Draft: Seasonal server


  • Dev Team

    The idea: to launch a separate official server (the second one) where the world will be wiped on a season basis. One season will last, say, for 2-3 months. Each season will contain some unique seasonal content event and some metric attached to it that we will use to generate the leaderboard and season results. We will highlight the best moments during the season.

    How it will look

    When you launch the client (either Steam or web), you choose which world to enter: Persistent World or Seasonal World. This screen will explain the differences and show the date when the current season ends. After this screen, everything else will look like normal.

    How it will work

    Technically the seasonal server will have not only a separate shard DB but also its own intershard DB, and users in-game properties. So it's not just a separate shard, it's a separate server. But it will share the user database with the persistent server, so you don't have to register twice.

    There will be one single shard, or probably two shards: one with 20 CPU limit and one without it.

    Gameplay

    A player starts the season with GCL 1, GPL 0, without credits and code. All these player attributes live their own life on the seasonal server and are not linked with the persistent server. CPU is set according to usual rules: 20 CPU without the subscription, or 20+GCL*10 with the subscription. You can play in both official worlds at the same time. But even if you already have GCL 50 in the persistent world, your GCL will be 1 at the season start (and hence CPU 30), which gives more even playing field for veterans and novices.

    Seasonal event

    This can be a content event like "go there, do that, fight with this thing, gather that thing and gain season score points". It will last during the entire season and will be unique for every season. This will be the primary metric for generating the leaderboard; common GCL and GPL metrics will be either removed or made secondary.

    The season may also have slightly different global rules, like some modified constants, or a different map generator. Along with the event, this will allow for more gameplay variety from season to season, and also will create soft barriers for open-source bots, since they will have to adapt quickly.

    Coverage

    With the seasonal server, we will bring back to life World Reviews format. On every season end, we will write a concluding post of how the season worked out, the final leaderboard, describe highlights of players' activity, probably including some videos.

    During the season, we will be covering the best moments in a new in-game section called Season Chronicle. It will contain a feed of short messages from us with an image/video/replay that will be posted every few days.

    Marketing

    Seasonal server access will be sold separately. There will be an option to either pay for the current single season or buy a Season Pass for the entire year with all seasons included (the pass price will drop gradually during the year). This entrance fee has nothing to do with CPU, it just gives you access to the season.

    Why do we charge for season access when you already bought the game on Steam and/or CPU subscription? For several reasons:

    • This will be a standalone server cluster with its own hardware. You can play in both worlds at the same time.

    • We develop unique content (event, metric) for every season.

    • We provide season coverage via the summary review article, the season chronicle, and make videos. This takes human resources since we have to track what's going on.

    • Such a per-season entrance fee creates some form of barrier to entry, which will allow to filter out uninterested players, open-source bot users, zombies, etc, and create an environment where highly motivated and experienced players fight for rating in a championship setting.

    Survey

    We need some feedback from you to determine our price strategy and how much resources can we allocate to seasonal content creating / coverage, so please take this 5-min survey:

    https://forms.gle/ad2UGuxc9jHwUtZv6



  • I think the question about how long a "season" should last is very much linked with the tickrate. You would want to at least be able get to GCL 5 or 6 within a round and get some RCL8 warfare involved.

    Curious how many players would want to pay separately for this and if that would cover developing "unique content". It's not really different from unofficial community events which tend to only get around 20-30 players.



  • The survey was extremely short and easy, and very non invasive. I recommend everyone with even the tiniest interest to take it.

    I am curious about the one shard being 20 CPU limited. I don't see the reason, as I don't see the need to offer a no sub option. But that's just me.

    I don't have a "lifetime sub." Not because I don't think it's a "good deal"... I certainly would have already "saved money" with it, but because I'm a purist that's heavily invested in online games. I just don't think it's a good idea. Players of online games need the monthly "Skin in the game" of a payment.

    As such, my strategy will probably be to cancel my persistent world sub after a trial run at the Seasonal world (Assuming I like it, of course.) I DO wonder what the response of people that DO have lifetime subs will be.

    The other thing I'm curious about is: "This can be a content event like "go there, do that, fight with this thing... " Where is "There?" Unlike conventional MMOs, Screeps lacks mobility. Will there be special portals to the "Seasonal Challenge Area" that we could send teams of some kind through?



  • I really like the idea! Seasonal is really the best way to play screeps in my opinion. Starting with one room and try to grow as fast as possible is very enjoyable for me.

    I do have the lifetime sub and don’t mind the additional payment to be honest. I would prefer active development and the changes in every season by a wide margin compared to a cheap but stale game.

    I am very exited about this. Hope the majority of players feel the same.

    ☝

  • Dev Team

    @smokeman said in Draft: Seasonal server:

    As such, my strategy will probably be to cancel my persistent world sub after a trial run at the Seasonal world (Assuming I like it, of course.) I DO wonder what the response of people that DO have lifetime subs will be.

    If you cancel your subscription, you will have 20 CPU on the seasonal server. The entrance fee just gives you access, and does not give CPU.


  • SUN

    I like this idea per se.
    But ... I'm not sure I'm going to share my attention between 2 servers with similar gameplay.
    The more 'seasonal server' gameplay differs from the main one, the more likely it makes me interested.

    Thus, my interest in a 'seasonal server' depends on the 'seasonal content'.

    Frankly, I'd love to see a completely new gameplay (in addition to the current Screeps) that differs from the 'territory seizure' conception: like PvP (Screeps Arena) or even some classic RPG (where I control a Hero creep, or a group of Heroes, to achieve some objectives in the MMO world)


  • Dev Team

    @neomatrix Screeps Arena is a completely separate game project, it will be released as another game under Screeps brand.


  • SUN

    @artch Just so: 'a completely separate game project under Screeps brand' sounds much more attractive to me persanally.


  • Dev Team

    @neomatrix They are not mutually exclusive. We're going to launch both Screeps Arena and the seasonal server. Let's discuss here the seasonal server only because Arena is a much more ambitious and long-term plan.



  • I'd participate and would enjoy it. Ocasionally people propose custom rulesets for botarena and SWC and I've never really been a fan, but they're two week events rather than seasonal.

    Ticks per season is going to be an interesting thing to converge on. The ScreepsPlus seasonal server is on ~2.25 million ticks and has two GCL 10 players, one GCL 8, three GCL 7.

    The other non-standard thing to think about is server size. More cramped servers certainly alter Screeps experience - combat is a lot more effective as you need space to harvest. Bigger servers (like the main public one) favour the economy game more.



  • I've been clamoring for these for forever (finally poking ags enough to do it with S+)

    My only complaint is I bought a lifetime sub for the base game that I don't actually enjoy that much because I appreciate the product.. But now I'd have to buy another sub just to play an iteration that I would enjoy?


  • Dev Team

    @shibdib Your lifetime subscription will unlock full CPU on the seasonal server. Entrance fee has nothing to do with CPU, it just gives you access to the season.

    πŸ‘


  • Can a Token be a way to buy into a season?



  • @artch said in Draft: Seasonal server:

    Your lifetime subscription will unlock full CPU on the seasonal server. Entrance fee has nothing to do with CPU, it just gives you access to the season.

    I want to see if I have this right. We have to have bought the base Screeps game, plus also purchase access to the Seasonal server? If you want more than 20 CPU in either the MMO server or the Seasonal server you also need to buy a CPU subscription?

    I am assuming people will need more than 20 CPU to be competitive on the seasonal server, correct?



  • @artch said in Draft: Seasonal server:

    @shibdib Your lifetime subscription will unlock full CPU on the seasonal server. Entrance fee has nothing to do with CPU, it just gives you access to the season.

    So I get full CPU but still have to buy access? So I'm paying twice for the same game (everything you're selling here is already being done on private servers).

    I love the idea of seasonal servers and think they're a long time coming. But that implementation just seems like you're nickle and diming users.



  • I think you're misrepresenting their reasoning.

    Screeps Inc thinks they can serve the communities desire for a flavored seasonal server better than ScreepsPlus can. They've been reluctant to try before now because of the effort involved. An official clone of the ScreepsPlus seasonal server wouldn't really be worth it (and possibly risky optics). If they're going to compete with ScreepsPlus's seasonal server they need to make it better. They've defined better as resurrecting the World Review and adding seasonal flavors. They're checking with the community if they're OK with this. Would you pay for a better version of ScreepsPlus's season server?

    They've been very consistent in their view on the CPU subs. You buy screeps to get access to the client which gives you access to private servers. If the community 3d clients every stabilize you wouldn't even need to do that. The CPU sub is the player paying for time on the Screeps servers whether that MMO or whatever. However Screeps Arena pricing plays out we will not need another CPU sub.

    I think this confusion is partially why they're considering a Screeps Seasonal product. To help everyone grok that we buy the games and server time separately.

    My feelings:

    ScreepsPlus doesn't do flavors. We totally could. Custom leader boards aren't that hard. We could launch a World Review on ScreepsPlus. But we haven't. Would you bump up ScreepsPlus's patreon a bit if AGS agreed to do these things?

    My hopes:

    I'd like Screeps to offer services that don't make sense for the entire community but would work at a premium tier. Nickel and Dimeing? Kinda, but kinda ala cart. I'd love an official Logging and Monitoring feature, but few others do.

    I'd also hope that Screeps Seasonal would add deeper changes or custom API tweaks eventually. ScreepsPlus could alter constants, or crank up the invader rate, etc. But I'd love something like all Swamps are lava and damage creeps and structures. Or a new FLY bodypart. These would be really hard to do well with mods on ScreepsPlus.


  • Dev Team

    @kyralee

    I want to see if I have this right. We have to have bought the base Screeps game, plus also purchase access to the Seasonal server? If you want more than 20 CPU in either the MMO server or the Seasonal server you also need to buy a CPU subscription?

    That's correct.

    I am assuming people will need more than 20 CPU to be competitive on the seasonal server, correct?

    Not sure about this. Probably we can make two shards and two season rating leaderboards - for subscribed and non-subscribed players. But it's not decided yet.


  • Dev Team

    @shibdib Please read the first post in full, it's all explained there including our reasoning for such pricing, see Marketing section. Without this fee, the seasonal server idea will not work.



  • While I generally like the idea of seasonal servers, I don't truly agree with the pricing model right there. Namely, having to pay for both access and cpu sub to be competitive not only sounds like pay-to-win, but also like double dipping to me. It just feels... wrong.

    Here's my ideas on how you could go about this to make it a bit more fair to everyone:

    1. Drop the cpu sub effect on seasonal shards. Leave it to be MMO specific, and allow everyone on the seasonal shards pay for entry, and have a specific cpu limit (say 100 for everyone). This puts everyone on equal footing (isn't that the goal for the seasonal servers?). Adjust the access cost/seasons pass accordingly, if needed.
    2. Keep the sub cpu effect, but create completely separate shards for cpu-unlimited (normal 300 cpu cap) and 20-cpu shard, each with their own, separate leaderboards. This way we'll have equal footing for the subscribers and non-subscribers, leaving them to compete against their equals. Maybe even have separate goals for each of the shards?

  • Dev Team

    @orlet The option 2 is something that we're considering and that I mentioned in the previous post.