September 5, 2009

Requiring authenticators for guild bank access

m0rtis has an interesting question over on WoW LJ: should guilds require authenticators on the accounts of everyone in the guild with bank access? Authenticators are relatively cheap, if not free (and still in stock most of the time nowadays), so if you're running a guild and in a position where your bank is important enough to protect, should you be able to require authenticators to keep guildies from getting hacked?

There are a few caveats here that m0rtis doesn't mention, but we will: first of all, there's no way to guarantee whether someone is using an authenticator or not, so while you can make guildies promise, there's no real way to check up on them. Second, not all guild banks get emptied out due to hackers -- many guild banks get ninja'd by someone within the guild, and there's no authenticator that can protect against that. So having authenticators on bank members (or at least having them promise they've got them) isn't 100% protection. But it is something.
Not to mention that if you're in a guild where there is something worth protecting in the bank, you should probably have as much protection on your account as you can anyway. Guilds are going to have more and more riding on them as we move into the next expansion, so now might be an excellent time to make sure the ranks are covered as much as they can be.

September 3, 2009

Official Cataclysm forum opens

The official WoW forums got another section today, one dedicated to the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. There's nothing useful in the at the moment, like a roundup of everything Blizzard has posted about the third expansion, or short bullet pointed lists of major features (although we have such information in our Guide to Cataclysm).

These forums are open to the general WoW population, and are NOT the alpha / beta forums. The alpha has NOT begun yet. But things are at least moving in the direction of more Cataclysm presence in WoW's official community.

With WoW Cataclysm expected to be released in 2010 (remember, according to Mike Morhaime, not us), we should start seeing greater details about what was announced at BlizzCon in the next couple months. Lots of good stuff to know, and hopefully this forum will be a conduit for Blizzard's old top hats like Ghostcrawler to begin some more detailed information dissemination.

Pacifist Priest dings 80 on Friday

Reinisch is the pacifist Undead Priest who's aiming to make it to level 80 without killing anything at all (he's the same player as Noor, who we interviewed way back when and followed up with a while ago), and apparently this Friday, he's going to do it. He's inviting everybody out to a party on Friday afternoon, September 4th, at 6pm server over on The Venture Company. He's going to turn in a Dalaran fishing quest to do it, and he's got quick and easy directions posted on how to get to Dalaran as a level 1.

Though there might not be as much going on as other big server parties, it's probably worth going just to see him ding level 80 and the level 1 chaos in Dalaran that will ensue, but it's quite an achievement for sure, especially considering that this Priest was actually created before Noor -- he's named after a German priest who stood up to Hitler in the name of peace and was executed for it. It might be nice just to stop by and give the guy a grats as he dings -- pretty impressive to take a goal that most people would say was impossible, and do it in the game not once but twice on two different classes and factions.

Patch 3.2.2: 5-man Coliseum jousting woes to be addressed

I'm sure a lot of us have had this experience: You finish up jousting down the three champions in the first encounter of the 5-man Trial of the Champions, then all hell breaks loose. Your tank goes to lock down the Warrior, but in the meantime, the Rogue, who fell on the other side of the coliseum, makes a beeline to your healer, who was the person who dismounted him. Then the Mage, who's on yet a third side of the arena, starts blasting down your Mage who never seems to get any stamina on his gear. Your tank tries to rein everybody in, but since the bosses still have the aggro they built up from the jousting stage, they're near impossible to peel. Everyone dies.

Essentially, scenarios such as outlined above can be avoided if all three jousters are dismounted and kept trampled in a very small area and the tank dismounts a bit early as starts building aggro immediately, but in most cases, people have just decided its easier to run out and reset the fight. It's inelegant and feels a bit like cheating, but it works. Due to the lack of an aggro reset and the tendency of the champions to be scattered all across the arena floor, it just becomes much simpler to run out of the instance.

It seems the dev team has noticed these difficulties. Lead World Designer Valnoth posted on the official forums to say that you should no longer feel obligated to zone out to reset the first boss battle after the jousting stage. He doesn't state exactly how this will happen. Just wiping aggro on the jousters might be enough, but it would be nice to see them form up and charge together, giving the tank ample opportunity to grab all three and start building aggro easily.

Now, hopefully they've also fixed that bug where one of the champions randomly reappears with effective unlimited health during the 2nd or 3rd boss fight and starts wailing away on the party, but if not, hey... at least we can still run out.

September 2, 2009

wow rogue mod RSwapper

This is an update of RogueSwapper by Morfin. It has been completely rewritten, but performs the same function. I used it to learn how to write Ace2 mods and decided to submit it since Morfin hasn't updated his mod for the 2.0 patch.

The original idea is completely from Morfin. All credit goes to him.

In a nutshell, this mod swaps your main-hand weapons when you go in/out of stealth or when your target might be susceptible to a backstab (gouged, stunned, etc.). You specify which weapon should be in your main-hand when stealthed (your dagger) and when not stealthed (your sword). Please note that despite being called dagger and sword, these weapons could be anything; RSwapper doesn't care.

Important notes:

a. RSwapper requires the WeaponQuickSwap mod to work properly. It is NOT included; you'll need to download and install it separately if you don't already have it.

b. RSwapper is an Ace2 mod. Type '/rswapper' to see what the options are.

c: RSwapper is incompatible with RogueSwapper and any other mod that performs weapon swapping, such as StanceSets. Please make sure only one of them is enabled.

WoW Shaman Warning mod

WoW Shaman Warning mod

This mod will play a sound alert when you gain certain shaman buffs/special abilities. I made this because many times I don't even realize I have them due to fights or not reading the entire combat chat.

Will alert you when you gain: Windfury, Elemental Devastation, Flurry. And when you loose water shield.

Type '/sw' for options, you can turn on/off the warnings with:
/sw elemental (for elemental devastation)
/sw windfury (for windfury)
/sw flurry (for flurry)
/sw storm (for eye of the storm)
/sw water (for water shield debuff)

Will try to keep on adding warnings to the mod.

Patch notes for Shaman Warning
- Made some minor changes
- Updated TOC

- Updated TOC
- Updated ACE2 libraries.
- Added water shield warning.

- Cleaned up a little the code so some items wont proc accidentally.
- Updated ACE2 libraries.

August 31, 2009

The new character experience in Cataclysm

As you know, the Cataclysm is going to bring major changes to the whole world of Azeroth. There will only be 5 new zones for leveling above 80 and one new zone for each new race -- the rest of the work they're doing involves changing the old zones, bringing them up to the standards of zones in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King, adding new quests that are more appropriate to the current timeline, and completely rebuilding the areas that just didn't work so well.

You are also probably aware that this is a much-needed improvement. The 1 - 60 leveling process (except for the draenei or blood elf starting areas) has long been fraught with serious flaws. Going through it the first time wasn't so bad, since exploring everything felt so new, but doing it the third and fourth times meant sheer boredom. I remember many times going to a zone, completing many or all of the quests there, and leaving without ever feeling as though I had really "been" there. Except for a few real gems, quests mostly involved spending a lot of time running long distances in order to kill more nameless bad guys -- they felt more like pest control than adventure. Just being there seemed to remove me from the story of Azeroth, and dump me in some other world where there was nothing important happening. Vast stretches of land on the Azeroth map meant absolutely nothing to me as a roleplayer: no character, no story, no meaning.

Gaining experience

Getting to Outland, however, opened a new chapter, even if you had done the quests there before and new there was nothing new to see, they still felt like an actual "experience" of some kind. They flowed more in the manner of an actual story, and by the time you finished a zone, Hellfire Peninsula for example, you felt as though you had "been to Hellfire" and done what people do there. You didn't just deliver messages, kill a few monsters that happened to be lurking in and around nearby caves, and pick up random objects from the ground lying near yet another set of nondescript ruins -- you could exorcise a possessed comrade, make first contact with a lost orcish clan, or uncover the horrifying story behind the Path of Glory. Most of the quests involved you in the area so much that it began to feel like a real environment where things actually happened.

And of course, ever since Wrath was released, players keep coming back to the death knight starting area over and over again, partly because the phasing and storytelling were so nice, but also because it was structured so nicely -- every advancement in the quest line was a natural part of an overarching experience that had a beginning, middle and end, and nothing left you feeling as though you were doing a whole lot of running around for no real purpose. Even if you now the story by heart, you know you're progressing through something that defines your character, not just running errands.

And that is exactly what we have always hoped the rest of the world could be like. If the Cataclysm expansion lives up to our expectations, then perhaps all of Azeroth will be as engaging as Outland and Northrend have been.

Return of the Alt

Of course the whole point of making the old Azeroth new again is so that we can create new characters to enjoy it with. Many roleplayers are already altoholics -- not all of them of course, but lots of them have way too many character ideas. Often we don't like sitting in one skin for too long, and we may even have a whole troupe of characters with all manner of interconnections who interact with our guild members and friends in different ways. Often each of our guildmates has such characters too, and... well, it all gets very complicated.

I, too, started down this path some time ago, but I have since restrained myself to just a few of my favorite characters, usually spread out on multiple servers so that I can have more diverse experiences with each one of them. Until news broke of the Cataclysm, I had completely given up leveling any new character from scratch, no matter how much I wanted to roleplay them. I tried restricting my new characters to death knights, since they can skip most of the old world, but that has also limited my creativity somewhat.

But now that is about to change. Not only will I be eager to try out new goblin and worgen characters, but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up trying some other combination as well. Undoubtedly that is one of Blizzard's main motivations behind the new races, the new class combinations, and the revamp of Azeroth as a whole -- they want the process of going from 1 to the level cap to be one we can enjoy many times over.

Alt epidemic threat level: Orange

However, some might argue that roleplayers generally have too many characters already, and adding more is only going to make the roleplaying environment worse. The main problem with having lots of alts is that it can be so hard to keep track of them all. It's easy to get confused about which alt belongs to which of your friends unless you are in a dedicated RP guild and keep current with all the latest stories going on in your group. If, like me, you've been forced to take breaks for a while, it can be very disorienting to come back to your old guild and not recognize many of the new names there, because old friends have gone and made new characters while you were away. With all the new characters people will be making when Cataclysm comes around, roleplayers will have to pay close attention to avoid getting confused.

Another downside to having so many characters is that it's hard to find time to give them all the time they may deserve. I know from experience how starting even just one new character makes it easy to neglect the old ones, and for roleplayers that can mean neglecting all the relationships those characters have developed as well. Once a character is gone for too long, it's not easy to bring him or her back into the roleplayers' milieu once again -- you get a feeling that everyone around you has moved on, while this character has remained stagnant. You may try to think of reasons to explain their long absence, but often these feel rather flat, more like excuses than actual stories.

On the other hand, maybe this tendency to drift from character to character rather than try to maintain many alts is a good one; in fiction, after all, character's stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. Perhaps the characters we roleplay should go through these stages as well, so that we keep things fresh for ourselves.

Whatever we do, the question of new characters, whether they are alts or new mains, is one that will affect roleplayers now more than ever. Cataclysm will surely shake up the roleplaying world as much as it does everything else. We must choose which new characters to conjure up, which ones to kill off in a blaze of glory, and which ones to simply ignore as they fade away from memory, lost to the clouds of time.

August 30, 2009

Blizzard unveils new WoW expansion: Cataclysm

There will be another expansion pack for World of Warcraft, and it will be Cataclysm-ic! This was the announcement made by Blizzard last Friday at the BlizzCon, promising to shake up WoW as you know it.

Said Chris Metze, Blizzard's vice president of development, "I'm confident it will be nothing less than earth-shattering. It will literally change the world of Azeroth as you know it."

The newest expansion, which first surfaced as news upon the discovery of its filed trademark, is said to include two new races: Goblins for the Horde faction and Worgen for the Alliance faction. There will also be new flying mounts as well as a raise of level cap from 80 to 85.

Blizzard unveils new WoW expansion: Cataclysm
Other new features are:

*new race-class combinations, monsters, dungeons, raids, achievements
*new secondary skill of Archaeology
*heroic settings added to the classic dungeons Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep
*new guild leveling system
*Path of the Titans character progression
*return of classic end-boss, Deathwing
We'll keep you posted as soon as more info comes out for the new Cataclysm expansion for World of Warcraft. In the meantime, check out this trailer.

WoW's 5th anniversary to celebrate by blinging up Onyxia's lair

World of Warcraft's 5th anniversary is in the air, and to celebrate, Blizzard is sending out Patch 3.2. that will re-bling Onyxia's lair. Revealed over at the WoW Forums, the new patch will reportedly revamp her Lair into a 10- and-25-player dungeon, with more new goodies.

Would you like an additional 310% speed flying mount designed after Onyxia herself? Then it's your reward! Not only that, but if you log in during the 5-year event anniversary in November, you'll get an Onyxia Whelpling pet.

Full event announcement right here:

She has lurked in her lair and done battle with the many brave adventurers who travelled to that familiar location over the years. Now, in honor of the World of Warcraft 5-year anniversary, the dreaded brood mother Onyxia is being revamped to make a return to the forefront of Azeroth, as part of our big plans for the upcoming wow 3.2.2 content patch.

This permanent update to Onyxia will convert the dungeon into 10- and 25-player modes. We will be adding new items to Onyxia's loot table that have the same model as some of the classic loot from this dungeon, like Tier 2 helms, with stats updated to match the current level of content. There will be a special new item too: a normal drake-sized 310% speed flying mount modeled after Onyxia herself called an Onyxia Broodling. We will also be updating the encounter mechanics to be more fitting for modern raiding, but we can guarantee players will get to experience the frightening horror of deep breaths once again.

Then for a limited time, after the 5-year anniversary event officially begins in November, anybody who logs in will receive an Onyxia Brood Whelpling pet.

We're very excited to bring this classic encounter back to provide a fun new experience for both new and veteran players. Further details will be available in the near future, and we will be setting up the Public Test Realms soon to help test out this fight along with all the new content we have planned for the patch. Keep an eye on the forums for updates!

Rhabot - Auto Buff Players Outside of Party

World of Warcraft
Rhabot has a feature called AutoBuff that allows your wow bot to automatically buff players who are not in your party. This is yet another way that Rhabot makes your bot appear human to other players.

Rhabot - Auto Buff Players Outside of Party
Supports Game Version: 3.1X
Run: windows , os

When AutoBuff is turned on, Rhabot will scan for players with range of you. If a player is found, Rhabot will first check if the player needs healing (configurable in the AutoBuff panel). If the player needs healing, Rhabot will automatically cast the specified heal spell on the player. Once the healing process is complete, Rhabot will then check if the player is buffed. If the buffs are not found, Rhabot will buff the player according to the buffs you configured.

This is all automatic. You don't have to do anything after configuring AutoBuff!

Rhabot - Auto Buff Players Outside of Party
Download here.