" /> Just a Few More Minutes: November 2005 Archives

« October 2005 | Main | December 2005 »

November 19, 2005

World of (Snore)craft

Some weeks ago I finally cancelled my subscription to Star Wars Galaxies, a massively multiplayer online game whose ambition and depth was no match for poor customer service, quality assurance, and production management. It was my first entry into the massively multiplayer genre. I'm now more fascinated by the concept of online persistent worlds and multiplayer gameplay than I have time to pursue it.

With SWG out of the picture, I'm left playing City of Heroes, a much less complicated superhero MMO -- perfect for people with limited free time, although much less intellectually engaging.

By far the most popular MMO is World of Warcraft by Blizzard, with hundreds of thousands more players than its nearest competitor. I've always been mildly curious about the game, and with the family away this weekend I finally have time to try out the 10-day free trial of the game at fileplanet.com. So, in between fits of housecleaning, I'm downloading and installing the game.

I started a long time ago ago. It took 45 minutes for me to reach a place in the queue to download the file in the first place -- a 2.8 gig file -- and another 30 minutes(?) for the installer to run, and now another 30 minutes for the game to shut itself down, download a patch, install the patch to update the game, restart, shut itself down, download a new patch....

For a free download, I feel like I'm paying with an awful lot of time to sample a game to which I'm not going to subscribe. No matter whether World of Warcraft has a million subscribers, it's technical obstacles like that which make online gaming such a fringe experience.

Edited to add: Finally got the game to finish loading and logged in. Chose a server to start playing. "(Server Name) is full. Position in queue: 46. Estimated time: 17 min." Why would anyone pay a monthly fee to wait in a line?