Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Category

Pandafail

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

I’ve been pulled back into World of Warcraft, by the promise of fighting pandas. I hope blizzard is paying Jack Black something for the whole Kung Fu Panda tie-in-in-fanmind-if-not-reality. Was getting ready to update the wow client on my desktop gaming machine, a few years old sure, but should still be enough for wow, only to find that the video card seems to have gone haywire on it, since I last logged in locally. d’ohwell.

If I were a real gamer, I’d replace the whole 4+ year old machine. My co-worker offered a video card to try and replace just that. Which shall I choose….

WoW Done

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

As I sat at home last night, I realized it has been days since I put in any serious WoW time. Being uninterested in joining a serious guild, there’s just not much there for me after getting my primes leveled up to 85. I could spend another 6 months leveling up my private guild, but there’s so much more fruitful endeavors I could engage in. I probably won’t, but at least the time will be free =p

WoW Flight Path madness

Friday, January 7th, 2011

My druid character doesn’t have a hearthstone at the moment. I’m sure whatever I needed that one inventory slot for was totally worth it. It’s not like he can’t teleport to moonglade and take a quick bat to Orgrimmar. Today I go to do that, but notice that instead of the path it used to use, it now wants to send you through 5 different flight points in the new Mount Hyjal area, for a total cost of 5 gold. Or you can manually tell it to fly you via Winterspring to Bilgewater Harbor, for 14 silver, and then a second bat on to Orgimmar from there, for only 6 silver more. I suspect the manual route is significantly shorter too. I’ll have to time it and see.

By our failings exposed

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Oftentimes, how something fails can tell you a lot about how it was put together. This holds especially true in software. Legion are the security holes that were found because an innocuous error provided attackers with valuable information about the design.

Sometimes the information exposed is just interesting, but without practical value. In the World of Warcraft, I’ve run into more than a few of these types of errors. The most recent one left me in a sort of limbo state. As part of the new expansion, you take part in an epic battle that includes several ‘phased’ zones that are only enter-able via automation, during cut-scenes. One of these zones is the epic final battle between the Naga and the lord of the water realm they seek to take over. You get zoned into the area after a cut-scene boat-ride, and have a couple of minutes where you can control your character as you follow the automated NPCs around a major battle scene. Hundreds, if not thousands of NPC’s can be seen fighting around you. Eventually another cut-scene starts up, the Naga kill their man and swim into his realm. It looks really nifty. Somehow I ended up stuck in the zone after I should have phased out to the next segment, which is where things got interesting.

All around me, the battle is still raging in the distance, eventually circling around to the point in the timeline where the player gets phased in, but since I wasn’t standing in the magic spot it placed me in, I could control the camera and move around, even during parts that I thought were pre-rendered. What I think this means is that somewhere in the Blizzard datacenter, there are machines (Ok, probably virtual slices of machines) that do nothing but fight this one battle over and over, 24×7, 365 days a year, regardless of if anyone is in them. From a little experimenting with the hostile NPCs, it looks like a practically fully functional zone; the NPCs are unkillable, but suffer and give damage that looks to be properly tracked, up to the 0-point at which some special rule probably kicks in and doesn’t ‘kill’ the mob even when it would hit 0 HP. If I ever get stuck in the zone again (you can get out, FYI, by letting one of those mobs kill you. when you swim back to your body, you get zoned into the post-final-battle version of the zone), I’m going to try attacking one of the talking mobs during what would be a cut-scene for anyone else. Ideally, I’ll do this with a second box running through the zone in normal mode. If only I had an infinite supply of 80’s ready to run through the zone.

During the post-launch rush, I’m sure the zone gets lots of usage, but I have to wonder how well they planned out utilization vs processing-cost a year from now, when visitors could be days or weeks apart. Will they still be spending the same amount of processing power putting on a play to an empty house, or does the zone have enough smarts built in to suspend itself once empty? It makes me wonder how much ‘effort’ is wasted on zones that are practically dead now, like the two racial starting zones from Burning Crusade….

Sucks so far – getting better

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Well, color me underwhelmed by Cataclysm so far. These first sets of underwater quests are annoying as all get out. Since you are swimming 100% of the time, you can’t ever eat/drink to replenish health and mana. Combine with several quests that assume you have dozens of people helping you fight off wave after wave of no-exp/no-money mobs, but still a durability hit every time they kill you, and I’m feeling like it was a big waste of money so far. I’m hopeful that once I get beyond this stupid opening area, the game will be more playable and enjoyable. Sadly, I worry that like most of the recent changes to WoW, without a full-time guild, most of the content will be unavailable to a solo player like me. No real surprise there.

UPDATE: OK, looks like you can eat/drink underwater, you just have to be ‘sitting’ on the ocean floor. Annoyingly inconsistently, you can’t summon your underwater mount unless you are swimming. Sheesh, make up your minds =p And flying in original zones is cheaper than I thought it was going to be. I still hate how the seaweed (or sometimes ragged sails from sunken ships) block the view if you are a camera-all-the-way-out kinda player like me.

Comcast fails again

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Comcast was unprepared for the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm midnight release, it would seem. By 12:15, my internet had gone down, and it sounds like I wasn’t alone. I was on hold for support 30 mins, still in the support queue, when it came back up. Played another half hour before it went down again. This time their automated system at least acknowledged the outage. Looking at the forums, it looks like they weren’t the only ISP to crash under the load.

Blizzard RealID of Evil

Monday, July 12th, 2010

In response to the RealID debacle, I canceled my pre-orders for Star Craft 2 and for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.  They sent me a response to an emailed question today, which of course ignored my question completely, while including this gem near the end, “Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.”

Translated from PR speak, “we’ll be making it mandatory right after the christmas rush, so fuck off”.

Yeah, I’m not regretting my decision to make leaving permanent.  Welcome to the post-activision-world we all knew was coming.

No More Warcraft

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Oh Blizzard.

It’s not enough to make millions off the masses of weed smoking college students wasting away their education, no you have to help track down low level pot dealers who’ve fled to Canada.  I’m willing to let you do most anything you want with my $45/month, but not that.

I’ve got plenty of books to catch up on reading anyways.

Mac Hurricane

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Running the WoW client with video recording at max resolution got my new iMac’s CPU fan to kick into overdrive.  At first I thought something had gone crazy with the Ventrilo client, and it was just generating static, but when I muted sound and it kept making noise, I realized what I was actually hearing.

On the plus side, it means this iMac won’t burn out essential parts like the last one did, cause it’s fan refuses to ever turn on, much less go into overdrive.  On the down side, once the new iMac’s fan turns on, the only way to get it to stop is to put the box to sleep.  Even when all the temp indicators had gone down to well below where it usually idles just fine, the fan just kept on screaming.

Yeah, apple hardware is so much better than the PC world.  [HAMBURGER]

Oh, and Comcast is being all flakey when I try to upload the 808MB video from stormwind, to youtube, so still waiting on that one.

Strawhat Pirates do For The Horde

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Strawhat Pirates hit Ironforge

and again in Darnassus

My internet conked out on uploading Stormwind, so it won’t be up until I get home tonight.