Diablo 3 producer says launch problems can occur despite “very ambitious projections”

By Stephany Nunneley
25 March 2014 20:01 GMT

Blizzard lead producer Alex Mayberry has said despite the company’s best efforts, “more people showed up” for the release of Diablo 3 than its servers could handle.

diablo 3 reaper of souls logo

Speaking with CVG, Mayberry said in spite of the team’s “very ambitious projections,” the servers couldn’t handle the load, resulting in the much maligned Error 37.

“We doubled and quadrupled our estimates on how many people were going to show up, and it turned out that the hardware was just overwhelmed. It certainly didn’t feel good when that happened,” he recounted.

“It’s not an ‘x plus y equals’ problem. It’s not as easy as knowing 14 million people have bought this game and thus we need server capacity for all of them. What if all people enter the same part of the game at the exact same time? There are certain behaviors that we cannot anticipate or prepare for.

“These things happen because we’re doing incredible new things with technology that never happened before. We’re inventing things, inventing new technologies, we’re writing code that’s never been done before. You’re just going to have issues. It may not be the code, or even the service IPs that you’re using – you have to account for all the potential problems and try to mitigate risk.”

Mayberry also touched up exploits, which can have an impact on servers.

“There are some people who are just incredible in understanding how systems work, and they suddenly figure out exploits,” he said. “What happens when one person discovers the easiest way to get a sought-after item, then that goes out on the internet, and then you have millions of people doing the same thing? Well, our servers may not be ready for that trend.

“I would love to ship a bug-free game, but if we’ve never encountered certain behavior, how can we prepare for it?”

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, is now available on PC and Mac and a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version is in development. Mayberry would not comment on whether the expansion was planned for release on PS3 or Xbox 360.

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