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WOW: Warlords of Draenor Faces DDoS Attack

Blizzard launched the new WOW expansion, Warlords of Draenor, only to be faced by a DDoS attack.

On November 13th, 2014, Blizzard launched the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion. While most expansion days struggle with overtaxed servers from excited fans, Blizzard faced a more specific issue - a DDoS attack.

DDoS attacks (Distrubuted-denial-of-service attacks) occur when multiple persons or bots attempt to disrupt the service of a host connected to the Internet. In layman's terms, people overtax servers so that a system will be delayed or shut-down due to unexpected traffic. DDoS attacks occur for many reasons: a form of protest against a particular host, site or game competitors trying to take out their frustration, or even just people being difficult for the sake of being difficult. DDoS attacks violate the terms of service of essentially every Internet provider, the Internet Architecture Board's policies, and even laws of particular countries.

A picture of the distribution of the attack

Blizzard responded fairly well to the attack. Bashiok, a community manager in the World of Warcraft forums, continued to update gamers about the situation. Bashiok confirmed the DDoS attack and then stated what Blizzard was trying to do to overcome that. First, Blizzard limited the amount of people that could be in each realm. While that frustrated some gamers, it allowed the majority of players to continue to play with fewer interruptions. Second, they worked on stability and latency issues. Unfortunately, many people in North America were booted during service changes, and were unable to log back in because of the sheer number of people trying to do so at the same time. That caused the Blizzard to focus on the North American gamers, as well as the continued effort to stabilize the game. Eventually, Blizzard had to perform in-depth maintenance during Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Dealing with an attack of this scale was difficult, but Blizzard attempted to do so with limited stressors on gameplay. However, gamers did face long loading times, possible disconnects, and limited space in each realm. And many were not very understanding about it. Overall, the launch was not too successful, but Blizzard fans are recovering well, calling others to task for their attitudes. 

As of this moment, the Twitter-sphere is alive with many people playing Warlords of Draenor with abandon. Even though the launch struggled, the gameplay itself seems to be enjoyable. If Blizzard keeps up the hard work on maintenance, it may be that this launch debacle is soon forgotten, with the exception of some finely-crafted memes.

Published Nov. 15th 2014

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