Bungie Working To Avoid Launch Day Server Woes For Destiny 2: The Final Shape

Image: Bungie / Sony
Image: Bungie / Sony

If you’ve played an MMO, you’re likely very familiar with the feeling of looking at a queue, waiting for the game to tell you it’s your turn to jump into the action. Multiplayer games have server setups designed to avoid scenarios like this, but high-profile MMO expansions typically draw in returning fans as well as new ones, which tend to slam servers on day one of a release. It is as true for games like Final Fantasy XIV as it is for the likes of Destiny 2, and Bungie has been preparing for the launch of its upcoming launch expansion, The Final Shape, for some time now in order to avoid these launch day woes.

In its most recent “This Week In Destiny” post, Bungie went into excruciating detail about its efforts to curb server issues ahead of The Final Shape. Accordingly, Bungie completely overhauled its datacenter late last year to a “single setup that was much more powerful than the previous versions.” After some early testing that showed Bungie could handle a larger concurrent number of players at a certain threshold of CPU usage, it concluded its tests.

The launch of Into the Light last week showed Bungie that its new server setup wasn’t performing the entirety of its job though. As players rushed to log in and farm new weapons in Destiny 2’s exciting new horde mode, they were met with a familiar issue. Effectively, some servers were getting used up almost entirely, slamming the available services and negatively impacting the game. Some players were having issues logging in, or staying connected, while others were getting in-game rewards way later than they should have. On the other hand, some of Bungie’s servers were seeing minimal usage, meaning that players lucky enough to be distributed into those were having a breezy experience by comparison. As Bungie puts it, “We realized that the servers were not fully utilizing the available hardware resources.”

An “operating system misconfiguration and reporting problem” was also causing issues to Bungie’s load balancer, which was stressing the servers that were already being slammed by the existing player distribution problem and high numbers of players on a big traffic day. So while Into the Light had a lighter launch than a full-blown expansion would, it still presented some issues Bungie is now addressing before the big kahuna—The Final Shape—arrives in June.

To that end, Bungie outlines five core issues it is working on to ensure The Final Shape can launch without a hitch. They are as follows:

  • Validating the settings for every service that could have this kind of problem.

  • Improving reporting so that Bungie can monitor the behavior of load balancing.

  • Running additional stress scenarios and adding more test coverage for Bungie’s servers.

  • Running performance comparisons for servers running under different configurations.

  • Re-evaluating Bungie’s capacity estimates, to ensure it has the right hardware in place for launch.

Kotaku has reached out to Bungie for comment.

It makes sense that Bungie is stressing over The Final Shape and doing everything it can to make sure the expansion goes over well. The studio’s had a tough year following a lackluster expansion and a round of layoffs that gutted the studio at an integral time. Bungie, which was bought by Sony but largely left to its own devices, now faces the threat of losing its independence if The Final Shape doesn’t turn things around for Destiny 2 and the studio. In the meantime, Bungie’s also developing another game, an extraction shooter revival of the Marathon series, that got delayed alongside The Final Shape late last year. Suffice to say, it’s a crucial time for Bungie to start knocking things back out of the park and win back the favor of its fans.

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