I have breaking news! Rift’s Headstart Program began yesterday.
What? You mean you’ve already heard this?? 🙂
I didn’t have such a good day yesterday so wasn’t able to sit down for gaming until around 10 PM local (Eastern) time. I’d been keeping an eye on Twitter all day and knew there were some massive queues, so I almost didn’t even bother trying to play. I did though, and thanks to a tip from a friend, wound up on Estrael (spelling?) a PvE-RP server that had, when I logged in, a queue of 7 people. Faeblight, meanwhile, had queue numbers reaching 1000+.
Trion has done an awful lot right during this launch, but I think one thing they did wrong is not coming up with fresh names for the headstart servers. Clearly the Headstart population is not evenly spread around thanks to everyone playing on the servers they were on during beta, or that their friends were on during beta. I mean, that’s where I intended to go.
With perfect 20-20 hindsight, I think Trion should’ve a) used new server names and b) released them at least a week before headstart. With everyone semi-randomly picking a name from this pool of “new” servers the population should’ve been distributed more evenly.
But we have what we have, and what we have is still some pretty huge queues for a lot of servers. And it’s pretty clear Trion will need to roll out more servers for March 1st, so I’m curious why they’re not rolling out more now. I’m fully aware of the danger of having too many servers and then having to close/combine them later, but when we know they’re going to need more next week anyway, why not open them now and take some of the strain off the servers we have?
What’s going to happen when folks who didn’t pre-order get the game next week and want to join their head-starting friends on servers like Faeblight? They aren’t going to be able to get in; that’s my prediction. Better to have “Medium” load servers now, and then have them all fill up to “High” on launch day, rather than have “Full” servers on launch day that new players can’t get onto.
Meh, this is just my opinion and I’m sure Trion has played out all these scenarios.
My friends generally seem to be showing huge amounts of patience with the current queues. I can’t say I’m a person who is going to happily wait 4-5 hours to log into a game, and as someone who pre-ordered I do expect to be able to play during this head start period. Hopefully my new home of Estrael will continue to have reasonable queue times (to me, reasonable = 30 minutes or less). I should be able to carve 60-90 minutes of gaming time out of my day and actually be able to game. 🙂
I guess we’ll see!