What is up with shard0? The unfairness of slow ticks.

  • When I started playing, not really knowing the game mechanics, I though shard0 was just slow. That is not necessarily a bad thing, I even though it might have been intentional to provide a more slow paced experience and give more time to react IRL.

    But as I started learning more about the game, with the tick approaching 6s in Shard0 and with some of the recently added features, I realized just how unfair it is for players in slower shards.

    To start with. Technically the CPU subscriptions are 33% less worth for Shard0 since even if you were to just let it pile up in the bucket and convert to pixels, you would end up with 33% less pixels. Conversely, it takes 33% more "resource harvesting power" to be able to afford a subscription in shard0. It also means your GCL and GPL are 33% less valuable.

    If a player from another shard decides to cross the portal to attack shard0, it will not only be able to produce 33% more creeps, but also they will be produced 33% faster and will arrive to the portal 33% faster creating a completely one sided fight.

    So I guess my question is, what is up with shard0?

    • Are there any plans for improving its tick time?
    • Are players encouraged to just leave it?
    • Are there plans to address the unfairness of it? Lets say if subscriptions gave you a certain number of ticks instead of real life time. Make the leaderboard corrected by the number of ticks?
    • Is shard0 on the way to being completely shutdown? I see entire sectors being removed without really an explanation.
    • If shard0 is deprecated, can we expect some sort of migration plan?
    • Finally, I'm just curious if you guys don't mind sharing, what is the underlying technical reason for it being so slow?

    *Assuming the current average of 6s tick duration of shard0 compared to shard1 and shard2 with 4s tick duration.

  • Before there were shards, the MMO was just shard 0. As it was the only map/server it was even larger than it is now, and tick times (If I recall correctly) even longer.

    With the advent of shards, S1 started out small and opened up more but still stayed a smaller size, S2 followed and finally S3 which is CPU restricted and was billed as the non subscriber shard, where everyone was on 20 CPU across the board.

    S0 since then, has had rooms slowly being deactivated in order (I assume) To speed up tick time, including the time when a whole out-side ring was collapsed:


    There were/are some player movements who went around and tried to take out zombie players and clean out S0 rooms, but not sure where that stands now.

    S0 also hosts some of the older players, their codebases. Not sure the exact factors that slow it down, but considering it has 11339 claimable rooms and no CPU cap (so older players have at max, 300) While Say, S3 has 7076 rooms and a 20 CPU cap on everyone, it prob slows it down a bit, even though S3 has way more players.


  • The idea of CPU Unlock fairness brings up a good point. Shard0 is an obvious bad choice for players.

    How about fairly refilling buckets based on time instead of ticks. E.g. every 4 seconds add a player's CPU level to their bucket. Now the Devs target tickrate means something in game.

    This would balance the slow vs fast shards a bit. It would allow shard0 to deliberately remain slow, or possibly slower (does anyone want 8s ticks with ~double available cpu?). This might enable new play styles, without the disadvantage of losing 33% of your CPU Unlock. (E.g. a player on average would pay for Memory serialization less often on a slow shard).

    This would also enable a FAST shard (1 tick/s) without making it cost tremendously more to run for the server. (Per player over head increases, but time executing players' code does not).

    Best of all a change like this is nearly imperceptible to the players' bots. Any bot with enough CPU control to notice will also have enough cpu control to cope; it would appear that Memory serialization is taking more or less cpu.


  • Another aspect I hadn't considered. Resources all spawn based on ticks rather than time.

    This could never change. The regen time is too tightly integrated and optimized in creep builds.

    Regen every 55 hours instead of 50K ticks. Player harvesting would be completely unimpacted, especially since they already have to adjust to different regen amounts. The sticky part is the ticksToRegeneration property, but I don't think a fuzzy value would break anything.

    Deposits and PowerBanks:
    From the player's point of view there is no change. It'd be a bit more work on the backend to convert from ticks to time.

    It's all a little complicated and the result is not perfectly fair. I'd suggest it isn't worth it unless deliberately differing tick rates was going to be a feature of the shards.

  • Basically anything that is shared among shards will be unfair if the ticks are different. More specifically I see 4 things that are affected by the tick speed.

    1. Inter-shard resources like CPU subscriptions, pixels and access keys.
    2. Anything that goes through inter-shard portals.
    3. The leaderboard.
    4. GCL and GPL.

    A fully fair solution would need to fix all 4. If fixed then the like @deft-code said the shard could be much slower and nobody would care much because it is still fair.

    I understand devs might have other priorities, but I think at the very lest then there should be a warning below shard0 about it being discouraged to spawn or settle there, if that is really the case.

  • NO


  • @adeptofnone No what?

  • There is nothing wrong with the so-called "unfairness". Shard0 subscriptions should be increased in price by 37%.


  • Banned

    I can tell you one reason, a lot of the players who bought the game through Steam live there and it benefits them for ticks to be as long as possible. With the recent unannounced change to generatePixel() players can go back to using their cpu just to make the game ticks longer. Be careful asking questions about the game on these forums tho, the @artch has a real ego problem and might threaten you just for asking.


  • @tdxtor said in What is up with shard0? The unfairness of slow ticks.:

    has a real ego problem and might threaten you just for asking

    @tdxtor I share your frustrations but that's unhelpful in the extreme. Knock it off. Let's work to build relations instead of insulting each other.

  • @tdxtor I highly doubt the pixel change has caused the ticks to increase. More than likely this was brought on by the number of players (sitting at 2k from 1700 a few months ago) and the addition of seasonal games.

  • All I asked was a position from the devs. Even if that position was something like: "Shard 0 is not our priority and will never be, we recommend everybody to leave Shard 0 so it can be decommissioned."

    That is what I assume their position is anyway.

  • Shard0 exists near a gravity well and thus time moves slower there.


  • Dev Team

    We will never decommission shard0 since it is an essential part of the game world. However, we don't have any plans to allocate more resources to it in comparison to other shards. Currently they all have similar number of workers, and slow ticks on shard0 is a natural result of its historical difference from other shards. We recommend all players who suffer from slow ticks to migrate to other shards - either via respawning or intershard portals. Other players may find slow ticks beneficial on the contrary. All this information is available on the shards select screen so you can choose carefully.


  • Cleanse the outer rooms! ✊ ⚔ ☢

  • @artch Thanks!

  • @systemparadox Is it true that killing players by the outer layer helps?

  • They previously shrank shard0 to speed up the tick rate. I seem to recall some players graciously respawned and a few players helped with an attack effort to clear the others.

    The current outer rooms are a lot more dense and I don't think it's a high priority at the moment, but I'm pretty sure that they're deliberately avoiding placing respawn zones in the outer areas.

    I am sure that the devs would close blocks of outer rooms if they became empty and eventually shrink the shard again. The inactive rooms and all the portals are a horrible mess and it would be really nice to cleanup shard0 and bring it in line with the other shards.

    As soon as I get some decent combat code I'm going on a crusade!

  • Is it a fair conclusion that competitive play and cleaning out zombies is part of the game design as way to get better tick times?

    This is just a question to better understand the game, not a comment in the form of a question.

  • @kingkong said in What is up with shard0? The unfairness of slow ticks.:

    Is it a fair conclusion that competitive play and cleaning out zombies is part of the game design as way to get better tick times?

    This is just a question to better understand the game, not a comment in the form of a question.

    I'm not really sure it's part of the game design. It just is what it is.