Blizzard’s Diablo III launched at midnight Pacific time on Tuesday for North America and droves of fans were ready to stab their mouse buttons at the “Play” button when the clock struck 12:01am. I was there, on Ventrillo with a few friends, all of us anxious to get a taste of the eagerly anticipated mouse-clicking dungeon crawler. But it was not to be.
“I’m in! I’m in!” crowed one voice on vent, only to be followed moments later, “Oh, now I’ve got an error.”
“I made it to the character creation screen!” exulted another. “Doh, it crashed.”
It was hardly surprising. One of the darling franchises of PC gaming had just returned after more than a decade, after all. Managing the kind of traffic that demand had created would have been a feat of Herculean proportions; sources said Blizzard had reported more than two million pre-orders for the game.
For me, staying awake proved too taxing, and after 45 minutes I gave up on clicking “Create Hero” over and over again only to be told that the server was busy. My comrades proved more tenacious and managed to play some Diablo after waiting one and a half hours.
The next morning proved slightly more fruitful. I was able to log in seamlessly and the destruction my witch doctor wrought around Tristam was oh so sweet. But, it was not to last. At 10:30am Pacific time, Blizzard announced it was putting its online service Battle.net through emergency maintenance.
We are in the process of performing an emergency maintenance for Diablo III servers in the Americas to resolve several issues that are currently impacting the game. This maintenance may cause some interruption in communication, ability to log in, use of in-game features, and disconnections. We anticipate all servers will be available for play at approximately 1:30 p.m. PDT. We will provide further updates as necessary. Thank you for your patience.
As of this report, maintenance was ongoing, and the Blizzard forums were starting to look ugly.
In Europe, the launch was also less than smooth. Eurogamer reported crashes as servers were overloaded by demand at launch.
Any veteran of online game launches will know that these occurrences are hardly out of the ordinary, but for the die-hard fans who stayed up all night, or took days off work, this does little to lessen the sting.