In praise of large servers

MartigenMartigen Australia Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2714Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 784 Advanced user
By now some of you have found Wooza's 42 player server, and if you don't know about it yet, well now you do.

And after spending some 25 hours on it so far, I have just one thing to say:

It's epic.

In fact, when I play on a traditional 12-20 player server now it just feels... lacking.

You haven't played NS until you're charging a hive as a marine with 20 aliens hurtling at you, or truly reveled in a base rush as a Kharaa until you're hearing marines dying left and right among a torrent of gunfire. This is, for want of a better phrase, the penultimate expression of what NS is.

I know the competitive players among you may disagree, and that's fine, I get it -- I used to play NS1 competitively -- but as far as having fun goes on publics, of experiencing a real infestation ('6' aliens do not an infestation make), and a rush from up to forty players joining an intense firefight, it's freaking awesome.

But what about balance? It'd be interesting to see the stats but from my 25 hours or so it actually seems to be about 50/50. There are quick marine wins, and quick alien wins. Long games where marines win, long games where aliens win. It is, as always, about the players on the teams. It's also a testament to UWE's design in that the player count can scale to 40 people and still be balanced this way.

That's not to say it doesn't play differently -- it does, and there are some positive and negative effects. In the positive boring tasks like eating RTs happen quickly when you lots of players piling on. So it's more fun actually playing, instead spending a minute chewing. But that's not to say nodes are hard to keep either, quite the opposite -- you've got more marines covering a map and nodes get recapped quickly and, like munching, built quickly too. Even so with more players you've got more people able to defend nodes for both sides, so in the end node ownership actually ends up feeling about the same.

Having more marines means more mines early on, but this doesn't unbalance it, as it helps offset more skulks. More shotguns on the field? Also more Fades. Bilebomb rushes? Works just the same, but despite more gorges these can be stopped just the same as there's more marines. Hives go down quicker? Yep, when enough people get in the hive, but you'd be surprised how many times marines are stopped at an entrance with an army of aliens pushing them back. As with smaller servers, it comes down to the skill of the players.

On the negative side comming is harder -- you've got twenty children to look after now, but if you can comm on a 42 player server and adapt you'll find your skills improved if you play on a smaller server. Look at it as training, probably the best you can get for comming.

Now Wooza's will be, for some of you -- including me, being an Aussie -- high ping depending where in the world you are. Firstly -- join to have fun -- and secondly ping doesn't matter.

The better players know that NS is a more strategic game on the field than your average FPS, and your success as a marine or skulk is as much dependent on how you play as how well you can aim, so ping is less important.

So get on, and experience NS on a whole new level.

Wooza's is the only 42 player out there at the moment. Anyone wishing to setup more, please do. This goes for you too UWE -- how about an official larger server or two? :)

Mart
stf // martigen
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Comments

  • joshhhjoshhh Milwaukee, WI Join Date: 2011-06-21 Member: 105717Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 1,437 Advanced user
    Yeah... all Im gunna say is this should be moved to "Server Discussion" before the small vs large playercount debate starts.
    VetinariBlarney_StoneNordic
  • _INTER__INTER_ Join Date: 2009-08-08 Member: 68392Members, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 822 Advanced user
    It can be fun indeed to play some of those 20v20 matches, but later mehh. Also I miss the traditional Onos Bar server. Where has it gone to?
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  • ball2hiball2hi Join Date: 2012-10-22 Member: 163128Members Posts: 146 Fully active user
    SamusDroid wrote: »
    Official servers are multiplay servers that can't even hold 30 ticks late game, how would it ever run with 42 people.
    "Yes".
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  • Soul_RiderSoul_Rider Mod Bean Join Date: 2004-06-19 Member: 29388Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue Posts: 4,269 Advanced user
    I play all size matches. From 6v6 to playing on a couple of euro 30 player servers. They are great fun, although the two Euro's I play on tend to be modded, to try and balance the game for their servers. It is a more intense experience, it essentially removes the lulls that you get in a smaller player game. NS1 had combat which produced a much more intense experience, in NS2, to get that combat style rush, while still playing NS2, that experience is available on higher player servers.

    I appreciate all the different servers out there. It is the unique personalities of these communities and server ops that helps make the NS2 community so diverse and interesting. The different size servers provide a variety of experiences for NS2 that you can't appreciate sticking to one playercount.
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  • GhoulofGSG9GhoulofGSG9 Join Date: 2013-03-31 Member: 184566Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, Reinforced - Supporter, WC 2013 - Supporter, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,822 admin
    edited March 2014
    Also you need to "hack" the server software to unlock more than 24 slots. UWE "hacking" their own software, sure they will do that xD

    It's fun to play a few rounds 20 vs 20 but all the time no way. Many tactical aspects of ns2 like player movements are taken away by the mass of players ;)
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  • MartigenMartigen Australia Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2714Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 784 Advanced user
    CCTEE wrote: »
    Oh boy, the amount of disagrees you are gonna collect will put coolitic to shame!
    Heh, but for those that do -- what exactly are you disagreeing with? That it's not fun? Each to their own of course.

    Edit: To Nexus -- yeah even Wooza's beefy box does strain in some intense firefights I've noticed too.
    SamusDroid wrote: »
    Official servers are multiplay servers that can't even hold 30 ticks late game, how would it ever run with 42 people.
    That's a good point, Wooza is running it on a beefy server.
    Also you need to "hack" the server software to unlock more than 24 slots. UWE "hacking" their own software, sure they will do that xD
    Time for a change, then :)
    stf // martigen
  • ZalamaelZalamael Join Date: 2013-08-18 Member: 186949Members Posts: 121
    Tried this server for a short time, didn't stay long. Far too many players to make the matches enjoyable, there just isn't enough space on the current maps to accommodate this many people. It is amusing the first time you see 10 marines pushing down a tight corridor struggling to move and failing to hit anything because of the body blocking, but it gets annoying soon after. I might like it more if friendly fire was turned on though >:)

    As for the strain, it happens on every server where a large number of marine players choose GL/Flamer and spam it in the same place. Not only does it gunk up the screen with visual spam, it also seems to cause a lot of rubber banding.
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,720 Advanced user
    Amateur. Go 100 player server or bust. Anyone else remember that server?
    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
    BensonKouji_San
  • BeigeAlertBeigeAlert Texas Join Date: 2013-08-08 Member: 186657Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester, Pistachionauts Posts: 2,825 admin
    It's not much fun playing on that server... but COMMANDING... now that's another story. With that many people on each team, there's bound to be a good handful willing to listen to the commander.

    Also, it completely changes the game. It's no longer economical to drop meds and ammo, you have to drop friggen armories! Exos are still crap though. ;)

    But yes, it does need to be balanced better. Marines always win late game there, and the GL spam is ridiculous!

    Yea the lag is pretty unbearable, but that's why I command! :P
  • VetinariVetinari Join Date: 2013-07-23 Member: 186325Members, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver Posts: 3,461 Advanced user
    I gave him an awesome. Part sympathy, part because... c'mon, it's fun once in a while.
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  • PaajtorPaajtor Join Date: 2012-11-09 Member: 168634Members Posts: 308 Advanced user
    edited March 2014
    I've played on this server...quite a bit, actually.
    Because I got a bit bored with regular pub-play (no, I don't and won't play competitive), and wanted to try something else.

    My experiences are kinda meh on this one.
    Despite Wooza stating he has a "beefy box" so it should be able to handle the load, I still think the max.player-count is to high.
    Big battles turn into a framerate struggle - imagine all Alien players attacking a Marine turtle-base, 20vs20 in a tight space, that's more than my machine can handle.
    I'm running NS2 on DX11, and on Wooza's I can see my RAM-usage climb steadily towards 70-80% (45% is normal on most other servers), and it won't be long untill players start getting red-plugs (up to 10 secs, IF the game manages to continue at all!).
    Some memory-leak, I guess, which becomes more evident on such a big server.

    Furthermore, I've encountered many weak Alien commanders here...no idea why they would want to start practicing on a 42player-server lol.

    As for valid strats, there seems to be a trend to go for nade-spam vs xeno-spam.
    Every Alien player who's played there, knows that when Marines get mass GL's, the battle will soon be over, unless Alien comm decides to go for 3 fast hives, to get xeno ASAP.
    That's the only way to counter the massive nade-spam.
    This can be fun for a couple of rounds, but in the end it's just boring, because it means Aliens have to play a large part of the fight without any significant upgrades (because all team-res goes into the 3 hives, with xeno at the end of the line).

    Which brings me to another point > new players.
    I've noticed on this server in particular (and on The Tick server as well - 28 players max), that some very young players join up....and I mean, 10year old kids.
    It's only logical, that they seek big servers, right?
    That's ok, I enjoy their fresh input, and funny voices, and they ask many many questions, and learn quick.
    But whether this is the best way to get to know NS2?
    The Tick-server has a requirement, to have a min of 10hrs of playing-experience...I think Wooza's should have this too.

    ...and probably a lower max.player # as well.
    42 is too high, way to high, without some sort of large-server balance mod.
    The guy who runs the Tick-servers is experimenting with that.





    meatmachine
  • cooliticcoolitic Right behind you Join Date: 2013-04-02 Member: 184609Members Posts: 1,684 Advanced user
    TLDR
    So either I missed something that makes you guys disagree with his post or you guys just hate large servers. I think I like large servers but they do have their flaws.
    When life gives you lemons, throw it back and demand chocolate.


  • DC_DarklingDC_Darkling Join Date: 2003-07-10 Member: 18068Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 4,381 Advanced user
    Silly Samus.. those servers can often not even hold tick at the start of the game. :D

    As for big servers. Glad you like them.
    I for one prefer servers which wont nuke fps as strategy as much. If I want to zerg ill go play starcraft. (I do like zerg in starcraft hehe)
    But I will admit its all opinion and move on. :)
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  • MartigenMartigen Australia Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2714Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 784 Advanced user
    edited March 2014
    BeigeAlert wrote: »
    Also, it completely changes the game. It's no longer economical to drop meds and ammo, you have to drop friggen armories! Exos are still crap though. ;)
    Agreed on both :)
    But yes, it does need to be balanced better. Marines always win late game there
    See that shows how dependent it is on the skills of a team regardless of server size -- my experience has been that aliens generally win late game, specially once xeno shows up. And there have been some truly incredible xeno kill lists with this many players!
    Paajtor wrote: »
    I've played on this server...quite a bit, actually.
    Big battles turn into a framerate struggle - imagine all Alien players attacking a Marine turtle-base, 20vs20 in a tight space, that's more than my machine can handle.
    I'm running NS2 on DX11, and on Wooza's I can see my RAM-usage climb steadily towards 70-80% (45% is normal on most other servers)
    That's largely a function of the local client and hardware, as opposed to lag from the server (though this does happen too at times). Incidentally, I found DX9 around 10% faster than DX11 with no visual difference whatsoever, so that's what I use. Edit: On Nvidia, in case it's different with AMD.
    Every Alien player who's played there, knows that when Marines get mass GL's, the battle will soon be over, unless Alien comm decides to go for 3 fast hives, to get xeno ASAP.
    That's the only way to counter the massive nade-spam.
    I've seen GL spam take down hives quickly and also GLers getting torn up by onos, fades with gorges/lerks supporting. Too many GLers get creamed when onos and fades charge in as they're not prepared for melee. Xeno though, that's pretty much unbeatable. Not much marines can do vs xeno spam.


    stf // martigen
  • Soul_RiderSoul_Rider Mod Bean Join Date: 2004-06-19 Member: 29388Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue Posts: 4,269 Advanced user
    I think players will play on enough different servers to realise that this kind of experience is atypical. I mean, there are only 3 servers with more than 28 slots that show up in my browser list, although there maybe more outside the 600 ping limit..

    Most people are aware that these big servers have issues, but play on these for the more casual 'fun' experience.

    NS2 is a pretty hardcore game, and some of us appreciate the game, but need to play it in a more casual way to avoid getting demoralised with how bad we are at the game we love :D

    It's a fact that people play shooters to kill things, and when you go a long time dying without ever killing anything, it can get a little demoralising, and thus not very much fun. Skill is more evenly balanced out when hunting in packs of 6 skulks or 6 marines, than it is in 2 or 3's. More chance to make the feel good kill. Generally in is not k:d that makes people feel good, although it sure helps, but the feeling of regularly killing during a game that makes it feel like fun.

    NS2 in 6v6 means you need to be everyone to be evenly matched to get that experience of killing regularly for all parties, while on bigger servers, you can all experience killing regularly, although your K:D may not be any better. It's the frequency of making a kill more than the k:d that a lot of shooter fans enjoy at a casual level.
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  • MartigenMartigen Australia Join Date: 2002-11-01 Member: 2714Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Reinforced - Onos Posts: 784 Advanced user
    Roobubba wrote: »
    I pointed out the terrible early game tick rate to wooza when I tried his server out, his response was 'what do you expect? I'm running 42 slots'
    if you know it gives an awful experience because it is way beyond your hardware's capability, then you also know that what you're doing is falsely advertising bad game performance to the many people who don't know this is a hacked, unofficial game mode.
    I'm sorry but I can't condone that sort of behaviour: it does more harm than good to the community as a whole.
    That's an interesting perspective. It's pretty clear from the responses so far though that many are frowning upon this. Yet, Wooza's is packed before after and during prime-time. So I'm certainly not the only one having fun, despite occasional lag issues.

    I wonder if people take their NS-ing a little too seriously. It's a game, remember? :)
    op: I'm] glad for you that you found a game type you enjoy, although it is not for me. But please spare a thought for those who don't know that ns2 isn't 'usually' a spammy, rubberbanding lag fest!
    I don't think we're in danger of that when there's a hundred other, smaller, servers that don't exhibit this. And thankyou, I also appreciate it's not for you.
    stf // martigen
  • LocklearLocklear [nexzil]kerrigan Join Date: 2012-05-01 Member: 151403Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 1,335 Advanced user
    Martigen wrote: »

    You haven't played NS until you're charging a hive as a marine with 20 aliens hurtling at you, or truly reveled in a base rush as a Kharaa until you're hearing marines dying left and right among a torrent of gunfire.

    Maybe if it was on gldsrc without huge performance tanking I'd agree.. NS2 just isn't designed for that many players.
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  • CyberKunCyberKun Join Date: 2013-02-02 Member: 182733Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 336 Fully active user
    I know NS2 balance isn't designed for that many players, but it isn't NS2 at that point. It is some durpy fun mod. If it wasn't for the tickrate being terrible, I would enjoy and play it for fun once in a while.
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  • cooliticcoolitic Right behind you Join Date: 2013-04-02 Member: 184609Members Posts: 1,684 Advanced user
    Silly Samus.. those servers can often not even hold tick at the start of the game. :D

    As for big servers. Glad you like them.
    I for one prefer servers which wont nuke fps as strategy as much. If I want to zerg ill go play starcraft. (I do like zerg in starcraft hehe)
    But I will admit its all opinion and move on. :)

    Make big map, unleash the zerglings.

    Have comm manage 50 players, then let his head explode.
    When life gives you lemons, throw it back and demand chocolate.


  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,720 Advanced user
    edited March 2014
    My one major complaint about servers this big, is that it takes from other servers. You could have two 20 players servers full. Back when there was this 40 player server is NA, honestly had to join it or seed a new server some nights. That was until it went away.
    From my perspective UWE has been trying to both with what little resources they have given to the game. They don't have an AAA budget, let alone an indie game budget. They have the budget of a game that has been out 6 years. I want to say, don't half ass two things, whole ass one thing. I just don't think they have the resources to do it. Unlike many of the people on the forums, I guess I am just happy they are at least trying even though I may not like what they end up doing.
    VetinaridriestBrad2810SanCo
  • BensonBenson Join Date: 2012-03-07 Member: 148303Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 1,296 Advanced user
    While I understand the attraction of large servers (casual atmosphere, low individual player value, sheer mayhem), I still think the sweet spot for public games is 18-20 players. Its a perfect balance of mayhem and casual fun, while still allowing for some tactics and strategy


    These servers just wont stay populated unless they are the only ones available since people (like celestial bodies), always gravitate towards the largest object.

    Also, what I've learned from the many times that KingKahuna has had to defend his 24p count servers, they ARE a lot less likely to die when half of one team rage quits from the server. (12v12 teams - 6 players rage quitting = 9v9 next game = still playable in pubs)
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  • MoFoMoFo Join Date: 2013-09-09 Member: 188047Members Posts: 150

    The performance is bad enough on 22-24 player servers, I can only imagine how bad it would be on a 40 player server.

    I might actually enjoy up to 30 player games, but NS2 server performance starts to drop pretty quick once the player count goes over 18.

  • maD_maX_maD_maX_ Join Date: 2013-04-07 Member: 184678Members Posts: 470 Advanced user
    @Benson oh no!! Why did you go and bring KKG into this... As if there wasn't going to be enough larger sever flaming. Oh well it's like combat, it's fun to run around and kill without a care.
  • RicezRicez Join Date: 2013-04-13 Member: 184784Members Posts: 120 Fully active user
    I've played on Wooza's and in my experience aliens have a much higher winrate.
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