About a week ago, I received a message from Namco Bandai informing me that I’d been selected to participate in a PS3 closed beta test of Dark Souls II, which was scheduled for Saturday, 10/26, between 2:00 and 5:00 AM, EDT. Since I’m becoming a crotchety old woman, that’s actually pretty late for me these days, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to get my hands on some Dark Souls II. Cut to me at 1:58 AM, PS3 controller in hand, absolutely buzzing with excitement.
The clock strikes 2 and I attempt to log into the Network Test, the aim of which is to examine multiplayer functions like summoning and invading other players, as well as the overall balance of the game. It was a worldwide test with approximately 90,000 players, so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t get in at first. We clearly overloaded the server! That’s the whole point of a test like this, to ensure these issues don’t happen on release day!
I kept trying to log in, delighted by the little animation of a candle burning down. Charming at first, this melting candle soon became the bane of my existence. You see, I kept getting the same message, failure to log in. As time wore on, and my thumb grew sore from repeatedly pressing “X,” I took to Twitter and the Dark Souls II Facebook page. Lo! Other people were having the same problem! This gave me hope: I wasn’t alone.
Around 2:45, a rumor spread that the test actually started at 3:00 AM. Perhaps the time had just gotten lost in translation! With renewed hope, I waited 15 minutes and tried again. Still no luck. At this point, there was a congenial sense of camaraderie in the Facebook group. People had started making jokes: “The first boss is getting past the loading screen,” “Classic Dark Souls, so hard you can’t even play it,” “We’ve all joined the Candle Covenant.”
But things started to get ugly, fast. By 3:30 AM, when news spread that people in Japan and Europe were happily dying in the beta, people in North and South America started FREAKING OUT. I promise, I’m not overstating this: people were fucking livid. Using all-caps hardly conveys the magnitude of their self-righteous indignation. Things only got worse when it was discovered that North and South Americans couldn’t download the necessary update, version 1.02. Seriously, hell hath no fury like raging gamers.
Entitled Americans started doing what we do best: complaining to anyone and everyone when we don’t get our way. Hundreds of angry posts were made on the Dark Souls II Facebook page, to the tune of “Fuck FromSoftware,” “Namco Bandai SUCKS,” “That’s it, I’m cancelling my pre-order,” and my personal favorite, “I’m gonna buy it used cause they don’t deserve my money!” Despite numerous apologies issued by Namco Bandai, people wouldn’t stop bitching. Kudos to community figure and lore-master, EpicNameBro, for at least trying to inform and pacify the rioting masses.
Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty frustrated at this point, too. It was 4 in the morning, I was exhausted, and to some degree I had wasted 2 hours of my time. But I didn’t feel “betrayed” as so many claimed. I wasn’t angry at FromSoftware or Namco Bandai. It was, after all, an honest mistake. Gamers often act like petulant children who didn’t get their pudding, but really, it’s about damn time to grow up.
Anywho, the Network Test has been rescheduled for Sunday, 11/10, between 2:00 and 5:00 AM, EDT. Anyone who has already downloaded the client will be able to participate (this includes those in North and South America, hopefully!) and if there is still any room you can find the PSN code here. I, for one, am more than willing to stay up late again for Dark Souls II!