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Do I Really Want The Retail Box?

April 24, 2010

I was a little surprised when the announcement came a couple days ago that the Age of Conan expansion, Rise of the Godslayer, will be released May 11, 2010. Why, that’s only — *counts on my fingers* — a few weeks away! I scoured the Funcom and AoC websites for a confirmation, saw none, and went to the forums which were also abuzz with confusion.

Anyway, I don’t know what took Funcom so long, but the announcement finally came on their website, along with a great new look. That’s confirmation enough for me! AoC fans have been waiting for this for a long time, and though this news seemed to have come out of nowhere, knowing that the release date is just around the corner makes the anticipation a lot less difficult to bear (unlike the torture that is the wait for a certain Star Wars MMO). So now that I know when to expect the expansion, I can start contemplating my RotGs decisions, questions like Tiger or Wolf (if you can call that thing a wolf)? Which factions to ally with? What class should I make my new Khitan?

But the real decision before all of that — Retail box or digital download?

If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said Box! Box! Box! with no hesitation at all. Since then, however, my life has become more about simplicity, efficiency, and in short, minimizing the amount of crap I have lying around the house. Why keep your music, books and movies on multiple shelves and CD towers when you can condense all that goodness onto a hard disk? It makes moving a lot easier, that’s for sure, especialy with these weak puny arms of mine. Anyway, I’m starting to feel the same way about PC games. Sure, it’s nice to look at all the colorful game boxes lined up on the shelf above my computer, but in the end it’s still just more clutter.

There’s more to consider when it comes to RotGs though. Adventurer Historian has already touched upon one of the issues with his pondering of exclusive goodies in his latest post. The new AoC expansion will indeed be launching with special items included in their retail box, like a starter package of unique in-game items as well as a puma pet that’s hard to say no to. And while we’re on the topic of unique pets, I’ve also received an email from Funcom offering an exclusive “Loyal Kappa” wilderness buffing pet if I pre-order RotGs. Not sure what the hell a kappa is, all I know is that it’s effing hideous:

I suppose there’s also another advantage to getting the retail box in this case — it will come with the latest version of the original game. And for the life of me, I can’t tell you what happened to the original copy of AoC that I bought at release. I actually think one of my friends “borrowed” it to install and never gave it back. But whatever, the point is, when I started playing this game again, I had to re-install the client using the Download Manager from the AoC website. The entire download including the patching process took the better half of a day and pretty much ate up about a third of the 60 gig bandwidth cap allotted by my internet service provider. I hate the thought of having to go through all that again, PLUS downloading the expansion, in case my computer or operating system ever decides to crap out on me.

And there’s something to be said about the feeling you get when you’re holding that game box in your hands after you bring it home, or when you open that CD case to see the pretty graphics printed on the shiny discs inside, that plastic-y smell of a brand new game and manual wafting up to hit you in the face. Guess I should enjoy these little pleasures while I can, before the time will come when all games are delivered digitally.

8 comments

  1. YAY your website has returned!

    I’m all for digital downloads – either because 1) it’s immediate, 2) it’s a little cheaper (I wish!), or 3) there’s some sort of awesome, unique item.

    In the case of RofGS, 1) the download will take a really long time, which won’t be cool, 2) the price is the same, and 3) that kappa is fugly.

    So, I think I’m with you – while I’m all about reducing clutter, a boxed copy of the game would be really useful, install faster, and the puma should be better looking than Mr. Rock-Monster-With-Teeth.


    • Mr. Rock-Monster-With-Teeth is definitely not an incentive for me. I think I’m definitely going for the retail box, now the only problem is finding a place that sells it. I’m not a fan of getting anything shipped when I can go out and get it for myself. I got my original copy at Best Buy a couple years ago, but they’ve cut back on a lot of PC titles since. I may have to go to a EB Games and call beforehand to make sure they will even carry it.


  2. I’m all about digital downloads these days. If there is an utterly rawking bonus item involved, I might buy a box. I’ve also often found that a box from Amazon is cheaper that a digital download (go figure). Apart from that, the less random crap in my apartment the better. I have enough.


    • Amazon has had some fantastic deals lately, so I’m not surprised that’s the case sometimes.


  3. I usually do digital downloads now as well, especially for MMOs. I get the download early or on launch day, and the license key is emailed to me. That means I don’t have to hunt the UPS guy down. Plus, if I reinstall later because of a new machine, OS spring cleaning, etc., I don’t usually use the box DVD’s again since there’s normally a newer client download available.


    • The only reason I would still use the discs again is to save on bandwidth usage. I have a pretty cheap plan that only allows me 60 gigs a month and if I go over I have to pay. I remember going over the month I downloaded the AoC client because it was like 17 gigs right there :P


      • Oh, didn’t think about bandwidth caps. I forget that there’s some differences in broadband packages between Canada and the States.


  4. [...] I’d still rather prefer the retail-box, but it’s not worth the trouble. Shame, because I’m sure the puma pet will be super cute… [...]



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