Friday, September 17, 2010

And the wait begins...

Blizzard Entertainment has been working on Cataclysm the third expansion for World of Warcraft even before Wrath of the Lich King was released in 2008. The details were unveiled at Blizzcon 2009 and since we found out that there would be two new races, Goblin and Worgen, we've been shivering with antici...pation.

Get it? We're shivering cause it's Blizzard and not just because it's a Rocky Horror Picture Show reference. Gosh, if I have to explain it to you, half the fun is lost.

Um, I digress. New races, new race-class combinations, new lands and flying in the entirety of Azeroth?! The Cataclysm is sure to change everything that we've come to know and love. Deathwing is back and with a vengeance and everyone in the World of Warcraft isn't going to know what hit him.

But for now, we wait. Of course, Blizzard hasn't released a definitive release date as of yet, but have gone on record saying that it's on track for 2010. That being said, they also told us that it wouldn't be released until they were happy with it, meaning that it was a finished, polished product.

According to new information by MMO Champion (via Wow Insider) a new release date for Cataclysm floating around is November 2. This is the first "official" date that has been mentioned in the year since the details of Cataclysm emerged at Blizzcon 2009.

From MMO-Champion a few days ago
Keep in mind that Blizzard didn't announce it because the release can still be postponed, but as far as I know the target release date for Cataclysm is the first week of November (that would be November 2, if you like numbers). The first part of the Cataclysm prologue started exactly 8 weeks before that and the next part of the pre-Cataclysm event will probably happen in 2 or 4 weeks depending on their schedule. 

So nothing is set in stone yet, but they do make a great point about the timeline. Patch 4.0.1 just hit the Player Test Realms and I know that Tarinae over at A Healdin's Tear has downloaded it and is waiting on her character copy. (That's taking up to 4 days, btw.) I do not look for the last patch before Cataclysm to drop for another month or so in live play.

I believe that the last patch before Wrath of the Lich King dropped one month to the day before the expansion came out. That patch brought us the attunement taken out of Onyxia as well as ramped up the Scourge invasion. It also brought us the barber shops, if memory serves.

But here's the real question. Do you buy the Collector's Edition. In 2008, Tarinae stood in line for hours to get our hands on the coveted items. Granted she stood in line much longer, because I didn't skip class, but it was still a lot of fun. However, money's a bit tight this year so I don't think I'll be dropping the $80 on it, unless my mom decides that it can be an early Christmas present.

It's black... like Deathwing's soul

Granted, I really want the mousepad and the Mini Deathwing, but I don't know. As soon as we get a release date, I think I'll make up my mind.

If you take a look at the bottom, you'll see that the release date on was once 11/30/2010. This was Wednesday, September 1 and not 2 weeks later the news broke about a Nov 2 release. It now says 12/31/2010.

For now, we'll just wait for more news. I'm going to sift through all of the warrior and protection paladin news to bring you the latest information. I am also super excited about Archaeology, so I'll update everyone that as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

App Review: Museum of Modern Art

Want to go to space, find the directions to the closest Dennys, watch a video of kittens playing foozball, or photoshop your Grandma? There's an app for that.

We've been hearing it since the iPhone first debuted: Apple is making it easier for us to communicate, share information, and even learn all with one device. The iPad is no exception as the applications are educational, entertaining, informative, and fun. You can hand your phone to a 3 year old and help them learn their ABCs, make a To-Do list, and organize notes for your Economics class as well asread eBooks. It's not hard to begin to fill page after page on your device as downloading new applications is incredibly easy. There are many free apps to try that are lite versions and perform nearly exactly as their paid counterparts. And we now have other smartphones by Blackberry, Samsung, Motorola and with the release of the Android system, Apple is getting some stiff competition

Being a museum geek, I am constantly learning the importance of the smart phone in the museum world. We produced a podcast for the museum last year, but have not had the technical capabilities to do so this year. I've been thinking of different ways we could use smart phones as a way to engage our visitors and excite them. Our history is so relevant to today and I believe that being creative and using smart phones in museums can help connect the past and the future.

Part of this smart phone revolution comes with the age of Twitter and social media. We ran a promotion where visitors can “check-in” to the museum using Foursquare and they would get a 10% discount in the museum gift shop. Many places are offering rewards to their Mayor and those would would be competing to be Mayor. It is truly amazing how different it is to exist on the Internet now than it did even 5 years ago. Then, a website as a marketing tool was cutting edge and while some small businesses still haven't tapped into Internet marketing (sad, but true) there are so many organizations who are a mainstay on the World Wide Web.

Picture courtesy of Gizmodo

 But history museums are not the only institutions that can benefit from this technology. The Museum of Modern Art has been a driving force in the Museum 2.0 experience. With 268,648 followers on Twitter, they are leading the way in engaging visitors and exciting potential visitors. With the release of their iPhone app, the Museum of Modern Art achieved greatness. A quick download on AT&T's 3G network, the MoMA application for iPhone brings the museum's collection and galleries to your fingertips.

A nice user interface provides 5 main options: Calendar, Tours, Art, Info and More. The Calendar tab allows for access to Events at the MoMA including what is going on that day, Programs, Film Schedule, Film Exhibitions and Exhibition schedules. It also puts that day's hours of operation in an easy to read place. For example: Today, Saturday August 21, the hours were 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Tours tab brings guided audio tours to you easily.

I browsed by floor and selected Floor 5 – Painting and Sculpture. All floor are easily laid out and upon choosing Floor 5, was presented with galleries containing works by Vincent Van Gough, Diego Rivera, and Georges-Pierre Seurrat, to name only a few. In Gallery One, Van Gogh's Portrait of Jouseph Roulin is featured as the first choice. Upon choosing that painting, you can listen to audio about the work. It opens with a quote from Van Gogh himself and includes narration that examines not only the work, but Van Gogh's life. It brings the artwork from MoMA to anyone in the world for free.

On the Art and Artists tab, search for works of art by artist name or title. I searched for Claude Monet and found his Waterlilies with detailed information about the piece. Searching for Claude Monet even brings up the art term “impressionism” the school of art to which he helped perfect. Also on the Art and Artists tab, you can search through the database of art terms individually.

Info is just as it suggests. You can find the hours of operation, ticket prices, directions, etc. Parking information seems incredibly helpful as well as the information to visit the museum via subway, bus, car, airport, etc. MoMA has made everything quick and simple to access. More gives you links to MoMA on Twitter, Youtube, iTunes U and the podcasts page. Through the MoMA app, you can even listen to your own music while exploring the museum through your device.

The clarity of the pictures is astounding and the color scheme of the user interface is inviting. I have an iPhone 3 and it was very nice, but I would assume that it is even better on an iPhone 4 and iPad. You can even view the app in portrait or landscape. I was very pleased with this download and recommend it to all art lovers. Having not yet visited the Museum of Modern Art, it makes me very excited to visit.

The MoMA isn't the only art museum with an application. The Louvre has released an app as well. It is a very large download and you must be on a Wireless network as it is too large for 3G. I haven't tried it out yet, but I was so excited about the MoMA app that I just had to share. It's virtually impossible to get lost in the museum as well. The app provides floor plans, restaurant information, etc. Don't think that this is something that you can just use when you're at home and wanting to look at the MoMA's collection. Use the app while in the museum and add to your experience.

The Smithsonian is getting into the smart phone game as well with a new Natural History museum application as well. I'll be discussing that at a later time. For now, download and enjoy the Museum of Modern Art app and let me know what you think!

Monday, July 26, 2010

How about a little tank and spank?

As I've referenced before, I play World of Warcraft. Not having my regular computer for the last few months has made me want to read a lot more about the game, about my class, and about other game related issues. One thing I have found: the lack of Warrior blogs. So one thing I might do from time to time is discuss the Warrior class. Unfortunately, I do not feel I can devote an entire blog to the class, but I feel it'll be a nice addition to KY Geek Girl.

My beloved Aleksondra is a Forsaken Fury Warrior on Shadow Council-Horde-RP-US. She belongs to the guild , of whom the lovely Tarinae is guild master. To be perfectly honest, Sondra was an alliance before she was a horde. Highly misguided, I played for 2 years as an alli. But, on Septemer 3, 2009, I made one of the best World of Warcraft Decisions ever: Faction change.

I've really enjoyed playing Fury, though when I decided to go dual-specialization, the secondary spec was Protection. Once I realized I liked Paladin tanking better than Warrior tanking, I unlearned the Protection talents in favor of Arms. I primarily use the Arms spec for Player-Vs-Player. It's all a learning process. I don't play to theorycraft or to raid hardcore. I play for myself and to have fun.

Now that we have introductions out of the way, I'll say that I am incredibly excited for Cataclysm. I came into WoW during Burning Crusade and Vanilla content was barely talked about.  With Cataclysm, we will see Azeroth changed forever. I'm shooting for Loremaster before the expansion comes. I was nearly done on Aleksondra before I switched factions. Sadly, your quest count gets wiped. I'm going to have to do all of the faction specific quests over. Can I do it? I'll update on my progress.

For now, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite World of Warcraft related sites:

  • A Healadin's Tear -- Tarinae has been playing World of Warcraft as long as I have. She's a master at the art of the Holy Paladin and offers up a great deal of information and insight into the class. She has two other 80s, an Arcane Mage and a BeastMastery Hunter.

  • Cynwise's Battlefield Manual -- Cynwise, a Warlock on Durotan-US, loves long fishing trips in Wintergrasp. (As do I.) Need some Warlock info, have a question about battlegrounds? The Battlefield Manual answers those and more.

  • Warcraftpets -- I don't know about you, but I'm a vanity pet whore. I love them. I'm even going to get the Authenticator (which I recommend everyone do anyway!) so I can get the Corehound pup. I'm curious to see how vanity pets will change come Cataclysm and I'm sure Breanni over at Warcraft Pets will have all of the information you need. Ever notice Breanni in Dalaran, the vanity pet dealer? That's her! She was added to the game as an homage to the Warcraft Pet database!

  • El's Extreme Anglin' -- Want to get started with fishing in World of Warcraft? You've come to the right place. El wrote her own Extreme Anglin' guide... Nat Pagle just can't compare. She outlines equipment, locations, the Salty title, etc. Find all of the information you want about Fishing.

  • Wow Insider -- One of my favorite columns is The Overachiever which details our favorite Achievements in World of Warcraft. After Loremaster, I want to go for Insane in the Membrane.

Do you have a favorite site? I'll create a comprehensive list, just let me know your favorite!

I hope you've liked this addition to the blog. If you're a WoW player, give me a shoutout. I love rolling lowbies on new servers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Initial response to Blizzard's Real-ID function

This is my < 1000 character response to Blizzard's new policy of publishing user's real names on their forums. I will have a longer response and blue posts up here soon, but that's a tad hard to do on the POS computer. For now, here is what I wrote on the World of Warcraft page.

I am on Facebook and I've become a fan of Warcraft because I enjoy the updates. Other Facebook users can see what I've written here, but my privacy settings are such than no one can add me as a friend or find me in search. However, you have taken away all privacy when it comes to World of Warcraft. People play to escape, to become someone else, not put their names out for all the world to see. If I wanted to play myself, I would roll a character named Natasha, but I don't want to do that. We also take comfort in the fact that we can post as those characters on the forums. That encourages role play even on the forums. Have you not taken that into account? No one is going to role play on the forums if they have to have their name out there. I believe that this has gone way beyond the privacy for your users and straight to your bottom line. Like Facebook, like so many other companies, Blizzard is starting to care more about profit and sales than the end-user.

For shame, Blizzard.

*** 7/9 Update ***
Less than 24 hours after I wrote my response to Blizzard regarding my feelings about Real ID on the forums, it is decided that no one's full name will be displayed. I, along with so many, breathed a sigh of relief. The news broke on 7/6 that there would be the new Real ID implementation on the forums which angered a great deal of players. Some immediately deleted their characters, some threatened to never post on the forums again.

Here is Wow Insider's coverage of Blizzard's response to the Real ID issue which contains blue posts. Everyone's had an opinion on the subject since Real ID was announced several months ago. I'm not participating in it and neither is my guild master and best friend Tarinae. We both agreed that we know how to contact each other if neither of us are on characters we play together. Bottom line on why I am anti-Real ID in game: there are people who are playing currently who wish to do nothing more than fuck with me. I ended up changing my character name.

That being said, I would prefer people not know my full name. I have very high privacy settings on my Facebook account and I am pretty sure that my Linked In account is invite-only. So, I wish to hold that same privacy to what I do in game. Going on the forums is a fun way to immerse yourself in the WoW experience while not playing. On my realm, Shadow Council, I really enjoy the big PVP-ers of Alliance and Horde talking smack and planning large PVP events. It's entertaining and it's anonymous.

Because our realm is RP, there is a lot of text based RP on the forums. You can't very well RP as your in-game character if your name is up there for the world to see. It just doesn't make any sense.

But, for now, we have a reprieve. And I, for one, appreciate that Blizzard has changed its mind.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Website Review: Fuel the Geek

Before I deleted my old blog, I had started to drift the way of a diet blogger. I'd created a page for my weight loss tracking, but since stopped doing Weight Watchers. $40 a month can be a pretty big expense so I got off course. My boss, Ann, started Weight Watchers several weeks ago and she's doing great, achieving 2 awesome milestones. She's definitely inspired me to get back into it.

But then I checked my twitter followers and saw that I was being followed by Table of Geeks. I love getting new followers, especially when they aren't spam, so I checked out their feed. Haven't been able to listen to their podcasts yet due to my POS computer, but I saw another project that they're working on: Fuel the Geek.

It's a new website, but they have already uploaded a good bit of content. In short, Fuel the Geek is the ultimate gamer diet. And no, it's not composed of Red Bull and Doritos. This is a balanced dieting plan so that even geeks can eat in a healthy way. The system is based on the Weight Watchers point system.

The site outlines the way you calculate your points, they call them hit points, and discusses the point values for different foods, damage points. By rolling your character, you find out how many hit points you have for each day. Then, you can level up and claim you rewards.

With categories for various point values, including those yummy 0 point veggies, you can find the perfect food for those long Dungeons and Dragons sessions. I mean, we all know you have to have something delicious to nom on and it doesn't have to be Cheez Whiz.

So, the Fuel the Geek plan helps you think of weight loss like a quest. No different than any mission in World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons. You can still get loot and you see your experience pay off by dropping the pounds.

Since I've just decided to rate stuff and haven't come up with a scoring system, I'll be totally unoriginal and it Fuel the Geek 5 stars for originality, content and general geekiness. Major props to Robb, Abby, and Clay over at Table of Geeks for coming up with this site. I'm totally jealous that I wasn't the one who thought of it. :-)


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I started playing world of warcraft in late 2007. Back then I was a dirty alliance scum. Last September, they opened up faction transfers so I made my main character, a night elf warrior, into an undead warrior. Gave her a new rp story that she'd fallen in battle at the priest Azazoth, my friend's character, was able to resurrect her.

I had started to feel the burnout with wow last summer when I was trying to hold my alliance guild together after having been made guild leader. I had been trying to raid and was getting no where and just got pretty fed up. So, I took about a month break. Then, when I came back I started focusing on other characters. I started to level a blood elf paladin with my bff and her boyfriend and had a lot of fun.

Fast forward to March of this year. Our horde guild had been started to raid and was doing well. Very casual and my bff and I were doing some higher end stuff on the side, but I was proud of the way everyone was coming along. Well, various things happen and the raid group falls apart. Then, the ultimate happens: my computer goes kapoot.

I thought it'd be a fairly easy fix, and it would have been had I taken it to a different company. I went with a local computer repair shop because it's just down from my apartment and I'm trying to support local business. But they've had it since early March and I miss my computer a lot. I miss using Vista (not sure I'd ever utter those words) and I miss the freedom of my HP. More than that, though, I miss World of Warcraft.

I went through a withdrawl period. Then I went through the acceptance that I wouldn't be able to pull it up whenever I wanted and jump on a random character. Now, I just miss it. I play whenever I'm over at my bff Lila's house, but it's not the same. Those instances are few and far between. I wanted to do some heavy character work before the expansion came out.

Several of my friends are taking pre-expansion breaks. And I mean, I'm mostly glad I broke my habit if at least for a few months. I just hope the computer store has my poor sweet laptop back soon. For now, though, I'll just live vicariously through those who blog about wow and wait for my time to come again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To boldly go

I've always been a Star Trek fan. I was a small child when The Next Generation was running and watched it weekly with my grandfather. I was highly impressed with the show even as a kid, and loved the fact that Levar Burton was on both Reading Rainbow and TNG. I even loved the crossover episode of Rainbow when Burton went behind the scenes of TNG. I could talk all day about that, but the point of my post is to showcase this youtube video that I found today.

I'm not by any means a fan of Ke$ha. I think she tries to hard to be like Lady Gaga, whom I love. But her songs are catchy (damn her) and I enjoy singing along for the most part. This video combines "Tik Tok" her debut song and scenes from Star Trek: The Original Series. I can just imagine William Shatner saying, "Wake up ... in ... the... morning feeling... like... P-Diddy." in his special way.


Also, I just want to share that as a small child, I wanted to marry Data.*

*Maybe I still do.