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Aion: Server queues or consolidations?

The server hamster speaks!

The server hamster speaks!

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?

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  1. Blue Kae

    Just catching up on my Reader posts and saw you’re asking some of the same questions I am. NCSoft is in a lose-lose situation right now, although it looks like they’ve opted for the Blizzard approach of queues and slow server expansion over the Mythic approach of a massive ramp up. I think the best choice would have been to avoid the problem entirely by going the Guild Wars or Champions Online route.

    BTW – I swear I read this after I’d already written my own post. Great minds and all that.

    1. Chris "Syeric" Coke

      Lol, you speak the truth. We are the great Kae 🙂

      I agree. I’m surprised they’re not going the way of Guild Wars too. That method worked great and would seem like a natural fit.

  2. Longasc

    I blame it on NCsoft west.

    The game has some silly mechanics that are going to annoy people, aka the “cute ribbit” and the “treasure map”. The items spawn, one grabs it, and then you have to wait for it to respawn. Funnily, later zones give the quest item to the whole group, BUT NOT IN THE (initially overcrowded) STARTING ZONES. Logic, hello, hello, are you still there somewhere?

    And yeah, already said this on Blue Kae’s blog, I wonder that they did not take the GW approach. Aion has instancing in the starter zones, but it is trying to hide it somehow, which is confusing people. A one-world-with-instances server model would have been something I would have liked a lot.

    I would like to play with some guys from all over the world, but I am on a german server with some close friends. It hurts me having to chose between people I would like to play with.

  3. Melinda Newsam

    hi wow nice blog

  1. Blue Kae » Blog Archive » Launch Waves, Faction Balance, and Sever Queues! Oh, my!

    […] Chris at Game by Night has some of the same questions. Tags: aion, launches, mmo, ncsoft Category: Rambles  |  Comment (RSS) […]

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