To my surprise, I got invited to join the WoW Class Stress Test. The goal of stress tests are to break the server. Blizzard wanted as many people as possible to try to log into the game at the same time.
I am interested in playing WoW Classic when it launches. I started playing World of Warcraft back in “Vanilla”, and about a month or so before The Burning Crusade expansion launched.
So, I remember all kinds of wonkiness that happened back then. My hope was to get into the game and test out some actual bugs (instead of “not a bug” features).
The email I got about the WoW Classic Stress Test said it was ok for players to post screenshots and/or stream the Stress Test. I showed up about 20 minutes before the Stress Test would start so I had time to set up for streaming.
When 4:00 hit, everyone who was there to participate in the Stress Test got their first opportunity to login. Players had to put in their email that is connected to Blizzard’s games and their password.
I did not want to stream until after I’d actually gotten into the Stress Test. The reason was that disconnections were likely to happen. It didn’t seem like a good idea to be typing in my email, and my password, while streaming.
The screenshot above shows that I got as far as getting the game to understand that I had logged in. So far, so good!
The Realm Selection screen had only one option: “Classic Stress Test”. It was a PVP realm. I haven’t done much PVP in World of Warcraft, but was willing to give it a try on a Stress Test. My plan was to roll a Tauren Warrior and hope for the best.
“Realm is Full.” My position in the queue (this time) was 871. The server was trying to estimate how much time it would take before I could expect to get into the game.
“You have been disconnected from the server.” I was expecting this to happen, especially at the start of the Stress Test. Too many people, all trying to login at the same time, makes the server unhappy. It happens in alphas and betas, too.
The thing is, getting disconnected from WoW while trying to log into the game is something I remember happening in “Vanilla”. Players just put up with it and logged in again, assuming that they would get into the game eventually.
After getting disconnected over and over and over again, I decided to talk about it a bit on social media. There must be other people who were playing “login roulette”, just like I was.
I posted a link to my Twitch stream on Mastodon, with the explanation that I’d been disconnected from the Stress Test several times and would start streaming if/when I got into the game. On Twitter, I simply noted that I was getting disconnected a lot.
“Login Servers are Full” My position in the queue (this time) was 2811. This number turned out to be one of the highest queue numbers I’d see during the Stress Test. My estimated time to wait was 4 minutes. I could do 4 minutes.
Again, this was something I remember happening during “Vanilla” WoW. I mean, the login problem didn’t happen every time, but it happened often enough that it wasn’t a surprise. Players knew that they would probably be able to access the server their characters were on…. eventually.
About 45 minutes of the Stress Test had passed by, and I was still hadn’t been able to “beat the login boss”. I’d lost count of how many times I’d gotten disconnected.
On social media, I posted: “Starting to wonder if the login – select server – get into game – process is the thing Blizzard is doing a stress test on.”
I wasn’t kidding. To me, it seemed like a good idea for them to get a bunch of people to all login at the same time to see what happens. Ideally, Blizzard would learn something from the Stress Test that would enable them to make the launch of WoW Classic go smoothly. Or, as smooth as possible.
The queue numbers were getting lower and lower as people gave up and stopped trying to log into the Stress Test. Maybe they got frustrated. I decided to stick around as long as I could just to see what happened.
The screenshot above shows that the Classic Stress Test server is “Locked”. This, too, is something that actually would happen during “Vanilla”.
It wasn’t super common (at least, not in my experience). From what I remember, “Locked” meant that the server had reached the maximum number of players and would not allow anyone else in.
When this happened, a player had two choices. Wait around until somebody logged out and hope that you got their spot. Or, start an alt on a realm that wasn’t locked right now.
Eventually, the Realm Selection screen showed that the Classic Stress Test realm was “Offline”. It was greyed out, and it was not possible to select it by clicking on it.
On Mastodon, I posted: “Have reached the realm selection part of the login process (yet again). It is greyed out. What once said “low” population… now says “Offline”. We broke the WoW Classic Stress Test?”
We were still within the timeframe for the WoW Classic Stress Test. I wasn’t sure if the realm would come back online, or if we broke it beyond repair. The only thing to do was to keep trying to login and see what happened.
Round and round I go!
On social media, I wrote: “One hour into the Classic WoW Stress Test, and still haven’t beaten the ‘login boss’. Starting to think Blizzard’s stress test is specifically designed to test the login/disconnect issue. If so, then we broke it. Good job, us!”
It was around dinner time, and my husband, Shawn, ordered food. I decided that I would keep trying to get into the Stress Test until the food arrived. If I hadn’t gotten in by then, I would give up and go eat.
The food arrived before the WoW Classic Stress Test ended. I never did manage to get in to the game. I am not disappointed. The game will launch in August, and I’ll be able to play it all I want.
Overall, Blizzard provided those who participated in the Stress Test with a rather accurate experience of what it was like to login to “Vanilla” WoW back in the day. This example was more extreme than typical, but definitely has the right flavor.