March 13, 2015
AQW Server Rewrite Update
Server Rewrite Progress Report: On Schedule
Alongside the weekly release updates and the other backend projects we're working on, Yorumi is making great progress on the server rewrite. He's currently working on porting over the combat system, and is about halfway through.
"While I'm porting over the combat system, we're looking at ways we can improve gameplay and increase the FUN once we hit Phase 2. Ideas include a 5th Class skill (which would probably unlock at rank 7 or 8), and either moving the Auto-attack or making it happen on the spacebar. We also want to add in monster SKILLS in Phase 1 if possible."
The rewrite opens up so many options for gameplay and fun that we are like kids in a candy store! Right now, we are about 2 weeks away from the staff-only test of the new combat system. We are still on track for SRV 0.8 (the player live-test PTR) to begin in September.
Server Rewrite Progress Chart
So that we all have a clear idea of where the server rewrite progress is at, we'll use server rewrite version numbering (SRV) and phases.
Phase 1: Porting the existing game over to proprietary server software (that we built ourselves. This is what Oversoul currently runs on).
- SRV 0 - research begins
- SRV 0.01 - server architecture meeting with Zhoom
- SRV 0.0015 - map and characters loading
- SRV 0.00175 - stat system
- SRV 0.00190 - 75% of new combat system ported over
- SRV 0.02 - staff-only test of new combat system
- SRV 0.6 - full working Alpha stage
- SRV 0.8 - player live-test on PTR
- SRV 1.0 - full launch of Server Rewrite, Phase 1
New Server Improvements and Defense
In addition to the new gameplay functionality and lag decreases we expect to add and see, we're also building the new servers with an eye towards improved stability and defense. We plan to add in additional anti-botting methods, for example.
Protecting our servers and making sure we aren't introducing any new vulnerabiities or exploits is one of the most IMPORTANT things we can do while rebuilding the server. To that end, Zhoom, Captain Rhubarb, and Yorumi are combing through the code with a fine-toothed comb.
Additionally, we have a super-group of ex-hackers (aka "the whitehats"*) who have been helping us for over a year now. Individually, some of these talented coders have been sending us exploit reports for over 5 years. These team members have the coding skill and knowledge to detect old issues and check for new ones, then suggest fixes and workarounds.
Like any other team member, they will never ask you for your password or login information. They cannot affect or access your account, and like all AE team members, they will tell you to take any account issues to the Help Pages, where Player Support will work with you to fix them.
These whitehats are using all the tricks and tools and knowledge that ordinary hackers use to attack our game, but the difference is, our whitehats are working alongside the devs to help PROTECT the game. That makes them part of the good guys, and we are lucky to have them on our side!
* Wikipedia says: "The term "white hat" in Internet slang refers to an ethical computer hacker who specializes in testing to ensure the security of an organization's information systems."
Artix Entertainment: The Good Guys
Artix often says that in the real world, he's a lot like Artix the Paladin NPC. He's a genuine, real-life good guy, and that's the way Artix Entertainment operates as a company. Though we have been battling hackers and private server creators for years, we would never "take revenge" through illegal or unethical means.
That means we do not lie, cheat, threaten, or attack the hackers/private server makers (via DDoS attacks or similar methods). And we would never ask any of our players or team members to do those things for us.
Any action we take (and we have taken action in the past) is always through legal channels. That's what being a "good guy" means - operating aboveboard, doing the right thing in the right way.