The Cold, Hard Truth Feature - The Next Level

The Cold, Hard Truth

Kicking off an all-new editorial column, Phil "DSP" Burnell rants about EQII, World of Warcraft and other PC related topics.

Article by Phil Burnell (Email)
November 27th 2004, 03:18AM
 

As I sit here, typing this editorial, I can honestly say I would much rather be playing the newest and most-hyped Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, World of Warcraft (or WoW for short), released earlier this week. Apparently, a bunch of people had the same idea as me, because over 250,000 copies of the game sold nationwide in the first few days of its release, according to Blizzard.com. After one of the longest, most extensive, multi-stage beta test processes EVER for a PC game, WoW was believed to be “the most un-buggy MMORPG to be released, ever.” In fact, most expected the WoW launch to be the most seamless and flawless of any online game, due to the extensive care and time Blizzard took to perfect its game.

However, this was all sadly in vain. Despite all of their best efforts, Blizzard dropped the ball when only a few hours after release, people found themselves waiting in a “queue” to get on a server, which in extreme cases took up to 2 hours of waiting just to play. Once on the server, players experienced laggy, unresponsive gameplay. The forums on WorldOfWarcraft.com erupted with complaints from unsatisfied consumers who had “believed the hype” and felt they were going to get quality product. However, due to Blizzard’s blunder, the consumers were unable to even see if the game was a quality product, because they couldn’t even get on a server to play!

Over the next few days, Blizzard released a series of “emergency announcements” that apparently apologized for the utter lack of quality of play due to the massive overpopulation of servers. Apparently, Blizzard had not ever imagined that people would actually buy the game that they hyped for years and beta tested for almost a full year. Perhaps that’s a bit too strong, but it’s a sad situation. Blizzard has since opened numerous new servers, closed down a handful for “emergency maintenance,” and pretty much that is it. They have not kept the consumers informed of the status of the problems, or why the problems even exist, and so it leaves a lot open to speculation. As I sit here typing, I am currently #227 in the queue to get on WoW, with an estimated waiting time of 39 minutes. As a consumer who paid $50 for the game, I’m none too happy about it.

One can sit here and complain all day about one game, but the "cold, hard truth" is that the majority of PC games released today have something wrong with them. In the world of console games, this is 99% of the time NOT the case, because it’s near impossible to patch or fix a problem on a console, since not every person has internet access. But for games released in the past year on the PC, it seems to be the unfortunate case that the majority are utterly incomplete. I’m not sure who is making the decisions to push out unfinished products, but it does seem like a startling pattern.


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