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Sunday, October 10, 2010

BankAlt.com launches!

Dear friends I am pleased (and relieved) to announce that today I am launching the World of Warcraft website that I have been working on in secret for a while. I have blogged briefly about it before but here it is, finally: BankAlt.com.

Originally I had some different ideas for what this site will do but those ideas were scrapped although they were also about WoW professions. In a nutshell, BankAlt is meant as a tool for crafters in WoW so that it makes it easier to figure out how many sub-components a certain recipe requires. If you have a profession, particularly a tradeskill, you might find BankAlt useful.

All crafting professions are included but the only gathering skill present is Mining. That's because Mining has Smelting which produces some goods which are essentially the same as a crafted good. Here's a list of professions:
 Each section contains all the recipes (or patterns, or schematics, etc) for that professions. There are few exceptions. I have chosen not to include certain transmutes which have a 1:1 relationship, for example "transmute earth to fire" and "transmute fire to earth". This would have caused big problems with my algorithm and I'm not sure anyone really needs to know details about these types of recipes. I have also removed those "recipes" which transform 10 pieces of crystallized stuff into an eternal, or 10 motes into a primal. The particular spell which does that transformation isn't part of any profession so it wouldn't have been relevant.

I have launched BankAlt.com in beta because there are things to test. At least one big feature is missing but I didn't want to keep postponing the launching date indefinitely until the site was perfect. And that's especially true with patch 4.01 just a few days away.

Once again, the site doesn't have all the features I envisioned but they are coming soon™ so stay tuned. I would certainly appreciate constructive criticism and suggestions. There's a Contact form on the site so please submit your thoughts there. I've included a "Hate mail" option but please try not to use that too much :)

I do hope that BankAlt will be useful to at least some of you. Personally, I've been wanting a tool to tell me how many mats I need to craft various kinds of items so the site will have at the very least one faithful user.

I'll be very interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Darth Solo, signing off.

19 comments:

Lugnut Daffodil said...

Whoa holy crap....GOOD JOB! I can't search through the site extensively yet since I gotta get some sleep, but...

*BOOKMARK!* This'll get used for sure

Careful....keep this up and you're gonna get catapulted to the top in the world of WoW bloggers :D

Darth Solo said...

Ha ha thanks Lug! I love your enthusiasm. But aw shucks, I'm small fry compared to other bloggers.

Don Ferren said...

You may want to check out a site that does this already:
http://whatsthemats.com

For something like this, I'd rather use that site because it's searchable. Your site just loads everything all at once for each profession, which has got to be a major bandwidth drain. I'd suggest adding a search box and not having the everything load.

Echo said...

I'd suggest to add a big "SEARCH" field on the homepage (and a small one somewhere in every inside page).

People will mostly search info for a specific item. typing it and finding the answer is way faster and more interesting than lurking an endless list of items :)

On a side note, I would add a "sort asc/desc" option for item name and level (currently not displayed).

I would also add more info such as minimum profession requirement.

Last but not least, a "used by" search would fit pretty good on your site. For example I found some Weak Flux, what can I do with that? Type, search, etc.

The website seems interesting but I would add more tools to it, beacuse right now wowhead.com can offer faster answers :)

Keep up the good work and have fun ;)

Redbeard said...

Nicely done, Darth!

Darth Solo said...

@Don Ferren a search function is definitely on the to-do list. I preferred to launch it like this because there won't be much traffic at the beginning so the server shouldn't be impacted too hard. Thanks for pointing out that site. I wasn't aware of it.

@Echo sorting and filtering are also on the list :) I'll add some more parameters too.

I'm sure I missed some things but I've been trying to think of as many potential issues as possible.

Toxaris said...

Hey Darth,

There is also crafter's tome http://wow.crafterstome.com/home.html that is similar

Darth Solo said...

@Don Ferren it looks like the guy had a similar idea to mine. However, his site doesn't show the entire component tree, just the lowermost ones in the tree.

@Toxaris the list of recipes may be the same but it doesn't break them down into base components.

Toxaris said...

Ooh, Ok I get it now. I didn't check out the expand button. It IS pretty cool. Darth, what is in your opinion the and cheapest to level yet most useful crafting profession for a hardcore solo player? Not sure if you've blogged on this subject before...

Anonymous said...

@ Darth

http://whatsthemats.com shows the tree aswell, just click the top-right icon called "View Materials Tree"

Gyldenfeax said...

I wasn't aware of Whatsthemats either but hopefully each site will fulfil a need.

While Whatsthemats does expand to show what mats are used, Darth's site gives additional information, such as creating titanium ore itself from saronite bars.

Darth Solo said...

@Toxaris well that could be a topic for a post. The thing is, it all depends on what you would like to accomplish in WoW. I would say that the best profession is ALL OF THEM. But that's hard to accomplish if you haven't been playing the game for many years like I have.

If you don't want to be bothered with the logistics of crafting you could go with dual gathering professions, especially since in Cataclysm you'll be able to track both types of nodes on the minimap.

To me, engineering seems very useful for a solo player because it can help you level and be more efficient with the various gadgets, even though you won't be making a lot of money with it. It does act like a pseudo-gathering profession also, with the Mote Extractor.

But really, I should write a post about this.

@Anonymous thanks for pointing that out. For some reason I didn't see it. That icon in the corner didn't catch my eye. Well, all I can tell you is this: I have some additional functionality up my sleeve that might be better than whatsthemats.

@Gyldenfeax it seems that it does show the mats but it does it in a different manner.

@Gyldenfeax I got your suggestion. You do have a point. Though I can see the text just fine, I'm now realizing that some people might have problems with that. I'll try to add a darker background for some contrast because I would like to keep that shade of green. Hopefully this change should become available when I roll out the next big feature.

Echo said...

I'd suggest to show the reagents tree already expanded. That's the core idea of your site, why hiding it behind a mouse click?

The "big sarch box" on the homepage is the way to go. The full lists are way too big (and slow) to load. Also... who needs them?

99% of your visitors will come to check a specific craftable item. Scrolling a list is useless and it heavily stress your server (db queries, bandwidth, etc).

Go the Google way. Search with live results (similar to whatsthemats.com). and let people immediately see the trees.

Bloodshrike said...

Looks awesome, Darth! I especially like how it drills down to the leather scraps needed, which is handy because scraps are sometimes put on the AH for a lot lower than the whole leather pieces would cost.

Darth Solo said...

@Echo have patience my son. All that you mention is in the pipeline. I just wanted to release the site in the "wild" so I can get some initial feedback and see how it performs when it's not optimized.

As for showing them expanded... I'm a bit reluctant to do that because there are some intense calculations going on there for each recipe and it might slow things down. I'll see at a later date if it's efficient to do that.

I will definitely add a Search function. In fact there will be 2 different types of Search functionality.

These are just some of the reasons why I'm not bothering with SEO or linking it in other places. I've just announced here on my blog so my readers will be the first to see it.

@Bloodshrike thanks man! I bet you'll like it even more once I get past the beta stage.

Echo said...

@ Darth

> As for showing them expanded... I'm a bit
> reluctant to do that because there are some
> intense calculations going on there for each
> recipe and it might slow things down.

You should not list all the items of every profession. Apart from being db-intensive, I don't see any utility. The page tends to be slow too.

No one will check the website for a complete list of craftable items. People use wowhead already.

I'd stick to the big search field only and that's all. Then whn you find your item, you se the already-expanded tree.

Sorry if I seem to be a little "negative" but considering what we already have (wowhead on top) it's really hard to make a webiste "unique" and "original" ;-)

Darth Solo said...

I know man. I appreciate the critique. If I didn't want it, I wouldn't have put the site up :) I agree, I don't need to show every item, but... there's an extra feature that might benefit from that.

Victor said...

Sweet. I like it better than whatsthemats (doesn't really show what the prof. can make, so I would stop using this if you got rid of the "load entire list of recipies") I'll use this site and crafters tome, but if you displayed at what skill level you can get the recipe, it would be a one stop shop for me. If I really wanted to search for what I want to make, I might as well go to wowhead and go directly.

Loads fast for me, and I like to look at everything. This, I'm sure, would take forever, but if you could also add a link to wowhead for the recipe, so we could look up where to get it, you'd have gold...

Gratz. and you have a bunch of recomendations going out from me.

Darth Solo said...

Thanks a bunch Victor. The level of the recipes is on the to-do list. I'm also working on making it load even faster. I realized from the start that simply throwing the entire profession on the screen isn't practical but I like to call it a stress test for a worst-case scenario.