Guide: How an alpha server works.

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Guide: How an alpha server works.

Post#1 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:23 pm

This topic will serve to clarify for new users and some old ones certain facts about playing on an alpha server for a game that no longer has official servers.


This server does not use the original game server code, and thus is feature-incomplete and will have bugs.

This should be pretty obvious. The server code is being rewritten from scratch, with no knowledge or documentation of the original Warhammer protocol besides some packet logs. Therefore, there are going to be bugs and issues.

Some of the bugs are crippling and difficult to fix.

The most obvious example of what I'm talking about here is the group/warband crash issue, which can take out entire warbands at a time when it happens. This is a problem with lack of understanding of the protocol, and it takes significant time and an element of luck to figure out the actual method for accomplishing a given task. For those who are uninitiated - we need to figure out the right information to send to the client, in the right order, at the right times, based on analysis of the original server's communication, which just looks like a string of bytes. This is not a simple task.

Do not assume that you know more than the developers about what they should be doing.

All of the staff play the game, and by this I don't mean that they flit around for five minutes every week on a God-character they never had to level. I mean that they actually play the game. Not only that, they have access to the code and knowledge about the exact difficulty or potential for fixing an issue, and who in the team is best placed to deal with the task. This means that unsolicited community suggestions on what the team's priority list should be for fixing issues are completely unwelcome, and will be taken as an insult if provided. Topics based around "just telling" us about issues which are completely obvious and of which you know well that we are aware will similarly be treated with disdain.

Nothing that you earn on this server is guaranteed.

While we strive to minimize issues, the fact remains that you, and all of us, play on a development server and represent if not the first, then the second line of testing. This means that the playerbase are occasionally exposed to destructive bugs. Accordingly, we guarantee nothing. We reserve the right to wipe any type of progress should the need arise, and we have a general policy of not restoring losses that occur due to issues, as our primary mission is to restore the game.

Development and Direction

We are not Mythic, this is not Age of Reckoning.

Understanding this is fundamental. The RoR project may have begun as an attempt to restore Warhammer to the 1.4.8 state, but since its genesis, the aims of the project have shifted. The aim here is now to improve upon the original game. We aim to remain true to the core of the game - its combat design, its realm versus realm ideals and campaign design, etc. We will, however, be making modifications to the balance of classes, any mechanics which do not accomplish their intended purpose (for example, objective-based scenarios), to the strategic and tactical side of the RvR campaign and any other elements that we judge to be underperforming and requiring change.

This is a process in which we generally, but not always, involve the community. As the driving forces behind the game's resurrection, we reserve the right to make such changes without consultation, while almost always attempting to avoid doing so.

Nothing that existed on live matters unless you can justify it.

In other words: we consider mechanics that existed in 1.4.8 Age of Reckoning based upon their own merits. They do not have any inherent superiority over any other idea simply because they existed in the live game. This means that statements like "It wasn't like that on live" or "It wasn't broken, don't fix it" without qualification, when made about a particular mechanic or concept that you know we altered from live, are not welcome and will be disregarded. Elements of Age of Reckoning which were strong and worked well can easily be defended and would not come up for change in any case.

The server is development first, player experience second.

This is a necessary compromise when dealing with a development server that is also public. The server will go through experimental states, whether this is because of a mechanic change or an attempt to fix a particular bug. In these transitional states, you can expect frequent restarts, gameplay issues and other detriments to the game experience. You are expected to understand that these are a necessary part of the server's progression, and that complaints about them are not welcome.

Alpha servers are not for everyone. Personally, I believe RoR maintains a high standard, and is playable the vast majority of the time. If the state of the server is too much for you, then you're welcome to come back when you feel the server has advanced sufficiently for your tastes.

You are testers first, players second.

This is an extension of the above. What players give back, so to speak, for playing here is respect for the staff, respect for the necessities of development and our experiments in direction, and their time as reporters of issues and bugs, in the correct location (the bugtracker), following the correct protocol. The vast majority of people will likely not do this, but this does not change the nature of the arrangement.

This also means that players who come to the server and conceal beneficial bugs for their own exploitation will be considered as less than dirt, as they have violated the above. Anyone of this nature is not welcome on this server.

We do NOT and in fact CANNOT take donations.

Warhammer Online is not our intellectual property. Because of this, we will not allow any assistance to come in from the community, whether direct or through any kind of attempted loophole (trust me - we've heard them all before). Any donation would be a risk to the existence of the project.


We are under no obligation to be unconditionally nice.

This one is exactly as it says. Meet us with respect and we'll meet you with respect. Disrespect us and we will respond in kind. As the staff are not beholden to anyone but each other, they reserve the right to respond to players in whatever manner they feel the player to be deserving of, within the limits of what other staff feel to be appropriate.

Your opinion on development issues matters only as far as you can justify it.

Return of Reckoning is not a democracy. The staff make themselves available to the community on the forums for feedback and ideas, but this arrangement comes with a simple, unspoken rule: your feedback and opinions matter only as far as you can justify them. In other words, we don't care about your opinion on development choices, in and of itself, unless we specifically asked for it. We care about the reasons behind that opinion, which will allow us to determine if you're worth listening to.

Stating that X is bad is absolutely worthless feedback for us. It won't even work for you as a pressure tactic, because we will ignore unsupported feedback no matter how many people post it. Conversely, stating that X is bad and then delivering a list of reasons and arguments for why this is the case is useful to us and we will take that feedback on board.

Our forums and setup are designed to reward the kinds of people who are able to justify their opinion and will help us to listen to them by supporting their thoughts with evidence and argument. Those who are used to posting one-liners and unsupported drivel will find this forum to be a very hostile place where they are not listened to by the staff.


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