Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games apologizes for "a pretty big faux pas" which allowed streamers to bypass the queue for its latest expansion, Ultimatum.
In a frank and reflective explanation on the official subreddit, studio head Chris Wilson acknowledged that the launch had "been rough, to say the least" and sought to explain some of the issues that plagued the launch, as well as outline steps to remedy issues with queue times and server stability.
After detailing the "technical issues" that "catastrophically ruined" launch day despite plenty of stress tests, Wilson then explained that streamers had been getting priority in the login queue due to "human error".
"The decision to allow any streamers to bypass the queue was clearly a mistake," Wilson explained in a lengthy post (thanks, Eurogamer). "Instead of offering viewers something to watch while they waited, it offended all of our players who were eager to get into the game and weren't able to, while instead having to watch others enjoy that freedom.
"It's completely understandable that many players were unhappy about this. We tell people that Path of Exile league starts are a fair playing field for everyone, and we need to actually make sure that is the reality."
So: what is the team doing about it?
"We will not allow streamers to bypass the login queue in the future," Wilson said. "We will instead make sure the queue works much better so that it's a fast process for everyone and is always a fair playing field. We will also plan future marketing campaigns with contingencies in mind to better handle this kind of situation in the future."
You can read Wilson's full statement at the end of this post.
As for the sequel? Like so many other games, Path of Exile 2 is being slowed down by the pandemic. First announced back in 2019, some ARPG fans were hoping for Grinding Gear's Path of Exile sequel to launch this year, but Wilson recently confirmed that that was unlikely.
"I hate to blame COVID for stuff, but that is a big part of it at the moment," Wilson said at the time. "We have had difficulty hiring internationally because the borders to New Zealand are closed, so that has curtailed the exponential growth of our asset creation team a little bit.
"The progress of development hasn't been as fast as we wanted, and so our goal is to bash as hard as we can during 2021 on Path of Exile 2 stuff and see how much headway we make. Trying to get as much done as possible, and that'll give us a better idea of a good release date we can estimate, which should be towards the end of the year."
We ranked Path of Exile as one of the best free games to play right now.