Aion: The Tower of Queues

familymatters-urkel_1164928703Some MMO launches (and headstarts) come and go without much fuss, and some are the equivalent of a klutzy 7th grader who trips over their own shoelaces, hits a lunch tray full of hash browns and ketchup, and splatters the front two tables in the room with red goo.  Or, for those forever stuck in the 90’s, they’re the “Did I do that?” Urkels.

Oh yes.  An Urkel reference.  Consult your local Wikipedia.

I guess Aion is a bit of an Urkel right now, with horrendous queues, connection issues, crashes, issues with not being able to get on the same server as your buddies, and even having the wrong client getting in the way of people being able to play.  I’m sure this will all smooth itself out in time, but wasn’t this supposed to be the ultra-polished game we were hearing so much about?

Or was the “polish” more in reference to the game engine and less to NCSoft’s handling of the servers and setup?

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43 thoughts on “Aion: The Tower of Queues

  1. KillTrash September 21, 2009 / 9:25 am

    Yeah, I tried to log around 4:30pm (est) yesterday and I got into a queue of almost 3 hours of waiting. I just closed the client immediately and decided not to put up with this release day crap.

    Much later that night, I was able to log in without a queue. I played for a little bit but then I had to go to bed. The queues will get better over the week (I hope!), but I expect the same, if not worst queues this Tuesday.

  2. moop1167 September 21, 2009 / 9:44 am

    It wasn’t bad for me at all. There were queues for maybe 2-3 hours initially but they increased the population limit gradually. Servers were very stable and I think I only got disconnected maybe 2 times while playing for 5 straight hours. Only a tiny bit of lag here and there also.

  3. octalblack September 21, 2009 / 9:44 am

    They wanted to be World of Warcraft and look at that, they are World of Warcraft!

  4. lightsong September 21, 2009 / 9:49 am

    I had a 4 min queue. Big deal.
    No lag.
    No crashes.
    Was able to get on the server of my choice.
    And got the names of my choosing.

    Learn how to install the right software.
    Get a better computer.
    And better internet connection.

    Stop QQing.

  5. Toxic September 21, 2009 / 9:51 am

    I had a bit of a que at one point, and got disconnected about 15 minutes after launch, but it was really smooth otherwise.

    Aion’s release is a helluva lot smoother than Age of Conans or Warhammers, that is for f’ing sure.

  6. Ramizeth September 21, 2009 / 10:06 am

    I logged in at about 3.15 EST and was listed as 700 in queue. It took about 2 hours before I got in but wouldnt you know it, we had people over for dinner, so I was going to jsut stay /afk and logged in, periodically checking to make sure I am still in game.

    Right after dinner, the server I am playing went down…luckily a few minutes later it all came back up and I got in instantly.

    Once I got playing I had zero lag and even though there were lots of poeple running around I was never in a fight over mobs and was able to do the quests at my leisure.

    I must say, once in and pass the queue issue the rest was a great success.

  7. Syp September 21, 2009 / 10:08 am

    @ Hudson – And that might well be true. But queues are never, ever popular or received well with launches.

  8. Snafzg September 21, 2009 / 10:25 am

    They may not be well received, but people need to suck it up and realize that they are necessary to avoid a (patented) “WAR situation.” I remember queues in WoW for weeks and weeks. I even hear there are STILL short queues at primetime on some servers.

    I’d rather sit through a queue and play on a populated server than a piece of crap wasteland two months later. 😛

    People will eventually reroll and things will settle. NCsoft is doing the right thing — the ONLY thing — to prevent horrendous lag, server crashes, and underpopulated servers once the WoW tourist crowd goes back to work after a brief vacation.

  9. xXJayeDuBXx September 21, 2009 / 11:19 am

    I must have picked a low pop west coast server, because I had none of those problems at all yesturday. Today is a new day and that could change, but I will count myself lucky for the smooth play yesturday.

  10. CunningB September 21, 2009 / 11:30 am

    @Syp

    That may be but id rather have a few people put off at launch for the sake of the long term stablity of the game!

    Fraction caps mean a balanced server and with the third npc fraction in the RvR there should be good balance… unlike another RvR MMO id care to mention.

    And the Aion devs have already stated the server queues are constantly being monitored and their just there at the moment to smooth out the login spikes and keep the servers stable.

    Its a whole long team view reather than short term “just make them happy” which may well make it so that Aion survives alot longer than other recent MMO’s

  11. Syp September 21, 2009 / 11:46 am

    @ Snafzg – And yet WAR and WoW did not get the free pass on their massive queues the way some people say that Aion should. Might not be totally unavoidable, but they for sure stumbled and hard with this head-start launch.

  12. Snafzg September 21, 2009 / 12:38 pm

    I just see queues as an inevitability in ALL MMOs and never would have ragged on WoW or WAR for them. Basically, you need queues to maintain some semblance of population on a server. I’d be worried about any server that DIDN’T have a queue. 😛

  13. Syp September 21, 2009 / 12:55 pm

    WHAT?! Dude, when WAR had those queues you just about went ballistic! Of course, you’ve deleted all the old Greenskin posts so I can’t prove it, but you know what you did.

  14. naamah88 September 21, 2009 / 1:38 pm

    The queues in WAR were different though. They had a hard cap, say, 6000 people on the server period at any one time. Aion started the server cap small, say, 1000 or so and slowly increased the cap as time went on. This had the effect of allowing people in in small groups which is what I talk about on Aionic Thoughts.

    WAR not only had the queue but everyone on the server got in at once, causing massive lag, horrible FPS and making questing a horrible experience. For the most part, none of that happened in Aion. There was a bit, yes, but no where near what WAR and WoW had.

    Despite your obvious dislike for Aion they are having an excellent launch, Syp. It’s been the best one I have been a part of since DAoC.

  15. Frank September 21, 2009 / 1:56 pm

    My experience was less than pleasant. I’m glad some others had better success than I did!

    At 2pm I spent 20 minutes just getting to the authentication server. It was lagging and bombarded. Once I was there, I got into a queue – 1200 people. When I got to 200, the client vomited an error and crashed.

    For the next hour and a half I was unable to get onto any of the servers I intended to roll on, because not only were there queues, but getting into the queue was disabled due to too many players. When I finally did get into a queue, it was 3400 people strong, with a 4 hour wait.

    4 hours later, I get in, and the server immediately crashes after 30 minutes of play. Instead of kicking me back through the queue, it froze at connection, whereupon I crashed out, got back in, and got into a 2300 person queue with a 3 hour wait.

    It was at this point that I gave up logging in for the night.

    Now, don’t get me wrong – I blogged sunny, happy things about this being expected, so I get all the counterarguments and I’m not that upset – maybe just annoyed. But I can’t imagine how it must feel for someone who doesn’t have my optimistic attitude.

  16. Pete S September 21, 2009 / 2:45 pm

    “Basically, you need queues to maintain some semblance of population on a server. ”

    Well there are queues and there are queues. I’m hearing reports of 5 hour queues, but I think that’s on the Euro servers.

    Any queue longer than say 10 minutes is an issue for me.

    And I’ve played plenty of MMOs without queues that still had a plentiful population.

  17. Syp September 21, 2009 / 2:48 pm

    @ Naamah – I’m glad for anyone that’s having a good experience, but as I’ve linked, there’s a lot of unhappy folks out there having a rough time just getting into the game.

  18. naamah88 September 21, 2009 / 3:21 pm

    @Syp- Agreed there are, just like there are in any game. But the people having a really hard time, with lag, authorization issues and the like are seeming to be in the minority. Most people are playing just fine and playing a lag free game that is stable with good framerates.

    There are hundreds of blog posts and impression posts out there about people having fun but you didn’t link any of those, did you? Now, it’s your blog and you should write about what you want to but in this case your bias is showing.

  19. We Fly Spitfires September 21, 2009 / 3:30 pm

    Ironic isn’t it. The game performed better in Open Beta than it does now. I had a pretty interesting experience when my client decided to run in Korean. Woot.

    Oh, btw, I have no idea what Urkel is. I feel kinda good about that actually, going by that photo 🙂

  20. Rog September 21, 2009 / 3:34 pm

    Snafzg: IMHO queues are indicative of broken server models, broken faction-based PvP models. The fact that you think they should almost be required just makes me shutter.

    The better way is to either have smaller, more local / regional servers –or– Have one big server ala EVE or Champions.

    Unfortunately the move in the past few years is to create 10k-15k players on a server in unsustainable ways that practically scream out for server merges or abandoned vs too-popular servers (even WoW notoriously suffers from this).

    I wish everyone luck and I hope Aion manages it better than it’s been done so far.

  21. Syp September 21, 2009 / 3:59 pm

    Of course I have a bias. All bloggers do. But look at some of the other comments on this post — it’s not all sunshine and daisies beyond my bias. I’m not saying anything about this game that isn’t true or noteworthy.

  22. Mesar September 21, 2009 / 4:13 pm

    The Oceanic server was very populated and my guildies (TOG) weren’t complaining too much about the ques. Even though some of them weren’t even allowed to create a character for a few hours due to faction balance.

    The client seems much more stable now and I’ve getting a decent PvE experience with a ping of ~700ms. (Setting up a proxy connection today).

    The ques that I’m HATING are the item respawns for quests. Argggh! Every other quest has some stupid item that disappears when someone picks it up, so you have a half dozen people in every channel standing around waiting for an item re-pop.

  23. naamah88 September 21, 2009 / 6:19 pm

    By the by, Keen finally got in and is playing. The problem was with At&t all along. They finally had someone look at the problem and found the cause on their end.

  24. Buhallin September 21, 2009 / 6:42 pm

    “WAR not only had the queue but everyone on the server got in at once, causing massive lag, horrible FPS and making questing a horrible experience.”

    To be fair, the MMO community caused as many of the launch day problems as Mythic did. My experience with WAR was the complete opposite of this – we picked Skavenblight as our starting server, and it was so deserted we moved before the official launch.

    Mythic certainly isn’t blameless, but their fault lies in a failure to manage (or, even better, ignore) the pathologically insane MMO community rather than any poor planning on a technical level.

  25. Tizlor September 21, 2009 / 9:30 pm

    Aion = Waiting in Queues: The Game.

  26. Aion Guides September 21, 2009 / 9:46 pm

    I’m lucky that I haven’t experienced any problems, didn’t have a waiting time, and was in to play after the head start began.

  27. Blue Kae September 21, 2009 / 10:13 pm

    I’m with Rog on this.

    Queues for NCSoft or massive server rollouts for Mythic, it doesn’t matter. Both can hurt games, and it’s much better to avoid that whole problem by changing the server model. I think this is especially important for PvP focused games where player population and faction balances are crucial. I think having a single game world and using some kind of instancing, either like Guild Wars or Champions or something more like the cell phone network, where server load and player distribution is as transparent as possible is the way to go.

    Unfortunately since this was largely a localization of an Eastern MMO, I doubt NCSoft would’ve been willing to spend the time or money to re-architect their server framework.

  28. Longasc September 21, 2009 / 10:37 pm

    You are quite right, the polish seems to be limited to the game engine.

    I have played Aion for 12 hours straight – if you do not log out at all, you only hear hearsay about queues. I am also playing on the EU servers which had better ping and ran more stable since closed and open beta already.

    The website features are very cool, I can see my auction house deals and mail I got in my browser.
    But most features simply do not work, at the moment I often cannot log in at all and while I can see a list of all my chars, I cannot select any as my main char.

    They have some great CM’s that are really working hard. I usually do not give much about CMs, but Aion’s CMs are quite good. Still the headstart was VERY annoying and IMO very rough to the players. It was not a desaster, but it might have scared away a lot of players, as it was VERY annoying at times.

    Which is quite sad, Aion is definitely worth a try:
    http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/428/aion0031ti.jpg – my Gladiator knocking down a “Balaur” Draconute, a giant, horned, armed&armored T-Rex style lizard…^^

    http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/2826/aion0036lw.jpg – my first killing blow, 11 Asmodians vs 8-10 Elyos that harassed people questing before the Asmodian fortress in Morheim. They were camping the entrance till a raid formed to drive them back to Elysea.

    Me and a buddy posing for the camera! 😉 – http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/1866/aion0028k.jpg * http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7537/aion0019j.jpg

    This shall be an incentive for people not to give up trying to log in, despite NCsoft working hard to prevent that. 😉
    If I would be in charge of NCsoft, I would ask their “West” division a question or two…!

  29. pitrelli September 22, 2009 / 3:04 am

    hehe not such a smooth launch after all 🙂 and this is only the early access. tut tut

  30. pitrelli September 22, 2009 / 3:49 am

    @ naamah

    I’d also like to point out blogger bias runs both ways.

    Take me for example I openly have a dislike for Aion therefore my posts and comments reflect that. Whereas you champion Aion and vigorously defend it on every post published that dares to question or indeed slate anything to do with Aion. So you therefore are showing bias towards your game of choice by over righting peoples opinions on where things stand.

    Neither is right or wrong by the way I just find it a bit galling that you are calling out a fellow blogger for being bias when you are the flip side of the exact same coin.

  31. Rog September 22, 2009 / 9:04 am

    There’s also a difference between bias and predetermined bias.

    Every opinion has bias, usually based upon previous personal experience. I’m fairly sure if we asked nicely, Syp could explain why he hasn’t been interested in pre-ordering / playing Aion.

    Predetermined bias on the other hand is often associated with punditry: Choosing a side by versus criteria rather than merits. Us versus Them.

    While I think Syp is playfully kicking the bee’s nest, I think this falls more in the category of mocking punditry than participating in it.

  32. Syp September 22, 2009 / 10:04 am

    Heh Rog has my number. For example, I love Champions, am enjoying it, but I am not blind to its problems nor shy about talking about them. That’s a good balance, methinks. But when it comes to players who develop such blind devotion to a game where it has, in their eyes, no shortcomings and they get all up in arms whenever anyone criticizes it, well, that calls for a bit of a reality check.

    And trust me, I was hearing a LOT from people on vent yesterday about how horrendous the queues were and how angry they were about them. It will go away with time, I’m sure, but they really have not been handling this as well as they should’ve, especially when you’re staring down a 3,000+ person queue for hours.

  33. ymrar September 22, 2009 / 2:15 pm

    I just hope that NCSoft can keep a cool head when people scream bloody murder over this.. If they do the “WAR” and add too many servers, they’ll be in trouble in couple of months when some of the “tourists” leave.

    I don’t play any MMO at the moment, but I wish all good for any other than “you know what”. We need to break the pattern. Otherwise we will see only clones for many many years to come.

  34. Dandmcd September 22, 2009 / 9:38 pm

    Cmon Syp, make a character in Aion, and see what it is all about. Once you hit level 10 and ascend, this game is flat out breathtaking. Join Marchutan server, longest queue I had on it was about 10 minutes, and that was today when the game officially released to all players and not just head start.

    They are controlling the servers and not being pressured into doing anything irrational like Mythic did, and thus far, I have heard next to no complains in game about crashes or lag. You read about it on the forums, but hell, you can still go to WoW and Warhamemr forums and read complaints about the game crashing and lag to this day.

    I know this game isn’t your cup of tea, Syp, but if you were to take the time to jump in the game and see how the first 20 levels work, you would see NCSof’t point of view about the queues and controlling the server population. I guarantee by this weekend we won’t even hear any queue complaints ever again. Then again, maybe we will, because this game is insanely popular, and nobody is complaining or being critical about it, except those who can’t stand to wait in line. They probably sold a few copies just from players rushing to buy when they heard there are thousands of players clamoring to get a chance to login and play.

  35. Radishlaw September 23, 2009 / 3:30 am

    People seem to forget the one thing MMOs should have going for them: changing in the virtual world and technology behind it.

    The only way WoW would topple is when Blizzard are unable to polish what other games have created and add them into the game. Currently they seem perfectly fine at doing that.

    Back to the problem at hand. Queues are a necessary method as long as you are using the basic “shards” method of server-client model. It’s perfectly fine to be used, as long as the company is careful. WAR is an example of them being careless, but it’s not make-or-break in the long term.
    What matters is the merit of the game itself, and how popular they are received.

    As long as players have an interesting and smooth experience, the MMO will be safe – and if they improve enough, it may even grow under “wow toruist syndrome”.

    Currently it is just too early to tell if Aion will be one such MMO, despite what the lovers and haters have to say on the subject.

  36. Slurms September 23, 2009 / 8:18 am

    Our blog has been dead the past few days because we’ve been PLAYING THE GAME.

    Sure there’s been some complaints about the queues, but people need to be more relaxed about it. The game has over 400k subs already for cryin out loud. Give it a week to get smoothed out. A new server is coming, and the current server population cap is getting increased. The queue issue should be fixed soon.

    Seriously, if a queue is the worst problem they have, it’s doing well.

  37. Mitch September 23, 2009 / 3:35 pm

    Playing Elyos on Vaizel, and the only time the queue message popped up was 20 minutes after the head start. The rest of the day people had no queues. Server never crashed, and had no lag issues. My friends and I thought it was a very smooth launch that beat out Warhammer for smoothing launching mmo.

  38. pitrelli September 24, 2009 / 7:37 am

    ‘My friends and I thought it was a very smooth launch that beat out Warhammer for smoothing launching mmo.’

    I should bloody well hope so Warhammer had a terrible launch

  39. Kevin September 30, 2009 / 7:44 am

    The last statement you made in this post, Syp, was the most accurate. 🙂 Aion is an ultra-polished game, but the servers could have been better through beta. Release’s servers have improved DRASTICALLY, with rarely any lag at all. The biggest problem at this point is the queue. The servers could still use some work in this area. Larger capacities and more servers are always welcome. I think players are finding tricks to staying logged in longer to avoid queues. I know a few players that are finding ways to do this.

    The way I see it: if the game is a lot of fun, it’s worth waiting to play. The servers will catch up; they always do.

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