So I played through to 60 and created a couple bases on Testlive PvE 3. What a chore. I needed to do a play through and see how things work on an official server, vs my own private dedicated testlive server.
Here are my observations:
Pure vanilla vs mods & server tweaks: While Funcom has made some good progress in QoL, the mods and server tweaks really add a ton to the playability of the game. Stack sizes have improved for some things, but others nope, so container sprawl is a massive issue on Official. This was never more obvious than when I used my pickaxe on one of the glowing blue wraiths near Mounds of the Dead. My entire inventory turned green. I can’t imagine harvesting a second one…
Official vs Dedicated in stability: While I would get a day or 2 of server uptime on Official, it had many odd bugs, that I never experienced on my dedicated. Some craft stations vanished (taking my named armorer). Some wall structures vanished. Once when I died, it placed my death marker 2 map grids from where I died. No corpse visible where I died, so I ran to the marker and nothing there either. relogged the game and marker and corpse were in the right place.
A couple other odd things were NPCs not regaining conciousness after being clubbed - like a real life day later, still napping in the dirt. A couple camps not having any NPCs for a couple days. All chests in Sepameru being bugged. Pets/thralls floating in the air after buildings decayed away (maybe intended?) I don’t have building decay on my server, so I can’t say if that would happen on my server.
Additionally, the server was pretty unreliable. I have no idea if Funcom takes it down for maintenance or what, but I got frequent disconnects. Some would let me log back in quickly and others would be downtime of up to a couple hours. If Funcom sponsored downtime, a server shut down message onscreen, using the “you are encumbered” message box would be super helpful.
My dedicated server is just a 5yr old gaming laptop that I retired last year. CE also crashes there, but the dedicated server launcher does attempt to restart right away. Sadly, that launcher has some bugs and I have to manually click through some error messages for the server startup to complete.
Overall, the official server is significantly more frustrating to play, with the extra bugginess, big downtimes and lack of QoL from some great mods and a few little server tweaks.
Was I having fun? For sure! Plus I like to have a baseline to compare to. But in all honesty, I’d just rather spend my bug hunting time on my own server, or possibly another dedicated server hosted by another player.
There is something unusual I noticed. Seems there is a new feature on the official testlive server that is not on our dedicated testlive servers - bearers drop a lightweight supply package on Official, but on my dedicated, they only have a few basic supplies. When you open the Official server supply package, you get something like 500 wood, stone or sticks. Extremely sweet packages! I want this for my own server
I did enjoy meeting some of the players in PvE 3. Very kind and helpful folks!