Tobold's Blog
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Better-Not-Recruit-a-Friend program

When Blizzard releases a new expansion, lots of players who had previously cancelled their accounts resubscribe to World of Warcraft. The older a server is, the more people have once played on it and cancelled, so the higher the chance that too many of them come back. Thus many servers experience login waiting queues during prime time these days. Now some players used Blizzard's Recruit-a-Friend program to make a second account, as "trial" account, for getting both the Zhevra mount and the triple leveling speed. And those found that when they log in both the paid-for and the trial account at the same time on two PCs, the paid-for account gets through the queue a lot faster, while the trial account even gets pushed *back* in the queue. Of course the would-be dual-boxers are furious. And if their server is really, really crowded, creation of new characters on it is disabled, so even logging in during less crowded times doesn't help.

While "do not dual-box when the server is crowded" could be considered a reasonable rule, the current situation totally fails if you consider new players. If somebody actually uses the Recruit-a-Friend program as intended to get a new player into World of Warcraft, and play with him, that new player will be seriously disappointed. He'll wait in queues for hours, and then find out that he can't even create a character on the same server as his friend. The only way to play together for the two would be to both make brand-new characters on one of the emptier servers, which is probably not what the veteran recruiter had in mind. So if you are on a crowded server, you better not recruit a friend until the server populations have gone down again a bit.
I certainly don't have much sympathy for the dual-boxers. But as you say it also causes problems for those who uses it as intended. That's really unfortunate.
Its not like dual-boxers pay less for the game than others.
My friend bought the game today when I explained the recruit-a-friend process. He was locked out of making a character on my server all night, was a bummer. Eventually at about 2am he was let in.
while i went a little overboard in the post, it was mostly hyperbole to illustrate a point: anyone legitimately recruiting a friend is in for a sore disappointment, and will have no indication whatsoever of why their trial isn't making any progress in the queue.

to reroll on a brand new server is an option (assuming you aren't oceanic, as all of them had queues, and all but one were completely locked for character creation), but defeats the 'regrant levels to your gifting friend', as they will have no alts on the new server to grant to. It's just poor foresight, and bad execution.
Or the system is working as intended and works to allow an existing player and a new player the opportunity to play together and earn 3x the XP. They just need to choose a medium server to go to.

It was the recruit-an-alt crowd that ruined the system for the rest of us.
Its not like dual-boxers pay less for the game than others.

I understood they did pay a little less, if you take into account the free trial the second account receives, and the free month the first account receives when the second account pays a subscription.

But the argument against dual-boxing when servers are crowded isn't money. The point is that there is a limited supply, which has to be distributed for maximum benefit. It is a bit like food rationing during war: Better to give everyone the same amount of food than to give those who have more money more, and let those who have least money starve. In this case the maximum benefit is if every player can play on one account, because if you let somebody play on two accounts at the cost of somebody else not playing at all, the overall happiness decreases, because the dual-boxer isn't twice as happily playing than two single players.
I fail to see the problem. Blizzard is giving priority to its paying customers over its non paying customers (trial accounts). That seems the logical thing to do especially during the first week-end following the release of a new expansion pack.
Overall happiness? Now you're trying to measure the abstract?

I know a musician who buys a seat for himself and a seat for his instrument (a very expensive cello) when he travels by air. Flights these days are, of course, always full. Following your argument, he should be asked to leave his instrument behind if somebody else wants to get on the flight because that would lead to the greater overall happiness. If you can convince him of that, I'll join your "no dual boxing when there are queues" crusade.

But he's going to show you his ticket and tell you he paid for the seat and is therefore entitled to it, just as somebody paying for an account, or two accounts, or 36 accounts in the case of that guy who was on the news, is entitled to use their accounts.
Just come to EvE Online, and I can guarantee you'll be on the same server as your friends ^^
@anon - if you can tell who your friends are! hah!
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