The launch of World Of Warcraft Classic this week was faithful enough to the vintage WoW experience that players have again found themselves waiting in digiqueues to join certain servers, some waiting for hours. Some players have even started queueing in-game for their chance to kill the monsters everyone now needs to whack for low-level quests. So how come Blizzard haven't brought more servers online to meet demand? They say they're thinking of long-term server populations. If they opened too many servers too rashly now, they say, the players who stick around might be spread too thin and leave many servers half-empty in time. But for now, players may be queuing to join more queues.
Wowhead have been relaying the queue lengths and official estimated waiting times for EU and US & OC servers. While some servers have no queue at all, to play on the most popular ones you're looking at queues thousands of players and several hours long. Maybe think twice before going to create characters on those.
"I understand the frustration: Anticipating and planning around jumping back into this world we've all missed, only to be stuck in a long queue, is not the experience we want anyone to have," WoW game director Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas said in a forum post yesterday.
"But from the start of planning for this launch, we've tried to prioritise the long-term health of our realm communities, recognising that if we undershot the mark in terms of launch servers, we could move quickly to add additional realms in the opening hours. But if we went out with too many servers, weeks or months down the line we’d have a much tougher problem to solve. While we have tools like free character transfers available as a long-term solution to underpopulated realms, everything about that process would be tremendously disruptive to realm communities, and so it’s something we want to avoid as much as possible."
He went on to say that Blizzard had already opened over extra 20 servers globally since launch, reacting to demand, but their practice is to wait for servers in regions to fill before opening more. In the long term, it makes sense. In the short term, well, I wasn't joking about the queues for quests.
With thousands of players starting over at level 1 at the same time, and especially with WoW Classic's slower levelling pace, everyone is doing the same quests at the same time. That's a whole lot of people setting out to kill ten wolves and wondering why the hell half of them don't drop the pelts you need for the quest, as if someone's been going around skinning wolves alive. Enter a classic solution: the queue.
This queue isn't an one-off, as plenty of folks on Reddit and Twitter and about are sharing snaps of the queues they've joined too. This isn't the case on every server or for every quest, to be clear. I'm also sure part of joining is for the fun of queuing, the Blitz spirit and all that, but there sure are a lot of players and not a lot of wolves.
Returning WoWman Christos Reid told us all about how excited he is for Blizzard to be planning for the long haul. 'New' raids and events are due in the coming months, going some way to recreate the feeling of a living game.