To Boldly Nerd…

Wildstar, games and other nerdery

24/06/2014
by Kadomi
6 Comments

Wildstar: Addon Corner – UI Improvements

In today’s Addon Corner, I’ll take a look at UI Improvements. Now, technically every addon is a UI improvement, but the addons I am going to look at today all share some characteristics: they’re small, and they add some much-needed functionality that I would have liked to see as part of the default UI. With all of them I felt that installing them made the UI make a lot more sense.

BetterQuestLog

The default quest log is tricky to read because it separates quests into World Story, Regional Story, etc. If you are really looking through your quest log and try to make some sense of it, I find it not very useful. BetterQuestLog comes in here by replacing the log with quests sorted by zone and then displayed in a minimalistic one-line style. Quests are colored and sorted by difficulty automatically. If someone else in your group uses BQL, the log will show if you share quests or not.
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A sample of what the changed quest log looks like. A lot cleaner.

A sample of what the changed quest log looks like. A lot cleaner.

CustomFoV

The default Field of View for Wildstar is set to 50. However, that’s not ideal for most people and can be fatiguing on the eyes. 60-75 is a better value. This addon offers you an easy way to change the FoV to your own needs, whatever works best for you. I am currently running with 60, and it’s such a subtle difference. I highly recommend giving this one a try.
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ItemPreviewImproved

I bet a lot of WoW players have tried control-clicking items in-game and were disappointed that there’s no item preview. In comes this addon. Once installed, you can Ctrl-Right click on items and preview them on your character. This works on stuff you see in the AH, in chat, in your quest log, etc. If you want to check out which pieces might make the optimal addition to your costume collection, you should have this installed.
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Best hat? Best hat! ItemPreviewImproved in action.

Best hat? Best hat! ItemPreviewImproved in action.

MissionDistance

My main is an Explorer, and one of the missions in every zone is to stake a claim. I like to do those when I am in the area anyway. Mission Distance helps with this greatly, because it will indicate the distance for your missions right in the datachron. No more frantic clicking of the mission to find out how far away you are, you have it at a glance.
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Mission Distance and Super Minimalistic Datachron both in action.

Mission Distance and Super Minimalistic Datachron both in action.

NoOfflineRoster

I am in a fairly large guild, at least compared to what I am used to, and we regularly have more than 30 people online. This means that to see who’s online I need to open the guild roster and sort it to get an idea who’s on. Not so with this addon. It defaults to only showing you the people who are online, filtering out everyone else. If you want to see who’s offline, you can check a checkbox. That’s all that I want from a guild roster, for now.
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Only see online folks, tick the check box to see offline people. That easy.

Only see online folks, tick the check box to see offline people. That easy.

NoSwiping

I like to use the Commodity Exchange to dump trade goods. I think it’s an excellent idea. Unfortunately, it’s also tedious because you have to check the tooltip of the item to see if it actually sells above vendor price, especially considering the hefty cut the CX takes as fee. Here’s where NoSwiping comes in. It color-codes sell orders. If it’s red, you are better off vendoring or using the trade goods yourself. If it’s green, you can actually profit. And that’s all it does. It supposedly also works for Buy Orders, but I haven’t tried that.
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Based on this, I was finally able to put up all my cloth, because cloth prices were pitiful before.

Based on this, I was finally able to put up all my cloth, because cloth prices were pitiful before.

Primula

For me personally, the single most aggravating UI item is the crappy default achievement UI. How nice I get so many achievements. How sucky that the UI does not actually let me know what I actually achieved. That you cannot actually click on an achievement to open it is terrible design. Here’s where Primula saves the day. Primula adds a short description of the achievement to the summary view, and when you click on an achievement, it actually opens, hooray!
Download

It tells me what I actually managed to do, how awesome is that?

It tells me what I actually managed to do, how awesome is that?

Super Minimum Datachron

I am a big friend of minimalistic UIs, and Wildstar has so much noise that I like to keep things clean where I can. SMD removes all the clunky frills of the datachron and just leaves a clean box of missions. It also allows you to move the cleaned-up datachron to somewhere else.
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UnitedDialogs

I am still no fan of the chat bubbles in Wildstar. Their transparency clashes with nameplates, and if there are other NPCs nearby, I find it hard to read the bubbles. Unfortunately, many quest givers use the chat bubbles. Here’s where UnitedDialogs comes in. It links the NPC chat bubble to your own, making it a lot easier to read the quest dialog. Furthermore, it’s a lot more compact in the display of quest rewards. If you are a keyboard wizard, the keys 1-9 can be used to respond to the dialog. You can also adjust the font size, and all sorts of neat things. I am a big fan.
Download

A typical dialogue if you are using UnitedDialogs. All nicely linked together.

A typical dialogue if you are using UnitedDialogs. All nicely linked together.

And that’s it for now. A big thanks to @jnsplace who discovered some of these addons and shared on Twitter. As always, if you have any recommendations to share, please do so.

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23/06/2014
by Kadomi
3 Comments

Wildstar: Monday Link Love

Another Monday’s here, so here’s my list of interesting posts and news from the Wildstar web, plus a few more blogs to add to the Wildstar blog list. As always, if there’s a blog or Wildstar resource you think should be on any Wildstar blogroll, please share.

Fansites and Resources

  • One of the probably more confusing things in Wildstar is how you acquire AMPs. While the tier 1 AMPs that other games might call talents are just there, you have to run across the world to find the vendors to sell you all the other AMPs so that you can actually slot them. Most AMPs are tied to reputation vendors, but some are only available as world drops, e.g. If you were ever looking for your ultimate list of how to acquire AMPs for your class, Wildstar Core has the ultimate guide for us. If you’d rather not use a website to locate your AMPs, I highly recommend using the addon AMP Finder instead.
  • Everyone who is still leveling usually loves rested exp. In Wildstar, it’s not as clear-cut as in other games how you actually rest. Wildstar uses its housing system to grant you rested exp, so I highly recommend never logging out anywhere else but at your home, sweet home. However, you can work on actually improving the rate of rested exp. How, you can learn in Arawulf’s Guide to Rested Exp at wildstarfans.net.
  • Originally on Reddit, I stumbled across a post from someone asking questions about VikingUI. I always perk up at those magical letters, UI, and took a look. Originally started in this forum post, it looks like people are working on a minimalist UI to replace the bit of a hot mess the default UI still is. There’s already parts of the UI available on github. I will definitely keep my eyes on this.
  • As announced by The Gaff himself, Carbine devs continue their transparency and announced the first ban wave of many. Apparently afking in PvP was not only a thing in Alterac Valley back when I still PvPd in WoW but is also rampant in Wildstar. I bet the most of us have received gold seller arena invites or mails. Glad they are working on fixing this.
  • I already linked to Gracie’s housing 101 that explained how to copy transforms before, but if you need a more visual guide of how the Advanced housing controls work, here’s a video I found on Reddit.

Blogs

Blogwise, it was a relatively quiet week, with no fierce discussions about attunements and such. Still, I managed to read some very good ones, and am adding a few more blogs to the blogroll.

  • Applecidermage wrote a very interesting post about female NPCs on Nexus. It’s refreshing to see that just about every Wildstar NPC race you stumble upon has female character models as well, despite some of them being a bit boobalicious. Here’s looking at you, Falkrin. But still, even races like the Skeesh have female models, though I am pondering if Moodies have females. Still, many of us come from World of Warcraft, and on Azeroth there are no female ogres, kobolds, gnolls, murlocs, etc. I like a world that includes both genders.
  • One aspect of the game that I haven’t explored yet but ultimately want to is the economy game. I follow @Anhrez who seems exceptionally good at the AH game but so far his econ magic doesn’t rub off on me. Trin from Nexus Nuggets describes how she made her first platinum by being an altoholic. Maybe I should work on that.
  • I am adding three more blogs to the blogroll this week because they’ve had interesting Wildstar content. First, we have Missy’s Mojo, an EU blogger who started with the recent NBI, and who seems obsessed with murder bunnies Aurin. She plays on Lightspire EU, like I do, and you can find her on Twitter as @missysmojo.
  • Laughter is another female gamer who enjoys Wildstar, and does UI posts, so a girl after my own heart. While not posting exclusively about Wildstar, I enjoyed her Wildstar posts, and that’s why she gets added. You can find her on Twitter as @_Laughter.
  • My Life on Nexus is the blog of Phil who is a Brit living in the US. He hasn’t posted a lot yet, but that will change, hopefully!

And that’s it for this week. As stated above, happy to add any links from comments, if you found anything cool.

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18/06/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

Wildstar Character Journal

I don’t usually report along while I level in an MMO, but in Wildstar I want to. I am leveling incredibly slowly, because there have been time constraints, computer issues and RL heartache (another of my kitties died). Aside from RL, it’s also incredibly easy to not level, and instead go all completionist with lore, challenges and path missions. I continue to enjoy the Explorer path immensely, as much as that’s guided exploration on rails. Scientist on the other hand I find a lot more challenging because there’s a lot less handholding.

Exploring the asteroid after completing the Steady Traveler Shiphand was a lot of fun.

Exploring the asteroid after completing the Steady Traveler Shiphand was a lot of fun.

Kadomi the Draken Stalker is currently level 23, just finishing up the last touches in Auroria. In the meantime, this of course means that I got my housing plot. It’s all a bit bare now. I didn’t really have any gold to spare for a lot of extravaganza, seeing how it’s the most exquisite gold and time sink ever. I did however get a moonshiner hut for the fun challenge. I also bought a mining plot and hope that I will eventually get the upgrade. I must admit to not being super creative, which means my housing plot is dull and boring compared to what else I have seen visiting guildies. One of our guild officers has an amazing draken-style house that puts my own to shame. I decided that I will ditch the rocket house for a real house and try to rebuild from scratch.

My stalker buddy Tinzari who is braving EU latency from the US to play with me. \o/

My stalker buddy Tinzari who is braving EU latency from the US to play with me. \o/

I did make some changes from that last screenshot where I had a rather boring empty interior. My ‘loft’ holds a chua desk and nothing else so far. I keep doing the Shardspire jumping challenge every day in hopes of finally scoring a vind plushie, and the moonshiner challenge for a Granok bed, but alas, no luck. At least I don’t have a housing monstrosity with over a hundred beer signs yet like Rades does.

For what it’s worth, here’s what my interior currently looks like. It will likely change this weekend, as I said, because I don’t like the limitations of the rocket house anymore.

Home sweet home. I just wish I had more Draken style instead of cutesy Aurin stuff...

Home sweet home. I just wish I had more Draken style instead of cutesy Aurin stuff…

As far as PvE content goes, I really enjoyed Auroria. In the closed beta I played Exiles and did all of Galeras. If I compare those two zones, I would probably say Galeras is more fun. Auroria reminds me a bit of Goldshire. It’s where the Dominion have their farmland, and so there are a lot of quests where you help the lowborn Cassian farmers who got hit by a plague. Looks like the nice-guy Exiles are playing dirty, huh? Exile players know this zone from the Hycrest Insurrection adventure. There are pockets of war in the zone, and the south is dominated by the sprawling Osun fortress Kel Voreth. I can’t wait to run that dungeon, for real. There’s a public event at Kel Voreth that I really enjoyed. I am a bit torn on those public events. They just mindlessly repeat all day long, but when I started it at the beginning, it was just such an interesting sequence to follow. There was nothing comparable around the Stormtalon Lair.

Three parts done with my Explorer costume. I LIKE my stalker. :)

Three parts done with my Explorer costume. I LIKE my stalker. :)

Pathwise, I still love being an Explorer. Absolutely the right decision for me. Auroria is full of jumping puzzles, and my zone reward bag contained excellent Claws. I love the Tracking challenges that give you jumping buffs. Additionally, I really enjoyed the new blue Explorer flags that provide you jumping buffs and assist with actually getting to the top for some stake claims. Also, you haven’t felt what a speed rush feels like until you have run through five Explorer flags, rushing through the zone as fast as the wind. Does not work on a mount, so get off and use them, because zooooooooooooooooom. I found being a stalker really helps with some of the Explorer-specific challenges. The one from the top of Blackheart Village where you have a timelimit to jump to the top of the other side of the village? Much easier if you can stealth sprint past all those mobs. Path level is 15 now, just got the Tier 3Festival Fabkit which I won’t even be able to use til level 25.

This cartography mission starts a challenge where you have to cross to the other side of the village. Neat!

This cartography mission starts a challenge where you have to cross to the other side of the village. Neat!

My guild has a committed core of RPers, and they have such exciting ideas that I might actually RP. Last night we had an OOC Draken lore meeting where we consolidated what everyone knows about draken, and how that applies to the Draken within the guild. There’s also a super-interesting concept: RP Shiphand missions. A group of 5, including one GM, will visit the Shiphand missions on specific dates, and RP their way through them, guided by the GM. Shiphand missions are highly improved versions of WoW scenarios for me. They scale with player number, and they each have a specific story. I have only done the first two so far, and they seem to like parasitic infestations. Gross. I could totally see myself RPing in them.

The Shiphands are also fantastic for trying the support roles. I did Salvage Rights with my friend Tinzari yesterday, and went tanky-stalker, while she stabby-stalkered. It felt good! I don’t think I’d dare tank a dungeon, but I think I’d try an adventure as tank. I mostly kept my healing field up, Whiplashed for threat, and used my ability that procs when I deflect. Good fun. Just wish there was a better way to handle gear changes. MrFancyPants is a good start, but it’s still kinda awkward.

That’s it for now. If NCSOFT authentication servers weren’t down right now, I’d dip my toes into Whitevale, but alas.

Instead, I’ll just watch the new Wildstar flick again, about the new Ultra Drop, Strain! Monthly new content, ahoy! :D That poor Rowsdower though. :o

And what have you guys been up to? Please share. :)

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16/06/2014
by Kadomi
3 Comments

Wildstar: Monday Link Love

I am moving the link love posts to Mondays, because who doesn’t want to read great Wildstar links on a Monday morning? As always, if there’s any links you think I have missed, please holler at me. :) My apologies for not really posting any new content of my own, week has been hectic. I have a new kitty now, so please meet Morgana aka Momo, our 8 months old deaf Maine Coon kitten from a shelter.

Our new kitty in one of her favorite spots, towering over us peons. :)

Our new kitty in one of her favorite spots, towering over us peons. :)

Fansites and Resources

  • I wrote a class guide while Wildstar was still in the beta, but Wildstar Report have just released a much better class primer that showcases the different classes very nicely and has some support links as well if you want to continue reading guides for a specific class. Handy!
  • Wildstar allows 2-factor authentication using Google Authenticator, which requires a smartphone. Don’t have a smartphone? Here’s a Reddit guide how to use a Windows application as authenticator.
  • Addon Watch: Reddit is a great way to be alerted to cool new addons, but so is Twitter. Here are some that have caught my eye this week. Once I get around to testing, you will hear more details: MrFancyPants is an equipment manager for people who play their assault and support roles both, and SpellPower is an improved resource bar addon that currently only supports spellslingers and is looking for beta testers.

Blogs

  • The dominant blogging topic of the week regarding Wildstar was a lively discussion about the 12-step raid attunement that Wildstar uses. It’s a battle between casual and hardcore that has gotten ugly in the public forums but also on Reddit, and heated in parts in the blogs as well. Here’s a list of bloggers who chimed in:

    If I missed any of the debate, please let me know. For reference, I am a huge fan of attunements, I think the chain looks like fun, and I will probably never raid 40-mans, just like I didn’t in vanilla WoW. I believe in the carrot on a stick of character progression that attunements are.

  • Out of the blue, I shall be adding another blog to the Wildstar blog list: Shotgun Shells and Cheese. In a notable post, the author is taking a look at lore regarding the Protostar. Are they not just the comical goblins of the Wildstar universe? Is there something deeper going on?
  • Gracie posted another great housing guide, this time moving forward to advanced controls and how you can clone the settings of a specific decor item.
  • Both Evelyn from Medic Probes and Virika from Nexus Nightly are looking at Amps. Evelyn talks about Medic support Amps and how to locate them, and Virika provides 6 handy tips, including how to use amps to make a little gold on the side.
  • I have two more new blogs for the blog list. Blue Blades Blog about Espers, @BlueBladesBlog on Twitter and The Son of Nexus by Average Gamer, @Avg_Gmr on Twitter.

Last but not least I have two videos. The first was recommended by @mikempty on Twitter:

The second is my GM’s house in Wildstar. Our officers have created gathering places for guild and RP meetings in their housing and that’s all kinds of awesome. Sadly, I cannot watch this video myself, because meh, YT in Germany is really irksome with any kind of video containing music.

09/06/2014
by Kadomi
5 Comments

Wildstar: Addons Corner – Chat and social improvements

I know I promised a Wildstar addons corner about the different mouselook addons, but alas, I did not have time for personal reasons, and then decided that a look at social addons is maybe more necessary than mouselook.

Let’s face it, the default UI of Wildstar is really not great when it comes to allowing you to easily have whisper conversations with fellow players. It’s incredibly easy to miss whispers completely, and it’s awkward to respond to them. I wish the Innate wasn’t bound to R, just saying. Ctrl-R to respond to a whisper is hardly intuitive. But thanks to addons, there are ways to keep in touch with friends and random folks that might eventually turn into friends.

I’ll try to make this comprehensive, but if I miss any chat addon you really enjoy, please leave a comment. Sharing is caring!

Note: I have net issues today that don’t actually allow me to log into Wildstar, as I keep getting disconnected. Of course this has to happen on a holiday weekend. :( I will add more screenshots as soon as I can take them in-game.

EZSocial Bar

While not a chat addon itself, EZSocialBar is the first step after logging in that I check. It’s a small, moveable bar frame that lets you see at a glance how many of your friends and guildies are online atm. When you mouse over each section, you get a tooltip showing you which friends/guildies are online. It’s not as fancy as my favorite WoW equivalent yet, but it works. A click on friends/guild opens the social menu or guild roster. The author is currently working on adding more circles functionality. It can already display circles, but doesn’t have a tooltip for them yet.
Curse Download

I keep this bar in the upper left corner of my screen.

I keep this bar in the upper left corner of my screen.

Whisper Alert

Wildstar’s default whisper sound is practically non-existent for me. It might be because I have had tinnitus for years. I need a clearer alert. Thankfully, Whisper Alert does exactly what the name suggests. When you use the only command option, /whisperalert, it opens a window where you can pick one of 24 different sound options. These options should contain something for everyone. Definitely a big help for me!
Curse Download

24 different sounds to choose from. Clicking on the numbers lets you hear the sound and choose.

24 different sounds to choose from. Clicking on the numbers lets you hear the sound and choose.

WhisperCatch

My personal favorite amongst chat addons. Whisper Catch adds another small window to your screen that will popup with the name of whoever is whispering you. If the name is green, you responded, if it’s red with a number in brackets behind, that’s the number of whispers you missed. When you click on the + behind the name, you go to a chat tab that’s specifically dedicated to this conversation. You don’t need to add any prefix in that tab, you can simply type away, and the whisper will go to the right person. I find this soooo helpful! It’s not perfect though. It’s not as perfectly maintained as other addons and hasn’t received an update since launch. It doesn’t play nice with other addons that modify the chat frames in any form and then tends to fail. I can’t use Improved ChatLog if I want to use WhisperCatch, e.g. It supposedly has a hide window button that I have never seen. Still, it does exactly what I need, and I can deal with the window. If you are running addon light, and are just looking for one chat addon, this might be awesome. I love it and hope it will continue to be maintained.

Update: WhisperCatch got an update today, which leaves me hopeful that it will be around a while longer, hooray. :)

Curse Download

This is the window you can freely place on your screen. It's alerting me to 1 whisper from Teeno. If you prefer, you can have it display account friend names where available.

This is the window you can freely place on your screen. It’s alerting me to 1 whisper from Teeno. If you prefer, you can have it display account friend names where available.

This is the chat tab it creates. You can just type away. Window shows I responded to whisper, making Teeno's name green.

This is the chat tab it creates. You can just type away. Window shows I responded to whisper, making Teeno’s name green.

EZ Messenger

An IM-style addons that works as a separate chat window. All chats will be handled through that window. You can minimize it into a short bar that will alert you to new messages. I tried it initially because I really liked the looks of it, but in practice found the chat window far too bulky, taking up a lot of screen estate. The dev is active though, so there might be improvements on that front. I know people like Jaedia really enjoy using it.
Curse Download

The conversation window. I wasn't able to find the resize option, and felt it took up too much space.

The conversation window. I wasn’t able to find the resize option, and felt it took up too much space.

Chat Log Modifications

Next, I have a bunch of addons that change aspects of the chat log. We’re starting with BetterChatLog. This addon does one thing only: changes the font of the chat log. I found the font a lot more readable, however, it didn’t play nice with WhisperCatch, so it had to go again.
Curse Download

Alternatively, you could use ImprovedChatLog which basically seems to be the same thing. I also wasn’t able to make this work together with WhisperCatch. There’s also Fixed Chat Log, also very similar, but additionally keeps the profanity filter turned off by default.

Just a different font, that's all that this addon does. I suppose one could edit the lua file as well to pick a different one, but I am not sure.

Just a different font, that’s all that this addon does. I suppose one could edit the lua file as well to pick a different one, but I am not sure.

For those who are coming from WoW and miss the colors they are used to, there’s WoWChatColours. It colors everything but timestamp and channel name in the colors you are used to from our MMO behemoth, and additionally lets you use a color picker to set colors. Or colours. As you like it.

And that’s it for now. If I stumble upon cooler chat addons, I will return to this topic, because with a fresh MMO, I find it more important than anything to communicate properly with people.

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08/06/2014
by Kadomi
2 Comments

Wildstar: Sunday Link Love

Yay, first new post at the new domain. I have tinkered all day to make the move and am quite happy.

I will try to make this a weekly addition to this blog, pointing folks at interesting Wildstar-related news bits that I have read in previous days. Some will be from blogs, some others from news sites, and if I find new blogs, I’ll add them to my list here as well.

I am beginning with the launch trailer. I think by the time the game officially launched on June 3rd, most people who were interested in launch, were already playing since headstart. Nevertheless, the trailer is exciting, gives us hints about Drusera, and maybe our first ultimate end boss on Nexus. I have to say, the longer I play, the more fascinated I am with the lore. Awesome job.

Fansites and Resources:

  • Wildstar Fans is a great site that often posts guides to things that are not always clearly explained in the game. Their guide about interrupts is great. If you had no idea that interrupts provide you with Moments of Opportunity, adding bonus damage, or how Interrupt Armor works, I recommend reading the post.
  • Another quality post from Wildstar Fans is their guide about Housing Privacy and Resource Sharing. It explains how you can keep your house private (or not) and how you can determine how many of the resources of any resource plot you have in your house (e.g. mining) will go to your visiting neighbors.
  • Speaking of housing: it’s REALLY popular and taking the Wildstar blog scene by storm. How good that we have two new resources for housing that I will gladly add to my Wildstar Resources list. The first is Living in Wildstar, which is another housing database that shows you models of all housing additions, and lets you also view costs. The second project is Nexus Cribs, and it’s a true showcase to the wildly amazing houses that are already out there. You can upload screenshots of your own house, or browse what other users have uploaded. Amazing.
  • Wildstar requires fairly beefy computers. If you are struggling with performance issues, there’s a Settings & Performance Guide at Nexus Archives.

Blogs:

  • The stats in Wildstar do not always make the most sense, and whenever I try a new class, I have to press P a lot to remind myself which stats are important to me. Medic Probes found some great infographics about stats on a French site and shared. Also, she hit 50, crazy stuff! (hides her level 17 self)
  • Gracie at Moonshine Mansion expands her housing tutorials and teaches how to place and rotate items. It can be daunting, but she makes placing beer signs look easy. :)
  • Applecidermage talks about how she was pleasantly surprised by an interrogation quest in Galeras. I also applaud this! I have to note that as Dominion player I unfortunately run into a lot of those quests that don’t have such a happy ending. But that’s what I get for playing the exaggerated villain faction.
  • A new blog for my Wildstar blogs list. Actually not new, I just missed it the first time round: Mectrid’s Tool Box. He’s also on Twitter as @Mectrid.
  • Maric, a member of the Alliance of Awesome, had been fairly vocal about not enjoying Wildstar in the beta the past few months. Now he wrote a great post about how now he feels he was wrong.

Seen anything cool that I missed? Please share!

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02/06/2014
by Kadomi
2 Comments

Wildstar Headstart Impressions

While the official release date is June 3, 2014, I think most people who were aboard on Train Hype! pre-ordered the game, which meant Wildstar headstart access on May 31, at midnight PST. I feel bad for people on the East Coast, because MMO launches and expansion releases are usually at a sucky time for them. For me, it was quite nice because midnight PDT was a nice 9 am CET start. Theoretically. I rolled out of bed well-rested and sat there at 9 am, hammering away at my password like thousands of other people. There were various error messages, many disappointed people on Twitter, and then a tweet pointing to a Reddit post that explained one of the reasons the launch did not go smoothly: a DDoS attack on the Wildstar servers. Well, crap. Pretty uncool.

A map of DDoS attacks on May 31, courtesy of www.digitalattackmaps.com. Not a pretty sight.

A map of DDoS attacks on May 31, courtesy of www.digitalattackmaps.com. Not a pretty sight.

Eventually people started to get in, but I couldn’t log in. I had set up two-factor authentication (and I highly recommend it to protect your account – also, 2% in-game boost that’s permanent) the day before, which actively prevented me from logging in. Frustrated, I gave up at 10:15 am my time, because I had a hair appointment. Yup, people got their Wildstar on, and I got my hair colored. Sue me!

I came home just after noon, and that was when Wildstar-Kadomi was born. A truly momentous event. There was a slight hiccup with the servers again, but from that point on, I have been able to play without any issues whatsoever. For anyone who wants to say hi, I play on Lightspire-EU, the English RP server. I am a draken Stalker serving the Dominion, and joined the guild Venus Rising which was already up and running by late afternoon due to hard leveling and pooling of funds. As it’s an RP realm, there are no queues, but I know that especially PvP servers still have ridiculous queues. I think it is safe to say that Carbine did not anticipate the amount of people wanting to roll on an English PvP realm. They started with only one server that’s still super-full, and in the meantime added two additional servers. Hope things calm down for you PvP folks soon.

The super-intense Draken stalker. Isn't she lovely and fierce? Rar!

The super-intense Draken stalker. Isn’t she lovely and fierce? Rar!

Community on the server has been pleasant, and I am as happy as I can be. I seriously have not been this excited over an MMO release since 2005. Running around Deradune, despite me knowing it well from the beta, reminds me of the feeling I had when my first ever WoW character stumbled through Teldrassil. Everything’s shiny, new and fresh. The Explorer path is probably not for everyone, but I love it. I love zipping from Explorer flag to the next one, running at breakneck speed. I love finding secret caves only I can open. In Deradune I found an island only Explorers can find while trying to find a surveillance spot. You get extra challenges as Explorer. You have to solve a jumping puzzle for a surveillance mission and as soon as you are done, the challenge starts and you have 35 seconds to get off the tree without taking any falling damage. That one took me a couple tries, for sure.

The surveillance mission on Crimson Island has you climb up a cliffside above a giant dreg.

The surveillance mission on Crimson Island has you climb up a cliffside above a giant dreg.

I decided that I will screenshot all surveillance missions (though I already missed one) and post them. Just because I can, just to show that despite the comic art style, the zone art is incredibly gorgeous. I have said it before but I will again that Deradune speaks to me like The Barrens used to (just without the chat). It’s lovely.

This tree in Deradune offers lovely views at night, and it's really really hard to get down in 30 seconds, I tell ya.

This tree in Deradune offers lovely views at night, and it’s really really hard to get down in 30 seconds, I tell ya.

I had very little time this weekend, because I went out on Saturday night, and played D&D with our group yesterday. I am only level 10, and got very distracted by path missions and now tradeskills. In the beta I skipped all the lore bits and Explorer missions once it was clear to me that this would be my first path, and it’s all fresh and wonderful to me. Same with crafting. Tried it, didn’t touch it again and am now ready to dive into it. I went with mining and weaponsmithing. All the shiny claws in the world.

I played around with more addons as well and for later this week am planning an addon corner to test all mouselook addons and show what’s hot and what’s not. Looking forward to it. Still in the market for a decent chat addon. EZMessenger is way too bulky. Fun! :)

So, all in all, my launch was great, and I got lots of positive vibes from around the Twittersphere. How about everyone else, did you have fun? :)

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29/05/2014
by Kadomi
14 Comments

Wildstar: Meet the blogs

I have to admit that no MMO launch had me quite as pumped as Wildstar’s. I wasn’t around for the WoW launch. Rift’s launch was exciting, as was SWTOR’s, but there’s just something about the Wildstar launch that makes me feel as if this game is seriously going to be the next best thing, with a vibrant and hopefully friendly community. I found a guild home that’s been very promising so far. Carbine devs continue to be amazing. In a world where Ghostcrawler used to be the only WoW dev openly engaging with players, it’s a breath of fresh air to see sooooo many official Carbine folks be in touch with the community. Even lil’ ol me got a shoutout on Twitter, which is really quite amazing, if you ask me. But that might be vanity talking. ;) An important part for a successful MMO community is the blogosphere of a game. When I started blogging about WoW in 2008, it was when the game had its heyday, and there were what you could consider blogging ‘celebrities’ at the time, like Phaelia, BigRedKitty or Pike. It was the golden time of the class blogs, when picking talents and playing were not as streamlined as they are today. Now we have the rise of the Wildstar blogging scene. I would like to consider myself a Wildstar blog, though I will not narrow my focus down to just one game anymore.

Other blogs focus on Wildstar, and it is those blogs and fansites that I want to highlight today, as link collection. I will also add the blogs to a new Wildstar blogroll that I will try to keep updated weekly. I have compiled the blog list by discovering them myself, asking around on Twitter, reading the Wildstar subreddit and the Fansites, Blogs and Livestreams subforum on the official Wildstar forums. If I have missed any active ones with quality content, please prod me.

The blogs are in alphabetical order.

Wildstar Blogs

  • Everskies – Casual gamer from Germany, after my own heart, I say. Posts about Wildstar, amongst other things. Can be found on Twitter as @everskies
  • Healslinger – A spellslinger healing compendium. More theory crafting for all those who want to heal with two pistols. They love addons, I like that. :) Also on Twitter as @healslinger
  • Honor’s Code- Honorshammer has been around as long as I can remember, writing about paladin tanking back when I was writing about prot warriors in WoW. He’s moving full force to Wildstar now, going to be a ranged tank as engineer. I might tank as stalker. Life’s funny. You can talk to him on Twitter as @TedtheThird.
  • Mapjabbit Run – This is the Wildstar blog of Applecidermage, who you might know from her WoW blog and the podcast she runs with Tzufit, Justice Points. As a feminist, she often points out alarming developments in MMOs. Her post about Sadie Brightland was particularly interesting. She’s on Twitter as @applecidermage.
  • Medicating Nexus – if you’re playing a medic and am looking for a theorycrafter, this might be your go-to now. All the numbers. Also on Twitter as @medicatingnexus
  • Medic Probes – Medics are crazy popular, aren’t they? This blog has great art, features medics prominently, and you can follow the author as @MedicProbes.
  • Moonshine Mansion – Gracie from Moonshine Mansion is a WoW player who fell in love with Wildstar housing. I expect to see many cool guides and screenshots of all the wildly creative housing we’re going to see in Wildstar. You can find Gracie on Twitter as @DiscGrace.
  • Moxie & Moonshine – Tzufit is one of the mentioned C&C bloggers, and is one of the hosts of the Justice Points podcast. She’s going to play an esper at launch. She’s a fantastic person, so I have no doubt her blog shall be equally so. She tweets as @soetzufit.
  • Nexus Nightly – Gubjub and Virika are a couple playing Wildstar. They actually leveled to 50 in the beta, something I painstakingly avoided. It was hard. They’ve already blogged about cool content like tradeskills and healing. Gubjub is tweeting as @NexusNightly.
  • Nexus Nuggets – Trin fell in love with Wildstar much like I did, and she has already written a couple great posts introducing Wildstar mounts, what all the stats mean, etc. You can follow her on Twitter as @EpicGems.
  • Pat the Chua – I have read Njessi’s SWTOR blog for a long time, even after I stopped playing the game. She’s all about the chua, and I don’t blame her for that one bit. Expecting healing coverage here. :) You can find the author on Twitter as @PatTheChua
  • Tanking Nexus – While I don’t actively tank anymore (maybe, I still might go back to it), I still have a soft spot for those who brave it, and want to share their knowledge. Deadmanfred is a prot warrior in WoW and blogs about tanking in Wildstar. He’s available on Twitter as @tankingnexus, and runs his own Twitch stream.
  • The Loopy Lopp – More C&C blogging. Thing has posted overviews of classes and races, and should really post more about Lopp. Loopy lopps and the weird drugs they use. Ahem. Thing is on Twitter as well, as @thingwhatwows.
  • The Scowling Cassian – a beautiful and fantastic RP blog. Everything you might need to know about RPing on Nexus, highlights of the different classes, and lovely art. The author is on Twitter as @BrennerHawkins, the artist as @PyraMugetsu

I hope to add many more blogs to the list in the near future.

Fansites:

There are a ton of fansites out there already, competing with news releases, Twitch streams, YT content and podcasts. Following are the ones I like best. Note that I do not listen to podcasts, so I have no idea which sites offer the best Wildstar content in that area.

Game resources:

Who remembers the days before Wowhead ruled all other WoW databases? I do! :) It’s not clear which one will come out on top in Wildstar, but there are a bunch of cool resources already.

  • Jabbithole – One of the databases. Looks a bit slicker than Wildheap so I am tossing my hat into Jabbithole’s ring for now. The jabbit looks creepy though.
  • Wildheap – as close to look and feel of pre-relaunch WoWhead as you can get.
  • Wildstar Architecture – an image database of housing options: decor, fabkits, things created by architects, plus housing contests etc.
  • Wildstar Datminer – and another database. Also cool. Let’s see which one gets the most community support. I have no idea!
  • WS-Base – class guides, builds, and a LAS builder tool that lets you experiment with your limited action sets. Also lets people share their builds. Good stuff.

Bonus feature:

Want to see how active Carbine devs are? Would you like to communicate with them directly or just watch their shenanigans? Gazimoff has compiled a massive list of Carbine folks on Twitter.

As always, if you have any links to share or want to talk about this list, leave a comment.

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27/05/2014
by Kadomi
8 Comments

Wildstar: Addon Corner

One of my most favorite things about WoW has always been the ability to customize your UI by using addons. My Addon Corner was one of the categories I loved the most in my old WoW warrior blog. Over the years, I have found that MMOs that do not allow that extra flexibility lack that special bit of stickiness with me. Thankfully, this is different with Wildstar. Right from the get go, they are actually encouraging folks to develop LUA-based addons.

addons

I have linked last week’s Nexus Report below, which is the weekly show Carbine does about Wildstar, and they talk about addons quite a bit, and their philosophy about it.

In fact, addons were what actually made me take note of this game because I hadn’t followed it at all until…January or so, well into the closed beta. My friend Packetdancer started developing addons for Wildstar a long time ago, and has worked with Bitwise, the Lead Client Engineer for Wildstar. In fact, there’s a great interview with both of them from last summer. Needless to say, Packet is very excited for this game, and made me curious about it, and also helped me getting into the closed beta before it was weekends only. I have to thank her for it again, you rock. She really is the kickass nerd girl you want at your side.

One of the projects she runs is Wildstar Nasa, the Nexus Addon Standards Association, where people interested in the API can find LUA guides, examples and standards to abide to. If they keep this up and educate people about LUA coding, this might make Bitwise’s vision come true, might it not?

How to install addons in Wildstar

So, Wildstar has addons. How to get those addons? Most importantly, how to install them once you have found them? There’s really two ways.

1) use the Curse Client and add Wildstar as game, then download and install automatically using the client
2) download the addons manually, either at Curse or the official forums. Unzip the addon into %APPDATA%NCSOFTWildStarAddons. Most likely, this will be C:Usersyour_windows_usernameAppDataRoamingNCSOFTWildStarAddons

There’s also a third option, using a tool called Mission Control to install the addons for you, but I don’t know if it will continue to be actively developed. I personally use the Curse Client, which has made it very easy to stay on top of addon updates during the beta. It’s exciting to see more and more addons out there. I have a feeling we will see as much quality work as there’s been for WoW.

Great addons to get you started

I realize how much of a teaser this is, because now we have to wait for headstart to actually play around with these addons. Nevertheless, I have played around quite a bit since February, and here are the addons that I will be using at launch.

  • Steer – the mouselook addon. If you’ve played any FPS or 3rd person shooter, and want to be more mobile during the action combat that Wildstar uses, there are various options to use Wildstar’s native mouselook. If you are not a keyboard turner, you are probably used to moving around using the mouse. Spinning around requires pressing the right mouse button, and as you have to dodge a lot, you have to press the right mouse button a lot. There are several addons that enable you to turn around just by using the mouse, as if you were playing a shooter. There’s Combat Mode (which I haven’t tried because you need external software to use it), Deadlock Extended and Steer. I like the latter the best. It works quite easily. In my case, I have tied it to movement. As soon as I start moving around or in combat, mouselook is active. If I am just standing around, it isn’t. You can also set it to activate with a keybinding or by clicking the left mouse once. You can even bind forward movement to the left mousebutton. I enjoy it a lot, and it makes combat even cooler.
  • BijiPlates – name plates. I love me good name plates. The default ones are okay, but not very configurable. Biji on the other hand you can configure a lot. It has threat alert for tanks, and cleanse alerts for healers. You can set size, type, display, what have you. You can even color the nameplates by class color. I like them a lot.
  • IconLoot – I don’t like the default loot window. Items just zoom past, and I never know what I have picked up. IconLoot gives you a better notification, especially when you pick up rare quality items or items that start a quest.
  • SpaceStash – bag addon. Wildstar already uses a one bag display, but SpaceStash greatly improves it. You can freely configure size, rows and columns. The last update added bag sorting, hallelujah! It also comes with automatic junk selling and repairs, if you so desire. Trust me, you do.
  • NavMate – waypoints and mini-map improvements. Much like TomTom, this addon adds coordinates support and lets you set waypoints. Additionally, it improves the minimap by adding a square option, indicating taxis on the mini-map and showing icons for lore objects like datacubes and journals. I wouldn’t want to play a scientist without it!
  • ProcsHUD – proc alerts. Many classes have abilities that are tied to certain conditions, mostly critical hits, like the Engineer’s Quick Burst or the Medic’s Atomize. It works out of the box, and provides you with big alerts when an ability has proc’d.
  • Stalker Resource System – for stalkers only. My main is going to be a stalker, and I find the UI not ideal for it. The resource bar is too far away from where the action is. Here’s where SRS comes in. Freely configurable resource bar, many options to style it, changing size and placing it where you need it to be. Love it!
  • AuraMastery – the Weak Auras of Wildstar. I have to admit I haven’t recently tested it, because in closed beta I just couldn’t make it work for me. But there have been many updates since, there are quick start guides, and AuraMastery definitely has the potential to be as powerful as Weak Auras.
  • EzSocialBar – a bar that shows you how many of your friends and guildies and circle folks are online, with notification sounds. I haven’t actually used this, only seen it in a video over at Arkship, but I really liked the looks of it.
  • WhisperAlert – various whisper alert sounds. Now if only Tzufit had used this during the closed beta, she might have responded to my hellos. ;)

This is only the beginning. There are already many more addons available, and I am excited to see what future additions the active LUA folks out there will come up with. As always, thanks to all you developers out there, I love your addons. Keep up the great work.

Have you spotted other Wildstar addons you enjoy? Please share!

books

26/05/2014
by Kadomi
0 comments

Book Review: The Alloy of Law

The Alloy of Law
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Set in the Mistborn world, 300 years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, this Sanderson book is a bit of a departure from the epic fantasy one might be expecting from a Mistborn book. When I read it, my closest association was that it was a mix of western and urban superhero story. It was a bit weird, but I thought it was also very entertaining.

Wax aka Lord Waxillium Ladrian used to be a lawkeeper in the Wild West, erm, Roughs, but he has returned to the city of Elendel to run his family, after the death of his uncle and sister. The papers of the city are currently full of stories of a mysterious group of robbers called The Vanishers who manage to steal whole loads of precious cargo from trains, without leaving any trace of the cargo. Wax gets involved when his potential fiancee Steris gets kidnapped by the Vanishers and the head of the group is someone from his past.

Wax is an Allomancer, but he’s also a Feruchemist, making him a so-called Twinborn. Prepare for many super-hero stunts because Wax knows how to rock a mistcoat. He is joined by Wayne, his funny ‘deputy’ and Marasi, Steris’ cousin, who turns out to be a quite capable lady.

The ending is rather cliff-hangery and strongly alludes to the Mistborn trilogy, which I liked. I liked references to the previous books and the weird religions that have sprung up around them.

If you enjoy a bit of almost pulp fiction, and liked Mistborn, this one’s definitely not a bad one to read at all. I love me some Sanderson.

My rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5)