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Unread 04-09-13, 04:41 PM   #1
Cairenn
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In-game Browser and Support Tools in 5.3

Blizzard has announced that they are adding a feature-limited web browser to World of Warcraft that will replace the in-game support system with a direct portal to the Battle.net Support site. Their aim is to give players in-game easy access to the site’s robust knowledge base and support contact system.



Source and full details


(No, this one isn't an April Fools joke.)

Last edited by Cairenn : 04-09-13 at 05:01 PM.
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Unread 04-09-13, 05:25 PM   #2
Vlad
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About time, the old system had xml to bridge the site and game, but now you can actually manage tickets, restoration, e.g. in-game.
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Unread 04-09-13, 05:45 PM   #3
j800r
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A great idea, but also means more system resources being used for a limited web browser being coded into WoW. Eh, I guess we'll see how it works out. :/
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Unread 04-09-13, 07:04 PM   #4
Phanx
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It's so ugly.

Really, though, it seems like it would just be better all around to make the button launch the user's real browser. These limited embedded browsers always suck, have terrible usability, no accessibility support whatsoever, etc. If I can't enlarge the font, it's not usable, period.
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Unread 04-09-13, 07:20 PM   #5
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Really looks very out of place for me, the battle.net interface clashes massively with the default UI. Seems a bit overkill just for support, too. I'm with Phanx on this one.

I'm wondering to which extent addons will have access to this (I'm assuming anything but the frame's content itself).

I hope it doesn't turn out sluggish like Steam's built in browser but I fear it will be. I wonder what it's based on... maybe it just uses IE/Safari?
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Unread 04-09-13, 07:32 PM   #6
Shefki
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I could swear they already had this sort of thing in there. I remember someone abusing it in the past to allow you to browse other information like wowhead inside the game. Maybe they're making it more capable now but I don't think this is an entirely new idea.
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Unread 04-09-13, 07:38 PM   #7
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Interesting...

Needs a lot of testing too it seems I managed to break it after a couple of clicks, this window popped up in the background:



I wonder how this will develop!
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Unread 04-09-13, 07:40 PM   #8
Nibelheim
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Will we be able to taint the internet now?

Can't wait for the "Internet action failed because of an AddOn" messages
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Unread 04-10-13, 03:52 AM   #9
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I hope they put everything (like dns server) into their client. Cant imagine how many malware-coders will jump in circles to be first to break the chain between game and webserver.
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Unread 04-10-13, 04:31 AM   #10
j800r
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Originally Posted by Phanx View Post
It's so ugly.

Really, though, it seems like it would just be better all around to make the button launch the user's real browser. These limited embedded browsers always suck, have terrible usability, no accessibility support whatsoever, etc. If I can't enlarge the font, it's not usable, period.
Terrible idea (though I see your point).

Many people, like me, play WoW fullscreen and don't have access to a browser while playing. If they were gonna do something like that they would be better off keeping the current ticket system I believe. In all truthfulness I have no issues with the current support system and think it's fine just as it is. Obviously some must disagree though.
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Unread 04-10-13, 09:20 AM   #11
jaliborc
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They just remade the support window so recently... oh man, what an overkill.
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Unread 04-10-13, 09:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Leatrix View Post
Completely agree with this. But what irks me most about this announcement is that the bugs in Blizzard's API (which cause taint, lower performance and limit functionality) will remain while Blizzard's development team focus their limited resources on reinventing the wheel.
That was my first thought. They add something of dubious usefulness while once again completely ignoring bugs which have existed since Vanilla and TBC, and some of the more serious ones which have crept up since MoP's launch.
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Unread 04-10-13, 04:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by j800r View Post
Many people, like me, play WoW fullscreen and don't have access to a browser while playing.
Does your computer somehow not support multitasking? Even in fullscreen you should be able to Alt-Tab to other programs, putting them in the foreground and moving the fullscreen game window to the background... o_O
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Unread 04-10-13, 09:17 PM   #14
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Having a 3D program render in native fullscreen (not windowed+noborder) usually improves performance for said program. However, switching tasks from a program in native fullscreen sometimes has unwanted side effects.
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Unread 04-10-13, 11:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SDPhantom View Post
Having a 3D program render in native fullscreen (not windowed+noborder) usually improves performance for said program. However, switching tasks from a program in native fullscreen sometimes has unwanted side effects.
I've actually found that I get better framerates (in WoW, at least) in windowed mode than in fullscreen mode, over a variety of hardware setups.

But, I did run WoW in fullscreen mode for several years before I set up dual monitors, and never had any issue alt-tabbing in and out of it. I've only ever had issues with alt-tabbing when the fullscreen program is running at a different resolution or color depth than the desktop, but I'm not really sure why you'd run anything at any resolution other than your monitor's native resolution -- unless you're using an ancient CRT monitor for some reason -- and I don't think I've had any program run in less than 32-bit color since the '90s.
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Unread 04-11-13, 01:21 AM   #16
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The only real appeal to using native fullscreen and to a further extent, downscaling the resolution, is so a severely outdated video card isn't stressed as much to render the same frames. If you have a video card that's more than capable of running in windowed mode at a decent FPS rate, then you shouldn't be running native fullscreen. If you still want the illusion of a fullscreen game, many games have an option to run in a Borderless Window.
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Last edited by SDPhantom : 04-11-13 at 01:25 AM.
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Unread 04-11-13, 09:12 AM   #17
j800r
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Originally Posted by Phanx View Post
Does your computer somehow not support multitasking? Even in fullscreen you should be able to Alt-Tab to other programs, putting them in the foreground and moving the fullscreen game window to the background... o_O
Oh, I'm able to do it, but it's a major inconvenience and my system is not exactly a monster. It's not bad, but the Graphics Card lets it down.

iMac 21.5" mid 2010
Intel Core i3 3.06Ghz
4GB DDR3 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4670 256 MB

It's certainly no slouch, but it's not exactly built for top-end gaming. Still, I may try out Windowed mode just to see exactly how much performance is impacted.

Originally Posted by SDPhantom View Post
The only real appeal to using native fullscreen and to a further extent, downscaling the resolution, is so a severely outdated video card isn't stressed as much to render the same frames. If you have a video card that's more than capable of running in windowed mode at a decent FPS rate, then you shouldn't be running native fullscreen. If you still want the illusion of a fullscreen game, many games have an option to run in a Borderless Window.
Pretty much hit the nail on the head here dude. I play in native fullscreen to achieve the best possible performance. I'm sure there are many other WoW players who do the same or play on less powerful systems than me even.
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Unread 04-11-13, 09:36 AM   #18
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I was editing my previous post last night to put this explanation in when the WoWI database went down because of too many persistent connections.
There are 2 things that affect the performance difference between native fullscreen and windowed modes. The resolution of the rendering frames and overhead imposed by the operating system for other windows' repaint events. It's common knowledge, the larger the drawing area, the more time it takes the video card to render out a frame. Windowed mode also requires the operating system to take some time to update the display of other windows whereas native fullscreen allows the system to bypass these repaint events.

The need for native fullscreen solely depends on the quality of the video card and how graphics-intensive a program is. Generally, if you have a video card that's more than capable of running a program in windowed mode at a decent framerate, there is no need to switch to native fullscreen.
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Unread 04-11-13, 10:10 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by j800r View Post
Oh, I'm able to do it, but it's a major inconvenience and my system is not exactly a monster. It's not bad, but the Graphics Card lets it down.

iMac 21.5" mid 2010
Intel Core i3 3.06Ghz
4GB DDR3 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4670 256 MB

It's certainly no slouch, but it's not exactly built for top-end gaming. Still, I may try out Windowed mode just to see exactly how much performance is impacted.
I'm running on an ancient system myself. I built it close to 10 years ago.
I've been through 2 or 3 video cards, so that's a little newer.

AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (2GHz Single core)
2GB 400MHz DDR2 System RAM
AGP nVidia GeForce 7300 GT w/ 512MB Video RAM



I run windowed mode all the time since I'm running dual monitors. Native fullscreen doesn't play well with multiple monitors. I did build a system to replace it a few years ago, but I ended up selling it to a friend since his system went down. It's really long overdue for me to build another one, but I'm on a really tight budget at the moment.
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Last edited by SDPhantom : 04-11-13 at 10:19 AM.
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Unread 04-11-13, 11:43 AM   #20
Haleth
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On my Windows PC now I use windowed fullscreen because there's an issue with AMD's drivers that causes microstuttering in WoW on native fullscreen. It's also a lot faster for alt-tabbing. Performance loss is minimal.

I agree they should redirect to the user's default browser rather than adding this in my opinion unneeded feature and creating potential for more issues.

Originally Posted by j800r View Post
Oh, I'm able to do it, but it's a major inconvenience and my system is not exactly a monster. It's not bad, but the Graphics Card lets it down.

iMac 21.5" mid 2010
Intel Core i3 3.06Ghz
4GB DDR3 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4670 256 MB

It's certainly no slouch, but it's not exactly built for top-end gaming. Still, I may try out Windowed mode just to see exactly how much performance is impacted.
On a Mac, it's actually very easy and quick to toggle between fullscreen and windowed mode, I used to do this all the time for multitasking. By default, it's bound to command-M.
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