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The Struggle For Private Game Servers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the let's-make-onyxia-fight-ragnaros dept.

Games 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

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125 comments

WoW (4, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363694)

Blizzard haven't really fight against the private servers good afaik, and why would they - anyone who has ever tried any of them knows how crappy they are.

Sure, it was fun to set up my own WoW server and get some friends to join it. I had fun with the console commands, made everyone admins and we got the max levels and best items and flying mode. Some fun moments messing around for one night with some beers - but to actually play the game on such servers? No please.

MMO's are in good position because the private servers can never reach the same amount and quality of quests, other players (major part in mmo!), raiding, instances, battlegrounds or in-game economy. MMO's are a lot about the community and other people you play with - they make the world.

The sad part here is people who might for cheapness reasons to play on those servers instead and think the game is crap, while in fact the server just sucks.

Re:WoW (5, Interesting)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363712)

The best communites I have ever been a part of, was in MUD's (small communites compared to todays MMO's) and on "private" UO servers.

Re:WoW (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365024)

I still consider UO the best thing for private servers, since the content in the client are completely changeable, and almost everything is server side, so you can modify your game experience heavily.

origin made a good job there. and even better, they tolerated private servers, looked at the most played ones, and took over ideas from them. smaller servers/freeshards with very custom rulesets are mostly used by RP playing people, while the very big servers mostly take britannia and put some custom content over it. that way it was even easy for the company to select servers to watch, since bigger servers mostly had ideas that fit into the original gameplay, while smaller servers had more fantastic ideas of how to modify the game (down to basic rules like how you obtain skillpoints or how fighting works).

it is no wonder, that the most sophisticated free mmog-server softwares are from the uo community (runuo in .net, sphereserver with custom scripting engine, polserver with pascal like scripting lang, wolfpack with c++/python, uox3 with c++/javascript, ...). they are also a really good resource to learn from.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367902)

The worst communities I've ever seen were MUDs, actually. Somehow they had the mentality of 12 year olds... and this was a decade after the first wave of MMOs had driven MUDs into nichedom. (In other words, actual new 12 year olds don't flow into the MUDding community. These people were 25+ year old permachildren or something).

UO had a mix of good people and jerks, both on official and private servers, though I admittedly haven't played UO in five+ years. I really wish the UO concepts had been developed more, instead of all the other game companies choosing the EverQuest 'graphical MUD' concept to further extend. UO had tons of potential, and gamer-wise we'd be living a totally different world have Blizzard had chosen UO as the base model to refine instead of EQ. But enough of that, I've (and many others) ranted on it before, and it won't come to pass until some new visionaries roll up their sleeves and actually implement it themselves...

I avoid the waves of east asian buggy bot-filled grindfest MMOs, although I did try Ragnarok Online, as it was more of an adorable hat-collecting simulator.

WoW is huge and has a constant influx of new players, so the mix varies wildly there. I renew my subscription about one month per year to get my fix. The PvP servers are there if you like roving packs of much-higher-level players of the opposite alliance trying to kill you and aspire to someday BE the higher level people ganking lowbies. The PvE severs are pleasant for the rest of us and generally the worst you'll encounter there is that you occasionally get waves of... I don't even know what to call it, "total strangerism"? A high population that exists right alongside you but doesn't interact with you. Was a big deal when the Death Knights came out and you'd see these big badasses riding around the newbie areas to start picking herbs. The guild structure can be very good or very bad depending on the guild, of course; stupid guild politics was what made me quit the first time (4-ish months into the original game), yet good IRL friends in-game are what pulled me back in a few times. Blizzard hit on something good with the guild/alliance/raid system, and I rather strongly suspect they're not done exploring the possibilities of making it even more compelling. I think they knew from the start that level treadmills had already hit max potential, which is why they keep attempting to do things that aren't level treadmills. The rich story content in all those quests and zones, the guild system, the alliance system, the talent trees... these seem obvious NOW, but recall the days before WoW to remember how things worked before.

Lest I sound to gushingly adoring of WoW, keep in mind that, again, I seem to only be able to tolerate it in chunks; a one-month binge alternated with 12 months fallow; every time I try to go from that first month into a second, I get either burnout or apathy. In other words, I still see vast room for improvement. We have attained a "least bad MMO" in WoW, but are a long ways from a "best possible MMO". If private servers can be a hotbed of experimentation and innovation and a feeder for the next wave of great things, I say bring it on!

Re:WoW (5, Interesting)

Snowtred (1334453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363790)

I, too, messed with the private servers for awhile, with the same results. My friends and I messed around for a few hours, and then it got boring and we went back to our real characters.

An interesting turn to this is training for raid bosses. So much time is spent clearing, ressing, gathering items, just for a wipe. You could reset to the beginning of a fight in less than a minute with teleport and item summon scripts. Get a whole raid of 25 with duplicated characters, getting 10-15 attempts on a hard boss in an hour, where it would take all day on a real server.

Then with competitive Arena battles rising with real sponsors and cash prizes like the CAL league did for Counterstrike, it could become a big issue once people realize this advantage and get organized. Not just for WoW but the MMOs of the future, which I'm guessing will have substantial (and lucrative) competition-spectator components.

A legit strategy, cheating, or just simply "unethical" by gaming standards?

Re:WoW (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363854)

I had the same experience with private servers -- fun to mess around with for a while, quickly turned dull, and it was back to the official servers.

As for using them for training -- IF (and I don't agree with video gaming being a "sport") gaming starts going the way of spectator sports, then why wouldn't private training grounds be a legit strategy? Boxers have gyms for their training, and can even set up their own if they don't like the established gyms. Runners train on their own terms. Swimming gets more complicated because big pools are expensive, but there's nothing in the rules that say you can only train at approved facilities.

Re:WoW (2, Insightful)

PFactor (135319) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363972)

It's only competitive if all players have access to such out-of-game training areas.

Re:WoW (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364022)

But usually it's up to the player to establish access. Going back to the boxing example, you typically only ever hear of the guys who either have access to a training gym, are creative enough to develop an alternate training routine, or are simply naturally talented enough to not need it. The guy who isn't close to one and or can't afford a membership fee never progresses and no one cares.

Re:WoW (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365266)

Then they can set up their own server, or have one of their friends do it, or pay someone, or just google for "World of Warcraft Private Server"

It isn't like they're hard to find.

Re:WoW (1, Informative)

runyonave (1482739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364076)

Competition in WOW or any other point and click mmorpg is a JOKE. There is no skill involved. You just point click and hope your damage multiplier plays in your favour. All luck.

Now games that require actual skill and strategy like Street Fighter 4, Starcraft or DMC on DMD mode can be played competitively.

Re:WoW (3, Informative)

Tezcat (927703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364190)

There is competition in the form of skill, and there is competition in terms of strategy and concentration. With many games a peak of 'skill' is achievable; but the best competitive players will spend time developing new strategies to defeat their opponents' strategies. This is what happens in games like Street Fighter, Starcraft and Chess:
The meta-game [tvtropes.org] BECOMES the game.

Re:WoW (1)

CapnStank (1283176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364676)

I humbly disagree. I know your post comes off as very whiney and potentially a troll but in the Arena competition the gear is equal. You pick the gear you want and it removes the element of randomness. So when everyone is on the same gear plateau what establishes a better player? Skill. RND only accounts for a small bit and that is no different from the majority of sports out there.

Sure games like Starcraft (the only one I have personal experience with on your list) may require a different set of skills but when you watch the pros there are very few innovative players. There's the 2 or 3 typical builds for each race/race match-up and the only time you see variation is when someone is in a position that a loss means nothing.

Re:WoW (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367360)

The winners are often not established by skill but repetition, for how long they have been playing the game and (the thing which dwarfs them all) ping. Having a 500+ ms turnaround time simply means you get your ass handed by any random guy with an under 100 ms ping reply.

Re:WoW (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367556)

When players' gear is equal, latency comes next in who has the advantage. When I charge an opponent and end up 10 yards away, and someone else charges me and is immediately able to start hacking away, that's all due to client side latency. When I'm tracking my opponent with mouse turning as they jump around in circles and all I ever see is "target must be in front of you" while they happily land every blow, that's client side latency. When my opponent is pinging the server with sub-50ms round trips and I'm hovering between 150 and 300, there isn't a whole hell of a lot I can do.

So Gear > Latency > Skill. Personally, I'd rather play something where skill ranks a little higher in importance. PvE isn't a whole lot better in that regard.

But that's really beside the point anyway -- small-scale PvP in WoW is almost entirely about stuns, disorients, fears, and silence. It's very poorly designed and executed (witness the countless game changing class rebalances centered *solely* on arenas), and really not a whole lot of fun to play, when half the time you're not even in control of your character.

--Jeremy

Re:WoW (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365112)

The swedish Epilogue server sounds interesting in that sense. I bet permadeath changes the character of an mmorpg rather much.

Re:WoW (1)

Haidon (1628521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365906)

I must also disagree with this. For certain, the actual battle between 2 players could be seen as taking less skill to accomplish. Certainly, a 1 on 1 PvE encounter takes little skill in general. However, the raid game in these MMO's takes a great deal of skill. A few people have to coordinate a large group of people to complete a task, and a good number of those tasks are by no means simple. I know WoW has mitigated this to some degree, but Everquest would require a couple of strategic-minded raid leaders to properly deploy as many as 72 people against a target, with plenty of variables to take into account. In these situations, the raid leader is like the player in Starcraft, except they don't really know if their units are going to do as they're told. Sounds like some skill is required.

Re:WoW (1)

wtbname (926051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366368)

You are completely incorrect. See the other posts.

Take a small anecdotal sample. My girlfriend and I, entering a WoW Battleground together, have about a +200% chance of winning it compared to us entering alone. Just us two working together.

Our RNG hasn't changed but our strategy, tactics, and focus have.

*yawn* (3, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363794)

"amount and quality of quests, other players (major part in mmo!), raiding, instances, battlegrounds or in-game economy. MMO's are a lot about the community and other people you play with - they make the world."

Sounds kinda like...'erm....Wall Street. Should try that other MMO called "real life." Some folks even manage to eke out a living by playing.

Re:*yawn* (3, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365506)

Should try that other MMO called "real life." Some folks even manage to eke out a living by playing.

RL has good graphics and very good immersion, but the quests suck, and the amount of grinding required to get anywhere puts Korean MMO's to shame. Besides, I'm not big on permadeath...

Re:*yawn* (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366260)

It has its perks though. If you can unlock the girlfriend achievement, it puts the "hot coffee" exploit in GTA4 to shame.

Just be careful about upgrading to Wife 1.0, it can seg fault and an uninstall typically means you loose half your item inventory.

Re:*yawn* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366374)

Speaking from experience, avoid Spouse 1.0 like the plague.

I am against gay marriage not because of the gay aspect, but rather because of the marriage aspect. If society had decent laws protecting people from the horrors of marriage, I think future generations wouldn't be so messed up.

Re:WoW (3, Interesting)

your_neighbor (1193249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363824)

It seems that a public private server is contraditory by simple inspection of its name. Some friends of mine host a private server, well, for private friends. The server is used mainly at night, since we work all the day. Once I was an addicted, lost one semester of college with UO. Now I dont have more the patience to PKs, being killed unadverted of a battle between those I dont care, and that sort of crap.

I work 9h for day, mental work. My spare time, which is short, is applied mainly to have fun, no spaces to frustations. Being killed is normal to the game. Being abused is other history. This is why I look forward for these private server instead of public ones. And they are not -that- free, since someone is paying some sort of billing. I help my ppl with some bucks... less than the popcorn at the theater.

Re:WoW (2, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364622)

Private as in "not affiliated with the government (ie. Blizzard)", not as in privacy.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30363826)

I had hoped that setting up a private server and making myself a game master would ruin WoW... I was only able to quit playing Diablo after going online and discovering that all of the items I had worked hard to obtain were widely available because everybody was cheating. The cheating ruined it. I figured the same thing would work for WoW - give myself all the epic loots and one-shot the toughest boss, and suddenly the futility of the whole thing becomes obvious.

Unfortunately, it didn't work like that, due to the poor quality of third-party servers. Lots of things were not implemented. Bosses and traders did not work properly, and the only exercise of any interest was teleporting to normally-inaccessible areas.

Incidentally, I remember complaining to Blizzard about Diablo, and suggesting that maybe a set of central servers could be set up to track items and prevent duplication. I was told that the costs of doing this would be too high, it would be too laggy, and that I was a retard for even considering it. WoW came out a few years later...

Re:WoW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30363828)

Anyway, any online games are designed to create addiction and so there will likely be class action suits against companies like Blizzard in the longer run and they will likely loose them. Having that in mind it might be smarter if they open up their servers and focus on getting paid for content they create. Personally I don't care because don't buy games that tie me to a server with a subscription model.

Re:WoW (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363882)

there will likely be class action suits against companies like Blizzard in the longer run and they will likely loose them. Having that in mind it might be smarter if they open up their servers and focus on getting paid for content they create

That is just completely absurd. Or are we going to sue every company now that doesn't publish their server infrastructure or for-internal-use made software? Or companies that object to industrial spying?

Not that there's anything bad with subscription model either. People pay it for cable TV, for Internet, for mobile, for rent. Or are you not using those either? $15 per month is actually pretty cheap for the amount of game play those games create, considering most people play them quite a lot.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30365268)

$15 per month is actually pretty cheap for the amount of game play those games create, considering most people play them quite a lot.

If you think $15 a month is cheap, I must have been sponsoring your game time. I would actually like to see the Asian model adopted in the west: e.g. in China 1 gametime card equals 66 hours and 40 minutes. Which means that 1 card would probably last me about 16 months. Which is probably the reason why Blizzard isn't all that interested in actually providing anything other than flat fee in the west.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30363878)

Hey sopssa >>

Did you read the initial post?

Quote: "...put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time."

Re:WoW (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363894)

I had a lot more fun on the 'pirate' server I played on than the real one thanks to the fact that I haven't got time to grind. I was able to bring my characters to the end game and experience the plot along the way without dozens of hours of mindless grind.

Honestly, if Blizzard had offered a pay server like that, I'd choose that hands-down. But they don't, so I didn't have any choice. And yes, I did pay for the software.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364088)

Private servers can have other qualities. Cloning the official game servers definetly is very useless. But no one says you have to settle for that.

I had years of fun playing on private UO servers which encouraged role play. They had rules that are not enforced on the official servers, like naming.

There were also other kinds of servers which encouraged other kinds of play. Like PvP servers where you don't have to grind for equipment and skills. You just have fun with PvP.

These private servers have their share of users because these users think the official servers suck. They don't want the quests because they either think it is a mind numbing waste of time to get the items you need for the game you want to play (PvP), or they think they are too simple, repetitive and not interactive enough (RP). The people - they make the world - but the world sucks. Roleplayers don't want to be disturbed by too much out of character talk and action. PvPers don't want to waste endless hours with doing stuff they don't enjoy.

TL;DR
For you private servers are worse because they are different. But for others private are better because they are different.

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364152)

Blizzard haven't really fight against the private servers good afaik

Then you haven't been paying attention. From the days of bnetd Blizzard has been very active in harassing the private server community. Loads of WoW emulator projects have been abandoned because of c&d letters. And I know 2 people personally who had been running rather successful (as in 2k+ players) non-profit mangos servers who have received a c&d.

Full disclosure: I've bought over a thousand euros worth of Blizzards products over the years (I own about 10 copies of W2 and D2 for instance, for lan party purposes), I run both a pvpgn and a mangos server, for a quick starcraft/diablo 2/wow fix for me and my friends. I run private servers because I got tired of having to live Gabe's Dickwad theory, on my servers *I* control who plays. I'll probably skip Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2, there is only so much abuse I can take, and trying to get me to cough up 3 times for sc3 just to get all the campaigns is more than infuriating. I would probably ended up buying several copies of sc3 for convenience, but I flat out refuse to be bullied. It doesn't really matter what I play, the people whom I play with matter a hell of a lot more to me. Private servers all the way!

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364292)

For me, it was not about being cheap as much as it was about seeing content I had not experienced. I paid for 3 pieces of software and a few years of account time (about 9 months of which I did not even log into the servers once). I quit and didn't learn about private servers until recently. Great for exploring the content but certainly lacking the scope and richness of live servers.

Re:WoW (2, Informative)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365520)

Blizzard haven't really fight against the private servers good afaik, and why would they - anyone who has ever tried any of them knows how crappy they are.

The sad part here is people who might for cheapness reasons to play on those servers instead and think the game is crap, while in fact the server just sucks.

This is exactly why Blizzard would try and shut them down, they reflect badly on the game as a whole. I know you could say only stupid people would think this, but stupid people can still post there opinion to the internet :)

(See, told you so)

Re:WoW (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367446)

This is exactly why Blizzard would try and shut them down, they reflect badly on the game as a whole.

No, it's entirely about control. If they werre worried about things "reflecting badly on the game as a whole", they would have removed All-chat from the Barrens years ago.;)

Re:WoW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30365626)

Blizzard haven't really fight against the private servers good afaik, and why would they - anyone who has ever tried any of them knows how crappy they are.

How crappy they are? I don't know about you, but even though I could pay for the game if I wanted to, I play on a private server because it offers a superior gameplay experience.

The things I like on the server I play on are the low player count (maybe I'm just an oldfag for being into MUDs and whatnot, but I don't want to be in a game where there are more than 1000 players per server, you get to know the people you play with across the whole player base, and not just who's in your guild), permanent death (when you die, your character gets erased) and unrestricted PVP (even within the same faction).

When Blizzard starts capping servers at 1000 players per Realm, and making death really be death, and not just a 30-45 second long inconvenience I'll start paying for the game again, but until then I'll be a "pirate" and play the game where it is more like the game I want to play.

Re:WoW (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366844)

RO private servers are often better than official servers. So it can be done well, just there is a terrible signal:noise ratio.

Re:WoW (1)

Touvan (868256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368858)

I've been on a few decent ones - dethpod comes to mind. Also, I have no problem at all with not paying Blizzard - I bought the game, and played for a few months (only a few hours a month, and still payed $15 a month). I don't feel like I owe them anything.

Legality (2, Interesting)

Raumkraut (518382) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363802)

The article throws around "piracy", "illegal" and "copyright infringement". But what do any of these actually have to do with the servers people run?
Surely all the "intellectual property" is encapsulated in the official client software (models, sounds, etc.), which more than likely was acquired legitimately from the developer/publisher, or is resident only on the official servers (dialogue, quest text, etc.). Third-party server developers only need reverse-engineer the communications protocol, and then implement their own quests and such.

Is the "illegal" action involved here no more than the violation of a EULA, or am I missing something about how these servers operate?

Re:Legality (2, Interesting)

fiftyfly (516990) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363836)

A common method of license enforcement is a serial check upon logging onto the official server network. Hosting your own server would, of course, avoid that.

The problem as I see it though is that many online server networks do not make it easy or enjoyable or, in cases, even possible to setup games for the enjoyment of people who already know each other - particularly if they are in the same room. Explicitly working against local lan play makes many games a poor choice for those who would wish to use them in a social setting.

Re:Legality (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363908)

Actually, that's not true. The server doesn't just let the clients community. It guides them, enforces the rules, and provides the spawns/drops. That means it needs to know everything about the maps and in-game stuff.

Re:Legality (2, Interesting)

daid303 (843777) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363930)

The quests, NPCs and quite some other content is handed by the server. And might fall under intellectual property rights. As far as I know not a single MMORPG maker has gone to court with people running private servers. Usually they just send a letter threating action, and most private servers close down on that (as run by a group of friends, most of them don't have the finance or the guts to go to court over something like that)

Some distribute full modified client versions, which is a copyright violation.

But in the end, most private servers are left alone for a simple reason. They are not big enough, and full of people that wouldn't play otherwise.

I've played on a private Ragnarok Online server for years. Lots of fun, met quite a few people there. (Unlike WoW, RO can work with just a small group of people) We never got in trouble for running that server, and we did client distribution with torrents.
Private RO servers are way better then the offical thing btw, free, almost no lag, less bugs. They just lack the newest features sometimes, but not having 500ms ping times made up for that.

In the end the server died because there where better alternatives (in MMO land), so a group of us started to play WoW. Now, of our RO group, atleast 10 people have started to play WoW. Offical server, so a private server actually did good for Blizzard in this case.

Re:Legality (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365358)

I like that line of thinking... "since public RO servers are so bad, we made a private one which was way better, but in the end, WoW was even better that that. So it's thanks to the private RO server that we moved to WoW".
It appears to me that you moved to WoW because RO sucked in comparison, whether public or private.
Also, the fact that you moved to a different MMO, hosted by a different company, because of bad experience based on a private server is exactly what Blizzard is argueing here. Blizzard's fear is probably something along the lines of private WoW servers giving such a bad experience that players move to public Vanguard servers, becoming paying customers at SOE instead. Sounds to me like that's more or less what happened with you lot.
Besides, WoW can work with a small group of people too. I'm the leader of a guild consisting solely of RL friends, and we have a weekly get-together where we do instance runs. All our characters were rolled specifically for the purpose, and we've been leveling almost entirely through instances since Ragefire Chasm and now starting out on the level 80 instances. If some of us are unable to go, we 4-man rather than PuG'ing the last slot. We do this on public servers, though the rest of the server population has served us almost no other purpose than buying stuff from our leet sugardaddy of an inscriber, allowing us all to get our hands on flying mounts.

Re:Legality (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364110)

Yeah, it just sounds like a typical corporate line about intellectual property. If the server is reimplemented (as opposed to downloaded off some warez site) by reverse engineering, seems to me the most it could be is an EULA violation. EULA probably states something like "you may only use this client to connect to authorized servers, etc."

Depending on the particular mechanisms involved, you might be able to argue that skipping the license check is a violation of the DMCA (for example, if the private server has to falsify a credential and return it to the client, and this takes place via a process of breaking an circumvention mechanism), but that's the only thing I can come up with off the top of my head.

Re:Legality (2, Insightful)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366468)

Why bother with reverse engineering a commercial game server and putting your work at risk in the first place? Why not instead contribute to one of the real OSS MMO projects, such as Worldforge, Open NEL or Planeshift?

Re:Legality (1)

Shinobi (19308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368840)

They want something that has actually been implemented in a decently playable way in a live setting?

Even Planeshift is a joke in comparison even to Everquest 1

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30363822)

As most of you know,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_Warfare_2

For the PC version, Infinity Ward has decided to implement a new matchmaking service: IWNET working through Steam. This system is nearly identical to the console version of IWNET. Dedicated server support is removed, eliminating the ability for mods or user-created maps to be incorporated. Because the multiplayer aspect runs within Steamworks, the PunkBuster anti-cheat system utilized in previous titles has been replaced by VAC.[28] In addition, the PC version shares the same 18-player cap as the console versions (matches are a maximum of 9 vs. 9).[29] Such decisions have created some controversy amongst the PC community.

I played it on Xbox 360. I was saying to myself: This would have been a great game if they would have had it in a version that had :

a. A keyboard and mouse
b. Private servers

I could pretty much give up my Counter-Strike: Source: Gun-Game / Deathmatch addiction.

I can understand the argument for MMOs: In order to do "massive", one needs "massive servers". I've yet to figure out the logic behind killing private servers for a first person shooter game. The only FPS game which I could see needing company-hosted servers is the upcoming MAG, but that's only because it has support for up to 256 players.

The alternative is inevitable: People will make their own private servers. And guess what? When they bend over backwards to do so, they'll probably skip out on the cd-key authentication.

Oh, wait, There is already a video of someone running a COD:MW2 private server. [youtube.com]

As opposed to making private servers and allowing you to set the ground rules, they've given the average PC FPS player the finger. Guess who's giving the finger back now?

Discuss.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363838)

Have you tried plugging a USB keyboard and a mouse into the Xbox?

I'm not saying it'll definitely work in-game, but I've had them working on the dashboard before.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363910)

Or play on PC, where there is keyboard and mouse available (plugging USB keyboard&mouse on xbox 360 wont work)

But I guess the parent is just trolling about MW2 and all the things we've already heard and discussed before. It's offtopic too, as MMO private servers are quite a different thing than dedicated servers on FPS games.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30363994)

Or play on PC, where there is keyboard and mouse available (plugging USB keyboard&mouse on xbox 360 wont work)

You do note that the parent mentioned that one of his requirements were private servers, no? Private servers are important in first-person games. The list is too long to post here. What if valve decided to make counter-strike 1.6 a hosted solution? Just like a MMO, they could have let the servers go "dark"; people would have been forced basically throw away perfectly working software.

It's offtopic too, as MMO private servers are quite a different thing than dedicated servers on FPS games

I'm sure that you read the article, right? About 4 paragraphs in the BBC article has the following text:

Games such as the hugely-popular fantasy World of Warcraft (WoW) as well as plenty of first-person shooters have spawned numerous pirated worlds.
They are typically run by amateurs and allow gamers to assume powers unavailable in the commercial form of the game. Crucially, players rarely pay a subscription fee for the privilege of entering the world - unlike retail versions.

As far as I can tell, this article is talking about, in general, games which do not have private servers and people creating private servers for them. The interviewed person talked about features that he was able to add that the vanilla set-up did not allow.? From my point of view, this new trend of removing private servers from first person shooters which traditionally had them is extremely on-topic

To each his own I guess.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2, Interesting)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363918)

Microsoft forbids developers from supporting keyboard and mouse I believe. Besides, it would give you an unfair advantage over gamepad users.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363998)

USB keyboards are DEFINITELY supported in some titles, for entry of text anyway. Beyond that, I know nothing. I will say that the lack of the ability to use arbitrary controllers is the only thing preventing the success of flight simulators on consoles.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (1)

Ma8thew (861741) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364536)

Yes, I know that you can use a keyboard for text entry, I was referring to using it as a game controller.

Re:Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364650)

I've yet to figure out the logic behind killing private servers for a first person shooter game.

Control? Instead of you making maps for it, they can sell you the same game again as a sequel where the only change is that the maps are different (and to keep people from complaining, let's throw in a few different weapons, which essentially means other skins).

Irony (4, Informative)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30363872)

The fact of the matter is that, at least in the case of WoW, private servers are downright terrible. They are so incredibly bad that, after spending a few weeks trying some different ones, I was actually driven to spend money on the real deal to have a decent gameplay experience.

Besides obvious problems like population shortage, all the servers I tried had two things in common; the first was XP scaling. In every server I tried, without fail, the exp scaling was always either too low, making it impossible to level properly through normal questing, or far, FAR too high, to the point that you'd finish a quest and have to walk a few miles to find another one you could get XP for.

The second problem common to all of these servers is really stupid glitches, especially terrain glitches. They come in all shapes and sizes. On every private server I tried, it is basically impossible to do any quest around small houses or in a mine (unless you are part of a party or already too high of a level), because as soon as a mob notices you, ten or so mobs in other rooms notice you and charge you through the walls. On servers that already have trouble with not dealing out enough XP this is pretty damn frustrating.

Re:Irony (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364010)

Surprisingly it's not true of Starcraft, where the iccup server is a more pleasant place to be than battle.net. The players have more skill, newbies like me are far less likely to be stomped on by fairly good players, or worse, hackers, creating '1v1 noobs only' games, there's a ratings system which does, roughly, tell you how good your opponent is likely to be (although the lowest two rankings covers a huge skill range), and it comes with an anti-hack. I'm also led to believe that the admin does act to boot cheats from the ladder, but I've no first-hand experience of that.

And your 'glitch' problem doesn't apply to SC at all of course, since it's a player-hosted RTS, not an MMO.

Re:Irony (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367490)

Why is that surprising? Starcraft is a 10 year old game that is designed to be hosted on a single computer. WoW is not.

Re:Irony (4, Informative)

r_naked (150044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364138)

It must have been a very long time ago that you tried a private server, or you happened to pick a really crappy one that disabled LoS processing to save ram / cpu.

The "terrain" issues that you speak of are a lack of 3D data in the maps (vmaps). This problem has been solved for a long time. However (at least on Trinity and MaNGOS) you can disable vmaps processing on certain maps -- this will save you some memory and cpu usage. By default only map 369 (the deeprun tram) is ignored since it has no 3D data in the maps -- we aren't sure HOW blizz handles LoS (line of sight) issues on that map.

I would say that I am one of other scenarios ... the one that blizz doesn't like. I liked running my own server with just me and my wife playing that I quit playing on blizz's servers, and hell even started developing the database that drove the server I was using.

Re:Irony (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368094)

problem is most people whom just want to "play" don't seem to realize that in order for private servers to work... we have to reconstruct all the server side logic that the client doesn't have access too. There are numerous projects for making private servers for pretty much every mmo and all face this issue, so unless there is an insider to dump the server side logic. Its an uphill battle to get the same playability.

If you want your quests to happen just like in game, capture the dialog, get an idea of what the quest is. Then join a project and help script that quest into the server side!

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364538)

Now imagine that you, not knowing any better, assume the real WoW servers suffer from these problems and tell people that.

Re:Irony (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364630)

Maybe next time you should find a decent private server.
I know a handful of them that are fantastic.

Sounds like you had the unfortunate bad luck to play on a funserver without los support compiled.

Re:Irony (1)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365124)

This was either a long time ago, or on terribly configured servers. Line of Sight has been handled for Mangos for 2 years now, as long as you feed it the map files and give it processing time to calculate the LOS tables.

Depends on the game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364146)

Some games might be fine on private servers, but MMORPGs, especially those based on large persistant worlds like EVE Online, don't work that well on private servers. These player driven games need a large player base to work properly. Aside from bugs on those private servers and legal discussion my question is: Does it make sense to have private servers for "every" game?

Classic EverQuest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364276)

There have been decent private servers for EverQuest for some time, Sony only tends to go after ones that get a player base. More recently, the mere threat of a classic server had them sending out C&Ds like nobody's business. Anyone familiar with the game knows that it changed a great deal in the 10 years it's been around. An eqclassic server is something their players ask for routinely and continuously are told, no.

Is running a database of the data: http://lucy.allakhazam.com/ any less illegal than running a database you need to have a copy of the client to view?

Freedom is feature, invest in it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30364368)

When will gamers learn that they shouldn't be modifying proprietary software, which they don't own?

Modify something that wants you to modify it or allows you to modify it.

You simply don't have the right and it has been proven in court (battle.net).

a home for retired MMOs (4, Interesting)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364372)

I wish decommissioned MMOs like Tabula Rasa and Auto Assault could be released to the public for private server admins to host. Unlikely to happen, so it remains my wish.

Re:a home for retired MMOs (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364698)

Well, if there are dedicated people to it, a resurrection could be well possible, as it's currently under way with another MMO that ceased to exist years ago. Reverse engineering MMO servers and reimplementing them without access to the original servers is anything but trivial, though, IIRC the development for the aforementioned server took nearly three years.

I'd guess in the case of TR it would be easier to just reuse the existing models and wrap a game around them. It could result in a more useable interface too.

Re:a home for retired MMOs (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365110)

You're certainly correct that it's a monumental achievement to reverse-engineer a game. I kind of wish the original developers would release a server binary or some other means of allowing people to run the servers without exposing their valuable proprietary source code.

Re:a home for retired MMOs (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367676)

It's unlikely that this could ever happen in this case. In the case of Tabula Rasa, my guess is that NCsoft wanted to kill it. First, because of the fallout with Richard Garriott and wanting to wipe out any traces that they cooperated, to kill his game, if you want. And second, in a feeble attempt to get their former TR players to play Aion. Which didn't work at all, at least in my case, if I wanted a cheap WoW knockoff I'd certainly not choose an Asiagrinder out of the hundreds of WoW knockoffs that litter the MMO world.

Re:a home for retired MMOs (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364748)

There is one project called SWGEmu [swgemu.com] that is based on Star Wars Galaxies PreCU [swgemu.com] . It is the old version of Star Wars Galaxies and it is an open source server replacement for the original Star Wars Galaxies server.

It is rare to see such a project, and it is still under development, but has a lot of promises. The Star Wars Galaxies client CD-ROM costs $10 these days and one needs the original client to hook up to this new server.

The same could be done for Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault and others but it would take a lot of beta testing to make sure it is done right.

South African WoW player (3, Informative)

ultral0rd (1595449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364672)

Blizzard did in fact try to take some measures a couple of years ago regarding South Africa and our fleet of Private Servers. Because of the high volume of "private servers" in SA (hosting all of Blizzards games [starcraft, d1,d2,War3, and WoW]) Blizzard threatened not to ship WoW - The Burning Crusade to South Africa. This fell through as the game was oddly enough available in Zimbabwe, and so suppliers were just importing the game. This being said, one of the main reasons PS exist in SA is because our pings to Blizzard servers(and everywhere else in the world) usually vary between 600-1200ms. It can be lowered to 350, but this requires a purchase of an unshaped account (which sells for over R125 per gig). So instead, SA gamers choose to rather enjoy a lag free game, rather than a full feature game. And with local bandwidth costing almost 10% of our "blended" bandwidth some players are almost forced into using PS. I'm not saying that this is a valid excuse to host PS, but sometimes when you are forced into a corner, you just have to make do with what you have.

Re:South African WoW player (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367518)

At the risk of sounding offensive when I honestly don't mean to... "forced into a corner" - I'm really struggling with that concept. Because it's a game. That you bought. I'm assuming not under some sort of threat of force, because with all the trouble I've read up on in South Africa over the years I've not seen a story about Blizzard sales reps being armed and forcing customers to buy expansion packs. But maybe it never made the headlines,

Umm, if the game as shipped doesn't perform in your region, it is you who should be doing the threatening not to BUY "WoW - the *anything*" expansion packs until they implement some local servers. Instead, you all give them money, then violate their ToS when their servers don't perform like you think they should. Stop giving them money and watch how fast their programmers figure out a way to get your server performance up.

Or move on to a different game that allows and even encourages local servers. Give THEM your money. By the time the Blizzard folks get their collective heads out of their collective arses and fix the server issues for you folks, you might have already moved on to another company you like better.

The poor corporate victim (0)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30364732)

...and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights.

I always love it when some major corporation making billions of dollars plays themselves off as some kind of victim. They were forced into it. Right. Reminds me of the the mob. We's didn't want to whack Joey, but der was no other choice. Hey, he was gonna rat, we had to do it.

Those poor, poor mega-billion dollar corporations. So victimized.

Re:The poor corporate victim (4, Informative)

Yosho (135835) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365202)

Those poor, poor mega-billion dollar corporations. So victimized.

Just because a company has lots of money doesn't mean they don't have rights.

If a company makes a game, they own it. If you want to play it, you have to agree to their terms. If you don't like their terms, ok, go away and play a different game. Sorry, you don't get to play the game and ignore the rules. Is that really so hard to accept?

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366216)

Just because a company has lots of money doesn't mean they don't have rights.

If a company makes a game, they own it. If you want to play it, you have to agree to their terms. If you don't like their terms, ok, go away and play a different game. Sorry, you don't get to play the game and ignore the rules. Is that really so hard to accept?

It becomes hard to accept when paired with the concept of the game being 'sold' to me, yes. The subscription fee makes sense in that light. If I don't like your rules, I stop giving you my $15. Potentially, I take my $15 elsewhere. But to do that, I have to commit up to $50 for the core game and $50 for expansions, if only the most recent one. Remove the $50/year surcharge for the expansions and I suppose we'd be back on more equal ground. Until then I assume I was sold something and that this thing should retain some kind of value. That value, it would seem, would be to use it in any non-commercial way I see fit.

Re:The poor corporate victim (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366422)

How is that an argument at all? Nowhere in their terms do they allow you to use private servers if you decide to stop paying. Who would subscribe if they did?
If you don't like the terms presented to you, don't give them any money. It's not that hard of a concept.

Re:The poor corporate victim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30367602)

where in the terms of buyin a toaster do they allow you to hook it up to your own electricity?
 
when something is purchased, the buyer gains certain rights, they cannot sell copies but they can use the software they purchased, just as microsoft cannot tell me i can only use windows to access web sites on microsoft.com and msn.com

Re:The poor corporate victim (0, Flamebait)

Paradigma11 (645246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367908)

How is that an argument at all? Nowhere in their terms do they allow you to use private servers if you decide to stop paying. Who would subscribe if they did?
If you don't like the terms presented to you, don't give them any money. It's not that hard of a concept.

So what, i do no longer agree to their terms of service and they are ofcourse within their rights to stop providing any service to me. Anything else seems to me a legal matter that might differ from country to country.

Re:The poor corporate victim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366360)

Or, how about, if you make something that's replicable, you deal with the fact that it is replicable, and understand that at sometime someone will reproduce it, in whole or in part. Whether you are an individual or a group of individuals, if you make something, someone else can make something similar--and will make something similar. If you want to make money, make your product cheaper, better, or more convenient--WoW generally succeeds in the latter two.

Re:The poor corporate victim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30366830)

So if you create an independent server implementation (that is really just a statistical model) then it belongs to them (You still have a legit copy of the client)

That would be like Microsoft suing because someone made Outlook work without the Microsoft server implementation.

There is zero IP in the numbers in the server. The client (which is legitimately owned) has all the graphics etc in it.

(SWGemu (Star Wars Galaxies pre cu emulator) is allot better than Sony's NGE and seems to work just fine).

Re:The poor corporate victim (2, Insightful)

WizarDru (1695812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366076)

Those poor, poor mega-billion dollar corporations. So victimized.

Mega-billion dollar corporations? I guess if 'mega' translates to 2.9 (in 2007), then yes. For ALL of Activision-Blizzard, not just Blizzard...remove console sales from their and you lose between 1-2 billion. But assuming you meant 'mega' just as a pejorative, sure. Still, I'm not sure what your point is. Are you saying that simply because they're successful, that they rescind all legal rights to protect their interests? That if someone steals from them, it's OK because they're a big corporation? Never mind the fact that a big corporation is funded by thousands or millions of stockholders, both individually and through portfolios (including 401K and retirement funds). That big, bad corporation represents the financial interests far beyond some CEO paycheck. And even if it did, that doesn't mean that someone else is entitled to harm them or infringe on their work, just because they don't have the good graces to not make a profit.

Re:The poor corporate victim (4, Informative)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366142)

The principle is simple. You pay them 50 cents a day and they let you spend as many hours on their servers as you want. It is win-win for everyone until you bring an unwarranted sense of entitlement to the table. It's not food or medicine that Blizzard sells, its freaking entertainment. You CAN go without it and going without it would probably actually be good for you. If you don't like their terms, go elsewhere.

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367220)

I guess my only problem with the business model is that they sell the game for largely the same price as everyone else charges for their games, but to play they want to force you on to their own servers. Ideally, the servers should be good enough that I'd want to pay for them, but I should still be able to get some use out of what I paid for without a recurring monthly fee. Or the game client should be freely available for download. Either way.

But, as you say, "if you don't like their terms, go elsewhere". "Ideally" above is my opinion. Just because I don't like a business model doesn't mean it's not a legal one, and I don't see that Blizzard is breaking any laws.

I'm not a big gamer, but I was very interested in trying out WoW at first. It looked like a lot of fun for $50. Or $15 a month. Or $50-100 a year in expansion pack upgrades. But, in the end, not all three. So I never tried it. Hey, capitalism works!

If they had an option that included the basic game, even if it was a few bucks more a month, I might consider trying it out. But I'm not about to plunk down $100 for the game and expansion packs in order to plunk down $15 to see if I like the game for a month. They want me to pay $115 (nonrefundable) to try the game out for the first month, plus a recurring fee of $15 a month to keep at it if I liked it. I would have been more than willing to prepay for the first month and give them $15-20 to try it out, even nonrefundable, then decide whether it was worth keeping. Since they don't have that option, they got $0. Fair enough. Yay capitalism!

My only caveat would be that I'd hope they are making it clear on the packaging that you are NOT buying a "game" in the sense that you'd buy the "game" next to it on the shelf for basically the same price. You know, one that doesn't require a monthly fee to play. You are buying a client that can be used only if you buy access to a closed, paid server and if you don't pay the monthly fee you are buying a pretty box with a shiny coaster in it. Amazon's mention of this caveat seems sporadic, unless certain WoW games or expansion packs can be played offline.

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367744)

Your math is completely off. You can get WoW and all it's expansions for about $35. New expansions are not $50-$100. I think they are $30 to $40 when they come out? And then they drop. They don't even come out every year. $15 is the worst case scenario. If you but multiple months, it is cheaper. On top of that, they have free 14 day trials where you can download it and try the game for free.

I don't play the game any more, but your cost complaint is a bit ridiculous. You get a ton of content that is actively maintained for the money you pay. If you go to one movie every few months, you are getting ripped off more than what you pay for WoW.

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368492)

I was referring to when it first came out. Hence my use of the term "at first". The game itself was in the $50 range, and I could buy most other games in that same price range. Other games that did not require monthly fees to play. I would have been OK with the monthly fee. I would have been OK with the cost of the game. I was not and am not OK with both.

I'm not arguing that such a model should be illegal, or is unethical, or whatever. It's a game, and they can charge what they like for it, and model it any way they want.

As to "if I wanted to get in to it now" math being ridiculous or completely off, I sourced actual prices off Amazon.com. Here's how I arrived at my numbers, please feel free to point out better sources or correct my addition.

I know I can get the "war chest" for about $20 from Amazon on clearance, that is the basic WoW plus "Burning Crusade". "Lich King" and "Cataclysm" are each in the $40 range. $40 + $40 + $20 = $100 to get current as far as I can see.

I was unable to find a source for "WoW and all it's [sic] expansions" for the $35 you reference. Is there a mega-bonus-pack out there that I didn't find?

Granted, there is a 14-day trial offer in the "war chest" so I could try out my new $100 purchase for two weeks for "free" if I chose, so I was off there. Fair enough. $100 instead of $115. I stand corrected.

As to the per annum "upkeep" fee... How many expansion packs a year come out? Last I knew it was at least two to three, or am I mistaken in that?

They tend to be $40 when they come out, we agree on that, which puts the "keeping up with the expansion packs" game at $80 - $120 per year, I averaged it at $100. Unless I'm mistaken on how many of them come out, in which case I apologize for the error.

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

Cyrus20 (1345311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367792)

you can download the game client for free what you pay for is the account not the software

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367382)

I pay, they provide a service for me. I don't pay, they don't provide a service for me. I am fine so far. It is when they want to stop me from getting a service from someone else that I have to my middle finger at them. Of course, with the locked market capitalism that is practiced in most countries around the world, it is not strange to see that kind of entitlement.

If you don't like their terms, go elsewhere.

But wasn't that was exactly what you argued against?

Re:The poor corporate victim (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30367832)

You are totally clueless. When someone says "if you don't like it, go elsewhere", they mean go to another company. If you don't like the price on a Toyota Prius, you don't have an expectation to be able to buy a Prius from Ford. Same with WoW. You don't like it, play one of the many other MMORPGs out there. The fact that you have an expectation that Blizzard should allow other people to provide service for a game that they created in its entirety just shows that you completely unreasonable you are.

we need more alternatives (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365698)

I wish there was an alternative platform that wasn't so damned tied into the corporate money-hungry mindset. The only reason this is an issue is because the priority is money, rather than having fun. I'll stick to ID games that can be hacked and extended without all the corporate bullsh#t.

Re:we need more alternatives (2, Informative)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366242)

The only reason this is an issue is because the priority is money, rather than having fun.

Company wants to make money, news at 11.

Companies should give up their servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30365788)

Companies should give up their servers once they close them down and allow players to save their characters locally. The number of Final Fantasy XI servers keeps going down and with Final Fantasy XIV just around the corner, sooner or later Square-Enix are going to shut down all FF XI servers.

The best thing they could do is to at least merge everyone unto a single server, make it free-to-play and just keep it going for the sake of respecting their players.

"permanent" player death? (1)

X3J11 (791922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30365962)

From the summary, emphasis mine:

"had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game."

Why would anyone want to play on a server that could kill them?

Player - the fat slob (anecdotal evidence to be sure) sitting in front of the computer.
Character - the blob of pixels that represent the aforementioned fat slob within the game.

(I'm shooting for Funny, but Insightful is okay, too).

How do they work? (1)

eison (56778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366558)

So how do private servers get made? Are they based on leaked code, running something that ships with the game in a different way, or are they written from scratch?

Why don't we see more OSS MMO contributors? (3, Interesting)

dave1791 (315728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30366676)

Seriously, for all of the "corporate bashing" in this thread; either complaining about subscription models or justifying reverse engineering, why is it that open source MMO projects don’t thrive? I remember when Ryzom was up for sale and a former community manager launched a very public campaign to raise funds to open source it. There was a lot of buzz. After it fell through, at least two OSS MMO projects sprung up from it; one game project which died within a week and another framework project which has one active developer (me) three years later. At least four other framework and game projects (Planeshift, WorldForge, Open NEL, Peragro Tempus) also tried to recruit among that populace. Of them, three are limping along with 1-3 active developers with only Planeshift having an active development community.

So why are people not clamoring to work on OSS MMO frameworks so that communities can run OSS worlds?

Re:Why don't we see more OSS MMO contributors? (3, Insightful)

AntiDragon (930097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368478)

Time and Effort and Expectations.

The thing is, reverse engineering an existing game and duplicating whatever scripts or behaviours are needed on the server side to allow the commercial client to connect is far less work than doing it from scratch.

To put it another way, for most OSS projects, you are your own master. You write the code when you feel you have the time and (unless you have some sort of mutually agreed deadline) there's no particular pressure to fix a bug other than the pressure you put upon yourself. For an MMO, there are players, live, playing on your server all the time. There's constant pressure - technical improvements and bugs to squash, desire for new content, need administration and various disputes to solve. MMOs are 24-7 and likewise so are the demands from your player base.

When you create a server for an existing MMO, you only have to match what already exists. No one will be hounding you to add new content - the original developers will be doing that. You also have the momentum of an existing game with an existing fan base and it's own momentum and quite often a world that's been fleshed out with history, lore and so on. Create your own and you have to do that from scratch, you have to let people know you exist and you have to create both server *and* client.

Projects like Planescape show that it can be done but ultimately it's the harder path. MMO players tend to have a reputation for whining too, so I doubt it's the most thankful development hobby you could have!

(I have no first hand experience either way but this seems a likely explanation to my mind)

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