Pre-weekend Round-up

The Re-remeber Theramore CampaignA quick round-up before I slide into a flat-out weekend of social activity and non-nerd related stuff. The last week was a bonanza of cool activity all based upon completing aspects of Cataclysm at the last minute, but my stuff will make it into another post.

This is just some odd news.

Privacy for BattleNet

We get a privacy option in battleNet games soon, which lets us go into a hidden mode while online. Good. This extends to the friends list as well as battleNetID mates.

I wonder if that will have an illusory affect on the apparent server populations?

In the coming months, we’re planning an update to Battle.net that will give you more control over your online presence when playing Blizzard games. Soon, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Diablo III players will be able to select “Appear Offline” as one of their Battle.net social-status options (along with Available, Busy, and Away) for those times when they want to wander Azeroth by their lonesome, dominate the galaxy in radio silence, or slay demons in solitude. When you choose this option as your status, all of your Real ID friends, BattleTag friends, and character-level friends will see you as “Offline” in their friends list whenever you’re logged into a game. (source)

Reminders to Buy – We get an email reminding us to pre-purchase Mists to the account which has already pre-purchased Mists of Pandaria. And another to my old account which I don’t play, and another to the test account I had to muck about on. Two of those were valid to get, the message sent to my account which should already be upgrade is likely to push the Collector’s Edition opportunity rather than the standard digital version.

Promotions and Vids for Mists – Wow Insider has a summary of Everything that Awaits in Mists. Blizzard have committed to making this release the best ever…

With this expansion, we’re using a new bit of tech that will unlock the expansion content, make the intro quest magically pop up in your quest log, and allow you to begin playing the expansion immediately without the need to log out and back in. If everything goes as planned this will be a smooth transition to the adventures that await you in the new continent (source).

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Play for free, Up to level 13

A few weeks ago Blizzard announced that D3 was going to have a free play option for low level characters (FAQ here). I’m not sure why I missed this initially, but perhaps the silly work and wow cycle was as much eye candy as I could take in.

Regardless, this is offering which I think is a benchmark for game distribution in today’s market: give the player an opportunity to see if they like your work. Do not expect that people will pay to test if the game sucks. They won’t. If they trail it, then they can pay for the full thing when it makes them happy, if not then they get caps and limits that might keep them interested periodically. That demo might be a week’s grace, or a level limit, or whatever style is suitable. Either way you get players who wish to play, not players who are angry about getting some of the money’s worth.

A long time ago I played and loved Master of Orion 1 and 2. When MoO3 was released I pre-purchased that game and regretted it straight away. It was a poor imitation of the old game, with bright and shiny graphics which did nothing to distract from the shitty actual play. A total waste. Since then I’ve been a mad and angry purchaser of any game product. Temple of Elemental Evil was a similar experience as while the game was technically playable the crash rate and list of things that when SNAP! was too large.

So now I rant about free to play capped options with furvor and wrath.

For Diablo 3’s free play option they chose a max level number like unlucky 13 for the free players. That is just too much fun. Well done guys, it made me smile.

The demonically-besieged world of Sanctuary needs heroes. Now you can join in the apocalyptic battle for FREE via the all-new Diablo®  III Starter Edition.  Available exclusively via Battle.net®, the Starter Edition allows you to fight your way up to the Skeleton King boss in Act I, and advance all the way to level 13, without having to purchase a copy of Diablo III.

Diablo 3 is enough of a game that I think I would have purchased it away way, especially as it has no ongoing subscription; but I might have avoided it early on if I hadn’t had a Blizzard annual pass. I feel the same way about trialing GuildWars2 – play it if its free to see if its good, but otherwise I’m not interested in paying box price to evaluate software anymore.

I generally assume that most games released are not worth it until I read staggeringly good reviews from multiple sources, and a friend says its good, and it is released. A little while ago I said “I’m planning a short return plunge into WoW briefly before playing Diablo 3, and possibly SWToR. I’ll wait till Panda-randa is released, then decide if I pick it up.” Now that more details are about I’ll probably buy MoP in advance. It is good enough and close enough that it is a low risk.

I still don’t like Pandas though. Perhaps that means I’m looking forward to killing a few.

MoP Release – Digital or Box?

I missed this when it went live, the Mists of Pandaria release date is confirmed for 25 September 2012. Seen also in the BattleNet pages.

Sep 25 is the date, and means we have a date to aim for. It also makes more sense that the PTR and beta ramp down still have time to make changes. So yay. Happy times.

mop presale promo http://us.battle.net/en/int?r=wowNow fans have to decide if they purchase the game, and if they do is it a collector’s edition or standard, and a digital download or a box?

The collector’s edition box this expansion contains the same as previous years. Pets, mounts, and some side material (see the screenie below). Frankly a physical copy is not very enticing, and digital is the way to go now. Sure, you miss out on the cardboard, mouse-mat, some misc tokens, and DVDs, but overall the cost in Australia is $60 vs $100 for the Collector’s edition. I can use that $40 difference on something else, and I also don’t have to put up with lining up late at night, or waiting, or even a store. At best I might take the digital collectors, but standard looks very appealing.

This does not mean that I’m unhappy with WoW as a game, not at all. It just means that after buying three collector’s editions and noting that I’ve used less and less of the items, I’m now resigned to getting the game, and not banners for StarCraft or Diablo 3. I don’t care what is added for SC or D3.

Aside – this is my post in a guild officer forum in mid June:

If 22 June is start of raid testing, then with a couple of beta builds and tuning – live in 2-ish months – say mid Sep. I can’t remember what the other expansion timeframes were but they will need a month to ship and hype.

Heh, called it. 🙂