Burn them or Forgive them?
May 20, 2010 14 Comments
Ahhh, patch-day. Anyone who has been playing MMOs for any period of time has come to love and loathe these wonderous days of days. When large updates come down the pipe, the hordes of players flock to the game en-masse to experience the new shineys of the world they love so much. With so many people running across that bridge back to a wonderland of fun, it’s no surprise that things go wrong from time to time. Yesterday with WAR was no different. All servers were announced with downtime around 8pm EST, and slated to last till 9 pm, then 10:30 pm, and lastly, for 11:30 pm. At 11:30, the servers did come up. Right now as I type this, servers are down again, until a prospected 5:00 pm EST. This is a lot of downtime for Mythic, and one that I can’t remember being equalled previously with any other patch. For Mythic mind you, I can easily recall the time of EQ2 and WoW where patches and expansions required DAYS of downtime to finally get things smoothed out. So, this lead me to wonder, how do people feel about these perilous adventures in newness?
I’ve never been one to rage at games for downtime. I recall fondly the days when I worked from home and could make my own hours. I was playing EQ2 primarily at the time, and when I couldn’t get in the game (there used to be daily maintenance time of an hour in the early AM), I would work, watch Antique Road Show (no, really), play DotA, or actually chat in the lobby with a moderator who would tell us when servers were back up. I was always one of those people who tried to calm others down, and would laugh at myself when people would say things along the lines of, “But I took today off to play!” or some such drivel. Sorry, but your day off is not the responsibility of “Game Developer X”. So, when it comes to downtime from a patch or a large update, I tend to be fairly pacifistic about the whole situation. I always have other hobbies or activities to do.
It was amusing to me to go to the forums today, and see people counting down time at 11:30, declaring Mythic failed at 11:31 for not having the servers up. They reportedly came up at 11:36 for the curious among you. It really does seem like there are a large contingent of players that have never dealt with realities of patch day. In a way, I can see their point, they pay for a service, the service was denied them, and the exact return of said service was dubious, and misrepresented. I just don’t understand the drama of it all. Anyone who was dealt with tech issues or software releases, gaming or otherwise, knows there are ALWAYS problems that can’t be found in small-scale testing. It’s only when a release hits the market that the breadth of problems get found.
For my camp, not to go all overly positive on you (that’s someone else’s niche), I forgive them. Problems happen, and developers fix them as fast as possible. They want us in there, playing, not just to make money, but because they want us to enjoy their work.
Chime in, where do you sit?