Friday, August 31, 2007

The Gold Record

This week, the two auction houses continued prices with the average trends that we saw last week, with Horde goods coming in slightly above the average at 104 points and Alliance goods coming in slightly lower than the average at 95 points. Both sides have seen a very slight gain over last week’s prices of 102 and 93 points respectively.

Despite the similar average to last week, on the Alliance side many of the individual goods’ trends have shifted. Fel Iron Ore is down 46 points to 40 points this week. Mithril Ore is down 53 points to 72 points, and Mageweave Cloth is down 89 points at 76. Counteracting these dropping prices were several smaller rises. Iron Ore is up 29 points at 109 points. Linen Cloth, Wool Cloth, and Runecloth are also all up this week (56, 76 and 19 points respectively) at 127, 131 and 105 points. We have seen some consistency in the market – Copper Ore, Adamantite Ore and Netherweave Cloth have all had less than 5 point changes over the past three weeks, making their prices very stable in this volatile market.

On the Horde auction houses, there were few major drops in prices: Fel Iron Ore and, to a lesser extent, Tin Ore. For the first time in 6 weeks, Tin Ore has come in below the 100 point marker at 75 points (dropping 28 points from last week to do so). Fel Iron Ore dropped 94 points from last week, landing at an all time low of 63 points. Linen Cloth continues its low trend while Mithril Ore continues to be slightly above average (50 and 112 points, respectively). The largest gain on the market over last week was Runecloth, which increased 28 points above last week's already high price, to 164 points.

Jason Coleman has recorded auction house values for both Horde and Alliance. He has monitored many of the raw trade goods (common ores and cloth) that are constantly on the auction houses, employing them as an indicator of market health. Taking averages from his data, each material has been given a value of 100 points (or percent) and is analyzed based on deviation from this value. Continuing each week, the Shadow Council Strider will post his analyses in this article, the Gold Record.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Gold Record

This week’s Gold Record finds a flip in the relative costs of goods, with Alliance goods coming in cheaper than Horde goods for the first time in two weeks. The two averages are less than 10 points apart, with Horde goods averaging 102 points and Alliance goods averaging 93.

On the Alliance side, Copper Ore has dropped slightly to 80 points, continuing its downward trend. Tin Ore, Linen Cloth and Wool Cloth have all had dramatic reversals, dropping nearly 80, 200 and 140 points respectively from last week (leaving them at 42, 71 and 55 points). Balancing these dramatic drops, both Mithril Ore and Mageweave Cloth are up from last week, Mithril Ore rising nearly 50 points to 125 and Mageweave Cloth climbing 65 points to 165. Finally, Netherweave Cloth has continued with its mild market, at 76 points this week.

On the Horde auction house, Copper Ore continues its mild trend at 86 points. At 47 points, Linen Cloth continues to be in low demand for the third week in a row. With prices nearly identical to the Alliance auction houses, Netherweave Cloth has also been mild at 76 points. Despite these continuing low trends, demand has recently increased prices for Mithril Ore, Fel Iron Ore and Runecloth (at 119, 157, and 136 points respectively).

Jason Coleman has recorded auction house values for both Horde and Alliance. He has monitored many of the raw trade goods (common ores and cloth) that are constantly on the auction houses, employing them as an indicator of market health. Taking averages from his data, each material has been given a value of 100 points (or percent) and is analyzed based on deviation from this value. Continuing each week, the Shadow Council Strider will post his analyses in this article, the Gold Record.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Review: Return

The Vitals:
"Return" is an older video, but one of the first I'd ever encountered. It is the first chapter in the story of Voldigar, a human man who leaves for war and returns to find his home, Stromgarde, in ruins. His wife is dead and his life is in shambles. But Voldigar promises to avenge what has happened and gathers his old comrades to take back Stromgarde from the invading ogres.

Story: 5/5:
In a pervasive market of music and raid videos, Return is a rare jewel. While the story is an old one, it is told well and places seamlessly in the Warcraft setting. The sage character runs the risk of being too powerful for the story, but so far, she has been well-written. Voldigar himself is a pitiable and admirable old man, crippled but not crushed by the horrors of his life. I will have to wait for the rest of the story, but the first chapter sets a sad, beautiful scene.

Text and Titles: 3/5
Tastefully understated.

Camera and Effects: 5/5
The camera is handled exceptionally well; someone has a very steady mouse hand. They mimic standard camera angles and movements almost perfectly. The in-game effects are largely limited to costuming the characters as they rally to take back Stromgarde, but the pre-BC wardrobe is used to excellent effect to create the illusion of not a raiding party but a cinema-worthy cast of characters. You know what they say: Clothes make the man.

Music and Editing: 4/5
Most of the music used in Return is from the game itself and used to great, if slightly cliche, effect. The video edits are well-timed to the score. In fact, my only complaint (and corresponding docking of points) is the voicing of Voldigar, which strikes me as occasionally melodramatic.

Overall Score: 4/5
A wonderful story and video only slightly marred by some cheesy writing. I look forward to the sequels.

Want me to review your video? Send me a link at

About the Author:
E.D. Lindquist is a multimedia consultant for a newspaper association. She has produced video for a major daily newspaper and helped to create standards for online production throughout California.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Gold Record

This week’s Gold Record finds continuing elevated prices during peak play times, although prices have relaxed slightly since last week. Both Horde and Alliance auction houses are down roughly 4 points from last week, although they both do still sit slightly above the average value of goods.

On the Alliance side, prices are generally down. Last week’s high prices on both Mithril Ore and Mageweave Cloth have returned to normal values, at 78 and 100 points respectively. Demand for Linen Cloth has continued strong, actually increasing since last week (up 130 points from last week, at 271 points). The great deals on Tin Ore have also dried up, as Tin Ore prices have risen nearly 90 points to 121 points. Both Fel Iron Ore and Netherweave Cloth have been going for relatively low prices (64 and 71 points, respectively), and both are down since last week.

On the Horde side, trends have mostly continued since last week, although they have shown signs of growing milder. Last week’s highest prices (Wool and Silk Cloth) have both dropped much closer to the 100 mark, at 105 and 102 points respectively. Copper Ore is currently going for below the average (at 89 points), but Tine Ore has risen to 147 points. The lowest price on the Horde auction house is currently Linen Cloth, continuing low from last week. Despite its current low value, it has actually risen 12 points since last week, clocking in at 57 points.

Jason Coleman has recorded auction house values for both Horde and Alliance. He has monitored many of the raw trade goods (common ores and cloth) that are constantly on the auction houses, employing them as an indicator of market health. Taking averages from his data, each material has been given a value of 100 points (or percent) and is analyzed based on deviation from this value. Continuing each week, the Shadow Council Strider will post his analyses in this article, the Gold Record.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Cross-faction fiction site hits 100 registered users

World of Warcraft Fiction, a forum-based collection of art and stories by players from multiple role-playing servers, welcomed its 100th registered user at the end of last month.

According to owner Jean-Philippe Laliberté of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, WoW Fiction is a writer’s community with sections for art, Alliance stories, Horde stories, world lore, cross-faction stories, and character biographies. Since its creation last spring, it has expanded from a story archive to a writer’s community.

Cindy Davison of Peoria, Illinois—better known as Anicka of the Sentinels server—said in a chat interview that she started the first version of WoW Fiction last March or April as a way to archive character writing for her server.

“I started an ‘archive’ forum, because so much was being lost,” she said. “I love all the writing and hate to see anything gone and forgotten, or not able to be experienced.”

Following a proposal by Laliberté, the site moved from its old address to last April, and opened to include writing and art from all servers.

Laliberté is known on Sentinels as Grimgash and Raehvin, and on Shadow Council as Deveran. He bought the domain name and created the layout and banner by modifying some art owned by Blizzard Entertainment--the company that created World of Warcraft.

“I wanted to offer everyone a chance to have their stories read. To share their hobby with others around the gaming world that is Warcraft,” he said in a chat interview. “It is a community of great writers and role-players alike, and who does not like to share their passion with others?”

Rabbly” of Shadow Council is one of the community’s active members. Rabbly’s alternate character “Saphrona” was the 100th user to register.

“The fact that it is multiple servers is nice, as I can read stories that I wouldn’t otherwise see on the Shadow Council forums,” Rabbly said in a letter to the Strider.

Rabbly likes the way WoW Fiction is organized, and the fact that there is a place for artwork. “Graphics have been a big part of my stories,” the player said.

WoW Fiction user Fiona Zimmer, who plays “Gerd” on Sentinels, said in an email that she watched WoW Fiction grow from being an archive site to a writer’s site.

“We needed a place where we could keep the stories we liked - especially Sentinels, which somehow got a reputation as this incredible haven for authors. Sentinels forums started with some incredible storytelling right from the birth of the server, and it drew in so many more of us, like moths to a candle.

“WoWfiction was a natural outgrowth of that need to preserve the best of our collective writings,” she said. “I honestly wish we’d had it earlier – we’ve lost so much good work already.”

Zimmer has written a one-act play, “The Tale of Jaina and Thrall,” which can be found in the Silvermoon Scrolls section of WoW Fiction, along with many other pieces of writing based in the Warcraft world.

Tundrarunner” of Shadow Council is another one of 104 users.

“Wowfiction is a great resource to share role-play stories across different realms,” Tundrarunner wrote in an email. “Unlike rp-haven, which is a Shadow Council only forum, it’s nice to be able to reach out to other roleplayers who may not otherwise know about this little corner of the WoW universe.”

Tundrarunner says there isn’t as much feedback on the site as one would like, “although I’m just as guilty about not giving feedback as anyone else.”

“I support roleplay whenever I can,” Tundrarunner continued, “so I try to do my small part to help keep good WoW RP sites going whenever I can. It’s great to hear they’re being successful.”

Creator Cindy Davison has been writing for her characters since she and her husband played in EverQuest together. She says she is currently writing down a storyline that her character Anicka is experiencing.

“I’m really eager to read all the new stories and installments that people are posting,” she said.

Owner Jean-Philippe Laliberté enjoys writing, drawing, and creating mods for his favorite games. “I’ve always loved creating, digging into my imagination,” he said. “From modding, drawing to writing, it’s digging into my mind for something fun and original that really stimulates me.”

He hopes the site may someday expand to include blogs, a role-playing Wiki, and downloadable fiction. Suggestions for the site should be made on the suggestion forum.

“It’s important to mention that it’s really thanks to all members who contribute beautiful storylines and artwork daily that is becoming what it is today,” he said.
--Lacey Waymire

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Gold Record

This week’s Gold Record finds Horde prices dropping back towards the median, although Alliance goods have spiked to a ten-week high. Horde goods have dropped fourteen points since last week’s averages (dropping from 118 points to 104), whereas Alliance goods have dramatically risen (rising from 90 points to 116 points). This week’s averages reveal one of the unusual weeks where Horde goods average cheaper than Alliance goods.

Alliance goods were in high demand this week, with nearly every good coming in above the average value. Some materials, such as Copper Ore and Fel Iron Ore, were only barely above the average (107 and 105 points, respectively), but several materials were well above that. Iron Ore, Mithril Ore, Linen Cloth and Mageweave Cloth were all much higher than normal (152, 145, 148 and 185 points, respectively), each seeing steep increases versus last week’s averages (Linen Cloth, especially, has risen, going from a mere 42 points last week up to this week’s 148 points). Despite these high-demand items, Tin Ore has been continuing its low streak, dropping 15 points to a mere 30 points this week.

Horde goods have dropped since last week’s averages, with some of last week’s most dramatic prices reigning in. Netherweave Cloth has dropped 133 points from last week, down to a reasonable 92 points this week. Silk Cloth continues strong, at 150 points, and Wool Cloth has also seen a spike in demand, back up to 130 points. Despite the high demand for both Wool and Silk Cloth, Linen Cloth has come in fairly low at 45 points.

Editor’s Note: Jason Coleman has recorded auction house values for both Horde and Alliance. He has monitored many of the raw trade goods (common ores and cloth) that are constantly on the auction houses, employing them as an indicator of market health. Taking averages from his data, each material has been given a value of 100 points (or percent) and is analyzed based on deviation from this value. Continuing each week, the Shadow Council Strider will post his analyses in this article, the Gold Record.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Running a Successful Role-Playing Event: Defining Story Arcs

Aron Christensen has been role-playing for more than 18 years. He has been a storyteller for dozens of campaigns online, in table-top, and in live action role-playing games. In this special guest column, he advises on the elements that create a dynamic storytelling event players will enjoy and remember. Part One is "Defining Story Arcs."

The World of Warcraft is a wonderful medium for role-playing and Shadow Council has always had a strong community of role-players. Role-playing (RP) events allow players to add their own touch to the shared world and help tie the community together. But running a successful RP event isn’t easy. One of the things you can do to ensure you have a successful event is to define your story arc. I hope to give you some ideas about how to do that, and create enjoyable, exciting, and memorable events.

When you decide to run an event, you’re taking on a big job. You’re now the Game Master, Dungeon Master, Referee, or (my personal favorite) Storyteller. It’s your job to tell the story you’ve created with the help of your guild, friends, or random strangers who happen to be strolling by the location you’ve chosen.

The most common stumbling point I have seen in storylines is that there isn’t a plan. One might come up with a compelling idea for a story, say the death of a loved one, filled with drama and excitement. This loss might be a great catalyst for role-playing, but it’s not a plot. Everyone reacts to the grief and pain, but it doesn’t have anywhere to go.

I played a character who was a survivor from Andorhal and who was infected by the plague yet strangely immune. He was lots of fun to play, always coughing, frequently confused, and terribly afraid of anything reminiscent of the undead (and as that was around Halloween, it was great fun!). But I had no goal for the character. I hadn’t thought out how he might be cured, if I wanted him cured, or anything more than the original idea about being a carrier. It was terribly frustrating for the people I was playing with at the time because though they tried very hard (+5 health enchant on my bracers to bolster my constitution – great idea Arle!), nothing they did affected me. There was no plot to it, merely a situation to react to, which got so tiresome that not only the plot but the characters were abandoned.

When you decide to begin a plot, think about where it is going to begin, where it should end up, and what needs to happen between. Let’s use the example of the death of a loved one. We know where the story begins, but let’s look at where it is going. Maybe the character is intended to fall into despair and desperation, only to triumph over the grief and rise to new heights like an emotional hero’s cycle (which is a whole topic in and of itself, so another time perhaps).

More recently I participated in a plot as another character who had been infected by the plague. However, this time, and due to the efforts of another fantastic player who ran the event for me, we had defined an arc. A mad Forsaken group selected my character as one who was most suitable as a mate for Sylvanus. He was infected, so that he could be presented as a surprise gift (and kudos to Darsha for involving the Banshee Queen without having to god-mod). Undead agents tried to kill the people he loved because his love was keeping the plague from claiming his soul. From captured agents my character and his friends learned of the plot, tracked down its perpetrators and stopped them, climaxing in the seizure of a cure and the power of love to protect his soul. Much more successful, don’t you think?

As Storyteller you control the basic events: the death you inflict on your character, and the end goal of a fall and return, but the middle of this story is the part where others get to interact and add to the plot. Give the people you have included in your plot something to do. Perhaps they must talk the grieving character down from a ledge. Later, they might quest to find some momento from the lost loved one that will bring your character some closure. These middle events are what move the character from the beginning to the end goal. In the story arc I played in, the cause of the plague had to be discovered, my character had to be protected from death (from which he would rise Forsaken), the reason he was infected needed to be uncovered, the cure had to be researched, then the villains had to be stopped and the cure administered, all before reaching the end goal of saving my character's life. These events were the things that moved the plot forward from a plague-infected character to the end of the story arc.

Remember, it’s okay to tell your guild or friends what you want out of a story. If you really want your character to forsake the Light because of the loss, it’s going to frustrate you when everyone continually tries to win you back, no matter what and it’s going to frustrate them when nothing they do can change your mind. If everyone knows what the goal is, everyone can work toward it together, offering their own input and adding their own touch without derailing the plot. It is these events that will help you move your plot to a satisfying conclusion.

Make sure that you have an ending in mind. Long stories without any end in sight are the ones in the most danger of having people loose interest. I have met too many people with characters they never play because they are waiting for some story to finish and they have no idea when or how it will happen.

So, decide where your story will begin and where you would like it to end up, and plan out a few events in the middle to help move the story to a conclusion. Try it out and see what a difference it makes.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Blizzcon Blog: Photos

Blizzcon 2007

Please follow the link above to see a few photos from Blizzcon 2007. All photos courtesy of Michael Georges.

Do you have photos of Blizzcon to share? Show us!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blizzcon Blog: Music to the Ears

Editor's Note: Reporter Michael Georges has been blogging from Blizzcon 2007 in Anaheim, Calif. This is the final part of his blog series!

ANAHEIM, Calif.--On Saturday evening, Blizzard hosted a comedy show by Jay Mohr, and a concert of Blizz game music that was just awesome! Jay was quite funny, and handled the sometimes surly crowd with style and grace and a little "Christopher Walken." Gotta be hard on a comic to try to entertain 6,000+ rabid fans hyped up on two days of extreme gaming and Red Bull.

The event was held in the Arena stage next to the convention center. Colored lights, fog, and huge screens, a 60+ piece orchestra and 40+ person, Lady Sylvanus herself, Miss Vangie Gunn singing the Lament of the Highborn, Peter Gabriel's drummer, two of Paul McCartney's guitar men, and legendary new age performer David Arkenstone and his band who performed all of the tavern music and the music for Goldshire. The makings of an incredible evening were in place, and we were not disappointed!

The music kicked off with "Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftan," Blizzard's own death metal band that includes Mike Morhaime, Blizzard's President and co-founder on bass. They did four songs that had the crowd screaming and on their feet. What makes this cool, is not only are these people great game developers, they are also a pretty damn sweet metal band! Folks, if you turn the sound down when you play these games, you are missing a LOT! The music for Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft games are performed by an orchestra and choir from Video Games Live. All of these talented folks did not disappoint as we were swept through music from all of the games plus new music from Starcraft II. Vangie Gunn was stellar performing "Lament of the Highborn," and David Arkenstone and his band did six songs from tavern settings around Azeroth and Outlands.

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

That's a Wrap!

After two days at BlizzCon I have to admit, I am still completely geeked out. There are a lot of very tired looking Blizz employees walking around on day two an it is little wonder. The convention was pulled off with Blizzard's amazing "attention to detail" that we love in all their games and these people worked really hard. The final concert really brought it all home for me. This sort of care for a live concert of only 6,000 out of 9 million fans is indicative of how Blizzard operates and why we love their games so much. I admit, I am a fan and not inclined to be "objective or impartial." What I experienced these last two days is nothing short of amazing and I am geeked out all over again and ready for more!

Blizzcon Blog: Expansion to introduce 'brutal ancient races of Azeroth'

Editor's Note: Reporter Michael Georges is blogging on the scene at Blizzcon in Anaheim, Calif. He sent this live update Saturday. Stay tuned Sunday for the final part of the Blizzcon Bog 2007!

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Today was a climactic crescendo of amazing sights, beautiful sounds, and exciting information! Without further ado, let me get into it:

More information on the upcoming WoW expansion Wrath of the Lich King - In a panel discussion today, Chris Metzen, vice president of Creative Development for Blizzard, revealed some really juice tidbits of info about the upcoming expansion, and general plans for events in WoW in the future. The expansion was described as revealing and further detailing some of the "brutal ancient cultures of Azeroth."

Players should expect not only to meet up with Arthas--who it is said will interact with players almost from the moment they arrive in Northrend--but players should also expect to see more of the essential conflict between orcs and humans, Horde and Alliance. As both factions decide to send expeditions after Arthas, their own propensity to come into conflict with each other will apparently play itself out large in the game. Garosh Hellscream, son of Grom Hellscream will likely make an appearance as leader of the Horde expedition, as will Sylvanus Windrunner, appearently eager to try out the strain of scourge plague on Arthas and his minions, and we will see more of Bolvar Forddragon, legendary dwarfish explorer Brann Bronzebeard, and Tirion Fordring of the Silverhand.

In addition, several new races or offshoots of races will be either introduced, or re-introduced. The coolest by far have to be the Taunka, an ancient offshoot of the Taurens. The Taunka are based on the buffalo and are described as being anti-rangers who force nature to bend to their will. The Vrykul, a race of giant vampire barbarians are native to Northrend and will strongly resist the expeditionary forces from both factions. Also mentioned were Iron Dwarves, the Tuskarr, a walrus people, and the Nerubians, cool spider dudes that may be keeping something hidden under the old god maybe?

The panel revealed some additional tidbits, though where they will play in was not exactly defined. Malygos, an ancient insane blue dragon, will declare war on magic and users of magic... And, we will likely see the magical bubble city of Dalaran rip itself out of the ground and teleport into the skies over Northrend courtesy of the Kirin Tor...Whoa!

There's gonna be a movie...yep...a movie...and we'd love to tell you about it...yep... Blizzard and Legendary Pictures are teaming up to produce a live action World of Warcraft movie. Details were really sketchy as they are clearly in early stages. What was revealed was that they will use a compressed timeline to produce a storyline that blends some recent events into a cohesive, kickass, really cool movie. There was much love and cooperation expressed by all parties, and the desire to make a movie that raises the bar even from Lord of the Rings while stretching the genre to be unique to WoW. It was clear that the folks at Legendary Pictures "get" World of Warcraft and hopes are high that they will make a movie that will make us all proud to play this game.

Next: We attended a wonderful live concert of Blizz game music...and "turned our flippers to the sky!"

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blizzcon Blog: 'Arthas has got it comin'...'

Editor's Note: Reporter Michael Georges is blogging on the scene at Blizzcon in Anaheim, Calif. He sent this live update Friday. Stay tuned Saturday for more updates from the floor as Blizzcon progresses!

ANAHEIM, Calif.-- ZOMG! I am so geekin' out! It is 11:39 p.m. and we just returned from an amazing day at the convention. Without doubt, the focus was all on the two big announcements and previews of the convention - Starcraft II, and WoW Wrath of the Lich King. Let's look at each of them shall we?


I am not gonna cover the techs and specs here. You can and will get overloaded with those everywhere else. What I found amazing about the Starcraft II previews and demos I saw today was the quality and OMG factor of the storytelling and lore. Remember, this is the game that so many of us nearly wet our pants over back in 1998...the game we just cannot seem to retire, pulling it out again and again to re-play. Our love of the original Starcraft came from its originality, and the quality of the story, characters, and gameplay.

What Blizzard revealed today was how they have re-imagined the Starcraft universe nearly ten years on. The game brings back Jim Raynor, now a bit down on his luck and still smarting over how the Mengsk boys mistreated him in the past. The OMG factor here is the new interactive interface previewed for the human campaign. Players will learn and progress through the storyline by talking to the people and interacting with the objects on the bridge, engineering bay, and cantina of Raynor's ship. And there are subplots that unfold and reveal themselves along with the overarching story. We can look to not only seeing Raynor, but Kerrigan, the lovely and dangerous "Queen of Blades" also appears, though her exact role is not specified. You can bet she ain't gonna' show up alone...

Developers described mission play as football-shaped. This means that players start and end at specified points, but how they get from start to finish on each mission will vary a lot based on actual player decisions. The game play is improved with a much more robust game engine, new graphics and gee-whiz units with snazzy new animations. Overall, a very thrilling preview of what promises to be a blockbuster game... Luckily, I went potty before I saw all the awesomeness unfold.

Arthas has got it comin'...

The new Wrath of the Lich King expansion for World of Warcraft will move some of the action and storyline focus back to Azeroth from Outland. The expansion will take us to Northrend, home of the badness that is Arthas now merged with Ner'zhul into the fearsome Lich King. Arthas has been hiding out in Northrend, and it is time to make him pay!

This new expansion has a lot of fun features - level cap goes to 80, new Death Knight "Hero Class" which looks very cool, inscribing skill to permanently improve and personalize spells, and you can redo your "do" with new changeable hairstyles, new dances, and a whole new area to explore and conquer. A few other tidbits of info about future development paths were also mentioned - guild banks, more hero classes, and a new Ghostlands instance. No word on when the new expansion would ship, but when it does, set your sights on Northrend, cause "Arthas has got it comin'!"

Tomorrow - Lore and book panels, the WoW Movie, the showfloor and Blizzard Store!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Blizzcon Blog: Looking Ahead

Editor's Note: Reporter Michael Georges is on the scene at Blizzcon in Anaheim, Calif. He sent this live update Thursday. Stay tuned Friday night and Saturday for more updates from the floor as Blizzcon progresses!

ANAHEIM, Calif.--The opportunity to come to BlizzCon 2007 is not to be missed and this reporter is EXCITED! Arriving in the Anaheim area, it is immediately obvious who controls this zone of the greater Los Angeles area...the Mouse. With convention center and Disneyland within 1/2 mile of each other, the area is humming with an ebb and flow of activity and the opportunity for extreme fun abounds.

As one approaches the convention center, you immediately see Blizzard's giant banners proclaiming BlizzCon and inside, even more massive banners with Illidan, scenes from Starcraft and Warcraft with corporate sponsors such as AT&T, NVidia, and Cicso readily appearant. Even the night before the doors open, there are several hundred people in the atrium and an army of Blizzard employees. Registration was quick and easy, the grab bag filled with WoW and Starcraft goodies - from buttons to coasters, magnets and bookmarks, offers from sponsors, the WoW Trading Card Game and a WoW t-shirt from Jinx clothing. And last of all, the coveted Murloc Suit card allowing your WoW character to don a murloc costume, and beta test a future Blizz release.../dance.

Coming Friday - Starcraft II, the showfloor, panels and more!

The Gold Record

This week’s Gold Record finds continuing high prices on Horde auction houses, although Alliance goods have dropped below their average. Horde goods have dropped one point since last week’s averages (dropping from 119 points to 118), whereas Alliance goods have dropped dramatically (dropping from 105 points to 90 points).

Alliance goods this week sold, for the most part, lower than their average values. A notable exception to that was Silk Cloth, which was selling at 131 points. The inflated demand for Silk Cloth was offset by very low prices on Tin Ore (45 points) and Linen Cloth (42 points). Even Copper Ore, which has recently been selling at above average prices, has come down, settling in at 79 points.

Horde goods have maintained an average high value nearly identical to last week’s; however there have been some shifting individual item values as well as some marked consistency. Tin Ore, Iron Ore, Mithril Ore, and Silk Cloth have all maintained their above-100 values since last week, the metals even rising slightly (each metal gaining 7, 4, and 30 points, respectively). Silk Cloth, although it is maintaining its above-100 value, has actually dropped more than 30 points since last week, to 136 points. Offsetting each of these expensive items, on Horde auction houses Wool Cloth was selling for a three-month low at an average 34 points. If wool is still available at these prices, be sure to take advantage of it, although it is likely to sell out very fast. The final notable deviation from norms this week is Netherweave Cloth, which has soared in value to 225 points (during the last several weeks it’s been crawling along in the 90s).

Editor’s Note: Jason Coleman has recorded auction house values for both Horde and Alliance. He has monitored many of the raw trade goods (common ores and cloth) that are constantly on the auction houses, employing them as an indicator of market health. Taking averages from his data, each material has been given a value of 100 points (or percent) and is analyzed based on deviation from this value. Continuing each week, the Shadow Council Strider will post his analyses in this article, the Gold Record.