Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh noes, the epeenz!

Blizzard is doing something intelligent for a change and is going to start throttling Inspect message types server-side. What this means for many people is that the data presented by tools(1) like Gearscore may or may not be up to date at any given time.

The reason for this is to reduce the amount of data packets flying around client-to-server-to-client at any given time, especially in places like Dalaran. Addons like Gearscore or Cormonite (or whatever it's called) tend to hammer the data channels as if they were the only apps that actually mattered. That's poor programming, and made even worse when everybody around you pays the price in lag and bandwidth.

So, they're throttling the requests that Gearscore uses, which means that – you guessed it – epeeners will perceive it as a slight and attack on them and Gearscore directly. 

The clamor will no doubt bring a smile to my face, but I'll try not to be too obvious about it.

What I would like to point out is that the author of Gearscore need only do one thing to improve things, and two things would be optimal.

  1. Find out the throttled rate (either by reading or empirical testing) and adjust Gearscore's to just below that.
  2. Put a manual poll feature and allow the user to disable or control auto-polling.

See, Gearscore will perceive the throttling only if it hammers the data channels at or above the throttled rate. If it comes in below that rate, it'll never see the throttle effect, and there will be no lost opportunities.

It's a shame that Blizzard has to beat these things over the head with a stick to get people to program wisely, but there you have it – there's always somebody that screws it up for the rest of us, isn't there?

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(1) – And that's from the heart.