Sensing that World of Warcraft is not the years long, multi-million user flash in the pan I expected it to be, this last weekend I partook in a holiday discount deal from the local GameStop. I picked up the World of Warcraft Battlechest for half off the MSRP (came to US$19 if you must know).
During my install of the product, the setup from the DVD was flawless.
However, I was expected to accept the mother of all End User License Agreements. For the love of all that’s holy, their legal department probably puts Microsoft attorneys to shame. This behemoth of a document consists of:
- 7 Pages
- 37 Paragraphs
- 275 Lines
- 3634 Words
- 19035 Characters
Who the hell is going to read that thing? Oh, I gave it the old college try and plowed through the first one and a half paragraphs then supplemented with scanning for keywords of interest in a handful of other paragraphs, but sheesh!
Later, while scanning through my hard drive to look at all the crap the installer left, I stumbled upon a newer version of the eula that is a year newer than the one i accepted. Blizzard managed to extend that large document by 2 pages, 3 paragraphs and 149 words. Needless to say, I’m not more educated on this one than the first.
OK, so far my positive WoW out of box experience went from positive to neutral, not bad, but let’s login to the server and see how it fares.
I find a desktop icon, nothing too fancy, big ‘W’, clean and crisp and to the point:
What followed that mouse clicky was the beginning of a 4 hour descent into hell that would not see me creating my first character until the following morning.
It appears that Blizzard doesn’t believe in rolling up their updates. The program detected there were updates to be installed before the game could begin. So it promptly downloaded and installed the first update. When that was done, i clicked Play and again it detected another update…same process followed. I had to install update after update after update for about 30-45 minutes before the sh*t really hit the fan. Some were pretty small, others ~256MB. It was turning into a real pain in the arse, what would have helped is to know how far I had to go through this user interface until we’re done. Maybe it could tell me “Andy, you are on update #6 of 10″.
After 30-45 minutes, the process wasn’t done, it was just getting started. Because then I learned it needed to download and install a 2GB update! WTF is this all about? It took 4 hours to download, this old man needed to get some shut eye so I hit the rack while the installer did its thing and unpacked/installed itself. So I was fast asleep while the unpacking and updating actually occurred; given it’s size and complexity it’s probably best I wasn’t watching it tear its innards apart and rebuild.
The next morning, I sit back down in front of the PC, click the ‘Play’ button and learn that *another* update had to be installed. Thankfully, I could tell that the date of the package was released just a few weeks before so I must be near the end. And sure enough it was over after that last turdlet was dropped on my system.
So after 4+ hours of downloads and installs/updates of WoW on a clean system, I could finally get it on and start the click fest with millions of other nerds.
And now, after having played Freylok the Druid Night Elf for about 12 hours over 3 days, I get it. I understand the appeal of the game and I’m looking forward to more, but it’s unfortunate a new user has to go through hours of hassle just to get logged in. Even Windows rolls up updates between service packs, why can’t a game as popular and ubiquitous as WoW do the same?
Things I’ve learned from this weekend experience:
- Blizzard’s OOBE (out of box experience) sucks bad if you’re a new user like me. Be prepared to hand hold your PC through hours of updates if installing on a clean PC. I will file a bug to Blizzard this week.
- WoW is one kick-ass game. The graphics are great, the size of the worlds is just unbelievably large. I knew it was massive, but sheesh, this is big and detailed. Tip of the hat to the development team and the IT Pros that have to maintain the servers.
- Even a hard core anti-social introvert like myself doesn’t mind interacting with strangers in this new world. Unlike Sim City or Second Life, the attraction to interact with strangers in WoW is that you probably have a lot in common with the thousands of characters hacking and slashing around you as you both fight on to achieve your quests or save your sorry arse from the ‘black hats’.
Down with the Horde! Long live the Alliance!