Wayfinder devs apologize as server woes lead to a poor launch reception

Colorful fantasy action MMO Wayfinder, the latest from Ruined King and Darksiders studio Airship Syndicate and Warframe publisher Digital Extremes, has hit a very harsh reception from early adopters as sheer volume has caused server troubles and extended wait times for those most interested in the game—this Early Access release costs $20, but the full game scheduled to launch in six months will be free to play.

Airship Syndicate said it's seeing more players every minute of uptime than played in their beta each day, and that the queue system in place failed immediately. Players are reporting hours-long queues that end with failed connection attempts and a reset, as well as playing for only a few minutes before getting disconnected after waiting in those queues.

Other players complained about missing free items from a premium Founder's Pack bundle, as well as exploitative pricing on in-game items relative to the size of in-game currency packs. Generally speaking it's just not a great few days for the action RPG's developers or fans. At press time, Wayfinder has nearly 9,000 Steam reviews, and only 30% of them are positive.

"Yesterday sucked. There is no other way to say it. It sucked for people who purchased Founder’s Packs and couldn’t play, and it sucked for us to see players unable to get into the game after believing in us and our vision," started an update posted by the developer and publisher on Friday.

"Early Access isn’t a crutch. It’s a conversation between a studio and the community that’s helping build the game alongside the studio. We said from the start that we’d be transparent and open with the community and that continues now that we have players entrusting us with their money, and us failing to deliver," it continued.

Publisher Digital Extremes acknowledged that it would be expected to have expertise that would make a large multiplayer launch go a lot smoother than this one—after all, it makes the perennially popular Warframe.

"We apologize - we know players have high expectations of DE’s infrastructure to deliver in moments like this, and in this instance we, as the publisher, fell short," it said, continuing that it did "realize that buying something and not being able to actually login and play frankly is a bad look. One solution we heard often was that we should have offered pre-sales to gauge interest. Unfortunately, some 1st party stores do not offer pre-sales of Early Access and we were unable to meet demand."

It's a shame, because when PC Gamer previewed Wayfinder back in March our Robin Valentine called it a game full of "bite-sized adventures" that "are wonderfully satisfying and replayable" and "a feast of co-op dungeoneering." It has to be a hard hit for Airship Syndicate, whose action game credentials were founded over the past decade in the popular Darksiders series.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.