[GW2] Queued Up

A big thing right now in the ‘sphere are the SWTOR queues. Even with their staggered launch, BioWare is being hit with some hefty queues. Yet, nothing is really new. Voodoo equations prognosticating things like server health, player retention, and herd leveling speed are part of the design, and they usually seem to say “queues now are better in the long run.” One trick I loved with Rift was joining the hour-long queue a little after 7. Taking the remainder of the hour to put the kids to bed, and once they were down, voila! the queue was just about done. It really helped to just walk away. Even sitting there and reading a book or watching TV while you queue in front of your computer will likely have an effect on your mental and physical well-being.

Because the ArenaNet Community Managers are now on vacation, let’s do a little logic exercise. First, we must assume! We must assume that Guild Wars 2 will have queues. We know they are going to have servers (“worlds“) more like current MMOs than the original Guild Wars, where players get to fight for their world in World vs. World PvP combat and fight evil in their world with other worldly citizens. It’s a safe assumption given almost every MMO’s launch.

I wonder thought if there will be a difference because of the business model. In SWTOR and every other subscription-based MMO, wasted time is wasted money. A player stuck watching a queue is paying to do so. Now we could senselessly break it down to say that “well, at $0.50 /day a player stuck in an hour queue is only wasting a couple cents.” Except it doesn’t work that way. Time is precious and fleeting, and not being able to access something that is paid for ruins the feeling that it is worthwhile to subscribe. If I value my time at $15/hour (to throw a number out there), then perhaps I can say the queue just wasted $15.02 of my life. It gets even slappier in the face when the queue is wasting so-called “free time.”

Big question time: Will it make much of a difference when the pressure of a subscription is gone? Guild Wars 2 has no subscription fees. There is no wasting of a bought-for time when standing obediently in a queue line. The only salty rub is that there is definitely a player-herd leveling wave. Like one big tsunami players rush to the end to join the end game. I hope that the majority realizes that with side-kicking based on area, this other pressing need isn’t as… pressing.

There is an interesting option ArenaNet could take. They could make “Fragment” servers with full intention of shutting them down once the launch rush is done. We know the marketplace is going to be game wide instead of based on a server economy. The “fragment” servers could have an expiration date and no World vs. World match-up. It would be an interesting decision. A subscription-based game would never choose this because no “community” is built on a transient server. Community equals retention, which is money, friend.

–Ravious

26 thoughts on “[GW2] Queued Up”

  1. The fragment servers idea would really depend on their naming policy. If they go the Champions route and let people take duplicate names on the same server (differentiated by global user name), then flowing back into a server is no big deal. If they do like most games and have unique character names per server, people with a really good name aren’t going to want to combine back in.

    1. I thought they had mentioned somewhere that it would be similar to GW1 except you can have a single-word name now. IOW, if you see Legolass in WvW, that is /the/ Legolass.

      1. …I guess that does also solve the problem, but it seems like that will make it really hard to get a decent name once you have a huge bucket of players each with several alts.

  2. God, lets hope not! Server Community is the key to the fun in ANY mmo, not just subscription model mmos… imagine fledgling guilds trying to recruit and build in a frangmented server launch!!!

    Tragic.

    ~Cyndre

    1. “Server Community is the key to the fun in ANY mmo” That is absolutely not true in GW1. There are no separate servers (well, there are 4 servers:US, Europe, Korea and the International for players on different servers to meet ). It works just fine without server community.

      My thought was that they could run a set of “home” servers that are named (Anvil Rock, Ventari Refuge, etc.) and a set of temp servers simply named Server1, Server2, etc. You would create your character on one of the named home servers and could shift to any temporary server whenever you want or if it was full (similar to instance changes in GW1). If you want to WvWvW you have to start from your home server as the temp servers will not have any WvWvW going on. If you want to meet friends from different home servers you can meet in Lions Arch on Server7.

      I think thats pretty similar to what you are suggesting, but I dont see the temporary servers as something that ever completely goes away; they are treated like International in GW1.

      They could also do like GW1 and give an account 3 free server changes so you can get your friends together on one server after the mad rush at startup.

    2. There’s also the fact to consider that people joining fragment servers are the ones that just want to play and don’t give a crap about some fledgling guild.

      It’s definitely a balance. I have a feeling the negatives do outweigh the positives for a fragment server in the developer’s minds, but it would be interesting.

  3. I’ve always rather enjoyed queuing. Being in a queue frees you from most other responsibilities, which is always relaxing. In real life I either read a book (if it’s a queue where I can get fairly comfortable and which is going to last a good long time – airports, for example) or people-watch. It’s rarely that I would consider time spent in a queue time wasted.

    For game queues (and long downloads) I do like to watch the queue number tick over, or the download bar progress. There’s something ineffably satisfying about the inexorable progression towards a desired end. There are few enough life experiences that progress towards a conclusion that is both inevitable and welcome so when you find yourself having one it’s as well to savor it.

  4. they could also just when needed, make a new instanses on each Zone on a server! As soon as last man change zone that instanse is gone.
    Its as simple as making the system from GW1 work on each server, and offcause only when a zone is overpopulated.

    Only problem is if and when DE conflict, do DE go cross zones?

  5. As for what kind of difference it will make when there isn’t a subscription.

    I guess I don’t think there will be much of a difference, because everyone will have spent their cash and expect something in return. Those with no patience or some sense of entitlement will be just as demanding.

  6. Assuming the WvWvW part of GW2 is indeed the ultimate goal (hopefully), that only encourages people to speed-level as fast as possible. In SW who cares if you play now or in three months, the NPCs will be there. In GW2, getting to the cap and claiming ‘first’ in PvP is a huge motivator, and depending on the setup, might be a huge advantage.

  7. The only thing I really worry about server wide with ArenaNet is bigger PvP like WvWvW. I truly hope they can maintain steady latency for those involved. All I know is people living further from the servers are going to have a terrible time dodging, hitting skills etc. with a 250+ ping.

  8. Since character’s aren’t server locked the game could provide you with the option to play your character on a low pop server with the queue for your home server running in the back ground. When your turn comes up you could hop over to your home server or keep doing what you were on the low pop server.

    1. This is what I’m hoping for at the very least. If they really do let people just switch servers whenever there is no reason not to let them pick a temporary server with their home server queue running in the background.

      Heck, I see no reason why a subscription MMO can’t do that.

  9. with the lvl curve for gw2 players will get a really bad taste when they rush to endgame, as they themselves have said the game is endgame, and they’ll be max lvl in no time

  10. Will there be a difference when/if GW2 launches because of the different business model? Of course not, the only thing that will change is the post-facto rationalization for nerd rage. People don’t jump in on launch day for fear of losing 10 minutes of their “free” time, they jump in because they want to play a much-anticipated game RITE NAO!

  11. I say this with absolutely no knowledge of how MMO servers are set up, but is it possible fragment servers could be set up give players access to certain game features without access to the entire game world?

    We know that players will have instanced neighborhoods as part of their Personal Story; perhaps fragment servers could host just this tiny chunk of content? This would allow players to instantly load their Home instance and access features such as the Chat (for telling friends you’re stuck in the queue), Marketplace, storage, etc?

    In that way, a player stuck in the queue would at least be able to do basic character housekeeping (getting read for a raid or night of PVP for example), quickly check their sales, etc., all without taking up space on the world server?

    Again, I have no idea how game servers are actually set up, but it seems to me that having temporary servers that are separate from the world queue, allowing players to instantly start at least hanging out and getting ready would be quite useful.

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