Thursday, February 23, 2012

Server Issues

Currently at the moment I am working on our new server and the other owner is dealing with the original server. I thought I would talk about server problems what we have had with our original server.

So when we first had the server we ran like a charm. We got to the point we had to double the number of slots we had from ten to 20 but that is when the issues started and the realisation that our server provider where a group of headless chickens. We have now changed out server provider and currently at this moment in time it is running just how it should.

But yes back to the story of our hair pulling. It started when we upgraded our slots in Dec 2011 from ten slots to 20. We started to get slight lag, it would always happen at a set time in the day. It did not matter about the number of players or where abouts in the game they where. It got to around 130% CPU usage around 12GMT-1am GMT the time when most European players where still logged on and Americans where starting to log on. So at this point we put our first ticket in.

Few days later we were replied to and told to check all our pluggins and make sure that our world was not corrupt. They also stated to take a few of our addons off totally as they where out of date and no longer updated. We checked our pluggins and checked to see if the map was corrupt and nothing had changed.

We put another ticket in. By the way we did also use a live support but they are no use as they just tell you to ticket. By the end of this very frustrating story we come to believe there is no use for the lemmings on the phone/live support system.

After two weeks of tickets going back and forth with them saying it was our issues and we had to re-check and re-check and my eyes are not get the point. It was in January 2012, still asking the server company if they will come onto our server and look at the stupid lag which had not grown so bad it was unplayable and our CPU was +90%  24 hours a day now.  It took around a week for a support team to finally come on and have a look. He them checks out pluggins again and the map and says he sees our CPU drop from 110% to just under 100% without no pluggins on and a new map. We would need to just wait a few more hours and it would be all ok. IT WAS NOT!!!!!! Oh also we found out maybe 3 hours laters he had deleted all our jar files from the server and didn't tell us, brilliant.

The lag carried on but now the server was kicking players out every three hours or so. Everyone would be kicked 3-5 times in a row then the lag would stop and be ok for another two hours before the lag would re-ramp and kicks would start again. Still we were in the ticket system dealing with lemon and we decided to find their phone number. Well the phone number they state for Europe was not in we had to make calls to America. Oh the joy of speaking to a member of staff on the phone. It was obvious it was 19 year old boys who have been gamers since the age of 11 and never been outside the four walls of their bedroom. His lack of interest in the phone call and his customer services training was shocking. Also the guy who was dealing with me on the phone was answering IRC support and Live support from the website. He would go quiet for minutes at a time and hear him dealing to customers on the internet. The only thing of interest he told us was that it looked they where overloading the dedi box with servers and asked if we wanted to transfer off, which i did not want as our IP would change and we would lose half our players.

We learned after then never to ring their support. From that point we would ring sales. Where what we found funny is that it would always be answered by women......Wonder if that was a sales ploy? I think so my dear.  Joe the lovely lady on sales would put me threw to someone who would listen. Could not help me but listen.

Wow this is a wall of text, almost there. Towards the end of January they put me threw to first line support....So I've been dealing with who for the past month and a half? The support guy i dealt with was very nice guy. Seemed as confused as the rest and asked us to re-check pluggins and world AGAIN! I stated i would not and at the point i just wish to have a refund due to the fact their company said the had a great support system and will help with all issues regarding the server. Obvious they had no idea. He promised he would look at the server the following morning at 9.30am, I agreed. He said if he couldn't sort it out he would refund us from Dec till May. (from the time when our issues started)

The next morning the server went down. Came back up....You guessed it server crashed, kicks and lag where still there like the black plague. I phone again and was told it was not us but the dedi box itself. The SSD was playing up and writing to quickly. He said it would be sorted the next day. Next day come and we seen they fixed another box and not ours. We waited a further 4 days to see no fix.

After the 4 days we re-called and agreed we would moved the server to another box. It was great for the first 48 hours. No lag, no downtime, nothing. Then it came back over the space of 2 nights. I rang them and told them they had promised me 2 week previous we would get a refund. I was told the SSD was playing up on that box also.  This was the end of the road for me here. I said i wouldn't accept nothing else and i just want my money.

Thing i learnt from this is

  •     Never trust a server company on their promises
  •     Don't believe they will know how to fix server issues if you put a ticket in. Even if they state it on the website.
  •     Don't use a company where they run multiple gaming servers as they wont have the deep knowledge you will need if you do have issues
  •     Never pay for 2-12 months at a time even if its a bargain. Most server companies have a clause where they wont refund. Even tho we got a refund, I did notice on the TOS they normally don't refund.

Just for extra information. When we went to the new server company we pretty much used all the same pluggins, we never get the lag ramp up or crashes. People still say they have lag once in a while but we have worked out most of the lag is client side and not us. But it just the members being paranoid:P We where also able to get double the amount of slots with the new company at the same price as the old company.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Art of NO

That is right, I'm talking about getting into that situation where you didn't say no (when you should of, but you was just being friendly or trying to keep the Peace) to a member and now they are running circles around you. Early in being a mod/admin/owner you learn that life lesson of not being to nice. There will always be them members who ask for an inch and take a mile, then you will have to give the mile to every other player/member in fear of it seeming like favouritism. Its a mistake I've done many time over the years.

The hard part is to be firm but not alienate yourself from the rest of the players. The best way to do it is to be firm BUT fair right from the get go, don't let yourself become a soft apple. Don't take this in the sense that you need to become this stone cold get what I mean. Just realise that you need to put on your admin/owner/moderator hat on and deal with people that way. Not in the way you would deal with a friend.

All members/Mod and Admins all know when it comes down to the community issues, I am talking as a owner. No your Internet friend or even your personal friend.

Lets say one of the members from our Minecraft server asks me if they can set a warp.(being able to set a teleport for you non minecrafter's) Well on our minecraft server we don't allow normal non donating members to have that ability. I would tell them no, the reason why I said no and any other information which would be helpful to that member at the time.

It would go down something like this.

Member : Can i have a warp set please

Me: No sorry we don't allow [member] ranked players to be able to set a warp. This is because we don't wish to have 100's of warps on the server and want people to actually move around and see the whole map. However [VIP] rank has the ability to set 1 public warp, to get [VIP] you can either donate money or donate some of your time to basic jobs that we need help with.

Never just say "No" always back it up with reason. It will make the player understand that you are not just being mean. That's the reason you are saying "No" is because of this reason and you are not treating them any different to any other member/player.

Learn from an old hand, don't say yes when inside you mean no.

A little about mysef and the reasons of starting this blog

Hey all,

Well I guess the first thing to go into is who I am and why I have decided to make this blog.

So who are you Lady Parabellum and why do you think you have the knowledge to do a blog about owning/administrating/running of gaming communites?

Simple i've been within the gaming community for the past 10 years. I have ran Multi-gaming community, Counter Strike gaming clan(which did not to bad in ED back in the day.... i LOVE the AWP:P), ran a long standing World of Warcraft guild and I'm currently in the process of getting a new gaming community off the ground.

This blog is not to advertise the gaming community I am currently running and i'm not planning on telling the address or any information of the community. Things I type on here might upset people within that community and I wish to use this place as a learning hub to people who are or wish to get into the business of running gaming communities. Im not making this blog to show everyone how easy and great it is to have the Owner/Clan leader/Guild Leader tag. This blog will deal with day to day running of the community and past issues that have happened in other communites I have ran or have been lucky to be a member of. I did some searching for blogs like this as i was interested in increasing my knowledge, but I couldnt find just what i needed.

Before you commant, yes my english is shocking. This is also another reason for starting the blog, I wish to better my written English.

So I think thats all for the moment, hope you stick around. If there is any type of subject you want to me to cover, please leave a comment.

Para x