Smart Cluster Queue

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Smart Cluster Queue

Prior to the Standalone Season, guilds could "lock" a zone by filling it with allied players until it reached capacity, effectively shutting out enemy forces. In addition to giving an unfair disadvantage to large alliances, this also reduced competition and enjoyment for all players.

The Smart Cluster Queue was thus introduced as a dynamic “matchmaking" system for large fights. When a given cluster is overcrowded, some players are first removed to adjacent zones. This happens to clear space so players waiting outside the zone can join the fight. Any player can join a queue to enter the cluster, with their alliance affiliation, guild access rights, Premium status, and Item Power taken into consideration.

Assigning Player Slots

A zone has 350 total slots for players, which are divided among the alliances taking part in the battle. The number of slots per alliance is determined by their players in the zone and queue combined. Players with active Premium status and an equipped average item power of 800 or higher create more slots for your alliance. The more average Item Power a player has equipped, the more impact it has.

The cluster queue gets updated every 90 seconds. Every 90 seconds, it checks the players in the queue and in the zone, determines their ratios, and then kicks players out and lets others in accordingly.

Queue Slot Distribution (among members of the same alliance)

Based on the criteria above, each alliance gets a number of slots. The players in your alliance are then sorted by the following, in order:

  • Prefered Cluster’ access guild right
  • Premium Status
  • Item Power (minimum: 800)
  • Time in the Cluster (the more time they were already in the cluster, the more likely they will be kicked out)

Anyone who wants to enter the zone may then join the Smart Cluster Queue. Once there is space available in the cluster, queued players will get an invite to enter based on the above conditions, with "time spent in the queue" replacing "time spent in the cluster".

The reason why the cluster queue logic is set up like this is to make sure that you cannot "cheat" the system by splitting up your group into multiple alliances. The cluster queue does not really care about alliance split-ups.

To be a bit more specific: say 4 alliances A, B, C, and D try to enter a zone, and their respective player counts are A=400, B=300, C=200, D=100 for a total of 1000. Assume that the cluster accepts 500 players. The count inside of the cluster would then be: A = 200, B = 150, C = 100, D = 50. Now imagine A wants to "game the system" and splits up into A1 and A2 - what would happen? Nothing really, as the new player count inside of the cluster would be A1 = 100, A2 = 100, B = 150, C 100, D = 50 - the split up A still having 200 players in total as before.

What this however also means is that if an alliance A with 900 players attacks an alliance B with 100 players, and the zone cap was again 500, inside of the zone, A would get 450 players, and B would get 50. The cluster queue evens out fights in such a way that the ratio of players in the zone reflects the ratio of players in the queue - not more, not less, as anything else would be subject to heavy abuse.

Note that the above explanation assumes that all players have the same item power - the cluster queue also takes item power of individual players into account to prevent groups from stuffing the queue with a lot of under-geared players at low risk. Players who re-queue for a zone after being kicked from it via the Smart Cluster Queue will now be immobilized to prevent leaving the queue by wandering away

Players waiting to enter a cluster via the Smart Cluster Queue now also add to the total Disarray headcount in the cluster for which they are queueing. For example:

  • Alliance X has 100 players in Cluster A
  • Alliance X also has 80 players in Cluster B, 50 of whom are waiting to enter Cluster A via the Smart Cluster Queue
  • All Alliance X players in Cluster A would receive a Disarray debuff based on 150 players (100 in cluster + 50 in queue)
  • All Alliance X players in Cluster B would receive a Disarray debuff based only on the 80 players in the cluster

Additional Queue Rules

  • If a queued player leaves their current zone, moves too far from the entrance, or logs out, they will lose their spot.
  • If a player declines a "join" invitation or waits more than 30 seconds to confirm, they will lose their spot.
  • Players can only queue for one cluster at a time.
  • Players can either be in a Smart Cluster Queue or an Arena/Expedition queue, but not both.
  • Players removed from a zone via the cluster queue now receive a special Queue Removal Protection status: as long as they stay close to the entrance and do not perform any actions, they will stay invisible and invulnerable, but they are also silenced and can’t attack other players for up to 150 seconds. This will allow them to stay in the queue to re-enter the zone for at least one queue cycle.
  • If a player moves away from the entrance, or after the 150-second period ends, the Queue Removal Protection will be canceled, and the player will instead get a normal zone change bubble and will stay silenced for an additional 3 seconds.
  • Players who enter an overcrowded zone via the queue and then leave through an exit within 60 seconds will receive an Early Retreat Debuff. This debuff prevents them from re-queuing for the same zone for 10 minutes. This Early Retreat Debuff is only applied to players who entered the zone via the queue, not to players who entered via simply walking in.
  • The length of the cluster queue cycle time (the time it takes for the queue to let in or remove additional players) has been increased from 90 seconds to 120 seconds.