Bah. Beta. Everything I read all over is Beta this, Beta that. There's so much praise going for Blizzard's upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion that it's about time we give it some rightful hate! That's right, I'm going to go through a nasty little list of all the things I hate about the Beta.
10. None of my AddOns work
Ok, well, some of them do. But since this is a Beta build, it's best to stay clear of any AddOns. I want to test the Beta build, which is unstable enough on its own, so any technical issues I experience will result in a GM telling me to scrap my WTF folder and toss out any AddOns, anyway. So I have to play without critical PvP AddOns like Afflicted or graphical idiosyncrasies like MetaHUD and fun stuff like ShaderMod. Of course, it also means I've got to re-import all my macros and reprogram my key bindings, which -- since I'm a lazy bum -- can be a chore.
9. The world can go down at anytime.
I've gotten fairly familiar with the message 'World Server is Down'. It's kind of like a mantra, actually. This is the time when Blizzard is trying to fix all the kinks in the Wrath servers -- we're essentially their guinea pigs and subject to the expected errors of the testing phase. So just when I'm about to complete a quest, I get booted from the server like some awful server joke. When I log back in, there are no NPCs and I start to think I'm Will Smith in I Am Legend. And then, just when the NPCs start appearing, I get spit out again.
8. Things change.
As happy as I am with some things, I know that a lot of these won't make it to live servers. In fact, I was grinding madly to Level 75 with two bubbles to go when the servers went down without warning (see above). When I was finally able to log back in, I was halfway into my experience bar. I guess the devs felt that leveling was too easy -- it was, but boy was it fun while it lasted! -- and decided to scale things back. A lot of things will change from now and when Wrath finally goes live, so just when I start to get comfortable, Blizzard shakes things up.
7. Money means nothing.
Ok, since I don't have any money on the live servers, this really doesn't hurt me much. But I did forget to "borrow" all my wife's Gold for the copy process so now I stupidly ended up on the servers with just a few hundred Gold. This has become a problem for me now that I need to level my Blacksmithing. My character isn't a Miner, so I relied mostly on the Auction House or my wife's Jewelcrafter/Miner toon's leftover ores and bars on the live realms. Of course, in Beta, because money doesn't mean anything, there's no real economy. The Auction Houses have the feel of a Tower Records store.
6. I don't have friends.
Well, alright, that's not entirely true since quite a few WoW Insider folks have made it into Beta, including Mike "my-invite-took-so-long-now-i'm-grumpy" Schramm. But unlike some of my lucky colleagues, none of my Guild mates or friends on my home server have made it to Beta, so the playing experience is somewhat lonely. Particularly, I don't have my wife, my favorite leveling partner (and financier...) with me so playing in the Beta is actually just going through the motions. Ok, I don't have many friends to begin with, but that's besides the point.
5. There are too many Death Knights.
In Outlands, anyway. It's funny to have four Death Knights talking in Hellfire's General channel looking for a healer to go through Hellfire Ramparts. I find it impossible to throw a stone in the Outlands and not hit a Death Knight. And as cool as Death Knights look -- and they look really, really cool -- everybody looks the same, and seeing everyone and his uncle run around in that badass armor makes it less badass. If there's anything in Beta I'd expect to see in live, it's probably the proliferation of Death Knights. They're like mushrooms. Evil, death-dealing, plate-wearing mushrooms.
4. I feel inadequate.
Another bad thing about Beta is how good it is. I mean... look at all the cool talents and abilities we're gonna get. Playing in Beta and feeling super and then going back to the live realms is like being allowed to test drive a Lamborghini Diablo and then having to go back to driving a Cherry QQ. Back on the live realms, it's just not fun when -- faced with several opponents -- I frantically press my Thunderstorm key binding and end up dropping a Windwall Totem.
3. I'll have to do this all over again.
Just as money means nothing in Beta, neither do all the levels I've gained or the gear I've acquired stand for anything. When Beta finally ends, I'll have to do all the quests with the same characters again. Worse, because of the change in experience (which will probably stick), I'll probably have to finish all of the quests in the Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra just to make it to Level 71. As much fun as I've had doing them all, the idea of doing them all again doesn't exacty make me wanna do Balki's Dance of Joy.
2. Nobody PvPs.
Nobody plays the Battlegrounds on Beta! I'm always in queue for 3-4 hours for all Battlegrounds and when I finally do get in, it's in the Strand of the Ancients... which is broken. I don't think I've ever completed a game of Strand of the Ancients. I always end up in some sort of limbo holding pattern where everybody is running in place and I can run around taking picturesque screenies of the scenery. Alright, I'll confess... I copied my toons over to the PvE server because all the WoW Insider folks are there. But I'd forgotten how boring PvE servers were -- everyone's blue!
1. Wrath isn't out yet.
The absolute worst thing about the Beta, though, is the fact that its very existence means that Wrath of the Lich King isn't out yet! My Beta experience has been so much fun that the worst thing is knowing this game is months away from release. Even though we're likely to see the cinematic this coming weekend in Leipzig, that's only a teaser for what promises to be the most awesome expansion ever. The Beta key is some sort of Carrot on a Stick that makes me want to hibernate and come out in a few months. Curse you, Blizzard!