I just spoke with the engineers and this should be fixed now.
Thanks for your patience,
Thanks for the update, snix.
Regarding the general problem of long queues, are there any internal discussions at Cryptic about offering incentives for players to participate in PvP?
Anyone who points this out usually gets flamed, but at the level cap there are basically two kinds of players: The ones who enter PvP queues solo to get daily missions done, and the players who queue exclusively as pre-mades.
Below the level cap, it seems there's a complete lack of interest in PvP across-the-board. As Shaun pointed out, it's hard to believe there are only 3 or 4 players queued for a particular map at any one time across all regions. From a player perspective, it seems as though the game is dead, an assumption helped along by the fact that the game is instanced so heavily. So if we see only 12 people queued for all space matches, and we travel through sector space without seeing another soul in our instances, it seems as though we're playing a solo game.
Here are some suggestions:
- Code the PvP maps so that players are automatically joined to a team when they enter the map. This will help at all brackets and levels, not only at the beginning of a match, but mid-match as well: players can focus on combat instead of hunting down that 5th player they know is in the zone and isn't joined to their team.
- If players have their options set *not* to accept team invites, prevent them from joining PvP matches. Again, this should help at all levels, and it should alleviate a very basic problem that plagues PvP. It's an unfortunate fact that many players work against the interests of their faction during PvP matches, by refusing to join teams, going AFK at spawn points, or refusing to communicate or respond to communications.
- Offer cosmetic rewards for participation in PvP: This may eat into C-Store revenue just a bit, but a new ship costume for each faction would be a fantastic carrot to get players into the queues again. If a great-looking new ship costume is only available by playing 100 PvP matches, that's a guaranteed way to get folks to participate. If not a ship costume, then maybe a new bridge variant, or new trophies for the Captain's ready room.
- Offer non-cosmetic rewards for participation in PvP: Outright increasing PvP rewards might be controversial, but why not offer a system similar to WoW's "holiday weekends"? One weekend, XP gains for Capture and Hold are increased by 30 percent. The next weekend, XP gains from Arena are increased, and so on.
- Create a weighted system that prioritizes premades against premades, and individuals against individuals. I am not familiar with the coding issues involved, but other MMOs have implemented similar systems to prevent casual players from abandoning PvP en masse.
- Create scripted, episodic versions of PvP matches: Why not offer a "re-enactment" of the Battle of Wolf 359, or an alternate future version of a direct Borg or Klingon attack on Earth? Maybe players on one team can even don "costumes" of Borg spheres, similar to the way LoTRO allows players to have "monsters," sub-characters that are unlocked at a certain point in game progression.
Again, I'm hoping this discussion can be independent of any talk about "skill" or "noobs" or any of that. This is the most basic of concerns – that space PvP combat should be a centerpiece of this game, but unfortunately it's a ghost town, probably for a range of reasons including the fact that many players have just given up due to frustration.
I mentioned EA in the original post, and that analogy bears some weight here, I believe, because it's a pattern many gamers have seen again and gain: EA releases a game at a $50 box price, and competitive multiplayer is buzzing for the first few months on the strength of impressive game sales. But EA is famous for abandoning its games while shifting its developer resources to new titles–there have been posts where EA developers have admitted they cannot devote resources to coding patches or fixing bugs, because those resources have been pulled and reassigned to new titles in the company's heavy development cycle.
It would be unfair to accuse Cryptic of doing the same, because as a player I sincerely appreciate the hard work you guys have put in to improving this game. The changes in one year have been drastic and praise-worthy.
But clearly PvP is suffering, and I hope you can address this issue before the last queues get snuffed out in the wake of frustrated players. Any dialogue with the devs on this issue would be sincerely appreciated, and once again, thank you for the update on the "No map" issue and for letting us know the team has solved the issue.