The web site for the World of Warcraft online game was unavailable for much of the day Tuesday, with many of its game servers offline for maintenance as well. The "virtual world" now has more than 3.5 million subscribers, including 1.5 million new paying customers from China. Users on numerous World of Warcraft servers have been reported performance problems in recent weeks.
A dynamically updating chart of World of Warcraft's web site performance is available here.
World of Warcraft conducts maintenance every Tuesday, but rarely for such a lengthy period. At least 28 game servers were scheduled to be offline for at least 24 hours, according to an advisory from Blizzard. "We realize that this is inconvenient; however, this downtime is necessary to address the recent issues adversely affecting performance for players on these realms," the message noted. "All World of Warcraft players on these realms will receive a one-day time extension for the downtime caused by this maintenance." Last week the maintenance window was also expended while game publisher Blizzard Entertainment investigated a possible exploit in the game.
World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based on Blizzard's Warcraft series depicting a war between four races with magical abilities and distinctive weapons.