It is very apparent of the current situation the NA servers find themselves in, specifically ship 2. However, this situation is entirely salvageable. While a number of exploits have happened over the course of a few hours, there's still measures that can be taken to reverse and prevent what just happened. I am not actively aware if the following suggestions have already been made, but if they have, then I endorse them and encourage SEGA and Microsoft to act upon them, as they are meaningful suggestions made by the community. With that said, let's get started.
1. Compensation and Offers
This situation has denied service to numerous players who chose Ship 2 to be their main server, and both premium and non-premium players alike were unable to access their characters. A suggestion for immediate compensation would be to allot Star Gems, Tri-Boosters, or some myriad of other items and consumables to compensate players affected by this. Additionally, to those who enjoy paying, perhaps offer up to 5%, 10% or up to 20% discounts on Arks Cash purchases. Would it make up for everything? No, most likely not. But will leave people feeling better about the situation, and feel that the community has been listened to, to some degree.
2. Free Server Transfer Options
Due to the severe nature of what happened to Ship 2, it would be highly recommended that SEGA and Microsoft work out a means to open up server transfer options to players. If this option is already in development, then it should be worked to its end expeditiously in light of the current situation. Additionally, given the nature and delicacy of the situation, it should be offered that anyone on Ship 2 is allowed one time free server transfer. Allow this option to be open to anyone for up to one month. After which point, it is no longer active, and if people want to transfer after the one month period, they must pay the standard fee.
3. Kicks, Queues and Map Renews
It should be noted that no one in particular likes queue systems attached to MMO's. However, they serve a necessary function if a server has become overflown, much like Ship 2 has. Adding in a queue system would help with a lot of the back-end networking for the server, among other properties associated with queues. Additionally, it should be noted that a lot of the "active" players on Ship 2 generally stand around and do nothing, quite literally. I recommend a system that begins kicking individuals anywhere between fifteen (15) and thirty (30) minutes of inactivity, giving players ample warning before they are removed from the server.
Lastly for this point, it is very apparent that what caused the servers issues in the first place was an exploit associated with the Urgent Quest "Gone With the Wind and Rain." I would like to propose a system that effectively allows for a singular map instance to be continually renewed, while kicking out players that have already completed the quest yet remain in an active instance. My personal recommendation is something of a checklist of quest completion, such as checking for players who have completed all objectives, they should likely be automatically moved back to their Gateway Ship to receive their mission results, and have the gate close behind them. I am uncertain how effective it can be implemented into the games engine, however, there have been creative solutions to similar situations on the Japanese servers, so I feel something equally effective can be made here on the NA Servers.
(Optional) 4. Rollback the Server.
This was an apparent and malicious exploit that will have extremely damaging consequences to the economy of Ship 2 until the release of Episode 4. Already there are numerous signs of people having effectively exploited the event for everything that it had to offer, and turning their exploits around for immediate and hefty profit that is proving detrimental to the economical stability of Ship 2. A simple, yet, exceedingly damaging solution to this problem is to roll the server back. I make this suggestion only in the idea that it is used as a last resort, or if it is even necessary. My own personal reaction to this situation may be a knee-jerk, and maybe the economic situation of Ship 2 will stabilize in a few days, or weeks, but by which time we will be a few short weeks or even days from the release of Episode 4. It is unknown. But I have seen many MMO's lose a lot of standing power to exploits of this nature before. Again, I only make this suggestion out of a personal knee-jerk reaction to the situation.
5. Final Thoughts
I understand that SEGA has never had a lot of faith or trust in its American community, however, it should be stated that SEGA should look at this situation as an achievement of what they actually have. This games popularity has greatly exceeded what they had personally prepared for. Weather or not that popularity remains as the dust settles is uncertain, but what should be certain that as they move forward, they should do their best to maintain interest and intrigue with their playerbase, and encourage further growth. I love the Phantasy Star series, ever since its 4th installment all the way back on the Sega Genesis. And I'd love nothing more than to see this game beautifully persevere through this current situation, and beyond.
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