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Gamers are impatient when connecting

Quantifying the patience of on-line gamers is important for adequate server provisioning. For some Internet applications, such as web-browsing, users are known to be impatient [20]. For others, such as peer-to-peer services such as Kazaa, users are very patient [12].

{\figurename} 1: PDF of player impatience based on number of acceptable reconnects

Our trace of records successful connections as well as connection attempts, when players connect to the server and are refused service. The latter is extremely common; every day, the server turns away thousands of people. Browsing the trace, it is not unusual to see the same player reconnect to the server several times in a row, waiting for a spot on the server to free up. We operate on the assumption that a player's willingness to reconnect to the same busy server repeatedly is an indication of their patience.

{\figurename} 2: Session time results for trace
\includegraphics[width=0.44\textwidth]{figures/weibull_minutes} \includegraphics[width=0.43\textwidth]{figures/flow_cdf_minutes}
(a) PDF (b) CDF

In order to quantify player patience we group each player's connection history into sessions, and consider a session of length $N$ evidence of that player's willingness to reconnect after $N-1$ connections. Figure 1 shows the probability distribution of acceptable reconnections per player. As the figure shows 73% of the players are unwilling to reconnect to the server enough to play even once. One of the reasons players do not reconnect is that game clients have a ``Quick Start'' mechanism that many players use. The mechanism works by downloading a list of candidate servers from the master server and cycling through them one by one until a successful session is established. Thus, such clients may not lack patience, but rather are automatically redirected elsewhere. For the rest of the players, however, 13% are willing to reconnect one time on average with the percentage sharply decreasing on successive reconnects. Aside from the first data point, the rest of the graph represents a client's patience in connecting to our busy server and, not surprisingly, can be fit very closely with a negative exponential distribution. As Figure 1 shows, a negative exponential distribution with parameters $\alpha=0.2677$ and $\beta=-0.5687$ fits the data with a correlation coefficient of 0.998. Players, therefore, exhibit a remarkable degree of impatience with busy game servers.

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