A week and a half after Diablo III and its two local launches (one being official, and the other isn’t). RGB sits down with Asiasoft to get their take on the aftermath of the official launch of what was, arguably, the biggest videogame of 2012.
“We are very sorry for that,” said Ian Purnomo, MarComm Manager of Asiasoft, of the interminably long queues that had built up at the Diablo III launch at Funan Digitalife Mall last week.
Gamers present at the official Singapore launch for Diablo III will remember the two-queue system, where one had to verify their preorder card before sitting out to wait for their turn at the collection counter.
“The main idea of having two queues was so gamers could claim their queue number as early as possible and they didn’t need to wait for hours at the venue till their numbers were up,” Ian told us. “Unfortunately we were overwhelmed by the amount of gamers verifying their preorder cards and the early redemption phase did not go as smoothly as we planned.”
The queue system had been designed with Blizzard’s official launch time in mind – 12am PDT, May 15th – which translated to 3pm SGT, May 15th, for us. Like many sanctioned distributors around the world, Asiasoft had had to adhere to the rules not to distribute copies of the game before its official launch in the US.
However, they could have done better to explain the situation, as complaints were rife on the ground. Gamers were upset with both the queuing and the fact that they’d be missing out on getting into the servers the moment they opened.
“Stupid system,” said 23 year old Amos Tan, a student.
“They should have skipped the queue to register,” 26 year old Kelvin Tan, an office worker, griped. “I won’t patronise Asiasoft launch events in the future.”
Joe, 29, who is an employee at a games company, thought that Asiasoft could have given gamers time slots at which to collect their games instead. “There’ll be less congestion,” he explained, “and not everyone will be so pissed off.”
In spite of all that, Asiasoft feels that the launch event was a success. “We were totally humbled and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of enthusiasm that Diablo fans showed. Blizzard people were totally floored witnessing the huge crowd at Funan,” Ian told us.
“Obviously there were a number of flaws during the event,” he said, citing the long queue time as an example, but notes that Asiasoft has been getting “tons of valuable feedback” and that they are “working very hard to address these issues” in order to better serve customers at future events.
One major gripe gamers attending the launch had was that there weren’t enough freebies given out with the game to justify both the long wait and the effort of being there on launch day. While Asiasoft responded that they had initially allocated each customer a chance at a spin-the-wheel game so they could win some loot, Ian told us that they later ran out of premium freebies.
It was a blessing in disguise, however, as doing away with the spin-the-wheel game actually got the queue moving faster. According to Asiasoft, the changes in the redemption system occurred around 5pm that day, and they managed to clear the entire queue of impatient D3 fans by 9.45pm that night.
With the World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, incoming, we’ll be hoping for much better launch events from Asiasoft in the future!
Read about what happened at the Qisahn launch here.