I don’t keep my despise of World of Warcraft and what Blizzard has become a secret. WoW does not deliver what I consider a fair deal per dollar, the game suffers from frustrating downtimes, and the often huge patches must be distributed peer-to-peer via an inflexible proprietary Bittorrent client. Considering that your “purchase” of the box (in addition to the monthly fee) is no more than a double-dip cash grab, the whole package smacks of cheapness.
For those not up to speed, allow me to elaborate; A friend issued me a free trial which I had a great deal of difficulty redeeming. After many gigabytes of transfers and several wasted hours after failed installs, I finally got everything working. I enjoyed playing with my friend despite the crippled functionality of the trial account so I purchased a 60-day time card. Unfortunately for me, trial accounts are not upgradable so I was forced to buy the retail disc even though I had a working copy installed on my machine. The box came with 1 month of playtime, but this meagre offering did not justify the $35 expenditure for assets I had already painstakingly acquired.
2 months into my 3-month account I got fed up with Blizzard’s greed and abandoned the game. I merrily threw my sink-hole investment of a retail box in a public garbage can and promptly cancelled my account prematurely. I’d been a Blizzard customer for over a decade but I see little reason to keep up my patronage with this funhouse mirror doppleganger of a formerly fantastic company.
A while back a friend of mine introduced me to a fascinating video games discussion forum, fucktheinter.net. A quick glance through one of the lesser-trafficked topics revealed a link to wow.fucktheinternet.net – a privately-run World of Warcraft server! This came as quite a surprise since the only other rogue WoW server I’d heard of was shut down by the US “justice” system. In court, Blizzard challenged BNETD, an open source battle.net daemon (server), on the grounds that it violated the DMCA. Despite the unspecific wording and subsequent danger to other interoperability software projects like CGIs and ODBCs, the courts ruled in Blizzard’s favour, penalizing the 3 teen programmers responsible and demanding the immediate removal of the software from the internet.
Unbeknownst to the American judge, the internet exists outside of the USA’s jurisdiction, and so bnetd can be found available for download in the DMCA diaspora.
This means that, as Google will attest, free WoW servers abound! By simply signing up with one of these servers (Rook’s Realm is my favourite) and changing the realm in realmlist.wtf in the WoW install directory anyone may play this renown game for the price of the boxed retail copy! What a concept!
But don’t be so quick to cry foul. Is this truly unfair to Blizzard? You cannot join a server without a legitimate copy of the client software, and Blizzard does not distribute this freely. The going rate of about $30 for a WoW game box is about par with 2-year-old PC games, but this investment really nets you nothing as it is useless without a subscription. Said subscription pays for Blizzard’s network connectivity, administrative and support staff, and other human resources that are not exploited by those using third-party servers. Really, these servers net Blizzard a profit since they are run by volunteers.
As it happens, if you’ve thrown your WoW box in the garbage as I have, or you just don’t feel like footing the bill, you can purchase a 14-day trial disc for $1.99 and install that. Really, you’ll be saving Blizzard money by not taking advantage of their generous trial account.
However, if you’re in the USA and would prefer to stay on the sunny side of the DMCA you might want to give that trial account a whirl instead. Use mine. I sure don’t need it.
P.s.,Â check out wowstatus.net for a mindbogglingly huge and detailed list of free WoW servers!