I don't know how big of a high-pop server bubble I'm living in, but I feel compelled to say for the record that the Warlord's launch wasn't the smoothest. Whether or not the truth is that Blizzard should have learned these lessons by now, the presence of lag, restarts, bottlenecks, and disconnects seem seem par for the course on release day. However, I wasn't expecting the ridiculously long queues thousands upon thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of players were greeted with when trying to log in.
Since Thursday, I've spent more than twelve hours waiting to get into the game. That number would have been much, much higher had I not been fortunate enough to log in early on both Saturday and Sunday; guildies who turned up just an hour or two after I logged in faced a several-hours-long queue. Thursday I expected to be rough. Friday would be better, I was sure---we might see some residual effects, but there will be a marked improvement. Not so. Saturday then! Saturday the queues will be better once realm capacity is increased. No? Ok Sunday! Sunday will be the day. Or not, as several guildies experienced 5+ hours queues.
Some reports from yesterday seemed to indicate the queue was moving more quickly than it was in days prior, but on average it takes approximately an hour to move a thousand places. In other words, if you find yourself more than two thousand spaces deep in the queue, check your local theater listings---you've got some time to kill. While some may point out a two-hour queue is more reasonable than a five-hour queue, is a two-hour queue at all reasonable in the first place? No. It's not.
But I feel for Blizzard in all this, and fully understand why things look the way they do, as they really have but two choices: let everyone in, which would contribute to a substandard experience for everyone online since servers clearly couldn't handle the strain; or, limit entry to the server, which ensures those who are able to access the game have a smooth experience. The choice is clear, to me: please no one or please as many people as possible. Still, too many players were completely locked out of the game over the weekend and should be compensated for it.
Because of all this, I'm slightly behind in my leveling goals. I'm moving at my own pace, closing out each zone's main and side storylines and absolutely loving it. I hit level 97 late Sunday night before logging, the original goal being level 100. If the hours spent in queues were hours actually played, I'd be there.
Overall, I am loving the hell out of the expansion. Everything seems so cohesive, the story really flows. I'm enjoying how rare spawns work in Draenor, and really dig the optional side objectives you can seek out. And don't get me started on garrisons. Actually, scratch blaming the queues for my lack of leveling. It's the garrison's fault. That sweet, beautiful, addicting timesink.
This week you'll find me:
- Closing out the grind to 100. Around a dozen guildies have already reached the cap, which has left me chomping at the bit to join them. First guild raid is December 4th and I plan to be in tip-top shape.
- Sneaking back to Pandaria. I have a boatload of Windwool Cloth that I plan to use up in the tailoring daily. I'm a sucker for Royal Satchels. Also, I've discovered that right now is a really good time to farm Warbringers if you're missing any of the mounts. Pandaria is a ghost-continent. Seems players have found something better to do.
- Establishing a second garrison. I did have some "A Character With That Name Already Exists" problems, so I used the free time to set my first alt up in her garrison.
- In a queue. Because history's told us this problem won't disappear overnight.
How about you? What will you be doing in-game?