The Aion head start began today as of 3pm EST. Trumpets blared, banners were dropped, and courts across England exploded in applause. And even though I was (and still am) at work, I couldn’t help but peek into the interwebs a little bit to see how things were going.
From the sound of it, things are going a little shaky. When people are able to connect, they’re finding themselves in zones that are absolutely flooded with people. More troublesome for players, however, is the fact that most of them can’t connect. One forum posted complained that he had place number 2060 in a 5+ hour queue.
Both of these things are to be expected less than two hours after the launch of an MMO but that doesn’t do much to make players feel better about it, especially when the game’s been live across the world for the last year.
The whole thing has got me thinking though, what would players really prefer: no queues and better performance now or more servers and forced mergers later?
I look at this kind of thing as testing period, post-beta. Closing servers looks bad. It scream failure to people who don’t know any better. Understandably, companies want to avoid this and NCSoft is opting to open with fewer servers and (I hope) open more as needed.
Still, multi-hour queues suck and there’s something not right about “testing” something that should have been prepared for sooner. This kind of thing harkens back to the woefully low QA standards across the board for the MMO genre. Yet, the reality of the situation is, despite what I as a consumer may want, it’s not possible for MMOs to have the same standard as, say, Xbox 360 games. They’re whole different beasts with massively different network demands.
MMO launches effectively have three outcomes: lose/lose/luck out. If you don’t have enough servers, there are queues. LOSE. If you have too many servers, you soon find them empty and have to “consolidate.” LOSE. Or, you do things just right and avoid either. LUCK OUT. Not many people luck out.
So that’s what I’m wondering, what loss would be the better?