Category Archives: Elevated Discourse

WoW Twitterparty

The finalized version of this post is here.

 

Do you play WoW? Do you have a Twitter account? Is it party time?

Join your Twitter friends Saturday, March 5th TBD (see below) at 5pm PST/6pm MT/ 7pm CST/ 8pm EST for a party on Fizzcrank – US.

Take the survey to determine which night we’ll do it at Survey Monkey. We’ll go with whatever gets the most votes!

TO DO:

  1. Go to Fizzcrank – US
  2. Roll a Death Knight with your Twitter name on either faction. (They can look like your main or not, as you’re so inclined.)
  3. Meet up at the DK starting area for a fun few minutes or an entire evening of  chatting, /mooning, or group-pwning the starting area.

We’ll have a Vent or Mumble set up (as soon as someone volunteers one) for cross-faction talking.

I’ll be there as an Alliance-flavored @DiscoPriest; see you then!

PS – Please do feel free to steal the Twitter DK for your own blog or website. I made it, so no one will come after you. My gift to the Twitterverse!

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Warcraft On The Go: Playing WoW On An iPad

Please note that iPads are not able to actually run WoW. What they can do, though, is virtually control a full-sized computer that is running Warcraft using the internet or a local network. This information is current for iPad 1 and iPad 2.

Related PostGame Review: Warcraft-Like Game Apps for the iPad

 

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I. In Which The Seed Of Desire Is Planted

I recently was overcome with an overwhelming desire to buy an iPad, and I’m not ashamed to say that my almost-sole motivation in doing so came from a WoW Insider giveaway article for a free app, EveryAir, which promised to allow you to play World of Warcraft on your iPhone or iPad. I didn’t win the giveaway, but for a download price of $4.99, what did I have to lose?

I ordered one from the Apple site, filled with monetary guilt and illicit excitement in equal measure.

The big day arrived, and the iPad came in. I tore through the packaging, agonized during the drawn-out initial set-up, and snatched it up the moment the upload was finished.

App store… EveryAir… downloading… downloading… success! I had already installed the EveryAir app on my computer, and it was already running.

I started the app, entered my IP address, and… and… and…! Nothing. The app couldn’t find my computer. I tried turning the computer on and off, turning the iPad on and off, rechecking the IP address, everything. It was- as a friend put it later- made of poo.

I was incensed and, I’m not going to lie to you, near tears.

II. In Which I Spend Far More Money Than Necessary On Apps (So You Don’t Have To)

Over the next few days I tried out a variety of other apps which would at least stream your desktop to your iPad. I had the most success with Splashtop Remote, which was ridiculously easy to set up and fantastically crisp. Unfortunately Splashtop had no built-in mouse or joystick features, so even though I could start Warcraft, and look at it, movement was agonizingly slow and clunky. I never did figure out how to turn around.

In desperation, I tried the EveryAir app one last time… and it worked perfectly! I wish I could tell you what I did differently, but I fear I never did find out. I mined six nodes, Huzzah’d in guild chat and flew into lots and lots of cliffs. Oh, so many cliffs.

I needed to better understand the workings of the mouse/joystick interface.

III. In Which I Stop Flying Into Cliffs

Image courtesy of EveryAir

Warcraft on EveryAir for ipad: The Full Screen

At the top right of the EveryAir screen, there exist three buttons: A keyboard, what looks like an Xbox controller (the joystick), and a min/max button.

The min/max button centers whatever window is open to full screen.

Tapping on the keyboard icon brings your keyboard up; touch the icon again, and it vanishes. The same works for the controller icon. Tap it to show or hide the movement/joystick pads.

On the bottom left, you have a movement pad. This works exactly like the ‘WASD’ keys on your keyboard, and will move you front, back, and strafe left and right. You cannot turn your character using the movement pad.

On the bottom right, you have a joystick pad, which basically mimics your mouse.

Touching and moving the red dot will swivel your view back and forth. You can touch-move, release, and then touch-move again in the same direction to swivel your view further.

Tapping on the red button mimics a mouse click.

If ‘left’ is selected, moving the red dot will change your view, but not the way your character is pointed. To select friendly NPCs, and enemies without targeting them, get into ‘left’ mode, touch them with your finger, then tap the red button.

If ‘right’ is selected, moving the red dot will change the way your character is facing. Tapping on an enemy in ‘right’ mode will also auto-attack them, so watch out for that.

To interact with objects like mines or herbs, touch the mine briefly with your finger (it won’t light up, you must just have faith your mouse is hovering over it), ensure that ‘Right’ is selected, then tap the red button.

You can select ‘left’ and ‘right’ simultaneously to mimc holding down both buttons on your mouse; doing so moves and swivels your character, which I personally found rather difficult to control despite the fact that that’s how I move in the game normally.

IV. In Which The Warcraft UI Becomes iPadded

Now it was time to clean up the mess that was my full-sized desktop version of WoW and create an iPad profile that would work with my regular game play.

I intended to use my iPad Warcraft for farming, not fighting, and didn’t want to have to reset my UI every time I switched over from playing on the iPad to my regular computer.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to take a screenshot on my iPad, but the joystick controls cover the bottom left and right sections. This is what worked for me:

My EveryAir iPad modified WoW UI, sans iPad

- Pull up a new Quickslot bar and put the bare minimum of spells- two healing, two fighting- in the center. Leave the edges blank (I still have a few icons to the bottom left, but I don’t need to use them so I left them as-is).

- Change the resolution to 1024×768, the resolution of an iPad

- Increase the UI Scale, under Options > Video >Advanced

- Turn on Auto Loot (Options > Interface)

- Turn on Sticky Targeting (Options > Interface)

My UI enhancements were very minimal; lots of people have cleaned up their UI to play with EveryAir. Some examples are

- Sean, featured on the EveryAir blog

- The EveryAir developers on their WoW Insider interview

- The official YouTube video (also includes gameplay in action)

V. In Which You Attempt To Play Warcraft On Your Own iPad

To play WoW on your own iPad (or iPhone, but that would be very hard to see), you will need:

1. An iPad, iPhone, or 4.0+ iPod Touch

2. The EveryAir app installed on your iPad and installed (and running) on your home computer

3. To be on the same wi-fi network as your home computer; that’s right, you can’t play this sucker at work … yet.

4. (Optional) A wireless iPad keyboard. Not necessary, but it sure would help. This will certainly be my next purchase.

5. In the future, an iPad mouse. Hey, it’s inevitable that they’ll come out with one!

VI. In Which I Conclude

Because you can only play Warcraft on your iPad, for now, while you’re on the same network as the computer that is running the Warcraft you’re streaming, the delights of the iPad WoW are somewhat muted. I imagined myself fishing through meetings, mining during conference calls, and crafting while waiting for print-outs, but was disappointed to find out this is not yet A Thing.

Undoubtedly it’s only a matter of time before someone comes out with cross-network capabilities for remotely controlling your computer from your iPad, and until then it’s still pretty dang fun.

I mine while we watch TV, fish when I’m stirring the soup, craft as I’m taking a… er… watching TV also. It’s fun, it’s silly, and my fishing skills have never been better!

Good luck with your own iPad Warcraft adventures, noble heroes, and godspeed!

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Brief Winpost (Not The Comic)

Yes, yes- I know it’s Friday. Comic is on the way.

In the meantime, this:

Lots of people loved the Shameless Self-Promotion post, and wrote to tell me so. Lots of people of people hated the Shameless Self-Promotion post and wrote to tell me so. Some expressed their disagreement in a delightfully convincing manner, and some were jerks about it (poo on them).

But none expressed it as with as much rhythm, style, or win as Grimmtooth:
Bloggier Than Thou

If you’re not following Grimm, you’re missing out like nobody’s business. (And my sincere apologies for the hits, GT! :) )

Shameless Self-Promotion: A Beginner’s Guide To Driving Traffic to Your WoW Blog

World of Warcraft blogs are unique in the blogging universe (I refuse to say ‘blogiverse’): You have a potential audience of 13 million players, but can only seem to reach fifty or so a day.

There’s a disconnect here. How is it possible that so few people are interested in your guide to Ret Pally gear? How can the comical stylings of Kachunk, Clown of Orgrimmar, go unnoticed by so many? You pour your heart and soul into your posts and then ten people read it.

Of the ten, no one comments.

It’s disheartening.

Not too long ago- I just checked, and it was July- I practically had a heart attack if my site reached the lofty heights of a hundred visitors. I’m not ashamed to say I threw an impromptu party the day it reached 1,000 daily hits, the two of us crowded around the monitor with a hastily-purchased bottle of wine after I noticed it had reached 850 earlier in the evening. These days, I give my stats the slit-eye if they don’t get over 2,000 by noon.

I’m not the least bit embarrassed about my love of the numbers. The more visitors I’ve had, the more people maybe, possibly, perhaps heard something I said and laughed, or picked up the right gear, or- please, Jeebus- re-specced to Discipline.

People don’t like to talk about their WoW blog traffic for the most part; it’s taboo, like talking about your salary or embarrassing sexual ailments. But I am a shameless self-promoter, and my capacity for embarassment is bottomless. With a little work, you can be a shameless self-promoter, too!

And before you ask, yes: I wrote this post to get more blog hits.

See? You’re learning already.

Lesson #1: Know Thine Enemy

You need a way to track visitors to your site so that you can better judge what posts are of interest to the community, and what posts are of interest to no one but yourself.

If you have a WordPress blog, you already have tracking software installed; it’s in ‘Dashboard’ under ‘Site Stats’. If you have a self-hosted blog, or one that allows you to add JavaScript in some way, go get Google Analytics.

It doesn’t matter in the slightest where your visitors are from, what connection type they’re using, or any personal characteristic; what you’re looking for here is trending, not Big Brother.

Your key stats are (a) what pages get the most traffic? and (b) what keywords drive the most search engine traffic to your page? We’ll go into detail on the whys of that in a moment, but those stats must be accessible to you in some way.

Lesson #2: That Social Networking Show

You must have a blog Twitter account. You must have a blog Facebook account. Use them. Befriend others whom you actually like. When you create a new post, add it to both.

Show off your new posts clearly. “New post! This is the Title: short link” works well for me.

Don’t bother with “please RT!”. They will or they won’t; you’re a strong writer whose work speaks for itself.

The same goes for reposting your original announcement; one in the morning and one in the evening works well to hit the day and night crowds, but that’s where it must end.

They will or they won’t.

Strong!

Lesson #3: The Almighty Holler (or Why No One Cares What You Had For Lunch)

The content of your blog is up to no one but you.

However, the desire to read your blog is shared- or not- by the rest of the world. If you’re reading this, you could be home now probably want more of the latter and are willing to reconsider on the former.

You have something to say that is interesting to people who want to read it. You do. This is an indisputable fact. There are far more people out there who read blogs than write them. We just have to crack the acorn of your brain and get to the juicy, readable meat that’s inside.

If you tell a story about yourself, it must have parts that could be applied to other people. This means you DO NOT write about the great gear you’re working on unless you simultaneously talk about how all the brutha’ ret pallys out there could benefit from it, and, if you’re wise, include an amusing anecdote or two about the comedy of errors you’ve run into along the path of acquisition along with links to Wowhead.

This isn’t a diary. No one cares what you had for lunch.

Start specific, get more general. If you start blogging about everything under the sun, it’s difficult to target your audience.

If, however, you start with a niche- ‘Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About DK Tanking But Were Afraid To Ask!’- you gain readers who are interested in your topic, and who then, y’know, recommend you. I know, I know- heaven forfend. And almost every specific topic in WoW, luckily, is practically impossible to exhaust! It’s wonderful!

Once you’ve got your base readership down, then- and only then, and maybe not even then!- start to branch out. Define who you are, even if who you are is a bank-altin’ gold monger, or a WoW blog-link repository, or a pretty dress FIEND!

Niche is king.

Be self-deprecating. You’ve got problems… lots of ‘em! And nothing is funnier or more charming to read than someone who can laugh at themselves.

Besides, it’s immensely cheering to reveal some cringe-inducing moment and have ten people comment to say, “Ahhhh, I did that too! God, I was SO EMBARRASSED! lulz”.

Spellcheck. Non-negotiable.

Lesson #4: You Gotta Spend Love To Make Love

Here’s a hard thought for every new blogger to keep in mind (and one I absolutely tell myself every day): “No one is coming to my site first.”

Unless you’re the editor of MMO Champion or WoW Insider, chances are exceptionally good that no one is coming to visit your blog without going to another WoW site first. Alex Ziebart, you may skip this bit.

Your job- and it is work, but the most fun you can possibly have working- is to get out into the community.

You MUST become an uber-commenter. Traffic comes from two sources: search engines (discussed further below) and referrals. If you have a thought- any old kind of thought- on a post, on any blog whatsoever… COMMENT!

People will click on the link that is by your name. I swear it.

Always, always, always sign in to the commenting system so that you can associate your name with a clickable link to your website.

You MUST comment regularly on the Big Sites. You MUST comment at MMO-Champion. You MUST comment on WoW Insider. If your particular niche has a well-known forums site (PlusHeals.com for any healers, for example), you MUST comment there.

Don’t worry about looking like a fool. Don’t worry about people arguing with you. Don’t be afraid. Start topics! Respond to others!

Get in there and get dirty!

/buttslap

You MUST refer back to your blog and specific blog posts you have written in your comments, with links. This one is optional for commenting on other people’s blogs, but absolutely required for posting on the Big Sites.

If you don’t have your blog linked in your signature on MMO Champions, you’re missing a goldmine of visitors. You’re not forcing people to visit you; they want to come! Make it easy for them to do so.

You’re not doing it in every post, but if a conversation is going on that directly revolves around a post you’ve written, link to your post.

And hey- you don’t have to say you wrote it. I won’t tell.

You MUST have a blog roll. If someone links to you, it’s gentlemanly to link back to them. It doesn’t hurt you one bit, and the blogging community is a community of the first order. Blog Azeroth can tell you that.

If you link to someone, tell them you linked to them! A brief, nice email (‘Hey, love your blog! I’ve stuck it on my blog roll- come visit at disciplinaryaction.org!”) is always polite.

Nothing makes me sadder than finding a link to myself on someone else’s page when I didn’t even know they existed. I want to shamelessly promote WoW blogs- I have more shameless self-promotion than I can handle, and I enjoy getting it on others (especially the unsuspecting!).

Lesson #5: The Key(words) To Success

On a day that I post, most of my readership comes from subscribers and links. On a day that I don’t post, however, a good 85% of my traffic comes from search engines. You need to ensure you’re creating a blog that plays nice with search engine bots; what good is having the best blog going about goblin gold strategies if your average Googler can’t find it?

Be current. If you’ve written a slew of posts on the Cataclysm changes and you’ve tagged them all “4.0.1”, no one searching for 4.0.3 (or 4, or 5) is ever going to find them. If they do stumble on the post, you’re going to look dated.

When a new expansion comes out, upgrade all your date-specific tags if the content of the post is still current.

Use tags. You should never have a post without a category and tags. Tags are search-engine gold.

Don’t use tags that have nothing to do with your post just because that topic seems to be trending- people will get annoyed at your perfidy and leave- but if you’re talking about Ironforge dwarf tossing, you should include everything you can think of that’s relevant to long-range ballistic shorties.

Think like a searcher. Good posters use the word ‘you’ a lot in their writing. That’s great: you’re putting yourself in the place of your reader and mentally inviting them into your work. Nicely done!

When someone searches on Google, though, they overwhelmingly type in things like “can i fly to tol barad” and “how can i gear for a disc priest in Cataclysm”. See the problem? You have to figure out a way to phrase things so that someone searching in the first person finds your blog written in the second person.

How you do that is up to you.

(u see whut i did thur?)

In Conclusion

You don’t have to bump along with fewer readers than you know your writing skillz warrant.

You do have to work to get there… but get there you will! I have enormous faith in the brainpower that drives our strange, WoW-centric branch of the universe. I salute you and want to see you all succeed.

And when you do, link to me.

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Disciplinary Action on the Twisted Nether Blogcast

This Saturday (…aturday …rday) Disciplinary Action will be taking on the Twisted Nether Blogcast in a live evening show!

Tune in at 8pm PST / 11pm EST for all the action with Liala and Fimlys and much talk about the comic, disco priesting, and the state of Azeroth as we poise on the brink of a sea change.

A live chat room will be simultaneously rolling for any and all to pose questions (but not that one. OR that one. Ew, or that one, sick!).

See you then!

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Raid Boss Theme Songs

While thinking about my raid playlists yesterday, it occurred to me that it would be highly amusing to try to match the ICC bosses to their own personal theme songs. (Please note, I’m not advocating the songs themselves- some might burn your ears off with Suck).

These are my votes, but I’d love to see others take a crack at it!

Lord Marrowgar
George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone

Lady Deathwhisper
The Cult – Spiritwalker

(Gunship Battle / Interlude:
Blues Image – Ride Captain Ride)

Deathbringer Saurfang
Mahalia Jackson – Power In The Blood

Festergut
Mason Williams – Classical Gas

Rotface
Frank Zappa – I’m The Slime

Professor Putricide
Thomas Dolby – (S)he Blinded Me With Science

Blood Prince Council
The Chemical Brothers – Under The Influence

Blood-Queen Lana-thel
The Eagles – Witchy Woman

Valithria Dreamwalker
Concrete Blonde – Heal It Up

Sindragosa
Paula Abdul – Cold Hearted Snake

The Lich King
Coldplay – Viva La Vida

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Elevated Discourse: Professor Putricide’s Playlist

iPutrify

I need serious tunes when I raid in ICC. Ye olde iPod is my DJ of choice, and even with one ear open for Vent I can still get into a nice groove while downing the Lich King and his merry band.

I thought I’d share my Professor Putricide Playlist and throw out an open invitation for others to do the same. Do you have different playlists for each boss? One solid mix that carries you through the whole raid? A strictly enforced aural silence policy?

Bring it!

Professor Putricide’s Playlist

1. Faithless – Mass Destruction

2. Shiny Toy Guns – Major Tom

3. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me

4. Peter, Bjorn & John – Young Folks

5. Citizen Cope – Brother Lee

6. Kanye West – Stronger

7. Bloc Party – Banquet

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Elevated Discourse: Déjà Vu All Over Again

It's A Burning Question

A number of exceedingly interesting posts this week talk quite a bit about potential changes in Cataclysm (I think this is all pretty spoiler-free, though the posts themselves are not):

”This [varying your main] is one of the reasons why Cataclysm will shake things up, even for people who don’t expect it. You may think you are in a tight knit raid guild right now, but how many of those raiders will decide that actually they’d rather focus on a different alt on a different server when the expansion hits?”
Spinksville

6. The road gets approval.

7. The loot gets approval.

8. And that gets TOTAL approval. Now we’re angry about the last years of not having it.

9. And that.”
Big Red Kitty

“Blizzard has big plans for gnomes and trolls, with brand new starting areas and questing experiences available for those races when Cataclysm launches. But before that can happen, they need your help! There are some awful baddies that’ve been crashing on their couches, and they’ve been kickin’ around for far too long.”
Michael Sacco, WoW.com

All this speculation put me into a very curious state of wondering what things people (a) expected last time, but didn’t happen, and (b) didn’t expect at all that totally changed the way they play.

As a non-player when Lich King came out, no doubt there were huge, burning issues that became burnier or moot in the actual expansion that I know nothing about.

If you played pre- and post- Lich King (or Burning Crusade, for that matter), how would you answer the two questions above? (Assuming that I’d posed them as questions, natch, which I’m too lazy to go back and do.)

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Eleventh Hour Challenge: Closed!

The assignments have been assigned, the knuckles are being cracked, the fingers are poised for literary brilliance. Thanks to everyone who dropped in to participate, and watch this space for the final wrap-up post of all the stories, the revealed full Tribulation list, and the brave few who took them on.

Free at last, free at last! Phew.

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