Dear DBG/DPG - From an EQ-Player

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Nightbane, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Nightbane New Member

    Dear Daybreak/Dark Paw,
    I have a sincere question, but I believe it may end up sounding rhetorical. So, I will just speak as if I don't get an answer, but more so to get my point across of the frustration that not just I feel with these patches.
    Why do you even give us estimated down times at this point?
    Month in and month out, you give us an estimated time that you expect the patch to take, yet it exceeds that time. Double the time even. Need I even say almost triple at times?

    What is it that you guys are failing to do? I understand doing a patch on Test and doing one on Live is going to net different results...But at this point, personally, I feel that your performance is lackluster at best. The quality of it all just feels...disconnected. We share our concerns, some peacefully, some even in uproar, yet our words spoken out are just not enough to make you guys see that your community of players are feeling less than appreciated.

    Is there something you can do to avoid these ridiculous extra downtimes? Jenn Chan made a post stating that you are going to find ways to avoid this, and other hardware issues

    I understand things take time to maneuver things into effect, but this was back in the beginning of June. It's over 3 months now, and each month has been pretty much the same, with extremely extra-long down times and server instabilities.

    But to come back to my point of this post, it's almost laughable whenever I log onto the forums and see an estimated downtime. In the back of my mind, I'm hoping that it would only be x amount of hours, but in the forefront, I know by experience it's going to be a lot lot longer. I don't even plan to play until later that day or evening, cause I just expect it at this point. This doesn't make me feel good. And I know it doesn't make many others feel good, either.

    I'd like to see a change. Really. A real change. Not just a written apology with a 25% xp weekend. All that does is make us happy for 3 days, and then you're back to lackluster performance with these patches.

    I know this is an old game, and I know many people see it as "on it's way out", but we still love this game and want just as much from you on maintaining the game, as we pay to play this game as much as most of us do. We want EQ to strive!

    Please do better. Make us feel appreciated as Playing Customers!

    PS: Don't flame me for speaking my mind, or my request for better performance from DBG/DP. If you don't agree, then don't agree. Let's have a conversation, rather than a sh*t show in the comments!

    Thank you,
    An EQ-Playing Customer.

  2. Fenthen Augur

    In before the lock.

    PS - I feel ya man, it's just clear and obvious that employees of DBG/DPG/whatever don't want to hear about it though.
    Andarriel and Gyurika Godofwar like this.
  3. Nightbane New Member

    Hah. Right. Probably would get locked. :\
    How else do we get our voice heard? /sigh
  4. Nadisia Augur

    And the *FUN* fact : since they announced these measures to try to solve the issues and improve the quality of service ... it has been worse, way worse, immensely worse :D
  5. SunDrake Augur

    Now servers aren't up AND I want Five Guys Fries. :(
  6. Nightbane New Member

    Agreed. :(

    ME TOO!!:mad:
    Fenthen likes this.
  7. Fuelforfire New Member

    The real thing that would be nice to see is a formal commitment and/or a job posting for a Change Advisory Board (CAB) leader that has the ability to override and make decisions, at the highest level, for every Change that is requested for the game. For each one of those proposed Changes to be discussed in a CAB meeting and documented (if not already). For leaders to approve/delay/deny any upcoming Changes within the CAB meetings. And, to have a cadence to review each completed or failed Change during those meetings.

    DPG/Daybreak needs to have smaller updates and/or scheduled maintenance reboots during off-core hours. For any Change that doesn't have the desired outcome or is at risk of breaching the scheduled downtime should be backed out to restore service as quickly as possible. If that means staggering your releases across servers, and not one code base as we seem to be today, then that option needs to be on the table with how things have been. Releasing all updates, to all servers, at one whack is just creating more risk for the business and the potential for unexpected downtime for the user.

    I would suggest that things are also at a point to bring in an industry consultant for best practices and standards with how to restore service as quickly as possible and better communication to users. There should be Master or Parent tickets that have a Priority and/or Severity assigned to them with related cases for each user having a problem related to specific Changes or Problems. Just rolling servers by bringing them down, patching/rebooting, posting what was included in the monthly patching notes, bringing them up in a Locked state, smoke testing, then either discover during smoke testing the game or upon unlocking the servers to find out there are unexpected issues or unplanned Changes but not knowing an actual user count or Priority/Severity impact is nothing to report back against. Metrics should be driving your business. That will result in a better user experience, and those metrics look to be lacking. Maybe, even look for (if not already) ITIL or HDI certification related to your Service Desk/Customer Service Representatives and your business owners.

    Communication wise, it isn't best practice to publish user experience impacting patch notes after items have went to full release and that release applied to users. This communication should be happening before scheduled maintenance is set to take place. If it is the case that the patch notes are constantly in flux and not finalized until the monthly patching is completed and smoke testing completed then again, a more formalized process needs to take place for each and every Change planned for the game.

    Social media communications around outage time/dates, specifically updates to unexpected downtime, doesn't seem coordinated and synced across the various communication platforms you supply to the consumer. While communications in-game is more of its own beast, synced communications on your server status page/forums/Discord/Twitter/Facebook doesn't happen today when something goes sideways. Most companies provide APIs and there are 3rd party services for this type of thing. Have one communication, one voice, when things are going well and sometimes not so well.

    As an analyst, and dealing with these types of items with multiple clients a month, it isn't that hard to do. Hold parties and their leaders responsible and apply financial penalties to vendors that breach an SLA. Take care of your low hanging fruit and move forward towards bigger concerns, issues and new features or expansion packs!
  8. Celephane Augur

    too long so I didn't read it...but the Test server can't hash out the patches we get... so everyone that complains about that, it can't happen
  9. Lurikeen Journeyman

    Perhaps DBG has change control set up. It doesn't seem likely. It also doesn't appear they have a good test bed that mirrors the live environment. If they were applying Dev changes that passed change control in the test environment and then qcing change there, it would not take hours for them to deploy a patch to break live and then scramble for hours to fix their patch. DBG/DPG needs to improve greatly.
    Fenthen and Gyurika Godofwar like this.
  10. Febb Augur

    I read over bug threads on a daily basis here on the forums. I'm seeing a trend with EQ developers where things just aren't being tested. This is coming from a developer who has a complete test environment and tests things thoroughly before being pushed out to the repos.
    Gyurika Godofwar likes this.
  11. Scila Augur

    I would agree with a CAB - I have seen them prevent major problems before they hit user side. Even something more current that serves the same function. Something didn't work this time and is still misfiring server-side.
  12. I_Love_My_Bandwidth Mercslayer

    I can tell you in my work environment, with 95% of our workforce still remote and infrastructure changes still proceeding, the number of unplanned issues continues to trend upward. I believe this upward trend in my workplace is mostly due to the lost in-person communication and increasing workload.

    I don't want to blame COVID-19 for Darkpaw's botched patch days. But .... these botched patch days are because of COVID-19.
  13. minimind The Village Idiot

    Because they're trying to do what has been requested of them.
    • When there's no estimated downtime, there are complaints.
    • When the estimated downtime is wrong, there are complaints.
    • When the estimated downtime is correct, there's snide remarks about broken clocks being right twice a day.
    So they're trying.
    This is all a nicely worded insult. It isn't helpful. It isn't inspiring. It sinks morale.
    There is no "do it correctly" button that they're refusing to press. There's a lot of stuff that can go wrong. Chances are that something(s) will. Roll with it. They're doing their best.
    Roxas MM likes this.
  14. Jhenna_BB Proudly Prestigious Pointed Purveyor of Pincusions

    The OP does not know anything about the security risks of being too publicly loose lipped with actual IT issues. They don't tell us because they can't and shouldn't tell us. They have to be vague. All these I'm a paying customer of 20 year type threads is absolutely not a reason to break security protocol, ever. If you subscribe with a Credit Card or purchase client software from Dark Paw Games you absolutely want vague, non-specific if not ZERO communication. As a consumer, we all must deal with the current condition of the internet in the this matter. Moreover, if you think the use of 3rd party software is a nuisance in EverQuest, can you imagine the issues that could be created if hackers could manipulate actual game code? Keep asking for specifics, though!
    minimind, Nennius and Andarriel like this.
  15. Corwyhn Lionheart Augur

    Thank you Daybreak/Darkpaw for keeping Everquest up and going.
  16. Sheebea Lorekeeper

    I unsubscribed because of platform unstablity. I also ranted. But have you noticed how better it's been since The Fiasco of the 2 new servers? I have noticed. I checked post and there were no new "crash" threads for many days. Thanks Dev's. now if ya gossip about all other issues, I'm with ya.

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