Pre-ordering Dominion…for science – Games Workshop’s new queuing system


As someone who regularly orders limited items – boxes, books and miniatures – I was a bit skeptical of the new queueing system. If there’s something I want 100%, I’ve always made time at 10:00 to be on the site and grabbing my loot. I may have been lucky in the past (and I don’t go for much 40K stuff) but I’ve never missed out on anything when I was there at five to ten ready. I didn’t like the idea of being put into a 40 minute virtual queue, then finding out the items I wanted were no longer available.

So, when it came to Dominion pre-order day I thought I’d try ordering through GW as a bit of an experiment, to see what the experience was like – I was already going to buy the box anyway obviously!

I logged on as usual at around 09:50, store was down and once 10:00 ticked around I was greeted with the “You are in a queue” message – expected waiting time of 1 hour!

I left my phone for a bit, checked back around 10:20 and my wait was down to around 10 minutes. I finally got on the store at 10:32.

I liked the stock update, but it didn’t help me if I’m after anything else that’s up for pre-order

I really struggled to add things to my cart; the site was still almost unusable even with a queue in place. I knew I only had 10 minutes, so tried to get the box (and coins) plus the special edition Orruk book in my basket. For some reason GW didn’t link from the homepage to all the pre-orders like they have for the last couple of months, so I had to use the “Refine” button and wait ~30 seconds after each click.

Expecting the worst, I finally got to the basket and was pleasantly surprised to see that everything was still in stock. Tapped checkout and was presented with the Login with My Warhammer screen. Usually I make sure I’m logged in and ready, but slipped my mind with the site being down early; I was torn about whether to try logging in as I didn’t want to lose my place or basket.

In the end I decided to log in. No idea if this caused me to be booted, or my time was up but the next screen I saw was “you are in a queue”. 18 minute wait. And I had to wait; I finally got back in at 10:57. Incidentally I was taken straight to PayPal, so I’m thinking my time had just ran out as I went to checkout – maybe these URLs could be excluded from the queue?

Again, I was sure I’d be dumped back on GW with an error message saying something was out of stock. But, I wasn’t!

Happy days

So, what do I think of the queue?

Let’s do the pros first. I think it will put casual scalpers off. It’s a lot more difficult to put multiple orders through as you’ll be randomly allocated a place in the queue – some people will still try it on, but hey-ho. I wouldn’t be bothering.

I also think I’d be more in favour if the queue told me more about what stock was available. I’d be annoyed waiting up to an hour only to find a book was long gone.

Cons then – the site still suffered from a load perspective. It was a very clunky experience getting things located and in the basket. A larger order would have been stressful in ten minutes!

Having to allocate up to an hour of your life to order something that used to take 5 minutes is also slightly frustrating.

Taking the entire site down for pre-orders for every time zone though is a bit short-sighted; a lot of people browse the site a lot for research and painting tips, having to queue for this doesn’t make sense.

Overall, I think it’s a positive move. I like collectibles, and there’s not much GW can do about resellers so this at least gives everyone a shot.

GW store terminals are also exempt from queueing, so if you’re wanting something and can get there it makes sense to go in first thing and order.

It’s hard to gauge based on this release, as there’s tons of boxes been made – at the time I write this there’s loads of FLGS still got first wave stock available and the GW site still has the pre-order bonuses in stock (LE books are gone as expected though).

Another nice side-effect seems to be that there’s not been as much negativity – usually the WarCom Twitter posts are swamped with angry comments, but the few posts I looked at earlier seemed to have positive and “normal” discourse. Again, don’t know if this is because everyone who wanted a box could get one.

It’ll be interesting to see how the next big release goes. Orks?

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