Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is 5 Days Compensation an Appropriate Response?

Blizzard, as an apology, for the many queue times, world server is down mesages, and lag issues we had on release of warlords of draenor has announced that they will be giving all players that had an active account on the date of release for the game five free days of game time.

I wonder what you think about that.  I'll, or course, share my opinions on the matter.

At face value five free days is an exceptional gift.  If I had to guess I lost maybe a total of, at absolute most, 3 hours game time due to not being able to get into the game at all at one point or another.  Be it world server issues, queue issues, or what have you, there were only, at most, a total of 3 hours of gaming I lost.  But that is just me.  I am not everyone.  Some lost nothing, others lost more.

A few guild mates of mine lost over 24 hours because they just so happened to be unlucky enough to try to open the garrison at the wrong moment and they got themselves caught in a constant state of being both in their garrison and not in their garrison at the same time.  If they tried to leave their garrison the world was there, but completely empty, and they would get rubber band snapped back to their garrison.  When in their garrison they sat there with hundreds of other people trapped there in that one spot but all together and not in their own garrisons.  So they could not do anything in their garrison or outside of it.  They really did lose all that game time, even if they did manage to get in game, they could not do anything while in it.

When it comes to lost time I would be hard pressed to believe that anyone even came remotely close to losing 5 days of play time.  So 5 days is more than ample for a gift to say they are sorry for the inconvenience.  Or is it?

Lets take another guild mate of mine who logged in on release day when he got home from work with a two hours queue looking him in the face.  He sat there while listening to us on voice chat talking about what we are doing in game while he saw a counter counting down.  Sometimes it actually counted up.  He logged on to an 800 queue and as he waited he saw himself move to 1000 in queue, 1200 in queue, 1400 in queue, he was moving backwards, not forwards.

Needless to say he was infuriated.  He paid, just like the rest of us, for this expansion.  He had as much right to be in there as I did.  I took off that day from work so I was already in, some others like himself where not able to do so, so he was sitting on the outside.

He waited in queue for three hours, all three hours he had for that evening, and never made it into the game.  His case, and many like it, are ones that I believe 5 days free play time do not make up for what he was forced to experience.  Sure you can say he only lost 1 day play time, that 1 day he could not log in when he got home from work.  But there is the frustration, anger, and feelings of being left behind to not enjoy what everyone else is enjoying that you can not put a price tag on.

What exactly is 5 days free play time to blizzard?  Nothing.   That is because for most of us we will never even notice that 5 days.  If and when it is added to my account I will never know it is there.  It will make no difference to me.  I will not "feel" the gift, I will not "feel" the apology, and most defiantly my friend that never got in even if he spent the same exact amount of money I did for the game will not "feel" that apology.

Five free days more than amply covers any lost time.  It more than covers any lost time.  But this is not about lost time.  Do you really think someone cares about lost time?  No.  The only people that are crying about lost time are misplacing their anger or just flat out trolling.  It is not an issue of the lost time, it is an issue of not being able to log in on release day for something you have been waiting 14 months for. 

It is the feeling of not being able to experience something that your friends are all talking about.  It is about the feeling of being on the outside looking in.  Every single person in the world has something inside of them that just hates to feel left out.  Even if they will not admit it.  And it is that person waiting in queue.  That person stuck in their garrison not being able to do anything.  That person that can't get to their garrison when they need to go there.  That person that wants to do what others are doing.  That feeling of not being able to do what others are doing sucks.

It sucks a hell of a lot more than 5 days that you would never even notice being added to your account ever could or would make up for it.

How exactly does 5 free days make up for coming home from work excited to play a new game you paid for a year ago and being told you have to wait and never getting to play?

How exactly does 5 free days make up for being suck in game but not being able to do anything and just feeling the frustration of running in one place for hours on end?

From a standpoint of time and time alone, 5 free days of play time is an exceptional compensation for lost time because none of us lost even close to 5 days of time.  But this is not about a pure standpoint of time.  It is about so much more.  It is about people feeling let down, people getting frustrated, people not being able to play something that they paid for a year ago.  The feeling that many of these errors were known on beta and should have been fixed before release.  5 days is not an acceptable apology for that.  Even if blizzard offered a year free time to everyone, while that would be well above and beyond anything even the wildest dreams could lead to, it is still just time.

Blizzard could have given people something tangible in game.  That, in my opinion, would have been a much more suitable apology if you want my opinion.  Something people could see, use, have, instead of 5 days that will just blend in with the days we already have to the point were we never even notice we have them.

My idea would have been this. 

Blizzard revised the refer a friend system a while back where if you refereed a friend to the game you got a token which you could then turn in for a mount or a pet.  Blizzard should have given everyone that had an active account on the date of release one free token that they could exchange for one of the refer a friend rewards of their choice.  Don't you think that riding around on an Emerald Hippogryph or pet battling with your brand new Golden Pig would have been a much better way for them to say "I'm sorry" than giving you 5 days you will never even notice they gave you?

Maybe I am asking too much.  But then again maybe I am not.  The mounts and pets from the refer a friend system are already in game.  They are already something most people are not taking advantage of.  It would cost them nothing and at the same time advertise all these great mounts and pets you can get from referring a friend.  They could have turned a bad occurrence into an amazing act of generosity by giving a free pet or mount to everyone and advertising the refer a friend system at the same time.  They could have turned a disaster of a release day into a possible business boost by offering a free mount or pet and showing people that if they refer some friends they could get even more.

Would that make up for the guy that could not play on release day when he got home from work?  Absolutely not.  Nothing can ever make up for how that person felt when he could not long in.  But it would be way better that 5 free days.  At least this way whenever he sees that emerald hippogryph in his mount book he will know that he got that because blizzard felt sorry for the inconvenience.  Five free days will never, could never, give the feeling that blizzard actually felt sorry for the inconvenience.

So in my opinion, no, 5 free days is not an appropriate response.  Blizzard can take my five free days and shove it where the sun does not shine.  Keep those five free days, hang them on your wall as a reminder, and remember it so the next release never happens like this one again.


  1. Of course it's not the actual time of disconnects and queues that counts. Through the first 3-5 days when at any moment you could be kicked off the game - is not a playing time either (only technically), cause you experience the frustration as much as if you couldn't log in. You can't call that driving when in every moment your wheel can go off or there are sudden needles popping up from your seat. I also agree that 5 days, although seeming an equal compensation, will come mostly unnoticed.

    Meanwhile, pets and/or mounts idea doesn't consider this: what if some players had no opportunity to login with the Draenor launch? It could be a business trip, a vacation, some family issues, pc malfunction - many reasons, including that they decided to WAIT until the first rush is over and quest peacefully. And now they don't get a cool pet/mount just because they didn't took all the pleasures of the first rush, deliberately or occasionally? Not an option.

    So, imo compensation must be related to the real progress that you could have made in-game if not for the delays. Garrisons upgrade? 1 level up? No, because it's personal, and you want to do this by yourself. I think an option could be: resources (both reagents and garrison). You could have farmed them by yourself, if you could log in, so it will compensate your profession progress or add some gold if you decide to sell it at AH. The idea is not perfect, but I would think in this direction.

    1. They would not "miss" out on the mounts /pets. They are all still there for the getting with the refer a friend system if someone really wanted them. If someone made the choice not to take part of the beginning, then they made that choice. They would not get the 5 days either if they were not subbed at the time. So it does consider that. Not sure how you see that as not an option because someone was not there. That is like saying giving the mount for MC should not be an option because someone made the choice not to resub until february. If you were not there, you do not get it. Simple as that.

      Your idea would not work and is not an option in my opinion. What I could get done in 5 hours game time might be 10 times more than what you do or 10 times less than what you do.

      So you can not give people what you "think" they could have accomplished in that time. And then you would need to judge every person individually? Do you realize how much time and effort that would take for all these players?

      Lets say with 5 hours I would have farmed ore and sold it for 10K a stack in those first hours and you would have sat around your garrison checking everything out? How do they know how to compensate us? Absolutely not an option at all. There is no way to judge what "progress" was lost.

      The only thing I could see being even slightly "okay" is if they offered a free level 100 to everyone. Because in 5 days, which is what they are giving, everyone could have leveled a character to 100. And that would be more suitable for what you suggested. People lost the ability to get to 100 faster. But people level at different paces so...

      One flat "gift" to everyone is the only fair way, be it 5 days, a pet or a mount. That is fair.

    2. You see, in cases of event-granted pets or mounts you know about it beforehand. T.ex., yes, I wasn't there, but as a player I did NOTHING to get it. I didn't invite my friend, I didn't grind the dungeon or I didn't care to login in time.

      When you give out a collector's item post-factum, and people who weren't there+couldn't plan to be there (cause they didn't know!) don't have a chance to get it, it's unfair.

    3. I see what you mean.

      I do think however that whatever is given should be blanket and for everyone equally. So the 5 days actually works for that. I just would have preferred to actually "see" something instead of a phantom 5 days that will go completely unnoticed for the most part by anyone that is an auto pay customer.

  2. I had perhaps a 30 minute queue to log in on Thursday and Friday night after work, so the problems mostly didn't affect me. However, I'll give my 2 cents anyways.

    I think the 5 free days is aimed at returning players who resubbed for one month just to check out Warlords and see if they want to return to the game. As you said Grump, 5 free days is nothing for players that have a recurring subscription. I won't even notice it. But for players that paid $15 one time to check out what was happening, losing a whole weekend of their game month is actually a large loss.

    The 5 free days was to make those curious players "whole".

    The 5 free days is more than enough apology for me. And it is good that they put an action with their written apology, so it wasn't just a PR puff piece.

    Also, remember that 5 days sounds like a drop in the bucket for Blizzard profits, and it probably is, but if you consider 10 million subscribers, that is still over 2 million dollars in revenue they are giving up.

    For your friend that sat in queue unable to log in while his guildies explored and played, that sucks, and I feel bad for him, but sometimes bad things happen to good people, and unfortunately thats life.

    1. I guess for someone that only had a single month it "could" feel like something. But five days can still easily get lost and not even noticed even at that rate.

      People like him are the ones I feel the worst for. They got royally screwed.

  3. EU, Twisting Nether. After 5 days still had queues and unusable garrison. Got two days off work unpaid that also got wasted. So at 10% my salary and the frustration (sunday still lvl 91), no, they dnt cover it. It's an apology, not a fix.

    1. Ouch, sorry to hear that. Mostly it is stories like yours right there that I am talking about. People that took off work and did not get paid, or people who did work and only had small windows and could not play in them. I do not think 5 days compensation is fair to you and them in general. It does not even scratch the surface of what you really lost. It is not time. It is frustration.

  4. 5 days is a long way from nothing from Blizzard's perspective. It's (5/30)*$15*10million; or a $25million gift. Somewhere in their admin division; an accountant just unleashed a provision.
    It's a significant apology!

    1. The pet / mount idea I mentioned would be an even better idea then using those numbers. It would cost them nothing and promote the refer a friend system to 10 million people, many of whom might not have even noticed it was there.

      Maybe when someone is turning in their free token they see more than one thing they wanted. They now have a reason to either A) get someone to join with refer a friend or B) refer themselves and start another account so they can get that other item they want.

      So my idea gives a real tangible in game item to people at no cost to them AND could be used as an excellent way to make money.

      So lets compare. My idea gives lots of good will and makes them money vs their idea which throws away 25 million and will go completely unnoticed by the vast majority of the player base.

      They really do not have very smart business people over there do they?

      And no, it is not a significant apology at all. A single player looks at what they got, not what the entire population of the game got. So to the single player they got a gift of a two bucks fifty. Not exactly what I would call significant. However, being that is the price of a coffee and I love coffee, I would never turn down a free cup of it. ;)

      I think the issue with free days is that it is something that will go completely unnoticed. I think they would have been better giving people something they would know they got.

  5. I knew better than be in the game on R-Day or even R+1 or R+2. And yes, I bought the game over a year ago.

    So, to me, the 5 extra days was a small, but nice gesture.


    1. That is actually the best way to think of it. It is small, but a nice gesture. But my job is to be grumpy, so I need to push the envelope. ;)

  6. one more thing - if I don't get back here by Thursday, to everyone -


    Be thankful you aren't bunkered down in some warzone or Ebola area. Be thankful, you get a hot meal and not out on the street.


    1. Happy thanksgiving day to you and yours as well Roo.

      I am thankful we have a new expansion to play finally. lol

  7. Really, it would seem to hit more bases for folks with both a real-world and a virtual-world credit. Give the five days of play time that will feel more significant to short-term players and an in-game item or items that will feel more significant to lifers.

    I appreciate the five days, but will never notice it. A rare mount or pet to which I'd not otherwise have access would make a much larger impression on me.

    1. Seems like you see it as I do. Being an every day player for so many years, the 5 days means nothing and will go unnoticed.

  8. I am liking the idea of a token in my mailbox that I can trade in with, say, the TCG npc, for either game time, or "Laggy" the pet snail, or maybe "Q" the etheral,

    1. Laggy the pet snail would be awesome. Really awesome.

  9. I'm with Roo.

    I was expecting game problems and queues in the first 2 or 3 days. I didn't take time off work, or plan to do anything special in the first couple of days of the game.

    So I just ignored WoW until Monday, by which time things were back to normal. I did get caught by logging out in my Garrison, despite reading the warnings about it, but a reset fixed that, and I won't make that mistake again.

    And so, "a small, but nice gesture" sums it up for me.

    I do think your RaF mount or pet idea would have been a better idea, though.

    1. The mount or pet would have been an amazingly huge gesture of good will. As it seems perhaps more than anyone would even consider. That is why I think it would be great.

      You lucked out skipping the "fun" of the start. I was still able to play for the most part but it was generally annoying as heck.

  10. I probably lost around 8 hours of game time in total, due to the garrison bugs. I avoided it like the plague for several days, so to be able to play almost normally. There were no queues (or I never got caught in one, i've heard about one with around 500 ppl in it once) on my mid pop realm. I have absolutely no sympathy for high pop realm players who were stuck for hours in queue. Apart from a tiny minority who started playing there, people on there chose the realm exactly for this reason. They are on a high pop realm because they explicitely seek for it, so deal with it.

    That said this addon release was a catastrophy. Bugs like we experienced shouldn't happen anymore. Even the BC release wasn't as bad. Hiccups and the occasional crash/lag are ok, but not what we experienced.

    Nevertheless, the 5 extra days are a nice gesture. I'm sure that bliz will try to avoid such a disaster on the next release no matter what, extra days or not. So I'll gladly take the play time.

    1. That population thing is part of the reason I always liked playing on a smaller server. I hated the queue times. Funny how that happened however, I ran away from queue times so they merged my server with the server I ran away from and I got queue times again. Gee, thanks blizzard.

      What gets me about some of the the bugs were they were known bugs on beta for a very long time that were reported over and over and they never did anything about them. Did they think that releasing it to more people would suddenly make the bugs go away?