Rant: Server Queue
The release of Warhammer Online has brought us something we haven't seen in a very long time besides good PvP, and that is the horror of server queues. I was lucky enough to pick probably the highest pop server for my guild to play on, but also unlucky enough to be faced with some of most serious queues of all of the servers. Now given at this point, we are only about 1 week into the games servers being brought live, but this seems to have become a hot button issue for many people finding themselves on crowded servers.
The downsides of queues are obvious and can be very annoying. All you have to do is read your forums of choice to hear the whining of people who are stale about this issue. People coming home from work and having to wait upwards of 30 minutes or longer to be able to log in. We have even had some guild members report that the queue was so long that they weren't even allowed to join it! They then have to spam the join button in hopes of getting a spot in the back of the line. Now imagine going through all of this to get in the game, and then have a crash to desktop sending your ass right to the back of the line again.
Now that being said, the existence of queues obviously mean the game has sold very well. There are rumors swirling of over 1 million boxes sold right out of the gate, something that not even World of Warcraft to lay claim to. Also the queues may be a foreshadowing of the success this game may come to reap. We haven't seen this sort of demand for an MMO since World of Warcraft was released years ago, which we all know has had subscription numbers soar over the 10 million mark over the course of its lifetime. I am sure the people over at Funcom are envious of this, the one problem their game does not have. At least if Mythic loses 50% of their subscribers like its competition it will still be on good shape.
As a guild leader, I intentionally wanted to pick a server with a high population because I have experienced what it is like to play an MMO on underpopulated servers in a variety of games. There is nothing worse then playing an MMO, especially one that revolves around PvP, and finding yourself having to go out of your way to find a fight.
Warhammer Online seems to have a lot of emphasis on the scenarios for the time being, hopefully this will change once people level up. The good thing about the high population is that there is almost always a scenario going on. There are reports that on some of the lower pop servers that the scenarios are taking longer to start up, even worse if you are playing Destruction. I can tell you as an Order player I often times find the scenarios popping up too frequently, not giving me enough time to finish my quest.
Mythic also seems to be aware of the problem and understands that nobody wants to have to wait to play. They have come up with what I think is one of the most interesting ideas to try to persuade people to try another server. Shortly after the population problem on certain servers became evident, they copied all of the characters from those populated servers to specific underpopulated servers. In past MMOs, we often would have to wait ages for devs to open up a character transfer option. When the time finally did come, players would have to go through a transfer process that quite honestly is a pain in the ass. Mythic's solution seems enticing because they are telling you that if you want to switch your character is already on this other server ready to go.
One problem still remains in the fight against queues. On my server which still have queues, they have already done the cloning option for transfers, and they have also announced that my server is set to the maximum the hardware will allow. So where does Mythic go from here? The hardware is maxed and the transfer option has already been used. Now don't get me wrong, I am more than willing to tough it out. I expected this, and to me it is a price worth paying to get to play on the server I am on. My entire guild is in it for the long haul, there is nowhere else we would rather be. I know for a fact a lot of the other guilds on my server have adopted the same policy as well.
It makes me wonder if we are all playing a giant game of chicken against each other as players to see who has the stomach to ride this thing out. Players who are not attached to large guilds may have to really start evaluating their server decisions on whether or not it is worth the wait to play. Perhaps in the end everyone is hoping Mythic will come up with some way to upgrade the hardware to allow more players. It's been a hell of a week Mythic, hopefully something will happen to help alleviate the situation, or maybe we will keep playing the waiting game. Only time will tell.
Co-Leader of Inquisition