There will be no scheduled downtime this coming Tuesday, December 26, 2006, what a great time to take advantage of the Holiday Season is to give players more reason to forget about their real-life social-life... ok, I know, I know, it is a good thing. This is great news to every WoW player around the world, as WoW's weekly Tuesday maintenance usually takes 5-6 hours (yeah, there's an additional 1 hour from the official announcement because not all servers go up exactly at the same time - count the usual restarts if needed).
Drysc, a Blizzard employee, one of the Blue Poster from the official WoW Forums said:
Since the game's release, one of our most important service goals has been to reduce the amount of time realms are down for weekly realm maintenance. The various hardware upgrades and retrofits we've done over the past year have put us in a position to begin testing the ability to go longer than a week between maintenance periods. In the upcoming weeks, we will be testing the effect of a live maintenance, where regular maintenance tasks are run during off-peak with realms live. On Tuesday, December 26 there will be no scheduled downtime for weekly maintenance. We will perform all necessary maintenance tasks while the realms are live. We are anticipating the possibility that we may need to perform rolling restarts off-peak if we find that a realm restart is necessary; however the downtime for each realm would be less than 10 minutes if it was required.
This is what many online game developer in the world are or must aim for, reduce the weekly maintenance or completely remove it. On the Business side of things, for every minute a server is down for whatever reason translates to a loss of revenue (ROI), and giving your customers a chance to test out your competitors online games. Now that Blizzard has joined the no-maintenance downtime Online Game (NMDOG if you want), the competition is more tough and stiffer. Guild Wars, a Competitive Online Role-Playing Game or CORPG (read: GW is not an MMORPG), was the first NMOG known. And as for sure Blizzard knows how important being a no-maintenance downtime status is, because everytime WoW goes down for maintenance, their players login to games like Guild Wars. Five hours to a day has passed, and these players are still playing the game, they have completely forgotten about WoW. GW is not the only game that benefits from WoW's maintenance downtime, other online games as well. Of course the same thing goes for other online games whose players start to play WoW or other MOGs because their main online game is down for maintenance.
The social side of things? Well, expect more articles and people saying that the move of Blizzard in making WoW an NMDOG will further kill the social-lives of their customers. Just go to any Yahoo! Answers site and most of the questions relating to online games goes around "How to make my boyfriend stop playing WoW?" How sad that there will be more people who will have relationship problems and social problems. Well, is it Blizzard's fault? Personal opinion? NO. Just like everybody else in the online gaming industry, they are just doing business. I just hope that Blizzard starts implementing NCsoft's hourly warning - "You have been playing for X hours, consider taking a break."