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Advanced screenshotting techniques and tips

This discussion over on WoW Ladies has me thinking that we probably need to do a post on something I don't think we've ever covered before: screenshotting. Sure, they're everywhere -- almost everybody sees tons of screenshots every single day, and occasionally, you can even win some real-life loot for taking one. But I don't know that we've ever actually covered the mechanics of how to take one. So let's do that now.

First and foremost, taking a screenshot is usually bound to your "Print Screen" key -- whenever you're playing the game, just hit that key on your keyboard, and a screenshot (in JPG format -- it used to be saved in TGA, but Blizzard changed that a while ago) will show up in the /Screenshots folder inside the World of Warcraft installation on your hard drive. Of course, on a Mac keyboard, there is no Print Screen button, so I have mine bound to the "Home" button instead -- you can rebind it to whatever you want in the options menu. And that's just the basics -- it gets more complicated from there.

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, How-tos, Blizzard, Screenshots, Wrath of the Lich King

Issues with Mobile Authenticator get it pulled from the App Store


Blizzard's mobile authenticator updated recently, and as soon as it did, we started getting tips on the tipline saying there was a major issue. Apparently the update reset the code associated with your authenticator, which meant that if you applied the authenticator update (and had the authenticator connected to your account), there was no way to actually get a code to login to your account. In short, if you apply the mobile authenticator update, you won't be able to log in to your account until you take the authenticator off completely (I'd assume you can then reinstall and reuse the authenticator, though people will probably be a little more trigger-shy about that one). There are instructions for how to do all of this over on the forums.

Of course it's a major issue, and in response, Blizzard has acknowledged the problem and apparently pulled the Authenticator from the App Store. So if (like me) you haven't updated yet, you won't need to worry about it, and hopefully the next version will fix the issue. But yes, if you have updated, you'll need to go through the steps above to remove the app from your iPhone and account, or just call Blizzard customer service at 1-949-955-1382 and they should be able to help you with the issue.

Update: So far we've only heard about problems with the iPhone version, and of course the issue is when you go from the old to the new version. If you use another phone, or have only used the new version, you shouldn't have any issues.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Hardware, Account Security

Tweetcraft lets you tweet from Warcraft

Twitter is all the rage right now -- it's the easiest, quickest way to let anyone interested know what you're up to, and because it's so popular, it's also no surprise that we've seen quite a few Twitter and World of Warcraft mashup apps. wowTwitter is a separate update service just for news about your characters, WoWHorn is a script that lets you Tweet when you hit certain achievements, and though services like PlayXpert have let you Twitter from the game before, TweetCraft appears to be the first standalone application designed to do just that. After installation, it works the same way as an addon, though it's actually not -- addons can't directly connect to the Internet, so TweetCraft instead uses an outside script to read and write tweets into settings files, which the ingame addon then reads to get and send your tweets. It gets complicated, but you don't need to know all that to install and use it -- when you run the setup app, it'll put everything in the right places for you.

As with all third-party applications, you should install and run this one at your own risk -- the FAQ has more information if you're wondering how things are stored or whether the app is secure. The app is completely open source, which means anyone who wants to can read the code, so if the author of the app was doing anything sneaky, we'd know about it. And yes, right now the app is not violating the ToS, but of course that's enforced according to Blizzard's whims, so again, use it at your own risk. If you're not interested in using this app, you can always update your status here on WoW.com using our own addon -- it's not Twitter, but it will let your friends keep track of you in Azeroth!

But TweetCraft does look to be a clever, solid way to access and post to Twitter from right inside your World of Warcraft game. If you've been looking for a one-stop solution like this, there you go. Do be sure to follow us over on Twitter, too, if you haven't yet -- you never know when we might tweet something you'll want to see.

Update: Apparently the app on default tweets all kinds of things you probably don't want to (like changing zones). There is probably a settings switch somewhere, but as always, user beware.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Patch 3.2 bringing Strand of the Ancients coin toss

We mentioned this issue a while back -- since it was introduced to the game, Strand of the Ancients has started Alliance on attack first, and that's caused problems. Due to the way the map is set up (a back-and-forth attack and defend map), the team that starts attacking has an advantage in terms of farming honor -- they only have to play until the other team loses rather than having to keep up a defense the whole time. That means shorter battlegrounds for the Alliance, which means more honor overall for them.

The problem was that Blizzard couldn't just flip a switch to randomize the battleground's spawn points: they were hard-coded into the moving ships that players appear on, so it took much more coding to use a coin-flip start. However Zarhym now confirms that the coin flip is coming to SotA. And though he didn't say when in the original post, the Patch 3.2 notes tell us that it's coming in that patch.

Hopefully Blizzard will have learned their lesson for the Isle of Conquest -- although since it's closer to Alterac Valley from what we've heard, we probably won't have that asymmetrical issue, and both sides will be able to start with just as many advantages and disadvantages as the other.


Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Battlegrounds

New computer shipped with malware that targeted WoW

Here's a big oops -- a company named M&A Technology accidentally shipped out a unit of their Companion Touch PC that contained some malware on it, including a password stealer that targeted World of Warcraft. It was an accident -- apparently someone at the factory decided to upgrade the computer's drivers and software before shipping it out, but they used a USB stick that had been infected with the bad apps, and thus in the process infected the brand new computer. Fortunately, the person who received the computer apparently scanned and caught the bad code before any damage was done -- I guess if you buy a computer from a brand you've never heard of, it's worth giving it an antivirus and malware scan at least once before you use it.

And/or you can just use an authenticator -- even if someone nabs your password, the Blizzard Authenticator makes sure that they can't log in without a current code. So there's not too much to worry about here -- while computers do occasionally get shipped with software that could jeopardize your security, as long as you're vigilant about what's on your hard drive, and take caution before using apps and hardware that you've never used before, you generally won't have any problems.

[via WoW LJ]

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

Argent Hippogryph cost lowered


It's been rumored already, but now we've got Blizzard confirmation: the cost of the Argent Hippogryph (obtained as a final reward from the Argent Tournament) will be lowered in "the next minor patch" to 150 Champion's Seals. We don't know exactly when ("next minor patch" could be 3.1.2, or possibly a quick hotfix before then), but Blizzard is for sure lowering the price.

And to make it even more confusing, they're already telling us ahead of time that it might be bugged: the display may not get updated right away, which would mean that ingame, it'll still say that the bird sells for 250 seals, when it really only sells for 150. Don't ask us how, if they know the issue is coming, they can't fix it when they change things, but who knows how Blizzard's code works anymore? At any rate, if you're planning on buying the 'gryph and want to save some seals, hold off on buying for now.

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Making money, Mounts

PopCap's addons are obfuscated, Blizzard is OK with that

We've posted about both the Bejeweled and the Peggle addons here lots -- we're big fans of PopCap releasing free versions of their games for us to play in Azeroth. But all might not be well in addon land -- a few authors have come to us to point out that PopCap's addons actually contain obfuscated code in them. Obfuscation is a little hard to define -- it's a coding technique that makes code difficult to be read by other programmers, either for purposes of compression or to deliberately hide the code's function or purpose from anyone reading it. Obfuscation is strictly prohibited by Blizzard's addon policy, and so when addon authors dived into PopCap's code and found it obfuscated, they were concerned that PopCap is dodging Blizzard's rules.

We spoke with PopCap about the issue, and they told us that yes, they run a program called luasrcdiet on their code to shrink it down and keep the memory footprint to a minimum. While working on their addons, they were in contact with Blizzard (and showed them the original, non-obfuscated code), and they tell us that Blizzard decided that since the purpose of the obfuscation rule in the policy was to allow the community to police their own addons for bad code (and since Blizzard trusted PopCap, there were no concerns there), then Blizzard was OK with PopCap releasing obfuscated addon code.

So. Has PopCap broken the rules? In the strictest sense, yes -- the rules say no obfuscated code, and PopCap's addons do make things hard to read. But Blizzard, who wrote the rules to begin with, has no problem with making an exception for PopCap, and in doing so, their reasoning seems pretty sound. It doesn't seem fair to make an exception in any case, but we admit, if you're going to make an exception for anyone, you can't go wrong with PopCap. What do you think?

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

Randomizing the Strand of the Ancients spawn points

Strand of the Ancients is a battleground that's gotten relatively short shrift lately -- it came along into the game with the crown jewel of Wrath PvP so far, Wintergrasp, and while it's still frequented on honor weekends (it's one of the best ways to farm honor, actually) and for achievements, lots of players, specifically those on the Horde, aren't happy with it. Why? Because right now, Alliance always starts the battle on offense first. The battle is a regular attack-and-defend map, and Alliance reportedly has a "significant advantage" by beginning on the attack side: they only have to play offense for a few minutes, and then defend for the same amount of time, while Horde have to defend the whole first round and then attack if they want to win. Plus, the battleground doesn't always start full, which means whoever attacks first usually is fighting fewer defenders.

So how hard would it be to throw a coin flip in there and randomize who starts first? The good news is that Blizzard is working on it, but the bad news is that it's taking longer than they thought. It's not as simple, unfortunately, as choosing a faction randomly -- there are apparently mechanics in the spawn points that make it difficult for them to randomize who shows up on the moving ships. Go figure? We've never understood how Blizzard's code works, and we're not starting now.

But again: Zarhym says a fix is incoming in a future patch. So if you're Alliance and you want to do some honor farming, better start now.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Battlegrounds

The limits of Video Mode Ultra


I think I've found the limits of Video Mode Ultra -- when we first hard in the 3.1 patch notes that Blizzard was adding in a superspecial video mode for high-end computers to use, I was excited. I just recently "updated" my PC (read: "it broke and I had to spend a lot of time and money to fix it"), and it's been running like butter, so I was interested in putting it to the test. The day after the patch dropped, I flipped the switch to Ultra, and had no problems -- until this past Saturday. While wandering around Dalaran, I noticed my framerate had dropped quite a bit. I lowered a couple of the environmental settings just a bit and I was fine again, but apparently even with a 2.5 GHz quad core CPU, 4gb of RAM, and a GeForce 9600GT, Video Mode Ultra is still just a little too hardcore for me.

What's interesting is that I ran Wintergrasp a few times before having those slowdowns in Dalaran, and never had a problem. But then again, Blizzard did say that they had spent a lot of time making sure Wintergrasp was streamlined enough to run huge battles with minimal slowdown, so maybe Dalaran didn't get that same makeover. And I should say as well that I had no issues anywhere else in the world -- even my Naxx run the other evening looked perfect with Ultra flipped on.

Having a "future" graphics mode on PC games is nothing new -- for most games, the highest graphics setting is usually "experimental," so there's a little leeway in terms of release time (the game looks good with current hardware, but even better with next year's gear). And Video Mode Ultra is just that -- Blizzard trying to send a shot across the bow at those who are already saying the graphics look a little dated.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Hardware

A random pet macro for your noncombat buddies

This is pretty simple (I know there are a few versions floating around), and just a few minutes with the macro API will probably get you something just like this (or probably better), but if you, like Bornakk, have so many noncombat pets that you don't know what to do with them, this macro that a guildie gave me a while back might help. Plug this text into a macro, save it as "Critter" and throw it on your toolbar.

/run CallCompanion("CRITTER", random(GetNumCompanions("CRITTER")))

As you've probably surmised, it'll choose a random critter from your noncombat pets and bring it out for you to play with. As I said, this is super-simple -- you could add /dismount on to the front of this and use it as a one-stop "dismount and summon pet" macro, or I'm sure our commenters (who are much better at this macro stuff than I am) will have lots of other ways to play. We posted a more complicated one a while back, and you can still replace CRITTER with MOUNT, but this one's even easier than that.

But like Bornakk, I tend to collect way too many noncombat pets and I can never choose which is my favorite. A random macro like this helps pull out a friend I haven't seen lately.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Mounts, Achievements

Enter to celebrate patch 3.0.2 with a Paper Airplane from WoW Insider


We gave away a ton of great loot last weekend at BlizzCon -- every time someone stopped to say hi to us on the floor, we pulled out some swag and passed it out like Hallow's End candy. But even though we gave lots of it away, we've still got some left (huge thanks to Upper Deck for hooking us up -- we had a lot of fun playing the WoW Minis game with them), and so today, as we get the game's second expansion-level patch, we figured we'd give you a chance at a fun ingame item.

Yes, we're giving away a code for an ingame Paper Airplane item -- to enter, just leave a comment on this post telling us the first thing you're going to do when patch 3.0.2 comes back up. The code is good for the US or EU realms, and make sure to use a real email to comment with, so we can contact you if you win. We'll pick one winner randomly tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15, at noon Eastern (you'll have leveled up Inscription by then, right?) to win a code to get an ingame Paper Airplane item from Lando Longshot.

Good luck to everyone -- we can't wait for the patch to come up!

Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Contests

Manaprincess reopens store, offers sale to WoW Insider readers


Our good friend and talented WoW crafter Manaprincess is back, and she's gone from Etsy to break out into her own World of Warcraft crafts store at manaprincess.com. She's got the usual Hearthstone key charms, as well as the WoW soaps up there, and a new section of "potion pendants" -- Health, Mana, or Rejuv potions to wear around your neck, just in case. And she says that all the items have been redesigned, so even things you've seen before may look a little different.

And as a thank you to you WoW Insider readers for all your support, she's having a sale just for you: from now until August 31st, you can put in the code "wowinsider" without the quotes at the checkout screen to get 25% off your entire order.

Manaprincess is definitely one of the best vendors in the crafting community, and it's great to see her up and running in a brand new store. If you're looking for some fun WoW-related gifts or crafts for yourself, her store is definitely one of the places to look.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

The Archangel Tyrael pet revealed

You may remember that we recently told you that Worldwide Invitational attendees would be receiving a Tyrael pet as part of their goodie bag haul as soon as patch 2.4.3 went live. The PTR servers when down for a little bit of an update a while ago, and when they came back up, WoW Insider commenter Darkra came through with the picture of my new favorite pet, which you can see above.

It's actually pretty strange, he looks both cute and bad ass at the exact same time. I'm not sure how it pulls it off, but I suppose that's just the awesomeness that is Tyrael. Congratulations to all you WWI attendees on what is surely the coolest non-combat pet to date, and for those of us unlucky enough not to make it to the WWI in person, let the Ebaying begin!

Filed under: Items, Events, News items, Worldwide Invitational

How to fix the Parrot Scrolling Combat Text Addon

If you're an Ace mod fanatic like I am, you may use Parrot for your scrolling combat text needs. If you've used Parrot since 2.4, you've noticed, like I have, that the dang thing just plain doesn't work. Even though the ever handy WoWAceUpdater continues to update it, there's some block of data it's missing. And that means that when I get into combat and look for my scrolling information... nothing happens. There's no pretty numbers to the side of my characters. Hey, that's fair enough. 2.4 was the patch of the great combat log change, and it's understandable that not every addon is quite caught up.

That said, I like how I have Parrot set up, and I didn't really want to try to find and install a new mod, or heaven forbid, use Blizzard's base system. So, I went searching, hoping to find some way to bring back my beloved Parrot.

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Filed under: How-tos, Add-Ons

Stand up for Blade's Edge bugs

This is the best bug I've heard about in the game yet so far-- Drysc has confirmed that there is a known bug in the Blade's Edge plateau area which will cause everyone, when someone starts up the Bombing Run quest, to stop eating and drinking and stand up. It's a respect thing, you know? Stand up for the cause!

No, it's just a really, really weird bug, and a fix is on the way in an upcoming patch (I'm a little surprised they don't aim to fix it earlier, but apparently all that will be lost is the food anyone sits down to eat at the wrong time in Blade's Edge). Once again, I am dumbfounded at trying to figure out just how Blizzard's code works-- seems like they have the absolute weirdest bugs happen to them sometimes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor

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