So after the Fileplanet spots filled up Monday, Tuesday morning, around 6:00 am I got into open beta through Worldofwarcraft.com. The problem now lies in downloading the actual game. Blizzards proprietary Bit-Torrent application does not limit upload speeds. So my download starts at around 650KBytes/sec and then settles down to 10-25Kbytes/sec. This is to be expected says Blizzard because I am behind a Firewall. Now the Upload, starts at 0, then raises to 20Kbytes for one minute, then Tops around 110Kbytes a minute and NEVER goes back down. That is my maximum Upload and I am NOT cool with that. I don't mind sharing, but there is no way in HELL I am going to let Blizzard only give me 10-25Kbytes/sec and Milk me for 110Kbytes/sec Up. I've tried many individual torrents with no Success. So now I am in no mans land. Unless I can find a torrent that allows me to download it within a bit torrent client that lets me limit Upload rates, I won't be playing WoW until Release. And if Blizzard decides to let players keep characters from open beta into release I doubt I will play at all.
I dislike Blizzard fan-bois on multiple levels. Following anything in life with the sole belief that it is the only possible path is a layout for disappointment. I especially hate people who claim that Blizzard can do no wrong; even when Blizzard adamantly spits in their faces they seem to feel that it's sacred spit of the gods. This type of mindless following is in essence what Humans have become so known for.
The Blizzard I might have liked died a long time ago; their last good game being Diablo. Let me explain. Warcraft was amazing in the dimension upon which it existed. It expanded the whole Idea of what a computer game could really do at that time. Then Came Warcraft 2. It was one of the large reasons RTS's became so big in the late 90's. Issue number one; blizzard was not the sole being responsible for the RTS boom, however they take sole credit for it. The game many people forget about as having actually existed and rivaled Warcraft 2 was Command & Conquer, which I found to be just as amusing, but lacking in multiplayer where Warcraft 2 excelled. In the end the Multiplayer goodness found in Warcraft 2 was non-existent in Command & Conquer.
The majority of inspiration and wealth of programming knowledge left somewhere after Diablo. One of the coders for Diablo I remember meeting in Programming classes at my High School. He actually sent me a free copy of Diablo when it came out. I was thoroughly impressed. It has become however, very evident that the skill of coders and the inspiration behind games has walked out the door.
Diablo was also revolutionary in what it accomplished. It created an easy layout to play a rudimentary form of Dungeons & Dragons with your friends either over a LAN or a WAN such as the internet. It brought so many different ideas into a flowing entity of excellent goodness. It offered three classes that in themselves offered a multitude of expansion for that time. The graphics were stupendous and the fighting was flawless. Then the cheats and hacks came out of the woodwork. It seems Blizzard was not very security minded when creating games, which made for amazing games, but also made for many nights of pure anguish on Battle.net. In the end Diablo was absolutely awesome, but the experience was marred by cheating 10 year olds from little kid land.
Let’s take a look at two things Blizzard did in the evolution and process of WoW. The first was offering stress-tests and open beta entries through File Planet. This action shows they are more concerned with their bottom line and profit margin than a good gaming experience. It also shows just what they think of what they call "beta". See Blizzard has picked up on the wonderful idea that most people seem to be keen on these days, beta is a symbol of status. The days of beta testing to actually find bugs are long over. Now are the days of bragging to your friends about how you got into beta and they didn't. It’s about letting everyone know just what you think about a game that’s not even close to being done.
This troubles me to a great extent, because almost all MMO companies are now under the assumption that a game can be released full of bugs and problems, and can be fixed over the following year. That all they need to do is get a shell of the game operational to give the hordes of players something to gawk about.
The second thing Blizzard did was require that the Zip for the betas be opened with Winzip 9.0. Now I have not witnessed this first hand, however I've heard from a multitude of sources that it's true. I find that disheartening since I've vowed to never use WinZip again in my life. WinRAR is so much smaller and does so much more.
If I had to discern a point from my mindless rambling it would be this, that Blizzard is no longer the company I knew when Warcraft 2 came out; it has changed from a company built for gamers to a company about mad money. In the end am I really that surprised? No not at all, because every other company is the same way. I remember when Fallout by Interplay came out. Interplay was the bomb. They really cared for the gaming community and you could see it in their work. But after a while it got to be too much for them. The secret is that the problem doesn't lie within the companies but within the gaming community itself. The volatility of this very community is nerve shattering. Nine years ago I would have never thought that companies would have switched to a money oriented philosophy so quickly. Then again I would have never imagined using strands of chicken wings as a basis for making processors run 50 times faster and 80 times cooler than silicon.
Then there is Blizzard, a company whose has shown through many different facets just how much they care for their gaming community, and yet people still follow them mindlessly. It irritates me to no end. And to try and explain to them how they are being laughed at and ridiculed on a daily basis by the Blizzard brass, they shrug it off like nothing. I had a discussion once with a guy comparing Total Annihilation to Starcraft. I could not believe how intellectually challenged he was to think that in a million years Starcraft was a superior game. Now I am NOT saying about his opinion. If he liked Starcraft better that’s cool, but to say that Starcraft was a better designed, coded and implemented game is undeniable ignorant. Total Annihilation was built from the ground up using modular inter-connecting blocks of code sub-portable to an infinite amount of multi-level states. I have currently over 1500 UNIQUE units in my Total annihilation Build. I can sit down and take 20 minutes and create a new unit, and make it unique and make it kick ass. His argument was based around how Starcraft was built so well and how it was so original. Bullshit. Starcraft was the biggest rip off of Warcraft 2 combined with Command & Conquer I have ever seen. The sheer idiocy behind the idea of Starcraft being original is like adding Ice Cream to a banana and trying to patent it saying you were the first to develop the combination of ultimate deserty goodness.
And now we arrive upon Warcraft III or should I say "Role-Craft III". The whole Idea of Warcraft III fitting into the franchise of Warcraft is mind boggling. The game is so far from the mind set of the other two it’s un-comprehendible. Practically every person I talk says they love the unit specializations and customizations, but I don't. Warcraft is about mass, it's about strategy, not about single units, not about small parties. The races were trash, the story line was trash, and the whole game was trash. Of all the RTS's I've played in my life, Warcraft III has one of the worst pathing jobs I've ever seen. The whole game left such a horrible taste in my mouth, that I found myself playing Warcraft II on a Pentium 150 with 32 Megs of Sram in DOS that I built to solely remind myself of what the Warcraft franchise used to be.
A game is what you make of it, and if it is fun to you then enjoy it to no end. Do not however come to me claiming that because it’s a Blizzard game it will be better than EQ2 or other MMO’s. That claim is mindless and lacking of evidence. So as you can see I’m not to happy with how Blizzard has acted over the last months, and I’m trying hard to stay positive, because I’d like to give World of Warcraft a fair try. I’ve played it a few times and it was fun, but if Blizzard decides to keep up this attitude of players being inferior to the corporation, then they will quickly lose my business. After all I have a SOE all access pass, so I can play EQ, EQ2 and Planetside anytime I feel the need arise for games I’ve liked in the past.