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Squid Ink: Explaining the Low Priority Queue

Squid Ink: Explaining the Low Priority Queue

  • ReadyPlayer1
  • |
  • Aug 18, 2016

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In his regular column, Vainglory Senior Editor BicycleSquid highlights interesting, confusing, complex or obscure aspects of Vainglory. If you’d like to see a topic covered, let him know here.

We’ve received many player questions regarding the Low Priority Queue, our new system for punishing players for poor behavior. This article will discuss not only what the Low Priority Queue (LPQ) is, but how it works and why it’s a better system for dealing with bad behavior in the Vainglory community.

What is the Low Priority Queue?

The Low Priority Queue is a system of punishment for poor behavior. By “poor behavior,” we mean players who abandon matches, ping rudely, troll, dodge Hero Select and/or have seriously negative Karma. Per the Update 1.20 Notes: “The new Low Priority Queue is meant to keep repeat offenders away from you — while giving them an opportunity to earn their way back into the mainstream. The Low Priority Queue adds additional time to matchmaking for a set number of matches. Repeat offenders earn additional amount of queue time and increased number of probationary matches. Completing matches without poor behavior earns points toward returning to normal queue.”

Why We Don’t Typically Ban

Prior to implementing the Low Priority Queue, Vainglory used to ban players found to be engaging in poor behavior. Vainglory has decided to move away from banning as a form of punishment for two reasons: First, rather than feeling “punished,” players would simply walk away from the game for a couple of days. Sometimes, players wouldn’t even know they were being punished until after they returned to the game — only to find out their ban had expired. Walking away did not seem like punishment to us but rather a negligible inconvenience.

The other way players would avoid bans would be to create entirely new accounts or switch to another account. This practice, called “smurfing,” is exceptionally problematic for Vainglory’s community. If a high-skill player changes to another account and then enters the matching queue, they’ll be matched with low-skilled players and likely dominate them. Smurf accounts are a huge source of frustration for low-skill tier players who get paired with high-skill players.

Why We Switched to a Low Priority Queue

The idea of the LPQ is that it incentivizes players to stay with their actual account where the infraction occurred. The LPQ cannot be avoided: Players can walk away from the game for a couple of days, but they’ll still be in the LPQ if they haven’t served their punishment. The time in the LPQ scales with severity and frequency of poor behavior. Also, since the punishment is more time in queue, it feels more like a punishment that fits the crime.

Super Evil feels this is more fair to players. The amount of time the LPQ costs you is a lot less than a ban. The LPQ also sets up the right incentives for players. Instead of switching accounts to avoid the ban, you instead grind through the punishment. 

Bottom Line

The LPQ creates a system of punishment that requires less time spent away from the game, discourages smurf accounts and, most importantly, ensures that those who get punishments are actually punished.

Quality of Service

The LPQ really works — so long as we haven’t inadvertently introduced bugs or issues that could cause you to trigger a punishment you don’t deserve. We take our quality of service extremely seriously, and we monitor closely for LPQ frustration and issues that were truly not “your fault.” That said, in the overwhelming majority of cases, punishments are real and legitimate, and the LPQ system is ultimately designed to enforce a standard of behavior that will allow all good-behaving players to have the best possible time playing Vainglory.