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Posts with tag web-tools

Stratfu debuts web tools for raiders and guild leaders

Stratfu and the venerable Seriallos of the <Roll Initiative> guild on Maelstrom (US) has just debuted some awesome web tools for raiders and guild leaders that can pump out some serious numbers and data for you to crunch using World of Logs data. These tools include:
  • World of Logs Top DPS Analyzer Useful for checking out the top numbers from World of Logs to compare the numbers you're outputting with the best of the best. Knowing what to strive for as a DPSer in raids is a valuable tool, so see how you stack up.
  • World of Logs CompareBot This tool can help you compare different World of Logs parses to check for inconsistencies, as well as see where you're having trouble. Important buffs and debuffs are highlighted, as well as some potential mistakes being made by the raid.
  • Player Raid Achievements A quick way to see a character's raid achievements all in one, simple table (as opposed to having to troll through the armory). Great for sizing up a new recruit or applicant and checking someone's raid experience.

Ask Mr. Robot

Simulators for WoW are nothing new -- Rawr, for instance, has been around for years, and is steadily snowballing into a one-stop shop for simulating all classes (it's not there yet, but I still love it). In case you're scratching your head at this point, a simulator is like a spreadsheet, but much smarter -- instead of using some general approximations to calculate how your gear is going to change your DPS, it basically goes ahead and plays a model version of the game for you. Edit: apparently Rawr is not a simulator -- it uses formulas that come up with the same answer every time, much like spreadsheets. We still love it anyway.

What is new about the simulator I want to talk about today, which seems to be entitled "Mr. Robot," is that it runs on the web, in Microsoft's Silverlight framework (Silverlight seems to have come about because someone at MS saw Flash and decided they wanted one too). This means it's cross-platform and there's nothing to install (well, except Silverlight, but you may have that already). They're only doing sims for Death Knights right now, but the team says more classes are coming (I hear Warlock is next, but don't quote me).

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Filed under: Classes, Death Knight

Wowhead launches Premium service

Surprise! Well, it was to me, anyway. Wowhead announced on Wednesday that they are launching a new Premium subscription service. Subscriptions cost from $2.50 to $3.33 a month, depending on how many months you subscribe for at a time, and confer the following benefits:

  • No ads.
  • No CAPTCHAs when you post comments/forum posts, and an increased character limit on those posts.
  • Custom avatars, with special badges and borders, for the forums and user pages.
  • Prioritized placement in the Armory queue for profiler resyncs.
  • A direct line to Wowhead's developers, in case you want to suggest new features or whatever.
  • Premium access to the other ZAM sites (, Allakhazam, and WoWInterface).

Malgayne stresses that unlike some sites, non-premium users on Wowhead are not penalized. The site will continue to work just as beautifully as it always has for users that don't pay a dime.

There is a slight exception to this in the profile resync queue feature, although at the moment it's not a practical issue - not enough requests are being sent for the queue to be a factor.

So what do you think? Are you going to fork over a few bucks to become one of the Wowhead elite, or maybe just to show your support for a fantastic site?

Filed under: News items

Wowhead releases character profiler

Wowhead has been promising a profiler system for quite some time (it's been under development for over two years, according to the site), and now it's finally here.

Wowhead's profiler has pretty much every feature you might want from a modern profiling site, and fits right in to the excellent Wowhead interface. Armory import, 3D character view, gear sets, gear scores, upgrade search - it's all there. You can save your characters however you want, link them to your friends, check puggies, and so forth.

It's just gone public, so bugs are to be expected. Report them to Wowhead if you find them; the Wowhead team is very responsive. New features are also in development, such as embeddable 3D widgets of your characters, or automatic comparison between items in the site database and a profile of your choice.

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Filed under: News items

Armory Light updated, renamed "Armory Heavy"

Armory alternative Armory Light (not to be confused with Armory Lite) has just passed its first birthday, and to celebrate, the site is relaunching with a bevy of new features.

  • Pages for each item, with information on where it comes from, what it disenchants into, and how to link it in game. All the same info from the official Armory, basically.
  • 3D models for some items. Not as good as Wowhead's, but nice if you're already on the site, I guess.
  • A desktop app, built in Adobe Air (and hence cross-platform) to show 3D models of items. Not really sure what the point of this is, but somebody probably likes it.
  • Heirloom calculator: Now this is cool. It lets you take any heirloom item and see how its stats scale at any level. Not many sites have this.
  • A talent calculator. It's slow, jittery, and not particularly attractive, but they do have a talent calculator.
  • A "powered by Armory Light" JavaScript to include on your own site, which gives you not only item tooltips (which a few other sites do), but also character tooltips, like the one at right (an example character, not one of mine). Seriously cool. I can definitely see myself using this feature; it's a great way to get a thumbnail sketch of a character.

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Filed under: News items

PUG Checker shows players' boss kills

Although most of us, I suspect, prefer guild runs, most of us also have to PuG it up every once in a while. LFG can be a bit of a crap shoot; you can get an Ulduar-geared player doing 3,000 DPS in your heroic, or a fresh 80 who has a thing or two to learn doing 1,000.

Fortunately, we have the Armory to help us separate the good from the bad, or at least the geared from the ungeared. Sites like Be Imba and WoW Heroes have been around for a while to help us more easily check a character's gear level.

Now a new site, PUG Checker, can show you at a glance what bosses a character has killed, and how many times - or rather, what bosses they've been present for a kill of. Above right you can see what it shows for raids on my priest (I don't like Malygos very much). If you click "show bosses," you can see specific raid bosses in raids; otherwise, it just counts kills of the end boss. It uses Armory data, of course, which is pretty accurate, but not always perfect. Like the site says, "don't shoot the messenger" if the numbers aren't quite right.

Like Be Imba and WoW Heroes, this isn't an infallible guide to whether a player is good or not. It does probably correlate to some degree, though. In fact, if PUG Checker just added the average ilvl of the equipped gear of the person I'm checking, it would be my go-to site for checking puggies. It does load data much quicker than either of those equipment sites, which alone is enough that I will probably use it. I also really dig the clean design and the number-circles that look like subway indicators.

[via My Life as a Cartoon]

Filed under: Instances

3D Armory does what it says on the tin

There are many Armory sites out there, since Blizzard had the foresight to put the Armory data in XML so anyone who wanted to could use it in alternate presentations. 3D Armory is a new Armory site, just released into public beta. As you might have guessed, the focus of the site is on loading your character's data and displaying a 3D model of your toon; for instance, at top right you can see my death knight and how his gear looks in-game (yes, I'm still wearing my heirloom shoulders).

It does what it sets out to do, and does it pretty well: just select "eu" or "us" from the popup at the top of the page, type in your realm and character name, and hit go. Points off for having cryptic icons for all the functionality with only tooltips to indicate what they might do - I'm a big fan of obvious UI over flashy-looking UI.

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Filed under: Items starts tracking achievements as best they can

You knew this was coming, but I'm impressed with how it's done over on With points to track and players to compare, it was inevitable that we'd have a site show up to track achievements, and here it is. While the Armory itself doesn't show individual achievements (yet), they've apparently come up with a way to figure out a number per player, and there's a worldwide player list (or at least a list of the 53, 901 characters they surveyed somehow). You can also post a pic of your achievement info, and they'll update it on the site. There's no way to see your individual stats yet, but if and when Blizzard adds that functionality to the Armory, we'll probably see a couple of sites show up like this, that allow you to do more with achievements and tracking them than the official UI does.

Of course, the Xbox 360 is the gold standard for achievements at this point -- while other MMOs and WoW have used the mechanic in their own way, Microsoft has built achievements into Xbox 360 profiles available online to anyone, so that's where most of the great web tools are right now. But the one that stands out for me, that I'd love to see replicated in World of Warcraft, is -- it basically creates a blog of what you've been up to on the Xbox that presents your activity in a readable, fun format. With Achievements build into the Armory, something like that could be easily used to power a timeline of your character, and let your friends see from day to day where you've been and what you've done. Lots of very cool ideas to develop here -- hopefully Blizzard will release Achievement info in an API sooner rather than later.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Achievements

Find popular builds with TalentChic

Since the patch hit, we've been flooded with requests for cookie-cutter builds for various classes, specs, and roles. We're working on it, but our bloggers only have so many hours in the day (if only haste rating worked in real life). However, I do have a new site to tell you about that might help with these types of questions. TalentChic is a web site that aims to determine what the most popular talent builds are for all nine classes, and it's very well made, in my opinion.

The site makes use of Armory data, so it stays relatively up-to-date. Builds are organized by class and by primary tree, and you can also filter for playstyle (Raid/PvP for instance). Playstyle is determined by what kind of gear the player was raiding when their data was cached, so it's not foolproof (a raider could have been wearing their PvP gear and thus counted as PvP), but it's about as good as can be done with Armory data.

As far as the information displayed goes, it seems reasonable to me. I'm a little surprised that Combat is still so dominant with Rogues, given that I've heard Mutilate got significantly buffed. And I'm very surprised that 0/61/0 is the most popular Holy Priest build; I haven't seen people talk about that one very much, and I certainly wouldn't want to be without Meditation. It does drop to only second most popular if I look at raiding Holy Priests. Are your own talent builds popular? Does TalentChic give you any ideas on how to spec?

Filed under: Patches, Talents

Compare items on Wowhead

Wowhead keeps adding new features, I know. But this is a big one. Last night, while most of us were busy watching the vice-presidential debate, they launched a fairly sophisticated tool for comparing items or sets of items. Basically, you can add any item or set in the database, and group them up however you want (by dragging items between groups), and then compare groups against each other to see what stats you gain and lose on.

There are tons of additional features to this tool, and it might be worth reading the instructions to see all of what you can do. Some things I particularly like:

  • You can add stat weighting scales, to see (an estimation of) how good the item is overall for your class and spec. Click the scores to toggle the display format; I like the percentage display particularly, which shows the "best" group as 100% and everything else in terms of that.
  • The "gains" row shows you in short what's different between your groups, by subtracting out all shared stats.
  • All item listings on the site now feature checkboxes that you can use to quickly compare items.
  • Each group has an option to view in 3D, so you can now finally use Wowhead as your dressing room: just create a group of items you want to look at, click the little triangle on the top bar of the group, and select "View in 3D."
  • You can set one group as your "focus" by clicking the little eye icon, which shows all stats relative to that group.

I will definitely be making use of this in the future; it's much easier than figuring it out in your head or making a spreadsheet.

Filed under: Items, News items

Wowhead unleashes Achievements, pet calcs, models

A full Achievements database is now live on Wowhead's Wrath of the Lich King site. When first I heard about this, I said (as you may be saying to yourselves now) "big deal, other sites have had achievements lists for a few days now." But you owe it to yourself to go check this out. They've taken their time to do it right as only Wowhead can, and it looks great, with complete information on achievement chains, meta achievements, point values, and just about anything you might want. "Shop Smart. Shop Pet... Smart" is a good example – it lists every pet that's valid for the achievement, all 103 of them. Attention to detail for the win.

Blizzard has shown their usual flair in naming these things, too; my favorites include:

The Achievements listing includes Feats of Strength, zero-point achievements that may be unachievable in the current game (like old honor system ranks), or at least unachievable by most people. Among these are several "server firsts", such as being the first on your server to reach level 80 with a given class, or the first to kill a given boss. It's nice to see that this information is going to be memorialized somewhere besides blogs and realm forums.

In other Wowhead news, talent calculators for the new Hunter pet talents are now available. Additionally, new weapons and armors now have 3D models viewable on the site (just click the "View in 3D" button on item pages), so you can check out what we'll all be seeing in a few short months. So far I haven't found anything that looks totally amazing, though I did come across something that looks rather like the walrus hat that Blizz seems to be fond of showing off in Death Knight promo pics.

Filed under: Hunter, Achievements

Wowhead's WotLK site is open

The gates to Northrend are open – to the lucky few who have gotten invites into the beta. For the rest of us, the best we can do is follow along on sites like, oh, here, as well as WotlkWiki and others. Now there's one more to add to the list: Wowhead has opened their Wrath site, with details on hundreds of items, quests, spells, and more, as well as the talent calculators we've talked about before

One of my particular favorites is the beta patch notes, which are nicely formatted and have links to all relevant spells, abilities, talents, and items mentioned in the notes (super-handy). New data updates are coming in all the time. There are many neat and yet-undiscovered things to be found there, so take a look around, and let us know if you come up with anything interesting.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

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