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Day 6, Improvements, Improvements, Improvements, Niiiice! WTF?

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There we go! The only thing that prevents me going from mildly insane to insane is that I’m seeing improvements and progress. I know, some of you still encounter issues and we won’t stop till it’s all dealt with. We’re still taking down the servers to deploy code fixes or reconfiguration at a pretty rapid rate.

Some platforms and regions will experience this even two times a day, like XBOX in North America. Most other platforms and regions get these much less frequently and have had their servers running pretty great since launch.

So why do I say improvements? How can I say this when I’ve had X problems? We update and we see the effect of changes. How often do we update? Every day now since we launched. What do we measure? Everything. From forums and twitter to player behavior and server metrics. And my psychic gimp in my cellar.

One of those is that there have never been more people playing on XBOX in North America than tonight, without having 23,000 tweets about lag. There were actually only 23. That and our metrics indicated the same. There are hundreds of thousands of us Arkhunters out there playing and every time we make it a better experience for one more person, it makes me cry tears of joy. In our case, minor improvements end up improving it for thousands at a time. I always find that amazing.

So while we continue to keep our eye on XBOX in North America, which keeps on growing as I write this, these are our priorities:

  • Game Server Crashes – Get disconnected or timing out? That’s most likely a game server crashing. It disconnects you and usually you can come straight back in. You might also encounter those zombie servers, which just give you that the service is unavailable. You will be feeling this more in instances and PVP matches.
  • Disappearing items & Salvage Matrix – Have you had your items disappear mysteriously? Were you in the Salvage Matrix at the time? There is a connection. If you are in the Salvage Matrix and on your way to a match or instance, you have a higher chance of this happening. There are other cases but this is the most common case. You can of course contact customer support about this.
  • Chat & VOIP – Yes, this isn’t going off the list. We know. We hear it. We see it.

If you’re still experiencing issues with client download, patching, connectivity, customer support is the right people for you. Issues reported are getting very few and those that are having problems, please don’t hesitate to contact them. It not only helps you get set up, it helps us narrow down on edge cases and gather information of the last spots that have problems.

In the last update I mentioned that there is a DLC on the way after our two upcoming fix and improvement patches. I also noticed that in the following discussion, there was debate about what resources did what and when. This is a pretty common misconception and understandably so. Game development is very complicated on this scale.

The short version of it is that not everyone can contribute to everything. As much as I’d like to, the engineers would not let me touch code with a ten foot pole despite me having ultimate authority here and telling them of my mad skills (I made webpages once). I think they are right though, just between you hundreds of thousands out there and me.

That being said, we prioritize our development team in general categories just as we prioritize what individual issues we work on. If a person has anything in the highest category, that person works on that before anything else. This is how it looks right now.

1.       Full Cluster Crashes
2.       Game Server Crashes
3.       Live Gameplay issues
4.       Upcoming patches
5.       DLCs

I also told you the other day that I was working on my omnipotence so what we also did to keep better focus on Live issues is that we moved the kick-off that was supposed to be tomorrow Monday for the next DLC, back a week. It only involved a relatively small part of the team, mainly artists and designers but I figured I’d give you some insight into how we actively prioritize and pivot here. And if you suddenly see Space Unicorns in PVP matches as a result of me and the artists trying fix server crashes, don’t blame me. Just enjoy the moment of Space Unicorn-ess.

Since we’re all full of lists here, we should probably close this blog with another list which summarizes a couple of things.

  • Great progress in the last week, some still outstanding and we’re on it
  • Patch in a week with improvements and fixes
  • Patch about 2 weeks after that with more improvements and fixes
  • DLC moved out to provide further focus on fixes

But now I jinxed it. As I wrote that last bullet point, a part of North America just disconnected due to what looks like one of our network providers having a hiccup. I estimate that as about 3000 twitters souls worth of disconnects. Yes, those “WTF” moments do still happen as I mentioned earlier. Usually with perfect timing. We’re now investigating this but you reconnected pretty fast again but some of you might not have been load balanced properly so you’re experiencing lag now.

We have good leads on our top issues, better visibility and signal-to-noise ratio after this week, and I’m confident that our woop-to-wtf ratio will improve considerably in the next days.

Ave Arkhunter,

Oveur

Nathan Richardsson

Executive Producer Defiance