Why the web industry doesn't need to fear the games industry

Warhammer launch is today so I’m excitedly installing the game Amazon delivered right on time. The game has been described to be very innovative so I’m eagerly waiting for the experience. However, the process of getting in isn’t exactly smooth. I’m pretty sure the following would not be happening if we were discussing a web startup.

The installer uses 2 DVDs to install and it takes about half an hour or so. There is no expected time left timer, and the progress bar goes to 100% after about 10 minutes, so you’re left hanging for 20 minutes wondering if the installation is progressing, or not.

After installing the software, I try to fire it up to start patching while I setup the account. No can do, you can’t patch the game before you sign in. Wtf?

I had pre-registered an account on the WAR Europe site. But due to GOA imposing strange new requirements on the password, I had had to choose something I don’t regularly use, so I’ve of course forgotten the password. Now, get this, there is no process for forgotten passwords. You lose it, the account is gone. I could send in customer services request but I somehow think they won’t reply within the next couple days.

And you can’t even test passwords on the website. You can’t log into the account management as there is no account management. There is no user forum.

So off to creating a new account. Obviously the username and identity I’d like to use are locked by the previous registration so I have to invent new ones. Some fucker has thought it’s a good idea to implement form elements in the registration using fancy DHTML widgets that both look ugly and don’t work as expected so filling in the data is pain. The registration page is also chock full of elements that link to the front page of the site so single accidental click and off you go to start the process from scratch.

Once I managed to send in the registration, it took 10 minutes for the reg email to arrive to Gmail. After this I was allowed to type in the registration code in another form (that asks for the password twice and again requires me to accept the terms I’ve already accepted during installation and registration).

It then took about 5 minutes for the patcher to think my account is ok, but I had to restart it twice for the patching to actually start. And now that it’s started, the patch is 822 MB in size. On the first day? Come on, when were the disks printed?

I don’t think I’ll be playing the game today, since the patcher has progressed from 0% to 1% while writing this rant. I would assume the patch servers are choking with load and there’s probably a lot more people with the same issue.

So – GOA seems to think we’re somewhere in the early 90s when it comes to doing games websites. And Mythic, shame on you for the massive patch even before the game has launched.

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