Archive for January, 2009

Ezra Chatterton Immortalized as an Elder

If you’re not familiar with the story of Ezra Chatterton, you owe it to yourself to read one of the most personally compelling stories I’ve ever read about a boy who loved life and loved World of Warcraft.

Sadly, Ezra passed away several months ago, but his legacy lives on inside World of Warcraft in a number of ways; including the Merciless Crossbow of the Phoenix (specially crafted to his specifications), and now, with his presence as Elder Ezra Wheathoof during the Lunar Festival.

The quality of the screenshot above isn’t great, but it’s enough to see that he’s there on Elder Rise in Thunder Bluff in a column of moonlight, with a trusty Phoenix Hatchling pet at his side. It’s a beautiful and fitting memorial, and here’s hoping he’ll be a mainstay of the festival elders.

Keep Your Add-Ons Fresh with the WoW Updating System

I know, after you’ve installed all of those essential add-ons for Wrath, you’re having a heck of a time keeping them all up to date as patch after patch rolls out. 3.0.8 break some of your favorite add-ons and now you have to go dig up new versions? I know that pain.

Well, the WoW Updating System (WoWus for short) was created for those of us who hate the process of going through and updating our add-ons one at a time. The app promises to make it easier to update all of your addons at once with their most recent respective versions, or disable specific addons from ever being updated if you prefer.

This is how it works: when you install WoWus (Windows only, requires Microsoft .NET 2.0 or higher), the app scans your WoW installation for add-ons that you have installed. The tool then creates a database of your addons, and checks against its own online database of add-on versions. If you’re running an old version, you’ll see it’s version number in red, and you can update it. If you prefer, you can select all of them and click to update all of your installed add-ons at the same time. You can also tell WoWus to check for updates when Windows starts, and if you have WoW installed in a custom directory, you can tell it where to check for your Add-ons directory.

In addition to giving you an easy and simple way to keep your add-ons up to date, the app can also perform complete backups of your WoW install, game files and everything – which is perfect for those times when everything stops working and you want to go back to a known, good install without having to reinstall everything.

US Democracy Server: Patch Day!

Now I normally like to keep my politics out of my World of Warcraft, but you’ve got to admit this one’s funny.

The owner of the Chrome Cow blog is apparently quite the WoW player, and posted a hilarious write up of last week’s (wow, it’s been a week already) Presidential Inauguration in the form of patch notes…for the United States!

The post is called US Democracy Server: Patch Day, marking the inauguration of the 44th President with patch version 44.0. It includes such winning highlights as:


* Serious on-going issues with server economy are still being addressed. We expect further roll-backs, and appreciate your help identifying and fixing bugs. We can’t make these fixes without your help.


* Reputation with various factions are being rebalanced. The gradated reputation scale was erroneously being overwritten by the binary For Us/ Against Us flag.

World of Warcraft SteelSeries Gaming Mouse

I heard a little while ago that SteelSeries, makers of fine gaming mice and mouse peripherals, were planning on making a Blizzard approved World of Warcraft gaming mouse. Well, the SteelSeries WoW MMO Gaming Mouse is here and available for pre-order, and can be yours at some indetermined release date for the price of $99.99.

That’s not terribly much to pay for a gaming mouse if you’re used to paying a premium for gaming peripherals, and especially not terribly much more than other gaming mice if you’re used to SteelSeries’ pricing model and if you’ve paid for Blizzard-branded gear before (remember the Dell World of Warcraft branded laptop?).

The mouse itself touts the ability to create up to 160 character macros that can be toggled using only the mouse, a total of 15 programmable buttons on the mouse, and glowing lights that shine out from angular slots on the front of the mouse like the thing’s shielding your vision from something radioactive. The lighting itself can be customized for brightness and intensity, the colors can be tweaked – hell, SteelSeries claims you can customize just the lighting in 16 million ways, with 3 illumination levels. You can even turn on effects that make the lights pulse slowly while the mouse is plugged in and on.

Engadget took the SteelSeries WoW Mouse for a spin and thought it was pretty good all things told. The programmable buttons and macro capabilities are Windows-only, so Mac users playing WoW are a little out in the cold this time around, but SteelSeries claims they’re working on a solution for the Mac users.

The problem however popped up when I read an interesting post over at the venerable WoW Insider today that explained that the programmable macros and scripting functionality for the mouse are very clearly against Blizzard’s EULA and TOS for World of Warcraft.

This is a pretty serious problem, and reminds me (as it does the poster at WoW Insider) of the trouble that turned up with the Logitech G15 gaming keyboard when it was released; owners of G15 keyboards found themselves getting their accounts locked and banned just for using the scripting and macro functionality that came with their device.

The difference here is that the SteelSeries WoW Mouse is actually Blizzard supported and World of Warcraft branded – that implies that Blizzard is being contradictory with regard to its stand on macros and scripts; although it’s likely a case of development talking with one hand and marketing talking with another. The marketing folks who agreed to the partnership with SteelSeries probably didn’t even bother to consider whether the functionality of the device would be a problem for operations and development, and that unfortunately leaves the poor folks in ops and customer service with nothing to do but repeat the rules and tow the company line.

In any event, if you plan to pick up the SteelSeries WoW Mouse, take heed of the negative reviews that WoW Insider received as well as the positive endorsement from Engadget – I can’t speak to the DPI of the mouse itself because none of its literature (and the Engadget review unfortunately) all leave that information off of their descriptions, but if I were looking for a sharp looking new mouse, this one would be pretty tempting, even at just under a hundred bucks. If you do pick it up though, keep an eye on those macros until SteelSeries and Blizzard get things sorted out.

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