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Tag Archives: warcraft

  • Never Forgetting a Face
    Photo recognition is become more and more common, and this article discusses some of the dangers.

    Dr. Atick sees convenience in these kinds of uses as well. But he provides a cautionary counterexample to make his case. Just a few months back, he heard about NameTag, an app that, according to its news release, was available in an early form to people trying out Google Glass. Users had only to glance at a stranger and NameTag would instantly return a match complete with that stranger’s name, occupation and public Facebook profile information. “We are basically allowing our fellow citizens to surveil us,” Dr. Atick told me on the trade-show floor.

  • Baseball’s Best Lobbyist
    A brief look at MLB super agent Scott Boras and his impact on the Washington Nationals

    Others simply refer to the Boras Effect. “What consistently happens is that there will be a rumor that Boras has a team that is going to give his player X amount of money, then everyone laughs,” says New York Times sportswriter Benjamin Hoffman. “And then someone signs that player for that much money.”

  • At the World Pun Championships, Victory Is Easier Said Than Punned
    I was expecting a great article full of funny puns, but unfortunately I was sorely disappointed. Looks like the competition is more about language agility (similar to spelling bees) than being actually funny.

    In 2000, Tiffany Wimberly won by dressing as RaPUNzel: “When I was a young CURL, a jealous queen LOCKed me in a tower. I was STRANDed … at my SPLIT’S END … truly a damsel in THESE TRESSES.”

  • The History of Mana: How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic
    If you were ever interested in how the word “mana” came to represent the ability to cast spells, then this article is for you!

    Spell-casting units in Warcraft used a spell point mechanic, and their magical energy was measured by a green bar. What kind of magical energy was it? No one seems to be sure. Apparently the developers had never developed a backstory for their game deeper then “orcs and humans fight.” The reasons why were made up by one employee, who made up the backstory as he went along.

    Warcraft II, released in 1995, changed all that. Now there was a guy whose whole job was to create worlds for the game to take place in. In this game, mana was the official unit of magical energy and the bar that measured it had turned blue.

  • Pablo Escobar’s Private Prison Is Now Run by Monks for Senior Citizens
    When I read this title, I thought the story would be about some weird evolution of a private prison due to mellowing out of a drug cartel mastermind. Well no such thing. Pablo Escobar actually just left his prison, and *now* it’s a senior citizen home (no real story given).

    With the Vice Minster of Justice now a hostage, Gen. Pardo’s 4th brigade had little choice but to strike. All hell broke loose. Mendoza managed to escape amid the frenzy. A sergeant from the Directorate General of Prisons, Mina Olmedo, was shot and killed, and eleven other guards were badly injured. At some point during the madness, the most famous prison inmate in the world and nine of his henchmen simply walked out the back door, past a few guards, into the thick woodland of Mont Catedral.

Blizzard has a new game out, and it’s free-to-play (well it’s a freemium) game. It’s called Hearthstone and it’s actually something I want to play because:

  • It’s based on the Warcraft universe
  • It’s a card game similar to Magic: The Gathering

I’ve wanted to play a Magic-type game for awhile. I tried the various official Magic electronic versions but the main problem with all of them is that you couldn’t make a custom deck. That defeats the originality and creativity in the game!

Hearthstone has the ability to make custom decks, but the difficulty is that you have to play a lot (i.e., grind) or pay for a lot of the cards that you would want to use. I guess I can live with that for awhile, but I might not have enough patience or willingness to spend money to build my collection of cards.

Other than that, the game mechanics is pretty good. It has original rules, but it’s not too far from what you would expect from a card game. Luck plays a role, but having a balanced deck is the most important thing. I’ve played some online, and have lost a lot. Half because I played poorly (bad decisions) and half because my opponents have a larger (and better) card collection from which to build their deck from. There is an offline/practice mode but the NPCs are either too easy or too hard (another reason to spend money to build a better deck).

Overall the game suffers from being a freemium game, but has the Blizzard lore and polish. It’s an easy game to pick up for 15 minutes, and not too heavy on your system. It runs on tablets, but needs a constant network connection. Worth a try!

I’ve been trying to build up my Twitter list so that I’m following some useful/interesting people. There are some Twitter users that post fact-of-the-days type things, which are pretty interesting. I found up about the Tetris effect through one of them (but it wasn’t interesting enough of a user for me to follow).

I’ve had this happen before, yes with Tetris. And also with Warcraft. It happens more in my dreams, and apparently this is known as Hypnagogia.

My DS sat dormant for a good period in April. I had sent my dogs off to live in a hotel, and finished up Professor Layton awhile back. I had started Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Rings of Fate (whew let’s just call it FFCC:RoF) the same time as Professor Layton, but layed off on it for awhile since it had a multiplayer aspect. But then, it turns out that no one else wanted to play it so I finally went ahead and finished the game.

The RPG itself is rather short, I think there were less than 10 dungeons and it only took me about 15 hours. But then I played around with it a little bit more and it turns out that it’s not a bad game, and it’s pretty deep.

Multiplayer isn’t the same as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for GameCube. In FFCC:RoF there’s a single player, AND a multiplayer mode; multiplayer is like single player without the story and well multiple real people, but you can’t play story mode with multiple people. I played multiplayer a bit with Pauline and I guess you could think of it like a limited, but free, but on a small screen World of Warcraft clone.

Single player has a tactic stolen from Chrono Trigger where after you finish the game, you can play the game again from the beginning with your current characters’ levels and items. It takes it a bit further with harder monsters, different drops and items so you can keep playing for better items and a maxed out character.

So I’ve kept playing and going through the game having been caught in the character level/reward structure. But it’s fun, at least, since I can’t find any other better DS games to play.

I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica season 4 now that the Hollywood Writers’ strike is over. After avidly following the series for the first two seasons, I was somewhat disappointed with the third season as there were several throw-away episodes. But the end of the season 3 brought about another dramatic plot twist and has made the start of season 4 pretty interesting. Either that or my quality meter has been severely depressed by Smallville.

I also saw a very neat episode of Stargate Atlantis this week. The premise was that Sheppard and McKay had found an Ancient game similar to Civilization on the Atlantian computers, and had been playing it in their spare time. They then came upon a planet where it turns out that their actions were being carried out in real life, the results sent back to their screens via satellites, and they were considered oracles! A very neat, meta-, and geeky episode all in all!

While I don’t enjoy Atlantis as much as the original Stargate (the writing is not as funny), they do try and please their geeky audience. There was another episode this season where they had an entire conversation about World of Warcraft (the chick had to distract the nerdy scientist you see, while her conspirator gained access to a restricted system).

I have been passively searching for something more creative to work on than playing Warcraft to whittle away my time. Previously, I would probably have been interested in scripting orangefever more, but I think the software and functionality is now pretty mature; plus I don’t have a web environment setup on my new computer to test changes.

One idea was to write a program on Eclipse, mostly because that’s what I spend my days doing anyways. The difficulty was deciding what to build. Initially I thought of writing an address book application, but I already wrote a web-enabled version which is pretty complete for what I want to do. Recently I came upon the idea of writing my own RSS reader. One of the problems with my new computer was that I couldn’t find a good RSS reader. Feedreader, the one I use is adequate; but it doesn’t scale well, has a bunch of quirks/bugs, and is butt ugly.

I think I can do a better job, or at least write a reader that has quirks that I want, so my new project is to write a RSS Reader on top of Eclipse. Fortunately, there is a Java library called Informa that does all the heavy lifting of modelling and retrieving feeds, so I can concentrate on the UI. Now I just need to think of a name and create a sourceforge project.

One of the reason’s I waited so long to get a new computer was in order to get Vista bundled free. Now that I’ve been playing around and setting things up, here are some observations and thoughts on Vista and my new computer:

  • Vista has this nice ability where you can shrink and create new partitions, however it doesn’t know to move system files around and so you can’t really shrink partitions much. Also it can’t move partitions which is irritating.
  • The Aero theme looks better than Luna, the XP theme (although I wouldn’t go to say it’s better than OS X). However, there are too many borders and toolbars on the windows so I need a larger monitor (or dual) to have enough real estate.
  • UAE (i.e., cancel or allow?) is just as annoying as the Apple commercials make it, but the only time it rears its ugly head too often is when you’re in the Control Panel.
  • Don’t try to install an old version of Alcohol 120%. It’s not Vista compatible and will blue screen Vista every time immediately after you log in.
  • Java doesn’t work with Firefox at all, and hangs Firefox every time it runs. You have to use IE7 if you need Java applet support (i.e., Facebook photo uploader). Basically Java always causes UAE to activate.
  • Some programs have random hangs or just don’t work. Usually the culprit is that UAE is acting like the Gestapo and silences the offending program when it tries to do something.
  • I have 8 USB ports, and they’re all used up for: mouse, keyboard, scanner, HD enclosure, media card reader (doesn’t even work in Vista…), cell phone cable, printer, iPod dock.
  • The uptime on my laptop is over 500 days, I’ve rebooted Vista some 50ish times in 5 days.
  • I can finally run banlist properly (with UAE disabled) and I installed Warcraft on emulated drives so I don’t have to swap disks or find no-cd cracks
  • Why aren’t there ANY good RSS readers for Windows? Is this why web-based readers are so popular? The best I’ve found is RSSOwl, but even that is sorely lacking. After some more searching, I’m using Feedreader (great name…).
  • A lot of the old hacks still work, I edited my registry to launch a text editor on any file using the context menu. Same thing that I did in XP and before.

There are so many of us that play Warcraft, that we have enough people to create a Warcraft clan from just people that we’ve actually, physically met in R.L. (i.e., Real Life).

Amazing I know, so it is with no surprise that we would all gather together on a Friday night (although it was more like a Saturday thanks to the long weekend) to have a Warcraft party, graciously hosted at Ben’s pad. We ended up with 10 computers with half of them being laptops, although between the 2 Victors they brought like 5 computers! Good thing for the LCD revolution.

Nelson also brought along his Wii so that all the non-nerds at this nerd party would have something to do. We spent a lot of time shaving sheep, milking cows, and other tiring hilarity. This story is useless without videos, but I have the next best thing: BOOP party pictures on Facebook.

Because this is the new meme going around Facebook, here are my celebrity look-a-likes:

So Mussolini and Jeff Goldblum, I guess the software somewhat works but there are no celebrities that are a great match for me. Plus, aside from those two and Philip Seymour Hoffman, I haven’t even heard of the rest. Although, it seems cool that I look like ROSHAN.

Friday, a bunch of people went to go rock climbing again. I’m not really interested in rock climbing so I passed, but they came up to my ‘hood for some dinner at like midnight, so we hung out for awhile. I didn’t order anything, but it was at some Korean place whose name doesn’t come to mind, so there was a lot of freebie side dishes to feast on.

Saturday, Pauline and I went karaoke and then to this neat restaurant around the corner of Pacific Mall. I forgot the name of it now, the Chinese name makes more sense, because the English name is something like Honey & Garlic Restaurant, although they seem to serve all types of Chinese food (which may or may not have honey and or garlic). The place is neat because it was nicely decorated, well lit, clean and cheaply priced. They seem to have an abudance of dishwashers as they had a variety of saucers, lids and what not that was plainly unnecessary.

Sunday, I fixed up the orangefever layout a bit (new header, footer, and sidebar). Before, I was more in a rush to upload all my code changes, that I just slapped some sort of newish design up. It started bothering me so I created a new one. I also started playing some Warcraft 3 AT. DotA’s starting to get kind of boring, so I guess it’s time to switch back to what Warcraft really is.

In the last year or two of high school, I would get online on my dialup at night and load up Tetrinet to play some Tetris. It was quite fun, and a variation on traditional Tetris in that you get multiplayer and “special” blocks. Anyways, the reason I kept playing night upon night is not because Tetris is fun (although it is fun), but because some of my high school friends would get online and use Tetrinet to play Tetris AND as a chatroom.

The same thing is happening right now with Warcraft, we’ve been gathering on frequently over the last few months, and have finally gotten enough people to start our own clan. Now pretty much every night, we randomly log on at different times, and eventually get together to play in house Dota or as a team against random people. It’s the same thing that happened with Tetrinet, and a fun time both from a game and social perspective.

Recently, I have been returning to the world of Warcraft; that is playing Warcraft 3 again and not World of Warcraft. I was doing pretty well before really, I didn’t play from the end of May to the middle of July, a good one and a half month. But, now it’s back to the same old, same old; DotA All Stars with a swirl of vanilla, which may or may not explain my lack of blogging recently.

Although, if you are lamenting my lack of blogging, make sure you’re checking my links miniblog which I still update every day for the most part.

I really agree with this thought that when software engineers are procrastinating, they are actually thinking. Yes, all that web surfing and IMing is actually doing work.

Recently, I had some stuff to write that was complex; the algorithm was not entirely straightforward. So as I was about to get down to work, in my mind I was thinking: I should get this done, but it seems kind of complicated. So I played some Warcraft. Then the next day, I thought: Gee, I should get cracking on this so it doesn’t become blocking, and so I played some more Warcraft. Finally in various random moments where I was waiting for the microwave, walking to school, taking a shower, etc I cleaned out the nooks and cranies of what I needed to write. Then I played some more Warcraft.

But when I actually got around to doing everything, I just needed to type it out and it was done. No need to think about how to do it, no need to refactor. Of course, now I need to do some testing to see if the algorithm actually makes sense.

There are probably as many people playing DotA as there is normal warcraft. Why is DotA so popular? Well I think it is fairly obvious, it’s mini-WoW with the ability to play all sorts of different characters. There is the same grinding of creeps, teamwork to tackle harder challenges (Roshan == instance?), PVPing, items, and inventory. In fact, I’ve seen people playing DotA and leaving mid game because the WoW server is back up.

Of course, DotA is $15/mth cheaper than playing WoW but I think there is still the same waste of time.

I’ve been playing a lot of DotA, well not recently, but for the last few months. Once you get familiar with the items and heroes, I think there is not much separating fools from pros. Of course, a lot of people play like fools. I don’t think it’s a matter of not being able to micro properly and not being good at Warcraft, I think it’s because the fools don’t play smart. So here are some points of how to play smart:

  • Be constantly looking at the mini-map. I spend probably 50% of the time looking at the mini-map unless I’m trying to kill someone or creep deny.
  • Call missing or healing opponents (they may appear elsewhere) because your teammates may not spend time looking at the mini-map (or it’s the other 50% of the time)
  • If people are missing and you are pushing, more likely than not they are coming to gank you.
  • If you are outnumbered, just pull back to tower unless you are god-like
  • It’s better to not-die then to kill someone, but if you are going to die then you might as well kill someone.
  • At the beginning, it’s better to just stand back and level than to run back to base to heal.
  • Creep deny is useful until level 7ish, and especially if your opponent is solo-ing. I’ve had games where I’m hitting 20 creep denys by level 7.
  • Creep block to fight closer to your tower, or to push away from the enemy tower.
  • Saving towers (that aren’t in your base) once people are roaming is pointless, they will fall very easy under a push.

Wow, that’s many more points than I expected.

It’s not as drastic as Wired suggests, but Warcraft is not really as fun anymore.

I used to play a lot of arranged and random team, but i hardly dothat anymore. Tired of it I guess. Now I’ve been playing a lot of DOTA but even with all random mode it’s still getting boring. I find that I’m repicking heroes because 1) I’ve played them too much already, or 2) I suck with them or 3) they’re just not fun!

So i guess I need to move onto something else, World of Warcraft maybe? Too time consuming!

an article on wired talks about microsoft’s initiative for micropayments in games; basically letting gamers pay a couple of cents or bucks to buy better equipment or skills.

i think this is a great idea, because as i get older and have less time to invest in games, i’d rather trade money for time and buy my way to the same level as those stupid ass kids that play all the time and trash talk the shit out of you.

world of warcraft tried to make inroads into making games less addictive and time consuming, but i don’t think it really worked. i think micropayments would be a good idea, except i’m absolutely sure there will be 10,000 kids with tons of disposible income that will wreck the system.

well i can tell you one thing, it’s certainly difficult to get into the whole swing of school again given that i just had almost a week off school and got my iron ring which almost signifies that i’m an engineer (and thus graduated). that’s especially worrisome because i have work starting to pile up and i have a whole bunch of time-consuming non-work things to do.

anyways i’ve definitely been slacking, i haven’t even been keeping up with warcraft. we were as high as 10th on the ladder at one point two weeks ago.

oh yeah, just to add to the randomness of this post; Pauline‘s in an article in OCT this month.

so i finished downloading world of warcraft on wednesday night at like 1am and i could hardly goto sleep without playing it so i suffered through the hour long (!) install and played it until 4 in the morning. rinse and repeat for the next four days and that was basically my weekend, work/sleep+WoW.

i haven’t played any mmorpgs before this, but i don’t find it a terribly fun game. the gist of it is to go on quests for money and experience so you can level and buy new equipment. most of the quests are pretty stupid, they basically fall into 3 categories: 1) kill x of these, 2) get x of this from killing these, or 3) go talk to x in y. aside from this my other gripes are: you usually have to walk forever to get to the area you’re supposed to go to do your quest (sidenote: they should have a follow this road or walk around trees/fences button), and you can get into a vicious cycle where you die and respawn in an area of monsters and die again etc.

i don’t think i’ll buy the game; for one thing it’s not too fun to play and it’s basically endless; you can basically go on quests and level forever. plus i’m not to happy with the $15 usd/mth fee to play the game on top of the $50 usd price for the game. i’m still having fun with warcraft 3 so i think i’ll stick to that for the time being.

the open beta for the highly awaited (by me?) warcraft mmorpg is finally out. world of warcraft weighs in at a 2.4 gig download! but thankfully it is being distributed over bt so the load is distributed and you can resume the download. even then, it’ll take a couple of days to download.

the funny thing is that the game is supposed to be released on november 23rd, exactly two weeks from today. so they’ll need all the beta feedback and changes in fairly soon in order to release to manufacturing. that means we won’t actually be playing it for that long. i can see blizzard letting us play until a couple of days before the release, then starving their hooked fans and making them more eager to rush out and buy the game.

i also wonder who’s bright idea it was to start the open beta on the same day that halo 2 is released? that would surely cut into the people who would actually try the game since halo is so hyped.

well aside from losing at warcraft, not a whole lot. i started playing undead and between the lag and just plain suckiness it hasn’t worked out so well. in the real life world, i’ve pretty much explored the parts of seattle that i’m willing to get my lazy ass up for. so it’s been pretty boring since i’m not too interested in pubbing and had several false starts for ghost in the shell 2 and going up to vancouver (although it looks like this might be the week). even my cd buying pace has slowed down!

i’ve spent some time working on my site. put up an rss feed of my blog, and re-did my photo album. my photos section has always been an area of the site which i wasn’t really happy with. i tried setting up folderblog which is supposed to be a pretty good (and simple) script for setting up navigation for photos, but i found it lacking in support for categories (well i only have two categories, but it’s the principle). anyways, so the easy solution as always was to write my own thing, so i did. i’m still not entirely satisified, but it will do until the next iteration. i should probably also mention suberfantacularizzle which is a links group blog and has seen much more blogging than this one in recent days (let me know if you want to blog on it).

hrmm, can you figure out who’s been playing too much warcraft?

anyways, we also played a funny game yesterday where the other guys thought we were gosu (what’s that?), then asked if were pros, then begged to play some arranged teams with us. i don’t understand why they thought that we were so good, do they know how many more better people there are on battle net than us?! geez

so we just went and bought 4 copies of warcraft. the incentive for us to go was that it was on sale at best buy for $29.99, so we went to future shop and price matched it for $26.99. so overall, what would’ve cost us $229.94 ended up costing us $124.15 or a savings of $26.45 per copy. the funny thing is that best buy and future shop are owned by the same company, so best buy made future shop lose a hundred bucks.

ok, no more time to blog; i have to read up on the strategy guides since i don’t know how to play and keep losing.

very interesting (and long) essay on why nerds are unpopular. it raises many thoughtful observations, not necessarily about being a nerd, but about being a teenager in high school (either that or i find that i can relate to it better since i was more nerd than jock). it’s interesting how the writer mentions that adults don’t really understand or see the intricacies of high school societies; i can see that happening to me even though i’m only a couple of years removed. it’s unreal. i think once you move onto the “real world” as he calls it, you don’t seem to acknowledge that people can or will willingly treat people as they did in school; everyone should be grown up, more mature than to treat peers like crap. it goes on to say how the family structure in our society may be to blame for the problems teens face in school, but that leads to a whole bunch of new ideas and questions. overall, a very provoking article about a formative period in anyone’s a teen’s life in north america.

this is as big as news will get re: blogs on the net: google’s bought out blogger. unless you have your own half-working concocted solution you probably use blogger (or blogspot which is powered by blogger). that’s a huge amount of data for google to play with (blogger’s site says >1e6 users!). i read an interesting suggestion that google could use blogs to find new memes before they spread; think of it, a google memes page in addition to the google news page. that would be really cool.

indepth preview of warcraft’s upcoming expansion pack: the frozen throne on gamespy.

i added a new section for ringtones to my site. no reason why really, i was trying to find some polyphonic ringtones but i don’t think you can actually punch those into your phone. newayz, i think i’ll just put it up as a resource on the web for motorola phones or something. hopefully google will index it (and while it’s at it, hopefully it will reindex my site!!).

also, i found a nice mod for war3 called nature’s call – the spider queen. you play a race of spiders out to do the same thing as the other races: defeat the burning legion/undead. but it’s pretty cool; there are new structures, units, and sounds. it’s not as coherent as the originals; some of the dialogue is horrible, but hey it’s free so i can’t complain.