January 10, 2005

Addiction - sweat, ketones, shivering and lack of sleep.

And there you have it. If only it was substances - oh yes, there are programs for those. Instant versions for us impatient Americans if we can't take the time out of our busy self-destruction. No; no, nothing like that.

Much less destructive, but oh so insidious.

It's almost like work.

Weekday evenings, weekends, hours, days - I can't even begin to count.

Yep, it's World of Warcraft. And it's supplanted AO in my (BWAhahahaha*cough*) spare time. I sure hope those folks at Blizzard are hard at work on expansions, because when folks on my home Realm start hitting the level cap in droves, it's gonna stop being fun...and then what, go back to real life? Nahhhhhhhh...

They have this awful command..."/played". It just gives you the amount of time you've spent actually logged into the damn game. Mine passed over into 'days' and I stopped looking at it...and this was only a couple weeks into the darn thing.

This wouldn't be complete without a couple musings on what makes WoW attractive to me, other than my well-known addictive tendencies (quiet in the cheap seats, you). It's actually not all that impressive, technically - they've had all kinds of problems with it, and they've consistently wimped out in a classically American MMORPG fashion in their efforts to handle the load. Despite large and repeated beta tests, Blizzard was overrun with early adopters and load problems, and rather than deal with it by improving base stability and performance, they seem to have frantically increased their rate of 'instancing.' I understand that this is much more than a technical decision; it's intimately tied into the design of the game, from content to play flow to population load in zones to the amount of available quests to the simple stuff like the capacity of the 'helper processes' like the ships/zeppelins. However, it means that despite hearing impressive numbers like '250,000 people online!' I'm never, ever going to see more than a couple hundred at any given time - and if I do ever see that many, it's likely to be the last thing I see before my client gives out due to lag and load crash.

It's really, really, disappointing. As far as I'm concerned, the first M in MMORPG just isn't there yet. I hear that the Wish beta was cancelled by Mutable Realms today. Whatever else is said about Wish (and I know next-to-nothing, save where the servers were for the beta...heh), it was at least an apparent attempt to increase the performance of massive gatherings in virtual worlds.

All of the various problems exhibited by the MMORPGs in handling large number gatherings realtime bode extremely ill for my long-wished-for, and extremely overpromised consensual, overarching virtual space.

More on that later.

Posted by jbz at January 10, 2005 12:14 AM | TrackBack

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