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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The New (ish) Wowalone

Those visiting Wowalone today may have noticed that the blog's layout has changed, hopefully for the better. The changes are minor and mostly aesthetic.

When I started this blog I hadn't expected it would become so popular. A lot of this is thanks to Wow.com who featured some of my articles under their Daily Quest topic. I was even more surprised when they dedicated a whole article to my series of articles for Solo Beast Master Hunters (spec, glyphs and gear) a couple of days ago.

As the first commenter posted rightfully under Wow.com's article, Wowalone was very hard to read because there was a lot of text on the page squeezed into a narrow column. To my defense, I was using Blogger's default template and I didn't like it much either.

Thanks to the very positive response showed by the readers (and I thank them for it), I decided to get my ass in high gear and remedy the situation. To this end, I have tweaked the layout a bit and the result is what you see as of now (subject to future change).

First, I made the main column wider. Then, I changed the background from black to dark grey. This lowered the contrast, making the text easier to the eyes. Afterwards, I added an even lighter background to the main column and changed the font to a more legible one. I applied a similar treatment to the comments and they now stand out better. Finally, I tweaked the left navigation categories.

Once again, a big THANK YOU to my readers who inspire me to continue writing and making small improvements to the site and also thanks to Wow.com who enable small blogs such as this one to reach out to a larger audience.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very nice changes - thanks.
As well, I enjoy the BM hunter series. I am essentially a solo player. Don't PVP, Arena, Raid, or much of anything that requires a schedule that I probably can't keep, friends I don't have, and the desire to play with others. (not a team player comes to mind...)

I like exploring, testing my wits and skills against the game mechanics and learning how others have done things.

thanks - much appreciated

/shibumi

Darth Solo said...

Thanks and welcome to the club! It seems there's more of us solo-ists than anyone thought.

Joe said...

oooh looks shiny!

Aaron Delp said...

I just wanted to say I really like the blog and the new changes. I have a blog on blogger using one of the default craptastic templates. I was wondering if you would be willing to share the changes you made. I would like to model mine after yours. I know HTML and I'm comfortable modifying the templates.

Thanks!

j.m. said...

I think there are a lot of solo players. Folks just don't have a good schedule for team play and we think in Chilly Hollow that the guild system is falling apart. There are too many folks who manipulate the guild they run to their own advantage.

Nice changes to the site. It is certainly more readable. How about a background that's not black, though? Makes it hard to read white lettering for those of us approaching old age.

TB said...

Hey Darth, the layout changes are full of win. Keep up the great work and interesting reads. I enjoyed the Pally tale you posted yesterday! Also, big congrats on making wow.com.

Darth Solo said...

@Joe thank you!

@Aaron Delp thank you! Well, knowing HTML is a good start but you really need to know CSS in order to successfully modify this template. There wasn't any HTML coding involved. First thing is to save your existing template but only if you have previously modified it. If it's just the default Blogger template, you can always roll back to it. Secondly, the key lies under Layout > Edit HTML. The CSS is laid out very nicely, in an organized manner and I found it a pleasure to work with.

OK, you know what, there's too much to explain here. I'll make it even better. You've just inspired me to write a basic guide on how to modify your template. So stay tuned for a soon-to-come article on the subject. And thanks for the idea!

@j.m. thanks and I really get what you're saying. Thing is, I really really really like the dark background. It's not even black anymore but dark grey and the post itself is on a lighter grey. Like I said, the overall contrast has decreased, making it easier on the eyes. I'm not sure though if that's a good thing for people with weak eyesight. Maybe you can fill me in on that.

I really think that black themes are very appropriate for WoW. Worldofwarcraft.com itself is on a black background, including the forums. The biggest WoW database, Wowhead.com has that wonderful dark theme that works so well.

There's another advantage to a dark theme in relation to WoW. Links to the various item qualities (green, blue, purple) are more easily viewed on a dark background.

Unfortunately it's hard to please everyone. I just wish there was a way to offer people alternative templates. That's something that Blogger should definitely implement in the future.

@TB TYVM as they say in WoW!

Shandore-Dragonblight said...

Nice site, came here from wow.com one of my regular reads along with many more hunter blogs.
Added to my regular reads, let see where this goes.
Once again good site, keep up the good work.

Bloodshrike said...

Hey Darth, grats on making it on Wow.com.

I like the changes to the site, and am looking forward to help on changing the templates, as I would like the ability to tweak my own site.

How do you get the item description to popup from the page? I know you have to link from Wowhead.com, but am a little confused after that.

Kendall213 said...

Hey Darth,
You may remember my name, I'm the person on wow.com who mentioned the ads on the page. The site looks really good. I have a 74 BM hunter that I level solo with. Wraylas on Ghostlands US. I have kinda ignored him a little since WOTLK. But I'm planning on getting back to leveling him and your site will help a lot.

Darth Solo said...

@Bloodshrike thanks! I'm already working on the article. I'm halfway through and it's HUGE. Hopefully it will clear some things up. Regarding the wowhead thing, it's very simple really. However, I think I'll write yet another article in which to explain how to to it because you're like the 5th person who wants to know and I think it's better to show it to everyone.

@Kendall213 thanks man and good luck with your solo hunter. I'm sure by now he's almost fully matured. Are you a die-hard solo-ist like me or do you engage in raids/pvp too?

Stu said...

Love the Blog and like the changes!

WoW Solo Quester here and accounted for ;)

Thx for all your efforts and handy tips and advice you pass along, it'll helped me enjoy the game more!

Warm Regards & Good Hunting!

Darth Solo said...

Thank you Stu. You know, it warms my heart to see so many mature WoW players. We were born gamers and we shall die gamers, baby!

Ziboo said...

Just found you recently from another soloist blog link, so not up on the current form but <3 the BM info!

Spec/glyphs were already similar, the gear info very helpful! Still dinking along at lvl 74 so good to see it!

Darth Solo said...

Thank you Ziboo. Nice to see a lady drop in here once in a while :)

livvie said...

i've loved hunters since i started playing wow-- which was about six months after release--but since my guild already had a hunter, i was asked to roll a lock. after spending a lot of time on the alliance side of things and trying (very unhappily) to force myself to enjoy my class, as well as raiding, i finally realized that what i really wanted was to play the game from a new perspective and a new faction. fast forward to BC, and my complete and total burnout on raiding. i dropped my extremely epically geared lvl 70 lock, started a new character on a pve server (peaceful!) and leveled her at a pace i enjoyed.

imagine my surprise when i read about you on wow.com--how cool! here's someone who not only gets what i do, they like it too! my favorite things to do are explore, tame exotics when i come across them (loque was and is my proudest--and longest--tame yet) solo as many pre TLK instances as i can, and thanks to you, make as much gold as is humanly possible. not quite there yet, but...

i enjoy reading this blog so much and appreciate your thoughts on gear, glyphs and specs. i just spent a leisurely week collecting mats for my nesingwary 4k and was pleased as punch to have it crafted, so much so that i tipped 100g out of pure excitement. i now have the pet i wanted (loque), i'm working my way towards decent gear (with your help) and finally, at last, enjoying the game the way i did when i first rolled that little dwarven hunter i was forced to give up.

my belf huntress and my spirit beast thank you!

Darth Solo said...

@livvie thank you so much! I am really touched by your words. Some of us solo players actually have busier agendas than hardcore raiders or PvP-ers, go figure! Of course, many of us are chronic altoholics.