3000+ players playing lag-free? Ha, that’s impossible!

A bit of a follow-up from CCP Veritas on that record-breaking fleet battle in EVE can be found here. I found it an interesting read overall, but it also once again highlights some of the major benefits EVE has going for it in terms of truly being a massive multiplayer game.

Something like pre-setting hardware to a specific area in order to increase performance for a major battle is possible when you have one ‘server’ that holds all 300k+ players. It’s not something you will see happen in a game with 100+ separate, tiny (in comparison) servers. It’s also why said tiny server has issues with 100 players in one area, while EVE is working on making 3000+ more playable. It’s not exactly apples to oranges, but its close.

And ultimately, if you take two identical events (a battle), with the only difference being that one has 100 people and the other has 3000, which one is going to be more ‘epic’ or memorable? Which one is more likely to create a ‘hook’ to keep someone playing? Which one is going to bring a side closer together and strengthen their will to show up, to fight, and to continue fighting the next day?

The above questions have more or less been answered anyway; just one glance at EVE’s growth rate or retention rate says it all, yet seven years later, we still only have one MMO that operates on a single ‘server’ (yes yes, tech details, but you know what I mean), why is that?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in EVE Online, Mass Media, MMO design, PvP, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to 3000+ players playing lag-free? Ha, that’s impossible!

  1. Wilhelm2451 says:

    “And ultimately, if you take two identical events (a battle), with the only difference being that one has 100 people and the other has 3000, which one is going to be more ‘epic’ or memorable? Which one is more likely to create a ‘hook’ to keep someone playing?”

    And, of course, which one are you ever likely to be involved with? CCPs stats seem to indicate that only a tiny fraction of EVE players will ever have such a memorable experience.

    • SynCaine says:

      That’s by choice though. Literally anyone can get involved in a 0.0 corp and join in, most just don’t.

      If you compare that to the rush of say, a world-first WoW boss, well, that club is a bit harder to get into, want or not.

      • Wilhelm2451 says:

        A world-first WoW Boss is probably as likely for a player as to be involved in a 3,000 ship battle I’d say.

        I would agree that EVE offers quite a number of ways to find fulfillment.

        I would not agree that fulfillment and satisfaction in a game is somehow related to the number of people involved, that through some magic a 3,000 ship battle would automatically be more fulfilling than any Wintergrasp battle I’ve ever had, for example.

        • SynCaine says:

          Wait what? You are saying I have just as good a chance to join Pandora (or whatever that pro WoW raiding guild is) as joining any Corp involved in that 3k+ players battle? That’s just silly.

          We will agree to disagree on the second point. I’m sure more than one blog entry or forum thread has been created due to that EVE battle, and if asked a year later people will remember it. If I asked you to break down the last WG battle you had, could you? How many ‘records’ of it exist?

          Now granted, maybe you are someone who has no interest in such things, that’s cool. But just like Blood is ‘famous’ from AC-DT, or LoD or Rainz from UO, or MoO from early EVE, these type of events are part of MMO history. Random WG instances are not.

        • pkudude99 says:

          I carebeared around EVE in hisec for over 2 years, and joined a nullsec corp at semi-random, based solely on the fact that a blogger I read and enjoy was also in that corp, even though I’d not had contact with him other than an occasional comment I left on his blog.

          Still, as a result of joining that corp, had I been able to log in at the appropriate time, I could have been a part of that 3000+ battle. as it is, I’ve been in a 700+ fleet recently, and a couple of months before that I was in a smaller fleet, but local showed over 700 when we 1st jumped in-system.

          All from joining a corp more or less at random in a game I play casually at best.

          I devote far more time to EQ2 and I know I wouldn’t be able to join a raid guild there. Well, I could, and was recently contacted by one in an attempt to recruit me, but I told them no. They want 3 evenings a week every week, and I’m not willing to give that much time to it. Yeah, I’m that casual in EQ2 and more casual than that in EVE, but I still get in to large fleet fights.

          Then again, the 2 games are completely different beasts, but as Syncaine points out — EVE’s single-server nature is what makes it possible for a casual like me to still participate in the huge events.

        • Wilhelm2451 says:

          So, in essence, you are saying that something is only worthwhile and fulfilling if OTHER people see it? Nothing I even do as part of my 5 person group can ever be memorable or fulfilling?

          Yeah, I get that it is cool to be part of something that makes a headline on Massively, but that is rare to the point of silliness. The next 3,000 ship (not 3,000 players, way too many multi-boxers to think that is the case) battle, should it occur (gotta fill out that battle reservation form first) won’t make any news, and will thus, in your view, be a non-memorable, non-event.

          Sorry, but if I bought into that view of the world, I’d stop playing video games.

        • PeterD says:

          I have to agree with Syncaine here — it’s a simple numbers game. If EVE has 300k players and 3000 were involved in this battle, that’s 1 in 100. If WoW has 12 million players and one guild gets a world first, that’s 1 in 480,000.

          That’s . . . not even remotely close :P

        • Wilhelm2451 says:

          And there have been how many world first opportunities in WoW? And there have been how many 3,000+ ship battles? Your math is incomplete.

        • SynCaine says:

          Math still holds I think. There have been fewer unique people who have experienced a WoW world first than players in that one EVE battle, especially of late now that raiding is down from 40 to 10-25.

  2. sid67 says:

    My criticism of EVE is that for having great graphics you spend an awful lot of time just looking at little red rectangles. How ‘exciting’ can combat really be when all the excitement is seen in instrument panel-like readings.

    I’ve said before that this is less about EVE and more about ‘space’ as a setting for an MMO. Space is big. Ships (even huge ones) are small by comparison.

    In any event, it’s hard for me to get excited about the idea of 3000 people showing up for some epic battle when it doesn’t “look” epic.

    Spell and model graphics are as big a reason as anything else when a game like WoW, WAR, or Darkfall will lag out with a smaller number of players.

    So yes, apples to oranges indeed.. :)

    • SynCaine says:

      Spells, missiles, ships, characters, that’s all client-side (which is still a devs concern, but it’s not server hardware-related).

      No argument from me on the ‘feel’ of combat between, say, DF and EVE. From day one I’ve been saying I want Fantasy EVE.

      • sid67 says:

        Agreed. And that’s why I don’t find the 3000 player thing terribly remarkable.

        I would feel the exact same way if someone told me that 10,000 people showed up for a battle in a text-based MUD.

        The client-side limitations cause by the models, animations and spell graphics is the #1 reason why other games can’t handle this well.

        Each time a player shows up, that model is loaded into memory. Likewise when they cast a spell. Each gamer has a finite amount of memory — so that limitation will always exist.

        I’m willing to bet that CCP’s next World of Darkness MMO won’t support 3000 players. Single world or not.

        • Anonymous says:

          What you seem to be ignoring is that just because you might not be zoomed in enough or close enough to see everyone fighting there, they are still *there* (graphically).

          So I’d say the MUD comparison falls pretty flat. The point is that they even managed to HAVE 3k players there at one time.

        • sid67 says:

          LOL! So let’s see — I’m supposed to admire graphics I can’t see because they are still *there* (graphically)?

          Even if that were true (which it’s not), the idea that I should enjoy that which doesn’t exist is ludicrous.

        • Anonymous says:

          You keep ignoring the point.

          Its not about you personally admiring, seeing, or otherwise being impressed by the graphics.

          Its the mere feat of actually HAVING THEM THERE. The technical aspect of it, not the visual aspect.

          The fact that any game managed to keep the servers running with that strain is insane. If you can’t see that you must no less than nothing about PC gaming.

  3. Sean Boocock says:

    lol wonderful. What I wouldn’t give for an edit button.

    Nice article though I’m not sure I want to play FIFO packet roulette with 3000 other players. Sort of like a synchronous turn based game but where turn resolution happens in arbitrary order (at least from any one client’s perspective).

    Your rhetorical question is not as obvious to me as seems to be to you. In terms of a hook for people who have never tried a game, the larger number would probably hold more appeal. But for someone that is already playing a game?

    Perhaps numbers contribute directly to a player’s experience in a game like EVE. However, at least for me, I’ve had more memorable experiences in games in which I knew all my fellow participants by name. I’ve often found that working with a smaller group that I have been playing with for months or years on end is a far more satisfying experience than the relative anonymity that comes with groups an order of magnitude larger. The legacy of long friendships makes the experience of shared triumphs all the better and I wouldn’t trade that for being a cog in a (very very large) machine any day.

    • SynCaine says:

      I agree, knowing the people is far better than just being a random out of 3000 randoms. That said, I’m sure that out of that 3000+, most people knew 100s of other pilots, or at least knew the name. When you have a Corp of 300 people (example), you might not know all 300 personally, but I still think the hook there is deeper than being in a small 10 man guild, if for no other reason than if 2 people are not online, it’s business as usual in the Corp, but it’s a no-go for the guild. That matters day-to-day, week-to-week, as people come and go.

      • Dblade says:

        That 300 man corp is going to have problems though. They are too big to do wormholes due to the mass limits, and assuming a decent amount of people on (60-100 at a “shift”) it’s going to be very hard to find PvP in hi and low sec.

        You have more people, but having them tends to force you into a different playstyle and load you up with expectations. You’re forced into 0.0 just to get fights, and that means playing the alliance game and being a pet.

  4. defconquell says:

    @Wilhelm: Almost all players who have the stones to play in nulsec have been in sovereignty battles with a couple hundred ships. Any given weekend you can pull up the galaxy map and see what systems are active. It’s the players personal decision whether or not to get involved.

    A couple hundred players in Ironforge means diddly squat. To compare, this is how a sandbox would do it:

    1. After you win, Bronzebeard is no longer king. Instead the winning guild gets to design and install new bosses.

    2. The guards are upgraded and the guild places them at strategic points around the city.

    3. The forge and mines are now under your control for producing custom battle tanks and siege engines.

    4. New entertainment and beverages are now available in the tavern to suit the guild’s particular appetites. All vendors are strongly encouraged to stock the new inventory.

    5. Rental housing is made available for friendly guilds who wish player lodging in the new city. Nice little ancillary income for the guild.

    Ahhh, but yes, enjoy those welfare epics. Shazzam.

    • Wilhelm2451 says:

      I merely referred to CCPs own stats from one of the past quarterly economic reports which showed that not only did the vast majority of EVE players never enter 0.0 space, most players never even go into low security systems. It was a point of reference to put SynCaine’s “3,000 ship battles are obviously more epic” statement into perspective. Your talk of sandboxes is not exactly germane to… well… anything in this thread.

      “Almost all players who have the stones to play in nulsec have been in sovereignty battles with a couple hundred ships. ”

      You kill me. Have the stones to play in nulsec? Yes, being in a 0.0 corp is obviously a measure of manhood and not merely a reflection of how much time out of one’s life one is prepared to devote to internet spaceships.

      • Anonymous says:

        What you apparently are unaware of is that it did not put that in perspective at all. It just made you seem ignorant.

        You made the point that you have the same chance of being in a battle with 3k players (and these large battle occur regularly), as you would of being in a group of players less than 1% as large of that, and in an event that by nature can only occur once (per boss).

        Think about that. Hard if you have to. If you do you will realize how ridiculous the notion is.

        The FACT is ANY EvE player who WANTS to can join a 0.0 corp.

        Are you saying that ANY WoW player can get a world-first if they want? Right.

        • Wilhelm2451 says:

          You’re right, if 3,000 ship battles happen all the time, then it is nothing like the prestige of having a world-first. It is more like playing in Wintergrasp then, right?

          But SynCaine is saying that that these battles are as memorable as a world first in WoW. So which of you is full of it?

          As for “anybody can join a nullsec corp” reasoning, it is the same as
          “anybody can be a raider in WoW.” If I wanted to devote the time and energy and could get somebody to vouch for me, sure. But I have other things going on in my life and cannot spend as much time as it would demand to do either, a trait that I appear to share with the vast majority of people who play EVE and WoW.

          If it were easy, everybody would do it. But then people would find something else to distinguish themselves.

        • Defconquell says:

          Manhood? As in meatspace? Wtf? AAHHAAHAHA…. Wrong blog buddy. Go back to pokemonleatherboys.com

  5. coppertopper says:

    There’s a huge difference between playable and not crashing. If I can get 100v100 lag free, i’d take it any day over the stuttering mess that was EVE’s shining moment *boggle*.

  6. Letrange says:

    The thing people are loosing site of is this: In WoW you can’t even try something like this. In EVE you can try. And when things break the devs keep working on that envelope, making it a little bit bigger. Then the players push some more.

    For all intents and purposes what was going on is that the Russians tried to crash the node by overloading the system. But the NC had filled out their fleet fight petition ahead of time, and CCP’s newer work at least resulted in no crashed node (that’s some mighty vitamin fed hamsters they have there).

    The after effects of things like this and the work CCP does put in to make lag go away make most battles up to 1000 players or so playable. WoW and the other games simply restrict the players so things like this can’t happen instead of trying to push the envelope.

    CCP actually got some devs in the system when this happened and they were measuring things, finding out what REALLY happens when extreme loads happen. We should note that they can’t really test for things like this. The most they’ve ever seen on the test server at any one time is what? 5-700? As the dev blog shows they are getting good information and it’s going to feed back into fixes that will benefit other fights.

    Other games get new toys with the same limitations per iteration. EVE gets fewer new toys but less limitations per iteration.

  7. Carson says:

    Lag-free? That doesn’t match any of the stories I heard about this battle. Even that dev blog admits “not an ideal gameplay experience”, “gameplay was not particularly good”, “some say it was worse than the day before”.

    The only boast they make is “we made a bit of a record on October 30th, holding some 3242 players in a single system without the node crashing”.

  8. Akjosch says:

    Having participated in 1000+ player battles in Lineage II in the past, all I have to say is: Impressive. Damn impressive.

    Also: Quantity has a quality all of its own.

  9. “we still only have one MMO that operates on a single ‘server’ (yes yes, tech details, but you know what I mean), why is that?”

    Fallen Earth is a single “server” MMO.

  10. Dblade says:

    I don’t get why you trumpet this. Those large scale battles involve you pressing a button and it firing ten minutes later, or you pressing a button and an hour later you wake up in your home station podded after your comp unfreezes. It’s not any deep or fun experience, and a lot of EVE players hate large scale sov warfare and think the game needs more focus on smaller gangs.

    Heck, at that level you can’t even make any personal stories. You are just one ship in a massive blob.

    • Anonymous says:

      You realize that only a small fraction of EvEs player choose to take part in these large-scale battles?

      When the vast majority aren’t, clearly the ‘focus’ is spread on a plethora of other activities.

      In fact, the vast majority will ONLY participate in small-scale battles.

      Maybe play the game before making a critique, you clearly never have.

      • Dblade says:

        I have played the game, if you read a lot of my responses to Syn. I’ve played in small and medium scale battles, and have heard a lot of the people gripe about the sov system where they’re mains are parked. I ran in Amarr Militia as part of one of the corps there. and saw capship drops and 10-60 man fleets headed by CORIM.

        You missed my point anyways, there’s no reason for people to trumpet something which isn’t all that fun to actually do, and sov warfare is not that fun.

  11. Mig says:

    Anyone played Perpetuum? I read the link from Tobold’s blog and looked at the games trailer. It seems interesting.

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  13. Bronte says:

    “And ultimately, if you take two identical events (a battle), with the only difference being that one has 100 people and the other has 3000, which one is going to be more ‘epic’ or memorable? Which one is more likely to create a ‘hook’ to keep someone playing? Which one is going to bring a side closer together and strengthen their will to show up, to fight, and to continue fighting the next day?”

    Uh… one that is giving me decent Frames per Second to play, not one that is giving me unplayable Seconds PER Frame.

  14. Defconquell says:

    @Dblade Great points made. My play style generally involves L4 missions and wormholes with small gangs of friends, then clone jumping out to 0.0 anytime there is a call-to-arms or complex being run.

    The blobs aren’t “fun”, in the sense of arcade style gameplay. And Eve’s clunky UI only compounds the problem. But in terms of a spaceship warfare simulator, the ability to take and control a solar system makes the tapestry more interesting than themepark games.

    My alliance has about 100 active players weeknights, about 150 on weekends. So it’s nice to jump on for a couple hours 1-4 times a week, get kills and loot, lurf it up with folks on voice comms, share goofy youtubes, etc…

    One last thing that hasn’t really been talked about, that I really think is unique to Eve, are capital ships. A couple of carrier remote-repping your gang with fighter swarms and some logistics really multiplies the force factor in a way not seen in other MMOs.

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