Hey Tobold, just a question on private servers: I used to play WoW and I still have all the files on my computer so its pretty easy for me to quickly download the most recent patches and try out the game on a private server. Recently I quit WAR and tried out the game on one to see what the game was like (even though I know private servers don't give a very good indication.) especially to check out the PvP aspect of WoW. In the end I found the experience just of the private server to be bad enough that it was really impossible to test out the game, so much so that I made a video of it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQAnzPnkB_k - outlining all the awful aspects of playing on a world of warcraft private server.
So, what I really wanted to ask you is what do you think of private servers? Do you think there is any point in having them? Why do you think Blizzard decided to allow them while other companies such as Mythic ban them?
I was thinking this morning about whether any games recently have offered 'fresh start' servers for games when they release expansions/new classes and if people would play on them. Wondered if you could remember any. I posted something brief about it on http://nerfthecat.wordpress.com
Didn't EQ do something similar a few months ago? IIRC these progression servers reset the whole game with expansions being re-released for them as people levelled. A quick check on Wikipedia suggests that all such servers are now closed, so I guess it wasn't a long term success or that the players were brought up to a level where they were comparable with others.
What exactly are we talking about? New servers are one thing, and they aren't specifically made to offer a fresh start, but just to cope with growing player numbers. With quite a lot of games currently merging or closing servers, there isn't much of that happening. "Progression servers", offering a different sort of server, without the expansions, is a different animal. The problem is that it isn't as easy. Would a WoW progression server really have WoW exactly as it was 4 years ago, including all bugs and lack of features? Hey, the original WoW didn't even have multiple hotbars, do you want that back? Probably not. So if you create a "remade" WoW 1.0, with a level cap of 60, but all the improvements introduced in various patches and expansions, you get a different game again. At what level would a death knight start on that server? Or wouldn't there be any? Would there be draenei and blood elves? As you can see, not so easy.
On the subject of private servers: Why don't MMO makers release the server code once they stop supporting a game so that those that want to keep playing can do so (ie Tabula Rasa, Hellgate, and others.)?
For the past couple of months, since the release of WOTLK, players(on my server at least) have been finding themselves unable to zone into, or are getting kicked from instances at an alarming rate. Some members of the top guilds on my servers are postulating that Blizzard did not add enough instance servers to cope with the higher demand. I dont have the link handy, but one report I saw mentioned that Blizzard added over 70 instance servers for the BC expansion when it was released, yet only 38 for WOTLK. The issue is becoming problematic on my server to the extent of this happening several times a day. Either players cannot enter an instance due to "instance cannot be created, please try again later" to the more common problem of the instance servers crashing altogether. One has to look no farther than Blizzards own financial reports to know they are making money hand over fist, so financial issues should not be the cause of them not upgrading/adding more instance servers. I am not a Blizz basher by any stretch of the imagination, but just today I was twice kicked back to Dalaran after two instances I was in crashed. It's not an issue with the current patch either, as this has been happening since WOTLK launched. Many times I've tried to enter old BC instances for achievements only to be met with the aforementioned instance error message.
Could Blizzard be at or near the maximum capacity for its current infrastructure? This is something that needs to be looked into.
Actually Myst Online DID release it's source code to the public so let the fans mod it and play around with the game. You can read about it here http://www.themmoexperience.com/2008/12/myst-online-real-innovation.html . It would have been neat if Tabula Rasa and Hellgate London would have went the same road instead of just fading into oblivion.
A bit late..... anyway I would just write a comment on something found in WoW.
about the chopper (motorbike).... Recently I saw an ally (i'm horde) on one of those.... started to nuke him until hp went to zero.... surprise... the ally was at full hp as nothing happened. To me, having a vehicle that protect you 100% is something wrong. Shouldn't exist.