Posts Tagged ‘cryptic studios’

How not to not handle issues

25 October 2009 2 comments

Champions OnlineOkay, it was a Saturday night when this happened, but still. As MMO developers, we all know that it’s important to keep our services running as close to 24/7 as possible, even on patch and expansion days. Our players want to play, and we want them to. I would hope.

I’m already iffy on Cryptic’s Champion’s Online, their second superhero-themed MMO. I’ve played their City of Heroes/City of Villains, now owned by NCSoft, for a couple of years and enjoyed it. Champions? Not so much. Granted, the game is still very much new, so there’s a whole lot of balancing that needs to be done to the game. As it stands, I’m stuck on level 19 with a fire character who can’t seem to do much except die. A lot.

Anyway, I was playing Saturday, or rather: I wanted to play Saturday. It was the afternoon, several hours after my early morning playing session, and I decided to pop in again and see if I could get far with a new character I created. Only I couldn’t log in. It took about 20 minutes for the character selection screen to display, and then another 10 or so for the map server to pop up. I simply assumed, at first, that the problem was with my connection, or even hardware. But later that evening, when I tried several more times, I popped onto the forums to see if others were having the same issue.

Champions defeated by server issuesTons of players were having the same issue I was. Not only that, at the time of this screenshot, the problem had been going on for over four hours. I can only imagine that either CO‘s community team is off over the weekend, or maybe their CS didn’t notice that their login server was shot to shit. All sorts of bells and whistles should have gone off within, say, 15 minutes of the problem making itself known. To be honest, I don’t know if any did, or didn’t. But what I do know is that on a busy Saturday night, players couldn’t play a game, and it took almost five hours before the game’s developer communicated with its players that there was an issue, and they were trying to resolve it.

They did wind up taking the server down, doing whatever magic operations at Cryptic does, and gave players a two hour downtime window. But they got the problem resolved within an hour, and heroes began cleaning the streets of Millennium City soon after.

Always keep your community informed. Even if it’s just a “we’re looking into reports” post. Otherwise you lose the trust of your players, and losing trust means losing subscribers, and no one wants that.

Categories: MMO Tags: ,