I finally buckled under the pressure and installed the World of Warcraft 14 day trial. I didn't object to giving them my credit card info because I get the feeling that I'm not going to be ready to quit any time soon. I'm enjoying life as a noob, but let me describe the initial user experience "out of the box" as it happened for me.
I started by spending at least half an hour waiting to install off DVD. After that I went through the registration process on Blizzard's site. They include a lot of information for getting started that was more than ample for me. I was amused though when the explanation at the beginning of the registration that explicitly stated a free trial would not automatically charge my card was followed at the end by a statement that payments would automatically renew on the billing cycle you choose.
Anyhow, after registering I get to finally start the game. I figured I'd waited through the install and done the registration step, these are things I've come to expect as normal. Of course at the opening there's movie that bears little resemblance to the game. I would've skipped it but Candace got a kick out of it.
All right, now I do the log in thing, all ready and primed even though it's easily an hour past the time I first felt like playing the game. I click the login button and immediately I'm prompted to accept a patch. Okay, it does something for a second and gives me the one choice to click "restart". That wasn't too bad. Hope I don't have to wait through the movie again.
I click restart and I'm presented with the Blizzard Downloader stating it's downloaded 0 bytes of a 359 MB patch. At this point I'm suspicious. Maybe I'm on hidden camera and they're waiting for me to lose it. I wait an hour or so for the 359MB to download. At least it looks like they use Bit Torrent to speed up the download, I think that made a huge difference.
Finally, just when you think it's over, the Updater starts. It has a number like 18/25514 and a status bar that moves really slowly. Whatever. At this point I'm resigned to the fact that the entire 14 days of this "free trial" will consist of downloading and installing. So it came as no surprise after this patch was done that there was another one waiting for me after my second log in. The second patch was only a couple seconds though and on my third log in I finally got to get started actually playing something that resembled a game.
I think all that waiting and installing is just conditioning to get players excited about counting how many Kobolds they kill. Here's a quest: "Go kill 10 of these rat-looking things." Why not just give me a quest that says "Go level for a while." It's just as meaningful but there's no pretending that there's a story to it.
I might sound negative, but I kept playing and got to level 3 or 4 last night. If I wasn't enjoying the game I'd stop. I was impressed that the graphics were better than I expected - even though I installed on my laptop. For a first session it was pretty good. I'm looking forward to some time to play again maybe this weekend.