“The game is old! SSG is a small outfit! Not everyone can be like Blizzard! Go work for SSG if you think you can do better! Stop complaining! Its only a few days, suck it up! Data center stuff is complex! Lots of things can go wrong! They are working hard to fix it! They should let us pre-order Sharn while waiting!”
~ Someone summing up all of the white knight responses to the outage
I like to pride myself on having a diverse game library, especially in the MMO space. That way I can limit my losses, especially with content droughts and downtime and even cancellations. So what are the odds that the two main games I’m playing these days would be taken offline for an unexpected multi-day stretch of data center work?
Turns out that those odds are pretty high.
As you probably saw, last week both LOTRO and DDO went from a lengthy 22-hour downtime to an astounding stretch of multiple days. The accounts kept tweeting out extensions to the downtime, always pushing the end time to four, six, or twelve hours ahead. At first, it was annoying. Then it became a joke. Then it became genuinely worrisome.
For the most part, it was of mild annoyance to me personally. I am still waiting for LOTRO to unlock Moria and give us the next update, so I didn’t have a lot I had to do there, and DDO was mostly becoming a nice nighttime routine for a half-hour or so as I got through another mission. I actually didn’t game much at all last week, feeling uninspired to dig into other titles and generally being very tired. Lots of early nights.
But you know how it is when someone takes away something that you were used to — after a while you begin to crave it. It’s one thing for me to not to play a game on a given night because it’s my choice, it’s another when I’m denied it by an outside party. By Friday evening, I was really jonesing for a session in either game.
I know that SSG is a small outfit, but for whatever virtues they have in handling these games and producing good content, their lack of communication and general incompetence in handling the actual operation of these games is a sore spot with me. I wasn’t among the crowd pleading for patience and throwing love at SSG last week. I was among those shaking their heads as I remembered the great 2015 downtime and the horrible data center move in 2016. It’s kind of par for the course for this company and while I’m not going to be mean and call them names, I’m not going to excuse how badly it handled this. At the very least, we should’ve gotten more communication than the cut-and-paste Twitter extensions — the first time the studio really talked was Friday evening, two days after this whole mess began.
And while the community was divided in its attitude toward SSG, it was pretty united in the shared misery of being ejected from a regular gaming schedule. Players had fun on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord sharing memes and suggesting other games and mentioning how much they got done in other areas of their life. It always helps to know others are going through what you are — makes the waiting more bearable.
In the end, it would end, and we would all play again. Maybe this will be a momentary reminder not to take our favorite worlds for granted. Maybe it shakes our faith in SSG’s capability to handle these titles a little more. As long as I can log in and play, I don’t care.