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  • Ilem
  • Member Since Oct 26th, 2008

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World of Warcraft no longer compatible with Windows 2000 in Mists of Pandaria {WoW}

Jan 10th 2012 1:47AM @rd, you might want to try DOSBox to run your old DOS games on Windows or Linux (I'm pretty certain there's probably a Mac version out there as well--it's open-source software). The DOSBox Wiki has some good solutions, and it's worth it even for really picky-about-hardware games like "Star Trek: A Final Unity" (which, while relatively boring, I still love playing). "Orcs & Humans" is shown as playable and supported (meaning they have working configuration settings in their wiki), the CD edition of "TIE Fighter" (was there a floppy version?) is shown to run, once a LucasArts patch is installed to take care of some joystick bugs.

Supporting games for future operating systems may be as much of a nightmare for publishers as supporting them on legacy systems. DOS software is 16-bit and can't rely on a hardware abstraction layer, meaning that DOS games had to ship support for a wide range of hardware so they could work relatively directly with graphics and sound adapters. Windows doesn't like that, so it was even hard to get more-than-just-basic DOS games to work even in Windows 3.1.

Now imagine the magic Microsoft does to support 16-bit Windows software on 32-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista and 7--if that software does anything funky, it might just not work on those newer releases. There's no support for 16-bit Windows software on 64-bit versions of Windows.

So a game publisher would have to--in addition to paying designers and developers to create the game and then to support it on current operating systems--invest in supporting and recompiling code to run directly on future OS' (or encapsulate the software to be emulated on newer systems). For how many years? For what price tag on the game package? Or a subscription model?

The old DOS Monkey Island games have been remade, packaged to run on currently supported Windows versions now, for example. Nintendo repackages Super NES games to run on the Wii. But that usually involves paying for those repackaged versions--yes, because there's work going into those. If you're not interested in doing that, it's up to emulation or virtualization (i.e. running an older operating system on virtual hardware using VirtualBox or Windows Virtual PC), and chances are, there are web sites out there that tell you how to get a certain game running. When I buy software for PC (as opposed to the pretty consistent hardware that consoles have), I expect support and viability for two, three years, or until I make the switch to a newer operating system or try to make use of newer hardware architecture; after that, I'm on my own in figuring out how to run it. It's unfortunate, but money buys only so much.

@pyromelter, your answer is quite concise. I'm a little envious now, because I spent so much time and so many words on mine. ;)

Breakfast Topic: Would you mind moving for second? {WoW}

Jan 6th 2012 10:45AM I don't mind the "Hunter, go ask this guy on the other side of the courtyard what's for dinner / Well, go back to him and tell him we'll have steak" quests all that much, but the cross-continent courier quests in Vanilla were of course annoying. The courier quests were nice calls to exploring parts of the world you might not have been before, but time-intensive would be the politically correct term I'd call some of them.

The other extreme, Cata's quest hub-ism where ... oh, look! they're giving me five quests I can do right at the same time in the same 50 square yards and then they'll send me on to the next quest hub ... and if there aren't dailies, I know I'll never set foot in this encampment ever again--that's a little annoying, too. Cataclysm's new zones feel quite empty because they're huge, but most subregions contain perhaps up to 15 quests or so and serve no purpose whatsoever after you've completed those. I didn't get a real world-like feeling from the new zones, and judging from the southeastern part of Hyjal, most of Twilight Highlands and all of Uldum, Blizzard's designers forgot that any single zone subregion can support multiple storylines.

On the other hand, I remember the Vanilla Plaguelands zones fondly--you had Chillwind Camp and Light's Hope Chapel as hubs with other (admittedly hard to find, sometimes) quests strewn in between, and their quests had you move all over the place in those two zones and their respective instances and gave you a good sense of the geography of those zones. The Plaguelands pre-cataclysm felt like a good middle between the inane EK/Kalimdor shuttle quests and the boredom of stringing from Region of Interest A to Region of Interest B like the Twilight Highlands kept doing.

Scattered Shots: Hunter spell alerts guide {WoW}

Nov 4th 2010 2:15PM Also, I guess I'll need to play around with my combat text settings--I got rid of scrolling battle text add-ons as 4.0.1 came out and my add-on of choice wasn't updated yet, but I still can't see the green text as an aura pops up. I usually hate when Blizzard changes some interface setting that I need to fix up again, but in this case, I wish there'd be a standard setting the WoW client returned to during the upgrade to 4.0.1 so I'd see the text...

Scattered Shots: Hunter spell alerts guide {WoW}

Nov 4th 2010 2:11PM Thank you Frostheim, that article was definitely needed. It's good to finally know what these things want to tell me, because I couldn't trace any connection between auras appearing and my combat log at all...

BlizzCon 2010: Cataclysm login screen {WoW}

Oct 24th 2010 1:09AM Yeah, at least the launcher went on mute in the volume mixer right away. Sad there's no option (as far as I know) for the login screen.

BlizzCon 2010: Classic dungeon changes in patch 4.1 {WoW}

Oct 23rd 2010 7:52AM I feel like you *are* supposed to get at least a bit disoriented during your first few runs in a particular dungeon. There's a balance to achieve here: give players a sense of exploration, gloomy expectation and disorientation, but don't stick them in three-hour dungeon runs filled with the frustration of running back and forth, trying to figure out where they are now because all hallways look eerily similar.

Blackrock Spire and Sunken Temple are close to the latter extreme, but they do have areas that have distinct looks to provide orientation. Places like Blackrock Depths and Razorfen Kraul fares much worse, because, discounting a few significantly distinct areas, everything looks the same. On the other end of the scale are places like Utgarde Keep and Shadow Labyrinth (still trying to figure out under which pile of bones the secret trap door to the labyrinthine section of that dungeon is hidden) that are so streamlined that running them gets pretty boring after just a few successful attempts.

There definitely is a need to draw in, but not overpower, new and casual players as the subscription base keeps growing, but leave a few interesting bits for players who like to be challenged (heck, I'm not an endgamer by any means, but I don't like the game too easy, either). In my mind, dungeons like Stratholme, Scholomance and even the Wrath entry-level Nexus are pretty successful: non-linear but still not too disorienting, distinct areas and rooms with different mob types and a definite chance to run into a boss no matter how you move through the place.

If it gets too complex, perhaps a twist on the escort quest would be decent: place an NPC (without annoying antics or wordy dialogue) at the entrance to a dungeon who can offer to act as a guide. Give that NPC an ability to bubble during fights so players don't have to keep it alive and have it point in the right direction after each boss fight. Groups that are familiar with the dungeon layout can bypass that NPC and complete the run on their own. Sounds like a decent compromise for those huge and truly labyrinthine dungeons.

The Queue: What's that, Deathwing? {WoW}

Oct 8th 2010 4:29PM I can only speak from my experience in Shadow Lab on the PTR (with my transferred MM hunter), because I ran that place way too many times for Lower City rep on live recently. After I'd figured out the MM tree and gave my wolf some talents, it went much more quickly and smoothly than on live. Volleys going away were absolutely no problem--gotten way too used to using those in Wrath dungeons, so it's a nice change. I'll agree with what Cutaia heard, hunting seems fun on PTR, but I haven't tried any of the endgame content with the new class system.

Breakfast Topic: What I won't miss {WoW}

Jun 29th 2010 3:58AM Before Wrath, I didn't really do dungeons at level (it was a sociophobic thing I've gotten rid of since), and in Northrend, I started doing most dungeons thanks to LFG and pretty quickly lost interest because those instances are often linear to absurd levels. But when I drop back into Classic dungeons like Blackrock Depths and Spire, Scholomance or Dire Maul, I think how impressive and hard those must have been at 55 to 60. Now that I'm comfortable with running with groups, I'd rather have dungeons that involve exploration--it's also a little more logical that big, bad bosses would design their places so intruders aren't funneled from the entrance straight to the boss' lair.

I do hope dungeons in Cataclysm will be a little more engaging. They don't need to be as confusing as Sunken Temple or Lower Blackrock Spire (in which the minimap becomes useless as it wraps all levels into a single mess of pixels), but a few dead ends, multiple routes and even doodads you have to activate in order to open doors or clear paths (like in Steamvault or Blackrock Depths) would seem interesting. Even an ultimately linear place like Underbog seems complex compared to Wrath dungeons because all those twists and turns and different-looking areas make you think you might still get lost with one wrong turn. (One bit of laziness I'll probably never overcome: I love exit portals right behind the boss. Need more of those. :) )

Breakfast Topic: I believe I can fly {WoW}

Jun 3rd 2010 3:47PM I'll probably take a seat on my gryphon in Booty Bay, fly a few feet straight up (hopefully high enough to surpass the tallest peak on the way), point its beak towards Eastern Plaguelands and hit autorun (well, autofly). Then sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

Blizzard gets an F at the Better Business Bureau {WoW}

Apr 20th 2009 3:52PM Wow, this is pretty interesting. Not that the Better Business Bureau ever was important, because it does look like an organization that disgruntled people run to in order to have their annoyances be heard.

An 'F' grade is completely unjustified. Blizzard doesn't earn an 'A' grade in my eyes, either, but it performs pretty decently. World of Warcraft runs most of the time, issues that do appear seem to be fixed (except for that horrible Catlyn's Blade quest...) and in-game support techs try to help as best they can (I worked in tech support for another huge software manufacturer; tech support personnel is often not given exactly all that it needs to get the job done--not their fault).

Actually, BBB ratings are all about subjective experience. It's easy to threaten a company by saying "I'll go to the Better Business Bureau if you don't comply". If someone's happy about Blizzard's business practices, they evangelize to their friends. If someone's aggravated about Blizzard's business practices, they complain to the BBB. A rating from a company that people only think about when they have problems with a service provider or other business isn't representative of the entire customer base, but only of the part of the customer base (I'm not going to guess how big or small that fraction is) that has had bad experiences.

2574 complaints over three years aren't much, considering the World of Warcraft subscriber base. Almost 84% of those have reportedly been resolved favorably by Blizzard making adjustments or providing refunds. If the 403 complaints that Blizzard refused to adjust to because of terms of service are added to this, Blizzard resolved over 99% of all complaints over the last three years by either refunding some or all account dues, making adjustments within the TOS or referring to the TOS--which are obviously placed in the game client after almost every patch. Seems like a good going rate, and I have no clue where the 'F' grade comes from.

By the way, Microsoft Corp. has an A+ rating. Interesting, considering it's many a computer user's favorite whipping boy. I wonder how Blizzard's support department's customer satisfaction surveys compare to those of Microsoft's Professional Support Services...

(Also, customer reviews on the BBB web site can be rated either "helpful" or "funny". "Funny" doesn't sound like something that should appear on a professional, dry business web site in this century.)