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OCE Server - Expectations, Reality

FlashmanFlashman Member, Founder, Kickstarter
edited May 2020 in General Discussion
I'm an Australian and in every MMO I've ever played, going back over 20 years now, there has always been an Aussie contingent getting around. And you know, just like every other avenue where we take to the world stage (film, Olympics, wars, whatever you want to name), we punch above our weight. Sometimes remarkably so. Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi... and all that.

So don't let anyone read what I'm about to say and think that I'm not really proud to be an Aussie gamer.

But, here's the thing. In all those MMOs, the Aussie contingent has said, "We need an Australian server..." and more than 9 times out of 10, the game in question has said, "Nope..." and then it's become this thing that will be mentioned every few months on that games forum for literally years and years. Even when games are clearly about to close it's still being argued! Seriously!

Now, the reason for not granting Aussie servers has been reasonably sound. First, they cost money to run and second, Aussie gamers aren't numerous enough to make a server truly viable. Like I said at the start, we punch above our weight in games. You see us. You definitely hear us. We make an impact. But are we are numerous as to warrant a server? Generally, no.

So when it comes to AoC, I'm in two minds about an Aussie - or OCE - server. I call it Aussie because it would be based out of Sydney, so sue me. Basically, it's really nice to play an MMO with a lower ping than we're used to. That cannot be denied. At the same time, however, all of us have played all the major MMOs with poor ping rates... and we've still done OK at them.

The question is, however, in a game like AoC that really depends on having a decent population, and chunks of that population working closely together, do we really... and I mean REALLY... have enough people to warrant a local server? Based on everything I've ever seen in MMOs, and at the risk of people asking me to hand in my Australian passport, no, I don't think we do.

If AoC goes ahead with an OCE server, I think it will deliver fantastic ping for us - and that's really great. But I don't think we'll have anything like the same experience that the other servers have. In some ways, this might make for an easier (read as: less competitive) game, but in other ways that lack of competition can make for a more boring game, too. It won't be the same.

And this is REALLY true when a game, especially a sub-based game like AoC is, starts to hit 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, and the in-game population contracts. You start with a small pop, and then it gets smaller.

Curious to hear what people have to say. I know there's a brand of Aussie gamer who will say this is all nonsense and there's a million gamers ready to kick down an Aussie server's door, etc, etc, but I think anyone who's been gaming for awhile will know that's actually nonsense. Curious to hear from Aussies who understand the nuance, and the pros and cons of this. Indeed, I'm also keen to hear from overseas gamers who, suddenly, might not have Aussies in their life. Will you miss us? Cheers.

@Steven Sharif

Comments

  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    The main reason there is a need for an Oceania server in Ashes is because things like sieges and military node leadership arenas will be at specific set times (or windows) that are based on each server.

    Without an Oceania server, players in that region won't be able to participate in those aspects of the game without missing a lot of sleep and/or work.

    Also, by CoE, I assume you mean AoC.

    As to your opening statement though, I honestly see more about New Zealand than Australia - which is odd considering the size difference between the two.
  • FlashmanFlashman Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    edited May 2020
    Good pickup on CoE, @noaani - have been writing about that disaster lately. Nuff said.

    Working backwards, yes, there's a strong gaming contingent in NZ. My last ESO guild was NZ based, for example. But again, like the Australian experience, they punch above their weight, too. Great gamers. Great guilds. But enough people to help pad out an OCE server? Not really. There's less than 5 million people in the whole country.

    And with regard to sieges, etc, if that really is "the main reason", I really don't think it's strong enough to carve out a chunk of the NA server and send them away to their own less competitive server. To my mind, this creates a lose-lose on both sides. I would suggest that's a concept that needs to be rethought in some way (there are absolutely times of day - especially at weekends - where NA and ANZ cross over pretty neatly), rather than dividing us up.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    blur wrote: »
    Good pickup on CoE, @noaani - have been writing about that disaster lately. Nuff said.

    Working backwards, yes, there's a strong gaming contingent in NZ. My last ESO guild was NZ based, for example. But again, like the Australian experience, they punch above their weight, too. Great gamers. Great guilds. But enough people to help pad out an OCE server? Not really. There's less than 5 million people in the whole country.

    And with regard to sieges, etc, if that really is "the main reason", I really don't think it's strong enough to carve out a chunk of the NA server and send them away to their own less competitive server. To my mind, this creates a lose-lose on both sides. I would suggest that's a concept that needs to be rethought in some way (there are absolutely times of day, especially at weekends where NA and ANZ cross over pretty neatly).

    While I don't disagree with you here, you have to look at it from a few angles.

    Nodes can be sieged any day of the week, not just weekends.

    If the server siege window starts at 7pm, and someone in Perth were to play on a NA server (we'll say a west coast one), that would put that siege time at 11am, or 1pm in on the east coast of Australia. That siege could happen any day of the week, and while they will have several days notice, most people wouldn't take a day off work to defend pixels.

    This means that almost all Oceania players would be unable to actively defend their node or their freehold.

    What I think would be a better idea from Intrepid is to not actually label servers with regions or time zones, but rather simply state what time window these things would happen. This opens servers up to people picking one that fits in with their schedule, rather than picking one based on where they live. Obviously though, most servers will end up being somewhat geographically based, but it would make it easier for people working odd hours to pick a server that would work better for them.

    The other thing I'd like to see happen is a fairly big push for the game in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Japan. With a good push in to that region, a server that would otherwise be Oceania could actually be one of the more dynamic and exciting servers to be on. Language would be something of an issue, but no more than on many EU servers where players speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
  • FlashmanFlashman Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    noaani wrote: »
    What I think would be a better idea from Intrepid is to not actually label servers with regions or time zones, but rather simply state what time window these things would happen. This opens servers up to people picking one that fits in with their schedule, rather than picking one based on where they live. Obviously though, most servers will end up being somewhat geographically based, but it would make it easier for people working odd hours to pick a server that would work better for them.

    The other thing I'd like to see happen is a fairly big push for the game in Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Japan. With a good push in to that region, a server that would otherwise be Oceania could actually be one of the more dynamic and exciting servers to be on. Language would be something of an issue, but no more than on many EU servers where players speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

    I like both those ideas, very much!
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited May 2020
    Aus doesnt have the population for online gaming and more specifically mmorpg. I live in Sydney mostly for the last 10.5 years.

    I would prefer if there was a SEA server controlled by IS. English language system (UI, dialogue etc etc).
    That way we'd get better ping and populated servers.
  • VarkunVarkun Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    As an Aussie this is very much a concern I have, at launch there may well be enough to keep the servers popping but how well will AOC maintain its population? Only launch and the proceeding months will reveal the answer.

    The physical location of the servers in a way is a moot point as the sieges, world events etc will be set to the prime time that best suits. Though with the spread of hours between NZ and Western Australia may make prime time somewhat awkward. Another point to consider is many Aussies are members of US based guilds and have formed friendships that will mean they will play on US based servers with their guilds/friends thus further fracturing our already small player base.

    Playing on OCE based servers with that lower ping is quite the experience, it is honestly amazing to feel like a game is truly responsive.
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  • JahlonJahlon Member, Intrepid Pack, Alpha One
    OCE/SEA has already been promised a server

    Now, if that means an OCE in Sydney and an SEA in Singapore, that's the question that is waiting to be answered.
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  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    ekadzati wrote: »
    Just make the OCE server a charter investment in the StarX effort and reap industry first PR, regional cycle domination for sci-tech, and open a short-term investment cycle marketed solely to the APAC/UPE/OCE countries.

    Hypothesis: There is a revenue case in "kickstarting" a geo-specific presence to deliver validation prior to CapX expenditures. Usual models for ROI player LTV, etc still apply to whatever number pops out the end of the kickstarter/stretch.

    I mean, everyone understands that's prioritizing to the MVP, right? Too much jargon? I can elaborate, but you know... TL'DR and all... =/

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  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    ekadzati wrote: »
    I mean, everyone understands that's prioritizing to the MVP, right? Too much jargon? I can elaborate, but you know... TL'DR and all... =/
    Not too much jargon, just no connection at all between what you said and setting up an Oceania server.

    Steven has his investments in place - fairly good ones too. I mean, the investments he has made have made him enough money to be able to essentially retire and spend millions of dollars on what is essentially a passion project.

    If he were to invest more money, it would likely be in what he already knows works for him.
  • FlashmanFlashman Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    edited May 2020
    Varkun wrote: »
    As an Aussie this is very much a concern I have, at launch there may well be enough to keep the servers popping but how well will AOC maintain its population? Only launch and the proceeding months will reveal the answer.

    Totally agree and that's even part of my OP, but might have got lost towards the end. All games decrease in population as they go on - and it's the subs based games that can go down the quickest and hardest. Why? Because if someone loses interest and it's also costing them, they're outties. So even if an OCE server squeaks past the minimum at launch (and this will be some feat because, as you say, there are OCE people who will still play on US and even EU servers regardless), it's going to fall off the pace in 3, 6, 9 months. It's a real concern, and one I think gets glossed over by some as they just see that amazing ping rate. But there's a bigger picture.
  • visionsofcrimsonvisionsofcrimson Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited July 2020
    I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but have you considered how many Americans want to get out of the shit fest that their servers have become in other games because it's overcrowded with PvP gangs? I know this game mitigates some of that by it's mechanics but I think some people would prefer to come to the OCE server because of the open space. Maybe for their own plot of land in a specific location? "Build it and they will come".
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but have you considered how many Americans want to get out of the shit fest that their servers have become in other games because it's overcrowded with PvP gangs? I know this game mitigates some of that by it's mechanics but I think some people would prefer to come to the OCE server because of the open space. Maybe for their own plot of land in a specific location? "Build it and they will come".
    While this is all well and good, NA players wanting to play on a different server other than NA designated ones need to be aware of the implications of this.

    If an NA player were on an AU server, sieges would be between something like 1am and 7am - depending on exactly which time zones are used, and daylight savings.

    This is probably not optimal for most players.

    However, if it works for some, then there will be nothing stopping NA players playing on AU servers.
  • LootyLooty Member
    Being an Aussie and a long time player of several MMO's, ping is one of my main concerns, I remember having too buy VPN Tunnels just to get lower ping so that I could even compete/enjoy the games properly(Nothing worse than dying to something out of your control (Lag)).. When WoW / LoL finally released OCE servers it made such a massive difference to those games/communities in OCE. I would also just like to point out that everyone playing on the same time zone creates a better community.

    With high pings means that some parts of the game we are at a constant disadvantage, which really puts a dampener on trying to compete.. And being able to compete is an important part of AOC (Like becoming mayor via PvP battles for example or just pvp/pve in general)

    Just putting my 2 cents in, Only just discovered AoC, looking forward to it! I went to the forums to look for this topic!

  • edited July 2020
    The promise of OCE servers is the reason I backed this game. I look forward to finally being able to play an MMO without lag.

    I for one am not worried about population. I would without hesitation, doubt or regret (or even complaint!) always play on a dead server with no lag, than on a populated server with lag.
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