Editorial Thursday: Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

Allow me the indulgence of an analogy.

Let’s say you have a second car that you only use for pleasure drives. After work, you haul that bad boy out of the garage and just drive around town to see the sights. In fact, when you bought the car, you even told the dealer this — the car’s intended purpose was for occasional driving in the evening and on the weekends.

“This car is ideal for that,” he said. (Of course he would. He’d say that about anything.)

This car is trouble from the start, though. Some nights, it won’t start. Other times, it will only chug down the street. Most nights though, it runs just fine and is a pleasure to scoot around in, but it’s annoying nonetheless that you can’t drive your own damn car whenever you want.

So you call the dealer to complain. He sends a crew to look at your car. They scratch their heads. They fiddle with a few things under the hood. They pronounce it improved and thank you for your patience.

Few nights later and, again, the car is out of commission. You call. He sends. They scratch and fiddle. You’re thanked for your continuing patience.

Again, no improvement. FCS, you just want to go for a drive in the evenings — is it too much to ask? You paid the money, you’ve maintained the vehicle on your end, you’ve been patient.

This time, the crew decides that your car isn’t performing because there’s a problem with one of the parts. You’ve worn it out already, too many miles on it or some such, so they’ll have to swap in a replacement some day. (Some day??)

You know how hard it is to get replacement parts from Germany! Sheesh! Sir, your patience is appreciated! There’s no call to get snippy.

A month goes by — you make occasional inquiries about that part and don’t they have FedEx in Germany? Sometimes the dealer returns your calls, sometimes not. You assume your continuing patience is appreciated.

Another month passes and finally the dealer calls! He found a replacement part with a lot of miles on it, but a replacement just the same! Aren’t you excited that he was so diligent?

(I’m going to guess that you wouldn’t be excited.) Why the hell can’t you get a brand new part?

He explains that they gave this issue a lot of thought and consideration to all the factors involved in replacing so many of these parts (so many? wtf), and they determined that this batch of used parts will suffice and be the least disruptive to all the car owners involved. Again, that patience sure is appreciated.

You’re no idiot. You know that soon this replacement part is going to wear out just like the other and you’ll have the same damn problems then as you did before.

The time for patience is over, isn’t it? Truth be told, patience had hit the highway a few months ago and was long gone. This cheap-ass trick of swapping in worn parts instead of brand new ones isn’t going over well, is it?

My point is this: you would not accept this kind of treatment with your car, or your cell phone service, or your cable service. If every time you went to a particular movie theater the soundtrack was mismatched, that would be entirely unacceptable, wouldn’t it?

(Setting aside the larger issue that we regularly accept sub-par performance and delivery in our computer products with no hope of refund or restitution), we are whiners if we expect our chosen MMOG to be available when we want to play and with a minimum of lag so we can enjoy them?

That’s not whining. That’s holding the gaming company’s feet to the fire and explaining the facts of life. We did our part: we paid our money, we bought internet access, many of us upgraded our computers to accommodate the system reqs, we allowed time to work out the kinks. Now it’s “put up or pay up” time.

Why others think they deserve any less is truly a mystery to me.

9 thoughts on “Editorial Thursday: Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

  1. Amen. That’s what I was trying to get at earlier, but betcha some putz will waltz in here and poke holes in the analogy – just because they can.

    For the folks saying “Not my server!” – that’s nice, consider yourself fortunate. We were recommended certain servers on launch day (and several showed “Low” at that time), and some of us lost the ‘Good Server Lottery.’ That and not all of us on the servers of the damned have been offered server transfers yet.

    For the folks saying “You’re just whiny old farts!” – Ironically, you’re whining about whining (oh, so am I, irony++!). Hi, our venting doesn’t affect you in any signifcant way, so please move along, stripling.

  2. So…was it the clutch? 😉

    Actually, there’s more mileage in that analogy if you frame it as a leased car, e.g., you don’t actually own the car, you know you’re only going to drive it for a couple of years before getting a new one, etc. But there is no insurance and no residual value in the car when you’re done with it.

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  4. Sounds like someone hasn’t read the EULA.

    24/7 uptime is not only not guaranteed, it’s specifically mentioned as not part of the deal.

    Don’t like that? Stop paying! Can I have your stuff?

  5. Well now it’s not only the servers that are screwed up; the client seems to have taken a hit with this patch as well. Everyone crashing about 90% of the time when rezzed (and then not being able to make it past the login server) is insane. Guess everyone is so buffed up on the test server that no one ever dies and has to be rezzed.

  6. I haven’t had any client issues. But reliability of the servers is weak. I guess I am an eternal optimist and I think that eventually (a year) down the road most of these kinks should be worked out.

    My server has been fairly blessed (not many queues, minimal down time, etc..) which isn’t to say it has been trouble free. I certainly can appreciate the frustration those on the troubled servers feel.

  7. Disclaimer: Written while drunk. Read at own risk.

    Well, I gotta play the devil. Let’s have it straight: I play on one of the flawless servers, those down only for regular maintenance and patches.

    I have to consider what proportion of customers are getting this shitty deal. I’ve never seen a queue in my life (as in, it was a novelty when that animated gif with the song underlay came out because i finally knew what the hell all these people kept screaming about). What is it, 10 out of 75 servers? Using my computer calculator to do the math (as in my current state I couldn’t… remember kids, don’t drink and drive, but drink and surf (intraweb) is A-ok), I get 13%.

    13% measly percent… In terms of cars, the best cars (and I’m talking about those that top of Consumer’s Reports reliability scales, not the ones that are the sexiest), have about 80 problems per hundred cars within the first period (i can’t remember whether this was a year or more). So translating this, let’s say that the worse off servers have had about 5 major issues each (this is coming straight out of my a$$), that’s 50/75, or 66%. Still better than those cars 🙂 🙂 🙂

    While I agree that the server issues are a problem, I at least still have some faith that they will be resolved. Hopefully. No, really. Come on. 13…. 13%….. They’ve got to be able to fix that. Right? Right? I sure hope so. I think the situation may even be improving, but I can’t tell from the screaming on worldofwarcraft.com/forums.

    One thing is for sure. With this patch, they have done something I’ve never seen any other MMO do this fast. They’ve looked at custom UI’s, and they’ve taken the best aspects of them, the most commonly used, etc, and actually implemented them!

  8. That’s great for you guys, but until they offer server transfers to all of the servers having problems or suffering from overpopulation, we’re up shit creek.

    As long as we’re locked in, yeah, complaints will flow, like spice.

    (I, like, commas.)

  9. Playing with numbers is fun. So you say 13% is small.

    Their last stat was 1.5 million subscribers right?

    1.5mil * 13% = 195,000 subscribers, each of which pays 15$ a month.

    195,000 * 15 = 2.925 million $ per month

    That should be reason enough.

    Add to that the negative press and word of mouth? They can’t afford to let these problems persist.

    I’m happy that you hit a flawless server Wreak, but I think you are looking through rose tinted glasses. If you were on a shitty server you’d be singing a different tune when you wipe and get disconnected while in an instance and can’t log in for a half hour.

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