The Dorklyst: The 9 Worst Videogame Launches of All-Time

By Andrew Bridgman / March 13, 2013
 - Image 1

The launch of the latest SimCity was, to put it mildly, not handled well. To put it spicily, it was a huge unimaginable mess – with people unable to download the game, play the game due to lack of available servers, features being turned off, and with a number of updates released post-launch trying to fix some of the major issues users were experiencing. This didn't go on for just the first few hours of its release though – some of this is still going on, a week after release. For a smaller game and company, this might not be such a surprise – but this is from one of the largest publishers in videogames and one of the biggest franchises in videogames. However, SimCity is not the first game to put users through this kind of launch mess. Here are 9 other games that had terrible launches.

9. World of Warcraft

The Dorklyst: The 9 Worst Videogame Launches of AllTime - Image 2

The game that truly launched MMOs into widespread popularity, and possibly the most profitable game of all-time (also the most life-sucking – it's been played a grand total of 5.93 million years, cumulatively), World of Warcraft started off in a state of total disarray. As the first huge MMO of its kind, Blizzard had no idea what it was walking into, and the servers were instantly overloaded on launch day, with queues reaching the thousands. And even if you did manage to get into the game, everything was slow and glitchy. If this had happened today, it would be a nightmare – SimCity at least has most of their ducks in order a week later – but WoW's woes lasted for over a month, mostly due to outdated servers that were in dire need of upgrading. Thankfully, Blizzard learned their lesson and never had a rocky launch ever agai- OH WAIT

8. Diablo 3

The Dorklyst: The 9 Worst Videogame Launches of AllTime - Image 2

Diablo 3 is a lot like SimCity – both are beloved franchises that hadn't had a new release in about a decade, both were being closely watched for their always-online DRM policy, and both are the Spanish word for "devil" (I'll check that later). But people weren't quite as nervous for Diablo 3 as they were for SimCity – for one, Blizzard gave you the option of pre-downloading the game, so when midnight struck, you would be able to jump right into the game and get back that carpal tunnel syndrome that had laid dormant in your clicking-finger for 10 years. Plus, it was Blizzard launching the game! If anyone knew how online games under heavy server load worked, it would be the people behind World of Warcraft and StarCraft, right? Well, then the infamous Error 37 occurred.

Error 37 read as follows: "The servers are busy at this time. Please try again later (error 37)". The game's always-on DRM requirement meant that – if you could not connect to Blizzard's servers – you could not play the game in any capacity. No single player, no multiplayer, nothing. Error 37 instantly entered meme legend, flooding social media with angry gamers who just wanted to murder Satan. On top of this, numerous other bugs plagued the initial release, with people losing characters and loot, including their hardcore permadeath characters. You don't have to shove a crystal in your forehead to recognize the launch was a huge disaster – but now that user levels have dropped as quickly as the population of Tristram, at least the server load has eased up.

7. Hellgate: London

The Dorklyst: The 9 Worst Videogame Launches of AllTime - Image 2

Hellgate: London opened its, uh, hellgates on Halloween 2007 – and all hell(gate) broke loose. US players experienced bugs and the expected glitches that goes along with any game that happens to be the developer's first 3D game, their first FPS, their first subscription-based game, etc. But players in Southeast Asia ran into something far more horrible – a patch released two weeks after the game's initial release was forced on all players, which fixed a few issues but also deleted all progress made to that point. And users worldwide ran into issues with the subscription fees – with many people being mistakenly billed multiple times and others paying for the service being denied access to certain game features. In less than two years, the servers were shut down and the game was inaccessible. On the other hand, users had plenty of time to eat leftover Halloween candy.

Filed Under   the dorklyst
Comments ()