Taking and Locating Screenshots in World of Warcraft on Windows Vista

We see many screenshots of the world sensation mmorpg World of Warcraft. In forums and PvP videos we get to see players performing amazing achievements in gameplay. It could involve killing a whole lot of players in a battleground like Warsong Gulch or getting a group of friends together to make a dance music video in Ironforge.
But there are many times when you probably have killed a rare monster, trained in epic flying for the first time, or made it to the top of the charts in a battleground match. How do you take screenshots in World of Warcraft? How can a guild leader make sure his first successful raid can be something his guildmates won’t forget soon? Many players would want to keep memories of such things.

World of Warcraft isn’t the only game where taking screenshots is popular among players. Many veterans of Star Wars Galaxies before its Combat Upgrade would agree that shots taken of the game in 2003-2004 can evoke tears. Guildmates can relate to this the most, especially if they still remain in contact with each other.

MMORPGs in general are a hub for social interaction of the virtual dimension, which makes screenshots that much more compelling. Anything is possible and when you are able to direct your friends on where to stand, what to say, and what to wear for a screenshot, it’s a lot like being a director.

So how do you take a screenshot in World of Warcraft (and most major online multiplayer games)?

The answer is simple.

Step 1: The monitor is the camera. Whatever is on your screen is what is going to be in the screenshot.

Step 2: Click the Prnt Scrn button (Print Screen), which is located at the top right of most keyboards. This is the button you press when you want the screenshot taken. Think of it as the button on a camera.

If you want your interface to temporarily disappear so you can get maximum detail in your screenshot, press Alt + Z. This will immediately remove the interface (the hotkeys, bags, tabs).

Then click Prnt Scrn to take the screenshot, without any interference.

Click Alt + Z again to bring back the interface, everything back to normal.

It takes practice to perfectly time the Prnt Scrn button to capture a moment. Here is a screenshot of my Night Elf Warrior on an NPC gryphon mount flying towards Stormwind. I knew the mount was going to make a close pass to the waterfall, which was a shot difficult to do on a personal aerial mount. It was simpler to let the NPC gryphon move into the perfect position so I can time the press of the button.

Now you know how to take screenshots but here comes the tricky part. If you want to send these pictures to friends or post them on your blog, you need to know where the screenshots are saved. From looking at the forums and general knowledge about WoW, very few people actually know where screenshots are moved. The folder in which they are located is difficult to find without prior information of what type of folder it is.

The folder location is:

C:\Users\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Screenshots

The ‘Name’ folder is simply the main folder your system is based on (ex. John, Mary, etc.). It is usually the name of the computer’s owner.

There we go. AppData is impossible to locate visually because it is a hidden folder. To do this the quick way, go to the start menu (on Vista) and search for “appdata” and it should show up in the search results – but slightly transparent. This means it is hidden.

Enter the folder and keep moving through the list till you get to the Screenshots folder. To create a shortcut, right click on the Screenshots folder and click on “Create Shortcut.” A shortcut file copy of the folder will be created. Click and drag this file out into your desktop or to any location you wish.

When World of Warcraft was first launched, taking screenshots was a tedious process. The files were saved in .tga format, which must be converted to a viewable file such as a .jpeg. Programs like Irfanview were useful in converting the files. However, the developers realized the problem and facilitated the entire process by allowing screen shots to be automatically saved as JPEG files.

All gamers need to know how to record memorable moments not only for themsevles, but for their friends as well. It feels good knowing you can look back years from now, seeing the hilarity of influencing so many real people with a simple virtual avatar. Players can email their screenshots to friends through email attachments or they can post them on forums where many people can see them. Some guilds, in an attempt to preserve memories of games that are no longer considered popular, create long memoirs of screenshots where their guild history is chronicled in great detail and depth.

Memories are priceless.

Think you’ve taken a superb screenshot? Blizzard can be the judge of that. Enter your screenshots into their reviewed gallery, located here. The page has information and rules that your screenshot must follow to be judged. Blizzard is currently looking for many screenshot entries, especially environmental, for their new upcoming WoW expansion – Wrath of the Lich King.

It’s a bright future for artistic eyes in the virtual world. Be a part of it.