Posts Tagged ‘plug-ins’

Blizzard Curbs Gear-Check Calls

25 June 2010 | 3 Comments » | Amatera

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.

Here’s what Nethaera had to say about it:

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Blizzard To Nerf AVR Add-On, Why Not Deadly Boss Mods?

21 May 2010 | 5 Comments » | Amatera

In addition to assisting raid strategy, AVR can also be used to make it look like Ironforge has contracted the measles.

Augmented Reality is a technology that’s gained a lot of ground recently, used primarily in advertising schemes or accompanying products to allow people to “interact” in the real world with objects that aren’t actually there. Usually this is accomplished by using a “target” (a card or other surface marked up with a special code), that when read by software through, say, a webcam, displays the fictional bauble above as though it truly exists. The user can then do things such as pass their hand over it to move it about or cause it to perform other actions.

Two examples that come immediately to mind are a line of toys based on AVATAR (the one with the blue people, not the kid with the funny arrow on his head) and Sony’s interactive card game, Eye of Judgment.

Now, not too long ago, a mod hit the scene called AVR. That would be Augmented Virtual Reality, and it works on the same basic principal, except it allows things to be drawn on top of or overlaid upon an already fictional world (in this case, it’s Azeroth). Blown you mind yet? The possibilities of such a plug-in should be immediately obvious, and it sure didn’t take long before people figured out how to use it to their advantage. One popular use was to mark the locations where people should stand during Sindragosa’s air phase so that you don’t wipe the raid (which is, in my experience, notoriously hard for your average raider to remember — yes, I’m bitter about it).

I found this idea so intriguing that I nearly made a video of it for Lore Hound, but retracted the idea when I realized that though the technology was cool, it wasn’t perfect. As it lays above the environment instead of specifically being pasted on it (imagine the way a puck is lifted just above the table in air hockey), changing the camera angle or using it on variable-height surfaces like stairs rendered it nearly useless. Still, the idea was great. You could place symbols on the ground to mark things, or put range circles/rulers around your character to figure out how far away you need to be from things, but of course this would make things far too easy when it did work.

People complain about World of Warcraft‘s difficulty all the time, but it makes you wonder how many of those players are raiding with a spartan, mod-free interface. How many of us are relying on one crutch or another to get through an encounter (and, as an added wrinkle to the argument, how many of those should have been standard and provided by Blizzard in the first place)?

Blizz is generally pretty lenient about the kinds of mods people create and we tend to depend on those that give us added information about the game world. I think the reason AVR is causing such a stir, though, is that it goes one step further and allows us to affect the environment itself. It exists beyond the two-dimensional plane of our user interface and expands into the third that Azeroth occupies, and that’s a major no-no. Here’s the official line:

AVR Mod Broken in 3.3.5

This is a notice that we’re making changes in 3.3.5 in attempts to break the ability for the AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality) mod to continue functioning. For those unaware, this mod allows players to draw in the 3D space of the game world, which can then be shared with others who are also using the mod. In some cases this manifests itself through drawing/tagging/defacing the game world, but more popularly is used to give visual guides for dungeon and raid encounters.

We’re making this change for two reasons. The invasive nature of a mod altering and/or interacting with the game world (virtually or directly) is not intended and not something we will allow. World of Warcraft UI addons are never intended to interact with the game world itself. This is mirrored in our stance and restriction of model and texture alterations. The second reason is that it removes too much player reaction and decision-making while facing dungeon and raid encounters. While some other mods also work to this end, we find that AVR and the act of visualizing strategy within the game world simply goes beyond what we’re willing to allow.

The change we’re making in attempts to break the functionality is light in its touch and approach. When blocking any functionality we run the risk of affecting other mods, but we’ve targeted the changes as carefully as possible. If we find that the AVR mod (or any mod attempting to replicate its functions) are usable after 3.3.5 we will take further, more drastic steps. Continue Reading