Blizzard has said it is confident that Diablo III: Reaper of Souls players will not be plagued by the same connectivity woes that affected the original game's launch back in 2012.
"Here's the beautiful thing about this launch compared to [Diablo 3]: what people are playing right now is Reaper of Souls," said lead producer Alex Mayberry to GameSpot, referring to the game's recent 2.0.1 update. "It's just Reaper with Act V, and the Crusader class, and adventure mode turned off. But it's all live. It's running. It's been running for a few weeks now."
When Diablo III launched on May 15, 2012 many players were left unable to play the game for days due to Blizzard's overloaded login servers. Blizzard eventually implemented a queueing system on the servers, easing the strain that caused the infamous Error 37 message.
But the chances of this happening again are slim, says Mayberry. Touch wood. "So this launch is much more under control. We made sure to plan it out in such a way that players would be getting all the data and the code--if you've logged into Diablo 3 anytime in the last several weeks, you've downloaded it--and we gave it a good full month of time just to have the servers running."
"We feel like everything's going to be pretty smooth," he added.
Blizzard, meanwhile, has its own official statement on what to do if you end up in a queue: be patient. "Depending on how many people attempt to join the crusade against the Angel of Death on March 25, you may encounter a new message while playing: 'The Diablo III servers are busy.' Below this message, you should see a time estimate (if the estimate is <1 minute) as well as pulsating ellipses."
"If you received this message, it means you're currently entering a game queue. Just be patient with the queue, and you'll be slaughtering reaper in Westmarch before you know it!"
How many people are likely to try logging on tonight? Mayberry added that the game's player numbers have steadily increased since the 2.0.1 patch in February. "They've shot up in the last month or so. Since we put out patch 2.0.1 our numbers have gone up considerably, the number of people playing and returning to the game."
"A lot of people are returning to the game. They are continuously climbing towards launch. A lot of people are coming back to see what we've changed," Mayberry added. "It's been fun to watch those numbers grow. It's given us a nice morale boost."
Barring catastrophic server errors, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls launches for PC and Mac at various times tonight depending on where you live. Blizzard has posted a full list on its site.
|Martin Gaston is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @squidmania|
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