Monday, August 27, 2007

Private WoW servers

I have great respect for the intellectual property of others. I don't download pirated music, videos, or warez games. If I want a game or film, I buy it. But like any other legit customer, I'm sometimes annoyed about copy protection, which seems singularly badly designed for maximum inconvenience for legit buyers, while only posing a minor challenge to the hackers. I hate to have to search for the right CD everytime I want to play a game, because the game will only start with the CD inserted in the drive. Thus MMORPGs not having any copy protection for me is one of the advantages of the genre. And for some time I was even persuaded that MMORPGs solve the issue of software piracy. How could you make an illegal copy of World of Warcraft, if then you are unable to create an account and play on the Blizzard servers?

Meanwhile I know better. The answer on how to pirate WoW or other MMORPGs is so-called private servers. A Google search brings up over 2 million hits on "WoW private server". I was too naive when thinking nobody would be playing WoW illegitimately.

But me, I'm not tempted at all. Private servers have two major flaws: There are no (or few) other people to play with, and there is no challenge due to the ability to cheat. You can set your level to 255 and solo Illidan, but where is the fun in that? That's like killing Hogger with your level 70 on a real server, it gets boring pretty fast. And the interest of a massively multiplayer game is playing with other people, even if you don't interact closely with them all the time. Frankly, if WoW was a single-player game, I wouldn't have played it so long. It isn't especially great in comparison to other single-player RPGs, lacking a story and purpose. It is the other players that make the experience special. I was told that setting up a private server just for yourself is rather easy, only the scripted events don't work right, but I'm not even going to try it. I don't see the point of missing out on most of what makes a MMORPG great just to save 50 cents a day. What is your take on private servers?

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