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AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment

AT&T renewed their hosting agreement with Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for online games over Battle.net and World of Warcraft servers. A press release is available.

Blizzard Quote:
AT&T Renews Hosting Agreement With Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. for Online Games

LOS ANGELES, March 3—Online gamers will continue to enjoy a rich and reliable gaming experience thanks to an agreement struck between AT&T* and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Today, AT&T and Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software, agreed to a two-year renewal for hosted services in North America.

Blizzard Entertainment(R) is best known for its Warcraft(R), StarCraft(R), and Diablo(R) PC games as well as its massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game World of Warcraft(R), which is available in eight languages and played by more than 11.5 million subscribers worldwide.** AT&T has been working closely with Blizzard Entertainment for 9 years, providing hosting for World of Warcraft and the Battle.net(R) online-gaming service.

“We’ve been pleased with AT&T’s service over the years, and we’re confident in their ability to continue to provide the quality support we need,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “This renewed agreement allows us to stay completely focused on our games while AT&T applies its hosting expertise to help us offer the speed, reliability and security our players expect.”

Through multiple Internet Data Centers (IDC), AT&T will provide strategic hosting and proactive, 24/7 network monitoring and management for the online infrastructure of Blizzard Entertainment’s games and services. The AT&T Gaming Core Team will provide comprehensive networking support to Blizzard Entertainment.

The AT&T Gaming Core Team was formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s Internet Protocol (IP) network. The team consists of engineers and hosting specialists who provide round-the-clock support to companies offering MMO games. The team provides global, end-to-end support of customers’ gaming operations across AT&T’s hosting infrastructure, applications and IP network and supports trouble resolution, incident command and control, post incident review and root cause analysis.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, which represents computer and video game publishers, U.S. computer and video game software sales grew almost 23 percent in 2008 to $11.7 billion.

For more information on AT&T Hosting and Application Services, go to http://www.business.att.com/hosting.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

Wrath of the Lich King Nominated 2008 Game of the Year by BAFTA

The 2009 British Academy Video Games Awards has nominated World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King for 2008 Game of the Year. The fans can cast their vote to decide this category’s winner at the following webpage. Vote entries will be closed on Monday 9 March 2009.

UK residents have an extra incentive to cast a vote by marking the checkbox to participate in a prize draw: Read the Terms & Conditions.

Voting for your favourite game is quick and easy. Simply click on the game you wish to select then complete the form below.

Voting automatically entitles you to enter the prize draw for a collection of goodies worth

PTR 3.1 Ulduar Patchwerk Test Results

Yesterday, Sunday, Blizzard opened Ulduar with two copies of Naxxramas’ Patchwerk: One was tagged as DPS Test and the second was tagged as Tank Test. My group was able to kill the DPS test Patchwerk twice with some difficulty. However, we couldn’t kill the Tank Test dummy. We went as far as 1.3 million health.before he killed the tank. Daelo revealed the reason. It hits a 10% harder every 10 seconds. It is recommended to bring consumables and flasks to these tests in order to help fine-tune the event. Make sure to share your feedback about the Patchwerk DPS and Tank Tests at the following official forums thread.

Blizzard Quote:
Here will be a thread for everyone to post their test results from attempts against the two versions of Patchwerk on test.

One version is essentially just a normal patchwerk with double the HP for use as a DPS test. This is Patchwerk (DPS Test).

The other version we currently have is Patchwerk (Tank Test). This is Patchwerk without the Hateful Strike, double the HP, but most importantly every 10 seconds his melee damage increases by 10%. Not only are we looking to see just how long tanks can be kept up given maximum effort from the entire raid, but also how long can tanks be kept up with more limited numbers of healers.

Also, if there are suggestions for modifications or new versions of test Patchwerks, we’d love to here it.

On a side note, we’re working to get a test glyph vendor created. It won’t be ready for the next build to hit PTR, but we’ll have it later.

PTR 3.1 Ulduar DPS Test With Patchwerk

Today Saturday, the WoW Developers want to test players DPS by placing a copy of Patchwerk inside Ulduar. The classes have had a lot of tweaking, specially the Tanks and the mana regen changes. In order to test these please join the Europe PTR in the evening. Visit the PTR 3.1 Bug Forums to report anything out of the normal.

Blizzard Quote:
Daelodev: So we have a version of Patchwerk at the entrance of Ulduar to be used for DPS testing. We’ll turn it on during various times of testing. Please post links to parsed combat logs here. This will be of great help to us!—source

PTR 3.1 Ulduar Exploration Video

On Thursday, US players attempted to test Hodir in the middle of crashes outside dungeons, and 3200 Queues to even login. In my case, half of our 10-man couldn’t zone in. And we couldn’t zone out. Since we couldn’t even get to start a single fight with Hodir, I decided to explore Ulduar. Not all of it, only the first floor.

The dungeon is simply awesome to behold with a lot of care to details in its interior architecture. It takes over 20 minutes to explore every corner of the place. As said earlier, Ulduar seems to be the prison of Yogg-Saron. That’s what I speculate based on visuals. The dome at the center of Ulduar is broken with pieces of crystal floating in a swirl of magic residual. Within the dome is a huge crater in the icy floor and a few broken chains hanging from the walls. What makes me think that Loken somehow broke the dome once he fell to the whispers of the old god. Hopefully we get to read some lore in the quests to confirm or debunk this.

Update: Confirmed. The big chamber with chains at the center of the dungeon is named: The Prison of Yogg-Saron.

In this video you will see the Ulduar tram. If you get to fall off the tram, just walk back to where the tram was and climb the stairs. There are ramps to get you back above. Watch the lengthy video. If you are on a slow connection, start the video and press pause to allow it to download while you browse other pages or websites. (20 minutes video)

View our 38 screenshots

Arthas Carries A Burden Deep In His Soul …

The Balnir Farmstead has a past mystery … a place that holds a dark secret that no one but Prince Arthas Menethil knows. A secret that would be dragged within for years. A secret that would forever damn his soul.

  • Read our preview of World of Warcraft: Arthas, Rise of the Lich King.

  • Watch our video interview with Chris Metzen & Micky Neilson about Arthas, Rise of the Lich King and WoW: Stormrage
  • Participate on the World of Warcraft: Arthas Galley Giveaway.

PTR 3.1 Ulduar Testing Schedule

Ok, we’re going to attempt to have some playtest sessions for Ulduar starting tonight and through this weekend.

The following is the tentative schedule for this weekend:

On the North American test realms

Hodir – Thursday night, February 26, starting at 7pm EST/4pm PST.

    To get to Hodir from the front of Ulduar, travel all the way through the exterior section headed straight until you teleport into the interior section. Go up the stairs, over the temporary bridge, then Hodir’s wing is to your right. The walls of his wing are ice covered and he’s at the end. Both 10 and 25 player modes are active. Post Hodir Feedback here.

Iron Council – Friday night, February 27, starting at 7pm EST/4pm PST

On the European test realms

Thorim – Friday night, February 27, starting at 7pm CET.
Freya – Friday night, February 28, starting at 7pm CET.

This schedule could change at a moment’s notice due to server, bug, or patch status. I’ll try to keep everyone informed as much as possible. Ulduar and the bosses to be tested will remain also open a variable length of time. How long they stay open depends upon a host of factors including designer availability, bug status, etc.

We also hope to have the zone open on Sunday for each respective realm for a longer period of time. We have a couple special versions of Patchwerk setup. One of them is called Patchwerk (DPS Test) and is essentially a massive training dummy for your raids. The other is Patchwerk (Tank Test), and he does not have a Hateful Strike, but his melee damage increases over time.

We’re very interested in seeing combat logs and parses for all raid testing on the PTR.

Quick Ulduar FAQ:

Q) Will there be testing available on Oceanic, Korean, or other time zones?
A) There will be some testing available. We do plan on allowing for extended testing on Flame Leviathan, and possibly other bosses. We want encounter designers to be present during testing, which makes testing during some time zones difficult.

Q) Where’s all the trash?
A) We don’t have everything turned on for these tests, and this sometimes includes trash creatures before each boss encounter.

Q) Where’s the loot?
A) We don’t have this attached to bosses yet, but we’ll have loot hooked up soon.

Q) What about achievements?
A) These aren’t implemented yet.

Plague Proto-Drake and Black Proto-Drake Rewards Removal

Players who wish to get the Plagued Proto-Drake or the Black Proto-Drake rewards from the Glory of the Raider or Heroic: Glory of the Raider Achievements—you have a last chance to completing these achievements.

Rally your guildmates or get a very efficient PUG from known guilds to work together exclusively to get this done. Otherwise, you won’t see these rewards anymore. Ghostcrawler just announced these rewards will be removed from the game once Patch 3.1 goes live.

Blizzard Quote:
Ghostcrawler: Upcoming Glory of the Raider Reward Changes When 3.1 goes live, the rewards for

PTR 3.1 Equipment Manager Interface

The Gear Management System is the most awesome feature in the game besides the Dual Talent Spec.  Very simple and user-friendly. Once you set up your gear choices you can change gear with a single click. However, you need to switch gear manually. It won’t automatically change when you switch specs. Not a big deal.

The first thing you should do is to press (ESCAPE) to open the menu window.  Go to Interface, select Controls and look at the bottom to click the following checkbox: “Use Equipment Manager—Enables access to the Equipment Manager interface from the character frame.”

Close the Menu. Now press (C) to open the Character window.  At the top-right, above the glove slot you will now see a new icon that recembles a chestplate. When you click the chestplate icon, the Equipment Manager window pops up to the top-right of the Character window.

It contains 10 slots. Don’t attempt to drag items in there. That’s not its function. Instead, make sure you have all the gear worn you wish for your primary talent spec.  All you need to do is to click the red save button within the Equipment Manager window. You will get familiar from there forward—it looks exactly like the Macro window buttons.  After pressing the save button, you will see a textbox to type the title of your macro.  In my case, I named it Holy Spec.

Then you select any of the macro buttons.  Press ok. Voila.  That button will automatically choose all the gear you had at the moment you saved.  Now make sure to pick all the gear you want to use for your second spec.  Once you have all the gear, trinkets, rings, cloak, weapons and neck that you would use for your secondary talent spec—click the breastplate icon at the top-right to open the Equipment Manager. Now repeat the process by pressing the save button. All the new gear you have is automatically saved.  A new textbox shows up. Name it whatever secondary talent spec you chose. In my case, I named it Retribution. I selected a button for it.

Now you have two out of ten Equipment sets.  Play around by pressing the first button. I automatically wore all the gear I saved for my Holy spec.  A sound is played to alert you of the gear change. Press the second button, and all your gear changes to the second spec. In my case, all the retribution gear.  The video is only a test to show you the mechanics of how it works. I don’t have a retribution set, besides the Scourge Invasion set. Hope you like this new feature the developers have no doubt worked on and polished for a long time.. Watch the video below.

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