State of the Realm - May
For over a year now, Valor has had only one Administrator. In a lot of games and communities, admins are higher-permissioned staff rank. At Valor, the "Administrator/Admin" role has always consisted of our leadership team.. Originally, Valor had two Administrators upon re-launch, Flut & Arcanuo (hey, that's me!). Before, this was a combination of Omni, Mike & Arcanuo in earlier versions; this worked well because it allowed us to focus on what we were good at and split up the work.
We've been pretty quiet about long-term plans for Valor. There has always been the pre-established agreement between the player base and me that Valor is here to stay and that even through the lower player counts, we will not bail. We have upheld this day in and day out. This will not change, and we are here to adapt to the times to stay relevant and satisfy our player base.
The majority of the changes listed here are in this vein to pivot and serve our player base as best as we can.
In that line of thinking, I'm super happy to promote Orbit to the Administrator position alongside me. Orbit is singlehandedly responsible for the beast that is the Valor Bot - our discord bot & system, which handles everything from RWT verification to automatically banning & resetting accounts through our ticket system. He will be taking over our Update Rollouts.
If you're looking for Minecraft Announcements, this isn't that, and I understand it's been awhile. We're looking to get Minecraft back up and cooking for an awesome summer. Stay tuned for SkyBlock teasers & progress VERY soon.
Update Schedule & Changes
In line with more traditional game development, we have transitioned from weekly updates to one larger update a month and 1-2 hotfix rollouts as required. These updates will be handled by Orbit.
The latest hotfix was handled by him and was a trial run of our new philosophies. We've been heavily working as a team to produce higher quality, fewer buggy updates. Orbit is crucial to this process and oversees everything being deployed into production. So far, he's been much better at it than I, and we hope to continue to work towards the smoothest releases possible. We know that in the past, some updates have been buggy and thrown together. We've swearing against these bad habits, as they're not healthy for us, the game, or you.
We believe this new model will allow us to reach greater heights and take Valor to the next level with time and growth. We've also swapped to Friday updates (in the NA timezone) instead of Saturday to allow players from other regions to have way more of the weekend to play updates. Before, they typically only had Sunday, depending on the time of the update.
This once-a-month schedule will also allow us to build and maximize what we can accomplish in our updates. We'll also be offering targeted premium testing beforehand (as needed), along with fully prepared teaser videos. So stay tuned. :)
RWT (WILL NOT TAKE PLACE TILL MAY 1ST.)
We have made overarching policy exchanges to our real-world trading policies to support merchant safety and relaxed trading restrictions.
We reserve the right to remove ANY message without explanation from the #rwt channel if we feel it endangers our community. We may also randomly ask you to validate stock or prove you have what you claim. Refusal to comply in a reasonable timeframe will see RWT system restrictions placed on your In-game Account & Discord profile. Attempting to circumvent these restrictions will result in In-game & Discord bans.
We've always operated under those policies, and some more prominent traders will be familiar with spot checks or random audits. We're just clarifying this here, as it was a little hazy if we were this involved. To clarify: we are. We're always hard at work cleaning up #rwt to keep everyone safe.
Any support tickets opened about RWT involving games, or products not supported by their creators(e.g., RotMG, OSRS) will be automatically closed. No support is offered in any of these scenarios and will not fall under any insulation. When trading from an unsupported method, it should only be to exchange for Valor items. This is not a broader marketplace; it's Valor RWT.
We're trying to pick our battles better. We've put much work into RWT, and it's a very intensive system for us to monitor and keep everyone safe. This is doubly true because RWT generates us little income. We take no fees - so it's very much a significant moderation effort with zero thanks. It's a core part of the game at this point, though, and we're dedicated to keeping it clean. That said, we're picking our battles and what we enforce better so we can genuinely focus on preventing scams rather than nitpicking game origin. Unsupported games will receive no moderation support or help as the result of a scam. We'll still list them on the site, but our Moderators / Staff will never touch or interact in items/trades involving unsupported items.
This is a direct change from before we disallowed RWT with any game that did not also support it. This proved very unsupportable in terms of moderation.
Discord & Staff Changes
The Trusted Rank on our discord saw a reset yesterday. This action was a long time coming. The role had been used for several testing groups over time and no longer represented "Trusted" users. The only group to escape this role-wide prune was Retired Staff.
We believe Trusted users are those who have contributed to Valor and deserve to be recognized. We have no official front-facing policy on how to earn it, except that it is reserved for users actively contributing to and helping Valor, which we feel should be recognized. All I'll say is if you're the most active and helpful bug reporter in the world, you might see it one day. :)
We've noticed an uptick in Discord invites, RATs & suspicious files being sent in our #general. To protect our community, we now require that users have the "Verified" role or be a donator to send images or attachments.
To verify, please head to #bot and run "-link." The bot will DM you instructions and a command to run in-game!
There will be a few changes here, and we will be updating this list over the next few days. For now, I'm super excited to welcome the talented BQ to our team. They've been building and spriting for Valor for a while, and we're super happy to begin to get some of their actual work into the game. Not just pets. :)
Orbit -> Administrator.
BLOODQWEN -> Content Team.
ABS -> Moderator. (Very busy man. Still going to be handling a lot of Event stuff.)
We're in a perfect place in terms of Content Creation at this point. Our next patch will include a new Gargoyle Themed Dungeon, as well as a beautiful update to an older and semi-neglected piece of content. This will also have some long-awaited balance changes that will continue to open up class variety, as well as chasing our goal of decreasing stat stick mechanics. Super excited for what's to come.
We're getting SUPER close to the new website beta. We plan to begin rolling out the new site early early may. The new site is a complete upgrade over the old one and has a fancy new feature set. We're also continuing to play with the theme here as well!
- Access your linked stats via Discord Login.
- Brand new Leaderboards! Such as PlayTime, gold and more!
- Guild & Player Lookup.
- Unique badge & achievement system.
- Tons of new tooling, as well new forms like Discord Ban Appeal etc.
Some sneak peaks.
DDoS & Network Instability
For the past few months, we've silently been at war with malicious users who wish to see Valor shut down. In that time, we have successfully handled anything from large-scale DDoS attacks to protecting our community against credential crackers.
What is DDoS?
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.
How does this effect Valor?
Sometimes referred to as a layer 7 DDoS attack (in reference to the 7th layer of the OSI model), the goal of these attacks is to exhaust the target’s resources to create a denial-of-service.
In the case of Valor, the goal of these attacks is to exhaust the server's resources and make the game unplayable or inaccessible to our player base.
Private server architecture is not built to be "hammered," and in base Realm sources, there exist exploits & loopholes that allow these bad actors to instantly close down crucial applications via large amounts of packets and traffic. Valor has spent a long time building proper limiting systems and traffic monitoring servers to stop these attacks from having any effect. The problem most private server developers and communities face is that these exploits are incredibly easy to perform but incredibly difficult to detect and figure out unless you have experience working with Linux & networking.
Most private servers (not Valor) are also hosted on Windows, as these server owners feel it is much easier. This comes with a few downsides that make them incredibly susceptible to these DDoS attacks. Most hosts offering Windows boxes are not expecting them to get fried. Generally, they perform less than a Linux counterpart with the same specs.
In a world where it's increasingly easy to access these malicious tools, it's vital that our server instantly detects and defends against them. Through a combination of firewall applications (rules that control how traffic flows) + L7 host protection and server patches, we have, over time, built the tools to fend off these attacks. Over the past two weeks, since rolling the last of our changes into place, we have not seen any major network outages on Valor. However, we have detected numerous tried and failed attacks. :)