Two Tests, Both Alike in Dignity
In fair London, where we lay our datacenter,
From ancient architecture break to new technology,
Where civil code makes civil quad cores unclean,
From forth the fatal loins of these vital testcases,
A pair of wire-cross'd servers come to life,
Whose misadventured circuits overthrows
Do with their results bury their manufacturers' strife.
I'm not CCP Bard, I'm CCP Hypnotic, the EVE Test Lead, and with that butchered prose I'm sure I induced many slack jaws and vacant stares. Mission accomplished. But what I'm really trying to get at here is that what was once a single test server has now become two. That's right, the Singularity you know and love is about to get a companion.
"Why," you ask? As has been detailed in several other blogs, CCP is working within a fundamentally different release paradigm these days. Instead of one large release that we in QA can drop on Singularity a month or two ahead of time, we now have several smaller installments to deal with. This means that we can be coordinating with many different teams working on many different features. All developed within different code branches and all desperately fighting for the chance to get some face time in front of you, our valued customers. But as of now we only have one public test server. How will we ever decide which features get precious player feedback and which ones are kept in the lock box? The answer is we get a second test server.
The product of an internal QA naming contest, Duality, already being nicknamed "Ducie," will be our brand new public facing Event Server. This is in contrast to Singularity, which is a Public Server. The difference is that where Singularity is up and running and open to players almost 24/7, Duality will only be opened for special CCP run events. You're already familiar with these events because we've been running them on Singularity up until now. Things like the weekly mass tests, or guided play tests will, in the future, happen on Duality with much better coordination and preparation than what was capable on Singularity in the past. These events are vitally important to the quality of EVE Online. Placing new code on Singularity and just letting you guys and gals play around with it is good and valuable testing for sure. But a focused test with a decisive plan, on the spot expert guidance and targeted feedback goals is worth a nerd's weight in gold pressed latinum.
The same, but different
Duality will have much in common with its older sister Singularity. Similar hardware setup and capabilities, identical databases with matching data, the same market seeding we've all come to love. But things will be different too. There will be no dedicated combat solar system, no beacons to fight at and no supercap building support. Since the server will be inaccessible to you unless a special event is running there will be no need for these things. Rewards for participating in events will be given on Singularity, and anyone intentionally disrupting these events will receive a permanent ban on both Duality and Singularity. As CCP Oneiromancer revealed in her dev blog, permanent bans on Singularity have recently become much more permanent, so play nice.
You'll still find announcements and instructions for special testing events in the Test Server Feedback forum. Instructions for connecting to Ducie will also be posted there very soon. Additionally you'll find links to installers and patches next to the Singularity files on the EVE Online website as soon as updates are made.
Break it down for me
Special testing events will now be run on the Duality test server, leaving Singularity available for general feature testing. The server will be up for only short periods of time for a specific test with plenty of notice given in news items and the Test Server Forums. All rewards and bans handed out for special events will be placed on Singularity for you to enjoy, or rage about. Testing Warriors, keep an eye on the forums for the first official event coming in the near future. I look forward to seeing you all there!