samedi 13 août 2016

13 August 2016 - Kronos WoW opens the Silithus doors

A random poppup message on Facebook informed me today that the Ahn'Qiraj doors were finally OPEN! Which means I rushed on my char to see things by myself, I've missed this occasion once, not gonna miss it again. I am so happy this is finally over considering how long it took. From what I understand a slight delay happened due to Fireblooms not being possible to give to the War Effort right near the end. Anyway, we're there!

Unfortunately I had to come all the way from Orgrimmar and the gong had already been hit by the time I arrived in Silithus. A nice crystal welcomed me near the flightmaster and also my friend lag, which was all over the place, but still very much playable. Interestingly two of the people I interviewed in the past were there, A* and Pussochkram, I like to see people that have stayed for so long.


I ran to the gates and noticed Alliance players running all over the place, with a couple Horde, crafty anubisath and silithids playing around, which basically killed everyone in rampage mode, I did not see a single one get tanked correctly by a group and I couldn't access the gong as the Alliance was camping it. Apparently some guys got to hit and kill the colossus from the hives as I could get all those quests from Cenarion Hold. Free loot :D (or bug, perhaps)




Interestingly there were Qiraj destroyers and anubisath spawning past the Ahn'Qiraj gates that stayed in evade mode (you could go through them and not get aggro) until they had made a full group and rushed to attack Silithus. I wanted to go into the Ruins but it told me that it was currently closed (isn't it supposed to be open now?). I didn't see Roman'khan, Setis & General Pax-lish anywhere.


Black Qiraj Battle Tank owners from what I could see :
  • Worstworrier (Eclipse, Alliance)
  • Swagkhalifa (Friends, Horde)
  • Khano (Onslaught, Horde)
  • Bagdemagus (Friends, Horde)
  • Jellyschool (Onslaught, Horde)

And likely a lot more.

I decided to log on my alt and look for low level crystals, found a single one in the Crossroads, but it wasn't spawning anything. No silithids, no minor annubisaths. I didn't see the crystals that should spawn silithids in Silithus (see this, I had noticed those on my Vanilla WoW video depository) either. Maybe a realm restart is needed, hopefuly it doesn't reduce the duration of this world-event as one of the goals of those silithids is to bring great loot to everyone! That crystal only mind-controled some level 18 guy and got him killed. Now that was unexpected to me ^^.


I couldn't see the expected crystals south of Gadgetzan either so maybe spawns are missing, spawning randomly or should only spawn after some time, I don't know. My understanding from videos was that all crystals spawned at once in the world.

Now, I did notice a qiraj spawn crystal (level 30-40) in the Thousand Needles, so I went there. Captains and anubisath had great rare and uncommon loot rate (about one uncommon and rare per kill), as expected but were missing their money. Scarabs (trash) respawned roughly every minute and hit for 100, Captains every 10 minutes or so and hit for 200, Anubisath respawned after 15-20 minutes, hit for 350, all were crowd-controllable. I don't recommend trying to solo them at their level and alone, they do hit for a bit. Mainly melee damage, with a couple abilities (charge, slow, stun, resistances). Farming them at level 60 could be interesting for some little money but prices will likely fall with all those crystal spawns. This got me roughly 25 uncommon level 30+ items and 7 rares in 30 minutes of solo as a level 60 warlock. Rare items are pretty much always the same unfortunately (small pool, roughly 10 rare items per qiraj).


Okay, apparently it is much easier to find those farming spots by using the Twinhead database and looking for their spawns, like this. Do I always have to break the fun with logic? At least not all the spawns are up yet.

*Quick edit 14.08.2016 : C'thun killed by 3 alliance guilds already (Synced, Risen, Vanguard) on the day the raid was opened, congratulations to them all!

Unrelated : Black lotus now 88-100 gold? Interesting price increase...
Unrelated 2 : Goldsellers are now advertising with rebus? Wut?

vendredi 5 août 2016

What players on the Kronos private World of Warcraft server think of their experiences so far : A survey of a 100 randomly selected players

Abstract

[Objectives]
To find out what the current Kronos I players think of their experiences on the server so far by collecting testimonies
[Methods]
A convenience 100 Horde player sample was identified with random /who searches on Kronos I, on the 5th of August 2016. They were then sent in-game questionnaires about their experience on Kronos I with the in-game post system from a level 1 character. A reminder was sent on the _ to players that hadn't yet completed the survey. On the 5th of September all answers were manually collected. Names and personal informations were removed to maintain anonymity.
[Results]
X
[Conclusions]
X

Keywords : testimonials, peer information, survey, World of Warcraft, video games, Kronos, private servers

Introduction

A testimonial is a person's statement extolling the virtue of a product [9]. For testimonials to be effective, the audience must believe that they are given by real people and not fabricated by the business itself [9]. World of Warcraft private server managers and developers offer products in the form of services to players (access to the server, updates, feedback, server maintainance, etc.). In this environment, testimonials are an important part of understanding how a population perceives this service and can further influence the behaviour of potential future customers [9] or guide changes.

Also, some World of Warcraft private servers testimonials can stimulate a strong interest by other players, as shown by Dodgykebaab's Youtube server reviews with over 100,000 views [5]. Moreover, players very often ask for peer-advices to inform their server decision, as can be found on the WoW Private Server subreddit [6-8]. The extent of testimonials on World of Warcraft private server players actual behaviours is not well documented, but word of mouth is often said to be the main way players discover private servers.

While testimonials can be found on the Kronos server forums [14-16] and on subreddit threads [6-8], players writing them might not be representative of the players that currently play on the server, indeed a previous experiment of mine showed 39% of a 97 players sample hadn't or didn't visit the forums at all [13]. Also, reviews and testimonials tend to be spread out over many threads, forums, making reading them a tiring task. In-game World of Warcraft messages allow players to communicate together and share personal information and testimonials rapidly, they thus represent a favourable tool for a survey about personal experiences.

No permissions were asked as previous research was well accepted according to personal feedback I had received from players, readers and the Kronos team. Ethical approval wasn't deemed required.

This survey was based and informed on the MIT survey guidelines [4], the Center for Evidence Based Management (CEBMA) survey critical appraisal tool [10] and the Standards and Guidelines for Statistical Surveys [17].

Methods

Assuming an expected 40% response rate, just like in one of my previous experiment with in-game post messages on Kronos I in November 2015 [1] and looking for a 95% confidence level with a 10% confidence interval (CI) on an estimated 3000 players population on Kronos I (see [2]), I would need 93 players answering to correctly reflect my target population in terms of sample size, as calculated with the Survey System calculator [3]. This would mean sending the questionnaire to approximately 253 players (93/40*100), which I deem too time-consuming to do, leading to a non-representative 100 players sample. Statisticals tests have thus not been used and percentages were favoured.

On the 5th of August 2016, at 11:00 am CEST, a 100 Horde players names were collected manually (although using addons is greatly recommended for future research) by using the /who World of Warcraft command, which is currently not working as intended on Kronos and showing random results on subsequent calls. A 2-3 minute delay between command use was used as shorter intervals end up showing most of the same players again. Player names were then analyzed with Sporkforge's Word Counter & Text Analyzer [11] to remove duplicates and ensure all names were unique. An in-game message with two questions was then sent to each of them. Questions were developed by the author and adressed the continent of origin and the overall personal experience of the responder on the Kronos server. Continent of origin was deemed worthy of inclusion as Kronos is an international server [12] and players differ between countries of origin; it would also allow comparisons between continent's representation on the selected sample.

Greetings,

I am making a survey to better understand the experiences of the Kronos I players and I would appreciate your testimonial. All answers will be kept anonymous.

Where do you come from ? (EU/US/NA/Asia/Africa)
In a couple detailed sentences, how would you summarize your experiences on Kronos I ? (positive/negative/mixed/other)

Thank you for your time.

Hello,

I know you are doing your best in what matters to you and you might not have much time left for a survey and that’s fine. Assuming you do get a couple spare minutes, I would love to find out about your experience. Here is the anonymous survey again :

Where do you come from ? (EU/US/NA/Asia/Africa/RU)
In a couple sentences, how would you summarize your experiences on Kronos I ? (positive/negative/mixed/other)

Thank you again and have a great week!

All messages were manually sent once with the in-game post system, from a level 1 undead character named Tekaia on Kronos I. With a 30 copper (in-game money) cost per message the initial 100 messages were worth a total of 30 silver (30 s) to send. And additional 83 reminders were sent on the 20th August, leading to a total cost of (83*0,3 + 30 = 54,9) 54,9 silver. While an addon could have been used to automate this part, it could have been detected by the bot-detection system and banned, which is why I didn't use one. No particular incentives were given to participating players.

Upon sending the messages, 6 players were found either not to exist or to have been deleted; they were replaced with other players found with another /who command use.

A reminder was sent to all players that hadn't yet answered the questionnaire on the 20th August to increase response-rate.

A screenshot was taken of each answer received and the content was then copied to a Word document. All answers, whether only negative, mixed or only positive were included verbatim. Identifiying information (player names, specific country of origin or personal details) was replaced with "__". Racist comments or insults were replaced with special characters (eg. %&!^*). All participants received a thank you message upon collection of their answers.

The survey wasn't tested before use, for convenience's sake, which means it might have felt too long, too complicated, boring or might have been incorrectly interpretated. The survey was ended on the 5th september 2016, as in-game messages sent with the post system get deleted after 30 days. Data was categorized according to the player's continent of origin.

Results will be disseminated on the Kronos forums (http://forum.twinstar.cz/), in a new thread.

Results & Analysis

I did not expect that players would end up answering EU/RU, due to Russia being somewhat in-between, which led me to add a RU category after a couple answers.

On the 20th August 2016, at half the duration of the survey, only 17 players (17% responses) had participated in it, with 8 answers mentioning only having positive experiences and 9 others being mixed. 7 of the positive answers were shorter than 4 words. 11 answers came from the EU, 2 from the US, 2 from RU, 1 from NA and 1 from an undefined country. The topics emerging were latency, the blizzlike vanilla feeling, bug abuse, world chat, population, PvP, the "refugee" status, missing the server information about planned downtime, the community and being new on the server.

On the 29th August 2016, a single additional player had answered the questionnaire; the reminder used in this survey can thus be considered mostly ineffective in the short-term. Further surveys should rephrase it or replace it and search the literature for more effective strategies.

Due to a low response-rate the risk of non-response bias (when the answers of respondants can significantly differ from those who did not answer) can be considered high

Some players answered the questionnaire with a single "Positive." sentence, which could be due to the questionnaire being unclearly written and explained. Or they might not have felt like it deserved their time and attention. Also, rewards could have been used to increase the response-rate, in the form of in-game silver or gold, or getting a joke upon completion of the questionnaire. Although this could have lead to players answering to get the rewards. Another solution would have been to whisper players for feedback, which would have also been much faster and cost-effective.

Descriptive results and percentages
Response-rate
Non-response considerations <70%?

Limitations

The sample size was not representative and neither was the sample population, which introduced sampling bias. Indeed, Kronos is an international server [12] where european, american, asian and oceanian players meet and their playtimes aren't well coordinated, thus 11 AM CEST might not have been the ideal time to gather player names. Names were also collected on a friday, which might have had some influence due to cultural habbits and free time on different countries. The answer rate has probably been affected by the amount of players that couldn't understand the question (asian and russian players mostly) and by lack of interest. The questionnaire wasn't tested before use and could have mislead some players or been misunderstood. The same players might have been surveyed on multiple characters. What surveyed players say doesn't always match what they do and players are free to lie on their answer or exagerate claims. The experiences of Horde players might not match those of Alliance players on the same server. Some errors might have been introduced by copying the responders's answers from the game to the Word document.

All results from this survey should thus be considered with caution as they are probably not sufficiently representative of the Kronos I experiences. Nevertheless an exhaustive survey wasn't the goal and the current results should help bring an overall appreciation of the multiple experiences of players on Kronos I.

This survey isn't representative of all the players that have stopped playing on Kronos I.

Conclusions and discussion

This research emphasizes the need to carefuly create and test a questionnaire for response-rate before sending it to a large population and how reminders can fail when not made correctly. Although the results aren't what was expected, negative research is also useful to build upon and as a way to learn about what does not work, thus preventing future loss of ressources.

Acknowledgments

I (Tekai) used to play on the Kronos I server as a level 60 warlock for months in a progression raiding guild, I wrote extensively about it, contributed to bugreports, quality improvements, discussions and have published the (now completed) Kronos WoW Comics (humoristic drawings inspired from the server) on the official Project Kronos Facebook page. I don't have any financial interest in this survey and its results and I am not financed in any way by the Kronos team or anyone else.

This is mostly an exercise of curiosity and for fun (yes my fun is wierd), please don't take it that as a scientific study or too seriously.

References

1. http://progression-annexe.blogspot.ch/2015/11/would-kronos-raiders-do-more-pvp.html
2. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qvqvaSJxgINkTQUXvRkpel1ij_-HGKT5o2A4bi28gZQ/edit#gid=0
3. http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm
4. http://web.mit.edu/ir/surveys/pdf/survey-guidelines.pdf
5. https://www.youtube.com/user/dodgykebaab/videos
6. https://www.reddit.com/r/wowservers/comments/4w69u2/private_server_noob_here/
7. https://www.reddit.com/r/wowservers/comments/4w4pr2/looking_for_pvp_server/
8. https://www.reddit.com/r/wowservers/comments/4jpkmw/an_honest_review_of_vengeancevoa_wow/
9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimonial
10. https://www.cebma.org/wp-content/uploads/Critical-Appraisal-Questions-for-a-Survey.pdf
11. http://sporkforge.com/
12. http://vanilla-wow.wikia.com/wiki/Kronos_WoW
13. http://progression-annexe.blogspot.ch/2016/02/short-experiment-do-players-come-on.html
14. https://forum.twinstar.cz/showthread.php/92687-I-guess-I-ll-be-the-one-to-say-it
15. https://forum.twinstar.cz/showthread.php/85407-What-makes-you-want-to-play-Vanilla-World-of-Warcraft-again
16. https://forum.twinstar.cz/showthread.php/98502-Why-Kronos
17. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/statpolicy/standards_stat_surveys.pdf

jeudi 28 juillet 2016

Update - 28.07.2016 - Kronos

Update : 28.07.2016

I did play a bit on retail World of Warcraft with my locked account and my dear level 20 characters. I like some Legion pre-patch changes like the automaticaly displayed health bars and transmog improvements but otherwise it is still the same and apparently I'm still not good at stopping myself from doings things I might not like (ie: killing myself repeatedly to get the Feat of Strength). I will probably play Legion a bit on my holy paladin, but I will be pretty busy with work and my current project. Mythic dungeons I hope you will finally give me an easy way to have raid content without all the messy planning required for 10-man raids!

I still do not have plans to play vanilla WoW again and I achieved my goal of not looking much for Kronos news. Apparently the population is quite stable, stability issues mostly fixed and I didn't notice much difference on the forums and Reddit thread in terms of discussion topics (too calm?). Upon relogging I could still find many players from the Friends guild that I knew, which is quite reassuring and a good sign to me. I wonder how the goldselling activities are faring, didn't hear about them. I still have access to all my characters, they still have all their gear, a bit of gold is missing but I don't care as I technicaly gave my account away. My chinese friend seems to have been quite trustable. Interestingly Tekai is now an officer in Horde Time (chinese guild) and, as I had predicted long ago, the War Effort is only at 96% with Purple lotuses, Fireblooms and Silk bandages missing (told ya those spawns, dynamic spawntimes and droprates would be an issue). That's 5 months of War Effort (for comparison, the fastest realm on retail needed around 19 days and over 90% of realms had completed it after 3 months).

Otherwise I love the harbingers videos, to me they are a great way to convey a story with few words, not too many effects and gorgeous pictures. Hopefully one day I'll be able to do something like that.

And... I have started drawing a different humoristic comic called The Science of Cookies, which is about cookies (obviously), but also the scientific process, health and social research, peer-review, cognitive biases, fallacies, ways to obtain scientific articles, social media issues and much more. It is written in french but an english translation is available for most stories on the comments section below. I don't yet know how it will fare but I am having a blast working on it, I'll thus continue to do so :D !
http://cookiescience.webcomic.ws/
Farewell.

jeudi 16 juin 2016

2nd time leaving

I haven't been writing recently due to lack of interest in the game overall. I fear that I no longer know the current Kronos community and team anymore. Raiding and interacting with the community was what I liked most and I see myself not doing that much anymore (I also ponder about that unending War Effort). It all has become... different. That or I am finding excuses for leaving. Likely a mixture of both.

Regardless, getting another 1000 gold on Tekai by selling bloodvines at off-hours for high prices, programming an english< >chinese translator addon and starting a Mooncloth-making level 35 alts scheme was interesting and leveling a shaman kept things fresh for some time. Trying different things definitely is a good idea when you get tired of the old routine.
That and getting a raptor mount by making profit disenchanting War Effort supplies after some Runecloth turn-ins.
But sometimes you have to go a different way. I feel like this is a good time for that. I would love to try and go do health related illustrations & comics, so that's what I will be doing in the near future.

I had a lot of fun playing with chinese-talking players recently and have thus decided to share/give my account with a dear friend of mine among those, who is enthusiastic about the game and plays frequently. I don't know what will happen to my characters and that's fine, they had a good life. In the end critics of my friendship with the East were correct, they did get my account, although they won it the good way. :)
Selling Banktekai, my level 60 hunter was a good idea. I got another level 60 druid, a 29 druid and a 32 priest for its price and still have 600 or so Stars. Every now and then great deals show up in the character auction house like level 40 chars for 200 stars, an incredible opportunity to play something different.
I might come back for Legion and/or try out vanilla realms if Blizzard launches them sometime, only future will tell.

Travel safe and may you find meaning in what you do,

Tekai

mardi 10 mai 2016

What you can do when the Kronos is down to support it

The Kronos servers are offline, there is no denying that and we want to help. But the problem is related to internet networks, protocols & stuff, this has few to do with our backgrounds and domains of expertise.

Regardless, we can still be active, here is a couple options :
  • Offer your help if you haven't already and you have knowledge and/or a background in internet server security, if you are a network engineer or something alike.
  • Apply as a gamemaster, bugtester, developer or artist if you have the required skills, the time and motivation. The server is always looking for competent individuals, whether it is online or not.
  • Spend some time reading about DDoS attacks, how they work, what they are, how they can be fixed. Defeated made a great post about it, there are youtube videos and posts by Cloudflare on this subject. Better yet, if you can, try to help the community better understand the complex issue at hand with knowledge.
  • Send or post supporting messages / pictures for the team, either on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, the Kronos Forums, etc. (but try to keep them on a single thread)
  • Contribute to the bugtracker. A lot of issues still need further information or details. When the server will be back up this will help making bufixes faster and the server better.
  • Sign the classic server petition if you haven't already. Talk about it. We haven't forgotten about it, nor have we forgotten about private servers, this is still an open-discussion.
  • Fill the survey about classic and private servers that Nostalrius is doing. If Blizzard offered classic realms all of this likely wouldn't happen in the first place. Contribute to the discussion on the official threads or tweets.
  • Write, complete or group vanilla guides, addons, etc. Is there one you wished you had found out? Or one that is missing? Improvements you would like to make? Are you playing a unusual spec? How about giving tips for others?
  • Discuss ideas for when the servers will be back up. Why not make a great meeting?
  • Blog or tweet about private servers, write about it, how did you feel when the server was up? Why? What made it fun? How do you feel now? Why?
  • Donate to the server.
  • Share further ideas on how to spend time with the other members of Kronos. Add ideas to this list.

lundi 9 mai 2016

Selling my level 60 hunter for Twinstar stars

Leveling my hunter, Banktekai to level 60 has been a lot of fun for me, I did my last 30 levels during the one-time experience bonus event this year, with a very relaxed attitude, I didn't rush anything, I really did it the slow and steady way. It was incredible, as if a completely different experience than my experience with Tekai (my first level 60 character and main, a warlock).

The last dungeon Banktekai did, with some chinese players. Unfortunately we couldn't go past the low-health dwarves before the King.
Unfortunately, while this taught me that I love leveling hunters in vanilla (and dislike leveling warlocks) I also found out that playing a hunter at level 60 isn't for me, I just can't get to like the playstyle, again I find myself auto-attacking most of the time and I feel like I don't have much responsibility or use in raids and dungeons (although off-tanking and kiting are nice bonuses). Surely I am not very good at it, but regardless, I can't connect with the class.

Luckily Twinstar allows players to sell their characters for stars. This means that I have the opportunity to sell Banktekai and buy some other classes, which I might like more, without having to level them again. Or I could buy a couple level 35 characters to use as arcanite/mooncloth making mules.

I was initially quite skeptical of the process, do players really buy those characters? Am I going to make a substantial amount of stars by selling it? How much do I sell my character for? Am I not losing my hunter in the process?

Current level 60 character prices on the Twinstar auction house.
I started making some comparisons. Level 60 characters had prices varying from 6000 to 25000 (maximum possible), roughly an average of 8000 stars for a character. I knew my hunter had only green level 50+ items (not very interesting), 300/300 alchemy and 300/300 herbalism (fairly easy and not worth a lot to level, but nice to make some gold) as such I considered it was worth around the average. I put it for sale for 7500-8000 stars, after 4 days I had to put it again, but this time for 7000-7500 stars and someone bought it. I now have 7125 stars. Considering how fast it was sold I guess its worth was a bit over what I got from it, but that's okay for me as I wasn't playing it anyway.

Interestingly assuming players buy your characters, it means that to buy a level 60 you should sell about 7x level 20 characters (average price around 800-1000). Joana did it in 10 hours on her hunter, so this would mean roughly 3 days of /played total, that's much less than what most players need to get to level 60. Just an idea.

I don't know what to think of this yet but I am very happy at the opportunities I now have to start over on another class. And apparently players do buy characters every now and then.

[See other articles about Vanilla]

lundi 2 mai 2016

Farming spots on vanilla servers

This is a rough list of farming spots for gold meant for level 60 characters on vanilla World of Warcraft servers. Nothing new, mostly doing this for myself to find them easily.

Legashi satyrs, Felwood
Satyrs, Azshara
Deadwind pass, ogres
Hearthglen, elites or miners
Scarlet spellbinders, WPL, crusader enchant formula
Tyr's hand, elites
Loregrain solo (BRD), Fiery enchant
Dire Maul North solo
Dire Maul East solo
Dire Maul West solo (aoe/dot treants)
Razorfen Downs (RFD) solo
Scarlet Monastery graveyard solo / herbs / chests
Un'goro fire elementals
Arathi elementals
Winterspring furbolgs
Uldaman solo
LBRS bannok/chest solo
Maraudon solo
Instant respawn creatures AOE
Badlands earth elementals
Blighted horrors, Eastern plaguelands
Zoram strand, Stranglekelp
Un'goro gorilla skinning
Un'goro, devilsaurs skinning
Stone guardians, Un'goro
Whelpling pets and dragons
Dancing troll village AOE
Dust stormers, Silithus
Toxic horrors, Felwood
Twillight cultists, Silithus
Zul'gurub crocodiles solo
Wailing caverns deviate scales
Western plaguelands cauldrons AOE solo
Savory deviate fishing
Books and recipes reselling (First Aid, shadow oil, Frost oil, ...)

[See other articles about Vanilla]

jeudi 28 avril 2016

History of Kronos Feb-June 2016

For a long time I have been wondering about the history of the Kronos vanilla World of Warcraft server. Unfortunately most accounts of what happened are incredibly spread out over many forum posts, lost over time or hard to find and parse for relevant data. Thus I decided to write about the Kronos current events, here it is :

17th February, the Emerald dragons have been launched, the first one, Emeriss in the Hinterlands was killed by Synced/Horizon, there were more Alliance than Horde but it happened well, NA players wanted to participate but the Kronos team can hardly connect at those hours. More and more new players are seen in-game, the world chat becomes of lower quality and more reports happen, with threads about it. A Nostalrius GM bans PvP players for abuse, which were apparently known for a bit, but details about how he knew who did what is lacking. Players warn Kronos about potential incoming PvP players from Nostalrius that could represent a threat to world chat. The Census has been down for a couple days already, no one know why and Aurigon doesn't seem to show up for his monthly population thread.

19th February, experience bonus event, 750 players on the Horde side at 19:00 ST, world chat is much more lively but a bigger mess, moderators keep it under some control. I get ganked many times both by old level 60 Kronos players, a couple twinks that stay in STV. After about 2 hours of playtime I have gotten from 30-40, nice.

24th feb, according to the server team the peaks are above 1500+ players online. Crashes over crashes on the 24th feb for about an hour according to forum posts then fixed. 8th march, war effort opens up, thorium finished in a day (supposedly a bug coming from Dire Maul resets, others say they had those stacked up for a long time), players from Alliance guilds (Synced and Vanguard, reportedly) had been abusing a bug to get more silithid fragments (as many fragments as players contributing to a silithid kill) and some players get banned, reputation reset. Many players are seen leveling some characters at the same time on /follow.

13th March, 10% of the War Effort has been collected, the population seems steady to me with no special increase those days (my point of view). After some calculations I warn players and the team that the herbs for the War Effort might take much too long to gather due to limited spawns and respawn time.19th March, PvP tournament, moonfires, Yolam wins again, roughly 300 participants. 20th March, in the evening about 2000 players online (900 Horde). 6th April, 25% of the War Effort has been collected, with Spotted Yellowtail, and Rugged leather completed. At this rate we will need about 3 more months or more to finish the War Effort, probably much more if we consider the least progressed mats to collect (4% of the Silk bandages, 4% Wool bandages, 6% of the Baked Salmons, 11% Purple Lotus).

7th April, Nostalrius (biggest Vanilla WoW server to date, 10,000+ players) announces that it will close very soon, topics pop on Reddit, the Kronos forums, MMOchampion and everyone talks about it and what it will mean for Kronos and vanilla servers. A petitition asking Mike Morhaime to allow vanilla server has been started and currently has over 13,000 people signing. Their source code and players data should become available after anonymization and encryption. Upon logging ingame I notice 700 players on the Horde side, with 473 (67.5%) being level 1-10, the Nostalrius players are moving en masse. Some players warn about potential password theft for players on Nostalrius now that their data will be available. By the end of the day the Kronos server admin, Chero had announced that the server would be optimized. A couple updates happen in the day, with the /who no longer displaying the amount of players online beyond 50 (last time it was available there were about 2500 players total online), fixes to reduce the amount of lag and the introduction of a queue. When I try to login I get into a 1400+ queue with 30 minutes remaining until I can enter. A short time afterwards a skip is introduced, players with a level 60 on the server will enter instantly.

8th April, morning. While my latency is somewhat decent although higher than usual (60-250 ms) I keep seeing delays between player movements and I get disconnected roughly a minute after login on my characters. I don't know why. The world chat and zone chats are filled with spam. I can't get to play until sometime in the afternoon where for some reason my disconnection issue gets fixed. The server gets restarted to re-introduce dynamic spawning. Pets get bugged during the upgrades and stop following at the correct speed. 1800+ Horde players according to my Census addon in the afternoon. 1700+ Horde players at night, with a 500 player queue when I want to connect on my second account, which leads me to believe the server is now limited to about 3500-4000 players. New guild names have appeared like "Kronos leveling society" and  "Nost refugees". In the evening delays no longer happen, my latency in Orgrimmar is around 70ms.

10th April, echoes of Nostalrius launching a Naxxramas-end event end up on Kronos, this is their very last day. Many, many, many players connect on that last day on Nostalrius. The petition for change has already been signed by 60,000 players. An impressive number of players talking chinese, often refered to as "chinese" have come on the server and there is fear that goldfarming, cheats & account theft will come back with them. Due to issues with latency many of them use proxy and VPNs to connect on the server, something forbidden, which leads to an announcement from Jeniczek (Twinstar head) that this will no longer be allowed to happen. Seeing this as an opportunity, I write about the new chinese players and I make a guide to talk with them. The server, again, gets updated many times in the day.

11th April, my Census addon no longer works correctly, neither do some functions in the /who (searching for guilds, searching for players in some zones, searching for classes). The twinstar server statistics, which used to display the amount of players are also now disabled. All this makes it difficult to know the amount of players online, but there are not yet official statements on the matter (if this is intentional or related to optimization goals). This might make it more difficult to make groups as it is no longer possible to /who c-warrior, for example. The draw distance has been reduced since a couple of days and some ask for it to be increased again, just like on Nostalrius. You can see a comparison with how far herbs can be seen on those screenshots.

12 April, official announcement, the /who has been altered to reduce server load. Access to the server with VPN and proxies will be limited to curb hackers and goldsellers. The amount of tickets has skyrocketed (1 per 30 seconds) and the Kronos team had to face challenges constantly since the fall of Nostalrius to this day. They are now finally getting some relief, but efforts at keeping the server at the best possible quality will continue. The War Effort is now at 33% and some cloth loot has been added to many creatures which might help making the long-missing bandages. Players can now only talk on the world channel at level 10, to make it harder for goldsellers and trolls.

15th April, 39% of the War Effort has been collected.  VPN connection is now limited (which lead to a couple of my asian friends to seriously consider leaving the server) and a trailer for the Ahn'Qiraj raid has been released. Asian players are now a significant part of the playerbase, a frequent topic of discussion among players. The forums are much more lively and so are the goldsellers whispering everyone.

16th April, after a small amount of reverse engineering I have come up with the number of 8000 Horde characters online at 18:55 ST, I thus decided to run further calculations to check my numbers. 16,000 seems huge. Lowered estimates later on, 12,000 maybe?

20th April, The server data gets moved which results in some players getting blocked by their internet provider, they can no longer access the server. Many server crashes and latency gets up during the day. 21th April, server attacks? The forums are down, the server crashes. At 21:24 ST, a 1000 player queue and 962 players on the world and china channel combined, Horde side. 23rd April, over 2300+ players in the queue in the afternoon and evening. 24th April, 4000 players in the queue. A new PvP server will be released on the 27th of April.

27th April, Blizzard has answered the petition for legacy servers, they suggest making "pristine servers" instead, with special limitations. Mark Kern (developer on the original WoW) brings 10'000 printed comments to Blizzard. The second Kronos server (Kronos II) launches, with new forum sections and well-known Kungen joining (a vanilla veteran from Ensidia/Nihilum). At 20:00 ST both servers have a combined queue of over 6000 players (2000+ on Kronos and 4000+ on Kronos II). Starting zones are overcrowded. People start tweeting openly about Kronos. At this time the Kronos 2 announcement post on the forums has 100'000 views and 996 replies. The forums stop working, perhaps due to the increase in traffic or DDOS attacks. Servers remain online, working as usual.

29th April, after a long period without goldsellers they are back again. Mark Kern is planned to meet Blizzard's CEO and the Nostalrius team will meet Blizzard in the following weeks. An announcement is incoming. 30th April, the Kronos queues now seem much shorter, with 1000 or so maximum, but take longer to end. Some theorize that the queue now only displays 25% of the players in it to not attract too much attention from Blizzard. Others suggest that players are now using anti-AFK macros, addons or autowalking to stay on the server at all costs.

4th May, Juon, a hunter from the Orion guild has got to level 60 on the Kronos II server (server first?).  Kronos I War Effort currently at 65% completed, with the Horde ahead by 7%. Firebloom and Purple lotus are still behind (23% and 27% respectively), as expected, but Baked Salmons are also slow to come (28%).

6-7th May, server down for a couple hours. Afternoon, another round of DDoS attacks, the server goes down again. Players suggests those attacks are related to banned goldsellers and chinese players playing with VPNs and that the team has been contacted/blackmailed by those, others say this is Blizzard's doing. Those become the main hypotheses due to lack of other information. K2 goes up for a short amount of time and down again in the evening. While some chinese player groups suggest going to Vanillagaming, players on Reddit seem more about hoping for the best. According to an announcement the issue should be fixed in the following 2 weeks. Kungen stopped playing on the server (due to queues, server downtime, and not being allowed to stream on Twitch, I believe).

8th May, 7AM IRC, Jeniczek (Twinstar project leader) announces that there is no serious source of where the attacks are coming from. 8AM, K1 is up. Another round of DDoS, the servers go down again and again. 9 May, servers still down. Supposedly the DDoS attacks are over 500 Gbps (=very big ones), but some allege that the worst was over 320 Gbps (Jeniczek citation on IRC), sources are hard to come by and contradict eachother. The DDoS attacks might have happened after Kronos banned a large amount of goldsellers and mule accounts. For a bit more clarity, a simplified explanation of what a DDoS is has been created by Defeated. False gamemasters sometimes spawn on the server IRC. Players show support to the team with many posts and threads. Interestingly, although the server is down the Facebook likes of the Kronos page go up.

10 May, the servers are still down. Official announcement, after careful examination the team has decided to keep the server offline until sunday  15.05 / monday 16.05, this time will allow them to move the server to a different host. In the meantime we must stand together, there are no plans to ever stop the server or bend to the attackers. 21:35 PM, The Rebirth server has a queue. 12 May, Play TBC (a recent TBC private server) brutally closes down after their lead developer reportedly quits, gets the money and prevents all other members of the project from doing anything about it.

15 May, the relaunch is postponed to tuesday. After many complaints of inappropriate behavior, unsusbtantiated claims and bans on the forums and reddit (some of which get removed) by Nala (a moderator on those places, although not officially from the Kronos team), the Kronos reddit and Discord lose their CSS style.

17 May, early morning, the servers come back up.  Latency issues with players having over 1300+ ms and random disconnects start happening, the servers are brought down for maintenance during 4hours in the afternoon but the connectivity issues remain. The second part of the action plan against DDoS is still ongoing. 21 May, War Effort at 71% total on K1, 35% of Silk bandages, 33% Baked Salmons, 25% Firebloom, 33% Purple lotus Horde / 40% Alliance, 34% Wool bandages.

6th June, the new hardware for the server still hasn't arrived, DDoS attacks are still happening on a daily basis but are mostly taken care of, a new account manager is getting created, a new IRC will soon come. 9th June, Nostalrius has met with Blizzard, the meeting went well and everyone seemed motivated for vanilla realms, they have the source code (but maybe not all data files required), no definitive answer on what they will do next but they plan to keep in touch with eachother.

10th June, War Effort at 79% on K1, 52% of Silk bandages, 52% of Baked Salmons, 35% Firebloom, 54% Purple Lotus H / 49 % A, 44% Wool bandages. The War Effort will soon have been up for over 4 months. Another article about Blizzard being very interested in vanilla realms, especially after the team had a Stratholme run on Nostalrius. Goldsellers have started advertising again, in trade chat, world, in-game messages and many channels have become filled with spam at off-hours. According to some unofficial source, the DDoS issue and problems that followed reduced the Kronos population by about 70%. Also, according to this source, the server population status has been heavily modified to display "High population" when it is not the case.

16th June, I stop playing on the server, I will no longer update this page.

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mardi 26 avril 2016

Asian players play times over the day

Quick question : When do asian players play most? During EU morning? When should I play to find as many as possible? And if I want to avoid them, when should I try to connect?

To find out I gathered some data every hour (or so, I'm sleeping too) on a sunday.

Channel census, overall data. The server is in Europe. The gap is due to missing data, it doesn't mean the asian players dissapear from 2-5 AM.
Bottom line? There are the most asian players at 14 ST (= 20 CST, china time) and they have a steady high amount of players from 5 AM ST up to 16 ST (= 11-22 CST).

The least amount of china players can be found during our nights, from 21 ST to 1 AM (perhaps beyond, I can't get data when I am sleeping).

Considering that most EU players play at night and NA players during the very early hours of the day (ST) then there isn't much overlap between countries playtimes at those hours.

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jeudi 14 avril 2016

BasicTranslator a tool (addon) to communicate between languages [WIP]

Since learning chinese is difficult for english players and talking english is difficult for chinese players I have decided to make a simple translation addon. It is meant for both sides (or everyone if you leave away this concept of sides), even if the main language on the server is english. If you don't want to use it, then you don't, simple as that. As I am not sure english clients can send chinese messages I have set it so that the middle-language is Pin Yin (written chinese with english letters), that many chinese know and learn without much trying.

I have an obvious lack of programming skills, I know I make a lot of simple mistakes and don't use functions at their best, a lot of stuff is redundant, I don't use localization libraries (and don't know how), etc. But hopefully some know better than me and can help me make corrections or lead me where I could find the solution. Otherwise, well at least this is a base to work from, I'll try my best.

The base idea is that the addon shows a list of sentences and words in the language of the game (so in english for most english players and in chinese for chinese players) with a simple drop-down menu interface. Upon clicking one sentence the player then says it in a different language.

Current interface. Clumsy but it does the job.

What happens when you click "Hello".


Interestingly I fought against chinese letters not displaying for over 3 days until I understood that I had to save the files in UTF-8. And it was the day I was releasing the addon that I got to know about Blizzard's addon kit.

*edit 21th april 2016* Initial release. The first version can be found here. I also posted it on the Kronos forums and a version is slowly making its way among the asian players through other mean (QQ and in-game mails mostly).

Things I want to add or change :

Movable menu, with location saved between sessions
Guide to make a correct LFM message on hovering LFM words
Send the translated message to the last active channel (say, party, raid, etc.)

Option to decide on which channel the message will be sent
Option to make multi-word messages, mixing many different words
Option to actually give an answer in chinese (assuming this is possible)
Options to select input/output languages
Modifying the code to use some localization database, anything else than my mess
Increased time to display tooltips before they fade 

Current bugs :

Chinese letters do not display on the interface/menu
Missing a lot of things (words, etc.)
Special channels can't yet be set (world, general, trade) 
Sub-menus only display themselves when SHIFT and CTRL are clicked


Suggestions are welcome. I am looking for a tester with an english client.

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mardi 12 avril 2016

How many chinese players talk english? A 100 player sample

Many players believe that we cannot communicate with chinese players with english. I like to have some data to support my beliefs, thus out of curiosity I decided to ask 100+ random players from the  中国 (china) channel about their english skills. Obviously I first asked one of them with good english skills to check my translated message. The following sentence passed the test.


Greetings, I am making a poll for my friends. I would like to know how many players know how to talk in english. Please answer in english if you understand. Thank you.

你好,我想提出一个民意调查为我的朋友。我想知道的玩家有多少人知道如何用英语交谈。如果你了解请英语答案。 谢谢

So here are the results :

Players that answered are blurred to respect their privacy.

Grey = No answer at all
Traced = Offline when whispered
Red = No English at all or refuses to talk it
Blue = Light English skills (admits using a translator, short sentences, simple words only)
Orange = Medium English skills (full sentences, can talk about specific topics, few sentences)
Green = Good English skills (can make full sentences about many different topics, fast to answer back, can translate back and forth, curious and asking many questions)

Total

83 players whispered (+23 players offline)
33 answers (40 %) and 50 players not answering at all (60%)
17 didn’t know english or didn’t want to use it
11 had light english skills
2 had medium english skills
3 had good english skills

Thus among those that answered I had 16 players that could talk english (either light, medium or good) and 17 players that could not or did not want to. This is fairly close to 50% among my sample.

I might have gotten even more answers if my question was worded differently and with a better chinese. Maybe those that didn't answer feared the english players or believed I wanted to harm them. Maybe I have a name that sounds weird. Maybe being whispered by someone you know nothing is fishy. I can't know, they did not tell me. What I know is that among those that answered, roughly 50% could say and understand simple english. What I also know is that 60% of players whispered not answering is exactly the same as what I had got back when I asked random english players in english about the world channel. We might not be that different.

Obviously when talking with so many players it is expected that some of them behave in bad ways, which means I also got some insults from 2 players, some complaints about foreigners from another and one was trying to get money for his answers (he remained friendly when I declined his offer and wished him well). I also had mixed answers, with some saying that many of their players didn't talk English and others that basically said the exact opposite, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. My favourite answers came from those that said they didn't know english (written in english) and then talked a bit more with me (which to me means they knew at least a bit, but maybe they were too modest).

From what I understand many of them do learn English at school, but they have few occasions to use it at all afterwards and in real life, which leads to a loss of those skills. Or they are rusty.

Anyway, I believe we can communicate with them. Many can talk english, or at least try.

I wish you well.

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