(Imported from old blog 2008-09-11)
After a fair few of my friends had decided on actually playing Warhammer Online, I figured I might as well give it a shot, and decided to pre-order this last sunday to play a bit of open beta this week, oh what fun!
First off, I want to point out that I told everyone I talked to that they really should play on US servers instead of EU ones, as Mythic once again has partnered with GOA and have them handling their european version of things. Based on my DAoC experience with GOA, I really didn't feel comfortable with this - as they were basically screwing up at every turn. One of the best "features" they had was that content patches/fixes and so on were released in USA, then 2-3 months later they were released in the EU. This delay was justified by GOA due to the fact that they needed to translate the patch into German and French before they could apply it here.
Little did I know that the translation-team most likely got a new job now, handling the authentication system for pre-orders...
At launch of open beta, the keys were sent out, and all was well, that is, until someone actually tried to enter a key to activate their account, at which point things just stopped working. Now, the registration of accounts and keys are handled in the innovative and oh so userfriendly thingy called "Flash", and for some reason, when you have a large amount of people trying to access this flashy stuff on a webserver where scaling to more than the 2 people who tested it wasn't an issue, things really go bad.
Skip ahead a bit, and we're at monday, I've just received my warhammer online preorder beta key - spent some time downloading (and re-downloading) the client, and I really want to register my account and enter the beta! But no, registrationpage just redirects to the main page, which states that they need all available resources to handle the authentication process, and as such, they've taken down the account creation!
Oh well, no WAR that day, wait one more day, and finally account creation is back up! For some reason, I'm having an issue registering my account, as both email and username is in use, turns out I signed up there ages past, most likely to sign up for the beta myself! Alright, I figure I can probably use that one if I remember my password... time to enter the key and start the WAR! I enter the key, and I'm once again eagerly anticipating the WAR, key validation request has been submitted it says.
I still can't sign in, and this time I read around a bit and find out that they're doing something "smart" for the validation. As it says in the QA...
Q: I put my details in, now what?
A: All you need to do now is to wait for an email from us. This email will either confirm that your validation is complete (in which case you can log in and play) or that there was a problem with your details (in which case you need to go back and resubmit your information).
Q: Why are you doing it this way?
A: To reduce the load on the database server we have an asynchronous system. What this means is that when you put your details in, the system will store it, another system will then check it and confirm the details to you. This means the whole system is much smoother.
Q: How long before the confirmation emails arrive?
A: This will depend but the current turn around seems to vary between 1 and 2 hours, it is possible that some people will be waiting for longer whilst others will get a reply sooner. If you haven't received an email yet, be sure to check your junkmail folders or spam filters.
Alright, I go back to other things for the time being and wait for an email...
Late that evening, about 7 hours after I submitted my key, I got no less than 7 confirmation mails, all saying the same thing, there was an error with my request, seemingly my password didn't quite match what I had entered in ages past back in the day, it told me to doublecheck my details before trying again. Of course, what I'd usually do is just find the login form and try a few times till I find which password I used, but, seeing how they had decided to disable login on the main page, this wasn't possible - and I don't think the 7hours per attempt way is going to fly really.
So, new account, I remember password now, and while waiting - EA has decided to send me another open beta key for some reason, who am I to complain... register my account, and enter the other key now, just in case. Then it's all about the waiting again...
14 hours later, I get 8 confirmation mails telling me that I've entered a key, and need to verify that I actually entered that, click on a link and that's all done! Now, the mail claims "Once you have confirmed your registration by clicking on the button, you can log onto the portal with your login and password, and access the Subscription section to set up your account. You can also log onto the game. The login and password are the same for both the portal and the game." - which really can't be too true, as it's now over 24 hours since I verified my account, and I'm still not able to log onto the game!
I have now registered yet another account for use with my other key, and hoping one of them magically will work at one point, preferably before the game goes live next week...
Now, I'd like to just clarify that this is really only related to the GOA handling of Warhammer Online. There have been no reports of anything even remotely resembling this madness on the US servers. If nothing else, I'm having a great time going "I told you so" to all my friends who didn't belive me regarding GOAs inability to do things right. Only thing so far I'm upset with Mythic for, is the fact that they have the same issue with the patcher that they had with the DAoC login, when you open it, it doesn't have focus - which really makes it annoying for people who just want to type in their login details.
In closing, this really makes me wonder what the non-smooth option GOA had envisioned would look like, and had I known this before I placed my despair order, I would've most likely grabbed the http://www.despair.com/effort.html poster as well... :)