December 2021: Disconnecting

Storm of War has decided to clarify and update the rules regarding player disconnects. As of December 2021:
Deliberately disconnecting from the server while in control of a moving aircraft is prohibited on the Storm of War server. Pilots must come to a complete stop or bailout first before disconnecting. This applies on the ground as well as in the air. Players who disconnect in the manner described above will be warned on the stats pages. Repeated disconnects after a warning might result in being banned from the server.
(Changing roles whilst similarly airborne is also not permitted, but this is restricted by server-side scripting)

What is a Disconnect?
A disconnect occurs when a player leaves the server. This can happen deliberately, by clicking the “disconnect” button, shutting down DCS or by severing one’s own internet connection. Disconnects can also occur inadvertently. DCS multiplayer is not particularly forgiving when it comes to connection losses. A very short loss of communication with the server can result in a player being disconnected, through not fault of their own.

Over 500 disconnections are logged every month.

Unfortunately, determining what caused a disconnect is a non-trivial task. As far as the DCS log is concerned, all disconnects at first glance look the same. However, players who regularly disconnect when they are airborne do produce a slightly different signature, so deliberate disconnects can, with some effort, be detected post hoc.

Why does this matter?
The vision for Storm of War has always been to create an immersive environment for WW2 air combat operations within the limitations of the simulator that we are using. This has driven the overall structure of the missions and our decisions around the server infrastructure. It also drives our view of what we view as desired player behaviour.

One particular example of less desirable behaviour has been players intentionally disconnecting in flight, either in combat or shortly afterwards to avoid the consequences of that combat. It has led to heated reports on our Discord, accusations of cheating and many, many hours of work by those running the server; time that we would much rather invest in our development plans for the missions and other aspects of SoW.

What is SoW doing about it?
Firstly, players will find they can no longer move to spectators or to choose another player slot if they are airborne. Look in your chat window if you try and you’ll be warned to land, crash, bail or die before re-slotting. The chat message will also warn you that an airborne disconnection will be reported which brings us to the second aspect.

We are automating the process of dealing with all airborne disconnections and you will see a tiered increase in sanctions on the player stats pages ranging from an initial warning, through to eventual banning subject to review.

The robot we are using to help manage this task will first add a note to an individual player’s stats pages to let them know that some airborne disconnects have been logged.
If further disconnects are logged, the player will be formally warned on both their individual player stats and the main player stats page.
If further disconnects are logged after that point, the player’s stats pages will be suspended and admin will investigate the disconnection history. Evidence of disconnections to avoid aircraft or pilot losses will then result in a ban from the server.

A filter will be deployed to correct for some legitimate disconnect circumstances, where these can be identified by certain patterns.

We do not want to penalise those who suffer from the occasional bad connection. We encourage those suffering from regular/ repeated connection issues to highlight it to the server admin, though we are expecting these cases to be small compared to the majority of disconnects we are currently detecting.

There is no need to disconnect in the air as the mission nears end – wait it out for the server to roll the mission and then disconnect.

The best rule of thumb is to simply not disconnect once your wheels are off the ground. If you genuinely need to leave the server while airborne then quickly land or crash in a field, or bail out if you’re really short of time, and then disconnect. Do this and the system won’t report you. If you are in combat and you see someone disappear then please do continue to report it to Admin directly via a private message on the SoW discord, and we will investigate. Particularly egregious and repeated instances will result in a warning or server ban.

Finally, if you are able to wait a short while after bailing or dying then please do – it avoids that immersion breaking disappearance of your aircraft to other players, hopefully leading to less false reports of disconnections and that will help us to bring you more missions and more development. These few moments of your time will add immensely to the immersion of everyone… this is your way to directly support the SoW vision.

We’ll let you know when we the new sanctions system around disconnections is going live.

Game images in this article from “Rostic” – posted to SoW Discord

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