World of Warcraft’s start‐up dialogs

The venerable massive-online multiplayer game World of Warcraft is ten years old. The game’s user interface is starting to feel a bit dated. Here is my commentary on the somewhat frustrating login dialogs that have remained pretty much unchanged for ten years.

Commenting on World of Warcraft’s start‐up dialogs on YouTube

The video tries to highlight how weird it is to have an interruptive action — the Cancel button — as the first call-to-action the user is faced with when starting the game. The user is urged to click the only thing on screen. Especially when nothing is happening for half a minute and there is no feedback. The call-to-action effect is reinforced by the mouse cursor which is automatically centered on the button when the game starts.

This is my first video narration. I think I will be making some more in the coming months as I will use them to practice the General American accent.

Video transcript

A full transcript of everything said in the video. The transcription can also be run as a subtitle track on the video.

  • I’d like to comment on some details about the World of Warcraft start‐up experience.
  • First we’re connecting. Which makes sense.
  • Next, the dialog twitches and declares some kind of success.
  • The mouse cursor is centered on screen when the game launches.
  • But we’re not quite sure what to do next.
  • The only thing in focus is this big Cancel button. However, clicking it seems unlikely to yield any further progress.
  • Nothing seems to be happening for quite some time.
  • At this point, we’re reconsidering whether clicking the Cancel button wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.
  • Half a minute in, the dialog grows bigger and says we’re connected.
  • Eventually we find our self in the realm chooser with our Warlock.
  • Changing this dialog and texts to be more intuitive would take Blizzard more than a few minutes.
  • Hopefully, the dialogs and login experiences you create will be better than Warcraft.

Warlords of Draenor update

The next expansion pack to World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor, is due next week. Some of its features, including the new start‐up screen, is already available to players who have pre-ordered the game. I have had a look at it, and found that the dialogs discussed in this blog post and video have not been changed. Maybe we will see a less confusing login sequence with the next expansion.