Warcraft: the greatest challenge is logging in (May 3, 2006)

World of Warcraft is a cool game once you get it started, but getting it started is not easy! It takes enough gigabytes of disk space that I needed to repartition my hard drive before playing it. It also requires going to an out-of-game website to enter a credit card number, even though the game comes with a free month of play. Once you start, you then have to click through two license agreements of some kind, and you cannot just click -- you have to scroll all the way to the bottom before the "Agree" button is enabled.

At this point, World of Warcraft looked to me like a poor but not insanely bad installation. The large disk usage is excusable for the great graphics (and they are great!). The credit card number is lame, but it only takes ten minutes. License agreements are bad enough, but having two is particularly silly. Are those things really going to stand up in court?

But it turns out I was not done yet. This was when the updates started, the most time-consuming part of the Warcraft Login Challenge. Warcraft posts an update every few days, and since the box I bought had been sitting on a shelf for at least a few months, you can imagine that I had quite a few updates queued up! The program did not explain what was going on, though, and so I thought for a while it was broken!

Some of the updates are large, and they sometimes flip you out of Warcraft and into a separate downloader program. Once a download finishes, it installs itself,slowly!, asks you to click through both license agreements again, and.... starts downloading more stuff. I thought it was the same download, at first, but it seems that there were simply very many updates queued up. The huge updates are bad, but not explaining what was going on made it much worse.

After all that I did manage to play a bit. Then, of the last three times I tried to get logged in, I got denied again! The first time was because their payment server had crashed. The second was because.... I do not know why. They have locked my account but have not contacted me for why. Possibly it is due to my credit card being from a different country (USA) than I live in (Switzerland), but who knows?

Warcraft is a good game, but it sure is hard to actually play it. Maybe I should have gotten Everquest instead.

Lex Spoon