An Apology on Stability and Performance

Hi everyone,

The Highrise team and I are disappointed with our product’s performance these last few months, and we take full responsibility for these issues. We’re deeply sorry for the frustrations and issues you experienced during that time. The global pandemic and launch of Android has generated unprecedented demand for Highrise, resulting in an influx of many new users. We love that we can provide a meaningful social space for people in a time of need. We’re sad and frustrated, like many of our most loyal customers, that we have struggled to resolve our server stability issues.

I’d like to share some details on how we are dealing with these issues. I hope these insights can help rebuild some of the trust that we lost over the last few months.

  • From a technical perspective, we have been actively working on resolving event issues. Every time you encounter an event issue, it’s actually a different issue. We fix and patch event issues as they appear. As we launch new events, we encounter new issues that need to be fixed. Our most experienced server engineer has been dedicated exclusively to resolving stability issues.
  • From an event setup perspective, we hired a new live operations manager and the transition has not been an easy one. Some of the issues you’ve seen have been human errors, and we are 100% committed to preventing, testing and resolving issues of human error as quickly as possible.
  • From a hiring perspective, we are trying hard to grow the team specifically to focus on stability. We are hiring a Backend Engineer to focus specifically on making servers stable, and a Live Ops Producer to focus specifically on setting up, testing and supporting events. We have reviewed hundreds of applicants and interviewed dozens of candidates, but this process is long because we want to find the right person who is 100% committed to Highrise as we are, and has the skills necessary to support our complex game. (P.S. if you think anyone would be a great fit, please ask them to apply!)
  • Regarding events, we need to continue to run them in order to identify and fix issues. Not running events will not enable us to prevent issues, as most issues occur due to the scale of user traffic (lots of people coming online and eventing at the same time, as you saw in the first theme of the last event). We resolved this issue in the second theme of the event after identifying it, for example.
  • For those of you who continue to be concerned, I completely understand if you are reluctant to participate in events. Please feel free to refrain from participating in events until we have proven their stability to you.

Our #1 goal and priority is to build the best possible experience for our customers. We have not hit that goal in the last few months. I promise you that we are doing everything we can to ensure Highrise is stable and running smoothly, and that we are doubling down on our efforts to ensure stability and performance.

Regarding the Pained Pastels Part I event issues, we decided not to issue rewards or refunds to the second place crew Eclipse. We weighed this decision heavily before making it. Because (1) Eclipse was in second place before, during, and after event issues, (2) event issues affected everyone equally and (3) event issues were largely resolved for the last 30 minutes of the event, we made the decision that the most fair outcome was the event extension. If we issued rewards to the 2nd rank crew, it would be unfair to the first rank crew.

In general, compensating users fairly in a competitive situation is one of our biggest challenges. We will always strive to make fair determinations. Sometimes, those determinations won’t feel fair to everyone.

Lastly, our small team and I thank you for helping Highrise grow and improve over the years. It’s been a long journey since our launch, when we were two people working out of our neighborhood cafe, but we have so much more work to do to create a creative world where everyone belongs.

Anton and Jimmy, co-founders of Highrise

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