Night capping and region locked servers

Imagine the scene: You are asleep in bed when your alarm goes off. Blinking, you eye the clock blearily. It’s 3am. You jump out of bed, grab a tea/coffee, and head for the computer. When you log on and get voice chat going, you hear equally sleepy voices (and the one dude who sounds ultra awake at 3am, maybe he doesn’t need sleep) but they’re excited. Your raid gathers together at the agreed spot, maybe other guilds in your alliance are trickling in as well. Everyone is excited, because there’s still a pyjama party cool about being part of an alarm clock raid. You’re proud that your guild has managed to field two whole groups of crazy alarm clock raiders to the raid and hope the organisers take note. When you head out into the PvP area, it’s still dark outside. You make a clean sweep through undefended keeps/forts/waypoints and end up colouring the map whatever colour your alliance prefers.

It was cool, kind of exciting despite the lack of opposition, and you can’t wait to see how the other factions respond when they log in to see you’ve taken all the capture points.

So: Cool tactic? Standard tactic? Exploit?

There have been enough complaints in GW2 about ‘night time’ raids in WvW for the developers to start a new thread just to say that they see it as a valid tactic, one that is inevitable when people from different time zones play together, and players should learn to live with it. Which means not complaining that its easier for guilds in some time zones to capture WvW points because of lack of defence. Instead maybe try to lure some guilds in those time zones to play on your server instead, or just try not to stress over it. I haven’t really seen any complaints about this from EU servers yet, it seems to mostly be propelled from the US side and driven by the perception that the majority of Aussie guilds ended up on one server, which now had the advantage of the night time population.

But mostly it makes me wonder why they split the servers regionally in the first place. Because it would be easier for players to even up the time zones for guilds on their server if half the ‘night time’ guilds weren’t on different servers by design.

14 thoughts on “Night capping and region locked servers

  1. > But mostly it makes me wonder why they split the servers
    > regionally in the first place.

    Because of lag.

    > Because it would be easier for players to even up the time zones
    > for guilds on their server if half the ‘night time’ guilds weren’t
    > on different servers by design.

    Only for English spoken servers. It would probably completely destroy the German servers. Don’t know about French and Spanish Servers as they don’t exist in the NA data center but those languages are spoken in NA. I wonder where they prefer to play.

  2. They could set up different servers not for regions but for peak times. Say that Server 1 has peak time from 18:00-21:00 EU time. The PvP zones are capturable only in this time.
    The next server is 20:00-23:00 EU time. If you prefer that, play there.
    The next is 22:00-1:00 and so on. There are servers for every timezones.

    • And if my hours to play change from one day to the others ? If I want to connect and play whenever I want ? Restricting time-to-play is the worst solution !

  3. Don’t think I’d be ever convinced to get up to go raid WvW uncontested at night. The first time Piken Square took on Vabbi and Ring of Fire for a week, it seemed like the three factions had different non-overlapping prime-times, RoF during the day, then Piken in the evening and then Vabbi took over during the night. This time Ring of Fire is active at all hours and I’d say there was some mass migrations to give a completely different picture this time around. Don’t particularly want to fight RoF again, so they are welcome to their newfound success, hopefully we get Vabbi and Whiteside next time, unless the two newbie german servers pick up some more momentum. So things are still fairly in a state of flux.

    Was thinking of a prime-time system like Gevlon, but with the points racking up at half the rate for 16 hours out of the day, but settling on primetime and still having enough servers to match up probably wouldn’t work well in practice. One of the reasons why a french server is on top in Europe is because they have a large french-canadian population. I’d be more inclined to wait til they stop free transfer, there is likely too much ship-jumping going on at the moment, then implement the scaling gem cost for server transfers but with transfer being free to low population servers instead of the 600 gems they originally stated, and go from there.

  4. The big negative from night capping is that no one wants to pay the huge cost to upgrade defenses on anything except for maybe garrison, because they know that come night time, all the upgrades will have been a waste. Guild aren’t worried about claiming anything because it is only going to last for at most, one day.

    Personally, I value my sleep so if these guys want to give up their nights just to be able to claim keeps when there is ZERO challenge, then they can help themselves.

  5. Language. Latency. Retailer expectations. Price/currency differential for the cash store. I suspect a combination of those reasons might be why GW2 has specifically EU servers.

    The rest of the world is quite happily lumped in with the NA servers. I’d be happier if it were like GW1 and allowed for freely swapping between all ‘districts’ ( but I guess the model doesn’t work for GW2, given the whole server vs server design and how buggy their cross-server parties/guilds already seem to be.

    Honestly, I think the issue is less that of lack of defense due to people asleep, but a lot more about morale. It’s exceptionally hard to encourage people to hold and defend, without an organized guild distributing roles and responsibility. Even in games like TF2, most people don’t bother defending. In WvW, there’s no real in-game reward for it. It’s actually a toll due to siege weapon costs, repair bills and it’s mostly either boring (no one comes) or demoralizing (too many people start knocking on your gate/walls.)

    There’s very little chance of an underdog victory – you can hold off an unorganized zerg who didn’t bring siege with siege indefinitely, but pretty much the only way to temporarily clear an organized attacking zerg with siege is to ram them from the back/sides with another zerg, or have enough inside to jump out and wipe them. And they’ll be back to try again, unless you can distract them with something else happening on another front.

    People steadily start to bail and desert like rats from a sinking ship because they see no hope of victory, and the inevitable happens. The main counter is an inspirational leader who rallies up enough morale to keep pressing on. And hopefully, ArenaNet might tweak things down the road to encourage more defenders.

    Funny anecdote. Same timezone play from one day to the next. One day there was practically no resistance at the keeps/towers – just disorganized defenders who got mowed down, the other day there were way too freaking many. The difference? A guild leader-commander from the opposing team apparently took a day off to have a break. Leadership is a big deal in WvW.

  6. Completely normal null sec tactic in EVE, with its single shard for non-Chinese customers.

    In fact, part of sizing up your opposition is determining how strong you are versus them in the three key timezones, EU, US, and AU. Right now the CFC is slowed down in the war in Tribute because NC has a much stronger presence in AU TZ and has been using that advantage well. The last couple weeks of the war has been kind of dull for me, because timers and ops all seem to be happening in EU TZ when I am at work or AU TZ when I am asleep.

  7. I think this issue is a specific form of the more general defender’s dilemma. The defender has to keep defending at all times, and in all potential places which could be attacked, while the attacker gets to chose where and when the attack takes place.

    In real life, because travel time and logistics matter, the attacker is constrained in what she can attack, and the defender can guess at what the target is from the attacker’s current position and trajectory, if the defender discovers that intel. However, most games aren’t willing to make movement that important (because just moving is pretty boring) and so all the power swings to the attacker.

    I think Eve gets around the problem by having potential targets go vulnerable for specific windows, so both the attacker and defender know when the battle will be.

  8. The reason they allow this is because WvW isn’t balanced. If they didn’t allow nighttime raids, one side would simply take and keep everything, nothing would ever change hands.

  9. Locked server regions are one of the most horrible things you can do to an online game. There is absolutely no excuse for it, except for “we can gouge more money out of customers in region X that way”. Language and latency are no excuses. Never. Latency is easily solved by advertising “suggested” servers for each region, without completely locking you out. When it comes to the language argument, I don’t even understand it. English is spoken world-wide. German (insert other languages here) is not, but why would you specifically lock out, for example, those Germans who live on a different continent, permanently or for some time? Or those people who learned enough German to get by and would like to practice it that way? What about people moving from one continent to another?

    Locking by region means artificially creating borders taken from the real world into your game world, where the whole pretense should be that everybody can play with everybody, regardless where they live. Isn’t this one of the main fascinations about online games, after all?

    Sorry I’m ranting so much about that point, but as someone who has moved intercontinentally before and knows enough people who also have, we have been fucked over before by arbitrary regional locks. It really sucks when the “get up at 3am” routine in your example suddenly becomes inevitable if that happens to be your old region’s prime time.

    • Yeah, I agree language isn’t an issue. There are plenty of single language guilds on WoW EU English servers for example (like one of the top raid guilds is all Finnish).

      I think people miss the downside of being stuck in off hours which is that you tend to miss a lot of the cool exciting big events (if the game has any), which is kind of miserable. When I played MUSHes, we had to get up at 3am for most of the big RP events, so I hear what you’re saying. It sucks.

    • I completely share your sentiment about hard region locks on servers, especially in the case of things like TERA, which completely lock people out based on their IP addresses.

      But please don’t aim it at GW2: EU players can play on NA servers if they want, and vice versa, they just need to select the world and transfer. From the wording on their website, I suspect the biggest reason they have EU servers is a lot about “supporting their local retail partners,” the rest of the stuff about language, customer support and optimal datacenters is making it sound nicer for the consumer.

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