Disappointed in the website so far.


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I was testing the site so far with the free humble bundle pack. I redeemed it and for the second day I am unable to download it. It's been personalising for 5 times so far in the 2 days never allowing me to actually download it. Is this how it always is? Or is it for free content only? Because I do not want to spend 17$ just to find out I cannot access my stuff.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

It is this way because the servers are being inundated with more traffic than they can handle due to the Humble Bunlde. See this thread.

Usually personalizing takes only minutes if not seconds. I'd just give it some time for the traffic to die down. You'll definitely be able to get all your stuff.


I have been waiting for hours for the "personalising" to happen, without any success so far. How much time is needed until the site is back in order? Also, completely off topic, any benefit to buying a physical box instead of digital beginner box? The 60$ shipment cost to Europe seems quite steep for a 25$ purchase. Is there anything that I could not print from the digital box, which would be in the physical one?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

See this post for answers about the site.


I usually dont even bother to wait the 10 seconds and just click again and it begins downloading. All the Humble Bundlers are slowing the traffic down immensely. Its unfortunate, but not permanent.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
TheName Unknown wrote:
I have been waiting for hours for the "personalising" to happen, without any success so far. How much time is needed until the site is back in order? Also, completely off topic, any benefit to buying a physical box instead of digital beginner box? The 60$ shipment cost to Europe seems quite steep for a 25$ purchase. Is there anything that I could not print from the digital box, which would be in the physical one?

I don't know. I should also have said, I'm not a Paizo employee, just a fellow customer. It seems they are working on it. It can be easy to miss, but this is at the top of most of the site's pages now:

Paizo website wrote:
Access to PDFs and personalization has slowed as our site processes everyone's downloads. We do not have current estimates for how long personalization will take, but are working to keep paizo.com as stable as possible, and appreciate your patience.

You can see all that is inside the Beginner's Box here.


Hawkmoon269 wrote:
TheName Unknown wrote:
I have been waiting for hours for the "personalising" to happen, without any success so far. How much time is needed until the site is back in order? Also, completely off topic, any benefit to buying a physical box instead of digital beginner box? The 60$ shipment cost to Europe seems quite steep for a 25$ purchase. Is there anything that I could not print from the digital box, which would be in the physical one?

I don't know. I should also have said, I'm not a Paizo employee, just a fellow customer. It seems they are working on it.

You can see all that is inside the Beginner's Box here.

I can see the contents of the physical one, but don't see the contents of the digital Beginner's box.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Looking at my copy, the digital version contains PDFs of the pregens, flipmat, tokens, character sheet, and GM/player handbooks.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Ah. Sorry. I didn't understand. I've just bought mine as well and am waiting to download after the flood ends. But this seems to answer your question.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Some quick napkin-back math.

I'd guess on the day that a popular new book is released - something like one of the hardcovers - there might be 5,000 or maybe even 10,000 people jump on it Day #1. Tops.

In the last day, over 26,000 Humble Bundles were sold. The largest bundle consists of 45 PDFs. We're talking about potentially a million PDFs to be watermarked and delivered.

A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.

So yeah, the site has been having fits and spasm. But as an IT guy, and with some rough guesswork math, I recognize miracles are being worked here to not have the whole thing just flame out and deadlock/race condition.

Kudos to the tech team.

Community Manager

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Anguish wrote:

Some quick napkin-back math.

I'd guess on the day that a popular new book is released - something like one of the hardcovers - there might be 5,000 or maybe even 10,000 people jump on it Day #1. Tops.

In the last day, over 26,000 Humble Bundles were sold. The largest bundle consists of 45 PDFs. We're talking about potentially a million PDFs to be watermarked and delivered.

A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.

So yeah, the site has been having fits and spasm. But as an IT guy, and with some rough guesswork math, I recognize miracles are being worked here to not have the whole thing just flame out and deadlock/race condition.

Kudos to the tech team.

*offers cookie*

Precisely this.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Anguish wrote:


A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.

As a fellow IT guy I sort of agree with you. It isn't reasonable to budget for this *yourself*. This is the sort of event that you setup cloud scaling for. It is possible to run your own servers on your own hardware but to have a contract in place with a could provider like Amazon or Microsoft. In the event of a huge peak like this scripted triggers fire up additional cloud resources and distribute the load.

It takes work to get it setup, but it can take the misery out of unexpected successes like these.

Not to throw stones. I learned about scalablity the hard way.

Good luck to the IT team. Many of us feel your pain.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

TheName Unknown wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
You can see all that is inside the Beginner's Box here.
I can see the contents of the physical one, but don't see the contents of the digital Beginner's box.

The PDF edition contains everything but the dice, the plastic pawn bases, and the box itself (though a PDF of the box cover is included).

But while it does include PDFs of the maps and pawns, the pawns you print aren't going to be neatly die-cut on thick cardboard, and the maps you print probably aren't going to have a surface that allows you to erase permanent, wet-erase, and dry-erase marker.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Anguish wrote:
A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.

Nice analogy.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

And yet, you *DID* have 700 cash registers. You took money from those 700 cash registers, but you didn't stock enough soup to make good on all the purchases from those 700 cash registers. The problem isn't cash registers -- Humble Bundle has *all* the cash registers in the world. The problem is a lack of stock. If you can only handle 1000 customers a day, then you shouldn't let Humble Bundle sell more than 1000 bundles a day. To do so is irresponsible. This is a foreseeable problem. It happens to companies all the time. Just like a hard drive failure. You prepare for them, or not -- and accept the consequences.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ffujita wrote:
And yet, you *DID* have 700 cash registers. You took money from those 700 cash registers, but you didn't stock enough soup to make good on all the purchases from those 700 cash registers. The problem isn't cash registers -- Humble Bundle has *all* the cash registers in the world. The problem is a lack of stock. If you can only handle 1000 customers a day, then you shouldn't let Humble Bundle sell more than 1000 bundles a day. To do so is irresponsible. This is a foreseeable problem. It happens to companies all the time. Just like a hard drive failure. You prepare for them, or not -- and accept the consequences.

It's hardly business as usual as per a sale or a discount drive. Paizo gave away $350 worth of stuff to people who made a small donation to charity and the volume of people taking up the offer was far greater than their usual business is set up to handle (and bigger than they were expecting, by the sounds).

They provided an enormous amount of product at a fraction of the usual cost - do you think it's reasonable to expect Paizo to further invest in a whole bunch of new hardware just so the people who got such a great deal don't have to wait a few days to get all their bargain downloads?

I'm sure Paizo are disappointed that people have to wait. I'm sure they're doing what they can to deal with an unexpected problem. I don't think it's right to set our expectations so high though as to declare the slowdown "irresponsible". This is an extraordinary event far outside the usual parameters of their business. They won't be able to deal with it as smoothly as they deal with the usual level of demand (just like traffic gets congested during big sporting events - it would be unreasonable to expect a city to build more roads just for the occasional, big game).


SG nailed it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I agree completly, but Steve...

Steve Geddes wrote:
(just like traffic gets congested during big sporting events - it would be unreasonable to expect a city to build more roads just for the occasional, big game).

Cities actually *do* do this (the last city I lived in did), and sometimes are required to in order to get a stadium contract. I agree with your point, just not the best analogy.

ffujita: the Humble Bundle items could be considered 'delayed in transit', but I don't think 'out of stock' is a fair comparison. What if they gave a 95% discount on the items' normal retail price since it's delayed...


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Majuba wrote:
I agree completly, but Steve...
Steve Geddes wrote:
(just like traffic gets congested during big sporting events - it would be unreasonable to expect a city to build more roads just for the occasional, big game).
Cities actually *do* do this (the last city I lived in did), and sometimes are required to in order to get a stadium contract. I agree with your point, just not the best analogy.

It may be a poor analogy, although I think paizo did upgrade their systems (and Lissa and Cort have been working beyond the call of duty, as per usual). FWIW, I wasn't suggesting expansion doesn't happen at all - I was suggesting that it's economically inefficient to expand to meet demand orders of magnitude outside the norm.

The intent of that analogy was that when there's a big sporting event (even if infrastructure has previously been expanded to some degree) roads are still closed, traffic is diverted, etcetera etcetera...You don't design your road network to deal with absolute, peak traffic all the time - a big spike in demand will result in delays - anything else and you've wasted your capital.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
TheName Unknown wrote:
Hawkmoon269 wrote:
You can see all that is inside the Beginner's Box here.
I can see the contents of the physical one, but don't see the contents of the digital Beginner's box.

The PDF edition contains everything but the dice, the plastic pawn bases, and the box itself (though a PDF of the box cover is included).

But while it does include PDFs of the maps and pawns, the pawns you print aren't going to be neatly die-cut on thick cardboard, and the maps you print probably aren't going to have a surface that allows you to erase permanent, wet-erase, and dry-erase marker.

Actually, with the quality Paizo delivers there, with some little additional knowledge about printing it´s very easy to print very cool and durable pawns and maps from those PDFs.

Maps:
Take Nitro PDF reader (free) to extract the maps and pictures from the PDF.
Take the map picture, open with a programm with Photoshop or Gimp (free).
You can now size up the pixels, edit colors and sharpening, so the print is going to look even better a bit if you want to. Save for web use. Then take Posterazor (free programm) and make it a PDF. Print.
There are cheap home laminating solutions out there you can use to laminate the single DINA4 pages, then use some invisible duct tape to stick them together. Beware that you might wanna fold them, so don´t put tape everywhere. I recommend using 160-200mm paper.
With the PDF maps you can skip some steps here.

Pawns:
You need to take a look, but when my memory serves right, the pawns are normaly organized so you can use duplex printing.
Either do that on 200mm paper and simply laminate them, or print them on 2 pages and put some thin foam or styrofoam (max 0.5cm) between them.
But you could also print on 2 pages and laminate then.
A home paper cutting machine goes a long way here and you can cut the laminating sheets as well.
My personal experience is, that you want to cut the paper into the right pieces after printing, then arrange it on a laminating sheet leaving enough space between different pawns, so the plastic can stick there, then cut it.

Community Manager

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Removed a couple of mocking posts—this does not help things.


Liz Courts wrote:
Removed a couple of mocking posts—this does not help things.

You are correct, Liz. I apologize for my post. I know you folks have enough to deal with right now than snarky posts.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Let me say that I completely understand the problems that that IT people are going through -- my problem is with Paizo not managing expectations properly. First -- on the humble bundle page, it needs to say "Due to unanticipated demand, your purchase won't be available for one week." or whatever their anticipated timeframe is.

Then, they need to have a way to allow customers to request, once, the files that they want -- and have those files show up without further intervention. If I could request that the files be e-mailed to me, then I could ignore everything, go about my business, and they'd be delivered, a bit later than I'd like, but no problem.

But, since I have to continue to interact with their problematic interface to have any chance of getting the product -- and if I don't interact with the problematic interface I won't get the product. I'm upset.

Once again, I understand the technical difficulties. But management needs to step up, and allow us the option of getting a delivery of the product, without further interaction with their system. Then they can take their time in doing it.


Speaking as someone who has paid the, admittedly still a bargain, ten dollars a go for a load of the rulebooks that people are getting here for the price of a charity donation - can I just reassure ffujita that it'll be worth it when you do have those files downloaded... Yeah, it's taking a bit of time and a load more heartache than anyone expected but you WILL get those books... and, in the meantime, why don't you just feel good about yourself having made a charitable donation...


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Honestly; quit yammering, people!

I paid $25, and have tried ONCE to download the first file.
As I actually have a life(not much of one, but still... ) I can do other things for a few days while I wait for the 'entitled snowflakes' to stop overloading the server.
Maybe I'll read some TFTS or TalesFromRetail on reddit, paint a mini or two, do the dishes... clean the bathroom, finish ripping the last dozen or so DVDs over to my NAS, fix the handbrake on my car, update my computer collection, cook a REAL dinner instead of frozen pizza, go fishing...
Maybe take one of my pinhole cameras out and catch a few winter scenes. Or process the rolls of film I have already exposed...

The Exchange

Yeah, I really don't get what the rush is.

Its a couple of a days of waiting, a week at the most. Remember, this bundle was more about donating to Extra Life, doing it for the kids than just getting nearly free product.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

"We want our revolution. Now." -- Judy Collins

Lantern Lodge

I would suggest checking in periodically, and try at non peak hours. I have been able to get everything in the bundle, though it took me many tries, and some late night hours. I am not the most patient person in the world, but I do understand this problem, and how to deal with it as a customer. I can tell you that major improvements have been made since the bundle first hit. Just keep checking periodically, but don't spam requests. Spamming requests just seems to make things worse.


This situation seems...less than optimal. Didn't anyone at Paizo foresee that download traffic might be heavy?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Of course they foresaw it. They just didn't anticipate how much traffic there would be.

As very concisely explained in this post.

Quote:

Similarly the other book bundle on Humble Bundle (a great set of classic Sci-Fi ebooks if you're interested) has sold a total of 10,453 copies in the space of ~9 days - so a little over a thousand a day.

This bundle on the other hand has sold 32239 copies in less than 48 hours - and is the first bundle I can ever remember seeing where the Beat the Average price is HIGHER that the highest digital product fixed price tier - this is supposed to be the tier that you buy if you want to get *everything* (barring any physical items) but here that's not the case.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Trackerneil wrote:
This situation seems...less than optimal. Didn't anyone at Paizo foresee that download traffic might be heavy?

No. They talked to the Humble Bundle people about what sort of results previous deals had generated and found that the largest were about on par with Paizo's monthly subscription release rush.

It might have been good to note that the Humble Bundle, subscription release rush, and players guide for the new AP were all hitting at about the same time... but the much bigger 'problem' is that this Humble Bundle is about an order of magnitude larger than normal. Tens of thousands of people have participated rather than the usual thousands.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Anguish wrote:
A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.
Nice analogy.

It's actually a poor analogy. In a Grocery store you line up behind the 5 cash registers (and out the door) and eventually get served. In this model the 5 cashier try to process 500 purchases at once, if they can't finish THEM ALL in a few minutes, they throw all the groceries out and kick the customers out of the store and try again.

If the IT team had made a real work queue with something like rabbitMQ or Amazon SQS you would only make one request (and could only make one request) and then just log in later and download your download.

In fairness, this site is built in WebObjects which is pretty old tech, they may not have the ability to do a real queuing system without a LOT of work.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

If nothing else, the commentary from knowledgeable customers has been very informative for me as an IT undergrad student.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
If nothing else, the commentary from knowledgeable customers has been very informative for me as an IT undergrad student.

It certainly lets you know how many people seem to be employed in that field, in any case.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ensorceled wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Anguish wrote:
A 100x expected peak demand isn't something any IT group scales for. We'd never get the budget for that kind of overkill. It'd be like a grocery store having 700 cash registers, just in case.
Nice analogy.
It's actually a poor analogy.

It's actually an excellent analogy because it illustrates to someone who doesn't know technology - its target audience - what is happening.

No, it doesn't model the work queue involved. It doesn't need to, and shouldn't. As a fellow IT person, I'd like to humbly point out that being able to recognize that there's a time and a place for "taking nerd" is a critical skill. There is zero value in talking tech when trying to deal with frustrated users/customers. The problem here is a question of scale, and that is what my analogy illustrated.


Personally, I haven't had too much trouble with the "personalizing" thing. Though I think their are better ways to do it, this way works if you usually have a smaller amount of people downloading.

What I am having trouble with is that my files say they are personalized, then I click to download it, and it takes me to a blank page, logs me out, and I can't download the file at all, unless I re-personalize it. But I understand this is probably just another byproduct of the site being overloaded.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you're using Chrome, there's an issue specific to that browser. You might try switching to something else.

-Skeld


Skeld wrote:

If you're using Chrome, there's an issue specific to that browser. You might try switching to something else.

-Skeld

Oh, really? Didnt know that. I am using chrome, so I guess I'll temporarily switch to another browser and see if that helps. Thanks!

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No problem. It has something to do with the default timeout length in Chrome. The timeout is longer in other browsers. That might help you.

-Skeld


Steve Geddes wrote:
Majuba wrote:
I agree completly, but Steve...
Steve Geddes wrote:
(just like traffic gets congested during big sporting events - it would be unreasonable to expect a city to build more roads just for the occasional, big game).
Cities actually *do* do this (the last city I lived in did), and sometimes are required to in order to get a stadium contract. I agree with your point, just not the best analogy.

It may be a poor analogy, although I think paizo did upgrade their systems (and Lissa and Cort have been working beyond the call of duty, as per usual). FWIW, I wasn't suggesting expansion doesn't happen at all - I was suggesting that it's economically inefficient to expand to meet demand orders of magnitude outside the norm.

The intent of that analogy was that when there's a big sporting event (even if infrastructure has previously been expanded to some degree) roads are still closed, traffic is diverted, etcetera etcetera...You don't design your road network to deal with absolute, peak traffic all the time - a big spike in demand will result in delays - anything else and you've wasted your capital.

True this -- look at the cities that Upgrade All The Things to host the Olympics, and then end up paying off the debt for 20 years, with very little lasting benefit to residents.

From what staff have said, the traffic analogy sounds like this: the city planned for the big baseball game by closing streets and getting extra traffic officers out to direct traffic ... but the ball game went to 15 innings, getting out two hours late, which just happened to be the same time the concert at the arena down the street let out, so traffic surged way beyond any reasonable expectation.

When that happens, you've got two choices: try to power through it anyways, until your engine overheats from sitting in gridlock and you start blowing steam; or else look at the traffic and go out for 2nd dinner while you wait for things to clear up.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Skeld wrote:
No problem. It has something to do with the default timeout length in Chrome. The timeout is longer in other browsers. That might help you.

This post will walk you through installing Firefox and adjusting the length of time before the browser gives up and stops trying to make the secure connection. Worked for me. (I'm habitually a Chrome user.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hawkmoon269 wrote:

It is this way because the servers are being inundated with more traffic than they can handle due to the Humble Bunlde. See this thread.

Usually personalizing takes only minutes if not seconds. I'd just give it some time for the traffic to die down. You'll definitely be able to get all your stuff.

I've used the site many times in the past and downloaded frequently. Normally it only takes 3 sec to personalize and that on a very old and slow pc. If it takes me a month to get my content, which I doubt,I still have over a hundred dollars worth of content for a $18 donation to an awesome charity. It says a lot about the community of people that play tabletop rpgs that the response is completely overwhelming Paizo'so usually amazing customer service.


Joana wrote:
Skeld wrote:
No problem. It has something to do with the default timeout length in Chrome. The timeout is longer in other browsers. That might help you.
This post will walk you through installing Firefox and adjusting the length of time before the browser gives up and stops trying to make the secure connection. Worked for me. (I'm habitually a Chrome user.)

Oddly enough, I found Microsoft's new browser "Edge" to be the best for downloading stuff. Mozilla wasn't timing out, but for some reason the files want to take forever (2-3 hours) to download on it, but Edge is only taking 20-30 minutes for the large files. Still a long time, especially since my internet usually lets me download things that are several gigs within a few minutes, but I'm sure that has something to do with the overloaded servers.

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