Games
WoW: A few Lua Macros to save time and clicks

At level 69 you can use a Riding Crop to get a mounted speed bonus. Since my main is finally level 69 I've been eying the Auction House. I just lucked out and found one for only 41 gold. On my server they're usually over 80 so I snapped it up right away. Of course then I have the issue of switching trinkets so can have the Riding Crop while mounted and go back to my other trinkets when I dismount. This got me looking at macros again and since macros are written with Lua in WoW, I thought this ties in nicely with the Lua interpreter stuff I've been writing about lately. Today I'll share the macros I've been using for a while now to smooth the rough edges off the World of Warcraft interface. I didn't write most of them but I've tweaked them to meet my needs.

WoW: Self-Cast in KDE and Faster Performance in Wine

There are a couple things I've done to tweak World of Warcraft on my Linux box. I run OpenSuse 10.3 now but most of this will be the same for other distros, especially if you use KDE. These are just specific to what worked for me but I guess that some other Linux WoW players might benefit from the same settings.

First off I lost the ability to do a quick self-cast. Self-cast is done by just holding alt while clicking the icon for a spell. So, as a mage, every half-hour I want to self-cast Arcane Intellect. That's no big deal since it's not in combat. Remove Lesser Curse is a bigger problem. The second fastest way to use that is with a shortcut key or click followed by F1 (which also targets your own character). I thought the problem was because of some multi-language keyboard customization I had done but as it turns out it was a setting in KDE for moving windows by holding the Alt-key. To turn this off just follow the steps here - I included pictures, click each to get a bigger image.

Updated Firefox Search Plugin for WoWArmory.com

I've got a new update for the search plugins I wrote for the World of Warcraft Armory. Blizzard changed the search results URL slightly and that broke my old version. While I was at it I added a general search (all realms) that might work for Taiwan and Korean realms.

If you're a new user, the basic idea I've used is that sometimes people want to search all realms for a character name but usually you want to look for a character only on a specific realm. Looking on a specific realm is a lot more useful since most of us only play on one realm or at most a few. You can install the realm-specific search for each of the realms you play on and the name shows up when you pick which you want from Firefox's search box.

The search plugin shows up on the top right corner of Firefox. It might also work on Internet Explorer 7 since it's written as an OpenSearch plugin. It doesn't add anything to the browser except this new search engine provider - it's not as big as a normal Firefox add-on.

Open House at the Vancouver Film School’s Game Design Program
Sunday was a whirlwind tour of Vancouver. We saw a lot of downtown, Gastown, Granville Market and a harbour. The Game Design program at Vancouver Film School had an open house so we were able to go participate in that as well. The Vancouver Film School started their Game Design program back around 2000. It looks like a pretty exclusive class to get in to - they accept only about 75 students each year. From what I saw in the open house, the Game Design program isn't just about coding or art, it's about putting together the whole thing. They have courses that cover theory of game play from the basics that make board games and paper games playable and compelling. They cover 2D graphics and gaming, from pixel art to Flash animation. They do 3D work in 3DS Max. Students build games using one of a few popular game engines, like the Unreal Engine. The idea is to prepare them for mainstream tools and they'll be able to adapt if and when they run in to other tools they need to use.
WoW: Duskwood Quest Stacking for level 18 up to about 28

Duskwood has lots to do, there are a few interesting quest series that will take you in and out of the area and there are also some good XP grinding single stage or simple killing and collecting quest series. I encourage people to play through The Legend of Stalvan series and the series of quests that starts at Sven's Revenge and ends with Morbent Fel. Both series of quests can be almost completely solo'ed except for the last part where you have to kill Morbent Fel. As usual though, I'm going to focus on the quests that don't have too many parts and can be stacked together so you can work them through at the same time. These quests also usually involve killing a bunch of stuff so of course you get the XP for that too.

More WoW: Quest Stacking around Westfall
The usual way to enter Westfall is by the road leading west from Goldshire. The first people you come upon will be the Jansens. They, like every other quest-giving NPC in this world, are in need of a little help. Farmer Fulbrow forgot his pocket watch at the pumpkin patch which is now overrun with hostile harvest watchers and defias smugglers & trappers. He gives you the quest The Forgotten Heirloom. To please go recover it from the cupboard in their farmhouse. The Fulbrow Pumpkin Patch consists of a field and a house just a little west up the road from the Jansen Stead - where you meet Farmer Fulbrow and his wife, Verna Fulbrow. It used to be possible to actually open the wardrobe from the west side of the house but that didn't work for me when I tried it just now. If you're low level for the area (10 to 12) then you can try and set out on this quest right away. If you're up to it though, there are quests that require you to kill the level 14 Harvest Golems and level 12 Defias Smugglers that you'll find in and around the field and farmhouse. You can either fight your way through the field or head north from the road then west to get around the field. When you get to the house either kill the level 12 Defias and the level 15 guy inside or die trying. If you do die trying remember that you can rez inside the house and quickly open the wardrobe to get the watch. Use shift-right-click when you open it and you'll take the watch as soon as it's possible (autolooting).
WoW: Quests for Gnomes & Dwarves around level 10
I started playing a Gnome Warlock a week or two ago and I was stunned at how easy it was to go from level 1 to level 12. I guess part of it is just that I've done it a few times before, but with no rest XP this character still just rocketed through everything. Warlocks are tough in PvE. I don't know if this was always the case or if they got buffed in the 2.0.1 patch but I'm really enjoying it now. Right now I'm letting him rest up so I can grind out some levels even faster. I thought it'd be a good time to write up some of the quests I cruised through. The early levels are easier once you're on your second or third character but each starting zone is a little different and nobody likes running back and forth more than they need to. I like to just jump right in some times, but if you take the time to read about the quests you'll be doing then you can stack them up and get more than one thing done at a time. Generally it means getting a quest before you go somewhere so that you can kill mobs or gather stuff while you're there. I started off with my Gnome in Coldridge Valley. The quests there are very straightforward and lead to getting you to the inn then out of the valley and into Kharanos. The passage to Kharanos has some Troggs in it that you'll be able to easily fight off after level 4. On the other side of the passage you can follow the road east and north up to Kharanos. Set your hearthstone to the inn there (talk to the innkeeper and make it your home). There are three places that I picked up quests in the area, but there are probably some more around that I haven't done. First there are a couple around Kharanos itself. Next there are a few from Stonegrill's Depot. Third was Brewenall Village. When you arrive in town your quest log is probably very nearly empty so pick up all the quests as you see them, there's no reason not to. I'll break up the quests by the area you get them. The areas you have to visit in order to complete the quests overlap with these.
Queststacking in the Wetlands around level 20-28
The Wetlands is an area up north of Loch Modan. The major city here is Menethil Harbour. Menethil isn't a capital city so it doesn't have a bank or all the trainers. It does have a gryphon point, an inn and boats leave from the docks here that will take you to Auberdine and Theramore, both on the continent of Kalmidor. Taking the boat to Auberdine will also get you to Teldrassil in just one more hop. Theramore is a good place to find quests that take you up past level 30. Theramore is also home to the trainer for Artisan First Aid and Artisan Fishing (Artisan meaning skill level 225 to 300). While in Menethil Harbour you'll also find plenty of NPCs with quests for your characters in the range of level 20 up to level 30. I went through a lot of these quests once a while ago with my human mage. My hunter cruised right through the 20s in Duskwood and never made it out to the Wetlands for any quests. Now I want to take my level 27 warrior up here and see if it's not too late. Even if it is, I have an upcoming gnome warlock who'll be ready to do some damage here. So what I hope to show today is four sets of quests that are good sources of XP that aren't hard to figure out. They all revolve around killing stuff, getting quest drops (that is, loot for quests from killing things), and running from place to place. The rewards aren't great but there are a couple. I'm also not going to cover all the quests in the Wetlands. The ones I'm interested in start and end in the Wetlands; they don't make me spend time waiting for boats to go find an NPC just for a few XP that I could've had more quickly by grinding.
WoW: Quest Stacking in Hillsbrad and Southshore
Yesterday I talked about some quests that work well together in Arathi Highlands. Since the nearest inn is over in Southshore (and some of the quests tie together), I also wanted to put together a nice stack of the quests in and around Southshore. The idea is that most of the quests here all involve fighting in the same area and some overlap so you can do parts of them at the same time.
WoW Quest Help for Arathi Highlands
There are two things I'd like to get done around Arathi Highlands and the Hillsbrad foothills. One is a quest series to get a pair of Lightstep Leggings - they're a quest reward I noticed look pretty good for my level 38ish hunter. I've done this area once before with my mage, this time I want to be a little more efficient and I thought writing it up could help other players with their quests. Level 38 is kind of high for this area but I had her down in Stranglethorn Vale for the last few levels.

Lead up to an Escort Quest

The first part of Hints of a New Plague? just requires you to go find a couple NPCs. It starts in Southshore (map), which is in the south of Hillsbrad. There's a gryphon point in Southshore and a Gryphon point in Arathi Basin. After picking up your quests in Southshore you can fly to Arathi Basin then keep heading east to find the Go'Shek farm. Go around the farm to the ridge above the northeast side and you'll find Quae and Kinelory standing up there.
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