[Community Concerns] Antwerp And Emergency Maintenance

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Welcome to another edition of Community Concerns, a weekly editorial that looks at specific issues affecting various MMOs. Most of our topics are submitted by readers and (for one reason or another) rely mainly on player testimony.

Battleground Europe continues to rage on with a small yet very passionate and vocal community. World War 2 continues to be fought on the virtual battlefields, and with a game focused on capturing territory and one based solely in player vs player combat, you’re bound to have a good deal of drama in the community. For some players, however, a recent string of incidences involving server maintenance and the capture of an important strategic point became the straw that broke the camel’s back and resulted in an unknown number of people ending their subscriptions. To make a long story short, the Axis had spent several hours attempting to capture an important area (Antwerp) when Cornered Rat Software suddenly announced the servers would be coming down for maintenance, undoing the efforts of the Axis players. This came on the heels of another important area (Aarschot) which had undergone the same treatment about a week prior. For those not familiar with World War II Online, battles can last many hours, especially when fighting over important areas.

Whenever the discussion comes down to malice vs competence as a driving force, I tend to lean towards competence being to blame. After all, from an outside perspective it makes little sense that Cornered Rat Software would intentionally risk the goodwill of half of their player base because the team they personally rooted for wasn’t winning. Rather, based on commentary by the community, the real issue comes down to the server maintenance in itself, and how the lack of proper developers has resulted in Battleground Europe degenerating into a state where emergency server resets are required just to keep the game running at a stable level. According to Cornered Rat Software, some of Battleground Europe’s tech dates back to 1999-2001, which may help explain why some of the issues with the game architecture have gone unfixed.

If the maintenance, whether emergency or simply unscheduled, stems from an inability to fix the underlying cause, or an inability to hire someone to fix the underlying cause, that doesn’t bode well for Cornered Rat Software. If certain players are correct and Cornered Rat Software is indeed using server maintenance to throw the campaign in favor of the Allies to achieve as close to an even victory rate as they can get, well that is even worse. It doesn’t help that Cornered Rat Software doesn’t have a great record for dealing with criticism in a mature or professional manner. Battleground Europe’s forums are mostly closed off from the public, even from free player accounts, and are reportedly heavily moderated with little room for criticism over Cornered Rat Software’s lack of active employees working on the title.

This isn’t the first time Cornered Rat Software has caused controversy over its relation to the community. Most recently, Community Manager Xoom caught some flak last year for referring to free players as “free loaders” which he later apologized for. But people say things a little more bluntly than they expect all the time. The dealings of CRS on the forums and over at MMORPG.com are small beans in comparison to shutting the server down unannounced and undoing hours of effort by players on a semi-regular basis.

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  • CeTheGreat

    Whine whine axis whine whine *yawn*

    Rolled you last camp and rolling you again! games better without you whiners

    GO ALLIES!

  • Enigma

    WWIIOL is the only game that has a CMO (xoom) that will call new players “baggage.”

  • amerk

    It’s “freeloaders.”

    But great PR for the game xoom.

  • maglight

    lol if i didnt know that they were total retards i would suspect internal espionage… but no… they are just morons trying to run a company.

  • halo

    played ww 2 online cause i read it was free to play. disturbing was the fact that you cannot even post on their forum as f2p. it says you are perma banned. ok, what thell hell… you need a subscription in order to post. not so cool. after a few weeks suddenly they reduced the f2p offer and you couldnt get into some vehicles or a sub machine gunner. no announcement informed you about it, a posting in the forum from s.o. else got deleted without a reason. the game itself is out dated. it creates at times a nice war atmosphere and the sound is ok. guess i missed the golden age where they had tons of players and graphics were ok for that time. as f2p i felt a bit cheated.