Warlords of Draenor’s launch wasn’t exactly smooth and some consumers felt compelled to complain to the BBC’s consumer show Watchdog.
World of Warcraft took a bashing this evening following the problematic launch of Warlords of Draenor. They spoke with UK player Luke who had been “looking forward to the expansion a hell of a lot” and expected the expansion was “finally going to revive the World of Warcraft because it has been dying for some time”.
Fair enough. This expansion was highly anticipated and added lots of new features. Like thousands of other players, WoW player Luke couldn’t log in and he “knew immediately there was a problem”. He explained on the show that the “queues were going up and up and up”. He managed to wait three hours then it would disconnect which was an experience shared by nearly all players at some point over the launch period. The queues were massive with some players seeing queue times of more than three thousand minutes.
The show then asked the question “could this be avoided?” According to Watchdog the answer was “yes”.
The report went on to point out that Blizzard had already announced the launch date eight months previously and that they had “ample time to make plans and upgrade their servers to cope with the increased demand”.
IT consultant Sean Murphy, who was also interviewed as a WoW player, commented:
“As soon as I got into the game it was just not playable, there were too many people trying to do the same thing, at the same time and in the same location.”
The footage then cut away to a game of WoW running at about 10FPS with the screen littered with hundreds of players and UI bars all over the place. The screen was a mess with the server unable to cope with the massive amount of action on screen. What the report failed to mention was that the player’s PC might also have been unable to cope with the amount of action taking place in the one location. Sean then went on to add:
“I pay £9.99 a month for this subscription. I had to pay £40 on top for this expansion pack and it doesn’t work. So this month I paid £50 for a product that simply does not work”.
Watchdog says that these problems could have been avoided if Blizzard had planned ahead and improved their service adding that “they failed to do so even though they knew how many players would join and had known the release date for months in advance”.
According to IT consultant Sean these problems “make you feel like a cash machine, make you feel like you’re shelling out your money with nothing to show for it. They were taking your money and doing the bare minimum they possibly could to make the game something that you would stay playing”.
A statement from Blizzard to Watchdog says they admit the launch was “far from seamless” and they “underestimated the impact on their servers with so many players wanting to access the game simultaneously.” They had also “planned to make changes to their infrastructure beforehand but these efforts were hampered by a virus attack on its network.”
By virus attack we assume they mean the DDoS which was immediately announced by Blizzard during the launch to all players via social media and their own forums.
Blizzard told Watchdog that they’ll be “learning the lessons of this experience for future launches”. Sadly that last statement from Blizzard is probably not going to happen. It’s very rare any Blizzard game launches without problems whether it be lag, queues or disconnects. Their games are massively popular.
What is frustrating about this report is that the players are upset enough to contact Watchdog about a problem that was largely expected. Blizzard did keep the community up to date with events around the clock as they unfolded. Sure it’s not ideal, but with players being compensated with five days of game time, there really isn’t too much to complain about.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity on the other hand…
If you’re in the UK the show is available on iPlayer now.