One of my MMO pet peeves, probably the only one that I have actually complained about multiple times on official forums, is the availability and reliability of server status information.
This morning I went to log onto EverQuest and, after going through three of the screens through which you must pass in order to get into the game, I got a notification that the server, Luclin, was down and that I should go check the network status page for details.
Of course, the EverQuest network status page showed all servers up.
At the bottom of the page there was an entry about the servers being down for six hours starting at 5am today. Since it was 9am, the servers were obviously still down for that maintenance period.
What irks me, of course, is that the server status, all that static text in bold green in the middle of the page, indicates that the servers are all up. The person whose job it is to change that text when the servers are down either forgot or is out of the office, and since it is obviously not automated, the text remains the same.
Okay, so EverQuest isn’t down that much any more and, well, it is EverQuest, so who even cares?
It is the fact that it shows a lack of attention to detail that bothers me. Here is something that could be automated, that should be automated, yet is left as a manual task that gets looked after some of the time.
It is a polish thing, if I can use that word safely while Darren is about.
World of Warcraft has a great Realms Status page that is very useful. It shows server status, server load, and tells you if there is a queue. Blizzard talks about polish and attention to detail and they demonstrate it here. The only problem I have ever had with that page is when there is some general server problem and a few hundred thousand people hit it at once. The price of success.
EVE Online has just one server, but the server status is right there in front of you when you launch the client. Plus, the server status is available via an API, so I can see server status when I am running EVE Mon.
And it isn’t just EverQuest that shows this neglect. I have seen enough instances of the EverQuest II network status page reporting “All Servers Are Up,” when they quite clearly are not up, to feel the need to verify anything I read there.
And when looking at other SOE games, I noticed that the Pirates of the Burning Sea server status page reports all 13 servers up and running.
Correct me if I am wrong here, but didn’t they merge down to fewer servers than that? I could have sworn that Guadeloupe, the server I played on, was one of those eliminated, yet it is still listed as up. Did I completely misunderstand something (not unusual), or do we have at least one Flying Dutchman server on the loose?
And I could not find any server status for Vanguard.
Polish includes the whole user experience. It includes all of the little things, like accurate server status pages. It can be hard to take a company seriously when it treats information like this so haphazardly.
Who else does server status well… or badly?