Disney Lorcana fans hoping to buy product from the new Rise of the Floodborn expansion on Ravensburger’s official website Monday morning were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Despite attempts to thwart a DDoS and separate the real customers from bots, Ravensburger eventually threw in the towel and declared the sale a failure.
In a statement provided to TheGamer on Tuesday, Ravensburger now says that product meant to be sold on the website will now be reallocated to other channels while the company works to ensure that “future website launches are successful.”
The scheduled sale was meant to be the first opportunity for players to buy Rise of the Floodborn product outside of their local game store, ahead of the big box retail launch of the expansion on December 1. Customers were instructed to visit the site between 6am and 7:30am PT in order to enter the queue, and anyone who arrived within that window would be assigned a random place in line when sales began at 7:30. Shortly before it began, the start of the sale was delayed an hour.
Almost an hour after that, at 8:17am, the start was delayed once again. This time, Ravensburger provided an update via the official Lorcana Discord, explaining that the store was experiencing technical difficulties. At 9:08am, the announcement was made that the store would open at 10:05am, two and a half hours after the sale was originally scheduled to start.
When the queue opened, it was immediately apparent that something was wrong. While some reported they were able to get through the line quickly and submit their orders, many more found themselves tens of thousands of positions behind. My initial place in line was just over 107,000, an absurdly high number that couldn’t possibly reflect that actual number of people trying to buy cards. 15 minutes after it opened, the pre-order sales were paused.
An hour later at 11:15am, the store once again re-opened. Things chugged along for a few hours – I only ever moved up a few hundred spots in line – until 2:33pm, when the sale was shut down for good. The company released this statement on X and Discord:
“Today we at Ravensburger experienced an extremely large DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack which severely disrupted the launch of Disney Lorcana: Rise of the Floodborn. Our team has worked extremely hard to solve this problem over the course of the day, but unfortunately that has not been possible. As of now we are officially ending our website sales of Disney Lorcana: Rise of the Floodborn. While we are not able to offer more specific details at this time, we want to apologize to consumers who had a negative experience during our launch today – we truly appreciate your support and are committed to improving your experience of future launches.”
DDoS attacks are manufactured internet traffic jams. Pranksters and would-be hackers use large networks of machines to send an unmanageable amount of traffic to a website or network in order to overload and disrupt the infrastructure and disable service, which is exactly what happened to the Ravensburger site, and explains the hundred-thousand ‘people’ in the queue. This far exceeds the normal influx of scalping bots attempting to make purchases, which happens with any online Lorcana sale.
The company that operated the queue system, Queue-fair, released this statement Tuesday morning, explaining it had proactively provisioned architecture to accommodate “more than 25 times the number of human beings that requested to join the queue” – which would have been more than enough to handle all the bots that normally show up for this kind of thing. Queue-fair says it was able to stop 95 percent of the almost 5 million bot traffic requests the site received. Unfortunately, the more measures Queue-Fair put in place to stop the attack, the more aggressive it became.
Ravensburger now says that it’s working to ensure future web launches are more successful. Here’s the full statement provided to TheGamer:
“We at Ravensburger understand the frustration with how yesterday’s website launch went, and we are committed to ensuring that future web launches can be successful. In the short term, we will be reallocating Rise of the Floodborn item quantities to other channels to ensure that those products are purchasable during the holiday season. In the medium and long term, we are taking all steps necessary to define a clear roadmap to ensure our future website launches are successful.”
As a final wrinkle in this whole catastrophe, the store briefly re-opened Tuesday morning at 3:00am with a variety of product in stock and no queue. Early risers (or scalper bots) were able to buy out the available booster boxes, Treasure Troves, and accessories there within a matter of minutes. On Discord, Ravensburger announced that this temporary availability of product was not planned, and apologized for any confusion or negative experiences that resulted from it.
This has no doubt been a frustrating and demoralizing ordeal for Lorcana collectors. The scarce availability of product over the last three months has made it difficult to collect and play Lorcana without spending a fortune on the secondary market, and the initial launch of Rise of the Floodborn hasn’t shown much improvement, despite hopes that Rise of the Floodborn and the restocking of The First Chapter would finally make the game more widely available.
In a video message from Ryan Miller last week, the brand manager and co-designer explained that the company has drastically increased production capacity to help meet demand. The retail launch of Rise of the Floodborn on December 1 will bring a flood of new product into the market, and there’s a reprinting of both The First Chapter and RotF scheduled for December that will help many more players gain access to product.
This is still an unfortunate situation, and one that I can say from my years of covering games was largely unavoidable. Much larger companies than Ravensburger, including Sony, Microsoft, EA, and Activision Blizzard, have fallen victim to DDoS attacks, despite their vast, well protected online infrastructures. The best thing Ravensburger could do in this situation was communicate clearly and offer customers as much transparency as possible, and it feels like the company did that to the best of its ability here, making good use of its new Discord channel to talk to those most invested in getting their hands on product.
It’s not clear what other channels the unsold product earmarked for this sale will flow into, but hopefully the lion’s share moves to local game stores this holiday season so that actual players will have an easier time accessing it. Either way, there will be many more opportunities to buy Rise of the Floodborn cards soon.
Next: Discard Shows Early Signs Of Dominance In The New Disney Lorcana Meta