Last Oasis did not have the most auspicious start when launched in Early Access in March. The ambitious MMO’s servers started showing signs of strain pretty quickly, with many players unable to spend more than a few minutes in the game before they were booted out or the server popped its clogs. Without a simple fix in sight, developer Donkey Crew decided to temporarily take it offline and issue refunds.
Over the weekend, the servers were brought back online for a public stress test. Everything from the launch was wiped, so those players who were lucky enough to play a lot still had to start fresh. The test has been going well, according to an update posted on Sunday, and the servers were left running overnight. It might be safe to start consider returning.
Donkey Crew has also explained what actually went wrong, and it turns out it was several things. Players were reporting that they were getting stuck in the world map—only a small number at first, but the reports then started to increase as the backend became more unstable. Players ended up getting trapped in queues or unable to connect at all, and then the servers started shutting down.
Apparently the servers shutting down wasn’t due to a bug; it was a fail-safe that resulted because something else was going on that was affecting the consistency of the servers, which then shut themselves down and tried to reboot to correct it. But the database became so slow that servers couldn’t verify their state, forcing them all to shut down at once.
This also revealed other problems, like the lobby and queues not being optimised for the number of players trying to join the game. The backend couldn’t handle all the requests being sent to it by the client. And the bug that was keeping people stuck in queues exacerbated this because it kept spamming the backend with requests indefinitely.
It sounds like a giant mess, and undoubtedly exhausting for the team. But one that seems to be on its way to being solved. While the server problems ensured that most of my time so far with Last Oasis was spent in a queue, what I did play was very promising, and I’m eager to get back to my weird walking ships.