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Staggering, worst or best tactic for a MMO this day and age?


darthbored

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theres a word in computers called "sharding" you partition players on the same server into different "shards" on the server to keep area populations at managable levels. using this approach they can run 10 shards of each starting area if their server populations get to high.

 

this is basic computer science and every mmo player has seen it used, the fact that ea/bioware isn't using this to push more players into ega means only one thing to people that know this. that ea/bw is lazy and is playing favorites on who they let in.

 

I saw 4 'shards' per zone during a recent beta weekend. Not saying that is how it is now, it could be more or less.

 

Whatever...

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I like how people are saying "release", that's the 20th. We knew this was how it was going to be for months. These are just 7 bonus days BW gave us for preordering, and made it first come first server to ensure a smooth launch for everyone. Your first free month doesn't start until the 20th. Edited by Tulukord
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Staggering launch is actually a very smart move. Instead of a sudden influx into starting areas you get a steady flow. Also, the hardware can be monitored and adjustments made to ensure things remain smooth.

 

I've been in many launches where the first day was nothing but trouble and it ended up being a staggered launch anyway since tons of people couldn't even log on the first week.

 

By giving a launch date and giving pre-launch date access to people who pre-ordered in the order of their pre-orders Bioware gets to control the flow.

 

Very, very smart move. I expect to see more launches use this tactic in the future.

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Strange, anywhere else, I read EGA... even in the ads, it says the game's launch is the 20th... if you can't even trust the majority, the whole world is crumbling apart :)

 

Sorry, I'm getting too cynical. It's how I see things, I don't pretend to hold the Truth. Just to use my brains to make the difference between official and unofficial. Of course it's a launch... unofficially, alert from Ray and Greg or not.

 

EGA is another word for soft opening. Think of it as the 20th being the official Grand Opening.

 

So yea, in all reality, the game has launched.

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Staggering launch is actually a very smart move. Instead of a sudden influx into starting areas you get a steady flow. Also, the hardware can be monitored and adjustments made to ensure things remain smooth.

 

I've been in many launches where the first day was nothing but trouble and it ended up being a staggered launch anyway since tons of people couldn't even log on the first week.

 

By giving a launch date and giving pre-launch date access to people who pre-ordered in the order of their pre-orders Bioware gets to control the flow.

 

Very, very smart move. I expect to see more launches use this tactic in the future.

 

Is the extremely small amount of information being given also a smart move?

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If you don't like how the EGA rollout is going or don't like waiting for an email to tell you when to play or to take time off or whatever then just wait and plan on playing on the 20th.

 

We all know we will be playing on the 20th, right? :cool:

 

I'm as excited to play as the next guy, but really people? They are letting you start playing earlier than expected and you are complaining?

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Ultimately it's going to cause the Dec. 20th launch to go very smoothly, which will cause the game to get much better critical reviews, unlike games with horrible messes for launches like Vanguard, which turned out quite decent after the game was patched some.

 

It's worth it. I would have just liked to have known the criteria for early access sooner so I could have preordered earlier.

Edited by Lord_Itharius
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Would've been a great tactic....

 

 

if there weren't 18 hours between waves. Seriously, the stopping invites at 2pm for the rest of the day was what made this a bad idea. Continuous rolling waves all day every day until everyone was in would have been just about perfect.

 

+ INFINITE!!! This is exaclty what I've been SAYING!!! The BS excuse that "oh we need to see how the servers hold up over time...etc) is nothing more than BS because last I checked all servers were on LOW pop and here I am @ 9:30pm just wandering the forum because I can't play when clearly they have room for many more.

 

This 18 hour between waves causes some of us who pre-ordered late (DEC) to lose 3-4 days of game time compared to them doing the continuous invites method... I HATE THIS!

 

As I've stated before this leaves a VERY sour taste for BIOWARE and I will be much more prone to just quitting the game when I get frustrated because I will be fed up with dealing with them if something goes wrong in-game.. like bugs, pvp griefing, other ********... get my drift?

 

You guys that are in need to realize and put yourselves in our shoes, I for example didn't even know that the early access was based on when you purchase the damn game, I was watching updates for it but wasn't too interested until I saw footage from the thanksgiving weekend beta (did not participate). I decided to purchase it and saw that the EA was first come first server so I thought well yeah they'll prbly let us all in within a couple of days. I log in today to see that they're doing 4 waves with 1 bonus a day? FK THAT! When will i get to play, on Monday the night before release? When 50% of the pop will be 30+?

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I think the staggered roll-out is a good idea. This way we don't have overcrowded questing areas and long queue times. This is Early Access, not Launch. Take that into consideration as well.

 

they have a system to shard zones into multiple instances that would alleviate most of that kind of congestion.

 

its less a problem with the idea of staggered roll outs, everyone getting in over 30 hours or so would be one thing .. but 5 days? 12+ hours of empty starter areas? the community manager saying they need to stress test ... at launch.

 

and this is launch. read the stickys.

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Is the extremely small amount of information being given also a smart move?

 

Here you go..pulled this from another thread.

 

Here's something Stephen Reid posted that may shed light on the Early access issue:

 

StephenReid's Avatar

StephenReid

Joined: Oct 2010

 

Today , 04:44 PM

 

Hey everyone.

 

We absolutely understand you want to get in and play the game early. It's one of the reasons we expanded our Early Game Access from a maximum of five days to a maximum of seven days. However, there are a couple of important points to realize about today's opening salvo of invites, and the procedure in general for Early Game Access and launch.

 

First, Early Game Access and launch is not supposed to be a stress test. In our previous Beta Testing Weekends we got up to very large concurrent number of players and brought invites into the game at a very high rate. That was done to stress test every aspect of our systems and servers, and essentially to see if they broke. In some cases, they did, but that helped us improve for launch.

 

For us, launch isn't just about stuffing our servers with as many people as possible. As anyone who's been through a large MMO launch can tell you, that experience can be painful. Our aim with this launch was to ramp things up gradually, to spread our player population out amongst a variety of servers, to maintain all server types, and to keep queuing to a minimum (although we expect that to happen as we head towards December 20th). So far, all that has been successful for us on Day One.

 

The second thing to realize is scale. We invited more people to play Star Wars: The Old Republic today than many other MMO launches manage in their entire head-start process. As I mentioned earlier today, when we opened pre-orders we had a huge spike in numbers - far more than most MMOs capture at launch. That was the initial rush. After that, our pre-orders settled down.

 

What this means is that tomorrow, you'll effectively start to see the pre-order timeline expand. You'll see people who have pre-ordered later than July getting invites. The day after that, more people will be invited. We're actually planning to invite more tomorrow than today, and invite the same number again on Thursday - at which point we'll be into the original 'five days of Early Game Access'.

 

Last thing. Why aren't we continuing to send waves over time? Two main reasons - one, because we need to see that the servers are maintaining stability over time; adding a lot of players in a short period (in other words, stress testing) can cause stability issues.

 

Two, our plan is to continue to add servers - but carefully, and in response to demand. We need to monitor that demand and roll out servers accordingly. A long-term recipe for MMO failure is to add a lot of servers early on, and then when population decreases, have to close those servers and merge them together.

 

Our aim is for Star Wars: The Old Republic to be around for a long time to come. Today's just the first step in that - an early step, too - and we'll be running smoothly, with a stable population, before too long.

Stephen Reid | Senior Online Community Manager

Follow us on Twitter @SWTOR | Like us on Facebook

[Contact Us] [Rules of Conduct] [F.A.Q.] [Dev Tracker]

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This is pretty hilarious. None of you had a problem with BioWare's system when you thought you would get in Day 1, even though they said first come first serve, you would get to play UP TO 5 days early, and decided to stop reading there.

 

Those of you who are so mad at this, well frankly, read more. Read better. The information on how this was going to go down was out there, plain as day, and you didn't read it. So now that you didn't get in, well rabble rabble rabble. It's like watching an episode of South Park.

 

Early access is BioWare's GIFT to you. You are not entitled to 5 days. You are being given UP TO 5 days, and actually, they released a blog post stating it was extended to 7, AND that the downside was they were unable to tell you exactly when you would get in ahead of time like 5 days before today.

 

TL;DR I didn't get in today? Oh then this is so unfair and I have a problem with it. I wouldn't have a problem with it if I did get in, so just ignore me because I am a hypocritical idiot.

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Worst, Because come 20th theres still going to be ques, crashes and same issues as every other mmo, except they slowly screw a bunch of people leading up to the 20th.

 

IMO the reason the staggered release, is because i dont think the game is going to live up to expectations to alot of people, and they dont want people cancelling preorders before the game launches.

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I am fine with them staggering access, and I am fine with being one of the last let in. I am a bit disappointed at how few they allowed in on the first day. A question though, did they change their plans because last I heard the servers are all shutting down sunday evening and will not be back up again until tuesday, so this is actually a little less then 6 days of early access.

 

How many is a 'few'?

 

According to the CM, they let more people in today than were in the stress test weekend and that was in the neighborhood of 750k iirc.

 

The plan is for even more tomorrow if the CM is to be trusted and no issues develop. My guess is that a majority of preorder peeps will be in by thursday latest.

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Here you go..pulled this from another thread.

 

And here's a nice rejoinder from the same thread:

 

Originally Posted by Kinegos

This isn't a troll, and isn't exactly QQ although there is some of that involved.

 

I just want to put it down for the record that the way this early access program has been implemented is truly one of the most poorly conceived ideas that I've ever personally encountered in over 25 years of playing video games. I've personally participated in launches of 6 other MMO games, and there is nothing in those experiences that compares to how ridiculous this process is.

 

When you are dealing with a pre-launch even that is only for pre-order customers, after an extensive and massive beta testing period that was a huge success according to nearly all sources involved - it begs the huge question as to what is the limiting factor in the way you have chosen to roll out this game. I personally participated in the beta in a very limited way (not by choice, mind you, I just wasn't lucky enough to get a key) and was only online during the big Thanksgiving weekend test. That test was wonderful - there were a huge number of servers, and a huge population of testers. The game performance was amazing.

 

So, EA/BW - what exactly are you afraid of?

 

The ONLY way this should have been done is to have given ALL pre-orders (perhaps separated only by level of game purchased - i.e. CE customers get 7 days, SE get 5, e.g.) access at exactly the same time. Of course it will overload the servers and queues would ensue and all that - but that's what we all expect. Making your customers wait unknowingly with no idea how long it will be or when to expect an email is just adding insult to injury. A poor alternative would have been to send out emails with a set time and day that your access would be available.

 

I read in the top post how you are monitoring the server performance and are rolling waves based on server performance. Are you seriously saying you have to wonder at this point if your servers can perform up to the task - when you probably still have 90% of the launch day players yet to even be able to play? That is not at all a good message to be sending at the beginning of an MMO franchise.

 

At any rate, I love this game. I love BW. But I truly despise and am sickened by the way you chose to put your customers through so much stress for absolutely no good or justifiable reason.

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they have a system to shard zones into multiple instances that would alleviate most of that kind of congestion.

 

its less a problem with the idea of staggered roll outs, everyone getting in over 30 hours or so would be one thing .. but 5 days? 12+ hours of empty starter areas? the community manager saying they need to stress test ... at launch.

 

and this is launch. read the stickys.

 

First, Early Game Access and launch is not supposed to be a stress test.

 

:D

 

I like the idea of rolling through starting areas..::GASP::..by myself! Crazy right? Your scenario does not bother me in the least. I paid to get in on the 20th, and if I get in before that I consider myself lucky. Oh, and I haven't gotten in yet either, but having gone through Launch with other games, I still appreciate what they are doing. :)

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+ INFINITE!!! This is exaclty what I've been SAYING!!! The BS excuse that "oh we need to see how the servers hold up over time...etc) is nothing more than BS because last I checked all servers were on LOW pop and here I am @ 9:30pm just wandering the forum because I can't play when clearly they have room for many more.

 

This 18 hour between waves causes some of us who pre-ordered late (DEC) to lose 3-4 days of game time compared to them doing the continuous invites method... I HATE THIS!

 

As I've stated before this leaves a VERY sour taste for BIOWARE and I will be much more prone to just quitting the game when I get frustrated because I will be fed up with dealing with them if something goes wrong in-game.. like bugs, pvp griefing, other ********... get my drift?

 

You guys that are in need to realize and put yourselves in our shoes, I for example didn't even know that the early access was based on when you purchase the damn game, I was watching updates for it but wasn't too interested until I saw footage from the thanksgiving weekend beta (did not participate). I decided to purchase it and saw that the EA was first come first server so I thought well yeah they'll prbly let us all in within a couple of days. I log in today to see that they're doing 4 waves with 1 bonus a day? FK THAT! When will i get to play, on Monday the night before release? When 50% of the pop will be 30+?

 

^^^^^^^^^^

 

The last Beta was the stress test. They knew how many people the servers could handle and so forth. Bioware invited a comparatively small number of PO's into the game today. Lunch time came around and that was it. 18 hours for the next wave is a bit excessive. An additional wave every 4-5 hours would be far more appropriate.

 

Also, since the Beta stress test 2 weeks ago, Bioware has had plenty of time to correct some of these server issues such as purchasing new servers or creating more shards per server. Since I am not one of their programmer's of engineers, this however, is pure speculation. What I can say with all honesty is that the communication between Bioware and its player base on this issue has been found wanting. I think Shutting down the forums for four days did not help matters any and IMHO has made matters worse from severing the main line of communication between the 2 parties.

 

I, as a player, am also partially at fault. I guess I maintained certain expectations (or hopes) that EGA invites would have been conducted smoothly.

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Of course it will overload the servers and queues would ensue and all that - but that's what we all expect.

 

That's your nice rejoinder? Your argument (or rather someone else's whom you agree with) is to simply take it because we are used to it? OK pal..LOL.

 

That and the stress the poor fellow, and I assume yourself as well since you agree, are experiencing due to not really knowing when the game will come out? Really?! Your self-induced stress over a video game release is not a solid argument against a staggered release. LOL.

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Worst.

 

People that say EGA is a gift from Bioware...No it was a marketing perk that encouraged hundred of thousands to preorder. They are still advertising as "up to 7 days" when in reality, given the way they are baby stepping through sending out waves, you'll be lucky to get 1. Today was the preorder LAUNCH. Allowing access to only a fraction of the total preorder customers under the guise of server stability and ques. At this very moment almost 90% of servers are either low or normal population. Cutting off continuous invites at 2PM...really?!? I was around for launch and early access for LOTRO and AION. While occasionally there would be ques during peak time, at least I could log in, create a character and reserve my name and could decide to wait in a long que or log and try again later. With this launch I have neither option. I have no clue when I'll get to log in. They want to ensure server stability and only add servers when needed? Wouldn't you be doing that anyway whether you had 900,000 with the ABILITY to log in or a fraction of that? Being prepared and responding quickly to server needs is what Bioware should be doing...not limiting access to your future customer base.

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Almost everything said in this thread is effectively moot, because the game hasn't actually "launched" yet. The game releases on the 20th.

 

If you get in early, awesome for you. If you don't, oh well, you would've had to wait till the 20th anyways.

 

I would have preferred everyone on 20th than this mess. Can't play with friends now and 50s at start

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The thing is... it's really too early to tell if it's a good or bad tactic. I can't call the launch a failure, but neither can I call it a success.

 

From what I could gather, the point of a staggered launch would be to avoid overcrowding of the starter areas, server crashes, and queues. Did they meet those goals? So far yes (except maybe the queue one, but that's a different opinion). That being said, of course they've met the goals so far, according to their server loads... the servers aren't even that loaded! Which is why I can't call it a success yet.

 

Now if December 20th rolls around and everyone is on the servers and there is still no lag, and no crashing, and no downtime, then I will consider it successful. If there are queues after I waited in a "queue" to ever be able to login to get into a queue, plus server crashes and lag.. I will call it completely unsuccessful and probably the most frustrating MMO launch I've ever been a part of.... those are ifs.

 

And yes, I do feel as if I am in a queue that has been forced upon me. I am waiting in line waiting to get access to something. I get the whole first come first serve thing... but it's still frustrating. At least when I go to a restaurant I get told "it'll be about 15 minutes".. or at Disneyland they have signs up saying about how long the wait is from where you're standing... plus you can see how many people are in front of you. Having no clue is just... frustrating... not enough for me to hate Bioware or cancel my pre-order (I've been waiting for this game for a very long time!) but still frustrating.

 

Before anyone says "if you've been waiting for it so long why didn't you preorder on the 21st!" Truth is, I was unemployed and was not sure when I would find a job, so I didn't wanna spend money before I had it. Shame on me I guess.

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well it seems to be working just fine. No server crashs health populations on the servers. I wil take this anytime over the norm of lag servers crashes and long hour+ ques

 

 

This ^ your post is spot on.

 

 

The game isnt "out" until the 20th. Everyone crying about it is just selfish. I guess BW could just say "have fun with crashes and DCs on the 20th" but people would cry about this too.

 

How many other game have you waited for that let you play them 7 days early......ill wait while you look for one.

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I'd be hard pressed to say it's either the worst or best method for deployment. There are certainly up sides as well as down sides. It's simply too difficult to weigh them, especially in a situation where one is having trouble considering them objectively. Many of those who did get in are happy, many who didn't aren't. There's far too much static to get a good consensus and draw a clear enough picture. In a couple of weeks people will likely have a different answer than today, then again by then it more than likely won't much matter anymore either. Edited by Eblan
Slightly fixed wording
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Okay, I'm reading things that confuse me in this topic. When I was in the Thanksgiving beta weekend.. I seem to remember there being different instances of planets. How do I know that? Simple, I got recruited into a team for a quest that was in a different instance of the world and it told me that and asked if I wanted to zone into that instance of the world. So, why would it be a big deal to have a lot of people come into the game for the starting areas? They'd just automatically do more instances, meaning your instance shouldn't have /too/ many people.
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