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Hello everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read this update. I want to bring everyone up to speed on the status of Neveron, Inc.
I want to first acknowledge the efforts of Wayward_Son, Co-Owner/ Admin of Neveron. For the last several years, Wayward_Son has been trying to manage the game as the solo Admin. Due to many MAJOR 'real life' issues, he has not been able to spend the time he had hoped working on Neveron. Neveron would have been taken offline in 2006 if not for his efforts to keep the game alive until today. Running something as complex as Neveron does in fact demand the full time efforts of its staff, let alone a solo Administrator.
However, the game has indeed suffered during his absence. Many items including Help Tickets, Donations, Bugs and Loopholes have all been unattended for far to long. The game has been suffering from mysterious offline periods, usually after weeks of internal programs 'crashing'. The game had been either offline, or online and 'broken' more than it had been online and working for most of 2010. Near the end of November 2010, Daily Operations finally got to the point where there was not enough money to keep the game online in its current state.
CommSPEED [CS] did in fact finally take Neveron, Inc. offline on December 7th, 2010. Many rumors spread about how Neveron, Inc had finally died. This is actually true. The game that we all loved to hate, was now officially offline.
However, that was just the begining of the new era for Neveron. I will share with you now the long and horrific journey that your beloved game has taken to get you to where we are now.
At this point, I want to now acknowledge the efforts of Randy, Creator/ Co-Owner/ Admin of Neveron. Many people were displeased with Randy when he decided that he no longer wanted to work on Neveron in late 2006. Many many rumors have been spread over the years about Randy and Neveron. Almost all of them are false. Randy has been VITAL in the process of starting this new era of Neveron. He has made many concessions trying to make this purchase happen sooner than later. He is currently running a project Mythic Warfare, a game based in the past, rather than the future like Neveron. Please feel free to check out his new game when you need a break from Neveron!
On November 30th, 2010 a final revision of a Purchase Agreement for the assets of Neveron, Inc was completed. The plan at this point was for a 10 day 'outage' while the servers were relocated to thier new home. This turned out to be far easier to plan than actually accomplish, as we would soon find out.
I had my local ISP provider, Time Warner [TW], install my connection at this point. Even this had its issues. The Sales Rep I dealt with screwed up the order and never placed a request for a static IP, only a Business Class ISP. You of course need a static IP to host a website like Neveron.com and I told this guy that is what I was doing. The install tech shows up, and I'm talking to him about things, and he says this install is NOT for a static IP. You need a different modem and the account is set up different, etc etc etc. Fortunately this guy has the right stuff in his truck, and I tell him to go get all that while I call the Sales Dept and get all this sorted out.
TWO hours later, its kind of sorted out. They send me the documentation I need to electronically sign after I leave for work, so I get it to them the next day, and then I get a final copy later. The trouble with this is that the install tech did the full setup for the static. Then once the paperwork was submitted, the Tech Dept did ANOTHER set up and changed things around. Apparently 90% of TW does things by one proceedure, and TW in my part of NY does things following a different proceedure.
So now I have this modem/router/gateway and an install disk. I spend the next 12 hours going through all the features of this gadget, which are pretty decent actually. I configure everything as I should, but I cant seem to get the static IP to work right. So I call HelpDesk. They tell me that the static IP info is on my account, but it appears that its not configured on the modem yet/ properly. They tell me due to this 'local proceedure' nonsense, I'll have to call back tommorow when that Dept is open, and have them fix things. Im like wtf! So the next day, another 2 hours of hold music, and the guy finally tweaks things over the phone. At this point he tells me that all those features in the gateway that I spent the last 12 hours setting up, yeah we disable those, unless you pay extra to use them. Of course you do!
The next delay was actually getting the 'down payment' to Randy. The payment was sent 'overnight' via UPS, from NY to AZ, on Wednesday December 1, 2010. Unfortunately, Upstate NY was hit with a major winter storm, that in fact closed a portion of the local Interstate. That stretch of I-90 was the route that the payment was on. UPS did finally get that payment to AZ at noon on Friday December 3rd, 2010.
In preparation for when the down payment would arrive to Randy, discussions had been started with CS, to make arrangements to pick up the server equipment. Unfortunately, CS was going through some major equipment overhaul / upgrade of thier own. I had been dealing with some lame Customer Service Supervisor [Ms Lame], who was now in charge of the Neveron account. Messages that were left were ignored. Promises of returned calls went to the wayside.
Finally on Monday December 6th, Randy drove 45 minutes to CS with payment and paperwork in hand, ready to pick up the server equipment. The entire CS staff was involved in some massive training project at some other location. There was literally a skeleton crew at the hosting location in Prescott. No one there could or would authorize the release of the equipment to Randy. They told us to come back in 2 days [Wednesday] to talk to Ms Lame, who had been ignoring both Randy and I for the past week.
To me this was unacceptable. You want us to wait another 2 days, after talking to Ms Lame the entire week prior, to arrange this pick up then? I think not! For all I knew, she would give me more excuses on Wednesday once she got around to getting back to us. At this point I pretty much went off. I proceeded to call CS, literally every hour for the remainder of the day, threatening to call back and talk to that persons supervisor, and that persons supervisor, and so on until this matter was resolved. Needless to say, Im not real popular at CS.
I did however finally get a return call from Ms Lame. After all her apologies [blah blah blah], she made a call to the Networking Dept. She made arrangements for Randy to meet them at 4PM on Tuesday to pick up the servers. Not the answer I wanted, but it was better than maybe sometime on Wednesday.
So CS Networking Dept decides to get the jump on things and takes down the servers around 2PM, with out Randy present. 2 issues here: 1] It was 2+ hours sooner than we had arranged, and so any 'work in progress' would have been totally screwed, and 2] Randy could not make notes of exactly what was still connected to what and get a jist of the basic current set up. This will come back to bite us later as you will see. Remember that Randy had not been actively working on Neveron since 2006, and there were plenty of changes to things since then.
So Randy gets the servers, but it is now too late in the day to pack and ship them in time. So home he goes with the servers and another day is now lost. Randy does in fact get them dropped off at UPS on Wednesday December 8th, 2010. Now the waiting game begins. Expected delivery time is 5 business days, or December 15th 2010. Like a kid counting down the days till Christmas, I was checking the tracking link every few hours...for 7 days! The main server suddenly shows some 'exception' and simply says it may not make the expected delievery date. Of Course Not! The packages got to some UPS facility and sat the remainder of the weekend. Finally on Monday I see that the main server is showing in Buffalo, NY. No sign of the other 4 packages yet. Next thing I know, the main server says it will be here on Tuesday! YEAH!
So Tuesday December 14th, 2010 comes around. My normal UPS delivery is not until after 2PM, not counting extra delays for the 'holiday' season. That was the longest day of my life! I was standing in the window watching for the damn truck in fear I might miss him with his 'drive by' door bell ring / post a 'We missed you' tagging.
By standing in the window he means invading *my* bedroom, bouncing up and down in front of the window repeatedly screaming 'UPS MAN... WHERE ARE YOU?!' Just so you know what I have to put up with. - Bassy
THERE IS THE TRUCK! YEAH! So they drag that heavy ass box into my house and I finally get to sign for something. It was of course like 6 degree F outside at the time, so the server was a chunk of ice. I decided to unpack the box to help it warm up to room temp faster.
I notice a small tear in the side of the box, but nothing extreme, so I press on. I get the box open and after closer inspection, I realize that the 1/8" steel face plate is bent backwards almost 2 inches. This plate is binding against the 3 right side drive bays as well as the CPU tray. The right handle is bent all to hell. The right server tray release handle is also broken. Several internal brackets and such are also mangled. FML! So I continue sifting thru the box pulling out various cables and such. I decide I want to plug in the server and see what kind of damage the server has suffered. Enet cables: check, mouse/keyboard/monitor cables: check, Standard Power cables: check, Proprietary Power Cables for Server: no check. Seriously? Crap! I guess I'll have to wait till the other boxes show up.
At this point its Wednesday December 15th, 2010 and I'm back to checking the tracking link every hour till they get here. Of course Murphy's Law makes the delivery get here after 8PM. So now I have 4 new packages. I swear to you, those boxes looked like they were used as Yoga mats at a Plus Sizes Class...all mashed to hell. One box literally had the entire side of it split open! As far as we can tell, everything somehow made it here. However, pretty much every piece of equipment had suffered some sort of physical damage to its casing. I have never seen such a horrible delivery before in all my years.
So after spending the next several hours documenting all the damage and taking photos of everything, I decide its time to start sorting out what goes where. I get the 3 smaller servers set up and boot them up. One of the older servers is making a hell of a racket. Sounds like a hard drive may have suffered a knock during transit. GRRR! I then start to set up the main server only to realize that NONE of the power cords I have fit the power supplys. So after a few hours of google searching and a phone call to DELL Used Parts I find the proper power cords and get them shipped. The thing that bothers me now is where did the original ones go? Did they get lost in transit? Are they still with Randy? Are they still at CS? Cant confirm the first one, Randy double checks and he doesnt have them. So now the only option that I can try to follow up on is CS, so I figure its worth a call.
So I get connected to Ms Lame voicemail of course. After leaving messages for 3 days, I finally get a call from the Networking Supervisor, Tony. At first he is kinda short and pissy with me. Im sure in part because he got stuck dealing with me as Ms Lame decided to hand me off to him. Also partly due to the fact that his Dept was getting blamed for the lost Neveron equipment. Well of course no one likes to admit that their Dept made a mistake, so he is on the defense. Add in my annoyance that Ms Lame had passed me off to the Network Dept to deal with, I was likely kinda pissy as well. So after a few push and shoves through the phone, we finally got around to my points.
I had been asking CS to provide me with an inventory list of all Neveron equipment they had. Im told no problem one day, the next Im told no such list exists. How does a colo operation NOT have an inventory of customer equipment on site? I never got that list.
My only remaining real concern is the missing power cords. What other equipment got left behind with the power cords? Were they sitting in some box on a desk or in a back hall somewhere? Did an employee think this stuff was up for grabs sitting in the hall waiting for Randy to pick it up that day? So I wanted someone to go back to the server room, or any other 'storage' area, and look around for anything that seems out of place. Any equipment that doesnt look like something CS would use, its probably the property of Neveron, Inc. Tony agreed to look around and he would get back to me. I'll give you 3 guesses what Tony found at CS, and the first 2 don't count!
So moving on...I get the power cord from DELL on Friday December 17, 2010 in the afternoon. However, I have to work all weekend, so everything sits here Fri, Sat, Sun. Three more wasted days. The plan had been to take offline on a Monday, ship for a week, arrive the following Monday, and get set up in 2 to 4 days, in time for the next weekend. Needless to say, things were not going as planned!
So Monday December 20th I start looking at things again. At this point I'm running into new issues. The servers that are booting up are asking for login passwords. No documentation anywhere about what those might be. Hmmm wonder if Randy knows them. A few dozen possible pw combos from him and we are no closer to logging in. We try to contact Wayward_Son for the pw's, but its several days before we hear back from him about them. So now we try to log on, only to have the servers give errors saying that the OS needs to be activated.
We are still not sure why this error triggered, but our best guess is the OS saw a new IP and assummed it was a new copy of the server OS. One of the options was to activate online, but we couldnt get to the connections to edit them to make a proper connection. It was a rather nasty mess to say the least. Another issue Im told creates problems is that the OS was set to the wrong time zone. Old server time was based in AZ, with all its non practicing DST rules. New server time was now NY / EST or EDT. I finally got one server to connect. The next server I had to actually call MS and they gave me a code over the phone. The next server was running an older OS, and only forced a password reset when I logged on. I of course forgot I changed this password a few dozen times over the next few days, adding to my frustrations. The main server was the only one that simply turned on and let me login as it was supposed to do!
So now its the week of Christmas, and next week is New Years. Joy! This means that it will be even harder to find free time for any of us to actually do any work on the servers. Even more delays to getting the game back online. It's now been almost 3 weeks. So now I'm back to square one getting the LAN set up. I get the wireless router setup so that my laptop can access things. Great! Something worked as expected finally. At this point I realize the way the server room is currently set up there is the potential of electrical supply problems. So I spend Christmas Day doing a complete tear down and rebuild the server setup in order to eliminate this potential electrical problem. Happy Freaking Holidays!
Now to get the servers to play nice with each other again. The server that is making all the noise, is still grinding away, but it wont connect to the other servers properly. Anyone want to guess what programs run on that server? After several days screwing with configuration settings and web server settings, we finally got a few things working as expected. The servers are running, and the game seems to be 'running' at this point. Only 2 weeks longer than it was supposed to take! I spend the next several days trying to check things out in the game and see whats working from a players perspective.
Now to redirect the Domain name (neveron.com) to the static IP. The Domain name had been registered at Network Solutions [NS] sometime in early 2000. There really is no need to access that type of account unless you do something like move the servers. Which would mean that Wayward_Son would have been the last person to access that account, likely when he moved the servers to CS. So what is the login info for NS? No clue! So begins the next chapter of HELL!!
After a login and password recovery attempt, it's realized that the only email listed is an old, and likely inactive, hotmail account. So Randy calls NS and asks what other options do we have to recover neveron.com and the account that controls it. They send him a few forms to request a redirect. He submits that, and that request is denied. They then tell him to complete a 'contact info' update. He submits those new forms and that is also denied. They tell him to resubmit that second form, with additional supporting documentation, and it will be reviewed. So he does, sends in more forms, more supporting docs, and its denied again.
Now I'm getting annoyed, but I am not listed anywhere on the NS account, so I know that my options are very limited. I call anyway. I'm sent an email with a link to the same forms that Randy has already filled out twice. This form is asking for copies of licensing and utilities that match all the contact info they have on file. The trouble there is that the info they have on file is 5 to 7 years old and outdated. The few utilitiy bills that exist have newer address info on them. The phone number NS had was for the old Neveron Office. The PO Box was closed years ago. So this form is a dead end. I'm forced to let Randy play Simon Says with the folks at NS again.
At this point Randy decides it might be easier to try to recover the hotmail account that NS has on file. We try to simply create a 'new' version of that email. DENIED. We try to login to it. Multiple password attempts. DENIED. Multiple password recovery security questions. DENIED. There of course was no other back up email listed to this hotmail account for its password recovery, so that option is out as well. We attempt to reach Wayward_Son hoping he may know that email password still, but he is still unavailable. We eventually get the hotmail account locked down for too many failed login attempts. Great! So now what?
Several weeks later I call NS again. I ask to talk to a Supervisor. After talking to her for nearly 2 hours about all the failed attempts so far, she finally hears me say I bought the company that owns neveron.com over a month ago. Oh! Well that changes things!! You need to fill out this third form instead!!! Seriously? It's that easy? Why the hell didn't someone tell us that weeks ago? So I get the forms, fill them out, gather all the supporting documents that are needed for this new form, and I attempt to submit them to NS. This modern day IT company tells me I must fax the forms to them. I hunt down a fax machine and I dial in the #. The machine won't pick up the incoming call. I contact NS to verify the fax number. I get a different fax #. I ask why the hell does the form have the first # printed on it if its wrong? I'm told they are both valid. So I send it to both fax #s again, and this time they both go thruogh. Im told 2-3 business days for a reply. So that means Tuesday maybe, more likely Wednesday.
The last document they needed was a legible copy of my Drivers License. Well anyone knows that Dr Lic Photo doesn't copy well, and faxes even worse. So I have a scanned copy of it and I ask where can I send this to? After 15 minutes of hold music, they get me an email to send it to. I decide to scan all the other documents I already faxed and attach them as well to this email. I figure better safe than sorry. So I'm watching my email all day Monday for a reply. Finally Tuesday night I realize that they had sent a reply to my secondary email 7AM Monday. This of course is another 'wasted' day. They denied my request. Over the next week I get several denial letters from NS for one stupid reason or another. One was your ID is missing, another was wrong form please send form #2 again. Etc etc etc. I called and screamed at even more Customer Service reps, as well as thier Supervisors, each and every day for a week. So after a long week of agony, I FINALLY got control of the Domain account.
It is now January 20th, 2011. I reset the domain name from CS to the NS 'Site Under Construction' page. We had not yet resolved all the server issues at this point. Having to work every weekend limits the time to trouble shoot things to a few days a week. Coordinating Randy and my schedule on top of that makes things even more of a challenge.
So I finally decided to unoffically 'launch' the game on Friday January 21st, around 8PM EST. I redirected neveron.com to the new IP of the servers. For those of you that where online that night, the randomness of some people getting into the game was due to the DNS database across the internet as it changed from the NS 'Construction' page to the real IP. As of last night, there was still some DNS 'whois' info listing the 'construction' page for neveron.com, even after a week!
So now we are to modern day. Neveron has in fact been sold. It is now located in New York, USA. It will remain a 'free' game supported by player donations. There will be a new forum setup where many future plans will be discussed in great detail. There will be no major changes to the game during the first year. Loopholes, Abuses and Cheats will be addressed immediately as they are identified. Things overall will move very slow as things are sorted out and cleaned up internally. Updates will be posted on a regular basis. Help Tickets will be read, and processed regularily, as well. Please keep yourself informed by reading the updates, as well as the current sticky topics that will be appearing on the forums.
I also need to make one last point very clear. I am going to try to make myself available as often as I can. I have learned a lot about this game from talking to the people that play it. I have spent countless hundreds of hours in chat, on forums, in private messages [forum and chat], in emails and on the phone talking with people about this game. I even have spoken to people in person at Nev Con Vegas 2006 and ICon Chicago 2010. In the future when we start to consider major conceptual changes to the game, I will again want to hear from anyone willing to talk about the topic and share thier ideas.
However, much of my time currently will be spent working behind the scenes on the game. I will continue to read all forum topics. In IRC/ chat, "NoobieDoobieDoo" is used to log all traffic and chat in game related channels, and I will review them as I can. For specific topics that I was not present for, OPs can request that I review my logs. I understand that many players are excited about the game showing sign of life! No one is as excited as me! However excitement also increases chat activity, and that means it will be impossible for me to review all logs.
With that in mind, I have created some rules about contacting that I must be strict with. Please take a minute to review them.
Should you choose to ignore these basic rules, then your meesage will also be ignored. Im not saying this to be harsh, but to spare you the agony of your issue not getting addressed in the timely manner it should be. You need to help me help you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this story of hell that I have endured over the last 8 weeks. I hope you found it as entertaining as I do now, looking back.
ShadowMasterCM / NoobieDoobieDoo