As we’ve been noting for the last week, the WoW Classic Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch launch hasn’t gone to plan, largely thanks to incredible queues and Blizzard’s apparent inability to address the problem. As of last night, there’s a formal statement out on the mess, penned by the Blizzard game producer going by just Aggrend.
First, Blizzard says it’s disabling new character creation and paid character transfers “indefinitely” in order to at least stop aggravating the queues, even as it admits this will “cut off opportunities for new and returning players to join their friends on these large realms, possibly for many months.” Free transfers off those realms will remain open, though Aggrend says not enough groups have moved to date.
“Prior to last week, [Sulfuras-US, one of the free-character transfer destinations] had low concurrency at around ½ to 1/3 the size of a 2008 realm,” Aggrend says. “In the past week, this realm has seen almost 40,000 incoming transfers, with hundreds more still occurring per hour. These incoming transfers have made this a very robust and in fact nearly full realm that is now right around 4 times the size of a full 2008 realm.” In other words, even the destination servers are filling up, and Sulfuras will close this afternoon. In fact, the company opened a new destination server, Eranikus, last night.
So why isn’t Blizzard adding capacity, reducing queues, or taking advantage of layer tech? Capacity on the existing servers is already maxed out, and layer tech doesn’t add the necessary capacity.
“Realm capacity is dictated by the total number of connections that the service itself can handle. Every time a player connects to a realm, that connection interacts with numerous services, systems, and adds to the total load on the persistent database that the entire game relies upon to fetch data related to players, spells, quests, creatures, Auctions, etc. When that total number of connections to a realm’s DB and services reaches a certain number, the service will degrade or fail on multiple levels, leading to symptoms like severe Auction House lag or outages, Chat performance degradation, or lag when attempting to loot items. Never in wow’s history had the capacity of realms been as high as they are now, and even with our modern capacity we can still sometimes experience performance degradation when the realms are full and DB load is at its peak. So put as plainly as possible, we cannot increase capacity any more without inviting additional and likely cascading failures to the service. At present, the best and only way to resolve this issue for the impacted realms, is for people to leave the realm via free transfers. There’s no technology solution to this. There is no hardware solution to this. This situation will not improve when Wrath of the Lich King Classic launches on September 26th, it will only get worse. [Emphasis ours.]”
It all makes a lot of sense, but it isn’t going to alleviate the problems of guilds now stuck with a potential fracture – or people complaining they’ve unwittingly transferred to dead realms. Multiple community council members have already chimed in to point out that what players want before taking the transfer is a guarantee that they can return to their preferred server communities once the surge of new players has diminished again – since the community was supposed to be the big draw here in the first place.
But hey, if you wanted the real vanilla WoW experience… this is unfortunately definitely it.