Greedy Goblin

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cutting the wave, round 2

Note: A US version of The PuG was started. Feel free to check them out. Please note that it's not run by me.

I wrote about my "ingenious" plan how to prevent server queues: to let players pay more to access the expansion faster. I did not consider it "pay for cheat" microtransaction, as all players get access to the very same content, just in different time (just like you can get last year's top single player game for 25% price now). I did not notice that for socials it's not true, as "being first" or "being competitive" is important part of their fun. Leveling to 85 doing the very same things is "more fun" if they are one of the first ones who do it and "awesome" if they get a flashing "realm first" window. While it's stupid, I have to accept that any company wanting lot of subscriptions must respect this social nonsense.

However I did not give up on never again having to suffer the wave. My new idea is completely voluntary and do not interfere with the "i must b 1st or itz suxx" players (using Cataclysm details for simplicity)
  • The official start is December 7, you can pre-order and pre-download the game
  • You can opt for "early start" on the account management
  • Early starters get access to new zones, leveling, professions above 450 and archeology on November 23 (two weeks before official start).
  • The game is officially beta before the official start, be warned for bugs, restarts, even removal of items and stats gained via unbalances (even if the player did not exploit on purpose)
  • Guild XP and guild reputation does not work until official start
  • Early starters cannot get feats of strength until December 21, realm first can only be claimed by normal starters.
  • Early starters cannot enter any raids, rated BGs and Tol barad until December 21.
  • Early starters cannot enter to heroic instances until December 14
  • Early starters cannot get Cataclysm reputations over 11999/12000 before December 14
  • Early starters get "pacified" debuff that lasts until December 14. They cannot initiate world PvP combat, but can be attacked (they can of course fight back).
It is obvious that any competitive player would choose normal start and would not be threatened by early starters who opt out of any competitive approach for long time. They can't access anything that is toplisted for two weeks and they practically can't get better than 333 gear in the first week.

Now the question is who would choose to be early starter:
  • Casual players who wouldn't raid or do competitive PvP in the first month(s), maybe wouldn't even reach max level in a month
  • Impatient lolkids who just can't wait. They will regret their choice 3-4 days after start when they see people with "moar l33t gear" than theirs, but that's their problem, they can't blame Blizzard
  • AH goblins who would sacrifice early raiding & PvP to have maxed professions and more time on their hands to buy and sell when the competitive guys go buying spree.
This way the server load can be distributed over a longer period preventing queues.


PS: I do not consider competition social nonsense. The outcome of a PvP match or relative raid progression reflects player skill. However "realm first" or any other "I did first what everyone can do" stuff merely reflects play time. Also these type of contents are not designed to be "fair", so several way of "cheating" like getting external help are possible. Competing over such inherently non-competitive stuff is stupid and only exist because socials want to impress peers. It's not at all different from commenting "FIRST!" to a blog post (I have to cleanse that filth a lot as until my first comment screening commenters see 0 comments posted yet so lot of morons believe they are the first).

24 comments:

Squishalot said...

Indeed, the three groups that you listed are likely to be 95% of the increased server load, however. So you're still likely to get the queues, except that you're going to run into them *after* committing to not being able to raid for two weeks in order to avoid those queues. (Note that the hardcore competitive people will be playing already anyway, and will trouble the world server as it is.)

Initial thoughts are that that would alienate people further. People are willing to suffer the queues to access content, not give up content and still be stuck in the queue.

Any early-start system has to remove the people who would otherwise only join because of the expansion launch from the queue. At the moment with your proposal, 95% of the influx in the queue due to the expansion will be pulled forward by a week instead, making the queues occur a week earlier.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: The 95% is possible but can be tweaked by elongating the "no HC" and "no raid" periods.

The point is that the early starters are already in BGs or instances (they are not on the world servers) or log in less time as have nothing to do when the normal starters start to quest

RLWJR said...

Just wanted to say "Thank You!" Gevlon for giving us a mention on the Greedy Goblin! We have started to slowly grow and hopefully your mention of us will speed that up a bit. Rest assured, Zintix and I (Kricknard) are intending to make "PuG Inc" an equally enjoyable experience by following the rules, and the spirit of "The PuG" as closely as possible.

Kricknard
PuG Inc
pugsquad.blogspot.com

Bobbins said...

The trouble with staggering content release is that you've got to convince people that they are paying for something 'extra'. It could be argued that the expansions are payed for by the existing subscribers regardless of whether they buy and are able to access the new content.

By staggering the expansion too much won't it just feel like a patch and why would people pay extra for that?

Canttouchmé said...

I wanted to comment on the realm first part of your post.
Last week i got realm first LW, but i didn't get it for "social" reasons.
By being realm first 525 LW, and being the first to buy all the recipes, i could make huge amounts of money. I could ask fee's of 150g each item, and i sold entire sets or just single items for up to 1200g profit each item. In the end i had to invest about 35k, but i got 50k back from it.
The feat of strength was just a bonus. And i think this counts for most professions
Also, it didn't cost me huge amounts of playtime. I spent about 12 hours in 2 days, which is quite a lot compared to what i usually do, but it isn't that huge. It's not like i had to play at night in order to get it

Im trying to be the LW with most recipes on the entire realm too, because it will give me more people buying items from me and therefor more money. For me, it's a great way of making money.

Then secondly, I'm not sure if the plan would work out the way it is now. For someone like me the fact that i wouldn't get a realm first achievement if i was an early starter, would be no problem. But if someone wants the achievement for his social reasons, he will be stuck with a dilemma. He can chose between either becoming realm first, or getting an achievement called "realm first", while he actually isn't.

I think they also want to actually be the first, and not only get an achievement they didn't really achieve.

Squishalot said...

"The point is that the early starters are already in BGs or instances (they are not on the world servers) or log in less time as have nothing to do when the normal starters start to quest"

Consider the groups you mentioned though.

Casuals. Impatient lolkids. AH farmers.

Casuals will still be levelling.
Impatient lolkids at 85 will switch to another of their 8-9 alts because they don't have access to heroics.
AH farmers will be busy farming, selling and/or trading mats for the normal starters to buy up.

All of the early starters are still going to be present in the world. You can tweak the 'no HC/raid' periods, but that only pushes a portion of that 95% back to the 'normal starter' period, where everyone is going to be anyway. So the net result is that there are still huge queues, even if the early starters don't get queues pre-launch.

chewy said...

Your idea is perhaps ingenious but there is a far easier technical solution - more servers.

More servers geographically dispersed to address the real world load would eliminate the queues. Of course this would mean more real estate to house the servers and more infrastructure, staffing and maintenance costs which is probably why it won't happen. It would, however, address all of the problems you mentioned including more opportunity for world firsts.

Jorrag said...

@Gevlon

Two weeks ago, I have started a "The PuG" inpired Guild on the german server Malygos EU (Horde).

We are growing slow but steady. Maybe you could mention us in your Blog too. That would be really great.

Further information and rules can be found under pmsquad.sitepress.de (in german obviously)

Jorrag
Perpetual Motion Squad
Malygos EU

Ðesolate said...

To the realm / worldfirst "cheaters" I´d like you to google athene, if you don´t already know the story.

The main problem at full servers is a blizzard-related failure in logistics. in classic / bc you were able to transfer whole guilds without payment if your origin server was to crowdet and they also made it possible to ransfer your whole gold. They cancelled that in late BC / early WotLK.

Also they made new servers but they lacked of opportunitys. You could have caught thousands if f.e. the doors of AQ would still be closed.

So Blizzard ends up with some crowdet servers some at medium level and a decent number at almost ghostserver.

It´s not all about the "whoooo cataclysm starts"-Bob. Oh and to all german players: Join Durotan, we are at medium popularity there hasn´d been waiting times since start wotlk and we have a 2-1 ally horde ratio. Join Durotan horde *advertising ends*

Riptor said...

On Realm-Firsts:
Did you know that most competitive Raiders feed on the Tears of Socials? If you look at the List of First 85s what do you see? Method, Rebirth, Inner Sanctum, Paragon, FTH, Refuge, Wraith, Ensidia and so forth. Not exactly your very “social” crowd. All those Guilds had their first Raid set for Tuesday Night (snatch some Gear before the usual Reset early Wednesday Morning), so the faster you got to 85 the more time one had to sleep and also prepare.
And even among the semi-hc Guilds Wednesday (08.12.2010) would be the first Raidnight so the faster you were the more time to grind Heroics, Reputations and Raid viable Professions. On our Realm ¾ of the First 85s went to someone in our Guild. And yes it caused envy because this Person would be able to go to sleep and have more time to prepare for Raids. I would say that around 75% of all Realm Firsts went to Members of Raiding Guilds.
I guess its normal that “the Social” would cry over your Idea of different Versions but he/she fails to realize that him/her competes for these Titles with Players that are in most Cases better/faster/way more determined and (and here is where the Socials really get pissed) do not even care if they get a Realm-First 85 Achievment as it doesn’t reflect half as much as a Realm-Firstkill…

On different Versions:
The “Wave” I did not encounter but what really makes me agree with you is that Fact that I and so many others lost anywhere between 30 Minutes and an 1 Hour of Leveling due to this huge Bunch of Morons that on Monday Night just had to Log in “real quick to see Cata” and then go to Bed.
Letting this Bunch in two Weeks earlier and labeling it “Beta” would probably be the Best thing. Also to the no Access to Raids and hc Dungeons I totally agree. Generally I think that no Raiding Content should be available for open testing before the Game goes live. Since Blizz started to let us do their Job (testing Encounters before they go live) they have taken a big Portion of the Challenge out of the Game. If you want to be competitive you have to Raid on beta as all the others do it anyway. And so what do we get? All Content cleared in week 1.. Predigested Guides to every heroic, Raid, etc. We now get to try the Encounters in a competition free environment (beta), twist and tweak our Tactics and when it really matters on live the actual “Progression” has already been done and its just a Matter of assembling your Raid and having a good Latency…

Anyway, I would also (aside from shipping the Morons of 2 Weeks early and blocking them until Dec 14th) like a more sequenced Start:
Monday Dec 6th: Cata goes live for the Elite: 2300+ Arena Teams, Guilds that killed LC hc before the 20% Buff in 25 Man / 10% Buff in 10 Man
Thuesday Dec 7th: Collectors Edition
Wednesday Dec 8th: the remaining Players

Anonymous said...

I believe you are forgetting something. M&S are those who pay, and since there's 80% of them, they pay more than rationals. So any business of any large scale must care about them, or go niche. And 'they can't blame Blizzard' is wrong in this regard. They're not rational, they can blame anyone and for anything. Giving them any _excuse_ to blame, to be angry is bad for business. 'they can't blame Blizzard' is rational thinking, but you can't really rationalize with M&S, all known methods to control masses are based on force or cheating.
Also, I think the problem is blown up out of proportions. I've been able to enter the game and play fine 2 hours after the midnight. 2 hours of nerdrage are easily forgotten, a few weeks of even mild displease leave more traces.

Riptor said...

On Realm-Firsts:
Did you know that most competitive Raiders feed on the Tears of Socials? If you look at the List of First 85s what do you see? Method, Rebirth, Inner Sanctum, Paragon, FTH, Refuge, Wraith, Ensidia and so forth. Not exactly your very “social” crowd. All those Guilds had their first Raid set for Tuesday Night (snatch some Gear before the usual Reset early Wednesday Morning), so the faster you got to 85 the more time one had to sleep and also prepare.
And even among the semi-hc Guilds Wednesday (08.12.2010) would be the first Raidnight so the faster you were the more time to grind Heroics, Reputations and Raid viable Professions. On our Realm ¾ of the First 85s went to someone in our Guild. And yes it caused envy because this Person would be able to go to sleep and have more time to prepare for Raids. I would say that around 75% of all Realm Firsts went to Members of Raiding Guilds.
I guess its normal that “the Social” would cry over your Idea of different Versions but he/she fails to realize that him/her competes for these Titles with Players that are in most Cases better/faster/way more determined and (and here is where the Socials really get pissed) do not even care if they get a Realm-First 85 Achievment as it doesn’t reflect half as much as a Realm-Firstkill…

On different Versions:
The “Wave” I did not encounter but what really makes me agree with you is that Fact that I and so many others lost anywhere between 30 Minutes and an 1 Hour of Leveling due to this huge Bunch of Morons that on Monday Night just had to Log in “real quick to see Cata” and then go to Bed.
Anyway, I would also (aside from shipping the Morons of 2 Weeks early and blocking them until Dec 14th) like a more sequenced Start:
Monday Dec 6th: Cata goes live for the Elite: 2300+ Arena Teams, Guilds/Players that killed LK hc before the 20% Buff in 25 Man / 10% Buff in 10 Man
Thuesday Dec 7th: Collectors Edition
Wednesday Dec 8th: the remaining Players

Anonymous said...

Not every "Realm First!" is the same as commenting "FIRST!". One guild on my server got "Realm First" ToGC 25 man 50 attempts achievement and LK 25 HC achievements. Is it really social nonsense if none other guild managed to repeat those feats on my realm up to this day?

spinksville said...

I think you would find that competitive people would find a way to make the early start benefit them and would use it. (ie. level alts and get lots of tradeskills ready.)

It's one of the qualities of being competitive that you find a way to turn anything to your advantage, even if it is just in a small way.

Orgaansint said...

While I agree that (for example) "realm first! level 85 Paladin" isn't very impressive/cool/whatever, I do think realm first kills in raid instances are actually harder/better.

Why? Because those kills are usually "pre-nerf" and only gained by a couple of raiders. The ones that had to clear content in greens and blues and still managed to score a kill.

Pheqbeast said...

I'm sick and tired of these "lulzkidz".

I was in a voichannel with my arenapartner yesterday, whereof he carried an entire Blackrock Caverns normal on his alt.

The tank was probably the worst player since 2WW, keyboardturning, extremely bad spelling, alltho he was English. He claimed to be 23, and he "was in the best guild on the server, because they had cleared LK25HC."

Our server.

He kept telling my arenapartner to shut up whenever he gave him a hint, tip and so on, and his only argument was that he was in the best guild, and that our suggestions, opinions were invalid. We were also terrible players, according to him, because we didn't know our place.

Yeah, 2300 rating 3v3 season3, on both Al'Akir and Outland. We sure don't know how to play druid, rogue, priest, mage, warrior or lock...

Too bad I knew one of their officers from earlier servers during TBC. I asked him about his rank in the guild.


SOCIAL. Surprise much?

So yes, socials will in fact feel good about themselves, by just being in a respected/achieving guild, even if they don't bring anything to the guild whatsoever.

Offensive post is offensive, I just share your opinion on most socials within this game.

Samus said...

You have to do something about the green BoE drops that are better than top tier raiding gear, which the early starters can pick up and sell on the AH to the "normal" players.

Ðesolate said...

@Pheqbeast:
Well do you take someone serious who claims to be the best X on server Y when the whole situation changed? (skilltrees, styles, rotations and stat-weights)

I hat several debates with so called high radet players about the tankstat valuation. Also about tank selfheal and some DK-DPS issues.

As usual (we had that situation discussed on this blog several times) it ends to "I cleared LK 25HC / had better arenarating / am in a guild that progessed more that you in WotLK.

I usually end any discussion there. They don´t want to get different views or to discuss matters / sources / improvement. They just want to be better that you.

Well but what has that to do with server population? Isn´t it normal that hundrets of players come back when a new addon starts and the old boring post endgamedays are over? Lurking in the shadows of WotLK just to lash out when the harder content promising dawn of cataclysm comes?

Yes I logged on at 1:25 at 7th december. Yes I couldn´t await a challenging content after the boring years of WotLK. And yes I wanted to enlist my endless goods for upleveling reamfirsts and see if my preinvestion was right. I wanted to see the new Dungeons Battlegrounds and Areas.
I´ve dimmed my light in ICC-Age that I wanted to outburst. Release my fury about "arthaslolkid", consuming 45% of raidhealing in a single encounter, watching him die in simple nonheroic encounters. I´ve suffered mouch in ICC by selfproclaiming elite-gamers, correcting their errors by doing more heal than any raid would have needet in any endgame situation. (A bit over-dramatic but just what it felt like)

Well I´m happy about cataclysm and I thing the overgrown population was a clearly logic result of the new addon and the WotLK depression.
And not of the "Iwantrealmfirstlulzkiddo".

Ydraisa said...

Here's an even simpler solution Gevlon, and with this I speak from my own perspective but it may match others.

There are mainly 2 kinds of people that play Wow: those that don't have much money, but plenty of time (kids, students, unemployed, etc.) and those that have more money than free time (most of the employed people).

I don't have the time to sit in a queue for 3 hours, where only 1 - 2 hours is my normal play time. But I could afford to pay more.

Everyone with a standard subscription can log in, and if the server is full, they sit in a queue until others log off and make room.

But, and here's where my idea goes, say Blizzard reserved 20% of the server capacity to "premium accounts." There would be an option to pay say $10 extra a month, and be virtually guaranteed that when I press the "log in" button, I get in the game with no queue.

Blizzard gets more money, I get to play when I have the time, everyone's happy. And it doesn't even take much effort (from a programming point of view) to actually implement it in the game.

Actually it wasn't even my idea, airlines and other companies implemented this a long time ago (business class goes in first).

P.S.
Right now by guessing the queue wait time I'm logging in before the time I actually can play, and if I guessed right I'll be online when needed. But that doesn't always work according to plan, e.g. son goes to bed earlier, thus I can play earlier or he had a bad dream, and wants me to sit with him for a bit, and so on.

Braille said...

If you're finding yourself deleting a lot of "First!" comments before a real comment shows up, you could consider leaving the "First!" comment up for a while.

Maybe edit it to add a line like:

"Thank you for your valuable contribution to this discussion. Your comment will be given it's appropriate attention in due time."

This way people who regularly come here see it and know exactly what the sarcastic edit line means (i.e. the comment will be deleted soon as it's useless trash).

Anonymous said...

The problem would be simply solved by including a 'realm streaming' option. If you select that option, your character would appear in a 'randomly' selected low-pop realm rather than being queued. All guild, achievement stuff would reference your original realm. It would take some tech, but probably not that much and would be a pure win for everyone involved.

Lighstagazi said...

Maybe I missed this in one of your other posts on the subject, but if you want to "miss the wave", why didn't you take up your own idea and just wait a month to buy the expac?

Anonymous said...

Umm... I may be missing something, but i was under the impression that Blizzard was a for-profit company that only cares about making money. High load costs Blizz next to nothing, while implementing all your features to reduce load would cost several hundred (if not thousand) hours of work. everyone who could afford the expansion already bought it, the "cool socials" got the double the price special edition version of the game, and Blizz also started free server transfers, giving them an excellent opportunity to lower the population of High pop realms by giving players an Incentive - no ques - to transfer to new low pop realms.
The conclusion may shock you, but you want "nice" treatment from a for-profit corporation in form of low or no que time. Give Blizzard ONE good reason to care about your whining on que times when you log on dutifully every night.

Pheqbeast said...

@Desolate

I've read your post a few times over, and I must say I agree very much with you. However, achieving 2300 rating during season3 requires ALOT more classknowledge than you think.

And I tell you right away, he sucked. He had no clue on what he was doing, and this has nothing to do about tankstats. However, he was wrong, I know he was, because he had stamina ALL over his gear. Healing has been completely screwed over if people take too much damage, which means, AVOIDANCe is much more valuable.

12 dodge rating from a socketbonus, 15 stamina + parry/dodge/agi in that specific gem, or "6 more stamina" for gemming pure? It's very obvious to me, and anyone that has any clue about the healers current "poor" state, that avoidance is very important.

I've researched my class (rogue) inside out, I've kept updated since the very first raid content was release (or, well, BWL released when I hit 60, but that doesn't mean I didn't keep updated!)

This paladin REFUSED to take advices, he blindly told us to shut up, and if you've seen what my arenapartner did during the encounters, you'd very much understand our frustration. Neither the ranged DPS, or the tank, managed to take the beams during 2nd boss, adds enraged, wiped them all, except my friend, who managed to kite the boss the last 50k while sprinting around the plateu, dotting/moonfiring the boss, jumping off the cliff on the other side and so on.

The point is, the social refuses to see his mistakes and how he can improve, simply because "he's better than you", or "he's got life".