Sea of Thieves

AnchorWax: How Rare Should Solve Networking Issues (AlmondBeard)

SOT E3 2016 Desktop 1 1920x1080 1024x576 - AnchorWax: How Rare Should Solve Networking Issues (AlmondBeard)
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It's happened to all of us; you're playing the game, sailing along happily on your boat when outside in the real world some bird sits on the wrong wire and your connection to the server breaks just long enough to get the dreaded AlmondBeard message.

Obviously Rare cannot account for physical infrastructure issues, but they can allow players to continue their previous session. Over the past few weeks, I've thought about how this might work in the game that makes it fair for everyone involved without breaking the game or turning this into some kind of exploit. I've posted this elsewhere, but I thought it deserved its own post.

Single Player Session

When the server detects a non-voluntary disconnect by the last player on a vessel:

  • The player's character immediately dies.
  • The vessel's anchor automatically drops. This prevents the ship from crashing into a rock or sailing off the edge of the map.
  • The vessel remains unguarded and could be sunken and stolen from by any other crew that is lucky enough to come across it.

When the player's connection is re-established within a reasonable about of time (12 min / half a game-day?)

  • They are prompted when the game starts "You are rejoining your last session. Continue?"
  • They spawn on the Ferry of the Damned with the door already open.

If the user does not reconnect within a reasonable amount of time, or if a player chooses not to continue their last session:

  • The ship auto-scuttles and their slot on the server is made available.
  • Their loot floats as if sunk
  • They receive no prompts at the client

Multiplayer Session

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When the server detects a non-voluntary disconnect by a player on a multiplayer crew:

  • The player's character immediately dies.
  • Their spot is reserved on the crew and still appears on the crew list.

When the player's connection is re-established within a reasonable about of time (12 min / half a game-day?)

  • They are prompted when the game starts "You are rejoining your last session. Continue?"
  • They spawn on the Ferry of the Damned with the door already open.
Read:  Considering time in SoT mechanics.

If the user does not reconnect within a reasonable amount of time, or if a player chooses not to continue their last session:

  • Their slot on the crew is made available.

Other notes:

  • An involuntary disconnect would be any time a player disconnects from a server without shutting down the application. Upon normal exit, the client will need to formally close the session in the background (if this doesn't already occur)
  • To prevent hackers simply hopping on to Rare's servers and taking up slots for no reason, this should only be available to folks who have been active on the server for at least one game day and have an active voyage; something to that effect. Open to discussion below.

TLDR;

In a nutshell, the game effectively treats player networking failures as if the player anchored their ship, died, and has been AFK for a while on the Ferry of the Damned.


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