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Games Entertainment Technology

Server Structure in EVE Online 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.
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Server Structure in EVE Online

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  • Re:Shards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @06:33PM (#25239739) Journal

    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.

  • Re:Shards (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aafiske ( 243836 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @06:40PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @06:45PM (#25239901) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by corsec67 ( 627446 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @08:47PM (#25241113) Homepage Journal

    But who sees it? Just you?

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

  • Re:Shards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Inominate ( 412637 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @09:49PM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Plekto ( 1018050 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @10:28PM (#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 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tibman ( 623933 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @11:37PM (#25242051) Homepage

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

  • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Friday October 03, 2008 @03:44AM (#25243085) Homepage
    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:Shards (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Friday October 03, 2008 @04:17AM (#25243225) Homepage
    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?

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein