Watch out, these topics are hot!
It’s Wednesday and we bring you the latest Hot Topics, straight from the desks of your community team. And this one is meaty!
The servers are dead! Long live the servers!
Whew! Looks like we are finally out of the woods of this server instability issue that has plagued the game since we did the final account reset. We sat down with our tech team to get a better idea of what was going on and why it took us so long to resolve.
Initially our servers were only crashing once every few days, which is by no means acceptable but we thought we had a solid handle on the issue. After a few failed patches, the issue actually increased and we were locking up about every 12 hours. Our fixes weren’t working. The servers weren’t “crashing” per se, they eventually got into what you more technically-minded boys and girls would call a ‘thread deadlock’ and wouldn’t allow new log-ins, which is more difficult to pin down. Crashing is easy but when the servers are choking themselves and not telling you why they are doing it, diagnosing and resolving the problem becomes harder.
Enter the patch last Friday night. We were delivered a build that promised to resolve the deadlock and get us back on track. Normally, it’s a big no-no in the games industry to patch on Friday because you can introduce new issues and the weekend is when the majority of your playerbase is online. But, the instability was growing too big to ignore and we were confident in the fix. The team worked into late Friday night testing the build and ensuring the fixes were there and we felt good about pushing it live.
This hotfix, after all, fixed a number of things. Not only did it resolve the server issues but brought us back Onslaught mode, fixed spawning issues that were killing the fun, and gave players the credit-gain they were supposed to have in the first place. There was some odd lines in the logs, but nothing that was super scary.
It turns out those lines were scary.
After the patch on Friday we noticed the servers began crashing about every 45 minutes. Oof. This was the result of a much more severe “handle leak” that was introduced. As players logged in and played Dreadnought, log files would grow and grow and kill everything. We identified this as the reason for the frequent crashes midafternoon on Saturday and got a fix in place by the following morning. The plan was, we either fix it today or we take the servers down for a few days and continue working on a new build. With a combined sigh of relief, the maintenance Sunday afternoon fixed the issue. Logs ran normally, locks were no longer dead, and the Credits were flowing again.
We’re sorry we couldn’t come up with a solution quicker, but server issues in a live server tend to give Corvettes a run for their money in the “Silent But Deadly” category. Hopefully this gives everyone a bit more insight on the matter. We are confirming plans right now involving compensation for this significant downtime.
We promised you some work in progress pictures of the UI improvements that are currently in development and today we deliver!
First we have the latest mockups of our new hangar UI and then we got some nice numbers for you! Please keep in mind that these pictures are displaying a work in progress and are not yet finished. Some of the things you see here might still change or not display actual game mechanics.
The new top menu has been cleaned up and offers better visibility. The social menus, as well as the settings button have been integrated into the top menu.
You might notice the 2 lines under the Play button that represent your currently selected fleet and game mode. By the way, the selection is being remembered for the next time
This is the new fleet selection menu. You can open it by clicking on your fleet under the Play button. Below it, you can see the game mode selection.
Note: This mockup shows the recruit fleet in maintenance, which is of course not correct. The recruit fleet never goes into maintenance. This is just a representation of what it looks like when one of your fleets is in maintenance.
Here’s a first look at what it might look like when we replace all the bars in the game with numbers. OMG! All the stats!
This layout, as well as the information displayed might still change before this UI update makes it into the game; this is a work in progress and not done.
The information displayed here might also not be correct
Today we’d like to use the Hot Topics to offer some explanation on how the Matchmaking in Dreadnought works. There is a general misconception that when picking your fleet, you are supposed to get into a match of that respective fleet level. There is actually no such thing as a Recruit, Veteran or Legendary match. There are certain restrictions though that do separate the fleets from one another.
There are two factors that determine the Matchmaking in Dreadnought:
- your fleet rating and
- your skill level
The fleet rating is a hard criteria while the skill level is a soft one. This means that when picking your fleet and starting Matchmaking you are sorted into one of three “buckets”: 0-2, 2-4 or 4-5. Additionally you will be grouped depending on your skill level which then results in a matrix. Let’s look at a player with a fleet that has a fleet rating of less than 2:
When you start Matchmaking, you are grouped into the first Fleet Rating (FR) section and let’s assume you are an average player, you might be put into skill group 2, based on how well you play.
Now, the longer you wait, the broader the search becomes, in terms of skill groups. Eventually, you’ll be searching among all skill groups:
Note though, that the Fleet Rating search does not become broader. This is a hard criteria and does not expand during the search.
So why do people with Tier 2 fleets end up fighting Tier 4 ships? Because when you use an all T2 fleet, your fleet rating is 2, which means you are put into 2 groups at the same time:
The same would go for an all Tier 4 fleet. In these cases you start out in 2 fleet rating “buckets” at the same time, since the Tier 2 and Tier 4 ships are intended to be facing off against the respectively higher fleets. This also means that a Tier 1 ship should never face a Tier and a Tier 2 or 3 should never have to fight against a Tier 5.
This is how the initial Matchmaking works. Once 16 players have been selected for a match, the teams are supposed to be balanced, depending on the players’ fleet ratings so that each team has an equal chance to win. It then is up to the individual player which ship of their fleet they chose. So it can happen that a player has a fleet that consists of 4 Tier 4 ships and one Tier 2 ship. If this player now decides to fly his Tier 2, it can make the appearance that the teams are not equally balanced, since the teams are composed based on fleet rating, not what the players actually fly.
So why not make a hard separation between Tier 2 and Tier 3?
The initial idea was that we wanted to give players more options when putting together their Veteran fleet. If you just unlocked your first Tier 3 ship, right now you can put it into your Veteran fleet and fill the rest of the slots with Tier 2 ships. If we installed a hard separation, you would only have the option to fly one ship, your first Tier 3. This is a situation we wanted to avoid and have therefore decided to make Tier 2 an overlapping Tier that can be used for Recruit and Veteran fleets.
We are currently discussing this system and thinking about options to improve on it. We’re looking into all the aspects of this system, including changing the Fleet Rating boundaries but we want to gather more data first to see how it performs with the daily increasing player numbers.
Recruit Fleet (T1) players ending up filling empty slots, facing off against T4
We are aware that it currently seems that when players leave a match in progress, the empty slots can be filled with players that don’t meet the fleet rating requirements. We appreciate your feedback on this and we’ll look into the problem. It should not happen that a player with Tier 1 ships in his fleet has to face off against a player with Tier 4 ships.
Thanks for reading captains! As always, please let us know what you think