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  • Sarah
  • Member Since Jun 2nd, 2010

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BlizzCon 2010: DirecTV Ghostcrawler interview {WoW}

Oct 23rd 2010 10:53PM It would probably work on me. :-)
But I'd find a way to get a pony out of it.

Breakfast Topic: Has playing WoW changed your life? {WoW}

Oct 14th 2010 6:21PM @Mindee I'm sorry but your thinking here is just plain wrong. If someone asks "how has cocaine changed your life?" an appropriate response might be "it caused me to lose my spouse, my health and my job." No credible addiction counselor researcher will tell you that addiction is a problem of will power and self control. We have many brain imaging studies and decades of clinical histories that tell us otherwise very clearly.

WoW and gaming or Internet addictions are a real thing. The structure of MMO games like wow triggers a cascade of dopamine in your brain very much like like the addictive effects of cocaine and heroin. Not everyone responds the same way, and there are obviously distinctions to be drawn between exogenous and endogenous sources of neurochemicals. However, the things that gaming does to your brain can, for some people, be just as real and uncontrollable an addiction as a drug.

I play WoW and I enjoy it. The fact some people get addicted doesn't make it bad or evil. This is a plea for tolerance, education and understanding of the real problem that is addiction. Part of recovering from an addiction is taking responsibility for your actions. Another part is recognizing the addiction as not a weakness of will, but as a function of brain chemistry.

Being an addict doesn't make a bad person, it makes you a sick person who needs help. If you (or anyone you know) has a problem with gaming or any other addiction, get help. People do get better.

Don't listen to all the people who claim you just need more will power: they are ignorant and wrong.

The Queue: /facepalm {WoW}

Sep 8th 2010 4:54AM People who don't work in software often make wrong assumptions about the size of the data stored being a limiting factor in situations like this. The data is almost always considerably smaller than people imagine. Engineering costs and data migration are usually the issue. Have you actually considered the numbers here?

Suppose a typical server has something like 10,000 user-created characters.
Suppose Blizzard increased the character name size limit from 12 characters to 32 characters—20 extra chars.
Suppose, very pessimistically, that Blizzard uses UTF-16 at 2 bytes per character.

In the worst case here, we're talking about 2 bytes/char x 20 chars/toon x 10000 toons = 40 kB. Even if you assume a million toons per server, and a substantial amount of denormalization, this storage cost to make these changes is not going to be more than a few dollars per server.

The more likely answer, both for character name and backpack size, is that they baked in a fixed character name and backpack size early on in their assumptions, and it's just a lot of work to go fix the code to be more flexible. Alternately, they just like it the way it is.

Personally, I think long names would create a lot of problems and the multi-server environment prevents much collision. If you actually follow the naming rules instead of coming up with joke names or naming yourself after some existing character, it's not at all difficult to come up with a unique, appropriate-sounding name with no accented characters.

Spiritual Guidance: Shield spam and Divine Aegis, a theorycrafting story {WoW}

Sep 7th 2010 3:15PM I've read the comment(s) you talked about. First of all, being occasionally wrong isn't a lack of professionalism. If you see the way Ghostcrawler responds quite intelligently to the forums, without getting sucked in, it's somewhat amazing to me that you can accuse him of a lack of professionalism.

Second, it's not at all clear that he's relying on these estimated numbers, that he throws out in a form to explain a philosophical shift, to balance the actual numbers—especially when they haven't even *started* balancing the cataclysm numbers yet.

All GC has really said is the days of spamming shields are going to be gone, and that good disc priests are going to have to use more of their other spells more often. This is the same treatment that every other class is getting. The numbers were meant as an illustration.

Do you really think it's gonna be a bad thing that healing becomes less of a spamfest where you press one or two buttons over and over? Do you think the most good disc priests aren't spamming lots of bubbles most of the time in ICC? If you do, argue that. Don't QQ because somebody gave a bad estimate in the forums when they've said over & over that they haven't even started looking at the numbers yet.

WoW Moviewatch: Darrowshire {WoW}

Aug 20th 2010 6:00PM Darrowshire was one of those unforgettable, moving, sad quest lines in WoW that really touched me. The first times I did this was one of the times I really remember crying over one of the stories.

We won't even get into the literal bawling when I first had to give Dornaa (the draenei girl) back to the orphanage in Shattrath. Let's just say they almost had to put out an amber alert.

During some of these great storyline moments, I really believe WoW shines a bright light on war, love, family, duty and good—teaching us more about the essence of being human even while we lead our relatively safe and predictable normal lives absent these regular dangers and tragedies. Not that all of the game is so poignant or profound, but I truly believe WoW's best moments reach the artistically profound, morally and culturally.

A City of Heroes-style mentoring system "in the long-term plan" for Cataclysm {WoW}

Aug 20th 2010 2:28PM "WhatsHisName Must Die!"

I'm all for finding ways to reopen lower-level and lower-tier raids that allows you to play them without being overpowered. But the idea of a lower-tier weekly raid with a guaranteed current-tier reward is very much alive and well in Azeroth.

WoW in 3D doesn't work so well {WoW}

Jul 6th 2010 9:08AM It's not really a trick. It's just showing a different image to each of your two eyes, which is *exactly* what happens in the real world. The *only* difference between a 3d display and looking at a real object is the lack of motion parallax (different angles as you move your head from side to side).

If you think 3d movies are blurry, you've only been to a crappy theater with a poor screen or a weak projector light. And you've possibly seen some of the older 3d movies that try too hard to elicit oohs and aahs instead of just using 3d to deepen the effect. Toy Story 3 is probably the best yet at using 3d to enrich the image without going for cheap thrills.

Complaining about 3d video is kinda like complaining about newfangled stereo audio. You have two ears, thus at least 2 speakers. You have 2 eyes, thus at least two image projections. (Incidentally, the use of more than 2 speakers for 3-d audio is to do some amount of positioning compensation, and there are video systems in development that use more than 2 images to compensate for side-to-side motion of your head, providing some motion parallax).

In any case, 3d video is quite popular, and probably here to stay. Most people like it.

Cataclysm Beta: Guild perks {WoW}

Jul 6th 2010 8:55AM Actually the reason they added the 1-hour mail delay was to fix an old gold– and item-duplication exploit. It went something like this as I recall:

* make a toon with an illegal name
* earn or transfer a bunch of gold
* get a friend to report you for having an illegal name
* GM will contact you telling you they will freeze your account & log you out in a few min to change your name.
* Mail all your stuff to your friend
* When you change name & log back in, you have all your old "frozen" stuff, plus your friend has a copy too.

There are clearly more ways to make sending mail and freezing accounts truly transactional and atomic, but a delay on mail was an easy way to fix this without major software changes. A true ACID-compliant database backing a distributed MMO like WoW would be unnecessarily (and prohibitively) expensive both in server resources and, worse, game latency: optimistic locking in a distributed system gives you huge performance gains at the risk of some bad behavior if you're not careful. This is an example of a race condition causing bad behavior.

WoW Moviewatch: Avatar Days {WoW}

Jun 2nd 2010 5:35PM This was a great short documentary. I agree with all the comments though… as a female player, and knowing that around 15% of WoW players are female, it would've been nice to see us represented.

Anyway, I think the mirror represents more than just a statement that there is no identity issue. In fact, I think the mirror shows us that fantasy is a way for us to explore and express our identity. The game acts as a mirror that helps show us who we really are as we face dramatic, challenging situations we don't often encounter in our real lives.

Modern civilization makes our lives relatively safe and easy. Gaming is one way people express their innate need to band together and overcome threatening adversity: to fight for both their survival and a better existence. Of course it can become very unhealthy for some, but at its best it allows an unparalleled kind of self-expression and exploration.