Adi Tantimedh writes for Bleeding Cool;
The DC UNIVERSE ONLINE beta ended on Wednesday evening with a heavily promoted (to the gaming press and MMO circles, anyway) finale event: a massive Player vs. Player event where Jim Lee would play Future Armoured Batman fighting against the Joker across the PC and PS3 servers with beta players invited to join in and fight as a hero or villain.
Except when the times came – for there were a few sessions spread over a 2-3-hour timeframe early evening Pacific Time – the servers were so overloaded with thousands of players trying to get in that many of them were unable to play due to overload, latency, lagging and the freezing of their PS3 consoles, the latter of which requiring them to switch their consoles off and reboot and then attempt to log into the game again, only to be stuck in a queue for hours or get booted out within minutes or even seconds of getting in the game. Many players reported that lag was so bad in the game that character graphics for other players’ characters weren’t even loading so they could only see ghost-like black silhouettes and shadows before the game froze on them or they were booted out again. I haven’t heard about whether Jim Lee even succeeded in logging in to play.
The DCUO forums were filled with page after page of posts from disappointed and outraged players frustrated with not being able to enter and finish their beta games, as their characters, costumes, armour and statistics would be wiped once the beta ended for a clean reset in preparation for the game’s official launch in the second week of January. Since this was a beta for the game, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that there would be lagging, freezes and bugs, but the fact that the servers creaked and groaned from the overload of a few thousand players trying to get on at the same time has many players and potential buyers and subscribers now having serious second thoughts about buying the game, let alone paying the monthly subscription on release. Many players professed that they would be canceling their preorders as a result of the beta ending event.
It’s possible, even likely, that the developers also intended the beta finale event as a final stress test before official launch to see just how much strain the servers could withstand, and now they have their answer: not very well at all. Since they had already carried out announced stress tests during the course of the beta and that this ending event was hyped as a celebration, this has not gone down well with the loyal players and fans who had hoped to join in for one last time before launch.
From a PR point of view, this might be seen as something of a disaster.
The game’s servers, both the PC and PS3 versions, were shut down the moment the beta ended. The homepage’s official forums for both the PC and PS3 beta were also immediately erased at around 11PM EST, effectively wiping out any public record of complaints and reports of how disastrous the beta finale event turned out to be.
The proof of the pudding will be how DC UNIVERSE ONLINE will be reviewed when it is officially released next week, whether the freeze and lagging problems nearly every beta tester complained about, especially in the PS3 version, will be as prevalent and whether the servers will be able to take the load of a few hundred, let alone a few thousand players being online at the same time. I’ll be watching with a fascinated, slowing-down-to-look-at-the-trainwreck curiosity and fascination.