Guild Wars 2 has enjoyed a relatively smooth launch, but there are still teething problems - maybe they're unavoidable when launching a game and online service of this magnitude.
And so it was that Mike O'Brien, co-founder and boss of developer ArenaNet, took to Reddit to explain the issues currently being tackled. (Some of these were addressed during planned maintenance completed at 9am UK time this morning.)
First: security - people trying to steal accounts.
"We believe hackers are using databases of email addresses and passwords stolen from other games and web sites, and pre-existing trojan horses, to search for matching Guild Wars 2 accounts which they attempt to compromise," wrote Mike O'Brien, who's a programmer by trade.
There's been an "uptick" of reported activity, and ArenaNet's doing a couple of things about it: temporarily disabling the 'reset password' option, and rolling out email authentication from today. Email authentication asks you, via email, to verify a log-in attempt that comes from a different-to-normal location. There are some 'keeping your account safe' tips and a 'how-to-do email authentication' FAQ on the Guild Wars 2 website.
Next: overflow. Guild Wars 2 shunts you to overflow servers while you wait to log in to your home server. You don't queue, and we like that. But Guild Wars 2 doesn't do a great job of explaining what an overflow server is - you tend to just find yourself on one. What's more, because there are a few overflow servers, you're not necessarily on the same one as your friend. You're supposed to be able to click on a party member's portrait and select "Join in..." and, if you're in the same map, you should meet up. But our Eurogamer cluster of writers playing Guild Wars 2 noted that this doesn't always work.
The reason for this isn't apparently related to the overflow servers - it's because "parties, guilds and other social features are periodically failing", according to Mike O'Brien.
"This causes issues such as party members not appearing on the map, and party members not staying in the same overflow servers as they travel between maps. This happens particularly during times of peak usage. We're working to fix related problems and mitigate this issue with each subsequent update," he wrote.
"Many worlds are filling up. We're keeping the number of worlds constrained so that worlds stay well populated even after the initial surge of high concurrency."Mike O'Brien, co-founder and boss, ArenaNet
The crux of the overflow issue comes down to server population. "Many worlds are filling up," noted O'Brien. "We're keeping the number of worlds constrained so that worlds stay well populated even after the initial surge of high concurrency."
"However, we will add worlds as necessary. As of Wednesday, August 30, all German language worlds are full and all French language worlds are at high usage, so we're adding two new German language worlds and one new French language world."
Danke schoen, and merci.
Next: the Trading Post. Testing has been completed and it's now "in maintenance for all players".
Next: in-game mail. ArenaNet disabled it because a "potential abuse" was "detected". Basically, if an account was broken into, all the belongings of the characters on that account could be sent via the in-game mail system to whichever other character the perpetrator wanted. "The fact that in-game mail is disabled means that it's currently impossible for account hackers to loot stolen accounts," noted O'Brien, "so we're going to leave it disabled for just a little while longer, while we work to ramp up email authentication."
Next: botting. ArenaNet's seeing "widespread, casual, unsophisticated botting" in Guild Wars 2. Mike O'Brien's team will be gentle with the "casual" botters at first, and hand out 72-hour bans. "Substantial banning" began yesterday.
"In the coming days," added O'Brien, "as we address the casual botting problem, we plan to switch to our normal policy of permanently banning anyone who runs a bot."
Next: the forums. They're not live yet. In short: ArenaNet has bigger fish to fry right now. "Our most important priority at the moment is to ensure that the game runs stably and flawlessly," stated O'Brien. "So as to not create additional demand on our infrastructure and on our programming team, we made the decision not to open the forums until the initial mass influx of players has calmed down a bit."
Oli Welsh is working on Eurogamer's Guild Wars 2 review, which is a considerable undertaking, given the size and scope of an MMO. He won't be rushed. He's very stern.
But we've written about the game in other ways. A collection of Eurogamer writers teamed up and took to Guild Wars 2 for the head-start weekend, jotting down their thoughts as they plunged more and more hours into the game. We've also written a sort of guide to the playable races in the game. A guide to the races? Well, choosing the right one can make a lot more difference than you might think, as our Quintin Smith discovered.