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I hear it all the time in Trade chat and it makes me nauseous.  It really does.  I don’t know what it’s like on your server, but on Bloodhoof every half hour after school is out there is a debacle in trade chat about how so-and-so is a “ninja” and that you shouldn’t group with him because you will lose the gear you rightfully earned if you take him or her on an instance with you.

B-u-l-l-s-h-i-t.  Hot, steaming b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t in fact.

I’m sorry.  I know that last bit will have offended someone, but I just don’t care anymore.  Just because you disagree with the Master Looter, doesn’t mean the person who got the loot is a ninja.  I’m getting sick to death of Azeroth being turned into an episode of Hook where the children scream “Kill the lawyers!” every ten minutes for the sole purpose of their own entertainment.  But before I go off on an adult-only server rant (which I’m sure I’ve done before), allow me to digress.  The doctor told me to lower my blood pressure anyway.

Blizzard Customer Service – in their infinite wisdom, glory, and acute level of helpfulness – published a link today on their Twitter feed to a document outlining their stance on ninja looting.  Being the sharp and astute individual I am, as soon as I saw the title, I wondered if they were going to branch into a tutorial of the mechanics of the looting system and lo and behold my prayer was answered!

Continue Reading »

The aforementioned article looks like it isn’t going to happen.

The screenshots just didn’t really capture the things I was trying to capture.  It’s kind of dumb.  You assume that when you take a screenshot of something it’s going to capture everything that’s on the screen when you click the shutter, but apparently it doesn’t work that way.  There were times I took screenshots in particular places for particular reasons to show specific things and they just aren’t legible in the screenshots.  I don’t completely understand why, but I imagine it must have something to do with 3D.

Apologies folks.  The best laid plans.

Inexpensive low-end computers with less-than-optimal RAM and/or integrated graphics cards are a fact of life.  Sometimes you can’t afford the machine you’d like to play on.  Blizzard has — in my opinion, wisely — made the game we love so that it will play “reasonably” on even the most budget computer setup.

We’ve all heard the big podcasters talk about the WoW experience “as it was meant to be experienced”, with the graphics slider cranked all the way to “Ultra”.  A lot of them talk about (or even plug) systems that cost thousands of dollars that are targeted at the gamer market.

Are you a player with an entry-level machine who has wondered just exactly how green it is on the other side of the fence?  Tonight I will be spending a number of hours playing on a computer that can do “Ultra” with one hand tied behind it’s back that cost about $1000 Canadian to build.  (At the current exchange rate, that works out to about $962 US).  I’ve checked the fps button on it several times, and seen numbers in the 160-180 range, although these numbers have fallen since my friend switched from a standard monitor to a (gorgeous) 24″ Samsung widescreen.  My intention is to take screenshots in a variety of places around the World of Warcraft, and through all of the expansions.  And then take the same identical screenshot (as close as I can) on the ultra-compact laptop I usually play on at home with an integrated graphics card and show you the difference a few hundred bucks can make.

I think it will be an interesting article.  I look forward to writing it, and I hope you enjoy it.  It should be up by tomorrow at the latest.

P.S.  If you have suggestions as to what locations or locales you want to see in the featured screenshots, by all means leave them in comments.  I will try to do as many as I can!

Doctor Addon: MuchMoreMunch

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  There are twothings I love when it comes to addons.

  1. I love it when Addon authors read my mind.
  2. I love it when they execute the concept simply without adding a bazillion features.

Everybody I know who has a brain in their head has buttons on their action bars for bandages, health potions, mana potions, food and the like.  The problem is that these buttons are high-maintenance.  When you level past your current bandages or you run out of your preferred ones you’re outta luck if you forget to update the button with the ones you happen to have in stock.

Unless… you have MuchMoreMunch.

This addon is essentially a macro generator that updates on-the-fly.  Tell it to create a bandage macro and then drag it to an action bar button.  It will go through your bags and find the “best” bandages (that you can use) and put them on the button for you.  When you run out of those, it will automatically fallback to the next best ones without updating the button or the macro.

Ain’t that awesome?

Besides bandages, it will also do it’s magic with health potions, healthstones, mana potions, mana gems, health food and mana food.

You can get MuchMoreMunch (minus the hamster) here.

Hey.  I’m back.  Remember me?

Sorry guys.  It’s been a rough and tumultuous year.  I took several months completely “off” (with my subscription stopped) and other months where it would be lucky for me to login 2-3 times a month.  It wasn’t a financial thing or an “I’m sick of the game” thing.  It was just that there was a lot going on in my life and I didn’t have a lot of time.  (Well ok, I was a little fed up with the instance problem a year ago (see previous post), but that’s not the reason I left…)

I’ve been playing again (on Bloodhoof) for about a month and with a wonderful sidekick.  I’m hoping I can lure her into writing a blurb here every once in a while.  We are milking the living daylights out of the Refer-A-Friend program.  In the space of a month she has about five or six toons, the “big one” is a level 53 priest, and I don’t think any of them are lower than 20.  “Alastrine” (the name of her priest) is rapidly learning the ropes and is turning into quite the WoW expert in a very short period of time.  (Last time I checked, she had more money on her main toon than I have on all of mine.)

So mostly I’ve wiped a bunch of old toons I didn’t use (mostly storage/bank alts) so I could make new toons to play with Alastrine’s new toons and the experience with Refer-A-Friend has been insane.  The levels come so fast that it’s almost impossible to keep yourself in “current” gear because after you play for an hour or two the gear is out of date.  (Plus, even when she’s up at 3am in insomniac mode, she grants me the levels I slept through.  Win-win.)

My one major beef with the Refer-A-Friend program is the new reward.  I don’t think it was very well thought out.  They are giving you a two-person flying mount usable in Outlands.  Great.  But if they’re going to reward you for recruiting a new player to the game, why wouldn’t they give you a land mount that you can use while you help level the younger character.

Cataclysm?  Yeah, sure.  But both of the computers we’re using here are kind of old and/or underpowered and I really don’t want to see the system requirements jump again.  It seems to me (I could be wrong) that my Mac Mini barely passed the system requirements check for Wrath last time.  Oh well.  We will cross our fingers and see.  A friend of mine just built a computer for about a grand Canadian that clocks at 200 fps.  It’s sick and disgusting and I hate him.  And I want one.  Playing on a machine with that kind of horsepower is ridiculous.  I saw accents and features in zones I had never noticed before.  And I’ve been playing almost since beta.

It’s really kind of fun playing with somebody who is  totally, legitimately new.  (Those are so few and far between these days.)  It really helps you see the awe and wonder of the game.  A few days ago we were in the Zoram Strand questing and she decided it would be faster to swim to Astranaar.  I went along with it, not really thinking but the long and the short of it was we ended up swimming all the way to Desolace before finding a place we could get back on-shore.  To our credit we only died once in the run from Tethris Aran to Nigel’s Point.  (I’m still shaking my head that we didn’t get nailed by any of those Naga swimming around in the water.)

But when it was done we’d had a good time, escaped death a half dozen times, and seen part of the “vanilla” world that Alastrine hadn’t seen before.  In my books that’s a win more than a raid drop, a moronically high gear score, or a list of fulfilled end-game achievements.

After some consideration, I think we’ve decided to bring Council Of The Sword back to life.  It had pretty much fizzled out and I was leery about putting the effort into it to bring it back to life.  We tried another guild but it didn’t really work for us.  So if you’re looking for a place to hang around and quest and “do what you want to do” without a lot of expectations, drop me a note either by e-mail or in-game to one of my alts.

That’s it for now.  Look forward to me posting more regularly.  I’ve been meaning to get back to this blog for weeks.  Sorry for the chatty “all-over-the-road” post.

hokeypokeyThat was a hell of a title wasn’t it.

I’m just getting so fed up.  I’ve had comments that I’m too whiny, and quite frankly I don’t really give a rip.  I am who I am and if you don’t want to read it, don’t.  If you want to write your own blog and deal with the public, go ahead.  Comments are held in moderation until I approve them so do yourself a favour.  Save your breath, save your energy.  Anything that rubs me the wrong way doesn’t get posted, and you can gripe and bitch about it all you want it’s not going to do you any good.

The bottom line is I don’t give two cents about your opinion and that’s fine because this blog doesn’t cost you anything.  Playing World of Warcraft does cost you something though.  In fact it costs a good sum of money.  So you’d expect a certain amount of empathy and customer service from them.  Hell, I work in a customer service job and I could speak volumes about all the things you’re “supposed” to do for your customers and the way you’re supposed to handle them.  In fact, I just finished a four-part course on the subject.

I don’t know how the rest of the servers are doing, but Bloodhoof is a mess.  To put it simply, you just can’t run instances during prime time.  “Additional instances cannot be launched.  Please try again later”, or something like that is always the result.  About six times in the last week, I’ve spent more than half an hour doing what has lovingly been called “The Instance Hokey Pokey”.  You know what I’m talking about.  You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out… etc etc etc.  Running back and forth through the instance portal waiting for a “slot” to free up so the rest of your group can get in and run the instance.  This hasn’t been an isolated occurrence.  It happens virtually every evening — no pun intended.

I’ve submitted two tickets about this.  This is the response I get:

Greetings Gweedo,

Thank you for contacting the World of Warcraft Game Master Department.

Issue Reported: *WHEN* are you going to fix this “Additional instances cannot be launched” problem? It’s been TWO WEEKS since I’ve been able to run an instance on schedule! This is UNACCEPTABLE service to PAYING CUSTOMERS! I don’t want the “We’re working hard” and “your patience is appreciated” speech. I work for a cell phone provider as a national sales rep, and if our customers stopped having the ability to say… text message… for this period of time, we’d go bankrupt! WORK HARDER!

We are aware of the situation you reported, and we are currently working on a solution. Please check the World of Warcraft website (http://www.worldofwarcraft.com) for future updates and corrections. We appreciate your patience.

You can also check our forums (“http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/forums/”) where you can discuss game issues with other players.

Thank you again for contacting us. We hope you continue to enjoy your experience in World of Warcraft!

*** Please do not respond to this email as all conversations on this matter would be best handled online. ***

Regards,
Alfoln
Game Master
Blizzard Entertainment
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com

Nice.  He essentially gave me the answer I told him I had no interest in hearing.  Lippy little number, yes?

I don’t know what the root cause of the problem is, because our server isn’t in queue these days.  Or at least very infrequently.  We’re not heavily overpopulated.  So I would guess that the problem is likely commercial gold farmers who are tieing up instances and/or players who are “soloing” older instances to make money for themselves.

Is it time to put a three-member party minimum on instances?  Does Blizzard need to start being aggressive with gold farmers instead of just talking about it?  Would an increased in-game GM presence (i.e. any presence at all) act as any kind of deterrent to farmers and other misbehaviour?   I think the answers to all of these questions are yes.   I’ve said it for a long time.

Hopefully some day soon they’ll learn.

voteI deliberately let the current poll run for a long time because I didn’t want people to scream that it was unfair because I closed the poll early.  I believe it’s been running at least two months.

This poll asked which class annoyed you the most (for any reason).  Conversely it can also be argued that the poll results also show which class annoys you the least.

I think it comes as no shock to anyone that Deathknights and Rogues were #1 and #2 respectively.  I mean seriously… what’s the first thought that goes through your mind when you go into a battleground and see an opposing team full of deathknights?  Exactly.  Rogues are not much better and only vanish’ed out of first place by a single vote.

Most beloved of all classes are the warriors and shamans.  I’m not entirely sure about the second one.  A well geared elemental shammy can be a nightmare in some situations.  But I will agree that the warriors (the few warriors) are generally a good lot, and not annoying.  Much.

What should we poll next?