Battlestar Galactica Online - Development Blog 23 - The Plan
16 January 2015
Typhon is gone and I hope you’ve all gotten a good start to the new year. It’s time to take a brief moment to reflect back on the recent weeks and give you a more detailed view on what to expect from BSGO this year.
Today’s blog will be about:
- BSGO License Process
- Technical Stability Issues
- Server Merge Status
- Game Entry
- The Plan
Before we start, I’d also like to welcome Hardy_BP to our team. He will be our new community management lead: taking care of the moderator teams and keeping you up-to-date via social media and the forums.
Read his introduction >here<
BSGO License ProcessEdit
The license has been a topic for several blogs now. The license was due to run out at the end of 2014 and needed to be renewed.
It’s finally official - the license has been renewed, paving the way for all the upcoming changes!
Today, we’d like to give you some brief insight into the process. Negotiations with Universal began back in August and with the purpose of discussing the current state of the game -- all the pros and cons and, finally, where we want to go with this game.
The game’s past hasn’t always been shiny, but after running through the talks and discussions, we formulated a plan and both parties were pretty happy with the results.
In regular calls with Universal, we will ensure that we’re always on track and define measurements to make this game more relevant again among all competitors following “The Plan”.
Technical Stability IssuesEdit
Parts of the community suffer from lag, socket errors, login issues, and connection loss more than average since the end of November. We experienced higher disconnect ratios beginning on November 25th. Those are not connected to any game update and can’t be fixed within in the project internally.
As some users have already noticed, those problems are partially connected to the protection software, which is used against DDOS attacks. It simply interrupts connections with unusual high traffic to prevent the server from attacks. Unfortunately, it needs to be adjusted as it also affects normal players at the moment.
But there are further issues – those are related to the overall BP infrastructure and have to be fixed by our company-wide IT department.
They are aware of the issues and they are working on it. I’m not able to tell you a firm date for solving those issues, but it will hopefully be soon.
Server Merge StatusEdit
After both parties signed the new license, our internal process to order the new hardware began. While the BSGO team analyzed and defined the specs for the new mega servers from August to October, it’s now in the hands of our IT and global supply management to order the servers and implement them into the BP infrastructure. Those servers are not off-the-rack and need to be built manually – so it’s hard to say when they’ll arrive, but we’re still on track for the proposed Q1.
In the meantime, the BSGO team will finalize the new game entry and all steps needed to merge the account data.
A couple of changes may appear as preparation in the next releases, prior to the merge itself.
Game Entry – Q&AEdit
Along with the server merges, changes to the game entry will be essential. We already shared some news in the previous blog, which lead to several questions - some will be answered here in this blog:
Q: “I have multiple characters on different servers – will I lose them?”
A: Access to the new servers will differ a bit from the current game entry. Right after the login, players will reach a character selection. There we will place all characters that were on the servers before. Therefore, the characters themselves won’t change.
Q: “If I have multiple characters on one server, can I use all of them on a daily basis?”
A: Sure. You simply enter the character selection and pick the one you want to play with and if you want to switch, just enter the character selection again.
Q: What should I do with multiple characters on one server? Will you offer character merges?”
A: Character merges are not an option in the first place. Additionally there are several concerns about fairness (e.g. additional opportunities to turn in quests or water). A proper implementation would cost several months and depending on other priorities, it’s not something we’ll focus on in the near future.
Moreover, players will have the opportunity to actively influence faction balance with a second character.
Q: “Many servers are dominated by one faction? Will you force players to start for the opposite faction?”
A: No, we won’t force players to leave their faction. But the new character selection will offer a new functionality to switch factions. There will be a transition of a few weeks where we want to push the faction balance after the merges. Due to the new situation, balancing steps can be done much more efficiently.
Q: “Are there any safety measures against abusing the faction switch mechanic?”
A: Of course this feature will have certain restrictions. First of all, not everyone will be allowed to switch. Second, there will be a cool down of approx. 30 days to use this option again. Last but not least, a small fee will be required to proceed.
(Temporary variation during the transition period is possible.)
Q: “Will Kobol characters also be merged? Where do you plan to locate them?”
A: Originally Kobol was intended to be a test server only. Due to permanent accessibility, Kobol turned into a normal server for some players. We also decided to include them into the merging process. As the Kobol server is located in Europe, the characters will move on the EU server.
Q: “I have the same name on multiple characters – how do you deal with them on the new server?”
A: Several features, especially the social ones like chat and friend list will require unique user names, simply to know whom to contact. Based on that, small adjustments, e.g. a server prefix will be necessary for the merging process. The same also counts for wing names.
Q: “I’m not satisfied with my (new) character name – will there be a chance to change them?”
A: Yes, the next addition to the character selection will be permanent functionality to change player names. It will have similar limitations like the faction switch to avoid abuse.
Q: “What happens to my wing?”
A: We want to keep all social connections as they are before the merge, so we’ll try to keep everyone in their wing. The wing name may change slightly. A renaming function for wings won’t be offered initially, but probably along with the wing adjustments later this year (more info within “The Plan” topic)
Q: “I’ve heard you’ll reset arena scores/ranking?”
A: No, we don’t plan a reset. Players should keep their achieved stats. You won’t lose your score, but probably your current rank as more competitors will be merged into the board.
Q: “Will we see new sectors/changes to sectors and the map?”
A: We’re currently investigating the feasibility of several adjustments to make the transition as seamless as possible. This includes sector alignment and size, new assets, resource distribution, and player limits.
Q: “Can the new server handle the server mass?” A: Yes, it definitely will. The new servers’ capacity is much higher than the current one. We have been testing different hardware configurations for several months with heavy load stress tests to ensure that they will handle the current user count as well as enough space for further expansions.
“The Cylons were created by man. They evolved. They rebelled. There are many copies. And they have a plan."
It’s not the first time a BSGO Team is talking about something like a plan and often those plans were radically switched or spun into a different direction. And sometimes plans have to be adjusted to react to current situations in the game and community or the company and games industry. So it’s tough to talk about long term plans especially in combination with planned release dates. We won’t guarantee fixed release dates and will probably adjust some of the plans for this year. But we we’d like to have a more open dialog with you about our plans, in order to include you into the design process of the updates to come.
Let’s start with the key goals per quarter:
- Q1-2: Improving the overall appearance of the game including major balancing changes/fixes
- Q2: Social connections and dynamic assignments
- Q3: Dynamic mission system and events
- Q4: Progression and skill system
Each bullet point can also be broken up into several smaller or bigger features and, unfortunately, this list will raise new questions. To give you at least an idea of what we have planned in the coming weeks, here are some further details.
Q1 will mainly focus on the overall look and feel to increase the efficiency for the marketing department. There are a couple of obvious things we would like to tackle within the next weeks. On one hand, it’s about key visuals like “Caprica Six” as one of the biggest representatives of the series as well as a consistent UI. The chat, as the main communication tool, will be one of the bigger topics - going on with an extended friend list feature and the evaluation of an in-game mailing system, heading into an expanded wing feature for the 2nd quarter.
On the other hand, there are heavy balancing issues to tackle – which I can sum up as: population balance, faction balance and ship balance. This also includes the sector and resource distribution.
The last bigger feature that we’ll be working on until the end of Q2 will be the dynamic assignment system, which will allow us to head away from having the same quests day after day.
Further details will follow on a regular basis. Feel free to join the feedback and discussion threads within your language boards.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog update and I look forward chatting again with you soon. Thanks for your patience and continued support for BSGO,