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EVE Online Battle Breaks Records (And Servers) 308

captainktainer writes "In one of the largest tests of EVE Online's new player sovereignty system in the Dominion expansion pack, a fleet of ships attempting to retake a lost star system was effectively annihilated amidst controversy. Defenders IT Alliance, a coalition succeeding the infamous Band of Brothers alliance (whose disbanding was covered in a previous story), effectively annihilated the enemy fleet, destroying thousands of dollars' worth of in-game assets. A representative of the alliance claimed to have destroyed a minimum of four, possibly five or more of the game's most expensive and powerful ship class, known as Titans. Both official and unofficial forums are filled with debate about whether the one-sided battle was due to difference in player skill or the well-known network failures after the release of the expansion. One of the attackers, a member of the GoonSwarm alliance, claims that because of bad coding, 'Only 5% of [the attackers] loaded,' meaning that lag prevented the attackers from using their ships, even as the defenders were able to destroy those ships unopposed. Even members of the victorious IT Alliance expressed disappointment at the outcome of the battle. CCP, EVE Online's publisher, has recently acknowledged poor network performance, especially in the advertised 'large fleet battles' that Dominion was supposed to encourage, and has asked players to help them stress test their code on Tuesday. Despite the admitted network failure, leaders of the attacking force do not expect CCP to replace lost ships, claiming that it was their own fault for not accounting for server failures. The incident raises questions about CCP's ability to cope with the increased network use associated with their rapid growth in subscriptions."
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EVE Online Battle Breaks Records (And Servers)

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  • Kinda Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @02:16AM (#30651784)

    I still don't think I'll sign over my credit card to a MM online game, but a game that lets you destroy THOUSANDS of dollars of stuff that other people value for the sheer malicious joy . . . well, that's perversely COOL!

  • Re:EVE Online. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jeff4747 ( 256583 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @03:26AM (#30652150)

    Two, CCP has shown themselves in the past to be shady and unreliable, having developers specifically favor certain alliances and otherwise abuse their powers for their own in-game corporations.

    Three, the amount of bugs and inability to cope for server stress for large battles (which is the meat and potatoes of this game--large space wars!) has apparently been evident for quite some time now.

    IMO, these two issues are caused by CCP's location. There's not a vast number of high-quality programming talent in Iceland. (Simply because there isn't a vast number of people). CCP has had a "Senior Programmer" open position on their web site for a couple of years now.

    Frankly, the reason I left EvE is that the quality of the already mediocre code was heading downhill rapidly. My personal tipping point was the bug where in-game browser bookmarks were not properly imported by their new in-game browser. If the Devs can't even do that right, then how can anyone expect much from the rest of their code?

  • Re:EVE Online. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... om ['hoo' in gap> on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @03:39AM (#30652234) Homepage Journal

    Mod parent up!

    You can have enough skill points to be useful in 0.0 (the unsecured space where players make all the rules and large alliances carve out empires) before the end the free trial. Sure, you won't be able to kill the most valuable NPCs or take on almost anybody in a solo fight, but you can make more than enough money to support buying the ships and gear that your skills allow you to use, and you can certainly be useful in a roaming gang or defensive camp. Heck, you might even get lucky and find some idiot with a hauler full of valuables and nobody escorting him (happened to me once) in which case you really only need a warp disrupter (cheap and easy to train for) and enough firepower to overcome the hauler's shield recharge rate (which you could get by your second day of playing the game).

    EVE and CCP may never completely live down poor decisions on the part of several employees, but the game itself goes on and for most people such events are scarcely newsworthy for a week. While we'd certainly prefer if such things had never happened, they're old news - almost irrelevant by now - and the CCP has taken some fairly solid steps to prevent such things from happening again.

    From the sound of it, this fight was executed wrong in almost every possible way, perhaps most importantly in that CCP wasn't notified ahead of time so they could put the system on high-end dedicated hardware. Consider also that having hundreds of people in the system used to be enough, by itself, to cause atrocious lag (even if they weren't fighting one another), a problem which is very rare today. Now, while fights with nearly 1000 player/side might still be a bit more than the game can handle, a few hundred per side is commonplace and a thousand total is well within the capabilities of the "reinforced" (with dedicated servers) nodes.

  • by seifried ( 12921 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @04:11AM (#30652384) Homepage
    I don't get it. Everyone just parks their ship and slugs it out? No maneuvering? Boring. Gratuitous Space Battles has way better game play.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @04:12AM (#30652388)

    My educated guess is that they tried to bring the server to the knees with the load, then be assembled and ready for the restart and get an edge that way. Because even with a reinforced node, a group jumping in sync does not necessarily appear at the other end simultanously. Instead, my guess is the idea was to pop in, crash the server, log back in together and be actually assembled and battle ready while the other side is still trying to muster and/or log back in.

    Unfortunately, the node didn't crash.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @04:13AM (#30652394)

    So this is supposed to be fun?

  • by Fex303 ( 557896 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @04:43AM (#30652578)

    If a player played for a year to build up your ship and treated it all as a horrible chore as merely an investment for possible future fun, then the fault is that of the player. If instead the player had fun while building up those ships, then the money is already well spent and thus isn't "lost".

    So if I enjoy my day job then boss shouldn't have to pay me?

    Anything can have value if people deem it to. Just look at gold - much less useful than steel or copper for almost every application, but for some reason people pay lots of money for it. By the same token, people pay money for the right to control one of these ships in this video game. You might think that's a silly use of their money, but it's a use of their money so the ships have value. If they're destroyed, that value is lost.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @07:32AM (#30653394) Homepage

    Piracy or fraud in-game is one thing: that's part of the game world. But service interruption resulting in in-game loss is something entirely different. It's not like with piracy or fraud where someone's gaining something; the only thing that is going to happen is you're goign to lose something, and the other parties involved are going to get the (unsatisfying) feeling of destroying an empty fleet.

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @08:01AM (#30653498)

    Exactly. Other posters have said that there have been leaked logs confirming that this was indeed the case. And they were warned--repeatedly--that if they *didn't* crash the node, they would almost certainly fall victim to the bug that in fact killed them, and were advised not to try it. But they did, the node didn't crash, the bug occurred, and they died.

  • by Shinobi ( 19308 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @08:36AM (#30653636)

    Actually, a year ago, there were even larger battles that were functional. The problem is CCP apparently not having synched development trees. So for example, every other expansion, drone AI gets old bugs back, that were fixed in the release in-between. The Bloodlines expansion was the worst in terms of that though

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @09:23AM (#30653896)

    True, but CCP also has a long history of favoring the Band of Brothers. People can quite reasonably accuse CCP of continuing to favor BoB's playing style here.

    A fleetfight should simply not become unbalanced. If players are lagging out, they should cull players evenly from each side, ideally offering non-culled players the option to give their slot to a culled player.

  • Re:Kinda Cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @10:16AM (#30654324)

    I still don't think I'll sign over my credit card to a MM online game, but a game that lets you destroy THOUSANDS of dollars of stuff that other people value for the sheer malicious joy . . . well, that's perversely COOL!

    I noodled about in EVE years ago. It's got the harshest cost factor of any MMO out there. It can take weeks of grinding to get a good ship and you can lose it in seconds if you're not careful. You have many, many hours spread between the ship you buy and your pilot and the pilot has both XP and implants that boost stats. You can buy clone insurance for the pilot but implants are always lost upon death.

    There are a lot of chinese farmers in the game as well as OCD no-life guys who amass virtual fortunes. You get kill mails when you nail someone in PVP showing what you managed to blow up. There was one I saw that was amazing in the perverse fashion you mentioned. Someone was making a run from base to market in a giant freighter with no escort. A pvp pirate popped him and just about shat himself when he saw the kill mail. That ship had like a zillion credits worth of loot in it. In real world dollars it was something ridiculous like $10k. You make your money in the game by one form of grinding or another. Noobs are making thousands per hour and veteran players can make millions per hour but even the most veteran player is going to have to play for a very long time to earn $10k. I don't even know how much time $10k would represent to a gold farmer. The output of a whole shop for a month? I just don't know.

    Things like that convinced me there was more money to be made grinding in real life. :)

  • by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @11:17AM (#30655082) Homepage
    Not really. I know many people who spend hours restoring classic cars. The value of their time in doing so is not well repaid in material terms, but they do it because they enjoy it.
    EVE is much the same - technically speaking, I accumulate in game assets by 'work' and that's some sort of reflection on how much time and effort was involved. But I do it for fun, and if it stops being fun, I do something else.
  • by Zeelan ( 533372 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @11:23AM (#30655154) Homepage
    Building a Titan' a quick overview.

    Very basic overview, with time requirements attached to give an idea how how much work goes into it.

    Materials: 30 man or more strip mining fleet running through some nullsec systems for materials.
    Time: Two three weeks of a few hours of mining every day.
    Skilltime: About three months of skill trainning to be able to do this job.

    Blueprints: 3 or 4 people needed to do Research on the blueprints and make copies of needed components. A player owned structure is needed for this with all maintenance done. Usually but another group of players.
    Time: Three to Six months of minimal research and development on blueprints to make them useful.
    Skilltime:Four to Six months minimal time needed to make an effective researcher in eve.

    Building: One Two or Three players depending on how you build to make a Titan.
    Time: Takes about two months to build components and then a full month to build the full ship.
    Skilltime: Nine months Minimum skill training time to have an effective industrialist.

    Flying: One person, usually a dedicated player that does nothing else.
    Time: Hours of sitting around waiting for something to happen followed by a few minutes pure terror as you take your alliances Titan into battle and hope to hell you don't lose it.
    Skilltime: One year of dedicated training minimum required to actually fly the thing.

    This is a very basic overview, and the support structure needed to make this all happen tends to take at least a few hundread people activily playing the game to make it happen.
  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @12:40PM (#30656398)

    So... excessive introduction of mass in a single locality causes unbalanced time dilation effects and even loss of consciousness? Sounds like an interesting game mechanic to me.

    "Oh dear, I think you will find reality is on the blink again." -- Marvin

  • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2010 @04:20PM (#30659802) Homepage Journal

    CCP's favoritism of BoB is something that gets trotted out every time they accomplish anything. It's years in the past.

    In this engagement, BoB (IT) won. The people who jumped in were dumb. They knew this might happen.

    In a previous engagement (check the corporation alliance and org forum for post by SK Rooster), BoB/IT jumped in to someone else and lost 40 dreadnoughts. Favoritism? Not so much. Whenever BoB loses, it's cause they suck, whenever they win, it's because they are getting help from the Developers and GM's. Right?

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.