Server Status on the Launcher?

I’ve always wondered why it was so bloody hard to put the server status right into the launcher. I mean, if you start the game and it takes you to a launcher before you can play, doesn’t it make sense to tell the users right then and there, “Hey, servers are down!” or “Server status is:  (list)”.

I understand it’s tougher for Blizzard to do since they’ve got more servers than some countries have computers, but a simple mechanic of setting up a server watch. Person fires up launcher, goes into options, selects Show Server Status, checks off a limited number of servers to watch, launcher pings those servers for status and displays them for the user so the user doesn’t have to click play, log in and discover the servers are down.

I’m not even really talking about Blizzard here.

Think about it.

  1. Start game.
  2. Doesn’t actually start game, it fires up the patcher/launcher. Okay, sort of needed for MMOs, gotten check files and make sure you’re up to date.
  3. Click play.
  4. Game actually starts. Depending on the game you might have to deal with the cinematic and various sponsors or companies involved. Some actually fail to have a mechanism to bypass this or require interaction to skip (WoW doesn’t it notes that you’ve seen the cinematic and likely want to skip right into the crack, er, game.
  5. Type username (if it doesn’t save it for you)
  6. Type password (maybe even an OTP from an Authenticator)
  7. You might have a loading screen here.
  8. Here is where games deviate; same will have a server selection, some will have character selection but almost all of them will tell you at this point if the servers are down.

That’s roughly 8 steps to tell you that the servers aren’t available when you could inform them as early as step 2, but instead you decided to fill the launcher with advertisements.


Why wait or make a customer do a bunch of stuff only to discover the service isn’t available?

I’m flagging all the MMOs I think this applies to. I could be wrong because it’s been awhile since I looked at any of them and I hate to admit it, but I think DDO actually does show server status on the launcher. For others I simply can’t remember (DAoC, AoC).


3 thoughts on “Server Status on the Launcher?

  1. LOTRO does server status on the launcher as well. But DDO and LOTRO are both Turbine.

    EQII used to drive me nuts because it wouldn’t give you server status if the servers were down, only if they were up and locked. Things would crap out and then I’d go check the server status page and it would say “all servers up!” because it was manually updated and they used to forget to keep it up to date. (They may forget still, but I don’t play enough to care any more.)

    WoW servers though. That is a long list of status to get. But they do expose an API so you can get server status, so they could, theoretically, put server status for the servers in your WTF folder up on the launcher. That wouldn’t be too hard, it would just use up real estate they are using for ads and news. Otherwise they do sometimes pop a notice at the login screen that shows if some servers are down, but it is manually entered and often out of date when you see it.

  2. That’s a good idea, I like it.

    The other thing about WoW’s server status is that it doesn’t really tell you anyway, dumping you to the server select screen if your usual server is off-line, rather than offer some kind of message. There are definitely improvements to be made.

  3. I figured I’d actually have to give Turbine some credit.

    Yes, allow users to put watches on the status of a server; heck, they could even create a default based on the server data you have on your system (much like pjharvey suggests).

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