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WoW-GPS Dev Blog

Closing Time?

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I've been putting off writing this post for awhile now, but honestly, it's come to the point of merely delaying the inevitable. I think it's time to close the doors on future development of the WoW-GPS project. Make no mistake, although this may seem abrupt, this has not been an easy decision to make. This is a project that I've personally invested hundreds of hours in, personal resources, and to not be able to see 2.0 come to full fruition is particularly disappointing. I'll try to spell out of of the reasoning behind the decision both for clarity, and for personal closure.

1) I'm not playing WoW, haven't been for over a year, and I'm probably not coming back.
When I first started developing gold-making tools, they were tools that I was using in my own personal gold-making. Not playing the game, and not really being able to properly test out my own tools and resources make it significantly more difficult to create effective resources, and also to keep myself motivated to do so. Unless I come back to the game full-time again, I don't see much reason to pull the project off the back burner anytime soon.

Will I even come back to WoW? Honestly, I was planning on it, and as recently as when the gametime tokens were launched I had every intention of diving back in again, but my RL schedule keep me away, and now that I've had a chance to evaluate things, I'm really not sure what's there for me. Playing for free via tokens was definitely a Pro for me, but at the end of the day, it's still a large amount of TIME, which is something I'm wary of committing to on a large scale.

I also have my doubts about the future of WoW, itself. Back when Ghostcrawler left, I had commented here about how I felt this was indicative of the "tail end" of the game's lifespan. I received a fair bit of heat at the time for those views, but in hindsight, I feel like everything since then has served to confirm my suspicions. The WoW Dev teams really feels more and more like a team in decline, who have essentially "packed it in" as far as growing the game is concerned. I've been around for 3 full xpacs now, and each time, it seems like the cycle of interest gets shorter and shorter. The content grows stale at such a rapid pace, and there's only so much we can do to find new and exciting things on our own these days, in terms of gold-making. So, in light of this, I'm reluctant to devote any significant amount of time to a game/project whose future is very much "up in the air", IMO.

At this point, I'm out. Having been "IN" before, I can appreciate the amount of my free time it would end up utilizing and the impact that would have on the rest of my life. It would honestly take quite a bit to get me to consider jumping back in.

2) The Blizzard API isn't conducive to long term development.
If you look at it objectively, their API actually sucks. In the past couple years, I've probably worked with dozens of different APIs both professionally and personally, and the Blizzard API, from a gold-making perspective is pretty awful.

Let me first say that I will admit it's better than what our previous options were, and it is technically better than nothing, but after 3 years, it's still missing so much in terms of basic functionality that it's extremely frustrating to work with. The item and battle pets API have no index, so keeping that data cached is a small nightmare, the Recipe API I'm not even sure what purpose it serves, but there's no MEANINGFUL profession data anywhere in sight. The AH data is passable, but nothing more, and the inconsistencies can cause some headaches at times, too.

Last year, when Blizzard switched over to their new API platform, I was optimistic that things were finally turning a corner and that Blizzard would actually be putting some serious effort into their API functionality. In the end, it seems to have just been smoke and mirrors. No significant functionality has been added, and the existing bugs/issues have been all but ignored. At the end of the day, if Blizzard can't even be bothered to care about their OWN API, then why should I?

3) RL commitments/projects are a better use of my time right now.
This is perhaps the biggest factor, to be honest. I'm at the point with the WoW-GPS project where I'm having trouble justifying whether it's the best use of my time. Part of the reason for launching these web-based resources in the first place was for me to hone my development skills, learn new languages/platforms and try out new ideas. At the time, since I was also actively playing the game, it also meshed well as a hobby sort of project. At this stage, I just can't see myself devoted that much time to something that doesn't appear to have a long-term future and provides nothing outside of development practice.

What's Ahead
I haven't really been actively working on this for a couple months now, so to say I'm going to stop development now is a bit overkill. Right now, I've resigned myself to the fact that I really have no plans or motivation to continue on with the project. That said, here's where the project currently stands:

  • The Alerts application (the only part of WoW-GPS 2.0 front-end that ever made it LIVE) is pretty much self-sufficient at this point, and since it's hosted/run for free on Heroku, I'll let it continue on until something changes. I probably won't touch it beyond minor bug fixes, and if the DB goes over the FREE limit, I'll probably make a small attempt at trimming it down before shutting down the service. I haven't looked at the stats in quite some time, so I can't really provide any timeframe on that.
  • The 1.0 modules already in existence - Saronite Shuffle, Ironpaw Tokens, and Crafted DE will continue on, unaltered, for now. I honestly haven't looked at those in ages, so I'm not even sure if people are still using them, or if they are even still relevant. I do know that they haven't required any of my time in at least a year, so the only real effort is keeping the domain/server running.
  • The wow-gps.net domain is a relatively minor, but critical expense, so I'll keep that up to date for the foreseeable future. If it ever gets to the point where the current modules are either unusable or not used, I'll probably just let that expire.
  • I'm not at all adverse to either collaborating with another developer in order to try and spark some new life into things and/or completely handing off the project altogether. If you're interested, get in touch with me and we can go over details. The bulk of the current project is developed using a combination of: Ruby/Rails, PHP and jQuery, and I've been learning and starting to work with AngularJS, so that was probably going to work its way into the project soon enough. There are both minor and major ways to contribute using just about ALL of those languages/platforms, so feel free to inquire, if interested.


It's been quite a wild ride through the years. I've really enjoyed working on the WoW-GPS project and have learned an awful lot along the way. I'm not really one for regrets, but I will admit that I'm a bit disappointed that WoW-GPS 2.0 never really saw the light. The Alerts application was really fun to work on and I was really pleased with where it ended up. This is part of the reason why I've left the door open to bringing in other contributors - it feels like a shame to just let the dream die. That said, I'm also not sure how viable these sort of resources will continue to be given the current state of the gold-making game, but I've also admittedly not stepped foot into WoD at all, so I might be off-base on that one.

Lastly, I'd really like to close this post by saying Thank You.

Thank you, first and foremost to the WoW-GPS users, for your interest, for your feedback, for your patience.
Thanks you to the other resource developers, for your inspiration, for your advice, for your contributions.
Thank you, lastly to the Stormspire community, for being a part of this project's journey - it's been an extremely rewarding process.

-Kathroman
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Comments

  1. ayssa's Avatar
    Sad to see you go, Wow-GPS is/was a great tool and the potential was awesome. I do wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
  2. twitchietgw's Avatar
    If you look at it objectively, their API actually sucks.
    ^^ This.

    Personally, I think raiding has been as good as it has ever been, and outside of gold making, playing with friends is what keeps me going.

    The API and even the plain 'ol auction house not getting any attention is a real shame, and I can't being to imagine the frustration dealing with it for a project like GPS.
  3. Kathroman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by twitchietgw
    ^^ This.

    Personally, I think raiding has been as good as it has ever been, and outside of gold making, playing with friends is what keeps me going.

    The API and even the plain 'ol auction house not getting any attention is a real shame, and I can't being to imagine the frustration dealing with it for a project like GPS.
    I was hopeful that last year when they upgraded the API platform that we'd be seeing a renewed focus on developing additional functionality, but it unfortunately ended up being not much more than a fresh coat of paint.

    I mean, I work with some lousy API's at my job, but there I don't really have much choice, since it's companies and platforms that our organization has elected to work with, and my hands are tied, but at home, with WoW-GPS, I can choose not to put up with this garbage. Especially when you consider the actual amount of work that's gone into it over the last few years. I'd be surprised if they've got anything more than 1 DEV working 1 day a week on this, honestly.
  4. Kathroman's Avatar
    Just wanted to add in a quick update - I was browsing the API forums out of curiosity yesterday: http://us.battle.net/en/forum/15051532/ and noticed they've got a new "Lead" person again, making all sorts of promises about change, etc.

    @Sapu94 had actually linked this blog post as an example of how frustrated the developer community has become with the state of the API, so I thought it might be prudent to mention that should Blizzard FIX their API, I'd consider reviving this project.

    Here's my definition of fixed, however:

    - A proper index endpoint for items, battle pets, and possible recipes (more on that in a second), so that I no longer have to send thousands and thousands of intentional 404 requests to determine which IDs are live or not.
    - Fix the Realm data, especially pertaining to connected realms. There's no reason we should be seeing things like "Internal Realm/Server", etc. and it should be reliable to pull the connection data from the Realm API.
    - Proper profession data. I can't think of any good reason why I should have to pull reagent and skillup data from Wowhead parses when there's an official API in existence. I also don't think it makes sense to have to parse through addon libraries, either. Everything necessary, data-wise, should be available from the API. I really don't think this is too much to ask.

    Get those things sorted out, and it would mean more time developing an application, rather than unnecessary back end setup, which would potentially be enough to peak my interest again.

    Ball is in your court, new API guy. Time to start delivering on some of these promises