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First Impressions of Warhammer Online – Part 10: Servers and Bugs Redux

by: J. F. Amprimoz ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

The servers held up pretty well during the Head Start period, but how did they fare in the subsequent week during full Launch?

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    Things Look Pretty Full

    It is important to remember that the servers were running with artificially low population caps during Head Start. While this helped servers from filling up before guild mates could arrive at launch, it also hid some performance issues.

    Furthermore, it didn’t eliminate the full server question. Many of the first and early servers to have become available have short queues during peak weekend hours. Except those that were cloned, which we discussed in part two of the series.

    With the servers loaded up, lag and disconnects occur more often, though still not too regularly. Also, to digress, you’ll want at least a Mid-Range Gaming PC to play WAR. My system specs can be found in this article, and that will get you through some nice Keep fights with the graphics turned up (as mentioned in part 3, the graphics don’t exactly go to eleven anyway) and over 20 participants on screen. The basic system requirements from Mythic will not get you a very pleasant experience; you will get down to 4-5 frames per second in large scale combat.

    Servers haven’t started crashing; however, there are very frequent and lengthy planned outages. They are not in peak hours, but they are still pretty noticeable. You are very much at EA Mythic’s mercy in this regard, and they haven’t been all that merciful…

    At 7:00 AM Eastern the day after launch, all players that had yet to enter the code they received in their game box were shut out of the game. Not only is this not a lot of time for a Pre-Order or Collectors Edition buyer to get to the store, but many retailers had yet to receive the game, let alone ship it to stores or customers awaiting home delivery.

    Eventually Electronic Arts and Mythic backed off, and they allowed customers from many of the affected retailers (including the EA Store) back in throughout the course of the day, granting these people access until 7:00 AM Monday. According to my retailer, they did not receive the Collector’s Editions until 3:00 PM Monday.

    The whole created the impression that there is a real scramble to keep the servers up, which doesn’t leave much time for bug hunting.

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    More Time Playing = More Bugs Found

    We’ve pointed out a few bugs here and there as we’ve covered different features. None of these is a big deal on its own, but they add up to a lack of polish overall. No MMO is bug free, but the industry heavyweight champ WoW and star welterweight LOTRO set a pretty high bar. Mythic has a lot of work to do if they want travel in those circles.

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    Have to Bring Up Balance Again

    Not a bug, but something of a server issue, and definitely something that need to be addressed, is the balance question. There are more Destruction players on most servers than order players; in a game based around Realm vs. Realm conflict, both Realms need to be about the same size. We’ve mentioned a few areas where balance can be an issue before. The game is still plenty fun for the time being, but as players reach the end-game; the balance problems could get much worse.

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    Overall We Haven’t Quite Left the Woods

    Putting out a traditional game gets beleaguered developers some much deserved rest… putting out an MMO is essentially the end of the beginning of the work. There is a lot to be said for the game, but it needs more polish if the strong points are really going to shine.