Fly like an eagle, or what ever this thing is

October 3rd, 2008
Big bird

Big bird

This weekend my Druid Eillebill hit level 68 and gained Flight Form! I’ve wanted this since level 32, but it’s even better than I imagined. I can hit a hot-key and poof I’m flying. No delay time like my mount. I can float in the air indefinitely. Pretty cool.

While you can’t become a bird in combat, you can swoop in, bug someone and fly off. I suspect that if I get hit hard enough, I’ll be forced to change, but that has not been the case with other forms. As long as you are not touching the ground, most things can’t hit you (Fel Cannons being an big exception. Yes. You can be shot down.)

One thing that has been super cool is the cherry picking you can do on herbs. I just turn on my detect herbs ability and fly over an area. When the little yellow blip appears, I swoop from the sky at terminal velocity. I grab the herbs and take off. Often times, the local mobs don’t even bother me, or I can fly back up before it gets messy.

So what’s the biggest annoyance. The head on the flight form looks like a werewolf with sideburns.

Speech tests so far…

October 3rd, 2008

Apple Speakable Items, speech

Well, so far, I’ve had decent success talking to FireFox. This is largely thanks to the LifeHacker article by Adam Pash. If Speakable Items is turned on, it will create a Speakable Items folder for you when you open an application that you want to give voice commands to. My observations show that it can take a minute for the system to notice. (It probably depends on how many apps you have running.)

So far, I have not had success with WOW. I know it’s possible because  Sean Forsgren over at has written a fantastic article on it. I don’t know for a fact, but I suspect that I have a problem becuase I am running WOW from an external drive. I will be investigating this.

I want more…

October 3rd, 2008

This post is dedicated to everyone who has ever been attacked from behind and wished they could see behind them. This is specially true for solo players.

Notice in the picture below, how small the toon is in the center. This is because Blizzard quietly added a feature to push the camera further back. This lets you see people attacking from behind. It also let’s you do a top town view (ala Warcraft or Diablo) that is very informative.

exhibat a

Exhibit A

How do you do it?
1. Go to Options and click on Interface.



2. Click on Camera. Move the ‘Max Camera Distance’ slider to the right.

Camera settings

Camera settings

3. Click Okay and click Return to Game.

Now when you zoom in and out with your camera, you  will get a wider view of the action.

Note: if you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, you can use that to zoom in an out. If you have one of the recent notebooks you can use the two-finger scroll on the track pad to zoom in and out. Try it, it really helps your situational awareness.


The Build up…

September 27th, 2008

Sorry we’ve been so quite lately. We’ve had a perfect storm of work combined with research for our upcoming feature: Speech Commands in WOW!

That’s right. We’re Mac users, most of our Macs come with Mics built in. They come with Speakable Items. What could be better than to speak a command during those busy times when your fingers are glued to the keys.

Over the weeks to come, we will be posting more and more information about Apple’s Speakable Items. We will discus versions of the OS that support it, and we will post a growing library or speech commands for WOW. We will also try to disect them for you so you can make your own.

If you have any helpful Speakable Items that you want to share here, please send them to kurn at

Crack + Crack = More Crack. Bejeweled + WOW

September 22nd, 2008

Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. Bejeweled will be rolled into the next update of WOW. At least that’s what wired says. (And they are responsible journalists – I’m told).

Go see for yourself. We’ll be here keeping the coffee warm.

$100k for WOW research?

September 18th, 2008

Ordinarily, I would have skipped this, but OMG Some lady down the street from Blizzard South got a $100k research grant??!

It gets better: The National Science Foundation is funding research to see why US players use more mods/plug ins than asian players.

If someone gave me $50, I’d tell them that gold farmers in the east use fewer plugins becuase that would take time away from work.

On the other hand, Bonnie Nardi is a faculty member in the Department of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. She’s published two papers on WOW already.
Learning Conversations in World of Warcraft (2007)

Strangers and Friends: Collaborative Play in World of Warcraft (2006)

and she blogs (see her post about Shat).

Nonetheless. I say, “$100k if a professor’s salary at some schools.” Did she just pay the rent for her department? If I had $100k, I’d pay my debts off and take my family to Disneyland (with a possible stop off at Blizzard headquarters in Irvine, CA.

Kurn out

WOW-Crack strikes again. Collectors Edition preorders sell out!

September 18th, 2008

The omniscient folks at WOW insider have unearthed a frightening shocking amazing factoid. Pre-orders of the Collector’s Edition of Wrath of the Litch King are sold out at GameStop and Amazon.

Ok, close your mouth. You knew people wanted this stuff. In case you missed it, that’s 2 days. Modona doesn’t sell tickets that fast.

WOW insider mentioned that Blizzard likes to limit the run on Collector’s Editions, but still. This is Crack People! Crack I say.

Finally, WOW love for the iPhone – no really

September 17th, 2008

OMG! They ( made a cool little app for the iPhone. It’s like Armory for you iPhone. It even works with an iPod touch (big hint to any birthday gift givers). How cool is that?

Check you or your PUG’s gear, overall spec, and basic stats on the fly using Warcraft Characters. Simply enter a character’s name and you’re seconds away from viewing robust information from Blizzard’s Armory! – their site

(more screens availalbe at the site)

Best of all it’s free from the iPod store.

Note from management: we do not get anything for this mention, we just think it’s super cool.

WotLK release announced!

September 16th, 2008

In case you have been living under a rock (or in Iraq), Wrath of the Litch King has an offically announced release date. I know this because Blizzard is taking pre-orders 😉

Rest assured, there will be bugs opportunities to refine and retool the game, and lots of content will be added a year later (cough cough Burning Crusades cough cough).

It seems like a bit of a scam to me that they can sell you an expansion and then keep adding to it while charging you every month. Sigh. go blizzard go.

/emote revisited

September 15th, 2008

Quite a long time ago, there was a discussion about adding new emotes to WOW. There was much demand for ‘teabag‘ – So I suspect Blizzard blew the idea off. I on the other hand kept thinking about it. Here are a few of my ideas:

  1. Reading Map. When ever a player is viewing their map, their toon would be holding up a map. Each race could have their own variation. You could have one race holding an old moldy scape of paper, while another might hold it upside down. You get the idea. Then parties would be able to see when some one’s attention was distracted and cover her in a fight. Or…PvP players would know who wants paying attention. You could even have feints where people put up transparent maps on their screen and wait for an ambush. It could be a lot of fun.
  2. Checking Journal. Similar to maps but for all the other junk in the UI. Quest logs, Guild screens, Professional skills. The animation might be anything from the toon digging through a backpack to pulling out a writing desk to make notes. They could even have class specific animations. Mages could scribble with floating paper and glowing ink.

What ideas do you have? Click on comments below