Can The WoW Servers Survive The Shattering Cataclysm?
Queues. Downtime. Lag. Slow downloads. Bloodcurdling cries of venom and hatred. All of these things are synonymous with MMO launches, expansion releases and big patches. A lot of us have come to accept this from our MMOs and live with it as an inevitable side affect of the hobby. Today’s a special day though because today (in Europe anyway, yesterday in the States) marked the release of probably Blizzard’s most epic patch, the complete and utter shattering of Azeroth. I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I’m as a giddy as a teenage boy discovering his dad’s secret stash of Playboys but, still, in the back of my mind I can’t help by wonder if Blizzard are going to be able to handle the huge demand that’s posed to pounce on their servers?
The shattering is only the beginning too as Cataclysm comes out in two weeks and considering the amount of media attention it’s getting (I’ve already seen the TV adverts and my wife has already face palmed at my reaction) it’s, without a shadow of a doubt, going to generate a huge amount of interest in WoW again. I know several “real life” friends (I feel kinda weird using that term) who have returned to the game over the past two days or are planning to come back by the 7th December and then there’s the dozens of online friends I know who planning the exact same thing. Will the servers be able to handle all of this or is the exciting rebirth of WoW going to actually mean my personal play experience suffers? I don’t really want to deal with long queues, bad lag or excessive downtime and part of me thinks that I don’t deserve to either.
As an industry MMOs don’t have the best track record for dealing with this sort of stuff and we all remember the huge queues that WoW suffered from at launch so my fears are probably quite justified. Still, deep down, I have high hopes that it’s not going to be an issue for this patch or the coming Cataclysm. After all, if any MMORPG company has the resources, manpower and experience to deal with this it’s got to be Blizzard right?
I also think they’re being very sensible in launching the shattering patch now and Cataclysm in another two weeks. I had always assumed both things would coincide but actually there’s no need for it and it makes perfect sense to distance them a little. This way not only is the influx of returning (and new) players staggered but it also means there’s time to deal with any issues arising from patch 4.0.3a before the expansion hits. I’m sure Sun Tzu has some ancient proverb that directly relates to this tactic but, alas, it alludes me now.
And of course, given how long it’s been since the last WoW expansion and how many years the shattering/Cataclysm has been in development for and how many millions of subscription fees has paid for it, I would’ve bloody well hoped that it all went relatively smoothly. Lets not forget that the more attention WoW is getting and the more hype all of the this generating, the more people there are to potentially disappoint. No pressure or anything, Blizz.