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How not to launch an MMORPG

The past few weeks I've been enjoying one of the latest MMORPG games – Warhammer Online. The main annoying thing about the European WAR experience is the fact that GOA are running the servers for all players over here. As expected they managed to make several mistakes which many players knew were bad decisions, yet GOA still went full steam ahead. Tim Jenks has listed some of them in his How not to launch a beta for a WoW-Killer MMO, I'm going to a list a few of the things which have annoyed me about the entire launch.

Don't leave registration to the last minute. GOA managed to utterly fail the open beta release as their system couldn't cope with the large numbers of players trying to register their open beta codes. Apparently it was an unforeseen problem and they did test their systems beforehand, however this wouldn't be so much of an issue if they spotted this a week earlier by letting players register in advance.

Don't open your servers in the afternoon. As with all MMORPG games you need to kill something in order to gain experience to advance your character, this is an absolute nightmare if you're fighting with hundreds of other players in the starting zone. If the servers were up at around 6AM then the hardcore players would've been able to rush through the starting zones allowing other players who get up at a more reasonable time to get started with a zone which isn't so busy.

Don't launch with a limited number of servers. Players with the collectors edition or standard edition who ordered from certain retailers were able to get head start codes which allowed them to play 3-4 days earlier than those who didn't pre-order. Certain servers became overpopulated rather quickly, as players who didn't pre-order wanted to join their friends in guilds on the servers which were open for head start, instead of the newer servers which were open on the official launch day.

The entire point of all the different head start dates for collectors edition, standard edition and the official launch should've allowed GOA to spread out registrations and people joining servers – however if they leave everything to the last minute then disasters are bound to happen, and they did.

Overall I'm enjoying the game quite a lot, there are various concerns I've got with various aspects of the game, but for now I'm having fun!

© Alex Tomkins.