Two nights ago, ngmoco’s much-anticipated social game We Rule was released on the App Store. Within hours the complaints began to pour in. Some gamers were unable to connect. Others could log in, but their crops would hang at 99%. Others yet would place buildings down only to see them vanish. Something had happened. The typically error-free Plus+ network encountered its first major snafu.
Launching a server-heavy social game is a challenge for any company, and doubly so on the iPhone. Testing the servers before release would require a huge beta test – something that’s next to impossible to pull off given the nature of the iPhone. Ngmoco seemed to have found a way around this problem, debuting their latest games in Canada for a brief period to give them a chance to work out the kinks before going worldwide. It worked for Touch Pets Dogs and it worked for Eliminate Pro… so why didn’t it work for We Rule?
Ngmoco CEO Neil Young was very upfront and honest about the specifics of what was happening in a recent blog post, showing transparency that few deliver in the business world;
“These are issues that we have seen before in our Canada test and believed that we had addressed before going global – they are at the nexus of server load and caching. If these are indeed the same issues that we saw in Canada, then the consolation for you is that the state that you have on the server is actually the true state of the game and that these issues are more confusing than they are a permanent problem with your kingdom. We hope that the net result of addressing the issues above will be that your kingdom is restored to its accurate state.”
As of 14 hours ago, ngmoco’s twitter declared that “We Rule upgrades & fixes are now live.” Whether or not this is the end of problems for We Rule and the Plus+ network, only time will tell.
Ngmoco’s next game Godfinger is currently undergoing a similar Canada-based server test.