Open Beta Day 2: Electric BoogalooSeptember 8, 2008
“Today was a dark day. We expected a massive influx of players, but reality was even harsher.” ~ GOA’s CEO
Well! Boy howdy! Yesterday was sure as shootin’ a dallop of sunshine threatened by a wicked evil storm front, waddunt it?
Actually, for NA folks, the first day of Open Beta went more or less okay. Reportedly 47,000 or so WARmongers stepped onto the playing field, many for the first time, and I hope they enjoyed their experience. Lots of people do forget that Open Betas are, still, betas; they counter this with a wrinkled nose and a haughty “Well it’s right before launch so this should be as good as the launch game!” Perhaps, perhaps not. Anyone who’s been through enough MMO launches knows that the weeks proceeding it are rocky, launch is never flawless, and emotions run at an all-time high until a couple weeks after. Then people just settle down and, y’know, play the game.
For Europe’s gamers, it was a dark day for the rebellion. I talked about this a bit previously, but the Cliff Notes version is that: tons of people tried to register/log into the game, various problems kept those people from being able to register/log in, and GOA was drawn, quartered and screamed at for about 24 hours straight by frazzled players. Even the more rational EU bloggers registered disappointment tinged with hope (hope… you can believe in). Some folks were not as kind.
We kind of witnessed a “perfect storm” of nerd rage yesterday. GOA set itself up by having a tarnished reputation from the DAoC beta/launch, then they made a bad decision to not bring up the account servers until the start of OB, then they either stopped communicating with the players or actually demeaned them a bit, and then things went to hell. It got so bad on some of the forums that the mods were working overtime trying to rein in the madness, devs weren’t pleased with the nastiness out there, and calls were made for people to take a step back and count to ten.
If we’re the type who try to see the glass as half full, there’s a lot of positive to take away from yesterday. Mark Jacobs gave us a Day One report, which included an impressive amount of players, servers and stability (along with promises to lock down some of the more nastier bugs out there). He also hopes that future efforts in Europe will regain the trust tarnished by Sunday’s events. GOA seems to have received a proper kick to its butt, and the CEO has promised more and better communication.
All in all, it’s par for the course. Yesterday sucked, for sure, and any of the good stuff — such as players who got in having fun experiences — were overshadowed and out-talked by the frustrated mob. It’s of course important to remember that this isn’t “Free Demo Week”, it’s “Open Beta”, and one of the reasons they do an open beta is to iron out these sorts of problems caused by so many people joining the game for the first time. It’s a big issue today, but in a week nobody’s going to be thinking about anything but launch, and evaluating how that goes. I’d rather witness a hundred FUBAR screw-ups this week and have a great launch next week, than let some potentially game-breaking issue slip on by just so people can skip around in their demo land.