March 28, 2006 5:34 PM PST

'World of Warcraft' patch downs servers for hours

The latest patch to the popular online game "World of Warcraft" has led to the game's servers being down for hours longer than expected.

According to Gil Shif, public relations manager for "World of Warcraft" publisher Blizzard Entertainment, the latest major patch to the game--version 1.10, which is designed to adjust the talents of priests--caused some "snags" that have affected the servers going back online as planned.

"It's part of the normal process," said Shif, "and unfortunately, it went a little longer than expected today."

Blizzard regularly devotes Tuesdays to scheduled maintenance and has implemented eight previous major patches, the most recent being version 1.09 in January. But while the company routinely requires server downtime for its patches and maintenance procedures, today's implementation caught it off guard.

"With previous patches, it hasn't taken (this) long," said Shif. "But you never know until you can full identify the issues and take care of it."

In addition, the main "World of Warcraft" Web site was experiencing extended delays Tuesday, but Shif said that had more to do with the site being slammed by users seeking the patch than any kind of technological problem.

And in any case, he said, Blizzard has been providing regular updates throughout the patch process, including notices beforehand that it was imminent.

At 6 p.m. PST Tuesday, Shif said that some servers were beginning to come back online, but that the process of getting all players up and running would be slow.

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64 comments

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Downtime and lag are a common thing in WoW
We are used to downtime and lag in WoW. This is not the first time
the maintenance period lasted a lot more than expected.

My server went online for a couple of minutes, and then back
offline... I wonder if they are having problems with the hamsters
they use...
Posted by Macniatic (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Better than.....
WoW is infinitely better than Lineage in the lag and downtime
department. After playing WoW for a month I canceled my Lineage
account and have never regretted it.
Posted by davideprice (8 comments )
Link Flag
6:30
All realms were shut down again due to a bug. Still down as I write this..
Posted by wazzledoozle (288 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Evidence that Blizzard overcharges
What a surprise, WoW servers are down.
With Blizzard getting millions of dollars (every month) in revenue from the $15 they charge, you'd think they could hire some real IT help to help test their patches before implementing them.
Posted by Atarian (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WoW has the worst downtime...
...of any MMO I've played (about a dozen). And it's making 5x the cash easily. And its content updates come quite a bit slower too. EQ2 was probably the best, in the 6 months or so I played, they only had to bring the servers down for 30 minutes for small patches, and just a couple hours for long ones. Only once, a couple weeks after launch, did they have issues.

And to the obsessed fanboi's, don't try to compare number of subscribers, that means they have more money to play with. Each additional subscriber should be a bit cheaper to support than the previous one. They could open more datacenters, dedicate more bandwidth, hire more staff to figure out how to run servers that don't require weekly maintenance, or at least a minimal 30 min reboot or something. It can be done. Login queues are rediculous, they should have more low population servers open all the time to support the new loads, and they should not have let the servers become as full as they are now.

Can't wait for Vanguard.
Posted by Kamokazi (40 comments )
Link Flag
If you dont like the price, play a different game.
First off if you dont like the price play a different game. Your pick. Guild Wars is good for those on a budget and they are releasing a whole new campaign next month. If youre into mind numbing dungeon crawlers, there's D&D Online. There are a lot of MMOs out there.

Server quality and downtime, is just one of the many factors that make up a MMO experience. There is no god spoken requirement for Blizzard to provide perfect customer service, or for their servers to work without fail. Its your money, spend it where you see fit.
Posted by rayblasdel (5 comments )
Link Flag
Come play Star Wars Galaxies
then you will run right back to the Wow you are complaining about.
Posted by capfan12 (101 comments )
Link Flag
It Gets Better
Hah, you think its bad that the servers werent up untill around 7, well, they had to shut the servers down again because of a problem. Its 11:18 and the servers still arent up. Practically a days loss of gametime. Also, the time that the servers were up, it was near impossible to log in, because of the common authentication server problems that exist. Blizzard isnt looking too great today.
Posted by thannen (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
One word...
One word describes what's probably to blame:

"Management."

Only management could make the kind of boneheaded call to roll out a major client-side software patch in addition to a major hardware revamp and server maintenance, all at the same time.

Either way it's no big deal. I took the opportunity to catch up on some other games that I may have been neglecting in the past few months. It was kinda nice.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
It's a dam good thing
It's a dam good thing these guys aren't putting rockets into space, this would have been the shortest flight ever. But really this is unacceptable, and I'm glad News.com posted it and I hope Blizzard management is reading it. This isn't a server crash it's a patch that doesn't seem to have been properely tested. I say that because it's exactly what happened servers were patched they were up for just over an hour and than came back down again. I don't suspose they could just buy a few of these... <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.top500.org/lists/2005/11/basic" target="_newWindow">http://www.top500.org/lists/2005/11/basic</a> =P
Posted by brian.lee (548 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you're addicted
you need to get out often.
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Link Flag
a few of what?
I don't understand, what are these:

<a href="http://www.top500.org/lists/2005/11/basic">
http://www.top500.org/lists/2005/11/basic
</a> ?
Posted by nrhinela (6 comments )
Link Flag
Good
Perhaps this will give WoW users a chance to get outside. j/k!! ;-)
Posted by nhandler (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wives can now see their husbands
perhaps they can spend quality family time together.
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Link Flag
But we combust upon contact with natural light!
:)
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
WoW detractors
From the tone of many of the posters here, this event is the greatest excuse to slam what is easily the most popular MMO of all time. Yes there are issues today. But no, all of this "I told you so", and arrogant "Well *I* don't play games anyways", and "Oh, oh, look how bad Blizzard is looking now", solves absolutely nothing. Just be patient and let them fix the issue. Show me a man who says he's *never* been though a major IT issue caused by something just plain unforeseen, despite all testing, and I'll show you a liar.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Support
I still find it odd that in all the talk of Server Outages, Lag Spikes and Interupted gameplay no one points at either Guild Wars: with no down time at all for Game Patches, or Final Fantasy online: with virutally no lag on a Consistently high game load.

The bottom line to all of this is that Companies know that they are no longer competing for a Superior Product, just one good enough to keep people coming back despite whatever shortfalls it may have.
Posted by Synetar (2 comments )
Link Flag
Under Funded Incompetent I.T. Staff
Blizzard servers came up for 30 minutes yesterday, went down and never came up again! This is the result of an insufficiently tested patch from an under staffed, incompetent group of programmers who write code with more bugs than Microsoft. This is not the first time and will not be the last. Very little of the huge amount of money they make is spent suppporting the product.
Posted by motex52 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Just curious
What's the last thing you develped or maintained for six million users?
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
Link Flag
Ignorance at it's best
Nothing better than some ignorant fan-boy, who's programming knowledge stems from college classes and a year of Java widgets, spouting off on something they clearly, and embarassingly, know nothing about. Please, do us a favor - keep your head in the sand and stick with Java.
Posted by jjohnson69 (1 comment )
Link Flag
DOS attack
Other places reports a Denial of Service attack.
Posted by baswwe (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Links?
What places? Could you provide some links, please?
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Oh no! You may have to go outside!
Get a grip people. Oh no! The sky is falling because you can't play your game!

Go outside! See the wonders that exist outside of your dark and gloomy house!
Posted by thenet411 (415 comments )
Reply Link Flag
umm ok
That's right...let's force your beliefs down the throats of video gamers. It's your kind of people that get everyone mad to begin with. You can enjoy the outdoors, war, and amongst other things disease...while we contently play our games and stay safe.
Posted by imkain (66 comments )
Link Flag
Back away from the attacks
I don't see where anyone is yelling the sky is falling, I see people mad that a game they pay for was not available when they wanted to play. And when 6 million people are affected that is huge.
for 1% to complain loudly that is 60,000 people.
Posted by schubb (202 comments )
Link Flag
its raining where i live jerk and ive finished all my "chores, errands ect" and its my day off from work. i want to play a game dont be so insensitive. there are more WOW players that could kick your a$$ in a heartbeat.
Posted by bthcas (1 comment )
Link Flag
People don't understand what they don't know.
Servers do not have a magic button that when pressed brings them back up in working order.

For any System Admin the first thing is to try and resolve any issue a server is having without having to resort to bringing it down. If all else fails and a server crashes it can be painful to bring it up and fix the problem. This may include multiple reboots and configuration changes, not to mention additional patching/testing to their own software.

Just because you can't log into the server doesn't mean it isn't up, it just means they have the remote access disabled for their software. 80% of all problems are probably known to them well before you notice anything. Infact they could have found a problem and fixed without you even knowing it existed.

But don't they have testing servers for this?
Of course they do but you can't always find every issue large or small when testing. You try to simulate real world activity as much as possible but the result will never be the same.
Posted by TheShane (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apples and Oranges
You are comparing apples with oranges... Until WoW came along the most users any MMORPG had was 500,000. Blizzard now has 6 Million active users playing it's WoW title.

Supporting 500,000 users is far easier to do then 6 Million. If you actually did the math you would see you are actually getting a deal playing WoW then, for example, EQ2. Blizzard has a ton more hardware to support then Sony for it's MMORPG. Your payment goes towards the whole cost of supporting all hardware and not just the server you are currenlty logged into.
Posted by TheShane (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good
People that play this game have a problem. Get outside and "meet people"
Posted by bobj123 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great people skills there, Bob
And you say WoW players have problems? What are you doing about your own blatant anti-social tendencies? Just curious.

Congratulations on being part of the mindless masses that make blanket comments on something they clearly know nothing about. I guess that makes you "normal". Do let me know how that works out for you.

Maybe you didn't get the memo: 6 *MILLION* people play World of Warcraft. That extends beyond niche nerddom and into the casual. The demographics show that all types play the game, from ex-gamers, hardcore gamers, non-gamers, adults, children, and even families enjoying the game together (in case you weren't paying attention, that's social bonding). Yes, going outside to "meet people" is one way of social interaction, but certainly not the only way. If that's your thing, more power to you. But not everyone's like you.

It's a game, Bob. Stop taking it so seriously.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
and thus
when I get off work I'll go back to playing Final Fantasy Online. :)

But seriously though, things happen, so get over it.
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This wouldn't be a big deal
Except that this is yet another mistep. Server queues and lag are ongoing and nothing proactive is being done about it.

New server do not help very much. New servers that are used to split other servers and a means to control server population will help. They refuse to do this.

So many things they do is the hard way. Take soul shards, allowing them to stack would have solved the problem, instead they shoved out soul bags that barely address the original issue and cause new problems(less general inventory space) that toally negate any gains.

In short Blizzard is acting like SOE, the most retarded MMOG company in the world.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You do know don't you...
That when the announce that they have 6 million regestered users, they mean that since its initial launch to this day that 6 million people have registered. It is not saying that there are 6 million current subscriptions in any way, shape or form. The number of people I have seen try WoW and then leave in just a month or two after making thier first level 60 is staggering in this game vs. other MMO's i've played before.

I moved with a guild from EQ1 that had stayed together for nearly 7 years to EQ2 apon release, over 100 people. We hated EQ2 and decided to switch to WoW, having lost some people and gained others we were at 120ish people at the time. Of all those people only 4 actively play the game anymore. the rest of us have quit little by little over the past year because the game is sooo boring at lvl 60, and making alts is just too boring when you can get one to 60 in a week or so without even playing too long per day.

read any server forum on wow or a guilds forums and there is a constant common thread of goodbye i'm leaving the game posts. they are not maintaining 6 million users on any day at all. not to mention that a very large percentage of the 6 million people that did register weren't even playing on the US servers but totally seperate localised servers overseas.
Posted by dheadley (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sheesh
The same good by posts happened just as much in EQ1, and they still were able to maintain 400kish players,for a while anyway.

You can not hit 60 in a week, with a few hours played a day. Maybe with help and babysitters, but why bother?

An EQ cleric made 65 AND got its epic in less then 3 days played.

Just because WoW stomped all of SOe's completely crappy MMOG(everyone is garbage) doesn't mean you have to dream that WoW is somehow not kicking ass in every way.

EQ1 and EQ2 combined have fewer then 1 million retail box sales, counting all the crappy expansions, you might hit 1.5 million. SOE is a nonplayer and like Microsoft do nothing but poorly copy the competition.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
Always down
That server is always down<a target="_blank" href="#">
.</a>
Posted by buddda (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I have never seen a system that needs to be patched as much as the WOW network does. To my estimate, the system will be down for a total of 16 days this year. I think that WOW should give every user on the system a free month for the loyalty of sticking around on a network that is historically flawed.

There are other systems and games out that do not have the outages like the ones on the WOW system. This is a wake-up call Blizzard, you need to get the act strait or it will take more than Mr. T and Ozzy to keep players joining the eggshell system.
Posted by NotesDoctor (1 comment )
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