When I was growing up, my next door neighbors kids were, to not put too fine a word on it, the neighborhood rejects. For a start, even at the age of 9, we knew that having the surname, “Hancock” was just not a good thing. There were two kids. The older one was our age, lets call him Dick, and his younger four year old brother, whom we shall know as Charles. Dick wore clothes that his grandmother gave him for Christmas, he smelled funny, he ate funny food, he had coke bottle glasses and he had a ‘hawf hawf’ sounding laugh which kind of set your teeth on edge. He was renowned for having horrible accidents, like the time he was walking along the high asbestos fence which divided our two properties and he fell with a leg either side, slicing open his nut sack. There was a lot of blood. And it could have only happened to Dick.

His younger brother was renowned for being a retard. By the age of four he still hadn’t uttered a single word in front of us. He was prefectly normal, didn’t have any of those autistic problems or whatever they are. He just didn’t want to speak. Of course, our parents made us ‘include him’, which meant him following along behind us wherever we went at a distance of about 22 meters. I tried to convince him that I was a werewolf, but to no avail.

As it turns out, Europe is Dick and Charles in WoW. As far as Blizzard is concerned, we are the reject kids over the back fence. The type that they have to let follow along behind even though they would rather not have to. What other conclusion can I come to given the release of the 2010 Warcraft Arena Tournament. If you click on that link it takes you to the warcraft site where they give all the cool details on this years tournament, which features a total cash prize pool of $200,000! Cool huh? Apart from this, all participants have the chance to get the “exclusive” armored murlock pet. The word exclusive is in inverted commas due to the fact that this is the same pet that was offered last year. Players who finish in the top 1000 also get the “exclusive” Vanquisher title, which, yep you guessed it, is the same one as last year.

So Blizzard hasn’t put much effort into this but at least there is the 200 grand, right? Well yes … and no. You see, this is only for the US and Oceanic realms. If you play on the EU realms you need to click this link here. In effect, these two competitions are exactly the same. You go a special realm, make your new level 80 toon and gear it up to your hearts content with gear and weapons and gems and enchants and small furry animals. Then you go and play against other 3 man teams and you have the chance at the “exclusive” murlock pet and vanquisher title and you also get …

Oh wait. That’s it. No 200 grand. Do not pass Go, do not collect 200 big ones. Not even 200 little ones. You get … well, you get fuck all.

So Europe, we’re just the leftovers. I suppose they could have split the 200,000 into two prize pools of 100,000, but obviously that wouldn’t make any sense. And I suppose it’s fair like this because the US and Oceanic players have to pay an entry fee of $20. In the FAQ they explain why there is this entry fee, (it’s the second last on the list, right down the bottom):

“… There are several reasons for the entry fee, one of which being that, as with most professional tournaments, the fee helps ensure that participants are invested in the competition and remain dedicated to it for the duration of the tournament. In addition, the stakes are higher for this tournament than for standard Arena play, with a total prize pool of more than $200,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. Furthermore, this format should help provide high-level players with an intensely competitive, even playing field on the tournament realms …”

Oh okay, so they pay an entry fee so they get a big cash prize. But hang on a second … I’m just looking at the EU site and it says that we have to also pay, €15. This can’t be right. Let me go and check the FAQ on that one:

“… There are several reasons for the entry fee, one of which being that, as with most professional Passes, the fee helps ensure that participants are invested in the competition and remain dedicated to it for the duration of the Arena Pass event. This format should help provide high-level players with an intensely competitive, even playing field on the Arena Pass realms …”

One of the other characteristics of the kids next door was that you could make them believe almost anything, (except that I was actually a werewolf). That’s because we thought they were idiots. It seems that Blizzard thinks the same way too.