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Addon Spotlight: Satrina Buff Frames

Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience -- the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same! This week, Satrina Buff Frames takes your buff and debuff frames to a whole new level.

A lot has changed since the early days of buff and debuff presentation. Back in the early days, we were limited by very basic buff and debuff trackers. These days, however, one addon truly stands tall and proud, a giant among men. I speak of the impeccable Satrina Buff Frames, a wonderfully customizable and skinnable buff and debuff frame that can give any user interface awesome amounts of flexibility.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

AddOn Spotlight: TellMeWhen

Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. We'll look at everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your interface folder will never be the same! This week, TellMeWhen tells you when to do something, because you were too busy reading illicit tells or drawing male anatomy with AVR all over Dalaran.

Welcome, friends! Since the Cataclysm friends and family hoo-hah was announced, all anyone wants to talk about is the future. "Future this" and "Deathwing that." Enough! Live your lives in the moment. What better way to live in the moment than have an addon help you know when things will be ready? TellMeWhen might be able to help you.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Carbonite going free, continuing development

The guys behind Carbonite have finally responded to Blizzard's new addon policy, and probably not in the way you might have guessed: they're continuing development, and they're making the addon free. Carbonite was rumored to be the addon that started all of this trouble: they had a partial version up for free download, and were charging for the full version of the addon, which apparently Blizzard didn't appreciate. But rather than shutting down the addon completely, they've decided to go free for everyone, and they're continuing development -- version 3.00 is supposed to be out next week.

It's worth noting that they still have a number of donate buttons on their download page, which Blizzard is supposedly fine with -- all Blizzard wanted was the donate buttons out of the game itself. And of course, if you find this addon (or any other) helpful, you should definitely support the people who make it.

Reaction on the addon's forums is grateful as expected -- lots of people figured that this addon would be shutting down for good, so many are glad to see it will be continuing development. And one developer does say that Carbonite will be removing any obfuscation from their code, as per the new policy, so it's possible that other addon developers will be able to more easily hook into their code and use their techniques. Of course, whether the addon will still be financially worth it for the devs remains to be seen but for now, they're going along with the new policy and widening their audience at the same time.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Add-Ons, Making money, Hardware

Playing with your mouse

Lots of us purchase these nifty mice from the local computer store. Be they a fancy new Logitech mouse with a dozen keys placed strategically around the unit, or a slick new beauty from Apple, the mouse is a strategic part of your game play.

At least, it should be.

All too often people don't utilize what they have in front of them. Today we're going to look at how you can increase your game play by using your mouse more effectively. In particular, the buttons.

However before we look into buttoning strategies, lets just quickly cover moving with the mouse. It's pretty simple, right? Push both buttons down, move forward. Right click and hold to turn your character. Left click and hold to look around without moving. Mike Schramm covered this in a post about a month and a half back, and it's a pretty good read for those interested more in the topic of mouse moving.

So now that that's out of the way, let's look at basic mouse buttoning techniques. I own two Logitech MX5000 cordless optical mice. They work very well and have a battery life of a couple days; but even then I recharge them both every night just so I don't have disaster strike me in the middle of a raid when the battery goes out.

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Raiding, Hardware

Mashing buttons can cause cooldown problems

Ever since patch 2.3, a number of players have been having a lot of trouble with their instant abilities, especially in PvP. They're finding they get constant "spell is not ready yet" and "target is out of range" errors whenever they mash their buttons. The main source of this problem has to do with a change to the way your computer communicates to the server what your character is doing. It's not very easy to explain, but I'll do my best here. First, I'll explain how the change affects longer spell casts, and then afterward look at how it affects instants.

Here's how things worked in patch 2.2:
  1. I press a button to cast a spell or activate an ability.
  2. My computer says, "Hey! Realm server! David wants to cast Frostbolt!"
  3. The realm server says "Okay!" 300 milliseconds or so later (this round-trip communication time is your "latency").
  4. My computer then starts a 1.5 second global cooldown, and shows me the Frostbolt casting bar.
  5. I cannot use any other abilities from the time I press the button to the time my Frostbalt casting finishes, unless I manually cancel the spell (as with a /stopcasting macro), or unless the server tells my computer, "Okay the spell is finished already!" or "Whoops! That spell got interrupted!"
  6. Either way, without a manual interruption on my part, I'm waiting on the server to tell me the outcome of the first spell before I can tell it to start casting the second.
Here's how things work in patch 2.3:
  1. I press a button to cast a spell or activate an ability.
  2. My computer says, "Hey! Realm server! David wants to cast Frostbolt!"
  3. My computer goes ahead and starts the global cooldown for me, assuming the Frostbolt will succeed.
  4. The realm says "Okay!" 300ms later, and the casting bar shows up.
  5. Alternately, if there's a problem, then the realm says "No way, silly! David isn't finished casting Fireball yet! Wait a moment to try again, and cancel that global cooldown while you're at it!"
  6. Either way, I can send my commands to the server whenever I want, as long as my global cooldown isn't currently active -- and if it gets activated too early, I just have to wait for the server to tell my computer to cancel it before casting another ability.
Sounds fine, right? Before, we had to wait for latency between our computers and the realms in order for any spell to go through, but now we just have to wait if we press a button too early.

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Odds and ends, PvP

Don't mash in 2.3!

Your character can be less effective if you mash buttons in 2.3, according to Altitis. You can also stop using the /stopcasting command in most macros.

In the 2.3 PTR patch notes, "client spell cast requests are now sent to the server even if your player is already casting another spell. This eliminates the need for /stopcasting in macros to compensate for latency."

What this means in English is that outside of global cooldown, your computer will try to send a new cast command to the server when you press a button, no matter what.

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Filed under: Patches, Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Around Azeroth: The shiny red button


Reader Fruition sends in this shot taken in one of the Venture Co. camps in Stranglethorn Vale. Fruition notes that it's usually a bad idea to press buttons if you don't know what they do... but some of them are just so shiny and red, how can you possibly resist?

Do you have a unique shot of Azeroth or Outland that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing a copy to aroundazeroth@wow.com, with as much or as little detail as you'd like to share with the world!

Filed under: Screenshots, Around Azeroth

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