The following is a message from the president of Blizzard Mike Morahaime, posted on the official World of Warcraft boards on 1/21/05 @ 7:41 pm MST:
I am sure that many of you are wondering what has been going on with the World of Warcraft servers, as there was another period of extended downtime during peak hours last night. I want to be as candid as possible with you, in the hopes that I can both shed light on the situation and reassure you that we are doing our utmost to ensure that these problems get fixed.
Last night, we took down 20 realms for emergency maintenance. The boat between Menethil Harbor and Auberdine was disappearing intermittently, dropping players into the ocean and crashing the servers. Passengers on this boat who were disconnected and tried to reconnect would crash the server yet again when trying to log on. We knew that this was unacceptable and immediately took down the servers when we discovered the problem in order to implement a fix. That occurred at 6 p.m. PST, but unfortunately, complications arose while we were testing our fix, and we were unable to bring those servers back up until more than a few hours later in the night.
Players on these same 20 realms also experienced service interruptions earlier in the week, following last Thursday’s extended server maintenance. While last night’s downtime was unrelated to the issues in the days prior, this is no consolation to those of you that were unable to play. Therefore, in addition to the three days already credited to these players as a result of the server issues earlier in the week, players on these realms will be receiving an additional four-day credit to their accounts. The credit will appear as a total of seven free days on your current billing statement (or on your trial period for those who recently purchased the game).
I want to take this opportunity to say that we will do everything possible to ensure that unexpected downtime like this does not occur in the future and that if it is necessary, we will do everything possible to give you better warning and keep you informed. In the future, we will avoid doing maintenance during peak hours, unless no other alternative presents itself. When complications occur that could impact your playing time, we will provide that information as well. We failed to do this last night, and I assure you that we are making changes to ensure that we do a better job of communicating with our players next time.
I want to extend my personal and heartfelt apology for the problems that some of you have been experiencing on our servers. We remain committed to delivering the best possible service for you and will continue to work around the clock to ensure that we provide an experience that you and I have to come to expect from Blizzard games.
Link to actual thread here.