Overflow has Got to Go (or change)

The Overflow system in GW2 is really annoying.  I was actually quite confused by how this system worked until I experienced it first-hand.  I thought it moved you to another server when your server was too full, but actually it moves you to another “instance” of the zone you were trying to enter.  I call this “redundant” instancing because it makes multiple copies of the game.  I thought it would only do this for full servers to avoid queues, but it puts you in overflow zones if there are too many people.

I dislike multiple instances of the same zone, but recent games like SWTOR have done this and it’s something I’m simply used to… that is, I’m used to being able to move between them.  In GW2, you can get sent to overflow simply by zoning or coming out of your personal story.  I was actually doing a personal story quest with a friend yesterday, grouped, and when we zoned out it put me into overflow and left him in the primary zone.  We had no way — at least that we could find — to rejoin each other since I was barred from the main zone. I was also questing with a another friend later in the evening and we were both sent to overflow, but DIFFERENT overflow servers and were once again unable to play with each other.

The overflow system needs to allow groups to stay together.  Let people transfer to the group leader’s instance or move between them.  Some of the zones in Guild Wars 2 are so big that they should not have overflow at all.  WoW has 10 million players but manages to not redundantly instance their zones.  Phasing didn’t come around for years, and I’m not sure phasing even moves people.

I thought the overflow would be a great way to avoid the queue, but once you start utilizing overflow on me when I’m actually in-game playing normally it crosses the line. Use it for logging in, but let me get out of the overflow immediately.

  • I’m not keen on it either. I’ve seen better implementations.

    Were you able to talk to your friend (in-game chat) when he got overflowed? I couldn’t even speak to Mrs Bhagpuss – it just said she was offline, which I could obviously see that she wasn’t.

  • @bhagpuss: We were able to utilize guild chat in different overflows. I didn’t try personal chatting since we were on Ventrilo as well. That’s horrible though if you can’t even chat with it via group or /t.

  • Also while on overflow you dont get to see WvW progress and you dont get WvW buffs either

  • @Bartillo: Yeah! That was annoying and made no sense. Back when I thought it actually moved you to a less populated server it made sense to not get the buffs of your primary server, but since it’s just another instance of the zone you should get the buffs and see the status of WvW by pressing ‘N’.

  • I wouldn’t bet on this to go away anytime soon. It feels like a feature deep inside the server architecture and changing this can be tough and have all kinds of side effects. Of course I am reading tea leaves here, only backed up by my general experience in IT.

  • I don’t know it’s definitely one of the issues that they have to work out. As to not speaking that’s weird cause I know we had a few guildies that were on other servers altogether and we were still able to chat with them (couldn’t invite them to the guild till they came back to our server though).

  • I was not too much bothered by this because I never thought they would think this kind of overflow could work. Even in GW1, when you group with someone and leave the cities/quest hubs, you travel to an instanced zone together. No way they could ignore grouping on overflowed zones.

    I simply think this overflow problems were happening because it is beta and expect this to be solved when GW2 comes online.

  • Phasing in WoW is connected to questing right now. Unless you’re on a special quest or have finished a particular quest line, you’re on the same server as everyone else. This was actually pretty funny in Wrath when they phased quite a bit of the Icecrown zone for various long quest chains. You could be in a raid with some people, outside an instance, and not see them because they had never finished the quests.

    In Cata, they introduced a button that’s next to your party member’s portrait if they’re phased. I think you can use it to join that person in a phase but I’ve never actually used it so I don’t know if it works.

  • its only cus there are SOO many people in the early zones,once the game has been out a little bit it wont be such an issue.
    But yes, forcing your group to all go into overflow would be better than splitting

  • Agreed that it needs some tweaking. For starters, once you’re in you should be in, getting booted to overflow server cos u entered a personal story instance or zoned is BS and needs to go! Also, it should be possible to play with friends even on overflow servers.

  • Agreed. I’ve spent most of my time on the overflow servers and playing with a friend. Having played SWTOR for so long i’ve been used to when a server gets full I can just switch instances to join my group/guild/friends. I was really surprised to not see that in place with the overflow system. If it is an Instance 1,2,3 please let me choose which one to switch too.

    Also, can’t queue PvP with party/friends? Really? Based on glory only? If there is an oversight and i’ve missed something here please let me know but I could not see any way to join if your glory points are different from your friend and hoping you get the same match.

  • I first encountered that back in CoH when it came out, but for them to be doing that now is horrible system design

  • Supposedly they will be adding the ability to change queues before the game goes live.

  • @The Merovingian

    Yes I would. There is always something else to do in the time being. When a server is at it’s capacity, I do not mind the Q for obvious reasons. When I am in a Capital City and get placed into a Q when I exit the city gates, the Q sucks. When I exit the gate and my friends get left behind because they did not jump through the gate first, the Q sucks. When the game crashes and I get placed into a Q, the Q sucks.

  • @Thomas

    Some people have limited time to play so waiting in an hour queue may end up being not playing at all that night.

    Personally I’ve sat in enough queues where I never want to see one again. Nothing as great as trying to log in, seeing an hour queue, going to do something else then coming back and seeing yourself out of the queue because you missed your turn.

    Regardless, this isn’t an either or situation. An easy fix is to allow your friends to join you in the overflow if you want to group. Though with some of the negativity toward all things arenanet I’ve been seeing that will probably not be good enough as well….

  • @The Merovingian: No, I think the overflow is great for getting people into the game. What I don’t want is to be overflowed once I’ve been playing. Example: I was playing for a few hours with a friend in my group when suddenly, as we were in the middle of a quest chain and having fun, I was overflowed and he was not putting us unable to play together.

    I want it to be one contiguous world like EQ or WoW. If I can’t have that, I at least want control of which instance of the zone I’m placed in.

  • Amen to all!
    I’ll admit, I am glad more people were as vexed about this as I am; it spoiled a large chunk of my entire beta weekend. I fear we are out of luck though; this feature is here to stay, although it will get less noticeable with normalized server traffic. It seems oddly reminiscent of GW1 where most of your world was instanced, around guild hub.
    I guess we can cope as long as grouping is considered for pve and PvP…

    Really enjoyed all your bwe reviews this far btw, you often echo my own thoughts. Like you, I also hope GW2 is in for a lot more polish.

  • I think it’s just a teething problem with the way they handle it.

    Come launch, they’ll have sorted out the whole “groups follow instances” problem.

    It’s a huge deal breaker for a lot of people. I suspect they’ll get it solved.
    Remember, the game has no offical launch date as of yet. If there are game killers in there, ArenaNet intends to shake them out before launch.

    Thankfully, with the hugely successful pre-purchase drive, they’ve probably raised enough capital to keep the game in beta for a couple of months longer.

    Amen I say, if it leads to a smoother launch and a much more well polished product.

  • @The Merovingian
    I think you’re asking a wrong question. Keen tried to explain it but I’m not sure if you understood. In most games, the queue is only used for logging in. Once you’re in the game, you will not get a queue unless you log out, crash or disconnect. In GW2, the overflow is used every time you change zones. Imagine you get a queue every time you change a zone…

    I understand there are theoretical advantages to that but I think they don’t really apply – the queue/overflow system kicks in when there’s many players which usually happens right after a big release (either an expansion or the initial release) – and that means most of the players are there to try the new release’s starting zones.