Monday, March 13, 2023

A Bad Weekend For Internet Spaceship Servers

I found out I was not the only one with some tech issues involving video games this weekend. Mine stem from having a very old PC that cannot connect into the hotel WiFi network except late at night and some fiddling. But CCP Games and Cloud Imperium Games also had some issues impacting the ability of players to play the game.

On Sunday, a whole bunch of players decided they wanted to play together in the system of X47L-Q.

Tranquility dumped 4700 players on Sunday

EVE Online is famous for hosting large fights. A fight involving 3,000 ships doesn't come close to setting a record for the game. But as Wilhelm reported, 6,100 ships engaging in a fight in the same system is a different matter. When the biggest null sec blocs get together to fight, the servers will crash unless the fleet commanders manage matters carefully. The crash saved the Fraternity keepstar in X47L-Q, but forces from The Imperium and B2 managed to set the armor timers on three other keepstars, setting up hull timer fights this week.

Next, we go from a game that can't handle 6,000 players in a system to one with trouble handling one player in an elevator. Clould Imperium Games finally launched the much anticipated Alpha 3.18 late Friday/early Saturday morning. Launching a game, or even a major patch, after the normal close of business on a Friday rarely goes well. The launch of Alpha 3.18 was not the exception to the rule.

Star Citizen status as of 1730 UTC 13 Mar 2023

A quick review of Google News makes little note of the problems. did report on the issues surrounding the launch of the new patch.
While the update brings in many exciting new features, it has also experienced a lot of problems, particularly with login issues. Some players have not been able to login, and support has stated that they will be doing a partial wipe in the 3.18.1 patch. However, the Community manager Captain Zyloh has stated in a reddit thread that they are not planning to do a wipe, conflicting with what support is saying.
At 1510 UTC on Sunday, CIG issued this update:
Since the launch of Star Citizen Alpha 3.18.0 our teams have been monitoring a number of issues players have been encountering while attempting to log into the game. These have primarily manifested in the form of 19003 and 19004 with a mix of other similar codes.

While monitoring those issues, the team has been able to tune and make adjustments to the entitlement processing flow to ensure that a large portion of player attempts were still successful and able to make it into the PU.
However, at a point in the early morning UTC, the environment entered into a state which would require a more disruptive recovery process.

As of 1300 UTC the environment has been in the process of recovering from the state it was in but we wanted to advise that, while this recovery is in-progress, players will experience periods of extreme difficulty getting into the PU. We expect players to see a mix of errors from the 19k, 30k, and 60k ranges.
I was wondering if CIG would push Alpha 3.18 onto the PU before the patch was ready. CIG warned players the patch was unstable, but I don't think the majority of players expected the inability to not log in. From what I've read, the issues are worse than those I experienced trying to log into Endwalker at launch. At least in FFXIV, I didn't have to worry about bugs trying to kill me once I logged into the game world.

CIG Sales jumped an order of magnitude on Saturday

The now-proven rushed launch also concerns me on the financial front as well. February's sales figures of $4.2 million had to disappoint the upper-management of CIG. The income stream for the beginning of March was even worse, with average daily sales of $106,000 through the first 10 days of the month. On Saturday, CIG recorded sales of $1.4 million. Think the launch of a patch, especially after a 10 month content drought, doesn't boost sales?

The difference between the server issues in EVE Online and Star Citizen is that the problem in EVE is a matter of capacity whereas in SC the issue is a bad software patch. EVE players can work their way around the issue by trying to keep fights in one system under 4000 ships. Star Citizen players, on the other hand, are in a bind. The only way they don't have issues is if they chose not to play the game.

UPDATE: 13 March 2023 @ 2300 UTC
This is not good.

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