Elder Scrolls Online apologizes for lengthy EU datacenter downtime

    
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Grumpy about The Elder Scrolls Online being down most of today? That’s probably because you’re in the EU — the extra-long outage kept the servers just out of reach.

“Once in a while we have to do some extended work to our datacenter, and sometimes it takes longer than it should due to unintended consequences,” Matt Firor wrote via Bethsoft’s Gina Bruno this afternoon. “Today’s downtime was required to upgrade parts of the datacenter in preparation for Morrowind’s launch. It took longer than we thought because we ran into a couple issues relating to network security that was preventing different parts of the network from talking to each other. It’s never fun for anyone when we have extended downtime like this, but it’s always for a good reason. We try to schedule downtime at the least populated time for the game (remembering that ESO is worldwide and downtime will always inconvenience some players, no matter when it happens). We always strive to get everything back up and running quickly and do everything we can to keep maintenance windows as short as possible.”

The explanation hasn’t stopped EU players from pointing out that because EU maintenance is done on ZeniMax’s NA schedule, even a regular-length downtime can creep into prime-time for some EU players.

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Major Glitch

Hmm…do I get upset about a game undergoing needed maintenance, or do I just go find something else to do? Get angry? Do something else? Hmm…tough choice.

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Malorey Malone

How does the EU server downtime affect people worldwide? It’s the EU.

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Leontes

This sense of entitlement pisses me off.

Maintenance must be done, it will always be an inconvenience to some, nobody wants it to be dragged out. Mayhaps people need to find a way to deal with their RL, if they don’t get their favoured fix of escapism at the exact time they crave it…

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thirtymil

I don’t think it’s a sense of entitlement. People just see other companies in the same league – e.g. Blizzard – doing it better and expect the same level of service.

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Greaterdivinity

If this was a small company, I’d have few issues with this. But ESO is a big game, and ZMO has some major backing from Bethesda. There is no excuse not to host regional servers in their respective regions, with server maintenance schedules that are regionally appropriate.

ESO’s a great game, but some aspects of it like this and its beyond terrible launcher have no business at all in a AAA product, or even a AA product.

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Tandor

I’m inclined to disagree, I’m afraid.

First, ESO does run regional servers in their respective regions. The EU servers are in Germany. It used to be the case that the different servers were maintained at different times, but that didn’t work out well and ZOS decided to switch to simultaneous downtime for the servers.

Second, both the EU and NA servers are now available to all players using a single game client and launcher, which was a very popular move because of the previous need to install separate large game clients if you wanted to run characters on both servers. Although I’m not saying it can’t be done, it obviously doesn’t make a lot of sense to have the different servers running different versions of the game client and therefore patching them both together is sensible in my view.

While it would be nice to have different regionally appropriate maintenance times for the servers not all games by any means run them that way and it doesn’t make a huge difference in my experience when they do. Any game can have a maintenance that over-runs and when it does then it is going to eat into someone’s prime playing time regardless.

As for the launcher, it certainly has been troublesome in the past although I’ve personally had no issues with it for some months now. The old error that used to require me to close and re-open the launcher to get rid of the repair prompt is long gone. It may well be, however, that the launcher couldn’t easily handle the running of two separate server versions as happens with e.g. EQ2 where it only takes a few moments to patch whichever server version you’re switching to, although in fairness EQ2 has been running for 13 years now and has undergone a variety of launcher revamps and improvements in that time so wasn’t always as user-friendly in the early years!

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Greaterdivinity

Different launchers/entire file systems shouldn’t be necessary. There are multiple games that allow you to choose your region from the launcher without needing to deal with that.

Why didn’t the different maintenance times work? This does not seem like a reasonable solution, especially with so many other games that have no problems maintaining regional maintenance windows.

The launchers biggest issue is its updating system. It updates with one patch at a time, downloading and then unpacking/installing it one by one. That leads to ludicrously long update/install times if you need to download multiple patches, with single patches of 400MB requiring 4-5GB worth of installation data after downloading. I’m honestly struggling to think of another launcher that’s such a nightmare to do bigger updates with, even the bullshit small little Asian imports have launchers that are less of a fight when needing to download the whole game/multiple updates and they’re working with a fraction of the budget of ZMO.

None of these excuses fly for a AAA developer/publisher running a AA/AAA MMO with one of the most well known brands in gaming (Elder Scrolls). The fact that it’s still such a disaster of a launcher and that they’ve got issues that caused them to nix region specific maintenance windows makes me question what the hell is going on on the engineering front that’s led to this issues persisting to this day.