with 'world of warcraft' tag

end of an era

i turned off the recurring billing for my world of warcraft account a month ago. on the same day the cycle started, brilliantly enough. today my game time ran out. maybe i’ll be back once the expansion is released, but it seems doubtful.

it’s a brilliant game, but ultimately i have the same issues with playing it that i do with playing at real life. and that’s not very much fun.

a usb/dvi kvm that does not suck

finally, i found a usb/dvi kvm switch that does not suck and is reasonably priced. the linkskey 2-port dvi usb kvm switch is $165, with all the necessary cables, and appears to work just fine with my mac mini and pc. i haven’t noticed any problem at all with the picture, and

there does seem to be some sort of problem with both the mac and pc recognizing the keyboard and mouse when they first boot up, which i’ve fixed both times it has happened by just unplugging the usb cable for that computer and plugging in back in again. another issue is that the volume buttons on my keyboard don’t appear to work, but i can certainly live with that.

the fact that this means that i can go back to playing world of warcraft on the (faster) pc is entirely coincidental.

i happened to stumble across apple’s pages about world of warcraft, and the letters written as game characters are really funny. but you probably need to have played the game to get it.

the new york times takes a look at world of warcraft, and in particular the growing pains that blizzard has encountered because it has been so popular.

i’m still playing, and i’ve found myself focusing more on one character now. there’s just an amazing depth of content in the number of quests.

i wonder what blizzard is working on for the future. expansions to world of warcraft? world of starcraft? world of diablo?

today’s lesson

if a monster’s level appears as “??” and it is hostile, run away. especially if you’ve just ventured into a new zone, and the resurrection point may be off in the middle of nowhere and you’ll be stuck there until your hearthstone recharges.

and there’s a tram between ironforge and stormwind, so there’s no point in searching for the land route.

new job

after the first of the year, i’ll be starting my new job. but as seems to be the trend these days, it’s not a new job with a new company, just a new job with the same company.

i’m getting out of doing web development, at least for my day job. that’s why mysql ab is hiring a webmaster (which isn’t exactly the job i have now, but it basically the person who will take on the biggest chunk of what i was doing).

what i’m going to be doing is joining the development team, with my initial focus being maintenance programming for the server. i’m going back to my roots, and getting my hands dirty with “real” programming again. and i don’t think there’s any better way to learn the ins-and-outs of a system than chasing down bugs. just fixing the bug in how CREATE TABLE ... SELECT statements were logged for replication gave me a good reason to get up-to-speed on several aspects of how things work under the hood.

this article by rands about the type of employee who has gotten locked into a role goes part of the way in explaining why i’m moving on from my current position. even if trying to become irreplaceable by being the only one who knows how to do something is not your goal, it is easy for that to happen by default if you’re in the same position for too long. so i hope that shaking things up will be good for the company as a whole, and not just for own own mental health.

one thing i’ll likely do early in the new year is get a new machine for doing development. i’m thinking of a athlon64 shuttle system, which i can get pretty loaded within my annual work computer budget. i may also upgrade my desktop (which is a personal machine) so that i can use the monitor with the development box when necessary (although it would run headless most of the time, and i doubt i’ll spring for a kvm or anything fancy like that). instead of actually getting a new desktop machine, one possibility is just selling the 17" imac and getting an apple cinema display and using that with my laptop (and the development machine).

(the fact that said development machine would likely be powerful enough to run world of warcraft well is entirely coincidental.)

world of warcrack

as expected, world of warcraft is a tremendously addictive game. i’ve spent at least an hour or two each day playing since i got it, and have even given up a couple of weekend days to it.

the world is big. even though i feel i’ve played quite a bit, i also still feel like i’m just barely getting out of the newbie neighborhood. i have three characters going (so far), and managed to choose them such that the areas they explore at the lower levels don’t overlap at all. (all my characters are on the draenor realm server.)

my first character, gnimsh, is a gnome rogue. i got a little frustrated when i felt like i had gotten to a point where each fight was practically a fight to the death (which i didn’t always win), but i backtracked a little bit and found there were areas i hadn’t fully explored, and quests i still could accomplish in those areas. now that i’ve done that, the area where i had gotten “stuck” should be more fun to explore.

my second character, thrimsh, is a troll mage. there was a period when i almost felt guilty about the can of whoop-ass i was pulling out against some of my opponents. this is definitely a character that fits well into a group, since most of the spells are ranged attacks.

my third character, trimsh (sense a pattern here?), is a tauren hunter. he’s still too low-level to have a pet, so i haven’t even really scratched the surface of the possibilities with this character. the tauren is a new race to me in the warcraft world (maybe they appeared in warcraft iii, but i didn’t get very far along in the campaign in that).

that’s all for now, although i’m thinking of creating a couple of more characters down the line, to try out different areas and classes. one reason to have multiple characters going is the “rest” system that means that as your character rests in an inn (whether you are logged in or not), you gain time during which you get twice as much experience for each monster you kill. it’s an interesting game-balancing element that is mainly intended to help out people who play together — if you miss going out with the group one time because you have some sort of real life, you’ll be able to catch up more quickly the next time.

i will stick with my original impression and say that this game exhibits what is the standard blizzard polish, which really puts what a lot of other game developers put out to shame. that is a game development shop with enviable dna, even despite having lost some of the core programmers at the company.

it is almost absurd how like myself i act within a multiplayer game. for the most part, i just run around ignoring everyone. i will occasionally get invited into a group in areas with particularly high concentrations of enemies (like dungeons), and basically tag along for the ride not saying much. and then just take off when i’ve fulfilled whatever goals i need to in that area.

back to the fray!