FreeSO was being developed as a unofficial revival of the cancelled Sims Online MMO, and when it finally launched late last week, the unexpected demand shut down the servers.
Creator Rhys posted numerous observations "from the ashes of my servers," including reports of small denial of service attacks before the project even went live. And once he posted a registration link in a Discord chat channel, the servers were instantly hit with more than 500 requests, automatically shutting down the API server. Even hours after the shutdown, requests were still coming from people wanting to register. The demand came as a total surprise, as only about 200 requests were expected.
"Of all of the requests, 885 users from unique IPs signed up," Rhys said in his blog. "This makes things really difficult. I’m only one developer, and the flash interest in a game that basically died of inactivity years ago is very surprising. It’s also pretty satisfying; it is fantastic to see this much interest in FreeSO, it’s just also very hard to manage."
This, in addition to other complications, led Rhys to shut things down until things could be stabilized. He doesn;t have a relaunch date yet, and said he would probably plan on an closed beta before kicking the game off for full public consumption again.
“I was banking on everything working fine for the launch, as the date was actually set as the latest possible before I had to go back to university and work on my final year project,” he said. "Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like it was ever actually meant to be – I was hoping I could get a lot more of the required features done, and sort of hoping that some of them wouldn’t be necessary with a rather small playerbase. It turns out that all of these are completely necessary, as manually moderating thousands of players without some kind of automated assistance (reports, transaction flags, botting flags) would cause some kind of mental breakdown.”
He laid out a roadmap for his plans and cautioned against people trying to create private servers, instead asking for help to implement the features in the game so everyone can play it.
"Please remember, if I, the developer of the game for 3 years, could not successfully run a server, that you or anyone else definitely will not be able to run one successfully!" he said. "Please also be careful of private servers hosted by non-developers."