Thursday, November 04, 2004
World of Warcraft Open Beta
You can now register for and download the WoW open beta client from Fileplanet, if you are a subscriber. This is supposed to be another "North Americans only" deal, but there seem to be no barriers whatsoever to keep us barbarians out. I didn't even lie about my European address, and got into the open beta without problems. This Fileplanet subscription is paying off big time, there are now so many MMORPG betas with "exclusive" Fileplanet deals. And thats not counting all the single-player game files yet.
The open beta client file I downloaded was 2.6 Gigabyte in size. And then it wouldn't unpack, showing up as corrupted. Fortunately I was able to fix the problem with a shareware zip repair tool. Now I have heard that other people having the same problem were able to unpack the file with the latest version of Winzip 9.0. Anyway, I was able to install the game, and start playing immediately, getting up to level 6 in an hour or so.
There still isn't an official release date for World of Warcraft, they haven't even announced the monthly cost yet. But rumors are saying that the open beta will run for a bit over 2 weeks, until the game is released on November 22nd.
That means I will probably be able to play the WoW open beta from now until well beyond the Everquest 2 release. Given the state of the EQ2 beta, that might well be the relief valve that preserves my sanity during the first week(s) of EQ2. Lag in Everquest 2 has been much improved, mainly by making Antonica and Commonlands instanced. But the servers are a total mess, causing frequent crashes. Sometimes it is just you who crashes to the login screen or desktop, but often the whole zone crashes repeatedly. Obviously the developers are working on the problem, quite franctic I would assume, but that just causes more server downtime due to hotfixes and patches. With just 4 days to go until release, it would be a miracle if there wouldn't be a lot of this same trouble in the games first weeks.
In spite of its problems, I will play Everquest 2 probably until World of Warcraft is released in Europe. EQ2 has its flaws, but it also has a lot of good points: Basic game play is solid fun, and there is a huge amount of content.