Is It Acceptable To Have To Queue?
The blogs are awash with tales of woe regarding the queues in Aion. I myself was no exception and logged on to face a 3 hour queue on Perento (EU server) last night. Suffice to say, I thought “screw that” and started up on another server, Castor, which had a much smaller queue. Fortunately my friends had the same thought and moved there as well so everything has worked out OK but it does make me wonder how long it will be before this new server ends up with a big queue too as more people move over to it. Plus, lets not forget that the game hasn’t even been officially released in Europe yet so I imagine there will be another huge influx of players on Friday.
All of this queueing is very reminisant of when Warhammer Online came out this time last year. The wait then were so long I used to start queueing when I got home after work just so I could play by 8pm. Of course, the queues lasted about a month and then as thousands of people stopped playing they diminished. The damage, however, was already done.
I’m not going to get my knickers in a knot and start ranting and raving about Aion or queues – honestly, I’m not that fussed. If I have to queue for 3 hours, I’ll just go play WoW instead. However, I still think it’s a big issue that’s facing MMORPGs now.
Once money has traded hands, gamers deserve the right to be able to play the game they purchased without waiting in line for hours on end. Imagine the public uproar if this sort of thing effected console games. What would happen if a consumer bought a PS3 game, took it home, and then had to wait 2-4 hours every time before they played it? No doubt the resulting noise would be so loud it would be as if a million tiny voices cried out.
I know MMORPGs are tough to develop and hard to maintain so the genre has my every sympathy. However, I feel that we’re now in the situation were people either say nothing and just stomach it or complain vigorously and are branded extremists. There is definitely a solution though if MMO companies were willing to invest yet unfortunately we seem to be stuck in the rut where huge queues are considered to be an accepted part of the genre and get little recognition by the developers. They’re attitude seems to be that it will pass and we just have to suck it up and deal with it.
The saddest thing of all is that we see it coming. Only last week Aion was boasting about it having a record breaking number of pre-orders. Surely they shouldn’t anticipated the resulting queues and done something about it? And what about when Cataclysm releases for World of Warcraft. My bet is that we’ll be waiting in line all over again.
So to answer my own question, is it acceptable to have to queue? My answer is no. What’s yours?