Register
View RSS Feed

WoW-GPS Dev Blog

WoW-GPS: A Year in Review/Look Ahead

Rate this Entry
2014 has been quite a whirlwind as far as API Web Projects are concerned. I thought I'd take some time to recap some of what's happened and (since I know it's been quite awhile since my last blog post) setup some of what's still to come in 2015.

2014 has seen:
- A new vision for the WoW-GPS project
- TUJ close
- TSM launched a new API-driven website
- TUJ reopen, with a new look and some different features
- Wowuction was updated for WoD, keeping them in the "still relevant" category
- I launched the first "unofficial" WoW-GPS 2.0 feature: http://alerts.wow-gps.net/

So, what's been up with WoW-GPS 2.0?
I know that, on the surface, it probably seems like nothing has changed in the last couple months, and while I've admittedly been preoccupied with RL projects, there has been some important developments both behind the scenes and in my head.

2014 also saw some significant backend changes on Blizzard's side, too - in the form of a new version of their API as well as the Horde/Alliance/Neutral AHs being merged. This obviously resulted in some necessary code changes, but one of the side effects was the realization that it would make more sense to build a centralized index for things like item/battle pet/realm data and then have all of my various scripts and resources interface with that, rather than pull directly from Blizzard. So, that's been mostly built, too. I'm still working on a more suitable solution for connected realms, which in turn led to our first real "problem" on the data server. As a result of some inaccurate realm data, the EU processing script got seriously backed up. As a result, my webhost incorrectly identified all of these unprocessed raw json files as me attempting some sort of file-sharing service, and threatened to close my account. Since I didn't have enough time to fix the issue, I decided to just clear out the files and stop the scripts.

So, the bad news here is that I'll need a bit of an overhaul to the processing scripts before I can get data again, and I'll definitely need to sort out those connected realm issues. The good news, however, is that the overhaul will actually eliminate some overhead and I now know the boundaries for the shared host and how to stay well below them. There's also the fact that the DB's were running without error for quite awhile, too.

Aside from that, I've also been running through a number of different features/ideas in my head. One of the biggest obstacles remains UI design, and it unfortunately would be considerably easier to shuffle through some ideas if the data were all in place and ready to go, so that's probably taken a temporary back seat. That said, the more I continue to rule things out, the more the project continues to come together, conceptually, anyway. So, I'm still very much of the opinion that things are moving along at a decent enough pace. There's also the issue of WoD changes, and I've intentionally been ignoring any possible feature-speculation on that front until things have settled down, both in terms of hotfixes/patches and also with content driven supply/demand spikes. Things seem to definitely be approaching a more stable place, though, and I will concede that it's likely time to start investing more time into this over the next few weeks.

So, what's due for 2015?
Obviously, I have some work to do to get everything on the data side of things completely locked down, so that's going to be priority #1. With everything else, I'm still not 100% certain what direction things are going to take. As I said before, the dust hasn't yet settled on the WoD changes and a lot of our priorities have shifted as gold makers, so the tools and resources we use will have to reflect that. In just 2 expansions, we've arguably seen both the rise and fall of the shuffle as king of gold-making. When I conducted the user survey a few months back, shufflers led the way as the most-sought after feature. I honestly doubt that would still be the case today, though. So, I go back and forth on what would be best and whether it makes sense to devote too much time and effort into features that people might not even use/need. In spite of all that, here are a few elements that I believe will be the driving force for WoW-GPS in 2015:

1) Something different. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, API-based sites have had a pretty good year and in light of that, I feel it necessary to commit to myself that WoW-GPS needs to really be different from TUJ, Wowuction and the TSM website. These data sites already take all that wonderful API information and present it in their own unique way for users' consumption. I believe WoW-GPS needs to provide an intrinsically different experience for users in order to be worth sticking around. One of the areas that I like to take this notion is with data prediction, another is with user customization, but at the end of the the day, I still don't see WoW-GPS as a replacement for any other resources, but rather as a supplement.

2) Open ended. The only way to effectively counteract the issues posed by the ever-changing/evolving gold-making landscape is to based the site/concept on the things that never change. Specific shuffles/niche markets change, some items are completely removed, drop rates are adjusted, etc. The AH game, however, can essentially be boiled down to 3 basic principles that ultimately haven't changed since the game first launched. They are a) acquire items as cheaply as possible. b) increase an item's value through conversion. c) sell items at an increased value, for as much profit as possible. The only real deviation from this process would be with pure flipping, where you're skipping the second step altogether. So, the heart of the WoW-GPS project will be the desire to help facilitate those 3 areas. WoW-GPS should be able to help you become more effective at buying, converting and selling, shuffle or not.

3) User-focused. One of the things that I'd really like to offer as it relates to #1, Being Different, is a deeper level of analysis. Some people can utilize a site like TUJ on their own, making sense of the numbers and charts and how to make them work for them - others can get lost in all that data and can't draw conclusions, even if they can follow along the whole way. I'd really like to be able to offer something for everyone: Analysis for the people looking for analysis, and something customization for the people simply looking for a platform to help them apply their own analysis.

So, that's what I'm planning on focusing on over the next little while. The other thing that's been seriously lacking from this project lately has been motivation, so I'm also hoping for a bit of a kickstart moving into a new year. I expect I'll likely get back to the game itself before too long, but that's both a blessing and a curse, with the ability to both inspire and distract, simultaneously.

At the end of the day, I'd really like to hear feedback from people about what sort of tools/resources they feel would be most beneficial for them in this new, WoD gold-making climate. Things have undeniably changed, but what things, specifically, are people struggling with right now that WoW-GPS might be able to help with?

Comments

  1. Ord's Avatar
    What about an active WoW subscription? Can Kath look forward to checking out all the new WoD content in 2015 too?
  2. Kathroman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathroman
    I expect I'll likely get back to the game itself before too long, but that's both a blessing and a curse, with the ability to both inspire and distract, simultaneously.
    That's the plan
  3. Ord's Avatar
    Ahh, damn, I must have read right over that. If nothing else just play it for the content. I get the part about it being a distraction, especially with a family and work which is one of the reasons why I spend so little time in-game making gold and just play to have fun. Of course, for some, doing nothing but make gold is what's fun to them...
  4. Kathroman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ord
    Ahh, damn, I must have read right over that. If nothing else just play it for the content. I get the part about it being a distraction, especially with a family and work which is one of the reasons why I spend so little time in-game making gold and just play to have fun. Of course, for some, doing nothing but make gold is what's fun to them...
    Was able to troubleshoot the battle.net app under wine last night, so we're one step closer

    Gonna start with some D3, see how that goes, first