Open letter to iBurst

23 July 2009

WoW Gamer: Can’t raid – Can only stand on one spot

Problems with iBurst’s service to online gamers continue. Technical problems slow down the connection so that World of Warcraft gamers can do nothing more than “stand in one spot”, according to D34m0n7 (Deamon7, sic.) at the public forum, Mybroadband. According to D34m0n7, any movement in the graphically rich virtual environment – which includes other online gamers in simultaneous action in the same environment – clearly taxes the iBurst infrastructure because it leads to the South African gamer being disconnected from the internet and thus from the game:

[I]f you try raid you DC [disconnect] and get kicked from the raid group which gets you kicked from the leading PvE [Player vs Environment] guild on the realm…. (D34m0n7, MyBroadBand, 23 July 2009, 03:44 PM)*

The upshot is that a South African gamer that gets disconnected frequently is at a big disadvantage. Progress in the game (improving your character’s skills in battle and a range of other abilities) depends on experience in those skills. Being kicked off raiding parties result, ultimately, in a player’s abilities stagnating and equipment subsequently degrading from lack of use. And so they have to start over to get back to the level they may have spent many hours on previously gaining.

Constant activity is optimal because characters need to remain at peak to defend themselves and, hopefully, also win PvP (Player versus Player) battles.*

In addition to being disadvantaged in the virtual arena of the game, the gamer must still pay a subscription or will already have paid through pre-paid cards to gain access to the World of Warcraft servers. This upfront cost, with pre-paid cards ranging from R270 to R300 for 60 days’ access, cannot be recuperated if the gamer is unable to play because of connection problems via iBurst. On top of this is also the monthly payment for an internet service to iBurst, a service that many people get primarily to play online games.

There is also a social cost involved. Gamers typically befriend each other via the game and may eventually meet up and become real friends. But there is also social pleasure in the online friendships that form themselves: people share an interest (the game), and start hanging out in chatrooms when they’re not playing to discuss past campaigns or strategise for their next raid or even just to chew fat. Being frequently disconnected then has effects on this social side of online gaming as well. Where friends have connections through a different ISP and have been gaming, the disconnected gamer will feel left out when next people meet in a chatroom to discuss a recent raid.

The costs then multiply as the gamer sees his or her friends achieving and increasing their skills and abilities – growing and developing their characters – while the disconnected gamer’s own character or avatar stagnates and their weapons and other equipment degrade.

iBurst has been running a thread at MyBroadBand on the problems experienced by these gamers. The most recent one started on 10 July and asks gamers to post technical details of their connections so that iBurst can get a real-time picture of what’s going on and thereby get technicians to resolve the issues.[Update **] Almost two weeks later, the issues appear to remain unresolved according to D34m0n7’s thread.

One other poster at MyBroadBand has provided a further perspective on this issue:

…. I see more people are moaning and groaning.

You guys have just launched your IBurst Business portal as well as planning to list on the JSE. But if these kind [of] issues don’t start getting resolved you may have an exidus [sic.] of unhappy clients on your hands and where will that assist your growth plans. (Fulmine, MyBroadBand, 23 July 2009, 04:06 PM)

Notes

* World of Warcraft is an immersive role playing game – the human player controls a character (role) in a fantasy world along the genre lines of Lord of the Rings. The immersion depends a lot on the graphic richness of the environment, as well as on the gripping adventures or quests that may occur. The player-character (P) moves around this world and has to contend with whatever the artificial intelligence of the programme/ game throws at it – whatever may lie in wait in the game world, in a cave, a tavern or placid lake, thus E for Environment. Another mode is PvP, Player versus Player, where players do battle via their avatars. The immersion is quite addictive and on a par, in the best games, with the immersion that a good novel or film offers.

As these games are graphically rich, much information is passed up and down the internet connection and it is this strain that seems to be taxing iBurst’s service to gamers.

** See first note below, by a representative from iBurst

[Update 25 July 2009]: Another player has found a workaround for his WoW problems, “using a static IP via iBurst from MTNBusiness (Verizon) last night to test if it would work. I had perfect latency between 280-420ms, no lag spikes or disconnects in 25-man raids last night. Seems to work perfectly” (Diegoa, MyBroadBand, 25 July 2009, 10.52 AM)

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5 Comments »

  1. Morning all.

    Please to clarify our situation regarding the WOW gaming community and the latency they are experiencing.

    This has been confirmed to be an under sea cable fault increasing the latency to the WOW server.

    This is on a Level 3 server which is out of the realm of our control.

    We have escalated this to the provider of the Level 3 link and have been informed that the cable repair should be completed by 28th July 2009.

    Should anyone have any further queries regarding this matter I will be available for further discussion on 084-978-0790.

    May all have a wonderful weekend.

    Cheers

    Shaun Green

    Special Projects
    iBurst

    Comment by Shaun Green — 24 July 2009 @ 10:08 am

  2. Thanks for dropping by Shaun and for adding some detail to the picture.

    Comment by Rustum — 24 July 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  3. Stop pushing this off as not being your problem. All iBurst does regarding this issue is blame everyone and constantly reinforce how it’s not their fault. They’re _you’re_ carrier, you pay them so you go and demand some service and get it fixed.

    What shocks me most of all is how after nearly 3 weeks of people complaining you simply lied and told everyone it was fixed when it clearly wasn’t. I have my suspicions it took iBurst 3 weeks merely to locate the problem. How incompetent is your technical team?

    Comment by Odom — 24 July 2009 @ 6:53 pm

  4. Thank you!

    This is excellent, I find it nice that some people care enough to do things like this :)

    Anyone who plays WoW in South Africa, on the iBurst connection will understand that this pretty much sums up everything.

    And Odom, you have it spot on as well. iBurst will not accept and responsibility to and problems that arise with their honestly crap network.

    I’d advise that NO one should ever subscribe to a connection with iBurst, if I have to go around putting up posters to get my message across of how bad they are and how badly they treat their customers I will.

    Once again, thank you for this wonderful post!

    Comment by D34M0n7 — 26 July 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  5. I don’t think this problem has been fixed at all… I do get a good ping of _+ 250 to 300 But DC’s are driving me up the wall’s !
    you connect and after no time ….Nothing DC!! With Battlefield No Problems and other games …Fine But for some reason WOW is out! And No its not the LINE (Cable)Crap Story ….Battle net and all the other games USE THE SAME LINES !! And NO its also not the Servers !! i Used 8 other server of Wow Private and Bilz Server and they all do the same thing… Its all about how ”Iburst” has set up there packet storage and sending software…. It Sucks !!

    And NO its not my connection or signal strength …I live Next to the tower !! ,,,, SORT IT OUT OR IM GONE …

    Comment by Loki — 24 October 2009 @ 8:44 am


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