Archive for the 'tip' Category

Addon of the week: RaidBuffStatus


First off: I wondered why I didn’t get one disconnect in the 2 raids I did yesterday.Β  For the past few weeks this has been the standard I was getting used to (ok, not really).

I was always blaming my addon mania for this, as I figured a few of them were probably fighting over who got to place their useless information in some unread tooltip first.

But this morning I got the joyful message from my internet provider that they secretly upped my internet speed!

Now, I can hardly believe that the lack of speed was causing the problems before (8Mbit should be more than enough, right?), but I wouldn’t be surprised if those sudden DC’s were caused by them tweaking their routers.

Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It could just be temporary luck and my addons could still be plotting a huge chain-DC on my next run, right after I see the message: “Mainspecs, roll on [Trauma]“.

However, a faster internet connection for the same price is never a bad thing πŸ™‚

And I think I already payed my due’s to murphy.. because to be absolutely safe, I decided to updated my router firmware as they suggested. Having my router protected as good as possible, this caused some undocumented updating problems: my password got reset, which not only caused me to not be able to access my router, and internet until I figured out how to reset it to factory default. It also resulted in me losing all the configurations which I meticulously tweaked over time. It took me 2 hours to get everything back as it was *sigh*

But I’m back in business, like everyone’s favorite VH boss would say.

Anyway, enough screen clutter, on to the addon of the week:

RaidBuffStatus

This addon came to replace my previously used BigBrother a while back, and it’s a must have if you’re perfectionist like me.

Unlike the name suggests, this addon does more than just check the status of buffs in the raid. However, that is one of its main purposes.

Who would want it?

Raidleaders mostly of course, but anyone with a sense of responsibility will like it very much. For tanks this can also be very useful. Even in PvP this is useful for the deathwarnings and the CC breaks.

Why would you want it?

To “spy” on everyone and quickly notice if they ate their plate clean, took their (right) medication.. I mean, have their (correct) food buffs and flasks/elixirs, buffs, aura’s, presences, or stances, but also who’s been slacking in giving the rest buffs (yes, I’m looking at you, slackadins!) and who is n0t even inside the instance yet even (regular slackers).

These are not it’s only functions.

For tanks it has the special function of showing interesting information about taunts used, and breaking CC’s. It can give text and sound feedback when your taunt fails, or when someone else taunts your target. When someone else taunts your target, it also recognizes if this is a tank or a non-tank. For example: if a hunter grabs your aggro, it will explicitly mention that it’s not a tank that taunted your target.

The options for taunt warnings are many, like you can see in this configuration screen, there’s not a single kind of taunt not covered. It’s close to too much information, but you can choose what you wanna see and what not, that’s the good thing.

For those that aren’t raidleading or tanking, it’s still useful besides spying on others. It can be configured just to show your buffs, and helps you buffing the right people by simple clicking your buffs in the main overview. CC breaks are also good to know if you’re a CC capable class. If you’re a dps druid it’s also interesting to get deathwarnings too, so you can quickly battleress f.e.

The operation

The main overview screen looks like this if you’ve got it full option:

This page shows the overview of all the information you can get about the current raid. It might look confusing, but once you know the reason for the way this is ordered, it’s get much easier to use.

The screen is split into 4 parts.

First part, the top row of buttons shows basic “readiness” problems, like people not in the same zone, people AFK, low durability, having useless aura’s, people using low level consumables or ammo, or people who are dead… Personally I think 2 things in this list don’t really belong there, but you can all change that.

The second part is a list of bars that show the health of the raid. Average health of tanks, average mana of healers, etc. Personally I only care about healer mana, and healers/tanks alive, but you can choose what you want to see from the configuration menu.

The third part is a grid of all the standard buffs, kings, mark ot wild, fortitude, seals, presences, etc.

The fourth and last part are the buffs that you would use for progression raids, and are interesting if you really want the best from your raid. These are basically consumable buffs like foodbuffs, elixirs/flasks, stuff you wouldn’t use in heroics f.e.

The buffs have colors on them, these colors say something important about the buffs too:

  • Yellow means that somebody in the raid is missing this buff
  • Red means that somebody in the raid is missing a buff you’re responsible for
  • Blue means that you’re missing a buff that someone else is (or could be) responsible for.

You can configure click actions on these buttons. By default they are this:

  • Left click turns checking for the particular buff on and off
  • Right click buffs people if you’re capable of buffing it
  • Shift-Left click reports this to the raid chat (if you’ve got the authority to do so)
  • Ctrl-Left click whispers the buffers about what they forgot.

There are also 4 buttons. The scan button on top refreshes everything, nothing spectacular. The bottom 3 buttons are only usable if you have raidleader or assist status, and can be used to report to the raid about the missing buffs (if you don’t have this status, it can report to yourself only, but that’s a bit senseless, as you have the overview in front of you). The Trash and Boss button do basically the same, except that the Trash button ignores the fourth part of buffs. The Boss button shows everything. The R button is simply a readycheck.

Sometimes it’s a shame that it only allows you to report to the raid as leader/assist, especially in pugs. You can however always make it whisper to the responsible people what they’re forgot to do.

Update:

I forgot two windows that pop up if you press the little two arrows on top of the addon.

The left one gives an overview of your group, showing what specs and abilities the players have. Very useful to quickly see who are the tanks, healers, melee, and ranged dps, and what they bring to the raid in abilities.

The right one let’s you configure which buffs you consider a buff, or a warning, and which ones you want to show, or report. This basically configures the RBS display. Here you can change the buffs that you think are wrongly placed, or are just not interesting to you. Those slacking buffs that were wrongly placed in my opinion can be replaced or removed here.

The options

The latest versions comes pre-configured for three options. Just press the button and the configuration will be adjusted to your role:

Personally I would’ve liked to see the “tank” option too. but it’s not hard to configure that manually.

Manual configuration is simple btw, even though there are lots of options.

Consumable options configures whether you’re ok with lower level consumables or not.

Reporting configures to whom you want to report the information, and how.

Raid Status Bars show what bars you want so see in the bars overview.

Mouse buttons configures the click combinations you can use

Tank/CC/Misdirect/Death Warnings (see pictures at the begin of this post) configure if you want these warnings, and if they should be audial, visual, both or even reported to the raid.

Food announce can automatically throw a raidwarning when a fishfeast or any other interesting buff source is dropped. You can configure it to whisper people when these items are about to time out too if they still haven’t used this. I like this option a lot, because especially fish-feasts are easy to miss.

The other options are quite self-explanatory or just small operational options.

…And finally

I think it’s a very useful tool. As tank I love the taunt warnings, the misdirect/cc warnings. Simple functions like who is still not in the zone is great for summoning people to their raid, you don’t need to have them all ask for it.

The authors claim it’s lightweight, but it’s still a pretty big addon (1.2 MB). Processor usage seems to be low though, and that’s most important with wow being such a CPU hungry game.

Oh, I haven’t tested this yet, but if you would like to be able to use the reporting function even if you’re not a leader, the following “hack” should fix that *evil grin*

Open the Core.lua file in the RaidBuffStatus addon folder, and add this to the end of it:

function IsRaidLeader()
Β Β Β  return true
end

Good luck raiding!

P.S. Funny picture of the day

…after he dropped from his mount into the depths πŸ˜‰

Updates: I completely forgot to write about 2 very interesting views. Weaved it in the middle of the story. I also got a new DC again *sigh*, though I can’t complain, because a wow bug caused me to be able to do the weekly raid twice, how nice!

Another update: I discovered the proof reading option in wordpress, which pointed out quite a few mistakes. I was actually a bit shocked by the amount of errors it found. English isn’t my native language, but I still thought I had a better grasp of it. Guess I can use it’s help. It’s not unusual for me to revise a post a few times after I updated it (I’ve got a mild form of dyslexia, which makes me put words in the wrong order sometimes, or simply skip them), but this one needed it badly a few times. My apologies for the bad English I used before, I hope this will improve it a little in future posts.

Advertisements

How to become a better healer


I never intended to write a post like this. Simply for the reason that I don’t consider myself close to an authority on the subject. Then again, I’m always surprised whenever I’m grouped up with people who should be much better than me, not only by gear, but also because they’re a known healer in a hardcore guild, that I nearly always outperform them in both output and efficiency. It’s very rare for me (honestly, I can’t remember ever) not to be topping the chart, that must say something. I’ve also seen people claim authority and then say things that are pretty awful, which makes me wonder on which side of the Dunning-Kruger effect I am located.

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

-Bertrand Russell

Perhaps I should take this to mind, perhaps everyone should. I’m in doubt most of the time, does that make me intelligent? Hah! Perhaps.. perhaps not.. πŸ™‚

But enough rambling. I’m pretty certain that anyone can teach someone else something, and I’ve healed on every healer class, so here’s what I can tell:

First, don’t expect fixed numbers, gem recommendations, optimal rotations, etc. Those are things that should have been covered. Those are things you learn from sites like EJ. Those sites tell you the spells with the biggest throughput, or efficiency. Those are the basics. Knowing that is important, but it’s not everything.

Healing is a bit like learning how to drive. When you’ve finished school, you know the rules, you know who has right of way, when you should slow down or stop, and what to watch for optimal safety. But after a few years of driving, you’re doing things different, most happens automatically. You don’t follow every rule by perfection, you bend them using experience. For example: you pick up the small signals from other drivers and react according to those, not strictly the rules. Probably the most important thing your driving instructor might have taught you is that you should learn to anticipate. This learning to anticipate is something you keep on learning even after you got your license. It’s like polishing the rough stone.

There are many similarities with healing.

This is my most important rule in healing: anticipate, anticipate, anticipate.

Does this sounds simple, logical? Great. But do you really focus on it? Are you really actively thinking: what can I expect next, and when and on who, constantly? I notice too many healer not doing this, or at least not correctly. They either just do a rotation, spam, or wait for the damage, and then start healing: *BUZZZZZZ* too late.

Mostly that last part. If you start casting after the damage has been done, there’s much room for improvement.

Just recently I had a discussion with a priest about renew vs flashheal. Like most priest I come across, this one liked flashheal a lot more (I’ll never get this, but everyone should stick to their style). The main reason was that it activated serendipity, which made PoH so much faster.

Sure, nothing false about that statement. If you like PoH and can often use it in full effect, that’s great. But when I asked them to give an example of a fight where that was useful I got the surprising answer of Toravon. If there’s any fight that has predictable AOE damage, it’s that fight. First, whiteout is on a pretty strict 38 seconds cooldown, and it also has a 2.5 second cast. Having a hasted AOE wouldn’t be needed. It’s kinda like Loatheb, that’s the same story, you can time your PoH, lifeblooms, chainheals to great effect based on the time left of the debuff. And in toravon you don’t even have to remember the cooldown, just watch his castbar, and do the same.

Fights like those are the perfect playground for learning to anticipate.

A better example would have been Ignis. Though pre-hotting would still have a better effect. Probably the best fight for a tactic like this is those with continued raid wide damage.

That’s why I love hots. Learning to anticipate + hots = big profit!

This is still just about anticipating damage. Also keep in mind it’s useful to anticipate the heals of your colleague healers. This is easy on a 10 man, especially if you’re duo healing it, but it gets hard when there’s 5 or more other healers in your group. Most healer will instinctively heal the lowest target first, so unless you’ve got clear agreements on the healing job, you’re going to need to anticipate what the other healers are going to do. Know their classes, know their heals. For example: if there’s one paladin and one tank, you can expect to see that lowest be topped in less than 2 seconds, so it’s likely a safer bet to focus the second lowest

Second rule, for AOE healers: location, location, location!

Your own and that of the rest..

Whenever you cast an AOE spell like CoH or Wild Growth, it will automatically target the lowest heath people in the raid within the 15 yard radius of who it’s cast on. This is a pretty big range, but don’t overestimate it.

Lots of priests and druids have the tendency to click the lowest health target with these spells, which happens easily, because it’s an understandable reflex. As a shaman, this is actually important, because your first target will always receive the largest part of your chainheal, still you should try be aware of your target’s location before doing so.

The main goal: try to reach as many people as possible within the radius of the AOE heal.

Tip: as priest or druid, position yourself in the center of the raid if you can’t find a suitable target, and cast the AOE on yourself, even if you’re full. It’s smart, so it will pick the 6 (if glyphed) lowest targets anyway, and you lose the chance of wasting some of the heal on full or even no members, if you happen to pick that one ranged player that stood away from the raid.

For shamans (also paladins with glyphed holy light): know the location of people. Remember who’s melee and who’s ranged. If there is raid damage, make sure that when you cast chainheal, it’s on somebody that is standing near others, so you cover more with your heal. Make a mental note of all people that stand away from the raid, and heal them with single target heals. If the one standing alone is just as low as the others, cast chainheal first, then immediately put riptide on the solo guy if you’re expecting more incomming damage. That way you can cover most people in a short period of time. It’s also a good thing to have a riptide pre-cast on someone central, so if there is raid damage, you maximize the chain heals power, and still have a riptide left for emergencies.

Know your class

Ok, so I am going to put some basics in here. I just remembered that the worst healers I meet are usually those that either underestimate, or simply don’t understand or perhaps “like” certain spells in their arsenal. You wouldn’t believe how many druids I’ve come across that think they’re a FoL paladin and just nourish the whole run (gotta love pugs.. last one didn’t even Rejuv/WG during the weekly malygos when in vortexes). This is downright painful for me. As a huge fan of hots (ALL of them, they’re ALL AWESOME (soz caps)) there’s nothing more painful than to see a king of hots spam nothing but regular heals. It makes me want to ask Blizzard to introduce a licence to heal. Something like the old Triage quest for first aid, but so hard that it only works when you’re using everything in your arsenal.

I can dream..

But seriously, know all spells you have and USE them, at least learn about them, so you know when they’re most powerful. And mind this: every single one of them is great, even if it’s just for special occasions (binding heal comes to mind). As a raid healing druid you might not use lifebloom very much anymore, though I can seriously advice using it on clearcasts, if only because it acts as very strong mana boost (if you let it bloom of course). If you’re a priest and frown at renew.. Ok, let’s just say that is close to getting personal with me.. at least spam a few when you know there’s incoming damage soon. You should have all your heals bound, priests have many, but there’s not a single one that doesn’t have good use.. sometimes even holy nova. Paladins, even if you’re the FoL specs, Holy light is your main spell now, it’s not TBC anymore, you’re more than a manually invoked HoT now.

Small things, big effects

When you’ve got cooldowns, and every healer has (Riptide, CoH, WG, Holy Shock, PoM, etc), use an addon to make it very obvious when they’re available. There are great addons for this, like Power Auras or Mik Scrolling Battle Text. I use these to give me both a visual and and aural cue. Power Auras can even have a number in screen that counts down to ready, this is great for managing your choices.

I’m deliberately not mentioning anything about addons like Healbot, Grid, Vuhdo and the likes, even though they’re very helpful addons. I consider these basic knowledge. If you don’t one but want to try it out, pick one you like, don’t let trends of social pressure make your choice (some will call you an idiot if you don’t use grid, these people are idiots themselves), you’re at your best when you feel comfortable with what you have, even if you’re just targetting and using keybinds and mouseover macros.

To conclude

I can’t be done here, but my mind is at a blank right now. The nice thing is that this is a blog, so I can put up additions any time I like.

I’ll probably put this on a seperate page once, but for now, consider this a first beta release.

Thank for reading, and keep them alive!

Addon of the Week: Tidy Plates


I thought I was cured of my alt-o-holicalism (is that even a word?), but then I realized I’ve got another problem: severe addon dependency. I just found out I’ve got 199 subfolders in my addon directory. Eh what?? ..yeah.. 199.. I had a slight hope subfolders were counted too, but they weren’t.. This means, that minus the blizzard addons, I’ve got 175 3rd party addons folders. True, most addons consist out of multiple folders, luckily, but even if I don’t count those I end up with 72 individual addons…. I think that explains why I needed a faster processor in this already decent machine. It wasn’t blizzards resource hungry engine, it was my out of control addon-mania.

yeah.. I think I’ve got a problem… πŸ˜‰

I don’t want to delete any of them though, but perhaps if I think them over, I might learn which ones are useful and which ones aren’t.

I’ll start with my latest addition to the herd: Tidy Plates.

I saw this one a few times in a Tankspot video, and Lore even talked about it shortly once, but it only seemed like more screen clutter back then. Yesterday however, I got HoR as daily for the gazillionth time on my tank. It’s not that I hate the place or have real difficulty with it, but it does require more focus from my side compared to other dungeons. Mainly because I have a hard time seeing all the enemies in the fights. First, because they’reΒ  transparent. Now that should be easily fixed by turning their healthbars on…

Not for me though: I happen to be a little colorblind. I’ve got deuteranomaly, which basically means I have problems with the color red and all colors that are mixed with red. Example: epic or rare? both blue to me. The standard enemy healthbars show up entirely red. So, sure, I can turn ‘m on, but I still don’t see much, therefor I might not notice that angry rogue chasing the overzealous, but poor, lock immediately.

This is where Tidy Plates enters, lead by the sound of trumpets. It’s a replacement for the default plates. Don’t get me wrong here, this is useful for everyone, not just the visually impaired. And not just for tanks either. I actually feel like a bad tank for finding out about this so late.

Recommendation:

  • Healer: Nah
  • Dps: Yes
  • Tank: Hell Yes
  • PvP: Yes

I don’t fully see how a healer could benefit from more visual healthplates, unless (s)he could gain benifit from clicking people in the field perhaps. As shaman healer I.. hmm..Β  might consider it because that could make choosing between chainheal, or single target heals simpler. It could up efficiency by not wasting chainheals on people who were standing away from the group. I haven’t tried this yet, so I might just give it a shot once in a daily HC or some simple weekly raid where I can be crap without causing too much damage. For a priest, druid I see little benefit. For paladins none. Howver, the nameplates are very clear so it is easy to keep track of who’s where. If you’re a healer and raidleader, this could definitely be useful.

Could work...

But, the creators didn’t really seem think of healers also, because there isn’t a healer settings (e.g. I could imagine the display of debuffs on a name plate as an option). You can choose from DPS, Tank, or PvP mode.

For dpssing it’s better than I expected. Besides health, the plate also displays your current threat on your target. Theat normally can’t be calculated on non-targeted mobs, that’s how blizzards threat system works. Mouse-over, however, is considered enough “targeting”, so Tidy Plates can show your threat on any mob in the group while you continue nuking your current target, as soon you mouse-over their plate. That makes finding a new safer target a breeze. Rogues or Feral druids can make it show combo points instead if they want, but I doubt I would use it for that myself. Casting enemies are made extra visual also, which will make an interrupting job simpler (it’s easy to see what is cast). What’s probably the most important is that it’s just much easier to select targets apart from all the frills. It might finally stop you from tab-targeting *looks away and whistles*

DPS view. This screenshot doesn't do TP justice though. Getting a good shot of all options without being too careless wasn't as easy as I hoped.

I’m not much of a pvper, but I’m leveling a warrior in arms/prot spec, so I figured I could give it a shot. Man, I OWNED AB! *cough* ..Nah, not really πŸ™‚ But it was a lot more fun than I expected. The PvP mode of this addon shows your current target very clearly, and also draws a class icon on top. Not once did I accidentally charge an annoying frostmage instead of the disc priest. At a glance you can see what your up against, select the correct target, then hamstring and mortal strike his ass before they knows what happened. I’m not sure if a experienced PvPer would like this, but for me it was a great help. I was 2nd on damage (forgot to screenshot, yep, I’m a blogging noob) and I couldn’t have done it without.

Lock and priest didn't want to stand still for the picture

Where this addon shines is with AOE tanking. There’s simply no easier way to see on which mob you’ve got threat and which not. I used to have Diamond Threat Meter as my favorite AOE threat addon, because it had a great multi target display. Since that one basically died, I couldn’t find any decent replacement for it had to learn to do without. Tidy Plates however not just turned out to be a good replacement, I think it’s much better. Mostly because it’s simplicity (always a good thing). In tanking mode, it shows mob plates in 3 sizes: normal size is for mobs that are not in combat, small is for mobs that you’ve got aggro on, and finally large for the mobs you’ve lost threat on. If you ever lose aggro now, just taunt the biggest plate and continue facerolling. It’s almost too easy. Even in messy fights it takes no effort to see if there’s a mob on the loose.

For a tanking screenshot you can better see the Tidy Plates site. I failed to get a shot as good as theirs.

In the end, I actually found it causing less clutter than the original healthbars, simply because everything that’s not interesting fades. Also, if you don’t like the looks, there are lots of custom look extensions available, from neon glowing plates to Zelda like health displays with hearts (if you’re into that stuff). It’s even possible to make your own with the basic template plugin, but you’ll need to learn a little bit of lua (the wow addon programming language).

Verdict: if you’re a tank, get this. You’ll love it. If you’re not, you’ll probably like it anyway.

Hacked


Luckily, the time of year is almost over again. The winter season seems to be a great time for the good old hackers to cuddle up in basements and try to collectively steal all kinds of accounts for whatever evil world domination plot they have. I’m one of the people that fell victim to being hacked before. No harm done luckily, except to my pride. I was always under the impression that I had a well protected machine and that only gold buyers and other scum got their accounts ripped. Guess it’s wasn’t that simple.

It’s been a year ago that it happened. I had taken a long break from wow since the begin of December, and somewhere at the end of February I suddenly got an email from my Paypal account stating that I bought some Warcraft pre-pay cards. Not having used that account in ages I immediately froze my creditcard to be safe. The next thing was more or less instinctively to check my armory too: there I noticed my last logins where from the day before. Red Alert! Tried to login, failed. In my spambox I found a message (in german) from Blizzard where they asked me to confirm my email change. So, at least the hadn’t been able to change that. I reset my password, checked everything, and all was fine. Not a single piece of gear or gold gone. Phew!

I can tell you it’s a strange realization when this happens to you. Especially when you haven’t been using either of those accounts in months. Now I’m not the one to get scared away to easily from this. So, they apparently had been able to get this information from me, my first question was: how? ..I had a fairly well protected machine, latest virus checker which did weekly scans, hardware firewall, I hardly ever downloaded dubious stuff (well, being a programmer, I sometimes do get some “free” utility, but I do tend to check around if it has known issues), and if I had to use something that I didn’t trust, I always ran it under a protected user account (the Run As.. option). And every so often I use Hijackthis or Autoruns to check if there’s stuff I don’t want (usually for performance reasons, but as a sideeffect it helps me find malware). In stead of the regular taskmanager, I have Process Explorer, which is far more informative and shows every task and subtask that’s running (Note: all the tools from sysinternals, which is now property of Microsoft, are great, check them out). So, besides pissed off, this actually made me curious.

The safe bet in such a situation is to format everything and reinstall, but I chose to do anything in my power to hunt the thing down that compromised my system. First step was to contact Blizzard about it and ask for their advice. Yes, I realized that would most likely be very simple, straightforward “duh” kind of stuff, but I figured that would be the logical place to start.

I can tell you, it felt a bit worse than “duh”. Their reaction came pretty close to denial and ignorance in my opinion (In their defense: it seems to have become a lot better lately I’ve heard).Β  The website recommended me to open an in game ticked. When I finally got contacted by the game master, their first question was if I was missing anything. When my answer was no, it was more or less done for them: “Change password, run a virus scan, and you shouldn’t have to worry anymore. Enjoy your time in Azeroth”. Eek! That’s it? I ran weekly virus scans since the start of time, it always came up clean as a my conscience….. ehm.. wait, that might be a bad example πŸ™‚

So, I got more virus scanners. My default virusscanner is McAfee, which comes free with my internet subscription, but I also used Malwarebytes, Comodo, Trojan Hunter,Β  Avira Linux based Boot CD, RootKitRevealer and of course I gave it a full manual check with the previous mentioned tools. I found NOTHING. System is clean sir! We can’t find anything!

I figured that they were probably right. It seemed so hard to believe that I got infected in the first place, let alone by something so devious all the latest virus scanners could be fooled by it.

My remaining theory is that both accounts on my machine at work place, because I checked the forums there once. But that was also ages ago too. I also thought about the fact that blizzard themselves could have been compromised (I found enough info on that theory too back then), which is of course not unlogical. If you’re a hacker interesting in accounts, what the best place to find them? Right! I got a little support in this theory (but it still remains a theory) from a blog post I found back then from a mac user.

But because of this all I did increase the protection on my machine even more. I had a password tool lying around which I rarely used, called Keepass. Now I use that for all my passwords. Not so much the storing part, but it has an in build password generator, and I let it make passwords for me for every site I subscribe too. I let it generate, and I don’t even see it myself, I just make it copy the password to my clipboard and I paste it into the site. It backs up my encrypted password database onto a memory stick and an external HD, so I’m quite safe from losing them.

For things like wow, and that tool I use an extra security trick. Tip:

Don’t type your password from begin to end. Start with the end, then CLICK at the beginning and type the begin of the word. This way, even if you’re infected, keyloggers could never get the right password, but a reversed (“cut up”) version.

So, I’m still running the same machine, same windows install since then. I’ve recently bought a security token, just to be extra safe. Of course, a week later the news came out that even those can be hacked. While searching, I found an even older post about it.

Now, if this all happened a year ago, what made me go and write that all up now?

Well, because my @#$@%@ youtube acount was hijacked yesterday!

It was literally the only account I hadn’t changed since that time I got hacked, and suddenly I couldn’t login anymore, and I saw some strange new favorites added in my list on my page. What on earth do people want with a bloody youtube account for? Did they like my favorites that much? πŸ™‚ Perhaps using logic isn’t always a good thing. I just never figured that it could be an interesting thing to steal.

Anyway, I’m in the process of getting it back. I’m not really that fussed about it actually. I used it for favorites and an occasional comment. I never post video’s or anything. I’m going to miss those favorites and playlists perhaps, but right now I can still reach them from my personal page anyway, they haven’t closed it yet, they only put some Counterstrike movies on my favorite list. Which I don’t even mind because I also play that game every so often.

Still, it sucks.

The lesson of this all is: You’re never really safe from hackers. Don’t ever think you are. If they want something from you, they can probably get it. Accepting that possibility from the start is the best way to go. Make sure you know what to do when it happens, and try to minimize possible losses when it happens by keeping backups f.e. and not putting unnecessary valuable information behind online accounts.

This all, of course, besides the normal prevention tips of having an up to date virusscanner installed (firewalls are nice too, though they are MUCH more easily fooled than virusscanners), and trying to avoid software from non official sources. Which everyone already knows, or at least should.

Elitist Armory


For a while I’ve been a big fan of the addon Elitist Group. STOP! Don’t panic right away my casual friends. Don’t let the word elitist scare you. Put down the garlic and wooden spike. If you don’t know it yet: it is a gear checking addon in the gearscore category.. WAIT! Don’t run yet! It’s not at all like gearscore in functionality. There is no silly mouseover-number that says as much about performance as engine displacement says about the quality and performance of your car (sure, a little, but it’s just one factor).

EG checks gear in a way that is meaningful. It’s aimed at PVE, and checks if you know what your doing gemming and enchanting wise. In a quick glance you can see if somebody is geared in pvp gear, hasn’t skipped gems/enchants and has used the correct ones. A good gemmed/enchanted character with correct gear choices is much more likely to be a decent player, because it shows dedication. The higher gearscore player that didn’t care, might still have better stats without, but the “didn’t care” is leading in this, it tells a lot about someone, like what to expect.

Of course, it’s not perfect. If gems/enchants are considered acceptable by a class by the addon, doesn’t mean that it’s a smart choice. A tank gemming nothing but strength is still not a very smart one, unless he plans on just playing heroics his entire career.

Anyway, I’m not going to write an aweful lot about the addon itself, since wow.com has done that a while back, and they were very thorough about it too. Read it if you want to know more.

This was actually a lead-in to what I have been playing around with yesterday: the new Elitist Armory site (WARNING: alpha state), created by EG addon developers Shadowed (also known from: Shadowed Unit Frames, Quick Auctions) and Antiarc (also known from: Sexy Map, Sexy Cooldown). When I first heard about it, I thought it would be like wow-heroes, or be.imba.hu. In fact, it is actually. All those sites check your gear, and look for correct choices in gear, gems and enchants. Still, it can still be a useful addition.

Shadoweds’ own description:

Since some people have been bugging me for this, here’s what it is! At its core, it’s a more advanced version of the Elitist Group addon.

Primarily it’s intended to give people a better idea of other players gear, but in a more concise fashion. Seeing a list of 300 achievements that are mostly irrelevant, or seeing what a Feral Druids spell power is, isn’t particularly useful.

Some of the planned features are better resources for groups, I’ll be looking very closely at tying Elitist Group into Elitist Armory (and vice-versa). One idea I’ve been toying with is the ability to quickly queue up everyone in your group on Elitist Armory by copying a link from Elitist Group.

Elitist Armory will end up being better than Elitist Group, just due to the fact that I have access to a ton more information than I do in-game.

As always, I’m interested in hearing what people think. If you have a suggestion, or perhaps you hate me for whatever reason send me an email at shadow@elitistarmory.com

I haven’t done a thorough research, or comparison. That’s not something I’m planning to do either, it’s much simpler to just try these things yourself. My first goal was just to show the existence of this site, because it just shows potential. I have done a simple check though.

What’s there to like?

Things equal to the other two sites:

  • Like both other sites, it shows gear, enchants, gems. Shows where good choices and bad choices are made.
  • Like be.imba, it’s a lightweight interface.
  • Like both other sites, it shows progress based on achievements. Even if it’s graphically much less appealing, it’s much clearer for a quick idea.
  • Like wow-heroes it shows health, mp5, spellpower, just a few stats, but the most interesting ones (oddly enough, it doesn’t show intellect, but then again, it’s still alpha). It also shows if a tank is uncrittable.
  • Like wow-heroes it shows professions.

Things different than the other sites, missing:

  • It doesn’t give a rating in the way of one single number “that fits all”. This is intended. It does show average ilvl.
  • It doesn’t suggest content where the gear is good enough for, but since the EG addon does, this is likely still work in progress.
  • It doesn’t suggest enhants/gems when wrong or missing.
  • It doesn’t show as much in terms of stats as wow-heroes does (last point previous list), I very much miss the expertise stat on my tank f.e.
  • It shows the 2nd spec, like wow-heroes, but it doesn’t remember it, so you can’t switch between them online (I personally love this about wow-heroes).

Things different than the other sites, improved:

  • It shows glyphs. These don’t seem to be rated, but I couldn’t find an example with bad glyphs, so not sure about that. It’s nice anyhow.
  • What I liked very much is the fact that you can link directly to a character by URL editing. Like: http://elitistarmory.com/<Region>(e.g. EU)/<Realm>/<Character name> This is very useful for direct linking, quickly checking, etc. This seems simple, but for me this could be the reason for me to use this most of all three sites.

Again, this site is still alpha, and comparing it in it’s current state isn’t really fair. Still, for its current state is already a strong competitor for both other sites. The sites strong point is it’s ease of use. It gives a fast, clear overview of what you’d like to know about a character, no bloat. I’m looking forward to the first beta version of it.

Check it out!

Tip of the day: Weapon training


I still don’t understand the need for weapon skill. There are many things removed from the game, and most of the current content can be faceroled by headless chickens. I felt disappointment with each of the many patchnotes that included some sort of leveling nerfing. Things like removing the need for some of the cool class questlines for mounts and forms (everyone with a druid simply has to do the flight form questline, it’s just too good to skip), changing areas of hostiles into boring neutral characters, nerfing many of the the feared elites into lame regular mobs. I’m waiting for the day that even Hogger, or Mor’ladim get slapped by the nerf bat.

But of all the things that they touched that that really didn’t have to, they kept that completely senseless weapon skill training. I really don’t see how that adds anything to the game. Casters don’t have casting skill they need to train. Feral druids don’t need to up their paw-skill. Any other melee or ranged class has to go through hours of senseless boring weapon training thoughout his playing time. Each new expansion it’s the same crap again.

After having leveled a priest, a mage, a feral druid, a warlock, I started leveling the two classes I actually wanted to take first time I heard about wow: A paladin and a shaman (my current mains). Having leveled both with heirloom weapons I wasn’t really confronted with this problem untill I got my first new weapon at 80. My paladin was first to hit 80 and my first heirloom replacement was a nice new polearm from VH. I enchanted it, equipped it, and went back in the LFG for the next HC… But when charged the first group of trash, something seemed wrong.. what is that swoosh sound I keep hearing? And… is recount broken?

Oh crap… weapon skill!! /cry

Luckily I had my heirloom still on me, so I could switch back instantly.

First thing that popped in my mind was going to blasted lands, to train on those unkillable mobs I once heard about a long time ago. Apparently Blizzard had been on to this and clearly thought it was necessary that all weapon users went through the misery of skilling by actively participating in the tedious process. A game should be boring, of course! Except when you’re a caster or a feral druid. Anyway, those mobs don’t skill anymore I noticed pretty fast.

So.. where do I find something that doesn’t die (or at least not fast), and doesn’t hit hard enough back so I can train while reading blogs, or perhaps do something usefull around the house πŸ™‚

Then it hit me!

Those druids in Crystalsong Forest are perfect.

They heal themselves constantly and hit like a big wuss with severely lacking motor skills. On top of that, they’re right below Dalaran.

It took me one tree to level my polearm all the way from 1 to 360, and I hardly had to do anything but check every now and then whether he wasn’t dead already.

It’s probably harder for a non-self healing class, and a fast hitter like with dual-wielding, because they have thorns, but I haven’t discovered a better practice dummy yet.

So, good luck training!

Tree fight!

Tree fight!

UPDATE: Well, there’s definitely something I’ve missed in the cataclysm patchnotes (probably a lot more, I haven’t been going over any recent patchnotes with a magnifying glass lately). They’re removing weapon skill, finally! Still, doesn’t change anything about this tip, for now we’re still stuck with it.