Skip to main content

Gates of AQ open on World of Warcraft, servers take the night off

Ok, this is a confession/rant. I'm a WoW addict. I would play all day, every day if I could. The fact that I don't is a testament to myself of my own committment to things other than WoW. (Note, others may disagree; this is not about them!)

That said, I couldn't have cared less that Blizzard made this contest in the latest release for servers to compete in order to earn the right to have a new instance opened on their server. That is, until I realized what they had created. What they created was insanity. Thousands of people logged onto the server to see the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj open; I happend to be lucky enough to be on that server. My wait went from 20 to over 800 in a week. Let me repeat that: I'm now waiting for over an hour to log onto the server for which I pay monthly fees to use. Now, in the FPS world, this isn't an issue usually because I can go to a different server and take my character with me (see BF2 for a good implementation). WoW doesn't allow that. If I want to go to a different server, I have to start over.

So, last night, as the gates got closer to opening, the whole realm decided to take a crap and start crashing. Granted, the whole realm didn't go down. No, you had to be lucky enough to be in specific areas. Half the world disappeared around 11pm, which is when I found a place to log off.

I see on Slashdot today that it only got worse from there. The whole thing was a disaster from a technical and PR standpoint, with a few dozen other servers to go.

I work on a web app in real life, I get how hard it is to scale, I really do. That said, Blizzard has been doing this for over a year and knows what kind of traffic they have to deal with. Building a contest that could foreseeably increase the load on one realm should have been managed ahead of time. Blizzard eventually disallowed new accounts to be created on Medivh, but only a few days prior to the contest closing. The patch should have done this. The sharp uptick in people on the realm has made the point of spreading users across servers worthless. Blizzard actively encouraged people to create level 1 characters and run then cross-country to the gates. The response of porting players under level 30 away from the area should have been unnecessary in the first place. It's not a purely technical problem; it's a change management problem (man, someone at work would die to read that).

I'm disappointed, I really am. I expected a lot more from the game and from Blizzard. They're very smart people; I hope they realize that all problems aren't solved with sys admins.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Retirement Pat Sweeny!

In a previous life, I was an active member of the West Michigan Shores Chapter of the STC. I met a lot of really cool people there and learned a lot about what it meant to be not just a technical writer, but more about how technical writers can break out of the mold and accomplish things.

One of the people who did that was Pat Sweeny. Pat is (or was, by this point) the President and owner of The Bishop Company, a contract do-it-all house; they document, streamline and illustrate your process, and they do it damn well. Pat was one of the first people in that chapter to "get it", which is to say, he and his company understand that technical writing isn't going to be a department for very much longer, it's going to be a business.

He had the foresight to actually make it a business, but he also had something else. Pat was forever trying to better those around him. He would come to meetings (which was a big step beyond most people) and teach you things. Or he would come to …

Google Inbox: A classic Google product

My work domain (an EDU) recently had Google Inbox enabled so I had a good chance to try it out. My personal email is relatively quiet and, I believe, doesn't provide a good Inbox experience. Work is more active and requires actual management, something I've tossed many a tool at over the years. As part of my work life, I supported the Google Apps for EDU installation here and took a pretty extensive presentation to campus about how to manage large amounts of email.

Inbox is a classic Google product: the distillation of a number of excellent ideas into a set of half-complete features built for a use case most people don't meet. We've seen this in the past in products like ChromeVox, Google's Chrome extension for accessibility. ChromeVox works great on ChromeOS devices, but completely ignores the point that most users of accessibility tech (AT) don't have or want ChromeOS devices and come to services with their AT in tow. ChromeVox also ignores decades of convent…

Evernote

Evernote, for better or worse, is the best note-taking service for my needs. It works across all my devices/computers/modes. It's fairly easy to get stuff into it. Hell, they even have 2-Factor authentication. The Windows app is a little clunky and my girlfriend and I have never been able to get shared notes to work properly (conflicted note! three times in the same grocery trip!), but what service is perfect? At least they have nice socks.

Everything, in fact, is pretty good as long as you don't screw up. And screw up I did. I'm not very regular about making backups, but I do make them every month or so. Once you figure out how to create a backup, that is.

There's a helpful Export Note option (which turns into Export Notes when you select multiple notes HINT). The export process is essentially opening All Notes, selecting every note, and then choosing Export Notes. Or something like that; Evernote never tells you, you're left to figure it out on your own. The file…