We at RPS know what it's like to be too popular. Unable to walk from our Limousines to the exclusive clubs and restaurants we frequent without being assaulted by mobs of screaming, frantic fans, we completely understand the challenge it offers. And BioWare/EA are discovering the same with Star Wars: The Old Republic. The queues: they are long.
Which is a bit of a shame in your first week. With queues for servers sometimes stretching to over two hours, it is a bit offputting. And BioWare are warning it's not going to get better soon.
BioWare are treating this as something to be expected, and essentially telling people to lump it. As reported by Eurogamer, a post from community manager Stephen Reid explains that it's just the way it is.
"This is to be expected during launch, as a high number of people want to play the game, and for long stretches at a time."
The queues were already forming during the head-start week, which really didn't bode well. I picked a server that was one of the most under-populated, created my character there, and within two days found myself with a half hour wait to play. And of course, well, at that point you're stuck. Without the option to transfer characters between servers (because of that good reason, I'm sure - they say it's being worked on...), you either lose all your progress, or you sit and wait an hour or so to play.
Of course, from BioWare's perspective, they're thinking long-term balance. They know that player numbers, playing frequency, and length of playing sessions, will drop off after the initial burst, so they don't want to establish enough servers to manage the load, only to have their populations quickly dwindle, until everything starts to feel a bit lonely. It's a mistake lots of MMOs have made, and they're obviously trying to avoid it. And part of this involves balancing player numbers by not increasing the caps on busy servers.
"We're monitoring all of our servers around the clock, and we're raising server population caps where required. However, to ensure our long-term goals of server stability and healthy populations, we do not want to raise population caps too rapidly. We want incoming players to populate lower population servers. At the same time, higher population servers will not be 'locked' because we want to allow people to join a server to play with their friends if they wish to.
"With this in mind, we wanted to notify everyone of some consistently high population servers. These servers are closing in on their absolute population cap (the maximum amount of players who can be on the server at any given time) and will likely have a queue to enter even at off-peak play times.
"We strongly advise you to not create new characters on these servers, unless you are prepared to queue to play."
But again, this doesn't really help folk as handsome as me, who sensibly picked the lowest population server they could find, only to discover so did everyone else. Obviously I don't want to ditch my character and start all over again, so queue I must.
The servers to avoid, according to Reid, are:
The Harbinger - US West Coast - PvE
The Swiftsure - US West Coast - PvP
The Fatman - US East Coast - PvP
Bloodworthy - EU English - PvP
Frostclaw - EU English - PvE
Legions of Lettow - EU English - PvP
The Red Eclipse - EU English - PvE
Tomb of Freedom Nadd - EU English - PvP
Darth Revan's Mask - EU German - PvP
Darth Traya - EU German - PvP
Jar'Kai Sword - EU German - PvP
Hrakert Rift - EU French - PvP
I'm pleased, and concerned, that mine's not on that list. It really does mean the issue extends a lot further.