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21 hours ago, DeHammer said:

No, you paid for the game. Period. When you buy the game, no where do they state an entitlement to servers. They are there. But they don't have to be. The game can be a played without official servers. No where do they promise you a bug free game where possible. 

You may feel entitled. The reality is that you are not. 

So you're telling me that with a slogan that dictates you play on their servers to "rule the ark with your friends", they somehow didn't mention that you'd need to pay extra for your servers?  They...didn't mention that one either, did they? 

 

"Soo uhh...add more content with the money we have now an-" 

"Wait! Shouldn't we make sure that our customers are happy with the servers first, so they can support us further? How about we just taaake a steo back an-"

 

"NO! MORE CONTENT, LESS RESOURCES TO FIX PROBLEMS--I DON'T CARE HOW IT HA-"

 

Right. So how about upkeeping the online game that was created for people to play with eachother "online" like most other companies do instead of making excuses.  

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34 minutes ago, Masurao said:

So you're telling me that with a slogan that dictates you play on their servers to "rule the ark with your friends", they somehow didn't mention that you'd need to pay extra for your servers?  They...didn't mention that one either, did they? 

 

"Soo uhh...add more content with the money we have now an-" 

"Wait! Shouldn't we make sure that our customers are happy with the servers first, so they can support us further? How about we just taaake a steo back an-"

 

"NO! MORE CONTENT, LESS RESOURCES TO FIX PROBLEMS--I DON'T CARE HOW IT HA-"

 

Right. So how about upkeeping the online game that was created for people to play with eachother "online" like most other companies do instead of making excuses.  

You are aware that you can play this game with your friends without an online server right?

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Are you serious? The op specifically asked for the topics to not be merged. One was a post, the other was a poll with more in depth discussion and the poll was removed by merging. DILO. Moderators can't even be bothered to pay attention to legit ideas and conversations and we expect the devs to hear our voices?

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On 2/14/2020 at 7:08 PM, Masurao said:

So you're telling me that with a slogan that dictates you play on their servers to "rule the ark with your friends", they somehow didn't mention that you'd need to pay extra for your servers?  They...didn't mention that one either, did they? 

"Dictates"? That's absurd. No where do they dictate where you must play. I have many thousands of hours in ARK now and not a single minute on the official servers. Give your head a shake. 

Oh, and when you play on other hosted servers, YOU PAY a third party. That's a pretty strong indication that server's are not assured or inherently part of the game. 

Edited by DeHammer

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1 hour ago, DeHammer said:

Oh, and when you play on other hosted servers, YOU PAY a third party. That's a pretty strong indication that server's are not assured or inherently part of the game. 

Yup, and although I don't have definite proofs, I think reselling of steam accounts make WC get even less money.

 

New player click "join ARK", probably see a official server on the screen first and clicked join. After sometime they quit because it is too difficult/laggy. Then they decide to sell their steam account with only ARK in library to regain some money because the refund period have passed.

~This may also be why WC focus on new content rather than optimization: when new DLC is released there is no possibility to resell, at least for some time.

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So, I've seen some excellent pros and cons to both sides of the discussion.  If I may, let me interject my opinion and past experience of being a 30-year Network / Server Infrastructure Architect.

If they host their own servers, there is the initial expense of the physical server hardware, which in most cases exceeds $15,000-$25,000 per box (for a decent one).  There are subscription fees that they pay for licensing the operating systems - even if it something like CentOS / RedHat / BSD.  Check their service models out - if you want support (which they do), it is generally licensed by the physical CPU, or by the number of cores that the CPU has.  When you get into licensing Windows boxes, it's even more.

Depending on the back-end database for this game, you have not only the physical hardware licensing requirements, (per core / CPU), but you also have a per-seat license as well.  This is a license that is required for every other server that will be accessing that particular database server. Some vendors even have a license per-database, and as you can imagine, there are a ton of databases, as there are a ton of servers.  I can tell you from experience, a game of this magnitude requires a strong, high-performing database with exceptionally high availability and available i/o, which is also, as you might imagine, extremely expensive.

Network and security infrastructure, such as Palo Alto, Citrix, Cisco, etc., are all once again a licensed and maintenance expense model.  A single Cisco switch - or even a single virtual switch, such as as mid-line Nexus, that is capable of delivering that data at the throughput that I suspect this game requires, and perform near real-time / high-speed mathematical functions and database queries can cost into the hundreds of thousands of dollars - a single switch, mind you.  This is all without factoring in the ongoing maintenance costs.

The physical infrastructure - meaning the physical cable plant within their facilities / datacenter will need initial install, maintenance, repair, and eventual upgrade over time.  Think also what it takes to keep an environment like that cool, provide adequate power, fire protection and suppression, physical security (biometrics, man traps, cameras, etc...). It's a massive endeavor, to say the very least.

Backups - they do have to roll us back from time to time... that takes money...  The software alone to archive off our backups is expensive, and again, typically a subscription model.  This doesn't even scratch the surface on expense associated with tiered term storage arrays - look up Equalogic, for example, and get a base price for a home model and then multiply that by many, many magnitude more than what an average person needs to backup their personal docs / pictures / home movies.

With that initial part out of the way, the most often overlooks portion of all of this is Life Cycle Management.  This means that you need to plan for replacing all of the above physical hardware when it outlives its usefulness or performance levels.  Even if the equipment is leased, this is still an exceptionally painful (nobody ever wants their server to be down, and coordinating all of that with engineers, devs, the leasing company is a general nightmare), and expensive process, given all of the people that it takes to replace the equipment.

With the physical side of things out of the way, let's discuss manpower requirements for such an operation.  Server admins, database admins, monitoring services (subscriptions), security monitoring, ongoing bandwidth expenses, physical security personnel, general maintenance personnel - then insurance, taxes, and the list goes on...

Let's turn our focus on what most think about - the development / bug fixes side of things, knowing that I really didn't but barely scratch the surface on the network / security / physical infrastructure side of things.  Most dev shops will modularize their code in such a manner that it can be worked on independently - in different teams.  You might have an authentication team, a network optimization team, a security team - or they may be broken down into their specific languages, such as C++, C#, PHP, Java, Java Beans - or they may be scripting-specific languages for performing various automated tasks within the environment - not just within the game.  Then there are graphics artists, OpenGL coders, DirectX, UE engine codes, etc.  The point being is that it takes a lot of fingers in the pie to make this game all come together - the more fingers in the pie, the more money involved.

I won't even get into the leadership, or administrative expenses associated.

The bottom line is that no, all of this takes money - on a monthly basis to pull something like this off.  A single copy sale model generates revenue once, and once only.  It cannot begin to cover the ongoing associated costs of making a game like this available to the general public.  Particularly so, if folks buy the initial copy at a discounted rate (which someone already pointed out).

Take a page out of WoW's playbook - offer paid name changes (PLEASE lol), temporary XP or breeding bosts, skins, swag (t-shirts, mugs, hats), stuffed animals, unique mounts - something to generate additional, revenue sources with which to keep all of the hardware running, current, updated and patched, as well as keep the devs and other admins happy and proud to work at WC.  

Most folks that are not in the development, network, security, storage, archival, digital art, or gaming industry fields, have no true realization about what is required to make our characters walk, run, swing a sword, and definitely have no idea the sheer volume of math and computations going on in the background when that same sword strikes another player or NPC.

To make our characters come to life, the long and short of it is that it takes money, and lots of it.

I am all for a reasonable subscription model - somewhere in the neighborhood of $9.99USD and $14.99USD.  All of this is predicated upon them using the funds to truly provide adequate server resources required for optimal performance, as well as expanding upon their development, debugging, code review, unit testing, beta testing (I bet a LOT of folks would be more than willing to be FREE testers of code BEFORE they release and folks get ARKed), along with optimal network / security infrastructure and its associated expenses.

In short, if they were to actually use the subscription fees for their intended use, this game could potentially be one of the best out there.  As previously mentioned by another poster, I think that this model should really only be intended for those that wish to play on an official server.  If you host your own, or play single player, the intial licensed copy of the game should suffice as your on-ramp to the game.

 

Edited by adamsre
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Just now, nameless said:

In a simpler analogy:

it is like you have to tame a gacha with some items, but you will still have to feed it something to let it make crystal after it is tamed.

Or else it will just sit there and do nothing, and probably die.

I like it - but don't forget that you have to first farm whatever it is that you are planning on feeding that gacha - which takes your time and resources, lest the gacha probably die ;)

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i dont think paying a sub would fix anything. the problem comes from to many player objects in game so when it saves(way to often) the game lags out for 30+ seconds or in some servers cases just crashes. it dont help when some tribes have 400 bases across the map and 6000 wyverns cause 5 for each tribe member wasnt enough. theres like 4 or 5 tribes on my server that i swear must have 500 wyverns each in their yards :/ and all they do now is login to refresh bases for long time now. probably selling those wyverns on discord or something i dont know  but the whole server suffers greatly from it.

a sub isnt gonna fix this and neither will  better servers. blame the players. tribe tame limits was a step in the right direction but they need to take that 1 step further and put specific dino caps on tribes like 10 wyverns max per tribe or something with cryo'd not counting towards the cap so these people and their 500 wyvern car lots are no longer selfishly destroying server stability. there are other dinos also being used like this but wyverns is a easy example cause thats the most common useless dino(car)lot.

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Good call, Barium, and I think you have a perfect example there.  Something to think about - architecture-wise with these servers, is that the save occurs on the same physical box (or virtual box).  In the past, when I have designed server farms where disk i/o plays a crucial factor in performance (which, in this game, it does), the best course of action is to configure the server to save off to a separate spindle, or set of disks. 

When I mentioned tiered storage in my previous "wall of text", this was what I was referring to.  You have a set of disks that are designated for ultra-high speed / i/o (perhaps enterprise class SSD or M.2 drives) - this would be the set that a database, or the game files would run on.  You have another set of slightly slower (perhaps 10,000 RPM spindle drives - which are cheaper than enterprise SSD's) where the game saves occur.  This accomplishes two things, right off the bat :  You remove the disk i/o problem from what causes the server to lag (it's waiting on the discs to complete their writing of the save file), and it separates the save files from the game files, meaning that you increase the likelihood that your save files are valid, along with having a faster means of recovery, should the primary game disks fail.

So, for each physical server, they likely have 6-8 virtual servers residing on them.  If each physical server has a SCSI-attached / Fiber-attached / or even SAN-attached (through iSCSI or other means), you could designate a LUN (a specific SET of disks that are combined into an array of disks), you could earmark each LUN to a specific virtual, or smaller set of virtual servers.

If you have ever been on discord with friends and they are playing on a different server, you may have noticed that you both tend to lag at, or around the same time.  This leads me to believe that they have one, very large SAN that ALL of the servers in that group attach to.  If ALL of the servers in that group are saving at the identical time, then the system gets overburdened and will cause that nasty 15-30 (or more...) second freeze.  

If they had the budget, some very simple architectural changes would give us a near instantaneous relief of this lag every 15 minutes that a save occurs.

Of course, optimization in other areas and additional server CPU cores and memory does indeed increase performance.  My personal home server is an older-class DELL R710 with only two physical CPUS, that have 6 cores for each physical CPU and 128GB of RAM.  I have 6 physical disks in this box that have 4 disks in a RAID-5 array, and the remaining 2 disks are in a RAID-1 array.  I can comfortably run 4 maps simultaneously on this box - and have load tested it with about 20 players running on each map.  Of course, we don't have 500 bases and a myriad of dinos sitting on display as some of these larger tribes do, but we have spawned in hundreds of dinos on each map to test my theory.  I also have my home Plex server and a Cisco VIRL server (which is pretty resource intensive) running off of the physical hardware.

In short, this allows me to earmark (dedicate) 16GB of RAM and 4 CPU cores per map.  Most of the servers that you can rent only have 8GB of RAM, and some allow you to upgrade to 12GB.  I can assure you that more memory, better disk allocation and some eventual optimization of code will most definitely increase the playability of the maps.  I do agree that more thought needs to go into how many dinos a tribe has out on display, as it most definitely does impact performance.  There is little need with the kibble re-work, to have so many dinos out on display at a given time.  Even if you have a bunch of boss rexes out breeding, you can put them up when you're done.  However, this brings up another issue - in the case of breeding something like a boss rex - it takes a long time to wake those dumb things up with the cryo cooldown.  If they limit the number of tames that you have out, they need to re-think the cryo cooldown, or do away with it altogether on at least PVE servers.  I understand why they introduced it on PVP.

Thoughts? 

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I also wanted to point out that due to budget, they likely do what is known as "over subscribing".  What this is, is you take 2 physical CPU's that a physical server has, and their 10-20 cores per CPU (on the newer Xeon processors), and they virtually carve those up into say 4 cores each.  If there are only 20 CPU cores total available, and you have eight server maps running on this box, then basic math would tell you that you need 32 cores for each server to function.  Oversubscribing plays off of the thought that all 8 of these servers are not at full load all of the time, and they are able to borrow CPU cycles from the other servers that aren't currently utilizing them.  When players DO log in and start to play, the available CPU cycles diminish, and ultimately, we run into the issue of the virtual server waiting on a CPU cycle that another server is currently using.  This is another reason for lag in the game - oversubscribing these physical servers with more maps than they should have.  Available budget would allow them to truly allocate and dedicate system resources to the underlying servers to where they aren't "borrowing" resources from one another.  By the way, system RAM performs the same way in a virtual server environment.  

The caveat to not practicing over subscribing, is that if a server has no players, or minimal players, you are ultimately wasting resources - this is why they look to remove low pop servers first.  It's an easy way of recovering physical server resources for them.

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17 hours ago, adamsre said:

I am all for a reasonable subscription model - somewhere in the neighborhood of $9.99USD and $14.99USD.  All of this is predicated upon them using the funds to truly provide adequate server resources required for optimal performance, as well as expanding upon their development, debugging, code review, unit testing, beta testing (I bet a LOT of folks would be more than willing to be FREE testers of code BEFORE they release and folks get ARKed), along with optimal network / security infrastructure and its associated expenses.

In short, if they were to actually use the subscription fees for their intended use, this game could potentially be one of the best out there.  As previously mentioned by another poster, I think that this model should really only be intended for those that wish to play on an official server.  If you host your own, or play single player, the intial licensed copy of the game should suffice as your on-ramp to the game.

I believe its around $15 USD/month for a third party ARK server. At least the ones we're using. It's a reasonable amount considering the amount of fun we have in the game over the course of a year. Also, third party hosts like the one we use often offer a 'donation' service so our players can contribute toward month server expenses. If you have a small group of friends all playing together and kicking in $1 - $2 per month, it's easily worth the expense. Based on what I read here, I'd say our game experience is WAY better than official servers as well. 

Edited by DeHammer
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4 hours ago, Barium said:

i dont think paying a sub would fix anything. the problem comes from to many player objects in game so when it saves(way to often) the game lags out for 30+ seconds or in some servers cases just crashes. it dont help when some tribes have 400 bases across the map and 6000 wyverns cause 5 for each tribe member wasnt enough. theres like 4 or 5 tribes on my server that i swear must have 500 wyverns each in their yards :/ and all they do now is login to refresh bases for long time now. probably selling those wyverns on discord or something i dont know  but the whole server suffers greatly from it.

a sub isnt gonna fix this and neither will  better servers. blame the players. tribe tame limits was a step in the right direction but they need to take that 1 step further and put specific dino caps on tribes like 10 wyverns max per tribe or something with cryo'd not counting towards the cap so these people and their 500 wyvern car lots are no longer selfishly destroying server stability. there are other dinos also being used like this but wyverns is a easy example cause thats the most common useless dino(car)lot.

 

I think PvP players probably have have areason for keeping their wyverns out, but for PvE:

https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/forums/topic/497655-changes-in-pve-cryopods/

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2 hours ago, nameless said:

 

I think PvP players probably have have areason for keeping their wyverns out, but for PvE:

https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/forums/topic/497655-changes-in-pve-cryopods/

im on official pve. pvp i get why they would all need to be out and even that many just for base defenses but pve with how easy cryo pods are to obtain now i think it needs to be stopped.

atm my ext server lags every couple mins for around a minute+ at least no joke. don't know why my tribe mates even still login there. to me its unplayable. my val server now lags every couple mins for a good 30 seconds at least. just a 2 min argy flight from my base is at least 3 bases with huge yards 100% full of nothing but wyverns in each. i can only imagine how many more bases are like that around the map. most people these days just login to reset timers which isnt a problem cause i get that. the problem is that most people couldnt be bothered to even put in a effort to cryo their 500 wyverns.

wyverns is also a great example cause ever since the addition of them theres always been these mass wyvern parking lots so people could sell them. what other reason is there to own so many on a pve server? i remember back in the day servers would insta cap soon as transfers opened cause people just used them as 2nd, 3rd, 4th ect ect wyvern parking lots. there are other dinos like rex's but i see rex's as a boss army so you need that many incase your last group dies but theres no reason for sooooooo many wyverns.

 

it would be nice to not have a cryo cd on pve but i dont see that changing for those that couldnt be bothered to cryo in the 1st place or mabey even just sick of cryoing their 10k wyverns. pvp servers none of this matters cause people can just find ways to kill bases like this off if they can

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