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World of Warcraft Spotlight - Explore the World

World of Warcraft Spotlight
Explore the World

Welcome to another World of Warcraft Spotlight! Today we will cover Explore the World, an exploration addon created by SymphonymDev.

As suggested by its name, the main goal of this addon is to encourage you to explore the world. Of course exploration has always been possible, but with this addon it will be more fun thanks to the new quests. These quests are divided into various categories:

  • Tracking: tracking down NPCs by following clues.
  • Investigation: finding a location and answering questions regarding its surroundings.
  • Exploration: locating zones, mostly lesser known ones such as Aerie Peak.
  • Group: this can be a quest from any of the above categories, the difference is that they can only be completed when you are in a party.

In addition to the quests the addon comes with various other interesting features as well, such as challenges, unlockable quests, keeping track or your progress, comparing your progress with other players and the ability to link quests, making it easier to help your friends.

Installation

Simply clicking the "Install via Curse Client" button found on the addon's page is all you have to do to install this addon.

World of Warcraft Interview
SymphonymDev

We also had the opportunity to hold an interview with the developer behind Explore the World, be sure to continue reading to learn more about the process behind the addon.

How did you get into World of Warcraft?
I got into World of Warcraft when I was very young, say 10 or 11 (I'm turning 19 this year) when I was introduced to it by one of my class mates. I have very vivid memories of this first time playing, which was back in Vanilla, starting out with a Tauren Warrior and killing the quilboars in the starting zone. This original feeling that I had could only be interpreted as the best game in the world, sadly I no longer get this feeling when playing WoW, probably because it's not a completely new experience anymore. Shortly thereafter I got World of Warcraft from my parents, and introduced my closest friends to it, and we've been playing on and off ever since.

What made you decide to become an addon developer?
I got into addon developing simply because I liked WoW, and I liked programming (I code a lot as a hobby, aiming to go for it as a career). So I followed tutorials, started tinkering with ideas, and finally Explore the World started to take shape as my first addon ever.

What was your inspiration for this specific project?
I don't think I had much inspiration for this project, I was just trying to think of something that I wanted or something that didn't already exist. So I scrapped all ideas of UI mods since there's tons of those already. Then it suddenly struck me that most of the WoW world goes unexplored, with all of its easter eggs and whatnot, especially when we're using flying mounts to get anywhere nowadays. Originally this idea was to give the user some Lore whenever they enter a zone, but eventually I scrapped this idea and went for more interactivity.

How did the community respond to the addon’s release?
The community responded very positively to my addon, both on reddit and other sites/forums. Saying that the idea was awesome and that they loved it :) But technically the addon isn't released, it's in beta stages.

Roughly how much time did it take to finish the first functioning version of Explore the World?
I didn't do too much documentation at the start of development since it consisted of tinkering and experimenting, but I'd say roughly 1 month, maybe a little more, is what it took to get a functioning version.

Did you come across any challenges during development and, if any, how did you handle them?
The biggest challenge development-wise was probably the scrollbar with all the questions listed. I originally wanted them in a single huge list, since this would make searching and sorting very easy. But when the amount of questions grew (I experimented with upward of 10000's questions) the addon grew less stable, something I didn't like. So I divided the question list into pages, which makes searching and sorting less optimal since it's only local to that specific page, but it consumes less memory and runs a lot faster. There's a lot of other issues I had as well but explaining those will probably get too technical.

What was your favourite development tool for this project?
Favoruite development tool.. I suppose the editor I used (and always use): Sublime Text 3.

Have you learned anything new from this project?
Well I've learned how to make an addon for WoW, something I had no idea of before making this addon. I also stayed away from libraries such as Ace3 which helps with the window creation, mainly because I want to learn how to do things for myself.

What stage of Explore the World’s development process did you enjoy most?
I'd have to say the multiplayer minigames or client-to-client communication. Because having your addon communicate with other players is pretty damn satisfying once you get everything working properly.

And what is your favourite feature of the addon itself?
Again, favorite feature is probably the multiplayer minigame. As well as the "challenge" concept that the addon has, which reuses existing questions that you have unlocked in order to unlock new questions.

Are you currently working on any other addons or updates?
Unfortunately no, I really want to get back on working on Explore the World but currently I have exams and whatnot in the way. But when Warlords of Draenor drops I'll be picking up my subscription again, hopefully continuing development of the addon (adding more content primarily).

In addition to your World of Warcraft addons, have you ever released any custom content for other games?
Well I made a Minecraft map some time ago (2011) which currently has around 60k downloads. I also made a community picture for Battlefield Heroes after which EA/DICE rewarded me with some in-game goodies as a thanks (also back in 2011 I think). Although I tend to keep a lot of the things I make to myself, such as my programming projects.

Besides your own projects, what are some of your favourite addons from other authors and why?
I'm not really unique in the addons I use, DBM/BigWigs, Bartender/Domino, Skada/Recount are all awesome addons that I wouldn't say I'm the only one using. I basically use what everyone else uses, have a look at the popular addons and then you'll know my favourites.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring addon developers?
Not that I give great advice, but I'd say stick to learning how you can make an addon instead of trying to figure out the greatest new addon idea. Or if you already have a great addon idea, keep that as motivation and learn whatever you need in order to make that addon.

Reaching the end of the interview, we would like to thank SymphonymDev for taking the time to answer our questions!

Final Words

Explore the World is an excellent choice if you would like to see more of the world. It will guide you through lesser known places by completing quests. You can also work together and compare your progress with other players.

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