(edit: removed some superfluous text that was not important to read)
Obviously, the problem with things like the recent 9-4 battle is the number of people. There’s no amount of server horsepower in the world that can keep up on a single node when you’ve got >5000 people in a system.
In all cases, the issue here is not scale-up but scale-out. They’ve scaled up as much as they can with some truly boner-inspiring servers… now we need to scale out.
In a nutshell, this means distributing the battle. Multiple grids. Distributed concurrent objectives. Each objective by itself not enough to ensure the battle is a foregone conclusion (save for the citadel fight itself), but together becoming important cogs of the fight.
Consider the following game mechanic for a citadel. All control points are off-grid and in different quadrants of the system (which could be run on separate nodes - this is where the coding comes in).
The Repair timer would work exactly like it does now, the DPS cap would work the same as it does now.
- A “Repair control point” in system capable of dramatically slowing the repair timer. A significant amount… 3-4x the duration if the attackers control it. No effect for defenders controlling it, save for having a “normal” repair time. This is because I think that shorter than current would be detrimental to game play. If the default duration were made longer this would allow for defenders to shorten the timer.
- A “DPS control point” in system . EDIT: The defenders controlling would reduce the max cap and increase the minimum cap (required to pause the timer). The attackers controlling would reduce the min cap and increase the max cap. Net result, attackers controlling can keep it paused easier and kill it easier, defenders controlling makes it harder to keep it paused and kill
- A “CIC control point” (command information center) providing the controllers of the node with a system-wide beneficial phenomena. Say for example a 10% increase to shield, armor, and hull HP.
The net result of this is that all of the “control points” become optional. You can ignore them. But you won’t want to. Small fights are unaffected because all of the objectives are optional. The larger the forces are, the more they’ll be able to spread out to take control of the objectives and influence the battle in a meaningful way.
You’ll obviously have attackers and defenders hitting the structure itself. This ultimately means that in the case of a 9-4 situation, you’ll have 4 major battles happening instead of 1. That “5000 person problem” just got reduced to a “1250 person problem”. Given that computational problems are compounding, this could be a HUGE boon for the fight… you might still have TiDi but you can reduce the harmful effects dramatically (like people who couldn’t reload their guns for 20 minutes, or people who spent 30 minutes trying to log back in after they got DC’d).
The design intent is to have each of the 3 control points provide an extremely useful but not essential bonus, with each bonus being desirable but not essential. None should be inherently more desirable than any other, and each should be balanced according to their impact to the fight. The exact numbers I used were an example.
EDIT #3: The phenomina effect would be based on tether rights. If you can tether, you are a “defender”. If you cannot tether, you are an “attacker”. Even if a third party is in just shooting anything, they’d be considered attackers as they’d be liable to also shoot the structure.