The Great Shardrush

On the night of August the 2nd, all was peaceful in the land of screeps.

On August 3rd, a new world appeared. Many had already shared plans of moving to the new shard, and all signs suggested that competition would be fierce. We were not disappointed.

Here are the first few moments of the brand new shard. I tried to mouse over new room names as they appear (apologies that some are out of frame). I also cut out a few minutes here and there where nothing was happening due to server issues.

Let the history books show that SirLovi was the first AI to land on this strange new world. That is one small move() for creep, one giant moveByPath() for creep-kind.

One by one, dozens of other AIs started to appear. Rather quickly, a trend was starting to emerge. Many of these AIs had blue icons. After snooping around in #recruitment, I found out why.

It seems that the Ypsilon Pact intends to make their mark on shard1. So far they seem wildly successful.

The Race for RCLs

Soon enough, people were making bets on who would lead the race to upgrade controllers. Just as he was the first to land, SirLovi was also the first to make it to RCL2. Davaned made an early prediction that SirLovi would lead the pack.

I started tracking controller progress in the rooms that I could find that were ahead. Here was the first round of results:

Game.time ~4000 
1. Rising    22.2K / 45.0K   W12S6
2. Atlan     14.9K / 45.0K   W8N12
3. SteeleR    7900 / 45.0K   E2S18
4. Issacar    7642 / 45.0K   E6S11
5. W4rl0ck    2682 / 45.0K   E9N8
6. SirLovi    2600 / 45.0K   E13S5

Right from the start, some leaders started to emerge. Rising (from the alliance Spawn More Overlords) had an incredible lead on everyone else, with almost twice the controller points as the next player. Still, it isn’t easy to tell who is ahead at such an early stage just by looking at controller points. Players may be investing in infrastructure that will help them in the long-run. Here is our tally roughly 10k ticks later:

Game.time ~13200
1. Rising        8.3K / 405.0K   W12S6
2. DoctorZuber  61.0K / 135.0K   E18S2
3. Geir1983     46.4K / 135.0K   E2N8
4. Issacar      46.1K / 135.0K   E6S11
5. W4rl0ck      37.5K / 135.0K   E9N8
6. SteeleR      27.1K / 135.0K   E2S18
7. Atlan        21.8K / 135.0K   W8N12

Rising is still at the top, and somehow with even more of a lead. At this point, everyone was wondering what kind of black magic he was using. We also saw a new contender, DoctorZuber. The good doctor’s place near the top is particularly noteworthy because he is only using a 10cpu account. Many of these other players had hundreds of CPU at their disposal each tick and were still following at his heels.

Let’s take the top four and look at their rooms at an early stage. Maybe we can identify what is working so well. Perhaps these players will also be willing to share more details about their approach in the comments.


Issacar’s early room
Issacar’s room at 10k ticks

Issacar chose an excellent first room for the purpose of speedy controller upgrading. Each source is very close to the controller. This means he can spend less resources on creeps to move energy over to it. Each source also has at least 3 positions for miners, so he can fully-tap them right from the start. He is also queuing up some extensions to be used right away.

At 10k ticks he has maxed-out his extensions and also built some strategical containers.




Geir1983’s early room
Geir1983’s room at 10k ticks

Geir1983 seems to have a very similar strategy to Issacar. Being from the same alliance, perhaps they shared ideas ahead of time. Geir1983 also chose a great room with some of the same excellent features. At 10k ticks he has almost an identical state of progress to Issacar. Both are killing it.




DoctorZuber’s early room
DoctorZuber’s room at 10k ticks

As noted above, DoctorZuber is using a 10cpu account. It is important for him to squeeze in every optimization he can or his bucket will start to suffer.

A quick glance reveals an interesting strategy. It seems that his creeps are using the Spawn as a container of sorts, drawing energy from it to upgrade the controller nearby. Theoretically, this saves him from having to spawn quite as many CARRY parts. If the spawn has less than 300 energy, he also gets a trickle of bonus energy (1 energy per tick). This energy is added to the spawn to guarantee that players will always have at least some energy to bootstrap a room, but he has repurposed it to max-out his controller upgrading.



Rising’s early room
Rising’s room at 10k ticks

It is noteworthy that Rising also put his Spawn near the controller. Perhaps at early stages he was also using the bonus energy in the same way that DoctorZuber was.

It also appears he has divided up his creep roles into CARRY-creeps and WORK-creeps. This saves him from having to spawn more MOVE parts than he would otherwise. Upgraders can stay at the controller and harvesters can stay at the sources. Most players fall into this strategy at some point, but Rising appears to do it right from the start.

At 10k ticks, Rising is already remote mining. He has claimed nearby rooms which allow him to not have to reserve them.


The Thunderdome

The early days of the new shard offered some interesting PvP opportunities. In some cases, two players spawned in the same respawn-area and quickly raced to establish dominance. The most interesting cage-match that I witnessed was the one between SteeleR and Issacar. Pretty much as soon as these players could spawn ATTACK parts, they were throwing them at each other.

I believe SteeleR drew the first blood by attacking Issacar’s ally. Issacar seemed to focus on economy first and quickly claimed 2 additional rooms in the sector. He also managed to shut down SteeleR’s attempt to do the same. SteeleR fought valiantly, causing harvester disruption where he could and racing to upgrade his primary room.

In the end, the spoils of war went to Issacar. When SteeleR decided to respawn, he used the opportunity to start from scratch with a completely new codebase. While he was away, it seems it got itself into a state where it was out of energy and couldn’t bootstrap creeps. Issacar swiftly took advantage and purged SteeleR from the sector. Well done!

I wish I had gifs of this whole ordeal, unfortunately history view does not appear to be available. Perhaps the two participants of this mini-war can share more details and gifs with us in the comments.

Three Days Later

The situation continues to evolve and competition has only grown more fierce. At the time of this writing, 200 players have made Shard1 their home.

Let’s take a look at our original list of contenders as well as some new ones. These are all the players I could find with rooms that were RCL6 (apologies if I missed anyone).

Game.time ~129700
1. Rising      2.53M / 3.64M   W12S6
2. W4rl0ck     1.35M / 3.64M   E9N8
3. Issacar     1.22M / 3.64M   E6S11
4. SirLovi     0.33M / 3.64M   E13S5
5. neurozap    0.29M / 3.64M   W8N12
6. Hernanduer  0.29M / 3.64M   W2N1
7. Novice      0.09M / 3.64M   W5N13

Rising is still head-of-the-pack in terms of progress in a single room, and still nearly twice the progress of the next best. He deserves some special credit for this, he began screeps not more than 3 months ago and is working with 6 GCLs. This puts a hard limit on how many rooms he can claim, and how many claims he can use in place of reservations. Some of the players he is contending with do not have the same limitation.

SirLovi’s sector

Although he may have fallen behind in the race for controller points in his primary room, SirLovi has pulled far ahead of the rest of the pack in terms of total controller progress, claiming virtually the entire sector in which he has spawned. Cumulatively, he has a total of 73 RCLs between his 15 rooms. Two are already at RCL6, which is the highest any player has yet to achieve.

It turns out that Davaned was wise to bet on him, I believe we all owe him some credits! I have no doubt that YP are sending multiple emissaries in an effort to convert him.

Hernanduer has chosen to make shard1 his home. A screeps veteran of legendary status, there is no doubt that he will be an overlord in the region.

Here is the current political landscape. True to their intent, YP appears to be a heavy-hitter in shard1. There are also noteworthy representations by The Culture, SUN, and Spawn More Overlords. And of course, many independent players. What new alliances will form in their midst? Only time will tell.

Here’s wishing all the players of shard1 the best. May your tick times be short, your safeModes be plenty, and your bugs be features.

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