Sometimes, despite our favorite game's best intentions, things go pear shaped. You get home at the end of the day, and switch on your computer and meet the ultimate cock block. DDO had some problems with their downtime yesterday. Patch 9.1 over worked the hamsters, and the game didn't come back online until almost 6pm est. To be perfectly honest, it wasn't until very late in the afternoon, I even noticed the servers were down. Absolutely no one on twitter had said a THING about it. It could be all the gamers I follow have jobs and real life stuff, but it might also be, we simply weren't paying attention.
We were the minority however. When DDO is down, the forums heat up. By the time I hit the downtime thread, it was past 3 in the afternoon. The thread had grown to over 600 replies ranging from OMG DOOOOOOM, to I want my money back. Devs did a pretty good job of keeping the community abreast of any information they had. It would have been nice if they utilized their facebook and twitter. I try and stay as far away from the forums as much as possible these days. I get my news via updates to my phone. If you aren't reaching me there, you don't exist.
I think I must be mellowing. I was completely unaffected by the downtime, and in fact, began laughing about the number of "my life in ruins" posts splattered over the boards.
DDO's downtime was a minor blip in my day.
Possibly because the entire SOE mess took downtime to a new event horizon! I still play EQ2 when I have time. When I heard about the hack to the Play station Network, I thought "How sad" and moved on with my life. It didn't affect me. No big deal.
It wasn't until I got a tweet the next day or so that I realized SOE had taken ALL of their games off line. They had no expectation of when they would be back. The ire of more than one gaming community quietly smoldered. I think some were convinced Sony was running their games on an ENIAC. Accusations abounded, blame mounted and people generally lost their minds as the downtime ticked into a week. SOE had been hacked, user information had been stored on a server that lacked adequate security. Besides being irked about the their favorite game being offline, customers were worried about what information had been accessed by the hacker and what to do about it.
(I will put a short note in here to remind my gamer friends. We live in an interconnected online world. If you are not taking steps to protect your personal information, you are playing with fire. Check your credit reports yourself every six months. Sign up for protection with one of the myriad of companies that offers it. Be in front of the accident, not watching it happen in slow motion while your hands are tied!!!)
Sony tried to stay in touch via facebook. With their network down, there were no forums for the horde of angry gamers to flock to. ZAM saw more traffic and commenting than it had seen in a coon's age. Facebook comments went into the thousands. It was just nasty. The entire gaming community watched the train wreck. I think you had to be living under a rock to miss this one. How was it going to affect Sony games? How many subscribers would they lose? What would they offer the players as a "feel good" to try and retain them?
By the time the second week rolled around, I was half convinced this whole thing had to be some sort of crazy dream I was stuck in. It was like ground hog day. I'd wake up, check my tweets, and see Sony had said "We regret we will not be able to get our games back online today..."
When the games finally came back online, things were kind of anti climatic. Jef Reahard over at Massively, asked if SOE owed compensation over the fiasco. I know as an EQ2 subscriber I received a free 30 days, plus a day for each 24 hours period the game was offline, for a total of 45 days free. I thought that was more than adequate. In game perks are going on now through May 22 which includes all City Festivals, Double XP, Loot bonuses, races and more. I don't feel they owe me much.
DDO certainly didn't owe me anything for a patch taking all day. While I might tease about sending them some Hamster food to keep the servers running, it is simply a fact of gaming. Sometimes, through no fault of my own, I am not going to be able to log into my MMO of choice due to technical difficulties. If you are finding the downtime's send you reeling, you might want to check yourself. Are you really missing an online game so much your life is negatively impacted? I will caution you that you may be giving a game more power in your life than it deserves.
Gaming is an escape. Like any other hobby, if it begins to intrude on your everyday life in an alarming way, you need to pull the plug for a few and step back. I get angry over changes to my games, I feel passionately about my characters, my game's storyline and the people I spend hours every week battling evil with. I hope I have come to a place where I can turn the power off and do something else for a few without feeling the shakes for my MMO of choice.
What do you find yourself doing downtimes? How attached do you feel to your MMO? Like Jef Reahard, I want to understand why you feel you need to be compensated for unexpected downtime. What's your beef?
The video below has been linked to on my twitter and facebook for weeks. I am linking it below for those of you who may have missed it. Plus, I just like the darn thing :)