Ascension Postmortem

First off, I apologize for this coming this late. I was out of town this last week and I spent all day Sunday driving home (~17.5 hours) and didn’t have access to post this sooner.

There are a couple of things I want to address. First off, both Aonia and I have been reading both the forums and the feedback/PVP-discussion channels on Discord. A big thank you to those of you that expressed disappointment and criticism without resorting to abuse and insults. We do value your input here and we are hearing you. We want you to know that we will never want you to hold back criticisms, disappointments or anything as long as it is done like this, without the abuse and insults. So earnestly, to those of you that did so, thank you again for that.

This Ascension proved to overall, be much more competitive than the past few years. Each event had more people participating, had leads change consistently, and felt like either side would take it at any time. We had over 100 players participate in the final Ascension, which is the most I’ve personally seen in a long time.

We, unfortunately, did not anticipate the extreme amount of lag that occurred. We realized that lag could be an issue, and made several changes – including delaying the start of the event to apply what hotfixes we could – but not to the extent that it was. This is entirely on us and we are taking full responsibility. It is unacceptable that it occurred and it was a failing on our part.

Here are a few things we are working on to help reduce lag in the future.

1) Adjust GMCP – we’re looking at how we send GMCP messages and attempting to optimize how it is built and sent to players.

  • We may additionally add ‘opt-in’ parameters for GMCP which will limit how much information is being sent. Details on this are not fully worked out and may not be needed, but it’s something under consideration.

2) SSC curing optimization – Something we’ve already started, but we have a mortal coder working on SSC optimizations to speed up how that works.

  • We’re also looking at beast focusing here, and that may result in changes to how it interacts with SSC.

3) More caching – One of the things I did while implementing the BODYSCAN EXPERIENCE report was to cache the value and only calculate it when needed. This will reduce the number of calculations done considerably and speed things up. The XP cache likely has little impact on something like Ascension but moving towards this model will help things overall. Things like prestige, resists, buffs, etc are all recalculated every time they’re used so moving towards more caching will reduce that significantly.

4) Target and refactor any particularly slow things. This is something that will be ongoing and while we have a few initial things to look at such as a few issues with beasts. This will be ongoing.

5) We are investigating our servers to ensure that no problems are originating from them in addition to our codebase.

What I do promise to do moving forward with both myself and anyone else that’s working on code is to make speed a priority, especially as they pertain to PVP and large scale events.

We recognize that whilst addressing the lag problems is the most important thing, we also believe that it is vital that we make recompense to the people who lost this Ascension. Apologies made only in words are less powerful than those that come in the form of action.

To this end, we have been in discussion with both Parhelion and Ixion regarding the matter. It has been agreed between us, and all parties, that the fairest thing to do is to raise Ixion as a True Ascendant in addition to Parhelion. We will hold an event this coming Saturday, 18th July, wherein he will receive this in an in-character manner.

We hope that in conjunction with the work we are doing to reduce lag in the future, this will address the very valid concerns and feelings that were brought to us, as well as ensuring that the incredible amount of work that went into the contest is not wasted due to something out of everyone’s control.

With sincere apologies,

Aonia and Orael