Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
 
First come, first serve?

Yesterday the name reservation for players who pre-ordered Wildstar started. Or rather, it didn't. At least the first two attempts of opening the name reservation failed miserably as the website just crashed. And that happens not only to NCSoft. Blizzard's website for buying Blizzcon tickets had exactly the same problem. Basically by giving things out on a first come, first serve basis you set up your own website for a distributed denial-of-service attack of your own making.

Now I don't consider first come, first serve a particularly fair system. For example the Wildstar name reservation started on a Tuesday at 11 am US time. Why would somebody who is usually at home at 11 am on a Tuesday have more right to his name than somebody who is working regular hours? The Wildstar name reservation system caused a lot of anguish because that reservation isn't server-specific. So the first one to reserve the name "Cupcake" blocks that name on all server (at least on all servers of one region, not sure whether US and EU are linked in that respect). As it is the name went to whoever was lucky with getting a reservation in before the server crashed, or while it was up for a minute later, and presumably people with a faster internet connection had a better chance to get their name reserved than others.

A much better and fairer system would be a lottery. That would work especially well for items like Blizzcon tickets. Everybody who wants a ticket should have a sufficient time period to declare that he wants one, and then the tickets get distributed by lottery among all takers. A modified version of that could also work for name reservation, e.g. everybody writes down a list of his top 3 preferred names, and then every contested name is decided by lottery.

Comments:
Did you get your reservation Tobold?
If not check this video from Fevir : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfWLS-jfcYg
worked great for me.
 
The website worked this morning without a problem. So yes, my name is already reserved.
 
Philosophically, my first reaction to scarcity is economics and so I would have said the most efficient would be auction not lottery.

Practically, the unemployable would melt down if mere money intruded upon the sacred halls of gaming so a lottery is a much better idea.

Kickstarter at least gives the developers more nuance since there can be several products - tiers - rather than limited to regular and CE.

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This gets to a pet peeve of mine. An MMO is quite complex and I see how their could be all sorts of complex cases. But ESO selling a subscription or WS reserving a name is predictable and less complex to test. IMO, these OOG things should be more reliable.
 
I would take option three, which is a system that allows for non-unique character names, like the player handles of STO, and ESO.
 
Leaving aside the practical considerations of how well the infrastructure can cope, why on earth does name allocation in a video game need to be 'fair'? Almost nothing else in the process takes account of fairness. Why should this be the exception?
 
If you can be fair *and* have a less technically awful system by doing a lottery, why wouldn't you?
 
Are names global?
I didn't see any mention of a server during the reservation.
 
Yes, name reservation is at least regional, if not global.
 
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