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How to Launch a Huge Game When you Just Don't Care

Diablo III's launch is breathtaking in its lack of either concern or competence (your pick).

As far as I can tell the lessons we can learn from this launch are:

- If you actually care about customer reaction, like Star Wars: The Old Republic Online you can easily make sure you have enough servers available and the launch is smooth as a baby's bottom. Hah! Noobs. Don't do this. You're Blizzard. You don't care. You don't have to.

- If you know everyone will buy the game anyhow you can get away with having the minimal number of servers and then slowly build it up to match.

- Make the game online only then purposely limit the number of servers (they cost money!) so that even single player is crippled.

- Anyone stupid/hardcore enough to pre-order will forgive you. We already know this from World of Warcraft (mea culpa).

- Though you've experienced crippling server shortages with every single launch, ignore it (see the next item).

- Bobby will have a screaming tantrum if you overspend one cent on servers before there's a crisis.

- You've had a beta, you know how many people each server can handle, and thanks to the digital age you know how many pre-orders you have to at least within a factor of two. Ignore all those numers. Pretend you haven't seen them (see the previous item). You can make do with that Pentium 4 as the login server for launch.

- Instead of having queues, which are annoying but at least are predictable and deterministic, implement a semi-random MAC-like backoff algorithm. Now you can claim your game doesn't have login queues.

- Error 37

- Error 37

- Error 37

- You will still make craptons of money, reinforcing this cycle.

 

Executive Elevator Summary: utter contempt for your users = $$$

No, I didn't buy this since I saw it coming, but I'm following the carnage and getting more amusement from it than the people who bought the game. Not a single person I know who bought it has been able to play it since the beta ended. They've gone to sleep, shedding tears of blood.

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