Digital downloads and cinematics

31 October 2010 § 1 Comment

Two days ago I went ahead and cancelled my Collector’s Edition order, and substituted it with a digital download from Blizzard. The Lil” Deathwing pet looks awesome, and I am a pet fanatic, but it’s hard to justify a doubling of the price to get a pet and a lot of stuff I really don’t care about. Also, CE would have to be shipped from the US (given that the CE sold in France would be for the EU servers instead) which would mean a delay in playing and a possible cost addition for the VAT I’d have to pay at the customs.

Then, last night we killed Lich King, and weirdly I got a “This cinematic is not available” message. So I went around the net to investigate it, and found this post. I had in fact got an error message two weeks ago, while launching the game, which caused me to reinstall everything from the digital download – and had not killed the LK since then or done the Wrathgate event, so last night was the first time I encountered the issue.

Now, I don’t particularly care about the Wrath cinematics, because I’ve seen them already. I am, however, slightly concerned about the Cataclysm ones, because there seems to be a lot of them, and they are nice. And yes, I can always check them on YouTube, but that’s really not the point, is it? There’s a reason why Blizzard weaves the cinematics into the game, as opposed to having a pop up window in the game appear with a YouTube link.

I also understand the problem: their download servers are probably working overtime, between the 8+GB download of 4.0, and the Cataclysm downloads, and people reinstalling the game left, right and centre. Because cinematics are so heavy, taking them out is probably helping to speed up the queues a fair bit. However, there are several issues with this implementation.

The first one, and the most important one, is that they “forgot” to specify that Cataclysm digital downloads would be cinematics-less. The post I linked to dates to 15 October, and the announcement of the digital download happened this week, so they clearly knew of the issue. Knowing beforehand would have let people make an informed choice about the purchase, as opposed to having us find out after the deal is done (and the credit card is debited). I am also kinda surprised that none of the major news sites covered this issue: no mention of this on either wowinsider or mmo-champion. (UPDATE: as I was writing this, I found a news site I didn’t know before who wrote something about the matter just yesterday).

Now, of course, we can always hope that Blizzard solves the issue before Cata is released: once the heavy load on their server is gone (4.0.1 is several times bigger than 4.0.3 or 4.0.3a, it seems), we could start streaming the cinematics. But the blue post seems very vague about possible solutions, and the feeling is clearly one of “not a priority at all”.

Ironically, I have the Wrath CDs, so I could get the cinematics from there (at least the Wrathgate one, which was in at release – I guess not the LK one which was patched later). But I don’t want to reinstall the whole game again, and I cannot find any quickfire way to just get the cinematics from the CDs.

I’ll try to get the word out to a few more bloggers (ones with wider readership than me), because I think this is an issue that affects a lot more people than just me – and even more with the digital download for Cataclysm coming. Let’s hope we can get some word from Blizzard about this – otherwise, get ready for some alt-tabbing….



§ One Response to Digital downloads and cinematics

  • itanya_blade says:

    After reading that whole thread, it appears that the digital download of Cataclysm does contain the cinematics. Honestly, I would be surprised if it did not simply because of the pure backlash it would cause.

    Cataclysm has a ton of cut scenes (Uldum is awash with them) and would be nearly unplayable if they were not there.

    Still, the fact that the digital download of the previous games do not contain the cutscenes is a problem. And just bad PR for them to go “Oops, our bad.”

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