World of Warcraft players have experienced tons of problems in trying to play new expansion Warlords of Draenor. The largest WoW community on Reddit shut down on Saturday night to protest the problems.
Nitesmoke, moderator for r/wow, was very frustrated by the server downtime and lag during Draenor's launch. After the expansion's first two days, he said that the moderation team for r/wow would stop enforcing its rules temporarily.
"After 48 hours and still not being able to play, we feel your pain. My mods have spent the whole time removing shitposts and the same screenshots over and again and they are getting burned out. We expect this sort of thing for a day or so whenever Blizzard has issues, but this is going on for too long and we have other shit to do besides babysit the new section all day. We don't get paid for this, remember. We're 100% volunteers.
"From this moment forward, post whatever you want within our normal rules. I am calling the other mods off and giving them a break. Post your experiences, if it clogs up the sub and turns everything into a mess, so be it."
He then threatened that if he couldn't play WoW by the end of Saturday, he would set the subreddit to private. This would effectively take it offline. He carried through on this threat:
The subreddit has since been restored to normal. Fellow r/wow moderate aphoenix apologized to members of the community for the outage, while also trying to explain the rationale behind it.
"Blizzard was having issues allowing people to play the game that they have payed to play. As a form of consumer advocacy and protest, the subreddit was taken offline as a way to send a message to Blizzard that this wasn't acceptable. The idea is simple: if one has no faith in a product, one of the simplest ways to show that is via protest. Protest is most useful if it has some kind of financial context to it. Being that we typically log a million hits per day, /r/wow has a significant claim as a fan website. 'Going dark' in protest has worked for a variety of other protests, and it could work for this as well."
The outage did get the attention of Blizzard. Here's community manager Jonathan Brown's response to the protest:
The game's gotten a lot more stable in the past day or so. I've personally noticed a much smoother experience while playing yesterday afternoon and night. That said, I'm playing on a low-population realm based at a nearby datacenter. Many players - particularly those on the busier realms - aren't so lucky.
Sitting in lengthy queues only to find that the game's not even working can be unbelievably frustrating. I'm sure that more than a few players took time off work on Thursday or Friday specifically so they could play the expansion. I hope that everyone will get to dive into the expansion soon. In the meantime, I can't blame them for demonstrating their displeasure through Reddit or any other outlet.