I am an admitted whore for almost anything Warcraft. With that, it was a shock to none that I went out and got World of Warcraft as soon as it hit the shelves.
It’s interesting the phenomenon of WoW & the MMORPG genre.
I think for many of us, by the time we heard about EverQuest, it was associated with how crazy it was — people taking the game too seriously, items being sold on Ebay, Korean cybercafe gangs. We joined in with our normal friends scoffing at them, calling it EverCrack and wondering how one could waste their time on something so stupid.
(I mean, Warcraft III was out and that was the game to be playing. D’uh.)
Okay, we didn’t say that last bit out loud (at least around normal friends), but we thought it. And we also thought at the same time, in the back of our neal-stephson-snowcrash- infatuated little brains about how cool the concept was. “A mudd with graphics! I knew this day would come.” Still, we stayed away.
But then came WoW. This was our chance. No stigma of Everquest and the added coolness of Blizzard! This is gonna be awesome.
So we went in.
A lot of us.
600,000 of us.
All at once.
Blizzard, however, was apparently caught unaware. For, if you follow any bit of WoW, or the gaming community in general, you’ll know that their server performance has been an utter disaster.
In many ways, it is kinda like a snowcrash — watching your character lock-up in a weird position, wondering if it’s lag, banging the keyboard repeatedly, then watching him act spastic in response when the queue actions finally caught up, then locking up again — this time taking damage from an audible, but invisible opponent with attacks that apparently take no hit points. And that’s before you say fuck it & tyr to run back to the inn, all the while your character locked in the kneel position, so it kinda looks like you’re surfing along the trail (all the while phantom monster thing still attacking).
Most annoying has been Blizzard’s utter silence on the matter. You can page a GM when issues arise, but so many things are borked, they never get around to responding. (Well, not technically true, 18 hours latter, you’ll get an email saying “Hey, you where offline when I tried to respond, so I can’t do anything. Open a new issue if you’re still having problems.”)
I thought the spell had finally broken & Blizzard might give forth a red-faced apology along the lines of “Wow, this was better than we hoped! Sorry about that, but here’s what we’re doing & when we’ll have it fixed.” Reading the interview between pennyarcade & Blizzard over Slashdot, you can see that is not the case.
Worse, it’s probably one of the biggest pieces of corporate double-speak I’ve seen in a while. In fact, I thought this comment kinda hit the nail on the head.
Note to future MMORPGs: this is not the way to communicate to your customers.