Today Guild Wars 2 put out one of its last stress tests to those who have pre-purchased the game and are able to get in on the betas they offer. However, with an hour into the stress test the problems have started rolling in.
To start with, the first half an hour of the stress test was nothing more than error messages when trying to sign in. Fans dashed to the Guild Wars 2 Facebook site to complain. The Guild Wars 2 staff were quick to hop on the issue, assuring the players they would be able to get on within 30 minutes. The minutes ticked down as people hovered their pointer over the log in button and as promised the site was up and people were able to log in and play the game.
This only lasted a few moments before everything came crashing down once more. For some, including me, this crash was so hard it froze up their computers. Consecutive attempts afterward were met with disappointment. It seemed that all the work the staff at Guild Wars 2 had done to make their game run smoothly had melted into a bubbling pool of failure.
But the joke was on us. As one of the last, and perhaps the very last, stress test before the game is released, the folks over at Guild Wars 2 decided to put everything to the test and made a "worst case scenario" so they would be prepared for anything when opening day came. And I can think of no worse of a situation than what I've experienced.
While I find what they have done to be clever, and I understand that betas will have issues like this, to intentionally set something up like this without letting the players know about it beforehand is a cruel thing to do to the fans. I can just see people rushing to see if something is wrong with their operating system. Others thinking their program had become corrupted so they wipe the game from their computer and spend the next 5 hours or more downloading everything a second time. Only those who ran to the Guild Wars 2 Facebook page to complain would finally know why things were so terrible. Advance notice of their intentions would have saved many from panicking and taking situations into their own hands when they need not have.
I've been with this game since the first beta event came out, and what they have to offer is something beautiful, unique and has the potential to be the bar that all MMORPGs will be compared to and strive to be like in the future. My advice to these future game companies is not to make the mistake guild Wars 2 employees did. Let your audience know what you are planning if it is going to directly effect their game play. If you do not, chaos will ensue. Sweet, sweet chaos. On second thought, maybe you should be all secretive. Watching the masses bounce around in anger and confusion is almost as entertaining as the game itself. At least to me.