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  • Bowfinger
  • Member Since Apr 1st, 2009

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Maintenance extended until 2:00 p.m. PST {WoW}

Dec 6th 2011 3:48PM Yet knowing this, Blizzard still gave an overly-optimistic availability estimate. It's not the length of the maintenance, it's the failure to accurately assess the scope and impact of their change activities. It's unprofessional and it's poor customer service.

Breakfast Topic: Presenting the ever-accessible auction house! {WoW}

Feb 5th 2010 8:15AM It is an absolutely awful idea, IMO, especially for more casual players trying to make a little gold through professions. It's a dream come true for gold farmers, however.

If the AH becomes externally accessible, it can be automated. The gold farming companies have the resources to write programs which will completely own the AH. They will shut out live players trying to sell any sort of commodity items, and will ensure other prices are always exactly as high as the market will bear.

Maintenance extended by two hours {WoW}

Apr 21st 2009 6:09PM @Smiley -

With all due respect, you appear to be the one without a clue. First, it's ridiculous to suggest Blizzard is using supercomputers. Nothing so exotic I'm afraid. They are using ordinary and relatively inexpensive commodity hardware. Second, what Vas suggests -- essentially redundant systems -- is perfectly reasonable, and is done quite regularly in corporate America for critical systems. I personally would NOT do it for a game, but he's on solid ground when he states it is possible.

In fact, given that virtually all of the maintenance consists of changing ones and zeros instead of actual hardware maintenance, Blizzard wouldn't even need redundant servers. All they would actually require is extra disk to hold the current production image and the next-update image for each server. The technology for this is readily available and not terribly expensive.

To be sure, there are complexities since they need to replicate some data selectively, and there would still be down time required to perform any necessary player data updates and conversions to match new code. Nonetheless, it could be done and it would significantly reduce the length of most customer outages. It's not something I would be willing to pay extra for given the current level of WoW system availability, i.e., pretty good, but it's perfectly feasible.

Maintenance extended by two hours {WoW}

Apr 21st 2009 5:44PM Sorry, but you've missed the point entirely. It's not about the fact that there is Tuesday maintenance. It is about all the problems surrounding it.

It is NOT being whiny when one expects a company to give its paying customers accurate and timely information. It is NOT being whiny when one expects products to work properly. That's just good customer service, and we all have a right to demand it from any business.

IT professionals can and regularly do plan their work well in advance, test their changes thoroughly, and provide accurate estimates on how long their activities will take. Blizzard's track record is the pits. They rarely announce longer outages more than a few hours in advance, their releases are routinely horribly buggy, and it seems they rarely meet their initial announced outage window. Especially given that their developers are serving an external customer (as opposed to many corporate IT jobs where your "customers" are internal employees who are captive to your poor service), it is absolutely reasonable to expect the highest levels of professionalism from Blizzard's team. That is sadly not what we actually see, however.

Maintenance extended by two hours {WoW}

Apr 21st 2009 2:29PM Not surprising, but I wish my team could get away with such poorly scheduled and erratic availability. We have to plan and communicate all of our customer outages at least a week in advance; up to a month in advance for major outages.

If we then exceed our approved outage window by even one minute, it is considered a Sev 0 incident. We get to spend the next few weeks meeting with suits and filling out paperwork identifying who was responsible and what corrective measures have been taken to prevent such service failures in the future. Needless to say, we have a lot of incentive to ensure our changes are well-tested and our schedules are accurate. Given that Blizzard is a billion dollar business with over 11 million paying customers, perhaps they should consider raising the bar a bit on their systems management professionalism.

25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear {WoW}

Apr 1st 2009 9:04AM I think the article raises a very good point: Blizzard is essentially using better gear as an incentive not for completing more difficult content, but for completing more "painful" content. I also agree (sans the drama and childish hostility) that changing 10's and 25's to drop identical gear would effectively kill 25's. Most raiders are ultimately loot driven. If they can get the same loot with less pain, they will.

I think the solution is for Blizzard to get more creative in creating incentives to run 25 man content. I'm not sure what that would be, but some ideas include greater gold, unique gear, special mounts and pets, achievements, additional crafting recipes, goods and BOE items that can be traded or sold, extra content, etc. In general, however, I agree that equivalent difficulty should yield the same quality of gear.

Indeed, I think the basic problem is Blizzard has become lazy in keeping the game interesting. Note the comment about people who only log in once a week to raid because they only care about filling out their gear slots. I know people who have stopped raiding entirely because they have 213's in every slot. They don't care about helping the rest of their guild ... but they'll be back as soon as Ulduar hits. For too many players, WoW has become nothing but a gear grind. There's nothing else motivating them to continue playing the game.

Blizzard can address both problems by making the game more interesting and rewarding. Give us new incentives to do 25 man content. Give us fresh reasons to keep playing at all. Give WoW some new life.

My $0.02.