Posts Tagged ‘Server Queue’

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STO: New Expansion, New Captain

May 22, 2013

Here’s my new Romulan captain. I swear I did not actually try to make her look like an evil Natalie Portman, but that’s just what sort of happened.

D'Alana

D’Alana T’el Sindari

Anyway, I figure I’ll start writing this post now since I’m currently sitting in position six-thousand-and-something in queue waiting to get into Star Trek Online, which is something I haven’t seen since the early days of the original game’s launch. Seriously, a 6000+ queue in the middle of a week day? Congratulations STO for garnering the unprecedented level of interest for your new Legacy of Romulus expansion.

After all, I’m here too, aren’t I? I’ve logged in a few times here and there, but I haven’t played STO in earnest since…summer of 2011?

Returning to the game has always been on my list of things to do, especially since it went free-to-play. In a way, STO has a special place in my heart because blogging about my shenanigans in it during the early days is what originally got this blog off the ground. It was always so tempting to jump back in.

After a point, however, a game simply matures and leaves you behind. It’s been almost two years since I was seriously active in STO, and so many things have changed — from the ground combat improvements to the Duty Officer system. Never mind that STO has one of the most unique gameplay mechanics out there in the MMO world when it comes to space combat, which takes time to get used to and master. That’s the feature I miss the most when I think about STO, but I knew if I went back now, I’d be eaten alive.

Which is why I figured this would be the perfect time to rediscover the game again — I’ll be rolling anew with a Romulan. New expansion, new race, new character, new ship, new everything — it’ll be my chance to relearn the ropes and start from scratch.

Who knows how much I’ll be able to play nowadays, but I’ll be taking it slow, approaching this game once more with fresh eyes. I’m a newcomer again, a cadet, a clueless noob. There are a couple decisions I’ll repeat this time around though, and that’s rolling a tactical officer in an escort ship. Sorry scientists and engineers, you guys are cool too but damage dealing is just so fun in this game, I don’t think I could go any other way.

Anyway, after writing this post and mucking about online and on Twitter, looks like I’m finally at the front of the queue. Wish me luck and see y’all in game!

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SWTOR: Destination Ebon Hawk…And A Slight Rant

June 14, 2012

Free character transfers are now available in Star Wars: The Old Republic, though only on select servers so far as they gradually roll out this doozy of an undertaking. My home of Sanctum of the Exalted turned out to be an origin server as BioWare dropped the bomb yesterday that we are all getting free transfer passes to Ebon Hawk.

After a long period of debate (okay fine, it wasn’t that long and it wasn’t that much of a debate) our Republic Mercy Corps/Imperial Mercenary Corps guilds decided that What the hell, we’ll take it! Of course, no guild ever wants to be forced into a situation like this, but really, what can you do when your server will only continue to drain of players after such an announcement?

And what a perfect storm of charlie foxtrot proportions it turned out to be at first, as population redistributions usually go, so I can’t really say I was surprised. Things came together relatively well in the end for the RMC/IMC, perhaps better than they could have gone, but it did take its toll.

For a mercy, the character transfer process itself took only minutes to complete from start to finish. My characters all made it over just fine with their names intact, so I guess it pays sometimes to come up with weird-ish names for all your MMO characters. I was, however, prompted to rename my Legacy (everyone gets the opportunity) which turned out to be a bonus as I’d always wanted to change mine.

My sympathies, however, to those who lost their character names. I really mean that. I can’t even imagine going more than half a year (or more, for my fellow betans) by one handle and then having to change it, as I become attached to names as strongly as I get attached to the characters themselves.

At this point, I seriously question why all games can’t go the route of allowing you to choose any character name as long as you maintain a unique account handle (à la Star Trek Online, etc.) Or at the very least, I feel BioWare could have looked into releasing the names of inactive characters. After all, they are the ones who gave us all these tools to set up our personal legacies, they of all people should know names matter to players, they matter a lot. Add to that, we’re on an RP server, too. Ultimately, I understand how these disruptions became the last straw for many people, and it impacted our guild in more ways than anyone will ever know.

Will the move be worth it? Only time will tell, but both the Republic and Imperial fleets were alive and hoppin’ last night. I even encountered a queue. A BLOODY QUEUE. In the words of a fellow guildie, it was like stepping into some bizarro SWTOR world where all the names are a little different and there are actually — *gasp!*– people around.

Players are already reporting an easier time finding groups for hard modes and faster queues for PvP, so the initial headache may be outweighed by the benefits —  if things stay this way. I’m feeling a little conflicted at this point. Have you or your guild been affected by free character transfers (yet)? Did BioWare do things right?

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The Saga Begins…

December 20, 2011

It’s Tuesday morning, do you know your estimated wait time? Yep, it must be launch day.

I just encountered my first ever queue on Sanctum of the Exalted, and yet at this moment I can’t say I really give a flying Fosh. Queues are an expected part of launch day regardless, but at the same time I am feeling nothing but gladness and contentment. That said, I think I’m still just a bit numb from the disbelief at the fact that this game I’ve waited for since its announcement has finally officially launched. Of course, I also can’t guarantee that I’ll be this calm or that I won’t be pulling my hair out in a few hours when I hit the prime time queues. Ask me how I feel again in the evening.

Anyway, enough bad grammar and incoherent rambling from me. Congratulations, Star Wars: The Old Republic team, the years of hard work have come to fruition, and the saga is now a reality. Happy launch day!

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Rift: So That Was It For River Of Souls

April 18, 2011

River of Souls ended with a fizzle...but at least I got a ghost horsie out of it.

Ah, Rift. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the game, and up until now I think everything has been running rather swimmingly. But as much as I love to stay optimistic, I also gotta call it as I see it. Trion, while the final two phases of the River of Souls were a great idea, looked like a fun time on paper, the execution left a lot to be desired.

Granted, my experience was on Faeblight, one of the most heavily populated US shards; your experience may have differed. If everything went smoothly for you and the worst thing that happened was a bit of bad lag, I am happy for you and I’m glad you had a great time. But I  have to look at the overall quality when I comment on how the entire thing was handled, and one of the major factors that separates a fiasco from a success when you try and launch a world event more or less simultaneously across your entire game is ensuring that all your customers get a relatively uniform experience across the board — especially when one of the major draws of your event is that everyone can participate.

Faeblight, heh, saw a server queue with wait times that were 8 hours or more during this event. At one point, I looked at at the server list and saw that at least 20 other servers had queues too; poor Wolfsbane for example was up close to 700 and counting. Not all of them were so bad, but adding it all up, that’s still hundreds if not a few thousand people who were left out in the cold, helpless to do anything but watch as the wait times to get in only increased.

I say all this as someone who was actually lucky enough to have been online through the whole thing, gotten to participate in killing the bosses and witness the opening of the River of Souls raid instance and the whole shebang. Hey, I even got all the event achievements and was fortunate to loot a Spectral Horse earlier last week — but I still can’t pretend I didn’t see the hiccups. At the same time, I can’t bring myself to be that hard on Trion. They’ve no doubt done their hours and days of testing…but who could have predicted the sheer number of players that showed up for this event?

You might say, “Oh, that’s no excuse, they should have seen it coming.” Perhaps. But even I couldn’t accurately tell how many people were present at some points of the event, the hordes all packed tight in one place at the same time. It was bad, crazy bad. As you can see from the video I took below, it was literally impossible for me to say how many were there, seeing as the game could only handle showing me those who were standing in my proximity.

I’m sorry the video was so long and that nothing really happened in it, but I was hoping I was going to catch the beginning of Phase 3, and the wait was longer than I thought. But it’s a good illustration of what I described above — you can see as I ran around, players who came in and out of my little “island” phased in and out; in a way it’s almost comical. Caer Mathos might have looked empty on my screen, but no doubt every single inch of it was occupied.

The masses were a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you got to experience the full effect of the event, and think “Wow, this is truly epic.” This part they did right. On the other hand, this made the lag intolerable. For my husband who was running Rift on his gaming laptop, it got so bad that his casting bars weren’t coming up and even if they were, the world bosses were appearing unattackable. I’m running Rift on a pretty powerful machine and had it a little better, but even then it could barely handle the event.

I noticed other problems, like area NPCs taking a long time to show up on the screen. This made trying to travel from zone to zone an exercise in hilarity. As players showed up to a hub in droves, the Porticulum Masters took their time to appear, and when they did, dozens found themselves standing on top of the NPC — and given the lag they probably didn’t know it! To their credit, most people moved off when they realized what happened…but of course by then others had arrived, and the cycle started all over again. Getting anywhere was nigh impossible. Doubtful that these little things made themselves apparent as MAJOR problems during testing.

While I admit I may have been more amused than frustrated watching the confusion play out before my eyes, these little hiccups, when compounded, resulted in taking away from the overall experience. And from start of Phase 2 to the end of Phase 3, it all lasted only about 30 minutes. Considering how long Phase 1 ran and how it was all supposedly ramping up to this moment…I hate to say it, but it was kind of anti-climatic. And because it was so short, a lot of people I know who were stuck waiting in queues missed it completely.

I was a little disappointed, but please don’t think I’m holding one botched event against the game and ignoring everything else that Trion has accomplished. Parts of it was poorly planned, especially the decision to make a free weekend coincide with the event, but I’m certainly not going to cancel my sub in a fit of rage or any such nonsense. Despite the complications, let me congratulate Trion for surviving their FIRST major event. It was a learning experience, no doubt. If nothing else, I’ll look to see how they will improve their events in the future.

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Just Another Launch Day…

February 24, 2011

Wow. Been watching my Twitter feed fill up with people lamenting the Rift server queues all afternoon. And gahhh, they weren’t frickin’ kidding.

It’s a little past 3:30 right now. Seeing as I won’t actually be available to play until later this evening, I figure now’s a good time to start ‘er up.

Maybe I’ll go take a nap.

Take the dogs for a walk.

Run a bath and read a book.

Then have dinner. Hey, if I’m lucky, the server should be letting me in some time around dessert. Good thing I plan ahead, eh?

Oh, and congratulations, Trion! Looks like your game has generated much interest!

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STO: Cracking The Vault

February 7, 2011

Alas, I was out running errands on Saturday when “The Vault”, the first Featured Episode of Star Trek Online Series 3 launched. I’d been looking forward to this for months and was a little disappointed not to be able to jump in right away, but as it turned out, that might have been for the best. Comments from Twitter and the forums were coming in about plenty of problems in the game like rubberbanding and killer lag, until finally the whole server just gave up and died.

It appears I’m not the only one who loves these FEs. The STO team were apparently not prepared for the unprecedented numbers of players hammering the server on Saturday. When I finally got home to play the episode, I could not believe it when I encountered a login queue, the first one I’ve seen since launch! But I suppose if you’re in the business of running an MMO, this is what you would call a happy problem; I just hope those returning to STO or checking it out for the first time won’t be too pissed off by the experience, as these problems are definitely not the norm.

Now on to the FE…

Note: Mild spoilers in the text and screenshots.

T’Androma and her crew are tasked to investigate “The Vault”, a giant Romulan space station rumored to have carried out research on Borg Technology. In connection to the overarching Star Trek story, this facility allegedly outfitted Nero’s technologically-advanced ship Narada before it and Spock were sucked into the black hole that sent them back in time into an alternate reality. We are to enter the space station covertly, our superiors advised, utilizing a small craft like a shuttle or a runabout. For more information on the mission, Tipa has done a very nice and detailed write-up.

The first thing I noticed when I picked up the mission, is that they have added some voice work! I hope there will be more in the future!

One thing neat about this FE, is that I got to obtain and pilot my first shuttle. I never bothered to get one until it was needed for this mission, and here you can see a fleet of them swarming around the space station. Hey all, I thought we were supposed to be sneaky!

Like fleas on a dog.

What I loved about this Featured Episode is the way Cryptic has managed to turn a mission with few relatively mundane objectives into an undertaking of a grand scale. And all they really did was make the Vault unbelievably crazy huge and you unbelievably crazy tiny.

After all, all you really do is fly around, scan a few things, blast away a couple security systems…but things invariably feel a little more overwhelming when you’re in a dinky little shuttle.

The situation escalates as the crew attempts a daring escape from the space station, only to encounter the Bird-of-Prey guarding the door between you and your freedom. The fight that ensues is your classic David and Goliath tale.

Next time, why don't you pick on someone your own size!

Boy, you wouldn’t believe how happy I was to get my Maelstrom back.

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Server Queue Woes

January 31, 2010

It seems all the problems I said I didn’t have on Day 1 are coming back to bite me in the ass.

Looking back at the last couple of days, perhaps this hasn’t been a very smooth launch for Star Trek Online after all. At the time of writing, I’m sitting in a queue at number 181 out of 682, but while the second number keeps growing by the minute, the first number has remained the same for the last ten. Is this simply a matter of Cryptic underestimating the popularity of this game (good problem), or is it something broken in their new queue system (bad problem)?

Update 1: Another ten minutes later, I’ve only managed to claw my way up to number 178, and they’ve stopped bothering to show the total  many players in queue all together. Well, the good news is the queue is actually moving–just very sloooooowly.

Update 2: Whoa, all of a sudden, I went from number 178 to playing the game, and so has my husband who had been somewhere in the 700s. My guess is that they’re using some sort of load sharing system and they’ve just brought a new server online, letting in a flood of players who had been waiting in queue. Well played, Cryptic, well played.

Update 3: In the end, the server loads won out after all. Guess I could always peruse the STO forums while the servers are down for emergency maintenance, as that’s almost always as entertaining as the game.

Update 4: Never let it be said that Cryptic doesn’t care. Despite all the hiccups, the devs are doing all they can to make the game playable again, and it shows. Servers are back up now, no wait queues, and the game is faster and more stable than before. Props to Cryptic.

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