Updates to Load Balancing Zones (AKA Pickzone)

Discussion in 'Time Locked Progression Servers' started by RadarX, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. RadarX Community Relations

    Hey everyone!

    There has been a lot of feedback around recent adjustments to load balancing for zones (aka /pickzone). We appreciate everyone sharing their experiences with it thus far. We have additional updates coming, and wanted to take a moment to explain what’s changing and why.

    Load Balancing

    To help with how crowded some zones can get, we have “Load Balancing” tech in many zones on our servers. Once a zone reaches a specific threshold of players, it will spawn another version of itself. The number of players needed to trigger a new load balanced zone is relative to the amount of combatable population in that zone. You will be able to choose which version of the zone you want to enter upon zoning in, or you will be able to use the /pickzone command to choose another version.

    The goal of this is to let people group up with friends while reducing crowding, so players can try to find NPCs and things to kill.

    An unintended byproduct of our previous system unfortunately allowed multiple zone versions -- some of which were under-populated. Keeping these additional instanced zones up until a server is restarted can cause performance and memory issues for all servers. These zones behave differently than normal instances (LDoN, Raid, etc.) because they aren’t designed for it. Normal instances have spikes of activity that can easily reclaim memory reserved for that zone.

    When these full instanced zones are not shutdown, servers require a lot of CPU to constantly update these nearly empty zones of data changes. In addition, these types of zones generally have more internal data than a standard instance and the requirements to keep them running are greater. As a result, it’s important we limit them to ensure performance and additional stability for the game as a whole.

    Updates

    When an instanced version of a zone falls below a predetermined minimum number of players, the zone will lock and players will get a 15-minute warning that the instance is closing. If players are in the zone when it closes, they will be sent to the base version of the zone along with player corpses.

    Testing

    This change is planned to go to the test server on (or around) Wednesday, March 8, 2017. The March update is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Once you’ve had a chance to test the new system, we’d appreciate any feedback you have in the Test Update Note section of the forums!
    Your_Ad_Here and PathToEternity like this.
  2. Kronko Elder

    sweet so i won't see this anymore. i hear he likes Qeynos lately[IMG]
    Your_Ad_Here likes this.
  3. Galleyan Augur

    So I take this to mean we're doubling down on the bad change with no positive adaptations to keep the game enjoyable? Kay.
  4. Fancy Elder

    It sounds like its a necessary evil. Yes it was nice to have three zones with 12 people each instead of one with 36, but we're about to have ldons, and move toward increasingly more and more instanced content, and more zones.

    Picks served their purpose, the main issue this has caused has been the raid mob issues with open world targets which I hope they will take into consideration going forward. Postorms became bad again as soon as this first change was implemented.
  5. Galleyan Augur


    Literally all they have to do is change (as in, drastically lower) the threshold for picks to spawn. If they're going to despawn anyways, who cares? I love how they've been listening to feedback and summarily dismissing all of it (like usual).
  6. Whoops New Member

    I'm not sure I'll be able to test this soon, but I have a few questions. Does:

    mean that if, for example, my group is in Pick 2 and a friend comes to join us, when he initially tries to enter the zone, he'll be able to select Pick 2 without having to zone into the base zone and then /pick to the version we're in?

    Also related, let's say we're in Pick 2, a group member leaves, and the number loss prompts the 15 minute warning of closure. If a replacement party member enters the zone and all other number remain the same, would that stop the countdown since adequate numbers are (in this example) present for the pick to remain open?

    Lastly, does
    mean there's a chance that ratio has been changed at all?
    PathToEternity likes this.
  7. ZappedBoys Lorekeeper

    Being here since Ragefire, its generally always been one step forward and two steps back. I don't like it, but its just how it's been.
  8. Galleyan Augur


    Why do you think I don't trust them to make the right choice and have been Forum Questing for the past two weeks?

    Next TLP will be an absolute disaster zone far worse than RF and LJ were pre-pick (as in, before picks were introduced server wide, I know they were in at launch for noob zones) if they don't adjust to make this change less punitive to the average (non-exploity) player. Adjustments COULD be made which will still create the desired effect of lowering server-load, they just so far have chosen not to listen to their player base.
  9. Stormblossom Journeyman

    Thank you for adding some additional detail about the whys and mentioning population balances will be tweaked. I hope this will get some ongoing adjustment and that edge cases like most popular PLing zones and best TS farms with overlapping use like DS lucid shard/hopper cave for example will get special attention. Also minor tweaks to things like storms minis popping or not. Perhaps some form of trivial loot code that allows quest item drops only from the non raid mobs in AoC spawned locations?
  10. Zipe Journeyman

    Hello,
    So, the "pick zones 3.0" will be the end of private pick zones introduced with "pick zones 2.0"? No more changes?
  11. zekreject Journeyman

    It is good that we get the reasoning behind the pick zone changes. That at least makes the decision more transparent.
    The two key points are:
    1. Can I xp in the zone (in a group) without it being too crowded?
    2. If I am xping in a group, will I get kicked out?

    A negative answer to both these questions means people don't have fun, and instead waste time.

    As a very rough average, a zone will sustain 3 xp groups, so 18 players. So, the magic number to spawn a new pick should be, on average, 18.
    If people are xping in a group, the zone should not despawn. So, magic number to despawn a new pick should be 5 (to build in someone logging, and group continuing to xp until they get a new person).

    Also, it would be good to know the actual numbers for new pick spawn and pick despawn. It helps people to plan much better.

    So, I recommend:
    1. Tell us the magic number for spawning a new instance for each zone.
    2. Tell us the magic number to despawn an existing instance in a zone.
    3. Make magic number for new instance 18 or more
    4. Make magic number for zone despawn 5 or more
    skattabrainz and PathToEternity like this.
  12. Semah Augur

    Every time a pick expires and boots its players, it drops a potential group of camp-evicted snakes on top of a group of potential camp-holding mice. Like a sociology experiment.
    Marek-EQ likes this.
  13. Draekon Elder

    Will there really be THAT many people on test to actually test this? You ask 40-50 people to spawn one pick. Ok maybe those test raiding guilds that live there.
  14. gugabuba New Member


    Hard to imagine how this ancient game can tax even relatively modern servers, but if it does it does and the sociological experiments were already occurring when the server crashed and picks disappeared.

    The magic numbers are key. In several zones the magic number is in the 50s or 60s I believe, and with increases in player power none of these zones can really support that number--most groups take over what would have been 2 or 3 camps back in the day. This is particularly bad in vanilla and kunark when there are very few desirable camps at the top of the level range. Cut the ratio to spawn a pick to 1/2 or 1/3 of current levels.
  15. Gnog Elder

    Thank you for the explanation. It is appreciated. On Phinigel, this change will probably be tolerable for PoP zones, although it would be nice to have lower thresholds for some zones. But it is going to create problems for any new TLP where large numbers of players are trying to level 1-60 because of how misaligned the ZEM tables are for Classic, Kunark, Vel, and Luclin zones. You really need to fix ZEM tables if you're going to stick to your guns on this pickzone change.
  16. AgentofChange Augur


    Does this mean you will actually change the amount of players required to spawn a pick in certain zones? Or is this a flat out lie and you will keep it at the same amount (40-50+)? Right now the required number to spawn a pick is NO WHERE NEAR the "comfortable population in that zone". It's not even remotely close.
  17. Brumans Augur

    Are you lowering the threshold for spawning a pick in common exp zones?

    The ~45 is way too high for most zones. Most zones can only hold 3-4 camps (18-24 people) before the exp runs out. Fixing this will alleviate most of the concerns people had about these changes.
  18. Renshu Lorekeeper

    Will this really fix anything? If the ZEM's are the same, then people will go to the easiest zone. Why deal with dungeons when you can go to an outdoor zone for the same exp? Not saying I disagree, just playing the skeptic role here.
  19. The Hated One Elder

    Instead of spawning say 3 pick zones when a guild runs thru...set the spawn to 1. Then attach a timer to the main....if it remains too high for another say hour...spawn another zone. Find a way that doesn't impact the players in pick 1 or the base. Tossing the players out of pick 1 is NOT what we were sold as instancing when we came to phinny and invested our time and money. Its not just kicking snakes to the base...it is basically telling us your done and don't get to play without dealing with overcrowding...which is what this server was supposed to be about. This change is BS if you dont drop the threshold down to a workable level. As people have previously posted 3-4 goups can hold any pop zone. Some of those groups can be only 3-4 people and all or most of the mobs are dead. Requiring 40-50 folks is not going to fly.
  20. Stench New Member

    You've literally destroyed the low level grouping scene. The main pick (the only instance available) is now dominated by power levelers, so legitimate groups cannot find any mobs to kill. Another pick will not spawn because the zone is not "crowded" and yet its out of mobs. The previous pick implementation is a big part of what made Phini great.... you've now removed that entirely and thus removed a big part of what made Phini great. The only good Phini specific thing left that is good is raiding instances, but you've destroyed grouping. This will destroy the server.

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