Review of Warcraft Archive

60 second review of the Warcraft Archive collection by Richard Knaak, Christie Golden, Jeff Grubb, and Chris Metzen.

Also, why do the thumbnails almost always happen at times of somewhat embarrassing facial expressions? Know that I have chosen the best option available to me, sadly enough.

Buy it from Amazon.com

Envisioning a Recording Studio

As someone who loves to write and also really enjoys reading, book reviews seemed like a natural fit to my activities. Read a book, write a bit about it, be happy. However, as I delved into the world of book reviews, I found that I really didn’t enjoy it. I lack the ability to make such things wholly entertaining, and I have trouble conveying my feelings on books through writing. I love to talk about books, but I just don’t enjoy writing about them.

The idea to do book reviews through video crept upon me slowly, so I can’t point at a flash of insight where I finally hit upon the idea of a video book review. Nevertheless, I have begun doing them, and specifically I recorded two today. Expect to see those on Saturday for the next couple of weeks, and who knows, maybe it’ll become a regular feature here. I enjoyed doing them quite a bit, and the process was relatively painless. YouTube makes it pretty simple.

iTunes, on the other hand, has been rather frustrating when it comes to podcasting. In addition to the Online Bible Study I am writing (which is essentially where I study the Bible and then write what I’m thinking), I wanted to record a podcast on the same topic. The podcasts are on the same verses I thought and wrote about, but generally expanded with more thoughts. I can speak a lot more quickly than I write, so where I might have spent a couple of hours thinking and writing, I can record in twenty minutes and be done with it. It’s not professional by any means, but then again neither am I.

Unfortunately, the plugin I use for podcasting with WordPress has designated an RSS feed location that I simply cannot find. I wanted to burn the feed with FeedBurner so I could track how the podcasts were doing, but there’s no way to easily modify the URL in iTunes that it pulls from, and I also can’t find the XML file locally to edit. This means that I pretty much need to just pull the original feed from iTunes and set up a new one.

I sent in a request that the current SilverPen Publishing thing on iTunes be pulled, but when I tried to create a new feed on there, it kept reporting that iTunes had timed out. In looking at Apple’s forums, they’re having a lot of complaints on this issue, so I’m glad it’s not just me. At the same time, I receive no solace from knowing other people are having problems with this too. I wish it just worked.

At any rate, I did create a new podcasting feed to which you can subscribe if you are into such things. Both videos and audio podcasts will be on here (if I did it right, anyways) and you’ll see them trickle in over the next few weeks. Hopefully I’ll get things straightened out with iTunes soon and can link to that as well.

And if you’re the retroactive type, I recorded a podcast for my first OBS entry. It’s pretty rough because this was my first recording and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was saying or where I was going with it. Please be assued that the podcast going live this coming Wednesday is far superior in every way.

Now that all that’s out of the way (about four hours of work so far), I think I’m ready for a cup of coffee and maybe playing some World of Warcraft with April. Because I obviously didn’t get my fill after yesterday’s all day adventure.

How to install Wrath of the Lich King on Linux

You have your shiny new expansion, but you (quite understandably) don’t want to shell out another $90 for a crappy operating system to play it. No problem, says I, because WotLK is Cedega Certified!

Unfortunately, while the game works pretty well, installation does not, and you’ll quickly encounter a bug in the Death Knight starting quests that will prevent you from advancing along that quest chain. No worries, though; just follow these simple instructions and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Installation

First, you need to mount the DVD properly. I use Ubuntu, which means I have Gnome, so I use Nautilus as my file manager. After inserting the DVD, you’ll need to open your file manager (Nautilus in my case) to unmount the DVD. You should see Lich listed in the left navigation bar: right click on it with your mouse and choose Unmount.

Now, open a terminal window and type in the following line. You’ll need to modify userid and insert your own userid (what you use to log in). You may also have to modify the cdrom0 point if you use something else; you can check this by browsing to /media in Nautilus or the terminal.

sudo mount -t udf -o ro,unhide,uid=userid /dev/scd0 /media/cdrom0/

Now you can open Cedega and install as you would normally, just using the Install button. However, when the Cedega installation window pops up, notice that it wants to put WotLK into its own folder. You need to change this so it installs into the folder in which you already have World of Warcraft. Edit this, then you’re ready to proceed with the install.

Installation and patching should proceed smoothly and normally from here. Now it’s time to play!

Setting the OpenGL flag

Personally, I don’t like playing with OpenGL. Maybe it’s just my system, but I get some bugs with it, most notably that WoW doesn’t close when I quit the game, it crashes. Despite this, there are a few quests that glitch out on Linux, and you need to use OpenGL to get through them.

When playing as a Death Knight, this is most notable when doing the quest involving the Eye of Archerus. Your screen will go all solid colours, though you can still see the UI, so you can’t very well proceed with the quest. This is due to the Death Effect and Full Screen Glow, but just disabling those options in WoW doesn’t resolve the problem.

There are two steps to setting the OpenGL flag.

  1. You need to add the following line to the config.wtf file. This file can be located at:/home/userid/.cedega/World of Warcraft/c_drive/Program Files/World of Warcraft/WTF
  2. SET gxApi “opengl”

  3. Set the -opengl flag in the Cedega shortcut, as pictured below:
  4. Click to enlarge

Conclusion

You should now be good to go. After the Eye of Archerus quest, I promptly disabled OpenGL and removed that line of code from my config.wtf. It’s good to know that there’s a solution for this Death Effect bug, and I may have to use it again (especially if it crops up when the Death Knight dies and becomes a zombie that can keep fighting), but if I can avoid OpenGL, I will. It just doesn’t seem as fast or as stable as D3D to me.

Happy gaming, and suffer well!

Heroes of the World (of Warcraft)

On particularly successful days of playing World of Warcraft, my mind will continue thinking game-related thoughts as I try to go to sleep. Since this weekend saw the acquisition of both a breastplate and a pair of pants I had been gunning for (not to mention some awesome shoulders), I continued to consider WoW while dozing off, and I wondered what kept me playing. It’s a game I enjoy a great deal, despite a two year hiatus, and I continue to have fun playing something that should, by all rights, bore me.

As I swished thoughts about the game around my brain, though, I began to think about the framework of WoW. Your character, regardless of race, begins and ascends as a hero. You are told from the outset that you are one of the last of your kind, or that your people are fighting some sort of war, and that you may be the last hope in our stand against evil.

Which, of course, appeals to me. In our middle-class, American lives spent eating, sleeping, and going to work Monday through Friday, we don’t often get the chance to be a hero. And, truth be told, we don’t really want that chance. While our characters run across continents, being attacked by fantastic and dangerous creatures, getting killed repeatedly while risking their lives, we (the players) sit comfortably in air conditioned rooms, eating pizza or drinking coffee while chatting with our friends.

Even if you’re not into roleplaying, you suspend your disbelief and sort of become your character for a while when you play World of Warcraft. The game gives you permission to put on a mask and become a hero, to work towards a goal with comrades and Save the World (of Warcraft).

We all want to be part of something greater than ourselves, and the vast world (of Warcraft) gives that feeling. Even when ascending to the heights of heroism, there’s still a great deal going on around you, and Blizzard continues to expand the world and add content for you to explore. What felt cramped prior to the current expansion now feels huge and ever-changing, and a second expansion will be released soon. New lands await for exploration, conquering, and storytelling.

As simple or complex as you make it, WoW continues to thrive, and continues to let us be the heroes of which we dream. A lot of people speak disparagingly of World of Warcraft, but you have to wonder why it retains and gains so many subscribers. The answer, to my mind, is simple: no other game or experience lets you feel so awesome. World of Warcraft is structured to stroke your ego and make you feel like a hero of legend and renown. That’s a sort of thrill that’s hard to find elsewhere, and even though I recognize the manipulation and suspension of disbelief required, the game continues to be fun for me. Every day I can become an even greater hero than the day before.

Right Brain, meet Left Brain

As I turned the light off and closed my eyes to go to sleep last night, I realized that I should have been writing all evening. My brain was overwhelmed, unable to process and file away everything that happened yesterday, and images flickered through my imagination, the panoply of swirling visions making me ill. I played World of Warcraft last night, first with April, then with Ryan, and enjoyed my evening immensely, but I needed to write.

I feel most balanced and sane when I’ve been engaged in that activity regularly, and the first two weeks after revamping this website, I was on top of the world. I felt good about myself and life in general, but last night I just felt like I was going to throw up. It’s been at least a week since I’ve written, ostensibly because I’ve been too busy. I wasn’t too busy last night, I was just lazy, and I suffered for it.

My brain can’t always handle everything that is thrown at it, and so I need to write it down. Tonight, however, I am taking April out for a nice dinner, maybe we’ll watch a movie, and just spend some more time together before she leaves for New Orleans tomorrow. She’ll be gone a week and a half, so I’ve been trying to spend a lot of time with her.

Camping, by the way, was great. Because we suck, no pictures were taken. The camera was in my bag, and we had lots of good intentions–I was particularly disappointed since I have the shiny new photo gallery now–but we just forgot. Again.

My primary goal while April is gone is to clean the apartment and get it all nice and sparkly before her return. But I also need to start studying and writing, getting things down that have been on my mind for years, and sorting all this out so I can sleep better. There’s potential that I’ll start getting up early to write, because for some reason I have woken up at 5:30 a.m. for the last week and a half, feeling fully rested, where I used to wake up at 7 a.m. still sleepy. We’ll see how Thursday goes.

I’m in training all this week, and still fairly overwhelmed at work. Hopefully, that will diminish by next Friday, when two major projects should be completed. The main thing is to finish the wiki I’ve been building, which will serve as our documentation repository for Banner, and then I need to document the build process and everything. Once that’s done, I’ll feel free again.