Monday, January 30, 2006

Read up on the Basics

So while you're waiting for those patches to download, why not do a little reading about the game? If you have the Strategy Guide sit back and take a browse through it. It's not the best I've ever seen, but it was definitely better than the one for City of Heroes was. (That guide was terrible.)

Or you can take a look online. Blizzard has a number of game guides for the starting player. also has a number of guides.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Stinking Patches

Ok, so you've purchased your copy of World of Warcraft. Then you installed it and you thought the next step was playing, right? Of course not.

You see, there have been patches. Lots and lots of patches. Big ones. Little ones. All kinds of in between ones. For someone coming into the game now, you'll have to download some or all of the ones we've been downloading all along.

So how's that going? Horribly horribly wrong you say? Doesn't surprise me. Just because I've had such a bad time with it.

You see, WoW uses peer to peer downloading. I'm not up on the tech there but somehow it's good for them and it's somehow supposed to be good for us too. Apparently us doesn't include the Philadelphia area. Just take a look at the experiences we've had among our friends. For example - these are from the early days.

Canada ("M")About 1 Hour (for which we all curse him)
Florida ("R")About 2 Hours
Philadelphia 1 (me)Days. Literally.
Philadelphia 2 ("P")Hours - Overnight

These are rough estimates of course based on my horrible memory but you get the idea. We all got accepted into the beta just a week before the game opened up to the general public (not really a beta frankly). I was literally downloading it for a week. I disabled every fire wall, every virus system, anything I could think of to speed up the transfer. Nothing worked. Luckily though, if you get disconnected mid download, it will remember where you were and pick up from there.

Recent User Experiences

  • I just got word from my friend in Hawaii. He just started playing a few weeks ago and he said it took him only 2 hours to download everything he had to.

  • I just found this blog post from someone who started and said it took "over an hour" to download everything.

    Downloading from an Alternate Site

  • If everything is downloading fine for you, like it did for my friend in Hawaii then bravo.

  • If however, you experience problems which cannot be resolved through their help system, I suggest you download them from an alternate site.

  • Here's where I go: Instead of hours or days, it takes me less than an hour, sometimes less than 10 minutes depending on the size of the patch. I just have to execute the patch once it's downloaded.

    For now, ignore the "Mod" downloads. We'll discuss those later.

    Which Version of World of Warcraft Should I Buy?

    Which version of World of Warcraft (WoW) should you buy?

    There are two versions that were made: the regular "World of WarCraft" & the "World of Warcraft Collector's Edition" (CE). Both are PC based games that will work on Windows or Mac OS. You may want to check first to see if your computer meets the minimum System Requirements.

    The good news and the bad news is that the Collector's Edition became tough to find even a few weeks after the game was out. So just buy the regular.

    Here is how they differ:
    Regular EditionCollector's Edition
    2 Different CoversLarger Size Box
     Choice of 3 in-game pets
    -Cinematics DVD
    -Cloth Map
    -Art Book
    -10 Day Free Guest Pass
    Game on CD RomGame in both CD Rom & DVD

    In the end, my recommendation is to buy the Regular Version since the CE is so hard to find.

    What Version WoW I bought:

    I bought the CE and the best part was that I could load it from 1 DVD rather than multiple CDs. The box looked very cool but after that it really had no benefit to me. I do enjoy the little Diablo dude though. He's about the size of my character's knee and every once in a while he blows fire. It's fun to have the mega-boss of my favorite game follow me around, watching me kill more baddies, but that lasts about 5 minutes tops and then he winds up getting stored in the bank so I can have more room in my bag.

    Other Considerations:

  • If you want more than one character on the same server, the good news is that WoW allows up to 10 characters per server for free on the same account.

  • If you do buy the regular edition and later would like to upgrade to the CE you can buy it and won't have to reinstall the whole game. You can get the special in-game item by entering a code on an account page.

  • The regular version has 2 covers - one is a male Horde character, and the other is a female Alliance character. If you want to choose which you buy, you'll have to pick it up yourself in a store. If you order online, you won't be able to choose.

  • What Versions I've bought in the past:

    I bought the CE for Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) and Everquest II but neither of them were really worth the extra cost.

    What Versions I'll buy in the future:

    Unfortunately my impulses tend to do the shopping. If my brain gets smart and takes the credit card from my impulses I'll buy the regular edition. But since that's unlikely, my next game will probably be a CE.
    Why do I let my impulses do this? Probably because I know how mad I'll be if I'm walking around the starter area and I see other people, who by definition - are not me, with the CE in-game pet or boots or whatnot that I dont' have. Then I'll do something reckless and buy the CE in addition to the regular version.