More Wild Weather

At 6:19pm EDT yesterday, the datacenter complex in Virginia that is being used to host the World of Warcraft beta test was hit and damaged by a tornado. Because water was leaking into the building in which our servers were located, we shut down the servers as a precautionary measure and flew out a team of our network engineers to the location to survey the area and provide a preliminary assessment.

This morning, we have confirmed that some hardware has taken on water, so we will need to conduct a careful inspection for damage before we can restore power to the servers. This inspection will take 48 hours or longer to complete, so we encourage you to enjoy the rest of your weekend with other activities, as the World of Warcraft beta test will remain offline for at least that long. We will post another update tomorrow afternoon, and we appreciate your continued patience and support.

There’s No Place Like Home

On 09/17/04, the AT&T Internet Data Center (IDC) in Ashburn, VA was damaged by a tornado at approximately 6:19pm ET. Although the facility was damaged by the tornado, all AT&T Web Hosting services remained operational with no loss of connectivity to the facility. AT&T monitoring systems are in place and the center is operating at its full functionality. AT&T Engineers are closely monitoring the services within the center. To ensure the safety of our clients we are asking that all clients refrain from entering the facility. Local Law Enforcement and Safety officials are working with AT&T to assess the building and provide for a safe environment. If you are currently experiencing trouble with your Web Hosting Service please report the trouble to your Client Support Center.

Possible connection to the WoW announcement?

Stupid People

After the announcement of the WoW servers being shut off due to a tornado related emergency, the official beta forums went crazy. Reactions ranged from “Are you mad? If I had a server farm hosted somewhere, it had better be up 24/7 or I’d see some heads roll.” to “Why aren’t your servers in a bunker underground?” to “A tornado in Irvine, CA? That is where your offices are and I checked the weather and there is no tornado there so you are all liars!”.

OK, read up idiots. This is a beta test. You are not paying for any customer service. You are not paying for anything. They are testing a game and there is no financial loss for them if they shut down for a day. They can do what they want to do. You do not know where the servers are. Perhaps they wanted to send the employees of the server location home to be with their families.

I say shut them down and take care of the important things. Also, you should kick every last person that complained on the forums about it off of the beta. I was disappointed, but I completely understand and support the decision. Carry on.

Curse You Mother Nature

Here I was, ready for a solid evening of playing World of Warcraft. I tried to log in but could not so I checked the website.

“Due to a recent tornado-related emergency, our US servers for the World of Warcraft beta test have been taken offline and will remain offline through the night and into Saturday. Please check back here tomorrow afternoon for a status update. Thanks for your patience and understanding; we are working to restore service as soon as possible.”

Bummer. Well, be safe.

What A Difference A Day Makes

City of Heroes is done. My friend quit, because yet one more group of devs have made drastic unannounced changes to the game, that greatly affect how the game works. People get real tired of putting time into a character, figuring out the most effective (and/or fun) way to play it, only to have the devs break your methods. I’m not saying that is what happened here, but I do know that everyone has a breaking point where they decide they don’t want their money going to these people and they quit.

Since he was the only reason I was playing CoH, I’m done too. It’s the people that make the game fun for me.

So, I logged into World of Warcraft and played that last night. I have been getting burned out, but it appears a lot of it had to do with an evil, ugly place called Westfall. I decided to get the heck out of there and see something new. I managed to get a quest that had me delivering an urgent message to a city called Lakeshire in the Redridge Mountains.

Upon arrival, I was greeted with about 10 quests and an armorer that had a very nice set of armor for me, provided I had enough money. I purchased the armor which pretty much cleaned me out, but it was a big improvement. Almost doubled my armor rating. I also found a new flight path here, so that will make it easier to get around. If you don’t know, there are various creatures you can hire to fly you from one city to another, but you have to actually discover the end points before you can fly there. So you need to travel on foot the first time.

The first two quests are some of my favorite types of quests, needing to recover something from the bottom of the lake. Those are always an adventure, since I’ve pretty much never played an MMORPG that had underwater quests.

Another thing I really like about WoW is that the monsters do not show on the radar, and you get XP just for exploring and discovering new areas. Two simple things that most MMORPGs get wrong.

Anyway, I have a renewed interest in WoW and I’m looking forward to playing it once again. It’s amazing what a change of scenery in the game can do for your level of interest.

I hope I never see Westfall again.

Who Does Number 2 Work For?

I just read that Issue 2 is now live in City of Heroes. Looks to be some interesting things added so I guess I’m going to have to log in soon. One nice thing they added (besides capes) is the ability to do a “reverse” side kick. In other words, I can team up with my high level friends in two ways. Either they side-kick me and I become a high level, or I can side-kick them and make them a low level. All temporary of course and everything scales appropriately, like XP and damage.

Thunder And Lightning And Rain, Oh My!

Been having some bad storms lately, and we often lose power when the lightning strikes. Therefore I’ve stayed off my computer recently. Not such a bad thing as I’m really not feeling compelled to play games anyway.

World of Warcraft is starting to have an exodus of sorts. Beta players (understand, they are playing for free) have been quitting the game. They seem to all be claiming that the fun has been harder and harder to find as the game develops. Not a good sign, but we all must remember that beta is a time for testing and improving and that may sometimes result in a patch or two that are not fun. But this seems to be a trend of sorts for Blizzard, as I’ve felt the same way. It’s just starting to feel more and more like work.

Personally, I think they are starting to second guess their decision to make this a solo friendly game with pretty fast levelling. Every patch seems to make it harder to solo and harder to level. Part of my problem with this game is that nobody I know is playing it that I can join with, and the people I have run into are rather anti-social. When I have been in groups, most of the time nobody is talking. Really strange. Anyone cool I run into is playing all the time and outlevel me by a wide margin, thus making hunting with them unlikely. Hell, some of them have maxed out 2 or 3 characters while I slowly work my way towards level 20.

Rumor is still about a late Q4 release in 2004, but Blizzard is claiming no official release date. They are pretty well-known for holding a game until they feel it is done, so we’ll see if they push early like everyone else or if they will blaze a new trail. All I know is, this has been one hell of a long beta test.

Star Wars! Nothing But Star Wars!

I preordered Star Wars Battlefront today. Have not really been following it, but when I finally did see a preview of it, I knew this one would be right up my alley. It looks to be everything I had hoped Star Wars Galaxies would be, but this one is not an MMORPG. Which is fine. It does, however, have a multiplayer option for up to 32 people and that should be a blast. Can’t wait.

This does bring up the fact that I have several good games just sitting there waiting for me; Thief 3, Call of Duty, Battlefield: 1942, Unreal Tournament 2004, Doom 3, and several more.

CoH > WoW

I kicked my brother off my World of Warcraft beta account so I could play for a while. I put in about 15 minutes and I logged off. I can’t believe that I’m so burned out. I didn’t even play that much. I guess it all comes down to the fact that it is just another treadmill in a pretty new package. After you get past the visuals, you just have the same old game.

However, I do still plan on playing WoW when it goes gold. I think the fact I’m playing a beta is getting in the way. I feel like I’m wasting my time playing a character that will be wiped. I certainly want to see the higher end of the game, as I’ve been told it is quite amazing. I just won’t bother until they are done with the game. Fact is, when you play a class and it is powerful, it often gets nerfed. Then you feel like the class sucks. However, if you start the class after the nerf, you approach things differently since you did not know about the class before. I’ve been through this so much in Asheron’s Call 2. It really is a game killing move. I think I’ll give Blizzard more time to flush out the game, so to speak.

City of Heroes seems to keep getting better. I got burned out with the low level game by rolling up so many different characters (which really is fun) and doing the same 4 or 5 levels. This weekend I picked one character (fire/energy blaster) and locked in on him. After getting up a few more levels, some real interesting things started happening. Mob AI started to improve, maps got more interesting, I traveled to other cities, and I started to kick some serious ass.

Special thanks goes out to my good bud who has been helping me out in CoH. You know who you are.

So for now, CoH > WoW. That is all.