Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Weakest Link

Be grateful. I could have posted a picture of Anne Robinson ^^

I've mentioned in the last couple of entries the issues we've had here for about a week now with game lag. Last night our ISP came out and admitted it was having a problem: having upgraded their equipment it was clear there were issues with the speeds of data they were getting at peak times. This morning, testing out whether I was having a problem I encountered someone with lag when I had none at all, which is odd considering the utterly crippling issues I've faced over the last seven days. Deciding to take a look at the Blizzard Forums for any new news I find a thread about another UK ISP having what looks to be the exact same problem my ISP is experiencing. Blizzard, when asked directly about whether they are affected by any issues (as it is a provider they use) replied with a blue post that simply said the following:

We were and still are experiencing no technical issues whatsoever with our network.

I have to say this made me cross. Why? Well, it's mainly that to me, with that one line, it looks like Blizzard doesn't care.

With a cursory glance at the forums it's clear that there are more than just a few lag issues currently, far more (I would say) than normal, and they all appear to point to this one European ISP as where the data stream falls down. Blizzard has a huge amount of information appertaining to this at it's disposal but because they don't have an issue, it's not down to them. Although I appreciate this is completely correct and fair, that one line response just smacks a bit of  'don't look at us, we can't help you' even though they clearly can, with someone placing a phone call to the ISP concerned to speed up the process significantly. They could have actually done this of course and I've missed a memo (or a post), so I suppose that's where my real ire lies. My ISP's updates on this have been woeful at best, as have several others from reading the Forums. What happened to the age of communication and us all talking to each other to solve the problems?

A couple of years ago, after some major building work, we had an issue with our main drains. My first call was to a man who came and looked into our manhole and shoved some large silver rods, moved 'an obstruction' and then went away having charged me money and telling me the problem was solved... except it wasn't. He moved the problem further down the drain system to a point where the pipe was smaller, and ended up affecting more people. Then he left because he was only being paid to do an hour's work and he was hungry. Things got progressively worse as the day went on and so we called out another man from a different company who decided to attack the blockage from the other end, from where our drain hit the main drain, and he came with a jet of water and without worrying about how long it would take to resolve the issue. He stayed a long time, until it was dark and finally discovered that the blockage had joined another one. He cleared it, even going down into the drain to do so. He was worth what we paid for.

This story makes me think that as major ISP's update their systems there will always be these 'thin points', the smallest parts of the world's networks, where problems end up blocking the system until someone works out how to clear them: after all a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. If a woman with a spade can cut off net access to an entire country it's fairly easy to grasp why getting one person's systems to work at the same speed as everyone else's is going to be problematic. What we have to hope for is, like we found with our wonderful drain engineer that day, that someone will go the extra mile and attempt to solve the problems where others have failed or walked away. Of course if the technology at the point where the system is falling down needs an upgrade, we might be here for a while..

[EDIT: In the time it took to write this Blizzard have qualified their position and have said they are sending data about the affected areas to people who will try and help. Let's hope they're not paid by the hour and aren't late for their lunch ^^]

Monday, June 06, 2011

I Love You Mr Robot!

See, this is how you should have done it...

There are countless stat optimisation sites out there for the average Warcraft user, and I should know as I've used most of them. Many I find fiddly and confusing, and the one I used to frequent for it's simplicity (Be Imba) has been down now for quite some time :( It came therefore as a relief to be pointed in the direction of Mr Robot which is incredibly simple to use, means I only need to press a few buttons to get what I want and tells me how to change my gear in simple and uncomplicated terms (as shown above for my hunter)

It comes as something of a reassurance to also discover most of my gear right now is as best as it will get without me running Heroic 10 mans. There's only one item left on my list to try and snag to make me Mostly Best in Slot too (I'm looking at you Mandokir, stop dropping pants weapons and give up my neck please)

So, if you'll excuse me I'm off to do some reforging... ^^

Starting Again...

Yes, I've Finished THAT Achievement...

Since Thursday it's been a bit of a fight with my ISP: horrible latency making instances an absolute nightmare. They don't seem to be able to fix it either, which means if this continues I think it might be time, after over nineteen years with them (yes, that long) to go and find another service provider. Needless to say I've struggled through. I also saw Vyragosa dead at least twice.

Last night however a Guildie whispered me whilst I was in the middle of working out how to do Soul Power with another group. They'd found Vyra, alive, and would I like to be in on the kill?

Like I was going to say no ^^

This means I have no kill shot, mostly because as we aggroed her (Guildie in dragon form via a Vial of the Sands) she killed him and left me with a Parachute gently floating down to the bottom of the Engine of the Makers. It was like a huge weight was lifted from me, and I've woken up this morning with a renewed enthusiasm to Achieve. The fact that my kids have gone back to school after half term really is a co-incidence :D