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World of Warcraft AQ Gates Open!

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the of-course-it-will-blow-up dept.

433

Tayman writes "Wow...who didn't see this one coming? The players on the World of Warcraft Medivh server opened the gates to AQ. What happened next? The server crashed repeatedly. Why create content the servers can't handle? The very first time I read about this patch, I knew the servers would crash. The more people who open the gates, the more angry customers Blizzard will have in my opinion. With 5million+ subscribers, you would think Blizzard would have the best servers/connection money can buy. Although, I'm sure it's more complicated than simply plugging in a few ram chips and faster processors though. Most of the people involved in the raid are having a great time though. Could this be the most epic battle ever introduced to the mmorpg market? All signs point to yes. Let's see how long the mobs will respawn. Hopefully, the people of the Medivh server haven't seen anything yet. Either way, I would hate to be a network admin for Blizzard atm. ^_^ Here are some pics of the event. Thanks go out to all of those who took these pics. World of Warcraft AQ Pics Check out MMORPG Veteran to keep up with the events as they unfold." Update: 01/23 13:44 GMT by Z : Additionally, brandor wrote in with a link to some video of the event.

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Did I get it? (0, Offtopic)

Ads are broken (718513) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538410)

The first post I mean.

Very nice of you to tell us (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538413)

What AQ is supposed to be (for those that don't play WoW).

An expansion? Just a new dungeon? What's so special about it that it causes such server overload?

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (-1, Flamebait)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538440)

al-Qaeda, maybe? Seriously, this is the most irritating article on Slashdot in days...

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (1)

peteremcc (913806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538452)

yeah explanation please, i assume its just a new area in the world... Peter http://peteremcc.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (5, Informative)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538458)

AQ is a new 40 man dungeon. (There's also a 20 man AQ dungeon). The current 40 man dungeons have of course been played since release, but they are pretty much the pinnacle of end-game content in WoW. Opening a new 40 man dungeon adds a huge chunk of new end-game content (and phat lewts) that all the 60s who have run Molten Core and Black Wing Lair, the two other 40 man dungeons, a hundred times will want to get in on.

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (-1, Flamebait)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538484)

AQ is a new 40 man dungeon
Oh right, gay SM then?
(There's also a 20 man AQ dungeon)
Nice for those less exhibitionistic?
The current 40 man dungeons have of course been played since release
Of course... ???

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (5, Funny)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538533)

Oh right, gay SM then?

No, no, no. AQ is in Silithus. You're thinking of Tristfal Glades. And I don't think the Scarlet Crusaders would take kindly to you insulting their home.

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (1)

the_macman (874383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538588)

I think he was serious. He doesn't know SM stands for Scarlet Monestary 0_0

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (1)

SeekerDarksteel (896422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538614)

Oh, I am well aware. :D

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (1)

oceanclub (654183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538615)

I've been playing WoW for 4 months now, and I still have no idea what some of these people are talking about sometimes, so don't worry.

P.

We stand in unity, Barry. (-1, Flamebait)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538622)

Barry, we have finally found something we are both in agreement about: the homoerotic tendencies of World of Warcraft. While the penis whipping that takes place in these 40-man dungeons intrigues me, alas I cannot say I wish to receive such punishment.

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (2)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538579)

Do they really only name dungeons by picking two letters and using them? Or does AQ stand for something?

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (3, Informative)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538642)

TFA tells me that AQ stands for "Ahn'Qiraj"

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (0, Flamebait)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538716)

Ahn'Qiraj. Almost all dungeons have a two letter abbreviation assigned by the community for speed and clarity purposes (most people can't write proper English, much less spell imaginary words).

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (0)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538482)

Seconded. I've googled and it appears to be a new dungeon/area. But a pretty poor article summary.

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (5, Informative)

Highrollr (625006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538497)

Ahn'Qiraj (sp?) is a new dungeon that only opens after each server donates a large amount of in-game items to various NPCs over the course of a couple weeks. It has content that is geared mainly towards players who have both reached the level cap and joined huge "raiding" guilds. New players get almost nothing from it as far as I can tell.

I think. I was pretty confident that I knew what was going on until I read that terrible, terrible article summary. The reason the submitter brought up server stability is that players from all the 100+ servers started creating characters on the "Medivh" server in order to watch the in-game event that opens the dungeon, because Medivh finished the quest before all the other servers. Blizzard suspended new character creation on the server though, so I'm not sure if stability is still an issue or not.

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (0, Redundant)

peteremcc (913806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538513)

yeah explanation please, i assume its just another area to explore... Peter http://peteremcc.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

The AQ is very difficult to get. (1, Funny)

raehl (609729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538516)

You'll need a gown, a towel, a satchel, and a pile of junk mail.

And, of course, an AQ dispenser.

Re:The AQ is very difficult to get. (0)

dmatos (232892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538846)

put towel over pipe
put satchel on floor
put junk mail on satchel
push button

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (5, Informative)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538553)

AQ (Ahn'Qiraj) is a new area, added by the last patch, containing new mobs and two new dungeons.

Players have constantly complained that the WoW game world is static - there is no way for players to change anything in the game world: all the mobs respawn, dungeons reset, etc.

Blizzard's solution to this was to make AQ accessible only after a one-time server-wide event. The much-anticipated secret event ended up being players on each server having to turn in huge amounts of stuff (800,000 linen bandages, 20,000 wolf steaks, etc...) as well as one player doing a TON of grinding to get some hammer or another (in effect, the most efficient way to do this being to have an entire faction choose one player to help - cue politics and drama). After all these exciting preparations were completed (Medivh being the first such server, apparently) the gates to AQ finally opened, and... it looks like players are still waiting to find out what happens next. :P

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (1, Troll)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538654)

Sounds like the fucking Sleeper Event in Everquest, but with less coolness and more suckage, to me...

Re:Very nice of you to tell us (5, Funny)

theSpaceCow (920198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538644)

The short version (not to necessarily be trusted, what with me being a lv 49 noob on a sleepy role-playing server): Ahn'Qiraj is a big hole in the ground out in the middle of the desert filled with huge ugly bug monsters. It's necessary to beat it because.... you know... bugs are ugly. So ugly that both opposing factions have teamed up to wage war against it. It takes forty top-level characters to beat, so we're probably talking days of planning and hours upon hours of setup before you can even walk in the door. Oh, and everyone on the server had to collect resources before ANYONE could try any of this.

NPC: "Hey kids! Give us 8 million linen bandages and 476,000 crisp basilisk urethras!"
Player: "Won't that be terribly boring? And completely useless for actually advancing my character?"
NPC: "You don't understand! This is for... the War Effort! You asked Blizzard for more content, right?"
Player: "Soooo.... Content means turning everyone on the server into farmers? For worthless items?"
NPC: "Shut up, kid. This is an epic adventure. This is what you're paying for."
Player: "Okay, okay. Even if it's not very useful, it won't be so bad to have all these resources stored up for when we want to storm this new dungeon.... "
NPC: "Wait, what? You mean you thought you'd ever see any of that again? We're pretty much burying those bandages and urethras out in the desert."
Player: "Sigh. I guess this is what you have to deal with if you want to see the high-end content. Or even if you don't, really."
NPC: "That's the spirit! And look, the dungeon just opened! You can find it past the--"

Disconnected from server.

Finally! (1, Funny)

boaworm (180781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538414)

A good excuse to be a lazy farmer :)

Bah, nearly slashdotted already... (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538415)

Oh well. Medivh was my "home world" too, till I gave up WOW.

A million addicts cry out at once! (2, Funny)

caryw (131578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538416)

As the authentication servers crash...

Seriously though, this game looks like loads of fun but everyone I know that plays it has a total life-consuming addiction with it.

I'll climb onboard once it's free and less addicting than heroin.
--
Washington DC Metro? Fairfax Underground! [fairfaxunderground.com]

Re:A million addicts cry out at once! (1)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538428)

Once it's free?

Looks like you'll never be playing then

Re:A million addicts cry out at once! (1)

xiphoris (839465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538535)

I'll climb onboard once it's free and less addicting than heroin.

I've tried them both.

You're better off with the heroin :)

Re:A million addicts cry out at once! (1)

rjfan (529592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538611)

The only reason I think WoW may be addictive to some is due to the lack of a truly "great" game. I played it when it first came out, took a shammy to 60 and then quit (same day I hit 60 actually). The repetitive nature of grinding was just sooooo boring.

Re:A million addicts cry out at once! (2, Funny)

JackDW (904211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538790)

My thoughts exactly... this is a really scary game. I can't quite believe it - it's everywhere, everyone seems to play it, and they all play it constantly. I feel like I've woken up in the future and everyone is on heroin now. It's weird and frightening.

Best not to think about it really, and have a nice relaxing smoke of crack.

sounds cool... I think (5, Funny)

illtron (722358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538418)

Every time one of my friend starts talking about WoW, or whenever I hear news like this, half of me says "wow, this is cool, I should play." And the other half of me says "thank God I that don't."

Re:sounds cool... I think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538488)

It's not that bad. The game is very casual friendly, you can play a few hours a week and enjoy it.

Re:sounds cool... I think (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538530)

But 40-man raids are not very casual friendly. I never actually got in a group for MC (they always fell apart) or Onyxia, but I remember something about running it for 6 hours, taking a break, then regrouping the next day and continuing the rest of it.

Re:sounds cool... I think (2, Insightful)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538678)

Had you ever played Everquest in a mid-high end guild, during the Luclin+ era, you too would consider that 40 man raid for 6 hours IS casual.

(OT) Re:sounds cool... I think (0, Offtopic)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538834)

Pray tell, write some more, I can't seem to find any details...

Don't.... (5, Insightful)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538758)

These games are the biggest regret of my life. Seriously. I once spent over 1400 hours in one year playing one (back in the text days). That's seventy days, if you are counting.

I could have been getting good grades, chasing chicks, and figuring out what the "#$# to do with my life. I seriously messed up all three. Instead, I just had the coolest equipment in some worthless game. A couple people I know failed out of school entirely because of these games.

You can do better.

Why does (2, Funny)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538432)

all these wbesites have to be virtually unreadable? Dark text on black background....What are they hiding?

Re:Why does (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538847)

lack of content?

Hate to be a Mod at Blizzard? (2)

TheDoctorWho (858166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538448)

Please, it sounds like fun and a challenge. I played the game for 2 months, but had to quit, not enough time. It's a great game and I think the numbers show that, for once.

guh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538449)

I can't understand one word of this slashdot post. Maybe there's hope for my sex life after all.

Re:guh? (5, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538561)

Seriously -- this is one of the most incoherent summaries that I've read in a while.

"What happened next? The server crashed repeatedly. Why create content the servers can't handle? The very first time I read about this patch, I knew the servers would crash."

The mental image this creates for me is of some brain-damaged ex-geek -- their mind finally snapped from too much Bawlz and sleep deprivation -- safely locked up in a rubber room somewhere, gibbering spastically to themselves. They're having a delightful conversation, too bad they're the only one there.

I don't normally criticize Slashdot articles, because I figure that getting the information out is more important than spelling, grammar, or not sounding like a dyslexic fifth-grader. However this one was just so egregiously bad, I couldn't resist; it goes after some misguided sense of style at the expense of being informative, and that's just not good.

Glad I play City of Heroes... (4, Funny)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538450)

...and don't have to deal with buggy content, server crashes, mapserver disconnections, developer nerfs, and--stop laughing! Dammit, stop laughing already!

Oh well, at least I have a good time RPing and writing [rpcongress.com] in it...

Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (5, Informative)

fjutt (211607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538455)

Hmm,

I just wanted to say 1 thing as a wow player.

1. To create content that not only is unplayable for the people that participate in it (how many times did medivh crash yesterday?) but also makes the game unplayable for us not participating in it really is very very crappy. Yesterday I had 172 mins wait in a queue before I could log on only to find the lag made the game unplayable and then all crashed and I gave up. It has been like this since christmas (more or less) and it really is unacceptable for a game 1 year old. I know that this was the last drop for me and will make me look for another game.

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (0)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538518)

I know that this was the last drop for me and will make me look for another game.
*cough*EVE Online [eve-online.com] *cough*
If you like mmorpgs, don't mind investing some time, love space and all things sci-fi, are interested in the social workings of a large community AND have the added bonus of playing in a single universe together with other people that are usually above 22 years old, this game is for you ;)

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538609)

I tried to go here - apparently this new game is some sort of exciting experiment. There doesn't appear to *be* an eve-online, according to my browsers :)

-WS

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (1)

Mr Tall (767172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538620)

Have they fixed the lag yet? I used to love that game, but then they kept bringing out expansions and it all went wrong.

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (1)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538811)

Regarding lag: depends totally where in space you are. Empire Hub systems are usually more busy and thus more 'laggy' compared to lower sec space which is empty most of the time.
Of course, it's not hurting them that they're gonna be placing a new 64-bits cluster somewhere mid Febuary, which should noticeably increase performance.
As mr. Oveur (main dev. over at the company who makes EVE) puts it:
7. How many PVPers do you estimate will be able to blob each other to death in a single 0.0 system?
Enough to make the baby jesus cry.
I'd think that says enough :)

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538697)

Funny, I was just about to mention Eve when I saw your post. Eve is not like WoW, though. It is much more complex and not a MMORPG that would have broad appeal. But to those of us with a geek mindset who are not afraid of a steep learning curve (expect to spend a day or two just on the tutorial and first agent), it's pretty interesting to play.

-Eric

Great concept, bad implementation (3, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538801)

I played EVE for around 9 months. Independent for 1-2, then finally got back into Xanadu (I was Xanadu in Planetarion, but being a member in PA didn't guarantee EVE membership. I wouldn't have played EVE if not for Xan though.)

EVE had a great concept, but it was too full of bugs and no real endgame other than mindless mining and farming NPCs in 0.0 space. There was supposed to be this rich commerce market, but the truth was that the commerce market crashed almost instantly with oversupply, and the only people who could make profit were those that controlled the rare Tech 2 blueprints. The problem is that CCP made it too easy for one player organization to control the T2 market. (Yes, I know that organization happened to be MY corporation. I disliked what happened nearly as much as the little guys that got stepped on, partly because I did spend 1-2 months as the "little guy".)

I got tired of the game, and while I loved Xanadu, the game mechanics caused us to fight internally way too often. I wound up leaving the game before it destroyed friendships. Unfortunately, not everyone was so smart - I don't recall the details but Xan tore itself in half a month or two later. I wasn't surprised.

I play Dark Age of Camelot now, which has a much simpler concept (bad in some ways) but a much more well thought out endgame (very good) and game mechanics that don't easily contribute to strife within guilds/corporations/whatever they may be called in a given game. The only bad thing is that none of my former Xan buddies play. :(

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538676)

Can I have your stuff?

Re:Worst idea ever in a mmorpg more like it. (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538831)

I find it weird that this has happened, to be honest. These days, Blizzard should rightly be very paranoid about breaking WoW. Downtime and crappy server performance drive away players. I think that they have taken some steps to avoid the worst problems by rolling out new content on a regional basis, so that one region can test out the new content before it goes worldwide, but that doesn't seem to have helped here. Why wasn't this tested properly?

Irony of discussing Blizz's net problems (1)

xiphoris (839465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538468)

Either way, I would hate to be a network admin for Blizzard atm.

I'd much rather be a Blizzard network admin than admins of the dead-or-dying site you linked to! At least Blizzard saw it coming! Sheesh. 07:30 CST and their server is already melting into a puddle.

Coral cache links:

http://www.karashur.net.nyud.net:8090/mmorpg/ [nyud.net]

http://www.karashur.net.nyud.net:8090/aq_wow_pics. php [nyud.net]

Re:Irony of discussing Blizz's net problems (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538595)

I liked how you touched yourself for me earlier. It made me feel special. I'm looking forward to our time together tonight.

Always rebooting / crashing (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538472)

What platform do they run on? Anyone know?

If google can get queries to span the whole web (granted highly paralizable) it seems like something could be done (given the profit) to make the blizzard servers keep working.

Re:Always rebooting / crashing (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538639)

Meh. The servers work fine, it's the load balancing that could use some work. If everyone and their mother wants to be on ONE specific server, there are bound to be problems.

I am not surprised. (4, Interesting)

dangermen (248354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538477)

I am not surprised. I work for a Data Center/Hosting company. I have worked with automakers, clothing companies, and several other VERY large enterprises. Companys that do hundreds of MBPS of Internet traffic. They ALL struggle getting their hands around the load. That is a fact of life AND it is worse and will always be worse for companies like Blizzard. Load testing companies like Mercury have taken YEARS to develop systems that can reasonably simulate web load. Now imagine having to develop some way to reasonably simulate hundreds of THOUSANDS of users running a THICK client like WOW. Some using modems, some DSL, and some on college campuses. Some sitting there, fishing, fighting, chatting, etc... That my friend is a BITCH to simulate, thus the real world is the only way. I do feel for Blizzard. The customers who can't understand scaling/simulating that kind of traffic has lost site of the truly monumental task they have at hand.

My advice is this, get pissed if lasts more than a week. Else give 'em slack. As a way to compare, MOST large websites(like e-com) suffer on searches. Searches to 'full table scans' of product, product text, inventory etc... Imagine all the other dynamics WoW has vs your frigging browser.

Re:I am not surprised. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538577)

Yes development, testing, and operations is hard. Yes it is a huge game. But you know what - customers don't care. You don't get to sell a service and then say "ooh sorry it sucks, this is harder than we thought it would be" without offering some sort of refund or free play time or something.

Re:I am not surprised. (1)

CoderBob (858156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538649)

No, you can. And until people quit playing the game or go elsewhere, you can continue to do so.

I play WoW, I love the game, and I don't let queues or downtimes get to me. I have other things I can be doing instead. They'll keep my business, and the business of a lot of casual gamers.

Saying they have to offer refunds/free play time/whatever because the service does not meet your standards is about as useful as saying that if it rains tomorrow, God better give you another day to live that's sunny.

Re:I am not surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538796)

To me WoW is where AOL was in the mid to late 90s, a lock on casual users and a seeming license to print money. The second they had competition they started hemorrhaging customers and money.

Blizzard is certainly not required to meet my service expectations or give me credit when they don't, but they can't expect to hold a leadership position on the incompetence of their competition forever.

Re:I am not surprised. (1)

XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538636)

Not sure what you are going on about. The server crashed because of human nature, nothing a simulation could have predicted. People flocked to the Medvish server, hoping to see the cutscene that happen when a world event occur. Creating new character in masse, moving their existing character from another server, etc.

I do feel for Blizzard, and they probably should have reacted faster (they knew after all that the "war effort" was nearly fulfilled) but I feel because they had to work overtime, not because they couldn't predict it. Simulating a browser load, where you assume that not one of the clients have the web site's picture/animation/content loaded, and you don't know which browser, OS or plugin they have from is quite different from simulating a fixed client from a fixed OS with nearly no media content to download.

But yeah, people should stop complaining, or at least find something else than the tired "I paid to be able to play, Blizzard owe me" tirade.

Re:I am not surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538740)

Dude, what the hell are you talking about?? They put a lock on character creation on Medivh several days ago and there is no method for moving a character to the server from another at this point in time (though server and account transfers were promised waaaaay back in September of 05).

I really hate this mentality that it's okay to offer a sub-par product or service. I have no compassion for Blizzard. The game itself is quite an achievment (though far from perfect), however their actual service ranks up there with some of the worst I've ever experienced. No excuse can ever be proffered for the breadth of problems that continue to plague them on a daily basis. NONE.

Re:I am not surprised. (1)

LearningHard (612455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538669)

I agree with you but I would also like to point out that this type of thing has been happening since Christmas with no end in sight. Every single day as we approach afternoon/evening on my server we start having authentication issues, loot lag, general lag, etc etc.

Re:I am not surprised. (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538693)

Searches to 'full table scans' of product, product text, inventory etc... Imagine all the other dynamics WoW has [snip]

that Everquest or Asheron's Call already had 5 years ago...

Re:I am not surprised. (5, Insightful)

Cederic (9623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538704)


I work for blue chip companies setting up websites that are the busiest in their respective industries, including full connection through to back-end systems.

When the systems die at peak trading, it's 10s of millions in revenue lost. An hour.

My current company provides video downloads off our main sites. We service several hundred retail outlets. We offer very complex product search capabilities, and obviously we permit those products to be purchased. We're dealing with exceedingly large bandwidth, CPU and memory use. We have IBM mainframes, more Sun kit than you could fit in your house and more Wintel boxes than I'd like.

All of this is being provided for less than Blizzard's monthly subscription revenues. Far less. In fact, 3-4 months of WoW subscription revenue in Europe alone would cover the IT costs of our entire business.

So for Blizzard to be unable to handle the loads involved is frankly astonishing. Their systems architecture clearly isn't adequate. Their bandwidth isn't reliable. Heck, they can't even keep their website up and running at peak times - quite a simple website, at that.

This is despite being live for well over a year now. They know how much bandwidth each user needs. They know how many users they have. They know what the capacity on each server is. They already have logon queues at times of peak load, to control the numbers of logged in players.

I have no sympathy for Blizzard on this matter, because they've had plenty of time to get this sorted, and consistently fail to deal with it. This isn't rocket science, you don't need to steal Google's employees to find a solution, just get someone competent in and fund the necessary infrastructure.

Re:I am not surprised. (1)

pitdingo (649676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538781)

Mod parent up! With all the money they are making on this game, there is no excuse for not having enough capacity to host all the users. The metrics are easy to collect, just as the parent said. Simply create a model of that and execute on it. If Blizzard does not have the expertise in house, go hire some consultants to do it. Heck i will do it, my rates are reasonable.

Re:I am not surprised. (5, Insightful)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538854)

WoW crashes when it gets only a few hundred people doing anything meaningful inside a zone. In total it handles a few thousand people connected to any given server at any given time, with some of those a sizeable portion of those people off-loaded onto other servers via instances most of the time.

In addition, they're well aware of their scaling problems, and have added things in to prevent the type of occurances that caused crashes(City Raids), as well as scaling back the max server populations(hence queues). So not having prepped properly for a World Event of this magnitude, especially given their revenues is inexcusable.

My guess is the situation at blizzard is the following:
Most of the core devs went onto other projects
Like most MMOs their network code is laughable.
Their code doesn't parallellize well, so they can't just toss more hardware at the problem
They can't fix the above without a drastic redesign, and by the time they did that it would probably cease to matter.

And yes, it's doable, I've seen MUDs/MUSHs written as hobbies that handled several hundred concurrent users on hardware from the mid-90s. An MMO doesn't push *that* much more traffic than a text-game that saturates a 56k connection(as many did), and it certainly doesn't do many more back-end calculations. Considering how much hardware has scaled and how much further we've gotten in various areas, there just isn't any excuse for several hundred people in a single world-segment causing the server(not the client) to go OMG and crap out.

No web-based business craps out under that kind of traffic. How to cope with it is well-known at this point. I mean shit, this is the type of crap DIKU's massive list of socket descriptors did under load, and that was written over 10 years ago!

Imagine a phone switch doing this! That's tech from the 70s that handles waaayyyy more traffic than one of blizzard's servers. Google easily copes with orders of magnitude more traffic every moment of every day, and holds up like a champ. Stop being an apologist for a drastic lack of planning and poor engineering.

For those who dont play WOW (1)

shad0w47 (261033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538489)

you wouldnt know what AQ means, it means Ahn'Qiraj. It's a new 40-man raid 'dungeon'.
It requires gaining lots of resources for both sides (yes, a combined effort) and after that a long series of quests to open the gates.

For those who don't know... (2, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538493)

This is the 40-man raid dungeon that is harder than the two others that are currently in game (MC and BWL). The elitist guild on my server (Guild: Vis Maior, Server: Bonechewer) has already cleared it on the test realm, and is just working on getting the gates open. We did the event where you get your reputation to neutral with the scarabs, but the server crashed when we originally tried to do the cutscene. They did it again yesterday, and had no issues, despite it being three weeks after we had hoped to do it.

But yeah, Bonechewer is a perfect example of how Blizzard is not applying to their customers. I don't give a flying f*ck about my class (rogue) sucking, and all the buffs I need. I care more about not having to wait in a 30 minute queue on a medium population server, active crashes, lag spikes, and chaos when it comes to doing instances.

Jesus H. Christ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538603)

I must be getting old! I have absolutely no idea at all what a raid dungeon is. What's an elitist guild? Test realm? Getting your reputation neutral with scarabs sounds obscene. What's a cutscene and also what is class sucking and buffs?

Am I really that old or does this article have no business on the front page?

P.S. I looked at the pictures and the game looks rather childish.

Re:For those who don't know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538826)

I don't give a flying f*ck about my class (rogue) sucking, and all the buffs I need.

STFU, rogue.

what's AQ? (-1, Redundant)

Splatta (7993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538494)

Thanks to the original poster for defining what "AQ" is supposed to be, double thanks to the editor for just posting this without clarification.

Mob Respawn? (1)

Dakrin1 (220684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538500)

What does he mean: "Let's see how long the mobs will respawn."

Does he not understand that AQ is an "instanced" dungeon and the mobs will exist for any group that enters?

Re:Mob Respawn? (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538565)

They all have a respawn. If you take long enough to do it, mobs will start respawning. I think for most instances, its a 2 hour respawn. For the large raids, I think its a 48 or 72 hour respawn, as long as it is the same group entering (e.g. wiped and ran back to the instance).

Re:Mob Respawn? (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538775)

It's 2 hours for the 15 and less endgame instances, providing that the instance doesn't expire (ie: all the players left). For 20 man instances, it's eight hours for the regular trash and six for the chokepoints; for 40, it's more. Essentially, one night's raiding should be doable in the major instances without respawns.

Re:Mob Respawn? (1)

shibs (948178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538715)

Do you not understand that the gates opening is a world event and not instanced? Think of the movie Starship Troopers, except taking place in Stormwind. Blizz already said you don't have to be sitting around in Silithus to experience the event. :)

This is news? (1)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538501)

Sounds more like a rant about Blizzard's servers. If I wanted to see that, I'd click on any random post in the WoW general forums...

Anyway, congratulations to the fine folks of Medivh. I wonder if Blizzard plans to keep adding this much content to their free patches, or if they're gonna start saving it up for the paid expansion at some point in the near future.

lame game (5, Interesting)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538512)

A) Kill Monster - Get exp points
B) Get money
C) Use A&B to "level up"
D) Use results of "level up" to do A&B faster!

All these games are (WoW, DaOC, STG, ect..) are big statistical simulations where the players do nothing but tweak numbers (player stats). I'd like to see a game where NOBODY get's to see ANY numeric values for ANYTHING. The only player indication should be health which should be some sort of description at the bottom of the page which says something like "you feel awful" or "the pain in my leg hurts like hell!".

No "levels" for the players to work toward. All you could know is that you used that cool two-handed sword to kill the troll and it was kinda easy....should you go attack that dragon? These games would REALLY be interesting then.

The game producers KNOW that numeric stats addict people because people naturally like to make systems efficient.

Re:lame game (0)

sandwormusmc (805951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538645)

That could be interesting, for maybe 15 minutes tops. Then again, it would remind people too much of real life, and no one would pay for it.

Re:lame game (1)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538659)

The truth is, I hate all these games. I don't WANT a game where I can't quit for a month and not come back to the same experience. Persistent worlds make my life crowded, and I can't afford to put the time into these things that is required.

The numerical system in use today is the direct result of pencil and paper type games. It is also good psychology. Look, the point of the game is to make money (for all but just a few games). People who don't have control over a situation tend to try to get out. Thus stripping the illusion of control away from a game, like your suggestion would, is a bad decision from almost any perspective.

It just wouldn't sell the same. Sorry.

Re:lame game (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538692)

Oh I absolutely agree with you. It DEFINITELY would not sell. The 14 year old (and 33 year old) players would get bored because the reward system they are used to (levels, stats, exp points) would be missing.

When I played pencil and paper roleplaying games way back when (Aeons ago) we experimented with taking player stat sheets away from everybody and having the GM do all the dice rolls behind a piece of cardboard. Some players loved it, the ones that liked to "tweak" their characters and play as "rules lawyers" hated it. Overall I think it was an improvement.

Re:lame game (1)

Funakoshi (925826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538660)

http://www.injustice.net.nz/ [injustice.net.nz] Injustice is a game just as you requested. You are in a world where gangsters (think 1950's/1960's, not fiddy cent) run wild through various cities. Fun for the first little while, but then gets old (IMO). Oh, did I mention that it was text based? Oh, did I mention it was filled with 13 year olds? But yeah, there's no numbers or statistics.

Less numbers -- more roleplaying (2, Interesting)

protocoldroid (633203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538662)

Brilliant idea!!! I remember having a GM (specifically for Rifts, a Palladium RPG) in my paper RPG days who decided he'd take our character sheets and not let us see them. We had turned the game into such a hack and slash nightmare that he got sick of mastering the game for us. The second he took our character sheets and we stopped worrying about comparing our numbers... We started to ROLE PLAY so much more than role dice for 10 hours at a time and kicking tires on how much SDC (structural damage capacity for those not familiar with Palladium games) our armor could take.

Innovative MMORPGs (5, Informative)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538663)

All these games are (WoW, DaOC, STG, ect..) are big statistical simulations where the players do nothing but tweak numbers (player stats).

Agreed, the levelling up is usually just as exciting as filling in numbers in a spreadsheet, but there are some MMORPGs that try to do something new. You are even stuck on thinking that it has to be about combat and killing stuff. These people try to do something even more innovative, which might be why they haven't become as popular:

Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com] , the first mmoarrrrrpg. You simulate combat by solving puzzles. Different players that crew the ship perform different puzzles, the better they do the more tokens the captain gets (movement, cannon shots, ship health..) to use when the sea battle commences.

A Tale in the Desert [atitd.com] , a game that has NO combat. You "win" over other players by performing artworks, building pyramids, getting people to vote for you or performing cermonies and rituals, like for instance
"Have 20 charactars stand still and quietly observe the sunrise. If one speaks or moves away the ritual is destroyed."
or "Bury a large bag of money in the desert. Tell 10 other players where it is. If the bag remains for a week undisturbed you have passed the test of friendship. The other players get nothing for participating in the test. Unless they cheat, in which case they get the money."

You can get laws voted through that changes the whole game, and so on.

Both games are characterised by having more mature and social players than the hack and slash games, and a much larger percentage of female players.

I haven't played them myself though more than the demos. I stay away from most games and especially online games after shaking off a one year Everquest addiction 5 years ago.

Try them! Both have demos available, ATITD have a Linux client, PP both Linux and Mac (runs on all platforms that have Java actually).

Re:Innovative MMORPGs (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538780)

Very interesting. I'll be sure to check them out.

One thing that REALLY pisses me off. Watching my brother who is a multi-tasking madman with two monitors playing WoW. I was standing behind him the other day and told him - paraphrased of course - that since he's SO good at multi-tasking and tweaking numbers that he could probably make a BOATLOAD of money as a day trader working at some stock firm on Wall Street. Tweaking numbers is basically what they do, trying to make money by understanding the system in real time by watching real time statistical monitoring - which is EXACTLY what you are doing in WoW. Only you PAY other people to do it.

Sigh...

Re:lame game (3, Interesting)

Tainek (912325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538688)

Sounds like marketing suicide......

those who prefer Playing Skills over Grind time play Guildwars [guildwars.com]
Level cap of 20, it only taks 20-30 hours to reach full level and have a bag full of "Phat Loot" , then its all about your playing skills.

Guildwars had a pvp sneak preview of the upcoming chapter (expansion doesnt cut it, its a full seperate game, that you can "plug in" to your old account) and a new end game dungeon we had to download 10-15 megs each, with most people logging in over the space of an hour, and the server was down for about 10 minutes. Guildwars might only have a fith/quater of WoW's population (5 Million VS 1Million a few months ago) , but it does also have nowhere near the funding (a year of WoW , 24 quid for the game, a tenner a month= well over 100 pounds (I belive this is correct) , guildwars= 24 pounds to buy and no fees)

If guildwars can get it right, i see no reason why WoW cant

Re:lame game (1)

Decado (207907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538722)

You are working on the assumption that the game world is inhabited entirely by morons who will not work out the mechanics. Whether or not the numbers are displayed to the player they will work out what the underlying mechanics are. All the numbers do is save them that hassle.

One of the basic laws of game design from http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/laws.shtml [raphkoster.com] is the game systems law:
No matter what you do, players will decode every formula, statistic, and algorithm in your world via experimentation.
If they cannot see the numbers intelligent players WILL figure them out and then they will tell everyone else. Any game that relies on hiding the game mechanics from the player is doomed to failure.

Um.. blog entry? (2, Insightful)

LiNKz (257629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538568)

Whoa. Generally, I take slashdot to be a lighthearted place to read interesting techish things. This post really does give me pause though. Not only does it sound like a mad World of Warcraft player's blog entry, it doesn't even explain the elements of what happened. If it wasn't for the fact that I play World of Warcraft I wouldn't have had a clue what he was on about.

I agree, Blizzard should have tested that part of the patch more specifically. Apparently, the gate was already opened on the test server (this is what I've heard from other players, I never did test the patch) which would leave me to suspect they never tested opening the gate very much.

I actually expected this crash.

Re:Um.. blog entry? (0, Offtopic)

Stoopid-Guy0 (814282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538769)

Slashdot IS a blog.

huh (0, Flamebait)

sjoel (665457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538576)

This would be a good time for WOW players to invest some time into their real lives. Its almost certain they dont have one at this time, but there is no time like the present! Seriously though, for some people these games absolutly ruin their lives, and the people who love them. I have personal experience with this.

The very first time I read about this post (1)

zanglang (917799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538624)

Wow...who didn't see this one coming? The webmaster(s) of Karashu.net decide to feature the opening of the gates to AQ on Slashdot. What happened next? ... I guess it doesn't take an average slashdotter to finish off the paragraph. :)

Big Surprise (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538705)

Are people really surprised that putting all lvl 60s on the server, (and the vast majority of players logged on), crashes it? I simply don't think MMoRPG servers are designed to handle load that way. On the other hand, I think it would be smart to create a type of failover set of computers to pick up the load of any computers on any server that were reaching fatal limits. A type of SWAT computer group to help back up the day-to-day servers.

Come on, folks, give 'em a break. (1)

g_lightyear (695241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538728)

They're being slashdotted. Not directly, of course, as nobody can just click to log in - but *everybody* is running over to the server and creating toons on it in order to go and see the new content. People had been warned that it was happening, everyone knew that this was going to end up being the fate of the first server to open the gates.

What can you do when 5+ million players all want to see the new content, but their own server's gates aren't open?

hhmmm (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538736)

I dont really know what it is, so I should probably shutup.

But it looks like a Dark Age of Camelot: Trial of Atlantis rip of.

Reporting half the story FTW (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538763)

What the OP neglected to mention is that Blizzard already had to take extreme measures to prevent players from other servers from crowding into Medivh to rubberneck. They not only closed character creation on Medivh (and a crapload of other servers), but also ported characters less than level 30 out of the relevant zone in an effort to reduce crowding.

What's unclear from the story as posted is whether the fault here is solely Blizzard's fault or whether players with no affiliation with the Medivh server caused the overcrowding and subsequent crashes.

Good Job Blizzard! (1, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14538765)

I'd like to thank Blizzard for making a server wide event that opens an instanced dungeon that 2% of the player base might get to. Sure, there is also a 20 man AQ instance, that maybe 8% of the player base will see. (It's on par with zul gurub). So instead of making another instance like Upper back rock spire that everyone can do, they continue to cater to the EQ fans who like 4-8 hour instnace runs on saturday nights.

Re:Good Job Blizzard! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538828)

Oh please..

AQ20 is slightly harder than UBRS (and come on, ZG isn't hard, meet some people who know how to play) and will have much more useful content (ie, drops). Why create new content 90% of population can 3man in 20 minutes? You can't possibly expect useful stuff out of that area.

And admit it, despites the technical glitches the war effort is/was cool - at least on our servers, there is major collaboration going.

Leeroy!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538800)

Leeroy!!!!1

WoW! A poorly written article on slashdot? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538819)

Honestly, this takes the cake. Not only do i stumble on to slashdot to read about tech news (yes, I know, expecting a lot these days) to find an article about a game that's more addicting then heroin, but I get to read about how the writer wants to be an Admin for Blizzard? Great. Can we get some real content on slashdot, or is that too hard to do?

Too bad Asheron's Call WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538837)

The Shard Defense during the Bael'zharon story arc (first arc) was the most epic story battle ever where the players on the Thistledown server defended the 'Soul Crystal' housing the first uber boss of AC from not only other players, but the devs themselves.

The most epic 'raid' would have to be the Ayan Baqur Wars on the Darktide PVP server.

overloaded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14538852)

They crashed because they were the first to open the gates, and everyone on other realms wanted to see it, so they created accounts on the server. Would be nice if they spent the money to build a megaserver. Then they wouldn't worry about crashing the server, or lag, or even have to mess with separate realms. Just one huge server. You'd just crash your own computer as you try to render the 10s of thousands of people who crowded into this zone to watch the gates open.
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