Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011


This might be old news or something that I just missed, but someone on #tweetfleet mentioned that World of Warcraft has instituted a limited F2P system.  This seems to replace their previous experiments with 10-day trial accounts, given the F2P accounts -- "starter accounts", Blizzard calls them coyly -- have no time limit.  Just a level limit (20), a gold limit (10), a conversation limit, a guild limit, and four or five other limits, too.

But of course, if you want to upgrade your starter account to a full account, Blizzard will be happy to help you with that.

As I've mentioned on this blog several times, I've never played WoW.  I don't think I've even seen WoW being played, now that I think about it.  When it came out, I was opposed to the MMO genre itself.  I've obviously gotten over that.  ;-)  But even when I became open to signing up for an MMO, World of Warcraft didn't appeal to me.  And that in itself is very strange.  I'm a spaceships guy as I mentioned yesterday.  But even more than a spaceships guy, I'm a high fantasy guy.  I grew up on Lord of the Rings and the Belgariad and Dungeons and Dragons.  I was into swords and sorcery long before it was cool to be into them.

I know a big portion of my reluctance about WoW is the Skinner box nature of the WoW existence.  At the micro level, you're not playing WoW.  You're looking for those last two spiders so the little "8/10" becomes a "10/10" so you can turn in the quest.  At the macro level, you're not playing WoW either.  You're looking for something that will move your gear score from 775 to 800 so that you can be a credible threat on the higher-level raids that will get you something that will move your gear score from 800 to 850.  It's process-oriented, not fun-oriented.

I said I hadn't played WoW.  I didn't say I wasn't familiar with the underlying concepts.  ;-)

But maybe that's just a WoW-hater's misconception.  I cheerfully admit that it's not based on any facts or experience.  Hell, I've probably gotten most of my opinion about WoW from listening to other people's opinions about WoW.  And as my wife told me last night, that isn't like me.

So, it might be interesting to take Blizzard up on this.  I'm told that level 20 is something that an experienced WoW-player could grind out in a couple of hours, but as a complete WoW-newbie, it might take me four or five.  That isn't a huge time investment.

Or am I just tempting fate?  Or worse, wasting my time?


  1. You can get to 20 as an experienced player, who flings a lot of fancy loot down at your new character, in probably like 6 hours or so. But a new character who, like, goes and looks around the world, explores a bit, and plays it like a game? You could spend a few days and enjoy yourself the whole way. Remember that anyone who blogs about WoW is a bittervet who got over the whole "ooh shiny world" thing a long time ago :)

    Also, if you're interested in trying Rift (which is a new and well-executed WoW clone), I can fling you a 7 day trial code.

  2. Thanks bones, good to know. And thanks for the offer on RIFT. I spent about six or seven hours with it during its Beta. Didn't hook me.

  3. Cool. I'd be interested to see how you compare starting out fresh in WoW vs. starting out fresh in Rift.

  4. Aegwynn is the server, Big Damm Heroes is our guild. We'll be waiting for you. ;)

  5. "It's process-oriented, not fun-oriented." Anything can be process-oriented if that is your intent. WoW's initial draw was experiencing a ground level, first person view of Warcraft I/II/III. It was all about the lore. You can make it all about the leveling and equipment if you want and miss all of the fun. I had fun in WoW until the "endgame" required specific equipment and scripted moves to be successful, and more importantly, the people become intolerant of anyone without them.

    For me, EVE has never been about the lore. I don't read the stories or listen to the news. Even after six years, I only know the very basics of humans came thru a gate that collasped and humans splintered into 4 groups. One group was enslaved and one group was elitist. I see EVE as lacking the interesting lore and to be more process-oriented than WoW, but I managed to have fun playing both.

    I will note that of the 15 or so people that I introduced to both games, all of them found WoW fun and subscribed for years. None of them liked EVE past one day. I played EVE for the trial and left for several years before I tried it again. I felt the biggest problem with EVE was that the player intolerance comes at the BEGINNING, whereas it comes at the END in WoW. I was lucky to find Eve University on the second try that mitigated the harshness of EVE's players, user interface, and gameplay.

    So, yes, be careful. You may find a temptress.

  6. And that's the comment of the week.

  7. Playing WoW will introduce you to more of the Starcraft style targeting system. You click a target, use a thing, that thing gets applied to the target. There is terrain line-of-sight but not unit line-of-sight.

    The skinner-box part of WoW is never more evident than levelling up - you get surrounded by a swirling glow, while a delightful chime sounds. Levelling up is a reward, in the behavioural conditioning sense.

    There are 8 classes: Warrior, Mage, Priest being the "holy trinity", but there is also Paladin, Hunter, Druid, who can form a holy trinity themselves, and then you have the Shaman and of course the Rogue. In Global Agenda you have the Recon who "everyone" agrees is played by idiots, in WoW you have the Rogue and Hunter who "everyone" agrees are played by idiots.

    The folks at work tell me that you can get to level 20 in a few hours (I remember when it took a few days). But that's assuming you level using the various levelling guides.

    The most fun I had was as a Feral/Resto druid (switching between the two as required) since this dualspec could tank, gank and heal with equal competence. I did use an awful lot of bag space with alternate gear though..

  8. Someday soon, I'm going to get in on the ground floor of a big, popular MMO right from day one. I'm gonna try it with TOR, and with the Kingdom of Amalur MMO when it gets released. ;-)

    WoW is disheartening to me partially because there are apparently only a few "ideal" classes/combos, and little room for individuality of style. I say this because even I, who have NO idea what the different classes are used for, know what a Restro Druid is...

  9. It's quite convenient this subject as I played WoW, got bored, played EVE for about a year and then went back to WoW.

    There are a lot of things in EVE that I really like that I hate in WoW; its been mentioned before that you hit the end game and its all about the gear score and people start treating you like some sort of slave who is brought in to help them get the gear they want.

    Progression in WoW is about how much time you have to play where in EVE its essentially split between ISK and SP, but SP is always moving forward so you feel more inclided to log in and do what you want without risk of not doing enough to progress.

    Its been said that EVE is like a playground and WoW is like a fairground. WoW has rides and things to do but they are all good or bad by design. They don't offer much flexibility and your actions have little or no change on the game world (kill a boss, come back tomorrow and hes respawned).
    EVE is for people who as a child when given a cardboard box would turn it into a magical spaceship filled with wonder and oppertunity where anything is possible; but it requires the wearer to fuel that 'cardboard box' themselves as nothing is going to be provided for you.

    In WoW its fair to say that the game will lead you around by the nose though pretty much all of its content, but for now (while I wait for TOR :P) I think I would rather enjoy the ride than sit in a corner by myself with a cardboard box on my head.

  10. RE: Limited class/spec combos. In my experience this is true of all MMO and RPG(esque) games. You are free to build your characters and use what equipment you like, but only a few are optimal choices.

    Rift has nearly endless combinations of classes/skill trees +equipment choices, yet you still see only a few "cookie cutter" builds being pushed at "end-game".

    EVE likewise has inumerable ship and fitting choices, but again, the ones that work well are vastly outnumbered by those that do not.

    Even in a much simpler game like World of Tanks, you are laughed at and taunted for taking what is conventionally considered a less powerful tank, fitting the "wrong" gun or firing the "wrong" ammo.

    Sometimes you can make these oddball choices work, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes not. But there will always be sub-optimal choices to be made, and so long as there is a competitive element of any sort in the game in question, there will be those with spreadsheets crunching numbers to tell you just how you went wrong.


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