I like the look of the new UI, it is a lot slicker then the old version, although it could be better.
the biggest issue I noticed was that there isn't anything that shows how many people are in each queue. I don't know about anyone else, but that's one of the things I usually look at when choosing which one to join, because queues with people already waiting are faster then empty ones.
I feel that being able to see how many people are queued for any given thing has been extremely detrimental to group content in this game. For the past 2.5 years, as players, we have been irreverently corralled to amend any personal preference we may have had towards the type of gameplay experience we originally wanted to run in the first place and instead compromise in order to get a "quick queue". This didn't affect those who had no such preference, or whose preference was to simply to do anything. If the point of playing a game is to have fun, I don't see how being forced to compromise on how you want to have that fun as being a good measure of a good game system.
This player corralling has been continually reinforced through the systems for gear progression and meant that personal preference for desired content type was to be a fourth place consideration to that of being
a) required to run instance X for drop Y,
b) required to run instance X because thats where the population was, and
c) required to run instance X because the drop table for instance Z was laughable
I used to be a proponent of saying "Well , yes despite the fact that your desired pve queue has a low pop you can still queue for it, you're still deciding on the content you want to play"... but in actuality, it dawned on me that I was constantly amending my preference so that I could get some damn gameplay within the specified time I had decided to play. Thats not fun.
Furthermore, I solemnly believe that forcing players to compromise like this impacts greatly upon the quality of the people you end up doing queued content with. Most of them just want it over as quickly as possible. Well if its your desired queue, maybe you don't want to rush, maybe you like doing it - but they certainly don't. Imagine how much better the experience would be if the team was made up of people, who like yourself, actually wanted to run that content. Enjoy it. Have fun. Heck they might even communicate with you too!
Season 7 finally brings liberation to the queue system. People can now queue for the content they desire, as a primary consideration (I'm talking about queuing for the content that offers you your preferred mechanics and environment setting), while not losing out on gear progression since it has been moved out of the queue decision, into to the reputation system (which supports your decision to run the content you prefer).
I'm not oblivious to the issues this presents for population distribution. In fact, I think it will cause a good few weeks of instability where people may find their usual hotspots getting lower traffic. Eventually though, as happens after every major change, people will adapt. Only this time, they will shake off the past few years of forced, conditioned play and start to queue for what they want to play. Imagine that!
This is where Cryptic really needs to not drop the ball. They need to be monitoring the situation carefully so that they can make timely surgical alterations to address why people are not queuing in any large number for instance X - by adding improved rewards and changing mechanics swiftly. Hopefully they have already had a few meetings to form a few summations on what those problems are likely to be and are working on potential corrective measure that they can quickly implement. (yeah.. I don't think so either)
It is in their interest to do so. Its clear to see how burned out people can get by running the same instances repeatedly, so they've moved to bring all instances in line with one another in terms of rewards (made easy by taking the rewards out and putting them into the reputation system - which we'll see expanded for sure). They want people to spend all day playing a range of content, so it has to be compelling but more importantly, it has to be your choice and not the choice you made from compromising - because if your making your own choices, your bound to make a whole lot more than if they're being made for you. Hopefully they won't mess this up.
I'm not adverse to having estimation times display for the queues you are in though, once they are general, i.e. >5 mins, >1 min, >imminent etc.
PVP could be viewed differently, but ideally it wouldn't differ by much. It would have its own reputation system, its own set of compelling instances (match mechanics), and a proper matchmaking system so that people could queue for a random instance for higher rewards (that alone would help keep matches frequent). Obviously its not nearly in that condition right now so perhaps its only right to keep the queue numbers 'on' for it.
... and I think thats why I've willingly accepted this change. If they had not changed those other systems though, then I'd be woefully against it - and depending on how Cryptic are able to manage the adjustments that will need to be made to make each instance compelling (and thus keep the average population queuing for it reasonable), will effect if I will regret my acceptance of this change.
As someone else has stated (Zer0bang), there's a little too much UI bloat - it kinda reminds me of someone that is making a rave flier for the first time and uses a buckload of clip art and too many fonts. Some of that info could be mouse-overs or popups.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - PUT BACK THE AMOUNT OF PLAYERS CUED, ACCURATE OR NOT.
Don't just ditch it because it's buggy; man-up and fix it. Don't do the Cryptic method of debugging which is to say, simply removing a feature instead of fixing it.
Also, if making the cues "player blind" as some sort of maligned incentive to played less-popular cues, you have it backwards.I know there's a push to get us away from STFs and more to Fleet Actions (again with the "Playing as Intended") but making blind cues will not push us to a mission that sucks, period.
I totally disagree with your hidden text. I should not be forced to queue up and wait for an event without knowing how many people are there, or being able to see if new people are added. Under the new system I could queue for a 5 person mission, sit there for 30 minutes waiting, and not know if there was just me sitting in the queue or if there were 4 others and we were just waiting on 1 more.
While I can sympathize with you not being able to get teams for some missions that's is because you are running the missions that are clearly not popular. Removing the people in queue count isn't going to change that. If anything it will hurt those low popularity missions as more and more people will stop using the public queues.
A time estimation, if it actually worked, would be no different than a count of how many are in queue. People would still avoid the queues that said 5min or 10min or whatever and go for the ones there were launching soonest.
All this does is cause problems for the majority of players who do prefer the more popular PvE queues while helping the minority that like the less popular ones. The point I would agree with you on is that cryptic should address why some missions are so unpopular, easiest way being to increase rewards to make these missions more useful. Fixing the reason why some queues are not popular would be a much better solution than trying to trick people into joining the unpopular queues because they can't see that noone is in them.
I also explicitly stated that Cryptic would need to implement timely adjustments to make those unpopular instances popular which would help stabilize the queue time for that instance. The result, if done correctly, would be stabilized queue populations across all the instances, meaning nobody waiting for 30 mins.
I'd rather support a move to cure the cause of unpopular instances, allowing people to queue for what they enjoy, than continuing to support the pedestal Cryptic have built for the popular 2-3 instances, corralling people into running them despite the content they may desire to run instead.