Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Friendship, Distance & Political Protests

I'm about to write in several paragraphs what I could easily write in one. Verbosity may or may not be my problem...shall we discuss?

OrdoSerp is more than a blog or a little alt-guild. It's a group of friends trying to remain close. Unfortunately, one of our friends is having a major disruption to his expansion excitement and it's like nothing you've encountered.

The amazing thing about the internet & MMORPG's is the way they shrink our world. Twelve years ago, Cal and I met Nord when he stumbled upon us playing Magic the Gathering in a common area at grad school.

Note: Cal swears that the ink on Magic cards have addictive properties. Also, Blue decks were Nord's kryptonite.

Over the years, we integrated into Nord's geek social group. It's that social group that serves as the backbone of the OrdoSerp guild. The years and countless miles have not been able to weaken the friendships we've made. In many ways, World of Warcraft has been one of the major reasons. Perhaps it's because WoW enables us to keep from going outside and meeting new people...

...which are two things that are very difficult for computer geeks and D&D nerds....But I digress...

Reminiscing and self-deprecating aside, WoW is important to us. Left to our own devices most of the individuals in our group might have long-abandoned Warcraft for other activities. As it stands, we struggle with real life time commitments, differences in play-style & leveling speed. Some of us are raiders, some are not (and none for the same raiding guild.) Needless to say, Wrath was highly anticipated not just because it represents new challenges & new content, but also because it's the closest thing we have to a "level-set" without rolling yet another group of alts.

Alas, none of us were prepared for the impact of political unrest in a foreign country.

Our dps warrior, Mardigilian lives in Thailand. For those of you who've been leveling all your toons non-stop and/or simply never look at international news, there are major political protests in Thailand right now which have shut down the airports.

Now, why does this matter? Well, Mard's dad pre-ordered and then express shipped Wrath (at great expense) here in the states so that our friend could play WoW with us ASAP. His game, for all we know, could be sitting at the airport waiting to be delivered to his home.

Now obviously the inconvenience of waiting for a video game is nowhere near as important as the thousands of travelers stuck, the protesters who were killed, or the political upheaval. But, it's also a lot worse than my 2-day lockout due to my account being hacked. In fact, it probably trumps all of our OMG, I can't get Wrath immediately stories due to store glitches, lines, hardware issues, & install problems combined.

Of course, hindsight being what it is, Mard could have gotten the game through other "slower" means except for the large quantities of money already poured into getting the game "quickly."

So, next time when see someone has leveled faster than you or gotten to see new content before you, think of Mard who's still doing dailies in Outland waiting for political stability so he can get his game.

As I prepare to post this, events in Thailand are rapidly improving. With any luck, Mard will have the game in time to celebrate the King's Birthday.


Epicurias said...

Well thats a very sobering thought.

As is always the case, someone has it worse. Something many people would do well to keep at the forefront of thier minds.

Please pass onto him, the regrets of a new wow-addict, and my condolences for his (temperary) loss


Mardigilian said...

It's in!!!! And I feel a bit better after firing off a cross email to Blizz about how quickly they made the game available for download without announcing (at least not very loudly) that I could wait a week rather than pay $125 to (theoretically) get the game a few days sooner.

I know retailer pre-orders are a cornerstone of their business model, but think they could have made a little effort to identify customers who they could better serve with a pre-ordered download (and encourage them acquire legitimate copies of their software--I'm reasonably sure I could have gotten my hands on much less expensive and equally functional copy through less than legal channels here).

While I've got my rant hat on, let me take a moment to decry UPS. Normally I've found their service to be quite adequate. But $125 dollars for "two day" expedited shipping? The paperwork I got today suggests a flight from the Philippines to Bangkok on the 30th/1st. Now that would seem that either the package got the the Philippines on the 30th and delivery was delayed until today or package was delayed in reaching Bangkok until the 1st. Either way you count the parts of the trip not involved in getting it into the country took considerably more than 2 days.

Adding insult to injury they presented my wife with a bill the duty due on the game. Okay, not unexpected and even for $125, I don't really expect them to pay my taxes for me. However, 30% of the bill was a "Disbursement Fee". After $125 for 11-day shipping, they can't front me $8 with tacking on a $4 charge? A $4 charge that somehow incurs value added tax.


Cainam said...

Well... may I ask how your Father paid for the UPS? If he used a VISA card, dispute the charge. While UPS can claim that the situation was out of thier control you can likewise claim that you paid for a service you did not receive. I would consider contacting UPS first and seeing if they will work with you on the charge considering the situation, but if not, take it up with Visa.