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Everything posted by ShippyLongstalking

  1. "How could they possibly know server costs would be this high? That people would use the tools to mine...?" Anyone that's ever played an MMO would know...NQ was supposedly "shocked" at how quickly players made it to space, too. It's like they never bothered to play an MMO and vastly underestimated their players. You know how we know that NQ never really understood how the game would scale....? Because they thought they could make a single shard game but didn't invent anything special to handle the idea of a ton of people occupying one area. The "proof" they made with bots running around was pretty laughable to anyone that understands benchmarking. You don't get credit for innovation if the thing you "innovate" doesn't work and the reason no one else has done it....is because it doesn't work. Besides that, it's hard to say that DU is "innovative" running on an off-the-shelf engine and off-the-shelf servers -- that really matters, because it shows how they can't optimize low-level details for either the engine or server infrastructure. Even without mining, will the game really scale...? We'll see. Besides, what exactly is so innovative about either their design or tech? It's a very good building sandbox with a crappy combat model strapped on...and a vague promise of more. I agree that the game they pitched in their adverts is innovative as all hell, but that's not what DU is today. If the game does get popular, you can be sure that Demeter won't be the last design change driven by scale and cost.
  2. How could any professional game studio not understand something as basic as how the game's costs would scale...? They talk about cost like it's some unknowable thing that snuck up on them. The pricing for AWS is not some mystery. You'd think at least once over the past 7 years they would have...I don't know, run some projections? No one bothered to do any math as they were designing the game to understand the cost of their product...? No one tested their prototype to understand how costs would scale? No one cared about cost when they created their subscription model? How did they even understand what to charge players if they didn't bother doing projections? Beyond the change itself....it shows that NQ's dev philosophy is still 100% reactionary -- they don't test or plan in advance. They don't design in advance. They throw things into production then figure out what to change. There's a reason it's taken them 7+ years to not even finish a beta...they have to keep going back and changing things because they don't have a design. No one really believes that NQ really understands what this change will do. They'll throw it into production then figure out the next problem... I'd be really surprised if this game ever approached anything near "feature-complete".
  3. Demeter is about NQ saving money, not about good design choices that will improve the game. Mining changes are designed to remove as much terrain deformation as possible, which is very expensive. Taxes are designed to impose a level of attrition so that they can reduce costs....which will also reduce the desire to re-sub to the game after leaving IMO. These changes are the result of them never really understanding or planning around the scale of the game as an MMO or its cost (and refusing to build their own servers, instead renting them from AWS) Betas are intended to give devs time to polish the game and fix bugs, not make sweeping design changes or test the product to see how much it costs -- all this should have been figured out in the 6+ years of development prior to "open beta".
  4. ☝️ This right here -- when JC was fired as CEO, I thought that they would get a real designer to look at the product and roadmap, but they decided to keep on keeping on as if nothing was wrong. There's fundamental issues with the design of this game...they greatly, greatly overreached with the concept and have so far refused to reduce scope, so the product is still missing huge features and feels incomplete and very unpolished... Making games is hard; anyone with experience knows this. JC didn't bother working in the industry before starting the company, so he didn't know. Yet after 5 years working almost exclusively on fundamental tech like building and basic MP mechanics (not in their own engine mind you) they still somehow believed they could get all these grand features working? Two years later and what's changed? Not the design...No apparent scope reduction at all, despite them having the experience of facing vast complexity and not meeting deadlines. They knew that this wasn't coming together years ago, but no one dared to challenge JC's "vision"? So the problem isn't just inexperience, it's hubris. Frankly....NQ had 7+ years and $22+ million in funding. I hate to be an ass, but they kind of deserve to fail. They engineered their own nightmare and refused to change course despite having ample opportunity and overwhelming evidence that the current direction was not working.
  5. Riiight, that's a good look -- banning people that discuss a valid topic in the forum. "Wipe" is among the most popular topic here after pointless arguments about PvP. I think you vastly overestimate the influence or visibility of discussions here -- it's a fact that very few people even view posts, never mind actually reading them. Any suggestion that people are quitting because some post talking about a wipe are anecdotal at best. The idea that they could get "thousands" of players if only they stop people from talking about a wipe is really baffling....most of these posts barely have hundreds of views; blocking discussions on an unpopular forum will not make any material difference. By the way, you just started this thread onto the topic of a wipe. So, what do you all think about a wipe? Yes? No? Yes? 😏
  6. The track record is easy enough to see in the years and years of history in this forum. NQ as a studio has no experience beyond DU. The most obvious issue with their track record is spending 7+ years on a product (as a new studio) that is still not feature complete....and doesn't seem close to being feature complete. That makes DU an alpha, and 7+ years on an alpha when you aren't even making your own engine or server architecture isn't good for this industry. Beyond the state of the product after a long, long time in dev....the forum history shows how bad NQ is at communicating with their customers. People have been speculating about how PvP will work for years and years because NQ either doesn't have a plan or doesn't bother to explain it. No one believes for a second that they listen to player feedback, even when players have called out obvious problems with changes before they go out. They have notorious slow support, glacial dev pace, and have made many 'knee-jerk' design choices that make it obvious that they don't really have a grand design, they are changing it as they go. That's not a good sign for most complex games, but especially for an MMO. They hired Eve Online's former designer but he left after less than a year...this is someone that typically spends 5+ years at a company. NQ was his shortest job in the last 10+ years...plus the CEO being fired...there's some internal turnover issues that are significant. I see improvement in these last few months, don't get me wrong...I just don't believe it is fast enough or dramatic enough to turn the product around...to do that, I think they need more dramatic changes instead of more or less following the plan that JC wildly constructed without much planning and with objectively zero experience.
  7. How long until "beta" isn't an excuse? It's been 7+ years of development...on an IP that hasn't created its own engine, server infrastructure, or even billing system...This isn't a baby or a toddler, it's a 2nd-grader. It isn't like they have some plan to fix the fundamental issues with some of this tech or this design. I would understand the "it is only beta" claim if they did, but many of the issues facing DU aren't "part of the plan" where the only issue is that the devs haven't had enough time...they have had enough time. Don't get me wrong...I see how the product is improving, but will it be fast enough and dramatic enough? Will the game actually perform at scale? Will it be anything close to the game they advertise? I'm not convinced based on their track record and current state of the product.
  8. Combat in this game is really esoteric...even if they can make it lag-free, I don't know that combat will ever really appeal to 8 out of 10 space nerds. The game desperately needs combat, 100%, but unless they completely scrap the current metaphor, I'm not sure it will ever really "get there". Let's remember this is combat at its lowest scale, too -- and even then is still often laggy. A huge part of the pitch of DU was single-shard...and they can't support cities, they obviously can't support large battles....so why not instance the game, again? As I see it, there's zero point to "single shard" with their actual execution. At least if they instanced it, they could throw all the "i only want to build" people into a PvE server and eliminate a lot of headaches related to first-time UX.
  9. One other caveat: NQ also didn't build their own billing system, so they get hit with about a 5% transaction fee from Xsolla. This is a really good exploration of NQ's decision-making. I feel like they did a lot to "save time": Xsolla, picking Unigen2 of all engines, AWS. For reference, a processor like Stripe is considered very expensive in the industry at 2.9% and is extremely easy to implement. It's sad because there are cheaper options that offer a far, far better user experience than freakin' Xsolla. Frankly, I don't get the feeling that NQ does care about financials at all. Or at least it didn't under JC, which makes sense....PhD academics with no experience doing real world work tend to not care about pesky things like financials. What CEO gives up 2.1% of their company's revenue to save a few days of dev...? Two offices? 50-100 employees? High AWS fees? High transaction fees? That's not an org that's making healthy choices IMO. @Zarcata Subs will bring money in, but they likely need something like 50,000 to 60,000 subs just to cover payroll alone...Refer a friend is a great test -- if referred friends churn at a lowish rate, it will encourage NQ to do more marketing in general. Any shred of positive ROI will allow NQ to scale the game fairly consistently if not quickly. It might not be as hard as people think, because a 3 month sub minimum gives them more to spend on acquisition per user. Even if they churn right away, it is plausible that NQ can achieve positive ROI and scale the game somewhat.
  10. NQ's latest (and largest) round of funding was in 2019 for ~$11 million. I personally don't see how they could attract more investors until their KPIs improve. Investors won't throw them money to "get their tech" -- because their tech doesn't work at scale and is tightly coupled with AWS. Several people have suggested that NQ is making DU as a "tech demo" and the "real" asset investors care about is their tech...but that doesn't hold up to basic scrutiny. Staff is hard to estimate but varies between 50 to 100 employees based on the site you look at. It's a surprisingly large indie, and arguably has too many people relative to the number of developers. They do have recent job postings -- if they were in such a dire financial situation, they wouldn't be looking to fill 3-4 positions (one would think). It's baffling they would spend money on two expensive offices, but yes they have offices in Paris and Montreal -- why spend all that extra overhead as a new studio making your first ever game...? Cuz JC didn't want to leave Paris...? So...all the public information we have suggests they spend a lot on staff and overhead, including high fees for hosting since they don't stand their own servers. AWS isn't that cheap at scale, especially for things like DynamoDB. IMO there's no immediate danger of the doors closing on the simulation because we'll likely see it coming, but there's no way NQ is "financially sound". They will push the product to a "1.0 release" and market it. They will see churning users in the month / months to follow and realize that the math isn't going to work. Before they shut it all down, they will likely scale the company down (they don't need two offices or 100 people) and keep it going as a smaller project. I'm honestly not super optimistic about the state of the game or its future, but I don't think there's any immediate danger of NQ evaporating just yet.
  11. It's almost like this idea is something extremely fundamental when understanding how the game scales as an MMO...something that should have been understood ~7 years ago maybe...? It's absolutely a catch-22 for them. If you churn, there's still a good chance you'll reconvert and sub again someday in the future. If you rejoin the game to find your shit gone? Probably won't continue your sub, especially if you were a hardcore player that invested a lot of time developing a safe zone home. Reconverting churned users is vital for a sub-based MMO. On the other hand....if you're a new player trying to get set up on one of the safezone worlds, the extra travel time and absurdity of so many dead and mined-out hexes will be a massive turn-off that only becomes worse over time. IMO the only "everyone wins" solution is to increase the size of game world -- add more systems and planets. Either they have to scale the game world or they need to become an instanced MMO. MMO instancing was designed to solve these design issues, but they didn't want to do that...which is great, if they had considered how to scale the game world to do what instancing does in traditional MMOs. It isn't the only concept where NQ "wanted to be different" without bothering to understand why traditional MMOs use the design they do. In this case, instanced servers -- but also for NPCs, game engine, server platform...each of these they picked something "different" without weighing why the industry standard is what it is and adjusting their design accordingly.
  12. I think adding it to steam would result in a huge number of bad reviews. Also DU hasn't been proven to scale yet...an influx of new players would not work cleanly. I'm fairly sure steam would allow a free release and NQ could continue to require subs via their external system -- I have seen other games on Steam do similar. That greatly reduces dev overhead and eliminates any revshare concerns. Further, steam has a degree of flexibility with return policies for sub-based games. This would be an okay move if they were desperate for cash. They could enforce a two-month minimum sub buy-in expecting 90% of new players to churn. It would also make the game look very bad from a PR perspective, especially for investors -- if you shovel money into a game with multiple failed launches you get what you deserve.
  13. This is what attracted me to DU, too -- the fact that it was bold enough to try something different in the tragically formulaic world of MMOs. But there's a reason MMOs are so cookie-cutter...It's because of the high cost of development -- that means investors, and investors want the fundamental mathematics of your product to make sense. That means designing a game around churn to some extent, which means implementing tried-and-true gaming metaphors. I have no idea how NQ secured investors without any real concept of churn or even a fleshed-out design. Even today, does the game have a real design? Yes? So how it territory war and avatar combat supposed to work, if it's all planned out...? Or are they still flying by the seat of their pants with design choices, thinking they can just rebalance as they go...? If they got 1,000,000 subscribers tomorrow they'd be down to 100,000 subs by the end of the month (if that, even). It's too bad because it will make investors even less willing to take a risk on a bold new IP and the MMO genre clearly needs innovation -- I just wish DU had planned their design instead of relying on a novice that "had some ideas" and believed he could flesh them out as he went.
  14. DU would probably be more successful with a similar model as MC: limited multiplayer and people can run their own servers if they want. All the chatter about PvP or no would vanish because those rules could be server-specific -- that's like 50% of this forum at least lol People that want to play in creative mode to create art could (see above) NQ wouldn't have spent nearly a decade in alpha/beta because the complexity of an MMO was more than they could handle With the game they wanted to design, an MMO never truly made sense -- it is far too niche (and incomplete) of a design with too inexperienced a team (especially at the leadership level). As has been said many (many) times, game design isn't NQ's strong point. Doing a sub-based MMO without strong game design is either hubris or vast incompetence. I mean...it's been 7+ years now, and there's still no good understanding of how PVP is supposed to really work. Territory war and avatar vs. avatar combat are basically just myths. Even with the changes and velocity in the last few months improving, I personally don't see NQ reaching enough subs to turn a profit and maintain that against churn. I don't think I can emphasize enough how important churn is and how little NQ has considered this in their design.
  15. Yeah Twitch isn't the only metric for a successful game, but it is still an important metric. Same with reddit, the community hasn't grown and there's rarely much activity or comments. Is it the only metric? No, but it isn't the Eve online era of 2003 -- presence on social media matters. You can't pretend that a game is successful when every online community about it is stagnant or shrinking. I take mmo-population's numbers with a huge grain of salt (it does not measure actual players), but I do believe the general shape of the yearly population curve: a steady decline since open beta to the point where pop numbers now are not that different than closed beta.
  16. LOD isn't ground-breaking tech, and they aren't voxels because the server translates voxels to simple meshes. The way the servers feed data to clients is not working very well even today...I've yet to see this game actually accomplish its scaling goals except in pre-planned events which is not a real test of auto-scaling infrastructure. Yes lag has gotten better, but that's also because server pops have drastically declined. I might believe it was "ground breaking" tech if these basic concepts worked, they worked well, and they scaled. I get what you mean that NQ's actual devs aren't to blame completely or even at all, really....but that doesn't mean their tech is "ground breaking" when I would say it is closer to "barely working" (which is also a function of bad management, not necessarily a bad tech team)
  17. JC sold his vision...and he sold it well enough to convince investors to sink $20+ million into a company with no gaming experience and no detailed plan. You have to realize by now that this vision was little more than smoke and mirrors. His concept was always nonsense. The idea that you could build with near-infinite scale, the idea of cities, the idea that PvP would look anything at all like trailers, the idea that DU had "revolutionary" tech that would allow millions of people to play in the same game... It's too bad people still get suckered in by misleading ads claiming that this game is something it never will be. DU can became a lot of great things, but it will never become the game they push in the trailer -- which means most new players will always be disappointed. I feel like NQ hired a third party to do their adverts / marketing and it works to bring people in, so they won't update them...it's a really counterproductive marketing strategy.
  18. Threads like these are so typical of DU. People have been having this debate about PvP for years and years and years now. The design of this game is rather horrible, and that's evidenced by the fact that conversions like these have been rehashed for years with nothing new to discuss. PvPers insist PvP is part of the game and that's true -- but it also sucks as a feature. Enjoy being a gunner, enjoy the lag, enjoy the inherent asymmetry of combat and its boring mechanics overall. Builders insist they shouldn't have to PvP, but they already don't have to -- it's like they don't want risk at all, not just that they find PvP boring/bad as a gameplay element. Blame NQ for a design that doesn't make sense. "Sandbox builder" meets "free for all PvP" -- gee, who would've thought these two concepts are basically polar opposites that mix poorly...? Oh, right...many of the forum users for years and years and years. There's an old rule in game design about not mixing genres. Of all the genres to challenge this 'rule', melding 'sandbox builder' with 'free for all PvP' is obviously a horrible idea...the popularity of the game and endless debate about what PvP should be is pretty solid evidence to me that the concept of DU itself doesn't work. It would be a different story if ships were easy to regenerate, if PvP was actually fun or interesting, if either combat or the building aspects were adjusted a bit to work together -- but NQ doesn't really do the whole "game design" thing, so we are left with a game that fields inherently disjointed.
  19. Then the Internet would have much bigger problems than DU.... AWS becoming defunct or going down forever is as plausible as google.com suddenly going offline forever. AWS powers probably >50% of the internet by bandwidth (one of their customers is Netflix). NQ would be without servers for longer than "days", because AWS isn't just about the hardware -- DU uses deeper integrations like DynamoDB. Migrating off AWS might take months, not days.
  20. Another lazy, incompetent approach to dealing with exploits. NQ literally crafts the universe. Their code dictates what is or isn't possible. Rather than fix their jenky code, they want to "fix" bugs with a code of laws. It's unprofessional, sloppy, and unfair. Real studios fix their software bugs with software changes, not with rules saying "don't use the bugs in our software or else". Rules enforced through a notoriously slow and unresponsive support system will never be equally enforced. I'd love to see a pinned thread of every single rule that isn't enforced in the game engine itself but is left up to the player's honor and GM's discretion.
  21. Chargeback or complaint with CC company will likely work, but otherwise contact Xsolla.
  22. lol, I'm just floored at the silliness of this back and forth. It's been the better part of a decade... NQ isn't going to figure out how to balance PvP and building. Not with your suggestions that have been discussed a billion times already, not with another 3-4 years, not with another 10 years. It ain't gonna happen. If you want to talk about the future of this game, go back and look at the past 6-7 years of it first. Same discussions. Same ideas. Same results.
  23. The fact that people are still bickering about PvP in this game is hilarious. This argument has been going on for 6+ years now. The fact that it's still going on is proof of a fundamental design flaw that has never been solved and never will be. Sadly, people like to turn on each other and pretend the problem is somehow with other players. It's not. There is no issue with PvP players or concepts, and there is no issue with builders or peace-loving gamers. That's never been an issue. 6+ years of people struggling to understand what role PvP should have is a tragic example of utterly failed game design. Nothing more. I don't understand why this is hard for some gamers to understand... I'll believe DU has a future when discussions about the merits of PvP stop, because NQ has properly designed it to everyone's satisfaction. In other words, DU doesn't have a future and frankly it never truly did.
  24. Honestly? This game hasn't had a future for a long time... It's been ~7 years of banal debate about PvP -- and when people aren't puzzled about the core concept of this game, they are puzzled by the poor implementation of those concepts! Let's be real: DU is a bad concept and it always was. There was never any cohesive design for how this game would work. On one hand, builders investing thousands of hours on construction. On the other, PvPers that want actual mechanics, politics, and meaning beyond a fancy garden of constructs. In 7 years, they never figured out how this design would work. They still don't know. And even if they did know how to make it all work? They have proven time and time again that they cannot physically change the game enough to get there...that the "foundations" built under JC are made of non-voxel sand. The only thing DU did well was create a vivid canvas in each players' mind. Everyone that bought into the premise filled that canvas with their idea of what DU would be. So many people say that DU had "such great potential". The actual potential they saw had little to do with NQ or DU -- the potential was imagined by gamers based on the concept. That potential was never reflected in reality -- DU never became more than a blank canvas filled by each players' idea of what it might become. It's still that blank canvas, with people saying it has "potential".
  25. how optimistic you are to think that they use try / catch blocks at all. "if the game crashes that's just as good as swallowing the error...either way the exception goes away right?"
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