I love Blizzard, I really do. I think they do so much to keep their user base entertained, engaged and coming back for more. The one area where I feel they fail utterly is: population control.
Let’s paint the picture for you: you’ve been working all day, maybe it was a crappy day. You come home, do the dinner thing, don’t want to watch tv – so you decide to login to your favorite MMO: World of Warcraft. You get yourself something to drink and maybe a snack, pull up a chair and enter in your login info. Connecting, handshaking – all that sutff that flashes by and then you see it – your server is Full. You’re going to have to wait. How long?
Well, that depends on something I like to call ‘Big Magic, Much JooJoo…’
It starts off telling you that you’ve only got about ten minutes to wait, but then it starts changing – 30 minutes, five minutes, 40 minutes, 10 minutes, 35 minutes – it keeps pulsing back and forth. Whatever, you’re in for a wait. Just yesterday (saturday), I waited an hour to get onto my server only to find myself booted off again within a half hour while questing in Zangarmarsh. It was very sudden – everything just sort of froze, and then I was kicked off. I logged back in and was face to face with the freaking queue again, telling me it would be 30 minutes before I got back in, so I closed the program and played some Xbox instead.
Blizzard’s answer to this issue is two fold; on one hand, they offer ‘free transfers’ on ‘select realms’ to ‘lower population servers’. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen my server’s name, Earthen Ring, on any of these free transfer offers. The second choice is a paid transfer to another server.
Both of these solutions have the same big problem: I don’t want to move my characters to another server.
Your server is a community, one that you’ve become a part of and that has become a part of you. To leave it would be like moving from your town to another, leaving all your friends and family behind. Who the hell wants to do that?
I don’t understand the logistics behind it, but I wonder why Bliizzard doesn’t simply increase capacity on high population servers? I’ve been on Earthen Ring since the beginning, since I bought and installed the game. I don’t want to leave it, but I’d sure like to be able to login and play. The queue has been around, off and on, for a very long time. Usually during ‘high peak’ times, late afternoon/early evening, but I’ve been noticing it later and later in the evenings and almost always on the weekends. It’s getting ridiculous.
Is there some great wall that prevents Blizzard from increasing capacity on any given realm? It can’t be a money issue – with 11.5 million subscribers at $15 a month – I think they have enough money.