Finished with a Fizzle

Trion committed their first real misstep this weekend. The big River of Souls world event started with a big two week ramp up  and ended with a single event that lasted less than an hour on Saturday afternoon. Phase two was a single instance of multiple bosses spawning in each zone followed by phase three which was in-game cutscene introducing the new raid instance.

I am completely disappointed.

I spent quite a bit of time with the dailies and looking into the lore behind Alsbeth, the River of Souls, and the Plane of Death. I was also at the level cap early, which never happens. So I was really looking forward into experiencing the event. Unfortunately I was out of town doing family stuff this weekend, so I wasn’t even one of the people stuck in an eight hour queue. Originally, I wasn’t to worried about missing anything. I figured that the event would a least last the weekend and I’d be able to login on Sunday evening and catch up with a little work. It never occurred to me that the event would only run once, since the entire build up phase was repeating rift invasions.

This event was especially frustrating because of Trion’s history of good decisions until now. They did a great job of running their betas. They had a smooth launch, if not perfect, and they impressed me with how well they handled their account security problems a few weeks ago. So given all of that, why did they think it was a good idea to follow up a huge two weeks long (even if it was only planned to be one) build up with a short one hour (or less on some servers) one time only event? It just doesn’t make sense.

By Saturday night, Scott Hartsman has a follow up post where he tries to do some damage control. Like Trion’s done before with other issues, they’re giving out from free items and awarding the event achievements to everyone who’s a subscriber. That’s a nice way of saying sorry. For me though it wasn’t about the loot, it was about getting to be online and experience the content, and that’s gone. To put it another way, getting a t-shirt from Disney World is nice but I’d much rather ride Space Mountain.

Reading through Scott’s post, he talks about how their ambition got the better of them, but I don’t agree with that. The event itself sounds like it was fine, the problem was that it only happened once. The queues and the lag were all a consequence of motivating the entire population of every server to login at the same time, which was exacerbated by bringing the servers down shortly before the event and compressing the login rush even further.  Had the even been scheduled to happen every two to three hours during the course of the weekend, I don’t think they would’ve had nearly the same problems. There still would’ve been the issue with Phase Three only taking place in Stillmoor which locks out any players under level 45 or so, but at least two-thirds of the event would’ve been accessible.

I still logged in Sunday evening and had some fun. I’m not upset or planning to quit over this, but I don’t see myself investing quite as much time or interest in the next event. They’re saying the right things now, but I need to see if they can follow that with actions.

16 Comments

  1. JomuNo Gravatar says:

    I didn’t realize it would end so early as well; I logged in at 1am on sunday and thought my UI was bugged since there was no live event info there 😛

  2. sardNo Gravatar says:

    Keep in mind, the original intent was to have bunches of former bosses re-tuned to raid-level and released to the portal opening. Once defeated the new instance would be opened. This was obviously significantly scaled back due to performance issues.

  3. LongascNo Gravatar says:

    Oh well. At least you won’t for sure go back to… WoW, something I cannot praise enough! 🙂

    Give the game a chance and hope GW2 will become the ultimate sa(i)lvation for everyone. You are usually more lenient with Devs, give Trion some of the patience you usually have for Cryptic! But well, we are used to Cryptic screwing up, probably you expected better from Trion.

    Till then, why not join a game of this cool browsergame called “Blight of the Immortals”? I love it a lot.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      Like I said, I’m not upset or quiting. I’m just disappointed because of how poorly the event was handled. Usually it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but it was so unexpected coming from Trion, who’ve been pretty smart about these things up until now. That’s also where the difference between Trion and Cyptic comes in. Cryptic started out with a pretty low bar and has been raising it, Trion started with a high bar and just messed up a bit.

    • João CarlosNo Gravatar says:

      @Longasc

      GW2 will have the same issues that Trion had with this world event. At GW2 there is no quests, ONLY public quests. The PQ will chain, if you win a PQ you change the condition in game and one event at other place stop (for example, if a group of players detroy the centaur camp, the centaurs stop to attack the village). So, if the dragon for PQ is spawned (because otehr PQ events were compelted), it wills tay there for some time, but not forever: sooner or later it will be killed. Count at sooner than later…

      So, the event will be gone. Finito. Who get there, get the event, who not get there, sorry, it is a dynamic world, and the world changes and bosses killed are dead.

      At a static world, that bosses return, ever. So the players don’t change the world. At a dynamic world, a player have a considerable chance to LOSE an event.

      So, it is good if Arenatnet is looking at RIFT with carefull attention, they will have the same problems with a dynamic world.

  4. YeeboNo Gravatar says:

    The blogosphere seems pretty upset about the event in general. I started to log on Saturday, saw an hour long que and headed off to LoTRO instead. I would have been too low level to see anything anyhow, so I wasn’t really affected much. And I guess I’ll be getting free stuff in the mail now. If I had been paying attention top the event, I imagine I’d be pretty upset as well. Not exactly a shining moment for Trion.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      Definitely not a shining moment. Are you subscribed to the game now?

      • YeeboNo Gravatar says:

        I am actually. I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you guys and join your guild. I’ve mainly been playing a character named Magaera, she’s up to 19 as of last night.

  5. I too was under the same impression that Phase 2 and Phase 3 were going to last longer than just the 30 minutes or so. Even amidst the comments from people who came from the test servers saying that Phase 2 was going to be short, I had no idea just how SHORT.

    Making an event last less than an hour = many players being excluded. Saturday or not, people work, spend time with family, and in general have real life obligations that might keep them away from game in that very narrow time window. And many players being excluded = much unhappiness and disappointment. Trion should have seen that coming, it’s not a difficult equation to figure out. Based on the many good decisions they’ve made so far, I thought they would be smarter than that.

    This was a big mess…but I don’t think it’s going to turn me off from investing in the next event though, because one would hope they’ve learned a lesson with this one. Communication was key to this, and the reps botched it by not keeping the players informed beforehand of the nature of the event. Let’s hope they are more clear next time and if not…well, then they’re not as smart as I think are.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I don’t even remember people from the test server talking about the event. Even if I had, I would’ve assumed that each instance of the event was short but not that it was a unique occurrence.

      Yeah the timing of the whole thing is what gets me. Doing it on a Saturday afternoon, especially one week before a major holiday, just seems odd when you’re not allowing a few days for people to get in and try it out. Plus, they bounced the servers just before to do a hotfix or something, and that just guaranteed that there was a rush of logins flooding in all at once.

      • João CarlosNo Gravatar says:

        I was at alpha server and tested the event. I said to eveyone at my guild that the event was to be short. A lot of people said it at the in game chat.

        Come one. The second phase was to kill bosses at each zone. How much time the ZERG need for kill them? At alpha we had a good quantity of raids doing it and at live the number of raids was greater. And the bosses had 15 k hp and hit for 1 k with aoe, but they had no chance against too many zergs runing the land…

        • BrianNo Gravatar says:

          I don’t think anyone in my guild plays on the alpha server because I didn’t hear anything about what the second phase was.

          I’m also not saying that it should take long to defeat the bosses in each zone. There’s no reason, though, why the event can’t repeat every few hours for people that miss it. It would be exactly like the invasions that happen every so often, and would’ve allowed a lot more people who were stuck in queues or working or whatever to login later on Saturday or Sunday to experience the event.

  6. AnjinNo Gravatar says:

    I’m with MMOGC. With all of that lead up, settinig the next two phases to last a half hour is insane. I got to play it, but I ended up pausing about halfway through phase two to change a diaper. And I didn’t see phase three. If there is any positive to come out of it, it’s that Trion also knows that it didn’t work out right and will plan better next time.

  7. pkudude99No Gravatar says:

    Stillmoor doesn’t lock out players below 45. I’ve run through there to turn in the crafter dailies on 3 different toons. 1 was upper 30’s, both the others were mid 20’s. The mage was least stressful since I had Feign Death (though I didn’t have to use it). The other 2 toons didn’t have FD, but with tab targeting I could still see where the hidden mobs were hiding under the ground and avoid them. And of course now they have porticulum access and just teleport into safe areas anymore, but the runs were perfectly safe. Same for runs to Wyrmspire in Shimmersand — easy peasy to follow the roads, with minor steps off them to avoid a few mobs here and there.

    On topic:

    I missed the event. I was online an hour or so before, but had no idea that the event would be so short. I thought it’d at least last the weekend, so when I logged in that evening expecting to be able to run through it.. yeah, I was very surprised it was already over. And I’ve played every day since launch and I frequent the forums at least 5x a week too. Big communication fail there, yeah.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      It doesn’t lock them out, but it is difficult to get around. I had trouble getting deep enough into the zone to get to the temple of Greenscale’s Blight at 48. Add to that the lag from the event, and I can imagine only bad things happening to a level 27 or so trying to see Phase 3.