Piloting, from hercs to mechs.

Piloting, from hercs to mechs.
A running recap of what I'm doing for fun, between active duty flying, technology, gadgets, and some of my favorite games.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More WoW, deployment style...lessons learned

More fun with limited networks, tunneling, and “alt productivity” while in the desert.
  • The network setup in our “free internet” areas has forced me to find an alternative to HighPingBuster and other PuTTy tunnels.I am having very good luck with Your-Freedom and OpenVPN.I even purchased a Basic plan and it is worth $6.
  • Hercpilot is now level 85, with completely maxed herbalism and mining, and a 310 speed mount.He pretty much paid for himself, and herb farming is showing some serious potential.
  • High latency herbalism/mining is a new kind of farming.You need to make some changes, and there are some helpful addons I’m using as well.
  • A cry for help: Does anybody know of a viable satellite internet solution for future deployments for either an individual or a very small group of troops?I am having a really hard time finding anything remotely inexpensive and portable.
Before I start, here is a new rule I have for my characters: Don’t logout in Org. If your connection sucks when you try to get back in, you might find yourself making a new alt. The world latency in Org is considerably higher than most other zones, probably because of the bandwidth requirements.
Over here in Iraq, two of the the three routers that are set up for internet use for the troops automatically block PuTTy tunneling. This is the exact connection that HPB uses, and most of the time I am unable to connect to WoW through 2/3 of the available networks. The remaining router is usually the slower of the three, too. Skype, web browsing on common sites like google and facebook, and iTunes all work pretty well on those networks, so I knew that it was just a matter of finding a way around the preset blocks. I am quite pleased with Your-Freedom!
Small caviat: if you’re trying to log into Paypal through a tunnel, it will automatically limit your account and you will be unable to use it. My wonderful wife helped me set up the Your-Freedom account over skype, using the screen sharing function. She did great, and Y-F works wonderfully.
Setting up OpenVPN is easy, and requires a simple manual setting of the DNS on the TAP-Win32 adapter that it automatically installs. Configuring Y-F to use OpenVPN is equally simple, and that setup will allow me to browse the internet, log on to WoW, skype, download music, and even TORRENT uninhibited!
My initial tests indicate that there is slightly higher latency, but only slightly in game. Also, I did some research and found that “world” and “home” latency are different. From now on, the only one I care about is “world” latency, which is the factor for most of the send-receive functions in the game. The “home” latency only affects functions like chat, which probably explains why I can have a full conversation with a buddy on b.net while my character can’t even autoattack due to lag.

My official alt, Hercpilot, is now 85 with two maxed gathering professions and the fastest flying mount you can get. He is a DK, and leveling was fun in and of itself. I got to appreciate much of the 80-85 storyline, which I initially rushed through during late-night hours when cataclysm first launched and I wanted to get Smoogee to 85. I took time to read some of the dialogue and, probably because of lag, I followed the storyline in each zone. A good in-game friend, Kyle Rudd, hooked my toon up with a FULL set of redsteel gear AND a 2-H wpn that lasted me well through 84. The toon is still wearing most of that gear. Due to mob difficulty and latency, I switched between blood and unholy specs for most of the leveling process. I also want to point out that gathering is a good way to augment experience gains while leveling, especially with a DK. I got a flying mount promptly at 60, and it was a very quick grind to increase my gathering professions to a compatible level with outlands, northrend, and cata. It really makes gathering more viable for everyone, because you can FLY in the low-level zones now!! No more jumping around a mountain for an hour trying to get to a tough-to-reach iron node!
Gathering on a low-bandwidth, high-latency connection: It is not as easy as my U-verse connection at home, but sometimes it’s all I can do when the connection isn’t good. Here are things I’ve learned about gathering in these poor conditions.
If mobs are loaded in the area directly under you, herbs and ore will be showing on your minimap if they are present. That simple fact is how I can gauge when to stop and hover or when to blast through an area. One good strategy is to scan ahead of your character...if the mobs, critters, and NPCs ahead of you are loaded already, then you are receiving a good “feed” on nodes and you just need to continue until one pops up on your screen. If you don’t see any red, green, or yellow nameplates, you’re probably missing nodes. With an 1800ms world latency and decent bandwidth, your game will load NPCs and nodes slightly slower than you can fly. This is key: if you have the bandwidth, farming is easier. If you have the latency but low bandwidth, you need to let the game “cache”. Often, I’ll find that when I stop for one node, others will “appear” while I’m hitting that one.
Addons will help you. I highly recommend that you get rid of Gatherer and start using GatherMate2. GM2 has a Data file that will show all the nodes, and I think that is the best gathering addon out there for cata. I LOVE SimpleMiniMap v4, because it allows me to scale my minimap to 200% and it is compatible with ElvUI. This is a big part of my gathering strategy: I can see nodes clearly when they appear, and I navigate almost entirely off my minimap so it is easy to follow a pre-determined route. The simple code to make it the way I set it up is this: /smm scale 2. /smm skins skin 2. That is 200% and square.
I have not experimented with view distance and gathering nodes, but I will tomorrow after my flight tonight...(sigh, and after server downtime)
Lessons for you farmers: people still bot, apparently.  My experience so far is that the bots are relatively unconfrontational and will not approach you if you are already near a node.  Also, I have had no problem finding whiptail nodes whatsoever on Smolderthorn, even with what seem to be two other active farmers in Uldum.  It was respawning so quickly yesterday that I gathered 12 stacks in about an hour. That is a ton of herbs. Twilight Jasmine seems to be quite rare, though, and in the time I could farm a stack of that, I would already have 4 or 5 stacks of whiptail.

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