August 5: Fair Play and More
Executive Producer, Chris Wynn, gives a deep dive into upcoming features.
Today’s news is focused on some behind the scenes activities as opposed to feature development, but I think it contains a lot of news that people will enjoy hearing. I want to focus on what we define as “fair play” in this article and our take on what goes against our definition of fair play, and what we are doing about it.
Timeline wise, most of what is being talked about here will be introduced over the next two months. Our strategy is to roll out the backend tracking and systems so we can monitor how well it is working before taking punitive action on accounts.
Quickly, before I jump into fair play, let’s discuss the timing of the next update. This is currently on our Test servers, and I know many of you have checked out the changes there to help us out. We are looking at wrapping up the fixes on Test and pushing them to Live mid next week.
This includes all of the changes to Battle Royale and vehicles that I talked about in a previous producer update a few weeks ago. Not mentioned in that update were some key optimizations focused on better utilizing your CPU, which should free up your GPU to take on more of the work load which leads to improved frame rates. Basically, you should see improved performance when it goes out. There are more optimizations to come in the future, but getting this first major one out was very important to us as it has been in progress for many months now.
Basic Fair Play Rules
First, let’s start by focusing on what we consider against the rules and why. We view King of the Kill as a competitive game, one where you should feel like there is just as much of a chance for you to win as every other player in the game. It is important for us to monitor the activities in the game and keep the integrity of a fair experience for everyone.
The most obvious starting point is any type of 3rd party app or program that impacts the game code in a way to give you an advantage. This is not allowed in any way. We have systems already in place to detect these hacks and have gotten to a place where these are really rare and infrequent. We will continue to monitor and update as we need to in order to keep the environment as clean as possible for everyone playing. If you are caught using a hack, we will take action on your account, most times leading to an outright ban.
To ensure a level and equal playing field, we expect each individual competitor to be focused on their own skill versus their opponent’s skill. As such, teaming or colluding of any kind in solo based matches is not allowed. We have written new systems to detect teaming activities. These systems will roll out over the next month, but we will monitor the data we collect before fully turning them on some months from now. If the system detects you in a teaming situation, you will be warned. If you fail to correct the behavior, you will be removed from the match and punished for the offense.
We have a lot of streamers who enjoy broadcasting their matches on Twitch and other sites. This has unfortunately led to stream sniping becoming a pretty popular activity. For full clarity, stream sniping is the term we generally use, but is a two way street. Stream sniping includes using a broadcaster’s stream to know their location, as well as trying to aid a broadcaster by teaming with them or providing them with loot. I see some streamers really bothered by stream sniping, while others tend to make an event out of it as opposed to trying to fight against it. Our official stance is that stream sniping is not allowed because it changes the integrity of the match. We don’t want small groups playing differently than everyone else and are not competing for the win. Under the guideline that each match is competitive, even, and fair for all, stream sniping goes against that. We have an updated match making system that will make it much more difficult to get into the same game as the person you are viewing, but most stream sniping will be detected through reporting and monitoring. Similar to the other rules, if you are caught, action could be taken against your account.
The last issue that is important to talk about, but is outside of skill and exploiting the systems, is in game behavior. We embrace the social aspect of the game and want people to interact as they prepare for a match and after an encounter. Nothing I like more than hearing two people say “GG” to one another after a combat encounter leaves one dead. What will not be tolerated in any way is any demeaning chat that is racial or sexist in nature. Any actions that cross this line will result in an instant permanent ban, it is simply zero tolerance. If you see it, please report it immediately to us.
You can send any and all reports related to fair play to firstname.lastname@example.org. It will help us tremendously if you send your report with as much information as possible. Names, locations, time it occurred. Images are good but video is better. We want to thank everyone who has already done this and want to remind people this is not an immediate process. Just because you sent in an e-mail doesn’t mean something will happen right away. We need to review the information and take a deeper look.
Log Out Timer
Logging out prior to dying also goes against the integrity of a fair match. To address that, we are implementing a log out timer into the game. If you log out prior to your death in a King of the Kill match, you will face a 10 second timer before being logged out. If the timer completes, your loot will drop to the ground in a loot bag and in most cases, the kill is attributed to the last person you were engaged in combat with.
This is mainly meant to prevent people from logging out and not allowing another player to get credit for the kill and benefit from it.
We will also begin tracking logouts on your account. Too many logouts over a period of time will result in a cool down and continued logouts will escalate the punishment applied to your account.
Ping Restrictions and Latency
Some of you have described the largest frustrations in the game right now is playing with players with poor network connections that desync across the map. This is a very important issue to us! We have been working on solutions for quite some time as it needed a lot of different pieces to properly come together. Players with poor connections make a subpar experience for the players who have good ones. We have a new system that monitors your ping and latency and if you exceed set thresholds, you will be immediately penalized in game to ensure a fair experience for everyone.
There is an escalating system of penalties applied based on the length of time you go with a poor connection. Level 1 simply locks your weapon. This is usually brief if you normally have a stable connection, could just be a minor interruption. Level 2 kicks in if you are continuing to play with a bad connection, and it will freeze your character in place and lock your weapon. Level 3 will get triggered if you ignore the previous warnings, and it is a combination of the previous two levels and then will also kick you out of a vehicle if you are currently driving one.
Essentially this will make the player with a poor connection a sitting duck. If the situation is corrected, your character will be unlocked, and everyone can continue enjoy the match.
We really want players with poor connections on our current servers to be able to play on a server more appropriate to their location, so we have been setting up hardware in additional global regions. We have been testing a new deployment technique in Brazil to service our South American players. This went well and is currently running in beta form for those players.
We are also in the process of setting up a new region for our Asian players to play together in and hope it improves everyone’s connection.
Once we implement our new UI, the best region for you will be automatically set. You will have the ability to change your region should you have friends in those areas that you want to play with in a 2 or 5 man game. You should ensure your connection is stable enough to play in those other regions though as you may fall victim to our ping and latency thresholds if your connection is poor.
The final piece of news today is info on our next skirmish for August. Trying out something a bit different with this one.
We call it the Reanimate Skirmish. This will be a 2 man game, and it is ok to go in by yourself and get joined with a random. It starts in the early morning, while it is still dark and time will transition into the day. When a player is killed, their body reanimates pretty quickly as an exploder zombie. The exploder zombies are random and may attack the surviving teammate or may run straight at the attackers. It should add a bit of chaos into the firefights and has been a lot of fun in our internal playtesting. As always there are new and unique rewards associated with this new Skirmish.
That is it for today, really looking forward to everyone’s feedback on the next update and the changes outlined here. There is even more news coming next week, so keep your eyes out for the next update.