Is WoW too buggy to patch?

I am in the process of doing a massive overhaul of my home office. It has existed in its current form pretty much ever since we moved into this house, some 15+ years. I am basically a neat freak when it comes to my personal space, so when I first set it up I took great care to arrange the room, the furnishings, and the attached storage space so as to facilitate easy organization. The system has worked well over the years, but even so it has reached the point where it is junky and unmanageable. This is because, no matter how much I may try to maintain order, over the years my needs for the space have changed, plus it was never really meant to hold the sheer volume of stuff I have accumulated.

I decided to do the overhaul when one day last week I was trying to get at a notebook on one of the shelves, and my pulling it out caused the contents of the entire shelf to come crashing down around me. Digging myself out from the avalanche, my course of action became crystal clear to me.

Last night when I logged into WoW, my intent was — as usual on Tuesdays — to run my main and at least one of my alts through all of HFC LFR for the valor. Reset days are usually the best time to do this — queue times are shorter, and the groups tend to be either overpowered or experienced enough that it goes pretty fast.

Not last night. Last night the entire LFR mechanism was whacked. At first it seemed all right — I queued for all 5 wings and quickly got into a Halls of Blood. Expecting a very fast run, I was a little surprised when we just barely defeated the Council after a very long fight where all bosses were tanked together, the raid group stacked on the tanks, no one but me bothered to try and kill the Mirror Images, and no one moved so much as a pixel when they got Reap. This is strange, I thought.

On to Kilrogg, where no one bothered to run to the back when they got Heartseeker, adds usually made it to the boss, and  we could never get more than two people to step into the Visions circles. Unsurprisingly, we wiped. Twice. At this point, raid chat ceased to work, so even those who tried to give advice were unable to do so. On the third attempt, miraculously, we killed him but it took forfreakingever. Then, after we got the Gorefiend trash down (and rezzed the 2/3 of the raid that had died), suddenly the raid was spontaneously disbanded and everyone found themselves back in their garrisons, unable to get back to the now-nonexistent raid.

And of course, after suffering through that hour+ (!) for two lousy easy bosses, no raid completion and no valor.

Worse, the queues kept seeming to pop for the other wings, but they would give you the join window for about a second, pop up the “Someone has declined the invitation … ” message, and disappear, only to have the entire bizarre sequence repeat 10-15 times about every 5 seconds or so. Then you would apparently finally be removed from the queue and the whole experience would start again with the queue for another wing.

Seriously bugged.

I did manage eventually to get into and finish Archie (3 wipes) and Hellbreach (one wipe on Reaver and two on Kormrok, I kid you not), but by then I had spent close to 4 hours and all I had to show for it was 300 valor. I quit and went to bed. My theory as to why every group I was in was so bad is that the normal reset day players — clearly smarter than me — gave up early in the evening, leaving only the incompetent and/or uncaring to fill out the groups.

Now, clearly, something that was changed during the Tuesday maintenance or patching caused this major LFR glitch. It was certainly an unintended consequence. Someone started a thread on it in the support forum, and eventually a Blue posted a short message that the techs were looking into it, but that’s it. I don’t know if it has been fixed, and there has been no further word from Blizz. Sadly, I don’t expect any more information to be forthcoming, the problem will undoubtedly eventually go away with not so much as an “Oops” from Blizz.

So, finally(!), here is my point: Has the WoW code reached the same stage as my home office? Is it no longer possible to work on a piece of it without an entire shelf falling down?

I have written software code, but I am decidedly not a coder, and honestly I cannot even imagine the complexity of maintaining what must be millions of lines of code, much of which was probably written by people who no longer work there. Much less the complexity of adding to it without breaking something else. It truly does boggle the mind. My hat is off to Blizz’s software engineers, who I imagine to be a group of bug-eyed wild-haired techies always on the verge of insanity because of the immensity of their task. To me, it is a miracle that we don’t see dozens of game-stopping bugs every day.

But there has to come a point where it is no longer worth committing more and more resources just to prop up the legacy code so that you can keep adding to it, a point where you realize the only option is to rip everything out and start over.

In theory I could have gotten a few 2-by-4’s to brace up my bookshelves, tied some sturdy twine around the largest stacks of paper, stacked the boxes a little higher, etc. But that would have been a major effort just to maintain a system I had clearly outgrown. Far better to take a few pictures for historical reminiscing, tear the structure down, throw out the tons of junk I don’t need, and make a tidier space for the things I do still want to keep. It is a wrenching process, but in the end it is the only option if I want to have a functioning and pleasing office space.

Some time ago, the Grumpy Elf suggested that Legion may be WoW’s swan song, the last ever expansion, the final installment in a groundbreaking and genre-defining game. It was a tinfoil hat kind of theory, but I did not think it was all that far-fetched. At the time, I made a comment about the difficulty of maintaining the code guts of the game, and how such a challenge might be another reason to make Legion the last expansion.

Every time I see a significant bug manifesting itself as a result of a maintenance patch, I become more convinced Blizz realizes it is time for a complete overhaul.





About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

3 Responses to Is WoW too buggy to patch?

  1. dutch BM hunter says:

    Hi from patch 6.2.4 there were problems (EU realms) every day and even more times on the day here.lag, disconnect, most times was Battlenet login problems so we had to login using the “wow64.exe” file and made a lfg for u Battlenet friends. On the other hand get those problems now then when “Legion” going live. When i type this i see Blizzcon event coming up for this year so meby already info for the next part of WoW? We see. Greethings happy hunting😉

    • Fiannor says:

      Yeah, as much as I whine about NA problems, from reading the forums it seems like EU has really had much worse.

      I think many people are wondering what kind of hype Blizzcon can generate, given that Legion may not even be live by then, or if it is, there is certainly a good chance as you say that there will be huge problems with it. My bet is that WoW will not be featured at Blizzcon at all, that it will be mentioned in passing, but that Blizz will be trying to generate rave about their other games, especially Overwatch. Plus, I would not be surprised to see them announce some sort of mobile game aspect to their games, maybe a tie-in between side games and their main games, or possibly an entirely new game similar to Hearthstone.

  2. gnomecore says:

    There were some login issues 6 hours before the announced maintenance on EU. Aside that, everything seems to work fine. Yesterday (morning and evening after scheduled maintenance) I ran Highmaul for stones and did some routines for 1,5 hours. Queue time was ~10 minutes, no disconnects, massive quits or anything.

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