WWII Online: Blitzkrieg is a massively multiplayer online game that features land, air, and sea action with accurate vehicles from World War II in full 3D. Players participate in a persistent world where success affects supply and territory, and where players must coordinate and unite to capture, hold ground, and defend against enemy attacks. Players can accumulate experience in any or all of the three branches of service on either side (and respective countries), and gain access to better equipment and more sophisticated features.
The June 2001 launch had many woes, but for some the worst part was that 'online' part. The servers were either unreachable or unbearably laggy. The publisher extended the 30-day trial period (as included in the retail box) until the reliability issues were solved. The trial lasted until November 2001.
Behind the scenes, the games' primary ISP and facilities host had botched the transition from the beta-testing T1 to release 100Mb pipes. Massive initial interest in the game choked that lil' T1 stony cold dead.
After a showdown between WWIIOL's VP, John "Killer" MacQueen and the ISPs chief tech guy, it was divulged by a concerned employee of the ISP that the gaff wasn't entirely unintentional, not least because the ISP was in a position of not actually have 100Mb transit at the time.
Perhaps hoping the WWIIOL money would allow them to buy peering, the ISP followed up with a quick invoice for a year's connectivity and hosting in advance. As a show of good faith, they upgraded the 1.5Mb-connection-being-charged-at-100Mb rates to a 10Mb connection. When WWIIOL's developers declined to pay the 100Mb rate for this connection, the ISP promptly issued a legal filing against the game company and, without notice, turned off the connectivity.
Apparently "Killer" is no slacker. Within 8 hours he'd gotten agreements and connectivity from 3 major ISPs, rented facilities at a coloc on the far side from Dallas and conducted a covert-op truly befitting of an online wargame to quietly "recover" their hardware from the original ISP and redeploy it across town. The servers went down a little after 1pm and started coming back online around 6pm, with full connectivity and service somewhere between 7.30 and 8pm.
Unfortunately, the legal battle with the original ISP put the developers into Chapter 11 and forced radical staffing cuts that pretty much sealed the game's fate as a minor MMO few have ever heard of.
Computer Gaming World
April 2002 (Issue #213) – Biggest Patch of the Year (for the bad launch)