If, If, Wait, Wait

My 10-month-old daugh­ter is sick, cough­ing, con­gest­ed. Con­fused. She does­n’t under­stand why my wife and I don’t just fix it. It’s impos­si­ble to explain that we would use this awe­some con­ges­tion pow­er on any­one but her. So, lots of sooth­ing, lots of grumpy dia­per changes, lots of naps inter­rupt­ed by vicious chok­ing on mucus. She final­ly goes to real sleep late in the evening.

Par­ent free­dom time! How­ev­er, said par­ents are absolute­ly exhaust­ed. Need to do some­thing before sleep, though. We’re not parent-bots.

“Hey, you know what would be great?”

“No, what’s that?”

“Want to do some dailies? Just to relax for a few min­utes. Get you clos­er to that rep sword.”

“That sounds good!”

Ok then! Let’s log on for fif­teen min­utes or so and do some dailies.

Position in queue: 429
Estimated time: Calculating...

The cal­cu­lat­ed time end­ed up being twen­ty-four minutes.

Back in the days when we were sit­ting down for a three or four hour block, a twen­ty-four-minute delay was just a minor irri­ta­tion. But now, we’re (try­ing to) log on for a half-hour or even ten-minute ses­sion. A twen­ty-four minute wait? It’s the whole thing.

This got me thinking.

Don’t get me wrong–I appre­ci­ate Bliz­zard reach­ing out to us casu­als with dailies, short­er instances, and eas­i­er raids. The sys­tem mechan­ics and con­tent are the best ver­sion of WoW yet. All great fun, and I wish I had more time to play and enjoy this ver­sion of WoW.

I was just dropped from my serv­er this morn­ing (3:30am serv­er time), and could­n’t log back on. I was fish­ing in Stormwind. The serv­er was as emp­ty it gets. No notice of serv­er restarts or any­thing like it, just boot then hang at login screen. (Oth­er WoW game servers were up.) Oh, they’ll prob­a­bly have it worked out in what, fif­teen min­utes? An hour? I’ll be com­mut­ing to work by then. For me, it’s the same as being offline all day.

Raid instances are just per­form­ing poor­ly over­all. A two-sec­ond lag when I try to heal some­one? I just don’t have that time for this kind of expe­ri­ence anymore–I don’t have time to block out an evening and then have it be wast­ed for basic mechan­i­cal rea­sons. For all that peo­ple are argu­ing about class rebal­ances and what­not, every spell I try to cast in a raid takes two sec­onds before it begins. (Imag­ine if they put that in the tooltip? “Time before cast begins: 2 seconds”)

I had time recent­ly to go through a hero­ic that was new to my guild. The oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn new con­tent with my friends, woohoo! But then an unan­nounced, three-hour serv­er main­te­nance down­time in the mid­dle of the instance. In the mid­dle of Sat­ur­day after­noon.

The abil­i­ty to log in and play a nor­mal ses­sion at any time is more impor­tant than every­thing else put togeth­er.

I’m shocked as to what the day-to-day real­i­ty of play­ing WoW has become: rolling restarts, patch­es that break more than they fix, game-effect­ing lag, serv­er crash­es, a fre­quent event that kills game per­for­mance, and so on. It’s like we’re all play­ing a myth­ic ver­sion of WoW, hop­ing that things will get better.

My wife and I are hop­ing that they’ll get it all worked out; that the basic game­play and per­for­mance will soon be more like it was before Wrath came out. But it’s been months now. The crush of the hol­i­days is over, and yet basic game per­for­mance isn’t any better.

WoW has become the high-main­te­nance boyfriend or girl­friend. Yes, you can get enjoy­ment out of the rela­tion­ship, but it takes so much more effort, time, and patience than it should. I can have fun if I can suc­cess­ful­ly log on. If the serv­er stays up for the time that I play. Just wait for Win­ter­grasp to fin­ish. Wait for Bliz­zard to fix raid per­for­mance and basic game­play response time.

If, if. Wait, wait.

In fact, if I were going to describe the game expe­ri­ence to some­one who was curi­ous about WoW, I would­n’t rec­om­mend it. I would say to hold off and see. I would say it cur­rent­ly sucks and that they’re try­ing to fix it.

And once I real­ize that the word sucks could be used to describe the game that we’re pay­ing how much each month?

Well, there’s only one ratio­nal piece of advice for some­one who is on the wrong side of a high-main­te­nance rela­tion­ship, and my wife and I are think­ing about it.

More Words!

7 thoughts on “If, If, Wait, Wait”

  1. Thank good­ness my realm has opened up free trans­fers to the new PvE serv­er. As much as I love the peo­ple there, I see myself adjust­ing my lifestyle such that I will need to be able to log on any­time with­out hav­ing to see a huge qeue.

    1. Hey Krizz.

      The fun­ny thing is that for us, the game is insep­a­ra­ble from the social expe­ri­ence. Walk­ing away our friends is even less an alter­na­tive than hav­ing it be mis­er­able due to serv­er per­for­mance. Even when we don’t see them because we’re not play­ing. It’s a weird, weld­ed expe­ri­ence for us, just like we’re most­ly weld­ed to our guild.

      Also, don’t they charge per char­ac­ter when you move servers? I’ve got all ten slots full. Grant­ed, I only make use of two (main/bank), but it would still be leav­ing some things behind.

  2. It must be ter­ri­ble. At my serv­er we rarely have queues — only at peak time for raids to start (7 pm-8pm) you can run into one from time to time that will take up to 20 min­utes. So I must be lucky. On the oth­er hand I suf­fer bad­ly from the lag in the game. And I’m not alone. Check the forums for tech­ni­cal sup­port… The sys­tem require­ments they mar­ket seem to be way too low to cope with the game as it is nowa­days. And I agree with you com­plete­ly: the abil­i­ty to play the game at all must be prio 1, thand is way more impor­tant than the lack of chal­lenges for the 1 per­cent top players.
    I won­der why they don’t do any­thing about it. Is it as Tobold sug­gest­ed the oth­er day, that Bliz­zard has turned its eyes away from WoW, head­ing for their next MMO?

    1. Hey Lar­isa.

      I read an arti­cle recent­ly that WoW is 50% of Bliz­zard-Activi­sion’s prof­it for last year (sor­ry, can’t find the link). They’d be insane to not keep the prod­uct qual­i­ty high.

      I strong­ly sus­pect that the peo­ple mak­ing and bal­anc­ing class mechan­ics, design­ing raid encoun­ters, and cre­at­ing art assets can’t help the peo­ple who are iron­ing out serv­er per­for­mance. I think the gear­heads have to just do their gear­head thing.

  3. Sor­ry to hear that the queues and lag are cre­at­ing an issue for your avail­able play­time. My serv­er rarely has a queue, and if it does, it’s less than 15 min­utes. And I have not noticed or heard much about lag issues.

    I’m not sure that it’s so much about them NOT doing any­thing — but there are A LOT of things they need to work on right now that spans across mul­ti­ple areas.

    I know queues and bugs and lag can real­ly put a damper on enjoy­ment… but all things con­sid­ered, I think it’s a bit extreme to think of can­cel­ing at this point. Of course, that is always an option /shrug …even if it’s just for a short peri­od of time. But, bugs, lag and queues aren’t the kind of issues that “are there and will always be there” for WoW, anyway.

    1. Hey Syrana.

      I wish we were on your server!!

      It’s fun­ny because when we had more free time (respon­si­bil­i­ty-free time, I mean), we need­ed less minute-to-minute per­for­mance from the game. Because “hey, we’ll be on tomor­row, let’s watch a movie instead” Now that we’re par­ents, with a grow­ing fam­i­ly, we sim­ply have less avail­able min­utes per month to play… and yet the month­ly fee for both of us is the same. Now that our time avail­able to play is small­er, the servers have to be acces­si­ble, the expe­ri­ence has to be good, each and every time we try to log in.

  4. Yeah, not hav­ing queue or lag issues very much at all. Dalaran’s lag­gy, but no worse than Lag­Forge or Lag­grim­mar back in the day. I’m even on launch-day servers (one Horde, one Alliance) and not see­ing queues and stuff.

    Hope yours gets set­tled out.

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