For those of you who have lives, you wouldn’t know that Blizzard just restarted the servers for an emergency fix. The fix was to a Warrior ability called Rampage - it allowed a warrior to get 100k+ attack power and one shot bosses.
So they fix that, fine.
Doing that, they introduce a whole bunch of new bugs… The most obvious one being that you now can’t mail offline characters.
Was this system designed by monkeys? I have never heard one thing about the WoW infrastructure that made me think anything else. And hell, the programmers involved must be UBER skilled to somehow introduce a bug in a skill. That stuff should be scripted and shouldn’t really be that freaking difficult.
Anyway, shit like this amazes me. How many billions do you have to make to hire programmers that aren’t morons?
Apparently the bug is you can not send mail to characters that have not logged on since the patch. I was trying to send something to an alt, and could not. So I:
logged my main out
logged the Alt
logged the Alt off
logged back in with my main
Then I could send the Alt mail. I was Very annoying bug for the time I spent disabling mods in a vain attempt to solve a problem, that turned out to have nothing to do with my mods.
Well honestly that does not make much sense because the char I was able to send mail to has not been logged on since like last friday and the char I was unable to send mail to was logged on this morning.
Anything of that size and complexity is going to be a bit unstable. Even moreso as you cram features into it’s (more than) two year old codebase. Combine that with ZOMG EMERGENCY hotfixes, and even the best stuff out there is going to have some issues.
Don’t believe it. I’ve recently started work at a new company with a bit of a monster application that has been in development for almost 10 years and is undergoing some serious changes. With the right processes in place things can and do go smoothly.
I assume they’re very wealthy morons. ;) All mmorpgs seem prone to this. In City of Heroes, they managed to turn all the ice in the Frostfire Mission (in the Hollows) invisible at the same time they introduced the winter event stuff. I’m convinced they often “cut and paste” code to add things, and then they don’t realize they’ve “removed” code from another part of the game and it breaks. Oh it’s probably not that simple, but it seems like every update in COH breaks something in the previous half dozen updates. So at least take comfort it seems to happen in every game. :D
It seems like constantly updating a 2-3 year old base code is like playing a game of Jenga. Sooner or later you take out the wrong bricks or put them in the wrong hole, and BOOM.
Why should it make a difference? () We are talking about code maintenance procedures. If the code you are working with is well designed and the maintenance process is well thought out and implemented things can go very smoothly.
For the record we have about 10 000 users, there are roughly half a dozen separate modules that all share data from seperate databases and these modules comprise of almost 5 million lines of code (Not all written in the same language.). While it’s not quite WOW but it has its own set of challenges. All this would be unmanagable if it weren’t for the serious procedures in place. We also manage to respond to issues requiring same-day fixes (Even if we need to put in some overtime to do it.)
WoW has 7 million users or so and they force all of their patches out at the same time. Do your users get to decide when to apply patches, maybe have their IT staff test it out and roll it out during a low point in the work cycle?
You’ve also got MMO players who are always clamoring for changes and refinements to existing systems and a user community that communicates bugs and exploits amongst each other at light speed. How many posts per day are you getting from users on YOUR forums?
We don’t have gamers clamoring for changes, we have banks and lawyers and banks with teams of lawyers clamouring for massive changes and rewrites.
But this is all willy waving. My point is that it doesn’t matter whether it is a pimply faced teen or a bank CEO and their panel of trained shaks/lawyers applying the pressure, if you have a well designed and well implemented code base and proper investigation, analysis, code review and testing procedures things can go well. My guess is that Blizzard has none of these.