B294 repercussions over modded/large servers

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Apr
16

Please take note that this article doesn’t aim to foster any particular side of the current debate. It only provides some questioning and tries to lay down a quick and synthetical chronology of the recent events. 

 

If you’re active on UWE forums or Discord server, you might have fallen across some heated debate starring NS2Large servers community (namely Wooza’s community) and the other side consisting of anti-large servers players or those simply providing their opinion on one of the latest change that happened with Build 294.

Everything started with Build 294 (link of the changelog attached). One of the tweaks and improvements shows: “The “NS2” gamemode tag is now selected by default at the server browser instead of the “All” tab”. What does this mean? You know it, when you launch the game, one server distinguises itself from the server browser due to its higher amount of slots. Whenever this server is full, it shows at the top of your server browser and hides <24 slot servers. Rookies tend to join the first server they fall across. However, Unknown Worlds (UWE) has signified many times that modded servers but also large servers do not represent an accurate representation of the game and how it is intended to play (rookies get a pop up saying pretty much this when they first join such a server). To be perfectly honest, the game was conceived, according to the NS2 creator, to be played on a 6 vs. 6 format (also used for competitive games) but most public games do not take place on such small servers, quite the contrary. Right now, any server with >24 slots shows on the server browser as NS2Large. Wooza’s servers are not the only one concerned by this update but take note that those affected by this change does not necessarily disagree with the intent or even the change itself. Although TGNS is affected by this change, they do not share and support in any case Wooza’s complaints:

There’s an oversight in the ns2large designation wherein the server browser counts physical slots instead of the more relevant player slots. TGNS is 8v8, but our spec slots take us beyond 24 physical slots.” from Wyzcrak (TGNS admin)

However, modded servers are also concerned: The Faded, Last Stand, etc. They’re not ignored by this change, and unfortunately, the current modding scene of NS2 hasn’t been proudly active recently. By pushing away rookies from those servers (assuming they can’t filter servers by themselves by clicking on ALL in the menu), mods would tend to become the privilege of non rookies players.

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NS2Large and modded servers do not any longer show up on the server browser by default.

Then comes the issue, some large servers players have started protesting against this change that killed/kills/would kill their community for good. They believe that this tweak affects the former player traffic that allowed such servers to survive. As a complaint, Wooza’s servers got shut down temporarily. Comments and threads started to pop on both UWE Discord and forums. You can find the most scathing thread right here. Conspiracy was evoked. UWE does its best to ensure the death of large servers by attacking them slowly but surely. Apparently, UWE without officially pushing to death in one strike large servers would be time after time promoting updates that will, in the end, cause the shut down of those servers.

Until UWE’s reaction through BeigeAlert:

“Every single change we have made to the game since November has been with the express purpose of improving the new player experience. That’s it. We’re not shutting down Woozas, or any other server. We’re not going out of our way to make it especially difficult to increase the player count. All we’ve done is change the default filter to the regular sized ns2 servers. This is done so that new players actually get to experience NS2 as it was intended.
Maybe you like the large servers. Good for you. But that is not how NS2 was intended to be played.”

And the final say by rantology:

“The change to the default server browser filters will not be reverted. We are, however, going to be continuing to make improvements to it not only to improve functionality but also QoL improvements in our weekly updates as we work toward the ultimate endgoal of a total browser revision. Things like having it remember your filters on startup (which is already being tested), and perhaps showing favorites regardless of filter come to mind.”

One of our testimony from a Wooza’s player:

“I only wanna play on large servers and only on Woozas servers. I will not play NS2 if Wooza will close down. I like to play on large servers. Its more fun and you can play longer games. I don´t die so easy on small servers. Wooza playground and the players is my family”

 

Feel free to go through this thread to get a more detailed point of view on the situation. Warning, some comments are just gross and silly. I’m quoting Puphball in this thread who seemed to have underlined the issue which has been raised by many complainers in the large servers community:

“You guys may not realize it, but a modded server won’t survive unless it’s given an audience. UWE has effectively starved these servers of rookies and players who don’t use filters, and these mods will eventually fade into obscurity because of it. Look at Faded and Last Stand, they died even though they had Mod Spotlights and everything. You can’t keep a server seeded unless it has a consistent audience, would you not agree?”

The relevancy of this change can be questioned and the subject is up to debate. This article tends to be as neutral as possible on this matter. You are, however, free to discuss it in the comments below. Do you think new players shouldn’t join large or modded servers? Do you think this latest change would achieve its purpose? Don’t you think, on the contrary, this change would be positive towards rookies but at the expense of the large servers community?

  • TexThatOldFart

    Whatever the change someone will raise a voice because it’s disrupting his daily routine. In the mean time it would have been better to only apply this feature on the new players (which don’t have “habits” yet). Also i suspect that other things have been changed.. discreetly.

    But i guess it comes with “every 2 weeks” updates systems. Especially when the changes aren’t managed and announced with proper Public Relation… if any…

    The worst for me is mod support and server support. Any game server provider is tired of maintaining this game on its systems with so many update per year (security checks and other stuff at each update). They simply remove the offer in the end.

    So far i gave up having/paying a hosted NS2 server. Unless you own your “pizza-box” (or have a “root” access to it), it’s close to impossible to maintain a hosted dedicated NS2 server. Therefore any “casual” admin leave or won’t invest. Then stay the most resilient ones “like Wooza”. Even if i disagree with “large servers” i think the last change looks like a kick in the ball as a “thank you and goodbye”.

    What next ? Do the regular Wooza players (or from any large server) will go on the smaller servers ? Maybe farming rookies the same as it ever was only to pass time ? … The more things change the more they stay the same isn’t it ?

    I don’t know if UWE decided they should come back (more or less discreetly) to NS as they probably realized Subnautica or Future Perfect won’t be huge hits. If it’s the case i think the things UWE/CDT are doing won’t be interesting for US; the Vets who are supporting the game since day Zero (That very first Halloween day).

    So far it looks like an cranky strategy. Get the new player to pay for content, then when they realize the game is broken on many level. It’s not completely broken, but just enough to be noticeable and annoying. Things like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLMF9B6Lp4U

    The more i look at it the more i think UWE/CDT are drifting away from the whole NS2 community. As in “looking like a regular game company” that will just go to oblivion as the trick won’t work twice. A little sad actually as they own a good game concept.