Technically WoW Classic goes live on August 27th. That is what the graphic says.
However, Blizzard is doing a world-wide-ish launch, so for the purposes of WoW Classic, the launch time is 00:01 Central European Summer Time (CEST) on August 27th. That puts the launch at midnight in a time zone 9 hours ahead of my own, which means out here in California we get WoW Classic at 15:01 pm on August 26th. That is just about 27 hours from when this post goes live.
So for me at least, tonight is WoW Classic eve or something.
When I get home from work tomorrow the who affair will be live. All the talk about faction, race, class, and server choices will be over. It will be time to get in and play.
As we sit here in anticipation it is probably as good a time as any to reflect on what might come to pass tomorrow. I’ve been through enough of these launches to have developed a list of possibilities that come to mind. They are not exactly Bernard Pivot level of depth or insight, just a few things that might crop up.
- Servers Open Late – Very Unlikely
This is pretty much the norm with Daybreak, despite their having more experience launching this sort of thing than maybe any other studio. But Blizzard isn’t Daybreak. Blizz has the staff and the budget and the sense of corporate pride to not allow this. If the servers are not all up and going by 00:15 CEST I will be shocked. I honestly expect that the servers will open up early to start getting that first night surge handled.
- DDoS Attack Keeps People from Logging In – Very Small Chance
DDoS attacks only catch those not prepared for them. Blizzard is a high profile company that likely faces this sort of thing more often that they would let on. I expect that if somebody goes after WoW Classic that we won’t even notice.
- Login Queue Reporting Waits over an Hour Long – Almost Assured
Once Blizz gets us logged in and shunted off to our own little layers in their new server architecture things will be fine. But we’re all going to hit that login server like a crashing wave and getting everybody logged in, validated, sorted, and onto a server involves enough operations that things are just going to take some time.
- Login Server Crashes – Even Odds
I hope this won’t happen, but it happened on the stress tests a few times, so it remains a possibility. Blizz saw it happen and has likely attempted to address whatever fell apart, but they also haven’t had to face the actual WoW Classic launch.
- Patching Problems – Low Probability
Blizz has been pushing out the WoW Classic updates for months now. Those of us keen enough to join in a stress test or reserve a character name will be all set. The late arrivals might see some slow down, but I suspect that will just help stagger the load on the login server.
- Starter Zone Crashes – Unlikely
The starter zones were subject to lots of load during the stress tests. They let more people into the starter zones then than they plan to for the launch. The whole layering tech they have is just to keep this from happening really. (Described here) Still, the test is never like the real event, so who knows?
- Starter Zones Denuded of Quest Mobs – Mais Oui!
Oh yeah. This will be a big deal and you’ll hear a lot about it if you don’t turn off general chat. Help out by grouping up for quests that just require kills and pray for the favor of the spawn table for quests that require drops.
- Somebody Gets to Level 60 in 12 Hours or Less – Not going to happen
I know that there are people out there with a plan. They have been in the beta, they have charted out the path forward, they have friends ready to assist in the attempt, they have the addons, they’ve read all the guides, and they are set.
But this isn’t a WoW expansion with just ten levels and all your mythic raiding gear ready to carry you half way there. This is the full level 1-60 event, with an exp table that laughs at the puny excuse for one that exists in WoW today as well as a whole lot of running to get everywhere.
In addition, there are the crowds with which to contend. Anybody looking to get to max level first has to break away from the pack or spend forever competing for mobs and drops. I suspect that they won’t be able to get clear of the mob for at least the first 20 levels.
So I am going to go with a hard no on max level achieved in that time frame.
- Somebody Gets to Level 60 in 24 Hours – Maybe
Everything still applies, but an extra dozen hours is a huge difference. I still feel it will be a lot closer to the 24th hour than the 13th if it does happen, but I won’t rule it out.
- Somebody Gets to Level 60 in 48 Hours – Without a doubt
Double that time again and I think somebody will get there for sure. More than one. More than one per server, per region, per whatever.
- Calls in the forum for more servers due to crowds – Oh yes
Pretty much standard item from the checklist for this sort of server event. It won’t matter how smoothly things go, somebody will be in there telling Blizz that they need more servers.
- Blizz actually rolling out more servers – Maybe?
Again, I have no clue how far the new Blizzard layering architecture can stretch, but my gut says that the low initial server count, and even the additional servers, reflects both the capability of the tech and some conservatism on the part of Blizzard. Or J. Allen Brack telling everybody it is a mistake.
- No Crowds At All – Hahahahahaha… No
If we have learned anything over the last decade of this sort of thing… more than a decade, SOE did this back in 2007… it is that farming your installed base by playing the nostalgia card works pretty damn well. It doesn’t always hold on, and I don’t expect there to be crowds or login server waits in six weeks, much less six months, but this was the most popular subscription MMORPG ever in the west, and the first such game for many, many people. There will be a crowd.
- Drop in Population on Live Servers – Of Course
The problem with farming your installed base is that it includes your current subscribers. I don’t know that it will have any lasting impact, but some people will drop Battle for Azeroth to go play WoW Classic.
- Complaints about the server in general chat – A Sure Thing
But at least they can’t complain that it isn’t WoW.
- Waiting for the Weekend and Being Happy Logging In – Seems Likely
This is almost always the best choice
What else might come to pass tomorrow when the servers finally go live and we’re allowed to pour into the starter zones to explore Azeroth of old?