A couple of years ago I bought an ARPG called Last Epoch (which was in early access). 4hrs in I decided it wasn’t really my thing. The graphics were a bit too colourful and cartoony for my liking and at that time I was really just looking forward to Diablo IV launching.
Fast forward and the game is set to officially launch in 2 days from now.
Last weekend I bought another game called Helldivers 2 and sadly, even though the game was 11 days into launch, their servers melted and the majority of players who bought the game can’t get on to play. Seeing the frustration (understatement as some people are VERY angry) on the Helldivers 2 subreddit, and seeing the game review bombed on Steam I thought I’d hop on the Last Epoch subreddit to ask if we should expect the servers to melt on launch. Amazingly I got this response from Judd, the game director for Last Epoch and founder of Eleventh Hour Games:
We’ve scale tested for months with third parties, consultants, the help of infra providers, and our own backend team. We have the ability to scale servers quickly, have reserved a large amount of bare metal machines, and do not have a maximum spend for cloud overflow- it’s all elastic. From the extensive testing we’ve done, unless we do have a really crazy turnout, we should be stable. It’s not lost on us that many much larger companies than us have had issues at launch though… We’re optimistic and if there are issues it certainly won’t be for lack of effort, spend, or ignorance to the importance of launch day.
If we do have issues I promise that we’ll stay very communicative and you can be 100% certain we’ll be all hands on deck working to resolve anything that comes up. We understand what’s on the line.
I will say that this is probably the most stressing thing to team as we’ve seen games be review bombed and eviscerated when there are launch issues. I remember being frustrated when games I was excited for had launch issues in the past, but now being on the other side of it I’ve seen how much of an emotional toll it can take on a team to face hatred for something that people have tried hard to prepare for but it not be received/gone well despite best efforts. Just in general I think it’s a good thing for the gaming community to understand the impact those types of things have on development teams. That’s not me asking for leniency for our team, just rather an insight I feel worth sharing for gamers in general.
Another thing I’ll share because it’s interesting and something I didn’t understand before being in game development before LE – it’s nearly never the game servers that have issues at launch as those are easy to scale as long as you have the funds and willingness to pay the server providers (typically Google or Amazon), it’s more often an issue with services like login/authentication/database rate limiting. We use Steam and other services that are battle tested at scale for these things.
But, in summary, we’ve prepared heavily and have every reason to suspect we’ll be in good shape come launch day. If there are issues we’ll be communicative and working to address anything that comes up immediately.
Thanks all, sorry for the long post here.
Now that’s how you do community! What a response. If you watch the video above you’ll note that this game started as a post on reddit. I’m pretty excited to play the game now knowing that the devs have clearly been working with the community to develop this game.
EDIT: Launch day was today (4am Sydney time) and the game was down for 6hrs (though you could play it in offline mode if you chose to). I managed to log in at 11am or so and have played for most of the day without any issues at all! Awesome work by the devs. Here’s a day 1 recap from Judd the game director/founder: https://www.reddit.com/r/LastEpoch/comments/1awz34h/launch_day_recap_from_game_directorfounder/
EDIT 2. My reddit post made the news!