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Blizzard Co-Head Mike Ybarra Sells WoW Raid Boosts, Sparking Debate on RMT – TechRaptor

Blizzard Entertainment Co-Leader Mike Ybarra has recently sparked a debate across social media after it was discovered that his guild is selling WoW Raid Boosts in the MMORPG World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft has had a fair amount of success with the launch of its recent expansion; despite several delays, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands rapidly became the fastest-selling PC game to date. Now, another dust-up has kicked off when it was discovered that Blizzard Entertainment Co-Leader Mike Ybarra participates in a guild that sells WoW raid boosts for in-game gold.

Blizzard Entertainment Co-Leader Mike Ybarra Selling WoW Raid Boosts slice

What Are WoW Raid Boosts?

WoW raid boosts are a service provided by some players or guilds where they will “boost” you through an in-game raid, saving you the trouble of finding other people to play with and acquiring the necessary gear to make it happen.

Boosting — sometimes called “carrying” — is not exclusive to WoW and is a fairly common practice in most MMORPGs. The practice is also used in other competitive games; for example, players will help you achieve a higher competitive rank in games such as League of Legends or Overwatch by actively helping you gain wins.

The key issues here involve real-world money getting involved, and Mike Ybarra, the current co-head of Blizzard, being involved. Pretty much every major game where boosting services are offered by players has an outright ban on selling boosting for money. That’s where this becomes a problem — after all, you can essentially buy WoW gold in exchange for real-world money by purchasing WoW Tokens (which can extend your game time subscription) and selling them on the auction house for in-game gold. That is a much trickier ethical situation — and the involvement of one of Blizzard’s top people has kicked off a vigorous discussion on the practice of boosting.

Blizzard Entertainment Co-Leader Mike Ybarra Selling WoW Raid Boosts slice 2

Mike Ybarra’s Raid Boosting Divides Fans

A debate over WoW raid boosting kicked off yesterday when Blizzard Entertainment Co-Leader Mike Ybarra advertised his guild’s carrying services on his personal Twitter account.

“Likely streaming our heroic SoD sales run and high’ish end m+ tonight (20-23) starting at 5pm PT,” read the tweet from Mike Ybarra.

To put the above tweet into context, “SoD” stands for the Sanctum of Domination raid in the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands expansion. “Heroic” is a more challenging difficulty setting, and M+ stands for Mythic+, a series of rotating challenges that require a fair amount of coordination from players. Essentially, these are the most difficult bits of raid content in World of Warcraft.

A high-level company executive participating in the practice of boosting may have gained some attention under normal circumstances, but the recent troubles at Activision Blizzard mean that there are a lot more people carefully watching the company. Blizzard has been making an effort to redeem itself (most recently through several in-game changes in WoW), but that particular situation (and the company’s legal troubles) are far from over and the company is under significant pressure to make changes.

Whatever the reason, people took notice and a discussion of the practice of raid boosting commenced. Replies to the Mike Ybarra tweet are split between two camps: on one hand, other players don’t see an issue with boosting. On the other hand, some players take issue with the practice being allowed in the game at all — especially considering the potential pay-to-win and RMT issues that come with it. The issue was also discussed on ResetEra and Reddit, and there is a similar split of opinion in those discussion threads, too.

For the sake of context, boosting in WoW is allowed under very specific circumstances. Check out this support article that explains the nuances:

Selling in-game items and services such as carries or boosting for real money is not allowed.

Selling items and services for gold is allowed but can only be advertised in-game through the Trade chat channel. Advertisements are not allowed in the Group Finder. The Group Finder is intended to help players find active groups that are being formed and advertisements make it difficult to find relevant groups.

As I’ve previously established, players can purchase WoW Tokens with real-world money and sell them in-game for gold. Although Mike Ybarra’s tweet complies with the game’s terms of service, the ability to purchase World of Warcraft gold with real money (albeit in a roundabout way) can be viewed as a pay-to-win mechanic.

Outside of the sanctioned method of exchanging cash for gold, there’s also the issue of Real Money Transactions; some players and services will outright sell you gold in exchange for cash. RMT services affect the game’s economy in several ways; firstly, they can artificially inflate the value of items. Secondly, gold farmers and bots will take up the limited space in high-value areas, depriving players of the ability to legitimately earn gold in-game.

Mike Ybarra participating in a guild that runs WoW raid boosts has reignited the debate about boosting and buying gold in the long-running MMO (and other MMOs in general). The community seems fairly split on the issue. It looks like this debate isn’t likely to be settled anytime soon, especially since Blizzard is unlikely to remove the ability to sell WoW Tokens for gold — a practice that is likely a major source of income outside of standard subscriptions and the recently-changed game time purchase options.

Note: Activision Blizzard is currently under investigation by multiple governmental agencies regarding the treatment of workers, as well as facing lawsuits.

Here’s The Stylish And Silly Teaser Trailer For Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop

In case you missed it, Netflix is making a live-action adaptation of the classic anime Cowboy Bebop. The show premieres on November 19, and after getting a look at the actors portraying Spike and the gang, we get to see them in action thanks to a new teaser trailer.

The trailer gives us a peek at the performances and chemistry between Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Faye Valentine (Daniella Peneda), and Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir). The trailer plays with the anime’s iconic intro animation in fun ways as the trio chases a bounty and fights bad guys (including a glimpse of Alex Hassell’s Vicious). There’s also plenty of snarky banter. Check it out below. 

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Cowboy Bebop has been a long time coming, first confirmed in 2017. The show is helmed by André Nemec and written by Christopher Yost. While the original series ran for 26 episodes, the Netflix version will debut with 10 episodes. 


What do you think about this look at Cowboy Bebop? Do you think the actors fit the roles based on this clip? Let us know in the comments! 

Rogue Rocket League Championship Announces Groundbreaking Partnership with Guaranteed Rate – KEVN Black Hills Fox

Sponsorship marks first time Rogue vehicles will feature branding

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 12:11 PM MDT|Updated: 6 hours ago

CHICAGO, Oct. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Rogue Rocket League Team today announces that its Championship Series vehicles will now feature graphics from Guaranteed Rate, one of the top 5 retail mortgage lenders in the United States. The move marks the first time the Rogue Team has featured any branding on its Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) vehicles.

Rogue (PRNewsfoto/ReKTGlobal, Inc.)
Rogue (PRNewsfoto/ReKTGlobal, Inc.)

Rogue Rocket League Championship Announces Groundbreaking Partnership with Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate graphics will be displayed on Rogue Team’s Away RLCS cars. In addition, the kit will be available in the Rocket League online store for fans to customize their own vehicles.

Sporting Guaranteed Rate branding on our digital assets in official matches is an exciting new activation for the Rocket League fanbase,” said Anna Baumann, EVP of Esports at ReKTGlobal. We’re proud to partner with Guaranteed Rate on this first-of-its-kind milestone for the Rogue Team.”

The Rogue Team, owned by ReKTGlobal, is one of the longest-competing organizations in the RLCS. Rocket League is an award-winning game by Psyonix that brings together soccer and driving in a high-octane hybrid. Fans of the RLCS show support for their favorite teams by purchasing team decals.

Guaranteed Rate is thrilled to enter the esports market with the Rogue Rocket League Championships,” said Guaranteed Rate Vice President of Sports Marketing and Partnerships Steve McNelley. This groundbreaking partnership puts us in front of a new audience that is driven by digital innovation.”

Rogue Rocket League’s 2021-22 season will be divided into Fall, Winter and Spring Splits, leading to the Rocket League World Championship Series. The Fall Split kicked off Oct. 15 and runs through December 12.

For more information about Guaranteed Rate, visit rate.com.

About Guaranteed Rate Companies
The Guaranteed Rate Companies includes Guaranteed Rate, Inc., one of the top 5 retail mortgage lenders in the United States, Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC, and Proper Rate, LLC. Headquartered in Chicago, Guaranteed Rate Companies combined funded over $73 billion in 2020 and have more than 10,000 employees in over 850 offices across the United States. Founded in 2000 and located in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., Guaranteed Rate has helped homeowners nationwide with home purchase loans and refinances. The company has established itself as an industry leader by introducing innovative technology, offering low rates and delivering unparalleled customer service. In 2017, the company launched Guaranteed Rate Affinity, LLC, a mortgage origination joint venture between Guaranteed Rate, Inc. and Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), a global leader in residential real estate franchising and brokerage. In 2020, the company launched Proper Rate, LLC, a mortgage origination joint venture between Guaranteed Rate, Inc. and @properties, one of the nation’s largest residential brokerage firms. Collectively, the Guaranteed Rate Companies have earned numerous honors and awards including: Forbes Advisor’s Top 10 Mortgage Lenders for 2021; Best Mortgage Lender for Online Loans and Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing by NerdWallet for 2021; 2018 Top Lender for Online Service by U.S. News & World Report; HousingWire’s 2020 Tech100 award for the company’s industry-leading FlashClose SM technology; No. 3 ranking in Scotsman Guide’s 2021 list of Top Retail Mortgage Lenders; Chicago Agent Magazine’s Lender of the Year for five consecutive years; and Chicago Tribune’s Top Workplaces list for seven consecutive years. Visit rate.com for more information.

About ReKTGlobal:
ReKTGlobal is a cutting-edge digital entertainment organization that helps connect brands with whats now and whats next, from traditional sports and esports to social media, music, and more. With its in-house teams of tech experts designing innovative proprietary platforms, transforming streams into content and ads, and generating analytics – all in real-time – ReKTGlobal is at the forefront of what matters most to Gen Z audiences.

ReKT is the parent company to digitally-native brands including championship esports organizations Rogue and the London Royal Ravens, content creator collectives SwayLA and MADGMR, and the creator economy/NIL monetization app, Fullcube. ReKT is also home to the esports industrys most robust media and marketing agency business, consulting brands, properties, and influencers.

For more information, visit www.rektglobal.com.

Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate

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SOURCE ReKTGlobal, Inc.

The above press release was provided courtesy of PRNewswire. The views, opinions and statements in the press release are not endorsed by Gray Media Group nor do they necessarily state or reflect those of Gray Media Group, Inc.

Pokémon Unite’s Halloween Event Adds Greedent Along With Spooky Tricks And Treats

The hit MOBA Pokémon Unite gets its first Halloween event and it kicks off tomorrow. Greedent from Sword & Shield joins the fray along with plenty of treats to accompany your strategic tricks. 

A new character is always exciting, and hopefully, Greedent fits the bill for diehard players. This squirrel-like critter serves as a melee defender that’s also cute as a button. Check him out in action in the spotlight trailer below. 

It wouldn’t be Halloween if you couldn’t dress up, and that’s exactly what you can do during the event. As seen in the trailer posted in the header, you can turn Charizard into the world’s scariest hipster with a beanie and scarf combo, make Blastoise the ultimate firefighter, or dress Lucario in a dark ensemble that, honestly, makes it resemble the hunter from Bloodborne. You can also outfit your trainer avatar with Jack-o-lantern-style Pikachu masks, a witch hat, and more. In terms of gameplay, you can now launch holiday-themed attacks such as firing giant pumpkins at foes because Halloween!

The Halloween event begins October 20 and concludes on November 7. The free-to-play Pokémon Unite is available on Switch, iOS, and Android, complete with cross-play and cross-progression

Minecraft Update 2.32 Patch Notes; Released for 1.17.40 This October 19 – MP1st

Mojang has released the Minecraft update 2.32 October 19 patch, which is for bug fixes and new experimental features. This is called the Minecraft 1.17.40 patch by the studio, and we have the full patch notes available below.

Minecraft Update 2.32 Patch Notes | Minecraft Update 1.17.40 Patch Notes:

Halo Co-Creator Marcus Lehto Opens New EA Studio Focused On First-Person Games

Halo co-creator Marcus Lehto has opened a new EA studio primarily focused on first-person games, roughly seven months after the closure of V1 Interactive, which is the studio founded by Lehto responsible for Disintegration. 

Lehto founded V1 Interactive back in 2016 with SOCOM co-creator Michael Gutmann. The studio created Disintegration and while the game showed a lot of promise, it wasn’t met with the reception the team had hoped for. V1 Interactive announced that it was closing on March 8 earlier this year. Now, a little over seven months later, Lehto is back to making games, this time under the EA umbrella. 

Hey everyone, I’m very excited to announce that I’ve joined EA as a Game Director, building a new studio in the Seattle area working on first-person games. I can’t wait to share more about what we’re creating. 

As Lehto mentions in the tweet above, this new studio will be focused on first-person games, which falls right in line with Lehto’s Halo history. Perhaps he’s making a sci-fi first-person shooter for EA, something the company doesn’t have too many of at this moment. 

While waiting to learn more about Lehto’s new EA studio, check out our thoughts on his latest game in Game Informer’s Disintegration review and then read Game Informer’s breakdown of everything we know about Halo Infinite.


Are you excited about Lehto’s new studio? Let us know in the comments below!

Is There A Minecraft Halloween Event or Update For 2021? – DualShockers

The Halloween season is officially upon us and game developers around the world are gearing up for special in-game events and updates, but Minecraft fans are eager to know what’s in store for them this year.

Thankfully, Mojang Studios have revealed all there is to know about what’s in store for both Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons. Here’s everything we know about this years’ Halloween antics.

  • READ MORE: Terraria Console Update 1.25 Patch Notes

Minecraft Dungeons | Spookier Fall Official Trailer

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Minecraft Dungeons | Spookier Fall Official Trailer

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Is There A Minecraft or Minecraft Dungeons Halloween Event For 2021?

It might not be what Minecraft fans want during this years’ Halloween season, but there’s plenty going on in Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft.

On the 1st of October, Mojang Studios published a new announcement for the reveal of ‘Minecraft Spookyfest’ in which they detail all of the Halloween-themed goodness coming during the month of October.

So, what exactly is Spookyfest and what will be included in both games?

Minecraft Spookyfest

Spookyfest has officially begun in the world of Minecraft! And Minecraft Dungeons fans are being treated to a new ‘Spookier Fall’ Event. Players will be able to pick up special Halloween themed items in the Minecraft Marketplace during the month of October. Details of some of the items have already been announced, with more surprises still to come:

  • October 13: The Spooky Gourdian – a free Minecraft Dungeons-inspired Character Creator item based on the Jack-O-Lantern (free until November 2) 
  • October 19: The Cauldron Cover – a paid Minecraft Dungeons-inspired Character Creator item based on the Cauldron
  • October 26: Halloween Fiends – a free skin pack (free until November 2) 

For fans of the classic Minecraft game, there doesn’t appear to be much going on just yet. It’s unclear if more will be announced closer to the Halloween season, but currently there only seems special offers on Skin Packs and Costumes.

According to the official Minecraft website, fans who buy select Minecraft items between October 1 and October 31 on the Micrafan Shop (Japan) or on HalloweenCostumes.com (Worldwide), will receive a special code for a free Minecraft Crafty Costumes Skin Pack with five spooky skins to use in Bedrock Edition.

Should any further events or updates be announced for Minecraft during the month of October, we will update this article.

  • READ MORE: Minecraft Championship (MCC 18) Teams Revealed For October Event

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Minecraft 1.19 release date: The Wild Update

Want to know more about the Minecraft 1.19 update? The Wild Update was revealed at Minecraft Live 2021, where we got details about all of the new additions, including frogs, fireflies, and mangrove swamps. This will be the first Minecraft update in 2022, and will be the next major update after Caves and Cliffs part 2.

This guide will explain everything that you can expect with Minecraft 1.19, so that you don’t go wild looking for details all over.

Minecraft Platypus mod is my new favourite egg-laying mammal – PC Gamer

There’s a cartoon called Phineas and Ferb that has an excellent song about a platypus called Perry. It says “he’s a furry little flatfoot who’ll never flinch from a fray” and “he’s got more than just mad skill—he’s got a beaver tail and bill.” Perry the Platypus is the tribute these unique mammals deserve, and now our web-footed burping friend has been modded into Minecraft.

You can pick up the mod, which has the rather straightforward name of ‘Platypuses in Minecraft!’, over at Curseforge, and it does add platypuses. Yes they are amazing looking, and the mod was created by Your_Jeans and a friend.

When you add platypuses to your Minecraft world, they’ll spawn in rivers and swamps, with the Perry the platypus variant being rarer. The mod has an admirable dedication to the makeup of our duck-billed friend, and so they have poisonous claws and adore crayfish. Thus crayfish can be used to tame them and get your own platypus pet.

But then the fun’s only beginning: your tamed platypus will now help you fight other mobs, and you can also somehow extract poison from them with a glass bottle. Finally, the most important thing: You can breed tamed platypuses with a salmon!

The mod’s been out for a while and this is not the first time platypuses have been put in Minecraft: there’s a server called Minecraft Ultimate that’s had them for a while, and ideas for a mob like this have been around for years. But this one has Perry the Platypus so that puts it over the line for me. Minecraft’s newest official mob is this dancing, gift-giving spirit, and it’s also had a bit of an amphibious moment with the addition of cutesy frogs. The internet petitions for some official platypus-surfing action start here.

Age Of Empires 4, The Forgotten City, And More Complete October’s Xbox Game Pass Offerings

Xbox Game Pass gets its second round of October releases following seven additions during the first half of the month. As we head into Halloween, players can enjoy a sequel to a strategy mainstay, an inventive take on the first-person shooter, a narrative masterpiece, and more.

Today, Into the Pit launches, which sprinkles spellcasting on Doom-style FPS combat with a roguelike structure. Outriders makes its way to PC Game Pass for desktop players itching for another quality co-op shooter. The arrival of Dragon Ball FighterZ gives fighting and anime diehards access to arguably the best tag team fighter of the last generation.  Coming-of-age voxel RPG Echo Generation brings a more lighthearted supernatural adventure perfect for the spooky season. Everspace 2 soars into Xbox Game Preview after charting a 2023 launch window. The Elder Scrolls-inspired The Forgotten City, one of the best narrative adventure games of 2021, brings its time-looping adventure to Xbox players. For strategy fans, the long-awaited Age of Empires IV launches day one on PC Game Pass at the end of the month. 

Those would be the treats, but the tricks are what’s leaving Game Pass come Halloween. Read on for the full rundown of what’s coming, what’s going, and when. 

What’s Coming To Xbox Game Pass

  • Into the Pit (Console, PC, Cloud) – Today
  • Outriders (PC) – Today
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ (Console, Cloud) – October 21
  • Echo Generation (Console, PC, Cloud) – October 21
  • Everspace 2 (Game Preview) (PC) – October 21
  • Age of Empires IV (PC)- October 28
  • Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (Console, PC) – October 28
  • Backbone (Console) – October 28
  • Bassmaster Fishing 2022 (Console, PC, Cloud) – October 28
  • The Forgotten City (Console, PC, Cloud) – October 28

DLC/Game Updates

  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection Season 8 – Available now
  • Grounded: Hot and Hazy Update – October 20
  • Minecraft: The Spooky Gourdian – Available until November 2
  • Minecraft Dungeons: The Spookier Fall Event – Available until November 2

What’s Leaving Xbox Game Pass (October 31)

  • Carto (Console, PC, Cloud)
  • Celeste (Console, PC, Cloud)
  • Comanche (PC)
  • Eastshade (Console, PC, Cloud)
  • Five Nights at Freddy’s (Console, PC, Cloud)
  • Knights & Bikes (Console, PC)
  • Unruly Heroes (Console, PC, Cloud)

What do you think of this month’s Game Pass offerings? Let us know in the comments!

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