The beta for WoW Classic has been up for a bit now. Some people, and not a few streamers, seem to have made the cut for the beta which Blizzard has said it wants to keep limited.
I opted in for it but did not get an invite. That is okay, as I likely wouldn’t play too much. But as somebody who opted in I remained in the pool for stress test events, the first of which was yesterday. I did get an invite for that.
Blizzard can get lots of tactical information… not to mention some reports of bugs that are not bugs… from the normal beta. But to be ready for opening night and the crush that will no doubt follow they need to load up the servers to see how their mixture of new and old tech responds.
Anyway, I downloaded the stress test beta, which appeared to be a subset of the WoW Classic package and waited for the start time. They wanted people to log in and get up to level 5, which was where the test would be capped. A minute or two early I launched the client to see if the server was up already. I was not alone.
That seemed like a pretty optimistic number. However, it did tick down very quickly and soon I was… kicked out to the login screen. Well, I was in there ahead of time. So I waited until the appointed hour and tried again.
Now the surge was beginning to build. There was a time, back in the day and at most expansion launches, where that many people ahead of you would have meant you had time to watch a movie or go have dinner. Again, the queue drained readily and I was soon disconnected and back at the login screen. But it did take less than 2 minutes.
I waited a couple of minutes, then once more unto the breech.
The queue was getting deeper, but the time estimate stayed low. And this time I was passed through and able to choose the server.
It may have showed a low population, but that seemed to be because it was having problems getting people loaded in. I was once again at the login screen with an error. But this was what we were here to do, load up the system to see where it breaks. Back in I went.
From this point forward I made it to the server selection every time, however the status of the server changed from time to time, being low population, offline, or locked at various points. But I kept pressing the button every time I got kicked out. That was the high water mark for my queue, though it stayed in the 2600-2700 range for the rest of the test.
Meanwhile, on Twitter WoWHead was posting screen shots and retweeting various streamers who were in the game and running around with the mass of players. Life it good when you’re special I guess, though I suspect that nobody was retweeting people saying they couldn’t get in.
At about the 90 minute mark of the two hour test I was able to get on the server successfully and start on character creation. I went for a night elf druid just to give that a spin, at which point I ran into the next problem.
That persisted for the balance of the test time frame, so I missed out on some of the special things that popped up during the test, like Ragnaros showing up.
Of course, that all showed up around Stormwind, so I wasn’t going to see it anyway… not unless I made the run across the Wetlands, which I actually planned to do.
While the time frame of the test was over, Blizzard said they would leave the servers up and later in the evening I was able to get in and experience the starting zone. The opening cinematic narration was interesting, as it spoke of the planting of Teldrassil and how it was the vanity of the elves and their desperation to get back their immortality that made them do it, against the wishes of Malfurion Stormrage, and that it had been corrupted by the Burning Legion. I had forgotten all of that. Maybe Slyvannas was just doing Azeroth a favor by burning it down?
Anyway, I was in, a lowly night elf druid with 16 bag slots and some boars and nighsabres to slay.
Even off peak, with the queue gone and no problems getting in, the starting area was overrun with other players.
Anyway, while I did not show up to actually play, I did run around and do the first couple of quests, got a level, and got myself into the mindset of what WoW Classic will really be. It is easy to forget what it was like being fresh to the game back in the day. I think one of the things that keeps us going in MMORPGs is the accumulation of things that ease our journey. It is much easier to carry on with a game we’ve already earned that stuff in than to start raw and fresh in a new one.
Given that the test seemed to go less well than one might have hoped, I expect we will see another round or two. If I get invited I’ll join in again to add my weight to the server load. That was what we were being invited to do after all. People angry that things were not perfect need to remember this.
I hope Blizz got some good data out of this that will make the launch in August, where I expect servers to be completely slammed by both the dedicated old school fans and the curious alike, go smooth. Or at least not be a disaster. I doubt it will be smooth on day one no matter how much Blizz throws at it. We’ll see if this new layering tech works out.
Anyway, if you want to see how the login queue works before August you need to opt in for the WoW Classic beta, which is its own category in your beta options.