Did you get your closed beta invite for Warlords of Draenor yet? Me either. Although, I can't fault Blizzard for not sending a magic key my way. I mean, until recently when I decided to hang out with some friends in Azeroth again, my account had laid dormant for over three years. If I had known how easy it was to unlock my account (Blizzard locks inactive accounts after a certain period as a safety precaution, I learned), I probably would have gone through this earlier. Seriously, I was so impressed with Blizzard customer service that I went out of my way to figure out how to leave feedback so I could say something nice to the CSR who helped me out. I'm getting off track here. Let's get back to one of my favorite things ever in gaming, beta rage.
You might have recently read that World of Warcraft is the game people love to hate, and with one small tweet from Community Manager Bashiok, the hate pile only continues. He made the mistake of saying that veteran players would be getting keys, but then didn't define veteran. Naturally, everyone responding said they, too, were veterans and wanted to know where their keys were. Without “veteran” defined, people were saying that their three-year old accounts should naturally be flagged for beta. One poor guy with an account as old as mine (day one, thank you) wanted to know if his ten-year old account would be eligible. It was then that we learned that eligibility became more like luck at roulette and less about status. We still don't know what veteran means.
Warlords of Draenor, World of Warcraft's highly anticipated expansion, will be out sometime this fall and is now transitioning from alpha to closed beta. Discussing who is getting in has become a hot topic amongst my friends and the WoW community at large. This news of veterans is certainly bringing up a whole slew of conspiracies. As someone who's worked in community management for the gaming industry for so long, this is my version of a roadside wreck that I'm rubbernecking at, because I cannot look away. While I certainly feel for Bashiok being the focus of so much rage, I am sadistically enjoying the community talking about burns and face slaps, and watching the rage flow through them.
While I don't mind a lot of the handholding in modern MMOs, and even though I feel like it makes me a lazy gamer, having to not search for hours to figure something out is kind of nice. On the other hand, my first MMO was EverQuest, which I started playing in May of 1999. When Rise of Kunark, EverQuest's first expansion, launched, server instability was the norm and not the exception. I remember working on my bard's epic, the Singing Short Sword, which required drops from both Nagafen and Vox. Pre-expansion, they were the premier raiding goals, the two lover dragons separated and eternally imprisoned away from each other. Each dragon had a seven-day respawn timer and had the chance to drop what folks needed for various epics, which then would be rolled for and given to the lucky winner. Because they also spawned on server restarts, Kunark's launch meant that I was once able to kill Vox four times in one day, giving me the drop I needed for my epic. Luckily, these dragons were fairly PUG-able at this point and I didn't have to rely on my guild, even though we were one of the top three raiding guilds on our server. I hate to be one of those “back in my day” gamers, but I think sitting through all of this taught me patience and understanding with MMOs.
OK, so I am going to “back in my day” a bit here because back in my day, we would sit around in IRC waiting for servers to be available. We understood that our fifteen bucks a month we paid in subscription fees meant access to the game, when it was available. Social media wasn't a thing yet and official forums weren't very common (my server, Tunare, had a community-run forum on Ezboard, which is now Yuku and surprisingly still used occasionally). We didn't have anywhere to direct all of our rage. In fact, outside of boredom and annoyance, we didn't really have much rage. So, where did people start getting ragey over this?
Yesterday, I wrote about people getting ragey at ArcheAge beta being pushed back “by weeks” and today, it's Warlords of Draenor's “veteran” invites. Where does this pure rage over not getting something for free come from and where does it end? As much as I want to ponder this, I guess I'll just go back to bumbling around with some pandas while I wait to see if I ever get a magical Blizzard key, or at least until the expansion's available to install.