One fun thing to do while waiting for expansion-pack related technical issues and sever queues to resolve is read up on r/WoW, unless the top mod sets the subreddit private until he can log on to the game, which is exactly what happened last night.
As detailed over at Polygon, subreddit owner nitesmoke was having trouble logging into World of Warcraft last night, as were many other players. The launch of the Warlords of Draenor expansion pack has taken a heavy toll on Blizzard's servers, and despite the developer upgrading its server hardware early yesterday morning, high population servers were still experiencing massive login queues.
Understandably frustrated, nitesmoke exercised his moderating power and set one of Reddit's largest gaming forums private.
From this moment forward, r/WoW will be made private until I am able to log into the game.
— Nitesmoke (@nitesmoke) November 16, 2014
This went over really well with users of r/WoW. Here are some of the Twitter replies to his pronouncement.
- Wow, you really are a whiny little shit. "If I can't have it, no one can." Grow up.
- super childish move. 100k+ people now just had their community turned off.
- "I'm upset that I can't access Thing A, so I'm going to arbitrarily deny access for the entire community to Thing B." Not cool.
- this is the most neckbeard thing I've witnessed in a while. congratulations.
A childish move? Sure, but I can understand where he was coming from. When you're the top mod of a major forum covering a dedicated topic, and that topic has done nothing for two days but kick your arse and cause the subreddit to be flooded with screenshots of long queue times, I can see the need for a short break.
Still, the subreddit acted as a haven for those having issues with the expansion launch, and taking it down made many people upset, including World of Warcraft community rep Jonathan Brown. https://twitter.com/nitesmoke
Nitesmoke's response? "It will be back the moment I am able to log into WoW. That is the fact of the matter and everyone's opinion on me is irrelevent."
Eventually the subreddit was brought back online, accompanied by a message from moderator aphoenix which included the reasoning behind the downtime.
Blizzard was having issues allowing people to play the game that they have payed to play. As a form of consumer advocacy and protest, the subreddit was taken offline as a way to send a message to Blizzard that this wasn't acceptable. The idea is simple: if one has no faith in a product, one of the simplest ways to show that is via protest. Protest is most useful if it has some kind of financial context to it. Being that we typically log a million hits per day, /r/wow has a significant claim as a fan website. "Going dark" in protest has worked for a variety of other protests, and it could work for this as well.
Aphoenix also made clear that the reasoning offered was not his -- he was just writing it down as people were asking for it. He also clarified that the reopening was not a result of nitesmoke finally getting into the game.
As a direct result of nitesmoke's actions, Reddit World of Warcraft fans have started another subreddit, r/RealWoW, rallying for it to become the new official Reddit destination for fans of Blizzard's MMORPG.