State of the Servers

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Figured I’d hold back on making such a post til it was perhaps a little clearer what exactly is going on. It’s still about as clear as mud and nothing is definite here, but I will share some thoughts now.

To recap, on June 19th pso2.jp, the game’s and PSO-World’s servers were taken down or rendered inoperable by a DDoS attack. Who did it? Who cares. The attacks ended and Sega implemented some countermeasures, bringing the servers back online. However, most foreign players were still unable to connect. As of making this post, people outside of Japan still can’t connect for the most part.

A word of warning to anyone thinking of using a VPN to connect: Rumours are flying about that this could result in an actual account ban. Bans are error messages in the 800 range, anything else is for the most part connection issues. Using a VPN is a risky endeavor and I would advise against it, myself.

WE GOT IP BLOCKED!!

It’s funny how many people lept to this conclusion. Suffice to say, this conclusion is still wrong.

  • First, an IP block is entirely ineffective against a DDoS. But Sega doesn’t do effective things I hear you cry!
  • Second, Japanese players are also suffering from connection problems.
  • Third, players have reported that persistence can work for certain errors. Some IP block if so.
  • Fourth, Sakai himself said during a talk at the Osaka event that an IP block would achieve nothing.
  • Fifth, that some ISPs were able to connect and some that weren’t before are now able to, it puts the IP ban theory quite firmly in the coffin.

Now, just because we haven’t been IP blocked doesn’t mean we’ll all be able to play this game any time soon. I’ll be talking about that later…

Our Position.

Well, aside no IP ban the most obvious fact is right now most of the foreign player-base still can’t connect.

So what does this mean for us? Well, frankly, we must come to terms with the possibility that we will never be able to play on the Japanese servers again. Whatever measures Sega has taken to protect itself has rendered most of us unable to connect, so although it isn’t an IP ban it will behave as an effective one. While Sega does acknowledge that users are suffering from connection issues and is attempting to fix them, this actually means nothing to us.

See, we as foreign users have the rights to absolutely no support whatsoever from Sega. If you get banned or if you are for whatever reason no longer able to connect, this is none of Sega’s concern and they will not help you. You violate the terms of service by connecting from outside of Japan at all, after all. As foreign players, many of us knew and accepted that risk anyway, knowing full well that Sega could pull the plug without a word. It’s a shitty position to put ourselves in but in the continuing absence of local servers it was that or don’t play at all.

The point I am getting at is, if Sega’s anti-DDoS measures have indirectly rendered it difficult or impossible for foreign users to connect, they not only have zero obligation to fix it they don’t even have to acknowledge it’s a problem. In other-words, if the measures to fix it for the Japanese players don’t work for us, this current situation may be permanent.

The Community

If it is indeed permanent,  what does it mean for other parts of the community? I imagine it’ll just quietly die as the core user-base will shrink down to those willing to risk it and use a VPN to connect, or to those who happen to be on an ISP that can connect. Those who can still connect may stop as none of their friends can play. Communities outside the game won’t be as active with fewer people able to log in, as there’s only so much you can talk about a game you can’t even play.

The english patch team will stop working on it. I speak of the core english patch team at psumods, who will likely no longer provide effort towards the patch. It’d be considered a waste of time at that point with such a diminished user base. Aida may or may not continue working on things. Update: Looks like instead the patch will fall back to a lower-effort mode, whereby newer content may not be delivered as quickly as it was. I was told otherwise

As for this blog? Well, if I can’t play it I feel the purpose of an opinions blog is somewhat diminished. If I could, the number of people it’d be relevant to would be severely diminished anyway! This never was a news blog and never will be unless I can learn how to read Japanese. Machine translation doesn’t cut it. So that may well be it for this blog unless we get our own version of the game.

Thoughts

Not a lot to say. Sega has handled this whole thing in a remarkably clumsy manner, but Sega of Japan owe us nothing at all anyway. It does rather rub salt deeper into the wound that we still have no sign whatsoever of a local version heading our way any time soon. If this is permanent, it may be in Sega of America’s interest to say something relatively quickly.

This seems all rather gloomy. If you want something to hope for, the possibility remains that whatever fixes Sega of Japan implements will actually fix the issues for foreigners as well. Nothing is definite. We may all be able to play again eventually, just prepare for the possibility that we won’t.