blog status

December 31, 2009

I trust everybody had a happy Christmas; I certainly did. Unfortunately, the post-Christmas weather down here has moved into what I call the “traditional Christmas heatwave” – a few mad days that seem to arrive pretty much on time each year now. I sure hope there is no such thing as global warming; I’m not going to like it one bit, if this is a taste of the future.

Its 38° outside (no, that’s Celsius; 100° F) so I’m hiding indoors until it blows over. A perfect excuse to update the site so I’m scanning the armoury now for patch 3.3 data. Looks like there have been no significant changes to the XML (not the bits I use, anyway). I should have enough data to start updating the reports in a few more days.

dances with patches

December 14, 2009

I’ll be updating the data for patch 3.3 in due course. There’s a lot of class changes, so we’ll give it a couple of weeks to percolate through the playersphere. But there’s nothing much new in the XML that I can see, unfortunately.

There are also hints of interesting new armoury features to come. I’m not sure that very much can be datamined from them, but character activity notifications via RSS may hold real possibilities.

Meanwhile I’m working slowly through a to-do list based on your requests and suggestions. I’ve got an economics page up over at my Google site. I’m adding consolidated reports – ie across the total population – on the most popular gems, glyphs, enchants and crafted gear. I’m also looking at a similar set of reports based on my twink samples – that’s where some of the big spenders are so it would be interesting to see an overall picture of where the cash goes. They’re not spending up big on Haris Pilton bags, that’s for sure.

a scan darkly

October 14, 2009

I’m doing a fresh scan now, so I should be able to update my reports in a week or so. I must admit I’m not following patch 3.3 all that closely, but if it comes along then no biggie…

patch 3.2.2

September 24, 2009

Just a quick note to say that I’m not gone… Things are quiet here for various reasons – one of which is that I’m taking a break from playing the game. But I’m happy to keep these sites going and to keep them up to date.

I’m fully intending to update my reports once patch 3.2.2 has had a bit more time to work its way through the system.

And I’m working on a new set of reports, using a different database technology, that may end up producing interesting results. No promises on when we might see those results, but we’ll get there in the end.

beggars banquet

August 25, 2009

Ok, Patch 3.2 data is up. You know where

I’m scanning for patch 3.2 now. Looks like the armoury is behaving itself which is good news.
More soon…

sign o’ the times

August 5, 2009

Patches and rumours of patches… But it looks like patch 3.2 really is upon us. I’ll be doing my usual thing of waiting a week or so for players to get their heads around the new stuff, then starting the next scan.

All the new data will be posted over at my Google app site and the report pages here will be removed.

The other significant change is that I will only be collecting data for the x9 levels and for level 80. This will allow me to get a lot more x9 twinks into the sample which is important since my twink reports are some of the most popular pages now.

That means the class stats report tables will only have figures for these levels, and not for every level as they do now. To compensate for this, I’ll put the graphs back so you can make a guesstimate of what values should apply between x9 levels. Stats increase in a pretty linear fashion prior to 80, so you can read the values you want off the charts.

da Wowhead code

July 16, 2009

Next time you use the Wowhead talent calculator, have a look at the URL in your browser’s address box. You should see that the talent points get encoded in an odd looking alphanumeric string. Your class, or pet category in the case of hunter pet talents, gets encoded as well. Something like this:

wowhead.com/?petcalc#MRbc00bdkozM.

That encoding is a Wowhead thing; the armoury itself doesn’t use it. Blizz just stores talent points as a simple string of numbers “00020010230…” where each number refers to a corresponding talent, in the same left-to-right and top-to-bottom order that you see the talents in the calculator.

Unfortunately, the algorithm to generate this encoding seems to be some sort of Wowhead state secret. The Enigma machine was probably less well protected. I have no idea why. It is in the javascript in the Wowhead HTML source, but in a highly compressed form that just makes my brain hurt.

Fortunately an intrepid explorer called Gizzmo has reversed-engineered the damn thing and made his findings available for all of us. You can find the algorithm for the class talent encoding here and for the pet encoding here. Thanks Gizzmo!

Generally I prefer to link to Wowhead’s calculator rather than the official Blizz ones. It seems to have a snappier response. And let’s face it, you’re going there anyway – sooner or later – so let’s just pass Go and collect the $200 now.

But I had to pull the links out last time because they were based on the unencoded Blizz talent string and the Wowhead calculator was failing to convert the URL. (Caused, as I discovered later, by Wowhead treating class names as case sensitive. D’Oh!) So it will be nice to be able to generate the encoded URLs here.

twilight zone

July 9, 2009

Anybody out there happen to know why the armoury is currently returning talent strings 100 characters long for Druids? They still have only 85 talents AFAIK.

I can see that the string is just right-padded with zeros so it’s no biggie. But hey, we’re trying to maintain a quality service here. Six sigmas and all that stuff.

pet sounds

July 3, 2009

Here’s news for Hunters:  Blizz has added your pets and their talents to your character talent page in the armoury.

That will give us a lot of new insight into the types of creatures that make the most popular pets, and how players spend pet talent points. The XML is straightforward and contains no quirks and so I’m cranking up the SQL editor as we speak.

I’ll try and have the new reports ready before the next refresh of my data. As to when that will be, well, about a week after Patch 3.2 drops. As to when that will be… well…

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