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Three years of awesomeness
posted March 09, 2017, 07:26:12 PM by n4ttl
Believe it or not, Oldschool DayZ Hardcore is three years in service this March. On March 15th, I ordered the first server with Fragnet. With a short interruption in late September 2014 this makes us one of the longest serving Hardcore servers worldwide. This is a good reason to become a little bit nostalgic, isn’t it? So, I gonna tell you about these three years of awesomeness.

The beginning

I am a freelance IT consultant. This often involves working in different cities and thus, spending your evenings alone in hotel rooms – you cannot go out and drink every night… 2014 was one of these years I worked abroad. I literally watched Youtube every night and somehow, I stumbled over this strange game called DayZ. Being a Mac person back then, I was not into computer games anymore apart from some 90s retro games I bought at GOG and played in a virtual machine. But content providers like MrBlack0ut81, Frankie and others got me totally fixed on this game.
In February 2014, I decided to get me a PC again to play DayZ. So, I got me a gaming laptop (a fairly good MSI machine) and bought DayZ Standalone on Steam. After running for about two weeks up and down the coast on third person servers, getting lost inland and suffering from the typical fate 3pp n00b players have in DayZ (ie. getting shot at spawn points by military geared people) I eventually decided to run my own server. I would be in control, ha ha!

I got me a server with Fragnet and called it Trabant 601 (named after the famous communist car from the Peoples Republic of Eastern Germany). But things did not change. The server was empty and I got pwned by some random guys. I visited one of the most popular German forums for DayZ: German Dayz. As I was 41 I definitely knew that I wanted to play with some older people who, so I assumed, would be more serious than some young lads.

The birth of Oldschool

I did not have to search long. I found this post by a guy called Stylker, in which he searched for “people who are above 31 and wanna have some decent gameplay. And by the way, we only play hardcore, because in gunfights your heart is pounding so hard.” Well, I had no idea about hardcore back then, so I contacted the guy and he invited me to their server called Eldsentinels. On the same evening, I played my first round of hardcore DayZ, loved it, stick with it and never looked back.

I loved playing with the group and we decided to form a permanent group. Back then our group consisted of Stylker, MadDog, Javolonas, DrillSergeant, Eldsentinel, Bionisch, Giovanni and another girl whose name I can’t remember. Later Asceton, Mr Pink and others joined the group. I think on the second evening playing we decided to form a clan. We had two servers which could be used as clan servers: Trabant 601 and Eldsentinels. We had a long discussion about how to call our clan. We knew that somehow, we wanted to show that we are a group of older people. Amongst the names, we had in mind was “The Old Farts” – thank god, we did not choose that name. Eventually someone came up with Oldschool and we liked the name. So, we renamed our servers to Oldschool. Eldsentinels, which was already a 1pp server became Oldschool I and Trabant 601 switched from 3pp to 1pp and became Oldschool II. Our clan got the clantag [OLD].

Becoming popular

Back then there were not many full hardcore servers. Oldschool I and II were an exception. We were 40/40 on both servers during prime time. And soon we became popular with 1pp streamers and Youtubers. When you liked watching Sacriel, Break and Ngotie running around the NWA area in 2014, some of their footage was taken on the Oldschool servers. Until summer 2014 it was awesome. We had a full server, we roamed the old NEA and enjoyed that with every patch the map expanded or some new equipment or weapons were introduced.
Hackers and bugs killing DayZ

In summer 2014 the game became literally unplayable because of hackers. I can’t remember how often I was killed by some invisible or flying idiots. Back then server owners had almost no way to prevent hackers from joining the server. Hackers and these lousy bugs like zombies glitching through walls all the time and ignoring doors, stairs which could become a deathtrap and the horrible FPS in so many placed killed the fun of the game. August 2014 saw the first major exodus of players. Also, people in our group lost interest in the game. First, we made a short break from playing DayZ and played Heroes and Generals for two or three weeks. Then Eldsentinel decided to quit his server, so Oldschool II became Oldschool. Other people in the group started leaving, playing only now and then and eventually did not come at all. In the beginning of September 2014 I was alone. I did not want to fund the server alone so I also decided to quit my server too. End of September 2014 Oldschool closed down. What a sad moment. It was a nice time, but all good things have to end eventually.

Meeting Aim-iliO and the relaunch

For the next weeks, I played on various 3pp servers (there were not many full hardcore servers around) with random guys I met at the German DayZ forums. About two weeks after closing down Aim-ilIO contacted me via PM on German DayZ forums. We started playing immediately. The group back then was Aim-iliO, Daniello, Selcuk and Kracher. We played 1pp, 3pp wherever we could find slots for our group.

And I knew, I wanted to start my own server again. At the very same time Dean Hall announced the private hives and the 50 slot servers. So after just three weeks I reopened Oldschool as a private hive and a few weeks later we moved to a 50/50 slots server. The private hive with the extra slots was a huge win for us. Top streamers played on our server every night, our server was constantly full. In November 2014, we had our best rank on Gametracker: we were #9 worldwide which was an awesome ranking for a 1pp only server. Since October 2014 the server is known as Oldschool DayZ Hardcore. We opened the forums in November 2015.

Aim-iliO and me were administrators, Daniello provided us with his Teamspeak server. Aim-iliO was the people person, I was the technical person. We have kept these roles since then and were successful with it all the time.

50/50 madness

Oldschool became so popular that we implemented the whitelist. Back then we started a cooperation with German Dayz which is still existing: we shared scripts and whitelists. From what I can tell German DayZ and Oldschool were the first servers worldwide to have a fully automated process of whitelisting: you register your GUID to the forums and are whitelisted with the next server restart. This is a feature most popular servers do not even have in 2017.

As the server was full all the time, we decided to get us a second server. We wanted to grow and go to America. Oldschool I was located in Europe and Oldschool II on the East Coast. Unfortunately, the second server never became that popular. We relocated it Europe in February 2015 I think. With both servers running on the same hive we had Oldschool I being constantly full and Oldschool II being used to loot up after respawn. Also with two servers an old problem from public came back to our server: people ghosting. I started writing Python scripts to prevent that. You had to decide in your forum profile on which server you wanna play. With the next whitelist update any chances would be propagated to servers. Updates were every 15 minutes, so if you wanted to ghost, you had to wait about 30 minutes (logging out of one server, changing server in the forum, waiting for the whitelist update, logging in to the other server, relocating, logging out, changing server in the forum, waiting for the whitelist update again, loggin in to the original server – a very awkward process that prevented ghosting).

In these days we started events like Bartertown our trading event, Get Shorty (kinda manhunt), “Three yellow boxes”.  We started the Wanted! list where you could place bounties on bandits. You had to pay in Mosin rounds. I tried to implement factions on the server (peacekeepers, traders and bandits) but it never really became that popular – DayZ Underground was far more successful with this… not everything works on Oldschool.

The Oldschool DayZ Commander

In early 2015 hackers still were a huge problem for DayZ server owners. It was easier to handle them because we could ban them and Bohemia Interactive released the ADM-logfiles which allowed us to see the kills of players happening. However, scanning through a huge logfile was an awkward and cumbersome process.
I knew we need some technical means to parse the AMD-logfiles. I started writing a couple of Python scripts that parsed the logfiles. It was not very elegant but effective. However, Python scripts are okay for a developer person like me, but they were awkward to handle for Aim-ilO. I started rewriting the logfile parser as a real Windows program. It became the Oldschool DayZ commander – I think it is the standard ADM parser these days. Many popular servers use it to track hackers.

With whitelist and the commander we became popular for being a relatively hacker free server. While other servers had constant problems with these sketchy guys you could be sure that on Oldschool you can play hacker free. And even if a hacker got through our rigid whitelisting process we had him within an hour or so – thanks to the Oldschool DayZ Commander.
In Spring 2015, Roter Ballon joined the admin team, responsible for the whitelist and we started a cooperation with Dannyyplays. Eventually we closed down the second server because it was empty most of the time. And we wanted to save donation money. Because since Spring 2015 Oldschool was funded by donations only – did not have to crossfund the server anymore.  Awesome!

Go North!

By spring 2015 Oldschool DayZ Hardcore had become THE 1pp PVP server with guaranteed northern squadplay. A lot of awesome squads of these days were playing on this server: NORTH, Team Kappa (Dannyyplays), SQL, HSD, USS, MrMoonshine & Cameljohn, the Chernarus Basterds, White Helmets, SoA, Public Enemy and the Silo &  the Yolo Squad. A lot of awesome footage can be found on Youtube.

The 0.55 debacle

When 0.55 patch came out it was a nightmare. The loot economy was totally messed up and persistence did not work properly. Freshspawns starved at the coast because the server was completely empty of loot. We lost a lot of players back then and I think it took us over a year to recover from this situation. Somehow our competitors from UKA managed to convince their GSP to automatically delete the persistence files with every server restart which our GSP Fragnet denied to do (Kudos to Alan & Co. from UKA for this move). This meant that UKA was full while Oldschool was empty.  Even when 0.57 fixed all the problems it did not bring back the former glory from pre 0.55. Of course we got full at primetime but it was only for a couple of hours. Not this 50/50 madness all day we experienced before.

DayZ Underground opened their Europe server and this did not make it better for us either. The total number of players was not that much anymore and suddenly there were several popular 1pp servers but there were not more hardcore players…
In autumn 2015 Affe joined the admin team. He is the second developer, he wrote the bot for our Discord server. The team back then consisted of four people.

Back to the top

In 2016 we started our way back to the top with several big events. There were the 20 vs 20 team deathmatches on Skalisti Island (I think we did it three times) and the Champions of Oldschool, were several popular squads fought against each other for the title of best squad on the server. Silo and Dannyy were playing regularly on the server and joining these events.
Borsuk joined the admin team as chief inquisitor and hacker finder. I found myself playing DayZ fewer times than in the past, doing mostly admin work. With more than 3000 hours of play time you eventually get fed up by game, don’t you?


In summer 2016 finally the new renderer came out. It did not bring back the vast numbers of players to the DayZ Standalone as we expected.
Autumn 2016 somehow sucked. The server itself was not really full in autumn 2016 – I even made an experiment running a 1pp Miscreated server for a month or so – it was not very successful.
Eventually in late 2016 early 2017 we managed it to get back to the top, currently being the second most popular hardcore server worldwide after DayZ Underground. Which is an awesome thing.
0.61 so far was an awesome patch for us. It skyrocketed and we are now 60/60 most of primetime, sometimes even on afternoons. Considering the fact that there are not so few regular players left this is an awesome thing. Together with DayZ Underground there are now two Hardcore/1pp servers in the top 15 globally. This is wonderful. Both for Oldschool and for 1pp gameplay in general.

In early 2017, our latest member of the admin team joined: HAL – our graphical wizard and social media guru. We have now the largest and most awesome admin team we ever had.

So what is Oldschool? It’s about the community

What is Oldschool DayZ Hardcore… First and foremost it is an 1pp server. It is also a PVP server. But we never imposed any rules on player game styles. You can play any way you want as long as you are not breaking our server rules: No hacking/glitching/cheating, no combat logging, no hate speak, not crashing server events. That’s it. There is only one occasion we impose a non-killing rule and this is on Bartertown. Without it, nobody would come. We had to many bloodbaths in the past 😉
The real secret of Oldschool DayZ Hardcore is the community. We have so many awesome players on the server. There are excellent PVP squads roaming the north. We have survivors hiding in the woods, hunting game and planting vegetables. We have roleplayers. We have traders.

Oldschool DayZ Hardcore would not be possible without you! Thank you!

Into the future

Three years of Oldschool. Three years of awesomeness. Three years of up and downs of running a server and a community. We were popular. We were cool. Then there were times when we were not popular anymore, not decent enough… We have more than 20.000 GUIDs on our whitelist, 10.867 unique players have been playing on Oldschool in 0.61 and we have 1528 bans on our banlist.

We hopefully will stay around for at least another three years. And who knows, once the server files are released, there might be an Oldschool Mod… true hardcore squad PVP 😊

March, 2017

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xx Re: Three years of awesomeness (Reply 1)
March 15, 2017, 10:53:02 AM by s7owned
read the whole thing. thx for all the work, see you in the north ;)
xx Re: Three years of awesomeness (Reply 2)
March 18, 2017, 11:52:10 AM by sosalpha
Thank you admin team for the work you put in this server.
xx Re: Three years of awesomeness (Reply 3)
March 18, 2017, 09:41:57 PM by Levski
Great read. Oldschool remains the Number 1 DayZ server out there, I rarely play anything else. Thanks for sticking with it.
xx Re: Three years of awesomeness (Reply 4)
May 23, 2017, 09:04:08 PM by Misanthrope
Gather the faithfull and propose a toast for three more years! Cheers!