Wednesday, January 27, 2010

KYS (nws)

We'd like to take this time to salute our pal thehatfield, who is all proud of himself for having his tweet appear in the crawl at the bottom of the screen on AOTS yesterday. He was so geeked up about the experience that he actually had to delete a tweet which said he was pleased with "@atos" for recognizing his tweet about Bill Hicks being "favorite stand-up commedian."

He didn't mention that there were at least 5 other Bill Hicks marks on that crawl, and maybe even as many as 6-10 more. (Only one or two brave souls mentioned Norm MacDonald or Mitch Hedberg.) Everyone seemed obsessed with Gabriel Iglesias or somesuch. He also didn't mention that he's now being followed by about 30 more no doubt insane basement-dwellers taking the time to follow people mentioned on Attack of the Show.

As a viewer I felt embarrassed for all of the Dimitri Martin mentions, but I suppose the emo crowd deserves to be represented as well.

In honor of his horrible achievement, I'm going to attempt to embed this Bill Hicks comedy segment on marketing, since Hat's soulless ass works in publishing devising ways to con people out of money.

Monday, January 25, 2010

TEW 2010 Released Today

This has nothing to do with WoW, but the latest edition of the highly addictive professional wrestling booking simulator called Total Extreme Wrestling 2010 will be released at some point today by Grey Dog Software.

Needless to say, I'm quite excited! As a long-time supporter of the series, and having played the free Demo that was available this week, I'm chomping at the bit to get deeper into the new version past the one month you get in the Demo.

If you've never heard about the game before, it has roots dating back to 1995's Extreme Warfare and it has constantly been evolving ever since.

This isn't a fighting game in the Fighter Hayabusa vs. King Slender mold. At the beginning of the game you become the Head Booker of a promotion (or you can choose to start unemployed), and you try to lead that promotion to be the number one wrestling organization in the world. There is a fantastic fictional database included with the game called the CornellVerse (C-Verse, CVerse) and features promotions and workers from around the globe.

It can be a little daunting at first entering the default data for the first time, just like anything else unknown. And if you want to make an informed decision about which fed to start with it's probably going to take some quality time to read each of the worker and fed bios, not to mention checking the skillset for the workers to know their individual strengths and weaknesses. So if you can't read, or are unwilling to, this may not be the sim for you.

But that said, there's always a workaround. If playing with fictional characters isn't your thing you can check out the mods forum on the Grey Dog site. The TEW community is quite vibrant and active, and real world mods are often released by forum members relatively quickly after the new version of the game is released.

Of course, you don't have to take over a promotion right away. As mentioned above you can start unemployed and watch the game world evolve before entering. If you do go that route you likely won't be able to be hired by the biggest, most powerful feds, but it does give you a nice chance to simply sit back and see exactly how the AI books, and which workers they decide to push, sign, or release.

One of the best things about the game is that it's highly customizable. And even moreso in TEW2010. You can do everything you can possibly think of from creating your own database (which would give your universe only the feds and workers that you specify) to simply creating one new wrestler to drop down in the middle of the C-Verse to see how he/she fares. And everything in between. From storylines, to angles, to titles, everything is under your domain and can be edited. Not to mention all of the new in-game options available in 2010 which you can read about on their site.

FYI, in addition to other games, they have a very solid MMA simulator called WMMA2 which you can see also see on the main Grey Dog site.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Been a Good Week for You?

Like most holiday-shortened weeks, the arrival of Friday always seems pleasantly early. The podcasters seem to have finally soldiered on through the bleak "dead period" after the Christmas holidays and new year and new episodes are once again dropping faster than Sartharion with no drakes.

Warcraft Radio is sadly winding to a close. Previously I posted a link to The Cynical Brit, which will be Totalbiscuit's new hideout. Looks like Blue Plz!, Gaming Express, and Gaming the System are the first three shows to be officially announced as part of TCB's arsenal of caustic mayhem.

A ton of shows will be moving over to OMFG who are still in the process of feeling things out, regrouping, and moving forward. A preliminary list of shows from their forums includes: Council of Six, Essence of RP, MaxSpeed, The Donut Shop, Fragged Up, PUG, Tales From Your Mom's Basement, and The Combobulater.

Looks like two of our favorite shows - Octale & Hordak vs. the World, and Casually Hardcore - will be joining forces in the near future over at Verses The World (VTW), which is presently in beta. To keep up with the Casually Hardcore gang right now you can do so over at Alpha Geek Radio.

As of right now The Emperor's Court is listed both on the VTW beta site and on the OMFG forums, so maybe there's a bidding war going on behind the scenes. :)

Have some thoughts brewing on recent shows.

Random: Despite the endless shtick from John Jakobson I'm pleased Warcraft Outsiders is back for some reason.

Hope you had a good week.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So, is it Still Called the WoW Insider Show or What?

After travel last week and yesterday's holiday to honor the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we're back in full effect. Or (as usual it seems), at least I am!

A couple of surprising things struck me as I listened to new episodes of the show.

First, I actually miss Mike Schramm. There, I typed it. While we sometimes had fun at Mike's expense, you know, sometimes kidded him about certain oft-repeated verbal habits, his ability to keep the show focused and moving forward I think far exceeds that of new host Michael Sacco.

The new show may still be in the process of feeling itself out, but it's frighteningly polite and painful to listen to as they do this on-air. As soon as two people start to speak at once everyone stops speaking, and then each person tells the other person to go ahead and speak. Then no one speaks for a few seconds before suddenly they both start speaking at the same time again. Then they laugh and each one again tells the other one to go ahead... you get the idea.

A surefire bright spot on the new show is the emergence of Matthew Rossi. While Rossi was featured from time to time on the Schramm/Turpster version, he's been given a lot longer leash by Sacco and it has been great. He's been awfully funny thus far, even in the episode where he had a massive headache.

Schramm must have committed the ultimate sin - criticizing Blizzard or AOL or somesuch - for him to have been dumped so quickly. Obviously it wasn't planned because on the first Sacco/Rossi show Sacco said everything was thrown together at the last second because of the circumstances. No matter what you might feel about them personally I think I can speak for everyone when I say that Schramm and Turpster at least deserved time to put together a proper final show due to their dedicated service.

What I don't understand is wanting to seek more "outside opinions" to add to their podcast. When I go to I want the opinion of It is a brand that I can trust for at least the Blizzard side of every World of Warcraft issue. And if perchance they stray from the company line, I want to wake up the next morning to read a retraction or some other prompt apology that insults my intelligence.

If I want the opinion of other places, I'll go elsewhere. What happened on the blog this week? What were people talking about? That's what I want to hear, especially because (like many folks I know) I do not always read each post on the blog every week.

If they want to have guests like "nerdcore" rapper Fatty on the show I believe they should do it in a brief section dedicated to guests. Having random people of unknown WoW ability chiming in all show and having to crowbar-in the reason why the person is even there runs exactly contrary to the reason I listen to that particular podcast in the first place.

In all, nice to hear more Matthew Rossi. And would prefer a more Schramm-like Sacco.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Up And At Um

We're getting into the groove again this week, or at least I am! I'll be taking a quick two-night trip to Detroit but there'll be plenty of down time at the airports to listen to podcasts - especially if it continues to snow out in Michigan!

Excited to see exactly what folks are up to these days.

The first ever UWoW meetup was a rousing success! No one showed up so it wasn't awkward at all. Melissa, Pete and I discussed many things like events from world history, current events, the success of the movie Avatar, Howard Stern, the ascension of China, English football, the NFL playoffs, stuffy Princeton people, townies, Carl Jung's book "Aion" and the Aion MMO, Walt Whitman, and farts. The drink specials there were fantastic - $2 for 20-ounce Miller Lites was my poison of choice. I could drink a bucket of that stuff and still be fine for the walk home.

Luckily it's a short walk.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Follow Friday

We do like to maintain a degree of our underground identity here at the blog. Last year though, none of us could really tell you what that meant because it would have exposed us as a parody site.

This site is meant to be for people that somehow stumble on it. We're not serious about anything. We have no official partnerships with other blogs or podcasts or companies and that's the way things are going to stay. We don't participate in bullshit like Azeroth United to raise our profile and prove to the world how nice and what good people we are. No gimmicky contests allowed to bring about an influx of leeches, users, and other general lazy-eyed scumbags. No dumbing down our writing or writing about where our favorite pond is in World of Warcraft to take screenshots. If you're a fan of the blog, you're in on the joke.

Sure, we do Tweet about our posts from time to time, and yes, in rare instances they are re-tweeted! I have even been known to secretly submit links to this blog to such places as, or sites like Blog Azeroth, and yes we'd still like to get a spoof show going possibly with Tristan of The Elitists, but those reach-outs are usually few and far between. The laughs we get writing faux-intellectually about World of Warcraft is all the compensation we'll ever need!

But today is Follow Friday. There are two sites I'd like to recommend:

The Big Lead
If you haven't already heard of The Big Lead, it is a very cool, unbeholden US-based sports site. Has nothing to do with World of Warcraft. You get honest takes with no agenda other than the writer's personal bias, which is what we love. Now, like us, you'll probably disagree when they try to compare Urban Meyer's 48-hour flip flop over health reasons to Brett Favre's 4-year, 8-month and ongoing childish will-he-or-won't he retire gimmick that he tried to use to get himself traded to a better team, but there's always something interesting to talk about and consider there.

For The Lore
Nice clean site. Not just WoW-centric, not just MMO-centric. Story-driven games. I am the target audience and I like it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Makes A Medium Server Medium?

This seems to be the £628,339.69 question.

Between myself and our friend thehatfield, we've asked just about everyone we could think of. From Starman of World of Warcast to The Turpster of various projects to Adam Holisky of to all of our Twitter followers. And we were either ignored or no one knows.

This information may well be readily available, but certainly not to me. I do not have the constitution at the moment to actually read through sites like Warcraft Realms or troll through endless pages of realm forums to see if someone, somewhere offers an explanation.

But the question is interesting when you consider the state of the economy on the two servers I'm most active on - Anvilmar-US (PVE) and Twisting Nether-US (RPPVP) - both "Medium" servers.

One thing we can actually track through auction scanners is Auction House activity. If there is a large discrepancy in total number of auctions, does that say anything about the server's overall population?

This morning I was startled to notice that there was a discrepancy of 11,236 total auctions between Twisting Nether (26,003) and Anvilmar (14,767) - nearly double the amount for a realm listed as the same size!

We know that we can't completely trust the population numbers or activity ratios of Warcraft Realms. But maybe it gives us a little background info and a range to think about.

June 2006 is listed as the online date for Anvilmar, while Twisting Nether shows as September of 2005 so we don't have a case here where the server with the higher AH activity is new with lots of toons still grinding away and flooding the Auction House with lots of everything from every level.

If you believe it, Warcraft Realms says that Anvilmar actually has more total characters than Twisting Nether, 13,769 to 10,823.

So what does this all mean? What actually is a medium server? Could Twisting Nether really be out-auctioning Anvilmar nearly 2:1 with about 3,000 less toons? How does a discrepancy like that occur?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Preview TCB!

Well now we know what the next step is for Totalbiscuit, The Cynical Brit!

This is just a preview of what's to come and according to TB's twitter, and some sections remain unfinished. But it is a cool first look at the new digs. Nice clear format. Should be sweet once it's up and rolling full force.

UWoW Meet-Up: Princeton, NJ, This Friday!

A couple of people asked me about this last winter when we were first getting started, so now nearly a year later and with absolutely no interest we thought this would be a great time to hold our first ever UWoW meetup at the Ivy Inn in Princeton, NJ this Friday, January 8!

The Ivy Inn is an outstanding townie dive bar known for cheap drinks and they don't serve food, so come thirsty! They do, of course, allow you to bring in food from the outside and enjoy it at your leisure. The world famous Hoagie Haven, along with favorite local greasepit George's are within walking distance. And if that isn't your speed you could get Chinese at Ivy Garden or sushi at Tomo Sushi or Indian at Kaluri Corner which are all quite close-by.

Melissa and I should be there, Pete is still unconfirmed. If you feel like chatting WoW, or about WoW podcasts, or about ideas for future WoW-related projects, come have a frosty beverage or two. For this outing you must be 21-years old to attend with valid proof of age. They are supremely strict about not serving minors at the Ivy, it just doesn't happen there.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Farewell WoW Radio

It shouldn't be news by now that Totalbiscuit has decided to pull the plug on WoW Radio. In his heartfelt This is it posting on their main site, TB did have this to offer:

I can’t speak for the other staff, who will tell you of their own plans on their shows and forums, but I can speak for myself and what I intend to do in future. I have a new site which will be ready to launch very soon, which I will be continuing to broadcast Blue Plz!, Gaming the System and a brand new, daily gaming news show entitled Gaming Express. This site will feature it’s own forums, blog comment system and substantially more regular content than you’re used to seeing from me. Without the responsibility of managing a large, volunteer organisation, I expect to be able to focus my efforts on what I’ve always loved, producing top-quality audio content for you. A link to this site will be provided once it has been launched.
They also report that The Donut Shop with The Donut Boys, MaxSpeed with Speedyf40, Maxmaps, and Kae, Essence of RP with Almighty Farseer and Kexman, and But Wait! There’s Lore! with Shinoda and Snapplemonkey will remain producing new shows at a new site TBA.

I'll keep up with this and report any news I hear.

I do understand that this is hardly the end. Neigh, a new dawn approaches! But I would like to use this space to say that this blog owes a great deal to WoW Radio, and especially to Totalbiscuit, for their long-standing and enthusiastic support. Thank you WoW Radio for your uncompromising attitudes, for all the laughs, for teaching me so much about this game and industry that we all love. In a time when so many people are consumed with spreading bullshit to the far reaches of the globe you were a beacon of hope to critical thinkers everywhere. We still get hundreds of views per week here, and it sure isn't the quality or frequency of the content over the last two months. That is a testament to the enduring power of WoW Radio.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Year, New You?

I'm very keen to give the new WoW Insider Show a listen since the abrupt departures of Mike Schramm and The Turpster from the podcast. Like most regular listeners, we were completely taken by surprise by the news and interested to see if the remaining staff takes the show in a new direction.

A long while ago I made the comment that the WoW Insider Show was a confused show. Back then you'd have these intricate breakdowns on hunter mechanics by Big Red Kitty followed by 10 minutes of crying about how Noblegarden wasn't fair. It was weird. And of course, you had the random crapshoot of what would be the top article on the blog over the last week. God forbid you'd be stuck listening when it was patch week. Or patch notes hitting the PTR. Or patch anything.

But ever since Pete pointed out that Mike tends to slightly rephrase questions he's just asked as if the questioned person can't understand the first time (ie. in quick succession: "What have you been up to lately in the World of Warcraft? Have you been up to anything good in World of Warcraft lately?") I've sort of had a soft spot for Schramm-wow.

As far as this blog, Pete, Melissa and I are still getting our own house back in order as you've no doubt noticed from the type of infrequent, non-themed posts going up. I have to admit its been pretty tough trying to get back into the regular groove of listening to these shows, especially since the three of us are each listening to more podcasts on our individual lists since the departures of Fred and Toothy. Actually that's untrue. It's been hard to bring myself to write about many of them. It almost feels like wasted words.

Pete has expressed on multiple occasions that he was very pleased with some of the changes made by the Casually Hardcore crew. He basically is the target audience for that show (many could argue, rightly, that I am too) and really likes the job they are doing.

Melissa has been doing some scouting of up-and-coming or new shows, while I've been clearing out the old, re-compiling our master list, updating all of our internal subscriptions, doing outreach to other blogs and podcasters, etc..