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Posts with tag Windows

How World of Warcraft has influenced the development of Windows


You might think that World of Warcraft, being a mere video game, couldn't possibly influence the development of the world's most popular operating system. However, there are enough WoW players -- and other gamers -- running Windows that this isn't the case. Microsoft programmer Raymond Chen reports that Microsoft changed the way certain hotkeys work at the request of numerous gamers.

The issue? People gaming in full-screen could, quite easily, accidentally hit the "Windows" hotkey that fired up a program in their Start menu that would pull them out of the game and into something completely different. And in the time it takes for the new program to launch and you to alt-tab back to your game, you're stuck doing a corpse run. Now that's some thoughtful programming!

Thanks to reader Skelnik for the tip!

Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: How many of you play on a Mac?

This was a reader suggestion, and a good one: Zvonimir wants to know how many of us WoW players use a Mac to play the game. Blizzard has steadfastly put out Mac and Windows versions of all their games ever since the original Warcraft, but this is not at all the norm in the industry. There are only a few other major MMOs I can think of that even have official Mac versions (EVE, Warhammer, City of Heroes, um...anything else?). Sure, we can always run some sort of virtualization (like Crossover Games, which supports WoW on Linux) or Boot Camp, but that's just less awesome than running something in your regular OS.

Anyway, here's the question for today: what platform do you usually use to play WoW?

What platform do you play WoW on?
Windows16183 (69.6%)
Mac6555 (28.2%)
Linux498 (2.1%)


Please no flaming in the comments. This is not a "which is better, Mac or Windows" poll. Inappropriate comments will be gladly deleted.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Hardware

World of Warcraft on Windows 7 RC

Later this year Microsoft will release its next major desktop operating system, Windows 7. After deciding now was the time to expand my hard drives (because I really need 3TBs of space), I took the opportunity to install the "release candidate." The release candidate of Windows 7 is just that -- it's a version of the operating system that while still in development, has all the bells and whistles, and is essentially the exact same thing that'll be sold on the shelves.

The installation and configuration of Windows 7 went very smoothly. For the technically inclined, my computer has four gigs of RAM and operates off of two dual-core Intel Core2 processors. I have an nVidia GTX 260 graphics card, which is the latest generation. There's a bunch of other bells and whistles that I have as well, but those are the big things relevant to what I do every day here at WoW.com and how I play WoW.

Prior to installing Windows 7, I used Windows Vista updated to the latest patches. I got about 60 FPS on average, with a maximum of around 100 while idling in some far off place with not a lot of traffic; and a minimum of about 50 while in some of the more graphic intensive raids / battlegrounds. After installing Windows 7 I was running at about 75 FPS average, with a maximum still of around 100. However more importantly my FPS during raids / Wintergrasp shot up to 70.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides, Hardware

Twittering from the World of Warcraft

Just in case you needed any more Twitter in your life (I'm getting to the point where I really don't), enter the PlayXpert Twitter widget, part of the PlayXpert gaming toolset, a free Windows application that you can download to run alongside your PC games (very similar to Xfire and that type of application). It's a little bloaty if all you want to do is run Twitter alongside WoW, but unfortunately, that functionality will never be available in an addon, as addons can't interact with any other outside sites.

The poor man's solution here is to just run WoW in windowed mode and have your Twitter browser or client open right next to it -- you don't need a big application if you really need to be connected at all times. But if you want to livetweet your raid without sacrificing screen space to windowed mode, PlayXpert is one way to do it. It'll even do some autotwittering for you if you want.

And of course if you're on Twitter already, don't forget to follow our WoW Insider Twitter account. We've already hit our goal of over 9,000 followers (and yes, a video version of the podcast is coming soon), but we're constantly throwing out little pieces of news, discussion and even some giveaways over there, so follow us if you're interested.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

WoW Rookie: Will my computer run WoW?

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Playing WoW is no fun at all if your system doesn't cut the mustard. If you've just started playing on hardware of questionable power, you may believe you're clicking along just fine -- only to watch your frame rate come to a grinding halt the first time you're faced with a raid or Battleground full of players moving, casting and otherwise wreaking havoc (to both the game environment and your system).

Lots of players start out playing WoW on hand-me-down computer systems. In fact, the spouse who starts playing on an old hunk o' junk, only to become hooked and then upgrade to a hotter rig than that of the established player, has become something of a gaming cliché. The thing to remember here is that a system that will run WoW will not provide the same enjoyment as a system that runs it well.

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Filed under: Features, WoW Rookie, Hardware

WoW's EULA and Blizzard's OS support

Cory Doctorow posted on Boing Boing the other day about WoW's EULA being unreadable when installing the game on Linux. And obviously he's right -- Linux doesn't always have the font that Blizzard's installer uses, and so when you try to run it on Linux, you get gibberish, at least during installation. But there's more to this story here -- running WoW on Linux is actually unsupported by Blizzard: you can do it, and it's not against the EULA or ToS (in fact, Blizzard actually worked with the WINE guys to make sure the game ran correctly), but obviously any issues you have are an "at your own risk" kind of situation. So Doctorow's pretty much out of luck (or in luck as the case may be -- it's unlikely a EULA could be enforced on an unsupported system).

And Linux isn't the only unsupported major OS out there -- Microsoft will release the beta of Windows 7, the new version of Windows, into the wild on January 10th, and Blizzard has made it clear that they won't support that, either, at least until it gets out of beta and into a release state. Of course, Microsoft has an interest in making sure old versions of Windows software work with the new OS, but if you only have one computer and absolutely need to play WoW on it, you should stay away from Windows 7 until the bugs are ironed out.

Then again, there are worse OSes to deal with.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware

How to uninstall the PTR client

A minor but important point: do not run the uninstaller to remove the Public Test Realm (PTR) client, just delete the PTR folder. Most people can find the PTR client inside the "WoWTest" folder, which resides in the "World of Warcraft" folder. More specifically, you should be able to locate the WoW Test folder in "C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft" or "C:\Program Files (x86)\World of Warcraft\". If you have MacOS X the "WoWTest" folder is stored in "Macintosh HD::Applications::World of Warcraft".

Other people can find the PTR client inside of the folder "C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft Public Test" in Windows Vista and "C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft Public Test" in WindowsXP. MacOS X users can find the files in "MacintoshHD::Applications::World of Warcraft Public Test".

This important bit of information came from blue poster Maaven on the official forums today. With Patch 3.0.2 being released tomorrow, the PTR client is useless and came be safely removed. But be sure that you remove it the way Maaven suggests.

WoW Insider will have a lot of 3.0.2 coverage tomorrow. We'll also be keeping the light on tonight and will get you the patch notes as soon as they appear.

Filed under: Patches, News items

Thirteen WoW windows in 36 seconds with an SSD


This is cool, but pretty technical -- if you don't know your USB from your Firewire, it might not make much sense. But the guys at TGDaily were apparently playing around with a Fusion-io solid state hard drive at E for All last weekend, and to show off the drive, they loaded up thirteen World of Warcraft windows in just 36 seconds.

Normal hard drives, like the one in your computer (unless you've already shelled out a ton of cash for an SSD) have discs in them that spin, and they take time to find the information stored on them -- that's why, when you double click your WoW icon, it takes a few seconds (up to a few minutes if you've got a slower computer) for your WoW window to load up. But a "solid state" hard drive doesn't have discs or moving parts -- it's essentially one big block of memory -- so it's much, much faster in terms of retriving information. And what's going on in the video on their website is that they're pulling so much information from the hard drive that WoW is installed on that it's taking only seconds to load up thirteen windows' worth of WoW.

Of course, how fast all of those windows actually run depends on a lot of other things in the computer -- you'd need a lot more than just an SSD to have the video power to run 13 separate 3D windows at the same time (though TGDaily says they weren't breaking the bank at 5 instances running, they just didn't have any more accounts), not to mention the bandwidth that would come from 13 different connections. But just the startup is interesting enough -- eventually these SSD drives will become cheap enough to be used all over the place, and information will be almost instantly accessible from wherever it's stored on your PC.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Hardware

New Nvidia beta drivers, and a fix for WoW in SLI mode

I have to admit, sometimes I dread it when new video card drivers come out. It always seems like something about them goes wrong, and one of my favorite games refuses to work well with them, and I end up having to roll back to some old drivers just to play what I want to play again. That said, sometimes they also work well, and your graphics run smoother, and life is good. As Alex said to me earlier, Azeroth is a whole lot prettier when it's at 90 fps instead of 10 fps.

But seriously, to the point. Here's a heads up to all our Nvidia card users who like living on the edge as far as upgrading goes. Nvidia has just released new beta drivers for their graphics cards. We repeat: these are beta drivers, so only install if you know what you're doing.

Here's the links:

WoW gets a mention in the release notes as well. If you've been having performance problems in WoW lately and you have a Geforce 6800/6600 GT, it looks like there might be a fix for you.

[Via worldofwar.net]

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Filed under: News items, Hardware

How to put WoW Insider on your Windows Vista Sidebar

In an ongoing series of articles we'll show you how to put WoW Insider on your own blog, guild website, personal website, or even on your computer's desktop. For a complete list of the software that's covered, check out our guide's index.

About Windows Vista


Love it or hate it, eventually you'll probably end up using it. One of the neat features of Vista is the Sidebar, which is a place where you can put widgets that do different things, like tell the time, show what your EVE Online character is training, or tell you what the weather is like outside.

How to add WoW Insider to your Windows Vista's Sidebar.



1. Right click on your Sidebar and choose "Add Gadgets..."



2. This will open up the gadgets window. Double click the "Feed Headlines" gadget.
3. Close the gadgets window.



4. You'll now see the new gadget added at the top of your sidebar.



5. Open up Microsoft Internet Explorer and go to http://wow.joystiq.com/rss.xml
6. Click the "Subscribe to this feed" link.



7. A window will open up. The default settings will be fine. Click the "Subscribe" button.
8. Position your mouse over the feed gadget on your side bar and click the little wrench icon. It'll appear towards the upper right hand side of the gadget.



9. A window like the one above will slide out of the gadget, asking you what feed you want to display.
10. Choose to display "WoW Insider", and set the number of headlines to whatever you want.
11. Click the "Ok" button.



12. You're done! Left click on a feed headline to read the WoW Insider article.

Filed under: How-tos, Odds and ends

The obvious report: Wrath will not require Vista

Just in case you were wondering (or if your friend used the mediocre Shadowrun FPS as proof that all games from now on will require Vista), no, we're almost sure that there's no way Wrath of the Lich King will require Windows Vista to run. In fact, even though Neth is only kind of certain in the thread, we'll make it 100%: you won't need Vista to run the next expansion.

Not only is Vista not exactly setting even high-end gamers' hearts afire, but Blizzard is traditionally about as lenient as it gets on system requirements. They did up the ante a little bit when Burning Crusade was released, and we do know that Wrath will require a little more of your computer with those shiny ice shaders (not too much more -- they may ask for more RAM or a faster than the current 800mhz processor). But as much as Microsoft would love what may again be the best selling expansion in the world to require Vista, it's just not going to happen -- Blizzard has too many subscribers here to lock a good number of them with an operating system that's not going over so well.

So ignore what your smirking friend tells you -- if you can run Burning Crusade, you'll be able to run Wrath on the same box.




Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums, Hardware

Ping faster with Faster Ping

Recently members of my guild have been using a tool called Faster Ping to achieve better ping rates in game. My guild is a West Coast based guild, and attracts a lot of people from Hawaii and Australia, so they naturally have higher ping rates than those of us in the States. Faster Ping seems to be working wonders for them. It is not so much of an addon as it is a tool for Windows (though lots of people mistakingly call it an addon).

My first reaction to this was what thinking this sounded like something out of the mouth of Cliff Clavin. I mean, how can a piece of software impact something that is mainly due to physical limits? Well, after thinking about it for a bit, and reading up on what the tool does, it can.

WARNING! This paragraph will be the only one that contains technical content! Faster Ping works by removing the acknowledgement delay from TCP packets. This delay happens inside the kernel's TCP stack, and is a necessity for a lot of functions that go on inside a TCP stack. The other modification Faster Ping does is to remove delay in sending small packets (think anything less than a dozen or so bytes). These changes, at least theoretically, should not impact system stability if the Windows kernel has proper TCP/IP stack implementation. Okay, end technical content.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Making 2.3 install in Vista

Apparently, the new patch has been having some problems under Windows Vista. Based on the description of the symptoms, I imagine this would be the same for other patches, so many of you may know this fix already. But then, some of you may have just upgraded to Vista. Anyway, here's the problem: the patch downloads OK, but the patcher fails to run correctly. According to Growl at Gitr's blog, this is because of permissions; the "normal" user on Vista doesn't have admin permissions, and therefore can't do things like run patchers.

Fortunately, Growl has an easy solution. Just right-click the WoW icon and select "Run as administrator" (as depicted); log in and WoW will spawn the patch download, which will inherit its administrator privileges and, in turn, spin off the patcher, also running with admin privileges. Safety is good, Microsoft, but Vista might be a little too safe for its own good. Couldn't we at least have an alert asking us if we wanted to authorize the patcher?

Filed under: Patches, Tricks, How-tos, Bugs

Rawr, a gear application for tanking Druids


Amanna has mentioned an awesome little tool for tanking Druids with a great name: Rawr. It's a completely separate application for Windows (sorry Mac users) that will pull down your gear from the Armory, and help you not only see your tanking strengths and weaknesses, but help you choose upgrades, both in terms of gear and gems on it.

Astrylian of Kilrogg put it all together, and it looks like a really amazing tool for bears. Unfortunately, no other classes or Druid specs are supported yet (Astrylian says cats are next on the list), but if you're a bear who's been trying to make some good gear choices lately, this could be just what you need. Rawr is still in beta and available as a free download on the Druid wiki.

Filed under: Druid, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Guides, Buffs

Things to know about Patch 2.2

As is common with any major patch day, there are a few issues. Here are a few from the forums and what I've experienced:

Instance servers are crashing on many realms.
From AV to Tempest Keep, players are having a hard time completing instances. Raiding is particularly hard hit.

It's OK to delete the Auction Sale Pending notice from your mailbox.

You will still get your cash when the new 1 hour delay is up. And, yes, everyone else seems to hate the new delay, too.

Windows resolutions and UI Scaling have been tweaked.

It's not your imagination and it also, according to Hortus, isn't a bug. Changing resolutions of the same aspect ratio will only give you a higher or lower image quality, but otherwise your view will not change. Windows are automatically resized to maintain aspect ratios and to reduce issues with stretching and distortion. If you aren't happy with the new size of your UI, turn on UI Scaling in the Video menu and adjust it accordingly.

Hopefully the instance servers will have been fixed by the time the patch is live in Europe. Sometimes it's better not being first.

I also recommend checking out the undocumented patch notes.

Filed under: Patches, Bugs

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