In which WoW gets cross-realm raiding, Markco gets banned, and Johnnie gets drunk with power

That’s right, people, there’s a new sheriff in town!

Actually, there’s only a temporary stand-in sheriff, and your original favourite sheriff will be back in a few days. Hugh is taking a well-deserved break and spending a few days in Paris, the lucky so-and-so. That means the Pot is in the temporarily-empowered hands of yer uncle Johnnie.

So. Let’s see what’s happening out there in MMO-land … oh, look! A patch!

WoW Patch 4.3.2 is live, and has brought with it the possibility of (admittedly limited) cross-realm raiding, and the blogosphere has stepped up to the plate to provide a couple of really great tools to help with organising cross-realm raids. First up is, a brand new site from Reliq of Azeroth Observer. Signing up to the site will allow you to create a profile, find a raid, or recruit additional players for your own raid. It’s early days yet (the site is still very firmly in Beta) but Reliq tells us that new features are planned for the very near future, including advice on sharing RealID and the ability to manage teams and send out your own invites. This looks like it could become a great tool for finding an LFR raid that doesn’t make you want to get a PhD in Advanced Theoretical Computing so that you can find a way to entirely digitize yourself, then transfer yourself to an electronic medium so that you can fly down your ethernet cable right into the homes of every one of those twenty-four idiots and beat them about the head until they learn to stop using the phrase “ffs tnak sux”.

Ahem. Apologies. I may be projecting there, every so slightly.

Along similar lines to, a few prominent WoW twitterers have set up Twitterland, a dedicated portal for WoW-playing Twitter users to come together and organise raids. They’re using the Enjin guild website portal, which Rebecca reviewed in early 2011 and it looks like it’s perfectly suited to the task. They’re a friendly group, so pop by and say hi.

The Diablo 3 Beta team, it seems, are distinctly less friendly. Markco (a well-known and sometimes controversial WoW gold blogger, who Hugh interviewed last year) has now moved onto the Diablo 3 Beta, and is blogging gold-making strategies over at the Diablo 3 Gold Guide. Of course, Diablo 3 will feature real-world money trading, which makes Markco’s skills potentially very profitable. Perhaps too profitable: Markco was banned from the D3 beta test , seemingly for the crime of just being too darned good at what he does.

Today I received confirmation that my use of the tools Blizzard provides every player were considered exploitative of the Diablo 3 Beta economy. I have been asked to tell customer support about my ideas for making gold or real money BEFORE trying them in the retail version of the game.

Blizzard, and this goes for whoever makes the policy over there for banning accounts, are you kidding me? Because I used my brain and got materials from salvaging vendor items and gimped my character’s survivability with 145% gold find gear I should be banned?

This is distressing stuff, because it could potentially lead to accounts being banned in retail simply because they are better at the economic game than 99% of the player-base. Now I will have to be careful not to make “too much” gold while playing.

It’s perhaps inevitable that Blizzard would need to iron out some wrinkles from the trading and gold-making aspects of Diablo 3 – that’s what a Beta is for, after all – but if Markco has indeed been banned for simply making too much gold too quickly, it’s a bit disappointing. Blizzard knew what a can of worms they were opening in allowing real-world money to enter the D3 economy. They must have known, also, that it would attract a lot of skilled WoW auctioneers looking to turn their skills into a real-life income stream. Imposing an arbitrary limit on the amount of money that can be made goes against the spirit of that intent.