I’m sitting at my computer, at 4:15am, writing this post because I would have been in-game of Diablo III (which happens to have launched today, May 15th). However, like typical Blizzard fashion, the launch didn’t exactly go according to plan and the company is scrambling to right this wrong.
Maaaaaybe a global launch wasn’t a good idea
I’ll try to relate this post to you, Murlu readers, the best I can (combining online business but with something I’m currently battling).
Imagine you’re a major company in the video game industry (Blizzard) and you’ve been working on a sequel to one of the best games in PC history: Diablo II. Now, let’s suppose you have a massive marketing campaign pulling in millions of new players as well as nearly all players that have played the previous games. Great.
Combine the hype of constantly posting midnight release parties. Running TV ads. Getting a lot of discussion going on Diablo III related websites. Allowing a beta/stress test. And you basically have everything lined up for a really massive game launch.
Buuuuut, someone got the bright idea to do a global launch which is essentially like opening the hatch on the floodgates. Millions of people, around the globe, all trying to fight for a spot. Millions of people trying to log in all at once and met with Error 37 server errors.
As a business move, you’d expect a large company like Blizzard (owner of WoW which has millions of players and does this kind of launch stuff all the time) to handle the situation. Yes, they’ve taken down other servers but it definitely takes away from the traction for this launch night.
If you were to run a business and launched one of the hottest products all year – I’d expect that you’d take a bit more care as to how it all works. Queue system maybe? Dump a few extra million into servers vs. marketing campaigns? Yeah, that would have been good.
Sever went asplode
The servers melted, basically.
For about an hour straight, I’d been pounding away, trying to log in to no avail. Hell, there are a few threads on Reddit that has thousands of up votes talking about the subject within a matter of minutes. Diablo’s Facebook activity is looking a bit harsh as well.
For those lucky enough to get past the Error 37, you get to play the new end-game which is getting stuck on retrieving character lists. That’s fun.
Plus, you get the added joy of accidentally typing in your account credentials wrong so you get through the error just to have it throw you back out because you’ve been in such a rush.
Okay, moving on …
Fire this guy that made this decision …
Diablo and Diablo II had offline mode – no internet connection to play and enjoy the game.
Then, for some reason, Blizzard decided to only allow D3 to be online to help with security issues and piracy. Well, that sounds good and all in theory until this very moment when there are major problems with the servers in the first place.
Hey, how about launching a product where you always need a constant online collection. Sure, you could easily have an offline mode because everything is there but you don’t want people modding and messing with the game (one of the biggest reasons why people continue to play D1 and D2, the modding community).
Someone along the way decided there wasn’t to be an offline mode. I hope they’re sacked.
Not to be mean but this really pulls away from the experience. Okay, you can’t get online but at least give me offline play to enjoy the game of release, right?
By the type I got to this section, I’ve managed to reach the character screen but I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to stay logged in. I figure this would be a good testament of what not to do on launch day. Remember it.