Round two of the load test saw me at least a bit more prepared for the event based on the first try. I copied over my level 60 hunter again and this time remembered to use his talent points to spec him up on the flight down to the Blasted Lands.
Arriving at Nethergarde Keep I found a bunch of people hanging around the gates. They too were no doubt working from their previous experience. The server was, once again, set to PvP so hanging around the dark portal was an invitation to get yourself ganked.
I followed their lead for a bit, but found myself getting antsy to do something, so I followed the stream of brave souls who were riding out to the dark portal. I set myself up within sight of it.
That image illustrates one of my frustrations with WoW Classic. It looks like nobody is there at the portal. In reality there were a a lot of people running around fighting or avoiding fighting around the valley. The draw distance, which has been really wonky throughout WoW Classic, even in scenarios where it is just our group in an instance, just stubbornly refuses to fill things in until it is damn good and ready.
And, yes, there were a bunch of characters to draw, which might explain it taking its sweet time, but I was down and dead before the client could be bothered to draw the warlock who was dotting me up.
I probably should have stayed back at the keep.
I ran back to my corpse and decided to make a run for the portal. Information as to what was actually going on was sparse and I was again eager to do something. I jumped into the portal and once again banged into the rocks behind it. The portal was not yet open for business.
Dying once more in the scrum at the portal, I managed to revive and retreat to one of the groups of alliance players off to the side of the portal. I guess I could wait for a bit.
Server performance at that point was about on par with the previous test. Down there in the valley it took a good ten count for some things to respond and people moving in anything outside of a path that the client draw could predict tended to look like they were blinking about the terrain. This was not promising.
As I hung about I noticed that the alliance quest giver was up on the main path, so I worked my way around to him and grabbed the quest “Through the Dark Portal.” But before I could test whether or not this would let me through, a server announcement finally showed up telling everybody to go through the port.
With some clear direction at last, we all rushed the portal.
That, or course, was the signal for everybody within range of the portal to start dropping as much AOE damage as they could. I was among the casualties.
Then, as I was running back they pulled the plug on everybody to test the re-log routine again. I dropped, then logged back in, got through the queue, back into the game, back to my corpse, and then, finally, through the portal… though I did have to drink a health potion to get past the gauntlet of damage being thrown about.
And once through the portal… everything was fine.
The far side of the portal is a sanctuary area, so there was no more fighting. Server performance seemed fine from that point forward. I got to Honor Hold, picked up a couple of quests, ran off and did them.
I also joined in on taking one of the conquest points, helped secure that, then got ganked by a pack of Horde, which is how PvP generally goes for me.
Over all, once through the portal, things seemed fine. The draw distance thing is still there, but it most seemed okay. I am not sure how to interpret the performance difference in Azeroth versus Outland. Perhaps they didn’t bother with shards on the Azeroth side… there did seem to be a LOT of characters there… but had the shard tech running on the Outland side of things.
So there we go.
Come next Tuesday the 18th the pre-patch will be in place with the events and what not. We will have to pick the destinations for our characters. There is a whole support article up about the cloning process and what your options are what can be undone and what cannot. (Don’t make the wrong choice or you’ll have to pay the $35 to unlock the clone of your character.)
Also, the auction house will be shutting down today and remain closed until after the pre-patch is available. The character cloning will pick up items you have in your mailbox, but things at the auction house must add a level of complication that Blizz wants to avoid.