Black Desert players overload servers in mass protest over ongoing connection problems

    
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Back in March, Kakao issued a round of compensation for Black Desert players in North America affected by service interruptions in what the company characterized as “issues with [its] carrier.” Lesser compensatory rewards went out to EU players. End of problem, right?

Not so much. Lag problems have persisted, and EU players in particular are upset as the server issues have affected major guild wars and castle sieges in the past few months, including a much-hyped and publicized event on March 24th that ended in disaster as the server crapped out live on stream.

And this past weekend, at least two dozen guilds staged a protest on the EU server, initiating a Valencia siege with a reported 300 to 1400 people (claims vary) that caused disconnections for the majority of players involved.

“EU Servers will die today,” one memer posted.

While some guilds are simply quitting the title in anger, others are demanding specific things from Kakao, including a new server host, separate channels for siege and node wars, non-participants perma-booted from related channels, better optimization, limit to guild forts, and a “serious effort” to improve siege content.

Source: Reddit. Thank you, Craig!
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Arktouros

As the MOP resident BDO expert let me explain the scenario.

There’s 5 different regions for siege battles each week, 3 of which are castle regions. One castle region is not ideal because there’s a tax cart that when attacked lowers the money you get. This leaves 2 castles as the ideal regions to own. So usually the most powerful guilds on a server try to take and own those two regions.

In order to facilitate this these guilds acquire allies. They do this by dropping their guild during the week, joining a second guild, and then using their high end geared players to crush competition and give the node to their allies. Then during the siege those allies place on their ally region and then help defend. This “game of guilds” just escalates and 2 allies becomes 4 allies becomes 7 allies etc until you end up with a battle with half the siege capable guilds in a battle.

BDO as a game has faced constant server issues since it’s release in NA/EU. It’s immensely more popular than in KR and realistically the game was never designed for the amount of players who play it and Kakao/PA has admitted this. This is coupled with the fact they have what is viewed as an extremely poor hosting solution in LeaseWeb that has caused nothing but headaches for the game.

When we combine all these factors together what you get is roughly 50% of the siege capable guilds placing in 1 region each week in a game not designed from the start to handle those kinds of numbers hosted on just terrible servers. However even moving hosting companies isn’t going to fix the issue if the underlying game was never meant to handle 600+ people placing on a single region and going at it. The real meme is these people who want to pile that many people into a region then expect everything to work like fairy magic.

The best solution, IMO, is limit it so you can only place on the Siege Region if you own a T3 region for said region. So for example there’s 5 Tier 3 nodes in Valencia. This means there’s at maximum a 6 guilds at the region that week (owner + five). This will bottle neck people out of the regions and spread them out. When the same thing happens on T3, move T3 battles to later in the week (Weds/Thurs/Fri) while T1/T2 is rest of week and force owning a T1/2 to get a T3. If players are incapable of controlling their propensity to form anti-competitive alliances then enable game mechanics to steer them towards that outcome.

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Sally Bowls

Thank you for the insight!

Most every game’s marketing materials talk about “massive.” But it is rare when they can pull it off. (EVE post time dilation and hopefully the custom-engine-explictly-designed-for-it CU can do it.) Or maybe it is just that games which are not dying, regardless of capacity, keep overloading things until they break.

But your idea that there needs to be some design changes to not incent everyone to concentrate seems very reasonable.

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Arktouros

Well the core of the issue always comes back to the players.

Every major game I’ve seen with a competitive element there’s always groups who want to create these massive anti-competitive alliances. I remember how these guys in GW2 literally created an alliance of multiple thousands of players with around the clock coverage and then complained there was no one to compete against and they had troubles getting in and fighting due to player caps. It’s like…well duh.

But no one wants to take responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault. It’s the other Alliance’s fault for having 5 allies so they had to go get 7 allies or it’s the company servers for not being able to handle some absolutely absurd scenario where 17 of the maybe 25 siege capable guilds all place on one region and then wonder why nothing works.

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Schmidt.Capela

Every major game I’ve seen with a competitive element there’s always groups who want to create these massive anti-competitive alliances.

Every time players put more importance on winning than on having fun in a game where bringing more warm bodies gives an advantage this will happen. The dev needs to either take this kind of behavior into account or remove the incentives for being in the winning faction (by, say, making the rewards tied to participation or to the individual player performance).

This manifests in other ways, mind. For example, when Blizzard tried to get more people playing Tol Barad by making the rewards for winning as the attacker higher than for winning as the defense, players figured that it would be more profitable to lose once as the defense and win once as the attackers than to win twice as the defense, so they started to throw the fight whenever they were the defenders.

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Sally Bowls

Re “massive anti-competitive alliances” – that is one of the things I liked about EVE is that these obvious things are expected; arguably encouraged. And that your Alliance really needs to take 24×7 coverage into account. If you want fair, you play a game (e.g. eSport) not a MMO. The reason for non-instanced open-world PVP instead of esports or even battlegrounds/arenas is people want unfair.

If the slots are limited, then there will be vicious judging as people check out raider.io to make sure everyone in the group is 1337. Since about half of your customers are below average, this does not end well. If adding a scrub makes the 1001 person group stronger, then the devs have designed in an inevitable bias for larger groups. You don’t make a competitive gave to attract competitive people and then expect them not to compete, especially in something as simple as get more warm bodies. IMO, that would seem obvious to players and devs even before the game launches.

One of my favorite EVE quotes is “if you are in a fair fight, somebody miscalculated”

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Schmidt.Capela

That is true not just for EVE, but also for most kinds of (potentially) violent engagements in the real world: criminals choosing their targets, police going after criminals, armies in skirmishes, etc. Victory or defeat is often defined before the engagement even begins, based on who had the best planning and intelligence gathering.

I find it utterly boring, though, which is why I will only play PvP when the chances are even.

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Arktouros

To which, again, that’s my entire point. While such tactics (ending a fight before there is a fight) are often times advantageous in real scenarios, such as actual violent conflict, they make for a terrible game experience where conflict is the purpose in playing.

Players are so obsessed with “winning” that they’re willing to ruin any level of competition, arguably the entertaining and fun part of the game, in the process of doing so. Predictably they then blame everyone but themselves despite the fact they are the source of their own misery.

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Arktouros

There’s a big difference between “fair” and “anti-competitive.”

For example establishing an alliance to create a 2v1 that leads to a disastrous battle for the 1 is not fair, but it still has a competitive element. The issue arises when the 2v1 ask themselves why 2v1 when they could, say, 3v1 instead? Why not 7v1 and eliminate any potential future competition entirely because the only people who could oppose the 7 are already part of the 7?

At that point you’ve won without fighting a war. Now we could go on about Art and War and how such an idea may be ideal or even noble except the fact of the matter is it makes for a terrible competitive game.

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Sally Bowls

I agree with that; but the “the fact of the matter is it makes for a terrible competitive game.” seems like an inevitable outcome. I can’t see how the devs or the players would expect a different outcome. If “designing X causes player behavior Y” and you don’t want Y, then it seems to me to don’t do X rather than doing X and complaining when Y happens. Is anyone arguing that the devs or players did not expect this to happen?

And does the number of groups in the alliance matter? If Guild17 starts to win more, then the people who monitor that sort of thing, who are certainly the most competitive and probably have better combat skills that the “lols I play for fun” crowd, will join guild17 if they can’t align.

I maintain it is a wonderful and sophisticated game … for a couple of dozen guild leaders vying to see who has the best middle-management skills to build and maintain a dominant organization. The problem is that combat, combat skill, and the 99% aren’t particularly relevant in this contest. Inexplicably, they thought it was a game for Achilles and it is actually a game for a few Machiavellis.

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Arktouros

Is anyone arguing that the devs or players did not expect this to happen?

Of course. The players are arguing that because they can pile 16+ guilds into a region then the servers should support a 16+ battle. Because it’s not their fault they’re trying to fit 70% of the siege capable guilds into a single server, it’s clearly the publishers fault for not having servers that can handle a 600+ person battle and the developer’s fault for not having the game optimized for it. It is, again of course, never the player’s fault for piling into one region!

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Yaner

Kakao response:
“Here, we’ll add more stuff to the pearl store. Please buy them and support the game! We’ll fix it with all that money, we promise! <3"

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Mattaui

Whatever’s been going on, I’ve been unable to stay connected to the game for more than a few minutes for the last few weeks. No other issues of any kind with any other games or services.

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Necromonger

Be it the massive lag or the horrible popins of the engine.

Daum / Kakoa ? doesnt give a fuck and just keeps milking…and milking…..unless people quit en masse.

Like Archeage this could have been a great succes in the west, but again the developers do a zero fucks given….

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Arktouros

Relatively speaking to ArcheAge the game is actually quite the success. The issue here is there’s too many people placing in one region meaning there’s too many people. That’s not a problem unsuccessful games like ArcheAge has where the world feels pretty empty (or did).

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squid

Lag has been an issue since launch. It’ll never be fixed.

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yoh_sl

This was one of the reasons I dropped the game hours after getting it.
Between the horribly cluttered UI, and the dog shit performance and frequent disconnects, I figured it just wasn’t worth my time.

Sufo
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Sufo

I dropped the game on release due to that as well. Gave it a try recently and they improved the UI and performance quite a bit with a patch earlier this year. Runs a ton better albeit not perfect still by any means. Very playable now though with the cleaned up UI on top of that.

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yoh_sl

Well I didn’t buy it on release, was busy at the time.
Bought it a number of months ago because it was on sale, gave it a decent shot but it just ran like garbage. And no, it wasn’t my computer.
Just constant disconnects, and a generally terrible/cluttered UI.

I mean I can deal with the UI, there are options to remove all the crap, but I can’t do anything about their servers being utter rubbish.

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NeoWolf

Although I support the notion of letting a company know when they are messing something up in a definitive and collective way.. the notion of complaining about performance and stability issues by ensuring you cause them and thus prevent everyone from playing seems a little..counter productive to me lol

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Vunak

Kakao hasn’t really given the community any other option.

They acknowledge there are issues but refuse to fix them and blame everything but themselves for the issues when everyone knows it’s Kakao’s provider Leasewebs a company notorious for terrible server performance.

If the servers are lagged out so bad that players cant connect or play it means they are losing money from cash shop purchases.

These unstable server, lag, desync etc has been going on since the game came out. So without shoving it down Kakao’s throat and/or causing them to lose money nothing will change.

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NeoWolf

As I say I do not disagre with the reason only the method. There is ALWAYS another option, you really cannot fix an issue by being part of the issue.
The only thing achieved by this was making the play experience worse for all involved not better. Not to mention all involved left themselves exposed by breaching the ToC/CoC by bringing the server down and affecting service, so effectively they could all be banned.

A better solution for a community apparently so collectively in agreeance on the issue would have been to post a direct complaint to the official forums and/or (preferably and) to Kakao stating the issue and that unless it is fixed all concerned would be boycotting the game, and then stop playing. You then send the link to the forum post and/or email to ALL gaming media outlets in order to bring light to the issue and the action.
In that way you are damaging in the only two ways that matter to these companies thier pocket and their reputation and put them in a corner whereby they either have to do something or they are seen by all as not giving a damn publicly in which case good luck to them ever selling another game to anyone.

Its situations like these that make me think Gamers should unionise lol I mean really who looks out for our best interests against any of these companies? The only real effective method any of us have of making them listen is in numbers and by stopping service. Organised boycotts are not soemthing any of them can afford to ignore and the most effective way of use getting our point heard. I mean all these companies have community managers but in my experience that name is a total misnomer they don’t really represent or illuminate player issues or look out for us they are always covering for companies and covering thier own backsides because thier job means more to them than the point of thier job, which is representing us and our issue to the company.

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Vunak

The only time they ever responded and “tried” to make things better was when Lacari was streaming a siege and there were around 10k people watching as he lagged, crashed and couldn’t connect.

It is the only thing they have responded to.

Boycotting never really works in an online game like BDO because you can’t get enough people to participate to stand out. There has been multiple petitions and 100 page forum posts about server issues and lag and none of them have caused action.

Also it wasn’t malicious at all. The way it happened is multiple guild placed on Valencia to go for the castle. They knew it would lag the servers but they were also all fighting over the castle, something the game allows. It also only affected the Valencia 1 channel, so people on other channels could go about there merry way however they wanted. They also kicked all non siege participants from the channel so the only people that were affected by the lag were the siege participants.

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NeoWolf

If they had enough people to crash a server they had enough people to make a boycott work and if they didn’t then the issue can’t be that bad for everyone or everyone would have been motivated to fix it or be off playing something else.

The reason your 100 page forum petition didn'[t work before is ebcause all those people were still playing..so where was the motivation for the company to sit up and take notice? That is where the boycott comes in.

Either way a community united is as I say the one way you can ensure you will get noticed because they cannot ignore numbers, individuals certainly..numbers..not at all. A large groups of people will hurt thier bottom line.

Either way Kakao is clearly not doing themselves any favors, eventually people will just go play elsewhere.

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Arktouros

I honestly know a lot of people the second a viable alternative comes out they’re going to bail on this game hard. The issue is there’s just very little out there for the competitive MMO player currently. You can play smaller scale games (PUBG, SOT, etc) but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If Kakao hasn’t fixed this issue by July or so I can see a lot of people bailing to check out Camelot Unchained beta or whenever Crowfall gets around to soft launching.

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NeoWolf

Yeah that wouldn’t surprise me and who would blame them.
Bless may be something worth considering for them too by all accounts.

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Sally Bowls

1) IMO, a lot of the things in “others are demanding specific things” seem to be for the dev not the publisher.

2) As to the publisher, Kakao (nee’ Daum) was a mobile publisher. I am not familiar with the KR market, but the only two PC games I read about them publishing are BDO and PUBG (with PUBG’s sibling A:IR in the future) It seems to me that a CEO deciding on financial resources might allocate considerably more resources to the newer, larger and more famous PUBG rather than the ongoing BDO.

3) Kakao is trying to bundle up Kakao games as a separate company and spin it out as they have done with other subsidiaries. http://massivelyop.com/2018/02/15/black-deserts-kakao-games-enjoys-131-6-million-in-investment/ It is not unheard of for companies to be cautious about expenses and profit margins as they are putting the final lipstick on their IPO pig.

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Koshelkin

It’s a bit sad to see how Pearl Abyss waste all the potential of this game. After years Castle Sieges and Node Wars are still the only endgame-content worth going and working for(if you’re not like an hardcore crafter/lifeskiller) and that is plagued(since a long time) by the shoddy server-performance. It’s actually that bad that the server even affects small-group and solo play. The focus in the design seems to sell more classes, their outfits and progress items just to let players hit a wall at the end were all their precious gear is effectively worthless except for these 2 exceptions(nodes/castles) which come with their own host of problems.

All in all neither the PvE, PvP nor Crafting/Economy are going anywhere because PA fails to innovate and expand those bits in a meaningful manner.

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Tom R

Yeah I agree – it’s an amazing farming MMO which seems crazy to accomplish with action combat but with just a little more effort and inspiration they could have easily created more of an end game.

I love a lot of things it does but it starts and stops at “kill a lot of these things” for the general gameplay. Seems like they could do so much more, not turn it into WoW, but there’s a lot of low hanging fruit they seem to just ignore.

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Darthbawl

Link to the stream where the server crapped the bed live? I’m curious. :P

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Sally Bowls

I bet it is very NSFW!

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Vorender

People who play BDO enjoy abuse from developers. They play for the drama, not the game itself. Same goes with ArcheAge.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

I feel like it’s been awhile since we’ve gotten some archeage drama, which means we are probably overdue

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Schmidt.Capela

Like world PvP, MMO drama typically requires a certain critical mass of players in order to spark. I’m not sure Archeage still has that critical mass.

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Tandor

I imagine that’s why we haven’t heard anything about Wildstar for a long time.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

There was an article about Wildstar yesterday and how they were compensating players for downtime in March (http://massivelyop.com/2018/04/01/wildstar-compensates-players-for-march-downtime/)

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Greaterdivinity

WildStar also hasn’t seen any kind of update in a long time, so there’s really not too much to cover : /

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Arktouros

Fresh start is just around the corner.

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Hanthos Taal

Nothing is as bad as ArcheAge.