Gone are the days of old when players on European servers had to wait months to get our patches; presumably while code was translated, bit by bit, into metric (which is, by the way, infinitely superior to imperial measures, except when it crashes space orbiters).
We still patch after the US but these days, we can expect our patch the same week. In WoW, the European patch is done the next day, and I think in LOTRO they usually aim for the same week also.
While it’s a shame not to be all starting on the new content at the same time, if only because of spoilers, there are some real advantages in the delayed patch.
- Problems with the US patch are usually fixed overnight, before we get them. Our patches are generally smoother. I know my raid group confidently schedules raids now for patch day. Although sometimes we suffer lag (from everyone else doing the same thing), we certainly had no major issues in Ulduar and I’m looking forwards to taking a peek into Icecrown tomorrow.
- Patch time is also usually shorter. We rarely get the long extended maintenances that the US servers do, which is the other reason we are confident to schedule raids for patch day evening.
- Addons are up to date. Although most of the addon writers have been working on the test realms, there are always some final tweaks to be done when the patch goes live. But by the time we get the patch, that work will mostly have been done.
- Guides and Tutorials are tweaked and available. This isn’t an advantage if you planned on writing one but if you are a fan of researching content before you try it, you’ll benefit from more polished guides. US players will also be able to warn you about any killer bugs to avoid.
- Advance warning of AH swings. If you enjoy predicting how the economy will turn after a patch, you can get a one day heads’ up from the US servers as a guide. Generally what happens there also happens here.