What should have been a fun and busy day for Path of Exile players turned into a bitter-tasting nightmare as the latest Ultimatum League launched to some pretty serious server problems.
Players found themselves bogged down in the queue, unable to join the game. Those who did would then be disconnected and needed to wait all over again. To compound the issue and rub a little salt in the wound, some of the largest Path of Exile streamers didn’t seem to have this issue at all.
It would transpire that Path of Exile developers Grinding Gear Games had given larger streamers priority access, so they were effectively skipping the queues. Some, like Empyrian, had even managed to get priority access for their friends. According to Path of Exile lead developer Chris Wilson, this was a rushed decision designed to “something to watch while they waited.”
Unfortunately, it backfired and contradicted earlier statements about the new Ultimatum League putting all players on an equal footing. If streamers were already in the game, playing through content and farming, then they had a head start in the League.
While players were understandably angry about others being allowed to skip the queue, it’s really just a case of a series of unfortunate events, and a mistake being made in the best way to deal with them. Wilson has stated that the decision to let streamers skip the queue was a mistake, and won’t happen again. He also pointed out that no streamers had actually requested queue priority, and it was all down to the developers.
The good news is that the queue issues have since been fixed thanks to a small bit of downtime and the hard work of the developers, and the team is dedicating itself to ensure that problems on this scale do not happen again.