How much game do we deserve?

I made the mistake of dipping my furry toe into the official forums last night, briefly.

I didn’t post, I was just curious about the rhetoric currently in play.

Yes, I understand, as does everyone that plays WoW, that our monthly subscription fee is a maximum of $15 per month, per account. On the average, we pay .50 cents a day to continue playing WoW.

What do we get for that money?

Quite a lot, really.

We get the opportunity to interact in a persistent world full of people. Real, live people.

A make believe world, make believe characters, but very real people.

As a side note, I think that nobody should be allowed to use the term “lowest common denominator” in regards to other people without challenge, unless they first have spent some time reading /Trade Chat. That’ll give ya a newfound terror of the public at large, I’ll tell you that much for nothing. 

Even better; all of them in /Trade can read and write. This is the literate body public. /shiver

Anyway, on the forums I see endless lists of folks expressing outrage over being prevented from playing various aspects of the game. Even more, I see how folks respond when a GM answers a trouble ticket with “Can’t do this? Go do something else, then.”

Personally, I agree with the complaints. I don’t agree with the self-absorbed “I pays me money, so I deserves me game NOW!” verbiage, but I do agree with the sentiment.

The reason I do goes back to the title of the post. How much game do we deserve?

I feel we deserve the amount of game we have been officially promised we would get, live, in exchange for our business.

For example, I do not feel that anyone has a legitimate complaint, if they demand player housing be implemented. Blizzard never promised you player housing, it was never part of the game, there have been no press releases, and it wasn’t reviewed on the cover of the box you bought. You thought you were going to have player housing? No soup for you!

Blizzard has announced from day one that a core feature of the game was the ability to enter instances unique to a group of friends, and those friends could play together without interruption by others.

On any server, the ability to enter instances is one of the core aspects of the game. It’s not peripheral to the game, it’s a core function, as vital as questing and PvP.

When a large amount of the gaming populace is simply unable to play in an instance unless they are max level and specifically entering a level 80 balanced instance, it’s a definite loss of a promised game component.

Not everyone IS level 80. Yes, there are other things to do… but this was a part of the game that was promised to exist, and it currently does not, and it has been broken for a while now without improvement on a large number of servers.

There are other things to do… but removing the ability to enter a vast number of instances is similar to removing or hindering the ability to turn in completed quests.

You could continue to do other things to level, such as grind monster kills or, now, PvP, but maybe you don’t WANT to only grind. Maybe you’d like to do the quests at your level as well. And maybe you’d like to be able to turn those quests in without having to try logging in at a special time of the morning when most people aren’t questing, hmmm?

If Blizzard promised less, then there would be fewer expectations they would have to deliver on. So, why raise our expectations so high? Why have such depth to the world, so many things to support?

You know the answer the same as I. To continue to attract new players, and to maintain the interest of the players they already have in the face of newer products. To bring new life to a game that has been out for years, and spark that burning excitement of exploration and adventure.

WoW is the WoW of MMORPGs. It used to be Everquest (EQ), and WoW mugged them and stole their lunch money with the sheer quality and quantity of content in the game (and accessibility, casual friendly content, etc etc etc… Tish Tosh Tesh has addressed that topic FAR better than I ever could.)

In the end, the bar gets raised in order to keep us paying that monthly subscription.

To make promises on features, to have those features in the game, and then to leave these core features bugged and unplayable for weeks and months without updates is pretty bad.

To continue yesterday’s maintenance analogy, when something breaks, yes you want to investigate, identify, and repair the core issue.

But production needs come first.

Sometimes, you just can’t leave production down for two or three weeks while you await the arrival of the ‘perfect’ long term solution for the core issue. Slower production is better than zero production.


Sometimes, you need to apply a temporary ‘band-aid’ so production can continue to some extent, and perhaps with some limitations, while that perfect solution to the core issue is developed and tested.

That is what Blizzard is saying they have done. They have implemented a limit on number of instances, in order to temporarily address a widespread issue with instance server lag.

The band-aid was intended to ensure that one aspect of quality, the playability of the instances, was excellent. In order for that quality to exist, the maximum number of instances were reduced.

This is, to be perfectly honest, a perfect band-aid, or temporary solution. Quality standards maintained, production resumed, reduced capacity while a permanent solution is developed and tested.

The problem is, there is more than one aspect of quality for the finished product. Alongside playability, there is also accessibility. The playability has been addressed, the accessibility has been ignored. 

It happens. Nobody is perfect. If you put something in place to get production back up and running, sometimes the production team will come back and tell you, “Hey, this isn’t quite right to maintain all the quality specs we have to deliver to the customer. We need to address these other quality concerns.”

In this case, one of the readers yesterday, Steevee, mentioned what I think is a brilliant solution to the accessibility issue. This solution has been used for years in other similar situations, and it is one for which we know the code already exists; Instance Queues.

Battleground Queues have long been a part of the game, and love them or hate them, they worked when the number of battleground instances was limited for the very same reason we have now; lag and playability. You could go to the batteground master, ask to join a battelground, get put in the queue for the next available opening, and have a timer to let you know when you could expect that to be… and then go off and DO OTHER STUFF.

Blizzard has even already implemented queueing as groups in battlegrounds in the past.

All the tools to make this change happen are tried and tested technology.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my greatest personal complaint is NOT that it takes me a long time to get into an instance.

My greatest single complaint, by far, is that I must stand there, physically at the instance entrance like a damn fool, jumping over and over, endlessly, waiting for the luck of the draw to have me hit the opening right when there is spare capacity for an instance to spawn.

I have, while jumping at Wailing Caverns, watched a Blood Elf Rogue come running up 15 minutes after I started single-mindedly jumping, spend 10 minutes jumping alongside me, and then get in and vanish… and there I am another 15 minutes, jumping at the entrance, and feeling like a schmuck. That is incredibly frustrating, isn’t it?

Implement the Instance Queue. Let us join as a group. Give us a timer so we can see how long we can expect it to take before an instance opens up, and then let us go off and do other things, fun things, silly little idle time things like /Duel at the gates of Ironforge or fishing in Wintergrasp or Argent Tournament dailies…

And when the instance is available, pop up that window asking if we want to be transported directly into the start location.

Implement a band-aid that addresses the quality concern of accessibility, and removes the requirement that we must stand there randomly tilting at windmills, hoping that soon, at some random time in the future, it will be our turn. Remove the stress, the tension, and the uncertainty.

I appreciate the consideration given to priorities. It is, indeed, a means to work on the accessibility issue.

The problem with a priority system based on content level, is it sends the message that what some players want to do is MORE IMPORTANT than what other players want to do. 

But we are all players, all equally paying the same monthly subscription fee, and all of us differ in what we consider “fun”.

Heck, what we consider fun changes from day to day, as well!

If one concern is the number of people using a particular instance, and Blizzard wants to give top priority to 5 person teams over single person instance farming players, to make sure each instance provides the maximum amount of fun possible to to largest number of players… I don’t have a problem with that. SO LONG AS WE ARE TOLD THAT IS HOW IT WORKS. And also so long as those single instance farming players get a slot in the timer/queue as well. Baron Mount runs and Sethekk Halls mount runs don’t just happen on their own.

Tell us you will give priority to full teams, and hmm… I bet you’d see more people getting a full team together.

Maybe you’d see four of them drop out as soon as the instance starts, to let the one guy get his run in… but those other four were engaged in the process. And they might even feel some sense of joy out of being sneaky and thinking they scammed the rules.

Remember that “lowest common denominator” thing, right?

Instances are a core part of the game. I think the community is, as a whole, mature enough to understand that in a massive persistant online world, unexpected problems will happen. And we all appreciate the fact that Blizzard wants to get a permanent solution in place to fix the core issue.

But I personally feel that the current workaround does not address all the needs of the customer… and as such, it should be adjusted accordingly.

Now if only there were some communication to let us know what Blizzard was thinking, and my joy would be complete.

25 thoughts on “How much game do we deserve?

  1. I was unaware that this was even a problem 😦
    I play on Mug’Thol and the only time we have problems is the raid instances on patch days (3.1 lasted a couple weeks).
    I dont go in 5mans often but I have never had to wait unless we ran 5 in under an hour.
    Hopefully this gets fixed, specially with the new badge drops making 5 mans very important for everyone lvl 80.

    A queue system might work but that requires a whole group to sit and wait patiently, its more fair then the current process you guys are struggling with but that would require work that should be spent fixing the problem.


  2. What’s my main again?: Both the queue and the dropdowns are already built into the game, in the LFG and the battleground system. Shouldn’t be too hard to add something similar for instances.

    ANYTHING would be nice. At best we get ‘we’re working on it, shut up’. The euro forums actually get answers when they ask questions. The US ones get silence. When you can’t do one of the main things in the game that you’re trying to do, you want some information occasionally. Are they working on it? Did they try something and it failed? Did it make the server explode and perforate their cat?

    I do tech support for a living, and am always careful to let the people I’m talking to know what I’m doing, even in general terms, when I’m doing something that takes a long time to fix. The server’s slow, it’s taking some time to get the active domain directory to open, I fatfingered your name, because it keeps them from getting irritated waiting. We’re getting silence. Nothing. Not even lousy hold music.

    So we won’t understand how they’re bazzfazzing the shimstock with the moss covered three handled gredunza. Tell us something. If it’s a hardware problem, then have you ordered the new servers yet? Or are you still figuring out the specs for them? If they’ve been ordered, what’s the estimated time they’ll be up? When a company orders something like that, they’re given a time that they’ll be delivered. Then it takes X amount of time to load the software and test it. (Testing is easy enough; put them up where people can get at them, like on the PTR, and offer a pet or something for every 100 dungeons you run.)

    All people want to know is that they aren’t being ignored. Silence is not golden.


  3. I disagree bear, I don’t want to see Blizzard implement a queue system for instances. I want them to expand their capacity so that there is no need for a queue. They already have multiple servers that run instances, they just need to add more. It’s just a question of them buying the resources to meet the demands. So no I don’t want a queue. I want them to maintain enough instance servers so I can launch an instance at peak hours. I’m sure Blizzard is not lacking the money to deploy these additional servers, it just takes time to get them up and running.
    .-= Bludreaver´s last blog ..Mage Talent Progression and Gear Progression =-.


  4. Creating some sort of Queue system would take a long time to integrate and would undoubtedly be very sloppy. Imagine having a drop down menu to queue for every instance? Ya that would suck. Blizzard is working on the problem and other then say… we are working on the problem I’m not sure what kind of communication you are expecting? Every day create a new post that says… Yup we are still working on it?

    Don’t get me wrong… I’m frustrated by it too… I spent half an hour trying to get into a heroic ToC last night… and that has, I presume, the highest priority. But I understand though that things like this take time to fix. I would rather have Blizzard spend time fixing the hardware issues then spend time developing new software to make the problem less annoying.

    If it is fully a hardware issue then that means they need to order new equipment… no company has that kind of equipment sitting in stock so they are likely being manufactured which takes time. The issue in fixing the servers isn’t a money isssue its a time issue. They had to do tests to see if they could fix the problem like on the EU. Then they have to mass order the equipment for the rest of the servers and then have a team see through the installation… all while keeping the servers for the most part online and running.

    I know it sucks. But they are working on the problem. There are just so many levels of detail that someone from the community management team can’t provide you with the information you are looking for. Frankly, I would rather the CM’s just let the tech people work instead of bugging them daily for reports about when they can fix the problem.
    .-= Whats my main again?´s last blog ..Goal Oriented Altoholism =-.


  5. @kavika – The xp thing isn’t really for you to go and level in battlegrounds with other people. With the new experience in battlegrounds, at some point in time the twink characters will get enough experience that they would level, and move up to the next bracket and be the lowbie. To prevent this, they have to turn off the xp gains, and only fight the other twinks. Letting people who want to do a random bg for funsies while levelling able to do so without getting gangbanged by a premade of twinks.


  6. On Eonar-EU (and given the name and history, I suspect every server on Misery battlegroup – and perhaps every server in the EU that hasn’t already been upgraded) this problem is particularly severe. You can just about get into a northrend heroic in the late afternoons. No point even trying for old world/Outland content. And between 8pm and midnight, prepare for at least 30 minutes of instance portal dancing. An hour is more likely.

    Your quote here sums it up for me:

    “I don’t know about anyone else, but my greatest personal complaint is NOT that it takes me a long time to get into an instance.

    My greatest single complaint, by far, is that I must stand there, physically at the instance entrance like a damn fool, jumping over and over, endlessly, waiting for the luck of the draw to have me hit the opening right when there is spare capacity for an instance to spawn.”

    I don’t know who at Blizzard thought this was a good solution. Queueing would have been far simpler and caused less hassle.


  7. I play on a PvP server and besides trying to compete for spots to get into the Heroic instances, you also have to worry about ganking. About 50% of the time, you get a group that ignores you and tries to get into the instance also. But the rest of the time you get a group determined to hold the instance. You know it’s going to be bad when you approach DTK or AN and find piles of skeletons everywhere. Although it is fun when you get the singular Ally who expects to run past you and hide in the instance, only to find it locked… like a deer in the headlights. Add one body to the pile!


  8. The “Additional instances can be launched at this time. Please try again later.” were on the Alexstrasza server, so bad, in fact, that between the times of 11am and 3am one could spend upwards of TWO HOURS at a portal hitting ones head and still not get in to the dungeon. Let me point out those times again, 11am to 3 am, not 11pm to 3am as some of you may have read. This means that at any given time during those times you would just not get into any instance save the level 80 raids. OVER 12 hours of playtime where one could not group in a dungeon. Try going MONTHS with this happening daily (problems started arrising with launch errors BEFORE Wrath, about two months before) and worse on weekends and see how frustrated you get with the whole of it.
    Our entire guild transfered off the server yesterday.
    as for the que thing: first time you hit the portal, you are placed in the que with no regards to your party size, no regards to your level, no regards to your lfg settings and no regards to your dungeon. A straight up que for any instance.

    and to quote the quote quoted by Dechion:
    “you guys will really like how it’s being done, it will be worth the wait.”
    no, no it isnt. especially since for the last month half my potential available play time (24 hours) has been throttled in one form or another. They should have totally locked down the Alexstrasza server before wrath went live. As in: keep it greyed out on the list, no new transfers, no new account characters, no rerolls and popped it down to the bottom of the list when sorted any way.

    Awe, druff seemed to have it good -_- wonder if he is ally -_-


  9. Well for what it is worth, on Kael’thas at least the server problem isn’t confined to high pop times. Kael’thas has a definite prime time for playing and I have tried several times in the last week or so to get into instances (mainly to run someone through something for quests) at off peak times and have been bouncing around like a stupid thing unable to connect.

    In all honesty I find this much less frustrating when you are in a full group – even at prime time with five people bouncing against the portal I haven’t experienced the 30 minute waits. But when you are solo farming or running a duo it is a real pain in the bum.
    .-= Ruune´s last blog ..WTB more character slots =-.


  10. I spent 2 hours trying to run into the Wailing Caverns portal to farm for the pet. After 2 hours I finally got in, but TWO HOURS of waiting and constantly trying to get into an instance is ridiculous. Mind you, I started at 9:30pm PST and I’m on a PST server.

    If they throttled the instance system so that you can’t ever get into Vanilla instances except during “late late night” server time, great! But tell people so I don’t waste my time after raids trying to do something that I thought would just be a quick 20-30 minutes.


  11. I wanted to post a single word and be done…but then I thought, no, many might take offense.. it might even get deleted as not on topic…(still might 😛 but to me it is on topic as this issue is just one of many for me lately).. so a brief introduction.

    I have, like so many of you, played this wonderful game since right after it came out (January 20th, 2004 to be exact). I absolutely love it. I have made and will keep several lifelong (hopefully) friends here. It has changed many things in my life and provided something I needed during some very difficult RL times. Not to lament, but for me personally it is just so not the same, or perhaps I am just so jaded after so long… I am 40 years old and have played games since I can remember (actually found a penciled rolled character sheet from D&D from about 1982 a couple weeks ago [found it while visiting my mother.. god bless her for never throwing anything out!]…and renamed my Pali to match in honor of this find!). I will play games for the rest of my life (wife beating me permitting) and hold Blizzard and WoW on the highest of pedestals. That being said….


    O M G….. can’t wait.


  12. They have already upgraded the hardware for some battle groups, to allow for more people to be in instances, so some battle groups have less of a problem than others… as some are still awaiting their upgrades.


  13. The instance thing is doubly ironic, since they’ve specifically designed wow, since wrath, to get more players into instances. Its kind of funny that its backfired so badly. Still, I understand the complexity of the tech issues involved. They’re really not easy to solve, even with infinite amounts of money. Many angry blizzard customers assume money is the only issue, and they must just be siphoning it off for themselves, or the next great mmo or whatever…. However, at Blizzard’s level of popularity & success, a quality product has little to do with money anymore. They’re pushing technology to an edge that noone else is pushing. I wish more people would remember that. (Still sucks not to be able to zone in, ofc).

    Your ideas BBB are all great solutions, and would improve the game a lot. Maybe things like this will be implemented. Its certainly not affecting everyone know; I havent had this issue for over 6 months now, and I spend most of my playing time in instances.


  14. I was playing on my lowbie toon on Bear’s server and couldnt even get into Dead Mines for nearly half an hour… we ended up giving up on it for that day. I havent seen issues on Doomhammer, but I havent tried to run low-level instances in the evenings, either, so I’m not sure how much of an issue we’re having. I think the Queue idea is an excellent solution until they upgrade the instance servers, the question is can the same thing be applied to instances on a fairly quick basis… I’m not any kind of computer person (I do well to install my add-ons) but I’m sure some of you can make educated guesses if this is a workable strategy for Blizz’s system. I know I’ll be checking with our in-guild networking person who does understand these things to see what he thinks of the idea.


  15. Instances are more than a core part of the game. They are a core part of the social aspect of the game as well. The LFG system encourages players to randomly group up to try and tackle one encounter of another. It’s a great tool and, when you are lucky enough to find good players, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game.

    I don’t expect the game to be free of bugs on patch day. No amount of testing will ever compare to everyone and their pets logging on patch day to test the mechanics. I do, however, feel like we pay for hardware availability. Blizzard touts their subscription number on the outside of all the WoW boxes and any other place they can tack it. They could easily work off some formula based on historical data of the population of servers at peak times and the percentage of those players in instances.

    They have a responsibility to those players to have available content when they want to play it, especially when the new content may have bugs related to it, like some of the Trial of the Champion experiences I have had and/or heard about.
    .-= Rhabella´s last blog ..Misdirection; The New Races Leaked?!? =-.


  16. Man, that is rough. I feel bad for those of you having the problem. Hopefully it will get a fix.

    I can add my name to the list of 50 (or however many) without problems. I play on low pop Dentarg, starting pretty consistently between 9-10:00pm server time and logging off varying from 1-4am server time. Obviously, by the time I’m logging off, the server is pretty quiet. If I go into an instance, though, it’s generally within an hour of logging on and the server is still (relatively . . . for a low pop server) active.

    So there are several factors that could be contributing to me not seeing any problems I guess. Server population, playing at then end of the busiest server activity, Outland instances. Whatever it is, I haven’t seen the problems. I had no idea there were such problems until reading about them here. Not that I’m complaining.


  17. I honestly couldn’t imagine being a new-to-WoW (new to MMO’s even) player today as I was in 2004. I mean, you’d have to go to the store, buy vanilla for 20$, pay the subscription, get everything set up and start playing, which would happen with any new game, but the only problem WoW today is you’d probably spend a lot of time playing alone. In 2004, when I first started playing WoW, about the only thing that kept me wanting to continue playing everyday was the ability to run instances with other people. I mean, I ran deadmines, SM, uldaman almost 4 times a day sometimes. There were always people around to run those lower level instance with. Now, forget about it. You might get lucky and get into a group that’s being ran through by a high level toon, but other than that…you’re doing solo quests for hours on end from levels 1 through 60-ish. The addition of xp to battlegrounds is nice, but really, the xp gain isn’t so great. I mean consider this: I get around 1.2k per flag cap in WSG at level 44, plus another 2k-ish for winning the match, for a grand total of ~5k IF everything goes perfect and no turtling occurs AND we win. On the contrary, I get about 600 xp per mob kill with rested xp and the two heirloom bonuses. Considering I can pull about 4 – 5 mobs at a time, I’m getting about 2500 xp for only a few minutes spent grinding. How does that make any sense? I’m rewarded for playing alone mindlessly killing npc’s, whereas I get only a fraction of that for going into a battleground and interacting with other people. People were so worried that battleground xp would make the WoW landscape barren at lower levels, well NEWSFLASH! It already is…


  18. Dorgol, did I mess up my remembering of the BG queue system?

    I thought that first, we had the BG queue, to address the lag and throttle the number of active BGs.

    I thought that, after they addressed that issue, they introduced the cross realm battlegroups and made the queue battleground-wide.

    If I am wrong, I deeply apologize.


  19. “you guys will really like how it’s being done, it will be worth the wait”

    That’s an odd thing to say, unless they are changing a lot regarding how we enter instances. I mean if it was only to add more resources then it would be something we would not notice (except we can finally get in)


  20. good analogy, and IMO a good solution to the issue at hand. The que should only be in place until the big fix though.

    Speaking of the big fix, the only thing I have heard about this issue was, oddly enough, from a guest on last weeks wow insider podcast. All he could do is mention a nondisclosure agreement preventing any definitive comments, followed closely by saying something similar to “it’s on the radar, and a big fix is in the works, you guys will really like how it’s being done, it will be worth the wait.”

    As I said, that is not a direct quote, but that was the gist of it.

    If that is true a blue post that would take about 20 seconds to type out could calm a lot of frayed nerves, including mine.
    .-= Dechion´s last blog ..I should just go ahead and flame myself for thinking this =-.


  21. I don’t know what servers you play on Wiebittte, or what times you’re on, but I’m on a CST server (alexstrasza) and I work m-f 8:30-6pm CST.
    I get to wow some in the evenings. I can’t seem to get into any instance without at least a good 5 minutes of portal-humping. It’s just no fun. We got a group together Sunday afternoon around 4 to do some heroic farming for badges. We got 1 instance in and then spent 30 minutes trying to get into Heroic UK. We formed a 10man Naxx run instead (Got in there no problem i might add). So 2 hours later we’re a little over halfway through Naxx and we lose half the raid team to the planned guild raid in Ulduar. We got 8 bosses down, 2.5 wings, in a little over 2 hours where we could have gotten UK, VH, Nexus, and ToC done and had 13.


  22. Once you add the queue, people will want the “queue anywhere” feature of BGs. And once you do that, the world becomes much, much smaller.

    Adding a queue isn’t a band-aid – it’s a whole new feature. I would prefer they just go ahead and solve the problem as identified – and I’m willing to suffer a few months of “Additional instances can be launched at this time. Please try again later.”

    That said – I would love to see a queue system for cross-server instances. Yes, it’s another queue. Yes, it opens up the same problems I just stated I want to avoid. But it solves a completely different problem – finding suitable groups at ANY level. There are always people wanting to run instances appropriate to their level. There aren’t always ENOUGH people. This is why we got the BG queues – waiting 3 hours to get into an AV was simply too long.


  23. Wiebitte, that’s excellent to hear.

    We do know that the problem is not the same on all servers. It does seem that more servers are affected than are not, and it does seem that they are prioritized so that if you never leave Northrend in the first place, you may find yourself only mildly inconvenienced.

    I have, for example, had emails from people who did not even know about the problem on their server, because they raid Naxx and Ulduar, do not run heroics or any old content, and had not encountered the issue… until they tried to enter Wailing Caverns based on my post and discovered they just could not get in. They hadn’t wanted to try before, and so had no idea anything was up.

    So some people clearly are affected more than others… and there are some servers Blizzard is using as test beds for their repairs, and the news is those are doing fine. A little lag, but nothing earthshattering. So a permanent fix may be coming… if only we had some idea when.

    What I would like to hear, what I would like to see, are 50 people all posting comments, telling me that the problem is small, isolated to one or two servers, and that the vast majority of players are utterly unaffected. That it’s a minor issue at best.

    Maybe it’s a case of the squeaky wheel getting the attention, but my perception is that it’s still very widepsread, and annoying.

    Best case scenario? By the time I get home today, it was patched/hotfixed, and I look like a moron for talking about it while they were fixing it.

    Oh please oh please oh please oh please


  24. Hmmm, you are right about getting x for y and instead getting z. But to be honest, I haven’t had a problem with getting into instances unless you mean the high lvl 80 ones that came out during and after Litch King.


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