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No More Players for World of Warcraft - For Now

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the we-played-too-hard dept.

PC Games (Games) 544

Chris writes "FileFront has broke the news from Blizzard that they are no longer placing their highly popular MMORPG on store shelves, due to the recent server problems reported by Slashdot on Tuesday. Denying rumors that they had asked several stores to pull the game from shelves, Blizzard rep Gil Shrif is quoted as saying: 'We're just being careful not to release additional copies to be sold until we feel the game servers can support additional players.' The online store on Blizzard's website shows the game to be out of stock. No word on whether or not this will affect the Korean release."

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544 comments

Too much Southpark? (4, Informative)

SeanTobin (138474) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415284)

Does this strategy remind anyone of Cartman's "You can't come and play here" amusement park? I just wonder who is getting the hemorrhoid.

As far as not affecting the Korean release, it won't. Korea will have its own servers. The MMO's in Korea are traditionally not released in boxes. They are downloaded for free and the players pay a greater fee per month. I believe the number was around USD$23/month in Korea compared to $15 in the US.

Re:Too much Southpark? (4, Funny)

FrYGuY101 (770432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415331)

I just wonder who is getting the hemorrhoid.
You misunderstand.

EA *IS* the hemorrhoid.

Re:Too much Southpark? (2, Funny)

dangrover (782060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415390)

Naw. In Korea, only old people play video games.

Not at all (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415399)

I play WoW and I can say that the situation is/was unacceptable. The game was crashing all the time, like 4+ times per day, and the database would roll back to a much earlier state (meaning all progress since that point wsa lost). To fix that, they implemented server caps and a line that could take TWO HOURS to get in and play. Sorry, that shit doesn't fly, I am not going to pay to wait in line to play a game. I was ready to cancel my account.

However, they've been making strides in fixing the problem. There are still lines, but they are much shorter (minutes long instead of hours) and the servers seem to have stabilised. Ok, that's good, but not good enough. There need to be NO lines and the servers need to BE stable.

According to Bilzzard, it's all related to peak load on the servers, and is a fixable problem. So I agree with their decision: fix it, then resume sales. Don't sell more copies, make things worse, and lead to people leaving.

They aren't saying "you can't come and play here". they are like ar estraunt saying "I'm sorry, we are full and completely booked, you'll have to wait until later to come eat here."

I have no doubt they are eager to resume sales as soon as this problem is fixed. I'm betting it will be sooner rather than later. They claim it's a software bug on the DB servers causing them to freak when there are too many transactions, even though the hardware can handle it. I imagine if the hardware does turn out to be the limitation, they'll throw more hardware at it. Remember we are talking a $100 million revenue stream at the current subscriber level. It is in their intrests to spend money to maintain that, and allow it to grow even further.

Re:Not at all (2, Insightful)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415526)

They should stop charging players who already have copies until they fix their problems.

Re:Not at all (2, Informative)

zaffir (546764) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415544)

Exactly. I've been playing WoW since the beta, and have been following the community just as long. The game's sales have blown Blizzard's predictions away. They had to add new servers the day after release because there were so many people buying/playing it. And the holidays doubled that already enormous player base.

Re:Not at all (3, Interesting)

RvLeshrac (67653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415588)

Actually, the current monthly WoW take is ~$6 million.

Releasing the game in Korea may improve that stream, but unless they have plans for cafe usage... not by much.

Aside from all that, someone on Evil Avatar pointed out that WoW has ~85 servers, and FFXI has 33. WoW has all these problems, FFXI doesn't. Yet FFXI has 200,000 more subscribers, not limited to the US. The lag on FFXI is almost nonexistent, only rearing its ugly head when you enter an area with an obscene number of people.

Re:Not at all (1)

Issue9mm (97360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415608)

I just have to wonder why they don't release the game, and only allow new character creations to be done on a lower population server.

I bought WoW on release day, and had it running as soon as I got the game out of the box (having already had the beta client installed), and I've only had marginal issues due to picking lower population servers.

If you really want low server load, switch over to an RP server. The crowd can be a little kooky at times, but the smoother gameplay is easily worth it.

-9mm-

in korea (1)

DeepSpace (99960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415441)

WOW sales record in korea is not that good due to high price, 23*12 == way too expensive.
it could have been big hit if blizzard lower the price, but they blew it.

Re:in korea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415473)

it could have been big hit if blizzard lower the price, but they blew it.

Agreed. Korean gamers can't afford to pay these prices out of their pensions and retirement funds.

bad idea (5, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415287)

because I'm sure mentioning thier servers on Slashdot will fix the problem.

{melt}

Re:bad idea (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415330)

Yeah, you know, Slashdot is pretty advanced. I didn't know we can now Slashdot realm servers THAT HAVE NO WEBPAGE WHATSOEVER. *rolls eyes*

Re:bad idea (1)

jephthah (681398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415381)

we could collectively ping them indefinitely.

Re:bad idea (1)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415421)

They could ignore pings indefinitely.

Re:bad idea (1)

jephthah (681398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415545)

theyd have to delete the logs eventually. im sure that would be moderately annoying.

Re:bad idea (1)

barryman_5000 (805270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415486)

Didn't you read the terms and conditions at signup? Its our mission to ping ever single server no matter what service they provide. Thats the rule of being a slashdotter.

Re:bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415429)

This must not have been rated Score: 5, Funny when you responded to it... Cuz you obviously don't get the joke.

Re:bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415464)

He obviously did, and found it flawed. Pfft.

Remeber diablo 2? (4, Interesting)

Nova1313 (630547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415288)

I guess no one remembers when Diablo 2 came out. The first few months it was released in the US the Realms were crowded. They crashed all the time, most people couldn't get on. They had to implement a queue much like WoW has. It's not the first time blizzard has had these problems and they always took care of the server problems in the past. at least they are trying. It's just amazing that they don't forsee the ammount of people. Especially right at launch and the months surrounding when you have most people logging on. But you live you learn..

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415379)

Here's the big difference: we're paying for it this time.

I love Wow. I actually have it alt-tabbed as I type this. I've also been fortunate to be on a server that rarely has any problems. However, I have friends who have experienced these issues, and they royally suck.

Imagine buying a CD, for example, and not being able to play it AT ALL for 2 days. Or having to wait for 500 other people to play the CD before you get to play it. Or, when it does work, having it frequently skip (even though it's new).

This is the only form of entertainment that has people tolerate this kind of thing. If people had to wait 2 days when a movie blockbuster came out, for example, there'd be riots. The only thing that's going to change this is if the companies stop getting paid. If this keeps up, Blizzard is going to be in that position.

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (1)

Nova1313 (630547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415594)

You paid for it then too!

You paid for a client that promised you x features for your money. Those features were not delivered at launch as they "should" have been to many people. I don't mean to pick a fight I'm just trying to point that out.

If people went somewhere else then maybe things would change. It's all alot of talk but things never actually get done. I'm just as bad I'm paying and I just don't play when it's down and ignore it. Because I'm understanding. Somehow we have to get a whole bunch of nonunderstanding people to cancel their accounts.. Then when they see the response they wont have to add new servers and we can play ^^

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415432)

Oh yeah I remember that. Battle.net would be updated once or twice a week and it STILL didnt fix the problem. I gave up on that game a month later, seriously it was a big dissapointment. Almost all my friends from Asherons Call: Darktide server are playing WoW, which is the only reason im considering WoW, but right now, im gonna re-think throwing down 50$ for a game thats has major problems right from the start.

The guy at EBGames told me that he has copies, he's just forbiden from selling them and that when he can start selling them, I might not be able to join my friends on the PvP server. He was told that once servers reach a population, they prevent anyone from joining it. So if the only reason to play this game is to join my friends in PvP action, and I cant join their server. Im screwed, theres no way im going to get a full refund.

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (4, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415472)

It's just amazing that they don't forsee the ammount of people. Especially right at launch and the months surrounding when you have most people logging on.

Dude, they have 88 servers. I mean, they were expecting success, sure. But they've sold more copies of the game in the last month than FFXI (as a random example I know the number for) has subscribers.

Besides, even if they believed WoW would be very successful, they can't just assume "Woohoo, my MMORPG entry into the already saturated market will be a wild success! I'm gonna take out a loan and buy $50 million worth of datacenter equipment to host 20,000 servers!" and many MMORPG businesses have been nearly if not entirely bankrupted in the recent past for taking that line of thinking. Blizzard was perhaps a little pessimistic in their expectations for World of Warcraft, I don't think I can blame them.

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (2, Interesting)

Nova1313 (630547) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415549)

they saw the applications for the beta though.. lots and lots. Now granted I know not everyone goes out and purchases it that wants to try it. But with the positive response you have from that you would just think wow. I applaud them for doing as well as they did no doubt there... I'm not saying they screwed up either.. But it might be a little better planned... I'm not sure how it works in the videogame industry but I know when our companies software is preordered we get a number. We have a ratio of preorders to customers that buy without informing them.. They didn't even have enough copies at lauch if I remember correctly. It seems as though either they don't get data like that or their publisher vivendi screwed them over a bit.... I love blizzard don't get me wrong it's just not something I wasn't expecting..

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415563)

They should have released as many copies as they knew they had servers for, then if demand took off they could ramp up based on that demand. Not that I care, paying 180$/year to play a game I already paid 50$ for would just be stupid.

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415598)

Yes, but as they are filling up servers how long does it take to order more servers, a few days? Even if they don't have the facilities or bandwidth there are companies that will let them co-host servers in their facilities.

Re:Remeber diablo 2? (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415587)

they always took care of the server problems in the past.

Yeah, by suing people who provide alternative, better server software, for starters. Oh, but we're supposed to give them a free pass because WoW is the next EverCrack. Can't let things like ethics interfere with the drug supply!

Max

Server restriction... (2, Interesting)

ZiZ (564727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415293)

Perhaps Final Fantasy had it right - if they had implemented manditory load balancing on the servers, they probably wouldn't be having these problems. Yes, it sucks in some ways, but if the alternatives are "not being able to play the game" or "being able to play, but you have to wait a week before you can join up with your friends", give me a week late.

Re:Server restriction... (2, Interesting)

oneiron (716313) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415326)

Why don't we give Blizzard a chance to come up with their own solutions? I would be willing to bet it will be better than any sort of forced load-balancing garbage. Blizzard delivers....always...so far.

Re:Server restriction... (1)

zushiba (676531) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415520)

When you sign on to the game it lists X number of realms, the first two are always medium and the others are always low, FFXI's load balance only worked so well when you could get people server passes to get around it the idea kinda flew out the window.

Better than AC... (3, Interesting)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415294)

Good for them for taking some initiative to limit the damage. I used to play asherons call back when Microsoft was calling the shots. Practically every update they needed to reset the server, do a rollback, etc. At least blizzard is acknowledging the server issues and doing what they can to limit the number of people inconvenienced.

I gave up (2, Insightful)

zhevek (147623) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415295)

I gave up less than a week ago. I have all this free time now, I don't think I will go back even if they get the servers fixed.

Re:I gave up (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415538)

Bah! Free time is overrated. I'm going to take a brief break and power through a pile of books, then I'm going to jump back on and work towards a mount for my druid.

That's as long as the increase in stability seen over the last 36 hours continues.

Same here, after they charged me $70 for 6/months! (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415568)

It's silly, I couldn't believe they had the balls to charge me for a product that wasn't stable at all. I spent more time looking at my character screen than the game itself because the server kept bombing out on everyone. I honestly have no idea why they were charging people, if there is ever a class action lawsuit to regain money for stuff like they i'd gladly join it. I'm pretty pissed that I spent $70 on the collectors edition and then they charged me 6 months of play right around Christmas while the servers were totally overloaded, crashing, and unplayable.

Korean release unaffected... (0, Flamebait)

Silvers (196372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415297)

Because they run off different servers located in....

Korea!

Re:Korean release unaffected... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415352)

Yeah, but in Korea, only old people play World of Warcraft.

(I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry! I'll go kill myself in WoW or something to repent...)

Re:Korean release unaffected... (1)

CrystalArchangel (627622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415376)

Actually, it's been stated by a Blizzard game rep that in Korea you don't even have to buy the actual box. Anyone who was in the beta over there only has to input their form of payment, and they can keep playing. It was stated that this was actually a fairly common practice in Korea. It's also been stated that under no circumstances will such a thing EVER happen in the US. We will now, and forever, have to buy the box in order to get ahold of the 16ish alphanumeric code needed to activate an account, even if you already have the game installed, via a friend, 10-day free trial, beta installer, etc.

Dammit! (1)

Lancaibheal (813222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415300)

Just as I'm thinking of purchasing myself a copy too!

Do we know if demand has just been significantly higher than expected, or have Blizzard messed up in some fashion? I know if we hit load problems like this where I work, so soon after launch, I'd be out of the job.

dont believe the hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415483)

the issues aren't half as bad as you have been led to believe (except for a couple of servers). im on proudmoore, one of the higher population servers, and in 3 weeks i have had to queue for 20-30 min to play only twice, there has been some lag at times which is annoying, and 2 rollbacks of 15 minutes which was inconvenient, but it's hardly disastrous.

on blackrock the queues are bad, you can be waiting an hour or more... just start on a different server.

it makes me wonder who is fanning the flames turning this into a big issue.. players or other companies.

people on low population servers would be asking 'what network problems?'

Actual numbers: (1)

Solr_Flare (844465) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415546)

WoW has, according to the recent charts, approximately 350k "players" and 1 million characters created(works out to an average of 3 characters per player). Keep in mind the 350k number is what counts since you can't play multiple characters at once. This puts the game at about 50 to 100k more than Star Wars Galaxies at the moment, about 25k more than everquest 2, and about 300k less than Final Fantasy XI. But, also keep in mind that Final Fantasy XI is worldwide, and WoW is not fully worldwide yet. But, looking at those numbers, with 88 different servers(more than most MMORPGs) it really is no excuse that Blizzard should be having such hefty server problems. It is a combination of no ability to move existing characters from one server to another, the reliance of a queue system instead of other methods to spread out the population, and issues with their netcode that have really made this a mess. Note that it is not a problem on the low population servers, only some mid, and most high population ones. They really need to shape things up because it is impacting their potential growth.

WoW (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415302)

No word on whether or not this will affect the Korean release.
It shouldn't be much of a problem, only old people in Korea play World of Warcraft.

More Demand? Less (4, Insightful)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415306)

I wonder how this will affect the demand for WoW.

There's probably ample discussion of this in economics, but it seems pretty clear that some shortage scenarios result in people 'panicking' (perhaps too strong of a term) and really really trying to get whatever it is that's in shortage; I'm guessing there are people out there now who are thinking "OMG, WoW is closed! I've got to see if I can find a copy somewhere near me because I might not be able to get it later!"

And then, at some point, at significant enough shortages, people just sort of give up and don't care anymore. I'm guessing vendors would love to optimize their shortages to fit between these two points.

(Case in point: I wanted an iPod Shuffle, and called the Apple store a bunch of times, waiting for a shipment; they finally got one, but all of the Shuffles went to people who had pre-ordered; they were no longer accepting pre-orders, and told me to check in Friday. At that point, I got tired of the whole ordeal and decided not to get a Shuffle, at least any time in the near future. Not that Apple's hurting).

Re:More Demand? Less (1)

Datasage (214357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415360)

Yes, but i do expect that they will continue selling it within a couple months.

A couple of stores were charging $150 for the collectors edtion.

Im planning on starting WOW in april, since i dont have time at the moment, that should give them enough time to get everything working well.

Sounds like it's time for a war (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415308)

Let players kill each other off... and make it permanent. A little population reduction.

Re:Sounds like it's time for a war (1)

vincent404 (588127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415499)

Only problem with that would be money issue. For there to be permanent kills would drastically effect the people playing the game, there by making less and less users. This was one item that plagued Ultime Online and which made Origins form "PvP free" zones as new players would not even bother playing. I think the way to fix this is the Final Fantasy Online form, though it has issues to. Maybe something more adavanced like your chareter is on one server or something and then is placed into the world, but I would think this would be probably slower.

bandwidth or bugs? (4, Interesting)

Suburbanpride (755823) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415310)

Blizard is not a small company. you would think that they would have the resources to buy the appropriate bandwidth/server capacity. I wonder if this is more of a problem with how the software itself is written. A rewrite in order to scale better is the only I reason I could see for a major delay.

Re:bandwidth or bugs? (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415460)

On their site they claim it's a software bug in their backend DB server. The hardware is fine but when too many transactions happen at once the software freaks and it all goes to hell. Now regardless of if it is software, or if the hardware is at it's limits, I have a feeling it'll take a bit to scale up.

They don't specify, but I suspect by "backed DB server" they mean "IBM zSeries running Oracle" not "Dell Poweredge running MySQL". From the amount of data that goes on, and the fact that multiple actual game servers talk to one backend DB, I'm betting it's big iron from IBM, Sun or the like.

Well, if it does turn out they need more of that, you don't just get it overnight. Even with commodity PCs it still takes a couple days, usually a week, to get a system to you. For mini-mainframe class hardware, it's a lot longer. Then once you have it you have to get it configured and migrate over the parts of the DB it'll be handling and so on.

If all that happened in a week, I'd be amazed.

Personally I'm incluned to believe them that it's a software problem not a hardware one. Assuming they are using a major DB provider, and it would be almost unthinkable that they aren't, they'll get a fix. Again, however, you have to test and work on it. The last thing they want to do is roll out another fix that makes things worse.

That's what started this whole mess. They were upgrading their servers, hardware probably, to deal with lag. They had a big 16 hour downtime for this. They promised it'd fix all the lag. Well it didn't, and on top of that the game started bombing all the time.

They don't want a repeat so whatever the fix, I'm sure a little more testing will go in to it this time.

The Power of Penny Arcade (1, Interesting)

xCepheus (687775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415316)

Penny Arcade dubs WOW "Game of the Year."

Penny Arcade blasts WOW for technical difficulties and discusses recinding "Game of the Year" status.

Blizzard pulls game from shelves as part of an attempt to fix the technical difficulties.

I'm not saying they were the sole reason for Blizzard's actions but I'm sure they played a role... A LOT of gamers frequent P-A.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

pdawson (89236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415382)

Actually, this is NOT news. WOW Community Reps have been saying this since the begining of the year, at least.

They bought X amount of hardware to support Y players, and made roughly Y boxes to ship to stores.

They're not doing another production run of boxes until they have the back end hardware in place to support all the new customers.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415396)

Umm...no. o_O

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415403)

Penny Arcade critiques WoW.

Blizzard executives say "What? Oh that web site? Is that so? Anyway, what were we talking about?"

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

Altima(BoB) (602987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415430)

Hmmm, somehow I think that one of the most popular, long-running and influential web-comics who were actually commissioned by Blizzard to create several pages of comics for the World of Warcraft strategy guide after waxing lyrical about the beta juuuust might get Blizzard's attention when they turn their admiration into unbridled disgust.

Just a hunch.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (0, Flamebait)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415552)

How is a comic that looks like it was draw by Cartman and thinks that using every four letter word make up for their lack of drawing/writing skills ever deamed influential?

A lot of people read it but that doesn't make it influential.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

FerakIII (555087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415444)

And the answer is "We were talking about the web site that has the power to make a game sell another 10000+ copies just because they said it was good. That was what we were talking about. The website that over half our target audience takes as gospel." Not to say the that the pull from shelves is anything to do with Penny Arcade, but if a Blizzard Executive dismissed PA as having no influence, they would be decidedly wrong.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

ancarett (221103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415501)

I don't think so. . . Blizzard's reps on the forums had already indicated that more games wouldn't be shipping days before the guys at P-A rescinded their award. See Caydiem's comment in this WoW Official Forum Thread [worldofwarcraft.com] dated to the 14th (and I've seen similar comments in earlier threads, just can't find them right now).

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415507)

Personally, I believe that this is just the first news of it being pulled from stores, and that it's actually taken place for quite a while. I've been looking since I played WoW at my friends house over Christmas, and have failed to locate a single copy in the cities of Berea, Richmond, Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky since. Either the game's been so successful that everywhere in Kentucky has simultaniously sold out, or Blizzard voluntarily held back shipments after Christmas to allow for balancing of the servers before admiting the next wave of players.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415516)

If you've been paying attention at all to your webcomics, you'd be noticing the number like this one [reallifecomics.com] discussing the fact that the boxes ran out weeks ago.

I'm sure Blizzard knows what kind of press they get from PA and have a pretty good idea of their influence on gamers. However, in this case, the decision was made a long time ago and they're just announcing it to the public.

Re:The Power of Penny Arcade (1)

geckofiend (314803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415522)

Except that it was annouced BEFORE the PA slam. This article is old news.

As good as it is to make money (4, Interesting)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415323)

It's gotta feel damn good to actually pull your product because too many people want it. Seriously, this problem has gotta be the "best" problem Blizzard could have had with this game.

Re:As good as it is to make money (3, Interesting)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415447)

" It's gotta feel damn good to actually pull your product because too many people want it. Seriously, this problem has gotta be the "best" problem Blizzard could have had with this game."

No, it better be the WORST feeling for them. They can't even keep the servers up for the existing players to play.

Many will tell you that the servers were "down" from Thursday through Sunday regardless of whether or not the official status was "up." That's in addition to the 16 hours of scheduled downtime on Thursday.

The kicker? The 16 hour downtime to fix the problem actually made it even worse. That's when they introduced even more population caps without first informing the customers. Now players can sit in queues for anywhere between 1 to 3 hours...and if they're lucky enough to wait that long and log in, they may get 10 minutes of actual playtime before they get booted out of the game or lag out and forced to sit in the queue yet again.

This isn't just a problem for the high population servers, it's affecting even the low population servers. What does this mean? Nobody but Blizzard themselves can say with any certainty...but I'm willing to bet this has nothing to do with the popularity of the game and how many copies were sold. My guess is they have a poorly designed backend/database system that is simply broken and cannot be fixed even by throwing more hardware at the issue.

Re:As good as it is to make money (1)

YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415553)

Seriously, what realms are you folks seeing all these problems on? My one ( a high pop RP server ) occasionally lags, particularly around Ironforge, but I'm not seeing any of the queue bullcrap ( except once, before the recalibration of the caps... I was fifth in the queue and was in in under a minute ) or other teeth-gnashing difficulties everyone else is complaining about.

Re:As good as it is to make money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415583)

Same here. I play on a high pop PVP server and have had some lag.. but none of this terrible downtime (And I played alot last week).

I call FUD ;/

Re:As good as it is to make money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415456)

Errr..no. Not being able to back out of the driveway because palettes of crisp currency are blocking my new Maserati would be a better problem to have...

Money fight!!!!!

B.Net (2, Insightful)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415325)

I would have thought that Blizzard had more experience handling a massive amount of players. If I remember they had the same exact kind of problem with Warcraft III on Battle.net, underestimating demand, creating endless queues to join a game. The fact that they have to pull the game from the shelves is surprising; it shows that they don't have the control of the situation, and that they don't plan to in the near future. Of course, it could be a marketing ploy, to create demand by rarity, but I doubt it. It's producing a very bad image for Blizzard.

Meanwhile, players are still beta testing, but for 15$/month.

Re:B.Net (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415578)

Meanwhile, players are still beta testing, but for 15$/month.

Name one computer software product that did not require some form of patch or update within one year of being released due to the discovery of bugs by users?

Hm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415328)

Looks like the dwarf-terrorists won

In Soviet Russia (0)

jephthah (681398) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415335)

children start standing in line at 3 am, wait all morning long, to finally be told that "there are no more WoW games, now go home!"

Now that's a first... (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415341)

A piece of software that can be multiplied infinitely, running 'out of stock' ;-)

the best (1)

thundercatslair (809424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415349)

It is really for the best anyways.

Has anyone updated bnetd yet? (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415353)

We could just set up our own servers...

Re:Has anyone updated bnetd yet? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415603)

No, you couldn't; most content is entirely server side. You could probably get terrain off the client pretty easily, but the quest information simply isn't on your end. Nor are the other creatures, any scripting, ect. I hope you like peace and quiet, because its all you'd have.

I hope this sort of thing catches on! (4, Funny)

IchBinEinPenguin (589252) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415356)

Maybe MS will stop selling Windows until its problems are fixed :-)

LOL (-1, Offtopic)

bobdole369 (267463) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415373)

This isn't news.

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415514)

This isn't news.

Of course not, it's olds. Didn't you see the Korea reference in the summary?

Actions not words (1)

genessy (587377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415374)

I'm honestly suprised that Blizzard is taking such an initiative with their server problem. I still don't think that there will be a satisfactory resolution until paying subscribers actually stop paying due to the poor performance. Pardon me, but right now, you're all Blizzard's bitches until you're unsatisfied enough to actually stop paying to play an game with such a poor uptime track record.

Re:Actions not words (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415595)

I've been playing from day one (and a few months before that -- in demo) and let me just offer you my subjective experience. As soon as the problems surfaced on a number of Western servers, Blizzard suggested players to spread out without regard to the time zones, and they promised that the choice of a server in a different time zone will not affect the performance. I did just that, (moved to Sargeras, in central time) and did not experience any significant outages ever since. Little annoyances are abound -- mostly related to a huge population in the capital cities, and small outages still happen from time to time, but there was ultimately nothing that caused me to think "OK, I want my money back". If anything, I played too much :-)

I think Blizzard is doing the right thing now, aiming to satisfy its current customer base, while sacrificing some of the profits they could make on additional sales. As a current customer, I give them two thumbs up.

I'm a consultant, and I'm here to help you (5, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415377)

What they need is a more scalable enterprise solution.

Re:I'm a consultant, and I'm here to help you (1)

Astaroth33 (766882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415488)

A 'best of breed' solution that facilitates synergy and the maximization of ROI. Blizzard needs to drill down and focus on their core competencies, and start thinking outside the box.

Re:I'm a consultant, and I'm here to help you (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415572)

That would have been much better if you had used the P word...ParADIGUM :)

Re:I'm a consultant, and I'm here to help you (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415590)

It's a sign [despair.com] of the times.

No wonder (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415423)

I've been looking at local Best Buys here in San Diego for the last couple of weeks and none of them have had it. I haven't searched other stores though because I felt it was good not to be spending the money at the moment =)

Come back! EQ forgives you! (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415426)

It's funny to see the bitching going on the WoW boards, probably all the whiners who left EQ are coming back with tails between their legs going 'hey, eq wasn't as bad as we thought it was'
People forget how well eq actually holds up, apart from the collision/gfx issues mid last year, the servers are up alot, downtime is incredibly rare.

Re:Come back! EQ forgives you! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415543)

"...downtime is incredibly rare."
now. They weren't always.

Re:Come back! EQ forgives you! (5, Funny)

YOU LIKEWISE FAIL IT (651184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415573)

If I might make an analogy,

A: "Hmm. The amusement park is closed."
B: "Let's go and break broken bottles in this deserted, garbage strewn alleyway! It's filthy and no fun, but it's always open!"

Fuck Korea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415428)

bitches have ruined every MMORPG I've played recently.

Real Trouble (2, Funny)

EdwinBoyd (810701) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415489)

I'm sure the Korean WOW players will take the server problems in good humour, now if the Starcraft servers went down it'd be a diferent story. Kekeke!!

Dear Blizzard (2)

Letter (634816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415498)

Dear Blizzard,

I work at an EA Games in Manhattan. We were told by management this morning to pull our copies of WoW from the shelves. Guess this is the reason.

Sad, really, that your system isn't scalable enough. Your loss!

Letter

Re:Dear Blizzard (1)

thenetbox (809459) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415534)

Do you mean EB Games?

Re:Dear Blizzard (1)

ancarett (221103) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415599)

Well, maybe they meant EA. EA is on the road to owning everything, after all [gucomics.com] . . . .

Doesn't Blizzard Deserve Props? (5, Interesting)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415504)

This actually seems responsible to me. Rather than sell the promise of server space along with the game or selling a game that has no value without the ability to long onto the server, they are holding copies back until they can fix the issues properly. If this is what they are actually doing, kudos to Blizzard; certainly the backlash they've been getting has something to do with it, but this is more responsibility than many game companies will take (and I say that as someone who isn't really a fan of WoW or the company's RTSes). To a large degree, WoW is like a forum or chat service and I've known forums to freeze new accounts to fix mySQL problems.

Of course, this could be a ploy just to drive up sales with rumors of a new player "blackout." But Blizzard is really well known for taking drastic actions to make sure their games are as good as possible. Is there any reason Blizzard should be bashed for this?

This will create a huge blackmarket for people selling their characters and accounts, though...

Re:Doesn't Blizzard Deserve Props? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415601)

What drastic action? This is called normal action.

In the MMOG world, if your servers are fucked, you either fix them or you're that game that everybody fondly remembers for being a piece of crap. You're wiping your arse with worthless stock. You're gone. Dead. Bankrupt. Kaput. Swept out with yesterday's uber gear.

"Oh noes! We're not selling any more copies until we fix the problem!"

If they're any good at their jobs, it'll be fixed within a week. What, there's some kind of rush on WoW? There's absolutely no more copies left in stores?

Sheesh. The PR spin is hillarious here.

Informed on Release Day (1)

seraphiem (813795) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415508)

I posted this very topic on the release date 11/23. Just a little immature with the time table.

When I bought my copy on release day the guy at Gamestop told me to tell ALL of my friends who intended to play WoW to go buy it and buy it that day. He said once the initial shipment sells out thats it until Jan' 05 - Feb '05, as Blizzard does not want to max out their servers.

I didn't really believe it at the time, but I actually would expect Blizzard to take this stance. Was just a little off with the time required to max out the servers.

Feeling sorry for Sony (1)

astebbin (836820) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415525)

You gotta pity the guys over at SOE... WoW having so many players that their servers overflow, while many EQ II servers are still ghost towns in most areas... also, I would guess that EQ II servers have a higher load/client ratio since EQ II is a much more hardware intensive game than WoW, most notably in terms of graphical stress on your PC's video card.

Don't worry, SOE, will still love ya... and thats why we haven't Slashdotted you and crashed your servers :)

WoW on Ebay (1)

cbelle13013 (812401) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415540)

Its amazing how much these are going for on ebay. I started looking for the game about a week ago and it was sold out of all the stores. Even all the little computer stores. And I'm talking about all of Orlando. Ebay had the game going for about $90 the past couple of days or you can Buy It Now for $100. Yikes!

World Of Warcraft doesnt use UDP (2, Interesting)

Pizaz (594643) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415551)

World of Warcraft uses TCP ONLY for its client to server communications and this seems to have been a big mistake for Blizzard. In South Korea, their network infrastructure is first class. They have fiber everywhere and virtually everyone has MEGA bandwidth broadband. That is why WoW and other mmogs in South Korea like Lineage I and II can get away with using TCP only.

However here in the U.S, our network infrastructure is not so homogenous nor cutting edge in all places. There is a reason so many mmogs that are popular here in the U.S use UDP datagrams over TCP steams. I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard decides to quickly hack in a UDP based messaging system to fix this issue. If their code is well architected, it shouldn't be too difficult to do this... the question is, are they going to turn paying customers into testers for the next month while they experiment with fixes to the problem?

You are a moron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415605)

TCP vs UDP has nothing to do with it at all. The problem is with their backend dealing with managing all the data constantly changing, the front end servers handling the connections to clients are fine.

Posted on the WoW forums by Blizzard (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415566)

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn=w ow-general&t=902431&p=1&tmp=1#post902431 [worldofwarcraft.com]

The overwhelming success of World of Warcraft has brought hundreds of thousands of people together to adventure in Azeroth, and concurrency numbers are well beyond what we expected or even hoped for. Unfortunately, this high concurrency, especially when concentrated on a small number of realms, initially caused issues with our hardware infrastructure. We were able to streamline our code to increase performance in the weeks following launch. However, the holiday season nearly doubled our player base, and it quickly became apparent that in order to handle not only the current player base, but all future players as well, we needed to make some upgrades to our infrastructure.

Last Thursday we made our first such upgrade. 20 of our 88 realms were moved off of the original hardware and placed on a new hardware configuration. These 20 servers initially performed very well, up until we reached our maximum concurrency Friday evening. The high population numbers uncovered an issue in the new backend shared infrastructure. This issue caused some players to experience severe lag and disconnects on a few of the realms, making them virtually unplayable.

In order to stabilize the affected realms and allow as many players as possible the ability to continue playing, we lowered the population caps by 30%. This stabilized the realms to the point where 70% of the players on the realms in question could play, but it also resulted in large queues.

The problems were attributed to high concurrency numbers on individual realms putting extreme stress on the backend infrastructure. We were able to address this problem by implementing additional hardware into the infrastructure this afternoon. This additional hardware has allowed us to stabilize the affected realms, and thus increase the server caps. We will continue to monitor the performance throughout the evening. If we notice any of the performance issues starting up again we will lower the population cap level enough to stabilize performance.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused our players this weekend. This process coincides with our constant efforts to improve the current performance of World of Warcraft, and sometimes issues can arise when implementing these improvements. We will do our best to prevent similar situations from happening in the future, and we once again thank you for your patience and understanding.

Vivendi Universal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11415592)

Seems that part of this may be Blizzard giving VU the finger. VU told investors that Bliz would release WoW by a certain point (before the end of the financial quarter I believe), and so of course Bliz had to comply. Normally Blizzard does what they want, how they want, and they do great. I'm sure there are many at Bliz upset about having to release a major, difficult game before they felt it was ready. VU wanted them to release at a certain time for money purposes, and now Bliz is giving out free play time to players on a regular basis and now (if the news is accurate) keeping it from shelves until the game is actually ready. Both things meaning happier players, less focus on money. The Blizzard way, in my view.

Thoughts?

Money == server stability? (1)

CromeDome (184915) | more than 9 years ago | (#11415604)

The last time I heard, Blizzard had 600,000 active subscribers to World of Warcraft. At $15 a month, that's $9,000,000 a month of revenue.

Now I'm not a networking guru or an economist, but $9 million is a fucking lot of money. Like so much money Blizzard and its employees could wipe your ass with dollar bills and still have a lot of money left over. While money doesn't buy happiness, it buys a lot of hardware and networking expertise.

Even if the game's networking code is poorly written (one possible cause for the server lags/drops/crashes/timeouts/etc.), you could throw so much hardware at the problem that it shouldn't matter! In the latest patch, they claimed that many of these issues would be resolved. Sadly, the latest patch has caused more problems than it has fixed (at least for me). Mail and the auctionhouse are completely inaccessable during peak hours, and the game is practically unplayable except in the most underpopulated of areas.

Anyway, that's my two bits and WoW experience. Any insight anyone else has for me is appreciated. I'd sure as hell like to understand what's going on with them.

CromeDome
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