Widespread Outages for World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is experiencing lengthy downtime, and blaming its service provider for the outages. The virtual world, which now has more than 6 million users, also announced emergency maintenance outages overnight on a large number of game servers (known as "realms").

"We'd like to make all players aware that at this time our internet service provider is experiencing significant complications, and as a result the playability on a large portion of realms has been adversely affected," said a message from Epifanio, Senior Game Master, on the WoW forums.. "Symptoms include but are not limited to lag, random disconnections and slow authentication. Our network technicians are doing everything in their power to work with our ISP so that this issue may be resolved as swiftly as possible."

World of Warcraft is hosted by AT&T, which houses servers for the game at data centers in Los Angeles and Redwood City, Calif., and Ashburn, Va. The outages affected the worldofwarcraft.com web site as well as the game servers, as shown in our uptime chart:

World of Warcraft web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of World of Warcraft's web site performance is available here. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides similar charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

The announcement about problems with Warcraft's provider was followed by a series of emergency maintenance outages for Warcraft realms. It's not clear why "complications" at a third-party provider would be followed by server maintenance. While there has been no mention or indication of any malicious activity, there is a precedent for such attacks. Last year a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) attack targeted Final Fantasy XI, another large virtual world.

World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based on Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft series depicting a war between four races with magical abilities and distinctive weapons.