Furry Healing

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Alpha 7 Released

Veni released Alpha 7 sometime today. I'll talk more about it tomorrow if I get a chance to look over it more thoroughly. I just wanted to let folks know it was out!


Noth Who?

So as I mentioned before I didn't go to the raid last evening since I didn't particularly feel like raiding. While I was out drinking with my brother my guild was attempting Noth for the first time. From what I heard last night didn't go terribly well but the guild leadership decided to give him another go tonight.

After a completely unproductive day of work, and with my brother at work I decided to log in and do what I could to help out with getting a kill tonight. I'm glad I did. We got started around 6:30 and I had an inventory fully stocked with consumables as did many others. After a great attempt (43%) without consumables the raid leaders and officers decided it was time to go all out. We dip into consumables with Greater Arcane Protection potions for the melee near the mages during the second balcony and other damage and health consumables. Personally I'm sporting a Mageblood Potion and some Brilliant Mana Oil, nothing crazy but a significant boost.

Our first attempt with consumables... 66% wipe. Not exactly what were hoping for and so the frustration begins a bit. Next attempt with consumables, 52% wipe, better but still worse than sans consumables.

Everyone is a little irritated but we get back in there, buff up, get the consumables going and throw ourselves at him again. We're at 25% and I'm feeling this one, he's going down. At 23% we miss dispelling a Curse of the Plaugebringer and wipe spectacularly with about a minute and five seconds left before the third balcony.

Now I'm bummed about the wipe, but excited to give him another go. We get back in and do it again. When he goes up to the balcony the first time he's at 75%, much better than we've had him all night; I'm feeling good about this attempt. He comes down and we get him to 52% before he goes up to the balcony the second time; we're ahead of schedule. While he's up the adds are going down so fast we have off-tanks standing around waiting to pick something up which hasn't happened all night. When Noth comes down from the balcony again we just unload on him. By the end each of our off-tanks has about six adds they're controlling and Noth is down. We were all so excited about the imminent kill people were too close to the green plague door which now opens wide letting undead larvae in to feast on our flesh. Eventually the adds from Noth plus the larvae overwhelm us; its a kill, but its a wipe! Shaman pop up and the res train gets started and all is well.

Our raid leader was so excited he passed out next to Noth and we all circled up to laugh at him!

Nights like tonight remind me why I enjoy raiding.

Loots: Cloak of the Scourge   Desecrated Girdle

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Time WoW Consumes

I've read a lot of posts, blogs, forums, etc. about MMO and specifically World of Warcraft addiction, but I never really thought I'd be talking about it from personal experience.

Recently, as I've said before, I moved up to Brooklyn to live with my brother; since arriving here I've started to view WoW in a completely different way. When I was in DC I didn't know a lot of people and I didn't take the time to meet new people, instead I logged on to WoW and chatted or played in Azeroth. I did this because I found it fun, and like anything you really enjoy it affected my life. Looking back now, I wouldn't say it affected it as much as it occupied an enormous part of it. I ate, slept, worked, and played World of Warcraft. Friends I'd made in college and high school I barely talked to, I was out of touch with real life. The truth is, I knew it and was fine with it. I got my social interaction in game, and I really enjoyed talking with the people I had met and playing the game.

The 'trouble' now is I've come to enjoy going out places and hanging out with my brother. WoW is considerably less of a priority for me right now. I used to look forward to logging in and playing, and had no problem sitting through a five hour session of raiding. Yesterday I logged in to raid and had to leave early because I couldn't focus on what was going on and they were headed to Naxxramas. This recounting doesn't even count the fact I couldn't bring myself to log in tonight and help out with what they were doing.

Maybe this is just a phase and in a little while I'll be over it. Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Different Take on RDX

The title links to a post by someone who is quite irritated by Veni charging for access to the website which hosts RDX. For those of you who are lazy I'll first quote the entire article and then my reply to it.

The article:

There's a raid addon called RDX (for "Raid Data Exchange") made by some warlock in a super-elite guild... and he charges for it. This makes me angry.

People leaked the code for "RDX 5" and apparently there's a version out there from the website "Conquest" with additions made by other people, so the addon-author "lessened the security checks" (I don't know waht this means--there's probably a Microsoft-style online check for authenticity/paid-ness and it disables itself if you haven't paid?). He claims that he "lessened the security" to give access to RDX 5 to the general public because RDX 6 is about to come out anyway. (I think a more likely story is that people got their hands on the code and un-securified it.) Now, you can pay to download the RDX 6 alpha, which doesn't work with a raid group yet.

I can't believe how elitist people are. Yes, I believe that he works hard on this addon. Yes, I believe that he is some kind of good coder. No, I don't think he should "restrict" his addon to world-first guilds who pay him. The whole point of a coding community is ... to have a community, right? Of course all the addons I've ever seen in the entire world were all free. Yeah, because of this you get a lot of shitty addons, but there is the occasional outstanding one, and those rise to the surface.

But he's charging for it because he knows his addon is good and "all the world-first guilds use it." He doesn't need it to be free to be widely used and he doesn't even want to offer it for public consumption because we're not good enough for him. I can't believe that he was able to pull this off. It makes sense though, because there's a small community of "world-first" guilds that are way above everyone else (we have no world-first guilds on Dragonmaw--far from it), and they use this as another way to make themselves feel better than the rest of us. Another badge of elitism--"we pay for RDX." It's just really strange. Even saying so reeks of some sort of crying on my part, "wahh those guilds are better than us and I'm just trying to think of something bad to say about them," but it's how I feel.

If I knew more about the politics of free software, I would say a lot more. I want to tell Lawrence Lessig about this or something. I just can't believe that requiring online "security checks" to use software (a la Microsoft) has found its way into the world of WoW addons.

See for yourself: http://www.rdx-raid.com
Someone in his guild has a blog: http://furryhealing.blogspot.com/
People elsewhere flame him: http://www.wowinterface.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5780 and in the thread about the world first 4 horsemen kill: Curse News Post ...etc. Google.

Very strange.

My reply:

Hi, I found this article from a technorati search because it links to my blog (http://furryhealing.blogspot.com). Seeing as you seemed pretty irritating by the whole thing I wanted to explain a little bit.

First, I'm not a member of his guild (Scions of Destiny I think), in fact I don't even know him except to know he writes some pretty nice code.

Second, I'm not even in one of these 'elite guilds' you mention. My guild isn't competing for world firsts, in fact for the most part we aren't even competing for server firsts (seconds maybe).

Third, RDX is most certainly not CTRA with some new bells and whistles. Personally I have not looked at the LUA code of CTRA particularly closely but I will tell you with certainty that RDX is far and away the superior raiding tool.

Fourthly, this is nit picking but since I probably sound like a prick anyway.. CTRA wasn't really the first raid windows either, it was just the most widely distributed.

Since I'm not in a guild competing for world firsts which requires use of this add on you may (or may not) be curious about why I chose to pay the money to get it. Its pretty simple really, curiousity. I was curious to see what the code for such an elaborate add on looked like (I'm a programmer/developer by trade), even more so I was curious to see if he could really deliver on all the things he's claimed RDX will be able to do.

To contrast, my experience with CTRA is that it is an addon of basic windows with some nice extra information available to raid leaders. However, it is extremely static, and has remarkably little customizability. RDX by contrast provides incredible oppurtunities to change raid windows in a way which makes them more useful to the user.

As far as paying for the mod, I actually understand where the irritation fueling those feelings comes from. The simple solution is of course if its not worth it for you, don't get it.

Thanks for the different point of view none-the-less, most of the things I read about RDX are about how great it is.

This is what I'll call a 'lazy entry' on my part. What I quoted for me is simply the comment I left on the journal article.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Back to the Raiding Scene

It was kind of strange going back to serious raiding after having taken just over a week off. I felt a little out of it and amazingly unable to focus. Perhaps its just the state of our raiding. We blew through Blackwing Lair and our three farm status Naxx bosses in just over six hours, which is a pretty good time for us.

Hopefully it was just an off day for me and I'll get back into the swing of things quickly otherwise it may be time for a fairly serious break from raiding for me.

Regardless, I saw my first Rejuvenating Gem drop. I didn't get it since I'm towards the end of a long line of people wanting one, but it was nice to see they actually exist on the drop tables. Stormrage Handguards also dropped but I passed those to another druid to whom they were actually an upgrade.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

RDX6 -- Alpha 6

The big change to RDX6 in Alpha 6 was the addition of the data transfer front end. Basically the data transfer feature of RDX is a big reason its so helpful to raid groups making use of it. It allows users to send and receive whole packages of windows and information. In the future it will (as I understand it) allow the transfer of encounters and modules as well. This makes keeping everyone in your raid or guild up to date with the latest boss mods and raid windows easy since the information can be sent while inside World of Warcraft rather than everyone having to exit the game and download the latest version.

Since I'm the only person I know on my server with the alpha membership I can't really give any feedback about this feature because I can't test or play with it.

Here are the RDX site description of sending and receiving packages as well as the Alpha 6 changlog.

Send Packages - The frontend for the data transfer system has been implemented. It is now possible to send packages over RDX Conferences. To do so, right-click on a package in the RDX Explorer and select "Send..." You can send to premade conferences (for instance, GROUP is the standard conference for your raid/party) or you can create a new custom conference, inviting whoever you wish.

Receive Packages - It's now possible to receive packages from other users. When a user sends you a package, you will see a window describing the contents of that package and allowing you to accept or reject that package. To see the exact serialized Lua forms of the objects you're being sent, you can click on them.

Full Changelog
Alpha 6
* Layout option: clamp to screen
* Layout option: nudge
* Window Manager: docking system overhaul
* Bugfix: Strange docking behavior for Encounter pane (and other classless windows)
* CustomUnitFrame/UnitFrameDesign becomes deprecated
* 'Single-Column Layout' feature becomes deprecated
* Conference system frontend
* Ability to send/receive RDX objects over conferences
* PowerType filter
* Long RPC monitor
* Multiple rows for buff/debuff icons


RDX6 -- Alpha 5

The big feature new to this version is the ability to highlight based on certain conditions in a UnitFrame. As a healer the most obvious use for this is the ability to clearly identify people who are without doubt in range for heals. Unfortunately, because of the API Blizzard exposes to the modding community the closest range check to maximum heal range is 30 yards rather than the 40 yard range of healing spells. As a result the highlighting isn't as useful as it could be in this case, but it does help in hectic situations.

The above screenshot is an example of the highlighting, in it I am the only person within 30 yards so my bar is highlighted. If I think of it I'll grab a better screen shot later today.

Another significant change was the added ability to collate members of a sort. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to use this functionality yet, though the example other alpha testers have given is similar to the way highlighting is being used with healing. What the collation feature does is group members of a subset to the top of a window while highlighting makes the bar a different color. I'm not sure which will be more useful to me yet, I suppose time will tell.

My creativity hasn't really come up with any particularly interesting ways to use these new features just yet but I like to believe I can make better use of them than showing me who is in healing range.

Edit: I wanted to add the Alpha 5 changelog so here it is.

Full Changelog
Alpha 5
* New Sort system
* Highlight system
* Grid Layout (multiple columns, limit display size, etc.)
* Bugfix: you can no longer add events to a window until you've added some kind of multiplexer.
* New feature: Null multiplexer
* Bugfix: shouldn't be able to paste into the Builtin package.
* Bugfix: buff icons framelevel is lower than base frame.
* Bugfix: added missing "Orientation" field in Buff/Debuff icons features.
* Bugfix: Window Wizard "both hp and mana" display doesn't add UNIT_MANA event to feature list.
* Cast Spell mousebinding won't retarget if already targeting.
* Window Wizard: Option to display Missing HP.