The Gaming Report – DirectX 11 in WoW

There are a lot of ellaborate guides on the web on how to enable experimental DirectX 11 rendering in the recently expanded huge MMORPG World of Warcraft Cataclysm.

So first: what will this do for you? Well if you have a decently new videocard, switching to DirectX 11 will possibly bring increasing Frames Per Second in most zones on the highest of details.

While DirectX 9 may be a bit slower, you won’t feel at a visual disadvantage to those using the newer version just because you don’t have a compatible card or using Windows 7 while you are just under good ol’ XP (DirectX 11 is not available for this OS). Every effect still looks the same. The only gains are in performance.

Also, you will probably notice some glitches along the way on some systems – depending on your hardware configuration. Despite that however, there’s no loss in trying to see how it runs on your system. Personally I found some problems with water rendering on NVIDIA cards or just water borders while they transition to land not showing up…

Anyways, getting to the facts, you have two options to enable the new rendering more for WoW:

  • Look on your desktop or your favorite place from where you start the game – for your World of Warcraft shortcut. Right-click it, and select properties. Under the shortcut tab, add at the end of the line “-d3d11” (without quotes). Click Ok.

  • Alternately you can right-click your WoW shortcut and select “Open file location”. Go to your WTF folder, and double click the file “Config.wtf”. Open it with Notepad. Scroll at the end of the document, and add on a new line SET gxApi “d3d11”. Save your file.

Any time you want to go back to the way WoW renders graphics by default, just repeat the same procedure and remove the line you just added. Be sure the game isn’t already running while you are making changes!

That’s it! Some have experienced up to 40% performance increase in some zones, so happy gaming!

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The Gaming Report – A (Not So) Cataclysmic Day

After a fairly decent evening sleep, I woke up at midnight (Europe here) to witness the epic launch of the latest World of Warcraft Expansion pack: Cataclysm.

Servers went down at 1 minute past midnight, but refused to come up immediately as expected. Jokes already started to fly in from my friends but strangely enough, 40 minutes passed midnight all the servers were back up to stay. Despite crowded areas, everything worked properly and was really fun. Past experiences taught Blizzard well it seems. Again two starting areas to balance server load a bit, but offering a radically different experience:

  • Vashj’ir – this awesome underwater island (yes fireballs seem to work underwater too).
  • Mount Hyjal – a more “old school” questing zone where players have to once more defend the infamous World Tree

I’ve tried both zones a bit to give an honest opinion about them. I don’t know in which you will level faster (probably doing dungeons instead), but both experiences are different and enjoyable. I will probably end up doing both, but Vashj’ir draws my attention a bit more right now…

In other *phew* news – I finally got my flight license – in Azeroth. Flying is NOT overrated I tell ya’. Seeing Ogrimmar from upstairs certainly changes perspective a bit. And let’s not forget the utility of it!

And ummm… that’s about it I got really sleepy… I’ll keep you up to date! Bye!

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The Gaming Report – WoW: The Shattering is Xmas Without the Presents

I didn’t say it! A user on the forums did. I logged on World of Warcraft this morning to see the changes patch 4.0.3a brought to Azeroth. This patch brings the “old world” in line with the new expansion that is coming out in less than two weeks, meaning all the level 1-60 zones have been revamped and filled with quests – just enough to make you want to start a new character and leave you wanting more for your main.

The new – and less noisy – login screen is finally here, along with all the new music and the grand Cataclysm cinematic intro.

But what does this bring for your level 80 character? Well, if you were bored to death until now, I’ve got bad news for you. There still isn’t much to do for your main. You can start north and choose the southern flight path to see what’s been changed in the world, you can visit Stormwind to see the damages Deathwing brought, or Ogrimmar to see the big changes and smell the roses, but in the end… still nothing to do.

Flight hasn’t been unlocked in the “new” old zones, no matter how much your friends in world trade chat want to convince you [Flight Master’s License] is available for purchase. Archaeology will only be available after Cataclysm launch. Guild experience isn’t working yet.

Oh and portals have been removed from Shattrath and Dalaran and replaced with class trainers, just so you won’t feel tempted to go back there – and ruin my mage’s portal profit. Hmm can’t say I disagree with that much…

Anyway, if you really wanted to start another character and never got the guts to go back and do it “oldschool” with quests asking you to kill 100 rats – now is the time to start leveling! But not a Goblin or Worgen – because they aren’t in the game yet either.

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