Sunday, November 16, 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.

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