Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pre-expansion server blues

To recap the last 24 hours:
- WoW's servers went down yesterday at 8 AM for the weekly maintenance (the one that we are not entitled to compensation for).
- Somehow, something they did during the maintenance wiped the contents of the in-game mail system. This is actually a major issue because players use the mail system for item storage. I question whether that is more work for the database than just letting you keep as much stuff as you need in inventory, actually moving all of the various soulbound currency tokens into the currency tab so that they don't take up space, and/or reducing the number of items you literally cannot replace if you get rid of them. Regardless, this kept the servers down until almost midnight.
- Now the servers are down again because they somehow managed to remove all costs from some of the PVP gear. This bug popped up in beta and I'm guessing some tired tech didn't check their builds while dealing with the mail debacle.

That's not a very impressive record leading up to the day the expansion goes live. I guess the goal is to have the servers up and running at midnight, when the actual big event happens. In the mean time, while Larisa is taking a walk down memory lane as the TBC era closes in Europe, I'm looking at an empty select server screen. Somehow, perhaps foolishly, I had expected better of Blizzard. This may bode poorly for the weekend.

(In fairness, Blizzard did issue a three day time credit a week ago for the first round of expansion-patch related downtime and server instability. If you figure on 5 million North American/European subscribers paying $0.50 a day, that's a $7.5+ million apology.)

P.S. Street Dates
Meanwhile, and I put this in its own section since it's technically something I have a choice on, if the servers are up this time tomorrow, when I would normally log in, I won't be able to visit Northrend. That's because I won't be picking up my expansion box in time to get it installed until after work. I suppose it's a way of self-selecting the people most eager to get on - people willing to come home after a midnight launch party to start playing will have a chance, if the servers are even up, to play with the most quiet continent of Northrend the game will see until the next expansion.

Still, it's a bit of an annoyance to have the servers go live on the game's actual street date, especially when you read stories about how other players managed to snag copies from retailers who were incompetent enough to break the date. LOTRO is not only allowing direct online upgrades to the expansion but ALSO allowing them in advance, so that everyone who wants to participate in their launch can do so without staying up all night and/or skipping work.

(Blizzard probably doesn't have the option of doing direct download on launch day - retails would quite possibly retaliate with decreased shelf space if denied a cut of the expansion launch sales.)

1 comment:

  1. We'll be an entire day behind here in Australia. It's 8am on Thursday Nov 13 here and they're not releasing the expansion here until tomorrow on the 14th. Some lucky people preordered online (Australian companies) and received theirs in the mail earlier this week, but that's really a matter of dumb luck since plenty of people have preordered online before and not gotten them till days later.

    Australia appears to be happily strangling itself with red tape anyway, so even if I dragged my laptop into a store, fired up WoW and did a /who of Northrend to demonstrate that people are in there, the manager would refuse to sell the game to me. Arg! Very frustrating. It'd be nice to involved in the actual launch of a game for once.


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