Aion Character Transfers

Lance Stites Talks About the State of Aion Today on the Aion Website discusses the ups and downs of the launch of Aion, NCsoft's MMORPG (thanks IncGamers). The good news according to the NCsoft West executive producer is the fact that the game is "polished and incredibly fun," and the bad news is the server queues where players are spending too much of their time. He explains how they so badly miscalculated demand for the game, and what they are doing to cut down on waiting time going forward:
I’m sure many of you are thinking, “That’s all fine-but how does that help me get in and play the game? What is NCsoft doing for me?” Fair question. First, we have already and will continue to increase server capacity to ensure that we have server space for every user. The reality of the situation is that some servers quickly become very popular servers, with lines queued up to enter, but other servers have plenty of space to accommodate players. Obviously, adding servers won’t help in this case. If you’re waiting to enter a full server, 100 extra servers won’t help.

So the next question may be “What about my character I’ve already spent time on?” Another good question. I’m excited to confirm that we are currently working on implementing a server transfer service beginning next month. Specifically, we will offer every player a free one-time server transfer for a limited time to select servers. You can rest assured that addressing the demand for Aion is our biggest priority. And I know a big question is “Why did you not deploy more servers?” Most of you are savvy enough to realize that a healthy MMO server needs a robust population. We have to calculate our reasonable concurrency numbers in a week and in a month and beyond. The last thing we want to do to our players is spread them out so that the “massively” in “massively multiplayer” gets lost..
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28.
 
Re: Metal Gear Solid: Rising on PC
Oct 5, 2009, 22:13
28.
Re: Metal Gear Solid: Rising on PC Oct 5, 2009, 22:13
Oct 5, 2009, 22:13
 
Again, when some servers have a queue and others don't, the problem is not a lack of servers...it's an over-concentration of players on one particular server.

Adding more servers won't fix a queue on popular servers. Adding the ability to transfer to a less-populated server will. Until all servers have a queue...only then is adding new servers helpful.
27.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 21:57
27.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 21:57
Oct 5, 2009, 21:57
 
Eve is specifically designed around trading real world currency for in game currency, and that makes a huge difference

As for Aion, I can't speak for the rest of the world, but I don't currently buy gold from the farmers. It's against the spirit of the game, I don't want to support them being in the game spamming everyone, and I'm not about to give personal info to those jackasses.

However, if NCSoft sold in game currency, that would eliminate most of my compunctions about not purchasing gold and I would most definitely be buying a big chunk of it. And I can't help but believe there would be a lot of other players who would take advantage of that as well. Some to much more extreme measures that I personally could ever afford.

Something might go for 50k on the auction houses now with the black market of gold trade. If that market were to become more mainstream, those prices would have no where to go but up. Possibly to the point where anyone not spending additional, real-world money on virtual currency would not be able to afford anything from the player markets by simply playing the game as designed.

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2009, 22:09.
26.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 17:35
26.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 17:35
Oct 5, 2009, 17:35
 
The only way I could see it every stopped would be to undercut the market and sell it directly themselves. It would be difficult for a RMTer to sell 1mil gold for $15-$20. But legitimizing RMT would really throw the fragile economies of these games into utter havoc.

...it would? I don't think it'd do anything but divert some of the funds already buying in game currency back to the devs. People already buy lots of the stuff, obviously, so if the devs offer a secure way to buy the same thing inside the game it's not a lot different than some shady guys in china doing it as well.

I don't think there are a lot of people who are on the fence about paying for virtual currency. You're either already doing it or you're not willing to spend additional money on this game you already pay for each month. Some people want to spend more, and that is why gold farmers continue to thrive. In eve online you can buy 30 day pilot extensions (PLEX's), which are basically a month of service for a price determined by the market. (between 270-330 million isk) The only way to get those plex's to sell is to buy them from CCP. ($17.95 each) I'm one of the players enabling that practice by buying those plex's. I'm making it possible for people in the game I play to buy the same isk I earn by playing the game. I'm fine with it and the game isn't collapsing.

FYI 270 million isk is about a weeks worth of gaming, pretty steady gaming at that, least an hour or 2 each night.

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2009, 17:40.
25.
 
Re: Metal Gear Solid: Rising on PC
Oct 5, 2009, 17:12
25.
Re: Metal Gear Solid: Rising on PC Oct 5, 2009, 17:12
Oct 5, 2009, 17:12
 
The queues are mostly if not all gone now from what I've seen the last 2 - 3 days(I'm on the second busiest server). People complaining about it at this point are being fairly stupid.
Actually, every european (english/german) server bar the brand new ones has prime time queues on a daily basis. They start building up when people get home from work and diminish once it gets closer to their reasonable bed time, about 22:00h CET with practically no queues at 23:00h. And we're not talking about 20 minute queues, but rather between 1 and 3 hours.
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24.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 16:43
NKD
24.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 16:43
Oct 5, 2009, 16:43
NKD
 
This simply isn't true. They're just very careful about protecting paying customers, and it's very difficult to separate spam-bots from paying customers in an automated way. It has to be automated, because like spam email, the volume is simply too high when pitting hundreds, thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands of dedicated RMTers against the finite resources available to NCSoft. And when it comes down to do the GMs spend their time helping players out with bugs, being stuck, corrupted characters, etc. or spending their time deleting "asdfasdfa" and "fdsdfs"...I'd rather they didn't.

World of Warcraft does a fine job. You get spammers occasionally but its a quick right click and they are out of your hair. Botters are banned very quickly as well. All of this without an impact on the game.

It's a cop-out to say there's nothing that can be done. Blizzard and SOE have done a fine job, NCSoft has been a joke in that regard. They aren't "protecting paying customers" at all.

You protect your paying customers by preventing them from being scammed. NCSoft doesn't do that.
Thou art an artless, greasy tallow-catch.
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23.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 16:24
23.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 16:24
Oct 5, 2009, 16:24
 
THIS

The real issue is how well they can keep bots and spammers under control.

They won't.

NCSoft has never taken those seriously, ever. They'll let it run rampant.

Is a FACT. Lineage 2 is a mess because of botting, it is a joke.
22.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 16:01
Cutter
 
22.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 16:01
Oct 5, 2009, 16:01
 Cutter
 
So why not use servers from their other MOGs that aren't using them? Yes this whole things isn't about saving a few sheckels, it's about marketing. It's the nightclub ploy where you keep everyone lined up outside so the club looks busy and popular to anyone going by, regardless of how many people are acutally in the club or not.

But ultimately, is anyone here playing it? No. Who cares in that case?
"If you're going through Hell...keep going."
- Winston Churchill
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21.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 15:55
21.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 15:55
Oct 5, 2009, 15:55
 
I've been pretty fortunate, no line no waiting on Lumiel after they added that one new server for the east coast. Plenty of people are playing whenever I am on, and I can get right in. No lag of consequence either. Really having a blast with that game, haven't had that much fun with an MMO in a long time. Not sure why, tho, there is nothing particularly special or unique about Aion, I just really like that world and the gameplay.
"Everybody out of the universe!" - Nibbler, Futurama
20.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 15:42
20.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 15:42
Oct 5, 2009, 15:42
 
This simply isn't true. They're just very careful about protecting paying customers, and it's very difficult to separate spam-bots from paying customers in an automated way. It has to be automated, because like spam email, the volume is simply too high when pitting hundreds, thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands of dedicated RMTers against the finite resources available to NCSoft. And when it comes down to do the GMs spend their time helping players out with bugs, being stuck, corrupted characters, etc. or spending their time deleting "asdfasdfa" and "fdsdfs"...I'd rather they didn't.

I've witnessed other MMOs attempts to curtail RMT in games, very often to the detriment of the game itself. Yes, placing limits on chat or restrictions on trial accounts does hinder them a bit, but it has a much larger impact on legitimate players or the community as a whole. I found Aion's restriction from using the global channels until level 5 pretty frustrating as a player. I'm sure the RMTers don't bat an eye at it. They can pop out a new serial code with a keygen, and have a random spam-bot leveled up to 5 in a matter of hours. All part of business as usual for them.

Personally, I've found it very easy to just right-click on the name of someone spamming a channel or whispering me and add them to my block list. I do that 2 or 3 times a night and the problem becomes pretty non-existent for me. In fact, I see much more spam from players complaining about the spam (that I no longer see) than actual spam. The only thing I would want NCSoft to do would be add a "block as spammer" option, that would at least automatically generate a list of potential spammers for them to take action on.

Ultimately, there's as much chance of stopping gold spammers as stopping email spam or pop-up ads. The only way I could see it every stopped would be to undercut the market and sell it directly themselves. It would be difficult for a RMTer to sell 1mil gold for $15-$20. But legitimizing RMT would really throw the fragile economies of these games into utter havoc.

It's not the simple problem/solution that you make it out to be.

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2009, 15:44.
19.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 14:52
NKD
19.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 14:52
Oct 5, 2009, 14:52
NKD
 
The real issue is how well they can keep bots and spammers under control.

They won't.

NCSoft has never taken those seriously, ever. They'll let it run rampant.

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2009, 14:52.
Thou art an artless, greasy tallow-catch.
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18.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 14:47
18.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 14:47
Oct 5, 2009, 14:47
 
They are trying to save money because in a few months they will be down to 10% of their current population and will be merging servers anyway.

Yeah, since Age of Conan and WAR both (in the last year or so) ran into this problem. Especially in games where PvP is a notable part, low pop servers are terrible.

Also, keep in mind that if you have 1000 players and 10 servers, you might not end up with 100 people on each server. New servers won't help if too many people choose to play on the overloaded servers.

The server stuff will clean up in a few weeks anyway. The real issue is how well they can keep bots and spammers under control.
17.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 14:30
Verno
 
17.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 14:30
Oct 5, 2009, 14:30
 Verno
 
NCsoft has some decent customer retention in their more popular non-niche MMOs like this one actually.
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16.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 14:07
NKD
16.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 14:07
Oct 5, 2009, 14:07
NKD
 
Not that I give a fucking crap, but how do you badly miscalculate demand for this game, when the pre-orders have been #1 and #2 on Steam and Direct2Drive for the past month?

It sounds far more like "We didn't really want to invest money in server hardware, and we don't really give a shit about you waiting in line, since you're PAYING to wait in line! Woohooo! KA-CHING!"

Why people will still pay for new MMORPGS, only to be fucked up the ass with a beta client is beyond me.

Creston

They are trying to save money because in a few months they will be down to 10% of their current population and will be merging servers anyway.
Thou art an artless, greasy tallow-catch.
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15.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:54
15.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:54
Oct 5, 2009, 13:54
 
Not that I give a fucking crap, but how do you badly miscalculate demand for this game, when the pre-orders have been #1 and #2 on Steam and Direct2Drive for the past month?

It sounds far more like "We didn't really want to invest money in server hardware, and we don't really give a shit about you waiting in line, since you're PAYING to wait in line! Woohooo! KA-CHING!"

Why people will still pay for new MMORPGS, only to be fucked up the ass with a beta client is beyond me.

Creston
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14.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:40
14.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:40
Oct 5, 2009, 13:40
 
Many CoH players fiercely identify and bond with their servers and server-mates. Even people with wildly different game playing styles (PvP, PvE, etc) will still somewhat get along because they're at least part of the same server.

True.

I recall CoH had an unofficial RP server.

Plus I guess Champions has the disadvantage that European players can't all congregate somewhere? So German players and such have a hard time finding people that understand them.

I recall seeing a lot of foreign-language Zone-casts, not so much lately so maybe the set something up?
"Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you."
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13.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:37
13.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:37
Oct 5, 2009, 13:37
 

They just go and release a statement to the forums that claim they "didn't properly gauge demand for the game".

And doing that makes them look good.

OMG, the game is so popular! The demand has caught us all by surprise so we have to expand ASAP!

It makes Joe Sixpack (both the gamer and investor) think the game is god's gift.
"Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you."
-Fry, Futurama
12.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:35
12.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:35
Oct 5, 2009, 13:35
 
The flip side of that is that the "server" is a big part of community for an MMO, and not having those homes make it difficult to bring disparate people together into a larger communal group.

Many CoH players fiercely identify and bond with their servers and server-mates. Even people with wildly different game playing styles (PvP, PvE, etc) will still somewhat get along because they're at least part of the same server.
11.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:34
11.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:34
Oct 5, 2009, 13:34
 
This happens with just about every MMO, and the reason is quite simple:

These companies simply don't have or do not want to spend the money on getting the amount oif servers they need. Therefore, they hold off on buying them until the first month subscription checks start rolling in and then use that newly made money to buy them.

They just go and release a statement to the forums that claim they "didn't properly gauge demand for the game".

Happens all the time.
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10.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:14
10.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:14
Oct 5, 2009, 13:14
 
I don't know which I'd prefer as I've only played 2 MMOGs more than a week: CoH/CoV and Champions Online

Both handle them differently, and honestly I don't know which one I like more.

CoX has what I guess is the more traditional method. Upon creating a character you would select from maybe a dozen servers and that server would be your home. But then you're not really meeting people from the other servers so if you choose poorly you're SOL. Though they eventually let you migrate your toon.

Champions has what I guess are best called as shards? For each map (or zone) there are umpteen versions currently handling up to 100 players a piece.

So when you want to zone to Millenium City it will either
  • Prompt you which instance you want, showing you a list which labels which one has team membes and friends
  • If you disabled that option it will automatically send you to the "best" one. Either the one with your current team or the one with the most free space.

For Champions, you can change instances on-the-fly, and there are various valid reasons to do so. But then your coordinates are reset to the zone's entry/edit point. It's useful if you want to meet a friend on another instance or the open mission you want hasn't spawned yet and you want to try elsewhere.

ALSO, it makes zone-traveling a breeze. You're on one side of Millenum City and you want to go to Canada? Instead of flying across MC for a couple of minutes to the exit point just change instances, which sets you at the entrance/exit point. Then take the exit point to Canada :-)



I don't know which I prefer. I don't minding the Champions method even with the current 100-cap. I'm not running into THAT many players unless I'm in a major area like the entrance/exit, mission contact, while in CoX I would always be running into players. Both scenarios were good and bad. Too many players meant better teaming but a lot of competition for open missions (kill x helions) while too few means harder teaming but little competition.

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2009, 13:35.
"Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you."
-Fry, Futurama
9.
 
Re: Aion Character Transfers
Oct 5, 2009, 13:10
Verno
 
9.
Re: Aion Character Transfers Oct 5, 2009, 13:10
Oct 5, 2009, 13:10
 Verno
 
WoW still has server problems - why do you think they have to reset the machines every week.

While there are definitely software issues to solve, you have to understand the majority of the maintenance windows for WoW are used to conduct hardware repairs. They have literally thousands of servers and god knows what kind of NAS setup to maintain. Hard drives die, motherboards need to be replaced, disk controllers fail, etc. That happens every day but it rarely affects most of us on a regular basis because our scale of ownership is far lower than an operation like WoW. This is to say nothing for expanding on that hardware solution, network infrastructure and etc. For such a huge operation that requires nearly 24/7 uptime, I'm surprised WoW doesn't have MORE downtime.

And I am not a fan of WoW for the record, just saying it's perfectly understandable from a tech perspective.
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