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  1. #1
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    Default Going Single Server: A How to Guide for SSG

    After talking to a SSG developer, I've written this guide on how to overcome the obstacles for going single server.

    The obstacles are:

    1) Transferring Guilds (Technical)

    2) Accounts with Reincarnation Cache (Technical)

    3) Guild Name Reservations (Customer Service)

    4) Player Name Reservations (Customer Service)

    First of all, after the code is written and the new server is ready, but before scripts are run, SSG should make a huge, “Come back to the game and make sure you get the name/guild name you want on the new server! Active guilds and characters get first choice on the new server!” advertising campaign.

    1) Transferring Guilds

    To transfer guilds, what should be done is a script should be written that scans the database of every guild on each server. It looks for all astral shard purchases, then turns them into a total. So every amenity and premium airship (highest astral shard version only) is turned into the total value of astral shards required to purchase those items. This is recorded to a value, like “guildAstralShardNetWorth”. Likewise, the following are all recorded: the guild’s name, experience level, guild leader (by account login!), current server, and active=true/false. An active guild is one with a guild leader who has logged on in the past 30 days (or however long it takes before somebody else can seize leadership, this time should be temporarily shortened during the “come back” push to something like 30 days). An inactive guild does not have a guild leader who has logged on since the guild can be taken over. The script also generates a password for the guild.

    Guild creation would need to be disabled before official announcements were made, so that players didn't start making fake guilds to mess up the system and save names...

    In addition, a new list of “reserved” guild names is generated for ACTIVE guilds. All guild names are added to this list. Any new guild cannot use a reserved name.

    On the new server, “Create a guild” has two new fields: Old Server and Password. The help text is extended: To transfer a guild, the guildmaster must select the old server name and enter the password e-mailed to your account email (which was randomly generated by the script). This password allows you to use your old guild name from the reserved list (optional), and then populates your new guild fund with the astral shard value, and the experience with the experience value. The guild-master then will have to re-buy all the astral shard amenities and airship with the funds. I don’t believe guild amenities ever go on sale. If they do, I have a contingency in mind.

    2) Transferring Characters

    To transfer characters, a similar script is run on every server. This compiles a list of every character name for players active within the last 30 days AND are premium characters (people who have never paid a dime are not on the list, mostly to remove dead names). These character names are also added to a “reserve” list, preventing characters from being made with that name. However, server transfers don’t check against this list.

    On transfer day, every current server has a message saying, “Please empty your TR cache and transfer your character.” You may still log in to that server, but creating characters is disabled. Every zone you enter pops up the message telling you to empty your TR cache and transfer your character, red warning letters say: “Warning, no support is given on old servers execept help with transfering. Server may run slowly in quest areas. Please transfer to alleviate these issues.” All old servers would need to be run as a skeleton server (meaning barely any resources allocated to it) forever in case of returning players with reincarnation caches.

    3) Multiple Guilds & Players with the same Name

    Probably the best thing to do is release a “One World!” early access package. This package is something like $30 worth of turbine points (valued as if buying a $200 package, so 3450 points), and 1 month early access to the new server. These players get first dibs on names (although, you might still have conflict). During the early access transfer period, there is a popup when you first log in letting you know you can do the early access transfer, but it only appears once per login, not at every zone...

    Players who lose their character names, or willingly change them to something not on the list (so you might be first, but you could change your name for the prize, so the 2nd to try and transfer can maybe have the “good” name), should be given a consolation prize. I’m thinking a stone of experience would be hard to complain about…

    Guilds who lose their guild name, or willingly change their name to something not on the reserved list, would get a different consolation prize. I’m thinking 750* Astral Shards. Also, a new amenity should be added that costs 750* Astral Shards, for guilds that are capped. I’m thinking an Experience 6% shrine would be easiest to add and hard to complain about...

    *750 was chosen because experience 5% shrine is also 750.

  2. #2
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    I would gladly change my character name if it quadrupled player population on a server.
    Stratis on Khyber

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  3. #3
    Hero apocaladle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fivetigers33 View Post
    I would gladly change my character name if it quadrupled player population on a server.
    This

  4. #4
    Community Member Yamani's Avatar
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    If only coding was this easy >.>.

    Also I would NOT Pay to keep my name that I've had for 6 years now. I'd also be very aggravated if I was forced to choose a new name as well.

  5. #5
    Community Member awar1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fivetigers33 View Post
    i would gladly change my character name if it quadrupled player population on a server.
    amen !

  6. #6
    Community Member Ryiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamani View Post
    If only coding was this easy >.>.
    Indeed we've seen what happens when they've tried to build new functions. It's almost always bugged in some way and often the bugs are major ones. People losing items in their TR caches is one of the more recent examples. I could just see the merger happening with a portion of the user base losing their items, their reincarnation progress, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yamani View Post
    Also I would NOT Pay to keep my name that I've had for 6 years now. I'd also be very aggravated if I was forced to choose a new name as well.
    Same. If I don't get to keep my character's names then I would likely leave the game. I'm simply too attached to characters I've played for almost a decade.
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  7. #7
    Community Member Chai's Avatar
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    Server side items.

    Guilds - refunds for multiple airship purchases etc? No longer need multiple guild boats when we're all on the same server.

    Astral Shards. Just add em up across servers? (this makes more money making people have a different pool on different servers)

    # of alts compared to number of character slots. If I have 10 character slots and 10 character on 3 different servers do I now have access to all 30 characters on the one server that remains?

    Shared bank - If I have 100 spaces all filled up on 3 servers, will I then have 300 spaces on the one server that remains?

    If any of this requires customers to log on and manage their pixelated assets before the merge, how will people on break during that time handle it when they return, or are they just SOL.

  8. #8
    Community Member Annex's Avatar
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    The people at Standing Stone already went through all this with LOTRO. Your guide barely touches upon the many details they already worked through, solved, and implemented. They have the know how. The system they built for LOTRO works quite well. It appears DDO must make due with a much smaller budget for such things.

  9. #9
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    I don't care whether DDO goes single server or not from a gameplay standpoint.
    However, technically, given our experience this far, DDO can't handle a single server. We've all seen how laggy is House Jorasko when Night Revels is active. Even with multiple instances, everyone seems to end up on the first indicating something wrong with the script. Same goes for guild ships, where the number of the instances increases dramatically. Also, in the past, buggy quest instances were having an impact on the server, even though we were assured that the resources for the private instances were separate.
    It would be unwise to assume everything is working well when doing this merge.

    Therefore, I started reading the OP with my usual critical style. And obviously I found mistakes and flaws.

    1. "Active guilds/characters get to reserve their name". Fine for the guilds, but the characters? There is a great number of people who disagree.

    2. The list of the active guild names. And what about the guilds that have the same name in different servers? You didn't even consider this as a possibility and haven't provided a solution. Even more trouble: What about guilds that are cross-server and belong to the same people? Those people have paid for guild amenities on every server, but would only get to keep one of those guild instances.

    3. The list of active character names. Again, same character names in each server? What will you do?

    4. Transfer day. LOL. Reading that, I feel like a new server is going to magically pop up, defying laws of character creation all the while the old servers are going to magically be reduced to a skeleton server. For all this to happen, you need to do extreme work and a ton of things can go wrong. If only DDO was as complicated as professional cloud services in which case you would only need to simply shut down the servers, reassign virtual resources and start the virtual servers again.

    5. "Empty your cache and transfer. No new characters can be created." hahahahahahaha... And what if I can't empty my TR cache? The way this works for me (and others) is that when emptying the TR cache (before re-incarnating), I move items to other characters to hold and keep mostly BtC items. But the other characters can either hold this stuff because most of their items are in their own TR cache or because that character was just created. Since every character has to empty the TR cache and no new characters can be created... I (we) would lose most of my items.

    6. "Early access"? So, unless someone pays that price, they are bound to lose their character name? Like I can pay the price and steal the name of some famous character from my server? Or does my name need to be the same? In which case I can create today a character with the name I want on some other server and THEN I can steal it. Wise were the players that created a character with their favorite name on each server I can't steal their name at least. Unless those characters have not been active lately, or are free to play. Then I sure can steal their name! AND I get the consolation prize, which is.... 1 experience stone? In exchange for the famous name I had for years now? Yeah, seems like a fair exchange. I'm gonna go try a game that lets me keep my name now... see ya in the big laggy server

    Not as easy as you think. And I bet that you took some time to think that. And even if the greatest minds took their time to think and execute perfectly, there's still those people that would disagree with the server merge and would leave. Unless those great minds thought of doing some ...promotion to attract new players. In which case DDO wouldn't be in the state it is now and the merge wouldn't be needed.
    My main server is Khyber. Have toons in almost every server for favor purposes. The Faltouts

  10. #10
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    Having a "single server" isn't the goal in and of itself. At least, it wouldn't be for me. At best, it would be a means, to achieve the real goal, which is letting the server-divided populations play together.

    Since there's all these issues with actually "merging" servers, I'd suggest skipping that, and just have cross-server grouping implemented. There would be no name conflicts; "Drizt (of Argonesson)" and "Drizt (of Wayfinder)" could co-exist. For both characters and guilds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vargouille View Post
    As a general rule we don't intend for a single spawn area to cause any dungeon alert, and certainly not red dungeon alert. This basically isn't ever a goal in our designs

  11. #11
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    NWO uses a character name and an account name in the form (char name)@(account name).

    If DDO switched to a similar system, there would not be any naming conflicts because account names are unique. Only the character name is normally visible in game, although you can inspect the name in chat windows to see the full thing or set your options to show it by default.

    The upside of this is that no-one would have to lose their character name and the character renaming process would be fairly straightforward. The downside for someone who values the uniqueness of the first part of their character's name is that it could now also be used by someone else.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by blerkington; 11-15-2017 at 03:54 PM.
    Astrican on Khyber

  12. #12
    Community Member Baylen76's Avatar
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    Server merge -> lag/stuttering -> game not playable -> people leaving. I just don't see it in the cards when even Night revels would lag.

    It'd be a huge risk as you can't feasably un-merge/rollback, and then we'd all be stuck in an unrecoverable mess. Bad risk/reward ratio.

  13. #13

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    I could see merging the virtual servers into one server per physical machine. That would mean merging:

    Argo and Orien
    Khyber and Thelanis
    ...
    (I don't know the rest of the pairings.)

    My guess is that the lag increase wouldn't be too bad since these are already on the same physical machine anyway.

  14. #14
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    SSG are already executing the plan for taking the game to single server

  15. #15
    Community Member Jiirix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baylen76 View Post
    Server merge -> lag/stuttering -> game not playable -> people leaving. I just don't see it in the cards when even Night revels would lag.
    If they try it all on their own one would asume so. But there is tech and people out there that could handle DDOs players easily. I play with 31k other pilots on the same server without any issue. The EVE servers only go into time dilation when several full fleets adding up to 1000+ pilots fight in the very same system. I don't think DDO would have so many players fighting in the same area.
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  16. #16
    Community Member Jerevon's Avatar
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    Regarding duplicate character names, why can't we go with an attachment to the account name that's hidden and a default alias is used in place. The full name would only be used in the windows like social, friends, etc.

    Full name of character: CharacterName@AccountName (hidden)

    Alias: CharacterName (shown)

    If there is not conflict with the account names and they can be hidden from view, then really, who cares if we see 2 or more people with the same name?

    Either that, or have last names used to separate duplicate first names.

    Not sure how to do guilds though.
    Server: Khyber


  17. #17
    Community Member Grandern_Marn's Avatar
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    8 servers combined for 8 times the lag? I would quit the game if there was even a hint of that idea being bandied about.

    Any increase in the lag spikes we can get now is a non starter. Last weekend on Orien we had times where there were over 30 LFMs up at the same time and the population feels just right, I see no need for combining servers at all.
    Start cross server trading and profit!
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  18. #18

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    People want one server. It can be done. They just need to make the popular areas one virtual server.

    Harbor. One server. That means, the harbor server only needs to cache the harbor area images and harbor quests.

    Marketplace. Similar ideas....

    People transferring from one area to another would be ported to another server connection and loaded there.

    As for characters and guilds with the same name across different servers.... they can tag on with _1, _2, etc. to resolve conflicts.

    Have the bank/TR cache/shared bank on one server if people are going into the bank areas or checking their bank from other bank outposts.

    Actually, make the graphics and code and load easily to capacity plan since they already know how large the code and graphics are based on the process size. (code in execution)

    I don't know how Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 do it...

    Also, the Who tab will only show who is in the area, not across all areas like it is now.

    With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerevon View Post
    Regarding duplicate character names, why can't we go with an attachment to the account name that's hidden and a default alias is used in place. The full name would only be used in the windows like social, friends, etc.

    Full name of character: CharacterName@AccountName (hidden)
    [...]

    Not sure how to do guilds though.
    Neat idea, like what is done on Elder Scrolls Online and Everquest(?). If the account name (hidden) is based on email addresses, then they are unique by definition.

    With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

  20. #20
    Community Member SiliconScout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrande View Post
    Neat idea, like what is done on Elder Scrolls Online and Everquest(?). If the account name (hidden) is based on email addresses, then they are unique by definition.
    You realize you guys are talking about changing a primary key on a core database that is likely relational and linked to just about every other database right? Do you have ANY idea how likely something like that is to break? I know I think it's crazy that in the background the toon is not really a number but the dev's have stated multiple times over the years that character names are required to be unique as it's a key database field.

    At any rate let's say they put the work in to build a complete new DataBase Schema AND the work to port over all existing data into that schema (because that's the only way I see this having any chance of success) AND it works flawlessly 100% of the time, how do you handle things like the in game mail system. How do you tell the difference in game between Freddo@myspace.ca and Freddo@yahoo.com and Freddo@mysite.uk

    In game each of these guys looks like "Freddo" Do you display the @whatever.whatever address? Because if you do then you are potentially exposing their email address. If you use the logon to the game as the @ part they you are removing anonymity from the characters an the players which historically has been something they don't want to do. I know several women who have been stalked and harassed in this game by losers that play here. If you could have it easy to identify all the toons (including renamed or new ones) then you make it impossible to get away from these jerks. And no reporting does nothing because they are smart enough to just skirt that line where they aren't breaking any rules but making someones life a living hell in game. Seriously I have seen it so if the answer is removing toon or account anonymity that is a non-starter for a LOT of players who are sill around. Why do you think there are so many Anonymous players playing.

    This alone is a "minor" issue but it is the KEY issue that virtually all other solutions relies upon. As "simple" as it sounds, how do you merge servers and accounts and therefore toons in such a way that meets the following criteria


    1. People get to keep their toon names
    2. People's privacy is as protected and respected as it is now.
    3. Toons with the same name can be told apart
    4. Toons can be added as friends still and it is the correct one
    5. Toons can be squelched and it gets the right one
    6. Toons can have stuff mailed to them and it gets the right one
    7. New toons can be created with the same name as an existing toon
    8. Accounts with the same toon name on multiple servers keep their toons separate.
    Last edited by SiliconScout; 11-15-2017 at 09:42 PM.

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