On Patch Day, getting a crack at the new five-man dungeons was a privilege enjoyed only by those with inordinate amounts of free time. As I detailed last night, it took me 50 minutes of zoning and re-zoning, just to get into the Forge of Souls for the first time.

Things didn’t go much faster after graduating to the Pit of Saron, and by the time my group had finished that instance, it was so late — and the zoning problems were so persistent — that we ended up calling it.

Because it was Patch Day, and because — like everyone else — I was excited to see the inside of the three new five-man dungeons, I pushed aside some work, neglected a few other things and made the time to run those dungeons. Tonight? Not gonna happen. I have work, and work means deadlines, and missed deadlines mean I don’t make any money.

Of course, for a very large group of players, inventing free time was not an option, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw guildies and group members log off in frustration after varying amounts of time seeing nothing but “Instance not found” and “Additional instances cannot be launched.

Word around the WoW blogosphere seems to echo what I wrote last night — while there’s no doubt Blizzard increased the number of available instances, and devoted more server resources to the three new dungeons, it still wasn’t enough. And despite all the best intentions, and the folks working late into the night at Blizz HQ, that does not fare well for our favorite gaming company.

For us — the players — the short-term prognosis is we’ll be bumping into the same problems: Almost everyone who was logged on during peak hours yesterday will be back tonight, banging their heads against the same lag and zone-in issues.

Over at WoW Insider, Adam Holisky details the technical points, but also points out that Blizzard — and its GMs and CMs — could do a much better job of communicating what needs to be done, what they’re doing on their own end, and when playes can expect some relief from these server overload problems. I wholeheartedly agree:

…this is still a mess, and likely will continue during prime playing time for the immediate future. So what does Blizzard need to do to solve this? There are two primary areas focus needs to be put in.

First, the instance capacity needs to be increased. If we’re seeing this now, on a patch day, imagine what it’s going to be like when Cataclysm hits and everyone of every level of gameplay will be running instances. The game will not be enjoyable for large swaths of the player base if they can’t run dungeons, and that’s a risk Blizzard probably shouldn’t take given alternative games on the horizon.

Secondly, Blizzard PR and Community Managers need to start getting the word out about this now. There is something almost psychologically defeating about seeing this error pop up again after we were told for so long that it was going away. PR and Community need to begin an immediate and massive campaign laying out the issue, what’s being done to fix it, and how long the fix might take. They don’t need to give a date, but saying something like “in the coming weeks we’ll begin expanding instance capacity again” would be a very good thing. Just letting the entire playerbase know they’re doing something is exponentially better than what they’re doing now (which is just a few blue posts buried amongst tons of others from the past few days).”

Related posts from Stormstrike:

The Frozen Halls: Enhancement Shaman Gear

Fall of the Lich King Trailer: So how easy will it be to kill Arthas?

Forge of Souls: Finally got in!

The Forge of Additional Instances Cannot Be Launched

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