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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: Warhammer RvR Population Capped!

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday January 8 2009 at 1:16PM
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Rant: Warhammer RvR Population Capped!

Mythic released an announcement on the WAR Herald today that I find stunning.  Here are some excerpts from the announcement.

"When the Fortress population reaches certain population thresholds, players who are attempting to enter the area of the besieged Fortress that are Rank 35 and below will be teleported to the warcamp for the region they are in. When the next area population threshold has been met, players that are Rank 37 and below will be teleported to the warcamp. The final population threshold applies to players that are Rank 39 and below. Once the total population cap has been met for the area surrounding the Fortress, all players that attempt to enter the area will be teleported back to the region’s warcamp."

"Because of the strategic advantage that players will always have when defending a Fortress, the attacking forces will have a numeric advantage when attempting to wrest control of a Fortress from the opposing realm."

"The purpose of this change is twofold: to improve server stability, and allow even more players to participate in, and benefit from, capital city sieges."

Now I know some fans of the game and Mythic are trying to spin this into a good thing, but take a step back a moment and think about what is going on.  This game was marketed as a massive RvR game. The servers are capable of holding thousands of players online at the same time.  Did it not occur to anyone at Mythic during the design phase of Warhammer Online that most of a servers online population of several thousand players would be in Tier 4 at any given moment?  It also seems they are prematurely stacking the population numbers in favor of the attackers.  Can someone explain how capping the population levels will allow even more players to participate?

Mythic finally seems to be admitting what the rest of us knew all along.  Their servers simply can't handle massive amounts of people fighting in one area at the same time.  Fortress sieges have often times led to the crashing of zones and servers leaving both side throwing their hands up in frustration.  Just like the Contribution System debacle, they are sending out their PR monkeys to try and make their subscribers feel better about the fact that the game was launched fundamentally flawed.

The question going forward now is where is this going to end?  Forums are stirring with speculation over whether or not instancing will be an inevitable step to stop the servers from crashing, or if Mythic can really do something on the hardware end of this problem to make their game work as advertised.  Even if instancing does not happen, capping the population on participation in a siege will make Warhammer Online's fortress sieges not much different than those found in Age of Conan (which is not a good thing).

The fact that they are trying to spin this by saying "to allow even more players to participate" by capping population in a given area only makes me feel better about pulling my guild out of this game.  I'll be waiting for the flames from Warhammer fans.

 

Paragus

Co-Leader of Inquisition

www.inqguild.com

Locklain writes:

If it can't be fixed the right way fast, wrap some duct tape around it and call her good.

That picture of Paul pretty much represents my disgust for this title. . .

Thu Jan 08 2009 1:21PM Report
sfraden writes:

mmm, have you tried to evaluate what is truly being said?  Try this:  The devs have noticed that they have a problem with that many people in a given area, also noted that anyone under L40 prolly does nto have the ward gear and dies way too fast.  So what they did is to remove the under-leveled from participating and balanced out the defenders.

I can tell you first hand that defending a keep (fortress, whatever) is way easier than attacking one.  A mere partial warband can sucessfully defend against a much larger army from inside.  Consider if both sides have equal members, the attackers would never stand a chance.

As far as the level cap thing, it works and also rubs me the wrong way as well, but its necessary.  Another example of that is when lower level players go participate in a higher level scenario, the lower levels are constantly dying and really contributing nothing other than making speed bumps for the other side to trip over.  Thus if they have to limit players somehow, at least its by level and not straight numbers.

Lastly, please learn a little about networking; WAR is one of the first games I have played that actually works with these large scale encounters, and when somethign does not work, the devs fix it.  There are tech limits on how much can be done on a computer.  The server running the playfield that massive battle is on is computing the movements of every player, all external events, applying damage, zoning and sending out the data as well as accepting the incoming data, all being processed at the same time.  There actually is a hard limit of how much data can be sent across a gigabit ethernet line.  Im actually amazed at how well it DOES work.

In closing, Im quite sure that the devs thought long and hard and were fully aware of how many players and such would be going into this.  There is truly no way to program for every possible outcome in such a scale...

Thu Jan 08 2009 1:40PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I am a gamer.  I am not a network engineer or an MMO developer.  It is not my job to study the ins and outs of server network code.   Your making an MMO, and selling it on the premise of massive scale RvR, but your server is incapable of supporting it.   This is the sort of thing that should have been thought of when Warhammer Online was on the drawing board.

This game has been out for 4 month, and Mark Jacobs and company have been all over forums denying claims from players that the servers this game runs on can not support massive RvR.  It has taken them 4 months to figure out (or admit what we already knew) something that should have been thought of at the very beginning.

This solution is as close to instancing as you can get without actually calling it an instance.  We were already told when there were server queues that the server hardware was maxed out, so if that was true, then there is not much they can do.  Instancing and PvP do not mix.

Thu Jan 08 2009 1:47PM Report
AerthanTN writes:

I think it's a neccessary evil for now.  The alternative is for lots and lots of 40s getting bored because they know there is no point in locking a zone during normal playtimes because the server will crash.  Yes it might suck if you didn't get in the assault when the lord went down, but the lord would still be down and you would have a chance at the next fortress and if that doesn't work out the city assault is instanced and seems to work fine.

 

Thu Jan 08 2009 2:31PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

Okay so rant about the bandaid when 1) There are more fixes coming, this is just a temporary fix, and 2) The problem could lie in the code and not the hardware, or a mixture of both, because when there are over 100 people (attackers and defenders) in Keeps, it's not bad at all, but when they're in Fortresses something changes and you get the lag and the crashing.

This is not instancing per sé, it's just limiting the number of people can join. However that limit is not low and there is not a seperate instance of the game world created when this happens; that's what an instance is. People can come and go freely as long as there is space in the battle, they don't have to necessarily join a group or a warband to get in/out.

Thu Jan 08 2009 2:33PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

"This is not instancing per sé, it's just limiting the number of people can join."

/facepalm

This is the same exact conept as an instance, it's just not isloated.  That is about as close to instancing as you can get without actually doing it.  This is not a rant so much about the fix as it is about a failure in the design phase of the game that was not thought out.

Thu Jan 08 2009 2:41PM Report
magicktrick writes:

it's a bandaid until a cure can be found.  Something needed to be done while they worked on a long term solution.

http://www.warhammeralliance.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3197623

Thu Jan 08 2009 2:50PM Report
Panossian writes:

"This is not instancing per sé, it's just limiting the number of people can join."

Oh          my          gawd

Thu Jan 08 2009 2:52PM Report
Mistmouse writes:

I decided to leave Warhammer over this fix, it was just the last straw on the camels back .

Paragus did an excellent job here, his rant is what many of us think as well.

Thu Jan 08 2009 3:00PM Report
Quizzical writes:

They could have just set lower caps on the number of players on a server to begin with, in order to make this local capping unnecessary, and you wouldn't have noticed. 

Thu Jan 08 2009 3:04PM Report
Eruiel writes:

I'm retained at the part where they said about how they have witnessed a number of sieges and the numbers didnt reach cap anyways and for us not to worry about it, so what was this fix for? Feels like they are throwing stuff in at random and waiting for applauses much like how they put in the "new" careers and there are players drooling oveer them, when they should have been there in the first place...I remember when the patches came and certain abilities were fixed and truly working for once, and I was happy for a moment only right after to feel cheated on because I'm rejoicing over a thing that shouldn't have been a problem in the first place

Thu Jan 08 2009 3:19PM Report
Riker99 writes:

Paragus1 obviously can't read... as he gripes about their comment that this fix will "allow even more players to participate in, and benefit from, capital city sieges", not fortress sieges. Yes, this does limit participation in fortresses, but it does allow the possibility of actually having capital city sieges.

Thu Jan 08 2009 3:31PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

There should be no limitations period.  How much are you going to settle for less than what you were told when you bought the game?   People settled for having 2 cities missing.   Then they settled for having 4 of the classes cut.   Then they settled for a completely broken contribution system.  Now your going to settle for the not being able to participate in the keep siege because the server hardware isn't good enough. 

The fortresses are already psuedo-instances under the current fix.  When are you going to draw the line?  This is another thing in a long line of problems that they knew were in the game all along, and told the players were fine.  How about that Dragonwake that never flipped because the the Serpent's Passage wasn't counting?   How about that fix to the zone locking where it is better to not show up in order to defend.

Sooner or later you are going to have to ask yourself how long you are going to pay to be misled and lied to by asshat PR guys who think taking a pie to the face is justification for your $15 every month.

Thu Jan 08 2009 3:48PM Report
Cosytus writes:

Obviously you are the one with reading issues.. Very first line in this rant is a quote that says: "When the Fortress population reaches certain population thresholds... "

notice the third word in that sentence. 

 

Fundamentally they are saying that they are capping the amount of players in to allow more players in. That is a contraindiction in itself.

Thu Jan 08 2009 3:51PM Report
Quizzical writes:

Server hardware is not the only limitation.  Players only have so much bandwidth available client-side. 

Thu Jan 08 2009 4:15PM Report
Coman writes:

Paragus1,

It is a new game, with by default comes with problems. Now I do agree this game has a lot (Especialy small, but extreamly annoying one), but I do actualy enjoy the content and so far for some odd reason this is only the third MMO with managed to keep my attention for longer then 3 months.

 

Cosytus

"The purpose of this change is twofold: to improve server stability, and allow even more players to participate in, and benefit from, capital city sieges."

Anyhow on the topic itself. I dislike the idea of putting a population cap on it. However I doubt my server will ever reach this anyway and I will judge whatever or not I like it when I have had a few more fortress sieges. Poeple just scream and moan quickly when there is a change without giving it a change and seeing how it works.

I mean this is pretty clear right?

Thu Jan 08 2009 4:18PM Report
sanders01 writes:

 Question, what about the DAOC servers? Could they hold thousands of players fighting in keeps? or was it just not that popular?

Thu Jan 08 2009 4:35PM Report
Loke666 writes:

2 citys were cut out? Wasn't it 4 that was cut out?

Anyways let's hope this is just temporary, while not a total gamebreaker it is a really bad thing and bad things can add up.

Of course a server crash is even worse so I see while they implemented it but if it will be permanent it is one of the thing they might lose players on.

Thu Jan 08 2009 5:12PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Ah yes, 4 cities cut ( 2 in the game ).  You are right Loke.  if this does become a permanent thing, I am curious to see how many players will swallow it versus who will opt out.

 

Thu Jan 08 2009 5:28PM Report
banthis writes:

I really don't see how keeping people from inviting all their low level T3 and below friends to the area to crash the zone to protect the keep is a bad thing.   Its a crappy fix but its not like saying ok instead of having 100 people now youc an only have 24.  Yea that takes the "massive' out of the RVR but if they're limiting it to 100 vs 100 or even just 75 vs 75 thats actually still massive.   Its a limit....but you know what ..even someone who's not a programmer ... who PLAYS games period should have some basic understanding that..there's LIMITATIONS ..and sometimes no matter what you do programmatically or with hardware you just can't exceed those limitations.   Atleast they're trying to address the problem whether its temporary or perment (I hope its temporary).   Hopefully to further address this issue they'll finally give us other large viable targets to fight over like another city or dungeons that can only be accessed if your side holds an area.   

The zones crash when it gets over 100 vs 100..i really don't see an issue with putting a cap up and basing that cap on level.  Its supposed to be a LVL 40 Activity in the first place.

As long as the Band Aid fix works and people finally get to enjoy city sieiging..I don't see a reason to overly bitch, cry, and act like you don't know a thing about computer games.  You know about games and limitations Paragus otherwise you wouldn't be a noteworthy person to listen to on random occasion.

Thu Jan 08 2009 6:45PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

I think your point about another something to fight over is one they really need to take to heart. 

Let's say there are 2000 people online on a server in prime time as a hypothetical number.  How many of those 2000 are in Tier 4?  I'd say this far into the games life, most people who have been around at least a month have a guy in Tier 4.  Let's say 800 of them.   Something happens and a fortress battle opens up, the mesage is broadcasted and 600 of them come, leaving 200 jerking off in scenarios and what not.

Only a fraction of those people are going to get in.   Not only that, but there are a lot of players in Tier4, who are not level 40 who will be kicked out.  These 30-39 level guys might have done a lot of the work to help make the fort vulnerable, but are now casted back to the warcamp to sit on their ass to make room for a new level 40 who just showed up.

The rest of the level 40's will be left with really not much else to do.  This is why it will be important for them to add that special something.

Thu Jan 08 2009 7:03PM Report
zuratai writes:

i agree with banthis becuase he is sexy  and hes just right

Thu Jan 08 2009 7:11PM Report
fansede writes:

 I wonder if the orginal plan of each race having a capital city  would alleviate some of this. Battle fronts might be more spaced out, yes, but there might be smaller battles.

 

:;shrugs:: Tis a shame

Thu Jan 08 2009 7:14PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

banthis = she according to her profile

Fansede, it's hard to say if it would help spread people out.   Remember 2 fortresses need to be taken to open the captial, so either way there is already reason enough to have more then 1 front (unless one is already taken).   Extra cities definitely wouldn't hurt, that's for sure.  I guess it could be a possibility that the cap may have other people who can't get in before the cap to head to another battlefront.  I think the fortress lures a lot of people out to RvR who otherwise may not bother.

I think they should have foreseen these kind of numbers in their end game based on their max server hardware population.   They might have been able to spot this a long time ago.

Thu Jan 08 2009 7:35PM Report
UnSub writes:

WAR's engine is a modified version of the same one used for DAOC and that had problems with large scale RvR. But it is certainly an issue for WAR to have hyped itself over its large scale RvR combat only to not deliver. In fact, WAR's entire PvP delivery has been underwhelming, which goes against its alleged core as an RvR title.

So remember: WAR is everywhere, but please don't all come at once.

Thu Jan 08 2009 10:14PM Report
Ascension08 writes:

As a side note, I agree Paragus that maybe they could've and should've foreseen this problem. Overall I think the game was a bit rushed. However, MJ stated that instancing oRvR was an absolute last resort for him because of people like you. If they did this, they had no other choice. That's why I believe it's only temporary, and even if it does become permanent they can always raise the cap as hardware/coding allows.


Thu Jan 08 2009 10:47PM Report
BizkitNL writes:

You know, as a WAR fan, I was actually reading your post and agreeing. Right up untill I read "Ille be waiting for the flames from the Warhammer fans". Thats when I realized you are just yet another troll. Too bad though.

By the way: This "improvement" aside, you pulled your guild out of THE best RvR experience yet (DaoC aside, obviously). Don't tell me you're playing AoC?

Fri Jan 09 2009 4:05AM Report
CyberWiz writes:

Well, putting a level limit in place would not be THAT bad, but follwoing :

" Once the total population cap has been met for the area surrounding the Fortress, all players that attempt to enter the area will be teleported back to the region’s warcamp.
Please note that your character will stay in the fortress area no matter which level he has if he entered it before the thresholds applied. "

Worries me, this means that after all the 39 or lower ranks are removed from the fortress, and the cap is still reached, then the rank 40's cant enter the fortress ...

On top of that there will be still lower levels sitting in the fortress because they were 1st.

A better solution ( still not great ) would have been to remove ALL ranks 39 and lower ( even when inside the fortress ), and ALWAYS allow ALL rank 40's to join the fight.

Cause now, there will be rank 40's be left in the cold.

Bad move imho, but makes it easier for me not to come back to WAR :p And stick with EVE Online.

 

Fri Jan 09 2009 6:01AM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Sorry Biz, but everytime I write on of these, zealots of the game come after me with their torches.   No I am not playing AOC, that was a major debacle of a game.  As a guild we are looking at Darkfall presently.   I am hoping to be able to do a nice write up about it once I get to play it akin to what I did for Warhammer online.

"WAR is everywhere, but please don't all come at once." = priceless


 

Fri Jan 09 2009 7:50AM Report
abal writes:

Back to AoC for me...

Fri Jan 09 2009 10:49AM Report
wolffin writes:

Amazing how fanbois can spout there going to fix it, give them time. There working on it . This is just a tempoary fix etc. Either you have had little to no expiriance dealing with Mythic or you have cubicle wall sized blinders on.

Fri Jan 09 2009 12:18PM Report
popinjay writes:

As usual, very good comments without spin in the write-up. Nice read.

Fri Jan 09 2009 3:08PM Report
BlackWatch writes:

If there is a cap on how many players can participate in an area... and if players are tossed out of the area if/when it gets 'too full' or the cap is met, then that is pretty much 'instancing'. 

RvR is one thing.  Queue'ing up and all of that.  The great thing about open-world PvP/seige was that there was no queue'ing.  That benefit has now, essentially, been taken away.

Fri Jan 09 2009 4:46PM Report
sfraden writes:

Here, taken from warhammers own site:

The first step in improving the oRvR experience of fortress taking went LIVE across all servers last night. The good news is that there were lots of fortresses captured and defended. The even better news is that there were no fortress-related crashes last night while these battles raged and were completed by the players. Performance in these battles was also improved, but still not where we want it to be of course. While this is a good start, continuing to improve the mechanisms behind these battles remains one of our top priorities now and going forward. Over the next few weeks, we will be working on a number of initiatives that I can now talk about.

 

I think this proves your quite wrong on many many levels...

Fri Jan 09 2009 7:01PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

It doesn't prove much of anything.   If everything happened when and how the devs have claimed this game wouldn't be bleeding subs.  Just like the time they claimed they were fixing the zone locking mechanic and it made no difference at all. 

While he touts that there no crashes, the article does no mention the scores of angry players who were unable to participate because of the population cap.  Forums are ablaze with people angry aboyt being booted back to the warcamp after helping to push the battle to the fortress and warbands being broken up because half of them were locked out.

We won't know whether I am right or not until "several weeks" goes by, which will mean most of the subscribers will neeed to pony up another 15 bucks to find out how it will play out.

Fri Jan 09 2009 7:42PM Report
phknight writes:

Man it's funny how poeple are bitching about this.  So tell me what is the cap at? 200? 300? 400? is that 200 for defense, 300 for offense? or 50 defnse 150 offense?  400 defense 500 offense? How many people have crappy computers and cant even handle a keep raid that has 60 people around?

Planetside had huge battles, shame it lagged so badly and didnt have enough content int he end. Wow is gear > skill, not for casual players, no point to world pvp, pvp is a joke since half the people go afk. AOC, well I stopped playing after I saw no end the the TOS ability to out dps and heal most classes and how you pretty much had to stealth everywhere if you are solo since groups passing by would gank you.

Population caps are apperently worse then crashes. Well might as lower the population cap to allow people to keep playing rather then shut it down completely like they did Nordenwatch for a little while. If you want a game that is 100% complete with no bugs or problems then go play..................................................hmmmmm. Cant really think of a single MMORPG that is.

Oh well, if all of you are going to jump ship at this point then please do so. It will just make more room for people who actually like the game.

Fri Jan 09 2009 10:21PM Report
yukka writes:

Planetside had great open battles and had population caps without it feeling like an instance.

Problems currently are that people raid fortresses at 4am as the only option to avoid crashes so if this stops that and lets people log into the game in the evening and find a capital city siege, then its worth it.

Just hope they find a long term solution.

Sat Jan 10 2009 6:20PM Report
jalupa writes:

This sums it up....

 

Dont forget that there isnt a Resit stacking problem either.....Those issues need to be ranted about as well, in fact there are so many issues that need to be ranted about but Warhammer Alliance deletes and bans any nay sayers, WE, OP ? nope,,,,,,DoK op ? nope......KotBS op ? nope..... this game will die like AoC, all the server fixes wont be needed if there will be 1 server with 100 WE's in it.

Tue Jan 13 2009 6:41PM Report

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