Below is a copy of the testimonial I posted on Art of War Central's testimonials page. I was going to leave it at that, but they proceeded to delete it. Because of this, I am going to post the testimonial on several websites, as well as contact the Better Business Bureau about our troubles with them.
I'd like to give my testimonial. Now this isn't a rant. I've had 2 dedicated servers with Art of War Central for 1 year. I've taken everything that's happened over the last year into consideration when writing this. And please note, I have never actually rented a single game server from Aowc, only dedicated servers.
So where do I start ah yes, lets start with their tech support.
When it comes to support, Aowc is absolutely lacking. What I've gathered is that when it comes to dedicated servers, Art Of War Central does not actually have any more control over things than the customer does. When you submit a ticket to Aowc, it appears that they then contact the datacenter somehow (call? Submit a ticket of their own?) and have whoever is working at that particular datacenter fix the problem. What is the need for the middle man? Why am I paying Aowc? When there is an issue with our servers, I like to know what happened. Oh it's fixed now sorry doesn't cut it for me.
When I ask what the problem was, I get a response such as I do not know, the datacenter fixed it they didn't give me a description. This is pretty poor communication. The datacenter should relay what the issue was back to Aowc and Aowc should be able to supply me with a cause when I request. To give them credit, they were able to get our first box rebuilt, when we got that server up, we went from 6 Ips to 1 Ip, and they were trying to charge us to get them back. After it reached management they just gave them back to us. Like I mentioned before, it seems as though they lease their equipment, so when a customer contacts the Aowc tech support, the Aowc tech support has to contact the dacacenter tech support. There's a lot of room for error there.
While still on the subject of poor support, lets talk about the lag and what kind of responses I get when bringing it up via a ticket.
The general response from anyone except management will be Send me a tracert. No matter how much we stress that it's happening to Everyone on the server, we still get Send me a tracert. Even after we send tracerts, they say everythings fine you shouldn't be getting lag. Well, that obviously wasn't the case, because the lag continued.
We've actually managed to get our lag reports to reach management a few times. We sent them tracerts and pings showing between 17% and 30% loss over hundreds and hundreds of sent packets. Management comes back requesting 3 Mtr reports each with over 1000 packets, as well as my home Ip. No matter how many times we say that the issue is going on right now with everyone one the server and not just me, they simply will not investigate the situation.instead they require you to do all the work so they can tell you the obvious several hours later. We are having a network outage on one of our providers.
So we know the drill now. Send tracerts, send a ton of Mtr reports with thousands of packets, send a home Ip, and wait. Well next time we're having loss, we pinpoint the problem on a Savvis hub. We're getting loss when we hit that hop. It's shown clearly in all of the Mtr reports. Granted, there's not a whole lot Aowc can do about this, since they do not run Savvis, but their response to all of our data was to get in game screenshots if we see loss on the server, and the problematic Ips that we found are fine. Please tell me you're joking. So now apart from tracerts, 3 Mtr reports with over 1000 packets each, and my home Ip, I Also need to send in game screenshots showing loss? Again, why am I paying Aowc?
There was one time in particular that we were having loss around 20%. We submitted a tracert showing clear packet loss and the response from management was thoes time outs are normal router reaction data is till going though fast. Eventually we got sick of trying to submit tickets for lag. The stress of dealing with these guys was far worse than the stress of players complaining.
Now on to the powerful rigs they're running
I can't really blame a whole lot of this on Aowc. They didn't force me to pick the rig I picked. And maybe it's just me, but it seems like I should be getting a lot more for my money If we're showing incredibly low performance (severe drop in tick for source servers) they tell us that we're running too much on our machine. Please don't tell me that we're paying $240 dollars per month for a box that can't handle 2 24 man 50 tick TF2 servers. If you plan on getting a dedicated server from Aowc for source games, don't plan on getting their dual 3.0 Xeon rigs. I can't say how other game engines run though, so it may just be a source thing.
Servers crashing/randomly disconnecting
We've had probably close to a dozen or more total crashes/network failures/power outages over the last year that lasted more than a few hours. Many actually last entire nights. The latest one occurred 2 days ago. About mid-day we noticed one of our dedicated servers were down. We could ping the server, but we couldn't log into Rdc and we none of the dedicated servers running on that box were functional. We submitted a ticket at 1:21PM. 2 hours later we get a reply saying our Rdc was fixed. Well I tried logging on and it was still dead. We gave them a call, hoping something would get done a bit quicker. They said they would have the server pulled for closer inspection.
At 9:30AM the next day they ask if we have a firewall that could be blocking the Rdc. I told them that we don't have a firewall on there that blocks ports. I'm not sure if he was trying to be cool, or if they were legitimate spelling mistakes, but his response was Aiite they're checking into it I'll tell you when I got more infos.
So I waited and waited. Our machine finally came back up but was going incredibly slow (took about 20 seconds for a right mouse click to work). I asked for a hard reboot and that was the last time I saw the server online 1 of the 3 Aowc support guys actually asked us if we knew what the issue was, which I found somewhat odd. The last thing they said to me, 2 days after the initial crash, is that they think it might be a hardware failure. Uptime for our 2 servers is definitely below their 99.5% guarantee.
All in all, I'm incredibly dissatisfied with what I got from Art of War Central due to their lack of helpful support, unreliable network hardware, and overall ignorance. I have, however, never had a ticket go completely ignored by Aowc support, so it seems as though they are at least trying. Unfortunately, trying just doesn't cut it when you have 80,000 players across 4 servers.
I rate them a 4/10.
Good luck in the future. Our contract is almost up, we have purchased a server and are moving to a different host. Maybe with time and dedication, you guys can once again become what you gloat about, but for now, you fall very short.