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MMOS X

MMOS X: Managing WoW AddOns

World of Warcraft, Patches, MMOS X


They say acceptance is the first part of recovery, so I'm going just going to say it: I have an AddOn problem in World of Warcraft. My reliance on a completely nonstandard UI is so severe, when I needed a screenshot of a group running an instance with the default UI, I had to ask the rest of the WoW Insider staff if anyone had one, since there was zero chance I was stepping into an instance without my "set up the way I like it, thank you very much" UI.

Managing these AddOns is a nightmare. Half the time I've forgotten what AddOns I have even installed (good thing I use an online backup -- Mozy -- to back them up or I'd be in deep doo-doo if I was forced to do a rebuild). If you're half as lazy as I am (which is pretty damn lazy) , you'll frequently put off, "wait till next log on", or downright blow off updating your AddOns. As the Despair.com poster says, "Hard work may pay off later, but procrastination pays off now." Which in game terms means, "Don't fix what isn't broken." Or something.

That's where add-on management tools like WoWMatrix and MacAceUpdater save me time and aggravation. I need to throw the disclaimer out there that this isn't really a review of these utilities. However, it'll be pretty obvious which one I prefer. And to keep the full disclosure bus rolling, I have not tested these after Patch 2.4.3 was released since I had most of this column written before it hit.

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MMOS X: WoWPlot

Raiding, Endgame, Opinion, MMOS X


I was trolling through the forums at Arstechnica not too long ago, and saw someone chatting up his latest project: WowPlot. Immediately, that thread went into the well for future column ideas.

WoWPlot is a graphical combat log analyzer for World of Warcraft, in a similar vein to WoW Web Stats. According to the developer, "Its main focus lies in evaluating time-dependant combat performance in a very free-form fashion, which is in contrast to the mainly statistical approach of other tools such as Wow Web Stats." From a technical standpoint, you'll need OS X 10.5.x and, obviously, a Macintosh. As I stupidly found out the hard way, you'll also need combat logs from 2.4 or later. I know it sounds obvious, but early testing and subsequent error messages led to a face-palming, "no duh!" moment on my behalf -- it's been a while since I've raided, so I ended up having to beg some logs from a guildie.

Now, before I get too heavy into my discussion on this, this is early beta software. Rather than just e-mail the developer with my thoughts, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone: I can make my deadline and maybe get him some more exposure and feedback if some of you try it out.

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MMOS X: How the MMOs and the iPhone can meet.

Opinion, Virtual Worlds, MMOS X

MMOS X is a bi-weekly column dedicated solely to gaming on the Macintosh natively. "Running Boot Camp or Parallels" is not an option here. This column is for people who want to get the most out of their Mac gaming, as meager as it is.

Originally, this week's column was going to be a technical how-to, but a series of snafus -- not the least of which included me slapping my head and going, "You moron, combat logs changed after patch 2.4. That's why this new analyzer you are looking at is barfing on your Karazhan logs from February." However, my focus changed when, like many of the Faithful, I turned my attention to the West Monday to see what our Leader had to say.

Frankly, all I wanted Jobs to say was, "with iPhone 2.0, now you can sync iCal tasks to the iPhone." I didn't get that. Instead, I got a bunch of technical jargon that went over my head. Really, who did he think he was talking to, a bunch of developers or something? When a couple of game developers got up to show off their new iPhone apps, a light bulb went off for this week's late column.

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MMOS X: How does Psystar affect Mac gaming?

MMOS X

Fair warning: this week's column is light on the MMO and heavy on the hardware.

A month or so ago, Psystar shocked the Mac world by announcing they were selling low-cost computers pre-installed with Apple's Leopard Operating System. This begat discussion of whether this marked a new chapter in the clone wars. Macworld's recent benchmarking placed the Psystar between the Mac Mini and the low-end iMac, which makes sense given that's where it falls price wise. However, Macworld is reporting the Psystar computer placed better than the iMac in Quake 4 tests.

Now, I'm not advocating you go out and buy one of these things. Even if the thin ice they are on legally with Apple is solid enough to avoid litigation, there's the not-so-minor detail that Apple could simply render the OS unusable via a software update. If you don't think Apple will do this, ask how people who unlocked their iPhones made out after that first software upgrade. Psystar is working on making updates available, but really, do you want to trust a 3rd party for your OS upgrades?

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MMOS X: Second Life performance on a Macbook

Guides, Second Life, Virtual Worlds, MMOS X


MMOS X is a bi-weekly column dedicated solely to gaming on the Macintosh natively. "Running Boot Camp or Parallels" is not an option here. This column is for people who want to get the most out of their Mac gaming, as meager as it is.

There aren't a lot of MMOs that fall into the "I've got a few minutes and want to goof around in" category. Second Life to me is one. Sure, we can argue the "Is SL an MMO argument" while we're taking a break from the "Which is better: Mac or PC?" argument. For me, SL is good for that hour I've got to kill because I got to my night class early, or I'm sitting in bed with my laptop and my RSS feeds are up to date. Really, some days I'll play anything to avoid a daily quest.

The gotcha is, when I got my laptop I had a hard time convincing my wife err myself that I needed to blow almost two grand on a laptop. I still don't have too much buyer's regret over my regular Macbook. Games aside, the three apps that do most of my heavy lifting are Twitteriffic, Mail, and Scrivener (these days, it seems like I write more than game). World of Warcraft runs OK on it, but, lordy, does Second Life crawl on it. I'm not sure which gets better FPS: Second Life running on a Macbook, or frozen molasses rolling uphill. Yeah, I know, the integrated video on the 'book isn't supported and that's what I get for running unsupported hardware and I shoud be using a Macbook Pro. Duly noted.

That said, an unscientific study conducted at my school's cafeteria and library, taken randomly on Mondays between 4 and 5 pm shows a heck of a lot more college kids sprung for the cheapo 'books. Second Life could be considered a good game for non-gamers in the way The Sims was considered a good game for people that hated Quake. So, lets take a good, hard look at what's involved with Second Life on Macbooks, what you can do, and what realities your going to face running SL on a non-Pro 'book.

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MMOS X: Is CrossOver a solution?

City of Heroes, City of Villains, EVE Online, EverQuest, Guild Wars, MMOS X


MMOS X is a bi-weekly column dedicated solely to gaming on the Macintosh natively. "Running Boot Camp or Parallels" is not an option here. This column is for people who want to get the most out of their Mac gaming, as meager as it is.

In the header blurb to this column, I state that "Running Boot Camp or Parallels is not an option here." I stand by that still. I don't think that dual-booting or loading XP within a virtual desktop is the solution any of us want. Dual booting takes up valuable hard drive space that I could use to store large media files of consenting adults. Running Parallels throws another layer of processor overhead when I run XP within Parallels within OS X. Not to mention Parallels' DirectX support is poor. Note: I haven't tried VMWare's Fusion, which is the competitor to Parallels.

A week or so ago, our own Mike Schramm wrote up a little piece on TUAW about CrossOver Games. CrossOver Games lets you run some Windows games within an emulator. It's not a pure virtual environment like Parallels, so you don't have the overhead of running two OSs. When I read Mike's piece, my first thought was, "huh." My second thought was, "Huh, I wonder if there's a middle ground here somewhere." At the risk out sounding like I'm eating my own words, CrossOver might be enough of a compromise that doesn't involve buying a copy of Windows to game on a Mac.

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MMOS X: A roundup of MMOs for the Mac

World of Warcraft, EVE Online, EverQuest, Lineage, Minions of Mirth, Vendetta Online, Second Life, Free-to-Play, Mac, Casual, MMOS X

MMOS X is a bi-weekly column dedicated solely to gaming on the Macintosh natively. "Running Boot Camp or Parallels" is not an option here. This column is for people who want to get the most out of their Mac gaming, as meager as it is.

This week's column is a round up of sorts. I'll be talking about what MMOs with Mac clients are out there and links to the developer's site. If I've played them, I'll share any observations. I'm trying for bullet-points this time; some of these may warrant a closer look in a future column. So, most of these are just very brief overviews. For semantic reasons that likely make sense only to me, this time around I'm not mentioning multi-platform browser titles, and am instead focusing on games the developers have created a Macintosh client for.

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