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Posts with tag video-mode-ultra

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

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

Patch 3.1 user interface changes roundup

Lots of the new stuff in today's patch 3.1 update will be in your face -- the class changes won't be missable, and the LFG channel will be full of people trying to head into Ulduar (though who knows how far they'll get). But some of the changes, especially to the user interface, will be a little more hidden -- you'll have to dive into the options to go and find them. Here's a few things we've reported on that you might want to make a note of, if you're interested.
  • Arenas now have an option to show Enemy Unit Frames. These will only appear in the Arenas, but you can enable them in the Interface options.
  • You will now be able to see when the next Wintergrasp battle is from anywhere in the world -- but only by going out to the world map and then zooming back in to the Wintergrasp map.
  • Make sure you hit the map button (usually "M") next time you go into an instance. There are maps in there now.
  • There are new "advanced features" for quest tracking now -- but you've got to go into the Interface Options to enable them. If you're already using Questhelper or a similar addon, these will be familiar to you.
  • The Equipment Manager isn't in the game yet, but the Color Blind mode and new Battleground and LFG options can all be accessed now.
  • Finally, there are a number of new video options available in the Video Options panel, including better shadow and texture details, and even a "Video Mode Ultra" setting. Even Blizzard recommends you run things on the highest setting at your own peril -- lower end computers will have major issues trying to run graphics at the highest setting.
It's definitely worth putting "take a tour around the options screens again" on your to-do list for when the patch arrives on the live realms. There are lots of little changes and updates hiding in there that you'll never know about unless you go look for them.

Patch 3.1 is live and it takes us into Ulduar, delivers us dual specs, and brings significant changes to all the classes! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1 and the official patch notes!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Quests, Wrath of the Lich King

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