Get the Hell Out of My Way

So, in playing 3 MMOs right now (WoW, EQ2, a beta and on rare occasion, Eve) maybe I’ve bitten a bit more off that I can properly chew. Nonetheless, each offer something very different for me and often suit or require a certain mood to really enjoy properly. Even with RL commitments (especially during the week), its still nice to quickly drop in check on auctions, do some tradeskilling or even go for a wee grind or clean out the old quest log.

With the exception of a regularly scheduled midweek group run, midweek game time is generally unstructured and at a premium. The quicker and easier it is for me to get in to the game, the better.

Now most games and other apps seem to generally try to get out of the user’s way and let them get on with whatever they’re doing. For example, my winxp box at home boots fairly quickly and generally gets out of my way in a bearable amount of time. The machine I use at work however takes forever. Go get two cups of coffee and read the paper forever. Correcting for hardware differences, the work box still loses my a mile.

Our IT folks have our network locked down tighter than a drum as is their mandate, but I can’t imagine that the productivity hit we take justifies whatever added security measures they’ve taken. Fifteen minutes of an ordinary workday is 3%. For a service organization that bills its time, that’s 3% right off top line revenues. Or, if you face productivity targets like most folks do, that’s another 15 minutes tacked onto my day. Many colleagues at different companies who have equally or more sensitive information on their networks and also have significant resources devoted to their protection and none of them suffer the kind of log in delays we routinely experience. HOW can our process take so long?

The only explanation I can come up with is that these guys don’t know what the end user experience is like, or don’t appreciate the impact the choices they make have on everyone’s productivity. They don’t understand how important it is to simply get out of the user’s way.

I can only think that something similar must be going on at SOE as well. I’m continually amazed at how klunky and how long it takes to jump into EQ2. First the interminable filescan with its own progress bars, and this is before the actual downloading and updating begins. This process is so frequent and so annoying that literally half the time I just bail out and go play something else. Its just not worth it. HOW can it take this long to simply get into the game? Could the game have possibly changes so much since the last time I logged on a few days ago?

Now, I could understand if it a user hadn’t been on in a while and had a series of updates to download, but everytime? As an experiment, I tried to log into EQ2. I hadn’t been on in a few days, so I let the scan and update run. After a while, I finally saw the “PLAY” button light up. Of course, while waiting, I started this rant, so for Science purposes, I quit, restarted and timed my log in process after being fully updated. I started at 8:40pm. I finally received the “PLAY” button at 8:50pm.

Ten minutes after I pressed go. OR, if I only had an hour or so to play, I just blew 16% of my play time before I even got to choose which character to play.  HOW can this not have improved in over 2 years when SOE’s competitors seem to have it beat?

SOE, get the hell out of my way!

4 thoughts on “Get the Hell Out of My Way”

  1. Hello and welcome to blogdom.

    Am I understanding you right ? When you start EQ2 with no patches to download, that “file scanner” thing takes TEN MINUTES to run ?

    That’s scary. My miserable XP1800 system, and my speedy Core2, both took less than a minute for it to load. I wonder what the reason for the difference could be; RAM perhaps ?.

  2. Thanks for the welcome and the comment. I know, absolutely amazing but it actually is downloading files each time. I can see the network traffic. I’m considering doing a wipe and reinstall of EQ2 on a pristine drive because I’ve really enjoying it since EoF came out.

    I’m currently running an Athlon 64 X2 4800 with 2GB of ram, 7950GT PCIe with 512MB, buckets of harddisk space and a cable modem connection, so its GOT to be something else going on… Everything else screams.

  3. OK, clearly it’s not your PC.

    Y’know I’ve seen something strange lately – not on the file scanner run, but on the front-end load.

    Sometimes, the front end reloads. This is the part where you are looking at the SOE logo and various XML files, etc, download.

    I thought it was something to do with moving files around among PC’s, and trying to run EQ2 and Vanguard at the same time. But that’s a place I’ve seen “mystery downloads”.

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