Extra Life

Extra Life
The Burnt-out Crusade

Greg Tito | 1 May 2007 12:02
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The Mazzlegasm refers to his mod auto-sending a "/yell" in game after completing the setup of MazzleUI which read, "I just had a Mazzlegasm!" It was a cheap throwaway joke, sure, but some humorless people didn't take it well. The ethics of an addon performing an action on behalf of an unaware user was questioned, as well as inane parental complaints that "Mazzlegasm" sounded a little too close to "orgasm" for their young child's fragile ears.

After he put so much into the compilation, Mazzlefizz felt betrayed by the community. It wasn't pleasant having such a small issue be the most discussed portion of MazzleUI. "There's just so many young, immature kids, so many bloated egos and such a high degree of self-entitlement. Complaining and criticizing are just the status quo," he said, before adding that not every experience he's had with users was awful. It's just "the negative aspects have outweighed the positive aspects lately and have caused me to ... question the time and effort I put into developing my add-ons." To date, MazzleUI hasn't had any significant updates. MazzleFizz keeps busy collecting bug reports and has gone back to just playing the game.

Not all authors, however, escape without real harm. Gello is the venerable creator of ItemRack, Recap, TinyPad, TrinketMenu and many others. One of the problems of being so prolific is the need to translate mods into other languages. "I had spent a couple very intense months working on the localization of Recap," Gello said. "It got so I could understand combat logs in German." He eventually convinced native-language modders to finish the job. "It was just causing way too much stress and time for something I would never see or use."

Soon after that, two French users demanded that Gello localize WaterBoy, a mod that helped mages summon and distribute water for raids. He refused to spend so much time translating again and asked that they mod it themselves. "Then the flame emails began," Gello recounted. "When I stood by my position (probably not in the nicest terms), they continued in earnest. I got an email with an attachment I thought was safe and apparently it wasn't." The modern computer nightmare had come true for Gello. "I basically abandoned the email address, formatted my pc, ditched the mod and didn't look back."

On December 5, 2006, Blizzard released World of Warcraft patch 2.0 which used a new version of LUA (the programming language mods are written in) and introduced many API changes that rendered popular mods obsolete. According to Blizzard, the capabilities of certain mods had exceeded what was good for the game. Blizzard spokesperson Tyren stated in October, "Essentially, we don't want UI mods to make combat-sensitive decisions for players and as such, we've made some changes that block functionality that we feel is counter to the spirit of these philosophies. As such, AddOns and macros can't make decisions on who to target or what spells to cast."

The practical upshot was that everyone's mods were broken. Each author had to review his work and make sure "protected" functions weren't called. Fortunately, there was an extensive beta period where authors could test their mods with the new API.

After a few months of silence from Lozareth, a new post appeared December 2 on the front page of Discordmods.com which simply read, "DISCORD MODS WILL NOT BE READY ON 12/5." That was it: a clear, succinct message that Loz had stopped coding. It's still there today. But the veterans at Discordmods.com wouldn't let the mods die. Forum denizen Mud dutifully posted band-aided versions of Discord that functioned with WoW 2.0, albeit with limited performance. Still no response from the author; the release of the Burning Crusade passed with nary a peep from Lozareth.

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