Greedy Goblin

Friday, May 5, 2017

One World: land multipliers

I looked at phasing and "channels" as dumb feature in MMOs. I didn't understand why don't they have more servers instead if there are so many players in a server that warrants hiding some in a different channel.

However the (otherwise lackluster) BDO siege system made me understand: these are land multipliers. Let me explain: the EVE Online World is huge. It would probably take years to just visit every belt, every planet, station, citadel, tower in the game. On the other hand, they are very similar. If a solar system in Deklein would be the exact copy of another in Heimatar (with different names), probably nobody would notice. The two belts are different not because the asteroids are colored differently or the background picture is different, but because if you mine in one, the other remains untouched. However they belong to the same World, as you can travel from one to another.

Two BDO channels are the same in visuals. But there are different people, different gatherable resources and separately spawned NPCs are present. You can travel between them with a channel change. So they are actually different places within the same World. Sure, the devs could have make some lore behind it and replace the Channel Change UI with a portal in the cities, but the result is the same. 10 channels are just 10x bigger land to roam, while they are similar in visuals. Moving from Balneos Forest #1 to Balneos Forest #9 is no different from moving from VWX-008 to EWR-153 in EVE.

The formal endgame of BDO, capturing land takes place in selected channels. Everyone who wants to participate in that battle must be present in a specific channel, so there is only one castle in the several world. While you can see castles in other channels, you can't capture them ever, they are just background visuals. So guild X owns territory Y for every player.

This system can be extended to several multi-server + lobby worlds and claim that they are actually one big World, if the following conditions are met:
  • There are finite amount of servers. This is needed because in case of infinite Worlds, the population of every World is zero (practically one: the player who visits it as Worlds with no players cannot be measured), so the game loses its massively multiplayer situation. The Diablo Worlds are violating this by creating a new World for every session, so Diablo games aren't one World.
  • There is simple travel between the servers: this is needed to make visiting Worlds possible. You can't affect what you can't visit. Being firstkiller in multiple WoW servers would be quite expensive (doesn't stop some players though).
  • No player can administratively prevent other player from entering to a server. This is where WoW raid instances fail: while you affect the World for all participants (killed boss is dead for the week), you only do so for those who joined the raid (with consent of them and the raid leader). Stopping other player by PvP is of course OK.
This revelation allows me to play more games without violating the "One World game" rule, which I set for any MMO I consider playing.


Anonymous said...

Though that's a benefit, that's not the main reason games implement phasing.

The reason games implement phasing is that adding server capacity to support an additional player gets more expensive the more players you already have in that phase.

For example, suppose you have ten players on a grid in Eve all smartbombing each other. Then each time they fire your server has to do 10 * (10 - 1) = 90 damage calculations (you don't damage yourself). Suppose you add a person and you now have 11 players on grid, then your server has to do 11 * (11 - 1) = 110 damage calculations, an increase in 20.

Now suppose you have 500 players on a grid in Eve all smartbombing each other. Then your server has to do 500 * 499 = 249500 damage calculations. Suppose you add a person and now have 501 players on grid, then your server has to do 501 * (501 - 1) = 250500 damage calculations, an increase of 1000.

As you can see, adding a 501st player costs 500x as much extra server work as adding an 11th player even though both times you're adding a single player.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean servers or instances? E.g., WoW and SWTOR ( I think GW2 & TESO) have an infinite ( well not literally, but at least up their budget) number of instances. So on launch day in SWTOR, there may be 25 instances of Hoth for a single server. If enough people log in, they may make a 26th. But if it is an offpeak time of day on a slow season, there may be one instance of Hoth. Wow makes now makes instances by zone (CRZ.) Realm5 might have multiple instances for Stormheim on a peak day. Later on, an Stormhein instance might be people from Realm1, Realm3 and Realm 136. Your friend who logs in an hour later, may find a Stormheim instance with different realms combined. At any time, there can be totally different realms combined for Zangermarsh than Stormheim. Which realms are combined is dynamic. In WoW, you can mine all the ore in the cave, use an addon to switch instances and mine all the ore in the same cave on the new instance; rinse and repeat. But you are still on your server (realm) and can only trade with people and AHs on that realm. Any ore you get from other servers can only be sold/traded on your realm.

I.e., an infinite number of instances doesn't mean zero people per instance (No Man's Sky) since the instances are created dynamically based on demand.

WoW no longer works that way for non-mythic raids. No lockouts: you can kill a boss serval times a week, you are only eligible for loot the first time. You may join a LFR group on boss 3 without issue; you just later requeue and kill boss 1 & 2.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: as players like big battles, so you provide them the server capacity if you want players. Land increase (phasing) is needed when players don't want 10K others around them (for PvE, exploration or hiding from gankers)

@Next anon: I mean "places". Are they servers or instances are technical from the player.

Anonymous said...

You should check Path of Exile for its economy system, that's the only game i've played using a barter system. It will probably not be your kind of game (Hack and slash, PvE and probably no competition) but maybe worth checking

The game is free and it's possible to play it without steam

Anonymous said...

What is the problem with Steam?

Anonymous said...

>What is the problem with Steam?

It spies on you and collects data for marketing purposes.

Many people tolerate the spying because Steam offers various conveniences: straightforward purchasing, hassle-free DRM, multi-device collection management, decent buddy system, integrated reviews and ratings, refund mechanism, free games, etc.

Gevlon hasn't experienced any of these conveniences, and he's managed to sustain his gaming hobby for decades *without* any such assistance. So he sees only the spying and concludes that there's no reason to get involved with Steam.

Imagine that you took a Steam user and asked them to install Origin or uPlay. They'd probably hesitate, because the companies behind those applications are shady and there's no reason to install an extra piece of spyware on your PC. They'd proceed only if there was a killer-app game which was available nowhere else. Gevlon has already said that he *would* install Steam if it was necessary in order to play such a game.