My earlier assertion that there were no queues on the server on which I am playing The Old Republic has proven to be short-lived. My guild is on The Red Eclipse EU PvE server and there are currently around 90 minutes of queues to get onto the server every evening. It's not a major problem for me, it just means I have to log on 90 minutes before I'm expecting to play, but I know it's caused issues for some guild members who have had to log off and then tried to get on.
The long queues are down to a couple of reasons. First of all the massive interest in the game (which doesn't even formally launch until tomorrow) means that everyone who pre-ordered is logging on at the same time. Secondly, Bioware are throttling the servers to try and even out populations until after launch so that new players will go to less populated servers. They have said that they will increase population caps once the server populations have started to settle down. If it works this means that we will end up on a server with a good healthy population and minimal queues. Let's hope they get the balance right!
There are currently 144 servers showing on the official server status page, which break down as 78 in the US and 66 in the EU, and Bioware are adding more every day.
The main reason for this post is to point out a great new website that tracks the status of each server, detailing uptimes, population graphs over time and server details. Torstatus.net contains a lot of useful information, for example, the graph below shows the population density on The Red Eclipse (the server I play on) over the last seven days.
The following graph shows the same information over the last 24 hours, and clearly displays that if you wanted to avoid any queues you would need to have logged on before 6pm.
The final graph shows the population trends on the server over the past few days. This graph shows that the overall population has already started to fall slightly (or that Bioware have started to increase the population cap).
It's worth pointing out that despite the large population and queues, once I've actually logged onto the server there has been absolutely no lag and my connection has been rock solid. If things stay that way and the queues eventually shrink it will be worth this initial pain to have a large and healthy server community (in previous MMOs I've had issues with dead servers once the first couple of months have passed. I don't think that will be an issue on The Red Eclipse).