Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Elite Dangerous - BETA 3.0 Servers Down

"We have all the major problems of a theme park and zoo all rolled into one"

Yes, its a quote, and an apt one today, as Elite Dangerous (BETA) 3.0 has hit the downloads, and even with it being a BETA Frontier Developments have two great big things in their favour when it comes to provisioning their servers for the data load they're going to take....

They know exactly how many people have bought into the game... And they can control how they turn the servers on or off.

Now, I accept they're not expecting everyone to play at once, but with a major update which they've been touting for days, if not weeks, and everyone being so intense about playing the game they've bought into then they SHOULD have expected a massive data load demand today.  Extra now and then level off when the demand plateaus, that's standard fair.  And sadly something one would hope was catered for, but which has not been.

Then the control they  have, it seems so many games design their connection mechanics around a point of access and server, so either some log-in and then direct to the data stream or a direct connection to the server, the former allows more spreading of the load, but only if the log-in server can keep up with demand, the latter opens a huge can of worms but should with scaling work more consistently more quickly.

So why does this bother me?... I've not even bought the game?... Well, it bothers me because too many people, too many players, who have paid up more than the release date cash to play are accepting this is okay, this is a beta, they cry, this is just a test, yes it is, and it's a failure, just like the test at beta 2.0 release was, there has been no difference or improvement if servers went down then and go down now, the server is the beating heart of most all the Elite Dangerous features which push it beyond my beloved Frontier Elite II... But if it is not stable, if it has no short term flex how can it flex in the long term?... Longevity, I return to it again!

I learned last night that yes you can play single player, but you still need to validate against the server, and the server was down... So I'm potentially buying an Elite game which has a finite life span!  They turn off the servers, I can't play!

I still have my complete box including 3.5" diskettes for Frontier, I can still pull an Atari ST out its box and I can still play it... If I get the Elite Dangerous : Mercenary release... I want to keep it in its box and keep it as long and I want it to be as good a game (which I don't argue it is, a far better game already) but I don't want to beholden to a server which can be shut off.

As I've previously mentioned David Braben has had his ups and downs with the Elite franchise, its ended up in and out of court, we've waited so very long for a new Elite game, and it looks brilliant, hats off to them, but for my money I want it to last, 5, 10... 15... 20... how about 35 years... Will the company still be in being?  Will the servers still run?

We've all seen what happens to Space MMO's when they turn the server off... So, longevity for Elite Dangerous... Or, Frontier Developments, let us run truely stand alone, to play single player on our own machines alone.  Yes validate stuff earned in certain single player mode before it can be moved into multi-player, I understand that, but I want to feel alone, and in awe of the sheer scale of this game, not beholden to a server with more cuckoo spit & duct tape holding it going.

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