WoW Trial: Final Thoughts

I was planning to write about something else today (something, anything but WoW) but I’m all out of stuff to write. I usually avoid doing technology posts on Saturdays (it’s a personal rule) but that’s really all I can think of right now. So I decided to simply get my last WoW post out of the way so I can move on to bigger and better things. It has to be done. Forgive me if this post is barely coherent, but I’m typing it at an ungodly hour in the morning to be queued up to appear around 11 as usual. I’m tired, I’m cold and I need to go to bed soon. First, however let’s discuss WoW.

I could use this post to carefully discussing all the things this game has going for it, and all the things I didn’t like but I feel this is what I have been doing all this time. But I know you will ask me: “Why are you not subscribing to this game? After all the nice things you said about it you will just abandon it like that?” So this post will essentially be a “Why am I breaking up with WoW” clarification.

Sunset while flying over Mugolore

It’s not you – it’s me

Let’s face it – I’m not that hard core about video games. I’m what you call a casual gamer – I just don’t have time to invest in a game that requires commitment. Few hours a day is actually a lot to me – I have a job, a blog to write, a teaching gig, and a life. Ok, that last one is a lie, but the rest of these things are real. This week I made the effort to play almost every single day of the week to get the most out of the trial and it was getting to be a bit much. Not only I didn’t hit the 20th level cap on the trial account – I was getting kinda tired. If I was paying a monthly fee for the game, then I wold feel like I was wasting money every day I chose not to play. And when a game is starting to become a chore, you know it’s not for you. Some people can do this but I like to do other things with my free time like learning new things, coding, catching up on my RSS feeds and… Well, playing other games.

Another Picture of Sunset

I’m not ready for commitment.

Here is the deal – I don’t need another job. Getting up to level 70 is challenging and time consuming enough but it supposedly gets even worse from there on. Raiding is like a night shift job – you need to be on a schedule, you need to put up with juvenile assholes who do Leroy Jenkins and fuck up your shit. One thing I just refuse to do is to set my schedule around a game. That’s just ain’t happening, period. Games are supposed to be this fun, leisure thing you do when you want to unwind, or waste few hours having fun. But that’s on my schedule – blowing off other shit because I need to raid is just not something I want to do at this point in my life. :P

We are just not right for each other

I’m just not a MMO player. I usually like my games to have a good story. In RPG’s I also like open ended game play, that encourages exploration and non-linear progress. That said, I’m willing to settle for linear storyline that keeps me on rails all the time if the story is good. MMO games usually sport huge worlds and tout non-linearity but in most cases this is a blatant lie. Every single MMO I played (GW, WoW, Eve, Anarchy) had this curious, quasi linear setup – especially for the first 10-20 levels. On the surface you have illusion of choice – you can either do quests, grind or just explore. Sadly the way the world is constructed, exploring is not always a good idea. You will probably recall my earlier WoW posts about being raped by high level mobs. This happens more than you think. The second you step off the beaten track you end up swarmed by high level monsters which really limits what you can do.

For example, if you are Tauren you are really supposed to stay in Mugolore area for the first few levels running between Narache and Bloodhoof. Then you move to Thunderbluff area for more high level mobs and quests. Then you head out and do missions/grind in the Barrens running between the Crossroads and Ratchet for a while. Then you can progress to Origmar, and etc. If while traveling to Crossroads you turn the wrong way and head towards Durstwallow Marshes you get raped. If you decide to leave Ratchet and explore the coast of Merchant Bay you will get raped. If you leave Origmar and head North, you get raped. All the quests are either local, or send you to your next grinding/quest giving location. At some point you can perhaps break out of this bind, but for a while you will be essentially on rails.

Lazy Peon Sleeping LOL

It wouldn’t be so bad, but the story is just not there. All the quests are of the form “kill X of Y” or “bring M to N” and there is no plot twists, no extensive dialogs and no actual “role playing” by making choices about your characters path based on their personality. You grind, you level up and you move on. It’s fun for a while, but I always seem to be looking for more. Wow is not that bad here because the game world is designed with a really great attention to detail, sense of humor and aesthetic touch. So exploring is fun, but it does get a bit repetitive.

To tell you the truth, I’m a little bit antisocial when I’m playing these games. When I’m in a group I always feel rushed and I don’t get to take my time to look around, enjoy the scenery and explore. But in these games you can’t always solo every area which means I now have to make some friends and convince them to go grind in that general area where my quest objectives are. And even then you will have people running off to do their own things, idiots thinking it’s a good idea to aggro the whole mob or the silent types that just want to get the mission done and get out. Some people enjoy this social aspect of the game – consider it to be a bit of a double edged sword. It’s nice to play with other people, but I do not always feel like being social.

Oh, and did I mention that every single person IRL that I told I’m playing WoW has rolled their eyes and told me I’m retarded? I’m serious, I’m getting some pretty bad peer pressure thing going on here. There are tons of people online who were really helpful with tips and advice, but it doesn’t help if your friends, family and coworkers are all making fun of you for playing this. lol

WoW is a fun game, and arguably it is probably the best MMO I have played. I think it’s fair to say that I enjoyed it more than Guild Wars because of the colorful characters, detailed world and interesting locales and the sense of humor. I love that WoW doesn’t take itself 100% seriously, and I really enjoy seeing things like lazy orc peons sleeping on the job. I definitely enjoyed this game more than Eve which was like a space sim that didn’t let you fly, and made you balance spreadsheets all the time. WoW is very pretty (especially during the day) and has a lot to offer.

End of Trial

But it’s just not for me for all the reasons stated above. If it was free, I would probably continue playing it casually till I reached level 70. But it’s not, and Blizzard actually seems to be going out of their way to make the process of actually subscribing to the game after using the trial complicated. For example, if it was just a matter of typing in a credit card number on my account page so that they could charge me the monthly fee I could potentially be tempted to do it. Naturally, it’s not that easy. To continue playing the game after the trial has expired I actually have to go and buy a physical box in order to get the CD key. They don’t care if you downloaded the full client already – you still need to buy the box. And yes, it has to be a box – Blizzard is not selling CD keys online. This is bizarre to me as it just creates an artificial barrier for Trial players. WTF is up with that? Anyone cares to explain?

But it works for me – the act of physically buying the box is something I can’t really justify in my mind as easily as typing in a cc# into a text box. So I’m not doing it. They could have lured me in pandering to my laziness, but instead they strengthened my resolve not to subscribe to this game. :mrgreen:

[tags]wow, world of warcraft, blizzard, games, game reviews[/tags]

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17 Responses to WoW Trial: Final Thoughts

  1. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Not letting you just punch in some details to subscribe is pretty stupid – there have to be plenty of people who are too lazy to bother going and buying the box, but who would subscribe at least for a while longer if they could do so without standing up.

    Everything should be available without leaving the computer chair if they want to pull in the widest audience of geeky types. Steam, despite its other issues, at least has that down pat.. makes it a feasible delivery system instead of an annoyance.

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    You are right – Steam content delivery is a viable alternative to P2P. You pay for the game online, download it and it just works. The DRM part is kinda nasty, but they did get a little bit better over time.

    I really don’t get why they just don’t sell the CD key online. I mean it’s not like you can trade them or anything. You do need to have a valid account and subscription to play after all.

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  3. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    In regards to the money thing, you’re not ‘wasting money’ if you don’t play every day. It’s entertainment. I rate things in ‘movie units’. A movie costs ~$14 here. Do I get more or less entertainment for my dollars than I would if I were watching a movie? In the case of WoW, which for me costs about the same as a movie, I was getting far more hours of entertainment out of it. Then, when it became dull, I was getting less, and dropped it. The amount you pay per month is really not that high.

    It’s also funny to go to the forums and watch people ‘threatening’ to drop their accounts. Yeah, because losing your account out of 8 million subscribers is going to make Blizzard stand up and notice. The money is just not that significant. The time sink is significant though, and you do need an entertainment return on time invested.

    Finally, Blizzard are in the enviable position of being able to call all the shots. If they want you to get a CD-key, well, they’re not going to lose that much if you don’t get one. Owning well over 50% of the total MMORPG market, they can afford to shed a few lost casuals if it makes their job elsewhere easier. Not saying it’s right, but not saying that their style of business is wrong, either. It seems to be working for them.

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Hmm… Good point about the $15 dollar being equivalent of renting a movie or two. I never thought about it like that.

    And yeah – they are calling the shots, and it’s totally their prerogative to require the CD key. I’m just surprised they choose to do it that way seeing how simply requiring an “online signup fee” that costs exactly as much as the retail version would allow them to make the same amount of money while making the transition from trial into fully paid account so much easier.

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  5. Tummblr UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Are you sure you can’t log into the Account Manager and pay with your credit card to upgrade your trial account to full? I was under the distinct impression that you just needed to pay to continue playing.

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  6. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Nope. I think that’s after you sign up. My account just has a big box that says: “If you purchased a retail copy of WoW please enter the authentication here”. I tried clicking on links for “Subscription Setup” and “Add Game Card” and it keeps redirecting me back to this page.

    Perhaps there are several different way to get into WoW and some of them do give you that option but not this one.

    I also saw there is a trial of Burning Crusade out there somewhere. Here is an unrelated question: is Burning Crusade a one time fee, or does it add to your monthly charges as well?

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  7. Joseph UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Debian GNU/Linux says:

    If they charged retail value for the cd key only, then they’d actually loose money if you bought the box. They aren’t getting anywhere near the retail value from store sales, but plenty of people would buy it online for that price,

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  8. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I actually don’t understand why MMORPG don’t have a pay per time scheme, instead of the either pay per month (WoW) or pay firsthand (GW). I think that the WoW scheme is a rip off (and sorry Matt, I don’t buy the film comparison, because it is not the same value for me). But I also think that the problem of GW (whose game mechanics and storyline I prefer) is that they can’t offer the same level of “entertainment”, as Matt put it, for the obviously lesser amount of money they get.

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  9. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I loved this post! Brilliant observations, especially when you write:

    Here is the deal – I don’t need another job. Getting up to level 70 is challenging and time consuming enough but it supposedly gets even worse from there on. Raiding is like a night shift job – you need to be on a schedule, you need to put up with juvenile assholes who do Leroy Jenkins and fuck up your shit.

    That is EXACTLY my issue. I actually slogged my way through to level 70, only to find it doesn’t end. Which is the point, I guess. But when I looked back I realized all I had accomplished was…well…to get to level 70. All that’s left is to try to raid for nicer shit. Big whoop. And the people who have MORE than one level 70 toon…man…really?

    I haven’t played in more than a week…I don’t think I will. :)

    Playing Bioshock now :)

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  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Alphast – my guess is that if you are paying a “per hour” fee you will closely monitor your game time – kinda like long distance call. Imagine what would happen if a parent found out they owe Blizzard $600 at the end of the month, because their son was playing 8 hours a day, every day or something like that? They would immediately cancel the account.

    A flat monthly fee is more balanced and less scary to the customer. In fact people often forget to cancel their account for few months, or simply keep paying the fee “in case they want to get back into it in a week or two”. They get paid whether you play or not – so their income is much more predictable from month to month.

    @Steve – I’d play BioShock but it will melt my puny computer with it’s unreasonable graphics prowess. Also, I hear that the DRM on that game requires you to sell your soul in order to play it and I kinda like my soul.

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  11. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    But when I looked back I realized all I had accomplished was…well…to get to level 70.

    Ah, but there lies your problem (and many others’ as well). It’s not really about ‘getting to 70’, it’s about enjoying yourself (as is any game). Just getting to 70 to say you’ve done it is pointless. If you’re not enjoying the ‘journey’ then yes, you are wasting your time. If you are enjoying the time you’re spending getting there, and doing the things you do once you are there, then fine, keep on playing. Besides, when it comes to MMORPGs, you need to let go of the idea that they’re supposed to be ‘finishable’.

    The target isn’t ‘level 70 toon’, the target is ‘enjoying myself’.

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  12. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Ah, but there lies your problem (and many others’ as well). It’s not really about ‘getting to 70′, it’s about enjoying yourself (as is any game).

    But therein lies your problem. An endless of progression of the same thing over and over cannot be enjoyable to all but the dimmest of people. It can’t possibly be enjoyable to do variations of the same thing ad nauseam…like Luke said, as you progress, it becomes a second, unpaid, job. See, a game is really only fun when it has an actual point. So, maybe I don’t get MMORPGs. I also don’t “get” Second Life either, but that doesn’t make it any less lame.

    @Luke: Er…yeah…the DRM…um…ya…I bought the game, then downloaded a sweet crack…so I don’t have the DRM crap on my PC AND I don’t have to put the DVD in the drive every time I want to play. :)

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  13. vacri AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    An endless of progression of the same thing over and over cannot be enjoyable to all but the dimmest of people. It can’t possibly be enjoyable to do variations of the same thing ad nauseam

    WTF? Are you human? Do you know any humans? People who watch repeats over and over again, people who read the same books by the same authors over and over, people who do the crossword/sudoku every single day, hell, even people who have sex the same way with the same person all the time?

    Point is, if you’re enjoying it, then do it. If you’re not, then stop. Stop treating ‘max levelz0rz’ as the target and instead start treating it as ‘enjoying myself’. If you find it is a grind, then yes, stop doing it. What’s stupid is not being entertained by repetition, but wasting your leisure time doing something you hate to chase some goal you don’t want.

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  14. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Uh, oh… I sense tons of negativity here. I see both of your points. Personally I saw every single episode of Futurama 10 or 20 times, but I still watch it every time it is on TV and I still laugh at some of the jokes. Then again, I haven’t touched Guild Wars for years now because I just got bored with the repetition, despite the fact that unlike WoW it actually had a strong main quest storyline behind it. Go figure.

    I think that what Steve meant to say that leveling is not really the intended target but it does become a fixation after a while because this is the part of the game that is your “reward”. It gets to the point where you are like “this is boring, but if I stay here and keep killing these things for few more minutes then I will level up and then I can finally do XYZ”.

    On the other hand I think you are right vacri – obviously tons of people get a lot of entertainment value from this game. It wasn’t really for me so I stopped after the trial, but someone else can get hours and hours of fun just out of grinding. :P

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  15. hi REPUBLIC OF KOREA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:


    give me wow 10 trial cdkey pz~~

    my mail is

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  16. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Dude, wtf? Just go and download the free trial – there is no CD key necessary.

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  17. Pingback: Terminally Incoherent » Blog Archive » Blizzard Doesn’t Want Me to Play World of Warcraft UNITED STATES WordPress

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