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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Everybody Hurts

Take a load off Fannie, take a load for free;
Take a load off Fannie, And (and) (and) you can put the load right on me.
The Band - The Weight

Lets take a look at the fleet fight notification form:

Please use the below form to notify CCP of any planned large fleet operations. The information submitted here will be kept in strictest confidence, and will only be visible to the Virtual World Operations team, Lead Game Masters and Internal Affairs. This form is intended for use as a guide to assist Virtual World Operations in predicting where the load will be on the cluster, and does not guarantee any form of service or boosting of nodes. Abuse of this system will be taken very seriously and may result in action against your user account.

This is intended for use for operations where the engagement is expected to go above 300 pilots, and notification must be submitted at least 24 hours in advance. If your operation is planned to span multiple systems, please submit a separate request for each.

So, we come to the why. Why must we do this? The answer is simple enough: The game cannot handle the playerbase it supports. CCP would tell you that it CAN handle the playerbase, but it cannot handle the extraordinary situations that arise when 500 to 2,000 players are in the same system fighting each other.

But are they extraordinary? In a word: no. A huge battle takes place at least once a week, if not more often. They would take place MORE often if not for the lag we face. So we have to ask for a reinforced node, CCP has to see the request, deem it important enough to listen to, and then actually reinforce the node. And then it still might crash. Huge fleet battles are a way of life in this game, and if they somehow took place lag free, I guarantee you'd see more interest in this game.

The system is broken, and that's fine. CCP is working, tirelessly, to fix the lag problem, and I respect that. They've put out the dev blogs. And I believe them.

Yet, with all this work on "fixing" lag, and we're still no closer to an automated system to reinforce nodes. If the number of pilots entering a system reaches a certain amount, how difficult would it be to start turning off load inducing, but not gamebreaking features for those in that system?

I always come back to a simple question(because the server lag is secondary to client lag I have every day): Why can't I play with no models of any kind? None, zilch. Zero. I don't give a crap about the pretty flying spaceships if it lags my performance. Help me improve my client performance by giving me that option . I'll play with just the overview and brackets until I can actually enjoy the way ships look again. Why isn't this option available? CCP would probably tell me that I need to update my system so I have to look at the pretty graphics they've made.

In other completely missing the point news...

Then again, CCP has gotten it into their heads that the best way to fix any problem is to fix their players, not the game. CCP says the issue, you see, with lag, isn't allowing massive fleet battles on a scale that no other MMOG can match. CCP says the issue is that people are too friendly with each other. CCP wants to cut out jump bridges and make jump freighters impossible to use. That'll fix the problem right? No. This is why CCP got it wrong, and in a way I feel the CSM has failed.

There is nothing wrong with the epic scale of conflicts in eve. It is among the main draws, as a matter of fact.

If I want to build my castle bigger than yours, tough. Build yours bigger or go home. CCP has it in their heads that the thing to do is place a limit on the size of sandcastles. "Lets reduce the water available so they fall apart more easily,". I want a big castle, and even if I don't have one just yet, I want to build mine tall.

Why don't you let me have fun MY way, and stop assuming I'm doing it wrong? How many subscribers in eve right now? 4-500 thousand? How many people are members of coalitions that would be affected by any attempt to make logistics much harder? 100k? 200k? Does CCP really need to be pissing off that many people all at once?

It's not that I don't want some responsibility for improving things, it's that I'm tired of almost all of it being placed on the player.

CCP needs to pay careful attention to what the players actually want, as much as they need to fix things.



  1. I read this and knew instinctively that you were NC, then I checked in-game to make sure.

    And right back at you - how many people are solo/small-gang players? Do you really want to go down the route of tallying up how many people are in <50 man corps?

    How do you assign relative merit to ways to play the game? If we go purely numerically, then the #1 thing to pay attention to is making missioning and botting easier.

    CCP considering making logistics harder is a fundamental game design decision. It's a statement that the way the game currently looks is not how the game design team had envisioned it - and that your second Empire is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

  2. The advantage (and disadvantage) to having and writing a blog is that you don't need to encapsulate ideas into separate articles. You try to tie in the challenges of fleet fights to CCP's discussion of jump bridges/jump freighters, to defending the 'success' of the NC/DC as a sprawling 0.0 empire.

    Might be better to address each individually with more success and better discussion.

    I think that the ability to project power across several regions within minutes is a problem. That's the challenge both with Jump Bridges and Cynos (although cynos at least require a somewhat fragile ship in each bridge system). Jump Freighters enable 0.0 empires to rely on Jita for logistics rather than internal infrastructure (but I don't think they are the problem).

    However, I totally agree with the fleet fight notification. This should be automated some way in the system, and should be a goal for the infrastructure team. I understand that this may be a complicated challenge, but with a worthy result - more automated back-end system support leads to overall improved uptime, especially with more impromptu large scale fights.

  3. CCP can never fix lag.

    Numbers = win. It's as simple as that. It's been that way in every multiplayer game ever, and it will continue to be like that forever. If you bring 5 people and I bring 10, you're going to lose.

    EVE's playerbase has proven that it is always capable of exceeding whatever CCP can turn out technologically. If the node can handle 200, we'll cram in 400. If it can handle 700, we'll bring 1000.

    That's the point to the CCP/CSM discussion of logistics. Numbers win, and the easier it is to move large fleets the more true that is. Removing jump bridges and such is an attempt to limit the ability of the players to respond, because there is no other option.

    It's all well and good to say "Just fix it!" but current tech is what it is, both in terms of hardware and software. There's only so much they can do.