We return to the ongoing Lord of the Rings Online saga this morning, as Standing Stone Games’ MMOs have entered their 10th day of issues. Around 7:30 p.m. EDT last night, the studio brought LOTRO back online, noting that it would be keeping chat offline and monitoring the servers overnight. It also promised to extend the ongoing Midsummer Festival through August 3rd and “provide more information about a thank you gift and other matters in the near future.” It remains unclear what the issues are and whether VIP time will be compensated.
But of course, as players quickly found out, whatever problem has been plaguing the servers for the last week and a half wasn’t actually repaired, as several servers immediately crashed again while others continued suffering the same issues as before. I personally managed to log in for an hour on Landroval near on to midnight, but the official forums and Twitter are filled with players who reported extreme lag, rubber-banding, and crashes over the course of the night.
All servers do appear to be up this morning, but of course, the real test will be this afternoon when prime time begins, and some players have already begun the deluge of weekend problem reporting:
Criticism for the studio has been understandably fierce, from observers like MOP and players, though it’s been aimed more at the company’s meager communication than at the technical issues themselves. Roger at Contains Moderate Peril summed it up this morning, pointing out that how a studio handles a problem from the community’s end is just as important as solving it:
“Are players asking for rash promises regarding technical solutions? No. Are they asking SSG to breach rules regarding disclosure and confidentiality? No. They’re looking for a simple, concise explanation as to the broad nature of the ‘problem’. They’re also looking for a reason to get behind the technical staff who I’m sure are working extremely hard under extremely pressured circumstances. We appreciate that a bullet proof ETA on a solution is not practical. But regular, sincere updates on progress would be very reassuring. Everyone knows what’s at stake. We know that downtime means no one is playing and if no one is playing, then no one is paying. A drop in revenues is not good for any MMO. But SSG need to realise that the immense goodwill of their players that they have benefitted from for the last decade is not an infinite commodity. They need to communicate and keep everyone onboard, rather than push players away due to perceived indifference.”
Our own LOTRO Legendarium will weigh in later today; stay tuned for that.