There was a bit of a delay, originally set to release at 3:00 PM (PDT) but being pushed back an hour to 4:00 PM (PDT). But that’s all done with – the maintenance is finished and the servers are live!
Well… sort of, anyway.
As the patch launched a bit earlier than the extended maintenance said – closer to 3:30 PM (PDT) than the stated 4:00 PM, millions of players swarmed into the login. With so many swarming on, the servers never really stood much of a chance.
The game currently is barely playable. Your first challenge will be signing on, with connecting to the servers currently a bit of a Sisyphean task. Connection itself is an issue, with the client usually lingering on retrieving the realm list.
— Wowhead (@Wowhead) October 13, 2020
If you manage to get past that, you’ll likely be looking at a blacked-out character select screen. This can be fixed (potentially) by switching to a different server, but this is far from a guaranteed fix.
From there, you might be able to sign in. This loading screen will be among the longest of your life, especially if you happened to sign out in a capital city. The population of the game is at one of the peak times it generally experiences.
If you get in, you might want to abandon the idea of going to a capital city. Places like Orgrimmar and Stormwind are practically uninhabitable due to the massive surge of players, especially near the barbershop.
Don’t think that getting in means you’re safe, either – the servers have crashed several times, removing everyone and starting the process all over again. With luck, the servers will stay up long enough for you to check out a few of the changes.
To be clear, this isn’t to trash Blizzard – there are millions and millions of players trying to get on. The servers are being pushed to their absolute limit, and while it’s disappointing to see, it’s very far from unexpected.
As of writing this, about three hours after prepatch launch, the servers have gotten slightly more stable as more and more players give up. That said, the disconnects and issues are still extremely prevalent. Throughout the next twenty-four hours, Blizzard will likely be bringing more and more fixes to keep the game stable again.