Tag Archives: Stress Test

The Last WoW Classic Load Test

We are wending our way the launch day for WoW Classic, passing one landmark after another.  The launch is just about two weeks away now.

Classic is as classic does

Later today the final servers will be up and people will be able to log on in order to attempt to reserve names.  We’ll see how successful people are.  One of the issues with higher density servers will likely be more competition for names.

But starting Thursday and running through the weekend was the final WoW Classic load test.  This was the fourth such test.  I got on and did the first three diligently in order to help Blizzard get things right for launch.  You can read about each here:

The first test showed some serious problems, but by the third test they were forcing people onto a single server just to load things up more.  That seemed to indicate that things had settled down.  So when it came time for this final load test I didn’t jump on immediately.  In part it seemed like Blizz had things down and in part because I didn’t want to wear out WoW Classic any more than I had to before the coming launch.

Still, as Friday rolled around I thought I would peek in to see how things were going.  I rolled up an orc this time.  I won’t be rolling Horde when this launches, so it seemed like a good plan to

tinker with something else.

Starting as an Orc

The orc starting area is clearly the most orange.

It also has one of the more amusing early quests that has you running around looking for sleeping peons.

Sleeping peon spotted!

You then run out there and beat them with a club supplied to you to wake them up and set them back to work.

Compliance achieved

It is also one of many examples of how WoW Classic is different than WoW today.  Not that WoW is ever above beating peons, but today the quest tracker would pop up on your screen and have a special item icon somewhere for you to click on in order to beat a peon.

In WoW Classic though, the club is just dropped into your bad… I hope you had space… and you have to know to target a peon, open your bag, and click on the club in order to administer the beating.  At least the club goes away when you turn in the quest.  Having leftovers from quests is part of the vanilla inventory management tradition.

I ran around the orc starter area.  It was crowded, but not as bad as the nigh elf starter area was the last time around.  Still, there was competition for mobs and the pain of quests that require drops vs simple kills was brought into focus.  I also explored a bit, just to look at a place I hadn’t visited in many years.

The back of the starter area overlooks Ratchet

The test capped player progress at level 15, but I wasn’t anywhere close to that with my orc.  I just wanted to look around a bit to get just a taste of the coming opening.

But one taste wasn’t enough.  On Sunday Skronk and Ula were logged in and getting their first look into the coming WoW Classic.  I didn’t have anything else going on… I am playing few other games currently… so I decided to log back in to the test.  And I even went with what will likely be my first character out of the gate, a human paladin.

It was more crowded around Northshire Abby than it was when I gave the orcs a try, though still nowhere as crowded as the first hours of the past load tests.

Landing in Elwyn Forest

It had been a long time since I had been in that area at all, even discounting the changes over the years.  I mostly just pass through on my way to Darkmoon Faire.  But it didn’t take long to find my bearings and start smacking kobolds with my big hammer.  I was keen to hear their signature line.

Say it for me! Say the line!

I was not alone it savoring that line.  I saw others reacting to it on multiple occasions.

All together now…

And I did indeed take many candles.

The candles are mine!

I was, however, reminded of the old ways when I found that candles were limited to five per stack.  Oh, the inventory management fun to come.

In addition to kobolds, I was also introduced to the other famous foe of the area, the Defias.

Your bandana, give it to me

That included the first of what will be several “collect the bandanas” quests, as well as the what is probably the first of the quests where you are sent into an area of hostile mobs then, when done, the quest giver sends you back to do something else there that you could have done while you were there the first time.

It was an interesting time.  There are some quests that are more difficult in a crowded zone.  The mob competition wasn’t fierce, but it was there, and being a pally with no ranged attack meant having mobs sniped from me as I plodded over to shake hands with them.

Other quests are much easier.  Need to go explore an area like the Fargodeep or Jasperload mines?  The path is probably clear, the mobs having been purged by the continuous flow of fellow adventurers.

I didn’t want to get too far into the experience or too attached to my character.  Each experience is different.  My orc got some seriously lucky bad drops early on.  My pally seemed to be hitting the gear jackpot.

It probably won’t be this good next time

So rather than carrying on I decided to explore.  I ran up to Stormwind from Goldshire, stopping at the visitors center to refresh myself on the idea of creating a guild.  The first thing I saw was that it costs 10 silver to create one.  That is a price trivial beyond belief in the current game, but I was standing there with a single silver in my pocket having felt lucky enough to have managed to pay for my skills.  I certainly didn’t waste that coin on any of the trade skills.  Money is going to be tight for a while, though I suspect that the auction house will be hilarious until people settle down into the reality of how little cash people have.

And then, of course, there are the signatures you need to form a guild.  I have already enlisted my daughter and her boyfriend to come sign for us, but we’ll need some more.

From there I took the Deeprun Tram over to Ironforge to run around.  I ran down from there to the gnome/dwarf starter zone to visit some old familiar places.

If it is a distillery why do they only sell beer?

Skronk and Ula, already well down the road for quests, took the bird back to Ironforge so we could meet up and take what will probably be the first of many group shots in the coming months.

Together in Dun Morogh

Ula did not get her name on the load test server.  Hopefully she will have better luck with the name reservation later today.

And that was about it for the last load test for me.  I was happy that Blizz let it run through the weekend in order to give people a taste.  There was some speculation as to how long it would go.  Blizz did not say and some people seemed convinced it would be shut down by the end of the day on Friday.  Instead it got a nice four day run.

In the hours I played I only ran into one problem.  There was a sudden disconnect that hit, which kicked me out of the game.  However, I was able to log right back in and carry on.  Otherwise things seemed pretty solid.

I am looking forward to the 26th when WoW Classic kicks off for real.

WoW Classic Load Test Went So Well More Load Was Added

Blizzard, rather quietly I felt, announced another stress test for WoW Classic, which kicked off yesterday at 2pm Pacific time.

Classic is as classic does

The kick off time meant that I would be at work when it began.  But, given what happened with the first and second tests, I figured I would be home early enough to see the servers straining under the load.

But by the time I logged in there were no queues or technical problems apparent.

I was confused for a minute because the WoW Classic Beta client wasn’t working, but for this run Blizzard had people download the actual WoW Classic client.  I thought that might take some time, but since I had already downloaded an earlier version of it for BlizzCon last year, that went quite quickly.

When I logged in I found there were only two servers to choose from, others appearing to be offline.

WoW Classic third load test realms

I later saw on Twitter that there was a reason for this; Blizzard wanted more load.

MOAR LOAD!!!

But even with that additional load, I was able to log straight in, make a new character, and run around in game without seeing any technical problems.

Practical problems however… there was an incredible crush of people running around the night elf starter area.

Hey, I guess we’re all starting off right now together!

The first quest, which involves slaying boars and night sabres right there was swamped with people trying to be the first to tag any that spawned, since unlike WoW today, only the person who tags it first gets the credit.

However, even this crowd appeared to be for a reason.

Increased populations are all part of the plan

So while competition for mobs was trying, it was all in service of loading the servers to see how they will hold up when the actual launch comes in late August.

I tinkered around for a bit, ran about, and actually got a few quest mobs, but then logged off.  Things seemed to be in good shape.  I hope this bodes well for the actual launch.

If you want to take a look yourself, the stress test runs into Friday and is open to anybody who is currently subscribed to World of Warcraft.  You just need to download the WoW Classic client from the launcher… which is considerably smaller than the current live game… and you can play up to level 15 while the test is up.

Addendum: If you tried to stress test you can give Blizzard feedback here.  Or you can just read what people are complaining about.

WoW Classic Stress Test Redux

Last week Blizzard ran a stress test for WoW Classic, inviting thousands of players to try and log in to see how their new server architecture would stand up to the kind of loads expected.

Classic is as classic does

And while lots of people pounded the server, and problems were found… which is why you do a test… those problems meant that not everything they wanted to test got covered, so they announced another test, which started yesterday.

We have just wrapped up the first stress test for WoW Classic and while we understand the concerns that a number of you have mentioned, it helped us in many ways. Testing the login process is certainly an aspect that is very important for us to explore and we did gather some valuable data yesterday, so we appreciate everybody who logged in or even attempted to do so during the testing window – you have helped us prepare WoW Classic for release.

That said, because of some of the issues that were encountered, we were not able to test other aspects that we’d planned for. As a result, we will be doing another stress test on Wednesday, May 29 from 2-4pm PDT. The stress test realm will become available at 2pm PDT and the level cap will be increased to 10. For access, we will be including everybody who was invited to the test on May 22. Similar to last time, the stress test realm will continue to be available until 4pm PDT on Thursday, May 30 so there is additional time to check out the starting experiences.

Please keep in mind that while more issues could impact the play experience, it is very important to perform these tests so we can learn about and fix as many of them as possible before the release on August 27. We thank you for your continued support and we’ll see you back on the WoW Classic stress test realm very soon.

Last week the test kicked off at 4pm Pacific, which is just about when I get home from work most days, so I was able to jump right in as it started.  Yesterday the test had been going for nearly two hours before I was able to join.  But clearly I wasn’t late, they held a queue for me to test.

More like the good old days

I gather from reports I saw later that things did not start off very well, but they had settled down by the time I got there.

The queue started big, but kept on counting down.  I let it sit while I got myself a snack and did a few other things.  It took 24 minutes, or about half the estimated time, before I landed on the character select screen.  I don’t know how things were going for the first two hours, but that didn’t seem like an unreasonable performance.

However, in trying to select my character from the last test to join the game I was given the error that the world server was down.

The world server doesn’t like me

I exited the client, deciding to go through the queue again, thinking that I might at least help test that again, but the queue was gone.  I went straight to the character select screen.  I was there so fast I thought something was wrong so I quit the client completely, relaunched, and logged in again.  Still no queue.  I guess the queue was done.

Back at the character select screen I saw the “World server is down” message on the first couple of attempts to get on the server, but then it let me in and I was back to running around the night elf starter area.

Running around

Running is the operative word.  The experience, as you have probably heard, and no doubt expect, is very different from WoW today.  It definitely moves at a slower pace and a lot of what now helps you along with quests is absent.  I had to remember how to get quests to even show up in the on-screen tracker (shift-click) so I knew what I had going.  However, it isn’t as slow as it feels at first.  You will notice that you are moving along.

Getting to quests requires to to read the quest text and figure out where you might need to go… and some of the descriptions are a bit vague.   I largely worked on distant, foggy memories of where I recalled going back in the day.

And, of course, it was crowded.  The new layering system limits the total people you are competing with on quests, but it still (rightly) allows a lot of people to show up around you.

Lots of people in the spider caves

This has strange effects.  For kill quests you can group up and share the credit.  For quests that need drops you can group up, but only one person can get a drop per kill, so that is sort of break-even.  But if you need to go collect something on the far side of a bunch of hostile mobs you don’t have to worry about having to cut your way through, the path will likely be clear.

As mentioned over at Blessing of Kings, the first rule or WoW Classic seems to be that you can only talk about WoW Classic.  Thee general channels were full of people gushing about WoW Classic or complaining about the state of the live WoW game and so on.  This does get tiresome and I ended up leaving most of the general channels just to avoid it.

But in the groups I joined the talk, while also on the topic of WoW Classic, was more interesting.  I ended up at one point with somebody who had not played since classic, somebody who quit at Cataclysm, somebody who only started during The Burning Crusade, and another who started during Wrath of the Lich King.  The latter two were especially keen to be able to experience something they felt they had missed.  I was the only one who had played all the expansions.

I am certain my grouping is not a statistically significant sample size, but it does seem that WoW Classic isn’t going to simply strip people from the live servers.

I got through the quests in the first area and moved along to Dolanaar.  There I found the crowd ahead of me, as well as the expected set of quests.  They did just dump quest givers on you at random back in the day.  In live they have that honed down to just a few quests that guide you along.

Standing in Dolonaar

I wasn’t sure I wanted to just play through the whole started zone to level 10, so I ran on to Darnassus to see that.  There I decided I would try the traditional run through the wetlands to see if I could make it to Ironforge, then take the tram to Stormwind.  That was probably where the real crowd was.

I was only level 5 at that point, and couldn’t remember when that run used to be viable, but I figured I would give it a shot.  I went through the portal thingy and down to the dock to wait for the boat.  I was joined by a group of three naked night elves.  I had forgotten the “get undressed so your gear won’t take damage if you die” part of the run.  Oh well.

Standing at the very end of the dock I managed to end up inside the boat model and fell off the end of the pier and had to swim back to land.  My naked friends at the end of the dock encouraged me by yelling, “Get Rekt Alioto!” but I made it back to the boat in time.

The boat waited for me

One of them also offered to sell me gold, 100G for just $5, which I promptly reported.

Get Rekt Yourself Beeflicker

It looks like we’re going to get all of the aspects of the old days in WoW Classic.

The first boat takes you to Darkshore, where you have to grab the boat for Menethil Harbor.  It was even there waiting for us.

The boat is over there!

However, it was just a tease.  It sailed off before we could get to it.  But I am glad it was there when we arrived if only to remind me where it docks.  And it doesn’t take much time for a round trip.  The first boat takes longer as it doesn’t zone for most of the trip.

Soon enough I we were on the boat to Menethil Harbor and I was running into the Wetlands.

Into the Wetlands

I did not get very far before I got caught.

Barely out of Menethil Harbor

But dying right away wasn’t all that bad.  That puts you at a revive point that is well down the path to your destination.  If you’re willing to take the 25% hit to gear durability, you can carry on from way down the road, well past those raptors and such.

However, I attracted the attention of mobs past that point as well.  I was so much lower level than the mobs that they didn’t display their level, just a skull.  That meant that my aggro radius was huge… another WoW thing, aggro radius based on the difference between your level and the mobs level.

Why spider? Why do this?

I was starting to think that maybe level 5 was too low of a level to attempt the run.  Maybe it was a level 10 thing.  Still, I did move the ball forward a bit.  I just had to get back to my corpse as wisp and could start from there.

Corpse got pretty far

Another run and another death and I figured I might be better served trying something else lest my gear go red before I made it to Ironforge.  I only had 2 silver in my pocket.  So I went back to the night elf starter area and tinkered around there for a bit.

Given a taste of WoW Classic, I am still eager for its official launch in late August.  It is, as I said, a different game in many ways, and much slower and more deliberate.  We shall see if Blizzard can handle the load, though I expect that we’ll see another stress test before launch.

Addendum – A follow up message from Blizz:

We have now completed the WoW Classic Stress Test that began yesterday at 2:00 p.m. PDT. We’re very pleased with the amount of participation we saw, and we’re happy to report that we got a great deal of highly useful data, as well as new issues that were uncovered by your efforts to log in and play.

Simulating the WoW Classic Opening

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.

Time to pile on the server

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.

545 deep, estimated time under 1 minute

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.

1637 deep, estimated time 2 minutes

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.

2052 deep, estimated time 3 minutes

The queue was getting deeper, but the time estimate stayed low.  And this time I was passed through and able to choose the server.

The server in sight

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.

2776 deep, estimated time 4 minutes

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.

Character creation timed out

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.

In at last… but reporting tools up front and center

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.