While I personally prefer the ability to play all game modes, the latest queue change has been met with predictable results. The “Incursion only” crowd is dodging any mode than isn’t… you guessed it, Incursion. As a result of people queue dodging and the extra time it takes to wait out character select and find another match, queue times are possibly worse than they would be if we had two queues. Sadly, this is only a symptom of a larger problem. The reality is that the people jumping out of queues like this are doing it because as of now, the set up of the game is preventing them from having fun. I’m certainly not seeking to justify their actions, but at the same time the only answer seems to be having two queues so I ask, why don’t we have two queues?
The obvious concern is queue times. The overwhelming majority, and I will concede that there are some outliers stating otherwise, of console players seem to report really quick queue times. How much would that change if we had two queues? I don’t exactly expect to hear this type of answer, but I think it’d help clear up some confusion if we got an answer along the lines of “average queue times in Quick Match are currently X amount of minutes and if we had two queues they would be approximately Y amount in one queue and Z amount in the other queue.” I could certainly be wrong, but I think most players would prefer to wait another couple of minutes to have a more enjoyable game experience. How many minutes would they be willing to wait though? That’s where I’ll concede the decision isn’t as easy as many, myself certainly included, make it out to be. I do believe however that the increase in queue times would have to be very drastic from where they are currently to become a problem or at least more of a problem than the current queue offerings.
Maybe the decision is less about population numbers and more a reaction to the previous dead queue and a lack of understanding of why minimatch failed. Where Gearbox potentially saw “we tried two PvP queues and one died so we don’t appear able to sustain two queues,” the reality was likely more along the lines of “the minimatch queue was poorly balanced and had a ton of mechanics that would have needed a rework to make it a more enjoyable experience.” Two queues had worked just fine from a queue time standpoint for months prior to the latest update so unless there was an especially dramatic population decline lately, it stands to reason the issue was more about the quality of the content in the queue rather than the mere existence of it.
What if there truly was a dramatic population decline and console actually can’t support a second queue anymore? Well, let’s examine why that would’ve happened if it did. Maybe it’s just a simple natural regression over time and there isn’t much more to it. Maybe not. For months, players tried their best to explain to Gearbox what they wanted out of the queues. They pleaded with Gearbox to drop Minimatch and other various gimmicks that while fun at times, ultimately detracted from the game as a whole. Those pleas fell on deaf ears.
I’m not saying this is the only issue that has impacted player retention, bugs and a lack of regular balance updates are among other issues, but a failure to give players some general semblance of what they actually wanted has surely contributed to the decline. Where I’m going with this is, what do we have to lose by finally giving the players what they want? If the population is dropping, it’s because people aren’t being allowed to play the game in a way that’s enjoyable to them. Obviously no solution is going to appeal to 100% of the people, but I firmly believe the game can be made more enjoyable for a larger percentage of its players with a simple queue change. One response I anticipate is “if we split up the queues, then you’ll complain about queue times and people will quit because of that instead.” Maybe. What we have now isn’t working and is actually causing people to quit. Maybe that will also cause people to quit, but this current setup definitely causes it so let’s find out.
The are two proposals I believe make the most sense for an optimal queue set up although I’m happy to listen to suggestions. The first consists of a Solo/Duo Quick Match queue with all four game modes, much like how Quick Match is currently set up, alongside a Versus Draft queue in the manner it has been set up in the past (pick trading would be optimal although I’m not sure if it’s something that can be implemented. The other is simply a return to the old three mode Quick Match and dedicated Incursion queues.
tl;dr we need two queues to keep the player base reasonably happy or whatever decline is currently happening within the population is only going to happen at a faster rate as more people view the game as less desirable due to the inability to consistently play the aspects they actually enjoy