Saturday, 22 January 2011

Queue Tips

The length of the queue seems to be a hot topic at the moment, as a Tank you're pretty much guaranteed to be in the instance almost instantly, a healer within five minutes, but as DPS it's anything upwards of 30 minutes. There's nothing worse than queuing for ages, only to be dumped in the middle of an instance in progress which is already falling apart and finding yourself back in Org without a party moments later. The obvious answer to queuing is roll a hybrid class that also tanks or heals, but that pretty much ensures you'll never be DPS, sometimes I quite like to smash things up, and the rogue, hunters, mages and smelly warlocks of the world probably don't want to reroll just for the queue. So you've got the choice, go collect herbs, finish a few dailies, or write your blog, whichever way you need to fill at least 30 minutes.

I chose the latter, and it got me thinking. What could blizzard do to improve the queuing system? I've already seen some people abusing the system, grouping with a friend from a tanking or healing class who have no intention of doing the instance and leaving the second the party is formed just to give their partner a queue jump. I don't claim to know the mechanics behind the queuing system or the account system but it strikes me that Blizzard might be missing a trick. I'm assuming that Blizzard isn't short of the computing capacity to host instances and isn't artificially slowing down the queue – this is implied by the fact that tanks get groups instantly. My second assumption is that Blizzard are quite capable of linking characters from the same account, we know this is possible since the introduction of heirlooms; with these assumptions in mind it's down to 'encouraging' players to enter the queue as a healer or tank rather than DPS. It should be a pretty simple matter to introduce a 'buff' of sorts which could be applied to an account which guarantees the next character on an account to join the queue a queue-jump if another character on that account has successfully completed an instance in the past, say, 12 hours as a tank or healer.

This would allow two things, it would allow players like myself with hybrid classes who enjoy running instances occasionally as DPS rather than always having to heal, it would also encourage those players with pure DPS classes to roll an alt who can heal or tank in order to give a boost to their main in the queue. From my implications you (well, I) can to a back of the fag packet calculations as to what effect this would have on the queue. Let's take the tank as the constant as it's an instant entry so t=1, healers are next at h=4 as (a figure in the air) average wait time of 4 minutes, and then d=30 as an approximate wait time for DPS. This basically equates to a shortage of t, just about enough h and a glut of d. In an ideal world each of our three variables need to be at about the same level. Now actually, when you think about it, d is in fact 90, not 30, there are 3 slots for DPS so a 30 minute waits x 3 per party. This to my logic means there are roughly 90 times more available DPS types than there are tanks.

Let's assume that 50% of the DPS types take advantage of the system so we have 45, and lets break them down into the figures for tanks and healer, so we have t=1+9, h=4+36, and d=90-45; or t=10, h=40, d=45. Now these players who are moving from a DPS class, we've got to assume, are only doing so to get their mains to the front of the queue quicker. Let's assume that roughly half of those people entering an instance as a healer or tank go on to enter as a DPS player within my 12 hour time frame (I'm assuming some won't finish as healers and some wont then add their DPS character to the queue within the allotted timeframe, others may use their queue jump on a class that isn't DPS). This means we need to add 22.5 to d making it 70 (that's right, 45+22.5 equals 70, or at least it does with a little rounding up to help my maths). So taking t back to 1 as our base, we have t=1, h=4 and d=7.

Now as I was working this through, I couldn't quite believe the difference it makes, admittedly there are a lot of ifs, buts, and assumptions, and I'm sure I've over simplified things. Even messing around with the figures and lessening the number of DPS types converting to other classes, increasing the percentage of people taking advantage of the buff or increasing the 12 hour window of use, there's still a significant improvement.

In summary, come on Blizzard! Sort the queue out so these poor people don't have to read my inane ramblings.

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