"World of Warcraft" now FREE TO PLAY! (Up to Level 20)

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Rowdy Rob
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Blizzard has now released a "World of Warcraft: Starter Edition" that allows the uninitiated (like myself) to finally try out WoW without paying! The major limitation is that you're capped at level 20 in the free edition, and perhaps there's other limitations as well. But level 20 apparently gives new players enough time to get more than a taste of the franchise.

Here's the link to sign up for the "Starter Edition" and start downloading the client:

https://us.battle.net/account/creation/wow/signup/

clok1966
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Well WoW hasent sued the

Well WoW hasent sued the pants of anybody becuase.. (wait for it).. they copied the First true 3D MMORPG... EverQuest (which was a 3d version of a succesfull MUD). Blizzard suing for copy them would be sadly the pot calling the kettle black. Blizzards has never had a hugely succesfull original IP (rock an roll racing might be considered that?), in fact there biggest success all come from taking sombody elses "new" idea.

Warcraft is a copy of Dune II (considers the first RTS to get it "all" in one package... and its a 100% copy for all intents, they changed it up slighlty by adding one more resource). and they kinda kept on this.. Warcraft II, warcraft III, starcraft, Starcraft II...

3 Vikings- complete rip off of Gobliiins (for the amiga lovers out there, they will know this game)

Diablo was inspired by Crusader (origin), this is where they kinda changed it up a bit so its not a perfect copy.

WoW- inspired by EQ (online part) and totally ripped from Tolkin and Warhammer (old blizzard office shots show Warhammer books and poster on walls). Lots of peple say WOW was orignaly going to be Warhammer, but they couldnt get the licence work done.. truth or ficiton.. nobody knows.. but the tech/fantays setting sure follows warhammer .

Now.. with all that siad.. who cares, Bliz makes some of the BEST games, while I dont think they have an original game idea in their head.. they can sure take sombody elses idea and improve on it in almost every way. Look at the art in WoW, considering how old that game engine is, how low the poly count ins on thier models.. it LOOKS FANTASTIC... the art sytle is there own and ... has inspired others (the new Star Wars MMORPG has went sudo cartoon-ish, which is strange for Bio-Ware its not something they have done before).

You think Perfect world is a copy... play Runes of Magic (it even copies the cartoonish style) or Allods... Allods looks like WoW II, bright colorfull, and many of the characters really ahve a WoW look, but on fancier graphics engine. or Perfect worlds (the company is named Perfect World International) new one Forsaken World its a stright rip off of WoW...

Personally if you are looking for a Free2Play:

RUnes of Magic- feel right at home after WoW, pretty fair sized world, been around long enouhg its fairly refined, leveling stays pretty even (so many f2p go fast for about 10 levels then drag ot a standstill so you will buy stuff)...

Allods- I really love the art and classes in theis game, the World is nice.. New enouhg it has plenty of non game chaning bugs (music missing etc) Honistly its maybe my favorite, but the difficulty ramps pretty quick after those frist 10 levels... you can grind the levels out, but mobs get pretty hard, really makes a push to get you to pay and I felt it the most of any of teh f2p game.. which is sad.. if it would have just slowed exp wise i could have dealed with it.. but the general quests evenget really hard to complete.

Forskaen World- New, havent had enouhg time with it to say to much but its really looking like Perfect world meshed more into WoW, less asian (grindy) more WoW, quests to level.

any of those 3 are great IMHO not as good as WoW.. but free can overcome quite a bit of that.

The mob kill wait- hehe be glad you didnt get into Evequest when it was new.. Blizzard did one great thing, they made loot random (sorta) In EQ you had to fight for hours in a dungeon to get to a specific mob... who spawned (if dead) in 7/14/or 21 minutes... (yes exactly). That Monster had a 25% cahcne of sapwning.. or 75% chance a "junk" mob would spawn... so if he was on a 21 minute timer... you had 4 25% chacnes he would spawn.... then... if he did he had COMMON loot 75% or RARE loot 25%... so some bad luck and such you could try get a peice of equipment for .... days....

Ask an old EQ vet of the Nejina J-BOOT camp... back when EQ came out there whre no horses.. and the only way to travel fast was paying a HIGH level player to "port" you... so the J-boots when worn would speed you up 25% (or was it 40%) run speed... basicly everybody in teh game wanted them... and most servers had a population of avbout 1500-2000... (and most of those peopel had "alts" so basicly double or tirplet those numbers.. You would go down in Nijina and sit at teh boss spawn and just "talk" to others.. it was like a supermarkte line.. whoeer was first, killed untill they dropped (good thing SHE always spawned, but it was like 10% chacne on boots.. I think she was a 14 minute timer), then next in line got to do it... I played EQ pretty much non stop for 2-3 years.. and ONLY did that camp ONE time.. i was 6th in line and stayed awake 36 hours (if you logged out, you wher out of line... if you where not there (afk) you whre out of line... ) and .. 36 hours one pair dropped.. (bad luck) so i move up one position.. i vowed to never do that again.. (yet I have :) )

its amazing to think in EQ it could take almost 45+ minutes if you actually just ran it from one side of the world to the other.. and many low level quests required it... and at low level that ment traveling throuhg some pretty nasty mobs.. and when the game was new.. you didnt know your way... amazing times I must say.. A real feel of adventureing I thought, no "internet help pages" you figured it out... or you died. I will always think of EQ as the "best" as it was my first true 3D world.. i had played Meridina 59 (sudo 3D) and ultima and many muds... but EQ was me in the world.. and people to play with and join.. it was awsome..

Rowdy Rob
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First impressions of "WoW Starter Edition"

I've managed to get some play time on WoW over the weekend, and an hour or two over the week.

I knew that some of the other MMO's were heavily inspired by WoW, but actually playing WoW made it clear just how "inspired" some of the competitors were. "Perfect World" is essentially a near-exact clone of WoW, at least in the first few levels! Unfortunately, I played PW before I played WoW, so from my perspective, PW is essentially WoW in an asian-themed "skin." Or actually, WoW is (from my skewed perspective) PW in a lower-polygon D&D skin.

How do these competitors get away with "cloning" WoW without getting sued out of existence by Blizzard? Even the interfaces are cloned almost exactly!

The one significant difference I saw in my play sessions was, around level 5, one of my quests was to take out an orc "boss." I don't recall having to deal with any "bosses" in Perfect World, even up to level 13 (which is around the time I gave up on it).

Anyhow, the "boss" battle was actually quite comical in a situational sense. I managed to find the orc boss, but he was already dead, surrounded by many other players. The other players were just standing around the body. So, the boss is already dead, do I get credit for a mission accomplished? Nope.... now what? Oh, wait a minute, the boss is now alive again, and one of the other players starts attacking it, finally managing to kill it. More waiting around... what's going on here?

Finally, one of the other players says, and I'm paraphrasing their spelling, "hoo hasint gone yet?"
It turns out that everyone around was waiting their turn to kill the boss, who would respawn after a short while for the next guy to slaughter him. Since I am playing a paladin character, this offended my noble sensibilities; rather than heroically vanquishing a mighty foe, I am merely a torturer in some poor orc's nightmare version of Hell!

I decided to wander away for a while and wait for the crowd to die down. While wandering around, I saw the Orc commander/boss chasing a player. Apparently the player didn't fare too well against the boss, and was now on the run. I decided to take this opportunity to attack the boss, defeating him pretty easily with a couple of blows. But I didn't get a "mission accomplished" credit for the kill; apparently you have to take him out solo, and the previous player wore him down too much for me to get credit for the kill.

I went back to the orc's respawn site, and there were still players hanging around, with the same character saying "hoo hasint gone yet?" I decided to come back another time.

So that's where I left off.... level 5 paladin, on a mission to kill the orc commander/boss. I haven't played again from that point.

From my initial impressions, WoW is certainly a good game, and I'm going to keep playing until I at least reach level 20 (or get bored out of my skull). But it's easy to see why they decided to go with this free-to-play model; they HAVE to. The other F2P clones MUST be cutting into their potential growth. As I said before, "Perfect World" appears to be a near-exact clone of WoW, and I hear that other games, such as Runescape, are even more blatant rip-offs of WoW! While I assume that WoW is a deeper, more detailed, more nuanced, and more expansive a game in the long run, none of this is apparent to the first-time player at first. And the other games use the free-to-play model, which WoW does not. (This new "free" WoW is more like a "trial" version than a F2P game).

I've encountered no "griefers" yet, and in fact the "hoo hasint gone yet?" system was downright courteous to other players (at the expense of the Orc). Heck, I was tempted to make conversation with these hospitable players, but I didn't (yet).

I did encounter a few frustrations, but it turned out that those frustrations were due to my own stupidity and not the fault of the game. ( I couldn't find the "target dummes," when they were RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME!!!!) . Other problems were due to my unfamiliarity with the interface, but that's to be expected.

So, WoW is a smooth, fun game experience. Oddly, though, it's sort of a "deja vu" experience after Perfect World. My other MMO experience was "Dungeons and Dragons Online," which is a more hardcore game and significantly different (and in many ways better initially), but probably not a good MMO to get my friends to play with me.

I'm working on getting a couple of my friends to try out WoW, so maybe I'll get a "crew" going. So yes, I think the WoW Starter edition is a success, in that it got me (and potentially a couple of my friends) to start playing, and possibly become paying customers.

Matt Barton
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Ventrillo is a third party

Ventrillo is a third party program, so no worries there

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Rowdy Rob
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Long download!!!
Matt Barton wrote:

In-game voice chat is n/a. Any serious player uses Ventrillo, a free program.

I wonder what it means in the restrictions listing that "voice chat is disabled?" Do you think it disables Ventrillo??

Well, I've been downloading all day and it isn't even half-way downloaded yet! I wonder if I'll even get to play this weekend!

Matt Barton
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In-game voice chat is n/a.

In-game voice chat is n/a. Any serious player uses Ventrillo, a free program.

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Rowdy Rob
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WoW Starter Edition limitations

From the Blizzard Support WoW FAQ:

Quote:

The following restrictions are placed on all Starter Edition Accounts:

- A level cap of 20.
- A maximum of 10 gold.
- Trade skills are capped at 100 ranks.
- Unable to trade via the Auction House, mailbox, or player-to-player.
- In-game access to public chat channels unavailable. Players are limited to communicating using only say, party, or whisper.
- Characters will be unable to create or join guilds.
- Characters are not able to send whispers to other characters unless they have been added to the characters' friends lists or have received a whisper from a character first.
- Characters will not be able to invite other players into a party.
- Characters will not be able to join parties with other characters above level 20.
- Voice chat disabled on Starter Edition accounts.
- Realms experiencing login queues will prioritize players who have full, paid accounts.
- Starter Edition accounts are not eligible for character transfers
- RealID features are disabled on all Starter Edition Accounts.

Most of the stuff listed sounds reasonable to me. I don't know how seriously some of the limitations affect actual gameplay (no joining guilds, no public chat channels, inviting players, etc.). If I play WoW primarily as a solo game, it probably doesn't affect much. Maybe the gold and skill limitations will be restrictive.

The real shocker here is the disabling of voice chat. Although I've never voice-chatted with someone in-game before, I suspect that it would be a severe annoyance to try to coordinate a multiplayer game without it! What, you have to type to each other all the time? Perhaps that's what typical WoW players do, though, I don't know.

At least one blog I've read about the Starter Edition claims that the level 20 limitation makes the free version "pointless," i.e. "what can you do at level 20!?!?"

I guess I have no choice but to just download the thing and give it a try this weekend. It's looking like I'm going to have a rather full weekend, though, and may not have time to really get into it, but we'll see.

Matt Barton
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Well, if it was just us there

Well, if it was just us there wouldn't be any pressure since obviously we're not "pros" and everybody has lives. A sensible thing would be to say meet up for 2-3 hours every Friday night and burn through a few levels. If somebody had to miss, they could always catch up on their own time. As long as the group is within 2-3 levels of each other, it's not a big deal.

I bet you could hit level 20 in a week if you played a few hours everyday. The first few levels go in a flash, though eventually you'll start dying since it takes awhile to learn your limits and when to be careful.

By level 20 you should know, though, whether it's something you want to continue. I wasn't impressed until I hit that level. By that point I was thoroughly engrossed and there was nothing that was gonna stop me from getting to 70.

For casual folks like us, it could become a fun weekend ritual. Grab a few beers, play a few hours, level up a few times, call it a night. In a few weeks we'd be up to doing instances, and with 3 of us in the group it'd go quick. I've played lots of healing classes but suck at tanking, though.

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clok1966
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Well part of the addiction of

Well part of the addiction of WoW is the fact its one of the very FEW MMORPG ypu can easiley play ANY class SOLO til max level and never talk to another player. YOU WILL NEVER run out of quests, things you can make, pets you can aquire, mounts you can ride.. Of course some of those things matter none to several people. I love questing, especialy when they tell a long story arc and WOW does that pretty well, while the story might not be the best, when its part of your quests and leads up to the end game its pretty neat. I am one of those people that will collect 50 vanity pets so i can get the ONE for doing it ... I craft not so I can make stuff , but so I can make every recipe in the game.... Collecter... i guess.

And yes I understand alot of that dont make sence.. if you do play it will.

Blizard is king of little nods to stuff.. pretty much and iconic character is in the game somewhere.. ins some twisted form.. MAD MAX THzUNDERDOME its int he game with Tina Turner and all (of course with mixed up names, but you will know it when you see it) even the NPC say stuff to match it.. Steven Segal (rybeck, the chef form his moveis) is in it... and 1,000 more.. those are fun to see. When deep in some corner of the world you will find a crashed Gnome plane and maybe a skellton. Or some signe that something silly. Maybe a hut that ollks like it belongs in a trazan movie.. A giant lizzard called Grodzilla... a giant monkey called KONG KING.. (the last few are in the game, but not quite how I decribe them)... Most dungeons (they do require a group, at least at the correct level, you can solo um later) all hav scripted events (like half life) and boss's that will talk to you and do fun stuff. Heck there are nods to otehr blizzard games in it.. Starcraft, Blackthorn, Diablo, the lost vikings (those are a bit more suttle then most the nods thouhg).

guess for free you will find out. Im a huge Hunter fan as you can have a pet and name it ( and it hunts with you) and I wouldsugget it if you want to solo. its a bit like having a friend play with you that you can control (warlock is also considers a pet class) but all classes are pretty easy to solo... I never was much good with rogues so I cant sugget them. but Good rogue players piss me off in PvP more than any otehr class :) so ....

Rowdy Rob
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WoW: the impossible situation
clok1966 wrote:

I have NO problem playing a healing class with people that wont cry every 30 seconds when they pull 50 red mobs and die. :)

I have no idea what the above sentence means. :-)

clok1966 wrote:

Rob Be very carefull.. its massilvy addicting.. I honestly think the Crack term does apply, its hard to play and not want to some more (if you like it the first time).

Wow+ you= fun
WoW+ you+ freinds= Awsome

I posted the WoW news mostly because I thought others might be interested, but personally I'm not dying to get into WoW. I'm still debating whether I want to give it a go this weekend.

I am NOT worried about getting addicted. A few years ago, I heard about how addictive WoW was and thought I could become a "crackhead," but now, I'm convinced that NO game could addict me. Not for more than a week, anyway. The last time I felt really addicted to a game was when I got into "Star Control II" after watching the "Matt Chat" episode about it. But after spending all that time playing, only to LOSE in the end (it turns out I wasn't even close to winning!), I never went back. It didn't give you time to explore; you apparently have to race around the galaxy, with no time to breathe, and get everything in place before the enemy conquers you.

The problem with MMO's is the social "real-time" aspect of them, I suspect. Of the few MMO's I've tried, I didn't know anyone, so I played them as "solo" affairs. I don't know the social etiquette of MMO's, and it seems kind of bizarre to try to connect with other random strangers in the middle of a game. After all, you wouldn't walk up to someone in a mall and say "hey, can I shop with you?!?!?"

So how do you become "friends" with people you don't know in such a game? As a guy pushing 45, I would feel a bit uncomfortable gaming with someone who turns out to be a twelve-year-old.

So that leaves the MMO's as a solo gaming experience. Which means they hold my interest for about a couple of weeks, tops. :-(

The "trying to get everyone here together" situation demonstrates the other aspect of MMO's that kind of puts me off. Yes, I'd love experience a game with friends, but how do you coordinate a bunch of adults for regular gaming sessions? After all, we all have lives, and situations come up. I like to game at my leisure, when I have no other pressing concerns, chores, or social situations going on. You can't predict when those times will be. And, I like to "pause" a game when I get a phone call, have to use the restroom, or put out the fire caused by my overcooking dinner. In multiplayer situations, that's very inconvenient.

Matt's argument that every gamer should experience WoW is probably the most convincing argument for me. Yeah, how do you call yourself a true gaming enthusiast if you haven't experienced one of the most popular games of all time as it is meant to be played: multiplayer? But I don't see myself as the type to have daily "grinds" or being regularly available as a team member. But hoping to meet up with your cohorts online, or not being there when they hope to play WoW with you seems like it could become a downer.

Yes, regularly gaming with friends seems like an impossible situation.

clok1966
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Well Matt you are in my time

Well Matt you are in my time zone (one amazing theng that never seems to change, the best people I find online are alwasy in a time zone 2 hours from my own so playing with them is hard to do). maybe we can get Rob... and anybody else. all grab a server start from scratch and play. I know we have talked about stuff like this in the past and it nbever happens.. time when everybody can play is always a killer. I have NO problem playing a healing class with people that wont cry every 30 seconds when they pull 50 red mobs and die. :)

Rob Be very carefull.. its massilvy addicting.. I honestly think the Crack term does apply, its hard to play and not want to some more (if you like it the first time).

Wow+ you= fun
WoW+ you+ freinds= Awsome

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