WoW Expansion Disaster Fails To Materialize


First night follies, the problems that plague a new MMO or MMO expansion are generally accepted as the price of playing a massively online game.

However, after last night’s smooth introduction of The Burning Crusade, SOE and other MMO publishers have been put on notice: Release night pain is no longer excusable.

How did things go?

  • Copies of The Burning Crusade were readily available.
  • Servers were up
  • Queues were moderate
  • The install ran smoothly
  • People were able to play

The major downside of the expansion was Blizzard’s much maligned patcher having to run, and even that seemed to be less painful than usual.  Other than that, things went smoothly here. 

Compare this to my first night write-up of the EverQuest II Echoes of Faydwer expansion, shown here.

Again, other publishers take note:  You will be savaged, justifiably, if you have another launch night where people cannot play.  Blizzard has shown that such pain is not a requirement.

13 thoughts on “WoW Expansion Disaster Fails To Materialize

  1. rulez

    EoF and KoS were smooth for me without any resons to complain about retail availabitly, digital downloads or server downtime. The only negative thing I think back to were some lag issues in Sanctum of the Scaleborn the first few days after release but that as fixed rapidly.

    The Bruning Crusade does not even have a digital download LOL



  2. Razakius

    On the other side, you are then forced to play the crappy gameplay of WoW which makes up for any mistake any other MMO has ever made at launch.

    Personally I never had any issues with EoF, outside of that I wish they brought the servers down at like midnight the night before instead of their usual 7am so that the expansion would have been available in the morning instead of the afternoon of launch day. Downloading EoF only took me an hour, didn’t buy it so I think I actually had more to download than someone who did. The new areas were all a bit crowded but I expected that, and not SOE’s fault really that everyone and their mother made a fae.


  3. Seamus

    IM reports seem to show at least two servers down hard this morning (11 AM EST) Medivh and parts of Icecrown.

    Perhaps not as perfect as was hoped, but still an impressive launch.


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I went through the first day launch of EQ2 as well as the first days of DoF and EoF and none of those days went anywhere close to as smoothly as last night did with BC. I could not play at all, expansion or not, on the first nights of DoF or EoF.

    But I am usually the worst case scenario. I tend to start into the game about 8pm Pacific Time, when all issues are in full bloom. That there was a 30 second server queue after a 20 minute install and patch, after which everything was fine, was nothing short of amazing. I have never had that easy of an experience with SOE, either in EQ or EQ2.

    As for gameplay. Well, if you piss somebody off enough with issues at launch, they may not stick around for the game play.


  5. Stargrace/Silverstep

    Since I play both EQ2 and WoW fairly avidly, Razakius, well, you’re comment about “crappy gameplay” of WoW, is purely situational I think, as there are a lot of folk out there who enjoy the game quite a bit.

    I’m much like you Wilhelm, rarely been able to play the expansions on the days they come out, or if I did, it was for short spurts between lag, down time, more lag, and various other issues. Installing TBC this morning was flawless, 0 lag, and besides 15 minutes of rolling restarts, it was great. Where the fae had 1-2-3 instances of the zones up as a new race on a server that has always been the lowest population of all servers, in WoW the server was lag free and had pleanty of people but it didn’t feel crowded at all.


  6. brent

    I can’t remember the last time SOE had a rough expansion release.

    Dungeon’s of Norrath had some post launch issues, but that’s years ago.

    On the WoW front, I have several first hand accounts of 1000-person queues and frequent server crashes ala Gates of Ahn’Qiraj.


  7. Tobbias

    I believe the biggest plus for Blizzard on this launch compared to many of SOE’s latest launches was the fact that everything was ready to go. No waiting for servers to be patched, etc. It was just a matter of installing and loading up. Even if you purchased your copy right at midnight on launch day.

    This goes along way with customers. Especially now in the instant gratification society we all live in.


  8. Deniticus

    Partisan fanboi comments aside, this has nothing to do with the game per se and everything to do with being a game company.

    I picked up EoF well after release and had interminable dl/patch issues. It was at least 2 days before I could get in game. I had to be persistent and patient to be deemed worthy.

    Got on without queue at peak server time, rolled a Dranei and joined the fun watching literally hundreds of new characters roll through the new noob zone without so much as a disconnect or any noticeable lag.

    Box to game time about 30min, one-click prompted account upgrade and I let the crappy Blizzard patcher do its thing rather than hit fileplanet just to see.

    A complete noob could do this. More than most games I fear. The box should not be a barrier to entry.


  9. Cyanbane

    EQ2 opening night was bad, Kos was pretty smooth, DoF and EoF had their problems. I have always said I think launch problems should be mitigated, but it was something I could deal with. Blizzard has set a new standard for launches though and even though I think WoW is an abysmal game, I know that I am going to be holding SOE to the standards of an easy launch set by Blizzard for TBC. I did hear of some decently long queue times last night from some people, but that isn’t really a product of the rollout, but more of a product of lots of people wanting to play because of the rollout. Kudos to Blizzard, I expected a train wreck honestly but they proved me wrong, which is good for all players/consumers of any MMO because now we have the ability to say “Blizzard could do it, why can’t you guys?”

    This also might be one of the only WoW specific posts you ever see posted to news ;)


  10. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I consider that a pretty big honor! Thank you Cyanbane!

    And you got my point in one. This has nothing to do with the games themselves. I am a bit of an EQ2 fanboi myself. (Look at how mild I am about the first night problems in my post about the EoF launch.)

    Blizzard has, in my opinion, raised the bar for how an expansion night should go.

    If the industry recognizes this and acts on it, we all win in the end.

    Scott Hartman’s last EQ2 producers letter seemed to show that SOE isn’t going forward in a “business as usual mode,” so I have hope that they will take this into account as well and the next expansion will be as great as EoF and as easy to get into as BC.


  11. Gitr

    When I logged in at 10pm, Kargath had a queue of 557. I thought that was nuts, and even Burning Legion had 103. I settled for that and was in 3 mintues later. I have never seen a backup for BL before last night. Thankfully there wasn’t any lag or server issues.


  12. Thilandril

    I guess my question is… are you willing to wait two years between major releases of new content? It isn’t really “Sophie’s Choice” for me, I honestly don’t think it’s worth the tradeoff. I got to enjoy the Bloodline Chronicles, Splitpaw, Desert of Flames, Fallen Dynasty, Kingdom of Sky, and quite a bit of Echoes of Faydwer while WoW players waited for Burning Crusade. I’m sure it’s great. Blizzard doesn’t release crap. But I’ll take a few rocky nights at launch and a few bugs that I hear about but rarely experience if it means I get to enjoy a veritable mountain of content.

    That said, while I don’t think a line has been drawn in the sand or anything…I DO hope SOE is taking notes. Improvements are always welcome! :)


  13. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    The assumption that two years were required for a smooth release is a pretty big leap. I would have to guess that the operational level items (production and distribution of the product, server and network readiness) for the release were a small fraction of that time.

    So, as I see it, two years was really for the content, not the things that made the content delivery easy.

    Of course, people from Blizzard have brought up in the past that they spent a good portion of the first year introducing new, free content into the game and then went to work on the expansion.

    How often to have an expansion? That is a question with many different answers.

    A small group of content devouring, hard core players probably find six months to be too long without an expansion.

    Personally, once a year is about the right pace for me, though I would not say no to an adventure pack-like add on along the way. That is one nice little SOE content deilvery mechanism that Blizzard might look at.


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