News that Destiny 2 won’t use dedicated servers caused some internet drama last week, prompting developer Bungie to clarify that, actually, much like the first game, the sequel will use a combination of peer-to-peer and client-server technology and everybody needs to chillax. Also, improvements! So those too.
“Many are concerned by our announcement last week that Destiny 2 doesn’t have dedicated servers. While that’s useful shorthand, the full answer is more complex because Destiny has a unique networking model,” Destiny 2 engineering lead Matt Segur explains in an update on Bungie’s website.
“Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers. That means you will never again suffer a host migration during your Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center.”
Okay, but… what?
“In the gaming community, ‘dedicated servers’ refers to pure client-server networking models,” he continues. “Destiny 2 uses a hybrid of client-server and peer-to-peer technology, just like Destiny 1. The server is authoritative over how the game progresses, and each player is authoritative over their own movement and abilities. This allows us to give players the feeling of immediacy in all their moving and shooting – no matter where they live and no matter whom they choose to play with.”
Although dedicated servers, in theory, provide a more consistent and equitable experience for players, it’s a different matter entirely for most console games in South Africa where local dedicated server support simply doesn’t exist. Microsoft is planning to open its own local Azure datacentres next year, but using peer-to-peer connections is probably more practical for the moment.
Obviously one of the most frustrating things about peer-to-peer systems, however, is the potential lack of admin and the inevitable cheating that comes with that, especially on PC where players can use third-party applications to circumvent the rules.
“The PC platform poses unique security challenges for Destiny 2, but our security Ninjas have spent several years building a plan for how to engage with this new and vibrant community,” says Segur. “We have a variety of top-secret strategies to ensure that the life of a cheater in Destiny 2 PC will be nasty, brutish, and short. And, regardless of what platform you play on, all changes to your persistent character are communicated directly to our secure data center with no peer-to-peer interference.”
Game’s out on 8 September on Xbox One and PS4 (with a PC launch coming later), and a beta is expected sometime between now and then.