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Drakin

Erin Roberts on Single Shard vs Regional Shards

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Hey guys, in response to a question asked by BoredGamer during an interview, Erin Roberts finally had a chance to answer the question I've had for a long time regarding whether we really will have a single shard for the entire world, or if there will be regional shards. In short, he recognizes that latency between regions can't just be wished away (there's that pesky speed of light that would have to be overcome), and it sounds like his vision at this point is that there will always be regional shards.

 

In other words, if you want to competitively be involved in PVP FPS or dogfighting then you're going to have to play on the shard for your region. If you don't care about being competitive, or aren't interested in FPS or dogfighting, then you will be able to play on the other regional shards if you choose to do so (does that mean you'd have a copy of all of your ships in each shard or what???).

 

I think this has HUGE implications for international orgs such as ours. Basically this means that when the game goes live, I'll be playing on the US shard while many of those here will be playing on the EU shard. To a large extent those of us in different regions won't actually be interacting with each other in game.

 

Presumably this means we'd have to have separate leadership for the separate regional shards with some sort of coordination between each shard... but for me that sort of raises the question of why not just have separate orgs in the first place? What are the pros and cons? I'll have to noodle this over.

 

Here's a link to the relevant part of the interview (19 min 6 sec in):

 

 

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Out of our three divisions, we only have one that exclusively needs to be all in the same place for an operation from the supplied information. Both Industry & Exploration can run perfectly well in different places with a unified command structure from what you have implied. While there would be a degree of crossover I dont think its insurmountable. I think there is a necessity to actually have an international Org. This game doesnt stop when you Log. Having coverage through all time zones is a distinct advantage. It just means we will need to hone our communication skills and make sure the structure works properly. Personally I feel the differences are what make us work well. We all bring something to the table and the variations complement, not detract.

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we already have regional admirals for exactly this occasion we have anticipated this kind of setup years back and will have regional or we called it timezone  leadership structure with duty officers that will relay info from the shift before and alert the next shift so to speak about any events that occurred in the last timezone. for example i am australian timezone admiral MG is American and Groth was European timezone admiral. ;) we will be able to coordinate our armada between the 3 main time-zones and regions :-)

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4 hours ago, solarfire said:

we already have regional admirals for exactly this occasion we have anticipated this kind of setup years back and will have regional or we called it timezone  leadership structure with duty officers that will relay info from the shift before and alert the next shift so to speak about any events that occurred in the last timezone. for example i am australian timezone admiral MG is American and Groth was European timezone admiral. ;) we will be able to coordinate our armada between the 3 main time-zones and regions :-)

 

Sorry Solar, but that actually doesn't address what I'm talking about a all.

 

If there are separate shards for each region then presumably the shards would have little to nothing to do with each other. Each shard would be its completely separate own entity, and your personal and org process in one shard would have little to nothing to do with your personal and org process in another shard. Maybe your reputation might translate over or something, but I think that's about it. But if an org takes over a base on a planet it doesn't make sense that the same org then takes over the same base on the  other shards (I'm not going to explain why since I think it is obvious).

 

So timezone leadership really has nothing to do with this at all. It would need to be separate shard leadership to deal with completely different strategic situations that the org would find itself in between the various region shards.

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You bring up very good points Drakin.  I have no idea how this will play out in the end because everything is in a state of change right now.  Is it possible we won't get to choose who and where we play?  Maybe "international" orgs won't be viable.  Is anything for sure yet?  We are in wait and see mode.

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Solar and I chatted about this on TS last night. If we assume they end up having to go with regional shards instead of a single shard, the question becomes what kind of connections or mirroring exists between the different region shards.

 

On one end of the spectrum you have zero connection, and they are completely distinct shards. This would piss off a bunch of people who had previously been sold on the idea that there will be "one big universe" that everyone is playing in.

 

However, at the other end of the spectrum you have shards that are actually synced together so that actions you take in one shard impact all the other shards. In this case, even though you wouldn't be able to actually see the other players on the other region shards you'd still be able to impact the same universe they are in. The problem with this is that you are then having the universe around you being impacted by people you can't see. You could build an outpost on a moon and sit there guarding it 24 hours a day, and then suddenly it blows up because someone on another shard sent 50 missiles at it. Obviously this would piss off people too.

 

Maybe there's a middle ground where your personal and org reputation is synced, but physical objects are not.

 

In any case it is not at all an ideal situation.

 

One thing that I think might be important to consider, however, is that this is a FAR bigger problem for a place like Australia (sorry Solar!) than it is for the rest of the world. Here's why:

 

Speed of light    299.79    km/ms
NY/Sydney distance    15,979.00    km
NY/Sydney time    53.30    ms
NY/London distance    5,567.00    km
NY/London time    18.57    ms
NY/Lima distance    5,871.00    km
NY/Lima time    19.58    ms
London/Sydney distance    16,983    km
London/Sydney time    56.65    ms

 

As you can see, the time it takes for light to travel one way between the US and Europe is actually not that huge, about 19ms. Obviously you have the additional time added by routers and such, but if AWS can provide service that is anywhere near the theoretical minimum then it is possible that someone in the UK could play competitively on a US server and vice versa.

 

However, the minimum time for light to travel between Australia and either the US or London is over 50ms. You add in the router delays and you're talking about some serious lag. Without CIG effectively slowing the game down in some way to make it fair, there's simply no way players in Australia will be able to competitively play on US or EU servers.

 

Anyway, yea, it is all up in the air. Erin said they're still planning to TRY to have a single shard for the whole world, even though he also seemed to concede that it very well may not be possible.

 

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I agree - we need to know more about how shards will communicate, and there are tons of possible versions ... but meanwhile not much we could do (the only thing I am sure about is - missiles will be always competitive .. in case missile boat lock some fighter and  drop 10 size 3 missiles on it .. this fighter isn't going very far :)

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