There was a lot of discussion during the last 24 hours, triggered by some of my posts about game design improvements. Discussion is good, just remember to not offend others or get offended easily yourself. We don’t share the same primary languages, and something may look rude without being intentional.
One thing that came up repeatedly was worry about towns built on low-population servers. I think the understanding is that the proposed changes will not negatively affect them, so we don’t need to take up more space in those threads for discussing solo play. However, it’s obviously a topic that merits its own discussion, so…
The eu-2 server and some others have come to be mostly populated by players who like to build their own towns. The Eve respawn feature is exploited to make it possible. When Eve respawn is removed, it will still be possible to use that play style through the new features.
This does not mean that we design the game for the purpose of solo play, but it means that we are not trying to make it a “forbidden” play style. We try to limit the unwanted side effects (suicide marathon, baby abandonment) without removing your choice as players.
That said, we sold the game to you as a “family survival” game, not as a city builder. It is an MMO - not a single player game. We are not stopping you from playing it in a different style, but you should be aware of a few things, so you don’t get a nasty surprise later. Let me tell you a story…
The Story of Tutorial Town
We haven’t always had the same tutorial as we have now. Several months ago, the tutorial we had was actually played on the game servers, in an area far away from the other players but in the same worlds. Before long, someone on a Japanese server had an interesting idea: since the tutorial area was locked to a certain place on the map and reused over and over, and since the tutorial had an extra challenge which allowed you to break out of it and into the “normal” world, one could play the tutorial over and over, and be guaranteed to be in the same place when you broke out.
So several players founded and built Tutorial Town in that place. Since you could always find your way back, the town grew quickly. Bear in mind that even for an experienced player, it would take about 10 minutes to break out of the tutorial each time, so this was serious work for the players involved. People even started to build tutorial towns on several servers.
Some players thought that this was against the intention of the game, and petitioned us to remove this possibility. Others still wanted an official ruling from us: was this allowed or not? This is what we told them:
- We are impressed by your ingenuity. We do not wish to forbid you, but be aware that your work will not last forever anyway. There will be a changed tutorial some time in the future, because of unrelated reasons.
- If this play style should negatively affect other players’ ability to play the “normal” game, then we have to take action.
So how could it negatively affect others?
Though the map is in theory almost infinite, the game server that runs the game world has both limited storage space and CPU power. It is roughly capable of handling 160 concurrent players, with a reasonable amount of objects per player. If you build a lot of structures which remain indefinitely (because you return to them all the time - otherwise they disappear over time) then the number of objects in the map may eventually become too large and negatively affect everyone’s game experience by becoming slow to respond.
- The end of the story of Tutorial Town -
The situation with the “Solo Cities” on eu-2 and some other servers is similar to some extent, and these two bullets hold true.
- We are impressed by your work. It’s beautiful. We don’t intend to forbid it even though it’s not “normal” play. But be aware that your work will not last forever anyway. There are from time to time changes which will require the map to be wiped. When we introduce new biomes, the maps will generally have to be wiped for example. This doesn’t happen frequently, but it has happened.
A few months ago, there was a hard drive failure and data loss on eu-2. Everything which is on that server today, has been built after that happened. So you see: we won’t wipe your work out because we are against your play style, but we are not obligated to preserve your work on the public servers when the game development requires that we wipe the map. Plus: accidents can happen.
- If this play style should negatively affect other players’ ability to play the “normal” game, then we have to take action. This is actually happening to some extent, and we are taking action. As you can see though, the action we are thinking of (see here: Rebirth, Rekindling, and the Importance of Helping Others / 転生、復興と助け合いの大切さ) will not wipe out your solo cities, nor make it impossible for you to continue playing solo.
We did put a lot of work into making Solo and Friends servers available. There we have some data backup and the risk to your work disappearing by accident is less. We will continue to improve those services too.
Solo Cities are not forbidden to build on public servers, but you don’t have any claim on us to protect your work and keep it intact when a software update may require the map to be regenerated from scratch. We don’t have the technology for doing that on the public servers, but we do have some on Solo servers. So if you do build a beautiful city on a public server, make sure to take a lot of screenshots. That’s how it can be saved forever.
Phew, this takes a lot of time to write, but I think it’s important to raise the awareness…