Quick Hits: Dev Talk Merged Queues

Daniel “Thanatos” Ramos Community Manager did a small Dev spot talk on the merge ques on the Duelyst Forums here are the highlights

“Let’s start by acknowledging that there are many buckets that we can categories our players in (Strict Ranked/Standard, Strict Casual/Unlimited, Pro-Standard, Pro-Unlimited, Pure-Casual, Casual-DeckTester, etc), each group with their own merits and needs. In an ideal situation, we would have four (or more!) queues mixing together standard/unlimited/ranked/casual.

It is important to note that we do not operate in an echo chamber; player feedback and actions are taken into account as we develop Duelyst. As mentioned in the patch notes, we had high hopes and strong intentions to keep Rotations so we were very surprised to see the stagnation of the Ranked/Standard queue so quickly after its implementation.

To provide some context, we have had Casual/Alternate ladders in Duelyst before (such as the most recent Frostfire queue). These modes tend to spike in interest over the first two weeks and interest decays rapidly afterwards. Our main ranked ladder queue receives its normal retention of players and queue times are largely unaffected.

This changed after Patch 1.95, where the only major difference in game queues was that the game now had an Unlimited and Standard format. While there may exist a myriad of variables and reasons as to why the Unlimited/Casual queue became dominant, the most important detail was that it was dominant despite what our data had previously shown about reoccurring trends with alternate queues (and population in this queue only grew over time!)


We also came across two peculiar items during this period.

  1. The queue time for Ranked/Standard grew significantly.
    (Common reports from players were in the form of complaints from waiting anywhere between 4 to 8 minutes for a match.)
  2. The rise in “Ranked Floor” players
    (People sitting at the 20, 10, 5 and 0 Ranks, with a rise in numbers of players who played no games after achieving those ranks)

There’s reason to believe that this meant that players were climbing up to the point they could earn Ranked rewards and begun playing Casual/Unlimited (if they played Ranked/Standard at all).

So why merge the queues?

There are three major points we wanted to address with the queue merge.

  1. Reward players for playing Duelyst
  2. Removal of prolonged queue times
  3. Improve matchmaking by matching players with their peers
  4. Allowing players to play what they want

How does merging the queues solve these goals?

For the first two:

  1. With no casual queue, everyone who plays on the ladder will be back in ranked and will receive the “End of Season” rewards.
    For die-hard casual queue players, this just means more rewards for doing exactly what you were doing before.
  2. Merging the queues means we don’t have a split playerbase and a self-feeding cycle of popularity.
    (Players upset with the long queue time in Ranked might jump to Casual which in turn makes Casual more popular and increases the delay in Ranked).
  3. With all players matched by “Rank” again, players interested in facing like-minded opponents can soar through the ranks, while those in it for the fun of Duelyst will naturally climb to meet similarly skilled opponents. Otherwise “Ranks” never mattered to that individual and they’re just in it for the games.

For the fourth point, we should first acknowledge the drawbacks to this system before we can address the solution.

Merging queues does inconvenience three major groups of play patterns.

  1. Those who utilize Casual to test decks for Standard
  2. Those who felt uncomfortable completing their quests in Standard and wished to do so in Casual
  3. Those who wanted to continue to play Duelyst carefree without affecting their Rank

The ‘solution’ for merging queues and “allowing players to play what they want” does not comfortably provide for these play patterns, but does function in a similar fashion.

At this point, please excuse my bluntness and allow me to talk to you player-to-player.

Basically: you can still play the game casually.
You can still play the game with all the same cards you were playing before, you can ignore your rank and just play for fun, knowing the system will match you against similarly skilled players. You can still complete your quests just as you did with two queues.”

Thanatos answered many questions in the thread and provide great feedback inside. So if you had questions on how CPG came to its decision on merging  the queues or want to provide your feedback on the topic this thread is great place to do so.

 

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