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Altermmo Interview "Own an MMORPG server"

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Greetings raidfighters, just a few days ago i gave an interview on the "altermmo" polish gaming website regarding owning an MMORPG private server, you can read my interview in the article below. 😇😇

Altermmo Official Source (Polish)



Full Interview in English

Can you say something about previous editions of Raidfight.eu? When did it started? First edition of Raidfight.eu was your first L2 project? Have you run them alone or with a team?

Hello there! My first Lineage 2 project was called Warzone. It started November 23, 2008 as a Kamael server. The server was run on domain warzone.gr along with a couple of CS 1.6 servers. Back then I spent my time on Official servers and since I was a professional in the IT field, it sounded like fun to run my own server. For this reason I started alone. After a while I sold the domain for a good price and I changed to another one, keeping just the Lineage 2 server. After a few months I renamed the project RaidFight. This server was alive until November 2018, so unofficially, it holds the record of the longest living private server, without a wipe.

Have you been working as Software Developer or it was just your hobby and you gained enough experience to run your own server? Or maybe you hire some developers?

Lineage 2 private servers have always been a hobby but I have gained huge experience in my professional field. I have to take care of the system the server is running on, it’s security, software updates, dozens of DDoS attacks on a weekly basis and of course my routines on detecting security breaches. I am working as a linux system administrator, so all the above are done for my clients and now for my own server too. But my experience on coding is weak, at least I can read python & java. Most of the time I can find the bug, it’s just difficult for me to fix it. So from time to time I hire some developers or some volunteers for free. 

How looks your day as GM? How many hours do you work a day? Do you consider it as a full-time job or maybe it is just something additional to your life?

As I mentioned above, I work as a system administrator and I have a lot of big clients. I have to take care of them 24/7. My day job doesn’t have any specific time and it is the same with my own Lineage 2 server, I work 24/7. Sometimes I am so nervous I wake up in the middle of the night to check on the server. Let’s say it’s a full time job to take care of my server, since my job is to take care of servers!

Have you experience as GM in other MMORPGs?

I don’t have any other experience as a GM on other MMORPG. I had a job offer a few years back to work as a GM on the official servers of some MMORPG but I had to decline since they didn’t offer me a good paycheck and I am not sure I would like it. There is a huge gap between a GM and an Admin and I prefer to work as an Administrator.

Do you prefer the programming part of your job or contacting players in a game? I suppose that working with people is harder.

One of my favourite parts of the development (although I ain't a developer) is the reverse engineering of the game mechanics. I have to figure out how a skill or a raid boss AI works. Then I have to make thousands of tests to figure out when I did it right. Sometimes it may look the same but it isn’t. The result is the same but the mechanics behind this could be different. I love this, I really do like solving the riddles.
Working with people is not my favourite part. I don’t have a god’s complex and I don’t like authority. I would really love to play on my server and meet the people as equals. But I can’t do this. Technically I can, it’s my server, but I think it’s wrong. When I speak with the players I think they are not honest with me. They either need a favour or a bug fixed and they are actually scared that if they tell me the truth they will get punished. Very rarely some player sends me a message to just chat. We can talk about music or women. That’s the best time of my life as a GM.

If you could change one thing in your customers/players - what it will be?

One thing I have learned is that it’s impossible to change anyone but yourself. I have made peace and I now know that no matter what I do, there will always be complaints. And it’s OK! I would try to make my server better (although that could be totally different of what the players think it’s good for the server) and better fit the players. As I have done now, on this version of RaidFight. There are differences in the gameplay (for example we went back to Interlude instead of running High Five or Classic) and the donations. That's because I had to adapt. The only thing I would change for some players, just a few, is only I hope they played less. I have seen some sick bastards play for hours, non-stop- that’s not healthy!

What is the most annoying question that you get every day?

About the rates. Most people can’t understand simple statistics, simple math. They can’t understand how enchantment rates work. They can’t understand how drop/ spoil rates work. And they keep asking. And I keep answering, the best thing I can do, until I hope, they will understand. You know, I can’t tell them otherwise. I can’t tell them that they asked me the same question, yesterday. I can’t just deny answering. They will get offended. Maybe they are just stupid, maybe they lack this knowledge but it’s not my “job” to judge this. My job is to answer.

Is your job hard? Was it harder at first days of server or now when your community grow up?

It is always hard. It just changes. In the beginning you have to talk with 20-30 people and listen to what they say and make them happy. After a while you have to listen and talk with thousands of people. My biggest disappointment is that I forget. I can talk with players for months and after a while I forget their char names or what they’ve told me in the past. This really makes me sad. While the community grows, my obligations grow too. I feel that I have to stay strong and protect the server but if I have done a mistake or a misfortune happens, I have to answer to every single one of them. I can’t let them down!

If you could get rid of one duty like a game master and server owner then what would it be?

Bug verification/ testing. I get dozens of reports on a daily basis about bugs which don’t exist. Player reads a quest guide online and the quest guide is outdated or just wrong. Sometimes it’s just the location of the mobs on the map that’s just wrong. And I have to do the quest, again and again to verify it’s working as should. Then I have to find information on the official forums which prove it right. I could need hours for a single bug to prove it’s not a bug!

Could you tell me how much monthly server maintenance cost?

The marketing costs which could be of thousand euros. The developers could be of thousand euros. The monthly costs of the antibot. The web developer for the website that it’s backend and also has to support it with new features and bug fixes. The forum software. The DDoS mitigation service and of course the server costs. You can get a nice dedicated server machine for less than 100 euro monthly. But all the rest cost a LOT.

How many people should play on a server to make it profitable? I mean with your payment, not P2W system.

I would say at least 2000 players, considering that 25% will buy something and new players keep coming. That’s the biggest bet. You have to make sure new people keep joining the server and the server is growing. If the server is growing and it’s kept fresh, I have nothing to fear. 

Did you have bribe offers from CPs, maybe other server owners? What were the conditions?

You can’t imagine what they have offered me! I no wonder why other servers are so corrupt! Once, a guy sent me 500 euro through paypal and afterwards he sent me a message for a +16 weapon he wanted. I refund his money without hesitation and I told him that if he does that again, I will ban him. Some offered me money to to let them bot… Some offered me thousands of euros for just an armor and instant lvl 76. I always say no because I feel like the server will be then dirty and doomed. I am very superstitious about it. The most weird thing is that sometimes I get nudes from girls that play in-game and once a guy offered me his girlfriend’s nudes. That’s sick… The game is for fun! Other server owners respect me and I respect them too. I do not care how they run their servers and they don’t mess with me. On occasion I get some DDoS attack, but that’s it. 

Do you still play in L2 or other games or now you prefer other activities in your free time?

As I said before, I would love to play on my server, but I can’t. Sometimes I play Lineage 2 (not on mine of course), World of Warcraft, Destiny 2 and Diablo. But that’s very rare. I prefer to read a book or listen to vinyl. My free time activities mostly don’t have to do with computers or consoles since I spend most of my time in front of a screen either for a living or for RaidFight.

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