In online games, a rough patch during a major patch (pun intended) isn’t that uncommon. Path of Exile, in all the years it’s been running, is no stranger to that sort of problem. But gaming has changed in many ways in the past few years. And this time, Grinding Gear Games kind of created the problem themselves, and no PoE Currency can fix it.
By the Clock and By the Numbers
This happened during the launch of Ultimatum. Because of a rather high number of players being transferred from the Ritual League back into the Standard League, players had to go through a queue before they can log in. At the rate it was happening, all players would have taken at least two hours to get into the game.
To resolve that problem, GGG decided to disable the migration process. This would greatly hasten the process. That, however, would mean players will miss some progress in Standard. It’s alright though, as that can be resolved later on; what mattered most at that time was for players to get into the game right away. Unfortunately, the server, for a lack of a better word, freaked out because of the huge number of players being logged in and dumped some of them. This went on every ten minutes. Because of this, GGG was left with no other choice but to do something that will fix the issue once in for all, but in exchange will cause downtime.
Granted, the downtime was only for 30 minutes to an hour, but such a thing happening on an expansion launch day is understandable. The other thing that happened, however, not so much. And what might that be? Well, it’s just Grinding Gear Games allowing a few streamers to skip the queue.
Downstream of the Problem
See, Grinding Gear Games planned to give Path of Exile: Ultimatum more exposure in the most 2021 way possible: streamers. Mind you, the studio paid for these streamers, so if they cannot log in, then that would be like throwing away the money they spent on them. To make sure they do not waste what they’ve already spent, they decided to just let streamers cut the queue. That, of course, did not sit well with a lot of players.
It’s only natural for regular players to feel like they’ve been sidetracked. After all, they are the ones that play and financially support Path of Exile the most. At the same time, while Grinding Gear Games could’ve done better, it’s understandable that they panicked and made a decision that will allow them to make sure that their spending won’t be for nothing. It’s also understandable that many players continue to be unhappy, and whether GGG will do something to rectify this mistake remains to be seen.
What’s in Path of Exile Ultimatum
For those that have been out of the loop, Path of Exile has a new expansion. Entitled Ultimatum, it is one of the last few major updates for Path of Exile before the sequel comes rolling in. That, however, is not – or at least not primarily – the reason why it is named as such. Rather, it is because its core content involves players fighting in an arena where they get a reward for winning a battle, and after that they are given an ultimatum as to whether they will accept it or not. If they refuse, they will fight again, and if they win once more, they will be given an even better reward. This goes on until they either accept the reward or defeated in battle.
Aside from that, the patch will also tweak past content. While Harvest is going to be nerfed, the other endgame content such as Delve, Blight, Bleach, Betrayal, and many others will be improved. This is to encourage players into trying them out again instead of only going for Harvest.
The latest patch will also have Inscribed Ultimatums, PoE items that are used on a map device to bring players to the Trial Master’s Domain. Those that want one can get it the old-fashioned way or through PoE Trade. There, the Trial Master will ask them to wager an item. If they manage to win, they will receive another copy of the item they wagered.
Finally, there are going to be new PoE items. Aside from the usual new PoE Uniques, there will also be eight new skill gems: four are active and blood-themed, which means their mechanics involve low health and even consuming health.
With so many things in store for the players, it should be no surprise that the Ultimatum fiasco was such a big deal. Hopefully GGG manages to mend the good relationship it has with its player base, the same way it managed to fix its servers.