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.

Aion Server Queue

Aion Server Queue

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?

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  1. Frank says:

    You can see the full, sunshine-filled opinion I have on my own blog, but my thoughts are that doing it this way is a long-term thing. You talk about people stopping playtime after a month, but NCSoft appear to be anticipating that dropoff, preferring to piss people off now and take a more cautious approach to things.

    I get that that is a viable strategy to retain customers, but at the same time, it’s extremely painful to people who are raring to play the game with friends. Everyone I know is way ahead of me in levels, while the crushingly long queues have put me behind them, perhaps permanently, while the newbie area is flooded with new players.

    My tentative answer is no, with the caveat that I think that some happy medium could be reached – something where enough servers were put out for head start so everyone could logon, and then those would be condensed into the real number prior to launch, so people wouldn’t lose time.

    This combined with the whole AFK Shop-to-stay-logged-in trick players are doing to screw others from being able to logon has created a less than ideal launch for Aion. Despite what people think, Aion is not an MMO messiah, and is very much mortal.

  2. My argument still stands…heavily instanced games work. PERIOD.

    Age of Conan did not suffer queues on launch. It did suffer players going into other “instances”…and guess what…we could always find an open one eventually to all group up in.

    The whole open world server thing? Yea…we get this mess.

    I can’t wait for Guild Wars 2!

  3. Shamutanti says:

    Following on from Edge’s response, I’ve had 0 queues on CO – which is completely instanced and actually not as jarring as I would of thought. More so the server they have has the entire CO player base on, just split (in big splits mind you) across multiple and multiple (and in the case of M. city, multiple) instances.

    In fact even the explanation that instances remove immersion doesn’t stand up much now because of the size of the zones/instances are about as breaking as jumping on a flight path or teleporting somewhere else.

    Queue wise for Aion? Well I’m waiting personally for it all to calm down before I have a look and CO has my attention (which I didn’t expect truth be told, I only bought it to pass the week coming up to Aion; yeah that was £30 expecting to be wasted, oh how surprised I was!) but I still see a low number of servers a good idea and simply expect the queues to drop off anyway because not everyone will stay

    Wanna know the big problem tho.? I’ve heard from friends and tweets, something which I also tweeted about, was that people were setting up shops with one item for 99,999,999 currency, just to stay within the game whilst they say go to work or school. And that friends is only ONE of the reason why personal shops are a dire ‘feature’ which shouldn’t grace the hands of ANY western based game.

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah personal shops does sounds a little whack. I was never a fan of it in Everquest. Personally I like to log out and shut my computer down when I leave for work, not still have my online personna running around… but I can understand why people do it.

  4. Andrew says:

    I like games like Wizard101 or Free Realms where you can freely hop between servers…. of course this may have negatives in a PvP game like Aion, unfortunately.

    Regarding queues at launch – even WoW was pretty bad off for a month after the WotLK launch, and we all know how much hardware they can bring to bear…. and we also know that they anticipated the flood of returning players and STILL couldn’t meet demand.

    That said, the Aion queues seem excessive – I sure wouldn’t wait 3hrs for my server. I’m not sure what they can do…. buying more hardware to ride out an initial unsustainable rush is not a great option either.

  5. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    I think that it’s acceptable early on, but Aion is a bit excessive and that’s the problem. WoW had ques, even WAR did, so it’s something new. That said, if I had to wait 3 hours, I would not be very happy either.

  6. It’s entirely unacceptable to have queues. We may tolerate it as gamers used to crappy customer service.

  7. Longasc says:

    I just set up a personal shop with a manastone for 999.999 to say “AFK”. :P
    I am the only person besides my friend on Brusthonin at 02:23 AM.
    Of course you can feel offended now! :)

    I quite like the shops, they are a good way to sell minor stuff besides using the Auction House, which is limited to 10 items, intentionally.

    The queues are crap. I do not understand it. This crap was not needed in open or closed beta. Personally I did not experience them. Because just I did not log out so far after I got in.

    But their websites has issues, too. The login does not work for me for ages by now. I cannot use half of the really cool features – if they would be working, that’s it.

    • Gordon says:

      The website issues are probably unreleated but I’m not looking forward to the issues which will effect Aion when it releases in the EU on Friday. Gonna make the queues even worse…

      Better get your shop ready to last all weekend :D

  8. Sven says:

    My answer is no its not acceptable because it isn’t necessary from a technical aspect anymore. I get not wanting to go overboard on servers just to suffer the from the bad press when you have to close them down. But making the number of servers you have in play invisible by going with instanced versions of your game is the way to go.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m not a fan of instancing and I don’t think it’s the only solution. There’s no reason why developers couldn’t invest in better hardware structure or alternative solutions to the problem. The bottom line is that it seems more acceptable for them to make us queue than it is to invest time and money into solving the issue.

  9. I won’t wait in a queue. I’ll just shut down the game and come back later…maybe. I consider my time to be worth WAY more than waiting around for a server to let me on; to me, queuing and waiting it out is like scheduling game time, and that’s something I have been against for a while now. To me, gaming is a hobby that should be available whenever I have a few extra minutes or hours. I shouldn’t be at its mercy as to when I can play and enjoy myself.

  10. Karen says:

    I’m not fond of queueing at all. I’ll wait if the queue is less than 5 minutes (happened to me almost every Friday and Saturday on WoW – the Suramar server to be specific), but these 3-4 hours waits for Aion servers are a little ridiculous. Considering the thousands of pre-orders, they should have opened up more servers. I’m waiting for my new gaming laptop to come in to start playing, and hopefully the long waits will have died down by then.

  11. Stabs says:

    If I can minimise the application and do something else then I’m not too bothered. I have plenty of other things to do on a PC.

    If it ties up my PC I’ll probably close the program though.

  12. [...] over at We Fly Spitfires poses the question “Is It Acceptable To Have To Queue?”.  I keep on seeing people compare the Aion queues to the Warhammer Online queues at launch.  They [...]

  13. voxz says:

    The shops are the problem. You open a shop and you go afk….
    In wow when you are afk for 20 minutes you get disconnected. If ncsoft would do the same thing there won’t be such huge queues

  14. voxz says:

    And the problem with opening up more servers is the game could be like WAR soon, when ppl start leaving you get ghost servers and that’s rly crappy

  15. Devric says:

    I play Aion (EU) aswell and found that the server Telemachus hardly has any, if ever any, queue times and is fairly active and enjoyable. Just a thought if you really want to skip the queue’s and can bare re-rolling on another server.

    • Gordon says:

      That’s what we’ve done although I did the same thing when WAR came out but the queues just got worse. My fear is that the EU version doesn’t officially release until Friday and maybe then there will be another huge influx of players.

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