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  • Brent Traut
  • Member Since Mar 13th, 2007

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Recent Comments:

Patch 4.0.6 pre-release patch notes {WoW}

Feb 7th 2011 8:15PM It's great that you guys post patch notes, but it's pretty hard to digest page after page of blue text on a black background. mmo-champion isn't worlds better, but they at least sift over the changes and link to items, abilities, etc, and they break up the sections with better headings and class colors. We all know WoWInsider isn't the first source to deliver patch notes, so I challenge you to step up and make them more readable than anywhere else.

mmo-champion's patch notes for comparison:

In defense of gear simulations {WoW}

Feb 4th 2011 8:00PM Oh yeah! I definitely use SimulationCraft and I often use the Helter Skelter numbers as closer to truth than Patchwerk. My comment was directed more towards spreadsheets which often have an easier learning-curve than SimulationCraft, but rarely give the option to simulate adds or movement.

In defense of gear simulations {WoW}

Feb 4th 2011 7:27PM I'm completely fine with people who don't think simulations (either spreadsheets or trial simulators) are necessary to perform. After all, it's a game and it's fun to play with or without heavy calculation. But please, don't try to push your target dummy results on me as definitive unless you sat on that dummy all day long (with the appropriate raid buffs).

Spreadsheets and trial simulators also have serious biases -- most are only configurable in a tank-n-spank (Patchwerk-style) scenario which is really only valid for, well, Patchwerk. Adding movement, phases, and other boss mechanics adds yet another variable into the experiment, and it's difficult to predict the results perfectly. But that doesn't make target dummies or daily/weekly boss kill parses any more reliable.

Make the game what you want it to be. For those of us who want to remain competitive, we'll use every tool we can get to stay on top, spreadsheets and sims included.

Blood Pact: Storming Throne of Four Winds as a warlock {WoW}

Jan 31st 2011 6:07PM It was mentioned in a few places, but not where it most counts -- Demonic Teleport is a powerhouse on Rohash's platform. In my guild, I solo Rohash as a Destruction Warlock, and I'm rarely worried about getting blown off. If I put my portal on the ground and then stand at a 90-degree angle to it, even if I get hit by Wind Blast, I can portal back out of harm's way.

Another tip to Warlocks who would like to cover Rohash duty -- Both Affliction and Destruction have the necessary tools to self-sustain without any changes to spec or gear. Affliction has all the usual drains that bring them back to full heath. For Destruction, replacing Incinerate with Soul Fire as your filler will mean more Soul Leech gains. I'm not clear if Demo has the necessary tools to sustain. Better Fel Armor and perhaps a Soul Link glyph as well as eating Healthstones on cooldown may be enough.

Blood Pact: Warlocks in Blackwing Descent, part 2 {WoW}

Jan 24th 2011 7:39PM Great article! I have a few pro-tips and responses:

- Bane of Havoc is an incredibly useful tool for Meloriak as well. Demo is still the clear winner for AoE damage, but Destro can still place high on the meters with well controlled use of Banes. I start the fight with a Bane of Doom and make sure I get a Bane of Havoc up on Meloriak right before green phase. Make sure to have some form of Curse of the Elements on Meloriak, and even better, on all the adds as well (through another Warlock's Jinx or other class' equivalents). Not only 15% of your damage on EACH add will be reflected, but you will double-dip on Curse of the Elements and squeeze out a non-negligible gain.

- "Although Bane of Havoc is a good tool during this phase, you may want to avoid it." I really don't understand your reasoning here. Bane of Havoc is a controlled source of damage, and this point of the Nef fight is a DPS race split across two targets. If too much damage is on Ony, put the Bane on her and switch to Nef. If it's still a problem, you likely have too many players focusing Ony to begin with. Blizzard has designed many fights this expansion that require damage to arrive at the right pace, but slowing DPS on BOTH targets on this encounter is not the right answer.

- While this tip is not new or groundbreaking, I see too many Warlocks ignore it: ALWAYS have a Demonic Circle down somewhere, and use it liberally. I find that spending the global to teleport is often a DPS increase over running and shooting dinky little Fel Flames. On Atramedes, if a Sonar Pulse is on it's way and you're halfway through casting a Soul Fire, interrupting that cast can cost you a ton of extra time. With a Demonic Circle out of harms way, you can finish your cast and instantly flee to safety. You can also use Demonic Circle to put some distance between you and an enraged Chimaeron.

32 GB versus 32GB: Almost everyone is writing it wrong {}

Dec 16th 2010 6:20PM Really? Of all the criticisms a tech editorial could choose, you went after the space between a number and its unit? The idea that you're willing to write about a detail that likely interests about .001% of your readers frustrates me far more than the "issue" your article exposes. This article isn't even about Apple or the tech industry other than the fact that you found examples on

As for your argument, Apple and the other tech companies are merely styling some metric relevant to the device, and they likely chose to use no space because it was the most digestable and attractive way to present it. The argument between "gigabytes" and "gibibytes" is far more relevent because it leads the average consume to believe their drive has more space than it actually does, but the difference between a space and no space spurs no miscommunication or misunderstanding.

I'm usually a stickler when it comes to following precedence and standards, but I will bend my rules when it results in a better experience for the end user. After all, it's these "better experiences" that drive standards forward in the first place. If we all waited for standards to be written and followed to a T before changing, you wouldn't see TUAW using a transitional DOCTYPE.

Gold Capped: The Undermine Journal may have to close down {WoW}

Dec 10th 2010 5:28PM Well written as usual, Euripides.

It's absolutely unfortunate that UJ needs to access all of the Auction House data by emulating Mobile Auction House interactions. There's little reason Blizzard shouldn't provide web services outright for people to fetch this data. Blizzard provides APIs ingame for addons such as Auctioneer to make these scans, and they can still control who calls external web services by requiring the usual WoW subscription and a Mobile Auction House subscription. Private APIs likely already exist, as the iPhone application allows for AH scanning.

As the technical side is certainly solvable by Blizzard, this leaves their intentions, and I suspect it is Blizzard's intentions to keep this sort of data behind a $5/mo subscription rather than published to the world for free by UJ. If true, I'm sure many UJ users would be happy paying Blizzard this money if they'd present the data as well as UJ does.

Good luck, UJ!

The Lawbringer: The dangers of addon auto-updaters {WoW}

Dec 10th 2010 5:11PM WoWInsider -- Kody's qualification of Curse security should be strong enough for you to remove (or at least update) this article. Do your research before directing your misleading Flash paranoia at honest developers.

The Lawbringer: The dangers of addon auto-updaters {WoW}

Dec 10th 2010 5:08PM This article contains a lot of misleading information. It's one thing to be a non-techie and to be paranoid -- if you don't understand a subject, paranoia will keep you a bit safer. It's another thing to preach this misunderstanding to other users.

All content you execute from your machine has the potential to be harmful, and as such, you need to be careful from whom you get software. Curse is a trusted source, as is WoWInterface, and as such, it's okay to install their auto-updating software.

Your point in this article is that the content these programs can deliver may be malicious. This is only partially true. First, the addons that they download are not executable files, and the updaters make no attempts to execute them. They're just text files that get dropped in your WoW folder, and WoW executes them during gameplay. WoW has extremely limited APIs and gives no access to your file system or permissions, and as such, the addons can do no more harm than screw with your WoW settings and cause LUA errors.

The second source of content, as you pointed out, is through ads. Curse certain uses Flash for their ads, and the whole internet knows that Flash is a ball of security holes. It's up to Curse and other addon hosts to manage which Flash content is pushed to users. This is tied to trusting the host, not the updater program. If you don't trust Curse Client, you can't trust either.

A final point about Flash -- keeping your Flash version completely up-to-date will prevent a lot of headaches in the long run. 99% of existing Flash exploits are already patched and simply effective because of old versions on client machines. If you're still concerned, consider uninstalling Flash altogether. Google Chrome comes with its own bottled Flash plugin, so it's possible to run Flash in the browser without installing it systemwide. Another great Mac alternative is to use ClickToFlash, a plugin that prevents Flash content from being executed until the user clicks on it.

To WoWInsider - Please reconsider your poorly-researched, paranoid article. As a warning to users, it's irresponsible.

To Curse and other addon hosts - Please keep producing great software, and go the extra mile to validate or simply avoid all Flash content.

Breakfast Topic: AH undercutting = bargain shopping {WoW}

Sep 26th 2010 5:55PM The truth of the matter is that the WoW AH is close to a real life economy in some ways, but not others. In WoW, every single product is exactly the same as every other -- you can't make a Mithril Bar with extra features. As such, price and stack size are your only variables for selling a certain good.

Some commenters pointed out that stack sizes played into their buying decisions -- this is definitely proved to be true, as players often don't want to buy in bulk for some items (say, Cardinal Rubies), but often don't want to click a thousand times for others (say, Infinite Dust). Listing the right stack size is as close a value add as you can get within the scope of one item.

As far as undercutting on a per-item basis, this is often a sign of a market reaching equilibrium. If a person can still make profit on an item while undercutting the lowest price, there's little incentive for him to not undercut. Other commenters complained about huge mark-up on leveling mats such as Iron and Mithril Bars -- these are marked high because of a much higher demand than supply, and the cost of acquiring them (yes, every player's farming time is worth something) justifies the price.

A final note -- I'd wager a guess that 90% of the gold in WoW belongs to 10% of players meaning that only a limited number of people have actually understood the WoW economy well enough to make a lot of money on it. Most sellers don't have the time or expertise to compete in AH PvP, and in the end, today's Breakfast Topic is going to be way more meaningful for the buyers of goods, not the sellers.