BEFORE YOU READ: If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please keep the discussion within this post on these forums. It facilitates information archiving and indexing pertaining to this announcement.
The last PVP server wipe occurred on December 12, 2017 with the release of the Aberration DLC. March marks the third month since the last wipe and while it may be somewhat premature relative to all our other wipe intervals, which often span ~6 months, we are compelled to go through with another server wipe for several reasons relating to server sustainability. Allow us to point out some of the key "features" of our PVP servers and transition into the new plans.
- Players that have been with us for a long time know that we advertise as an infrequent wipe server or on an absolute need-to basis. Our wipe schedule was focused around allowing players to make significant progress where they would otherwise not be allowed to on servers with frequent wipe intervals.
- On the Aberration DLC release, our servers received ~100 concurrent players during peak hours. There was a lot of player turnover as people checked out the new offering but of those several players stayed and eventually migrated to Ragnarok or The Island along with the occasional players that make it back to our servers. This, combined with our traditional 25x rates, made it so we had a lot of clutter around the map which affected server performance, and to this day we feel those effects.
- For a long time we have carried the 25xALL rate label and is arguably one of the biggest reasons why players join our servers. However, we've come to realize that our rate multiplier is not compatible with our wipe schedule given the healthy population we strive to achieve. In other words, and strictly from a performance point of view, what we have going on at the moment is not sustainable.
The combined effects of infrequent wipe intervals, moderately high rates, and highly variable population swings has put our servers in a situation where:
- The game servers experience unexpected server crashes which inevitably lead to rollbacks. As anybody who's experienced even a few of those, it's very discouraging having accomplished something only to be reset by an unexpected server crash. Consistent and repeated events lead to players deciding to stop playing altogether.
- Heavy lag in cluttered maps like Ragnarok
- Players build up incredibly fast even within the week, new players are easily discouraged by behemoth bases with every last surface area unit packed with turrets.
Coupled with other factors including:
- Our mod collection, which originally was meant to supply players with mild QoL (quality of life) enhancements, has really gotten out of hand and we now have an automated enhancement for several aspects of progression (S+ and Automated Ark bloat) which ties back to the previous points above.
- Rules, oversight, and monitoring of large organized tribes that bend the rules in their favor and eventually force many players off the servers.
- Limited advertisement for all the aforementioned reasons. In order to resume advertisement efforts, we require a stable working base.
All of these factors paved the way for quick bursts of action followed by rapid stagnation. As loyal as you, the players, may be we understand that a low-population server is not exactly exciting and forces many to seek that enjoyment elsewhere until the time is right once again. In light of this, Supreme Ark PVP will be taking on some radical changes, taking a step back towards a more bare bones experience. Some of you will not be content with the changes that follow and for that we sincerely apologize. However, we feel strongly that these changes are required to foster a sustainable experience for everyone that chooses to follow Supreme Ark in this next phase.
Rates and Settings
SupremeArk PVP will be going from 25xALL to 5xALL. Yes, you read that correctly, 5xALL. Our new settings will be 5x XP, gather, taming, breeding, etc.
Reasons why this will be beneficial:
- Slower gameplay. While it is a dramatic drop, it is still a faster pace than vanilla rates.
- Bloat potential will be lower given players will have to dedicate more time to reach the same levels at 25x rates, and even then may not reach it. The lag period between early-game and end-game will be significantly longer, allowing potentially smaller structures, and less density given the amount of work required.
- It will make achievements and progress more meaningful.
- Trading will be a thing. At 25x rates, it doesn't make sense to trade much of anything given you can go out and gather it yourself in a few minutes. At lower rates, it makes sense to trade with people who specialize in a specific resource or material. Dinos will also become more valuable given the time required to breed them.
- Breeding bonanza and other weekend boosts will be more meaningful. We plan to introduce xp, gathering, and taming boosts as determined by the community in semi-weekly polls.
- More tightly knit community due to the increased time players will be exposed to each other.
Additionally we will be rolling back to more vanilla settings across the board:
- Max player level of 100 + ascension (vanilla)
- Max wild dino level of 150 (vanilla)
- Max tamed levels of 71 (vanilla)
- Vanilla player stats (except for weight @ 2.5x). This also means no more movement speed per stat point nerf!
- Vanilla tamed dino stats (except for weight @ 2.5x). No more super OP melee damage. Bosses will return to be more of a challenge.
- Keeping custom drops but nerfing overall quality and quantities to be more in-line with 5x rates
Our current mod collection consists of 19 items with some relatively bloated and deeply integrated mods such as S+ and Automated Ark. What should have been simple QoL additions turned into a mess of automated tools which remove a lot of the purpose of playing the game. All of the automated collection and processing utilities rely on active server checks which place unreasonable stress on the servers especially in period of high population. Our new mod collection will be smaller, less bloated, and balanced:
- Protected Passives
- Required companion for the passive pens
- Supreme Ark Donor Mod
- Required mod to reward donors
- Supreme Ark Terminal
- Highly convenient utility
- Swim Clear Goggles
- Clear underwater vision
- Ultra Stacks
- Required stack mod
- Balanced S+
- Removing a lot of the automated and OP utilities such as gardener, sheep herder, hatchery, nanny, farmer, etc.
- Reusable bola, flare, grappling hook, parachute, etc
- ORP2 replacement. ORP2 was simply placed a high load on servers with its active checks
- Pet Finder
- Finds your lost dinos
- Death Helper
- Suicide potion and pulls your cache if under the mesh
- Currency Mod
- Common trading unit
- Provides another collection goal. People like to have money
- Will also include kibble table which will remove the necessity to have large egg farms
That's a total of 11 mods (mostly small) which should improve loading times, save that precious SSD space, and reduce client and server crashes due to mod conflicts all while providing a more bare bones experience, as Ark is meant to be played.
There will be some amendments made to the current rules. The core will remain the same but rephrasing and restructuring of our rule system will allow us to more proactively address rule-related issues. Of meaningful mention:
Passive Pen: Players will be responsible for placing their dinos on passive and inventories emptied so that the protected passives mod will protect them from any damage. Any dinos not protected by the mod are the sole responsibility of the owners given all server-side enforcing is available. This however does not give raiders a free pass to wipe a passive pen. If ill-intent is determined, punishments will apply. The full spec will still be required to formally label a structure as a passive pen however the main purpose will be to ensure that your passive dinos retain protection in case your nearby structure count drops due to destruction. Protected Passives relies on the ratio of enemy vs. friendly structures to determine whether or not dinos should be protected.
Building on Restricted Areas: We will be designating starting/trading zones for new players. This is to prevent the whole issue of new players not allowed to progress by third-parties. New players will be entitled to a maximum amount of time in a designated safe zone, after which all structures belonging to that player/tribe must be removed or face admin deletion without prior notice and be issued a penalty. All resource rich areas will also be protected. We will have a new mechanism which will take care of active server-side enforcement, meaning this will not rely on players following the honor code. In safe zones, players will not take damage and in restricted zones, players will not be allowed to build. Maps with legends will be posted on the website outlining these zones for each map.
Don't be a Jerk: This rule will be renamed to "No Harassment." The reason for this is the definition of a "jerk" is broad and varies from person to person. Harassment has a much more precise definition and examples include but are not limited to: spawn camping and repeated attacks. This rule will also be extended to monitoring and limiting large organized tribes should it become necessary.
ORP: Tribes will be allowed a single impenetrable ORP shield that will cover a 10x10 area. Anything outside of this area will rely on good base defense.
The full version of the rules will be posted once the servers are wiped. Please be sure to become familiar with the modified rule set when it becomes available.
Plugins allow us to extend and implement additional server functionality without the need of mods. Plugins we will carry include:
- Gain points for playing or donating and trade those for cool and convenience rewards. Allows loyalty/donation point trading between players
- Allows person to person teleport. Handy for getting out of sticky situations. A 60 minute cool down between teleports will be implemented
- Learn All Engrams
- For donors with a minimum cumulative contribution of $15, you will be able to learn all engrams with a simple chat command. Useful for learning engrams after mindwiping.
- Cross Server Chat
- Will allow players to talk to each other between maps in the same cluster. Will help unite the community scattered across maps.
- Safe Zones
- This plugin will allow us to set admin-defined safe (start areas) and restricted (resource-rich areas) zones. Will remove the need for an admin to manually enforce rules in these areas.
Supreme Ark PVP will still carry 3 maps, however we are changing things up in our permanent offerings:
- Ragnarok (permanent)
- Due to the sheer popularity of this map, we will keep this a safe permanent map.
- The Center (permanent)
- This will replace The Island. Safe and permanent until the next wipe if community decides on anything other than The Center.
- Wildcard Map (rotating)
- This will be a 2-3 week rotating map decided by the community. The point of this map is to offer ascension and resources only obtainable from other maps, such as The Island and Aberration. Transfers will be open from the get-go to allow players to easily gather dinos and resources in the limited time frame.
We have neglected the need to establish a proper turret limit due to lots of testing and time required for balancing and improperly working settings. Ideally we'd like to have no turret limit but even with the fact that our servers run on top-notch dedicated hardware, massive turret walls do impact our server performance and it is because of this that we need to establish a fixed but reasonable turret limit that allows players and tribes to defend their hard work.
The core issue stems from the fact that in Ark, the only way to defend your base is with a high turret density. A dense enough turret network and a base can come close to being undecidable but it comes at the expense of the server and degraded performance for everyone else. Wildcard believes that 100 turrets within a 10,000 unreal unit radius. Let's break that down and do some simple math:
300 unreal units = 1 Ark foundation length
10,000 unreal units = 33.33 Ark foundation lengths
That means 100 turrets in a radius of 33.33 foundations. It's clear that whoever came up with those numbers is not exactly the sharpest crayon in the tool shed. What makes this issue so exceedingly difficult for us is the fact that we have to try and balance around non-vanilla rates. However, given the fact that our drop table quality will be reduced, players and dinos will follow the vanilla leveling ramp, it simplifies the problem. Laboratory testing with controlled bases hardly illustrate the real in-game scenarios and due to testing taking many hours to complete we will be starting off with what should be a comfortable starting point of 100 turrets in a radius of 24 foundations. This should result in a ~2x density allowance. We will monitor how PVP plays out with these settings and incrementally modify the density allowance should it become necessary. It's easier to allow more turrets in a given radius than it is to restrict the density which would cripple many bases at or near the turret count limit.
All current Supreme Ark PVP servers will wipe and inherit the outlined changes on Friday, March 23, 2018 around 7-10PM CST.
These are dramatic changes we are introducing to PVP and we hope you can understand and sympathize as to why we have to. The one thing we are known for is for sticking around and it is evident with the number of players that leave and eventually find their way back to this community.
Supreme Ark is not going anywhere as long as we have the support of the community and we would be thrilled to have you join us in this next phase.
The Supreme Ark Admin Team