January 2, 2009

GOA Homework and Server Upgrade Rumours

With the beginning of the new year i feel it's time to point the finger at GOA again and ask them to quickly do their homework when it comes to certain things the EU is still lacking in service compared to the US. When it comes to implementing new features, you wonder if GOA and Mythic talk enough about it in advance and not doing so is a reason GOA is behind schedule or if it's because GOA fails to plan their projects with a proper timeframe. Many players lost trust in GOA after the epic fail of the open beta and because some already had mixed feelings due to bad DAoC experience. Like i wrote before, nice words - especially the word soon™ - won't cut it for many players. We want results, and quick. I know its unfair to point fingers at the beta fail again and again, but so far GOA did not do anything to astonish the player base which resulted in a /bravo well done. Here is my master list of things GOA should work on...

The EU Realmwar pages are still in beta and don't work properly. There are many items missing in their database and don't show any icon or stats. The stat calculation seems to be off as well if i compare what the game shows me and what's on the website. Maybe due to some item & set bonuses not being counted properly. Very annoying is the messed up localization of the Realmwar pages. I use a German browser and for me all the items show with German names. Either take the language selection from the mainpage into account or at least get the & lang=en flag working properly. I want to read the names in the same language i play the game in! Guild experience calculation is not showing properly. The guild search needs a selection for realm side (both, O, D) as well so i can compare guilds better. The paperdoll does not reflect my character at all. And when will we get all the cool features the US has to follow the WAR campaign for our server out of the game? The EU Realmwar pages were announced on the 14th of November 2008 and since then they stayed in the same beta version stage - that's 50 days and counting to get it working.

Player Statues in the capitols are not working for EU. Those were announced with patch 1.1a also for the EU and one month later those are still not working inside the EU capitols. BTW GOA your main website news archive doesn't show the whole month (eg. for Dec2008 it ends with the Dec 13), you might want to fix that as else there is not much point for a news archive.

I had a brief chat with Nic from GOA about those issues and he told me the main problem is still the localization issue for the different EU versions and that's why the Realmwar page is not working properly yet. If the Realmwar pages are fixed, the player statues will work as well, the problem is connected like i assumed when i wrote about it earlier. According to GOA its the top priority for the website/database team atm. Let's hope the guys had relaxed holidays and will get crackin' now. As IMO it's really annoying they need so much longer time to implement features they even publicly announced as being in game. Maybe don't just copy/paste patch notes if the stuff is not working yet, but announce it properly.

Many EU players asked about the Recruit a Friend program the US is running. You can hand out an invite to a friend who can play one week for free to test the game. Apparently we might get something like this for the EU as well, so your friends can try out the game, but no ETA on this. Like with the xmas EU online buy option discount we had, the marketing vehicles GOA & Mythic use will probably never be the same and depend on the situation. IMO that's fine in general as that's pure marketing strategy and its two different companies. Only sad thing is when it involves ingame items the EU customers will probably never get their hands on, like the Signet of the Cursed Company i discovered recently, which was a reward from the US Road to War program.

One last thing I'd like to mention are rumours about some super-duper server hardware upgrades the US got and that fortress assaults and large scale RvR is no problem for the US servers anymore. I heard a lot of stuff about this but have to say that i could not find any proof for that claim. If you read the forums like WHA the US players still have similar problems then the EU players with fortress sieges when too many players are around. They also still have crashing zones or have to work around 1-5 FPS during those fights. GOA states their servers are exactly the same configuration then the ones the US uses and should upgrades be necessary ('cause the US does them) those will be done immediately for us as well. They work closely together with Mythic on the server/fortress issues. And until someone can prove different, I'd say innocent until proven guilty as especially those problems will make or break the game, i doubt they'll slack on this. If anyone has knowledge about the claims for the US servers upgrades and no problems anymore for fortress fights, feel free to share with us. But please no additional rumours, more concrete information is appreciated.

9 comments:

Alchemda said...

We had a Fortress crash on Tues of this week, so these super secret server upgrades either never took place or didnt do enough to fix the problem.

Anonymous said...

Why not re-roll on the US servers (and take advantage of the buddy program while you relevel)?

Realistically, the GOA situation is unlikely to improve and if you feel you're getting a raw deal, take your business elsewhere.

That said some of the issues are a little trivial like player statues and the dysfunctional web page.

The US realm-war page is also suffering from tons of missing items as well.

Admittedly though, large scale fort battles are universally unplayable so its not a EU hardware issue as the underlying code simply cannot scale for such encounters. Really no game can, save for Eve online perhaps.

Proximo said...

I've been considering rerolling on US servers since Closed Beta tbh. I never played DaoC but have heard numerous stories about GOA and how they "handled" it over here, and the OB thingy didn't exactly improve my trust in them.

The lacking RealmWAR pages alone is reason enough for a reroll, not to mention the craptastic flash s(h)ite we are stuck with in EU. Btw I reckon the use of flash is also another reason they are behind on updating the RealmWAR pages. While I haven't touched flash in some years I know that a couple of years ago making things in flash was a lot more cumbersome than anything else.

About the server upgrades, just a speculation but those upgrades might have been done on just one server or a small cluster, as a test. I know that they implemented some new gamecode on a single server for testing before they rolled it out on another one (I think it was Dark Crag). Again, this is just speculation but good to keep in mind when asking US players whether they still are experiencing problems.

Again, love you blog, you will see more of me here :P

Thulf said...

@Alchemda
Thanks for sharing, exactly the info we're searching for.

@Anonymous
I know things like the website sound a biot trivial, but when you think about the fact that we pay the same money for the same service its something to point the finger at. GOA takes care about the billing, EU servers and localizations... IMO they should be able to offer the same service for our money. What also annoys me is the fact they still hush up about srew ups like the player statues. Why not announce the fault properly when the patch goes live?

Re-rolling.. ah well, its always hard to leave everything behind and the connection to US servers won't be better then to the EU ones. Main problem would be the time difference tho, you'd seldom be able to play during prime time.

@Proximo
Could be they tested them on some servers. Time will tell... but regardless what they do, the fortress crashes have to be fixed fast. Next thing will be the city fights and endgame then, 'cause the more people will experoence it, the more will realize its flawed. ;)

mkosan said...

You forgot to mention customer service improvements in 2009 roadmap for GOA, Thulf. Things like changing guild names over supposed trademark violation should never happen [link]

And an official communication channel instead of third-party forums would be in order.

Btw your blog is quite awesome. The maps and tips have been of great help ;3

Thulf said...

@mkosan
Service improvements like for CSR? They're pretty useless in every MMO that i have played. Most of the time only good for people that don't read the manual. When i reported that the AH stopped responding on KA, which was the case for everyone not just me, i got a response mail to empty my cache and delete all addons. lol

I read about the guild renaming problem and while i can imagine how much it sucks for you guys, i know also that copyright infringements are a tricky subject for all MMOs and the companies usually don't want to risk any trouble with it so take the safer route and just rename chars/guilds. I can't really blame then on this matter i have to confess, if its obvious there is an older rights holder. While it sounds trivial to most of us, i know some companies that had to deal with law suits based on similar stuff.

BTW, offical forums are coming GOA announced.

mkosan said...

@Thulf
There was no base for any trademark violation as the trademark was registered locally in Denmark only, and the branch of business for two companies is different. Also the guild proposed to get written permission from trademark holder - GOA disagreed for any negotiations.

As to CSRs / help form, regardless of problem I reported I usually got a reply to get a better CPU...

"BTW, official forums are coming GOA announced."
Oh yes, I'll start setting up some proxy rotation script ;3 /evilsmirk

Proximo said...

@mkosan: I'm sorry if I might sound blunt, I'm in no way trying to rise above anyone here, but when you chose to use a Tradename from IRL as guildname you just had it coming.
What you need to realize is that WAR can't have seperate rules for each country it's represented in, they need to incorporate a strict global policy which will keep them out of trouble EVERYWHERE. And your guildname could easily have been source for a lawsuit if we where talking about the US, and prob some other countries in Europe as well.
Now it might seem stupid that you need to change guildname because it could be illegal in other countries, but as I said they need a global policy.
My2Cents, suck it up and find a new name for the guild. You won't get anywhere with posting this over the entire internet nor complaining to GOA/Mythic, they won't budge, that's one thing I'm confident of.
Sucks, but that's life for ya ><

mkosan said...

@Proximo
First of all I don't call my guild after trademarks. But there's a line you have to draw - if I wanted to name my guild Phoenix Fury I would, as it sounds like a good name to me.

Secondly, lawsuit in US would not be liable in this case. I have no indeed about most EU countries tho.

And lastly posting this all over internet is exactly what should be done - not to change GOA's mind about this decision, but to influence future actions. Also keep in mind that the guild offered to get trademark holder's permission and GOA ignored that.