2016 draws to a close and 2017 approaches quickly. For ArmA, 2016 has been a good year mostly. We have seen continuous support by BIS, and the release of APEX in summer. EUTW has adjusted to the new content, improving game balance, adding sub-factions and new features (though not as many as we wanted.) We also released our Map Tool and a server dedicated for community layouts. In addition. there was a massive push on telemetry with new mission statistics, personal stats for donators and an extensive admin interface that helps us police the servers. Alongside PVP Warfare, we have seen several Special Operations and later Friday Night games organized with the community and hosted on our servers.
2017 holds more ArmA3 content ready for us with a number of announced DLCs, 64bit executables and more free updates from BIS' side, as well as a lot of planned features from EUTW. Among these are improved bonus reward systems for repairs done by engineers, for MHQ-driving and successful attacks on enemy vehicles. Furthermore, we want to move the team and class selection inside the mission to make it easier to switch roles and balance teams. Another topic is improved spawning to give players more control where they will be deployed, rather than in the middle of that field everybody has their sights on. We also still have a lot of ideas for adjusting existing content, like excluding friendly fire from critical hits, add naval and airborne MIPs and additional sub-factions.
We need your help to make this happen!
Unfortunately, our financial situation is one of the topics that has not been improving in 2016. While we got a lot of donations from the community to keep the servers running, we just passed a point where we are unsure, if we will be able to finance the servers moving forward. Donations have been dropping recently and while we are very thankful for every contribution small or big, we have reached a point, where things have to change a bit, if we want to continue with EUTW - keeping our high standards for both quality and performance.
This means we have to be more vocal about or finances and set quarterly donation goals to keep the servers online.
Currently, we are operating three root servers, two of which are high-end dedicated game and telemetry servers each running two of our four game server instances, and a third, smaller root server for our other services, like forums, TS, etc.
This adds up to operating costs of around 2000 EUR a year, or roughly 167 EUR per month. This is a lot of money, but to put this in context, our community got an impressive half a million hours of fun in return for this during 2016, according to our stats database! And people say you cannot buy happiness! Yes you can!
Our first step will be to set 500 EUR donation goals in quarterly intervals starting in January 2017. These will be broadcasted aggressively to increase awareness and encourage more people from our community to participate and support us with donations. You will start seeing the donation goal progress in the MotD on the servers, in Teamspeak and we will send out updates via our other channels (Facebook, etc.) in regular intervals. Moving forward, we want to also show a live bar on the webpage and forums.
We also want to improve our services, making stats available for more players with additional features and are considering other donator perks.
What happens, if we don't hit our donation goals?
One of the first measures might be the reduction of our server pool to save costs, shutting down two of our four game servers. Running more server instances on a single machine would not allow us to keep our high-end performance and quality standards.
Community layouts are very important for us, so one server would remain exclusive for community layouts. The second server would have to feature a mix of Altis/Stratis and Tanoa layouts. Unfortunately, this means players without APEX would be automatically kicked when a Tanoa layout comes up in the rotation. The alternative would be to drop support for Tanoa entirely, but we feel this would be the wrong move. In addition, with reduced server capacity, we would not be able to continue supporting Friday Night game sessions anymore as we would need to shut down at least one game server in the meantime.
The good thing is that we are very flexible with our game servers and could easily rent and set up additional servers again, if donations allow for it.
Overall, we are looking very positively to 2017. Let's rock the ArmA-verse together for another great year!
Have a good one!
- EUTW Management