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Postcards From Unable to Connect

By Shamus
on Thursday Dec 23, 2010
Filed under:


So I’m playing WoW. Can’t find a the cave where I’m supposed to kill some Burning Blade guys. Check online. Yes, other people are having trouble with this. The map marker isn’t helpful and the given directions are basically sabotage. But players have posted the coords for the cave. 52, 28, eh? Too bad the game doesn’t tell you your position. Fine. I log out, download an addon to tell me my position, and thirty seconds later I try to log back in and I can’t. Wha?


I mess around. I remove the plugin. I click on the “click here for more information” link that it gives when it can’t log in, but that just takes me to a super-generic page which poses the question, “What sort of problem are you having?” The choices are stuff like crashing, hacked accounts, billing issues, etc. Nothing about not being able to log in. I could submit a support ticket, but I tried that four months ago when I wanted to re-activate an old account and I am still awaiting a reply.

Sigh. I guess we have to resort to the forums. Let me get my boots on.

Ah. There we are. Top of the page. Well, it’s the top-most real post, after the twelve(!!!) sticky posts above it. People unable to connect. Wow. A lot of people. It goes on for a couple of pages. “I can’t connect!” followed by “me too!” and “same here” for dozens and dozens of posts. All of them in the last hour. Then there is a bit of stupid trolling, like you get in large communities like this when players get frustrated and bored and start amusing themselves with mischief. I glance up to the top and see that this thread goes on for seventy-eight pages. In one hour.

Well, this thread went to hell in a Netherweave Bag. Let’s just look at the last page and see what’s going on. Let’s see, the last post is…

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, walnuts and butter. Divide mixture evenly between the prepared pans. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, orange juice and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the orange zest. Pour the mixture evenly over the crunch layer in the pans.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting. Frost (crunch side up) between layers, on top and sides. Arrange orange sections on top, then refrigerate.
4. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat the vanilla frosting until light and fluffy, then mix in the whipped topping. Stir in the orange and lemon zest. Use frosting on completely cooled cake layers.

People are trading Christmas cookie recipes and baking tips. I love it.

Merry Christmas Blizzard, you lovable fumbling goofs.

Comments (44)

  1. Mark says:

    You’d think with all their vast riches that multiply on a monthly basis, they’d be able to keep the servers up.

    Yeah, I know, it’s not efficient network administration to have enough capacity to match peak usage, but you’d think they could rent some cloud capacity or something.

    MMOs don’t refund players for unscheduled downtime, do they?

    • Vegedus says:

      WoW does, sometimes. Looking back at my transaction history, I see all these single, free days of game time that Blizzard gives out when the servers ball are really busted. I’m not sure what the exact criterion is for them to give out those days are, though.

    • Veloxyll says:

      Given the time that this was actually AT, I don;t think it counts as peak usage (It must;ve been, oooo, 6-7 AM over there)

      I think bonus points have to go for having an error message that says “The account details you entered are incorrect.” Way to make me paranoid Blizz >: ( (and yes, I have an authenticator, which means the only way for me to get hacked is to download a file that sends my logins somewhere else as I type them)

  2. Vegedus says:

    It probably started with the tangent “What to do while we can’t log in”.

    Also, I would note, since it seems you don’t have a lot of experience with WoW add-ons that they really shouldn’t be able to keep you from logging in. They might make some weird error messages or errors in-game, or even boot you violently, but between the twenty different add-ons I use every time I re-activate my account, they really shouldn’t be able to affect the “meta” screens at all. Afterall, wow mods only have the capability to access the UI.

    • Shamus says:

      I didn’t really think the addon was the culprit. It was just one of those “try EVERYTHING to make sure” type deals. I mean, I’d been in the game 3 mins earlier and that was the only thing that changed.

      What I’m betting is that the authentication servers were already down when I was in the game, but the realms were still up. So if I hadn’t logged out I’d still be fine.

      • They did the “weekly Tuesday server maintenance” on Wednesday this week, just FYI.

      • Ian says:

        You’d be surprised at the odd things that can pop up “y’all can’t log in” messages.

        I ended up buying a Creative X-Fi sound card a little while ago. I was running Vista at the time (7 now) and wound up downloading Creative’s ALchemy tool to enable EAX effects in supported games. It appears that ALchemy drops a DSound.dll in the game’s folder, essentially using the way that the Windows looks for DLLs to tell the game that EAX is supported, then translates the older DirectSound commands into fancy new OpenAL instructions so that all effects can be used and hardware accelerated.

        Anyhoo, I was suddenly and inexplicably unable to log in one day. Removing Creative’s DSound.dll fixed the problem and left me scratching my head. If I were to guess, Blizzard’s anti-h4x0r software thought that there was something amiss in the strangely non-Microsoft DSound.dll that was being loaded and prevented me from logging in.

        I very much doubt that a bundle of Lua/XML code would ever trigger such a thing, but it still shows that your login information can be refused for bizarre and unclear reasons due to a configuration issue on your machine.

      • Trix says:

        Especially considering how simple coords addons tend to be compared to others, since the coords already exist internally.

    • Hal says:

      Unless you accidentally downloaded something malicious and lost your account in that span of time.

      I swear, if you had to design medicine to take someone’s account, these guys would make humanity immortal.

  3. Rockbird says:

    Strange that you should have that kind of issues with Blizz support. I guess it’s your bad luck with games in general rearing its ugly head (how else is it you always encounter every gamebreaking bug in every game :P ).

    See, I bought SC2 a couple of days ago but by mistake I got it for the wrong region (NA rather than EU). I mailed support and they had it changed within two days. So at least sometimes it works beautifully!

    • Nyaz says:

      Although the fact that there’s a difference between EU and NA versions infuriates me to no end…

    • Will says:

      Blizzard support is very swingy. Sometimes they’re fast and have the problem fixed in days (or even hours), other times you don’t hear from them for over a week. I think it’s a side-effect of having so many clients, their support just can’t handle peak times.

  4. Jarenth says:

    This just in: the Internet is still amazing.

    Also, I’m fairly certain I know the quest you’re referring to, and yes, the coordinates the game gives you are bald-faced lies. The real cave entrance is quite a way south from there; just walk east and then north of Razor Hill, edging that ravine, and you’ll get there. Why do I even know this by heart? I don’t know.

    Merry Christmas, one and all.

    • Ian says:

      I know which quest you’re referring to, and I believe the coordinates are “correct” in the sense that they show you where the target is located. The problem is that it doesn’t give you directions to the mouth of the cave but the target that’s inside of the cave.

      I think that this is a limitation of the engine (it seems that caves like that are built into the world and are “one floor below” the hills above it), as this issue has affected every quest tracking system that I’ve used in every zone (aside from the ones with shallow caves, but that goes without saying). I’ve trained myself to just look for nearby cave entrances on the map (which, thankfully, do appear, even if they can be hard to pinpoint in some zones) if I run into cave quests.

      • Jarenth says:

        That’s what I was assuming what was going as well, but the cave in question isn’t really that big and the cave entrance is reálly far off from the target.

        It could also be a holdover from pre-Shattering WoW, when the cave for that quest actually wás at where the quest is pointing.

    • kmc says:

      Yeah, the game tells you lies (LIES, I say!), but I think he was talking about player-given coordinates–or did I read it wrong? Those are usually pretty dependable. Anyway, Shamus, there is a command; I think it’s just /loc or something like that, and of course, I’m at work so I can’t look it up. I use an add-on that has the coords shown under my minimap at all times, but before that, I made a macro with the single command in it and I’d just spam that key as I was running somewhere.

  5. Suraj says:

    Be glad you are not Tauren. The boss for the critical quest in Tauren storyline War Dance hacks surrounding space and refuses to be engaged. There is a lot of anguish about it since cataclysm beta to no avail. I rolled a Tauren pally and he is basically stuck at that quest. Since I am trying to gather the lore I am also stuck.

  6. poiumty says:

    9 pages in… i think 30 seconds is the worst i’ve experienced. People suddenly can’t log in and the tech support forum goes NUTS. These types of problems usually get resolved quickly, at the expense of several saturated topics.

    But it takes a certain kind of man to run to his website and make an elaborate post about it. :)

  7. Robyrt says:

    How would a forum need twelve sticky posts? One for the rules, one for the FAQ, one for events, one “Share your username and say hello” thread – and now I’m drawing a blank.

    • Andrew B says:

      One for useful links.
      One for community created guides.
      One for, err, Goldshire cyber-play?

      Ok, I’m done. Anyone else?

    • Hal says:

      I’ve noticed in the past that a lot of posts remain “stickied” well after their shelf-life is ended.

      Still, much of the time the posts that stick around on the support forums are of the “If you’re having problem X, here is what you should do about it or how you should report it to us. Please don’t spam the forums with your problem if it is already addressed here” type.

      Nobody ever reads those, but they’re nice ideas.

      • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynicism and venting says:

        I try to read them, but they seem so rarely to go beyond “don’t run anything on the background, disable anti-virus and firewall, click on ‘fix everything’-button in settings, don’t do anything obviously bad, if you’re still having issues search the forums with the search function that ignores half your words and either gives you nothing or vomits up dozens of posts that are completely unrelated”.

        So I’ve just given up on them and taken into habit of googling whatever problem I have. Usually running into about a dozen unrelated sites that are unrelated (but have some related words within completely different contexts) and a couple where someone is asking about the problem. But in the latter cases there’s usually bunch of answers like “check obvious things, that you said you checked by I didn’t bother reading it”, “search the forums, noob”, “here’s a link that doesn’t work that supposedly has a solution”, “stand on your head and hold A+B”, “buy expensive crap for your machine to fix it, because of course you’re like me and have huge amounts of disposable income and live where I do, and no, I won’t give you a good reason to do so. You cheapskate.” and the ever helpful “your problem is impossible”.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      This. You don’t know how this sort of thing infuriates me.

      You put up 12 mostly useless stickies that just litter the top of the page, and then complain that ‘nobody ever reads the rules wah wah’ – Yeah, of course nbody reads them if they are among “Taking care of Pet Rock” and “WoW complete playthrough guide, levels 1 to 12 done!!” and “Patch 1.2 Out Now!”.

      Seriously. Until forum mods restrict the use of stickies to only important stuff, they have no reason to complain that everyone’s ignoring the damn things.

  8. Ace Calhoon says:

    The other places to check:
    Realm Status (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/status)
    Realm Status Forum (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/1011700/)

    • Ian says:

      The realm status wouldn’t help much if the authentication server is down, though.

      That’s for those cases where you can log in and get to the character selection screen, but the game spins and spins while it tries to connect to a particular world server until it eventually gives up and tells you to select a realm.

      • Veloxyll says:

        The realm status forms are incredibly slow at posting info. Tech support, or your server forum will have “BLACKROCK IS DOWN”, long before Realm status.

        • Trix says:

          Our realm went down sometime about 2-3 weeks ago for an hour or so, and they were quick to announce via blue post in forums when it was brought down and back up again.

          Usually when individual realms have issues they point it out.

  9. Joe Cool says:

    I believe the correct expression is the thread “went to Hellfire Peninsula in a Netherweave Bag.”

  10. BenD says:

    I feel like only gamers would explain the application of frosting to a cake with a structure that is basically “USE frosting on CAKE”.

  11. Slothful says:

    Hmmmmmm…the Minecraft website was also down that morning…could it be a…conspiracy?

    *cue dramatic music stab*

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