Aug 122015
 

The last few days have been very busy. With the general release of Windows 10, the demand for my Service Configurations increased as well as time put into them, but the VPS could not handle it. The CPU was often over loaded with random MySQL crashes, database corruptions and overall nastiness. One day, I restored the domain twice from previous day backups due to database corruption. I should mention that I have had this VPS for a long time with (very likely) poor edited configurations, failed software installs and general self stupidity. The OS was out of date and could not be upgraded in an “easy” way. I had to disable some features (namely registration and login) as normal traffic was also intermixed with massive bot traffic (in three days, 1400 bots registered accounts). Once again, I was spending way too much time in the background and failing to focus on my information updates. The only way I could deal with it was to fork out more credit for a new server and start over.

Regardless, the website server upgrade and transfer is complete and the old VPS is offline.

If you are reading this message, that is a good thing. :)

Soon, more Windows 10 updates will happen as time allows. However, the domain might be “up and down” randomly while I work out some server-side configurations over the next few days (for the better, I hope) but fear not… things will return to normal…

What ever normal is. :)

As always, I appreciate my dedicated readers support!

Coming Soon – Windows Services Updates and Website Improvements

 Articles, News, Random Ramblings, Web Site Updates, Windows Services  Comments Off on Coming Soon – Windows Services Updates and Website Improvements
Apr 172015
 

Due to a successful start of my GoFundMe Campaign, in the coming weeks, I will make a solid pass through all Windows Services as well as Windows 7/8/8.1/10 Service Configurations.

Soon, I will also enable the ability to register and login so my readers may post comments directly on my guides.

For now, you can offer feedback in the way of shooting off an email or let me know via my Twitch.tv Live Stream chat.

I have also begun correcting errors in presentation (I bumped up the table font size and made the website wider to display more information) as well as correct grammar/spelling errors.

Stay tuned! Much more to come!

Lots of Achievements for Diablo 3 Season 3 Gone? Why? An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment

 Articles, Gaming, News, Random Ramblings, The Rant  Comments Off on Lots of Achievements for Diablo 3 Season 3 Gone? Why? An Open Letter To Blizzard Entertainment
Apr 132015
 

This text is mostly from my original post on the official Diablo 3 forums. It is replicated here for the general internet community to see: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/16952355725

Update: April 17, 2015

Tyvalir commented on my post and Blizzard is listening! The “Open Letter” is now closed. :) Direct Link.

04/16/2015 11:00 AM Posted by Tyvalir

Great feedback! You all have my thanks for sharing your perspectives so constructively here. Even fifteen pages later, I can see that most responses are on topic and respectful in their tone. *insert applause*

I’m still parsing through and collecting all of the ideas presented in this thread (since there’s a lot of good stuff here). By all means, please continue this discussion and I’ll make sure your feedback gets in front of the right folks.

Great feedback! You all have my thanks for sharing your perspectives so constructively here. Even fifteen pages later, I can see that most responses are on topic and respectful in their tone. *insert applause*

I’m still parsing through and collecting all of the ideas presented in this thread (since there’s a lot of good stuff here). By all means, please continue this discussion and I’ll make sure your feedback gets in front of the right folks.

TLDNR: Cutting out all the original achievements (class, explore, event, boss and monster kills, etc) is not the way to spark interest in Season 3. It excludes a massive amount of the player base shooting for “The Achievement Point Leaderboards” in a season.

The long post:
Update: Confirmed on page 6 on the forum thread that this is not a bug:

04/13/2015 12:55 AM Posted by TheTias

The 2.2 PTR’s “Season 3” had the same achievements as we have now. That is, all of the regular achievements had been removed on the PTR just as they are removed on Live.

Thank you for the information and time required to reply. I wish I would have actually known this before Friday when Season 3 officially started. I would have began my campaign of “get answers” much, much sooner! :)
This also, with out a doubt, confirms that this is “not a bug”. Now I want to know “why” as the title of this thread states.

And to continue with the original information:

I played season 1 and 2 only for the season achievement point leaderboards (even though “starting over” was fun, to a point).
My career/non-season achievement score is 7200 or 98%.

Season 1 – I ended at #217 on the Americas Achievement list (because it was 11 weeks).
Season 2 – I ended at #304 on the Americas Achievement list (because it was only 7 weeks).
Season 3… Why try?

With the Season 2 Achievement point leaderboard
#1 had 8280 points.
#1000 had 4910.
8280 – 4910 = 3370
3370 / 10 = 337
The top and the bottom are separated by 337 different possible achievements available.

While in Season 3:
970 is the maximum amount of points available.
79 total achievements possible.
How is this even close to being considered “better” for their main gaming base and the largest segment of revenue? I fail to understand.
I am not asking to make it “easier” to get on a leaderboard. I am asking to keep it the way it was as it was a great system that allowed a much larger player base with a massive variety on play styles to have a shot at getting listed and did nothing to reduce the amount of top tier players fighting for the top. A win for all!

Oddly enough, I read the blog post as “We added a whole lot of achievements for Season 3, so enjoy!”
Instead of “We now made the only thing casuals can go for completely invalid in Season 3!”

From the Season 3 now live blog post: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/18710109/season-3-now-live-4-10-2015
And I quote:

“And that’s not all! We’ve also completely re-worked previous Seasonal Achievements to focus more on the challenging accomplishments you can achieve during a Season. There are 100 new Seasonal Achievements altogether in normal and Hardcore, giving you plenty of new challenges to take on this Season.

As always, our philosophy when creating Achievements is that they should require time and effort to obtain. The Conquests and Season-exclusive Achievements available in Season 3 reflect this idea. While some may be achieved through normal play, you’ll find that some require creativity and dedication if you want to complete them!”

As always“?!?!? This one completely cracks me up… As always when creating Achievements…
Since when? Four hours ago? Does “As always” at Blizzard really mean four hours, just like Soon™ means forever?
Most of the bold can be translated to mean “Casual gamers need not apply”.

Sure, Blizzard wants to create challenging new achievements… while deleting almost every single one that we have been earning since the game came out and when Seasons started? What?

I cannot get to the top of any class on the leaderboards Greater Rift completion solo or in group (I do not play public games and have zero pro-gamer friends) on Americas leaderboards, even though I probably play a lot more than most people like to label “Casuals”.

My best character in Season 2 made it to Solo Greater Rift 34… after seven weeks. I did not even get the Season 2 Greater Rift Conquest… for 10 points… LOL!

Why did Blizzard completely exclude a vast amount of their player base from Season 3?
I get that a lot of “post retail” added stuff has been massive amounts of experiments, but this is ridiculous.

Do they seriously think “Casuals” are going to continue at all with Seasons now?
400 points did take little time to get (ya, I admit a bit too easy) for the Season 1 and 2 “rewards”, but now for Season 3, it may take weeks instead of hours.
Does Blizzard really think that getting “Season 3 only items to drop” four months early is an incentive, just to delete another redundant character in an already crowded character list and start all over again, no longer even using the items earned?

Isn’t getting all the achievements and hitting at least one leaderboard the “end game” draw?
It was for me!

I must say that I liked having the 1000 players listed on the leaderboard separated by four thousand points instead of ten (or maybe even zero) at Seasons end.
I can only see Season 3 ending in two weeks for me. Why make it end in seven weeks as Season 2 did, or as one developer already said: four months? (Thanks Spluncy for the link):

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/16860296547?page=3#56

The Season 3 Achievements are also pro-group to the max. In other words, a player that normally plays with three other people can leave the group, do a solo level 40 Greater Rift, get all of the solo Greater Rift achievements in 14 minutes and 59 seconds for 240 points and then continue playing in a group.

This is broken. Period.

The leaderboards will be completely taken up by people playing 23 hours a day for a week or two and then locked out of for everyone else for the rest of the season, slated for at least four months.

Seriously.

Blizzard, please reconsider this action for Season 4.
Don’t kill the genre for me after 19 years of dedication.

I have always lurked the Diablo 3 forums and laughed at the silly rage quit noobs trying to get their point across and I am not one of them. I will continue playing, but not as intently as I would like.

– Signed, a long time PC Vanilla to ROS player completely irritated.
Look at my post count (at the time of the original post, it was two). I don’t troll forums. I post when something is really broken
I have been playing Blizzard games since December 31, 1996.
Go ahead, Google what release date that was… I dare you.

Black Viper from www.blackviper.com

A Request for my Dedicated Readers Over the Last 16 Years.

 Articles, News, Random Ramblings, Web Site Updates  Comments Off on A Request for my Dedicated Readers Over the Last 16 Years.
Apr 042015
 

Donations:

What is New? – As of September 2014, I am no longer employed (after 4 years with the company) and my unemployment assistance ran out April 2015. While over 5,000+ people visit this site daily and I have helped millions with my information, I rarely get a note of thanks or a donation. As such, it would be greatly appreciated if you would dig down deep, even $5 US dollars helps a lot and donate to keep the wheels turning. I wish to thank you, kind reader, in advance for your generosity.

If you cannot or are not willing to give: Follow my Twitch stream or Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Following or Subscribing will allow me to become a partner and have more options available.

For the entire story, head over to the GoFundMe link: http://www.gofundme.com/blackviper-com

GoFundMe also has the option of remaining “Anonymous” in the respect that your name will not be displayed on the campaign page as public information along with the donation amount. I still have the ability to thank you personally for your contribution via email proxy.

Please share this page on Facebook to get the word out! https://www.facebook.com/pages/wwwblackvipercom/108675855165

As of September 2014, I am no longer employed (after 4 years with the company). Off and on, I use credit cards (with…

Posted by www.blackviper.com on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

If I have helped you, please take a few seconds to give via PayPal using your credit card, an existing account, or create a new one. International donations are also accepted via PayPal (converted to $US).

All donations will:

  • Help pay for hosting charges.
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  • I am now unemployed. Any money will help keep this domain going.

If you do not wish to use PayPal, you may contact me at the postal address listed on the Contact BV page.

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Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 Achievement Bug Fix

 Articles, Gaming, News, Random Ramblings, Software  Comments Off on Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 Achievement Bug Fix
Aug 272014
 

With the release of Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 on August 26, 2014, a bug was introduced with people logging in and having no Achievements displayed. Blizzard employees acknowledged this bug, but their “easy fix” did not work for either my wife or I.

Well, I have a fix:

Diablo 3 Patch 2.1.0 Achievement fix:

  1. In the battle.net launcher, change region to Europe (this is assuming you are playing on Americas. If not, change to an alternate region).
  2. Create character there and log into it.
  3. After fully logging in, exit game and battle.net entirely.
  4. Load battle.net and change region back to Americas (or what ever your home region is).
  5. Log in to your characters and enjoy!

-BV

Nov 052012
 

TLDNR Give Me The Fix Now:

Having poor frame rate with diablo 3 patch 1.0.5 during Maghda Encounter? I have a quick fix!

Simply make…

c:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\D3Debug.txt

Read-only by right clicking the file, selecting properties, then check “Read-only” under Attributes.

Introduction

Two days ago, during the Maghda Encounter with Diablo 3 on my Hardcore Character, I had extremely poor frame rates which ultimately killed my character due to less than 5 FPS with periods of no updates for many seconds.

I was pissed. I blamed it on my computer and an extended play session, even though I never encountered any issues before.

Today, I fired up an old Hardcore Witch Doctor that was level 9 and decided to give it a go.

Once again, I walked into Maghdas Chamber (after gaining eight levels) and even the movie stuttered. A rapid death I suffered.

Now, I am really pissed.

Look, Look, and Look Some More

I did the standard issue things, farted with video settings and nothing would fix it.

I then wandered off to c:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III while I had a capped character playing normal and defeated Maghda. The frame rate issue was still present and I noticed that D3Debug.txt in the root folder of the Diablo 3 install directory was gaining in size… rapidly. The log looks a bit like this:

2012.11.05 17:56:24.245951000 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246137300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246417300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246651300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246808300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.246948300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.247087300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.247260300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group
2012.11.05 17:56:24.247428300 ERROR: Trying to lock an invalid SNO 241787 which doesn’t exists or is not part of the SOUND_SNO group

The above cut and paste is not even a full second of data. I quickly concluded it was a sound issue (SOUND_SNO group… duh?) so I thought a very quick fix would be to just plain disable sound.

Wrong!

Disabling sound did not fix the issue. What was the next thing I did?

I made c:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo III\D3Debug.txt read-only by right clicking the file, selecting properties, then check “Read-only” under Attributes.

I went back to town with a portal before surfing the install directory, so I just hopped back into the portal and the frame rate was fine. I then created a new game and went back to kill her and, even though the FPS went from around 90 to 80… it was indeed possible to complete the encounter.

It is a known issue with Blizzard and I hope it is patched tomorrow, but for those that cannot wait and are basically stuck, give this a go… it just might fix it.

As a side note, after this is fixed by Blizzard, you should put the D3Debug.txt back to read/write.

May 012012
 

Siskiyou County Office of Education classrooms in Yreka, CA dedicated to those children with special education needs, were vandalized Sunday April 29, 2012, the second time in April. This hits a part of me directly as my wife was a teachers assistant for these children, in these particular classrooms in 2006-2007. My wife says “They were the best classrooms in Yreka” and now they are destroyed. Tens of thousands of dollars in damage to electronic equipment as well as flooding the bathrooms and many other hateful acts. Curriculum’s and other books were destroyed as well. Even though no person directly deserves such acts of hate and rage, these children especially are hurt by this senseless crime. Disconnected from their classroom for, who knows how long, they do not understand why this happened… and neither do I.

Update 02MAY2012: One adult, one juvenile arrested in Jackson Street School vandalism.

Update 03MAY2012: Vandals Trash Classrooms (Video from local TV station)

For the entire month of May 2012, all donations sent to me via this link will go directly to help rebuild the classrooms in Yreka, CA. I will also match 10% of all monies received and contribute to the cause as well. I thank you, in advance, for your support.

Update 02JUN2012: Generous support of my kind readers generated donations of $70! I thank everyone that helped remedy this matter.

Apr 222012
 

Hover over the links for more back story.

  1. I remember when I purchased a book with instructions on how to get rich for $19.99 by simply writing a book and publishing it.
  2. I remember when phones had cords.
  3. I remember when more than one PC game was released annually at retail stores.
  4. I remember when $20 to fill an 18 gallon gas tank was expensive.
  5. I remember when “apps” were keyed in by hand from a magazine and magnetic storage media was not financially feasible.
  6. I remember when song skipping was an extremely advanced option on car stereo cassette decks.
  7. I remember when Mtv actually played music videos.
  8. I remember when Mtv was better than VH1.
  9. I remember when 64KB of RAM was a lot.
  10. I remember when PC Gamer Magazine was 457 pages.
  11. I remember when www.blackviper.com was only 1 HTML page.
  12. I remember when people could “dislike” things as well as like them.
  13. I remember when sharing was giving access to physical objects with whom you did not wish to give that object to.
  14. I remember when a hard cover dictionary was the only spell checking option available.
  15. I remember when receiving one email per week from my website visitors was a success.
  16. I remember when receiving 250+ emails per day from my website visitors was a failure.
  17. I remember when 99% of all statistics were completely made up.
  18. I remember when I bought my first new car.
  19. I remember when I wrecked my first new car after only 3 months.
  20. I remember when people used to interact in person.
  21. I remember when I actually looked forward to Christmas.
  22. I remember when cars did not talk back.
  23. I remember when cars started talking.
  24. I remember when pay phones actually existed.
  25. I remember when the world was going to end December 31, 1999.
  26. I remember when the world did not end January 1, 2000.
  27. I remember when connecting to the internet required effort.
  28. I remember when modems actually made noise.
  29. I remember when displaying text as an image on a website was bad.
  30. I remember when displaying text as an image on a website was good.
  31. I remember when Transformers did not suck.
  32. I remember when console game controllers only had one button.
  33. I remember when my car insurance was just as much money per month as my rent.
  34. I remember when being a geek was not cool.
  35. I remember when The Bard’s Tale was released on C-64.
  36. I remember when 16 color graphics was great.
  37. I remember when Diablo was released on PC.
  38. I remember when 640×480 resolution was high res.
  39. I remember when I refused to buy a cell phone because people could call me at any time.
  40. I remember when I broke down on the side of the road which led to a purchased cell phone.
  41. I remember when a small battery installed in a game cartridge to enable saved games was phreaking awesome.
  42. I remember when I read the Dungeons Masters Guide at my leisure.
  43. I remember when Dungeons and Dragons was the root of all evil.
  44. I remember when I bought my first optical mouse and never looked back.
  45. I remember when #wordswereseperatedbyspaces.
  46. I remember when I could write some really good one liners.
  47. I remember when my whole life was in front of me.
  48. I remember when portable music players were 50+ pounds.
  49. I remember when people protested for a reason.
  50. I remember when entire brick and mortar stores were dedicated to PC Gaming.
  51. I remember when movies were only produced in two dimensions.
  52. I remember when I updated my daily diary in 1986 at the age of 14 with weeks of “Boring day” and did not make it to March.
  53. I remember when a 20 mile daily commute from Rosamond, CA to Edwards AFB took one CD worth of music to get there.
  54. I remember when a 30 mile car ride from Corning, CA to Chico, CA and back was an eternity every Saturday.
  55. I remember when a 60 mile car ride from Corning, CA to Redding, CA and back monthly was more punishing then being “sent to my room”.
  56. I remember when a 620 mile U-haul ride from Rosamond, CA to Yreka, CA required only one pee break with cats squalling in their carriers every two seconds.
  57. I remember when video game violence was actually blown out of proportion.
  58. I remember when songs on the radio did not have to censor every other word and those words were actually cuss words.
  59. I remember when robotics was science fiction.
  60. I remember when Stephen King novels were not allowed as high school book report options.
  61. I remember when a 13″ color TV was huge.
  62. I remember when a 21″ CRT computer monitor was gigantic.
  63. I remember when my kitties fit in the palm of my hand.
  64. I remember when Google was only a search engine.
  65. I remember when AltaVista was better than Google.
  66. I remember when people actually retained knowledge instead of just googling it.
  67. I remember when people actually retained incorrect knowledge instead of just googling it.
  68. I remember when I enjoyed using ICQ.
  69. I remember when printers cost more than the ink contained within them.
  70. I remember when a map purchased from a gas station was a better option then asking Siri.
  71. I remember when after work naps were longer than nighttime sleeping.
  72. I remember when I used to be funny.
Mar 132012
 

Diablo 3 Multiboxing: Possible Or Not?

In short, yes! Controlling 2 to 4 characters in Diablo 3 is possible with 2 to 4 seperate accounts, game purchases and free mouse replication software, but is it practical?

Unfortunately, the answer is no for the average gamer, including me at this time.

I just tried this using Input Director and Desktop + Laptop (on board graphics) running at same resolution (1366 x 768) using two beta accounts (wife and my account) and created two new characters.

The reason multiboxing Diablo 3 Beta is not practical is the systems become unsynced with relation to each other very quickly. In town, moving around is fine. Either “clicking” each move or holding down the mouse button (though clicking seems to work better) functions as expected. However, when getting into a fight and waiting for the resources to load (sound, spell effects, etc) the systems become unsynced and the characters start to run off in different parallels in relation to the master. With no follow command, getting them synced back up is as “easy” as running into a corner wall and waiting for them to stack on top of each other, but upon moving from that spot, the characters will still be just a little bit off. A pixel here or there adds up quick and they will become out of sync again. Let us not even factor in the battle.net latency as, regardless of systems, it will not be the “same” across all computers at the exact same moment for any extended period of time, once again making the characters not synced. The character in game also goes “just beyond” where clicked to move. As a result, the characters may not sync up due to different angles of arriving at the same location.

Even with the laptop running minimum GFX settings, it could not keep up with the desktop. This should not come as a surprise, but a current high end gaming PC with 4 virtual machines may struggle keeping everything synced up (I would say an I7 EE, 16GB RAM, SSD’s, 2 or more nVidia 500 series probably would work) and completely stutter free at all times. I do not have a system with such high end specs to test, so I had to only test what I have available. As such, unless 4 systems have the same high end specs (or at least way beyond what is required to run a single instance of Diablo 3 very smoothly), quad-boxing or even dual-boxing, is and will be, difficult to pull off for the average gamer. I would venture a guess that multiboxing is beyond average to start with, though. :)

With loot not being shared between party members (drops only show for the character that can pick it up), this makes looting difficult through trash monsters but still feasible for boss drops. Money (gold) is automatically picked up if the character is in range, but that range is still pretty small and gold does not drop in the same spot for all characters.

I really looked forward to multiboxing in D3 as I enjoyed it in WoW. I also spent a lot of time to run D2 on 8 systems over 10 years ago just for the “extras” it offered. However, having mules sit in town (level 1 characters going to Hell difficulty) is very different then controlling all those characters at the same time. For a good laugh, here is a guide and my findings I drafted in 2001 for Diablo 2 Muling.

When I dual-boxed for a long time with WoW, I used in game macros and was accused of “botting” often. It was fun for me overcoming aspects of the game while still controlling all characters… and that is the key.

“Botting” is mixed in with multiboxers more often then I can stomach. What is the difference in pressing one key on a keyboard and having it replicated across 4 computers verse having 4 keyboards very close to each other and stretching my fingers to hit “1” at the same time? “Botting” is automation! Having a character complete multiple tasks (traveling, killing, looting, crafting, vendoring) while the person “controlling” said character is at school/work/beach/sleep/etc. When I did not tell my characters to do something, they did nothing. That is not “botting”, that is multiboxing.

Hardware macros are not really “automation” unless it is doing much more then mashing three buttons. Using my G-19 keyboard to “macro” actions is pretty trivial. I played a (fairly) recent MMO that did not monitor hardware macro actions (like WoW does). As such, I made a macro button to constantly mash “1 2 3” every 15ms. The game lasted right around 7 days for me as it made things extremely easy. How was I killing monsters before I macroed that action? Using three fingers to mash 1 2 3 and thus using those actions every cooldown anyway.

The interesting aspect (and general thought) about multiboxing is that the person somehow becames super rich in game. That is not correct for me as I purchase the standard stuff that everyone else does (example being epic flying, enchant them all up) and, in effect, I had 4 times the loot and 4 times the in game cost (as well as the wallet MMO monthly fee drain). As far as I am concerned… that makes single character controllers and I even.

People also do not understand that, as a whole, multiboxers are still behind the power curve as far as game content is concerned. Sure, in any given time period, Diablo 3 multiboxers would have “4 times” the chance that a good item drops, but 4 people have that same chance and probably completing content above the level of the multiboxer anyway (hell vs inferno for example) and getting items “worth more” and also much easier…

Multiboxing is work… hard work. :) Even though it may not be practical, I wish that I could find a way to make a single high end gaming system capable of running D3 in 4 VM’s manifest as I still want to do it upon Diablo 3’s release. :)