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Twittering from the World of Warcraft

Just in case you needed any more Twitter in your life (I'm getting to the point where I really don't), enter the PlayXpert Twitter widget, part of the PlayXpert gaming toolset, a free Windows application that you can download to run alongside your PC games (very similar to Xfire and that type of application). It's a little bloaty if all you want to do is run Twitter alongside WoW, but unfortunately, that functionality will never be available in an addon, as addons can't interact with any other outside sites.

The poor man's solution here is to just run WoW in windowed mode and have your Twitter browser or client open right next to it -- you don't need a big application if you really need to be connected at all times. But if you want to livetweet your raid without sacrificing screen space to windowed mode, PlayXpert is one way to do it. It'll even do some autotwittering for you if you want.

And of course if you're on Twitter already, don't forget to follow our WoW Insider Twitter account. We've already hit our goal of over 9,000 followers (and yes, a video version of the podcast is coming soon), but we're constantly throwing out little pieces of news, discussion and even some giveaways over there, so follow us if you're interested.

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

BlizzPlanet hosts a chat with Arthas author Christie Golden [Updated]


Our friend Medievaldragon over at BlizzPlanet is going fan-crazy about the new Arthas, Rise of the Lich King book, due out in bookstores any day now. And with good reason, too -- apparently both Alex and Dan are also nuts about the book, and it's basically a must-read if you're at all interested in the lore behind Arthas, Jaina, and the creature we all know as the Lich King. And Medievaldragon has set up an awesome opportunity for anyone interested in the novel: they're having a live public chat with author Christie Golden on Thursday evening, April 9th, at 9pm Eastern. She'll be sitting down in the CoverItLive widget there to talk with you about the lore behind the book, how she worked with Blizzard to figure out where Arthas is and where he's going, and whatever else you'd like to ask.

Sounds like fun, but if you are in the EU you'll have to stay up late if you want to see it all happen live. It begins at about 3am in Paris, so it'll be a late night if you have questions you want to ask. The good news is that the CoverItLive widget logs the chat, so even if you can't make it to see everything go down live, you can scroll back through it later and read up on what happened.

The book itself is due out April 21 -- you can preorder a collectible version of the novel if you want to right now for $32, which isn't cheap, or you can pre-order the non-collectible version from Amazon.com for $16.50. You can also support your local fantasy bookstore and wait until later in the month to pick it up there.

[UPDATE: Corrected the live chat date to April 9.]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, Lore, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King

Vista sidebar widget available for WoW players

If you're a Vista user, that odd sidebar has suddenly become relevant to your WoW lifestyle. Available for free from the Wndows Live site, WoW Explorer has a host of neat little plugins. The simplest of these features include the ability to put your realm on the Explorer skin -- you'll instantly be able to see if your realm is up or down, or what its population is like right now. You can also select your Explorer's theme, size, and toggle its docking behavior.

The Explorer's neatest feature, however, is the search functionality. The plugin lives on your Vista sidebar, which gives you instant search from your desktop. You can choose which popular site is the Explorer's default (such as your intrepid WoW Insider or maybe Wowhead), and the results instantly return in a flyout window. I ran several different searches, such as looking for Dual Specs or some different fat loot, and found the widget to be incredibly fast and responsive.

You can't beat the price at "free." Since I'm one of the masses who had previously stared at the sidebar wondering if the dang thing would have any use, it's nice to see something WoW-related live over my local weather widget.

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

Widget shows character name statistics


If you've ever been fascinated by the MMORPG statistics provided at sites like the Daedalus Project, here's something right up your alley; the WoW Armory Character Distribution widget, programmed to comb both the U.S. and E.U. Armories and capture data on the popularity of character names across race, class, faction, and sex.

The project is still in the testing stage, and it's a bit finicky about how you enter character names. Make sure you're always hitting the submit button and not using your enter key, as otherwise the widget will keep searching for the last name you looked for instead of your new query. Its creator, Emilis, also wrote to warn that it uses live information from both armories and will occasionally be slow as a result. I imagine it might also be inaccurate if either Armory is having problems.

The widget is tremendously fun to play with and has yielded some rather interesting results even with the completely random names I keep trying. "John" and "Mary," as you might expect, are overwhelmingly Human toons, whereas the greater share of people playing a "Sergei" and "Yekaterina" are Draenei. 3 people with a "Brutus" are actually playing female characters, and 1 person with a "Laura" is playing a male character (Emilis notes that gender-bending names are surprisingly common, although from what I can tell so far this seems to be a lot more true of male names for female toons than the other way around). Most people with a "Killer" are playing a Hunter, Rogue, or Warrior. Characters named "Bank" are mostly Human Warriors, but "Banktoon(s)" are mostly Orcs. And, yes, most of the people playing a toon named Legolas are Night Elf Hunters. Are you really that surprised?

Thanks to Emilis for writing in!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Orcs, Hunter, Rogue, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Draenei

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