Being Critical on Queues

The first week has passed by and I’ve been having a lot of fun so far. Mostly I’ve been doing things completely unrelated to the actual questing but instead, been wrapped up in farming and getting the materials required for my house and large farm. Oh and lots of tree hunting but it seems that most farms don’t come ready in my usual play time, being designed to ripen during NA morning, when I’m sleeping. I have tried some of my own illegal tree farms but it seems I’m not as focused enough so I forget about them and they get taken.

I’ve been having a good time but it seems a general consensus is of just waiting in a queue rather than playing the game. I joked that The release of mmo’s is the only time I’m thankful to be an Australian player but that’s true as I’ve experienced very little of the issues others have had. I face maybe an hour or more logging in during our peak play time and while there were insane queues during NA times when I needed too, like yesterday I became one of the people I hate and just left it in the character select screen overnight. I’m a terrible person but i need to farm.

If i was to deal with the queues more, which I’m doing right now your looking at several hours to enter the game, a waiting time that goes across all the servers and is pretty much what I’m doing now. IT’s a long time to wait to play, the worst wait time I’ve ever had but then a lot of those other games had there own issues too aside from that.

Of course being the internet we reached unheard of levels of Hyperbolic from many.. “worst release EVA”, “Worst game EVAA!!” “worst Company EVAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” and a whole heap of arguments around those lines filling up the forums. Yes we get it, you mad bro.

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This has happened a lot in recent times for most major mmo releases. A wealth of issues that plague the game for a month of more all the while a collection of people take it upon themselves to proclaim failure or how the game has personally wronged them so no one should expect different. Of course I understand the general consensus. It’s annoying to have these issues when all you want to do is play a game. We’ve also seen a lot of issues with many AAA releases for a while now wherein the are plagued with bugs, exploits and game breaking features to the point where it seems like every game we get right now is unfinished. It’s time to expect better from these big publishers.

Of course for an mmo though it isn’t that easy, I would like it to be and I did expect far better from Trion in regards to a few complaints but the major one, that of the unbearable queues is far more complicated than it seems.. more so when compared to other recent releases.

Firstly i’ll say that the size of the queues is ridiculous. Something that long you kind of need to open up new servers to cope and new resources to handle the strain. Two new servers were added for NA but that doesn’t seemed to have helped that much, both filled up pretty quickly and are now in the same situation as the others. In the recent development post on the forum it was stated that improvements where on the way with new hardware for servers and capacity but that doesn’t happen instantly and doesn’t help the situation at the moment.

When looking in from the players point it’s seems easy enough to think that of course more servers were needed on release, did they not see the level of interest. Trion has stated that their predictions based on alpha and open beta didn’t see this coming but, it’s always better to be prepared, especially in the online space and they just weren’t. We’ve seen time and time again how mmo’s see and unprecedented amount of people on release, Wildstar and ESO both saw there ruch, I even remember gw2 getting their own. We should be prepared for this as most people don’t won’t to pre order and for a ftp release they don’t even need to purchase anything.

At the moment I do see it probably pushing away people, both those who have spent money, those that will and just the many potential ftp players that can’t get in as they are second class queue citizens. If you can’t play a game at all, you just won’t and it will be forgotten for other games out there. I just think they are particularly lucky because Archeage isn’t just a typical Themepark so there are no modern competitors at its level of quality. And word of mouth when you do play generally seems pretty positive soo, I don’t know. Some will, some will stick around and some probably avoided the rush altogether and it’s very hard to make predictions about mmo’s anymore.

Looking at the recent releases both Wildstar and ESO saw massive departures after a few months, of course ESO the mega server Tech seems to be there for both with ESO having it at launch and Wildstar transitioning to it. Archeage Korea ended up having to close a number of servers too. It’s these days that a lot of people don’t stick with an mmo for very long and it has a visible impact on gameplay when this does and closing servers is a bad PR move so getting that initial server number right in the beginning is a hard thing. Piss of players now or later.

Of course this ends up being a far more complicated issue because of housing. Merging servers would mean many people lose the land they’ve claimed, a big part of the game and something people hold closely at the moment. Merging into a server from another would make it very hard to get land as well.. if you do at all. Land is also limited enough that a lot of people are going to be missing out on each server and to make it so people don’t would involve a lot of very unpopulated servers. I think there are a few spaces not being used in game that could be opened as housing but I don’t see it ever being enough

We will be getting more space to build once the north continent opens open, large tracts of land but the houses here can be destroyed after a siege and many wouldn’t like that level of impermanence. It’s also that some are very stuck in needed the best spaces and are unwilling to make allowances for anything else but the best spots in the best areas. No pleasing those people.

Open world Housing is the other reason why I don’t see the mega server tech actually working. That’s a technical nightmare right there between needed a huge amount of instances to cope with how many people want housing and how many of these instances would need to be open at all times to accommodate people in their housing phase. How do you move between that too, how to determine where and when to build organising guilds and friends between these. I also don’t see people ever bothering with the housing spaces in the PvP zones if this was the case as well, just go for the best land possible at all times.

Then you need to worry about the economy as letting everyone have land, and as much as they want would no doubt result in an influx of materials. Doing this would mean you could also be quite self sufficient in your crafting endeavors rather than having the dependency on others there is now.Right now I need and rely on my guild occasionally, I but things off the auction house and the reason why I can make a little money as well through farming. On a megaserver or even if housing was instanced everything farmed would lose a lot of value and the effort mostly meaningless. Sure you can limit how much space people get to compensate but in a ftp mmo getting around that just involves creating another account.

The other complication is of course that people have spent money on this game to play, and a lot in some cases and have expectations because of that. You buy a game, no matter the type and you kind of expect to play. Those that don’t have all day or fancy tech to get in queue remotely just don’t get to play the game, or if they do far far less. Even on the weekend this is a hard thing to get as today I think the queue was 6 hours long today…crazy and that’s as a subscriber. Queues should be expected, for the reasons above and probably more if your not subscribed but being able to play is an important point for running an mmo.

It’s obvious that a server or two more is in order, queues would still be awful but not as bad and i think a good pop would stay on each after the initial new shiny feel has worn off. But this doesn’t seem like a good enough solution. I think having sub only servers is a little bit stupid as restricts playing with people and could break up groups and guilds. The other option is temporary servers, some that you know will be turned off first if needed and then having the ability to transfer off beforehand. Maybe there could be servers just for leveling that are separate from the others and hold character data… I don’t know although it’s probably far too late for any major changes like that so the best we can expect some new servers but not enough to break the experience later on.

 

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22 thoughts on “Being Critical on Queues

  1. I haven’t even tried to make a character yet. I looked once at the server select screen and saw 2500-4000 people ahead of me on every one and decided to leave it for a while. I always play on NA servers in EU hours so my plan is to make a character weekday daytime UK time, which will be the middle of the night in the US.

    I’m too involved in the Fall Season of GW2’s WvW to do much more than sightsee in ArcheAge this month anyway and then I’m off on holiday in October so I’m content to wait another 4-6 weeks before I really think about whether to get stuck in and by then the queues should be a thing of the past anyway. Well, they’d better be – if not then AA really would be shaping up to be the new WoW.

    • Apparently they are experiencing what FFXIV had during the first few weeks of its release: people never logging out once they’re in, and exacerbating the queues that way, FFXIV originally didn’t have an auto-logout function, but they had to temporarily add it until the rush died down.

      Perhaps AA doing regular server resets to boot squatters out would help here.

      • Nothing they do aside from adding a mass of new servers will help. The rules of the game encourage AFK’ing (you hear more points for being online so it’s not rocket science that during queues players aren’t logging off). They’ve really botched the design of this game and I find it extremely interesting that they continue to screw this up so bad.

        It’s truly amazing. Even Hartsman’s forum post is pretty ineffectual. He basically says “hang in there”, no apology, plenty of excuses. I heard Russia had a terrible launch too so it’s hard to believe Trion had no idea what to expect here.

      • I don’t know, there are a lot of more complicated elements there than the standard themepark launch. They have no problems really with closing servers beyond the bad Pr. Here it stuffs up land ownership immensely and later when people are putting immense amounts of time and money into the north continent castles what then?

        Looking at recent western launches.. Say Wildstar.. Doubled servers near release and now they have a tonne of low pop servers. As a publisher I’m guessing they expect this and so are cautious with adding too many servers. Of course now with seeing the rush they are adding more but the issue is they weren’t prepared for adding more, that’s just stupid. They should have had the resources ready to add a bit more than what they did. 2 more servers and added capacity on each just wasn’t enough.

        These days I think gamers are very cautious of new releases too, and burnt out on pre game hype so I think a lot, like me just picked it up last minute and then they had to deal with higher than expected numbers. I don’t think the short time between announcement and release helped that either.
        Oh well.. Hope they learn from it.

      • Sounds to me the simplest solution would be to add labor point regen when logged off, maybe just at half rate or something. That and the requirement that you pay money to be able to report people are two really bad ideas that I’m surprised Trion decided to carry over unchanged.

      • The issue with giving offlline labour regeneration to ftpplayers is people abusing multiple accounts… And you can better believe the gold traders and botters will be on that

        I think just doing that for this couple of first weeks is a good idea though as people can’t get on in the first place, then when queues go down far more or away remove it

      • Well, it does have afk in game but there are ways to get around that and from what I read the did or do have character screen afk as well so maybe that’s not working properly. I abused that on Friday night to play sat morning and while it sometimes Dc’s this time it was fine.

        And on the forums today the said they will be going with daily resets too

    • Yeh got a free player especially the queues are ridiculous.. Good luck with that. Be aware that you can only pay taxes if your a subscriber, so putting down a farm would be hard.
      You could use the public farms if you want though. 24 hour protection there or find a nice hidden spot to grow. Just be pretty quick with collecting.

      Also I think there will be a daily reset at 7am U.S time soon so maybe that would be a good time

      • This is a response to what you said up top.

        You’re right there’s a lot of things complicating this picture. But that’s why I find this foul up so incredible. The games feature set was CLEARLY not built on a server infrastructure that was good for it. It’s like they designed a game unlike many other MMOs, but used the same damn infrastructure as those MMOs.

        The way taxes work, character slot limitations, labor points, land and other “premium’ features that F2P players have no access too, are an absolute nightmare to balance when your servers cannot allow you to make quick changes.

        MMO launches of the past few years have been relatively flawless. Nothing like what AA is experiencing. A week of terrible queues and the total wiping out of the headstart due to queues can’t be seen as anything but catastrophic when players have shelled out over $100 for that advantage. I’m just eating my popcorn and watching the greatest fuck up of MMO launches since Vanguard (which actually had a smoother launch than AA currently is …that’s saying a lot).

      • I agree that with the ftptransition it just isn’t suited in having the mechanics and traditional server types but I don’t see how to do it that differently. The only way to fix is create a true sandbox with a large world and far more player control and building or just not bother with such features all together and churn out another forgettable themepark. These things were always going to complicate it, it’s why open world housing just doesn’t get done all that often, especially when designing and crafting the environment these days is one of the largest expenses. I think they could have been more prepared for the release rush and their are elements I think could have been better but I can’t see the major issues of land availability, release queues and labour point issues getting much better without making it a different game entirely.

        Also I’d hardly call this the worst release. Wildstar was plagued with disconnect issues, payment problems and crippling lag for people out of Na. ESO had a horrendous launch filled with bugged npc’s that completely stopped progress… Not to mention the issues with phasing and not being able to play with friends. Remember tsw… Just wow. Ff14 had horrendous (still does) account service and large queues at launch. There was also that game breaking exploit of getting administrator privileges and being able to give your something anything… Even levels. And gw2, I couldn’t even play with my guild for the first few weeks due to the overflows, the culling crippled pvp and it still has poor optimisation. Saying worse because ArcheAge has large queues is a bit extreme.

      • Its not extreme at all 🙂 I also never said the worst ever, just the worst in a long time.

        Every game you named except FF14, players were able to LOGIN. Having servers struggle beneath the weight of all your players is a different problem than not being able to login for days. Also, those games fixed their issues by now, AA is still struggling. This morning they kicked players out of queue for a server restart. Players who had been waiting 13 hours. I wasn’t one of them thank god, but that’s pretty damn terrible as launches go. No server technology to properly handle queues? This is 2005 tech. Don’t you think that negligent?

        Given the way labor points work, it’s a far better situation to have players IN GAME fighting lag, than in a queue, getting booted from said queue and have to return to the end of queue for 12 hours. Players paying for a headstart and not receiving it is a catastrophe in my opinion – there can be almost nothing worse than getting players’ money by offering them something you won’t deliver. And I don’t think any of us who’ve been at this for a while are fools – this is planned negligence. This was their plan. There are forum posts from June telling them that this problem would happen because their game rewards AFK. They shrugged and here we are. 6 servers per region for a global launch? You’ve got to be kidding me …they saw this coming a mile away. Their strategy is “well we’ll probably only have 6 active servers after 3 months so just wait until everyone quits and in a few weeks we’ll have a stable population”. They believe that this money saved will put them in the black 3 months from now. They’ve opted to lose customers now so they don’t have to upgrade/expand/add servers but I’m guessing that’s going to be a very costly mistake in a few months. It’s all about attrition right now. They have no intention of easing the queues with the only solution they have (new servers), because they’re too afraid of low pop servers 3 months from now. Now in the coming weeks they can work to expand the current servers, but that’s a slow solution. Until then we’ve got queues and the only thing they can do is add servers. In a game that really, really shouldn’t add too many servers because they can never be merged without instancing land and effectively killing its best feature.

        This is one of the worst launches in MMOs. Maybe I’ll do a historical write up of what makes MMO launches terrible and we can all have popcorn together.

  2. One thing to remember is that Trion don’t have anything like a free hand on this. It’s not their game. They had to negotiate with XLGames over every aspect of the “Westernization” process. The other territories use Labor Points even for questing, something Trion argued US/EU players simply would not stand for, and apparently getting that changed was quite a battle. Then they fought over *not* implementing the “dumbing down” changes that XL implemented to make the game easier when it tanked in Korea.

    I imagine there’s very little they can do to change anything about the infrastructure or gameplay at this stage. They’re stuck with what they have. If it was their own project they could make changes on the fly, as they did constantly in the first few weeks of Rift, but for AA any change almost certainly has to go through some kind of long-winded, bureaucratic approval system.

    In the end it will almost certainly be easiest for them to simply wait it out. If they end up boiling off enough sightseers to leave them with all their current servers at reasonable population levels in a few weeks’ time I’d imagine they’d be more than happy.

    • Yeah, it’s clear that’s their plan. And you’re right it’s not entirely Trion, but as publisher for NA the buck stops with them. They know their audience better than this and if they didn’t force the necessary changes to make this game a success, they didn’t do their jobs. It would have been better to not have their name on this, because now Trion will be continually associated with terrible launches and poorly thought out features (labor points, AFK). Those 2 features can kill this game and actually I think the labor points earning while online thing will be scrapped eventually. That’s just my thought, because they cannot stop AFKing.

      This can be a great game, but there’s some really amateur mistakes being made that are extremely costly. MMOs get 1 shot to make a great impression. After that they go to the F2P heap of mediocrity to be forgotten. The launch is everything.

  3. I was planning on checking out your guild on Kyrios, but not only is it THE most popular server (I’ve seen the others have “Up” status but Kyrios is always always “Queue”), I can’t even roll a character there because all the races are restricted. So I’m just tooling around on Elsa on the other continent figuring out how the game works until I can join the unofficial Oceanic server.

    I agree that the main problem is with the LP and how they work with f2p. That is what is causing the queues. My solution would simply be to scrap the “only regen when online” thing and just halve the max LP for f2p players. Maybe even make it 800 or 750 max. Or halve the rate of regeneration. Or both.

  4. I must be very lucky. As a F2P player I’ve never sat in more than an hour of queue. Perhaps I’m just playing at the ‘right’ times (I’m an Ozzie also) The P2P vs F2P disparity is quite glaring at the moment. I see all these neat little farms happily growing their stuff under the protection of a scarecrow, and it’s like I’m a non-citizen, just scrabbling for a bit of land hidden enough that I can grow some flowers and turmeric for my first trade pack. Though at this point I really don’t feel like paying anyway, what’s the point? All the not-horrible spots are taken already.

    I went exploring last night, I knew an elf from when I played one, but as a kitty now she’s the enemy. It’s weird in that we can chat via mail fine, but not in person. How does that work? We went for a ride on her boat and it’s such a pretty world once you escape your home zone. It’s a pity I’m the enemy in elf land, being PK’d was never much fun.

    ‘Illegal’ farming is working so far, despite the soul crushing views of ‘legal’ farmers having it easy. I’ve got the dried flowers, and 10 of 20 turmeric plants survived to be harvested. The harvested ones are in the most hidden location so I’ve another 10 growing now, I hope they survive 🙂

    • the queues got bad on the weekend just then but yeh, mostly none to minimal

      hidden farming is really tough… never worked for me and my, not harvested trees once. You really have to be quite crafty in hiding them although flowers and the small stuff wouldn’t stand out as much i guess. You could use those public farms to grow those short time things as it gives 24 hours but then that’s fining the ones that allow what you need.

      And to read your friends stuff you can do some crafting for… printing i think which lets you learn the other nations language… i think but don’t quote me haha

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