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Posts with tag web

Creators of Epic Advice working on Epic Plan encounter planner

Now this is interesting. Our old friend Jesta, who made the EpicAdvice.com site not so long ago, is working on a new project at EpicPlan.com, and while it's still hidden away in pre-alpha, you can see what they're up to in this thread on EA. It's a slideshow/diagramming web app, basically -- you can take maps of the game's instances, lay out icons and symbols on them as you wish, and then animate and caption boss fights and encounters. The end result is a very clear way to show off different raid strategies, and we're told the slideshows are embeddable on other sites as well (you may even see some here eventually on WoW.com).

Unfortunately, they're only taking signups for the beta of the service right now, and while you can watch a show in action on the technology demo, you can't make your own quite yet. But it seems like a very impressive tool for raidleaders, both to share plans with the public and players seeking help, as well as your own raid members. It'll be great to be able to make a quick and easy visual display of where to stand and what to do during boss fights and instance encounters.

Filed under: Instances, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

Twisted Nether Wiki compiles a nice list of WoW utilities

A few folks over at the Twisted Nether Wiki have done a great thing and compiled a nice full list of all of those little online WoW utilities that we talk about every once in a while. From character improvement tools like Be Imba! to resources like Kaliban's Loot Lists and even humor sites like WoWBash, if it's online, WoW-related, and worth visiting more than once, it's on this list.

And of course it's a wiki, so even if it's not on that list, you can add it. But it is cool to have all of those resources in one place -- we mention them, obviously, when there are updates to share, but if you don't bookmark them when you hear about them, they might have fallen off your radar. There are so many great and well-designed tools out there for players to use that something like this, tracking them all, is great to have.

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

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.

Read more →

Filed under: News items

Scattered Shots: Pet talent trees in the Wrath Beta

Welcome to another edition of Scattered Shots, the other WoW Insider weekly Hunter column. Daniel Whitcomb is your guest host again this week.

So, we theorized about talented pets a bit quite a few installments of Scattered Shots ago, but now we have the actual trees live and testable on the Wrath Beta, and they seem to be firming up nicely. There's a few promised changes yet to come, such as the removal or lowering of focus costs on many major abilities and talents, and it's still very possible that Blizzard may make changes here and there before live, but I think they're solid enough at this point that we can look at each tree and make some solid predictions about how people will use them and how various talent builds might look.

Read more →

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Raiding, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

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

The geography of WoW space


World of Warcraft has seen the rise of a massive community of diverse players. Most of us do not simply log into WoW, but visit a number of news sources, fan sites, and web-bases resources to stay on top of new developments in the game. Tim Howgego has created a map of the virtual WoW community. In this image he has categorized some of the most popular spaces that players visit outside of Azeroth.

His map is divided into several areas:

Read more →

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard

Allakhazam gets a refresh


Well, this was certainly unexpected. Allakhazam, one of the WoW database sites that has been around the longest, has undergone a complete revamp. There are all sorts of new features, including:
  • User-editable pages
  • Tagging
  • Profiles, with 3D model viewer and upgrade searching

Not to mention a re-skin which makes it look much more up-to-date. That's not all – they're currently running a contest, wherein every contribution to their wiki, forum, or comments, for the entire month of June, has a chance to win one of the following:

  • One of 72 60-day game cards
  • One of three Wii Galaxy bundles
  • Grand prize: a gamer-friendly laptop

So go forth, and make Allakhazam a more complete site. Overall, I like the redesign; it makes Allakhazam feel much more relevant, and helps answer the quest of what's going to differentiate it from sister sites Wowhead and Thottbot. I'll still probably go to Wowhead most of the time, but that's just me.

Filed under: News items

Blizzard web services down for maintenance


Blizzard's US websites and all related web services are currently down for a scheduled maintenance and should be up at around 5am PDT. This means that all US versions of Blizzard sites such as World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, and web-accessible services such as account management and the Armory are down. Maybe when they come back up, we'll see some more visible changes to the site such as the aberrant switch to a Wrath of the Lich King theme of the official forums. Or maybe there'll be an abundance of small changes such as the minor tweaks to the Death Knight information page. Then again, it could just be nothing but a regular maintenance. We'll see in a few hours. At least Blizzard was nice enough this time around to actually put up a sign to say they'll be back.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Test realm forum offline, possible pointer to WotLK beta


More news for all you hungry Wrath of the Lich King fans out there. The test realm forum has been taken offline and is showing as undergoing a change, although we don't know what that is just yet. The exact submessage is "The forum you're trying to access is not ready." This is significant for a couple reasons.

First, the test realm forum is usually left up for a while after the patch so folks have some place to go and reference everything that was learned during the beta. I know that I've used the forum for up to a month to go and get necessary information.

Secondly, this comes less than a day after the World of Warcraft beta site experienced a change. When getting public releases of software ready, it's often a process of "First, get the site going – but don't link it to the public. Second, take down the public systems and get them ready." This is quite possibly what we're seeing here.

Finally, this forum always goes down before something beta-ish is released. This could mean they're just clearing it to implement a 2.4.2 release or something, but I doubt that given they've usually only cleared it for major point release. Ie: 2.2, 2.3, 2.4.

An interesting tid bit of WotLK news for you all this morning. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that within a month we'll see some major announcements concerning the next expansion.

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

In Russia, World of Warcraft page visits you!


Blizzard has released the Russian World of Warcraft webpage over at their European site. I can't read a darn thing on it, so I'm forced to rely on other's translations of it, and some good old Google Translator action on the press release.

A couple interesting things. First, they'll be releasing the fully localized version of Russian WoW in a few months. The second interesting thing is that they're actually looking for some people fluent in Russian to work for them, and this is a good thing since the Russian version of the site isn't nearly as complete as other language's versions of the site. Finally, ignore the translator error given by Google: "Our list of frequently asked questions concerning the withdrawal of Russian version of World of Warcraft." There is no withdrawal, there will be a Russian WoW.

The Russian version of WoW was announced back on December 10th, 2007. It's good to see that Blizzard is continuing the localization of the game. Many international users are forced to either play on the plethora of European servers or come play on the United States servers. This can be a difficult thing, in that the distance between the realm server and the player's computer is so great that very large and unruly ping times often result. This is not a good thing if you're trying to have any sort of skillful game playing.

All and all a nice little present for our Russian friends.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Skip the interceptor with Greasemonkey


Frequent visitors to the official WoW forums will no doubt be familiar with the Forum Interceptor that Blizzard has in place for your "protection." Briefly, any time you click a link in a forum thread that doesn't lead to a Blizzard-owned domain, a bit of JavaScript loads an Interceptor page that tells you to be wary of keyloggers and things, and that the internet is a dangerous place. Possibly useful to people under the age of ten; otherwise, it gets old fast.

Fortunately, there are ways around it. Opening a link in a new tab (middle-click) works in most browsers. But what if you don't want to think about it all the time? Shouldn't links in the forums work just like links everywhere else on the freaking internet? Yes, they should. And that's why we have Greasemonkey.

Greasemonkey is a Firefox plug-in that lets users install userscripts that do things to websites. If that sounds vague, it is; userscripts can perform all sorts of tricks. The script we're interested in, called Shelter from a Blizzard, does precisely one thing: makes links on the WoW forums point directly to their destinations, skipping the interceptor page.

If you're running Firefox, and want this magic in your very own browser, here's what you do:
  1. Install Greasemonkey, if you don't already have it. Once you're done installing, restart your browser.
  2. Go to Shelter from a Blizzard's page, and click the "Install This Script" button at the right.
  3. That's it! From now on all WoW forum pages you load will be de-intercepted.

Filed under: Tips, Forums

Blizzard fan art page redesigned

I was looking through the Blizzard fan art pages recently, with the thought in my mind that I could do a "Best of Blizzard Fan Art" feature for our dear WoW Insider readers, when I found that selecting the "best" was extremely difficult. I kept copying so many pictures into my own "best of" folder that I began to feel like I might as well just link you all to the entire fan art site and call it a day. Most of it is really very fun to look at many many times.

So today I went back determined to try again and found that they had redesigned the entire site. It loads much faster, and presents the art to you in a much smoother interface. You can see many more thumbnails per page, and change the size of the thumnails depending on how many you want to see. Once you click on a picture, you can then easily scroll through from one to another very quickly, without having to wait for the entire page to reload again and again. Also, they managed to provide a nice fade effect, so that the transition between pictures is smooth. The only downside is that you can no longer link to a single piece of art.

Oh -- and also, you can no longer just click and download each picture to your own computer. I'm sure there must be a way (short of taking a screenshot), but it's beyond me. I'll take it as a sign from heaven, since I can no longer conveniently build my "Best of" folder, that the "Best of Blizzard Fan Art" site is the whole Blizzard fan art site itself. Now, with the tediousness of complicated page-loading removed, you may find browsing through the artwork gives you a whole new experience.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Blizzard, Galleries

Embed your Armory info

Ever looked at your Armory page and thought "this is nice, but I wish I could put it on another web page"? Well, now you can! MMO Guildsites has created a widget that can be embedded anywhere you like (guild rosters, maybe?), and consists of an iframe linking to a script that runs on their servers (so you don't need any server-side script support on your own site). The output is rather pretty, as you can see at right; in fact, I like it better than the actual Armory in many ways.

It does have a few shortcomings -- you can't see how much +damage you have in various schools, for instance -- but I still like it as a way to put live Armory data anywhere you want it. (It can show PvP data too, by the way, but I turned mine off for the screenshot since my numbers are downright shameful.) If you're interested, click over to their site, put in your server and character name, and it'll generate a preview and HTML for you to paste wherever you want it.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds

Arena comparison tool

I love nifty web tools. Andreas "bds" Thorstensson has created a page that lists the top-rated Arena teams in every bracket, worldwide (or filterable by region). This is nice, but the killer feature for me is the ability to show the top rated players in each class. Using this information, and since everything on this page links to the Armory, I can look into the top 5 players in each class, and see if any trends emerge as far as talent specs.
  • Warrior: Arms/Fury, with all five specced exactly or very close to 35/23/3
  • Paladin: Holy, with four 41/20/0, one 37/24/0
  • Hunter: All Marks, ranging from 42 to 50 in Marks with the rest in Survival
  • Rogue: Finally, some variation. Everyone's got at least 25 points in Assassination, but which tree the rest of the points go in varies. Nobody's taken any of the 41-pointers.
  • Priest: Four 28/33/0, one 14/0/47
  • Shaman: Four 40/0/21, one 0/15/46 -- our first Korean top fiver (careful, the Korean armory loaded very slowly for me; spec mirrored here).
  • Mage: Three 33/0/28, two heavy frost (10/0/51 and 4/12/45)
  • Warlock: more variation. Three destro, one afflic, one demonology. Everyone has a 41-point talent except one of the destro locks.
  • Druid: Everyone has most of their points in Resto, and everyone has at least 11 in Feral. Although three out of five have at least 41 in Resto, only one has Tree of Life.
It's a nice page. Go and compare things!

Filed under: Fan stuff, PvP, Classes, Talents

Armory tools for guilds

I knew the Armory was a good thing. The actual Armory site is already useful enough, letting me check out party members' specs so I don't have to ask "are you imp sap," etc. But being as how this is the era of web tools, it's only natural that such a huge data source has given rise to a few tools for rearranging that data. We've already seen the awesome signature generator, but I think this is even better.

A player going by Antiarc has written a few tools that pull data from the Armory on every character in your guild, and then give you some great tables you can sort in various ways. For instance, I can look at the character stats page and gloat over the fact that I'm the highest Spirit and +healing Priest in my guild, and then look over in the spec column and realize that's because all the other Priests are Shadow (besides one level 64). Or if I'm looking to get something crafted, I could call up the profession comparison page, and see who's put in the effort to get a Jewelcrafter up there. Finally, if I'm looking to see who can join me in some thrilling Heroics, or just who's got way too much time on their hands, I can check their standing with the various factions.

Due to the fact that these scripts do pull down and process quite a bit of data, they take a while to run; but the results pages are static, so once you've generated your results you can share the link around and it'll load quickly. If you just want to see what the pages look like, please do use the preview pages to avoid undue server stress.

By the way, if Antiarc's site goes down or just to spread the load around, there's a mirror here. Now go forth and compare!

[thanks, jbob, for sending this one in!]

Filed under: Fan stuff, Guilds

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