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WoW Classic players facing 6 hour queue times to get into the game's biggest servers

Artwork of WoW's Lich King
(Image credit: Blizzard)
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Players trying to get into World of Warcraft Classic's more popular servers have found themselves faced with queues of tens of thousands and wait times measured in hours, as Blizzard's classic MMO gears up for the release of Wrath Of The Lich King on September 26 (opens in new tab). Yes: it's just like the good old days.

The queues, VG247 reports (opens in new tab), are primarily affecting WoW's so-called "megaservers," high-population servers that have a tendency to snowball as they accumulate more and more players. More players means more PvP opportunities, more roleplaying, more community and social aspects, so their high population begets more population which begets, well, very long queues.

Players on the subreddit for Grobbulus—the North American PvPRP server—have been amusing themselves by one-upping each other with their queue times while they wait to gain access to the game. When you're faced with the necessity of waiting nearly six hours (opens in new tab) to actually get into the game, I suppose it becomes necessary to find some way to keep yourself occupied.

It's not just megaservers like Grobbulus that have run into problems, though. Fresh servers—which give everyone the opportunity to start, ahem, afresh  without bringing their pre-existing equipment and wealth into the game—have also been throwing up agonisingly long queues (opens in new tab) in the run-up to Lich King's release.

It's not all on Blizzard. As one person waiting in line for Grobbulus pointed out (opens in new tab), if everyone currently in the same queue transferred over to a different, emptier server, that server would instantly have a healthy community all by itself. Many players have an option to freely transfer over to different servers if the waiting gets too much, but elect to grit their teeth and endure the wait regardless. 

The problem is also compounded by the fact that, once they're in, players don't want to leave again. If you quit, you'll have to queue again to get in, so some players have taken to idling their characters in-game once they make it into their servers, only adding to the problem.

There are all sorts of individual reasons for that behaviour, but the key to understanding why is server balance. Servers like Grobbulus have a healthy split between Horde and Alliance players, which means you can pretty much always find someone of your faction to raid with and do other co-op stuff, and you can always find opponents to pick a fight with. Plenty of players would rather stick to a balanced server, even if they have to wait an age to get in, than migrate to an imbalanced one.

An even bigger factor may be that players want to be on the same server as their mates. Having a healthy number of randoms around is great but, if you've agreed a server in advance with the people you'll be spending most of your time in-game with, there's little option but to suck up the wait time.

This has all happened before. Back when WoW Classic launched (opens in new tab), players ran into multi-hour queues to get into the game, and Blizzard ended up having to gradually add more servers to ease the glut. Maybe this is just an inevitability of the upsurge in popularity and curiosity that accompanies an expansion launch, maybe it's that Wrath of the Lich King is arguably the most popular expansion WoW's ever had. Six hours though… by the time they get in, some players will certainly feel like death knights.

News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was far too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. Since then, his writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.