LOTRO: Thoughts on the Current Downtime
As I am writing this post, the popular MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online has been offline since 2:00 AM EST on 6th March (7:00 AM GMT). The game servers, website and account portal are offline for maintenance and it would appear that the actually physical hardware is being relocated within the datacentre that Standing Stone Games uses. Like any complex IT project of this nature there are always potential problems and it would appear that some have occurred as the initial 22 hours projected down time has now become nearly 3 days. Naturally this has had an impact upon the LOTRO community as Friday evening is often prime gaming time. From SSG’s perspective the extended outage is not good for business or community relations and so they have been using social media to keep players informed.
Community manager Cordovan (Jerry Snook) presented a brief live stream earlier tonight to provide a more hands on summary of issues and to endeavour to placate LOTRO players. He re-iterated that the downtime was too facilitate a server move and that there have been hardware issues and other related problems as a result. He also stated that no data had been lost. Third party contractors are involved, and overall trouble shooting is progressing. He stated that the downtime would continue to at 6:00 PM EST (11:00 AM GMT March) and that hopefully by then “there would be good news. Once service has been resumed for both LOTRO and DDO, there would be a more comprehensive statement put out about player compensation, an extension of the skirmish event and general billing enquiries. He couldn’t be specific at present, but he was clear that players would be suitably recompensed as they have been in the past.
Having worked in the past in such technical environments as datacentres and been involved in projects of similar scope, I am sympathetic towards SSGs plight. No matter how well you plan there is always potential for something to go pear shaped. It’s often something innocuous or an aspect of the project that was deemed trivial and left to the intern Colin to sort out. Frankly there is never a good time to shut a server down. Just a period that is the “least inconvenient”. Clearly in this case the situation has gone beyond this and I ‘m sure there are a lot of folk working very hard to pull the company’s proverbial chestnuts out of the fire. Who knows, maybe this extended downtime has a valuable moral lesson to teach us about something or other. I’m not really sure, as I’m not known for my morality and I’ve just played more Star trek Online instead. However, I am looking forward to seeing LOTRO back online. I’d miss it if it wasn’t about anymore.
Cordovans deadline has been and gone and sadly the downtime has been further extended. As of 23:25 PM GMT the current speculative end to the outage is 12:00 PM Eastern (5:00 AM GMT) Saturday, March 9th.