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Group Queue Update 2020


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#1 Paul Inouye

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 03:06 PM

Hey folks,

Just wanted to update you all on what we found out during this test of 8-man group sizes and 8v8 gameplay restriction in the Group Queue.

Initial Findings

For perspective, here were the numbers we were looking at prior to any changes (for communication purposes, this is Scenario A ):
- 12v12 Group Queue
- 12 player max group size.
- Average time for a match 9.7 minutes.

On Friday, we set up a test restriction on Group Queue of 8-player max group sizes and matches were 8v8. During that evening, there was a community event and people checking in on what the change would play out like. Here's what we saw throughout Friday evening ( Scenario B ):
- Average time for a match in group queue: 3.2 minutes.

That was a significant drop in wait times but we have to understand that, that was a best case scenario due to the event and people trying the new system out.

As expected, after the event and check-ins, the number started to climb. We checked the numbers on Monday at noon Pacific Time, (off peak North America) and found the following ( Scenario C ):
- Average time for a match 6.5 minutes.

While 3 minutes in a queue feels like forever, this isn't a negligible amount of time saved. However, it is no where near ideal either.

A Review Meeting

So a few of us sat down with Russ and came to the following understanding:

MechWarrior Online really has not had the population in the group queue to justify its separate queue status for quite some time. Many popular games have never had the separation of group and solo players however for MWO early on with the lack of any competitive mode the Group Queue really became a way to simulate full team competition/organization while granting a solo queue for more casual players and play.

Now with Comp Mode used seasonally in MWO and player counts lower, we feel its necessary to make changes. We recently made a change to reduce group queue to 8v8 and while this helped, outside of special events promoting the group queue it still averaged between 6 and 7 minutes per match so long as groups had more than one server location selected.

Many people over the years have suggested the inclusion to allow solo players to opt-in to the group queue. This is not something we feel worth pursuing as the data shows that wouldn’t make a significant impact on the speed of match making and it also requires we make an assumption on player behavior to opt-in to group queue and for that player behavior to be consistent long term. If players were to stop opting-in, we'd be back at square one.

We feel the best option at this point is to re-combine the queues. Allow groups into solo queue but reduce the max group size to 4. This along with potentially adjusting the group tonnage allowed will reduce the overall influence the group can have on a 12v12 match. The matchmaker would also make every effort that it balanced the groups per side. This would allow all players to still enjoy full 12v12 matches not requiring changes to the economy or UI and spawn points or the way FP functions.

Comp Mode will continue to provide a competitive 8v8 environment. Faction Play will continue to be the playground of organized large group combat and Solaris will cover the 1v1 and 2v2 bragging rights battlegrounds.

Next Steps
Based on this outcome and how the queues are looking at any given moment, we've put together a plan for a next step. This however comes at a cost of development time which I don't have a full estimate for quite yet.

1) Combining Solo and Group queue.

Here is a snapshot of what the queues look like on average throughout the day:
Posted Image

In the image above, there is a ton of wasted match potential in the pictured situation. Those 2 and 8-man groups are going to sit there starved waiting for a match to kick off and there are no further groups in queue. Until a lot more groups show up that queue is going nowhere. Even if groups start showing up, they will need to be in a configuration that works. For example, that 8-man group is going to sit there until two 2-man groups show up or a 4-man group shows up. No other group size configuration is going to help them get a match.

If all those solo players were in the same queue, those group matches would kick off in a few seconds.

2) Max group size of 4

The reasoning behind reducing the maximum group size down from 8 is because of the overall effect a large co-ordinated group has on a match. If there was only one 8-man group in the queue and the game kicks off with all other positions on both teams with solo players, the 8-man group has a significant impact on the outcome of this match.

If the team breakdown was one 8-man group on one side an all other positions filled with 2-man groups, that impact would only be slightly mitigated.

However, looking at a queue that has, at the biggest, 4-man groups, the match maker could easily fill matches and very quickly no matter if the group size is 2, 3 or 4. If solos are used to fill vacant slots, this can be done again in seconds.

A very good 4-man group could have a heavy influence on a match, but it is no where near the impact of an 8 or 12-man group.

3) Group team balancing

The match maker will put groups on opposing teams as much as possible. If there's only 1 group in queue, there's only so much the match maker can do. However, if there are two groups in queue (no matter what the size... and another reason why 4-man max makes a lot more sense) it will put one group on team 1, and the other group on team 2.

4) Experience/Economic Balancing

As pointed out in feedback from this test, a re-balance of rewards/payouts would have to occur if we were to put the game into 8v8. Leaving the game in a 12v12 state negates this necessity and also prevents a few knock-on effects like the number of spawn points on a map, the 3 lances in the dropship/prep area and other UI inconsistencies.


An Alternative
We have another option available too an this is very minimal in terms of development cost:

Leave it as it currently is.
- 8v8 Group Queue
- Max group size 8
- New UI requirement to hard-code prevent 7-man groups from being created
- New XP/CBill/Reward payout re-balance

#2 TheCaptainJZ

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 06:14 PM

I think combining the queues at this time is the best option to benefit the most players. I would like to be able to play with my brother and we really just can't with the two of us in group queue. Would the matchmaker work similarly to the new one in FP?

#3 justcallme A S H

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 06:36 PM

View PostPaul Inouye, on 20 April 2020 - 03:06 PM, said:

Hey folks,
[color=orange]Initial Findings[/color]

For perspective, here were the numbers we were looking at prior to any changes (for communication purposes, this is Scenario A ):
- 12v12 Group Queue
- 12 player max group size.
- Average time for a match [color=yellow]9.7 minutes[/color].


I feel like 9.7mins isn't not exactly representative and it was higher.

The reason it wasn't higher is that people just didn't bother to queue up at all. If there is no one in the queue, there is no wait time.

Many people queued for 20mins+ (myself included, I waited 30mins a few weeks ago) and then you simply give up and never bother to try again.

Hopefully 8 makes it a bit better. I'll read the rest of the post later. That just jumped out at me.

#4 Tarl Cabot

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 06:50 PM

(chuckles)

Only because of the default reverting to a full lance of 4 if both queues are combined. I would prefer 2 or 3 group make up.

The deal breaker will be sync dropping through, especially if all are in the same unit but I am doubtful PGI would or could code the MM to kick non-grouped unit members to opposite team.

And a guarantee that there would never be more than one co-op group per side, regardless of the population. No relaxing of the MM.

And if still using Tier, no averaging of the Tiers, but use of the highest tier in that group for the MM selection.

I would also suggest a Tier realignment with a higher, adjusted PSR thresholds shortly thereafter.

Edited by Tarl Cabot, 20 April 2020 - 07:04 PM.


#5 denAirwalkerrr

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:05 PM

View Postjustcallme A S H, on 20 April 2020 - 06:36 PM, said:

I feel like 9.7mins isn't not exactly representative and it was higher.

The reason it wasn't higher is that people just didn't bother to queue up at all. If there is no one in the queue, there is no wait time.

Many people queued for 20mins+ (myself included, I waited 30mins a few weeks ago) and then you simply give up and never bother to try again.

Hopefully 8 makes it a bit better. I'll read the rest of the post later. That just jumped out at me.

It's just average between 3-5min on NA primetime and 20-30 mins of just wait time whoever outside of it tried searching and never got a drop.

Oh I also will be down for some top tier seal clubbing after groups get merged.

Edited by denAirwalkerrr, 20 April 2020 - 07:13 PM.


#6 BlaizerP

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:15 PM

I would also like some seals for teh clubbing. ty

#7 Mordale

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:30 PM

1) Keep Russ away from MWO, Let him mess up 5. He has done enough damage to Online!

2) THE BEST THING YOU GUYS HAVE DONE IS 8v8!!!!! LEAVE IT ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!

#8 Excalabur50

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:39 PM

Thankyou Dev's for doing something about this,this was the number one reason I left the game nearly two years ago, it had nothing to do with the quality or fun of this game it was purely about the wait times the running joke for us here in Australia was the game should be called Mech Waiting Online as honestly 20min wait times was the norm not the exception, and if I can now get into a game, as soon as my main rig is back up and running then I'll be more than happy to come back to MWO as this is one of my favourite games of all time!

#9 Nother

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 07:52 PM

I agree that combining the group and solo queue might be the best option. Just limit group sizes to 4 man and below and ensure team balancing.

If there's too many 12-0/1/2 stomps as a result then could potentially revisit.

#10 Carl Avery

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:01 PM

Paul, does your data show an increase in the hours that group queue is active per day since it was changed to 8vs8? How much?

#11 Windscape

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:05 PM

I would prefer to leave GQ as 8v8 bc 4 90% plus percentile players can really shift a match, and 8v8 in Comp Q is only seasonal. It would be nice to have 8v8 in a more relaxed play setting year round.

Also would like to see 4v4 scouting matches come in every once and awhile too in FP.

Edited by Windscape, 20 April 2020 - 08:06 PM.


#12 dario03

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:07 PM

I think this would work a lot better with some adjustments to the ranking system. Namely lowering the upward bias. I think a 4man on each team wouldn't unbalance the game much if both 4mans are of equal skill. However afaik the current system treats tiers the same whether you got there through high scores or just lots of low scoring games.

Edited by dario03, 20 April 2020 - 08:11 PM.


#13 Pseudo98

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:10 PM

If you want to kill off the remaining playerbase then allowing 4 man stomps in soloQ is the right decision, demoralise the remaining population so they quit and you can shut off the servers, stop making token changes and put 100% of effort into MW5 for what that's worth.

...sarcasm aside 8v8 feels good, you need a larger dataset than one weekend, consider how many people aren't even aware of this change because they don't check the website or use Twitter.

8v8 is the most I've played in the last 3 months, I actually enjoyed myself with less throws by my team than soloQ, keep it and allow up to 2 players to be pulled in from soloQ... I realise it's actual development time which is much more complicated than changing some config files, packing and releasing a hotfix but it's worth if it if you want to retain players instead of driving them away.

...speaking of easy and quick config fixes, can we talk about reverting ATM velocity finally?

#14 Kestrel Atreides

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:45 PM

I’d like to see both. Combine GP & QP, and switch to 8v8. (But drop us closer together on the big maps. The walking simulator needs optimization.

#15 cougurt

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 08:46 PM

oh this is gonna be good.

#16 Magic Pain Glove

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 09:50 PM

I don't really know about combining the queues . I know people want to play together , but it has the potential to totally skew the solo queue player experience . Matchmaker already fails to make somewhat balanced teams , imagine if you add groups in the equation and end up with multiple 99% percentile player groups on one side . Might as well call it a GG at the start of the match .
If the queues are to be combined , groups of 2 should be the upper limit . If 4 man is a thing in solo queue , you bet that a lot of higher percentile players are gonna stack the s**t out of it which will result in a quick GG experience for anyone on the other side . And since the matchmaker cant make even teams even with solo players we can easily conclude how its gonna end up with groups mixed in there .
(r/Outreach repost)

#17 Hazeclaw

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 09:54 PM

fk it, if they really want to let us farm solo q this bad, yeah lets have some 4man clubbing fun until it's all dead

#18 denAirwalkerrr

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 10:06 PM

View PostMagic Pain Glove, on 20 April 2020 - 09:50 PM, said:

I don't really know about combining the queues . I know people want to play together , but it has the potential to totally skew the solo queue player experience . Matchmaker already fails to make somewhat balanced teams , imagine if you add groups in the equation and end up with multiple 99% percentile player groups on one side . Might as well call it a GG at the start of the match .
If the queues are to be combined , groups of 2 should be the upper limit . If 4 man is a thing in solo queue , you bet that a lot of higher percentile players are gonna stack the s**t out of it which will result in a quick GG experience for anyone on the other side . And since the matchmaker cant make even teams even with solo players we can easily conclude how its gonna end up with groups mixed in there .
(r/Outreach repost)

shush MPG Posted Image

#19 Vxheous

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 10:30 PM

View PostMagic Pain Glove, on 20 April 2020 - 09:50 PM, said:

I don't really know about combining the queues . I know people want to play together , but it has the potential to totally skew the solo queue player experience . Matchmaker already fails to make somewhat balanced teams , imagine if you add groups in the equation and end up with multiple 99% percentile player groups on one side . Might as well call it a GG at the start of the match .
If the queues are to be combined , groups of 2 should be the upper limit . If 4 man is a thing in solo queue , you bet that a lot of higher percentile players are gonna stack the s**t out of it which will result in a quick GG experience for anyone on the other side . And since the matchmaker cant make even teams even with solo players we can easily conclude how its gonna end up with groups mixed in there .
(r/Outreach repost)


It's the return of ggclose, when you can just say it at the beginning of the match.

#20 ccrider

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Posted 20 April 2020 - 10:44 PM

View PostVxheous, on 20 April 2020 - 10:30 PM, said:


It's the return of ggclose, when you can just say it at the beginning of the match.
does this mean LORDS will be back to farm pug groups on FP siege defense? Cuz I miss that. While we are at it, return the old Timbergod too so I get full immersion.





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