Farewell WoD


So it begins

Yesterday I wrote that I felt somewhat adrift in the game, basically marking time until Things Happened. No sooner had I posted that when Things Actually Began To Happen. Three events tell us that we are now into the final lead-in to Legion launch, and, for me, mark the official end of WoD.

First, Blizz announced what seems to be a public beta. It is a pseudo-contest on Twitter, and they are not calling it a public beta, but essentially anyone wishing to do the small tasks for it, I believe, can get beta access. It comes a tad later in the development cycle than usual, but it is an unmistakable sign that we are close to the pre-patch and launch.

This move was clearly intended to swell the ranks of beta testers, a necessary step for the second event, the announcement of a stress test on the beta to identify possible launch day glitches. As far as I know, this is the first time Blizz has conducted such a formal test in anything but a development environment, and I am gratified to see them doing so. It seems doubtful that it will completely forestall major glitches on actual launch day, but maybe it will show them some obvious bugs, so that possibly launch day catastrophes will be short-lived and not make the first week of Legion virtually unplayable as happened for WoD.

I am assuming that Blizz has a professional, robust test team, and that they have some complicated algorithms to predict scaled disasters from small ones. Unfortunately, in the world of massive networks such as Blizz’s, “inconsistencies” in the workings of 4-5 servers can become total shutdown failures when scaled to, say 100 or more servers. The butterfly effect and all. I also am assuming, given what have now become standard DDoS attacks on expansion launch days, that Blizz has a Red Team that will simulate a couple such attacks during the launch test today, to see how well their detection and defensive intrusion systems work.

Do I think today’s stress test — and possibly one or two follow-up tests — will ensure a smooth Legion launch? No, but with any luck it might help make launch day problems quickly fixable. If you have the time and are on the beta or can get on before the test today, I urge you to participate and report your experiences to Blizz.

Last, the pre-expansion patch (7.0.3 currently) is on the background downloader for most people. There was a little confusion over it yesterday afternoon, first it was on the downloader, then it was taken off, then finally it was back on. But it seems to be there now, a third sign that we are indeed in the final stages of Legion preps. We still have not had an announcement of the end of the PvP season, so in all likelihood we will not see the pre-patch go live on the 19th as some have speculated, but we will certainly see it, I would think, before the end of July. My guess now is the 26th. If it is delayed past that, then I think people should begin to have some legitimate concerns about the readiness of the whole project. It is almost inconceivable that the August 30 launch date would be slipped, so if the pre-expansion patch doesn’t kick in until the first week of August, that to me would signal some pretty serious development problems with Legion. Still, the Legion development cycle has been different in many ways from previous ones, so who is to say that maybe there will only be a one-week hiatus this time between the end of the PvP season and the pre-patch?

So yes, WoD for me is now well and truly in the rear view mirror, and honestly good riddance to it. There were some interesting and fun aspects to it, but I think the flaws — and Blizz’s seeming inability or unwillingness to admit them, much less try to make them better, until the player base pitched a tantrum over them — were so significant as to completely overshadow any good parts. I will not shed a tear over its passing. Buh-bye, WoD, take care that the door doesn’t hit you in the ass on the way out.

Completely off topic: Last night I took my rogue through the Legion initial artifact and class hall quests. It was a blast. I have leveled and played him in WoD as Combat, so in Legion I opted to retain the equivalent Outlaw spec. Serious fun, in my opinion. The class hall in the sewers of Dalaran works well, and I think Blizz has done a good job with it, “secret codes” to gain entrance and all. I did not expect to like the pirate fantasy of the spec, but I really found myself having fun with it, and it definitely was enhanced with the Booty Bay focus for the artifact quest. If I did not dislike melee so much, and if there were not already two new melee specs vying for space in Legion, I would definitely think about maining a rogue. It was that much fun.

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.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: