‘Guild Wars 2’ Still Plagued With Issues; Direct Sales On Hold

The developer team at ArenaNet must be at their wits end. Guild Wars 2 has over a million pre-order customers, and copies of the game are flying out of retail outlets. During early access launch, Guild Wars 2 welcomed as many as 400,000 concurrent players, but a week later, the game is still plagued with a host of issues.

Compounding the bad news, the servers are so full, that ArenaNet is taking the revenue killing step of putting a hold on direct online sales of Guild Wars 2, until the problems are fixed. If you haven’t bought your copy, there is no reason to panic. The game is still available from third party retailers, and anyone who has already ordered Guild Wars 2 from ArenaNet will be able to play.

While Guild Wars 2 is generally playable, there are problems throughout the game. The most serious issues continue to be the auction house and forums; both of which remain unavailable. The in-game mail has been disabled several times for security reasons, and annoying bots are starting to pop up on the servers. Unfortunately, the various issues are delaying the addition of more servers to handle the heavy player load.

Here is the official update on the issues affecting Guild Wars 2 directly from ArenaNet:

Account security – We’re seeing an uptick in reports of account theft and attempted account theft. 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. To prevent this, we have temporarily disabled the “reset password” feature, and we’re working to bring email authentication online. To protect yourself, please ensure that you use a unique password for Guild Wars 2 that you don’t use for any other game, email account, forum or web account.

Email authentication – Email authentication is a feature that notifies you if someone tries to log into your account from a location you’ve never logged in from before. Thus, even if someone guesses your game password, he can’t log in unless he also guesses your email account password. You can make email authentication even more secure by using an email provider that supports two-factor authentication, such as Google or Yahoo, and taking advantage of that. We’re currently preparing email authentication and intend to deploy it in a phased rollout, starting on Thursday, August 30.

Parties, guilds, etc. – Parties, guilds, and other social features are periodically failing. 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.

Worlds – 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. 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.

Overflow worlds – During this initial surge of high concurrency, and especially while many characters are low-level and thus playing in the same starting areas, it’s common for players to be directed to overflow maps. If you want to play with a friend, but you’re not on the same overflow map, you can form a party together, then right-click on your friend’s portrait in the party list and click “join”. Note that this functionality is sometimes intermittently unavailable due to the “parties, guilds, etc.” issues noted above.

Trading Post – We’re working to bring the Trading Post back online. To help test, we’ve temporarily made it available to a random 15% of players, while we work to resolve remaining capacity constraints that will allow us to open it to everyone.

In-game mail – We detected a potential abuse of the in-game mail system and have temporarily disabled in-game mail to prevent any such abuse. We’ll reenable it soon, hopefully in tonight’s update.

Botting – We’ll start substantial banning of bots on Wednesday, August 29. Since we’re currently seeing widespread casual, unsophisticated botting, we will start with 72-hour bans for first offenses. In the coming days, as we address the casual botting problem, we plan to switch to our normal policy of permanently banning anyone who runs a bot.

Forums – Our most important priority at the moment is to ensure that the game runs stably and flawlessly. 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.

When online gaming made its debut at the end of the 20th century, gamers were much more forgiving of launch problems. How long the next gen gamers of 2012 are willing to stay with a brand new game that has server issues, account security issues, party issues, guild issues, no functioning forums, no functioning auction house, and problems with in-game mail, remains to be seen. Today’s gamers expect things to work from day one, and they have a limited amount of patience when they don’t.

People were really excited about Guild Wars 2, and they are anxious to play a fully functional version of the game. If the issues continue much longer, gamers will start to lose interest, and begin to drift back to the games they were playing before the release of Guild Wars 2. Gamers are also quite aware that the launch of World Of Warcraft Mists Of Pandaria is only 25 days away. ArenaNet needs to get Guild Wars 2 operating flawlessly, and they need to do it quickly.