Friday, March 20, 2015

Prepare for Migration to New San Paro World Servers

In our last post, we talked about how we plan to make your APB experience run more smoothly by upgrading the district server hardware to the latest generation technology. Today we'll share our plans to address your calls for server merges, how that fits with the console release, and what you can expect during this process.

Migration Considerations

Two critical factors that affect your gameplay quality are latency (ping time) and population size. Lower ping times mean more responsive combat and driving mechanics (not to mention the separate projected currently underway to change the entire matchmaking system).

Generally higher population size on its own also helps improve matchmaking and creates more vibrant social interactions. Having more servers throughout the world reduces latency for some players by reducing their physical distance, but that comes at the expense of server population size. Our new design should strike a reasonable balance between the two.

First, our new World Server hardware allows us to effectively double the capacity of the original World Servers, which avoids the need now and in the future to have multiple "worlds" in any one location.

Second, APB:R currently has 5 distinct 'worlds' - Colby (US West), Joker (US East), Obeya (EU1), Patriot (EU2), and Han (Asia). After analyzing millions of player data including connection quality, feedback, and even social patterns, we concluded that running 5 worlds overly limits the kinds of social interaction that the APB community thrives on. By combining these into 3 larger servers, we effectively double the population size of each and open up a massive number of potential new connections between characters - by 2,253,728,674,140 in the EU to be exact.

One "World" per continent, per platform.

The plan for the PC game is to construct two new high-capacity, high-performance centrally located world servers for PC, one in the US and one in the EU. In the EU, Obeya and Patriot will be combined into a single world that will remain in Frankfurt, Germany but hosted on the new hardware. Likewise in the US, Colby and Joker will be combined into a new world that will now be based in Dallas, TX. Han (the Asian world) will live either in Singapore or Sydney, and there is still a fierce debate about the best location for that world. 

These new world servers will be both larger and faster than the current ones, with the US server to be hosted on the Softlayer platform outlined in the previous post, and the EU server to run on a combination of Softlayer and the same type of blade servers that outperform even the Overkill servers.

Since the Han server exclusively serves the entire Asia region, we do not plan to make significant changes to it in the near future.

What Should You Expect?

The migration schedule to the New Worlds is as follows:
  • EU - April 22nd
  • US - May 6th
Character Names: Two characters on the combining servers might have the same name. Whenever this occurs, we will choose which character has priority to keep the name. This will be based on: total play time, last login time and character age. Any character that is not given priority will instead be given a free name change option.

So be sure to login and play on your characters over the next 30 days, especially ones that you haven't played on in a while. While we cannot guarantee naming priority, doing so will improve your odds. We will be sending email notifications shortly to make sure most players have received at least a 30 day warning prior to the upcoming New World Migration.

Clan Names: Like characters, clans names might also conflict during the merge. Should this happen, we will give priority to the clan based on its size and the total playtime/recent activity/age of its members. Clans that are not given priority will have their names slightly modified, and the clan leader can submit a ticket to request a new name.

World Names: While we like the current names (Colby, Joker etc.) we are open to calling the new worlds by new names. Any name suggestions would be greatly appreciated on the forums (you can visit the forums here).

Console Worlds

Along with the new location for the PC Worlds in Dallas and Frankfurt, each of those two locations will also host 2 new World Servers dedicated to the Console version, for a total of 6 World servers; Dallas-PC, Dallas-X1, Dallas-PS4, and Frankfurt-PC, Frankfurt-X1, Frankfurt-PS4 (each of those of course need brand new names as well).

We look forward to bringing you more details as we get closer to the live migration start, but in the meantime, stay connected and simply play APB Reloaded to cement your claim to any existing character and clan names.