Friday, April 17, 2009

CFE: Demigod Piracy Problems

THE BACKGROUND: Game publisher Stardock is a lonely advocate of not treating their customers like criminals and thus doesn't put DRM on their games. While this makes their stuff very easy to pirate, they counteract this by having updates and multiplayer limited to only registered legitimate customers.

Their new game "Demigod" was sold by Gamestop ahead of street date, an event which forced Stardock staff to rush in on Easter to get the server infrastructure up to accomodate players - gee, thanks, Gamestop! - and they immediately detected LOTS of pirated copies attempting to connect and play online, causing legit users to have a very poor experience.

Boss man Brad Wardell has been posting about the piracy problems and an update was featured on Voodoo Extreme which drew some scoffing replies, basically blowing off the explanations for load problems. I replied to these tools:

@Dangerdoggie & anonymousgamedev

Did Brad Wardell steal your girlfriends (yeah, right, like you have them!) or take the last slice of pizza right before you reached for it or what? Your attacks on this update indicate you're either illiterate or so agenda-driven that nothing matters, even if it's facts at issue. "AGD" - more like "anonymouspiratefan" IMO - is particularly dishonest and/or stupid because his scenario requires that no one actually read what Wardell wrote.

Just what the heck is this supposed to mean? - "If those users had bought the game instead of pirating it, they'd have been putting EVEN MORE stress on the servers, and they wouldn't have been able to fix the problem simply by rerouting the legitimate users to a different set of servers."

Now take a look at what Wardell wrote: The infrastructure was designed to handle up to 50,000 of these connections. But on day 0, there were around 140,000 concurrent users of which 18,000 are validated.

For your insane thesis to have the slightest credibility, you would have to assume that a game from a small developer and publisher would be such a blockbuster smash hit that it would attract the COMBINED peak concurrent user load of Counter-Strike, Football Manager 2009, Empire: Total War, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 on its first day. Get that? Demigod would have to steal the whole of Valve's player base to start approaching the mobs who were pounding their servers. That is lunacy! The only dev and title who can draw the crowds you're imagining rhymes with "Wizard's Burled of Boredraft."

Competently run businesses have a good idea of what their best case numbers should be and allocate resources accordingly. This is why Blizzard is able to launch WoW expansions that sell MILLIONS in the first week and absorb the onslaught. Stardock had no reason to expect this sort of traffic because they had a sense of what sort of load they'd be getting and they had more than double the capacity on tap for their legitimate customers. The system only faltered because nearly three times as many users were hitting the servers because of the hordes of pirates gumming up the works.

18,000 paying customers had to suffer because 122,000 thieves - that's a 6.78:1 pirate/customer ratio - messed things up and you have the gall to suggest that it's Stardock's fault for not having the capacity?!? That you then accuse Wardell of lying about the problems is just more outrageous. Stardock employees had to rush into work on Easter because Gamestop broke street date and they had to crank out fixes for the piracy-related loads literally overnight and little Internet snots like you dare call them the liars and attention seekers?

Stardock has been transparent in their dealings with their products. The company trusts the public - for better or worse - to not steal their works and doesn't slather DRM on their products and you seriously think that they wouldn't come out and admit the game outsold their expectations? That's how I really know you're a sack of bovine excrement - what company wouldn't want to boldly proclaim that their product is so popular that it sold three times as much and everyone was trying to play it?

You've got some petty vendetta against Wardell, Stardock, GPG and reality and you've just been served. Buh-bye.
This concludes this Smackdown.

1 comment:

Dirk Belligerent said...

My beef here was with these trolls who were faulting Stardock for not having enough server capacity to accommodate all the w4r3z kiddies.