Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Should Europeans play WAR on US servers?
A lot of European WAR fans are currently considering the option of playing Warhammer: Age of Reckoning on US servers instead of on GOA European servers. Can't really blame them, GOA hasn't done much to earn our confidence. Big announcements of how nothing could possibly go wrong, then things going wrong, radio silence followed by apologies, and the account site still not working: No wonder some people think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The US has a working account site, and an open beta which by all reports is running quite well.
But playing on US servers has serious downsides. One is ping, the time between something happening on the server, the information getting to you, and your reaction travelling back to the server. I have no actual measurements for WAR, but for other games I observed about 50 ms ping to Europeans servers, and over 200 ms ping to US servers. Okay, that's only fractions of a second, but in a heated PvP battle fractions of a second can make all the difference.
The other big downside is time zones, I blame Copernicus. :) WAR, much more than WoW, is a social game. You *want* to be online when everyone else is online, be it for public quests or for PvP. Europeans live 6 to 9 time zones ahead of the US, so unless you play day and night anyway, you're not going to be online much during US prime time. Your US guild plans a big keep raid event, but they'll schedule it for the time when they are all online, which is 3 am in the morning for you. Been there, done that, it's not a good idea.
Of course for me it is easy to be confident that WAR will run on launch day in Europe, as I have that free US account as backup (Side note: Anyone noticed that I'm the only one reporting to have got one? I can't believe Mythic created that service just for me. There must be lots of game journalists and maybe even bloggers out there who also received one of those and kept mum.). But I'm really hoping that the European launch goes well, even if the open beta didn't. I want to play on European servers, not only for the ping and time zone, but also because my guild and all my friends will be on the Euro servers.