We have an important announcement to make today regarding the launch this weekend.
As many of you were painfully aware, there were some very serious problems with a few things! Thanks in no small part to your very diligent bug reports, have identified the cause of these issues and already have working fixes on our test environment.
The huge presence of players was instrumental to finding and fixing these bugs, and it showed us that stability was very good and the multiboxing system performed well (but still has a kink or two to be ironed out).
Detecting and fixing bugs does nothing to address the damage that has already been done to the server's economy and the level playing field we aim to provide on a launch weekend. The server will continue to stay open.[/b].
Why weren't these issues detected earlier?
Some have the impression that we are a large team, even like a professional development studio. Unfortunately, we are about 10 active people working in our free time and paying out of our pocket to bring Shadowbane to you.
While being a labor of love has its merits, it also means that we don't have a fully-staffed team of testers who can devote the time and really dig around the world to catch these things early. We are just doing our best with what we've got!
However, several of these issues were an unfortunate 'perfect storm' mix. Many of the visible elements of the issues worked fine - leading us to believe we were in the clear, but deep down, unbeknownst to us, there was major damage being done.
How are you going to make it right?
Here's a list of everything we felt went wrong with our launch and what we plan to do to rectify it. In addition to the below, we are aware of a number of players unable to log in due to crashing issues and we are doing our utmost to troubleshoot those issues, too.
- PROBLEM: Triple or quad affix item drops from PvE, leading to broken and powerful gear. This is due to a fault in some of our procedures dealing with the database.
- SOLUTION: We have a fix for this issue, but it is not viable to deploy onto the live server.
- PROBLEM: Enchantments for gear drops seem to be applying to items they should not be on. This is similar to the issue above in that some outdated procedures have caused this issue. In addition to this, various map bugs have been reported that are linked to the failure of this particular procedure, which caused our wipe processes to fail to properly cascade, effecting other areas of the database, producing a large amount of side effect bugs.
- SOLUTION: As above, we have identified a fix for this issue, but unfortunately it is not viable to deploy onto a live server.
- PROBLEM: After a reset, you will receive MAC address errors for up to 45 minutes before being allowed in. Some users have reported taking up to an hour delays after a reset. In addition, this system was DDoS'd during start up, making it very difficult for any of you to get ingame, which had an effect on the balance of server up.
- SOLUTION: This is due to a fault in our single boxing system which we have now identified. To fix both of these issues, we will be moving the MAC authentication process to a different server that is capable of higher load, and is better protected against DDoS attacks. This will level the playing field a bit more.
- PROBLEM: Many of you were expecting PvP at server up and in feedback had noted this was part of your server up plans. We did not properly communicate that the noob island would be a safehold for day 1.
- SOLUTION: For the next launch, we will have PvP enabled for start up.
- PROBLEM: Many players had an issue starting on noob island, instead being stranded in SDR with no way to return without remaking multiple times. This had an effect on multiple guild's server up strategies and momentums.
- SOLUTION: We will be developing a solution that will seek to preserve the integrity of noob island, but allow people to return to the island in some way so this situation is avoided.
What about my feedback on the changes?!
In addition to the above issues that hampered the launch, even just these few days of feedback from you guys have given us some very good advice! Look for a small amendment to the 2.0 patch notes just before the relaunch.
What about all my characters and gear?
You can keep playing! We are keeping everything open until just before the relaunch. You will also receive heightened experience and gold gains as our way of saying thanks for sticking through it.
Of course we are disappointed with this outcome, and we know you will be too. We have many "I wish we had" or "why didn't we" moments over the past few days, but we choose to look at the bright side and take stock of what we learned: what worked, what didn't, what people liked, and what they didn't like, and our greatest opportunities for improvement.
Please tell us how you feel in this discussion thread.