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Archive for February, 2009

phaeI want to join everybody else in the WoW blogging community in saying farewell to one of the pioneers and true champions in the World of Warcraft blogosphere.

Phaelia from Resto4Life will be shutting the place down as of March 19th, 2009.  Phaelia and Mr. Phae are in the process of having a baby, and it’s simply a matter of priorities.

On a personal note, although I’ve never had more than one-sentence conversations with Phaelia (I can’t imagine the amount of mail she receives) she has always been helpful, enabling, and encouraging.  Aside from “the really major players” I think I’ve gotten more referral traffic from Resto4Life than any other WoW blog.  I am honoured that Phae chose to keep me “on her list” for so long.  From such a heroine of the art, I know of no greater compliment.

But she hasn’t pulled the plug YET!  Hurry on over!  In typical Phaelia style, she’s throwing a party and running a contest.  There is a Belkin Nostromo Speedpad N52TE up for grabs, and I would be quick to point out that the contest is open to Canadians as well! (Seems some things just work better when you don’t have an in-house legal department to deal with.  *cough*)  Hurry on over and get your entries in.  Let’s let Phae know that we love her, and that she is going to be deeply missed.

We wish Phae and her new sapling health, happiness, and a long life.

And Phae?  If the baby comes out with a beard, and a dagger in one hand (and a beer in the other) do me a favour and delete my e-mail address out of your Outlook ok hon?  Mwah.

/vanish

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oscarI was going to write that article about the EULA today but two things came up.

  1. I actually read the EULA, and almost had to shoot caffeine into my veins to stay awake.  It’s nowhere near as informative as the Code of Conduct, and only about 0.04% as interesting.
  2. My old friends at WoW Insider (Dan O’Halloran specifically) shot me a link for my series of articles about the Code of Conduct and I’ve just been sitting here all day hitting refresh watching my blog stats skyrocket like the odometer on the space shuttle.

As if the adrenaline rush from #2 was not enough… #2 was the cause of something else!  As a result of all the traffic generated from the WoW Insider link, this blog became the #3 English-speaking blog on all of WordPress.com in terms of rising popularity today.

I will never ever be on the “top blogs overall” list (Anderson Cooper hosts his blog here for crying out loud!) so being on #3 on the growing blogs list is a huge honour, and I want to thank all of you — and the folks at WoW Insider for making it happen.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing light in a dark time.

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ten-commandmentsI’m a little disturbed this morning.  Over the past two days the two previous articles in this series have gotten virtually zero direct hits.  I suppose it doesn’t mean that they aren’t being read, it just means that people aren’t linking to them directly.  Traffic overall has been pretty average.  I suppose I should resort to the oldest blogging trick in the book and put a break in my articles so you have to click them to see the rest of them.  Makes statistics a whole lot easier.  LOL.

The last section in the Code of Conduct (which is actually just a sub-section of a larger document called the Terms of Use) is the section on gameplay activity.  What you can and cannot do in-game.

You may be somewhat disappointed to know what this is the shortest section of the Code of Conduct due mostly to the fact that Blizzard invokes the “and whatever else” clause leaving it essentially open-ended for them to enforce whatever they like.  (Which is the #1 reason why you should never be rude to a GM.)

Interestingly though (and I’m hestitant to publish this) they start off with a list of things that are permissable.  The opening paragraph of the Code of Conduct says (and I quote, with personal emphasis added):

Blizzard considers most conduct to be part of the Game, and not harassment, so player-killing enemies of your race and/or alliance, including gravestone and/or corpse camping is considered part of the game.

Colour me edumahcated!  I did not know that was in the Code of Conduct!   They go on to say that you should take reasonable measures to protect yourself in areas where you could get killed and not call a GM when a 500 lb Tauren decides to sit on your head.  They add however, that “some things” go beyond this and are considered “unfair”.  They are:

  1. Exploiting bugs.  If there’s something wrong with the program and you use knowledge of that bug to gain a competitive advantage over another player you’re in trouble.
  2. Conduct prohibited in the EULA (End User License Agreement… another fine Blizzard document.)
  3. “Anything else” that Blizzard considers to be in violation of the “essence” of the game.

What what’s in that EULA?  So glad you’re asked.  (That’d be the other document you skip every time there is  a patch.)  We’ll be looking at it soon!

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chat_webYesterday we talked about what you can and cannot do in relation to the naming of your characters.  The next article in this series about the Player Code of Conduct will talk about chat.

It is important to note that with respect to the Code, there is no differentialization between text chat and in-game voice chat.  (Obviously Blizzard can’t do anything about what goes on in your Ventrilo or Teamspeak server.)   The same rules apply to both, even though some of the rules only have limited application to voice.

  1. You can’t swear. Yep, that’s what it says.  It doesn’t matter that there’s a filter.  The filter is there to protect children from people who ignore the rules, but it’s up to you the player to make sure it doesn’t come out of your mouth to start with.  Furthermore Blizzard is the judge of what’s profanity and what is not.  It doesn’t matter what your opinion is.  Misspelling swear words to get around the filter is also forbidden and will get you in the same trouble you’d get in if you’d spoken the actual word.
  2. You cannot carry out any action in a chat venue that will be disruptive.  What’s disruptive?  Things like scrolling the chat screen so fast that you can’t read it.  So all those little ASCII pictures of guns and buses and such are illegal.
  3. The gold farmer clause.  You’re not allowed to sell things in chat that are outside the Warcraft universe.  But this applies to Runescape accounts and other things as well.
  4. Sending repeated unsolicited messages to a single user.  Yep, so if somebody tells you to leave them alone, you’d best do it.  The rule also refers to excessive repeating in public chat channels.
  5. You can’t communicate personal information about somebody else.  Period.  If you know somebody’s home address, phone number, or other information and you post it in-game (or on the forums) you’re going to get in trouble unless it’s your information and you’re communicating it privately to a single user.
  6. Harass, threaten, stalk, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to any user of the Game.  That one was so simple I just decided to cut/paste it.
  7. You can’t participate in any kind of a scheme that screws anybody out of gold, weapons, gear, or other in-game items.
  8. You can’t communicate with players cross-faction.  So those cute little codes that people use to say “LOL” in Hordespeak?  They’re illegal.
  9. You can’t impersonate a real life person that you are not.  Blizzard makes mention of GM’s, but it includes anybody else as well.

You may look at some of this and go “WOW!  I didn’t know that was in the Code of Conduct”, but remember what I said the other say.  90% of all the “enforcement” in the game is complaint driven.  If nobody catches you, or nobody cares… there is a very good chance you could escape completely unscathed.  That doesn’t mean you should do it.  It just explains why a lot of people never get nailed.

Tomorrow we’re going to talk about what the Code of Conduct has to say about your in-game actions.  Bring your heart pills.  You may need ’em.

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lookatbookIt’s become incredibly clear to me in the last few months on Bloodhoof that nobody knows exactly what the Code of Conduct says.  Lots of players say that they know, but a lot of times when you check the actual Code of Conduct, they’re wrong.  So I’m going to write one mother of a long blog post and go through it piece by piece.  I’m going to take all the legalese and big words, and chop it up into small manageable pieces.

Before we get to the actual meat of the Code of Conduct though, we have to realize one very important thing.  Blizzard doesn’t have the time or inclination to patrol the streets of Ironforge or Orgrimmar and have people listen to the chat channels and hand out suspensions.  Maybe it’s happened a handful of times since the game launched, but just like real life Blizzard’s “law enforcement” is complaint-driven. Blizzard knows that a handful of people exist who will always look out for the greater good, and they depend on those people.  You can probably commit a minor Code infraction and carry it on for a very long time if nobody complains.  The flip side of the coin is that the complaint system is anonymous and you will never know who blew the whistle on you if it ever happens.

Section A – Names

The first section of the Code deals with what you’re allowed (and not allowed) to call your guild or character.  Please remember this is not the actual Code, it is my easy-to-understand paraphrase of the rules as they appear.

  1. You can’t impersonate a GM or another Blizzard employee.
  2. No names of a sexual, offensive, vulgar, obscene, or racial nature or otherwise offensive in any way.   Yes, it says any way.  If you make a cool name that you don’t think anybody will understand, and somebody figures it out and complains… you’re in trouble.
  3. You can’t use a name that somebody else has legal rights to.
  4. No names of famous people.
  5. You can’t use a name that is trademarked or service marked — whether it’s registered or not.
  6. No deities or religious figures.  You can’t name your toon Jesus, Buddha or Virginmary.
  7. You can’t steal a name from Blizzard’s content.  HEY LOOKIE HERE!  Do you have any idea how many people could get slapped for this one?
  8. No names related to drugs, sex, or criminal activity.  That one’s pretty self-explanatory.
  9. Names that comprise a complete or partial sentence.  They give examples of “Inyourface” and “Welovebeef”.
  10. No gibberish!  No rolling your face over the keyboard to make a name.
  11. They once again make a specific rule about pop culture icons.  No Batman.  No Britneyspears.
  12. No “leet” or “dudespeak”.  Like “Roflcopter”, “xxnewbxx” or “Pwnyou”.
  13. Any kind of name with any kind of a title in it.

Was that as painful for you as it was for me?  I have at least four toons that are illegal by the letter of the law.

I was going to do the whole code today, but that’s gonna be a long post.  Tune in tomorrow for our look at chat rules.  I promise you, it will change your life!

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Courtesy The North Kentucky Taxidermy Association

Courtesy Of The North Kentucky Taxidermists Association

Yeah, I’ve been absent again.  No less active in World of Warcraft, but less active in blogging.  Yes, I’m aware that’s a crime punishable by death.  I’m sorry.  My inspiration comes in spurts, and I’ve explained that before.  Another spurt will come, I just need inspiration.  (Shaddup, Brolden…)

So what’s new?  Hmm.  In no particular order…

  1. I took my Death Knight through Karazhan for the first time last night.  It was the first time I’ve ever taken a plate-wearer into a raid.  (Interesting side note:  Did you know there are three Microlich’s in the armory?  Interestingly, we’re all gnomes.  Go figure.)  The bad news was we had so many 80’s in the group that I only got two bars experience for the whole raid.  The good news was that there was only one other DK in the raid, and I have her wrapped around my little finger so I got lots of gear.  (Don’t worry.  She got her share.)
  2. I’m really, really, really struggling with Inscription.  I’m almost wishing I hadn’t picked it up.  Probably the greatest problem I’m having is that Gweedo — my scribe — isn’t a herbalist himself.  That was the whole point though.  I wanted a scribe/chanter, and I figured I’d use a whole bunch of gatherers to keep him stocked in mats.  It’s not working.  The Inscription profession needs to be re-worked.  You heard it here first.
  3. Why can’t we have “backfill” content patches?  The Sims franchise made millions of dollars off of them.  New gear for old areas.  Spice things up a little bit for the people who decide to try their hand at rolling a druid for the 239th time.
  4. I had some ideas when I was driving to work last week about what I’d like to see in the next expansion.  They’re still fairly fluid and not ready for print yet, but you could see them coming soon.  The only problem is that I’m lore-retarded and am thinking only in terms of mechanics.
  5. Blizzard… for all the bitching I subject you to… THANK YOU for making the rep changes in the last patch.  That really, really rocked.

See you guys soon.

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