I received an email blast from the PR firm directing WildStar’s marketing earlier this week. It’s not entirely relevant as a news post or anything, but it did get me thinking about addons and how crucial they have been for MMORPGs. That’s past tense for a reason. My real spark was how much it’s changed, how little they’re generally needed these days and how many games work perfectly well without implementing them or never having them catch on.
This brings up numerous other head-scratching conundrums: Are community-made addons still relevant? Have they remained as popular and as necessary as they did half a decade ago? And thus, give sites like Curse their continued reason for existence? Have developers of these products mined the community for ideas and included the most popular addons as part of the default user interface options? Was the fear of addons in WildStar not catching on the cause of the email blast by Carbine? Finally, were addons and their popularity a product of developer innovation or lazy development?
The answers to some of these questions are obvious. For instance, Curse will exist forever barring poor management choices. The site itself has long created its own technology to service the add-on hungry community and has grown beyond that. In a title like World of Warcraft, which like a lot of other features Blizzard included, effectively made addons a thing in the genre, addons have quite literally changed the game. Some times to the extreme, causing Blizzard to shut down the addons through code changes. Other cases are irrefutable evidence to Blizzard mining the community for ideas and innovation. Continue Reading
There wasn’t a lot of WoW stuff at PAX East, but there were a few WoW blogger types about. We met up after the Raid Warning guys finished up with their very entertaining panel and had a quick chat before heading down to meet with the Cryptozoic guys to try out the Assault on Icecrown Citadel raid deck.
With have launching a new guild myself, House Hlaalu, I know having everything established guilds have can be difficult.
Well, Curse.com has done it again. With its endless supply of resources the company’s “new” hosting service, WowStead, has finally gone into public beta. Read their description below.
Wowstead has been in development for a while and the project is now polished to enter a phase of public beta! Try it, it’s free! The site will remain free in the future but some of the features will be part of the premium package, including the Raid Tracker, more freedom on the Calendar, and a custom domain name instead of the .wowstead.com subdomain.
What is WowStead?
The Curse team has been hard at work forging the premier World of Warcraft guild hosting site and deliver the best guild experience on the web.
We want to invite all MMO-Champion users to check it out. In order to give everyone a preview of the site’s full potential, all premium features will be free throughout the Cataclysm launch period.
Why Try WowStead?
WowStead’s guild sites are simple to set up and easy to manage
Automatically update your roster, guild ranks, progression and more
WowStead’s compelling features and customization options
Select from a variety of site themes or create your own with full CSS control
Ability to use custom domains
Curse Raid Tracker (beta) – a DKP system with a custom addon that automatically syncs in-game data using the Curse Client
Powerful calendar event management to help you plan your guild events
WowStead’s social tools keep you connected
Custom forums that are intuitive to manage
Use the Shoutbox for live chats
Find the right guild for you or recruit the exact players you need utilizing WowStead’s Guild Recruitment Tool
Create alliances with other guilds – share calendars and forums
Read on to see a gallery and my quick review of the handy tools given by the Curse Team. Continue Reading
Next on the list, Wowsaurus: For when you just can't think up a creative enough slur to use against the Alliance.
Time to change your bookmarks, people. Wowpedia may not be the first database of WarCraft lore out there, but in due time, it might be the only one worth visiting. Wikia Gaming, longtime host of WoWWiki, finally forced the hand of several administrators and thousands of contributors with their dominant policies — specifically in the form of a new site skin that essentially broke many of the site’s features including layouts and those ubiquitous tooltips.
On IRC we’ve been bouncing around the idea (for awhile) of leaving Wikia, checking out options, etc… Wikia plans to move us to a new skin in October (phasing out the old Monaco skin) and has already enacted rules limiting customization. Sadly, this leaves little control in the hands of WoWWiki users and admins to make the wiki look like WoWWiki always has and to maintain it in a way that reflect’s WoWWiki’s own interests. WoWWiki (and myself personally) have nothing against progress or change, but sadly the “new” look is not conducive to the wiki experience (you can see examples if you would like on other Wikia wikis) – the focus is on getting traffic to other Wikia wikis.
Multiply those basic problems by some 87,000+ pages and you’ve got a right catastrophe on your hands! The decision to abandon Wikia was debated for several weeks, ultimately resulting in a partnership with Curse Gaming and a necessary name change since the WoWWiki moniker still belongs to the old boss. To date, Wowpedia more or less mirrors the entire library of content from the previous site, but is likely to be the better-maintained of the two since the bulk of the muscle has transferred over in the process.
Some unknown number of contributors have presumably remained at WoWWiki and I seriously doubt Wikia is simply going to rest on the laurels and let the site die a slow and agonizing death. World of Warcraft is too big a game, and WoWWiki, at least in name at this point, is one of the most-recognized sources of information for it — in terms of both lore and game strategy. But with few, if any administrators left, the quality of future content is understandably in question (which means that it’s time to go make up some facts when the hall monitors aren’t looking!). Continue Reading
A good idea will always find a way to make itself known, and the more minds you’ve got producing them the more you’re going to get. It’s easy enough to sit in your ivory tower and think you have all the answers, because you’ve got the resources and conference rooms to get things done, but that sort of mentality can lead to a terribly insular point of view.
That’s why I’m so happy that Blizzard has, for such a long time now, openly embraced the community braintrust to help improve the quality of their games, and the latest mod to be co-opted for inclusion in World of Warcraft‘s stock interface is the almighty Power Auras. The key to winning any battle is situational awareness, and while telling you precisely where you should be and when you should be there pushes the line of what’s acceptable (like the ill-fated AVR), giving you a little hint or nudge every once in awhile ain’t so bad. After all, at that point, it’s up to you to do something about it, right?
The ultimate point of an add-on like Power Auras is to give you a recognizable, visual cue when one of your key (but generally not instant-use) abilities is available. Raid encounters these days have so much going on that they require your mind to be about ten different places at once, so it’s nice to have some virtual smelling salts to bring you back to your senses.
Like so many other great add-ons, Blizzard’s version probably won’t satisfy long-time users of the original who are used to controlling every minute detail of their setup, but this is a welcome addition for anybody who would rather not futz around with a bunch of options and simply wants to enjoy the added convenience of having the auras around.
What’s cool is that, according to what’s been posted up on MMO-Champion (see image), it looks like each applicable spell or ability will get its own unique graphic, which flashes on screen when it’s ready. Though not all have been included in the current build of the beta, the ones that are there seem might slick to me.
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TechCrunch is reporting that Curse, popular for its WoW addon and StarCraft II map hosting, has acquired MMO-Champion from Major League Gaming under undisclosed terms. One thing they’re willing to tell us is that Favien Bonte, aka Boubouille, will be joining the Curse team.
Another thing that Curse’s CEO, Hubert Thieblot, has said is that the company plans on updating the site with a new design along with improving the forums, both of which have been pretty unreliable over the past few months.
Boubouille has issued his own statement regarding the purchase:
NEW OWNERS! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
No, seriously. This change will hardly affect the users, we will see a lot of improvements on the site over the next few months (not immediately, we still have to move to new servers) and a lot of people will be working hard to make MMO-Champion a wonderful place filled with love and gnomes. Our first goal is obviously to stabilize the current site and fix all the minor bugs you’ve been experiencing since the migration, then we’ll work on the big stuff and eventually come up with a shiny new design and more features.
I would also like to thank Major League Gaming for the 3 years I spent with them. They’re the one who gave me a chance to bring MMO-Champion to a much higher level and even if it isn’t obvious to everyone, the site probably wouldn’t exist today without them. MLG’s management and tech teams went through a lot of efforts to keep the site alive during its ridiculously fast growth, we’re here today because of them. Curse and Major League Gaming will definitely keep working together in the future and great things will come out of this partnership.
MMO-Champion has been around for 3 years, 4 months, and 19 days. Let’s see how much further we can go.
Curse looks forward to gaining MMO-Champion’s 80 million monthly page views, half of which I estimate to come from my constant refreshing of the blue tracker on multiple computers. Hopefully the operation of the site isn’t affected in any negative ways, as Boubouille has been great at finding and putting together Cataclysm information!
An e-peen meter, or a reference to the growing popularity of GearScore-like add-ons?
If you really enjoy inspecting people in World of Warcraft, it usually means one of two things: you’re either a dirty, filthy voyeur or you have a fetish for Gearscores. Though Blizzard staunchly states the rampant reliance of the latter isn’t one of their primary reasons for doing so, it will no doubt suffer from collateral damage when they implement their latest measure — “throttling” inspect requests.
The end goal of this new rule is to ease the impact on the servers, which have becoming increasingly busy due to people scanning said Gearscores (usually for the purposes of e-peen comparison or potential invitation to a PuG raid), many using special add-ons to do so. Essentially, every time that add-on is retrieving information on a character’s equipment, it has to make a call to the server, and some do this frequently, behind-the-scenes, without the user even noticing.