Good morning, and welcome to the start of another wonderful week!

I’d like to touch briefly on something that is near and dear to my heart;

Playing the game of WoW.

When I play WoW, and this may come as a surprise to some, I really do enjoy the game. I enjoy it to the extent that I really don’t play any other video games. None at all. Haven’t in a long time. (messing with City of Heroes for 3 days doesn’t really count, does it?)

The closest I’ve come is when I recently re-installed Warcraft III, to replay the RTS game with an increased appreciation for the lore and story. It especially plays well these days since reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.

In order for me to enjoy playing WoW, there is one small, eensy weensy little thing that is necessary. And that would be that I’m actually able to play the game.

All of the game.

Yes, that would include the instances. All of the instances.

Now, I think a whiny rant or QQ would be in order, given the magnitude of fail that is going on with instances, but I’m really not in the mood to deal with QQ, even from myself.

I would like to explain, just for a moment, why I think Blizzards current handling of the situation would, in another universe, constitute that perennial favorite, a ‘slap in the face’.

See, We’ve been told there is this terrible lag situation that would affect everyone, causing everyone playing everywhere terrible misery. To combat this, the number of instances that can be active at one time has been throttled back. This is so that at least those people who ARE playing can be assured of a positive gaming experience.

Okay, clearly there is a core issue here. Why this issue has appeared recently, where it had never been seen before, and why it was so drastic that instance numbers have been throttled, is a seperate topic.

Tin foil hats and conspiracy theorists can go nuts with speculation on instance servers taken from WoW to do internal testing on Blizzard’s new MMO, or that software changes have been made that caused the instability and they can’t diagnose the core issue, or the number of players at max level trying to run heroics/raids has grown beyond the scope of Blizzard’s hardware expectations and they refuse to invest in additional hardware, or whatever. I don’t work there, I don’t know. I AM in the business of having to repair what other people design, so I can tell you that I’m not going to scream for something to be fixed… when the people responsible for finding a solution might have had nothing whatsoever to do with creating the problem.

No, I understand there is a problem, and I understand that it’s been going on.

Here’s the thing.

I haven’t been running a lot of instances, but when I have, whether or not I can get into the instance seems to vary from night to night. Molten Core, group of 10 trying to get in took about 30 minutes, as I recall from a few weeks ago.

There have been a few times, over the last few weeks, where Cassie and I had a couple hours to do an instance together. Low level alt, high level character, run through situation. Not a ‘farm instance over and over’, just where the alt has gathered up all the quests for an instance, and would like to do it once to get all that yummy xp.

And we’ve skipped it because we couldn’t get in to do that one thing. An evening of limited time to play together, wanting to do just one thing before bed, and after 30+ minutes of jumping at an instance wall, saying “screw it, the game is meant to be fun, this is the exact opposite of fun” and going and watching TV or read or play mumbly peg.

Why is this a problem? It’s a problem because it happens all the time, and we’re not talkinga bout a brief interruption… especially in old world isntances and raids, you can easily spend 20+ minutes trying to get into something, and the more active your server is, the closer to ‘prime time’ you are, the harder it is to do something.

Think about that. The closer you are to the time when people who have limited time to play are able to be online, the harder it is to do anything in an instance at all.

So if you take away those folks that are online 24/7, and who will tell you that they aren’t inconvenienced because they’ll just run at 2 PM server time when everyone else is at school or work, then that leaves the folks that aren’t on all day.. and have no choice when they are able to try and play.

Last night is a fine example. I worked all day installing a water softener, (which was in itself easy… it was moving the basement full of stuff out and then finding new spaces for it that hurt) and by the time the evening rolled around, I was tired and cranky and sore.

All I wanted to do was log in for about 30 minutes, which was all the time I had before bed, run down to Wailing Caverns, and run the raptors 4 or 5 times to try to get one of the new pets for Jess, to cheer her up. She’s been really unhappy and stressed out for the last 9 days.

That’s it. That’s all I wanted to do. Not exactly lofty aspirations, but imagining the smile on Jess’s face gave me a much needed boost.

Instead, I literally spent the entire 30 minutes jumping constantly at the Wailing Caverns instance entrance, trying to get in, and failing utterly.

Now that was just what I wanted to do, wasn’t it, while spending my 30 minutes of relaxing fun time playing the video game I pay a monthly fee for. Yes, I felt the stress of the day just melt away.

Whatever. SNAFU is a fact of life. It happens.

Frustration is just something you deal with, and you can always do what I did… went and took a nice shower, read for a few minutes and slept. 

Here’s the deal, though.

I went to MMO Champion’s Bluetracker to see if anyone else had reported similar problems with the “Additional instances cannot be launched” error.

I know that many people have, I read Dechion’s post about it recently, but what I wanted to know was, what is Blizzard saying is being done about it?

What I found was a long list of people that had each posted about it, asking for an update… and got a standard Blue response linking to a Blue post about the issue.

Okay, so Blizzard has posted about it, excellent! Blizzard is locking these other posts after telling them where the one source for updates is to be found. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. 

So what’s the problem?

Well, how about the most recent update I could find that had info was from 14 days ago, 7/27, on the European Forums. They made some fixes, and wanted feedback.

I’m having a hard time finding a response within the last 14 days in the North American forums about what is going on. Perhaps there is, and I’m just a /fail at finding it. Perhaps I should not filter my forum visiting by only searching through the MMO Champion Bluetracker (but the official forums, they hurt the eyes! It burns, it burns!).

In the world of engineering support and maintenance, the worst thing of all (after safety issues), is a loss of production. A safety issue takes the first priority, absolutely, but after that, when production is stopped, you drop everything and you labor to correct it. And a massive part of the process is communication.

It is the responsibility of the support personnel to keep customers informed of the status of lost productivity.

Let’s break this down. If a plant makes widgets, and the equipment that makes widgets is broken, everyone is standing around, and no widgets get made. You’re still paying people a wage, you’re still paying for rent on the factory, power, water, all the stuff that keeps your plant running… but you aren’t providing the means to make a profit. No widgets made = no wodgets sold = no money coming in, but all the money is still being spent to stay in operation. 

Plant managers, supervisors, Human Resources, employees, everyone that actually makes the widget and therefore makes money for the plant… are the customer. The maintenance and engineering folks that must fix the machine are support. And the support folks must let the rest of the plant know things like “It’ll take a couple days to get the part in to fix it.”

And after it’s fixed, support folks will be answering questions, such as, “Why didn’t you evaluate the critical equipment in advance, determine what spare parts we should have on hand were, and get them on an internal inventory to reduce downtime.”

The important thing is, communication is a key aspect of maintenance and support. When something goes wrong, there are people that are affected. Those people that are affected should be told, in honest language, what has happened, and what is being done to fix it, and updates should be regular so that there is no mystery in the process.

Breakdowns occur. Things happen. What keeps such an event from becoming intensely frustrating is being informed what has happened, what is being done to correct it, and what the exact timeline is when there will be a solution, or another update.

When your internet goes down, you are upset and frustrated. Once you call, and are told when a service person can come out, some of that goes away, because now you have an idea when you can expect more news. No reason to continue worrying and fretting, because nothing will be done until the service guy comes out.

This is where I still feel that Blizzard falls down. There is a severe disconnect between problems existing, and solutions and status being communicated to the community.

We are well aware there is a problem. Just like the machine operator that sees a plume of black oily smoke rising from a motor housing, we get the idea.

What we want is to know whether we alone are affected, and thus need to look within our own individual system for a solution, or if the problem is shared amongst all the players.

If it is shared, then obviously we would like to know what the problem may be, but we don’t NEED to know. What we do need is confirmation that Blizzard is aware of the problem, reassurance that it is a system-wide issue that they are aware of and are actively working to correct… and a timeline for when we can expect updates. And those updates, even if they consist of nothing more than “continuing to troubleshoot the system”, should tell us when we can expect to hear more information.

My problem right now, is that from what I can tell, Blizzard is reporting that they put in some fixes on some realms 2 weeks ago, and are waiting to hear some feedback from players.

Waiting until when? Are they going to roll out their fix on other realms? When will we know?

When will we know what is going on?

And why isn’t something like this communicated on the information panel Blizzard has on the login screen?

I’ll admit, I’ve long been a booster for Blizzard, their game continues to amaze and delight me every day.

I would like to see some acknowledgement, once in a while, that problems exist that the customer has to deal with, and what their timeline for a solution is, rather than feel like problems are marginalized and brushed under the rug, out of sight.

Cassie tells me that she thinks that the problem has been prioritized, so that Northrend raids and Heroics take precedence over everything else, and then after that Northrend regular instances, and after that old school stuff at the bottom of the pile.

I don’t know. I have not assembled a team to spread out over the world, trying to enter instances all at the same time to see who has what delay before one opens up, to see if there is a consistent priority change at a particular time of day.

But that’s her perception. That if you want to do Heroic Trials or Naxx, you can get right in, and if you want to do regular Trials, there is a bit of a delay, and if you want to do Gundrak, there is a longer delay, and if you want to do Stockades, Deadmines, Wailing Caverns or Ragefire Chasm, good luck, sparky.

Again, I don’t know. But I do know that I’d feel a lot better if I had some idea of when Blizzard support might have something to say about repairs. I could then stop wondering if I’ll be able to plan something until after that day.

49 Responses to “The anatomy of frustration”
  1. Shayzani says:

    There might be something to that theory of prioritizing which dungeons you can get into quickest. Its just anecdotal but I’ve not been able to get into Zul’Gurub at all in the past two or three weeks but its a minute or two at worst when trying to get into the ToC.

    Regardless, you’re right. An update would be nice to have.
    .-= Shayzani´s last blog ..Breaking down Blood, pt. 2 =-.

  2. Menglor says:

    So, Saturday I decided I would like to clear some of the “old world” instance off my list so every 15 or so minutes for about 10 minutes I ran into and out of an instance to make it so it would let me in.

    No go! after 3 hours of randomly trying I decided to hell with it.

    Later that day, a close friend of mine tells me a similar story, but he submitted a Ticket to Blizzard.

    His reply from the GM was something like ” There are then instances in Worlds of Warcraft, if you cant get into them, then go do something else”

    It blows me away, I dont typically like to say Its my quarter and I am paying your salary and to be honest, this may be the first time I actually say it.

    But what are we paying for when you cant zone into an instance?

    I know the new content is getting a higher priority because I was able to actually get into the ToC zones. but I couldn’t enter a single old world isntance, almost like they had Gone fishing signs on the entrance.

    I am really starting to believe that Blizzard is starting to think they are bigger then they really are. they are on top of the food chain for sure and I sure hope a “good enough” game comes along and topples that mind set, because this is not a new issue. its time to fix this!

  3. Asara says:

    I am, like you, one of those who has limited time to play. The other day hubby wanted to run a heroic, so he queued us up for HVH. We got a group together, and proceeded to run at the portal for a good ten minutes before people started to get bored and the group fell apart. So hubby got smart. He kept running at the portal until he actually did get in, and THEN put the group together. We ran it, got shards and badges, and all was good.

    So he does this again, trying to get a group for HHoL. He gets in, and waits. I ask in guild if anyone wants to run it, and they all laugh and say “good luck getting in”. I say, we’ve already got one person in, we just need to put the group together. And instead of “oh cool, I’ll come then, since we can get started right away”, they say, tell him to get out!

    Um. what?

    Apparently they already had a group together that was trying to run something else, and they wanted me to tell my hubby to get out of his instance on the infinitesimal chance that his leaving would coincide with their entering and they could run their instance instead.

    No.

    We never did get the group together, but that really cheesed me off. Yeah, I’m not a raider, but I’m still a member of the guild, and you guys are supposed to HELP with stuff like that, not be asshats about it. So I’ve pretty much sworn off instancing until that whole mess is resolved.. somehow. And yes, it would be extremely nice for Blizzard to say, ok guys, this is what’s wrong, and this is how long we think it might take to get it finished. Thanks for being patient and trooping along with us as we work this out!

    Seriously though, who scales back the number of instances available to run just before a patch that’s introducing not one, but four new instances, plus a new battleground? Not to mention the fact that these new instances have an entirely new level of gear in them that OF COURSE everyone is going to go mad trying to get? Bad planning, IMO.
    .-= Asara´s last blog ..Skatchamagowza. =-.

  4. Kevin says:

    I get the feeling that Blizzard thinks we’ll stop noticing it if they don’t acknowledge it for long enough. They’ve said that it’s a hardware issue and that it will take time to fix, but that’s no excuse for leaving us hanging for so long. A regular update (weekly) would go a long way towards good will. This problem has lasted for a whole patch now and is starting on its second. The only longer bug I’m aware of is the hunter-cower bug.

    I do believe that Cassie is correct. They seem to have put some sort of weighting system on the instances, but they still are aweful.

  5. Lady Jess says:

    First off…awwwww!! Just reading that cheered me up, it really is the thought that counts:)

    And yeah, I read somewhere there is a priority queue type thing. Northrend heroics first, then normals. Then BC heroic/normal, old world pretty much gets the shaft at peak times. It sucks, it does it does.

  6. Kayeri says:

    Bear, first off… your heart is SO is the right place, trying to cheer up a friend… I’ve done similar things in the past and its always great to perk up a friend. :)

    And yes, Blizzard falls down badly at communicating with us about what’s going on. I actively list the communication issue every time I have a ticket and I’m asked to fill out a survey, and even in talking to the GMs… I firmly believe that if you tell them enough, eventually they will clue in and listen, even if just to shut us up about telling them. :)

    Yes, I’m the eternal optimist… what can I say, it’s me… :) And I’m sure just reading this will make Jess’ day a little brighter. :)

  7. Maebius says:

    I agree with this post whole-heartedly. While I don’t raid much, I am one of those “2 hours in hte evening, 3 times a week only types of players. I had submitted a ticket when I couldn’t get into about 3 different vanilla WoW instances (the two Razorfen and Wailing Caverns, since my alt is at lvl 40 and never ran them yet). Submitted a ticket and hte next time I logged in I got the standard form letter of “There are lots of things to do, try levelling crafting skills, questing, Battleground, etc”.

    But, I am a dual-gatherer, have about 3k honor between ALL my characters (on an RP server) and wasn’t interested in another quest this week. I want to see those instances I never actualy ran, while it’s still marginally level appropriate.
    *sigh* Don’t want to sound like much QQ, so I’ll stop. They do need to step up the communication, and I’d happily accept official word about prioritized instances, and no ETA on resolution. At least that’s something…
    .-= Maebius´s last blog ..100 books, by the BBC =-.

  8. Lissanna says:

    I’m pretty sure that Blizzard is working on upgrading hardware to help alleviate the problem, but I’ve still taken screenshots of a bunch of people standing outside instance portals & my chat log with a ton of “try again later” messages so that I could use them as forum post pictures to complain about the problem…

  9. Kayeri says:

    Oh, and some forum checking also produced this…. Makes me wonder if they read Bear’s post today… :)

    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=18031082483&sid=1

  10. Ming says:

    I want to say that I have never had any problems getting into an instance, but then I haven’t run anything other than WotLK instances in a long time. The hypothetical priority list of instances makes perfect sense to me though; if I were to release a bunch of new instances that everyone and their dog would try, I would make certain there was enough instance space for it.

    For the communication problem, I believe there are two issues at work here. The first is that they don’t want to get specific about their actual hardware, I’d imagine for business reasons, which leads to the sort of vagueness they’ve been demonstrating about the actual problem, and the second is that they don’t have any thing that you can do about it, and so they can only tell you to go do something else. This is especially true if you try to ticket a GM because, really, what can they do about it? Go down to the server room and flick a switch?

  11. yunk says:

    wow! That answer “there are other things to do” really is amazing. It would be better to say “we are aware of the issue and working on it we have no estimate for when it will be fixed” it’s boilerplate but less insulting.

    It’s like they are just saying to not even bother with a big part of the game.

    If any GM said that to me, I think a good retort would be “you’re right there are better things to do. Like go outside for a walk and cancel my subscription”

  12. Steevee says:

    Great pot BBB. Especially on point is:

    “In the world of engineering support and maintenance, the worst thing of all (after safety issues), is a loss of production. A safety issue takes the first priority, absolutely, but after that, when production is stopped, you drop everything and you labor to correct it. And a massive part of the process is communication.”

    I too live in that production world and you are spot on. When Production goes down, even the janitors stop what they are doing and pitch in.

    We (my fellow guildies) have been discussing this topic for a while now and brainstorming what Blizz could do as a temporary fix until a real resolution comes about. For the most part, we all agree that temporarily setting up a queue system like we see for battlegrounds would be nice. Let us know how many groups are queued up before us and a fair guestimate on how long they believe it will take before our instance is ready, so we can go about our business and do some dailies, fish for raid buff food, farm for widgets, whatever…

    This is a temporary software solution for a hardware issue, but at least it would keep the wall of toons all trying to push into a new instance at the same time. Given that they already have such a system set up for BG’s, I can’t imagine it would be terribly difficult to do.

    Just my $0.02

  13. Chawa says:

    Very well said!!

  14. Shatamall says:

    Too bad they can’t put a queuing system in place like you get for BGs. I wouldn’t mind “doing something else” (dailies / farming / whatever) if I knew I was going to get an instance at some point in the near future. Even if it was 30 minutes out.

    Ran into this last night. Trying to run H AN and ended up faceslamming the portal for a good half hour to get in and grab 3 badges. It’s getting to the point where the portal mini-game takes longer than the instance run. :/

  15. Grimmtooth says:

    Man, can I relate! On the other hand, if they’re prioritizing the queues then we’re really screwed, because my ‘wall’ last night was the entrance to A-N. 45 minutes, no entry. I’m declaring a 15-minute limit from here on out until Blizz fixes this thing.

    Here’s what gets me. They said with regards to 3.2 that they “wanted to get more people running instances.” Well, great. They could have done that without a patch if they would only fix it so that THEY CAN GET INTO THEM.
    .-= Grimmtooth´s last blog ..This is why we love her =-.

  16. Adgamorix says:

    I guess I’m just one of the lucky ones. I cleared out a bunch of old school stuff in the last two weeks, and I’ve never seen that message or issue. Even when our server population is listed as ‘high’ I can run right into any instance. I can appreciate your point though – I’m sure I’d be ranting my own self if something like this was happening. Even on my crazy “I’m going to farm Baron until my eyes bleed” nights I haven’t seen this.

    Of course unless I’m logging on to raid, I usually don’t have a ‘plan’ I just log in and see what’s going on in the world. Sometimes I’ll fish, sometimes I’ll PvP, and sometimes I’ll just sit on Kraus’s landing on my giant epeen of a rusted proto drake.
    .-= Adgamorix´s last blog ..Working as intended? =-.

  17. FaceTankingForFunAndProfit says:

    I agree with this as well. There must be some kind of priority. It has gotten ridiculous lately in fact. I have not been able to get in to Sethekk Halls ever since the patch came out and never mind old world instances. Up until a few weeks ago I had never seen that message on my server, ever.

    The real problem here is they can ignore people all they want. After all, even though there are instances that you cannot get in to you are still paying your fees. They have no real incentive to fix things quickly unless they start to notice a massive wave of subscription cancellations. Most people grumble about not being able to get in an instance but very few do more than grumble and they know it. I am in software and if a project of ours continued to underperform and had major problems then it would tend to get its funding cut. For WoW players this funding can only be cut when people leave the game. It would have to be in big enough numbers to really hurt Blizzard’s bottom line. I don’t really see that happening until a different game comes out that can appeal to the same broad audience that WoW does.

  18. Zalgosh says:

    My brother told me about this on patch day. I was actually pretty amused, because I was watching his group, all dead, trying to get back into TotC after a wipe, but they couldn’t since the instance servers were full. I didn’t get to play for a few hours, and by the time I got I didn’t have any problems getting into northrend instances. I haven’t been able to play an alt very much cause my guild needs its healers, so the vanilla and bc instances didn’t affect me at all.

  19. Seleria says:

    I can understand instance servers having only so much capacity. So why don’t they set up a queue system? You can go do other stuff while you wait… and sure, it’s a hassle of waiting, but it’s better than running at a freaking instance portal for 30 mins trying to get in to no avail.

    Hell, I’d even be happy just knowing how the instance filling works–priority, allocations, etc.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Zalgosh, i call you BS. Once you have an instance, you can always get back into it.

  21. Elathan says:

    Kayeri, that post you linked to was back on the 7th of July! Further highlighting the point that there is a SERIOUS lack of communication on Blizz’s part regarding this issue. While I have been lucky (or unlucky, however you wish to look at it) and have been too involved in studying for my training the past month or so to have really noticed this issue (have only logged in to quest on alts or do dailies on my druid, no instances), I have heard it constantly from my guild mates when I do log on. Love the idea of a que system for instances, would deff be a temporary fix….. Now if only someone at Blizz will catch a clue about it. Oh and I must say, seeing that response from a GM about “go do something else” really boiled my blood for some reason. Pretty sure if I was told that, I think I would have lost it and dropped some severe language at someone that probably was only saying what he was told to say when confronted with this issue. As always BBB, great post on this issue, hopefully someone at Blizz reads this or other blogs and will foward it to the proper person to get some sort of response.

  22. menglor says:

    Ok, so today I went home and tried connecting around 3pm server time.

    You would think, On a monday at 3 there isnt much instance load.

    Go figure 20 minutes of trying to zone in keeps telling me to try later.

    My guess is they turned off instances to allow people who are level 80 to enjoy the upper ended stuf.

  23. Erinys says:

    I play on one of the higher population EU servers and its well nigh impossible get an instance for anything other than WotLK raid/heroic content at the moment. Even then for heroics at peak times you are looking at a queue which coupled with the fact that its a pvp server makes for lots of fun. At 3.45am on a week night my attempt to get into Gnomeregan was met with the hated message and now frustrating message and guildmates have been trying to enter Dire Maul and ZG at various times since the patch with zero success.

  24. Hulan says:

    I have to wonder if the problem is as simple as just sticking in new hardware. The expansion has been out since the end of last year and it’s now August. Blizzard certainly aren’t short of money. If it wa as simple as a hardware upgrade (which they say it is) why wasn’t is done months ago? I think you must be right about the prioritising. My server isn’t that high population yet today I had to abandon my attempts on Wailing Caverns. As it was early afternoon on a Monday that surprised me, yet tonight I’ve been running level 80 instances all night with no issues.
    .-= Hulan´s last blog ..Cross Enough To Post! =-.

  25. Zoiks says:

    I play on an Oceanic server and have never had this issue. Everytime I jump at the swirly instance entrance I am met with a loading screen and then the interior of the instance. Even if I have to queue to log into the server on a peak night (Sunday and Wednesday are worst)

  26. Kayeri says:

    Sheesh, I read the CURRENT date when I read that, not the posting date… don’t I feel dumb right now…. ::blushgrin::

  27. bigbearbutt says:

    Kayeri, have no fear. I have often fallen victim to the same issue… having to double check when a post was made, versus the deceptive display of the current date at the top of a page.

    Plain language. I treasure it, for it helps to reduce confusion and uncertainty in meaning.

    As an example, I’ve been asked before how I continue to find the words to write such long posts.

    It’s simple. I start with a concept or idea…. and then I imagine all the questions someone may have about that idea, and pre-emptively answer them.

    Original Idea: 2 sentences.
    Answering imaginary questions?: 3500 additional words.
    Comprehensively saying what I think, without confusion, right or wrong? Priceless.

  28. Elathan says:

    Kayeri, I didn’t mean to toss that out there in an attempt to make you feel dumb, meerly to highlight the fact that Blizz’s communication is rock bottom. So I do apologize

    And now that I think of it, it kind of ticks me off that instead of posting a new “we are aware of the issue, here is what we have tried and here is what we are going to try” message, they just REPOST an old message for today to make it look like they are actively communicating with us as to the status of this problem.

  29. BlueTiger says:

    I am so glad (and so sad for everyone else) that my server apparently have been one of those that have already gotten the upgrades – since the extended maintenance two wednesdays (I’m on the EU side) in a row – extended as in 3AM to 3-4PM – and the 3.2-Patch I haven’t gotten the Message once. Not even last night when we were plowing our way through BWL.. so there is hope!

  30. Rowtan says:

    I’m on Lightbringer EU and we still have major problems .. we tried to run a group through Kara a few weeks ago, and after 40 mins of trying, gave up – at the same time other members of the guild had easily managed to get into Northrend instances.

    We did contact a GM, but just got a standard response http://www.wowdarkwolves.com/files/Pictures/blizzerror.jpg

    We ran the new 5 man several times last night … “accidentally” tanked heroic! Which was really disappointing because then a really cool cloth helm dropped that would have been lovely for my priest, who was the toon that was supposed to be doing the heroic version … *sigh* – but we’d had no problems going in .. however when we finished our last run, there was a huge crowd of people outside bouncing against the instance swirly.

    Anyway, on the slightly more hopeful side, I noticed a message fairly recently about a huge number of EU servers down for “upgrades” – I’m hoping they’re upgrading instance servers bit by bit, fingers crossed.

  31. Cataclysmic says:

    Tried to run BFD last night with a guildbooked run at 21:00. We are leveling solely doing instances… we headbutted the portal for over 1 hour and gave up. Its beyond a joke. There was also 2 other groups stood there doing the same.

    The other day when trying to get into SFK, after spending 30mins headbutting the portal my friend made a ticket. She was basically told “We have a priority on higher level instances, you’re unlikely to get into low level instance any time tonight, I’d advise you do something else”.

    We’re on a EU realm btw, its a piss take!

  32. Droodles says:

    I completely understand how you feel BBB.
    I’ve been trying unsuccessfuly to get into Sethekk halls to complete my Swift flight form quest line but no luck. In the end, just got the skill from the trainer as I couldn’t be bothered to spend more days running into a wall.
    Prioritisation is understandable but not being able to run one of the only instance still worth running in Outland at all is demoralising. Being ganked by ally Druids while running into a wall just tops the experience.
    .-= Droodles´s last blog ..Four days til the new season starts =-.

  33. Todie says:

    Perhaps I’ll stop farming Titanore and sell already opened Instances ….. will try that :)

  34. Lily says:

    I’ve noticed a few seconds on delays for instances too, and I’m only working on newer instances. Everyone I know is also spending a lot more time on heroics and it’s just got to be that Blizzard wasn’t ready for the demand to get this high. Poor planning on their part IMO.

  35. Fulguralis says:

    I agree with what you’ve said, but one small problem in the widget analogy. Having worked at a few “widget factories”, I can tell you that what Blizz is doing is EXACTLY the “industry standard”. You’re equating us to the wage paid general staff, but we’re the customer, and, unfortunately, when production halts, a lot of times the problem is purposefully NOT communicated to the customer because the customer will only complain about it. Right or wrong, it seems to be common to “sweep it under the rug” until they actually have a REAL plan to fix it. Only when they KNOW the fix will work will they communicate it with the customer so that they don’t look like they’re incompetent by offering a bunch of “interim” solutions.

    Sure, it’d be nice of Blizz to let us in their inner circle, but this is just one more reminder that we are most certainly not part of it. They are a company and we are the customer. They are NOT paying us. Sadly, this means they can fall prey to some of the usual pitfalls of large companies.

    Still, like you said, there are enough positives about the game that I’m not going to off the deep end and get all irate… however, it is quite the annoyance for something we’re purchasing to WORK.
    .-= Fulguralis´s last blog ..3.2 Frost DK DPS Run Down =-.

  36. Zalgosh says:

    @anonymous – I don’t care if you believe me or not, and I’m not sure why you think I would lie. I certainly don’t get anything out of it. All I know is I saw my brother’s ghost run try and run into the instance portal and it wouldn’t let him go in.

  37. Suxxy says:

    Yes, Lily. Blizzard make the gear that the masses have been drooling over for a while, available by doing instances, then don’t expect a rush on instances?!!!
    At least they have kept true to the game: skill progress, time = progress (tic)

  38. Suxxy says:

    not equals sign did not appear:
    skill does not equal progress, time equals progress

  39. logtar says:

    Time – Skill = No Progress
    Time + Practice = Skill
    Time + Skill = Progress

    It has been very interesting to play after the patch. Our guild plays in a very low pop server (some people even call it a ghost town, lol) but we kind of like it that way. We have never had a que logging in that I can remember, but we ARE experiencing this launching instance problem. I don’t get it either, because I had seen that message maybe a couple of times and it would go away after a minute of waiting… now during high play times, it seems nobody can get in… also we very, very seldom experienced lag anywhere other than WG in the past.
    .-= logtar´s last blog ..For The Horde =-.

  40. Kayeri says:

    Oh, no worries, Elathan, that was targeting ME, not you.. . ::chuckle:: I just totally misread the date information, thinking the current date was the posting date… things like that just make you feel VERY silly. :)

  41. Rhabella says:

    My favorite part of this situation happened one evening after running HUK. The Mage opened a portal and we clicked for our magical reparticlelization ride only to be told that Dalaran itself could not be launched!
    .-= Rhabella´s last blog ..Misdirection; The New Races Leaked?!? =-.

  42. Avaric says:

    I figure Blizzard employees are too busy rolling around naked on their piles of money to actually fix anything.

  43. Paddington says:

    Do you know that this has been going on for nearly a year (since the launch of WotLK) on many EU servers? I guess the fix they posted actually worked, because I haven’t seen the problem at all on my server since 3.2, and there must be far more 5-mans going on now. Previously it would happen 80% of the time trying to get into a 5-man instance during evening peak-time.

    Wonder if they’ll get around to fixing NA servers a bit quicker than that, now that many of the high profile WoW sites are starting to notice it.

  44. Phaedra says:

    I have yet to run into this problem on my medium sized server. However, we were just opened as a destination server for free transfers :(

    I’m wondering how much of it is current hardware being at capacity (Blizzard has one of the biggest server farms for any industry) and the renewed interest in heroics for easy emblems.

    I’m also wondering if the lack of communication is because there’s nothing really new to communicate. I have no idea how Blizzard procures their servers, gets them ready, tests them, etc., but I’d imagine it’s longer than 2 weeks. And how many “we’re currently working on this” updates are possible?

  45. Steevee says:

    lol @ Avaric

  46. Kemonojin says:

    They seem to keep being surprised that people actually want to do the things that are put into the game… remember the dark iron attacks at the first brewfest? Yeah, me either, since they turned them off the first day because too many people were trying to do the new limited time only quests. As Illidan said, “You are not prepared”… Why in the world would everyone want to do the new stuff that was only going to be around a week, after all? It’s like they wanted to enjoy the game they pay for, furrfu!

    Before I quit reading the forums entirely a couple of years ago, I noticed that the US blue posts almost all amounted to ‘it sucks to be you, and if you don’t like it tough’. There were actually posts maintaned that linked to the euro forums, where people would ask questions and actually get answers instead of silence or insults. A lot more information and communication happened on the euro forums…

    They just don’t seem to understand, like BBB says… We know there’s a problem. Telling us there’s a problem doesn’t really mean anything. Tell us when the problem will be fixed, or that it’s more difficult than you thought and you’ll have to do something else, and here’s the expected timeline. This is the most annoying thing about blizzard, the total lack of any communication other than ‘keep paying us, ok?’

  47. Wintersdark says:

    There’s a lot of misunderstanding as to how the instance servers work, and how this affects people.

    First, dungeon instances reside on their own set of servers. The server you play on has no bearing on that, so playing on a low pop server doesn’t help get into instances. Once you enter an instance, you’re on a different physical server. So, server population is irrelevant.

    This has been a running problem for some time, but I don’t think Blizzard anticipated (though they should have) the MASSIVE increase in heroics being run with the emblem changes. Even when people first hit 80, heroics weren’t nearly so busy as it took time for people to get to 80, creating a gradual progression with people “graduating” from heroics as new folks hit 80 and started. Even then, though, this did crop up from time to time. Now, however, virtually every single player is trying to get into instances – be they heroics or something else – all the time. People, even with well geared toons, are farming heroics en masse.

    Blizzard does understand, though. They tell you there’s a problem because they need to ensure people are aware that THEY are aware that there is. If they didn’t, people would rant even more about them being totally unaware. Blizzard employees play too, and they know what’s going on. You can’t be surprised they haven’t given a time frame for fixing it, though, there are many reasons for them to not. If they give a date, and then can’t meet it (which isn’t unusual with these things) people will freak out. They may well simply not know how long it’ll be either.

    All in all, while it’s obviously a difficult problem for them to solve, the overall issue is very simple. It’s unfortunate, but you need to expect some issues when dealing with a software project of this size.

  48. bigbearbutt says:

    Wintersdark… the essence of your point seems to me to be that communicating any information to the customer, outside the barest minimum to shut them up, is poor business practise and causes the company unnecessary problems.

    I have to say, if I am aware of a company, a contractor, or any official representative of a business that takes this approach to customer service, I drop them like they’re hawt.

    I, the consumer, do not exist so that I may be fleeced like a sheep, regardless of what some might prefer to think.

    It may be messy, and require actual thought, but how customer service issues get addressed reveals the soul of an organization. And if your answer is, “there is no soul to any business, only maximum profit at minimum expense”, my work here is done.

  49. Rowtan says:

    I spoke to a GM yesterday about another matter, and once that was resolved used the opportunity to ask about this problem.

    He/She said “some realms will still have to wait for this problem to be fully resolved. The hardware upgrades take quite a while and it is being done in stages. Once it is fully resolved, we will announce it in the Breaking News and on the forums”.

    I said something along the lines of “good, as its getting annoying”, and they replied:

    “I understand. We sincerely apologize for this. I am sure this will be fixed within the coming weeks”.

    Fingers and paws crossed, hey?

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