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World of Warcraft AQ Gates Open! 433

Posted by Hemos
from the of-course-it-will-blow-up dept.
Tayman writes "Wow...who didn't see this one coming? The players on the World of Warcraft Medivh server opened the gates to AQ. What happened next? The server crashed repeatedly. Why create content the servers can't handle? The very first time I read about this patch, I knew the servers would crash. The more people who open the gates, the more angry customers Blizzard will have in my opinion. With 5million+ subscribers, you would think Blizzard would have the best servers/connection money can buy. Although, I'm sure it's more complicated than simply plugging in a few ram chips and faster processors though. Most of the people involved in the raid are having a great time though. Could this be the most epic battle ever introduced to the mmorpg market? All signs point to yes. Let's see how long the mobs will respawn. Hopefully, the people of the Medivh server haven't seen anything yet. Either way, I would hate to be a network admin for Blizzard atm. ^_^ Here are some pics of the event. Thanks go out to all of those who took these pics. World of Warcraft AQ Pics Check out MMORPG Veteran to keep up with the events as they unfold." Update: 01/23 13:44 GMT by Z : Additionally, brandor wrote in with a link to some video of the event.
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World of Warcraft AQ Gates Open!

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  • by Andy Dodd (701) <.ude.llenroc. .ta. .7dta.> on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:35AM (#14538413) Homepage
    What AQ is supposed to be (for those that don't play WoW).

    An expansion? Just a new dungeon? What's so special about it that it causes such server overload?
    • by SeekerDarksteel (896422) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:41AM (#14538458)
      AQ is a new 40 man dungeon. (There's also a 20 man AQ dungeon). The current 40 man dungeons have of course been played since release, but they are pretty much the pinnacle of end-game content in WoW. Opening a new 40 man dungeon adds a huge chunk of new end-game content (and phat lewts) that all the 60s who have run Molten Core and Black Wing Lair, the two other 40 man dungeons, a hundred times will want to get in on.
    • by Highrollr (625006) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:46AM (#14538497)
      Ahn'Qiraj (sp?) is a new dungeon that only opens after each server donates a large amount of in-game items to various NPCs over the course of a couple weeks. It has content that is geared mainly towards players who have both reached the level cap and joined huge "raiding" guilds. New players get almost nothing from it as far as I can tell.

      I think. I was pretty confident that I knew what was going on until I read that terrible, terrible article summary. The reason the submitter brought up server stability is that players from all the 100+ servers started creating characters on the "Medivh" server in order to watch the in-game event that opens the dungeon, because Medivh finished the quest before all the other servers. Blizzard suspended new character creation on the server though, so I'm not sure if stability is still an issue or not.
      • Just Wondering.... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ZiakII (829432) *
        How hard is it to get into a High-Level raid guild in WOW? Is it like in the orginal Everquest where it got almost impossible because the gear/content you needed to get into the guild was almost impossible to get into without having a large guild, or in WoW all you really need to be is level 60 and high playtime
        • As it stands, the high-end content is currently reasonably accessible with gear which can be accumulated from the high end 5-man instances in a reasonable timescale (I know we choose our applicants based on attitude, not on how l33t their gear is). While an entire raid of people in this gear would be at a significant power disadvantage (although not an insurmountable one, providing you have a couple of characters with required bits and pieces), a well-geared guild can accomodate a few of these people with e
      • by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm@NOSPaM.icebalm.com> on Monday January 23, 2006 @10:21AM (#14539232)
        New players get almost nothing from it as far as I can tell.

        As a level 43 undead rogue on Darkspear this is not entirely correct. Even if we can't raid the new dungeons yet contributing to the war effort is fruitful in the way of items and reputation. Every time you turn in items you receive tokens you can turn in for reputation as well as a chest which has random items in it.

        Turning in 20 wool bandages that I made from wool dropping off of mobs netted me 25 gold when that chest had a blue (rare) mace in it that I was able to sell on the auction house. :) I was 37 at the time and saving up for my horse, this was a huge help.
    • You'll need a gown, a towel, a satchel, and a pile of junk mail.

      And, of course, an AQ dispenser.
    • by Z0mb1eman (629653) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:54AM (#14538553) Homepage
      AQ (Ahn'Qiraj) is a new area, added by the last patch, containing new mobs and two new dungeons.

      Players have constantly complained that the WoW game world is static - there is no way for players to change anything in the game world: all the mobs respawn, dungeons reset, etc.

      Blizzard's solution to this was to make AQ accessible only after a one-time server-wide event. The much-anticipated secret event ended up being players on each server having to turn in huge amounts of stuff (800,000 linen bandages, 20,000 wolf steaks, etc...) as well as one player doing a TON of grinding to get some hammer or another (in effect, the most efficient way to do this being to have an entire faction choose one player to help - cue politics and drama). After all these exciting preparations were completed (Medivh being the first such server, apparently) the gates to AQ finally opened, and... it looks like players are still waiting to find out what happens next. :P
      • Sounds like the fucking Sleeper Event in Everquest, but with less coolness and more suckage, to me...
      • Blizzard's solution to this was to make AQ accessible only after a one-time server-wide event.

        Also, with the opening of the gates, many new cenarion circle centered quests become avaliable. Most are in the form of 'get x number of these items' or 'kill x number of these beasts', but most can be done solo or in small groups. Each gets progressivly more difficult and do end in epic items. I did not play on the test server, but apparently virtually all of them can be done in a 5 man group.

    • by theSpaceCow (920198) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:05AM (#14538644)
      The short version (not to necessarily be trusted, what with me being a lv 49 noob on a sleepy role-playing server): Ahn'Qiraj is a big hole in the ground out in the middle of the desert filled with huge ugly bug monsters. It's necessary to beat it because.... you know... bugs are ugly. So ugly that both opposing factions have teamed up to wage war against it. It takes forty top-level characters to beat, so we're probably talking days of planning and hours upon hours of setup before you can even walk in the door. Oh, and everyone on the server had to collect resources before ANYONE could try any of this.

      NPC: "Hey kids! Give us 8 million linen bandages and 476,000 crisp basilisk urethras!"
      Player: "Won't that be terribly boring? And completely useless for actually advancing my character?"
      NPC: "You don't understand! This is for... the War Effort! You asked Blizzard for more content, right?"
      Player: "Soooo.... Content means turning everyone on the server into farmers? For worthless items?"
      NPC: "Shut up, kid. This is an epic adventure. This is what you're paying for."
      Player: "Okay, okay. Even if it's not very useful, it won't be so bad to have all these resources stored up for when we want to storm this new dungeon.... "
      NPC: "Wait, what? You mean you thought you'd ever see any of that again? We're pretty much burying those bandages and urethras out in the desert."
      Player: "Sigh. I guess this is what you have to deal with if you want to see the high-end content. Or even if you don't, really."
      NPC: "That's the spirit! And look, the dungeon just opened! You can find it past the--"

      Disconnected from server.
    • According to IANA [iana.org], anyway. Their servers crash because they "open their doors" to 1,000-odd people [wikipedia.org]? Pathetic.
  • Finally! (Score:2, Funny)

    by boaworm (180781)
    A good excuse to be a lazy farmer :)
  • As the authentication servers crash...

    Seriously though, this game looks like loads of fun but everyone I know that plays it has a total life-consuming addiction with it.

    I'll climb onboard once it's free and less addicting than heroin.
    --
    Washington DC Metro? Fairfax Underground! [fairfaxunderground.com]
    • I'll climb onboard once it's free and less addicting than heroin.

      I've tried them both.

      You're better off with the heroin :)
    • My thoughts exactly... this is a really scary game. I can't quite believe it - it's everywhere, everyone seems to play it, and they all play it constantly. I feel like I've woken up in the future and everyone is on heroin now. It's weird and frightening.

      Best not to think about it really, and have a nice relaxing smoke of crack.

    • Or, you could have spent those 70 days doing something equally stupid.

      The only problem I have with your logic -- or anyone that heavily criticizes people for spending too much time on any one activity -- is the assumption that if they did other activities, they would inherently have more value.

      I know people that spend hours a day, pretty much all of their leisure time, watching sports on TV. Is that really any better or worse than playing WoW for an equivalent amount of time? I don't think so (especially given that ESPN costs more).

      I'm willing to bet that most people who are on WoW, if Blizzard went under tomorrow, would find something equally useless to do in their spare time. This idea that people who play games are all going take up triathlon training or feed the homeless in their spare time, if games weren't available, is dumb. In all likelihood they'd just watch TV.

      I'm not arguing that too much of anything can't really mess up your life -- when people stop going to class or work to play games (or watch TV, or whatever), it's a real problem. However I'm not sure that games are much worse in this regard than any of several "time wasters" that I can think of, it's just that you don't hear about the other ones.
  • by illtron (722358) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:36AM (#14538418) Homepage Journal
    Every time one of my friend starts talking about WoW, or whenever I hear news like this, half of me says "wow, this is cool, I should play." And the other half of me says "thank God I that don't."
    • Don't.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ogemaniac (841129) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:19AM (#14538758)
      These games are the biggest regret of my life. Seriously. I once spent over 1400 hours in one year playing one (back in the text days). That's seventy days, if you are counting.

      I could have been getting good grades, chasing chicks, and figuring out what the "#$# to do with my life. I seriously messed up all three. Instead, I just had the coolest equipment in some worthless game. A couple people I know failed out of school entirely because of these games.

      You can do better.
      • Exactly the same here, except my MUD online time was about one and a half _years_ (real time).

        I allow myself to play Puzzle Pirates, but WoW would immediately mean losing my job and all the life I built up after MUDs.

      • by iguana (8083) * <davep@extendsyCHEETAHs.com minus cat> on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:49AM (#14539017) Homepage Journal
        Back in college, there was a guy who spent all day in the terminal cluster playing MUDs. We called him "Sleeper" because we would find him asleep in the chair every morning.

        He eventually did flunk out. He was a nice guy; just picked a bad direction in life.

        BTW, for all you young pups out there, a "terminal cluster" is a room full of dumb text terminals attached to a single computer, like our VAX. We only had Windows/386 AND WE LIKED IT! I'm going to go soak my teeth now...

        Speaking of regrets, I could have spent all my time writing Windows 3.0/3.1/95/NT programs, and gotten rich, instead of wasting my time on UNIX. Oh, well.
      • by JavaLord (680960) on Monday January 23, 2006 @10:52AM (#14539472) Journal
        These games are the biggest regret of my life. Seriously. I once spent over 1400 hours in one year playing one (back in the text days). That's seventy days, if you are counting. I could have been getting good grades, chasing chicks, and figuring out what the "#$# to do with my life

        Had you spent the 1400 hours chasing chicks, what do you think you might have had to show for it? Other than VD or a seriously brused ego?
        • by NMerriam (15122)
          Had you spent the 1400 hours chasing chicks, what do you think you might have had to show for it?

          At the very least, stronger ab muscles, and probably some really nice photos and videos.
      • by Surt (22457) on Monday January 23, 2006 @11:15AM (#14539694) Homepage Journal
        Please get re-addicted, these games are my living! I sell the very coolest of equipment on ebay. I've been averaging just a little over 12k per month for the last 3 years. It only takes about 1500 hours per year, which is a nice margin smaller than the typical 1600-2000 most people work.

  • Why does (Score:3, Funny)

    by IdleTime (561841) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:38AM (#14538432) Journal
    all these wbesites have to be virtually unreadable? Dark text on black background....What are they hiding?
  • guh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:40AM (#14538449)
    I can't understand one word of this slashdot post. Maybe there's hope for my sex life after all.
    • Re:guh? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:56AM (#14538561) Homepage Journal
      Seriously -- this is one of the most incoherent summaries that I've read in a while.

      "What happened next? The server crashed repeatedly. Why create content the servers can't handle? The very first time I read about this patch, I knew the servers would crash."

      The mental image this creates for me is of some brain-damaged ex-geek -- their mind finally snapped from too much Bawlz and sleep deprivation -- safely locked up in a rubber room somewhere, gibbering spastically to themselves. They're having a delightful conversation, too bad they're the only one there.

      I don't normally criticize Slashdot articles, because I figure that getting the information out is more important than spelling, grammar, or not sounding like a dyslexic fifth-grader. However this one was just so egregiously bad, I couldn't resist; it goes after some misguided sense of style at the expense of being informative, and that's just not good.
  • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:40AM (#14538450) Homepage Journal
    ...and don't have to deal with buggy content, server crashes, mapserver disconnections, developer nerfs, and--stop laughing! Dammit, stop laughing already!

    Oh well, at least I have a good time RPing and writing [rpcongress.com] in it...
  • by fjutt (211607) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:41AM (#14538455) Homepage
    Hmm,

    I just wanted to say 1 thing as a wow player.

    1. To create content that not only is unplayable for the people that participate in it (how many times did medivh crash yesterday?) but also makes the game unplayable for us not participating in it really is very very crappy. Yesterday I had 172 mins wait in a queue before I could log on only to find the lag made the game unplayable and then all crashed and I gave up. It has been like this since christmas (more or less) and it really is unacceptable for a game 1 year old. I know that this was the last drop for me and will make me look for another game.
  • Either way, I would hate to be a network admin for Blizzard atm.

    I'd much rather be a Blizzard network admin than admins of the dead-or-dying site you linked to! At least Blizzard saw it coming! Sheesh. 07:30 CST and their server is already melting into a puddle.

    Coral cache links:

    http://www.karashur.net.nyud.net:8090/mmorpg/ [nyud.net]

    http://www.karashur.net.nyud.net:8090/aq_wow_pics. php [nyud.net]
  • What platform do they run on? Anyone know?

    If google can get queries to span the whole web (granted highly paralizable) it seems like something could be done (given the profit) to make the blizzard servers keep working.

    • Meh. The servers work fine, it's the load balancing that could use some work. If everyone and their mother wants to be on ONE specific server, there are bound to be problems.
      • And most of the game companies I've seen aren't particularly good at running server farms. The servers just have to stay up well enough to keep most people happy enough to continue subscribing. Also, based on the number of duping bugs in these MMORPGs, I'd say that a lot of game developers aren't comfortable with concepts like "Transactional integrity" that have been at the core of banking for decades. A lot of the server side code strikes me as being very shoddy, really.

        Perhaps there's room in the indust

  • I am not surprised. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dangermen (248354) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:43AM (#14538477) Homepage
    I am not surprised. I work for a Data Center/Hosting company. I have worked with automakers, clothing companies, and several other VERY large enterprises. Companys that do hundreds of MBPS of Internet traffic. They ALL struggle getting their hands around the load. That is a fact of life AND it is worse and will always be worse for companies like Blizzard. Load testing companies like Mercury have taken YEARS to develop systems that can reasonably simulate web load. Now imagine having to develop some way to reasonably simulate hundreds of THOUSANDS of users running a THICK client like WOW. Some using modems, some DSL, and some on college campuses. Some sitting there, fishing, fighting, chatting, etc... That my friend is a BITCH to simulate, thus the real world is the only way. I do feel for Blizzard. The customers who can't understand scaling/simulating that kind of traffic has lost site of the truly monumental task they have at hand.

    My advice is this, get pissed if lasts more than a week. Else give 'em slack. As a way to compare, MOST large websites(like e-com) suffer on searches. Searches to 'full table scans' of product, product text, inventory etc... Imagine all the other dynamics WoW has vs your frigging browser.
    • Searches to 'full table scans' of product, product text, inventory etc... Imagine all the other dynamics WoW has [snip]

      that Everquest or Asheron's Call already had 5 years ago...
    • by Cederic (9623) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:11AM (#14538704) Journal

      I work for blue chip companies setting up websites that are the busiest in their respective industries, including full connection through to back-end systems.

      When the systems die at peak trading, it's 10s of millions in revenue lost. An hour.

      My current company provides video downloads off our main sites. We service several hundred retail outlets. We offer very complex product search capabilities, and obviously we permit those products to be purchased. We're dealing with exceedingly large bandwidth, CPU and memory use. We have IBM mainframes, more Sun kit than you could fit in your house and more Wintel boxes than I'd like.

      All of this is being provided for less than Blizzard's monthly subscription revenues. Far less. In fact, 3-4 months of WoW subscription revenue in Europe alone would cover the IT costs of our entire business.

      So for Blizzard to be unable to handle the loads involved is frankly astonishing. Their systems architecture clearly isn't adequate. Their bandwidth isn't reliable. Heck, they can't even keep their website up and running at peak times - quite a simple website, at that.

      This is despite being live for well over a year now. They know how much bandwidth each user needs. They know how many users they have. They know what the capacity on each server is. They already have logon queues at times of peak load, to control the numbers of logged in players.

      I have no sympathy for Blizzard on this matter, because they've had plenty of time to get this sorted, and consistently fail to deal with it. This isn't rocket science, you don't need to steal Google's employees to find a solution, just get someone competent in and fund the necessary infrastructure.

      • by F_Scentura (250214) on Monday January 23, 2006 @10:17AM (#14539199)
        None of what you mention is nearly as dynamic and complex as a high-traffic MMORPG server back-end.
      • by RobinH (124750)
        When the systems die at peak trading, it's 10s of millions in revenue lost. An hour.

        While WoW is big, it's nowhere near that big. Blizzard does not make tens of millions an hour in revenue from this game. Half a million subscribers paying $12 per month gives around $8000 or so per hour. Revenue is only lost if people cancel their accounts, not if they don't get to play for a few hours.
      • I do load testing and application monitoring for a living. Like F Scentura said, I can assure you that websites are the most trivial applications both to simulate and to maintain. Streaming video? Peace of cake. You got your bandwidth, you got your content servers, your web servers, and, if you're really big, an application server somewhere in the middle. All those servers have to handle is an inbound connection with a request for some data and then serve that data. CPU usage comes strictly from the OS serv
      • by zstlaw (910185) on Monday January 23, 2006 @02:08PM (#14541728)
        *Yawn* Call again when you have 5 million hits a day.

        Also serving static web content is trivial compared to tracking the state of 5 million clients and letting them see each others in real time is so far beyond web hosting that it is laughable.

        I worked at video game companies (Turbine) and I worked at some of IBM's large server farms (Poughkeepsie, Southbury) doing performance balancing. As far as software goes I have to say video games server technology makes web content delivery look like the stone age. The only thing that even compares in complexity is when IBM hosted the Olympic coverage. Trying to compare simple web content to a system where clients are all making updates to each others environments in real time is impossible.

        I hate it when the Wow server's crash, but I have had my ego battered by what the guys at Blizzard have managed to do. They have done some great work and I am curious to see other game companies surpass the work Blizzard has done.

        Nothing here is trivial. If it was it would have been done right the first time.

      • When the systems die at peak trading, it's 10s of millions in revenue lost. An hour.

        Am i the only one that read that as 10 silver out of millions lost?
      • by sgt101 (120604)
        I think you may have not thought this one through.

        A WOW session contains several events per second, probably more, perhaps more than 20, two ways. These have to be provided within tight QoS parameters, or the whole play experience is damaged - the users then complain and bitch and moan. Contrast this to a web site experience... you click and wait, nothing happens. You stop it, click again, the page comes, no problem - this it a key difference; the QoS required is almost 0 compared to WOW.

        Ok - then moving f
    • by buffer-overflowed (588867) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:30AM (#14538854) Journal
      WoW crashes when it gets only a few hundred people doing anything meaningful inside a zone. In total it handles a few thousand people connected to any given server at any given time, with some of those a sizeable portion of those people off-loaded onto other servers via instances most of the time.

      In addition, they're well aware of their scaling problems, and have added things in to prevent the type of occurances that caused crashes(City Raids), as well as scaling back the max server populations(hence queues). So not having prepped properly for a World Event of this magnitude, especially given their revenues is inexcusable.

      My guess is the situation at blizzard is the following:
      Most of the core devs went onto other projects
      Like most MMOs their network code is laughable.
      Their code doesn't parallellize well, so they can't just toss more hardware at the problem
      They can't fix the above without a drastic redesign, and by the time they did that it would probably cease to matter.

      And yes, it's doable, I've seen MUDs/MUSHs written as hobbies that handled several hundred concurrent users on hardware from the mid-90s. An MMO doesn't push *that* much more traffic than a text-game that saturates a 56k connection(as many did), and it certainly doesn't do many more back-end calculations. Considering how much hardware has scaled and how much further we've gotten in various areas, there just isn't any excuse for several hundred people in a single world-segment causing the server(not the client) to go OMG and crap out.

      No web-based business craps out under that kind of traffic. How to cope with it is well-known at this point. I mean shit, this is the type of crap DIKU's massive list of socket descriptors did under load, and that was written over 10 years ago!

      Imagine a phone switch doing this! That's tech from the 70s that handles waaayyyy more traffic than one of blizzard's servers. Google easily copes with orders of magnitude more traffic every moment of every day, and holds up like a champ. Stop being an apologist for a drastic lack of planning and poor engineering.
  • This is the 40-man raid dungeon that is harder than the two others that are currently in game (MC and BWL). The elitist guild on my server (Guild: Vis Maior, Server: Bonechewer) has already cleared it on the test realm, and is just working on getting the gates open. We did the event where you get your reputation to neutral with the scarabs, but the server crashed when we originally tried to do the cutscene. They did it again yesterday, and had no issues, despite it being three weeks after we had hoped to do
  • lame game (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Danathar (267989) on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:48AM (#14538512) Journal
    A) Kill Monster - Get exp points
    B) Get money
    C) Use A&B to "level up"
    D) Use results of "level up" to do A&B faster!

    All these games are (WoW, DaOC, STG, ect..) are big statistical simulations where the players do nothing but tweak numbers (player stats). I'd like to see a game where NOBODY get's to see ANY numeric values for ANYTHING. The only player indication should be health which should be some sort of description at the bottom of the page which says something like "you feel awful" or "the pain in my leg hurts like hell!".

    No "levels" for the players to work toward. All you could know is that you used that cool two-handed sword to kill the troll and it was kinda easy....should you go attack that dragon? These games would REALLY be interesting then.

    The game producers KNOW that numeric stats addict people because people naturally like to make systems efficient.
    • The truth is, I hate all these games. I don't WANT a game where I can't quit for a month and not come back to the same experience. Persistent worlds make my life crowded, and I can't afford to put the time into these things that is required.

      The numerical system in use today is the direct result of pencil and paper type games. It is also good psychology. Look, the point of the game is to make money (for all but just a few games). People who don't have control over a situation tend to try to get out. T
      • Oh I absolutely agree with you. It DEFINITELY would not sell. The 14 year old (and 33 year old) players would get bored because the reward system they are used to (levels, stats, exp points) would be missing.

        When I played pencil and paper roleplaying games way back when (Aeons ago) we experimented with taking player stat sheets away from everybody and having the GM do all the dice rolls behind a piece of cardboard. Some players loved it, the ones that liked to "tweak" their characters and play as "rules law
    • Brilliant idea!!! I remember having a GM (specifically for Rifts, a Palladium RPG) in my paper RPG days who decided he'd take our character sheets and not let us see them. We had turned the game into such a hack and slash nightmare that he got sick of mastering the game for us. The second he took our character sheets and we stopped worrying about comparing our numbers... We started to ROLE PLAY so much more than role dice for 10 hours at a time and kicking tires on how much SDC (structural damage capacity f
    • Innovative MMORPGs (Score:5, Informative)

      by LarsWestergren (9033) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:07AM (#14538663) Homepage Journal
      All these games are (WoW, DaOC, STG, ect..) are big statistical simulations where the players do nothing but tweak numbers (player stats).

      Agreed, the levelling up is usually just as exciting as filling in numbers in a spreadsheet, but there are some MMORPGs that try to do something new. You are even stuck on thinking that it has to be about combat and killing stuff. These people try to do something even more innovative, which might be why they haven't become as popular:

      Puzzle Pirates [puzzlepirates.com], the first mmoarrrrrpg. You simulate combat by solving puzzles. Different players that crew the ship perform different puzzles, the better they do the more tokens the captain gets (movement, cannon shots, ship health..) to use when the sea battle commences.

      A Tale in the Desert [atitd.com], a game that has NO combat. You "win" over other players by performing artworks, building pyramids, getting people to vote for you or performing cermonies and rituals, like for instance
      "Have 20 charactars stand still and quietly observe the sunrise. If one speaks or moves away the ritual is destroyed."
      or "Bury a large bag of money in the desert. Tell 10 other players where it is. If the bag remains for a week undisturbed you have passed the test of friendship. The other players get nothing for participating in the test. Unless they cheat, in which case they get the money."

      You can get laws voted through that changes the whole game, and so on.

      Both games are characterised by having more mature and social players than the hack and slash games, and a much larger percentage of female players.

      I haven't played them myself though more than the demos. I stay away from most games and especially online games after shaking off a one year Everquest addiction 5 years ago.

      Try them! Both have demos available, ATITD have a Linux client, PP both Linux and Mac (runs on all platforms that have Java actually).
      • Very interesting. I'll be sure to check them out.

        One thing that REALLY pisses me off. Watching my brother who is a multi-tasking madman with two monitors playing WoW. I was standing behind him the other day and told him - paraphrased of course - that since he's SO good at multi-tasking and tweaking numbers that he could probably make a BOATLOAD of money as a day trader working at some stock firm on Wall Street. Tweaking numbers is basically what they do, trying to make money by understanding the system in r
    • Re:lame game (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tainek (912325)
      Sounds like marketing suicide......

      those who prefer Playing Skills over Grind time play Guildwars [guildwars.com]
      Level cap of 20, it only taks 20-30 hours to reach full level and have a bag full of "Phat Loot" , then its all about your playing skills.

      Guildwars had a pvp sneak preview of the upcoming chapter (expansion doesnt cut it, its a full seperate game, that you can "plug in" to your old account) and a new end game dungeon we had to download 10-15 megs each, with most people logging in over the space of an h
    • I played a game like that once. I think it was called "real life". Great graphics and play control. It takes a huge time investment to get anywhere, though. And it's tough to even find monsters to kill (so difficult that many don't believe they even exist). I prefer World of Warcraft, thanks.
    • You don't understand. Most players *WILL* figure out the system and the numbers anyway. They will quantify it and analyze it until they have the exact numbers. And then you have a bad situation where many of the players know the underlying stats and newcomers are at a great disadvantage because they don't know the game engine like the older players.

      It is a novel idea.. but the players will turn it into stats collection and analysis if there is ANY type of true experience being collected. Someone will quanti
    • Re:lame game (Score:3, Informative)

      Funny you should say that. One of players' greatest frustrations in City of Heroes is that the numbers aren't provided, because the developers think the game shouldn't have to be "City of Math." From a recent question-and-answer session [cityofheroes.com] with Statesman, the game's lead designer:

      Will we ever be allowed to know what the actual stats of our characters actually are? At the moment we're at the mercy of numerous disparate disagreeing partial or out-of-date databases.

      Part of my original design was based on the as

  • Um.. blog entry? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LiNKz (257629) * on Monday January 23, 2006 @08:56AM (#14538568) Homepage Journal
    Whoa. Generally, I take slashdot to be a lighthearted place to read interesting techish things. This post really does give me pause though. Not only does it sound like a mad World of Warcraft player's blog entry, it doesn't even explain the elements of what happened. If it wasn't for the fact that I play World of Warcraft I wouldn't have had a clue what he was on about.

    I agree, Blizzard should have tested that part of the patch more specifically. Apparently, the gate was already opened on the test server (this is what I've heard from other players, I never did test the patch) which would leave me to suspect they never tested opening the gate very much.

    I actually expected this crash.
  • Are people really surprised that putting all lvl 60s on the server, (and the vast majority of players logged on), crashes it? I simply don't think MMoRPG servers are designed to handle load that way. On the other hand, I think it would be smart to create a type of failover set of computers to pick up the load of any computers on any server that were reaching fatal limits. A type of SWAT computer group to help back up the day-to-day servers.
  • They're being slashdotted. Not directly, of course, as nobody can just click to log in - but *everybody* is running over to the server and creating toons on it in order to go and see the new content. People had been warned that it was happening, everyone knew that this was going to end up being the fate of the first server to open the gates.

    What can you do when 5+ million players all want to see the new content, but their own server's gates aren't open?
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:19AM (#14538763)
    What the OP neglected to mention is that Blizzard already had to take extreme measures to prevent players from other servers from crowding into Medivh to rubberneck. They not only closed character creation on Medivh (and a crapload of other servers), but also ported characters less than level 30 out of the relevant zone in an effort to reduce crowding.

    What's unclear from the story as posted is whether the fault here is solely Blizzard's fault or whether players with no affiliation with the Medivh server caused the overcrowding and subsequent crashes.

  • More pics! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by agoodm (856768) on Monday January 23, 2006 @09:38AM (#14538934) Homepage
  • by SirChive (229195) on Monday January 23, 2006 @10:24AM (#14539252)
    The wife and I both quit WoW about 2 weeks ago. I'd say that we are much happier without it. We are more relaxed and get a lot more accomplished in our lives.

    MMORPGs in general, and WoW in particular, have a way of slowly sucking you into their world and chewing up ever increasing amounts of your time. It's human nature to want your virtual character to grow stronger and do well. But WoW is a game of timesinks. You invest massive amounts of time or you don't progress. In the end you may find it feels more like a vaguely exciting 2nd job.

    My advice: if you are playing WoW more than 10 hours a week, give it up for a month and see if you don't feel a lot better.
  • by arakon (97351) on Monday January 23, 2006 @10:31AM (#14539315) Homepage
    Because of all the damn raids. I do not want to sit and try to get a 15 man raid together to go to UBRS much less the time it takes to get a 40 Man together for one of the big dungeons.

    Blizzard lost me as a customer as soon as I finished the last 5 man casual quest. Enough with the dungeons that take 8 hours to complete. I don't have that kind of time, I have a job and a wife. All i see coming down the line is patches adding more RAID content. SO I moved on.

    Playing EVE now. What I like most about it, other than it being completely different than WOW, is that the play experience is dictated by me. I can be as indepth as I want, sinking hours upon hours into it at my leisure, or just login every now and then to check my skill training. Which makes it much more accessable to me during the week while I work, just login for a quick 30 minute to an hour fix and actually still come away feeling like I accomplished something.

    Its also a game that involves some patience and time-management too, since all skills are learned in real time (even while not playing). The end result is as long as I choose carefully what skills to advance there is no way to literally be left behind training wise. Money still takes some grinding but not like it does in WoW.

    A fun MMORPG without so much tedious upkeep.
    • by weave (48069)
      That is something I never quite understood about Blizzard. They should do more for the casual player. When you think about the resources each kind of player consumes, hard-core 16-hour-day guys demanding new and greater epic world events or casual players just logging in a few hours a week that would be thrilled to see it rain (for example), by far the latter group is the more profitable ones and should be encouraged to stay.
      • by arakon (97351) on Monday January 23, 2006 @11:43AM (#14539986) Homepage
        Amen, to that brother. Just adding content that allows scaling between hardcore player and the casual player would be a great boon to ANY online multiplayer game. You know, give a little something to all the players making it worth their time to play and pay for your game. Casual players pay the same amount as the hardcore players and don't use as many resources.

        But I also think that when you looking at raw numbers casual players are much more likely to dump your product for the next big thing. Those Hardcore 16-hour a day guys are much more likely to keep paying long-term because they've already invested a lot of time getting that ultra-super-pimp-smack-yo-ass-elite gear. So even if they do decide to try another game, they are less likely to discontinue their subscription due to all the work they put into it. I'm just not sure if Blizzard has enough of those uber-gamers to maintain all those servers when the casual players start dropping in droves for lack of content.

        Of course some casuals just re-roll and start a new character. I did twice but never felt like playing the new characters, I was just re-doing pretty much everything I did with the other character just in a slightly different play-style. SO I walked.
      • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Monday January 23, 2006 @12:33PM (#14540656)
        The Blizzard developers do NOTHING all day except spending it thinking about WOW. 16 hours a day, 6 days a week, they're running over stuff about WOW in their heads. To them, considering that, a 4-hour dungeon *is* casual.

        Also, the hard-core players are (generally) the ones who post on the forums. I tried once, but the forums move too quickly for me to keep up with and, like you, I have a life and a job. When your topic goes from the front page to page 13 in like two hours, who can possibly have any kind of meaningful discussion on those forums?

        But anyway, yes, I left WOW for the same reason. They don't give a crap about casual players. Sadly, the other post is right... probably one of the best games for casual players right now is EVE Online. Too bad EVE is so boring when you start.
    • by Cookie3 (82257)
      So, okay, WoW has a series of 'endgame' raid dungeons. By this, we mean 10+ players investing their time and effort into a single dungeon until they beat it.

      When my guild started working on Upper Blackrock Spire (a 15 player dungeon) in March 2005, it took us 6 hours to reach the last boss and we didn't even beat him. A few weeks later, we were beating it in 4 hours, then 3 hours, and now we can do it in a little over 1 hour. Each time we played through the dungeon, we got better gear, and we became more kn
  • by Daggon (948225) on Monday January 23, 2006 @11:57AM (#14540170)
    Ok, seriously, what exactly motivates all these "I'm so glad I don't play MMOs" comments? Are we supposed to pat you on the back for avoiding the big bad mmo?

    Or its is some strang kind of elitism, "Well I may play games, but least I don't play those dirty MMOs." I know people that play console games MORE than I play WoW (more hours a day that is) and yet people always blab about "MMO addiction." NEWS FLASH, any form of entertainment can be addicting, but its easier to marganalize people with a form you don't particularly like. But tell me, which is "worse" spedning 4 hours in from of the tube with a controller in a completely self absorbed activity, or spending 4 hours in an MMO where you actually can speak and interact with actual people.

    So for all the "I'm so glad I avoid MMOs" people, get over yourself and put your hypocracy where its wanted.
    • Ok, seriously, what exactly motivates all these "I'm so glad I don't play MMOs" comments?

      Because we are immediately suspicious of any transaction where one side has a financial interest in how you spend your time. If MMORPGs did not have subscription fees, I'd be all over them.

      We have that reaction because on some level, we realize that publishers of MMORPG's are the electronic equivalent of tobacco companies. They have a direct vested interest in making their games as addictive as possible, and they

    • But tell me, which is "worse" spedning 4 hours in from of the tube with a controller in a completely self absorbed activity...

      Which has an ending.

      or spending 4 hours in an MMO where you actually can speak and interact with actual people.

      Good thing you didn't say "actual women." That would have been humorous.

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