• # Cluster Queue

Hey there,

in the past weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about the smart cluster queue feature introduced with Queen.

With this post, we'd like to give an overview of the situation and share with you the steps that we consider taking.

What is the goal of the cluster queue?

There are hard tech limits to how many players can fight in a single zone. These tech limits are not subject to hardware, meaning that no matter how many servers we use, they can't be exceeded without causing massive issues. We have been able to extend this limit substantially since the game's release, but that won't change the fact that such a limit will always exist.

Now, prior to the cluster queue, it was possible to block off a zone by placing a large number of players there and reaching the zone player cap. This stopped other players from entering entirely.

The goal of the cluster queue is to prevent zone capping.

How does the cluster queue balance?

In simple terms: if you bring exactly twice as many players to a fight than your opponent, you can expect to get twice as many players into the zone than your opponent - not more, not less.

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.

What about the "cluster queue abuse" that is often brought up?

Currently, 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.

There is a strategy that seeks to exploit this: the attacker A camps all entrances to the zone that they try to attack. When they zone in, the cluster queue gets activated. The defender D, already inside the zone, then has some players ported out by the cluster queue. So far, so good. Now here is the key of the strategy: If the attacker can prevent the the players of the defender to re-queue for the zone (as they control all the entrances), it means that when the cluster queue updates the next time, the total number of players of the defender that they have in the queue and zone has been reduced while the number of players of the attacker has stayed the same. Hence, additional players from the defender will be removed by the queue.

Right now, the counter-play to that strategy for the defender is to make sure that they control at least one of the entrances to their zone. If they do, they have safe port out spot for players affected by the cluster queue. These players can then immediately re-queue after being kicked out. Then, the next time the cluster queue updates, there will be no further kick outs.

If, however, the attacker outnumbers the defender by such a margin that they can easily control all 4 entrances, then it is extremely hard for the defender to prevail. Having said that, one could argue that if you are so heavily outnumbered, you would also not have prevailed if there was no zone cap at all. However, this does not mean that we consider the current situation to be fine. We are closely looking into it and have a set of measures lined up to improve the situation.

Measures we intend to take

Note that as always when it comes to balancing highly complex game mechanics, the below list is subject to changes and adjustments.
• With the next patch, the disarray curve will be flattened to reduce the relative power of split up alliances. However, at the same time, players inside in the cluster queue will now count towards the disarray debuff inside of the zone. Hence, if you heavily stuff the queue with a lot of players to as many people inside of the zone out, you'll be penalized for that through a stronger disarray
• A potential weakness here is that the attacker - then subject to a stronger disarray - could immediately zone back out and then solely focus on hunting down the defenders players who got ported out.
• To counter this, shortly after the patch (was not ready in time for the patch as we needed to rework some queue logic), we intend to do one of the following:
• Option a) We will introduce a feature that prevents players who entered a zone through the cluster queue from leaving the zone for a certain time (say, 60-90 seconds). With this in place, once an attacker stuffs the queue to kick players outs, his own players that get ported in will be subject to a high disarray debuff and won't be able to immediately run back out, hence, giving the defender a very proper counter-attack option. We might combine this with a longer zone-in bubble to prevent the defender from effectively camping the entrance on the other side.
• Option b) An alternative to the above is to allow attackers who enter a zone via the CQ to leave the zone as normal, but if they do and then re-queue, their "queue weight" for that zone would be set to 0 for that zone. We might combine this with a longer zone-in bubble to prevent the defender from effectively camping the entrance on the other side.
• Both a) and b) would allow the defender to launch a counter-attack option against one of the entrance once the attacker has zoned in, in particular if the attacker decides to split his force to camp all 4 entrances, as the defender can then choose to counter-attack only against one of the opponents forces.
• If the attacker concentrates his force at 1 entrance, however, he can pretty much zone in as normal, having his forces in one place starting a normal engage after the original zone in.
• We are also looking into ways to give alliances more options in deciding in which order their players get removed by the cluster queue - for example, to allow them from keeping their party structures largely intact or preventing their healers from getting ported out, etc.
• We are also looking into giving players who are ported out of the zone via the CQ a longer lasting and better protection bubble, possibly one that is similar to the one you can get in portal zones (i.e. invisibility, invulnerability and silence). This should make hunting down players who got ported out much harder.
We think there is a very good chance that the above changes will largely deal with the above mentioned "cluster queue abuse" strategy. We'll keep evaluating the situation and make further changes and adjustments if required.

We are looking forward to your feedback.
• Please, take under consideration how at certain times the Cluster Queue does not let you come out of the hideout/dungeon and let's you queue from a very far away to portal entrance to the zone you actually want to enter because the main fight is there.

I am afraid the proposed changes will make alt-slave guilds stronger. All of the guild that will focus on flooding the zones Bloodlusts, Bacons, POE coalition Derrick's slave guilds (not all of them are using in-game Alliance feature) they are avoiding your debuffs, so how exactly are you going to consider various NAPs in your Cluster Queue balancing logic...?
Im więcej ludzi na ZvZ tym Surfy i Poe będą mniej hajsu chcieli za nie wyjebanie waszej ziemianki. Wojna Polsko Polska AO. Wesołe Ziemniaczki.
• Can you start considering major alliances as malicious entities and straight out ban their leadership they continue to work around your debuffs do not be *kitty kats pussies* pull the trigger cut the abuse already. Someone else will fuel the economy of this game someone who does not intend to abuse mechanics you are introducing to balance to large scale conflicts.
Im więcej ludzi na ZvZ tym Surfy i Poe będą mniej hajsu chcieli za nie wyjebanie waszej ziemianki. Wojna Polsko Polska AO. Wesołe Ziemniaczki.
• implementing mechanics that provides huge advantage to whoever is in the zone first, is promoting the worst possible form of gameplay there is.

/F
• ### Sinatra.SUN wrote:

implementing mechanics that provides huge advantage to whoever is in the zone first, is promoting the worst possible form of gameplay there is.

/F
the gameplay can't get much worse right now... and for sure they will break things before they fix them but something needs to be done
• ### Sinatra.SUN wrote:

implementing mechanics that provides huge advantage to whoever is in the zone first, is promoting the worst possible form of gameplay there is.

That is indeed a concern.

However, what should counter-balance this is that right now, due to the cluster queue based strategy described above, the people who are in the zone first have a disadvantage if they have to defend an object in the zone that is not close to an exit. They'd have to pick between contesting at least 1 exit and/or protecting the object (hideout, tower) that they are trying to defend.

That's essentially a defenders disadvantage. A timer that prevents the attacker from leaving the zone for 60s off-sets this. These two factors will balance out, ideally in a way that creates a situation that better overall than what we currently have.
• The worst kind of gameplay there is when you have 3-5 CTAs per day, when you sit at your computer supposedly for entertainment but not enough according to the "leadership" and you start thinking if playing Albion is full-time job.

Less pretend-to-be #content, less power for wealthy guilds and alliances, more genuine interactions from small/medium communities of this game coming on top of the large.

Im więcej ludzi na ZvZ tym Surfy i Poe będą mniej hajsu chcieli za nie wyjebanie waszej ziemianki. Wojna Polsko Polska AO. Wesołe Ziemniaczki.

### Sinatra.SUN wrote:

implementing mechanics that provides huge advantage to whoever is in the zone first, is promoting the worst possible form of gameplay there is.
That is indeed a concern.

However, what should counter-balance this is that right now, due to the cluster queue based strategy described above, the people who are in the zone first have a disadvantage if they have to defend an object in the zone that is not close to an exit. They'd have to pick between contesting at least 1 exit and/or protecting the object (hideout, tower) that they are trying to defend.

That's essentially a defenders disadvantage. A timer that prevents the attacker from leaving the zone for 60s off-sets this. These two factors will balance out, ideally in a way that creates a situation that better overall than what we currently have.
Keep in mind that these rules also mean that any scout you send in will die, and getting intel from the defending zone will be a lot harder.
Dungeons and hideouts dont work either as you cannot zone out from those if the zone is locked.

this means that the way to win, is to get in a zone and zonelock it first - and then the win is secured, and attackers cannot zone in and out to get intel on the defending layout, and when attackers then zone in to fight under these difficult circumstances they also get everyone in the qeues numbers added to their dissaray on top.

The strategy will be to be there first, and fill the zone - and i cannot really imagine any worse gameplay than this.
• Or maybe the only solution is to make instanced territory battles , bring back GVG but with 100,200 players . I m really not a fan of instanced content but for me atm the only solution it's ZERG GVG. less lag for everyone , more faire fight , if you are a large alliance you keep your advantage by launching on more territory and if you are a medium alliances you can compet for your territory . and its really harder to abuse the mechanic
• Would it not be possible for the larger alliances or NAP's to remain under separate alliance tags as to avoid generating debuff for their allies when they que up?
• Well,

My feedback is, that you try to solve something that doesn't work.

1) you said it, unlimited amount of people don't work, hw and n+n interaction gives super expo growth that cannot be handled no matter what hw u throw at
2) any mechanic u implement to handle it will get abused u try solve it since early days it doesn't work
3) the only thing that will work to hard cap it and make it instanced
4) the interesting thing is, who can place an attack
I would say, the people that do most in the zone.. most fame done in the zone, except owner last 24 hours can place an attack. Pve fame, pvp fame, hg played from the zone
Make the people and the gatherer worth..make dungeon dive worth..
And have a statistics at the zone, who has which fame and what guild can place
5) make the defence instanced, 50 on 50 or 100 on 100 - still good promotion.. or even make this 20 on 20 in a t5 zone..maybe even IP capped..and 50 on 50 for t6..100 on 100 for t7.. 200 on.. for t8

If u try something for several years and it not works..change it fundamentaly
• ### Hollywoodi wrote:

Well,

My feedback is, that you try to solve something that doesn't work.

1) you said it, unlimited amount of people don't work, hw and n+n interaction gives super expo growth that cannot be handled no matter what hw u throw at
2) any mechanic u implement to handle it will get abused u try solve it since early days it doesn't work
3) the only thing that will work to hard cap it and make it instanced
4) the interesting thing is, who can place an attack
I would say, the people that do most in the zone.. most fame done in the zone, except owner last 24 hours can place an attack. Pve fame, pvp fame, hg played from the zone
Make the people and the gatherer worth..make dungeon dive worth..
And have a statistics at the zone, who has which fame and what guild can place
5) make the defence instanced, 50 on 50 or 100 on 100 - still good promotion.. or even make this 20 on 20 in a t5 zone..maybe even IP capped..and 50 on 50 for t6..100 on 100 for t7.. 200 on.. for t8

If u try something for several years and it not works..change it fundamentaly
Hey there,

we actually had an instanced system for territory control for several years, and despite numerous changes, improvements and constant fine-tuning it ultimately did not work out. That's why we changed to an open world system. Such a system has its issues as well - such as the issue described above - however, on balance, it's doing much better than the instanced system did.

To just name the key issues instanced systems:
• needs complex attack declaration logic that prevents owners from making their asset safe by fake attacking it via their own alt guild.
• Will encourage elite A-Teams to form who will dominate every even numbered fight with close to 0 risk. In an open world setting, stuff can always go wrong and fights and gear can be lost.
• While A-Teams can't be everywhere at the same time, if you declare an attack, you always have to consider that an A-Team will show up on defense - with minimal risk for said A-Team. Even if you they don't show up and win the fight, the A-Team is going to take their territory back on the next day or shortly thereafter.
• What this leads to is that territory conquest will be in the hands of a very small number of players, who will heavily dominate everyone else, with a far bigger margin than what we have right now in an open world setting. Barriers to entry for new players to take part in territory conquest will become extremely high, only a very small percentage of the player base will become relevant for territory conquest.
The key benefits of an open world system are that
• everyone can take part and contribute
• there is always risk, also for the best players, as stuff can always go wrong and allegiances change
• it is better at encouraging conflict than an instanced system

### Sinatra.SUN wrote:

implementing mechanics that provides huge advantage to whoever is in the zone first, is promoting the worst possible form of gameplay there is.
That is indeed a concern.
However, what should counter-balance this is that right now, due to the cluster queue based strategy described above, the people who are in the zone first have a disadvantage if they have to defend an object in the zone that is not close to an exit. They'd have to pick between contesting at least 1 exit and/or protecting the object (hideout, tower) that they are trying to defend.

That's essentially a defenders disadvantage. A timer that prevents the attacker from leaving the zone for 60s off-sets this. These two factors will balance out, ideally in a way that creates a situation that better overall than what we currently have.
Keep in mind that these rules also mean that any scout you send in will die, and getting intel from the defending zone will be a lot harder.Dungeons and hideouts dont work either as you cannot zone out from those if the zone is locked.

this means that the way to win, is to get in a zone and zonelock it first - and then the win is secured, and attackers cannot zone in and out to get intel on the defending layout, and when attackers then zone in to fight under these difficult circumstances they also get everyone in the qeues numbers added to their dissaray on top.

The strategy will be to be there first, and fill the zone - and i cannot really imagine any worse gameplay than this.
We updated the OP with a different way to tackle the zone in issue.
• ### Korn wrote:

The key benefits of an open world system are that
• everyone can take part and contribute

are you really aware of that

An outpost that scores at 03:00 UTC, an audience trying to get it at 15UTC. so outpost does not know what it is for. players are used. focus on it. as money or as a human. they are used like slaves and they are not aware.

you have to give them the opportunity to be noob, to learn the game. Cmon boys, they come zvz with split hunter. There are those who come to war with a fishing rod.

The subject is very simple, the large number is winning. The ones who are playing the game right now don't write their own story as you said in the advertisements. A slave in someone else's story, a slave who plays your game.

I wish we could return to server problems days. server problem hardware or software. I always trusted that you could solve them. but I do not trust that it can solve the problem of in-game tactics. Whatever you do. one day you will have to make the system from scratch.

### Hollywoodi wrote:

Well,

My feedback is, that you try to solve something that doesn't work.

1) you said it, unlimited amount of people don't work, hw and n+n interaction gives super expo growth that cannot be handled no matter what hw u throw at
2) any mechanic u implement to handle it will get abused u try solve it since early days it doesn't work
3) the only thing that will work to hard cap it and make it instanced
4) the interesting thing is, who can place an attack
I would say, the people that do most in the zone.. most fame done in the zone, except owner last 24 hours can place an attack. Pve fame, pvp fame, hg played from the zone
Make the people and the gatherer worth..make dungeon dive worth..
And have a statistics at the zone, who has which fame and what guild can place
5) make the defence instanced, 50 on 50 or 100 on 100 - still good promotion.. or even make this 20 on 20 in a t5 zone..maybe even IP capped..and 50 on 50 for t6..100 on 100 for t7.. 200 on.. for t8

If u try something for several years and it not works..change it fundamentaly
Hey there,
we actually had an instanced system for territory control for several years, and despite numerous changes, improvements and constant fine-tuning it ultimately did not work out. That's why we changed to an open world system. Such a system has its issues as well - such as the issue described above - however, on balance, it's doing much better than the instanced system did.

To just name the key issues instanced systems:
• needs complex attack declaration logic that prevents owners from making their asset safe by fake attacking it via their own alt guild.
• Will encourage elite A-Teams to form who will dominate every even numbered fight with close to 0 risk. In an open world setting, stuff can always go wrong and fights and gear can be lost.
• While A-Teams can't be everywhere at the same time, if you declare an attack, you always have to consider that an A-Team will show up on defense - with minimal risk for said A-Team. Even if you they don't show up and win the fight, the A-Team is going to take their territory back on the next day or shortly thereafter.
• What this leads to is that territory conquest will be in the hands of a very small number of players, who will heavily dominate everyone else, with a far bigger margin than what we have right now in an open world setting. Barriers to entry for new players to take part in territory conquest will become extremely high, only a very small percentage of the player base will become relevant for territory conquest.
The key benefits of an open world system are that
• everyone can take part and contribute
• there is always risk, also for the best players, as stuff can always go wrong and allegiances change
• it is better at encouraging conflict than an instanced system

I am sorry, but u comments don't match the proposed solution.

If an attack is based on, who did most fame in the zone the last 24 hours, it is very hard to friend attack. The friend guild to fake the attack has to really live in the zone they help, and there will.be a lot of pvp.

Suggestion: Reread the condition how an attack is placed

Elitism and A-team: while this is true for gvg the proposed solution is a 200 on 200 for a t8 battle

Overall: it seemed u stopped read at "instanced", did Not read carefully what was proposed and wrote a why instanced is crap not matching the content and even reflecting it.

BlOn top u cluster queue basically makes the whole thing more or less instanced, too..as it delimit how many people can enter a zone

This approach of not carefully reading and just throwing something not reflecting proposal is NOT beneficial if u want constructive feedback my friend ..

On a Side remark, the proposed solution is way better as the current, as it creates 24 hours content for Zergs, small groups, solos and gatherers. Your current solution is just an hour and has all the issues described. On top with me solution playability and player experience in relation to lag can be customized...

But well, I just can give you a solution that Is better and will actually work. But of course you can further work on disarray and cluster queue, but most people I know are convinced it is a failed Approach..

The post was edited 3 times, last by Hollywoodi ().

• @Korn, I don’t think the cluster queue system is going to work long term for Albion. I know a lot of work is going into it, but a simple point I’d like to make is that it’s just not fun to be ported out of a battle automatically. Even the possibility of it is a turn off for many players.

It honestly seems like the only way around this very complex problem is 1.) to keep an artificial cap on alliances, and then SEVERELY punish hand holding through negative or positive action mechanics. A positive action punishment could be rewarding significantly more season points for ZvZ captures that involve less attacking guilds/alliances. If the territory is captured with fewer attacking groups participating in combat, let the territory start at level 2 or level 3. Or, if it is captured with fewer groups, it gets a timed bonus season point generation buff for a number of days on ownership transfer.

2.) How to deal with zone capping? Use negative action punishments. If an attacking or defending group wins a territory with over 50% of the zone’s character limit cap, the territory gets a season point generation debuff for a number of days. Let this debuff severity scale with the percentage over half that the winning group has at peak as the ZvZ takes place. To counteract NAP partners from assisting in zone capping for the primary attacker (or defender), the most severe punishment should be given. If there are more than two groups during a ZvZ in a zone that has reached cap, (all attacking groups See below) get a disarray debuff that scales with the percentage more players those groups have than the defending (or attacking) group. A warning should flash on screen when the zone has reached cap in this scenario to let groups know they have ~a certain amount of time before this disarray becomes active.

Ideally, this would reward groups for not hand holding and punish groups for exploiting the zone cap.

Edit: I just realized I left a loophole for defending groups to cap zones using NAP partnerships. For this you could determine if each extra group over two is attacking a larger percentage of the defender or attacker group and then apply the disarray debuff to whatever group is exploiting NAPs. If a group other than the defender is in the zone and not attacking anybody during zone cap, apply a significant season point generation debuff to all territories this group owns or apply a general fame debuff to the guild/alliance of this group for a number of days. Make sure this non-attacking group has plenty of warnings to leave the zone or participate in the ZvZ so random guilds or alliances are not caught off guard with the resulting debuff.

Edit 2: Changed the consequences for non attacking groups during zone cap in Edit1.

The post was edited 3 times, last by Fondren ().

• So yeah, these changes will make cluster queue better, but honestly, what's the difference between zone locking and cluster queue zone locking? You just acknowledged numbers are everything and as I explained in my post, fighting larger numbers is harder than ever.

It's like you focus so much to resolve symptoms and not the root cause we will circle around again for months until you realise that yourself..

Makes me kinda sad we will continue this madness for the next couple months. At least I hope you have any measures that could tell you if you succeeded or failed other than community memes, anyway gl..
• WE NEED A BIT MORE CHAOS IN THIS GAME MORE SMALL SCALE ZVZ
Make hideouts guild only, 1 hideout per guild available
Make territory instant claimable after killing mages, make mages more durable, remove tower and remove next day attack to claim territory system

WHAT HAPPENS NOW
People leave this game everyday, there is no content on world map, 0 competition
Make your own guild devs for test and set attack on any territory you will see what happen - next day when you want to fight for this territory the POE abusers zerg debuff 10 000 people handholding alliance will come. They will block every nearest map with 200 players blob. Join POE (almost half server is there) or go play another game. This is how actual game looks like
• ### glokz wrote:

So yeah, these changes will make cluster queue better, but honestly, what's the difference between zone locking and cluster queue zone locking? You just acknowledged numbers are everything and as I explained in my post, fighting larger numbers is harder than ever.

It's like you focus so much to resolve symptoms and not the root cause we will circle around again for months until you realise that yourself..

Makes me kinda sad we will continue this madness for the next couple months. At least I hope you have any measures that could tell you if you succeeded or failed other than community memes, anyway gl..
@Korn

Basically everyone taking the effort to give you feedback as I read it keeps telling you, you are on the wrong trail

You need a radical change. I feel you keep delaying progress and evolution of your game by doing the x. Redevelopment and adjustment of disarray and cq.

There was a ton of proposal, for a radical change. Of course, you can keep ignoring it, and until real competition is there, this might actually even work..

But there is a lot of competition "ante portas", some extremely similar to Albion, full loot and already with naval combat and housing..

I really do hope that u are not too proud to do the big turn on the approach, as I like Albion, and have invested a lot of time in the game..

We will see..
• Can we do something about the way castles and outposts work? Right now we have alliances/guilds sending literally +100 people just to defend small outposts.

I would like to suggests each map having a 2nd prime time that is exactly 12 hours ahead of the original prime time.

1st prime time provides 75% of the current points for castles/outposts.
2nd prime time provides 25% of the current points for castles/outposts.

Such a system isn't complicated but will add alot more contestable locations all around the black zone. Suddenly it becomes much more difficult to monopolize the zone and more guilds will try their luck traveling to other regions to get season points.

I think it would help split up giant forces from trying to claim everything.