Although Ultimatum, the latest expansion for Path of Exile, launched last week, it wasn’t without controversy. Recently, the team at Grinding Gear Games came out and provided a pretty lengthy explanation of what went wrong, including admitting that allowing streamers to bypass the queue was a mistake.
There was a swathe of technical affecting the launch of Ultimatum last week. As GGG notes, they noted that they saw the queue running very slowly when it launched. As they explained, this was happening because the server would migrate previously un-migrated Ritual characters to Standard whenever players logged in. To do this on-demand took a ton of time.
GGG concluded that they could disable the migration which would see the queue empty. However, players would miss some Standard progress. While this solved the problem with speed and performance, the realm “freaked out” and dumped players out.
This became worse because GGG allowed streamers to bypass this queue, which naturally didn’t go down well with the community. The team cited influencer marketing as the impetus for this priority for streamers in which they had arranged to pay for two hours of streaming. So basically, as with most things in this industry, it was done for the revenue incurred.
However, GGG notes that most streamers did not ask for this bypass and therefore shouldn’t be blamed. GGG also allowed other streamers not part of this influencer campaign to bypass the queue. GGG then expanded,
“The decision to allow any streamers to bypass the queue was clearly a mistake. Instead of offering viewers something to watch while they waited, it offended all of our players who were eager to get into the game and weren't able to, while instead having to watch others enjoy that freedom. It's completely understandable that many players were unhappy about this. We tell people that Path of Exile league starts are a fair playing field for everyone, and we need to actually make sure that is the reality.”
They note they will not allow streamers to bypass queues moving forward. instead, they will focus on ensuring the queue moves faster outright. You can read the whole post here. Path of Exile actually received a balance pass ahead of Ultimatum, which you can read up on here.