WoW and the Quest for the Patch of Molasses

Tech Culture

Many of the 1.5 million subscribers playing "World of Warcraft," the smash online role-playing game, are complaining that publisher Blizzard Entertainment sent them on a less-than-entertaining side quest this week.

This particular mission involves downloading a 63MB patch for the game over a connection that can slow down to a languid 2KB/second when the servers are busy, which they always are. The result has been waits of five hours or more for some players to download the patch, and a proliferating series of tirades in Blizzard's user forums with titles such as "We demand a refund!" and "Still patching--kill me now, please."

These aren't the first technical challenges for Blizzard, either judging from the lengthy roster of downtime notices. No wonder, then, that the first item to greet you on Blizzard's home page is a help-wanted listing for an Oracle database administrator.

Meanwhile, even if you can't log into the game, it's entertaining enough to read the list of issues fixed in the patch. Our favorites, even if we have no idea what most of them actually mean:

•  Krinkle Goodsteel in Gadgetzan no longer repairs durability damage. His brother, Wrinkle Goodsteel, and his friend Blizrik Buckshot, who share a nearby shop, are still more than happy to provide their durability repair services.

•  Cooking recipe, Tender Wolf Steak, added to vendors in Aerie Peaks and Gadgetzan. Allows players to cook tender wolf meat.

•  Battle Chicken has had its level boosted by five.

•  The Drunk effect has been greatly enhanced.

Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF