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Posts with tag shadows

Fixing FPS issues with patch 3.1

A few people are experiencing slowdown issues with patch 3.1, and since our last bit of technical help went over so well, we figured we'd do a little troubleshooting for you on this one, too. If your computer is running slower since you updated into patch 3.1, the first thing to do is check your video options -- Blizzard has tweaked a few things in there, and chances are that by tweaking them again, you might be able to fix your problem (or at least make it a little better). Specifically keep an eye out for the new Video Mode Ultra setting -- that specifically is not designed to be used unless your computer is current and top-of-the-line. Shadows also are quite a drag on the video card and CPU, and turning them down won't affect gameplay that much.

If your options are already low, the next thing you might do is check your videocard's make and driver version (scroll down to the "manually" section there -- you don't need to run Intel's program). Nvidia, who makes the common GeForce series of video cards just updated their drivers to version 182.50 on April 2nd, so if you have an earlier version than that, running the update will probably help. If you have an ATI card, you can find the drivers over on their site.

And of course if all of your software is set up and you're still having issues, there's always the possibility of updating your hardware. That can be quite an ordeal, though, so if you're not so sure on how to install new RAM or can't recognize the difference between SATA and IDE, you might want to enlist a friendly techie for a little help. WoW is still very forgiving, but Blizzard has been slowly adding on the graphical goodness, so if you've been playing with the same PC since launch four years ago, it might just be time for an upgrade.

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

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Rogue

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the twenty-second in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Rogues are the masters of shadows. While two other classes actually use the shadow as a source of magical power, it's the Rogue who can potentially live and breathe the shadow, and make it an essential part of who he or she is what he or she does.

"The Shadow" as a concept, could mean a number of different things to your character, however -- anything from literal shadows that he or she might disappear in, to underground networks, knowledge of the street, and secret societies few others know about. An advanced rogue might even possess an intimate relationship with "the Shadow" as a mystical force he can wrap around himself in as a kind of cloak, or step through the shadows to appear behind his enemy in a flash.

In fact, your rogue may not even use the term "shadow" at all, and may simply think of himself as a simple bandit, thief, pickpocket, detective, scout, special agent, assassin, bank-robber, or even a venture capitalist. In fact, the Rogue class is suitable as a broad catch-all class for a number of seemingly unrelated character types, from a court jester to a penniless tourist.

Read more →

Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Lore, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Troubleshooting dynamic shadows on OS X and Windows

This forum thread, about the new shadow technology appearing on the Mac in 3.0.2, is confusing. There are four Blue responses in the first 10 posts, and at the end of it, I still don't have a clear idea of whether shadows work on the Mac or not. The issue seems to be this: shadows do work on the Mac, but not the highest quality shadows. Why? Because while Windows uses DirectX to do its 3D processing, OS X still uses OpenGL. And while shadows do work in OpenGL (and eventually can work just as well in OpenGL), Blizzard needs Apple to put some extensions in which aren't there yet, so the highest quality shadows aren't yet possible.

Did your eyes glaze over from all that tech talk? Let's make it simple: if you're on Windows or OS X and you don't see shadows, odds are that your settings are wrong. Open up Video settings in game, and slide the Shadows slider all the way to the right as far as it will go, and then escape out and see if Shadows appear. Note, however, that this will slow your computer down, and as we said earlier today, older computers might have trouble doing this. If you're running an older PC or Mac, you may have to forget about the dynamic shadows completely.

That said, according to the Blues, with the shadow slider flipped all the way up on a PC and a Mac, the PC's shadows will look a little better. That's not a limitation of your computer (or of Blizzard's designers), it's a limitation of the technologies that Blizzard is using to make the game. When OpenGL (the code that allows game makers like Blizzard to draw 3D graphics within OS X) gets updated, then we'll see some higher quality shadows.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Guides

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