Lance Stites Talks About the State of Aion Today
A lot has happened since I last addressed our community. We've launched our long awaited product Aion and have been pleased and challenged with keeping up with the massive player demand.
There's no doubt that we've done some things very well with Aion: the product is polished and incredibly fun. We managed to deploy to North America and Europe within the same week and have experienced strong demand. As most of you are aware, this has come at a cost in the form of queue times. This is by far our biggest challenge and has led to some frustration as players wait to enter their server of choice.
In preparation for Aion's launch, we ran calculations of our presale numbers with historical conversion ratios and expected concurrency numbers, which led to our determination of launch day server needs. In addition, we had a 25 percent additional capacity in hardware reserve and the ability to increase server population. We've further responded to the overwhelming demand by adding additional server worlds in all languages, and still we are working around the clock to address the incredible demand. For example, we're seeing timeframes where 60 percent or more of our players are playing at any given time. This is a significant event by any MMO standard. Another surprising development is how long players are staying in gameI think that's a testament to the enjoyable nature of the product.
I'm sure many of you are thinking, "That's all fine-but how does that help me get in and play the game? What is NCSOFT doing for me?" Fair question. First, we have already and will continue to increase server capacity to ensure that we have server space for every user. The reality of the situation is that some servers quickly become very popular servers, with lines queued up to enter, but other servers have plenty of space to accommodate players. Obviously, adding servers won't help in this case. If you're waiting to enter a full server, 100 extra servers won't help.
So the next question may be "What about my character I've already spent time on?" Another good question. I'm excited to confirm that we are currently working on implementing a server transfer service beginning next month. Specifically, we will offer every player a free one-time server transfer for a limited time to select servers. You can rest assured that addressing the demand for Aion is our biggest priority. And I know a big question is "Why did you not deploy more servers?" Most of you are savvy enough to realize that a healthy MMO server needs a robust population. We have to calculate our reasonable concurrency numbers in a week and in a month and beyond. The last thing we want to do to our players is spread them out so that the "massively" in "massively multiplayer" gets lost..
I read an interesting conversation about a safari hunter, and the question was posed to him: "Why don't you take an Olympic sharpshooter that could hit a bulls-eye at 300 meters?" His response was: "I don't care what he can do at 300 meters, what can he do at two meters?" And that's definitely where we are now: the rhino is upon us. We've spent months planning and have researched multiple MMO launches, hoping to learn from previous success and failures. It is imperative to your long term enjoyment of Aion that we carefully manage the health of the servers. We're looking at making sure the Abyss is alive with conflict and legions fighting for control in an EPIC war.
At this point,I would like to stress that you, our players, are our number one priority and that we are doing everything we can to ensure that Aion exceeds your expectations.
The community team and I will continue to provide you with progress updates as we receive them, and you can always continue to monitor issues, check on server status, etc. at http://na.aiononline.com.
In closing I'd like to say thank you to the worldwide Aion community. I am really excited about the response to Aion and I look forward to providing you with the best possible play experience for years to come.
Executive Producer, Game Production Studio