Dear Blizzard

Dear Blizzard,

If you design a popular game that needs to be permanently connected in order to play, please start with an architecture that can handle enough user load at launch time.


Someone who spent sixty bucks on some currently unusable bits

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10 Responses to Dear Blizzard

  1. Sol_HSA says:

    You of all people should know that’s not commercially viable approach, except if they rent processing power from “teh cloud” so they could scale back down after the launch peak is over..

  2. Chris S. says:

    If that’s not a commercially viable approach, then don’t do it. If you sell something that needs Internet connectivity to your servers, then you’d better have the servers operational all the time.

  3. Ryan Dempsey says:

    Dear people without the patience to wait, you should have waited. Do something else for a day. #thirdworldproblems

  4. landon says:

    @all: Not sure what their architecture actually is.

    I’m going to guess it’s possible to have a RAM-based auth server (and so forth) that is difficult to “make busy” assuming you can get enough network bandwidth to the thing.

  5. Mitch says:

    My issue with Blizzard is less that they’ve had this sort of issue, but that they continue to have it at every launch. It happens for every WoW expansion, BlizzCon event, and so forth. It leads me to believe they are either bad at planning, don’t have the expertise to solve the problem, or really don’t care.

    • ECM says:

      What he said.

      This happens w/ all their games and since people keep buyin’ ’em up at launch in hellish numbers, they’re going to keep putting their thumb in your eye. In other words: live by the free market, die by the free market.

      (Note: I love the free market, but sometimes it’s not your best friend–especially if you’re impatient.)

  6. landon says:

    One issue: In theory, D3 could have run as a standalone game. We’re being locked out of it because of a design decision made by Blizzard that does not benefit us. It’s a DRM feature that was mishandled. (Yes, you can argue it prevents cheating in online games. But it should work standalone for reasons already demonstrated).

    I’m sure it’s not that simple, and that the server is somehow integral to the proper functioning of D3. On the other hand, if the logged-in-and-connected requirement is gratuitous, then Blizzard is doing its customers a gross misservice.

    Secondarily, Blizzard should have planned for a load of this magnitude, and tested the crap out of it.

    Meh, off to read a good book.

  7. FeepingCreature says:

    The problem is, Diablo 3 needs to be always-connected. Let me explain.

    The game doesn’t really have a singleplayer mode. All it has is a multiplayer mode that runs on a private instance with a single player. Sounds the same- but isn’t! This comes down to a decision that Blizzard made early in, and which I believe is strongly inspired by WoW (far more than the graphics): the exclusive focus on items as a method of character customization, and the auction house to officially integrate item trading into the game.

    (Why do I say this is inspired by WoW? It provides Blizzard with a regular, long-term income stream.)

    This means that duplication exploits aren’t just a nuisance – they’re highly, extremely, poisonous to the economy that Blizzard is trying very, very hard to build. That’s why drops are handled completely serverside, and that’s why you have to be always-on. It has (AFAIK) nothing to do with piracy.

    • Shamus H says:

      If that’s the case, that’s a lousy design decision, and one that makes zero sense–other than from the “here’s a ‘feature’ that will make it necessary to tether everyone to our servers in order to play” point of view.

      Sigh. I’ll be you a dollar that the “pirate” community will come up with an offline patch before long that solves this phony problem that Blizzard invented for all the suckers people who bought this.

      Side note: I was browsing PC games at the local big box department store and was surprised to see that all of the single player games I looked at required an internet connection, and sometimes a “persistent” internet connection. Blew my mind. So while Blizzard is certainly guilty here, they aren’t the only ones doing this.

      I suppose it means that eventually the box you buy will be empty, except for a card that contains a username/password pair that you will use to log into a company server to download a shim that will then download pieces of the game to your PC. And the shim will delete those pieces when you’re no longer in that part of the game world. We’ve all got to be herded into the Cloud somehow, after all.

  8. toxic says:

    It really worth designing all this architecture for 24-48 hours of problems?

    It’s not just Blizzard. Every single major multi-player game is nearly unplayable for the first few days. You build a highway to handle everyday traffic, not the one day in history when traffic is 1000Xs higher than normal.

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