After seeing the commentary about the queuing system being enabled on the PC EU servers yesterday, I thought I'd let everyone know what has been leading up to this, and what we are doing to alleviate the situation.
Please note that the situation that led to the queuing system being enabled is not related to the overall client performance issues that we talked about at the end of last year - those engine optimizations are still underway and hopefully you'll see them in-game at some point this year. The situation that led to queuing has nothing to do with client performance - it is because our servers are overloaded.
Starting in January we've had an influx of new players - we've have had some of our highest weekly average user, daily active user, and peak concurrent user numbers in the last six weeks since we launched on console back in 2015. So, it was in January when EU players started noticing degraded server performance. We made tweaks and updates to the service to free up extra database resources and other boosts to performance, which is why you have been seeing more and longer maintenance outages than normal in the last couple of months.
However, in late March, we really saw a huge spike in the number of users logging in, which led to too many concurrent users for the platform to effectively support. As a result, players on PC EU have seen a severe degradation in service. This degradation started in January, but has greatly accelerated in the last week - lag spikes, disconnects, inability to zone from instance to instance, weird interactions with LFG, etc. These problems are greatly exacerbated by having serious load on the servers, as there are too many users for the hardware to handle.
A quick aside: these problems affect the PC EU more than the other megaservers because it has our highest peak concurrency of any of our six megaservers. The reason: the EU is a highly PC-centric gaming market - and also because almost all of our EU players are located in two time zones. Compared to the North American servers, where there are four time zones to spread out the "peak playing time", the EU has almost all its users logged in at the same time, which leads to very high peak usage.
So, here is what we are doing to fix the problem:
- Short term, we are turning on our queuing system (as you saw yesterday), which will cap the maximum number of players allowed on the PC EU megaserver. You should only see the queue at peak times, when demand is higher than the hardware supports. As was posted yesterday, the estimated time to login may not be 100% accurate, but it will give you an idea of how big the line is. ALSO: if you are disconnected from the server for any reason, you should have a twenty minute grace period to log back in and "skip" the queue.
- Longer term: we are spinning up additional hardware in both our NA and EU datacenters in order to support our growing user base. We expect the time frame for this to be about two weeks, but we will keep you posted. And yes, we are adding more capacity to PC NA as well as EU because we are rapidly approaching the same problem in NA and want to get ahead of it. We will also be looking very closely at our Console megaservers to make sure they have enough capacity.
I know it is frustrating to be stuck in queue, but it is better to do this than have the entire service be unstable and frustrating for everyone. We will do everything we can to get the new hardware online as quickly as possible and stop queuing and have the service return to normal. Stay tuned for details.
ESO Game Director