Monday, March 06, 2006

World of Warcrap

I installed and setup World of Warcraft yesterday, and I'm just stunned by the level of incompetence and arrogance of Blizzard (the owners of the game). Somehow, millions of people find it so compelling that they not only shell out $50 for the games, but about $15 per month to be able to play it.

I haven't actually played the game, and I'm not interested in trying it. But the crap they put a paying customer through just to get to where I could play the game is astounding.

First, the installation from the four CDs takes about an hour. Why so long? Who knows. There's no explanation, but you are expected to sit there and swap the CDs when it wants you to. It would take about 12 minutes to copy four CDs to my hard drive, and then the installation could proceed without my help. Does it require a brain surgeon to think of that?

Second, the first time you fire up the game, you have to gaze at HUGE license agreement, followed by a HUGE Terms of Use, both in about 6-pt type that I couldn't see if I wanted to, and would surely take an hour or so to read, again, if I wanted to. Then it stops and starts downloading a “patch” to bring the version up to 1.9.0. After about fifteen minutes, it finishes, and informs me that it must restart to install the patch. OK. Now we wait about 30 minutes watching WoW patch itself.

Third, the patch completes, and WoW does indeed restart. And I have to signon again. And read the stupid “agreements” again. And then it finds it must download another patch (1.9.1), and again informs me that it will restart itself to apply the patch. This is a much smaller patch, and the total time to download, and apply it is only about two minutes.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth, repeat the last paragraph for patches 1.9.2, 1.9.3, and 1.9.4. The level of incompetence to create and release this kind of idiocy is breathtaking. In free software, this kind of crap would be an insult to the user. Just to be clear to any clueless n00bs out there, a programmer or designer that was half-assed competent would have a shell program that managed the login and patching process, and never repeated the stupid-as-shit “agreements”, or the login prompt.

Seventh, the most-wonderfullest-game-in-the-world finally decides that it's patched as well as it would like, and allows the mark, uh, player, to proceed to pick a “Realm” to play in. I gather these correspond to servers (although that doesn't make much sense, that's no drawback to Blizzard). Anyway, there were a few hundred, with names like “Raxxor”, and “Sen'jin” and “Proudmoore”. About half had a status of “Max (queued)”, some were “High”, “Medium”, and “Low”. My volunteer tester selected a “Low”, so as to avoid lag and latency. Surprise! The list was a crick of bullshit. Every realm was “Max (queued)”, and she had to wait about 10 minutes to be allowed to play. It seems they are always able to collect your money, but there's not always enough time or money to get the stupid servers running.

Eighth, it appears the player must spend some time customizing a character to play as. You can probably just zap one up quickly, but my volunteer tester spent half an hour trying to find just the right hair, and skin tone, and booty size.

Ninth, after completing the character build, we find that “Character creation is disabled at this time.” WTF? After all they put you through, they just up and declare they're not going to let you play today!

My mind is boggled. This level of plain old head-up-ass moronic bullshit does not come around very often. And they must be drowning in cash. They may have the world's best game programmers and designers, but evidently they have just dragged tome winos in off the street to program the surrounding infrastructure. And, I guess if you're making millions of dollars by the hour treating your customers like mangy dogs, why change?

So, you mangy dog, is it really worth it?


At 15 March, 2006 11:37, Blogger Mevious said...

Silly post -

Yes WoW has issues, specifically the login queues - and lots of the player base.

But when you consider what any MMORPG companies face, Blizzard is doing well for their basic 'overnight success'

If you've played other MMORPGs, which it sounds like you havent, you'd know this. hundreds of thousands of customers, interacting online 24/7?

Sacrifice your twitch instincts to play.

Why does it take 1 hour to install? because it copies gigabytes upon gigabytes of data to your drive. Get a faster drive if you dont want to wait.

At 15 March, 2006 13:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, WoW is crap, in the end I was

1-grinding in PvP for purple items, yay queues
2-trying to get a a steady guild for PvE, 3-5 hours of trying to get along with 20-40 people in the same instances to get...purple items
3-grinding for gold...for purple items
4-REPEAT, PAY 13 Euro per month
5-I gave my gold/nice items to a friend
6-I quit wow
7-loads of free time/cash
8-poking around with linux is way more fun
9-ima go buy Guild Wars?

At 15 March, 2006 23:57, Blogger Old Cranky Redneck said...

mevious: I guess we disagree on what is expected of a company that seems to have no capacity issues accepting payment from thousands of people, but only in delivering the service to thousands of people.

4 CDs contain at most 2.6 Gb of data. It could theoretically copy all four to my hard drive in five minutes from my 48x drive. Ten minutes in real life. Further unpacking and so forth could be backgrounded and not require realtime waiting by the customer. But that would require some consideration, and that doesn't seem to be on Blizzard's agenda.


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