The bad week for video game launches continues, as Blizzard today confirms the World of Warcraft servers were hit by a DDoS attack on Thursday afternoon. This is particularly bad news because the developer had just launched their highly anticipated expansion, Warlords of Draenor, and now many gamers are left in the cold.
Blizzard has been quick to respond to the attack by lowering the populations per server and introducing new stability fixes, but they also hope gamers can be patient. They acknowledge that the launch of Warlords of Draenor was supposed to be an exciting time, but unfortunately some real world circumstances got into the way. Warlords of Draenor is an exciting expansion for WoW, if only because it raises the level cap and adds new content into an already packed game.
Beyond the DDoS attack, however, World of Warcraft is, as expected, getting pummeled by an inordinate amount of player log-ins. There are reported instances of increased latency, server lockouts, and hard crashes, and for now Blizzard says to wait a bit and then try to log back in. Essentially, there are specific realms in the MMO - obviously those associated with the expansion - that are crippling under the large player load.
Our top priority continues to be service issues impacting performance and long wait times on North American realms. We recently pushed a server change that caused disconnects, and as a result login services are heavily impacted as players attempt to (re)log in to the game. If you experience issues logging in, please be patient and wait a few minutes before trying again. We’re continuing to work to address other stability and latency issues as well as make additional improvements in game performance.
The developer had hoped that building different inroads into the expansion – shrines in Pandaria, capitol cities, etc – would alleviate that stress, but it appears there are still issues. First and foremost, though, Blizzard is hoping to squash the attack.
We'll likely know more as the weekend goes on, but it sounds like the DDoS attack came from China and the developer is working around the clock to get things back to normal. In fact, Blizzard has announced plans to take the WoW servers in North America down for several hours to try to "address issues with realm stability." The maintenance period is said to begin at 5am PST.
While this isn't the first time Blizzard has experienced a troubled launch, typically the server issues have been from inordinate player load. In this case, it appears that the groundswell of returning players was enough to cause some issues, but the DDoS attack only exacerbated things. We'll keep you posted as Blizzard works to get things into a stable condition.
Have you encountered any problems signing into World of Warcraft or accessing the expansion? What errors have you received?