The Rough Road Back To WoW

My wife has been talking about starting a new character in World of Warcraft and I decided it would be fun to join her. Our past duo was fun, until she left me in the dust around level 40. She kept on going to 80, and I switched over to LotRO. The first question in my mind was, should we take advantage of the Refer-A-Friend deal which would give us triple XP or should we do the Scroll of Resurrection deal which would give her a free month? Or, should I just reactivate and go? Well let’s think about that some.

I have 2 accounts available to me, one has Burning Crusade expansion and one has Wrath of the Lich King on it. The BC account is pretty old, and would meet the “90 day inactive” Scroll of Resurrection requirement. The Wrath account has not been inactive long enough. Looking at the Refer-A-Friend deal, we decided that paying $80 for the game and both expansions was too much so we ruled it out.

We decided to have her send a Scroll of Resurrection to my BC account. I click on the link to activate it and then hit the “confirm” button and nothing happens. Page refreshes and there it sits, “confirm”. Off to do my own customer support I guess. After an hour of googling and searching forums, it looks like I already used a Scroll of Resurrection on this account and cannot use another. Strike One for Blizzard not actually putting that error message up when I tried to confirm. Yes, it was buried in the FAQ, but we only saw on the Scroll invite page that you can send 3 invites to the same person over time. We assumed that meant you could use 3, guess not. Getting grumpy.

I check on the time for the Wrath account to see when it would become eligible for the Scroll. Still 3 weeks or so on that. But then I accidentally come across a forum post that says you must not already have the Wrath expansion if you want to use the Scroll. Strike Two, frustration building. Lets look at the Refer-A-Friend option.

We figure it will only be $20 for the original game, oh why not. Certainly we don’t need the expansions right away and besides the first 10 days is probably a full access situation like with the Scroll, right? Wrong. We sign up and I create a brand new account. My wife has created a Blood Elf Priest and I want to play with her. Wait, Blood Elf is not active for me because I don’t have Burning Crusade installed. However, we read that she can summon me to her in game, so let’s just create an Undead Mage and away we go! I add her to my friend’s list and invite her to a group. Trial accounts cannot invite people to group. Sheesh. Fine, she invites me to group and then summons me. But wait, I cannot get any of the quests in the area either because I’m Undead or because I don’t have BC. Frustration is getting really high. I can’t imagine how much fun this would be if I was a totally new player instead. Probably would have walked away by now.

OK so I decide to pay for the upgrade so I’m not a trial account any more, and we can trade items and such. It turns out that it takes up to 72 hours to switch my account off of trial even though I paid for a full account now. Oh man I’m getting steamed now. Well, let’s run to the store and get Burning Crusade so we can at least play Blood Elves together in the same area. Travel to store, travel back, add BC code to account. $40 gone. Log in, start new Blood Elves and start to play. Still can’t trade because it thinks I’m a trial account. Maybe Monday. Nope still trial. This is just not a good system here, I’m shocked Blizzard has it so messy. Heck even the expansions are messed up. Why do you not offer the previous stuff in the latest box like almost every other MMO for the sake of convenience? Ugh.

Can you tell I’m not happy?

On the positive side, we did have a lot of fun going from 1 to 12 in about an hour. Of course we don’t have enough money to buy our skills and we have to find the next higher leveling area because we have passed the quests available too quickly. Although I think I can live with that.

Just before posting this, I did finally get the email telling me my account is no longer considered a trial account. Glad that is over.

- Ethic

22 thoughts on “The Rough Road Back To WoW

  1. bonedead

    That sounds like it was a big ol shitty fiesta for a while. I’ve never used the recruit a friend option (though it is the only way I would ever return), but I have experienced the “not able to afford skills because I leveled too quickly” dilemma (thanks to a free server). One good thing about WoW is that when you kill grays you still get the loot. Farm some gray humanoids good sir, or just buy the 3-4 skills that you actually use and not the meh skills.

  2. Bri

    If you have an active Wrath account with a level 55+ character, then you can roll a Death Knight on any server. Roll a new DK, spend a couple hours doing the initial quest chain, by the time you finish you’ll end up in Orgrimmar/Stormwind with 30-40g. Mail it to your new characters along with some bags :).

  3. Ethic Post author

    @Bri: I already did the DK thing, don’t want to do it again. My wife’s level 80 gathers gold like it’s going out of style so making the money was not the problem. Getting it to my character while still considered a trial account was (no trading). Now that the trial account status has been removed, we are good to go. Also, my Wrath account is not active.

    @SmakenDahed: Yes it is, as long as you are grouped and close by, you get triple XP for mobs AND quests. You level so fast you can’t stop laughing.

  4. Bri

    Ah, my mistake, when you said *we* don’t have enough money for *our* skills, it sounded to me as if you had both started on a new server, away from your wife’s 80.

  5. Ethic Post author

    @Bri: I can see how you came to that conclusion. We did run out of money, she sent some gold from her 80 so we could buy them but of course she could not give any to me at the time. Would be a real pain if you think of a new player trying the game out and they stay on the trial for 10 days. In 10 days you could get a lot of levels without having the money to buy skills.

  6. Shawndra

    The recruit a friend is a great program, and a great way to spend time together. Not only is it insane experience, but that “hand over an extra level every two” can be great if your wife has a mid level alt that hasn’t hit 60 yet. If she doesn’t, you mentioned she blew you out of the water your last pairing, when you aren’t playing recommend to her rolling up another character on that server that she would enjoy while you aren’t working together. 30 levels passes like nothing, and by the time the other two are 60, you can grant that one up to 60 in less than 5 minutes.

    Do it in a busy major city for added fun! :P

  7. Ethic Post author

    Aside: I filled out a support ticket with Blizzard Technical Support in the very beginning regarding the Scroll of Resurrection problem. Three days later I get an email telling me that they have forwarded my request to the Billing and Account Services team and they will be in contact with me shortly. I already figured out the problem but they are still playing email tag.

    Not exactly stellar customer service if you ask me.

  8. Armagon

    I hear you. When doing the Recruit-A-Friend thingy to speed up levelling we had the same problems at the start, only a bit less bad. I also wanted the 10 days free, at least I’ve bought a new game and why not take advantege of that, but ended up converting after 2h because of said problems. Still a bit annoying.

  9. Julian

    Sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through for something which is apparently simple. Way too many roadblocks, not a simple process. Blizzard should take note.

  10. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Why was the process so unfriendly? Because it can be. Look at your own story: you went through a few different things before paying $20 plus subscription fees for however long you play with your wife. At what point were you not going to give Blizzard money? When a CSR personally stopped by your house and took a steaming dump on your keyboard?

    It’s all well and good to say, “Well, they should make it as easy as possible to get in,” but the reality shows something very different. By the time someone actually wants to get into the game, they have some motivation to get in: friends, family, whatever. The fact here is that you were going to play the game and you were just looking for a cheaper/easier way in. Not surprising that Blizzard’s not eager too give you free playtime.

    In the end you still put up with this, you paid money to Blizzard and they’re still laughing all the way to the bank. And, even though you posted your negative experiences on a blog, how many people do you really think are going to say, “Oh, I was going to play WoW, but I won’t now since they treated poor Ethic so poorly!” Yeah, let’s be honest here, Blizzard is doing what they’re doing because they can, and people in your same situation keep paying them to encourage it. Make no mistake, my friend, paying for WoW was the clearest way to say, “I agree with this treatment,” you could possibly say despite what you posted on here.

  11. Ethic Post author

    Well, the main crux of my complaint was thinking about it from the viewpoint of a new player. I’m not so sure all new players would have put up with it. I knew what I was getting in for, the triple XP, so I knew it would be worth it. Maybe a new player would think so as well. I guess I look at it from customer service, being in that line of work. I do everything possible to keep my customers happy, so they way Blizzard treats customers baffles me. You are correct of course, but the only reason *I* tolerated it was because of my wife. If it was my brother or a friend, I would not have. That I can guarantee.

    I can honestly say, if I had read something like this before I went through it, I just might not have bothered. They got me, because I was not expecting it and they had me jumping through small hoops the whole time. If someone had shown me the course of hoops ahead of time, I’m not sure I would have bothered.

  12. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Yes, but a truly new player would not have had one of your problems with the scroll of resurrection. And, I figure most people intending to use the refer-a-friend program are going to want to get their friend up to the highest levels ASAP, so that means buying the expansions quickly. I suspect you’ll find that you will run out of levels before your “free month” is over from the stories I’ve heard.

    The further reality here is that WoW’s ability to attract new players is limited. People have already pointed out that the press releases are starting to brag about fewer numbers. So, I suspect that most of the people using these systems are like you: they want to play with a friend or loved one. Or, they want to work up a second account for whatever reason.

    Look, I agree with you. I think that’s not the ideal way to treat customers, new or returning. But, my point here is that you’ve just demonstrated to Blizzard that in your case, there is no need to change their system. You have shown you will put up with a lot of abuse and still pay them for the privilege. Even a casual reader will see that you still chose to play the game. The only real way your story would have had the necessary punch is if you had said at the end, “and so I decided not to play.”

    Keep this in mind when you’re tempted to buy the expansions when you hit level 60.

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  14. Ethic Post author

    Brian, I’m only arguing with you because you are right of course.

    But still, playing video games with my wife is powerful motivation.

  15. DiamondShade0

    @ Armagon

    You didn’t lose those 10 free days.

    I recently (at Christmas) “recruited” my 2 brothers.
    We had the same problem of limited play through the trial account and so we upgraded rapidly. (But we didn’t go buy the game at the store, we upgraded it by internet and installed it with my cds)
    And when we went and checked the account management page, the day it finaly really upgraded, we saw that my brothers had about 7 days left of the free 10 days, and after that they had the free 1st month all new accounts get.

    So the 10 free days doesn’t get lost when you upgrade.

  16. Razorbax

    I am looking at using SoR shortly as well. Thanks for the info.

    PS. Starting Quests from level 1 to 5 are only available in your own starting area. If you grind to level 5, you can do quests in any area.

  17. fettpett

    Just make sure when you get to 60 that you don’t surpass it until you’ve given out all your grant a level, as soon as you hit 61 you lose them.

    and oh, there is a 10 day trail for BC that you could have used and upgraded right from your account page, and saved you the trip to the store

  18. fettpett

    You can quest anywhere at level 1, you’re not limited in starting zones like other mmo’s. Blizz did the right thing and didn’t put you in linear starting areas like most mmo’s the problem you had was that you couldn’t get to the Belf area cuz you didn’t have BC, not that you were Undead

    I’ve done RaF twice and not had any issues with it. get yourself a game card put it in and give your wife her zhevra mount, have fun. the SoR is a pain but it’s for people that haven’t played in a long time. Restarting your old Wrath or BC one would have cost you a lot less ($30 game card or 15 on the spot with credit card, plus Wrath if you wanted in on the BC account.

  19. voider

    There is a way to get at least BC with the original game: the World of Warcraft Battle Chest (http://www.blizzard.com/store/details.xml?id=110000044). It’s more expensive than the original box but cheaper than the original box + BC. However, buying each box separately should give you two free months of subscription and you should get a third free month when you buy Wrath. It’s been a while since I set up a new account so I might be mis-remembering the free time.

    @fettpett: The Blood Elf and Draenei newbie zones really are limited. Even with BC you can’t take a level 1 Undead into Eversong Woods and pick up quests there. They are race-limited. Razorbax was right about at least those two zones. You’ll want to get to level 5 in your own starting zone before heading to the Blood Elf or Draenei areas and then pick up from the second newbie quest hub and not the very first one. However, you’ll still miss a few other quests along the way that are also race-limited. For example, the epic zone-ending quest for Bloodmyst Isle area is available to Draenei only.

  20. YoYo

    Well, I see your complaint and just have to ask one question. Do you really want blizzard to focus on that issue? or the issues that really really piss people off like spending 2 hours trying to get into an instance and still no luck? or the lack of balance in the game? You see there are so many stupid ass issues that blizzard is being blitzed left and right by and nobody will ever be happy with the game. Im not saying you dont have a valid point. but even if blizzard had 1 employee for every complain that went through that people didnt like than the progress would still move just as slow. Damn people cant be satisfied by anything anymore lol.

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