World of Warcraft server maintenance stalls start of Race to World First

The players just want to game.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

The start of World of Warcraft’s increasingly popular international esports competition, the Race to World First (RWF), was delayed this morning due to server maintenance that was announced last night—and top competitors, like Complexity-Limit’s Guild Master Maximum, aren’t happy about it.

Sitting in front of a login screen displaying the text “No servers are currently available,” Maximum has streamed to an audience of more than 10,000 concurrent viewers while the servers have remained down for hours. 

While Max said he isn’t opposed to starting later than the 9am CT server reset time, the lack of communication regarding server maintenance and downtime is problematic.

“I just wish I knew when it was starting,” he said. “You’ll say, ‘oh well the maintenance is supposed to end there, but no maintenance ever, ever, ever lasts the whole time so you have to be ready. I just wish they were like, ‘hey we will not turn on realms before this time,’ and we could sleep in and get more sleep. That would be a lot better.”

Last night, the developer announced that there would be server maintenance from 8am CT to 12pm CT. The downtime takes time away from North American guilds looking to get a lead on top European guilds, like reigning winners Method, during the 16-hour head start they have over the region.

Blizzard regularly has maintenance on its servers, particularly surrounding weekly reset and patch implementation days. But more often than not, the servers go up well before the originally announced restart time, making it frustrating for people trying to start their RWF efforts. 

The server downtime is especially upsetting for raiders looking to achieve World First because this isn’t the norm. While the release of a raid on its mythic difficulty is a huge amount of content, it’s always staggered to come out the week following a big patch, so typically there isn’t any maintenance that goes on the day mythic releases. 

“I don’t know. Their communication sucks,” Max said. “They never do this. This hasn’t happened since… when was the last time this happened? I can’t remember.”

Max began running through all of the raids in this expansion and many from previous expansions before coming to the conclusion that it has to have been at least three years worth of raid releases since a mythic raid release day was held hostage by server maintenance.

Ultimately, the delay was disappointing for Max, but only because of the level of excitement he holds for the event. Only a few minutes after expressing his frustration, Max began talking about how happy he was for the start of the Race to World First.

“Today’s going to be so good,” he said. “We’re going to slam some bosses, have fun with our friends. This is what we play WoW for. If this [Race to World First] wasn’t a thing, if everyone was in a five-night-a-week guild copying people’s videos and raiding, everyone would quit man. No one is interested in that anymore.”

Max was referring to the fact that many, more casual players who look to top guilds who have already completed a boss. Often times, in preparation for a raid, more casual guilds will find videos of top-tier guilds defeating a boss and mimic their strategies or raid composition.

To put it into perspective, Max talked about how this event will likely overlap with the Super Bowl, an event many Americans treat like a holiday. But he and Limit probably won’t even be able to watch. 

“We’re going to miss the Super Bowl too,” he said. “That’s the most American shit ever. It’s actually a crime in the United States to not watch the Super Bowl, and I’m not even going to care what happens in the Super Bowl.”

For Max and Limit, this event is their Super Bowl. It’s one time or two times a year that they get flaunt their skills and strategic minds to prove that their one of the best, if not the best, at what they do.

“Being able to figure stuff out is just… there’s nothing more fun than this day,” Max said. “This is the best day of all of our years, every time this happens. Regardless, it’s really, really fun. If we could fucking play.”