The Sunday Screenshot is back and today I’m celebrating dinging 100, finally. The road to 100 has been frustrating. Not because the Warlords of Draenor questing is rubbish (which it is NOT) but because the servers have been awful. I’m a vetaran in this game and I’ve experienced launch day on every expansion.
TBC was my first, on the launch day I went to my local Game store and purchased the CE box at 9am (as it happens I was served by a certain John Bain before he went off to the US), there was no problem logging on at 10am, yes there was lag, yes there was a shortage of mobs but players grouped together for quests and shared kills, we made friends there were pretty much no douchebags and we had no server crashes. What the servers were like at the midnight switch over I cannot comment.
My second experience was Wrath and my guild decided to have some midnight launch fun. I decided to take part late and hadn’t pre-ordered. At midnight, I went to the local supermarket and bought myself a copy of the standard edition (which irks me as it is the only CE I’m missing), returned home and was on line by 1:30am, again no problems logging on, server was laggy, very laggy we got DCd, we got straight back on and after a while, the Northrend realms crash, I rolled a DK and did the whole starting area without anything more than a bit of lag, OK a lot of lag. After the first few hours everything was smooth.
Cataclysm was the third launch, once again I was taking part in this at midnight, I pre-ordered the CE box and this arrived ahead of time and I was ready to go at midnight when Blizzard restarted the servers. We had log on issues, the start zones were chaos, there was lag, servers crashed but as had happened in Wrath, afer the first few hours everything was smooth.
In Mists I once again took part in the launch at midnight, I pre-ordered the CE box and was very disappointed when this didn’t arrive ahead of time. My guildies all ordered the digital edition and were online and playing at midnight. The servers did not need a restart this time but, if I remember correctly, players needed to log out and back in to activate their access, the login servers got swamped and people couldn’t log back in. I was getting the itch to join in though and decided to buy a digital edition and beg for my money back when I upgraded to the CE (this didn’t happen but I did get my std edition key back to reuse). I got in and there was lag and a buggy quest which was only allowing one person to do it at a time /facepalm. However this was fixed quickly and while there was a bit of lag around certain quest hubs the game was very playable after the first few hours.
This year, I once again oredered the CE and hoped to get it ahead of time, I didn’t and once again caved in and bought a standard digital edition knowing that I would get the key back to reuse or gift. I did this because I wanted to play and play early, I had booked time off work that the following 2 nights to be able to get to 100 before the weekend. The servers once again didn’t need a restart, and we didn’t need to relog. However, as usually happens the servers couldn’t cope with the demands and there wa lag, quest congestion and DCs. Once getting past the initial starting experience we all got driven into the garrisons. The garrison is an instanced area, there is no portal or load screen but it IS instanced.
The servers could not cope and players got DC’s and then couldn’t log back in because the character was either not found or already logged in. After an hour of this I decided to give up and go to bed and just play normally Thursday morning. This I did for about an hour before I went back to the garrison for a quest. Then I hit the same wall as I had the night before, many guildies were in the same position and eventually the server crashed and freed us all. I continued playing and that evening the problem happened again more players were stuck and when zoning into the garrison, a personal instanced location, the garrisons were full of other players all unable to move without DCing.
I decided to switch to one of my other level 90s, when Itried to log on I got to 90% load bar and then DC’d I repeated this on 4 characters before deciding to try a lowerlevel alt, I got in. So now on expansion launch day I was only able to play low level characters, After being unable to play, I decided to go to bed aerly and try Friday morning, Friday was basically the same deal, everyone that used the garrison was unable to play. Guildies that avoided them managed to level quite quickly. To ease the problems Blizzard reduced server capacity which resulted in every server being locked and having queues. So if you were unlucky enough to get DCd, you’d most likely hit a queue.
Saturday was a day I feared the worst as more players were going to want to play, I logged on early and decided to avoid anything garrison related and that strategy worked amazingly well as I stayed on line all day and got to 99 before I had to sleep. However, other people had all the issues of the previous 2 day. Warlords of Draenor has truly been the worst launch of a WoW expansion pack.
I’m sure that the reason is because of server connections because while these are not officially mergers, the realms are all sharing the same physical servers of only one of the realms. This of course means there are less servers to accommodate the majority of subscribers at once and while this is an unusual occurrence, it is a predictable event as it only happens every expansion and Blizzard really should have been prepared better for this.
I’m hoping for at least some game time credits for all subscribers, not because I want the compensation (quite frankly this would be 2 days pay for me because of my wasted leave days) but as an admission from Blizzard that they messed up the launch big time.
What has your launch experience been like? Did you manage to level to 100 yet? I’d love to see your answers to all 3 questions in the comments below.