Blizzard mulls Aussie World of Warcraft servers


World of Warcraft publisher Blizzard Entertainment this week reportedly said it was discussing the possibility of hosting Australian servers for the popular massively multiplayer online game.

The lack of servers hosted in Australia for the game — also a common problem with a number of other online offerings — means that local players must connect to international servers and suffer extended latency compared with players in those countries, which can disadvantage them in-game and cause slower online reaction times.

“I would say it’s possible and that it’s something we talk about on a regular basis — and I will also say it’s something I have talked about this week,” World of Warcraft production director J. Allen Brack said in an interview with AusGamers publishers this week.

“So it’s definitely just not a case of ‘yeah whatever’. It does get our attention and we do raise it up on a regular basis. If we can make it happen, we’ll make it happen,” he added, noting the Australian WoW community was “super-passionate” about the issue, but it was a question of local timing and expenditure.

The issue primarily affects games which require low ‘ping’ times — indicative of latency — to the servers that users are required to connect to. Good examples would be first-person shooter games, where a handful of millliseconds can mean the difference in an online match between taking out your own target or your online character taking a hit instead.

However, other Blizzard games such as StarCraft II, which is currently in beta testing — with some Australians obtaining early access to the game — are not as highly affected by the issue. Delimiter has been beta testing StarCraft II over the past week and has not experienced any latency difficulties on an ADSL2+ connection.

It’s not hard to find complaints online about poor ping times for WoW in Australia. For example, back in 2007 a gamer named Drunkmunky posted the following online: “I live in Australia and I, like the rest of the country, am forced to play WoW on servers located in America. This results in quite a latency hit that affects nearly every aspect of gameplay.”

Blizzard has set up ‘Oceania’ WoW servers that target Australian WoW players with local time zones, but the servers are still based overseas.

Image credit: Blizzard


  1. What a wonderful wish for all Aussie/NZ players.

    One thing that bothers me is that if the government end up implementing their great firewall would it allow as access to these servers, or would it be banned as “corrupting the youth” .

      • Technically until iirc ~Oct last year, the game was illegal as it had not been classified by review board. On launch, was decided MMO wasn’t a game but something new. Hence left in limbo…

  2. I’m staggered that they didn’t have servers already. I know Australia is treated like the ginger stepchild of video-gaming nations, but it’s still an entire continent! That’s the sort of thing that needs a server (especially when said server is guaranteed to extract cash from every connection until the end of time).

    • Luke it would seem that Blizz tried to get servers down here about 4 years ago. ( as stated in forum link) but the typical thing happened with Tel$ra wanting far too much.

      All I know as a player is that since moving from a “US” server to their “Oceanic” server the lag has been less, but it still bites hard when playing.

      • Frankly I don’t see how it is possible that hosting a few Australian servers in a pissant datacentre somewhere could be that expensive for Blizzard — datacentre space and telecommunications is only getting cheaper, and plenty of other gaming companies do it. Blizzard makes so much money from WoW — you’d think they could throw their loyal Australian fan base a bone on this one.

        • The cost is in on the ground staff. Three shifts of a couple of people. Now, if they could run Asian English from, say, .sg with account management avail for US and that region… There’s some major original design decisions that a game with 100x’s expected playerbase is still groaning from. Still needs some major rework at the core.

          • Really? Couldn’t the servers be adminned from overseas? And would three shifts of a couple people really cost that much? I know Blizzard already has some staff in Australia etc.

          • The servers certainly *can* be administered from overseas, and there’s absolutely no reason why they’d need dedicated staff locally. That argument holds no water at all.

  3. If they just figured out how to do weekly maintenance separately for Oceanic servers at a better time I’d be happy. I’m sure 3am on Tuesday is a great for the US cause everyone is asleep, but that ends up at 9pm Australian Eastern time, and isn’t quite as convenient for us.

    • but that’s the thing.. the oceanic servers are still in the us.. so they take them down when the us ones go down.
      I know with my guild we just don’t plan things on Tuesday nights, gives us all a chance to do things RL, and the old saying you can’t please everyone all the time.

      • Considering how many Australian World of Warcraft players there are, how much they pay on a monthly basis, and how cheap local server power is, I find it hard to believe Blizzard can’t justify this one.

  4. As an original WoW player who left after 12mths for this reason amidst others, I doubt they will carry it out anytime soon. A lot of the issues I have were addressed over subsequent years. I think about year 3 of wow they deigned to provide pacific time servers. Fishing quests at 3am? no thanks. Raids at USA player times? forget it.
    The idea of a rolling 8hour window for maintenance has never been approved. Heaven forbid USA player base should miss out on one prime time slot every 3 weeks.

    At the time Telstra offered them free hosting in Australia and was turned down. Yet now they are “thinking about it” Pfft!

    Gizzards attitude to the player base in the first 12mths was dismal to say the least, let alone those of us outside the USA. They were busy coding TBC for further sales without bothering to fix existing content. I think 12mths after I left a quest in shimmering flats that required 4hours of travel etc, finally had a reward other than the comment “quest needs reward” A large factor in my purchase of the game was the dishonor system that despite being PROMOTED by Blizzard and described on page 134 of the manual, never happened. Another one was continual new content, — over the past 5 years yes IF you buy expansions, in the first 12mths no. False advertising? Nah you agreed to the EULA.

    I used to quit occasionally when there were problems, so it would show up on their accountants stats. The last time they managed to break their account management for over a week, so I finally WON and deleted the game.

    IE. dont hold your breath guys.

  5. There’s so many options with good data centers around these days, I don’t know why they didn’t investigate other options then. There’s the usual crowds in Sydney and Melbourne. Node have hosting and Adam in Adelaide have a new DC with heaps of space, power and bandwidth going into the place…

    This has to end well.

    • True, Blizzard really has got no excuses at this point, I reckon. They’re Blizzard! Surely Internode or Adam or someone similar would cut them a sweet deal on an Australian World of Warcraft server — just for publicity’s sake and the amount of gamers likely to move to that ISP I reckon it would be worth it.

      I’ll query some of the ISPs today and see what they say.

      • Good move!
        Make sure you get onto the right people: probably marketing or buseinss sales groups would be the best bet I recon.

  6. Two reasons Blizzard wont create Aussie Servers.

    1. They tried and got shafted by a large company.

    2. Blizzard know that Aussies are a friendly bunch that in general are nice and know what they are doing. Why would they allow us to pack up and move to a different server.

  7. I read that Blizz tried to setup a DC here but Telstra wanted too much. But this wasn’t WoW, it was whatever the Blizz game that was popular around 2002 or thereabouts.

    but as other posters said here. A DC is peanuts to a relatively large company like Blizz. Node would cut them a deal.

    At last my mage would dps more.

  8. Awesome article,btw im in the process of making a starcraft 2 blog on squidoo to help beginners with strategies and such,if anyone is interested click on my name,and sorry for the shameless plug :)

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