World of Warcraft Rant
For some while now, Bigwig has been encouraging me to join the “World of Warcraft” (WOW) massive multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG). I have been resisting because I just don’t have the time to commit to the game. For roughly the last two-and-a-half years I’ve been pursuing my MBA. Playing WOW wouldn’t have been condusive to me concluding my studies. I also have a life that I’d like to retain. I have work, a social life and interests that don’t involve sitting in front of a computer for eight hours at a time. Playing video games all day certainly isn’t in my fitness regimen.
And, no, playing the game for an hour or so each day isn’t an option. That would be a compromise. In my family, there is no half-way compromise. There is full-in or not in at all. We’re a bunch of addictive personalities and whatever we happen to do, we do to the exclusion of all else. This is why my brother gave up family, blogging, eating and sleeping for 14 months in order to play WOW. This is why my father plays Freecell for hours at a time. He’s trying to beat all 64,000 permutations. It’s just the way we are.
Knowing the dangers that lay in store for me, I have avoided buying the game. But I had a whole day free yesterday and last week’s South Park about WOW was hysterical. The weather was cold and damp, I’m done with school and I thought sitting on the sofa under a blanket all day sounded just fine. Playing a video game sounded like just the thing. So, at about 7:00 p.m. last night, I decided to check out WOW. I went to the World of Warcraft Community Site and noticed they had a free 10-day trial. Perfect. I could play the game for a bit and then resume my normal life. That would scratch the gaming itch that all men must feel every now and again.
I thought it would take me about half an hour to get set up and start playing.
Now, I don’t like to feed any conspiracy theories but it did cross my mind that the whole “free” server was a scam and they used the error message to drive people to the paid service. But there was no way in hell I was going to pay anyone to download the game. So I tried the free server again. And again. And again. Finally I managed to convice it that I wasn’t going away and that I wasn’t going to give them any money no matter how many times they asked. The free server finally gives me a link to download what I think is the proper file.
Wrong. It turns out that I have to first download and install a download manager and then I get to download the game. I decide this isn’t too much of a hassle so I do exactly what is asked of me. I install the download manager and then click the link to download the game. I figure that, in this day and age of broadband internet access, it shouldn’t take me too long. Wrong again. The download manager tells me it’ll be an interminable 1 hour, 15 minutes before the file is downloaded completely.
This is a bit off-putting. The last time I waited that long to play a game, it was 1983 and I was waiting for “Crush, Crumble and Chomp” to load from a cassette tape onto my Atari 800. I can still remember the screeching noise the game played as it loaded into the systems memory. We would put it in the tape deck, start the load and run outside to play for half-an-hour or so. The game was a blast, however, so I have good memories of it. It’s a good thing that it was so much fun because otherwise I would’ve decided to stop right there.
As it is, I settled in to watch “60 minutes” and leave the PC alone to download the file. (More on this later but did anyone see see Leslie Stahl launch “you poor thing” softball questions at Carly Fiorina and Patricia Dunn from HP? They were the most biased interview and weakest journalism I’ve seen in a long time.)
Roughly an hour later, I’m ready to install the game. Before I do that, however, I have to unzip the file. A simple matter, right? Wrong again, Clyde. It takes twenty-five to thirty more minutes to unzip the file. By now, we’re finished with “60 minutes” and it’s pushing 8:45 or so. I’m not going to get more than two hours of gaming in at this rate. Maybe not even that much as I have to be up early for a dentist appointment first thing Monday morning. Dammit.
Eventually the game unzips. I am not looking forward to playing too much any more but I start the install with some hope left of actually playing the game for a while before going to bed.
Forty-five minutes later, the game is installed. I am tired, cranky and I’m ready to tell the game to go f*ck itself. This is all Bigwig’s fault, that bastard. I didn’t want to play the stupid game anyway. It’s all a bunch of g@dd@mn geeks with no lives playing anyway. But I’ll create a character and then log off for the evening. I’ll at least get that far.
I fire up the game and it asks me for my account name and login. I thought I’d already created this online so I enter the information I used to download the file. Nope, that doesn’t work. That was my FilePlanet account, not my WOW account. Grrr.
After agreeing to another license and another set of terms, I have my account. I go back to WOW and enter the new information. Immediately the software begins downloading an “update”. (Read: “patch”) When the”update” is downloaded, I get a message saying I have to shut down WOW and start it again. I really am done with the damn game at this point but I do it anyway. It’s after 9:30 but I can get in a hour or so of game time after the patch is installed. I actually kind of expected a patch anyway.
The download for the patch is agonizingly slow, however. It’s only 450 MB or so but I’m told it will be two more hours before the thing is downloaded. Two hours is an hour and fifty-five minutes longer than I want to wait for the damn thing. I visit the WOW website to troubleshoot the download speed issue. I’m told that I can either open up three or four ports in my firewall and in my router or I can try closing some background applications. I am not monkeying with my firewall for any damned game so I decide to shut down as many background processes as possible to see if it helped. I don’t know why developers insist on using some g@dd@mn non-standard ports for every piss-ant application but it’s a g@dd@mn pain in the @$$ and I wish they would just stick to the standard f*cking ports so my f*cking firewall doesn’t look like a f*cking sieve to any g@dda@mn hacker that might come along. G@dd@mmit.
Eventually the patch downloads and after another eventually it finishs installing. It’s after 10:00 and I just want to get this all done so I can create my character and go the hell to bed. I fire up WOW, agree to another g@dd@mn license and another f*cking set of terms and enter my account information.
I’m stunned when the f*cking program downloads another f*cking “update”. (Let’s get this straight: it’s not an update. It’s a bug patch. I know it’s a bug patch and you know it’s a bug patch and the company knows it’s a g@dd@mn patch for the initial piece of buggy sh!t they released in the first f*cking place. Just call it a patch. Don’t try to sell me any of that “update” sh!t.)
At this point, the game can suck it and the entire company can rot in hell for all I care. I don’t want to play the stupid game anyway. I have better things to do with my time and spending four hours setting up a f*cking game is not one of those things. But I will create a character before I go to bed if I get nothing else done at all. Now it’s a matter of principle. No freaking game is going to get the better of me.
Fire up the software. Agree to the g@dd@mn license and another set of f*cking terms. Does anybody really read that crap? Freaking lawyers. I hereby maintain that, even though I agreed to the terms, I did not read them. So there. Enter my account information and hold my breath.
No updates. I’m in. Finally. In fact, the company even congratulates me on successfully installing the software and welcomes me to the “World of Warcraft”. They must know what a pain in the ass it is to get even this far. Helpfully, they recommend a game realm to me, “Underside”. Thinking that certainly they know best, I decide to just go with their recommendation. I’m almost done. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
When they told me “Underside” was full and I was number 320 in the queue to enter, I lost it. I officially blew a gasket. After the whole pain-in-the-ass process the game is going to recommend tp me a realm that is full and is going to take me approximately forty-five minutes to enter? I don’t think so. People actually go through this willingly? People actually wait 15 to 45 minutes to get into a realm so they can play a game when you can fire up any other game and be playing inside of two minutes on most consoles? I’m stunned. This game must be some kind of electronic crack to get people to jump through this kinds of hoops.
That may be so but I am not waiting two more minutes to play this f*cking game. I try another realm. “You are 298th in the queue. It will take approximately 14 minutes to begin”. Bugger that for a dollar. Not waiting two more minutes. Another realm. 302 and 12 minutes. Hell.f*cking.no. One more try, way down the list…
Finally. Success. Four hours and ten minutes after I started, I’m finally at the point where I can create a character. And I have no desire to ever play the game again. I certainly have no desire to pay $14.99 a month for the privilege. Blizzard can bite my hairy-@$$ if they think they are ever going to see another penny from me after putting me through all that. Bastiges. Farkin’ Iceholes. Sominabotches.
BTW, my character is Paulinus, a human paladin. Look for me and maybe we can go on a quest or something.