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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 07:40am 24/10/10 | 32 Comments
At a Blizzard press conference today at BlizzCon (fancy that), I was given the chance to throw out the Aussie server question to both Jay Wilson and J Allen Brack, Brack of whom responded wholey. Rather than just ask, is it happening, I did probe what the actual hold-up is, and what issues they face. Below is his repsonse.

"There are a couple of issues," Brack said in response to the above. "I feel bad for Australian players, but the biggest problem right now is the number one ISP in Australia; any traffic that gets routed outside of Australia goes to San Diego. So it doesn't matter where in the world you're going, you're going to San Diego. And then you're going to San Diego to somewhere else.

"So we have a big data centre in South East Asia, so it makes sense for us to grow that data centre out to Australia, in terms of putting Oceanic servers there. That actually would make the experience worse for Oceanic players. But it is something we're talking about - I met with our network guys and our IT guys as early as two weeks ago to talk about Australia and to talk about what we can do."

A pretty honest response, though GamePron's Punkly jumped in after me, pointing out that it's actually not the case that all traffic goes to San Diego, and also asked about the possibility of just using another ISP other than Telstra, to which J essentially said Telstra will attract "50% of players", suggesting they're not going to move beyond negotiation with, or at least thinking first and foremost about, BigPond.

So there you have it, straight from the Mount's mouth - feel free to chime in at any moment now.

Update: Turns out Brack was referring to Optus as our "number one ISP" which means his comments about San Diego now make sense, but it also means they need to be informed a little more about the actual ISP situation in Australia, because Optus would really only represent a small part of our overall service.



australian serversblizzardworld of warcraftj allen brack





Latest Comments
Eorl
Posted 08:32am 24/10/10
That's much better then their previous answer of "maybe". Thanks alot Steve, at least it's some form of confirmation that they are thinking of us down here :)
Shakul
Posted 09:00am 24/10/10
It's a fat load of nothing.

If Warhammer could host servers in Melbourne, and Runes of Magic could just have opened a server in Queensland, then Blizzard have no excuse. They are just blowing smoke up our asses once again.
Khel
Posted 10:07am 24/10/10
Except Warhammer had, what, 5 people playing it? Their server was probably just an old PC sitting under someone's desk.
gamer
Posted 10:16am 24/10/10
internode or iinet (or was it westnet?) did some pretty serious investigation using anonymous data packet information capture to find out how many wow players it had... i beleive for just the one ISP that did this they were looking at a 5 figure number (xx,xxx)... thats a f*** tonne of customers from just one isp in Australia.

Its absolutly piss poor that blizzard wont look past Telstra. If only they knew what a colossal f*****g nightmare Telstra would be for them.

They are completly wrong about data to san diago btw, Australia has at least 3 serious pipes to Asia, America and Japan (I think?)


International

Australia is linked to the world by several fibre-optic cables:

* Southern Cross Cables to New Zealand, Hawaii and the US mainland with a capacity of 430Gb/s.[4]

* Southern Cross Cables to Fiji, Hawaii and the US mainland with a capacity of 430Gb/s. Upgrade in the fourth quarter of 2008.[4]

* Australia-Japan Cable to Guam and Japan. Primarily used as an alternative path to the United States with a capacity of 2 fibre pairs of 320Gb/s.

* Sea-Me-We3 to Indonesia and onto Asia, Middle East, the United States and other destinations with a capacity of 40Gb/s.

* APNG2 (previously part of Pac Rim West) to Papua New Guinea with a capacity of 2x565Mb/s.

* Jasaraus (linking to APCN Asia Pacific) to Indonesia with a capacity of 5Gb/s.[5]

* Gondwana-1 to New Caledonia.[6].

* PPC-1 (a joint venture of PIPE Networks and Videsh Sanchar Nigam) to Guam[7] with capacity of 2.56Tb/s[8].

* Telstra Endeavour to Hawaii with a capacity of 80Gb/s [9].

There are also a number of satellite earth stations, which provide access points into the Australian networks:

* Intelsat has 10 earth stations, 4 on the Indian Ocean and 6 on the Pacific Ocean.
* Inmarsat has 2 earth stations, which serve the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions.
* SingTel Optus Earth Stations has several earth stations located in the major cities.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_Australia
http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/354826/pacnet_new_australia-us_fibre_link_bigger_than_nbn/
http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/355022/isps_doubt_impact_new_australia-us_fibre_link/


I cant find it now but i used to have a image of every Australian link to another country that's publicly available and it's staggering. My company was passing it around a few years back when that one fibre link went down and slowed Australia to a crawl, everyone was saying - why can we route through xzy etc. That slowness was just because not enough routers were configured with automatic route changes / QOS.
Dan
Posted 10:25am 24/10/10
If only they knew what a colossal f*****g nightmare Telstra would be for them.
This is just plain wrong. Any of the bigger ISPs in Aus would be more than capable of hosting the server infrastructure but out of all of them (imo), Telstra with BigPond GameArena and Internode with Games On Net are the only two that have the gaming focused community and promotional avenues to offer more of a value-add to Blizzard than the others.

The real best option for Aussie wow players though would be for Blizzard to invest directly in their own hardware, pay for their own bandwidth and keep their servers independent of any _one_ au ISP
gamer
Posted 10:31am 24/10/10
Weather a ISP has a web portal for their gaming servers hardly matters. What matters is the quality and support of their data centers and their network redundancy and integrity. Westnet, Node and iiNet and many other ISPs defiantly have that.

Telstra on the other hand, wouldn't give a flying f*** about blizzard, they are small fry compared to businesses Telstra already have in their customer portfolio.

There are many data centers out there that would happily take a very large risk/investment of their own just to get blizzard on board because blizzard would be a very serious customer for them.
Dan
Posted 10:58am 24/10/10
Oh quit your waffling and get over the pointless Telstra bashing,. There's no reason that any one of at least the top 6 Aus ISPs couldn't manage the technical side of hosting of something like this just as well as each other - it's not an overly complex proposition and there's no reason or precedent to suggest thaty any would be more like to mess it up than others. btw, you realise Westnet and iinet are the same company now right?

Anyway, as I said previously - I'd rather Blizzard just do it off their own back, the best option for the game's actual _players_ is for Aussie servers to not be tied to any one ISP and not be dictated by any kind of exclusivity deals.
TicMan
Posted 11:59am 24/10/10
Pretty light on reason and the whole San Diego thing is wrong - we have direct links up through Asia, the new PIPE link to Guam which is then distributed to Asia/US and so on.

Also - why not ask about pricing!@%!@
ara
Posted 12:10pm 24/10/10
Pretty soft excuse. Maybe someone should post him http://www.telstra.net/cgi-bin/trace

Hosting the stuff themselves at a neutral data center in Australia would be the best solution, something like Global switch that most Australian ISPs are already in but they want someone else to foot the bill for them.
wch
Posted 02:52pm 24/10/10
"I feel bad for Australian players, but the biggest problem right now is the number one ISP in Australia; any traffic that gets routed outside of Australia goes to San Diego. So it doesn't matter where in the world you're going, you're going to San Diego. And then you're going to San Diego to somewhere else."

Umm... what?
Tiny
Posted 02:58pm 24/10/10
That's not a response at all. That's a load of bulls***.
FaceMan
Posted 03:28pm 24/10/10
They make us pay full price then provide us with second rate server access.
My feelings on Blizzard are well known and this just confirms it.
I dont even play SC2 and wont be buying another Blizzard game.
Hogfather
Posted 03:53pm 24/10/10
Yeh we've seen your track record on Blizzard boycotts faceman, your threats have no teeth.

On topic, if the 10k+ numbers for internode are correct then a mainland server for Blizzard makes financial sense if they are at all concerned about their local customers. The San Diego thing is smoke and mirrors IMO - they basically just discount the mainland option and then go into the problems of international network topology.

If the international network thing is so hard, then just host it locally. Sadly I think that the reality is that SEA datacentres are probably cheap compared with Australian ones and the bean counters are running the show.

Until someone presents a competing product suite for Austrtalians that threatens market share, why spend extra money? Nobody is going to cancel their WoW account or stop playing StarCraft over network issues when there's no real competition.
Plasma
Posted 04:34pm 24/10/10
Routed to San Diego? Rubbish.

I don't play this game; but it would come down to cost (bandwidth usage) and maybe the support burden cost to manage the servers remotely (eg for maintenance).

The main problem would just be price; apparently its too expensive.
Khel
Posted 05:16pm 24/10/10
10,000 wow players though is just a drop in the bucket really when they have 12.5 million. From a community point of view, sure it looks good to be trying to do something for those people, from a business point of view though I know I sure wouldn't be bending over backwards to try and give local servers to such a tiny percentage of the game's population.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 11:31pm 24/10/10
During a conversation with someone else at the event, there's an idea he might have actually been referring to Optus. Regardless though, it means they definitely need a bit more education on the situation, and we need to get in there on the ground level and ask the right people the right questions
Hogfather
Posted 12:22am 25/10/10
10,000 wow players though is just a drop in the bucket really when they have 12.5 million. From a community point of view, sure it looks good to be trying to do something for those people, from a business point of view though I know I sure wouldn't be bending over backwards to try and give local servers to such a tiny percentage of the game's population.

10k is (from the post above) from internode only though - and its not like there ate 12M in USWest and we want a server for 30k -- the 12M are from all over the world.

A lot of MMOs probably run on less subs than Australia would likely have for WoW; but yeh ultimately its just a numbers and dollars game and they just don't see the point in the spend.
ara
Posted 11:20am 25/10/10
During a conversation with someone else at the event, there's an idea he might have actually been referring to Optus. Regardless though, it means they definitely need a bit more education on the situation, and we need to get in there on the ground level and ask the right people the right questions


you know optus is owned by singtel and has fat pipes back to Singapore...

http://traceroute.optusnet.com.au/
reso
Posted 04:40pm 25/10/10
That's interesting ara, because as far as I know Optus were the ones having the issues with the SEA servers for SC2? A lot of people were posting routes and pings higher than if they were going to NA.
Tim Tibbetts
Posted 04:47pm 25/10/10
While I would love to have a local server, not having one isn't really a huge deal. That being said it is rather frustrating though when you hear these 'odd' excuses from Blizzard.

Also the idea that people would boycott the games because of it is rather amusing. I don't have the willpower to do that as I enjoy their games too much.
Enska
Posted 12:01am 26/10/10
When they make a s*** game I'll get all up in arms about it.
for the time being I'm satisfied, high ping and all.
Shakul
Posted 08:50am 26/10/10
At the very least, why not offer some kind of "premium" service that prioritizes traffic from our IP ranges on Oceanic servers. I would gladly pay and extra $5 a month for the equivalent of Lowerping but through Blizzard themselves.
Tim Tibbetts
Posted 08:52am 26/10/10
I wouldn't.
trog
Posted 09:45am 26/10/10
If you really want an Australian WoW server, it behooves you to cancel your WoW subscription and tell them that's why your canceling. It's almost like if people keep giving them money month on month they won't think there's anything wrong!
ravn0s
Posted 10:48am 26/10/10
heh i put s***/boring game when i quit
Superform
Posted 04:45pm 26/10/10
everyone should quit for a month citing poor latency then resub.. as a way of protest

but i cant imagine people who still play wow being able to walk away from the game for a day let alone a month.. poor poor fools
gamer
Posted 04:47pm 26/10/10
If you really want an Australian WoW server, it behooves you to cancel your WoW subscription and tell them that's why your canceling. It's almost like if people keep giving them money month on month they won't think there's anything wrong!


While I understand what makes you say that Trog. It's the opposite of that that makes it so damn irritating when we dont see local investment by Blizzard in an Australian presence.

We give them our money and expect that to eventually justify their investment in us, not the other way around... by retracting our money and then claiming 'no we really will play if you just take the chance'.

The fact is they dont need to take a chance, they are well aware of how many customers would benefit from AU servers, i'm sure they have massive data grabs of "Country by IP address range" or something where they can see where all their players are and how they could better their services.

Having 'server maintenance' during peak time on tuesday night for AU is horrible, thats something that would really help us.
ara
Posted 04:57pm 26/10/10
when i stopped my subscription, i put no australian servers as the reason just for the people that kept playing.

in reality it was because it was a massive time sink and i thought i would be better investing my time in other things.
trog
Posted 05:25pm 26/10/10
The fact is they dont need to take a chance, they are well aware of how many customers would benefit from AU servers, i'm sure they have massive data grabs of "Country by IP address range" or something where they can see where all their players are and how they could better their services.
The only question that makes sense from their perspective though is, "will we make a lot more money if we put in local servers?"

Given the cost of hosting over here (~10x more than in the US or anywhere else I feel is a reasonable ballpark number to throw around) there's simply no way I can think of that they'd make any more money - it's not like there's tens of thousands of people that aren't playing WoW now because they're worried about latency. So there's no real way they can see it as an investment, I think.

I see what you're saying and understand your thought processes, but I just think it simply doesn't align with their business goals, even though I'm sure they're making squillions of dollars!
Jim
Posted 07:14pm 26/10/10
If you really want an Australian WoW server, it behooves you to cancel your WoW subscription and tell them that's why your canceling. It's almost like if people keep giving them money month on month they won't think there's anything wrong!


yup, exactly
Hogfather
Posted 07:20pm 26/10/10
But nobody will for that reason alone. Game's playable as is, just less than optimal.

Now if there was a competing product in the MMO space that offered local servers ... but there really isn't a competitor to wow at the moment. Their hegemony allows them to pretty much ignore s*** like this and define thereby the standard for service delivery.

Hegemony is an awesome word btw.
Ryan
Posted 07:23am 30/10/10
Interesting... Disappointing that he just fed you a bunch of uneducated crap, though.
Is it really THAT hard to dump a bunch of servers in Sydney? The terminology is wrong, but... Just do it!
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