Update on Server Issues and Compensation

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  • Update on Server Issues and Compensation

    Hi all,

    in this post we will give you a breakdown of the current server issues and how we are going to address them.

    In general, the underlying reason for the server issues is that the number of players we are seeing since launch has far far exceeded all of our forecasts. To give you an idea, our number of online users since launch has often exceeded those of EVE Online. This came as a total surprise to us, in particular taking into account that in Eve a part of the online users are afk and another part is on free 2 play accounts.

    Due to being a single shard game, meaning that everybody is part of the same game world, we face some unique challenges to adjust to the new situation. Having said that, we are very confident that all of the issues we currently have can be fixed, and it won't be long before we see significant improvements.

    1) Specific zones being overcrowded

    Problem: There is a hard technical limit to how many players can be in a single zone, and this limit does not depend on the type of hardware used. It has to do with the fact that the information the server has to processes grows exponentially with player numbers. Many of you will know the wheat and chessboard problem, it's similar to that. This can not be overcome by better hardware (we already use the best available) or more servers, as the amount of information stays the same. (to use a poor analogy: if you traveled back in time 20 years with a copy of Overwatch, you could not run it, even if you used the combined power of 1.000 PCs from back then)

    Solution: The short term solution is splitting overcrowded areas into multiple smaller ones, similar to how we have put the market and bank in Caerleon into their own mini-zones. The mid term solution is to have an instancing system for the market place of towns (i.e. only the center, and only for NPC buildings there) while leaving all the player made buildings in cities strictly non-instanced. In essence, the end result would be a much cleaner, better looking and more scalable overcrowded mode.

    2) Lag in large scale fights

    Problem: There is a hard technical limit to how many players can take part in a single fight without lag happening, in particular given that Albion's combat system is quite action based, with lots of things happening and spells being cast at the same time. No game in the world can exceed this limit, and how high it is largely depends on how fast paced and varied your combat is.

    Solution: Our combat performance in itself has not yet hit the hard technical limit. Through optimizations, we expect to push up the number of players who can take part in a fight without serious lag. Having said that, such a limit will always exist, again, having to do with the fact that information to be processed grows exponentially with player numbers. The solution to this problem is a strategy that we are already using successfully: we need to make sure that there are enough valid PvP targets at any point of time such that it is not economically worth it to send all your players to 1 spot (as they'd have to split the reward between them). In particular, this means that PvP objectives such as castles, chests, world bosses, etc will happen more often, and the times at which they happen will be more synchronized across the different Outland and royal regions.


    3) Server reboots

    Problem: Our main database is based on Apache Cassandra, designed to handle tons and tons of data in real time. It generally runs smoothly, and even at peak hours, only uses around 20% of its capacity. However, in irregular intervals, we are seeing spikes that last for a few minutes, and that then cause the current blackscreen and de-sync issues between individual zones and the main database, forcing us to reboot the servers.

    Solution: We have now established a direct contact with Apache Cassandra developers in order to identify and fix the current database issue. In principle, the database is more than able to cope, we just have to find out what's causing the current problems on a technical level.


    4) Compensation

    Many of you are rightfully upset and angry about the server issues post-launch. We would like to apologize for this and can assure you that everybody in our team is fully dedicated to fix them as soon as possible - our consumption of coffee certainly has increased by a factor of 10, and we have already signed up our lead programmers for the cast of the next season of The Walking Dead as they'd be able to play the zombie roles without needing any make-up. Joking aside: Everybody who has played between release and today will be compensated with an additional 7 days of premium time. In the unlikely case that we do not improve the server situation over the next 2 weeks, additional compensation will be awarded.

    Thanks for your patience and ongoing support!
  • FAQ

    1) When will the extra premium time be credited?

    This will take us a couple of days as all our focus in on fixing the server issues. It will of course happen before the initial 30d premium of Veteran accounts runs out.

    2) Who will get the extra premium time?

    All non-deleted characters that have played and obtained premium between release and today, 31st July, 23:59 UTC.
  • I'm not going to speculate here, but it seems something is fundamentally wrong. Be it due to a lack or foresight or a self-inflicted limitation, it's 2017. Everything should be made to scale, especially an MMO. As far as the compensation goes, I don't feel it's enough. Now, I've participated in worse launches and I appreciate what the devs have done and continue to do.. But many players have lost economical advantages, fallen off the fame curve, etc, due to these interruptions in service during prime time. @Bercilak this is your opportunity to do something big for the community, something we'll remember.. maybe something we can compare other MMOs to in the future and say.. "remember what SBI did for us after launch?". 7 days of premium? sorry, that doesn't even register.

    As I mentioned, I have participated in worse launches.. I appreciate the clear effort the developers and administrators have been putting in to provide us the world of Albion.
  • We appreciate immensely the honesty, dedication and kindness shown by the team at Sandbox Interactive towards the game and it's community. You did not need to compensate us but it shows a brilliant amount of class from the company. There is still much to be done, understandably so, and I have complete faith due to the ever openness and transparency shown by you guys.

    It would be greatly appreciated if there was more feedback and announcements regarding the condition of the server, especially during the time that black screens are occurring. Please don't be afraid to post on Twitter, Discord or these forums with information regarding the condition of the server as soon as symptoms arise.

    Once again, thanks and keep up the good work.
  • Only thing the problems so far have done to upset me is force me to lose all the silver I had after a few days of grinding hard. I work full time as a chef usually working 10/12 hours per day, and I like to unwind by gaming. I chose to do this by playing your game, which I have enjoyed a lot so far. However I decided to invest my Silver into the Market place by trying to sell some Ores. I placed the Sell Order before I went to bed, got up and went to work. When I got home I had an email saying they sold and my silver was being added to my account... and it wasn't so now im back to square one.... My question is simply: What are your ideas for helping compensate those people who have "wasted" hours of time grinding for materials to sell, only to lose it all over a technical error? Is there a way for this kind of thing to be avoided? I would love to hear from someone on this issue. I honestly don't mind fps drops every so often, or queuing at the log in screen for 5/10 mins, but I don't like losing progress. Thanks
  • Are u kidding me? Yesterday after restart, before maintance i lost 57550 gold and 750k silver, i instanly post msg on forum / emailed to support / writed a ticket / private msg to Talion. No reaction at all. After that, I lost my 3 plots in Bridgewatch because i have no money to defend it. And i have no chance to get more plots in cities as i planned. I dont need 7 days of useless premium, give me back my 3 plots and my gold. I played 10-16 hours a day to have a possibitity to be the city plot owner and now my 2 weeks of hardcore gameplay wasted. I have supported you with 100 $ and u dont even try to help solv my problem issued by your mistake.
  • Bercilak schrieb:

    1) Specific zones being overcrowded

    Problem: There is a hard technical limit to how many players can be in a single zone, and this limit does not depend on the type of hardware used. It has to do with the fact that the information the server has to processes grows exponentially with player numbers. Many of you will know the wheat and chessboard problem, it's similar to that. This can not be overcome by better hardware (we already use the best available) or more servers, as the amount of information stays the same. (to use a poor analogy: if you traveled back in time 20 years with a copy of Overwatch, you could not run it, even if you used the combined power of 1.000 PCs from back then)

    Solution: The short term solution is splitting overcrowded areas into multiple smaller ones, similar to how we have put the market and bank in Caerleon into their own mini-zones. The mid term solution is to have an instancing system for the market place of towns (i.e. only the center, and only for NPC buildings there) while leaving all the player made buildings in cities strictly non-instanced. In essence, the end result would be a much cleaner, better looking and more scalable overcrowded mode.



    Berc,


    On a non-technical level, is there any concern that this is too simple of an approach? EVE's game world is far larger than Albion. You're ultimately trying to fit a population larger than EVE into an extremely small environment, which forces players to form giant alliances. There's no upside to abandoning a zerg.

    I have concerns that increasing spawn times, creating new spawns, increasing resource spawns...these are all knee-jerk reactions that could have unintended consequences. The problem - it seems - is that you need the player-base to spread out, generally speaking. But, the game-world does not provide the resources (generally speaking) to accomplish that. So the options are:

    A. Create a second server (preferably in Europe to help the poor fellows with the latency).
    B. Double the size of the game world. Create new cities with markets, more BZ territory, etc. Give us more options so that we can disperse the load on your servers.


    So I guess my question is: Are you honest enough to give us a hard truth? Is the long-term A or B or neither? How long will it take to implement A or B if you decide to go that route.

    On a positive note, I would like to congratulate you on your success. Though this temporary set-back may be around longer than we would like, fundamentally this game is sound and I have not enjoyed myself this much since my days in Ultima Online, SWG, DAoC, etc.

    Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 5 mal editiert, zuletzt von Kest () aus folgendem Grund: quote fail

  • Bercilak schrieb:

    1) Specific zones being overcrowded
    Any thought about changing the map layout as not to force everyone through these certain zones? Or adding more zones for people to spread out? Certainly bring back the ports from the major cities to the black zones would encourage the population to spread out more evenly.

    Not to mention that EVE has over 8,000 systems compared to Albion in the double digits. If you're seeing numbers exceeding EVE's population...

    Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 1 mal editiert, zuletzt von VIrepCY ()

  • Bercilak schrieb:

    we need to make sure that there are enough valid PvP targets at any point of time such that it is not economically worth it to send all your players to 1 spot (as they'd have to split the reward between them). In particular, this means that PvP objectives such as castles, chests, world bosses, etc will happen more often, and the times at which they happen will be more synchronized across the different Outland and royal regions
    While I certainly understand doing this, it's not likely to actually alleviate your problem as long as certain pvp objectives have high priority and others are just nice-to-have.

    As long as something like a castle battle has such drastic success and failure outcomes, everyone will show up to the castle battle instead of the war chest.

    If one team shows restraint in limiting the numbers it brings, that does nothing that will encourage the other team to follow suit. If I triple the opponent's numbers and get a tactical position, our teams will both lag the same. I win for bringing more people. Everyone on castle battles will continue to bring their entire force.

    You need an anti-massive-zerg mechanic, or some kind of mechanic to incentivize engagements in several different locations.

    Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 1 mal editiert, zuletzt von zakaluka ()

  • Vortech schrieb:

    I'm not going to speculate here, but it seems something is fundamentally wrong. Be it due to a lack or foresight or a self-inflicted limitation, it's 2017. Everything should be made to scale, especially an MMO. As far as the compensation goes, I don't feel it's enough. Now, I've participated in worse launches and I appreciate what the devs have done and continue to do.. But many players have lost economical advantages, fallen off the fame curve, etc, due to these interruptions in service during prime time. @Bercilak this is your opportunity to do something big for the community, something we'll remember.. maybe something we can compare other MMOs to in the future and say.. "remember what SBI did for us after launch?". 7 days of premium? sorry, that doesn't even register.

    As I mentioned, I have participated in worse launches.. I appreciate the clear effort the developers and administrators have been putting in to provide us the world of Albion.
    I agree...