This weekend, I decided to try out The Burning Crusade, for various reasons. Most importantly, I wanted to experience their expansion pack free trial process, see if we can learn something from it. It’s less than stellar so far, here’s what I had to go through (read: not pleasant).
- I received a “Resurrection Scroll” from my friend to reactivate my account for 10 free days since it’s expired for over 90 days. But before then, not wanting to waste time downloading and patching, I decided to go ahead and download the WoW client first. The free trial client is freely available, so I figure I would just download that.
- After fidgeting with it to get best download speed possible, I left it running on my Vista box before I went to bed. I was going to do it while I was doing something else, but because of lack of a throttle system, it sucked up all my bandwidth so I couldn’t let it run while I was working.
- The next morning I had to rush out the door so I didn’t check if it finished. I came home from work late that night, only to find that it had crashed and only downloaded 810 MB of the 3+ GB.
- So I restarted it again before I went to bed, luckily, it picked up where it left off.
- The next night it’s all done downloading, so I went ahead to install it. It’s a heavy process that took about 30 minutes, probably mostly I/O. It made my top of the line machine crawl but I sat through that while doing some casual browsing.
- Now that I see the familiar login screen, I typed in my username and password (still not reactivated) to see if I can get any patches before I do so. To my disappointment, yes I had to patch, the client I downloaded was not the latest. I had to patch from 2.0 to 2.2.
- Downloaded the patch through the P2P downloader as usual. I don’t remember how long it took. It’s around 500MB. I didn’t sit through it. So goes another night.
- Next night, at least the patcher started automatically after the downloader, so 2.2 patch is all done. I logged in, and oh noes, another patch. Luckily it’s a small one, only 8 MB, I sat through that, applied. And then I got another small one. I logged in and no more patch. I got the “account not active” message. So that means I am all patched up!
- So convinced that I can reactivate and get in game right away, I clicked the link in the reactivation invite. Great execution on the web part. No fuzz there, very easily, just a few clicks and my account is reactivated with 10 days free.
- During the process, I was told I needed the Burning Crusade client in order to play BC. My heart sank. But I tried logging in anyway. I logged in, and of course, it said my account is flagged to be able to play BC but I don’t have the BC client. So I clicked the link on the reactivation page to get the BC client. Another 1 GB+ download.
- After it’s downloaded (it’s the weekend, so I sat through it doing something else). I had to sit through another install process, which took around 30 minutes. Then, I logged in and OMG, a patch. I restarted the client and the downloader started. Luckily, it just wants the 2.0 to 2.2 patch that I had previously downloaded (and good thing I didn’t delete it). It quickly gone through verification and went ahead to apply. My guess is that the previous time, since I didn’t have the BC client, it skipped all the BC stuff so now it wants it again.
- And then of course, I had to restart again, for it to apply the 2.2 to 2.2.2 patch for the BC portion.
- I logged in, and confusingly, I had to click on “Suggest Realm” in order to get to my characters. I suggested the realm that I have characters on. I know I had characters on Hyjal, they should have a button that let me pick it. For a moment I thought my characters were wiped!
In any case, I am finally at the character selection screen, and we will see where BC takes me. I have learned a lot of “what not to do” in this process, hopefully I can apply them! Overall, it’s a lot of waiting and patching. I can’t imagine a not-very-motivated user doing this. In the end, the process wasn’t hard, it’s just very tedious and frustrating. And if I started my trial the moment I got my email, I would have wasted at least three nights on it. If the resurrection email contained a direct link to download the complete and latest BC client, all of this would have been avoided and I would only have had to sit through one download and one install.