Diablo III servers crash under weight of demand

Players experience severe login delays and "Error 37" messages as Blizzard struggles to keep pace

Blizzard's servers are struggling beneath the weight of demand for Diablo III, Eurogamer reports.

The long-awaited game was released in major territories today, drawing huge crowds to its midnight launch in the UK.

However, the scale of its popularity is reflected in the number of players encountering full servers, severely impaired performance, and an "Error 37" message indicating the need to login again.

"Please note that due to a high volume of traffic, login and character creation may be slower than normal," an official message posted to the forums read.

"If you're unable to login to the game or create characters, please wait and try again. We've temporarily taken our websites offline and launched more servers to accommodate for the traffic. We hope to resolve these issues as soon as possible and appreciate your patience."

Blizzard had warned about the possibility of these problems before Diablo III's launch, predicting login delays of up to 40 seconds and, in extreme cases, an Error 37 message.

GamesIndustry International's on-the-spot report from the game's UK midnight launch can be read here.

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Latest comments (15)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
Error37 trended at number one on Twitter globally.

Just shows the problems with stress testing.
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Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe9 years ago
Did anyone expect anything else?
One of the reasons why so many detest "always online DRM" for single player.
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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios9 years ago
I've been looking forward to this game just as long as anybody else.

When I heard ab out the online only thing I was absolutely furious. I live in a place where the best I can get at home is sattelite internet. Anybody ever tried to play a game on sattelite? It sucks hardcore.

So because Blizzard decided that the entire game has to be online only to play, I am now unable to play the game, because I'm not about to pay 60 bucks for a game that plays as bad as an mmo on my internet.

See what happened Blizzard? That's called Karma.

Now I understand their reason for going only was due to the age old duping bug related to online/offline play with Diablo II, but why couldnt they just take the time to find a work around??? THEY HAD 12 YEARS TO FIGURE IT OUT!!!

How embarassing.
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Show all comments (15)
Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital9 years ago
I just don't see why they didn't include a restricted offline singleplayer mode, there is no reason not to - it just has the caveat of not having that character available online. For the sake of a little extra coding they would have more goodwill with users and a slightly broader market - and it means people could practice while they wait for the servers to go back up.
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Dirk van Wijk Student - Computer Science (Master) 9 years ago
@Henry: They stated that in D2 a lot of people played offline and didn't even know there was a lot of good online functionality. They don't to have separate offline only characters I guess.

And I guess one big issue is pirating ;) D3 offline is actually the whole experience of the game, you can play all of the content offline then. (unlike SC2 which is mainly an online game, so they didn't care people pirated the single player). So they'd also lose sales.
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Richard Gardner Artist, Crytek9 years ago
I personally think everyone is overeating, these issues where obviously going to happen. Don't get me wrong, I feel Blizzard could have done a better and looked at what EA did for The Old Republic launch. But what's done is done and honestly, anyone who says Diablo 3 is a bad game is simply out of there mind. These issues will be done and dusted after the first day.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 9 years ago
Bad, bad bad, they knew beforehand that it would put a lot of strain on their servers (as it also did with previous releases of blizzard games) and yet instead of making sure it doesn't happen they just warn people (with a lot of people ofcourse never seeing the statement)..
I guess it would have cost too much money to make sure the problem wouldn't arrise.. Blizzard just sux..
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 9 years ago
The game has to break at launch, else it is bad marketing.

If the servers break, Blizzard gets a free viral campaign called error 37 and people get the idea of the game being even more in demand than Blizzard could have ever known.

If the servers hold, players do not go on twitter with one hashtag to rule them all and players could get the impression that the game is not as in demand.

You got to have enough servers for day 2, but on day 1, you got to have a guy in place turning them off, so players get this special feedback of the game being the hottest thing on earth.
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports9 years ago
And the cycle continues... This is the same that happened all the way back when Half-life 2 popped into existence. I couldn't play my game on day one (or day two even) despite having the disc in my hands. Now everyone (except me) loves Steam..... These problems will soon be forgotten.
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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios9 years ago
well let me ask this... is it a TCP/IP setup like D2 except Bnet is used for matchmaking purposes, or is it, you start a game and it's on their servers and gameplay is managed through communication with the server?

Because I could play the game if it's a situation where the game is hosted on my PC and it doesnt have to communicate every single action with the server. or is it a pure client/server where all actions are tracked server side and are transmitted to all players connected to that game

Even on dialup there is a lag simply from client/server communication delay. With Sattelite, thanks to our sun wreaking havoc on the atmosphere and causing all sorts of electromagnetic interference, my connection would go up and down faster than a jack rabbit on crack... The metaphor is even more true of my connection because every once in a while it will just get a heart attack and die all together...
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Ignacio Garcia9 years ago
Blizzard, the company that host more than 11 million players on WoW + a few millons from SC2 + a few hundreds of thousands from their other games, can't handle a realease with maybe 1 or 2 million?? Come on!!
I agree with Klaus, they are basically saying "Omg! our servers can't bear so much success!! How bad is that!!" lol
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Micaiah Stevens Owner & Freelance Game Designer, Haven Studios LLC9 years ago
If you look at how they handle the log in server. Especially considering the load, you can see why they can't handle 2 million logins. They split it up into 3 separate network requests. They had a que in the beta, but didn't seem to have it up for live. So when you can't log in, you basically either wait, or spam the login button. Which then turns 2 million requests x3 stages so 6 million, times lets say 4 attempts a second. So 24 million requests a second. If I can see this is a problem. Then its kind of obvious their network was designed by a first year networking student.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
@Andreas: If someone has a dial-up connection, there's a VERY high chance it's also for their main phone line as well. Not everyone has a smartphone or maybe they only use a cell in an emergency. That and updating the game would be next to impossible if a huge patch was released that required a too-long download session.

It might not impact sales much, but it's actually LOST revenue at the end of the day when you consider the millions who won't be spending sixty bucks on what could have been a fine offline SP mode.

You have to think like poor gamer once in a while... or be one to see how being onlime always would not be an option for those folks who might like a bit of DIII at some point (but will just go without it)...
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Oh, I can name a few areas in a few states here in the US where you're proven wrong about decent Internet connections and familiarity with the Diablo series, Andreas.

In fact, you can even say that ANY game will have a percentage of users who've never heard of it before or have very limited experience with game sin the genre. Poke around online and you'll find a few people not used to the mouse movement and combat or hotkeys because they're coming in from a non-PC gaming background. Not EVERY Diablo III player is an expert at the game, but they may want to see what the fuss is all about because someone they know may be playing (or trying to play (ERROR 3003)...
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Emily Knox Associate Designer, CCP Games9 years ago
Just personally, I am disappointed that single player is online only. I've got a less than desirable internet connection that's prone to disconnecting, so I get booted from the game, and when the servers are busy (or whether my internet speed is to blame, I'm not sure) at times my character is playing a few steps behind the enemies, so I'm teleporting across areas and casting spells in the wrong place. So it's actually almost unplayable if I'm against some tough enemies at a bad time.

When it works, it's great, when it doesn't it's a frustrating experience. Having the option to play offline would solve problems for a lot of people.
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