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Alpha 15 Deployed

Ryan Dancey
Release Notes are up!
Azure_Zero
Nice
Harad Navar
I found a Smallholding at Hex -11.00, at the crossroads.
Knowledge can explain the darkness, but it is not a light.
Lee Hammock
That's actually not a smallholding; that is a partial implementation of some location based achievements that will be more complete on a future update.
Harad Navar
Cool.
Knowledge can explain the darkness, but it is not a light.
Probitas
So to manage the load issue, you prevent access?

Isn't that just a way of saying if the area you want to play in is busy, sorry, you ain't playing in it? And if that area has what you are trying to reach, say a city hex, or a particular material, too bad, don't bother playing?

I sure hope that's not a permanent way to manage load, because long term it won't work well. No one wants to pay and then find out that you can't enter certain hexes if players coordinate to prevent access. And please don't try and state it won't happen. Players are human, and ANY leverage they can execute they will do it. Guaranteed.

Imagine trying to take a tower, and they keep just enough players in there to stop it. (I'm not sure of the population that magically locks an area out, if it's high enough it may not matter, depending. If the threshold is enough for a coordinated defense of the hex by more than one company/guild, even if they can't lock it out, they can certainly prevent access by numbers large enough to threaten their holding. And I highly doubt we want that kind of meta gaming to occur.) The other is access control, and by controlling the surrounding hexes if the hex entry is restricted, such as up a mountain access route, you would be able to control the access to a large area of the game with comparatively minimal resources.

Yes, I know, alpha, not release, but I thought it needed mentioning, since it intimated the possibility that hex pop caps could be permanent.
Kitsune
I also cringed when I read the notes about popcaps (nice term, Probitas… we should use it…smile. The idea of a "single-server MMO" gets violated very intimately.

Based on the ideals that the dev team has described to us throughout the blogs and forum posts over these past couple years, I would assume that the popcaps are most certainly a temporary/bandaid measure until more they can start getting more income (subs) and upgrade the servers… Or otherwise make software improvements on the existing hardware to support more people in a given hex/area.

But, if we're being realistic here, there will probably always be a popcap somewhere. Even if the number is impractically high, there will always be a limit before stuff fails or otherwise becomes "unplayably laggy."
Ryan Dancey
Every MMO has the issue of too many players in a given space. It's just a function of math. The resource load increases with the square of the number of characters, and eventually there's no physical way to service that load.

Right now EVE has the record for MMO density with something like 2,000 active accounts in a shared space. To achieve that, they use a technology they call Time Dilation. Instead of running at realtime, the game gets slower and slower as more and more people enter the gamespace. For EVE, that works because the "characters" are ships and it doesn't seem that weird for ships to move more slowly. But imagine in our game if people started to run slower and slower as the population increased until they were in super-slo-mo. Yes, it allows the game to function, but no, it's not a really great visual experience.

EVE's system heartbeat is about 1 second long. So you really can't do anything in that game that takes less than 1 second. You don't dodge attacks or respond to things you see other ships about to do. You click a button, and eventually your ship does what you ordered it to do. Running that system in time dilation is also mostly harmless - it just takes longer and longer between button presses to see any results. In our game, it would be really difficult to time your actions and reactions as time slowed down. When do you click a button to interrupt a spellcaster? When do you know that your target has taken a condition that you can capitalize on?

If there are no restrictions on population density then you can crash a server by zerging it. That always benefits the defender - they can break a conflict if they're losing. It is also really abusive. People will just crash servers "for the lulz". These are issues that MMOs have dealt with since Ultima Online, and we'll deal with them too.

Long term our goal is that most of the time you won't ever know there's a limit. Through game design that is built to spread the population we will keep the normal density low. We have a plan for mass combat that combines characters into units and those units will multiply the number of characters that can be in a shared game space by sacrificing their individual ability to act. But there has to be some kind of upper boundary because without one the players will crash the servers as a tactic and "just because".
Nihimon
Kitsune
… there will probably always be a popcap somewhere.

Yep. Even World of Warcraft has population caps on their servers.

Ryan Dancey
We have a plan for mass combat that combines characters into units and those units will multiply the number of characters that can be in a shared game space by sacrificing their individual ability to act.

And this is what I'm really looking forward to seeing. I think it's going to be awesome smile
Nihimon murmurs in sheer ecstasy as the magic courses through his veins
Nihimon
Some time back, the menu was changed so that Log Out was no longer an option. It was said that logging out without completely restarting the client might leave the client in an unstable state.

Several times recently, when I've desynched and been kicked out, it did not exit the client but rather put me at the login prompt. When this happens, should I go ahead and exit the client, or is it intentional and I should just log back in?
Nihimon murmurs in sheer ecstasy as the magic courses through his veins
 
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