Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Server Crash, or "What Sucks Here?"

So my family and I were about to win a Wintergrasp (thank you, thank you, hold your applause) when people noticed they couldn't resurrect.

I figured my healing skillz were needed more than ever, since death had become a permanent state and we only had one more minute to defend the fortress, so I put my back into the effort until we won and the timer reset.

But nobody got marks.

And nobody got quest credit.

Not even the living.

So I sat and watched the angry raid chat until the server crashed and logged us all out.

"They don't care that servers are going down, they just want our money."

I really wanted to argue but kept my mouth shut. The rational truth is that if people can't play, Blizzard will lose customers, thus the guy's perspective has a whopping inconsistency issue.

It's true Blizz is a business, but I've never, in the few years I've been playing this game, gotten the impression the company doesn't care about its quality of service. Players might argue about whether or not what they produce is worth the time and effort, but it is false to say they don't put time and effort into their product.

I also swear to you, as the wife of an IT guy, when something goes down unexpectedly the company scrambles to fix it. They are not just sitting there going "Oh, we'll take care of those servers after we have a snack break." When one of my husband's sites goes down, it doesn't matter if he's watching The Office with me and I'm on an emo hormone binge -- he has to work. So I'm sure the guys sweating away at Blizz, fixing server crashes for ungrateful little snots when they could be watching The Office, really appreciate all the whiny jerks spouting off.

"I swear to God, I'm quitting for Aion."

Yeah, um. Having a bug in the game you're playing is not a good reason to switch to a new game. Brand new games actually have (gasp!) more bugs than well-established games.

Nor does this work as a scare tactic. Nobody actually cares that one disgruntled player is waving around Aion like a flag of war. You want to play it, play it, but stop going on about how you should because Blizz is so fail. If you had the rocks to quit, you would have done it already.


I realize people need to vent when they get frustrated, but I also think some of those guys need anger management. It might be important to get what you earn, but missing out on three Wintergrasp marks is not world-ending. This goes for pretty much any aspect of the game, because some things stick with you longer than success or rewards or even the game itself. Like friends. People who help you -- not because they can get something off of you, but because you have mutual affection and respect for each other.


  1. NCSoft has improved a lot since the Lineage series and Guild Wars but I still don't think it comes close to WoW. In the long run it might succeed more than WoW has but it needs to do more than make a graphically enhanced WoW.

    I enjoy Aion.

  2. What a tremendously insightful, and remarkably accurate, article! I can only say that I agree 100 percent in every particular.

    An aside about Aion: I think a LOT of people are going to be pretty disappointed by that game. Most of those people will be former WoW players who were on PvE servers.

  3. There was even an post by ghostcrawler (or another high person at Blizzard) asking us to go and play other games, just to come back to WoW.

    I think they get more and more uncomfortable with being responsible for to sole entertainement of million persons. They do have to deliver. Fast. And enough.

    That's the biggest threat to growing companies. And I think they made a very good job of not going out of business because of too much success.

    I only now the European WoW and man there service sucked the first year. They made everything that's stupid:

    * Patch day on Friday. NEVER EVER TOUCH A SYSTEM ON FRIDAY. Basic IT knowledge. They changed that to Wednesday. Good.

    * Installing a completely broken patch before eastern. 4 days off from work and you cannot play and they don't fix it because they are off, too. (Yes, the system administrators might be working during eastern but surely not the programmers and if the patch is broken they can only wait and fight fires.) They delayed every patch to after holidays since then. Good.

    * Complete no communication with the customer. It's so easy. They learned: "We know that your server is down and working on it. We think we can fix it within 2 hours." Or "Your server is down. We expect it to be up again tomorrow morning at 10." Yes, I had the later message once. And it's great. You can just cancel your raid in TS and go watch TV instead of 4h SPAM-clicking login.

    So, yes, 4 years later WoW has a higher uptime than my online banking site.

    Additional instances cannot be launched. ... yes, I hate this one. :-)

  4. If you had the rocks to quit, you would have done it already.

    LOL! QFT.

  5. What amuses me most is that for a lot of these whiny little fu... I mean, kids... World of Warcraft is their very first MMO. They have no idea what it was like for WoW's predecessors.

    When Verant Interactive began having issues with their patch days soon after their release of EverQuest, the game would sometimes go down for DAYS at a time... not hours or a matter of minutes like Blizzard's servers sometimes do.

    They really have no idea how good they've got it. It's one of the reasons why I've never had issues with extended maintenance days or queues or slightly laggy servers on occasion, or crashes.

    Because I know from experience that it could be worse.

  6. Every time I'm tempted to nerdrage over some bug or server crash I remind myself of the utterly amazing fact that my computer can completely freeze up, shut down and Blizzard's servers save EVERY TINY CHANGE I've made to my character or character status in spite of the fact that I disconnected in the middle of a battle, etc etc. I don't get a "Corrupt Game File" error when I try to log back in and I don't have to reroll every time there's a power outage. I don't know a single console game that could boast that. If my SNES got unplugged, that was the end of my progress and potentially the end of my saved game file. My KotoR used to freeze up when the videos played... usually at the end of a 1 hr+ gaming session without a ready save point.

    PS - I know you're talking about me in this post too. :P Migraines and Wintergrasp are not a good mix. Only 3 marks from my TF Leggings, btw!!

  7. Awww. I didn't remember you being particularly grouchy. <3


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