PotBS Server FAQ, Including Updated Server List!
There have been a whole slew of questions about our servers both before and after the announcement of our server names. I’m going to attempt to touch on some of these. With no further ado, here we go!
How do we decide how many servers we need?
I answered this on the forums in this post: http://burningsea.com/forums/showthread.php?p=700178#post700178 but let me reproduce some of it here.
(ALL NUMBERS QUOTED BELOW ARE FABRICATED AND ARE INTENDED TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROCESS, NOT INDICATE ANY EXPECTATIONS WE HAVE )
Step one is to take our expected subscriber counts. Let’s say that the multiplier for presales to subscribers is 2.00, and we are on track to get 50,000 presales units sold. This results in an expected subscriber count of 100,000.
Step two is to calculate expected peak concurrency. The multiplier here is different from game to game, but generally falls between 20% and 25%. So for this pretend calculation, we expect to have 20% of our subscriber base active at peak, resulting in a peak concurrency of 20,000 players.
Step three is to determine how many active players are supported by a single server. This is often an art vs a science, and is certainly so for us. Sometimes there are technical limitations, and other times the limitations are design side. For us, the key metrics in determining how many players we want to allow onto a server are ‘how vibrant does the economy feel’ and ‘how crowded does the open sea feel’ ... for this fake calculation, we’ll say 2,000 players per server.
Finally, we take the numbers from step two and three and figure out how many servers we need. If we have a peak concurrency of 20,000 players, and 2,000 players per server, we need ten servers to handle that load.
In Equation form, you could look at it as:
Subscriber Base * Concurrency Rate / Players Per Server = Servers Needed
100,000 * 20% / 2,000 = 10
Boy that looks like a lot of servers, why do you need so many?
If you read the answer to the last question, youll note that one of the key factors in determining the number of servers is the number of players we want per server. Design has come back to the table with the decree that we want to target a higher per server player count. This has the net result of reducing the number of servers we need. Luckily our technical design can handle it, but it also means well be deploying fewer servers than the list would indicate.
There was also a miscommunication concerning the list of servers that was posted. The server list came down from Rusty, but before he had a chance to tell me about his deployment plans he wound up in the emergency room and was out of contact for a while. The list that was posted are the servers were deploying, but some of those are tasked for other areas, such as Australia (yes, were still working on the Australian launch, though we havent been able to talk about it yet). The other servers are also prepositioned as hot standby servers to avoid the crowding problem that has plagued other successful MMOGs.
Where are the servers located?
We have a data center in Seattle where all of our servers are currently located. We had originally planned on launching with our EU servers already located in Europe. Without going into details, we decided that it would be better for a smooth launch to start off with the servers here. While there have been a few performance related glitches, the lions share of our European beta testers have reported smooth performance ingame. We sit on several high speed backbones so that certainly helps!
Why not put the EU servers in Europe instead of Seattle?
Our plan is to build out a second data center shortly after launch and migrate the EU servers there. Our technical design makes that a VERY smooth process, and we will be able to do it with minimal downtime. I personally expect that we can migrate those servers during a normal patching downtime period.
Right now were leaning strongly towards locating the second data center in the Virginia area of the United States. We actually think that most of you in Europe will have better performance there than if we were to locate everything in Europe somewhere. The reasons for that are somewhat complicated, but weve found that as cross Atlantic bandwidth improves congestion related problems for traffic between the EU and the US have largely gone away. Connectivity across the Atlantic used to be atrociously oversubscribed and had many loss and latency problems but at this point business demands have resulted in backhaul that is for the most part loss free and limited by the speed of light as opposed to congestion induced latency or slow pipes.
Weve done a number of spot tests and it turns out that inter-ISP and last mile congestion causes a significant amount of latency and loss. By crossing the Atlantic, we can take advantage of network optimizations and we end up having better performance overall. During beta we even had players in the EU that had better performance to our Seattle servers than some folks who are within a few hundred miles did.
Were not the only ones looking at consolidating data centers out of Europe to the East Coast. A number of fellow MMO companies are doing this, as are quite a few other companies providing similar services, so were in good company!
I live in Europe. Can I play with my friends in the US?
Absolutely! Anyone with a US or EU subscription can play on any US or EU server.
Ok, Ok, I get it. But wheres the new server list?
Heres the server list for preboarding based on our current plans:
Roberts (EU English Speaking)
Bellamy (EU Spanish Speaking)
Hornigold (EU French Speaking)
Bonnet (EU German Speaking)
Will there be more servers in the future?
We hope so! The more players who come, the more servers we deploy! Well announce additions to the list as they occur.