The launch of Ultimatum, the new league of Path of Exile released last night, it did not go exactly perfectly: during the first hours there was first a long queue to access the servers and then a significant series of server crashes.
This raised the discontent of the players, also fueled by the introduction of a streamer queue which allowed content creators to skip the line. A provision that should have facilitated simply the very first login at the start of Ultimatum, but that turned into a progression advantage as servers started crashing every ten minutes, forcing players to queue up while streamers could just log back instantly.
Clearly, none of this was intentional on the part of Grinding Gear Games, which by the voice of its leader, Chris Wilson, explained the circumstances that generated this problematic situation to say the least.
Too slow queues would have been caused by a mass migration to the Standard League of all characters belonging to the Ritual League (in Path of Exile, at the end of a certain season, the characters are transported to the standard version of the game, ed), with consequent clogging of the servers. The team would then choose to temporarily disable this process, streamlining waiting times, but with the consequence of the start of a period of severe server instability. The software house was sincerely unprepared for this situation, since it had already carried out a long series of structural tests over the last few weeks, without ever running into a problem of this magnitude.
"This was not a good thing, not at all." Wilson stated in a post on Reddit, “Aside from catastrophically ruining our launch day, it totally blew us away why we had been very careful with the changes to the realm structure. We know that Path of Exile can handle this burden, it's just a matter of understanding what subtle devilry is causing today's problem. "
The boss of the New Zealand software house then decided to respond to complaints about the infamous priority queue for streamers, putting his face on it:
“The back story is that we've recently started marketing by paying the right influencers and that includes helping big streamers show Path of Exile to their large audience, for money. We arranged to pay for two hours of the game's broadcast and ran into a two-hour login queue. This would have meant, in practice, setting fire to a large pile of money. So we decided to give streamers a skip the line. A lot of streamers haven't asked to have it, so they're not to blame for it. We also allowed other streamers, not part of the campaign, to be able to skip the line so as not to be disadvantaged compared to the others ”.
An understandable decision, but one that still left part of the playerbase unhappy, which accused Grinding Gear Games of allowing only certain people to get to the endgame faster and to have thus influenced the game economy.
About, Wilson admitted that the choice to set up a priority queue turned out to be a mistake:
“The decision to allow streamers to bypass the queue was clearly a mistake. Instead of giving players something to watch while they waited, it offended all of our players who were anxious to get in by not being able to, while they had to see others enjoy this freedom. It is perfectly understandable that many players are unhappy with this. We always tell people that starting a Path of Exile league is a fair playing field for everyone, and we need to make this a reality. We will not allow streamers to skip the line in the future. Instead, we will make sure that the queues work better, so that they are a quick process for everyone and that there is always a fair playing field ”.
Path of Exile it seems to have actually solved its problems over the last few hours and the Ultimatum League has resumed its normal course.