Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Player's Bill of Rights?

I didn't even bother trying to log on yesterday morning before work because I knew the servers would be down for maintenance, so I went to work, did my thing, went to the gym, and came home around 6:00 pm. To my disgust, the servers were still down. They remained down for another 2 hours before Blizzard decided to let us play on them again.

9:45 rolled around and, with 9 other guildies, into the Trial of the Crusader we went.

Beasts? Down.

Demon? Down.

Champions? Wipe, wipe, then down.

Twins? Down.

Bug? Uhh...

You said that last week, you asshole! I guess we'll try again later in the week.

By the way, look at that Recount for our Twins encounter:

6k? I be runnin' in ur coliseum, stealin' ur orbs.

Here's a fun trick: when you have to switch essences to go take down the other's shield, you can grab the orbs of the color you just switched to and it will stack on the ones that you collected from the previous color. I think I had the Empowered buff like three times. Pure win.


All of these problems, from not getting our server up until an hour before raid time, to not being able to fight Anub'arak, to the instance error shit still poppin' up, caused a lot of ruckus in trade chat. Lots of QQing, a topic Euripedes likes to discuss. This all raises a good question, though:

Do we have the right to bitch at Blizzard when we can't play our favorite game for a couple hours?

Forget the EULA/ToA or whatever the legal jargon that Blizzard spews out their mouths. I'm simply asking whether we, as consumers, are entitled to complaints about "maintenance Tuesdays."

We pay roughly $70 ($30 for Vanilla and BC a la Battle Chest, $40 for Wrath) to just install the game and play it the way it was meant to be played. We then pay $15 a month to continue playing, with the promise of new content through patches. The scale on which Blizzard patches WoW dwarfs other games.

Heh, dwarf.

Personally, I feel that the monthly fee is negligible when compared to other gaming venues. Sure, similar MMOs like Warhammer and EVE Online go for $15 a month also, but look at XBox Live.

I used to be pretty big into Halo 3, being a bored college student and all, and just having the ability to play online cost me 7$ a month. New map packs for Halo cost between 600 and 800 Microsoft Points, or $8 - $10 for new content. These packs didn't come out very often, and the limits of Halo 3 were some form of armed PvP combat, with standard elements of deathmatches, capture the flag, etc. WoW has much more to offer than Halo, and I certainly feel that the extra content justifies an additional $8 a month.

So when servers go down for maintenance, is this stealing money out of our pockets? In the past, Blizzard has credited players with a free day of playtime due to excessive problems with maintenance causing the servers to be down for much longer than expected. This shows that Blizzard sometimes acknowledges our loss of playtime and, by extension, money.

Should we expect this every time the realms are down for longer than promised? This becomes a slippery slope. How long do the servers need to be down for Blizzard to issue free playtime? A couple hours past their estimate? An hour? A half-hour? One minute past?

Euripedes' post (the one I linked earlier in this rambling) addresses Blizzard's perfectionism. If they're not satisfied with the way something turned out, i.e. Starcraft: Ghost, they're not going to let other people play it. They could just release a metric shit ton of sub-par Warcraft and Starcraft-themed games and make millions, if only because people that are familiar with both of the series would gobble them up. If they do that, however, down goes their product quality, and down goes their customer loyalty.

It's like Alien vs. Predator; from what I've heard, as I sadly haven't seen either movie, Alien and Predator were great, but along comes some edgy studio that wants to put them both in the same production and viola, you have a steaming pile of film crap. The remade Miami Vice also falls into this same category; I walked out of this movie not even an hour into it.

Therefore, Blizzard maintains their servers constantly, and they won't let their subscriber base even think about playing until they're satisfied that most of the problems have been ironed out. Mini-refunds are Blizzard's way of saying 'thank you for your patience,' and are in no way obligatory. What about the instance problems, and the Anub'arak glitches, you may ask? Suck it up, it's a big game and Blizzard only has so many employees to handle the problems. They're aware of the situation and will get to it when everyone stops flooding their offices with tears.

Just be grateful that Blizzard is in such caring hands.

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