Destiny 2: ‘The life of a cheater will be nasty, brutish, and short’

Bungie’s weekly dev blog is still riding high off the big Destiny 2 reveal, but that doesn’t mean the text doesn’t share anything in new. In fact, we learn just what the team meant when it said the game won’t make use of “dedicated servers.”

Destiny 2 uses a hybrid of client-server and peer-to-peer technology, just like Destiny 1,” Engineering Lead Matt Segur explains. “The server is authoritative over how the game progresses, and each player is authoritative over their own movement and abilities. This allows us to give players the feeling of immediacy in all their moving and shooting – no matter where they live and no matter whom they choose to play with.”

The decision isn’t about money, Bungie says, as it’s “invested heavily in new server infrastructure” and cloud servers already. “We really believe this is the best model for all of Destiny 2’s varied cooperative and competitive experiences,” Segur says.

Preventing cheating on the PC version of the game is also a priority for the studio.

“The PC platform poses unique security challenges for Destiny 2, but our security Ninjas have spent several years building a plan for how to engage with this new and vibrant community. We have a variety of top-secret strategies to ensure that the life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short. And, regardless of what platform you play on, all changes to your persistent character are communicated directly to our secure data center with no peer-to-peer interference.”

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49 Comments on "Destiny 2: ‘The life of a cheater will be nasty, brutish, and short’"

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ceder
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ceder

I dunno. Usually the louder a studio professes how they are going to eradicate cheaters, it just in reality becomes the polar opposite.

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RJB

Ask For Honor how Peer to peer worked for them no thx i’ll pass long as peer too peer is a thing on pc

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Jack Kerras

None of Destiny 2’s instance servers (including Crucible games, custom matches, open-world areas, Strikes, and raids) is hosted by players.

Also, For Honor uses experimental technology that essentially no one else has used. There’re some fascinating write-ups on it if you’re interested, but since you see ‘P2P’ and instantly check out, maybe you’re not? :)

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silverlock

This might be a bit off topic but why is Destiny’s symbol a fidget spinner?

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NeoWolf

Even as someone who PVP’s VERY rarely, during my years with Destiny I still saw PLENTY of cheaters, people teleporting, people taking practically no damage despite being shot lots while seemingly able to one shot everyone, people whose supers just miraculously ALWAYS seem to be charged etc.. so I certainly hope they HAVE set the bar higher than their first game in terms of quality control otherwise it would just be same old, same old.

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LusitanGaming .

This is normal dev talk, but when it really matters it will be a hackers feast on PC.
Its 2017, and still they go with peer-to-peer, cutting corners as normal, lets hope the PvE experience is good this time around.

And they have the audacity of telling people they delaying the PC port to improve the PC users experience with stuff they really care about. Please stfu and go back to sleep.

REALLY, when was the last time the PC community was so keen on P2P servers.

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Jack Kerras

All world/instance servers are dedicated.

I’ve written this up half a dozen times already. There are some locally-calculated maths done, but for the most part, every server is a cloud appliance, NOT a listen server run by a player’s PC/PS4/XBox.

I think they’re avoiding ‘dedicated’ because people instantly take that to mean you will be able to run your own. You won’t! But they’re all running on central servers, NOT being hosted on users’ machines, so things like NAT issues, host advantage, migration during disconnections, connection failures during migration, etc. will all be a thing of the past.

Further, it’s unfair to call P2P ‘cutting corners’. YOU try to get a boardroom full of people who only want money to sign off on a $5m line item for all-new servers and cloud machines, a facility to host them in, and full-time staff to keep them brushed up 24/7. They won’t do it unless you can prove without a shadow of a doubt that ‘just let them host it themselves, everyone else does’ is $5m+ worth of users you will otherwise lose. If P2P didn’t exist, then statistically speaking, no multiplayer game could run for more than a year or so.

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MesaSage

They forgot “dull”. Hobbes said “Nasty, Dull, Brutish and Short.” The Internet perpetuates misquotes.

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Necromonger

Dedicated servers will always be superior to P2P……

Better pings and software to detect lag abusers and cheaters / exploiters.

I will wait for the real revieuwers to cast their verdict, not the payed ones and fanboys mind you.

I bet it will be a disaster just like The Devision with promising the heavens and playing a cheat infested game with zero chanse to have fun due to the massive abuse of cheats.

Mark my words this is going to be again a crap decision that will ruin the whole online expirience.
Dont preorder or be that fool that throws money at their screen before this whole game gets chopped into pieces by tubers who do real research and says the truth.

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Jack Kerras

It’s a good thing that all of Destiny 2’s game servers are dedicated, then!

They say ‘hybrid P2P’ because they somehow don’t realize that mentioning P2P in any way is basically fucking PR poison. The bought huge piles of new cloud hosts and are planning on running their servers similarly to the way Halo 5 does; request a game, a cloud appliance to run your game spins up, plays, feeds info to the progression servers, spins back down.

Everyone connects as a client. No player is hosting. There are some client-side calculations, because there have to be, or else everything feels like Shitty McTrashGarbage all the time, and in a game like Destiny it’s basically not acceptable to scale back the tickrate to give the server more time to do math about whose corpse tumbles how, and whether or not someone made a jump they attempted.

Clientside calculations always have some danger of misuse, but this is no different from most other games, as avatar movement/abilities/etc. is almost -always- calculated on the client, then vetted periodically by the server to be sure no one is breaking the rules, rather than being calculated fully on the server.

So: It IS dedicated. They just don’t want to use that word, ‘cuz then people will be mad they can’t host their own. All in-house, all the time, even for custom games.

Also: The Division had zero chance of being fun because the power gap was so wildly fucking crazy, and because BiS gear could mow you down in .5sec while a standard gear loadout firing -at- someone in BiS gear literally didn’t even move their healthbar. Their issue was and has always been balance; there are some cheaters, but I’ve seen a handful in my 350 hours played. The problem is that people who min/max like crazy are monolithically overpowered compared to folks who just arrived at level 30.

It actually got -sort of- better when they normalized stats in Last Stand, but unfortunately the ‘this weapon is great’ ‘every other weapon is garbage’ situation stuck around; there’s still a huge power gap, even when stats are essentially the same.

They put in too much RPG for it to be a fun shooter.

miol
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miol

Side thought: Funny, in the forums of SpatialOS, on the other hand, cheating is never addressed directly once! But it seems even physics are handled by servers… Will a “Pandora’s box” just open when it’s too late? Will every single game built on SpatialOS be vulnerable at the same time, once an exploit has been found out? Oh, boy! o.O

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Jack Kerras

Whuff. I play Worlds Adrift pretty often, and early on in alpha, the physics were just punishingly bad. We’re talking six, eight, ten second delays for every action, from turning ships to chopping wood.

It’s much better now, but when the chips are down, when big islands are in play, etc., the physics still fall -well- behind what I would call ‘playable’. It’s not impossible, but doing it in any kind of competitive FPS is such a bad idea.

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draugris

Idk why developers even 2017 are implementing this p2p crap. You have to deal with so many issues connectivity wise and that always makes cheating very easy regardless of their “masterplan” they claim to have. For Honor anyone ?!

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Jack Kerras

Firstly: love the Saltzpyre, dude’s a badass, I watched one poke a Rat Ogre to death not half an hour ago.

Secondly: I am a huge networking nerd. Prepare yourself.

None of the game/world servers are actually P2P. They’re shy of using the word ‘dedicated’ because everyone on the fucking Internet will draw incorrect conclusions if they do, but they -are- essentially using a dedicated architecture for all world servers, with local physics (because server-based physics for games as movement-heavy as Destiny are the fucking worst) being vetted by the server for veracity on occasion rather than run on every tick.

Destiny’s servers are currently full-on P2P; one of the players in a game is a listen server, hosting the game logic and everything else, while all the others are connecting as clients. Even when connecting to a larger world (like a zone in the Cosmodrome, for example), the world server chooses a console which then hosts physics interactions for everyone in the zone. That’s why sometimes corpses look normal and sometimes they look janky, with no apparent change on your end. There isn’t one. Someone on a shit connection just got handed the physics keys.

In Destiny 2, every player will be connecting as a client to a centralized server architecture. They’ve spoken of this in a similar vein to what Halo 5’s developers do, that is, having a pile of hosts to run short-term servers (like Crucible games and Strikes) as short-lived cloud appliances which communicate directly with the main character/inventory server, with major world servers being either larger instances of a similar appliance or actual full-on servers in and of themselves, capable of running X number of instances at a given time. I work in cloud hosting, this is basically the definitive use case for video games.

So: there is no P2P as you would have recognized it previously. It -is- still a hybrid system, as the server depends on each local PC/console for physics information and other essential calculations.

So: just because they say ‘not dedicated’ doesn’t mean P2P in the usual sense of the word. This cloud-hosts situation actually makes scaling and load balancing much easier during times of strain, and it has the added bonus of effectively ignoring poor network address translation (the dreaded-yet-ubiquitous NAT issue) because of the way the short-lived-but-still-technically-dedicated server infrastructure will handle handshaking and authentication from the matchmaking server.

Also: people in 2017 do P2P because they don’t want to have to turn their servers off in two months if their crowds aren’t big enough for the publisher’s liking. If you want to buy $50k computers by the dozen instead of just letting the players’ consoles handle it, you’d better be Goddamn certain that you are going to make that couple hundred grand back toot motherfucking sweet.

Fortunately, Destiny made a fucking airplane full of money, so now they’ve proven to their investors that they’re worthy of the outlay, and they have the clout, therefore, to do something like add a $5m line item that says ‘buy all our own shit’ instead of just using folks’ consoles/PCs to do the hosting… which ANY board of directors would vote down. $5m for servers? Just let the XBoxes handle everything, and we’ll all give ourselves $350k bonuses!

…that is a real thing that happens, and it has nothing to do with the developers.

People bitch a whole lot about P2P, and it’s largely because they don’t get that their love is someone else’s business. Further, almost no one actually fucking knows what they’re talking about.

TL;DR: Destiny 2 is not really P2P. It’s not even kinda-P2P like For Honor.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

Great write-up Jack, thanks!

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

And, ooooo, sidenote, I have forum badges now! :-D

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bobfish

The issue is them given authority to the client for all of the player’s actions. Without server validation on movement, aim/hit, and vision, you’re essentially opening yourself up to every form of cheat known to the gaming world.

It’s basically like Counter Strike, and anyone who claims that doesn’t have cheating problems is delusional.

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Jack Kerras

This isn’t actually an issue; it’d be an issue if it were otherwise.

I don’t know how much you’ve played FPS games in which the server is authoritative in all things, but it feels -pretty fucking bad- overall. I can’t remember a big pile of games that did it this way; I seem to remember that Unreal 2: XMP tried it this way, and it was -way- off despite being an interesting gametype.

Also, not authoritative does not mean not validating; it’s relatively easy to have a server do a calculation every several ticks (once per second instead of thirty or sixty times per second), checking to be sure that no one is teleporting around or doing other Bad Things, and disconnecting them for desync and/or flagging their account with a cheat strike when it does.

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bobfish

I’ve only worked on MMOs, those with authoritive clients and those without. The second type was an uphill battle against cheaters.

Time will tell, and as you said, they made an insane amount of money, so they could always throw infinite resources at combating cheaters.

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Jack Kerras

Yup. It’s hard to balance that out properly, but with the right vetting it can be done.

Further, having known some of the folks who make BNet’s bans work, I believe that Destiny 2 is going to benefit -a lot- from the fact that Blizzard has a vested interest in maintaining the veracity of their platform. Even if it’s not a Blizz game, I’m hoping to see very solid responses to cheats and other bullshit.

Estranged
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Estranged

Bungie has been handling FPS networking for a long time (over a decade), I wouldn’t question their dedication or ability.

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Jack Kerras

I’m kinda pissed that 343 are the ones who really nailed network connectivity with Halo 5. :/ They dumped P2P connections altogether and went with an Azure-powered temporary-dedicated-server dealieo that just eliminated NAT completely… and let me tell you, having worked as a network guy for XBox Support, squampus NAT bullshit is one of the most widespread and misunderstood issues in Creation. :|

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Arktouros

Of all the gaming communities I’ve ever been apart of the two most biggest whiners/bitchiest groups of people are MMO players and FPS players. Combining the two, such as in Planetside, APB, etc, has always given way to some of the most just rotten communities. A lot of people just can’t accept some people are that good with FPS play and they just must be hacking. They can never “just” die it’s always because some unfair thing and they swear to God that guy 360 no scoped off a tower roof into a parachute which is impossible with human reflexes. Add in MMO game balance issues and it’s hacking with that OP gun. Should be interesting, if nothing else, to see how they handle it all.

Estranged
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Estranged

Right. Some people are just really amazing at these games. We often played Halo in the same house with 3-4 other people – the 8-9 year olds, those reflexes – just absurd. There was no way they were hacking.

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Arktouros

Yea, I watched a few streamers back when I did Planetside 2 and it really helped me. I used to really crank up the DPI cause I liked being able to move (turn) really fast and it helped with strategy games (map navigation) but it really hurt me in FPS games. Watching how some of these guys could just keep their DPI really low and control the mouse so the reticle just stays on point always impressed me. Eventually I went from a really crappy negative KDR up to a 2x-3x KDR as a result.

Estranged
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Estranged

Ark – yep, that is the secret. Have to do it on console as well.

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Jack Kerras

I ran an Internet cafe when I was younger, and the folks playing Halo there kinda ran the gamut. I used to win local tournaments in order to help keep my lights on (because running an Internet cafe in the US doesn’t fuckin’ work at -all-), and I did just about nothing but practice with customers, alongside cleaning and otherwise taking care of the place.

I got very, very good at one time, and now I’m basically dogshit; I was 20 then, I’m 32 now, but with a bit of time and effort on a given game, I get back to at least a shadow of my former glory. It’s doable! It just takes actual practice, as opposed to merely time in-game. :)

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Dystopiq

Cheaters on PC are no joke. I hope they’re ready

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drypulse

get ready to get shot around corners for days!!

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Jack Kerras

You mean that thing that also happens in games with excellent dedicated server support, because the amount of time taken to go from ‘visible and shootable’ to ‘invisible and in cover’ at a dead sprint really isn’t a period of time humans can understand or react to?

‘Oh, I was behind that corner!’ is well and good, but man, light only goes so fast. Until we’re jamming by fucking ansible, you are always gonna croak when you thought you were home free sometimes.

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Arktouros

how to engage with this new and vibrant community

View post on imgur.com

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flamethekid .

lol wtf this is terrible

Peer to peer is terrible in a massive multiple game

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Jack Kerras

I made a big post lower down than this, but in short, this kind of thinking is essentially wrong.

P2P instance servers are not a thing. All Crucible, Strike, Raid, and World servers will run on Bungie’s hardware.

It doesn’t make sense to calculate corpse flop on the servers, though, nor does it feel good to be steering a vehicle 250ms behind because each movement needs to be vetted and verified by a central server… so a lot of physics calc happens locally, but this is largely either A) impossible to calculate in a way that feels good on a server and therefore surrendered to client calc with occasional server vetting, or B) unimportant to gameplay, see: corpseflop, local particle physics, etc.

Peer to peer servers in the usual sense, wherein one player’s computer/XBox/Playstation acts as a listen server, has host advantage, requires a specific setup for open NAT, etc., is not happening here.

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Arktouros

PvX Lobby Shooter more like it.

Estranged
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Estranged

The game has never been or will be a lobby shooter.

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Jack Kerras

Don’t engage. The ‘it’s not REALLY an MMO’ conversation never ends and it never gets more worthy of time or attention. It’s been wall-to-wall contrarian claptrap for twenty solid years, no matter how technically correct certain points raised within said conversation are.

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Denice J. Cook

Cheaters will be punished my butt! It’s the same setup as Destiny 1, and Destiny 1 is overrun with cheaters and lag exploiters in every type of Crucible match. They have a connection meter for each player right in-game. You report them over and over and nothing happens.

I can’t even begin to imagine how bad things are going to get on PC.

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Jack Kerras

It is a demonstrably different setup from Destiny 1.

Further, the involvement of BNet in all this is relatively certain to help; there will -always- be cheaters, but the Battle.net folks are pretty good at keeping that shit to a dull roar; it’s not perfect, never will be, but with Destiny 2 not being F2P in any area (Overwatch et al. have some duuuumb rules in Korean cyber cafes), it’s likely that this will be at least somewhat harder to accomplish.

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Xijit

Yeah …

tenor.gif
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Utakata

My pigtails refer to it as the “baloney detector”, as I have one installed in each mentioned appendage. <3

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Grave Knight

:| Peer-to-peer…

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Jack Kerras

This has become a pretty major ‘PSH, THIS IS OBVIOUSLY TERRIBLE’ indicator for folks, but I can’t really see why.

The Destiny folks put up an excellent comparison re: the new system they have (in which personal physics are the only things your local box is authoritative over, rather than world physics calculation being moved around between players’ consoles within the same area of the world) versus the old system they had in Destiny 1.

If you have any interest in networking, it’s pretty fascinating, and it seems to take a lot of dumb shit out of folks’ hands. This is obviously even more crucial in PC environments than in console environments.

Further, knowing at least a few of the folks who develop and tune BNet’s banbots, it’s completely possible that this will, in fact, be actively better than the kind of red-barring bullshit you used to get in Destiny right at the end of a Trials run.

Really, P2P is not specifically a terrible thing; the way it’s used is of grave importance. The main issue I have with P2P personally (having been an XBox Connectivity Ranger a few years back) is the fact that handshaking becomes EXTREMELY difficult when stupid NAT bullshit is happening, IE the Arris TG862-G’s absolutely fucking trashtastic handling of same.

In a system like Destiny 2’s (which hosts game servers by spinning purpose-built cloud appliances up and down within a series of host machines, much like Halo 5’s), you completely eliminate NAT issues. This is already at textwall, so you can ask if you’re curious for a specific explanation on this if you’re interested.

Further, and read this if you read nothing else: game servers (Strike instances, Crucible servers, etc.) are ALL on Bungie’s end, with NO actual hosting duties given to players. No listen servers. ONLY dedicated game servers.

The only thing that your local box is responsible for is your own physics calculations, IE the game server does not tell corpses how to flop or your client whether you did or did not make your jump. These calculations are still checked by the server (so there’ll be no speedbots insisting that someone is running 150mph), but the server will essentially take the client’s word for it for a certain number of ticks, only calling for desync/cheat/ban/etc. if a certain degree of consistency is reached re:misbehavior.

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Grave Knight

Even the best developers in the world won’t make peer to peer work flawlessly. The problem isn’t who’s developing the game or the quality of their work, the problem is that it relies on your internet connection and the internet connection of others. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue if there is a large enough population for the game, but in certain areas peer to peer is a complete determent, and even worse if your playing with international friends. Someone in the United States playing with someone in Australia will have a worse experience than say someone in Germany playing with someone in Sweden.

Peer to peer is just kind of “blah” right now and probably be “blah” till we somehow have Google Fiber (or something as good) world wide.

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Jack Kerras

Ehn. It’s true that any developer can make a P2P system work nicely inside of a test environment, but there are definitely developers who do better work regarding optimization and dealing with poor connections than others; just making a few machines talk to each other is one thing, but making folks on iffy connections feel like they’re in a playable game is quite another. Some devs are great at that… some, not so much.

That’s partially due to game design, also; when you’ve got a lot of vectoring going on (IE momentum, etc.), then you can get away with spotty bits. Games with extremely precise movement are much more difficult to get -just right-, so there’s also some aspect of getting the right tool for the right job.

P2P certainly can be a detriment, but frankly, ain’t nothin’ gonna save you when it comes to playing with someone on the other side of the planet; even with a direct fiber connection, you’re still gonna get some gross network latency, not to mention general instability. Distance is a big factor… although when it comes to P2P, a German and a Swede playing together (in their home countries) are much better off on a pure P2P system than they would be if they were communicating with a central server in California, so it’s not -all- bad.

Both listen and dedicated servers have their place. To say that one is purely better than the other is plain wrong, since there’s always going to be a couple Aussies who want to play something and can either make their own games in Oz, or have to connect to a central server hub in California. That said, with a group of friends that have solid Internet connections and known-good hardware setups, it can be very easy to get a P2P connection going in the same neighborhood; NAT is always a trial (I answered phones for XBox Networking Support and that was 90% of my day), but with the proper skillset, it’s totally workable.

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Grave Knight

I’m not so certain about always having bad latency with distance. I’m on the West Coast, and back when I was playing Warframe (which also relies on a purely peer to peer system) some of my least laggy games (when not the host) was when I was connecting to a German player’s game (it also made me consider playing strictly on the EU server).

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Jack Kerras

Warframe doesn’t care that much about latency; it does a LOT of clientside stuff, since they don’t give a great big toss if folks cheat in a basically-all-PvE sort of experience. Plenty of botters and such there because it’s so easy to do, and so rarely punished.

Not being able to feel the latency is part of Warframe’s charm; things are either simple enough that you can just do your job with no real issue, or they’re such a colossal cluster-fuck that you basically can’t even tell something has gone wrong; it’s all roaring flames and dismembered arms and legs cartwheeling everywhere, with very little granular need-to-know. It would have felt MUCH worse to 1v1 Counter-Strike, which relies on stupid-precise movements and aiming, or play a game of Destiny at such a distance.

With better partners lies a better connection, but someone in Germany is over 100, more like 130-150 ping, -easy-. Warframe don’t give a fuck, by and large. In many other games, it would be much more tangible.

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Arktouros

Peer to Peer has traditionally been seen as poor depending on the system supporting it. For example games like Dragon Age Inqusition and Bioware’s version of Multiplayer in those style of games (also for Mass Effect) essentially reset entirely if the peer that is hosting is lost. So it’s pretty natural these days when people see things like Peer to Peer they kinda groan and think back to those kinds of experiences.

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Jack Kerras

I realize that, but it’s still indicative of a lack of engagement with the subject. Hearing P2P and instantly thinking ‘OH THAT SUCKS’ is just silly and knee-jerk, especially considering the fact that anything -other- than P2P is the exception and not the rule.

Still, saying ‘we use a hybrid system with P2P elements’ makes people think of that, and they stop reading right there instead of going on to read that there is, in fact, a dedicated architecture in play where actual game servers are concerned; relying purely on client-only calculation in a game like WoW makes sense, but relying on that in a game like Destiny would feel God-awful and sloshy; the fact that some of this is included is a GOOD thing, and basically everyone refuses to believe that P2P is a tool in a toolbox, not an actual coil of dogshit in a toolbox. :/

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thirtymil

This.

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