Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Server Structure in EVE Online

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the more-the-merrier dept.

Games 141

Massively takes an interesting look at the server model used by EVE Online. It's unusual for a MMOG because it doesn't divide the player load among different servers or "shards." Instead, the same cluster handles the entire EVE universe and all 300,000 subscribers (total; record concurrent load is around 40,000). The EVE Dev Blog recently announced some upgrades to keep things running smoothly and allow for battles involving over 1,000 ships. They call the technology StacklessIO.

cancel ×

141 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Great! (2, Funny)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239593)

1000 ships of boringness [escapistmagazine.com]

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25239797)

1000 ships of boringness [escapistmagazine.com]

Agreed, I played the Demo for 7 of the 14 days. I've had more fun with Nausea.

Re:Great! (5, Interesting)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239887)

While I personally don't find Eve the game to be very entertaining, I love to here any new information about it. That's partially because stories like this [rockpapershotgun.com] can only come out of a game like Eve, but also because it's pretty much the only MMO right now that's really doing things their own way and not just following in the footsteps of WoW and Everquest before it.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241369)

My thoughts exactly. I tried the game, and it wasn't for me, but I admire the "wild west" atmosphere and find the community drama that periodically pops up entertaining.

Re:Great! (1)

Knots (129659) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242535)

and not just following in the footsteps of WoW and Everquest before it.

Although Everquest was launched in 1999, Eve Online was launched in 2003 whereas World of Warcraft was launched in 2004.

Re:Great! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239905)

It's a fish tank.

Re:Great! (2, Interesting)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239953)

That review was the worst, seeing as he only played 20% of the game by avoiding the corporation and PvP aspect.

Though its mitigated by the fact that his reviews really aren't reviews at all, they're "I don't really like videogames, so here's my low-budget flash animation with voice over that tells you, again, why I don't like videogames."

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241269)

Wow, someone's nerdraging that the big bad man said a mean word about his favorite video game.

Re:Great! (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241981)

well... it's almost like saying "I decided to watch the Ironman movie and just skipped over the action scenes and plot development".

That being said, i did love his review.. especially the skill training part, haha.

Re:Great! (4, Interesting)

Inominate (412637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241455)

That review is dead on accurate for solo type players. Still, it's intended to be funny which it succeeds at, even the most hardcore eve fanboy can admit it's mostly true. It just completely misses the good parts of eve.

Everyone should try eve once. There is about a 75% chance you'll loathe it with every fiber of your being and go out of your way to talk about how awful it is whenever it gets mentioned. However, for the people looking for something different in MMOs, eve can be fun on levels untouched by any other.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243085)

As a rabid fanboy, I agree entirely. He's spot on with all the points he's making - the PvE element of EVE gets dull in a hurry, and if you don't interact with other players ... well, yeah.

It's like elite, but worse.

What I find disappointing though, is that he fiddled around with the tip of the ice berg, proclaimed it too small and proceeded to sail on past. EVE is a game which _requires_ you be a self starter - that you go out and do stuff at your own behest. It's for that very simple reason that some people just don't get along with it - they are used to being told what to do, for questing, for getting loot, or ... well, whatever.

They fly missions for a bit - and whilst they _are_ getting better, they're not exactly the most enthralling thing in the world. Conclusion: EVE is dull, and they move on.

I don't actually think that's such a bad thing - EVE is not a game that appeals to every gamer. At a pretty fundamental level, it does involve being horrible to other players. What in other games would be 'griefing' in EVE is 'business as usual'. The kind of player who's not really thinking 'wow, a whole universe, what can I do?' won't get along anyway.

*shrug*. I play EVE a lot, and I like the freeform nature. Others won't.

The only thing that has me miffed by Zero Punctuation, is he took a massively multiplayer PvP game - didn't interact with anyone, and didn't PvP, and proclaimed it crap.

Re:Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243261)

Or he just doesn't like to play Excel...

I was wondering about that... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239967)

I was wondering what the point of setting up a character was if you never got out of your ship, so I figured at some point you got to level up far enough to meet people on their ships or something... but I should have expected that wouldn't happen. I got involved briefly in a space MUD, many years ago, and discovered that it was divided into people who flew around in their ship and did space stuff so they never got into the same room as anyone else and only talked with anyone in IM, and people who didn't have anything to do with the ship stuff and were getting run out of the game because they were wasting server time. Seeing as I'm a pretty dedicated interact with people type, as opposed to an arms length IM type, I didn't hang around to get run out...

So I guess they skipped the whole interacting bit... yes no?

Re:I was wondering about that... (2, Informative)

Yoda's Mum (608299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240541)

No, there's plenty of interaction. Aside from the voice chat, chat channels and the like, inter-player interaction is done through interacting with other people's ships. The point of creating a character is that it gives you a visual identity that goes along with your character name. Beyond that, there's a future expansion planned that will allow interaction of ones' avatar inside of space stations and the like. For now though, as far as game terms go one's ship is their avatar.

Re:I was wondering about that... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240573)

The point of creating a character is that it gives you a visual identity that goes along with your character name.

But who sees it? Just you?

For now though, as far as game terms go one's ship is their avatar.

Sounds like it.

Re:I was wondering about that... (3, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241113)

But who sees it? Just you?

The portrait is used:
In the eve-online.com forums, in the in-game chat rooms, and whenever you "get info" about a players ship.

Re:I was wondering about that... (2, Interesting)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243095)

Actually they _are_ looking up an upcoming release for just the points you mentioned - you will be able to get out of spaceships in the near future.

But that aside, no, I'm finding the interaction in EVE quite good actually - voice comms (built in, or ventrillo) and chat channels. The reason I like it, is I actually find it more immersive - as a capsuleer, you're in the pod in the middle of your ship, and you're immortal - it therefore makes sense that you communicate almost exclusively by 'remote'.

Shards (3, Interesting)

dintech (998802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239627)

In some respects shards can be a good thing. It's nice to have a 'clean sheet of paper' when a new server is brought on-line. With long running shards, the guys at the top of the food chain are very hard to catch up with.

Re:Shards (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239659)

Especially in Eve, where skills are real time based (you gain x points per minute no matter what). You can't ever catch up.

Re:Shards (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239733)

The whole point is that it is a MMO. If you play with others in a fleet with specialization then the playing field is leveled.

Re:Shards (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239739)

Why do you need to catch up? Isn't the game fun without being the player with the most points?

That's my problem with MMOs. Too much concentration on the top players leaving a rather boring middle. It's kind of like society. The rich and famous are looked after, cared for, etc while the middle class has to foot the bill and pay for the servers while not getting half the game.

The elephant's tail (4, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240377)

That's my problem with MMOs. Too much concentration on the top players leaving a rather boring middle. It's kind of like society. The rich and famous are looked after, cared for, etc while the middle class has to foot the bill and pay for the servers while not getting half the game.

Heh. On WoW about 99% of the content is for levels 1 to 69, and all there is to do at level 70 is a repetitive grind to give you _something_ to do until the next expansion pack comes. It used to be the same at 60, before Burning Crusade.

The same applies to virtually any game out there.

E.g., on COH you still don't even _have_ a proper endgame grind, and it used to have none at all. (Unless you count the bad joke that the Hamidon "raid" used to be. Think: get 50 controllers to spam holds, and the rest of the gang does nothing at all to not get aggro.) Nor any perspective to get further than that, because the game had 50 levels since Issue 1 and just isn't supposed to ever have more than 50 levels.

E.g., on EQ2 much the same applies as on WoW. You hit level 80, you get stuck doing a dungeon 100 times, and then move on to the tier 2 grind and do it another 100 times, and somewhere past the point where you're bored out of your freaking mind, you finally get some of your epic gear.

E.g., on SWG, there didn't even use to be an endgame at all. The grind to Jedi was mostly repeatedly nuking your old "class" (ok, skill combination) and playing another "class" from zero to max. That was it: repeating the normal game again, with whichever class you got told to use this time. And then you got a Jedi to play the game with, from zero to max again.

Etc.

How the _fuck_ does that count as catering more to the top players? Those have 1% of the content, the low and middle guys get 99%.

On virtually any game out there, it's pretty much the illustration of this absurdist joke: "Q: Why does an elephant have a tail? A: So it doesn't end abruptly." That's it. What you get at top level is the elephant's tail, and the rest of the folks get the rest of the elephant.

But of course it doesn't prevent people from imagining that there's some grand and fabulous Shangri-La at the end. That they'll suddenly have 10x more fun, angels will give them blowjobs around the clock, heralds with trumpets will announce their every move, and that a thousand Blood Elf virgins will beg to have their baby. Basically, especially if they don't find the mid-game that much fun, that there must be _some_ grand reward at the end, or people wouldn't do it.

Boy, are they going to be disappointed. What people actually get at the end is... well, look at all the disgruntled WoW bashers and all the people swearing that <NEXT GAME> will bury WoW alive, and their whole raiding guild is swearing off WoW as soon as <NEXT GAME> comes out. That's how great they're catered for at the top.

It's still the same basic game, only more repetitive. If you find the middle boring, you're going to find the top even more so. Oh, it'll be something new to be in a raid for the first time. The second time too. But by the time you've went through it a dozen times, all using the same 1-2 buttons, it starts being a heck of a lot less fun. And if you still didn't get the hint that you've finished the game and might as well move on or start an alt, you're going to keep doing it more and more and enjoying it less and less. Well past the point where that enjoyment dropped below the "watching pait dry" mark. Until one more straw breaks the camels back. And then you join the great mass of burned-out, disgruntled ex-WoW-ers. Or ex-EQ2-ers. Or whatever.

And depending on the game, you might also get asked to respec your character into something you don't like. (See all the "but I wanted to be a Shadow spec priest" whines.) Or you might discover that your class isn't even needed by anyone at the top, at all. (See, again, everyone who wasn't a controller, in the Hamidon "raid" on COH.)

Did you actually play it to the top on those MMOs you have a problem with, or are you just judging them based on what you imagine about the top?

Re:The elephant's tail (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240605)

By default "most" of the content for any game is for the lead up to the endgame. However, most *new* content is generated for endgame players, because those are the most likely to leave (and as a result, stop paying their subscriptions, of course).

Whether or not any given company does this well is another discussion (but from my experience no one does it well -- at least WAR will have the endgame RvR to play).

Re:The elephant's tail (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240879)

That's pretty much what I was getting at. I played EQ1 for YEARS and the only content ever added was Raid and Guild centric content. I sadly jumped from MMO to MMO from that till Warhammer today. It felt as though the adventuring player that might stop to read would be left out of every expansion. Games do that even today (including WoW and EQ2... and yes, I've played them and got sick of the end game.) For the record, End Game is not what I was talking about for "top people". I meant those that some would consider power gamers (and yes, I've been there too...) The people that bitch and complain that their chosen class can't kill X other class and demand nerfs to get their kicks. These people most likely have multiple accounts or are influential in a guild and would leave if they are not kept happy. Of course... since an ass ton of content in MMOs is guild oriented or geared in such a way that you have to do it "for the guild" (more so as the days go on) the fact that this person is now leaving leaves the guild in a sad shape and looking for a replacement or a new game. Now, you have one power gamer who raids a lot and is the center piece of his raid guild. He has the power to pull the plug on his subscription and the sub of at least 6 other people. MMO designers know this. They cater to this crowd and promote this practice. It's the perfect peer pressure marketing. I don't have stats, but I'd guarantee that people in guilds are less likely to dump a game if it's not fun. (Just like someone will stick with a job because it's not looking for another and not getting paid.) Sadly an MMO that took this route was Vanguard. After SOE took it over, the game changed immensely from the original plan. It became more guild centric, with fast travel for raiders to get together easier, and they stopped working on a lot of the content that could have made it unique (instead of an EQ2 clone without zonelines.)

Re:The elephant's tail (5, Informative)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241171)

[I]n WoW about 99% of the content is for levels 1 to 69, and all there is to do at level 70 is a repetitive grind to give you _something_ to do until the next expansion pack comes. It used to be the same at 60, before Burning Crusade.

This is a common misconception. The content is for all levels. A common personality type wont use any content that doesn't measureably increase their usefulness at the highest tier. I submit you feel there is nothing gained from trying to solo Uldaman at level 70 or speed level or any of the non-traditional achievements that any person can imagine other than getting a sword that's +12 instead of +11. This personality type helped codify "a repetitive grind". In the asian markets, this does not exist (which is interesting from a sociological standpoint). If repetition was the problem with enjoyment, there would be a much higher suicide rate.

I have stated, many times, that the type of personality that does well with MMORPGs is not the exact same market that is assumed. Teenaged boys are tempermental, have shifting expectations, and are bored easily. You'll find the people that do well over years, are middle-aged and employed or otherwise fulfilled outside of game accomplishments.

What's worse, the content that BC came out with was LARGELY level 70 content. 1%? How do you come to that figure? The multiple subsections of zones devoted to 70-only (Skywing quests, comes immediately to mind) and specific holiday events. The entire zones geared for level 70s? No less than a dozen instances. Shattered Halls, Steam Vaults, Shadow Labryinth, Caverns of Time, The Arcatraz, Mount Hyjal, Serpentshrine Caverns, Tempest Keep, Black Temple, and EVERY Heroic version of the 5-mans? People see what they want to see.

You need to examine how you play the game, not make false criticisms based on an obvious personality quirk that prevents you from enjoying them more than one way. Yes, other people complain as well for the SAME EXACT REASONS (while there are millions who do not), but they complain because they are unable to be introspective, not because there's anything wrong with 'the original wheel'.

I'm talking in hours (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242933)

This is a common misconception. The content is for all levels.

While technically that's true:

1. It was there at a lower level too, hence the claim that only top-levels get catered for, is false.

2. So basically a variant of the common fanboy defense, "well, you could go and do <insert pointless thing> or do it again and again, and that ought to count as more hours the game has." It's been floating around about various games since at least the 90's.

What's worse, the content that BC came out with was LARGELY level 70 content. 1%? How do you come to that figure? The multiple subsections of zones devoted to 70-only (Skywing quests, comes immediately to mind) and specific holiday events. The entire zones geared for level 70s? No less than a dozen instances. Shattered Halls, Steam Vaults, Shadow Labryinth, Caverns of Time, The Arcatraz, Mount Hyjal, Serpentshrine Caverns, Tempest Keep, Black Temple, and EVERY Heroic version of the 5-mans? People see what they want to see.

I'm talking in hours. Take the time needed to do _all_ the quests and dungeons that don't need level 70 and/or epic gear. All the quests starting with hunting boars in the Orc newbie area _and_ wolves in Northshire, all the gathering cactus apples _and_ Milly's grapes, and all the instances starting with the Deadmines _and_ RFC. That total is your first number of hours. Then take that dozen instances and measure how much time you spend inside them from start to finish. Once each, because on the second run you don't see that much new content. There are a couple of exceptions, but not that much. I haven't done the exact maths, but as gut feelings go, I'll stick with that 1%.

A common personality type wont use any content that doesn't measureably increase their usefulness at the highest tier. I submit you feel there is nothing gained from trying to solo Uldaman at level 70 or speed level or any of the non-traditional achievements that any person can imagine other than getting a sword that's +12 instead of +11. This personality type helped codify "a repetitive grind". In the asian markets, this does not exist (which is interesting from a sociological standpoint). If repetition was the problem with enjoyment, there would be a much higher suicide rate.

I have stated, many times, that the type of personality that does well with MMORPGs is not the exact same market that is assumed. Teenaged boys are tempermental, have shifting expectations, and are bored easily. You'll find the people that do well over years, are middle-aged and employed or otherwise fulfilled outside of game accomplishments.

Oh, spare me the bullshit armchair-shrink gig. You don't know anything about my age, personality, or how I play the game. Yes, I _am_ a middle aged guy _and_ employed _and_ have other accomplishments. And that is exactly _why_ I couldn't care less about a grinding to willy-wave about another piece of gear at the end. I have better things to willy-wave about than "yay, I finally got some virtual boots." Yes, I have RL accomplishments instead. And given that my whole point is that it's the road not the destination, and that I _don't_ want to grind for my top tier gear, you couldn't be more wrong anyway. But that won't stop you from doing... an ego-masturbation gig in which you pretend to know what's wrong with anyone whose tastes differ in the slightest from yours. Geeze, dude, do you even listen to yourself?

You presume to submit how _I_ feel... Heh... How about: I actually feel that I've already done Uldaman at the right level, and feel no need to solo it again at 70? It's still the same instance. I've already _seen_ those halls. But nah, that wouldn't be as good as a strawman that supports your preconceived conclusion, would it? Sorry about that.

Get over yourself. Some people can just have different styles without having some "personality problem" or being impatient kids. You're not the platinum standard of human tastes, you know?

And, anyway, I've had enough of the idiocy that everyone else must be some kind of kid if they think differently. I've heard the "yeah, well, but they're all under 15" piece of ego-masturbation in every game, wherever some loser needs a quick fallacy to feel better about himself. Whether it's EQ2 players saying it about WoW players, grinders saying it about non-grinders, or "carebears" and PvP-ers saying it about each other, it's just now supported by any statistics or anything. It's a piece of bullshit some people say as little more than patting their own back and feeling better about themselves. It wasn't true or funny the first time, and it certainly doesn't become more so when said yet again by yet another guy looking to boost his own ego.

You need to examine how you play the game, not make false criticisms based on an obvious personality quirk that prevents you from enjoying them more than one way. Yes, other people complain as well for the SAME EXACT REASONS (while there are millions who do not), but they complain because they are unable to be introspective, not because there's anything wrong with 'the original wheel'.

So if a lot of other people see things differently, and in your own words they're actually very common and whole markets work that way... your conclusion is basically that your tastes are right, and they all are obviously wrong. Geeze. Do you also feel a need to enlighten people who like Coke instead of Pepsi? Do you get into such armchair-shrink acts about people who like chicken more than beef? Or what the fuck?

No, it's you who needs a good introspection. Exactly what personality quirk or brain damage makes _you_ assume that if a few million people like something else, you're qualified to tell them that there's something wrong with their tastes and indeed brain?

I play the game the way it's fun for _me_. How's that for a notion?

Re:The elephant's tail (2, Informative)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241221)

Having played WoW for about a year, I'd put it more at about 25% of the content as being aimed at level 70 players. The Outland is quite large, and there are 7 regular dungeons, 13 heroic dungeons and all of the tier4-tier6 raid zones (9?). Plus the recent Isle of Q, which adds about 90 minutes worth of daily quests that you can do for gold/faction.

Not sure how the new expansion will work out. I suspect, that like Burning Crusade, they'll need to patch in content periodically in order to give players new things to do while they prep the next expansion.

Re:Shards (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240379)

Unfortunately, the game isn't that fun even if you do have a lot of points. Sad that I play it, isn't it?

Re:Shards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241577)

Skill training in EVE is structured in such a way that the longer players don't have such an advantage. Skill training time goes up geometrically, but the benefits are linear.

Lets take an example, for example Shield Strength. It might take 10 mins for Level 1, about 2 hours for level 2, 12 hours for level 3, a day and a half for level 4, and 4 days for level 5.

But, each level only would give you 5% more shield strength. So, in about two days, you'll have 20% more shields than standard, and the ultra-pro player would have 25% more. So you're only about 5% down. This situation continues through all the EVE skills in one manner or another. Thus, while you're never going to match that person ahead of you skill to skill, you will be able to almost match him.

With some skillfull skill planning, you may be able to match his skills in specific areas that are most advantageous. My character has about 32 million skill points, but if you started up as a combat character with intent to blow me up, you could spend only a few months to match my skills, as my skills cover the whole range of what's available.

Re:Shards (2, Informative)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243139)

Exponential skillpoint progression is one thing.

The other is, of course, that every skill caps at 5, and there's only so many skillpoints that you can use to fly a ship.

Most of the veteran players out there aren't 'maxed out' in any way shape or form either - I've not maxed my skills in any ship classes, as the last level of certain skills just isn't worth the time for me. (Weapon specialisations mostly, they take significant amounts of time, for an additional 2% gain).

But in a relatively short amount of time, you can be as good in most ship classes, and better in others. You'll never be able to fly _as many_ ships, because I'm always learning more, but ... well, we can each only fly one ship at a time.

Re:Shards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242959)

You either don't play any MMOs or you are very confused.

Lets take Everquest for an example. There are, I think, 14 expansions for that game and while most of them have plenty of "high" level content, the level cap has been raised a number of times making all that content "mid" level content now. Everquest never needs to come out with content for most the the top 8 or so levels (assuming a 5 level increase) ever again. Just because the content for your level is 5 years only doesnt mean there is anything wrong with it, but for some reason people seem to think that it is somehow substandard content because it isn't "new". It's certainly new to you.

All levels other than the very final level as transient. You don't stay them very long as the entire point of playing the game is to move on to the next level. New content for a level 40 would be pointless as they have tons of perfectly good content to consume already whereas someone who is max level is stuck in the same few places with nowhere else to go, so new expansions add new zones and new levels for the people at max level which is where everyone is heading.

There is no such thing as footing the bill and only getting half the game. There is NOTHING stopping every single person from playing EQ or WoW or just about any other MMO from reaching max level at whatever rate they feel like reaching it at. There are no artificial barriers or extra charges, limits or special circumstances that prevent you from going from one level to the next. The only thing stopping you is you.

Re:Shards (2, Insightful)

aafiske (243836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239837)

Except the payoff for time invested is exponential, not linear. So even though you can't catch up, being a year behind means you're just 5% behind. Or not as diversified.

Example: a corp member, at about 6 months old in account age, had over twice the kills as anyone else in the corp, 4 year veterans included. It's not all about your in-game skills.

Re:Shards (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240221)

Except the payoff for time invested is exponential, not linear. So even though you can't catch up, being a year behind means you're just 5% behind.

I believe you meant logarithmic.

Re:Shards (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240565)

It's not all about your in-game skills.
****
Absolutely not true.

If you take a midrange ship and fit it well enough to get those kills, you require a minimum of 9 months to train it and the sub-skills. Maybe 6 if you buy a "starter" character with all of the basic skills learned and put some heavy duty skill boosting implants on it.

I know. I've thought about starting a new character to just do PVP and it's a 6-9 month minimum to not get squashed like a bug.

Older characters have a huge advantage, pure and simple.

Re:Shards (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240633)

No, that isn't true, unless you're talking pure one-on-one battles. Chances are you will get squashed in one-on-one until you are using all T2/named etc etc.

In group battles you can function perfectly well as part of a team in under a month.

Re:Shards (3, Insightful)

Inominate (412637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241513)

Chances are someone new will get squashed one-on-one in any ship you can fly. This applies from a frigate up to the most expensive faction battleship. This isn't a skill points thing, it applies equally if you ebay a character from the day eve was released.

One on one pvp in eve is pretty rare, and being able to survive long enough to even find someone can be a challenge. You have to know what ships you can take on. (being in a bigger ship doesn't mean you can win) Even then there's always the chance of a surprise.

This 6-9 month crap is uh, crap. Solo pvp can be done in a T1 frigate or cruiser. It's not easy but neither is doing it in ANY ship.

The real trick to solo pvp is a good ship fitting(whatever ship that may be), and the balls to go out and get blown up many times learning how to do it.

Re:Shards (1)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240749)

I agree that a PvP spec character requires 6-9 months. But from there its only another 3 months to be fully specced on any one class of ship (T2 cruisers for a race). Once you get up and going with PvP, you're most of the way there. This is the logarithmic acceleration parent was talking about: you need a lot of skills to level 4/5, but only a couple to 5/5: it just so happens that 5/5 takes significantly longer than 1->4 took. Usually you need the 5/5 to use equipment, and not because the 5% energy capacity advantage is what it takes to keep up with the joneses.

Older characters just have more choice. And they can fly cap ships. But for really good PvP experience, I dont see either of these as particularly vital. If you dont mind flying light absolutely vital PvP ships, you can get well specced in interdictors in 6 months. T2 cruisers are 9 months.

Re:Shards (2, Insightful)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241685)

agree that a PvP spec character requires 6-9 months. But from there its only another 3 months to be fully specced on any one class of ship (T2 cruisers for a race). Once you get up and going with PvP, you're most of the way there.
****

Absolute rubbish.

Sure, you can physically fly the ship, but you need shields, armor, guns and ammo, targeting, repairers, warp scramblers, energy and CPU efficiency skills to FIT them - stock can't fit half of them... there are literally 20+ skills that you need to even fly it.

Otherwise, it's a fancy flying tin can. Joy.

Re:Shards (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242037)

You are completely hung up on the skill and equipment thing. Grab a Rifter with all tech 1 rat loot garbage and fleet up with your corp. I promise you'll have a shit tonne of fun and score some kills. Who needs shields and armor?! Just a few guns and a warp scramble man!

Re:Shards (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242559)

Sure, anyone can train a smaller ship and be the low man on the totem pole. You can mine or be support or whatever, but to actually survive combat, you need a minimum of 6-9 months to get into the game. After that, there's not much difference between a 6-9 month character and a 4-5 year old one.

But the problem is that most players don't last 6 months worth of training and grinding before they move on. EVE has a shockingly high turnover rate due to the initial time-sink and how the 6-9 month+ players utterly punk the new guys in the 0-6 month range. Every time.

Shoot, to learn just your initial learning skills to GET it down to that 6 month pvp time instead of 10-12 months, you have to basically do nothing but train your status up. For a solid month.

It's quite honestly the slowest skill progression in any game that I've ever played. Even Astronest and other 4X type games where there's an enormous skill tree didn't take half a year to actually begin to be decent at the game. It's also one of the most brutal initial learning curves of any game as well and frankly, it scares off new players. There's no guide for it at Gamestop, there's no in-game explanations for half of it, character generation is a joke in how it tells you almost nothing about what skills are important, and the sheer number of choices are mind-boggling.

As for shards, well, the reality is that it works exactly like a zoned game, because every time you ove between systems, it might as well BE moving to another one. The game is good, but it's also hugely slow and laggy. It clearly wasn't designed for more than about 10K players at a time.

Re:Shards (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243173)

You seeem to be assuming that bigger ship = better ship - and a more survivable ship.

It's not actaully the case - the most valuable element of the gang, is the person who's mobile, can scout and can tackle. Everyone else is just the 'air strike' you call in when you've found something to kill.

You're smaller and more mobile, which is a positive benefit for your mobility - I don't fly battleships very much any more, because they're slow, cumbersome and vulnerable.

And yes, the skill progression is slow - I believe a 'full character sheet' will take you something like 20 years. But they're also steady. Once you can fly a ship, you can fly a ship, and you're progression is slowly making you better at it as you do, whilst you're learning the ropes. Most combat roles can be done at T1 and T2, so you really don't need _that_ massive a skillset to be able to do something. (Admittedly, there are a few exceptions these days, but they're fairly niche).

*shrug*. Stop waiting to level up, and get on with the part of having fun, and it all works quite well.

Lag's also getting a lot better recently too - which is what this article is all about.

Re:Shards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25243207)

Absolute rubbish.

Sure, you can physically fly the ship, but you need shields, armor, guns and ammo, targeting, repairers, warp scramblers, energy and CPU efficiency skills to FIT them - stock can't fit half of them... there are literally 20+ skills that you need to even fly it.

Otherwise, it's a fancy flying tin can. Joy.

What he said is NOT absolute rubbish. Some of the skills you list are support skills. Shields, armor, energy, CPU, propulsion jamming. They're applicable to every ship you fly from a noob frigate to a titan. Once you get them trained to a respectable level you're good to go. Will you benefit even more from taking them to 5/5? Sure. But 4/5 is almost as good.

Once you've got them trained up then all you need to get into a new ship class is the requisite skill for that ship (+any pre-reqs), weapons skills for that ship (if you don't already have them), and skills for any special modules like shield/armor projectors (if you don't already have them) and you're good to go. You may not have them to 5/5 but at 4/5 you're pretty prepared.

I will agree that if your support skills really suck then yeah, you're going to be flying far below capability. You'll be killed more easily than a better skilled player. Maybe even way more easily.

I'll also mention that you can be trained to the max 5/5 in all requisite skills and if you get warp scrambled and webbed and called primary with enough DPS on you then all your skills won't prevent your ship form going boom.

Re:Shards (1)

draxbear (735156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240983)

I'm happy with the skill system, it's like grinding without actually needing to be there. Yes it takes time and yes older players have way more options, but new players can do quite well if you just focus and do your research.

I've started another account so I have another toon to lug ore around, I figured what the hell and set him up with the basics for a Drake. Those suckers really pack an obscene tank and he could drive it in just under 1 month (incl basic learning skills), really rock with it at 2 months. Now at 3 months I'm polishing up his missile skills to 4. Now both mains can fly drakes and really do well through the level 4's without much trouble.

It's also a bonus I can play eve dual screen, 1 session/screen, in Ubuntu and have finally removed the need to keep winxp around anymore.

Re:Shards (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243383)

For me, the real time nature of the skill progression is one of the best things about EVE.

It means there's no implicit advantage to being able to 'grind' all day, vs. being able to play a few hours a night.

Well, there is - you can make more isks, which is useful, but ... I find isks needed, vs isks made is actually proportionate to online time anyway. More I'm online, more ships and stuff I'll buy :p

But it means I can feel free to enjoy the game, without feeling like I'm getting left behind - I'm being as efficient trading in a freighter, as going out and trying to single handedly kill Goonswarm. At least, in terms of SP progression.

I love that aspect - it's the freedom to choose what you want to do, without having had some developer decide what's 'good' and gets xp, and what's not. Seeing new professions emerge is truly beautiful - I've seen anti-sucide escorts, I've seen people selling mining director skills. I've seen one person who was doing 'narration' of a player's actions. He'd quite literally follow them around, and describe what they were doing in local, and in 'heroic' prose.

You get ore theives, you get people able to rig ships. You get people who do 'POS/reaction chain' design. You get people who will gather intel, and sell the reports.

Emergent professions are what makes EVE awesome.

Re:Shards (4, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239901)

X points being modified by your stats, so a guy with +5 implants and maxed stats will gain points faster than someone who doesn't.

EvE is also interesting in that the playing field is also relatively level. A fairly small gang of newbies can drop a 3 year player with a multi-billion ISK ship if they use good tactics. Compare with WoW where no number of low-level characters would have a chance against a 70 -- pretty much any character under 60 will be a 1-hit kill for the 70.

Also, the skills in EvE that "really matter" -- the ones pertaining to your ship's capabilities in combat, those skills are fairly limited. After around 15 million skill points or so you'll have maxed out anything. The 30 million skillpoint character may be able to manufacture stuff too, but the rest of his skill points won't help him in combat.

I really like their skill system and would like to see more MMOs adopt it. It does require patience, though, so I suppose it's not likely to be popular with most MMOs. The customers want their instant gratification.

Re:Shards (3, Interesting)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240177)

Actaully, EVE is the first MMO that I've ever gotten into, and I think a lot of it is the skill system for me. I maybe get in 2 - 3 hours a day of good playtime, 4 days a week. So, about 8 - 12 hours a week. It's nice to know that, as long as I keep track of when my skills finish training, I can log in from work, start the new skill, log back out, and not be at all behind in skills as somebody else who started the same day as me.

IMO, EVE really gives a lot to the gamer who has to balance his gaming life with his work and social lives.

Re:Shards (1)

Yoda's Mum (608299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240611)

As far as the skill points go, that's not quite the case. What the high SP characters also have is diversity; whilst you may be quite effective in a single type of ship around the 15 mil mark, you'll probably be pretty limited in how many different types of ships you'll be effective in; you might have great skills for a Minmatar Heavy Assault Cruiser, for instance, but you'll lack the weapon skills to be comparatively as useful in a Battleship, or even the HAC of another race. And even at 15 mil, you'll still be less than useful in a Carrier, Command Ship, or any one of a handful of similarly broad-skilled ships. More skill points = more diversity.

Re:Shards (2, Insightful)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242051)

You can only fly one ship at a time, mate :)

Skill Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25239915)

Fortunate for the newbie, skill points don't count for too much. The bar to fly some quite useful ships such as interceptors, assault ships and the like is pretty low, and once you have those skills, you are just as good as that 4 year vetran who's got the same skills. The extra tens of millions of points that they have will let them excel in other ships and at other activities, but not all at the same time.

It is very easy to start fresh and carve yourself a niche and play with the 'big boys' in just a short while.

Re:Shards (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239933)

And I suppose they completely fucked up the death mechanism like every other MMO.

If there was permadeath then it wouldn't matter who was on top.. cause eventually they'll die.

Re:Shards (1)

joelleo (900926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240659)

In eve, death (having your capsule blown up aka being "podded") can result in a drop in skill points if you don't have an appropriate clone. Remember, these skill points are earned in real time. Losing several percentage points off of a skill can mean losing the ability to pilot some of your ships, use some of your equipment or perform some other functions. It is PAINFUL to die unprepared in this game.

Additionally, you lose all implants in your clone's head at the time. Beyond the overall cost (10s of millions of isk into the billions for very rare or multi-effect sets) there's the fact that you earn skill points less rapidly until you plug in some new ones.

With that being said, there is no permadeath. Even if you DO get podded into oblivion, buying clones is relatively cheap, though you can't do it in every station or even in every system. Even if you are blockaded into a dead-end system with no cloning facility, you could "clone jump" out, assuming you have spares around the universe.

Re:Shards (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240691)

yeah, this is called a "wuss-slap" by Bartle (one of the biggest proponents of permadeath).

Re:Shards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241521)

As an EVE player, death is -quite- permanent. Oh, your character lives, yes. However if you don't keep on top of some things (intentionally not going into long boring details) it is possible that a character can lose the skill points they have trained. Additionally, if a player dies they lose any implants on their character. That in and of itself can be a significant loss. On top of that, when your ship is blown up, you lose not just that ship but you also randomly lose items that you were carrying or had fitted. Not "dropped so someone else can scoop them up". Boom. Gone. No longer available.

For a high-skilled player, that can represent several -billion- dollars of ingame currency. No, it's not death but instead it's a damn sight more brutal than you'll find in any other game.

Re:Shards (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243189)

Ship death is part of what makes EVE good. Losing a ship hurts. And the more 'veteran' you are, the more expensive ships you can fly, and the more it hurts when you do lose. And you will. There is always a bigger fish, no matter how many skills you have :).

But the fact that a ship dies, means strategic warfare is possible. I love that part. I love the fact that EVE is a strategy game, with resources to manage, unit skill points, 'hard' skill, and morale. Leaders, commanders, and intel warfare.

Re:Shards (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242081)

Pilots are fairly invulnerable since they have clones (make sure it's up to date!). But ships.. that's a whole different story. If your ship pops in battle.. it's gone. Forever. Period. Some modules are gone with it and unrecoverable. A portion of your loot remains with your wreck for anyone to take. Ship losses don't affect you much at first, but at you progress to more high-tech or bigger ships, it can take weeks to replace a loss.

Friendly tip: Don't take it into battle if you can't afford a replacement!

Re:Shards (1)

azemute (890775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240199)

I disagree.
Most skills in EVE are do not have too many levels of pre-requisites, and since every skill has a maximum trainable level of 5, it means it's infact very easy to catch up.

The one proviso, obviously, is that you specialize. As a character, I may have 55M skillpoints in combat, and can fly any HAC in the game, but any industrialist will blow me out of the water. You may never, as a new player, have as many raw SP as an older player, but it simply fails to matter. If you specialize, and are decent at actually playing the game, you can match or beat any other player. The playing field is equal.

Re:Shards (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241129)

I for one am very happy that you won't be joining us in game.

Re:Shards (2, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241667)

The player with the most skill points doesn't always win, because the player with the most skill points can still only throw around part of their skill points.

No single ship, can effectively engage any other ship.

A sniper battleship is a rather large investment of money(for some people) and a large investment of skill points. Yet a single determined ewar cruiser pilot with who has been playing for less than a month can prevent him from firing. A week old player in a frigate can be responsible for the death of a 3 year old veteran. The frig pilot may not be able to kill him on his own, but he can certainly prevent him from leaving the battlefield.

Training times increase geometrically, while the benefit from the skills remains linear.

Re:Shards (2, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239975)

Especially in the case of Eve, where it's known that an insider provided huge benefits to one particular group of longtime players. Last I checked, they were still at the top of the food chain with wrists that stung just a little.

They might consider bringing up just a small number of shards to see what happens. Right now strategies, techniques and culture may be so entrenched that it stifles innovation, whereas having 3 or 4 shards would allow new techniques to develop.

Re:Shards (1)

carlivar (119811) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240195)

Right now strategies, techniques and culture may be so entrenched that it stifles innovation

Wow, they did a great job simulating the real world.

Re:Shards (2, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243225)

Actually the group of long term players you're referring to (assuming we are thinking of the same ones) are doing well for an entirely different reason. Have you seen how they operate? Take a look sometime - they're _very_ forceful in their organisation. They expect a lot of their pilots. They've picked up the hardcore players of EVE, for whom ... almost militaristic discipline is what they find fun. They share phone numbers, and have a 'phone chain', and they have regular RL meets. They have a rule regarding turnout on ops, and you're _required_ to be there without approval from a director. They do have pilots who will turn out on 'alarm clock' ops, and log in at 4am local to kill a POS.

A bit too hardcore for my tastes, but it's quite obvious to me quite why they're the top of the pile _still_. It's because they take the business of Internet Spaceships much more seriously than almost everyone else. The 'insider benefits' scandal - well, it caused a furore, but the actual benefits provided are pretty insignificant - yes, it was some vaguely rare and valuable items, but ... well, have you seen what the revenue of a promethium or dysprosium moon is? Have you seen how fast they're building 60bn each Titans?

Re:Shards (1)

Grundalizer (1377193) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241459)

I agree with dintech. I play WoW and have a 70. I mainly PvP a lot because it is the only way for me to get good gear. The top guilds on my server are elitist assholes that make fun of you unless you know statistical data about WoW that no one else with a life would. 90% of the endgame content is for people that make raiding a job and are in guilds where everyone is geared. It sucks because all the other people never get a chance to see the dungeons.

Performance upgrades are a must. (4, Interesting)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#25239913)

This was one of the largest reasons why I had left EVE. I was in a fairly large alliance. (SMASH) and I had partaken in my fair share of large battles, but we had one with around 400 people total in one system. The game was just in agony trying to run all that.

I actually saved an image of the fight.

http://s219.photobucket.com/albums/cc252/Drakin030/?action=view&current=MassiveFight.jpg [photobucket.com]

You will notice to the right, the list of players was cut at the top, the client started to bug out. Also during the battle you really had no control over what was going on. The speed was about a frame every 15-30 seconds. After each from you could be dead....Or another part of your HUD/Overview was missing.

It was battles like that in which I look forward to, but it was to the point where whoever hit the fire button first won, because if you got caught in the stream of lag before you enabled your guns, you would not fire a shot.

I'm glad to see that they are working hard on the performance, I just hope it's good enough to sustain at least a 400 man fight.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Kahn_au (1349259) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240167)

I agree - I have recently put EVE on hold because partly because even factional warfare resorted to blobing, if they can fix that i will return

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (4, Informative)

azemute (890775) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240231)

In the last two weeks, they've addressed two major issues of EVE. First they implemented a newly written in-house technology that tore down many boundaries they were previously encountering as far as latency was concerned [They call it stacklessIO and it allowed them to run 1400 people in jita, with very little latency, where previously the maximum was approx 800] and secondly, a fully 64bit server process, allowing them to expand to 32GB of RAM for major nodes.
Effectively, they're knocking down as many lag-pins as they can, and I agree, hopefully with some luck.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25240361)

Now the next major thing they need to do is STOP using Windows for the node servers and go Unix based instead (Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, or what have you) because I bet you that's where most of their problems for server stability comes from. But it appears their programmers only know two things Windows C++ programming and Python.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241251)

Interesting... lag in major PvP engagements was one of the biggest peeves. Or getting black-screened in Jita because the system was too busy to login or undock.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241627)

Your response will weigh heavily upon my decision to restart my EVE subscriptions: How bad is Jita's lag, still? How do you know? Are you a Jita station-sitter, or you just go there seldomly to purchase things?

How are large battles? Are they still lag-fests? I know that the number of ships able to take part in a battle has steadily risen, but the amount of ships that corporationss can put on the field always outstripped the countermeasures CCP could put in place. Is this still the case? Is it still common to hit the five-minute latency battles?

Thanks, and please anybody, answer! ;)

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242789)

One thing they've also done is add a few jump-gates to change the 'geography' around Jitta. That and you can now tell the autopilot to route around specific systems. These along with 'stackless I/0' should help.
      Also if you try to log-in to a system that's so overloaded it can't take any more you'll be given the option to log into an adjacent system with the same sec rating.
      That said I've never been to Jitta myself, heard the stories and just stay mostly in the Tash-Merkon region and surrounding.

Mycroft

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243259)

Jita's way better. Between Stackless IO, EVE64, and the fact that autopilots don't force you to go there any more - you get less people in a system that can support more people.

Bit early to tell on the large battles - they don't actually happen all that often, but there's rumours of one that's happened recently with some 300 vs 300, where it was 'pretty good'.

From a recent dev blog:

"This Monday, 29 September, we saw a fleet battle with over 1100 pilots reported in local. Field reports indicate that the fight was quite responsive for the first 10 minutes but then the node "missed its heart beat" as we call it and was removed from the cluster by our cluster integrity watchdog routines. This again is another exciting problem as we can address that as well under our StacklessIO world and that will be the subject of the next blog."

Take that how you will :).

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (2, Interesting)

Yoda's Mum (608299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240677)

For one, the client handles things a lot better now. You're able to turn off irrelevant brackets, which leads to some massive performance improvements.

As for the server side, in the last week or two since the StacklessIO update went live on their servers, the servers have been able to handle large fleet battles incredibly well. Module lag is all-but nonexistent, even with several hundred per side battles. The problem is now one of memory; the removal of the IO-caused lag bottlenecks has shifted the bottleneck to server memory. Thankfully, that's a bit easier to fix, since the Stackless IO update lets them compile a 64 bit version of the client that can actually use more than 2gb of RAM.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

niw (996534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241185)

As for the server side, in the last week or two since the StacklessIO update went live on their servers, the servers have been able to handle large fleet battles incredibly well. Module lag is all-but nonexistent, even with several hundred per side battles. The problem is now one of memory; the removal of the IO-caused lag bottlenecks has shifted the bottleneck to server memory. Thankfully, that's a bit easier to fix, since the Stackless IO update lets them compile a 64 bit version of the client that can actually use more than 2gb of RAM.

Its not the clients that run out of memory, its the servers, Jita specifically, that were running out of memory.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Yoda's Mum (608299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241287)

Yep, twas a typo.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241641)

WOW! Only 2gb maximum on their server nodes? I had no idea it was so strained!

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25242767)

2gb per process. the servers are probably 16 and 32g for the big ones.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (2, Informative)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243313)

I think the servers were 4GB, with 2GB per server process (single-threaded on a dual-cpu machine you see). The "core" servers that handle the biggest places like Jita have now been upgraded to 16GB of ram and 64-bit code, allowing them to use it ALL for ONE server process.

Can't distribute 1 sol over N blades = !scalable (3, Interesting)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241481)

The reason why EVE is lagging is because the architecture of a sol is not distributed at all. Each sol is a monolithic process.

Any given IBM blade can run any number of sols, but the fewest it can run is 1, not a fraction of 1. Second Life has this same problem, a non-scalable architecture in which several sims can be run on one CPU, but the fewest you can ever run is 1, and it's not possible for N different CPUs to carry the load of 1 sim. That places a limit on the activity within any 1 given sim, or sol here.

When any given sol can be run across N blades in EVE, then we'll have a decent scalable architecture, and not before.

Improving the I/O speed with Infiniband will help, sure, but it's not the answer to non-scalability of sol activity. That can only be done by total redesign of the sol process to make it distributable over an arbitrary number of blades.

Re:Can't distribute 1 sol over N blades = !scalabl (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243317)

They were discussing this at last fanfest - they do have a design team working on segmenting the 'solar system' in a rational fashion. It's quite a challenge, and probably still not something that they can do with linear scalability - you just can't break down the problem that far.

But Infiniband isn't so much disk I/O, as an enabled for NUMA architecture in the cluster - it makes multiprocessing much easier, if you can use distributed shared memory.

They will most likely start breaking down the various 'non space' stuff, into processes that can be distributed. They can 'cheat' and do a node handover whenever someone warps to another grid too, but the place where the 'problem' hits, is when you have lots of ships interacting with each other - 500 people all maneuvering and shooting is much much harder to distribute effectively, because you do need to communicate a lot between the different clients. It stops being an implicitly parallel problem, and starts requiring interprocess and possibly inter-node communication, and it needs it to be done 'real time', which is the killer.

But ... well, it's something they're working on, and it's one of those 'big challenges' that I'm watching with interest as to how they'll solve it.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

Inominate (412637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241561)

I was there, though on the other side.

That battle(among many others) really illustrated the big problem with eve and lag. It's not that the server lags out and stuff takes longer to happen, it's that it lags out in totally unpredictable ways. One person might find the server completely unresponsive for 30minutes and be able to do nothing but sit there and die. While another might have only a few seconds of extra delay. Who gets which is completely random.

I haven't been in a battle of that size lately, but hopefully the stacklessIO crap will improve things.

For non-eve people, there were something like 300-400 people involved in that battle.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241831)

Maybe your biggest problem was aligning yourself with SMASH.

Re:Performance upgrades are a must. (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241857)

Sounds almost like real life, what really happens in war. Communications go down, etc...

MMOs (2, Interesting)

NoName6272 (1376401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240261)

quote from article: "However, this model affects a lot more than its running costs and complexity and may be practically required for any successful next-generation PvP based MMO."
"Could the single server approach become commonplace in the next generation of PvP-based MMO? I, for one, hope it does."

I played Eve for awhile, it is very cool how so many players in one place just change the approach of tasks which are common place in every MMO it seems. I would love for hardware to get a jump on software right now so we can have more games like this, but I think the only reason why it works well with Eve is the near unending world it has created. In a game like WoW, the ocean is the barrier, in Eve there is so much empty dead space that you can just chill in for hours and see nothing. I think if this was adapted for a land based game, the land would have to be even larger causing busy quests (travel from point a, to b, kill 'tree', travel from point b to c, turn in) would take forever to complete. I could see ways of this working but it is unlikely we will get to see it anytime soon.

To above comments:
There was a group that transferred from one MMO to EVE, and took down a high level faction as complete newbs. They did this by rushing one of there big ships, with more starting ships then they could target. They would then literally just keep doing 1 damage till they won.

Also one thing that has attracted so many to Eve, is that casual players have just as much chance as hardcore players to keep up. Since skills are RT, they are both gaining skills at the same rate in a way, allowing casual players to log on, have fun and then just train while they are at work (which a lot of WoW players do, using 3rd party software those cheaters!!! I don't hate you, I just hate the system we chose to live in...). At the same time it allows hardcore players to do what they want. A lot of people in Eve have taken roles such as; trying to take over sectors, assassin guilds, mercs, tradesmen, pirates, police, politics and even spies. Eve has created a wonderful system and we should build off there success in the near future.

~~Noname

Re:MMOs (1)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240887)

Eve is extremely well balance for incoming players

Theres been some talk about logarithmic advantage: training skills to level 5/5 takes far longer than 1->4 took yet provides the same boost as 1->2 or 2->3 or 3->4. As long as they're not 1v1 dueling older players (1v1 dueling... which _never_ _ever_ happens in this game), a new player will do fine with a scattering of level 3,4, & 5 skills.

The ships bear a similar diminishing rewards scheme. Old players with a crap ton of money fly Tier2 ships, which cost 8-16x as much but provide either a moderate boost in stats or are special purpose (long range jamming, tackling, space-priesting, &c). As a new player, this spells opportunity: you have a ship that costs very little and is possible insured, flying against someone with a marginal ship advantage flying an outrageously more costly ship. What I'm pointing out is that Tier2 ships are not overwhemlingly powerful: if you (and your friends) try and take down the T2 ship, you've got a decent chance & you'll've caused huge economic damage. If they tag you, your ship didnt cost that much to begin with. Its the cardinal rule of Eve: fly what you can afford.

I have a character with a sizable amount of XP, yet I fly mostly Tier1 ships: it largely frees me from having to make money, even though i'm constantly swinging into fleet battles, smashing as many T2 enemies as I can, and constantly losing shit. For the marginal advantage I'd gain flying Tier2, its a great trade off to be able to make.

Used to be based on Stackless Python (4, Informative)

hargettp (74445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240381)

http://www.stackless.com/wiki/Applications [stackless.com]

Don't know if that is still a core part of their technology; certainly makes sense, as lots of high-performance applications avoid creating lots of threads in order to scale--especially when there's IO involved. Thus, Stackless Python also takes the same approach to logical concurrency as Erlang.

Re:Used to be based on Stackless Python (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241093)

hmm

"doesn't divide the player load" (3, Interesting)

TopSpin (753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25240401)

Actually, players are divided among servers. Specifically, all players in a single solar system (just "system" in EVE lingo) are isolated to a single thread within a single stackless python process.

This design does not permit real multicore concurrency for a single system. Every player action in space is handled by a single thread. Stackless python provides "microthreads" which gives the illusion of concurrency, but it's really just cooperative multitasking. Lacking real concurrency, EVE can not scale beyond what can be processed in a single thread in a reasonable amount of time. Presently that amounts to about 1000 ships/players.

Microthreads provide none of the concurrency mechanisms (locks, CAS, etc.) that permit threads to safely share data. Thus, the stackless design of EVE can not be scaled using SMP. In my opinion this is a major design flaw of EVE.

The stackless microthread design was chosen for ease of development. Today, that choice plagues the game; it can't be fixed (to permit real concurrency) without a major refactoring of the server side game engine. If EVE will ever scale to what the players actually expect (by virtue of the fact that they don't hesitate to try 1000+ ship battles) then CCP needs to begin thinking about this refactoring; systems should be capable of leveraging multiple cores on demand. That means abandoning microthreads, which is the right decision, because the design imperative behind the choice of stackless (ease of development) is obsolete; half a decade later the new imperative is scalability.

The StacklessIO thing is an improvement to asynchronous IO that CCP deployed earlier this week. It's nice in that it enabled about 1000 players/ships to fight in a system with less "lag" then had been the case with only 500 or so ships. The 32 bit nodes will still crash when they run out of RAM, buy hey, it's an improvement.

Re:"doesn't divide the player load" (2, Interesting)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241007)

Right right right right right... and wrong.

Great post, but I have one qualm. Microthreading/tasklet models are not explicitly incompatible with SMP systems. Theres nothing inherent to microthreads that would prevent, say, eight separate hardware threads all working in tandem to run a single solar system & its batch of microthreads.

Classical concurrency coordination mechanisms like mutexes and locks are not ideal for microthreading environments, so perhaps scaling out with these concurrency primitives might make abandoning stackless a logical step. Something like an actor model or a message passing scheme may however work extremely well in a stackless environment. Particularly if all you are doing is processing messages, you still want that ability to context switch extremely quickly.

My understanding is the main hold-back for concurrent Eve servers is things like guns firing at a ship thats already blown up, but the local thread doesnt know the ships blown up (not possible in their present non-concurrent environment). You can deal with this either by holding mutexes on the target, or you can use message passing and simply have the blown up ship send a message back saying "sorry, you cant shoot me, i already asploded," and then deal with that failure message in an async fashion.

If I were CCP I know what path I'd be taking. But thus far, CCP has focused largely on platform wins like asynch IO (although given the CPU usage their IO USED to be taking up perhaps that was in order) and proxy servers. They've systematically been ignoring the question of real concurrency. Its a problem I'd love to take a crack at, although it sounds like another one of those things where I'd be locked in a tower for years unshaven half blind & three quarters crazy. Ultimately though, there is no choice for CCP: this is a path they MUST pursue if they want their game to ever work. Presently 400 person combat is miserable, and recent enguagements have crested far past that to over 1000 people in system. Single threaded execution will never work for a world without shards.

Re:"doesn't divide the player load" (4, Informative)

niw (996534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241299)

Right right right right right... and wrong.

Great post, but I have one qualm. Microthreading/tasklet models are not explicitly incompatible with SMP systems. Theres nothing inherent to microthreads that would prevent, say, eight separate hardware threads all working in tandem to run a single solar system & its batch of microthreads.

Classical concurrency coordination mechanisms like mutexes and locks are not ideal for microthreading environments, so perhaps scaling out with these concurrency primitives might make abandoning stackless a logical step. Something like an actor model or a message passing scheme may however work extremely well in a stackless environment. Particularly if all you are doing is processing messages, you still want that ability to context switch extremely quickly.

My understanding is the main hold-back for concurrent Eve servers is things like guns firing at a ship thats already blown up, but the local thread doesnt know the ships blown up (not possible in their present non-concurrent environment). You can deal with this either by holding mutexes on the target, or you can use message passing and simply have the blown up ship send a message back saying "sorry, you cant shoot me, i already asploded," and then deal with that failure message in an async fashion.

If I were CCP I know what path I'd be taking. But thus far, CCP has focused largely on platform wins like asynch IO (although given the CPU usage their IO USED to be taking up perhaps that was in order) and proxy servers. They've systematically been ignoring the question of real concurrency.

Absolutely, the larger problem is the Python interpreter itself (CPython) and something called the Global Interpreter Lock (GIL). This lock prevents the real threading from having an actual impact and is the reason that CCP has not persued a OS threading.

CCP Lingorm [eve-online.com]

Actually this [one thread per system] is a limit of Python. Currently Python is bound to a Single Core (this is called the GIL, Global Interpreter Lock) and it is the centre of a large amount of heated discussion in the Python Community about removing it or keeping it.

IronPython has removed it but has no support for stackless at this point so we would still have to completely rewrite the threading system.

We are continuing to look into options to enable us to span multiple CPU cores and thus 'grow' our architecture. I am hoping to get some more details on this for posting Soon(TM).

Re:"doesn't divide the player load" (2, Interesting)

LordMyren (15499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241495)

i did not know that: good point!

however, real horizontal scaling has to be able to go beyond SMP scaling; with this in mind i dont see a interpreter lock as necessarily a dealbreaker. running an interpretter per CPU and using a combination of networking and shared memory for message passing is still viable, and those remoting techniques would ultimately be required down the road even with SMP scaling.

actually, the inability to scale on SMP systems gives me faith that CCP wont do the wrong thing yet again: they cannot take that easy single VM route out, mercy be. this is a huge challenge, but its one ccp needs to step up and face.

Re:"doesn't divide the player load" (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243345)

Tell that to the Erlang folks.

Threads are hard, and shouldn't be used when possible. Using green threads, event driven asynchronous IO and processes helps is easier with message passing, and just as or more performant.

anyone that thinks eve server tech is decent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25240917)

hasn't ever played the game.

it's really fun until you start getting into fleet battles and get about 15 seconds per frame.. you actually find out who has gotten blown up over vent about 10 minutes before your client lets you know... if it doesn't crash

this is on a machine that smokes crysis..

eve is fun as hell single player/solo but no one at that company has a clue how to scale their tech.

Re:anyone that thinks eve server tech is decent... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241415)

eve is fun as hell single player/solo but no one at that company has a clue how to scale their tech.

      Seconded, and it's why I don't play EVE anymore.

MMO's aside (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241103)

Is the technology applicable in the business/database market? If so, without going into the proprietary tech, what bottleneck is it improving on?

As the article is extremely light on actual tech, as a business software dev I'm trying to figure out if these improvements would be applicable in an environment such as ours.

Would love to know more.

Re:MMO's aside (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241187)

Probably not in general, where the cluster that they have is focused on a high level of concurrency and a low level of latency. Their database stuff might be interesting for data warehousing projects--it's mostly solid-state storage for a database that handles a really high number of transactions.

Basically what they have are a couple hundred IBM built dual Opteron blades sitting on a lot of RAMSAN SSDs, with a more conventional disk based storage system for the more persistent data. The cluster runs a lot of C code to handle persistence, networking, proxying, and account management; the game logic is all in stackless python, which is a very useful language for "agent based" multithreaded programming.

What they're talking about moving to in the article is Infiniband networking between blades because the bottleneck now is in load balancing--threads can't be shifted quickly enough from one blade to another to avoid latency for the player, which has a huge effect in certain high population regions and large space battles.

The kind of clustering they're doing probably has more importance for massively parallel scientific computing than business.

Re:MMO's aside (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241427)

Gotcha. Possibly only useful for financials (stock markets etc) or anything else massively and instantly interactive. Thanks for the info.

Re:MMO's aside (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241231)

Found a partial answer to my own question in their forums:

This is a performance boost to all solar systems in that requests you make will reach the server more quickly. The effect is mostly noticeable where the node is heavily loaded and thus Jita has been used as an example.

This will not allow the node to process your requests more quickly though once it reaches the application layer, but you shouldn't have to wait 5 minutes for a module to activate.

I am not an O/S dev, I/O expert or sysadmin so can only guess. Would this mean a new request can jump the I/O queue to give them a faster initial response? Just trying to picture their bottleneck.

Re:MMO's aside (1)

StrahdVZ (1027852) | more than 5 years ago | (#25241323)

Sorry for the recurring self-reply, but this is the devil's response to the detail. Sounds like they just had a combined thread/socket concurrency issue.

As the dev primarily responsible I should probably write a technical blog about it. Meanwhile IÂll offer that StacklessIO is a framework that allows us to make things such as asynchronous IO and work that is spawned off to worker threads appear as regular, blocking operations for tasklets in Stackless Python. We then use this to perform asynchronous Winsock operations using IO completion ports. The semantics are not new, but the scheduling framework and the lightweight winsock layer we use are.

the game logic was still handled in the correct order but client network request were sometimes handled very out-of-order by the server.

More bandaids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25241629)

Eve has two different "massive" fleet battles:

1.
Jump into system.
Black screen for 15 minutes.
Reconnect.
Oops! There went your ship and you clone!

2.
Jump into system
Black screen for 3 minutes.
System loads.
Hear over teamspeak how everyone is killing everyone and barking stuff but you can't see any of it.
System finally loads after 10 minutes and you see wrecks and other ships. You finally get to press F1-F8 to do something.
You wait a good bunch of minutes and hope the keystrokes go through.
Repeat until someone tells you over teamspeak you were dead 1h ago; you never found out because the node desynced as usual.

(note losses are permanent in eve and, frequently, sting a bit)

The main developers and designers, the ones with a clue, moved on to other projects. The ones that are left are, unfortunately, clueless and have no idea of what the implications of anything they do or propose are.

For example the last speed nerf, which whether you like it or not, it is clear that it would had to come along with both drone and missile changes at least. Which in effect affect most of all the ships in the game.

Whatever. The game is trying to appeal more and more to the carebear newbies so I don't really give that much of a damn that it has gone to the gutter.

The main difference with eve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25242793)

In games like wow you can't really play with all of your guildmates, only the ones that are about the same as your level.

In eve it doesn't matter if you have 1million or 50 million skillpoints. Sure you won't be able to fly all the ships but you'll still be able to take part and be important in a gang.

Every time I try a new MMO instead of eve I find them all lacking in dept, complexity and most of all player controlled gamechanging events.

Once you get past the complexity( http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3088/2335016192_6003c39c4c.jpg/ [flickr.com] ) it is a game unlike you've ever played!

Stability (1)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25243319)

Trinity is pretty stable. Well, aside from the occasional SQL Server crashes and/or database corruption requiring sometimes hours of downtime to rebuild.

Yup. Quite stable.

I really have to think this whole thing was a slashvertisement, since the system structure has been pretty well known for a while. It's not as if they keep it a dark secret - they post plenty of updates at their website. I'm particularly suspicious of it being a /vert since it didn't point to Wikipedia which, last I checked (back in March or April) had all of this technical info already.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>