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Sep 27 2009

Aion community vs the queues

Published by at 1:53 pm under Aion

Aion has been launched in both the North America and Europe. The head start people and the early buyers have now joined the game. Only … tens of thousands haven’t been able to join the game right away because there are 2+ hour queues on all servers in all regions. We have seen release of several new servers over the weekend and this seems to have done little to alleviate the problems. We have seen the release of the new patch that restricted private stores to 30 minutes before automatic log-out. Queues are still there. There are more problems people are complaining about, but let me just go over the queue thing first.

Aionic Thoughts has a very good blog post about what NCSoft has done and what are the repercussions. What they are saying is that, for a “PvP-centric” MMO, Aion has done what none of the other MMOs out there ever managed – created balanced servers where no one faction has the upper hand over the other. This will bring great competitions and experiences in the later stages of the game. For this we have to go through “queue hell” as they call it. I agree 100% with this.

What about the current stage of the game. In the first 6 days of the game 2/3 of people are in their first 20 levels. The rest are ~level 25. By the end of first month most people will be level 40 – not even close to end game where all that balance will kick in and create a great experience. Will we endure the queues for a month. Most people won’t, they won’t even renew their subscription.

I bet NCSoft people are well aware of this and I am sure that some solutions will be coming our way this week. And I hope this is true for Aion’s sake.

I remember the first days in WoW. We had the same problem on the most popular servers (and most others as well). Within the first months we got dozens of new servers. WoW is not balanced at all and this is not the way we want to see Aion go, but the point is that solutions were provided within the first few weeks and that is what we are looking for here.

The thing to remember here is that all of this is caused by a much larger number of players than NCSoft anticipated. Which means the game is good and people want to play it. Judging by the comments on Twitter, people that do get pass the queues are enjoying the game very much. Looking at our own visit numbers (that exceeded everything we were anticipating) the game is a success. But things are far from “money in the bank” stage.

I need to point out several other things that the Aion community is looking to get fixed almost right away. Most of these come from following Twitter, ironically the social network of choice of Aion community managers.

  • There is no 24 hour in-game support
  • There are no official ways for getting/passing information (Twitter is NOT used by everyone -the game has official forums that officials are NOT using “because of a bug”)
  • There is a call for free days to reimburse time spent in queues

I hope NCSoft decides to be very generous with the free days – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

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