Should the gaming community excuse “Blizzard Entertainment” for their massive oversight on the day, night and unfortunately at the writing of this article on the very first weekend “Warlords of Destruction” is supposed to be debuting. Quite possibly the weekend with the largest player population the servers may ever see. With all the issues that occurred they kept the majority from even being able to enjoy their “World of Warcraft” purchase. With that being said, it raises an intelligent question that would require a just as an intelligent response. Should the gaming community have to accept the blunder that is the expansion for “World of Warcraft, Warlords of Draenor?” Even more pertinent that needs an answer would be, not only does this problem involve “Blizzard Entertainment” but the PC Gaming community at large. Where “hiccups,” “horrible customer service” and “failure” of releases, disappointments as well as not getting what was promised seem to be the norm.
For “PC Video Gamer”s in whole, should this ever be a concern, across all genres the failure to succeed robs people of their resources. Based on those notes, a realistic question arises about the original implied question. In any other industry across the “United States,” this would be considered unacceptable and the company would be at risk for being liable for their actions or lack there of. So why not the “Video Game Industry?” Should “PC Video Game” consumers accept the inability of their beloved development corporations to produce worthwhile and affordable visual entertainment products?
Major “PC Game” creators seem to be getting away with a lot these days. While the “Video Games” they create come and go their users do not and should never have to put up with unfinished or dysfunctional products and services. Of course saying this will prompt the issue and already has on the “Warlords of Destruction” forums, where “we,” the younger generations and “Americans” at large, have too large of a sense of “self entitlement.” Yet out of those people that lay this hard claim on the heads of their peers. Would they agree if the “product” that was experiencing difficulties after first being launched or first being purchased. Was of one they would be choosing and had a closer connection to, outside of a “Video Game?”
For example like a brand new motor vehicle that just hit the market, or well since many of us have one the computer, computer hardware, computer software or computer accessory just purchased or again launched. Were not to function as advertised or as dictated by the corporation that made them believe the purchase they made would be a wise purchase as well as worth their hard earned time and money. Experience in the matter says, yes they most certainly would be hopping on the band wagon to quickly criticize the products manufacturer on their failure of providing them the advertised goods and/or quality service. Court decisions, do not help either, in favor of the corporations that irresponsibly supply games of inadequate quality. Such as the decision for “Electronic Arts” by a “US District Court Judge” from “San Francisco.” Ruling that “EA” did not mislead its investors into believing that “Battlefield 4” was going to become a huge success. Instead they used “in-actionable statements of opinion, corporate optimism, or puffery” to entice those into the purchase or investment of their product.
On March 24th, 2014 author Messiah over at “tentonhammer.com” wrote about their opinion on “blizzard’s failure to learn [from previous mistakes.]” Specifically writing about the blunders that happened from “Cataclysm” to “Mists of Pandaria.” “The final raid content was launched for Cataclysm at the end of November 2011 and Mists of Pandaria did not launch until the end of September 2012. That meant that players where stuck with no new content for 11 months. During that time Blizzard lost a huge number of subscribers (roughly 25%) and went from roughly 12 million players at the start of Cataclysm to about 9 million at the start of Mists of Pandaria.” This is just factual proof of the way “Activision/Blizzard Entertainment” runs their cash cow dubbed “World of Warcraft.” Which is sort of sad since this is the most popular Massive Multiplayer Online Game(MMO) today. Particularly seeing it from a subscription number standpoint. So, there we were November 13th, 2014. “Warlords of Draenor” was released and Blizzard claims they “didn’t expect the massive amounts of players that were going to log onto their servers.” As of Monday, November 18th, 2014 issues arising from vaious aspects of the games continue to occur. Such as the “Garrison” log out issue and an unconfirmed story of a “World of Warcraft” server that certain individuals essentially took over an economy like the mob, completely crashing their servers economy and making everthing increasingly expensive. Going by Messiah’s in-between period, from then to now, it took “Blizzard” nearly 2 years for this new content to be released.
Then sometime during the first 24-hour period of the release, it happened. Supposed “DDoS(Direct Denial of Service)” attacks, huge lag spikes, an increasing amount of player traffic and disconnections across all servers. The forums caught fire and surely, because of the forums being set ablaze with every imaginable comment and concern, the “Customer Service Department” inbox’s filled with ticket after ticket on the subject of the poor expansion release. Some demanded game-time compensation and some may have even unsubscribed. Some defended “Blizzard’s” position, some stormed the posts of anyone “whining” about the release and others paid little to no attention. Claiming “there is nothing to be done” or “this happens every expansion release, why complain.” Both of which are huge mistakes for the player-base, throwing the power into “Blizzard’s” hands to do with what they will and just drag us along for the ride. Allowing them to make excuses as to why what occurred happened. Ultimately, giving into the corporate machine.
“ActivisionBlizzard Entertainment,” should own up to their mistakes just as any other visual entertainment corporation should. They did not have the server hardware to handle their load and they knew this well before launch. As they definitively had a count of how many copies were sold, so their CEO and other Upper Management could ring the “success” bell and rake in millions of unearned dollars in bonuses. Ashamedly according to a tech site on the subject of those involved in the gaming industries and their wages. “Quality Assurance” is at the bottom of the list, this is even true in Europe where the average wage for “QA” is 20% less than that of “American QA” employees. Without a doubt you could more than likely guess which portion was at the top, indeed – “Management.”
Now while these facts are being mentioned, realize these are simply deductions as to what possibly could have gone wrong and why the expansion turned out the way it did. The above being a few of the problems. The other problems involve boosted Level 90 characters, their recommended server and realm crossing. Pushing a brand-new player onto a highly populated server is just asking for trouble during a new release. Not to mention the fact that as was done on the “Euro” side it can be speculated that on the “US” side “Blizzard” decided realm-links were to be implemented. So that if recalled correctly, “the appearance of more players populating the WoW world could be accomplished.” Yet another highly fatal mistake on this front line leading multi-billion dollar machine that is “World of Warcraft.”
Since providing plenty of statements and support for the side that wants corporate responsibility. This piece could only be considered un-biased by including something from a “Developer” or “Corporate Level” employee. Readers, Per Baumann, “CEO” of a small Norwegian indie-company “Fifth Season.” Writes, “We know that many of the things that go wrong on launch days are not always down to poor preparation, [lack of] technical insight or even shoddy workmanship. The amount of stress-testing (trying to put the system under as much pressure as possible.) Be it by asking testers to perform certain actions or by artificially creating a lot of activity on the server is always only an approximation of what actually happens when a lot of real people try to perform actions within your system.”
“Usually something happens that will “never” have occurred before. If the faults are major, it can impact the launch in a major way. Immediate communication of problems and even details around the problem is something that we can potentially give, and in many cases this type of honesty makes for a more forgiving audience. We are hoping for a problem-free launch, but we are of course preparing for something unexpected to happen.” As an avid-gamer this is exactly what most of us would wish to hear from large corporations like “Blizzard Entertainment.” These large corporations would do themselves a service by learning how the new upstarts or small development organizations keep a player base. Maybe “Blizzard” could not have predicted the “DDoS” attacks but certainly they could have addressed the population issue and its effect on their servers.
As of Saturday November 15th 2014, they went ahead and corrected their mistake by upgrading hardware. A “simple” solution for a problem that should not have been a problem to begin with. Resulting in some retaliatory responses from its player base. Guess someone in the “QA” and/or “Management” department was spiking the coffee in the break room during the testing phase. How could they have ever of missed overloading the servers with a “population?” Thank you Per for your words of insight, hopefully giving a voice to the other side. Be sure to check back for first impressions on the new game content in “Warlords of Draenor.” Thanks for reading!