be littered with images and interactives and we'll have reached non-aggression pacts with all of the podcasts we review so that we can have them as guests on our own podcast and we'll be no different from WoW Insider, for example.

One can dream, can't one?

Sure, some aspects of The Code may not be conducive to running a blog and getting articles posted on time or even forming decent friendships (namely, the part about not being able to speak with each other on the phone or in person until the weekend), but one man gathers what another man spills and we'll just turn those old reviews that never got posted for one reason or another into a brand new column called "Lost in Space" or something fun like that and post them months down the road when they are completely outdated and out of context. Should be fun, yes? Especially if the show no longer exists that would really be nice.

I've written a little bit before about this being a living blog and how posts and columns may change as time goes on and writers gain new perspective. Not edits, mind. I mean the entire nature of the article might change. Some of that revision is happening this week. Pete and Toothy have confirmed they are making slight changes to some pieces. We've thrown around the idea of holding a contest to see if someone can tell us what changes were made to which posts but are going to hold off on that right now until we get a consensus.

Three podcasts loaded up this morning:

WoW Insider Show Episode 82: Knock it off? Get it on!
BigRedKitty Episode Fifteen
The Elitists Episode 5

I always seem to just miss the WoW Insider Show on Mondays since I'm up early EST but word on the street is that Turpster's new song made it to the air this week so I'm sure that was a treat for both regular and new listeners because it should be funny.

Gave Rawrcast a listen yesterday - thought it was very cool that they decided to Skype a listener that had emailed them to have a discussion. I love seeing these guys bringing in some elements that you don't always see (or never see) on other shows into their podcast it's part of why I like them so much. That's the exact sort of attitude we have with our blog here. I'm also glad that they want to bitchslap anyone caught drinking the WoW Mountain Dew "drink your faction" marketing scam that sort of attitude will always earn points here.

Also heard The Grind Podcast, and they announced the sad news that one of their co-hosts, Luke, will be leaving the show indefinitely. They are also taking a week off to retool the show and come back bigger and badder so if you've never heard them before try out the Fourty First Grind and if nothing else you get to hear the stylings of Amanda, an English lass that sounds quite lovely.

The Elitists #5 is up, and I always think it's interesting to hear the first few episodes of a new show as the hosts get into their groove. Will be interested to see how they're doing. Excited to hear the new BigRedKitty podcast too.

Didn't get to hear Epic Dolls yet but should do today.

Last but not least, there will be a special Blue Plz! Tuesday Assualt today over at so be sure to check out the show. Although I've been flattened by springtime hayfever the last couple of days and fall asleep on my medication I'm going to try and listen live.

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the Chamber: Allergy Attack Monday!

Nice shows over the weekend:

The Instance #139 "Worldwide Hysteria"
Ctrl Alt WoW #107 Why Won't He Talk To Me (is it my breath)?
Yet Another World of Warcraft Podcast #037 [explicit]

Rawrcast #11 "The Semi-Immortal" [explicit]
Proudmoore Pansies - Episode 30!
Starting World of Warcraft Holiday Show #21 It's Late. And I'm Tired. But the Show Must Go On!

The Grind Podcast The Fourty First Grind
Epic Dolls Episode 62 Good Guildies and Leaders

The Proudmoore Pansies aren't explicit, per say, but they do have some cursing in there every once in a while.

I thought it was a very good Instance this week, love it when it's just the two of them bullshitting WoW. Although they did of course have the guest to talk mage, the opening 15 minutes on China banning Wrath of the Lich King content was great. When you hear Randy Deluxe say "China is kinda backwards in time," you know they're rolling! And while I admit I haven't been listening to a lot of shows lately their mention that no add-ons can charge users a fee was news to me. I don't know if Patrick Beja's mod segment was meant to have as much voice effect as it did but it was inaudible.

Ctrl Alt WoW had all three members back together rather than the split format they've used for the last few episodes and it seems fans of the show prefer it that way. But of course we can understand the split format when one of the co-hosts is halfway around the world and schedules don't accommodate.

I've been told that Proudmoore Pansies is another interesting episode this week. There was a lot of talk about their Naxx run but what was especially interesting is that they're just arriving at a new point in their guild development from a small, intimate guild into a larger, almost more impersonal raiding guild. It's great to hear that they're having these honest discussions and you know with that sort of thoughtfulness their guild should continue to thrive.

Lots of listening on tap for me today. Rawrcast, Grind, Epic Dolls, Proudmoore Pansies and as much of YAWoWP as I can stomach.

I didn't post a Greater Good this week, but we're holding pretty steady with about 150-200 visitors per day. Thanks for the support and we hope to do even more in the future. Since we started tracking on March 6 we've had just over 8,000 page loads which is fantastic and certainly a tribute to the podcasters and listeners that have supported our site. Thanks again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mailbag #3

Fitting this will be our third Mailbag, with three emails, etc. and soforth.

The weekends are usually quiet around here, last weekend I posted about Nottingham Forest which had absolutely nothing to do with WoW (but you certainly could relate a 5-0 thrashing for your football club to an inter-guild raid where drama prevents you from even downing the first boss) and I'm still kind of pushing it so that weekends here can be "off-topic." Hell, if Fred and I are the only ones that can post regularly on the weekends at least maybe we can do something completely different.

The email has been cooperating with this concept. Since we're such an odd blog we've been getting some odd questions. And here they are:

Hi Toothy,

I noticed that both you and Melissa seem to have similar avatars. Did you design them? Did you do them in Poser if so? Any info on those is there a backstory on why you two have the avatars that you do?

Thank you,
Samuel M.
Black Dragonflight-US

Thanks for the question Samuel. Our avatars are actually from the fantastic professional wrestling simulator Total Extreme Wrestling 2008, made by Adam Ryland's Grey Dog Software. Melissa and I both love the game and have played it to death. We did not create them ourselves, nor do we claim to have created them ourselves. It was pretty shocking that I found another person that played, and an American female at that. It's extremely click-intensive, but it really is a good economic simulator and you can have fun with storylines.

Jim says his horse head on a human body avatar is actually from some Halloween catalog, advertising the horse mask.

Fred and Pete I believe are actual pictures (I'm not positive about Fred), although in Pete's case it's from when he was very young. He's all shaved and looks like a Republican now and I've never seen him without a tie so that picture is (I guess) hysterical.

Hi Toothy,

Jim keeps saying Melissa is doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work about the graphics and look of the blog but nothings changes and there have been no new logos since you started. What does this mean? Is she dating one of you? It seems like she would be too snobby to date someone like you, but if Fred has any money I imagine an older guy would be right up her alley. Does this sound right?

Sue D.
p.s. - shout out to my Gnomewarrior namesakes!

Sue, if you're saying she'd go for Fred because he's old and might die that's a very cynical view of things and not appreciated here. We like to have fun but come on, shut up. This was bordering on a troll but I thought I'd do it some justice so you know we're not avoiding things or whatnot.

Mel doesn't even like to be called Melissa. She's very much a neo-hippie type and has been one of the warmest and most genuine people I've ever met. She's not dating anyone here but if she would it would probably be either Jim or Pete Pete.

If you ever meet Jim it's kind of intimidating, even for someone like me. He's really laid back but there's just this thing about him where you're afraid to say the wrong thing for some reason. Maybe because the first time I met him I was a bit altered and the Grateful Dead song "Loser" was on and right when I shook his hand I heard the line "well I know a little somethin' that you'll never know" and Jim had this little glimmer in his eye. He's got "something" which has drawn all four of us to him really so obviously I'd say Jim.

Pete Pete is pretty much a happy-go-lucky west coaster and I think Mel would be interested in him because he is the exact opposite of the typical northeast guy that's probably hit on her for her entire life. But Pete's kind of asexual. He'd rather spend all day, every day, away from people playing WoW if he could.

Mel is actually doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work. She's developing icons for each of our columns and different variations and completely new takes on not just the logo but the look of the blog and a possible webpage home as well. So she's really busy. She's also researching some questions too for her next interviews AND she's volunteered to scout out and give a first listen to new podcasts for us too. So she's a big player here please respect her work.

Hello UWoW:

This blog has been sort of weird in that I'm seeing some bickering between the five of you. Is this by design? How has it been working with the honesty code? Is this something you think you'll learn from in the future?

Brussels, Belgium
Shattered Halls-US

NOTE: tell toothy as a Genk supporter I feel his pain.

Genk have been good though recently haven't they, Mark? Didn't they have Wesley Sonck for a nice spell to topple Anderlecht & Standard? Yes, it's true Forest were promoted last year. But they were promoted from League One up to the Championship, and are still in big danger of heading straight back down. At least Genk play in the Belgian top league.

Your bit about the blog, I think that's part of Jim's whole thinking. He has said he wants people to see us fleshing out arguments between ourselves so you can actually see our personalities at work. So eventually you'll be able to know each of us pretty well simply through our writing, which will be weird, but I think the sort of internet experiment we're all excited to be apart of so it should yield some fascinating results.

I understand The Code, but I still think it's dumb that we're not allowed to speak with each other during the week and that one aspect alone has caused more delay and confusion and misinterpretation on our parts than anything else so far. Yeah I guess it does keep us "untainted" so we can have those "fresh" first listens but when I already know the score of a match before I've seen it I still watch it to see how the game unfolded for myself.

If you'd like into the mailbag please write me at:, write the blog at:, or tweet us a question at:

Friday, March 20, 2009

FYI - If You Were Expecting To Hear From Us

Hi UWoW readers.

If you were expecting an email from any of the five of us please check your spam mail folder. Our fantastic free "" email addresses seem to be going right into most peoples' spam folder.


In the Chamber: ATA & Warcraft Outsiders

Two more in the tubes today:

All Things Azeroth Episode #105 Defleating (sic) Ulduar and Shotgunning Professions
The Warcraft Outsiders Episode 24 for Thursday, March 19, 2009

We've heard through the grapevine there's apparently some speed-reading by Medros about changes happening in the next patch which should be fun to hear.

And if you've never listened to The Warcaft Outsiders go check out their site and the lovely Michelle Madison... if she's an outsider I don't ever want to be an insider!

Short and sweet for once out of me - enjoy your weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Respect "The Code," Man!

Plenty to say but I'll keep this brief. I find myself here today facing the boards in clear violation of The Code. There are two offenses as far as I can see:

1) After noticing a reader comment I became upset and personally offended that Jim inserted a typo into a post I made here on the blog. This is a clear violation of the first article of The Code which states in normal language that we're not supposed to take anything that is said or happens here personally. Not only that, I forgot that Jim told us in-person about the "mini-game" he intended to play here weeks ago and for that I apologize.

2) I broke The Code's second article about not contacting other UWoW members by phone during the week. I called Melissa who apparently texted Jim before she even answered my call because as soon as she picked up I got a text from Jim saying "busted!" I was busted. It was my second violation of The Code and it happened literally seconds after the first violation.

What worries me most is that I didn't think twice about the second violation. I guess I figured that since I was already done by my first violation that a second wouldn't really make much difference. How wrong I was.

Fred called a vote to see if I should be kicked off the blog for two violations in quick succession. During that vote Fred was the only one who voted me off, Jim, Melissa, and Toothy all voted that I stay. I had a vote too... and once I had a decent idea that I would be allowed to stay I made the stupid gesture of saying I should go. Which brought about a second vote. This time it was 4-to-1 that I stay, with Fred the only dissenter.

I asked Fred a couple of times why he seemed to have it in for me and he assured me I had it wrong and that it wasn't the case he wanted me out. "That's the sort of GM I am," he said, "if this were a Pendragon campaign you'd already be dead." I hate GMs like that.

Anyway - loyal readers of UWoW, and Jim, Melissa, Fred, and Toothy, I apologize to you. I shall do my best not to let it happen again.

Let the flogging commence.

In the Chamber: Get It Sorted!

I should have known better. As a former schoolboy baseball player the first thing you learn is to respect the streak. Never mention the streak. As soon as you mention the streak, the streak gods come and put an end to the streak.

Same here... after trumpeting how we've been getting three new shows per day every day in recent memory, today we have but one:

World of Warcraft Podcast Video Episode 101 - Beginners Guide: DPS

Looks like this might be a great episode for newer players. I've never quite fully understood this pod/vidcast because I'm not sure that the video actually ever pertains to what they're talking about. But this is the first episode of a new feature they're trying called "Let the Players Speak" and looks like they interview a rogue so give them a listen/watch and see what you think.

Pete Pete has been crafting his face the board post, and he texted us all yesterday that he's read it close to 80 times to check for spelling errors (since only brain-dead idiots make typos), including several times out loud to check for "flow" problems. So look forward to that today.

I personally haven't listened to a thing this week aside from Proudmoore Pansies and I'm likely already experiencing a bit of WoW podcast fatigue. It's a hard line to walk to be honest without unintentionally hurting someone's feelings and being the crunchy granola boy I am I dislike that sort of vibe being sent out by the blog. So I don't know exactly where to go next. In my mind there's no way that all podcasters are going to be open-minded enough to take our criticisms at face-value and happily move on.

When I first started this I thought "well, who really cares what they think I'm going to tell it like I see it because so many of these shows are bad," but the more I realize how important some of these podcasts are (to those who produce them especially) the more you've seen me running into threads trying to reiterate the fact that we like these shows and feel comfortable enough to constructively criticize them or else we wouldn't even listen. I don't want to have to do that anymore. But we live in a crazy age where people aren't always savvy enough to pick up on satire, or notice that a critique is actually a humorous self-critique, or that a piece is simply a writing experiment.

Most of us have probably misinterpreted something someone has texted, posted, written, etc. because we bring our own insecurities to those readings with us. They're there in our heads messing with reason and compelling us to give an immature, visceral response. It's the same defensive posture we all take when we feel we're under attack.

At the risk of sounding like a used car salesman or an injury claims attorney, if there's one thing I can guarantee podcasters it is that none of our reviews will EVER be written with any sort of personal malice. We don't know you, we're consciously trying not to get to know you in real life, there can't possibly be anything personal behind our writings other than our opinion on that day.

If a podcaster ever has any issue about something we've written please write me directly: because I'm going to delete any drama-inducing comments.

Do I still need to post these sort of notes? It it just my own insecurity here flaring up? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quick Hits: Casually Hardcore

CASUALLY HARDCORE - Your mission, should you choose to accept it...
15th March, 2009

Okay... starts up with an original song/jingle for the show and WC Radio. Good, self-branding is always a positive. Then comes the disclaimer bit about the WoW Radio network, and each of the four co-hosts takes a line while reading. I think it's supposed to show some sort of common agreement like an equal among peers thing but it sounds lame. Would be better done quickly rather than a big production for my tastes. I don't actually want to listen to that sort of audio spam so if it was non-intrusive I probabaly wouldn't even have mentioned it.

Then comes the absurd intro song "Who Needs Sleep" by Barenaked Ladies which apparently was a hit in the U.S. when I was 7 years old back in 1998. Hopefully there's some personal significance to the song and not that it's the best WoW tie-in song they could find these last 11 years - you know, playing a lot of WoW you might miss some sleep. Get it? Get it??

This is the sort of podcast where if someone says anything close to funny or interesting they all go "Wow... hey, hey, hey, family show," and laugh like that's supposed to be funny in itself just like people who laugh when they say "tell us how you really feel," after their friend has expressed frustration or negativity about something. I then sit there wondering if I'm the lame for not getting the hysterical joke or if it's them for thinking what they said was funny... and after that confusion I realize I've stuck in and listened for and hour and half so the answer could only be me.

They do have a nice rhythm to the show and I think Casually Hardcore makes the best use of "drops" in the WoW podcast community (which is saying a lot). As I've been advised by my older colleagues any podcast throwing in an Animal House drop can almost make up for using an 11-year old theme song.

For my tastes, the dynamic of the show has been a little weird since Gwenora has come back despite their best efforts to accomodate. It seems like Grail has become the Gwen B.S. detector and is quick to jump in when Gwen is talking out his buttocks although that didn't happen much on this particular show. It was very funny though on this episode if you're a long time listener like me that Gwen was the first one to say "I love you, you're pretty," to Iolyte rather than Gnomewise.

After 10 minutes though everything pretty much settled down. Grail had an extremely interesting comment that tanking has become the easiest aspect of the game since Wrath hit and that was around the 17-minute mark. He also said he ran into a Naxx PUG that said if you're under 1,500 DPS you can still join but you can't roll on loot which is awesome to me as someone who now considers himself a casual.

Half hour point, first music break. They then went into a long discussion about something Totalbiscuit brought up a couple of weeks ago and that is whether or not casuals still exist. The way the CH crew brought up the subject was wondering aloud if they should change their mission statement considering they are now raiding. Listen closely around the 55 minute mark for what sounds like completely faked and almost mocking laughter from Gnomewise after Grail tells a story.

But I'm telling you this show is worth it! Around the 1:02:45 mark Gnomewise lets known that an item is coming in Patch 3.1 that you can put down and use to destroy someone else's toy train when they are annoying you in Auction Houses (or other enclosed areas where you are prisoner to the annoyance of "chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-woo-hoo"). Excellent news and certainly the first any of us have heard of it anywhere.

The last part of the show was listener feedback/email and this is always hit or miss of course depending on the submissions. When they aren't shout outs the gang does a better job than most about branching the questions off into other directions so you'll probably glean something no matter your experience level.

Summary: Solid show all the way through, complete with high and low points. Don't like infighting but don't know if I'm reading too much into things on that front. They have a good time with their own in-jokes and their own loyal audience but it's not for everyone. I could see younger casual listeners going for Outlandish or even Yet Another World of Warcraft Podcast before Casually Hardcore.

In the Chamber: The Streak Continues & Pete Pete Faces the Music!

Eureka! Three podcasts again! And to think we just experienced a very rare math holiday in Square Root Day back on 3/3/09 it must mean big cosmic happenings are happening, right? Regardless, while you may have 7 years to prepare for your next Square Root Day party you only have a few days to listen to these podcasts before new episodes come along to wash them away into the far reaches of our memory banks:

Octale and Hordak vs. the World - Wrath Content is Killing My Guild
Bind on Equip Episode 17 [explicit]
Essence of RP - Essence of Kex

On the blog today Toothy is finishing up a Quick Hit on the latest Casually Hardcore. He also said he's received a few more emails over the last couple of days so he might throw a Mailbag up too.

But the best thing that will happen today no doubt is that Pete Pete has not only admitted defeat he has to face the boards and acknowledge a violation of The Code that happened last night. In case you haven't been following I've been messing with people's posts here from time to time by inserting extra words or changing a phrase or messing up the puncuation to leave dangling modifiers or simply creating typoes. ;-)

When we decided to start this blog among our many ideas was that of a "living blog," the idea that older posts should be revisited, changed, arguments revised in a flowing way that reflects our maturation and changing ideas as we live and grow as people. So dynamic posts rather than static and frozen in time. What I've been doing isn't quite that, I've been "testing" the other four to see if they notice errors I insert in their drafts before they post it. Pete didn't notice yesterday, and then became genuinely upset over the whole thing because he's such a stickler about spelling.

So while I admit what I've been doing isn't quite "nice," I don't really care about that. I want everyone here to be responsible for what they post, not what they intended to post. That said, though, it should be nice to see Pete Pete humble himself (as if someone who calls himself Pete Pete needs further humbling). As the only one who has had to post a "Respect the Code, Man!" post thus far in the blog's short history I'm pleased Pete is following in my footsteps like the good soldier he is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick Hits: WoW Insider Show

There's been a lot of talk recently about synergy. Jim gets all hot when an IRC works in synergy with a live podcast. Stompalina has been doing a great job of linking up Rawrcast with other podcasts, even running dual-sponsored contests which is a very cool idea. Alachia has recently explored in-depth the interconnectedness of the meta-verse and how fulfilling our lives can be when considering the meaningful shared experiences with others that we all go through in-game. Mike Schramm and the Turpster have both been on How I WoW and both Patrick Beja and Shawn Coons have been on the WoW Insider Show. Patrick of course also appears on The Instance doing a mods segment and in his own podcasts, including a French-language WoW podcast.

There's just something so intrinsically "good" about this level of collaboration. And since Turpster couldn't be there for last Wednesday's episode of the WoW Insider Show his shoes were ably filled by Mr. Beja who was thanked several times by Mike for being a last-minute replacement. And filling out the third chair this time around was Chase Christian who writes the Rogue column Encrypted Text over at WoW Insider.

I was pleased to get this "different" lineup for WoW Insider. While we've pretty much been holding off on reviewing shows until their "regular" hosts are all there WoW Insider is always pretty much the same thing. You might get Michael Sacco hating on Blood Elves or BRK spouting off 10,000-words-per-minute (a typical audio book is 150-160 words per minute) on the new spirit beast or Turpster talking about all the women he's had, but Schramm drives this train and he's a very capable conductor.

What I like about Mike is his cool demeanor. He does seem to have a good time during the show (even if I sometimes think it is becoming old hat to him). When I say that I realize there's certainly a difference between what I hear and the intent so... it sounds like it's very easy for Mike to host and he's very comfortable moving the conversation along to where it needs to be for the show's sake. A criticism that comes up here is that I think he's sometimes a little too quick to put a halt to silliness because you never really can tell where some of those conversations will go but that's a reach on my part.

About 14-15 minutes into the show Mike touched on a topic that has been getting a lot of podcast speculation and blog inches as of late - how much longer is everyone going to care about WoW? It's weird that this topic is coming up so much at this time. Maybe cabin fever? Spring is almost here but winter won't let go just yet? It's almost as if everyone wants to move on from WoW and are just waiting for the mass exodus so they don't end up like those folks who left for Warhammer and have subsequently come crawling back to WoW.

The show overall was well-done. I like how the emails were casually brought up during the first half hour of the show to sort of direct the flow of the conversation rather than a dedicated email segment. For a multi-host show this is a nice way to do it and it seemed fairly unique when you listen to as many podcasts as we do.

There was some nice interplay between Patrick and Chase, with Patrick saying he hates rogues at one point and accusing them of ninja'ing loot in PUGs and then switching servers. Here is where Mike is at his best when he then deadpans back "Chase, are you in favor of ninja'ing loot and running from server to server?" After that setup Chase's answer made me laugh out loud (especially since my main is a hunter): "I'm not sure if Patrick knows I don't play a hunter, so..."

I don't think the WoW Insider Show is ever going to get very heavily into deeply controversial or adult-themed topics because they know their audience is the typical WoW/WI superfan. There are consequences to saying or writing the wrong thing at WoW Insider and so they can't be overly brash or cuss or get away with comments that other podcasts can get away with. So while it's interesting to hear them operate with some restrictions it does take some "weight" out of the podcast for me as an experienced gamer who can handle hearing adult language and content without my head exploding.

Summary: It's a great resource for WoW information in a non-offensive environment, just like the site. This podcast was the first WoW-related I listened to and helped bring me from casual to "medium-core" to steal from the Proudmoore Pansies guys.

In the Chamber: Mention Number 5!

Three has been the magic number lately, and that's where we find ourselves again this morning:

Outlandish Episode 53 - 03-16-09 [explicit]
Ctrl Alt WoW Episode 106 - Working Day and Night
WoW Insider Show Episode 81 - Same Place, New Time

Another great mention of the blog by Aprillian of Ctrl Alt WoW right at the beginning of the latest episode. You can read her very insightful interview with Melissa right here.

By my account that makes FIVE mentions of the blog this week by various shows which is pretty darn impressive. Thanks to the podcasters out there who have been so supportive it means a lot to us.

The WoW Insider Show broadcast last Wednesday as an experiment for listeners that can't make the live show on Saturdays but they delayed the release of the episode until yesterday (which isn't really a "delay," it's the day they normally release their new shows). Turpster is obviously a very popular member of the WoW community if the final poll results over at How I WoW are any gauge, but it was nice to hear some different voices on WoW Insider. Pete Pete says he's working on a Quick Hit today, and someone will be giving Casually Hardcore the once over since they had their full team back.

We also added a new show to the rotation, Episode 4 of The Elitists has been downloaded and so we'll be checking them out and letting you know what we think. Regardless, nice to see new shows launching there are a couple of really good new shows making some inroads these days.

All for now... some actual reviews today!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In the Chamber: Podcasts, Podcasts Podcasts!

Yes our supposed weekend break is over... good morning (or afternoon, etc.). A random emailer asked so I'll tell you that the five of us are all located in New Jersey, USA, living in the same town (although not with each other as far as I know) so we are using EST which is GMT -5. That's why, Rick, my morning In the Chamber column hits you in the middle of the afternoon.

As was pointed out to me by Pete Pete, I usually come back on Monday and then have a whole load of podcasts that I tell everyone just hit that morning. That's because I don't refresh my iTunes to check for new podcasts on the weekend. Pete does, and he said that what I was doing was actually a disservice to shows that were putting up episodes the day after their live broadcast.

So, I suppose on some level he's right. And while there's no way I can commit to posting every single day of the year I can check what shows came on which day and note them on Monday, eh? So here ya go:

Blue Plz! Season 3 Episode 22 - 7 and a half Raiders
WoW Things Considered - It writes it's self
Yet Another World of Warcraft Podcast Episode 36 - Browned! [explicit]

Rawrcast - #10 Rawrcast "Lore & Stuff" [explicit]
Starting World of Warcraft podcast Holiday Show #20 - Diabolo 3?
MaxSpeed - Pi Day, Wish it was Cake Day

Monday AM
World of Warcraft Podcast Video Episode 100 - PvP Day: Strand of the Ancients
Casually Hardcore - Your mission, should you choose to accept it...
Proudmoore Pansies - Episode 29 [explicit]

There you go - all broken out nicely (by day) so you can see who's posting shows when. Ya? Now your brain won't hurt thinking 9 podcasts all came out late Sunday night.

I've also received some reports of fantastic mentions of the blog on some recent podcasts thanks mostly to our friend Hatfield who sneaks into IRCs and then secretly emails me all the dirt! I'm really pleased that folks are responding so well to our endeavor here. Mentioning UWoW on your show, though, is not going to win you any favor with us when it comes to review time but I'll do my best to give you a shout out in this little column or elsewhere on the blog. I hope by now you've realized we pretty much like all of these shows for one reason or another, even if some of the episodes are unlistenable.

Proudmoore Pansies
, Blue Plz!, Rawrcast, and Octale and Hordak vs. the World all mentioned us this week... so a huge THANK YOU to the community for being so supportive. Octale apparently led a live thread-jacking of my Friday In the Chamber post where I shamelessly begged for comments from our readers like a hyperactive doctor without enough patients to treat. Octale gets a victory here, it's more than a fair point and I humbly and embarrassingly accept a healthy amount of defeat. But I'm not sure what makes me sadder, the fact that I begged for comments or the fact that Octale only has about 30 listeners willing to listen to him. ;-)

More to come... IN THE FUTURE!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nottingham Forest Forever!

I know we're a World of Warcraft blog, but I know we have a lot of European readers so maybe some of you can relate to my pain today. I've had to endure this 5-0 loss today at Turf Moor with the bloody ex-manager of Derby County Billy Davies standing there afterwards looking as if he's about to cry saying the club owes the fans an apology. The chairman owes us an apology for sacking Colin Calderwood and replacing him with Derby scum like you, Mr. Weepy. Now we are in a world of trouble looking to stay in the Championship for next season and this club cannot go back down to League One because then it truly is over and they're going to collapse and be forced to sell everyone off that has any ambition whatsoever. Yeah, yeah, lots of injuries but so does everyone this time of year to be fair. So frustrating to be building something good and then watch it slowly get torn right down in front of your face.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Greater Good: Weekend Edition

For all of you new readers I explained a bit last week about how the blog is currently set up and running. We're not normally going to post on the weekends but every once in a while, like now (and last Saturday, actually), we'll throw something up if time allows or some other compelling factor drives us.

I received a request last night to give an updated list of the shows we're listening to. We've actually just dropped four podcasts that haven't had new episodes in a while or may very well have already been canceled so we could clear up a little space on the iPod and they were: The Craft of War (last show 12/20/08), Women of Warcraft Vidcast (9/10/08), WoW Factor (1/17/08), and World of Theorycraft (8/29/08). So, we definately won't be writing about those anytime soon but if they come back I'm sure someone will spot it or alert us and we'll be glad to put them back into the rotation.

It was an interesting week at the blog I think. I thought Melissa's "7 Questions For..." column turned out a lot better than I thought it would, and no doubt that's in large part to Aprillian from Ctrl Alt WoW whose thoughtful answers and advice should be of great value to any aspiring podcasters out there. But when I say I thought it was an interesting week we didn't really review many podcasts this week. We were more of a general resource for the WoW podcast community. I think we're trying to strike the balance between writing our original columns and listening to and reviewing shows so don't worry, we'll have it sorted out soon-like. We might just have a couple of us reviewing and a couple doing the other columns, we haven't decided yet. But more importantly, if an asteroid hit the planet we'd just have to deal with it at that time. No excuses.

I can't speak for everyone but here are the shows I've got:

All Things Azeroth
Bind on Equip
Ctrl Alt WoW
Elune's Grace Podcast
Epic Dolls
The Grind Podcast
How I WoW
The Instance
Proudmoore Pansies
Starting World of Warcraft
The Warcraft Outsiders
World of Warcast
World of Warcraft Video Podcast
WoW Insider Show
WoW Radio: Blue Plz!
WoW Radio: Casually Hardcore
WoW Radio: Essence of RP
WoW Radio: MaxSpeed
WoW Radio: Octale and Hordak vs the World
WoW Radio: PUG
WoW Radio: The Happy Hour Tavern
WoW Radio: Warcraft Anonymous
WoW Radio: WoW Things Considered
Yet Another World of Warcraft Podcast

By no means is this a complete list. Any omissions are just out of ignorance on our part and not any sort of "editorial decision." If you have a favorite WoW podcast (or host your own) just leave a comment or shoot us a note and we'll get it into the rotation.

Some good stuff this week in WoW podcast land... I wonder if we are at the apex of a WoW junkie's dreamworld right now or if there can possibly be more expansion to come in the communitiy's future? I think a lot of people who have stuck with playing World of Warcraft have always had one eye over their shoulder wondering about what's going to happen "next," when (and I'll try to write this in hushed tones) the game is overtaken in the market by something else and I (pretend you can barely read this last bit) lose interest in WoW. It's even been the theme of discussion on podcasts joking they were going to immediately switch to being a Star Wars: The Old Republic podcast one week out of nowhere and just keep the show going! I'll have to give that a little more thought for next week's Greater Good. Until then, down with pictures, up with text!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tasty Nuggets: Should Guilds Foot Your Dual Spec Bill?

This is just an idea... very much in the conceptual stage. Mining a little pearl from the depths of a podcast and giving you very brief Tasty Nuggets to discuss completely out of context! Of course, that phrase doesn't quite work since you don't mine pearls in WoW (and since I don't think it's a sentence) but who cares, right? In the post-modern world there are no rules!

But seriously, the latest World of Warcast. I thought it was a lot better than its been recently although the guest they had in there lost my interest when he was rambling on about something. I think he was one of those people who explain something and then explain the same thing again in similar but different language as if I didn't get it the first time and when that happens I glaze over like a freshly basted turkey.

Anyway, that aside I did say the show was good and they got onto a really interesting idea regarding dual specs that I think is worth repeating and that idea is that guilds should be responsible for footing the 1,000 gold bill for dual-speccing. It never really occurred to me, but it's a fascinating topic. What if you're happy with your spec but your guild needs you to be more flexible for instancing/raiding? I'm interested to hear other thoughts on this topic.

In the Chamber: Happy Friday!

Lots of goodies in the bag but first - I got two nice emails last night which were very complimentary of the blog and I want to say thank you for those. One of them made the very good suggestion that I note in my "In the Chamber" column whether or not a show is carrying the explicit tag. I think that's a good idea. While we're assuming most UWoW readers are mature and confirmed that by accepting the warning that mature topics or language may be used here, it's always a good idea to have more information rather than less, right? Besides, I know there must be other people like Pete Pete who get turned off if there's any cursing for any reason, despite their age/maturity.

So anyway, thanks for the good idea. Another good idea was a suggestion from Lindsay Hewitt that we add the Bind on Equip podcast to our rotation of shows. So consider that done, picked up the new show, Episode 16, this morning (and it does carry an explicit tag ;-) ).

Here's what else fired up this morning:

All Things Azeroth #104 - Grinding out the Epic Flappie
WoWCast Episode 43
Warcraft Outsiders Episode 23 for Thurs., March 12, 2009 [explicit]

That seems to be all for now. Listened to Casually Hardcore but we're delaying the Quick Hit again because it was just Gnomewise and Grail for the second straight week. Not that they did a bad job but we want to write about them when their full team is there. Didn't get any response to our question about the importance of an on-time show vs. importance of full crew unfortunately, but there's always time to send your thoughts.

I added a new Twitter feed for the blog and to the blog, it's at the bottom of the column on the left so please follow us on Twitter! We'll be updating that feed from now on when we post new content on the blog rather than my personal Twitter (which has all of 9 followers I think!).

Finally, I have to say thank you again to Totalbiscuit. Since his mention of our blog on Blue Plz! last week we've been getting between 300-400 page views a day from 150-200 unique visitors which is absolutely amazing and we're glad you keep coming back. Now if only some of you would post some comments we'd be cooking with gas! lol

Thursday, March 12, 2009

7 Questions For... Aprillian!

Aprillian of Ctrl Alt WoW graciously accepted my offer for a quick cyber-interview and here's what's happening with her:

1. You recently celebrated your 100th episode of Ctrl Alt WoW which is a very rare milestone in the WoW podcasting community! First, congratulations! Second, what were your expectations when you began the podcast? Did you ever see yourself getting to 100 shows? Has the trip been long and strange?!

Thank you. I had hope to share my World of Warcraft experience with others like me. I wanted to be in it for the long haul. Around the time I started, there were a few podcasts that had started, did a few episodes on a an irregular basis and then faded away. I didn’t want that to happen to Crtl Alt WoW. My first goal was to be regular and my second was to continue for as long as I was playing World of Warcraft, so I guess I anticpated getting to 100. The trip has been great. First and foremost, it’s been a learning experience. There is no one guide to podcasting and the reason for that is that there is no one way.

2. Tying into those questions, do you have specific moments you can recall from your run that you would consider highlights or lowlights? What's the weirdest thing that's happened in 100+ episodes?

The lowlights were when I was soloing and someone made a negative comment about my voice. The highlight was when I was soloing and someone said my voice sounded like a late night radio DJ. It just goes to show you how people see the same thing differently. It also made me realize I couldn't please everyone. The best thing that happened of course, is the addition of Glanthur and when he had to take a break, I was so fortunate that Ashayo stepped in to help. I would say the weirdest is trying to explain what I do to my family, friends and coworkers.

3. In the opening of every Ctrl Alt WoW you greet everyone by saying that it is "the podcast for those of us who love World of Warcraft and love making many alts." Is it that simple? Would new WoW players get something worthwhile from listening to your show or are you assuming your listeners have a strong foundation in the game?

I would hope new players would get something out of, but of course we do talk a bit about alts and juggling two to four accounts. I think most players could get glean something. If anything, I hope we convey that the game is fun. I do feel a little guilty that some non multiboxers were sucked in after listening to Ctrl Alt WoW and now have multiple accounts as well. "One of us! One of us!"

4. You've recently been experimenting with a split format to help accommodate schedules for your co-hosts (which is understandable when one of them is in Australia). Do you want to describe the new setup a bit to readers that might be unfamiliar with Ctrl Alt WoW, and do you find you miss the live interaction between the three of you or has it been a bit more fun to spend dedicated time with Ashayo and Glanthur separately?

I think something that almost every multi hosted podcast has to deal with is scheduling. Even when it was just Glanthur and me, there was a bit of juggling. Add the 14 hour time difference, Ashayo lives in the future, and it can be difficult. We had been doing it on Sun morning 1am EST. But sometimes the guys either had to work Sun or had plans. We had one week where no matter what we did, someone had to get up way too early and then go to work after recording. It was actually Glanthur who came up with the split recording idea, and I think it works nicely. I have to edit a bit more but I don't mind. We are planning to only use the split when scheduling is a problem. For instance, this week we will all be recording together, yeah!

5. There are a lot of podcasts out there that talk about what they did last week on their characters but since you (and Ashayo, I think? not sure about Glanthur) multibox there is an added dimension that listeners like me really respond to. Can you tell us how you got started multiboxing and what it's been like for you? I'm certain that Blizzard has said on several occasions that multiboxing is fine but some players disagree on that. Have you run into any in-game criticism or experienced any in-game incidents from non-multiboxers?

I've multiboxed in other games, such as The Sims Online and Second Life. I like experimenting and seeing well if I do this, and this, what would happen. I actually started multiboxing in WoW while grinding in the Southern Barrens. I needed leather but I wasn't on my skinner and I was lamenting all the corpses left behind. At first I would kill a few animals, log off and on to my skinner who I had left in the area, have her skin, move her down the road, log off, get back on the one grinding, rinse and repeat. Then I thought about a 2nd account and referred myself and got a month free. Then of course I went crazy when the Refer a Friend program started, which did signal Blizzard nod to us multiboxers. Although I get to play a lot, my husband does not really understand the whole "grouping" mentality. There were times when I was in a group in an instance and he wanted to do something like walk the dogs or have a conversation. Not too demanding and normal things couples do. But not when you are in the middle of RFK and getting ready to take down a pat with the possibility of pulling adds. So my compromise is that I am my own group, running as many as 4 toons together. I can get stuff done that I wouldn't be able to do alone. As for criticism, never encountered any in game, but in forums and such, it seems as long as we aren't pvp-ing, most just think we are silly reclusive players. Which isn't true, we still socialize.

6. Do you listen to any other WoW podcasts? If so which one(s) is/are your favorite(s)? Have they influenced or inspired your show?

Oh I listen to as many as I can. My favorite is WoWcast, when she's talking about WoW but she is busy and doesn't come out as often. I like World of Warcast, the Instance, BOE, The Grind and Outlandish. I tried to listen to YAWoWP, but my brain revolted and left my head and only agreed to come back if I deleted the podcast from my iTunes. I think Ctrl Alt WoW is different from all of these because we don't cover uber end game stuff, although Ashayo let's me dream about it and Glanthur dances on the edge, which is good for casual player listeners. Because of this, there's not much influence, except that I try to not do something that these fine podcast sometimes do, and that is kvetch. I'm not trying to knock them for it. But I as a listener just don't find it useful so I try not to impose it on my audience. I trust Blizzard. I thank them for putting out a fine game and understand that everything isn't going to work perfectly. We are treading new ground here with an online community of what 11 million doing amazing things. I prefer to focus on the fun and what we can do and how to do it better rather than on what Blizzard should do. I hope that makes sense.

7. To close, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring podcasters?

It's a wonderful ride. If you have the tools, I have macs, and they make it really easy to podcast, but windows has some nice software as well, go for it. Pick a topic you know and make it as fun for you as you can. And be patient. There are only a few podcast who will make it in the top 100's. Ctrl Alt WoW has a nice little niche and we like it. Oh and don't expect to make money.

Thanks Aprillian!

And thank you for what you are doing for the World of Warcraft podcast community.

In the Chamber: The Number Shall Be Three

Three podcasts dropped this morning (insert "Ha Ha Ha" style laugh from Sesame Street's Count von Count).

One was The Grind Podcast, again. I just got the Thirty-Ninth Grind back on Tuesday, but nevertheless the Fortieth, dated 8th March, 2009 was there this morning.

I've said before that we sometimes experience the funk when dealing with the iTunes "refresh" when we check for new episodes each morning so if you happen to be a podcaster and we're not mentioning your show the morning after you've released one, please shoot us a note to clue us in. Usually between the five of us we're able to stay up on everything but I don't always hear from everyone first thing in the morning.

Aside from the Grind, a new Casually Hardcore titled Trying not to Fail was also there this morning and this show is in the crosshairs for the next Quick Hit.

And finally World of Warcast Episode #79 also dropped and we're eager to give that a listen.

Yesterday I listened to the latest Proudmoore Pansies, Episode 28 dated 9th March, 2009. I have to say I really am liking this show. As I mentioned once before they are basically just giving you a recap of what's been going on in their guild Pansy Division over on the Alliance side of the Proudmoore server so it's not really a show for everyone. But the way they come across as so relaxed and calm about everything they discuss makes me feel like I want to listen, and they had some fascinating stories about raiding and PUG dynamics, and honoring guild commitments this week that you could extrapolate and apply to your own guild or raiding experience. One of the co-hosts Galactyx is nearly an identical voice double for Randy Jordan a.k.a. Randy Deluxe of the Instance. I'd give them a listen if you haven't before, at least this episode. Our pal Hatfield reported that he registered at their website but he hasn't seen a lot of activity. Nate Arizona is Galactyx' co-host and they both appear to be officers for their guild.

Also started listening to The Essence of RP, which I apparently haven't heard in so long I forgot the hosts weren't Americans. More on that at another time.

Mailbag: A Few Questions

We've had a few questions come in over the last week and a half and I've been letting them build up so we could have this extravaganza Mailbag column where I blast you with not one, not two, but three legitimate, completely non-Microsoft auto-response generated, emails. So let's get to it:


Do you plan to use pictures on your blog? It's pretty bland right now with a lot of text I'm sure that turns off some younger readers.


First of all, this has to be the same Frank Jackson from Providence, Rhode Island that emailed us once before so I'd say he's our first blog groupie. It doesn't seem to have hindered your readership or interactiveness with us, has it Frank? Second, I'm 18 and I write for this blog so I take offense that we younger people are intimidated by words! Not all of us are morons, moron. If you want pictures go to every other site on the webs. I'm not saying that we'll never have pictures here but I guess you haven't been reading from the beginning where we say we're content with our humble beginnings for now. Everything here is going according to our schedule, not yours.

Hi Toothy -

Thanks for the work you guys do it's a pretty big service considering there's so many podcasts out there. How much time do you spend listening to podcasts on average each week?

Thea (Hamsalad, lvl 22 priest, Anvilmar-US)

Good question Thea, I can't honestly tell you. But a lot. Figure the average show is 1 hour and I have about 40 WoW podcasts on my iPhone it's probably two days worth of listening to hear every show for a particular week (since some shows do tend to go 1.5 or 2 hours). That's why we've kind of broken the podcasts up into little pools between the five of us so we aren't overwhelmed trying to listen to everything, but I still listen to my favorites too like The Instance or Ctrl Alt WoW. Still about 5-10 hours a week of listening.

Hello UWoW Team -

I see Jim usually writes the In the Chamber column in the mornings, is he actually ever going to review anything himself? Has he tried to take over the blog? I liked how democratic things were looking here initially but it looks like he has put himself at the forefront now and the reviews are secondary.

Martin W. (Area 52)

When this showed up in my inbox I immediately sent a note to Pete Pete and copied the rest of the team because I thought for sure he was taking the piss. The Area 52 thing was a dead giveaway since he's the resident conspiracy theorist. But Pete Pete swore up and down that he didn't write the email so I guess I'll give Martin W. a legitimate answer to what I know is some sort of joke by someone we know: this is Jim's blog. If he wanted to call it Jim Surge's Magical WoW Podcast Review Blog With Four Other Clowns That Can't Write And Aren't Funny then that's what he'd call it and we'd all still write for it. That's what we think of him, it was his idea, and why he's been made "tiebreaker" on any votes we have, so piss off. Yes he's going to do reviews, he's probably going to do the first "A Longer Look" piece for us in addition to semi-regular Quick Hits.

Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line at or the main UWoW email at:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the Chamber: Warcraft Anonymous

Only one fearless podcast to drop this morning, Warcraft Anonymous Episode 67 - Railvas vs The Internet. The date on it is Friday, 6th March, 2009 so I don't know if this is yet another instance of my iTunes acting fishy or if it actually just went up yesterday but hey, it downloaded so I'm reporting it! The show features Rile guest-hosting for the first time with Railvas as Hiko was tied up at school and unable to make it.

An interesting topic comes up here... and the reason I'm guest-authoring In the Chamber this morning. With the sheer number of shows that we hear each week that release episodes either shorthanded or with guest hosts because the regular hosts can't be there, is it more important to you that show x comes out on day y or is it more important to you that show x comes out whenever as long as it is "complete?"

I don't think shows with guest hosts pull it off very well mainly because I've listened to them and they often don't. Many of the hosts simply aren't skillful or interesting enough or sometimes the guest host is a dud. I'm not talking about Warcraft Anonymous specifically here but, for example, last week's All Things Azeroth with Matticus as one of the guest hosts was a tough listen. If not for Stompalina actually contributing that episode would have been a major fail. Matticus said about 10 words the entire podcast and came across to me like he didn't want to be there. Medros' modus operandi is that he formulates a question, throws it to his co-host for a response, and then responds to their take with one of his own. Doesn't work if one of the co-hosts gives two word answers.

So let us know what you think. Obviously it's disappointing when a promised episode doesn't appear or broadcast on the day they are scheduled but is that the end-all-be-all? Would you rather a show come out 4 days late but be the show you wanted to hear, or an on-time show with a guest host that changes the dynamic?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the Chamber: Five More!

Five more podcasts loaded up this morning:

WoW Insider Show Episode 80 - Listen To Your Mom
The Instance #138 - The Hot Tub Episode
Outlandish Episode 52 - 2nd March, 2009
The Grind Podcast - The Thirty-Ninth Grind
Ctrl Alt WoW 105 - Dailies, Dailies, and more Dailies

All of the shows sound pretty good, no BRK on the WoW Insider Show but initial reports are that the show was solid as always. Michael Sacco was apparently a scene-stealer again in another good appearance. We tried to get in touch with BRK a week or so ago but we never heard back from him regarding future appearances on the show. Apparently the Outlandish guys are bored with the game until Blizzard adds new content, the Instance guys broadcasted from a hot tub, and Ctrl Alt WoW aired the second episode since they've converted to their new split format.

Next Quick Hits have been updated. We've decided to hold off on reviewing Ctrl Alt WoW since Melissa is going to have Aprillian for her "interview" column. More to come on the Proudmoore Pansies and Starting WoW podcasts as well.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Delayed Recall: Blue Plz!

Thanks for checking out Delayed Recall. In DR the main premise is that I listen to a podcast without taking any notes and then attempt to write about it from memory a day or two later. Last week it was Total Biscuit's Blue Plz! on Friday where I showed up for the IRC chat.

As Jim mentioned the other day, Total Biscuit gave our blog a fantastic mention near the opening of his show, I would say within the first five minutes. He also introduced me as a special guest in the chat and the Blue Plz! listeners were very kind and inquisitive. I had someone ask if Fred is my real name, which it is. You can probably imagine the amount of times, though, that I had bartenders laugh at me in my younger days when they saw "Fred Jones" on my identification. These days the only places that look at my ID are doctors offices and airports, but I digress.

Something Jim didn't mention is that the chat moderator from time to time would post a bold "as mentioned on the show" note which is a very cool touch for a show with a big audience. The note about our blog said something like: "the only blog epic enough for Total Biscuit to follow!" It wasn't unique to our blog, of course, the IRC moderator would link or bold post the main topics/themes/sites TB mentioned and while I've seen that done in other chats for other shows they could probably take a lesson from WoW Radio here. There was an air of professionalism about it that added to the live show atmosphere for me.

Of course something like this would probably look very silly or become an annoyance if you only had 5-10 listeners in the chat but luckily Blue Plz! probably had about 300 listeners there, can't recall seeing an actual tally and I stopped counting once I reached 75 and realized I was only a quarter of the way through the listener list. And of course I saw one listener request to have the moderator "stop spamming" so you'll never please everyone I suppose.

Back to the show, he went right into email. Email is always email even if TB does do it pretty well. The Blue's Clues email lead-in made me chuckle, especially since my granddaughter is watching that these days. Did you know the Steve guy wasn't a pervert? He actually just left the show to start a music career? For some reason I always thought that guy was creepy. Anyway, all five of us here at UWoW like hearing out of the box thinking and I think TB did a good job of bringing new angles to some questions that perhaps the questioner didn't quite think through all the way.

I like when TB had a drop of glass breaking from out of nowhere for "The Illusion of Choice," which is a chance for listeners to set the last topic of the show. That's a very cool feature of the show and goes straight toward the very spirit of the internet, doesn't it?

If I remember correctly he next started going off on the notion that casual players don't exist. I kind of go with the idea that there are such animals as casual players. There are people who don't read WoW blogs or listen to WoW podcasts, people who never post on the WoW forums or have never heard of WoW Insider. They're around, and they still play for whatever reason makes them happy. I like to think those sort of people are casuals.

TB's rant was based on the fact that the old definition of "casual" as "non-raider" no longer applies. I must admit my mind wandered a bit here. While it was probably informative for new players I think he took longer than needed to give the back history. One great point he made, though, was that a lot of the new end-game raid content doesn't require the huge blocks of time it did pre-Wrath and that you could basically PUG anything. To that end I can understand his point and it is nice to have something to go back at people who "hide" behind their casual status. Took too long to get there though for me.

Good flow between topics from casual players into badge loot. I'm not really concerned with badge rewards right now since I'm leveling alts while helping Melissa level but apparently there's some crying about getting yourself geared up on badge loot. Doesn't really affect me, this would probably be more of an issue for Toothy and Pete Pete but not for Jim, Melissa, or I.

TB then spoke about the Daily Mail article that picked up on the Swedish story which blamed WoW for the kid who passed out after playing the game for 20 hours straight. I think he used the memorable phrase "vomit-worthy" when talking about parents shipping their children off to doctors for pills to make them empty shells just like everyone else, attaching the stigma of being "anti-social" to them in the process. Another major point I remember is the fact that there is no diagnosis for computer game addiction at present. We all know compulsive people who are compulsive at everything they do... but a little more understanding and communication here could go a long way. I can't tell you as an older gamer the sort of stereotypes I usually have to overcome to earn someone's trust in-game. I've had whole ventrillo servers go dead when they hear my older voice. Needless to say, enjoyed this segment muchly. Sounds like more crying from bad parents trying to blame everything but themselves for bad parenting.

Total Biscuit's live shoutcast play-by-play for the 3 vs. 3 PVP game was the highlight of the show for me. TB said he felt an energy rush doing it; I actually got an energy rush and I didn't even sync up my video to watch the action, I was just listening! It was a combination of an auction house auctioneer, horse racing announcer, and football (soccer) commentary. Fantastic.

Wrapped up the end of the show with the live listener submissions and shout outs which is a great way to keep the listeners involved until the very end.

Overall, it's pretty clear Total Biscuit has his shit together. He's pretty damn funny too, without the benefit of notes I can't recall specific quips but if you can sit through Blue Plz! without cracking at least one smile you probably have some sort of mental disease. Clearly this is one of the very best WoW podcasts out there and one of the favorites here at UWoW. The format is unique and streamlined and the IRC works in perfect synergy with the show. Didn't always agree with everything but I appreciate that he's even thinking of original topics to bring into the discussion rather than the same recycled information we can find in a million other places. Would have liked the "made-up topic" of casuals not existing to be a little more on-point but what can you do? My final analysis is that it was a good episode of a very good show.

In the Chamber: Lots of Goodies

Eight big shows in the queue this morning:

World of Warcraft Podcast Video
WoW Things Considered - Who's Watching the Watchmen Things Considered
Octale and Hordak vs. the World - I Might Be Porting Sewage, But At Least I'm Alone
Starting WoW Holiday Show #19 - Rant Show
Blue Plz! Season 3, Episode 20 - Takin' a Hit of the Arcane Dust
MaxSpeed - I'm A Cyborg But That's Okay
rawrcast - #9 rawrcast - Dirty South
Proudmoore Pansies - Episode 28

No doubt WoW Insider and Ctrl Alt WoW are soon to follow too as they usually are on Mondays. Speaking of Ctrl Alt WoW, looks like Aprillian has graciously agreed to be Melissa's first "interview" for the "7 Questions For..." column which is fantastic news. Thanks Aprillian!

Not much happened with us in-game or on the blog this weekend as real life intervened. Our friend Hatfield's daughter turned one year old on Saturday and Pete Pete and I were there to celebrate. And of course I kept trying to get him to agree to write for the blog, especially now that his daughter is one surely she's a bit more self-reliant than she's been! We'll see how that goes but for now Hat wants to remain anti-social and stay lurking as our "live reporter." Melissa unfortunatley spent a lot of the beautiful northeast weather this weekend in the library doing research for a paper but Fred was able to sneak in some birdwatching on Saturday and Sunday. Toothy was tied up showing his parents around town.

Fred's column is up next and a couple of Quick Hits to follow later today or tomorrow on shows we haven't had a chance to write about yet. We should also see our first "A Longer Look" next week so things continue to look good for the blog. Thanks for reading, that's all for now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Greater Good: Reintroductions

There have been a ton of new eyeballs checking out the blog, no doubt thanks to Totalbiscuit who according to Fred gave us a very flattering review on yesterday's Blue Plz! Fred reported that he was also treated like a rock star in the IRC and wanted to thank everyone for their positivity and support. He'll be writing about the experience in his next Delayed Recall column. I can't say how happy everyone here is to know that what we're doing is seen as worthwhile (or if not worthwhile at least decently written!). But of course it won't blunt our keyboard when reviewing WoW Radio shows (blunt our keyboard? I'll work on it, hopefully you get the drift), which is I hope what you might expect from us.

For you new readers, welcome! In case you don't feel like going back and reading the whole blog (although there's some funny stuff hidden away there I think) here's a little state of the blog address as I see it.

Generally UWoW is going to be a Monday through Friday blog, in that we'll always post at least one post each day Monday-Friday, even if it's just me doing In the Chamber. We're not requiring anyone to write on the weekends although from time-to-time something might appear, especially from Fred who has less schedule restrictions. Here's what we're up to:

Quick Hits: Short reviews of a few paragraphs. Just one take on one episode.
A Longer Look: Longer reviews considering multiple episodes. Can be as long or as short as the author needs.
In the Chamber: A daily column I write recounting what hit the iTunes that morning, what I've listened to, likely upcoming reviews, and whatever tidbits that the other writers have passed along to me.
The Greater Good: A weekly column I write which gives the general status of the blog and common themes from that week's podcasts.
Transcribing Master: A regular column written by Pete Pete where he looks for the hidden meaning behind the "actual words."
Delayed Recall: A weekly column written by Fred where he listens to a podcast, doesn't take any notes, and then tries to write about it a few days later just from memory.
Mailbag: This is meant to be a weekly column written by Toothy, but of course is dependent on mail. :-)
7 Questions For...: A regular interview column with bloggers and podcasters put togther by Melissa.

So things are looking pretty good but it's early days, things could always turn into a complete disaster at any moment. Thanks for reading and we hope you'll keep it up!