In Search of Bigger Game

In Search of Bigger Game

Earlier this week, we revealed how the new forum and comment rating system will help players promote positive and engaging discussions all on their own . Now it's time to explore another useful tool on the World of Warcraft community site: the search feature.

The search feature is easy to find. It's the white bar with a magnifying glass on it located in the upper right of your screen. To use the search feature, all you need to do is type in what you're looking for, then press enter or click the magnifying glass. That will take you to a results page dedicated to the subject of your search.
Near the top, it will list where you are searching. This will generally be “All content,” possibly followed by the author if you've specified one (but we'll get to that later). Below that, there are three “sort by” options. This is where things start to get interesting. The search page lets you sort your results in three different ways:

  • Relevance: Selecting this will sort your search results according to how closely they match your search terms.
  • Date: This option will sort your search results according to the time they were posted.The most recent results will appear first.
  • Popularity: This allows you to look for results matching your search parameters that have also proven popular among your peers.


The search results page also displays a series of tabs reflecting more specific categories within which to search. For example, a search for "Azeroth" will yield several categories of information:

  • All: Encompasses search results which could fall into all of the following categories.
  • Articles: Returns blog posts which include your search terms.
  • Characters: Lists all eligible Armory profiles matching the keywords you specified.
  • Items: Lists all items in the Armory that correspond with the search terms you provided.
  • Forums: Shows all forum threads related to your search results.
  • Content: Returns content pages such as those found under the Game tab.
  • Support: Shows any support articles that include the terms you're looking for.


Clicking one of these tabs will filter your results by that category, and you can freely click between them. So, if you were looking for a blog, you'd probably want to skip straight to results in the Article category. Similarly, once the Game Guide is fully fleshed out, if you wanted to learn more about the world itself, you might hit the Content category.

A seemingly innocent query could return an overwhelming swarm of possible destinations, and being able to sort and categorize your results might not be quite enough to see you to your target. If you're willing to put in a bit more work you can cut those results into chunks that are easier to swallow by modifying the search terms. These search prefixes represent some of the tools at your disposal:

Note:Search prefixes are case sensitive. They should be typed exactly as they appear in bold below.

  • author: You can create a search for posts and articles by a particular author. If you wanted to read things I've written, for example, you would search for author:Daxxarri. If you were searching for a fellow player, you'd want to include their character name and realm, with an @ symbol in between (e.g. author:Alleria@Windrunner).
     
  • content: If you want to specify a search for documents with a word in the body of the text, this is the signifier you would use. For example, a search for “tauren” in the body of text would read content:tauren. If you don't specify a search prefix, content is the default prefix.
     
  • forumId: Each of our forums has an ID number in its URL. You can create searches for content on specific forums by using this search prefix. If you wanted to specify the General Discussion forum you would use forumId: 984270. The forum ID is the bold part of the URL: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/984270/
     
  • topicId:If you wanted to search for content in a specific forum thread, you could use the topicId: search prefix. For example, topicId: 900930866 would search our Welcome: Please Read! thread in General Discussion -- its topic ID is listed in its URL: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/900930866
     
  • position: If you were looking for a specific forum post, you can specify only original posts by putting position:0 in your search terms.
     
  • subject: This will search item titles. If you wanted to find something with the word “heirloom” in the subject, you'd include subject:heirloom in your search terms.
     
  • type: This search prefix lets you select what kind of documents you search for. You might want to look for information that's found solely in blogs. If you wanted to do that, you'd input type:article. If you wanted to search for a forum post, you would use type:post instead. There are other types as well, including "kb" and "static." The "kb" type refers to our knowledge base articles. "Static" refers to pages that are more permanent fixtures on the website, like information included in the Game Guide (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/game/).


The search bar supports Boolean operations, which empowers you to search for multiple search terms simultaneously and in concert. So, let's say that you're looking to find out more about the Elemental Invasion in Stormwind. You could simply type "elemental invasion + stormwind" into the search bar. It might be useful to get more specific, though. Instead, you could search for front-page blogs that are about the elemental invasion and have “stormwind” in the body. Such a search would look like this: type:article + subject:elemental + content:stormwind.

Ideally, you won't have to use these more advanced search features to find the information that you're looking for, but when you do, we hope that you find our search to be a powerful, complete, and useful tool that will take you straight to the information you're looking for.

If you've given it a spin, let us know what you think of the search feature in the comments.

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