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    Arcade
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    An Analyzation of Battle.net
    by the gibb

    This editorial is going to be a little different. Instead of ranting on about one part of Bnet, I'm going to analyze the whole kit n' kaboodle.

    1) LAG

    The dreaded 3-letter word that we all try to avoid, but sometimes is inevitable. Some polls and such have asked what the cause of lag was. The response was definitely varied. Some say that slow computers are the problem, while others say that it's bad ISP or slow connections in general. Personally, I feel that lag is not caused by one thing, but a variety of things. Mainly, bad connections to their ISP or to the Bnet servers themselves. I also believe that the speed (how many MHz the computer has) has little to do with bandwith and lag in general.
    Editors note: I find that CPU speed only affects the game speed in multiplayer if it cannot run at optimal speed in single player - If it seems slow in S/P (Speed settings aside) then it will be worse in multiplayer).

    2) Those annoying people that put like "$X>p'. as the game name

    My motto is, if I can't understand the game name, I don't join it.
    Editors note: Foreign (Korean) font cant be understood by our computers so it turns up as ascii instead

    3) Cheating/Ladder Lamers

    I don't see how people can cheat. I mean its just a game!!! Come on now get a life! Yeah it might be cool to improve your record by one by using a map hack or something, but its still stupid and one win (unless it's at a PGL level) doesn't mean anything. Those ladder lamers deserve their records deleted. Actually they deserve worse, but I can talk about that for days.

    4) Bnet crashing

    It seems whenever I want to get on Bnet, it's down or crashed or something. But, as many people say, it IS a free service, and we shouldn't be yelling at Blizzard every 10 seconds if there's something wrong with Battle.net. I'd hate to have the job of the guy that answers all the email at Blizzard's support@blizzard.com email address. Sometimes I go over to the Bnet support forum when Bnet's down. I just have a great time looking at those people who go "MAN THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I CAN PLAY ON BNET IN 20 YEARS CMON BLIZZ GIMME A CHANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I just find that downright hilarious. Anyway, yeah I don't like it when Bnet's down. But there are alternatives. Play single player! Take a walk! Take out your garbage! Beat your computer repeatedly with a hammer! I don't care! But don't whine! Anyway, I was looking through some of my old files and found this post on on of the Battle.net forums that someone made back in February. Very interesting. Here it is. It's not all abut Bnet crashing, but still a good read.
    Subject: It isn't free.
    From:Mike Rotch
    Host: dialup-day8.nls.net
    Date:Mon Feb 15 08:12:11

    I keep seeing posts by people saying, "Stop complaining. It's a free service." Nothing could be further from the truth.

    In economics there is a concept called marginal cost. Marginal cost is the cost for the consumer to purchase one more unit than he already has, or for the producer to produce one more unit than he already has produced. There's also a fixed cost, which means, for example, what it costs the producer to own a factory--rent, taxes, utilities, etc.--even if he does not produce anything at all in it. The total cost is the fixed cost plus the sum of marginal costs of all units.

    Now on b-net, the _marginal_ cost to play is zero. No matter how much or how little you play, you are charged the same: nothing. But you paid for the game up front, and that is what pays for b-net (that and the advertising banners). Let's say (just for example; I don't know how much money they really made or what they do with it) that Blizz made $20 million dollars from SC. They could set aside, say $5 million of that and invest it in bonds earning 8%, which means $200,000 a year to maintain b-net. The remaining $15 million they can keep for their profit.

    The point is, they _have_ to set aside that money to maintain b-net because when they sold SC they made an explicit contract with the consumer that says they provide free play over the internet through b-net. They put it in writing on the box, and it was partly for that reason that consumers were willing to part with their money in exchange for SC. If you doubt this, suppose they hadn't offered free b-net play and another game of comparable quality had--which would you be more likely to buy?

    So although there is no marginal cost to play, b-net is most certainly _not_ free. You paid for it when you purchased SC and thereby entered into the legally binding licensing agreement which includes, among other things, b-net at no additional charge.

    Saying that b-net is free is like buying a house with cash, i.e. no mortgage, and saying that the house was free because you don't have to make rent or mortgage payments.

    On the subject of b-net being down--where I work I maintain front-end software for a three-tier client-server database system. The back-end database is on a machine with a "fail-over" system, meaning there is a second box which contains an exact mirror of the data on the primary box. If the first box fails, it "fails over" to the second box, which takes over for it. Is there a special reason why b-net does not have such a backup system in place? Surely their budget is adequate.

    5) Losing connections in the middle of the game

    I had to ask some of my friends what they don't like about bnet to get ideas for this editorial. Most of them said lag, but here's what my friend Papagogio (pronounced papa georgio, ever seen Vagas Vacation?) said. "How u lose your connections in the middle of a game." Many people will blame this on AOL. I know, AOL sucks. But it's not only AOL people that are kicked off. Sometimes I "borrow" my friends ISP, and I get kicked off for no reason after a couple hours of being on. Mainly, getting kicked off in the middle of the games usually isn't Bnet's fault, its either your fault or your ISP's.
    Editors note: I still think it's B.net... have you tried some other games online in multiplayer? You dont get kicked off too much in a game on Westwood chat as much do you?

    Since I've run out of ideas for now, if I get some correspondence on what they don't like about Bnet or Bnet in general, I'll make a part two to this editorial.


    Copyright 1999. All Rights Reserved. Please send all comments, good or bad, to thegibb@gamesurge.com, or post your thoughts on our forum.

    " "



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