Right on up there with The Ancient Gaming Noob’s idea with analyzing MMO fishing mechanics is my next ranty-goofy idea:  review all MMO patchers.  What, you may ask, inspired this weak kneed rant?

Tuesday night was patch night in WoW.  The big 2.3 Azerothian world nerf patch and a wee bit of a hefty one at that at 265 MB (anyone remember when a game demo dl over 10MB was outrageous?).  So at somepoint in the last x years, Blizzard tweaked its patcher so that it could, at your election, download the latest upcoming patch in advance of patch day.  You can have it do it while you play WoW or begin after you logout of WoW. 

Of course, when I’m playing, I usually have skype going, I’m encoding a few mpegs, streaming audio, doing my taxes and uploading my uncompressed video of my junior high class project one man performance of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (in real time) so I tend not to want to take the performance hit.

Of coure, I usually shut down my machine when I’m done with WoW, so there’s not too much of a window for the patcher to try to download the patch.  That said, somehow, WoW’s patcher was apparently able to download the patch before Tuesday night.  Or so it seemed.

Tuesday night, I log on and WoW launches the patcher.  I’m thrilled as I watch the patcher find the previously downloaded patch and the progress bar zips across the screen 10%, 20%, 50%, 75%, 90%, 97%…97%…97%. Huh?  It seems I was 3% light, so I thought, “well, it managed to get 97% downloaded, how long can it take for the last 3% even on patch night?”

I stepped away to get my wife’s machine going.  Unfortunately, she hadn’t gotten any of it downloaded, so I started WoW’s patcher and watched it do nothing.  I checked back on my machine.  Still at 97%.

Ok, plan B.  I went to Gamer’s Hell and started to download the entire patch on my wife’s machine.  We’ll see who wins.  Not to be out done, I went back to my machine and did the same thing.  10 minutes later, both machines had downloaded the patch (prime time U.S. West Coast time) and the Blizzard downloaders had yet to move a single byte.

Why does this process have to be so cludgey?  Admittedly, Blizzard’s launcher/patcher is 1000 times better than SoE’s, but still.  If the game can get through your firewall and they can serve 9 million gamers worldwide, you’d think they could do as well as any of the gaming website which offer up the patches…

I’m still slack jawed at SoE’s patcher having seen it at work on EQ2, Vanguard and SWG.  I’m still not sure why it takes 5 minutes to go from launch to play when there is no patch…  So when do we see the Next Gen patcher?  Why isn’t this better?  Anyone?  Anyone? Beuhler?

One thought on “Patch-Fu”

  1. Guild Wars beats all for patching. They’re always pretty fast downloads and I love the streaming tech. A lot of non-critical stuff will stream in the background while you play. Even new client builds will stream and nag you with a chat line that a new client has been installed, please restart your game.

    As much as I thought I’d be in favor of a bittorrent patcher, Blizzard’s is pretty horrible. If you wait several days, that’s one thing, but patch day was often a slow process and the actual patching itself was painfully slow.

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