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dance210 #1 Posted 04 October 2017 - 03:35 PM

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Yesterday, we had a Reddit Ask Us Anything with some of the developers at Creative Assembly, where y'all asked your burning questions about update 2.1 and Closed Beta.. You can read the entire Reddit conversation here and the question and answers from the AuA here.


Here are the guys that participated in the AuA:

From Creative Assembly:

  • /u/CA_Jamie - Battle Designer
  • /u/Josh_CA - Developer Communications
  • /u/Paulss9_CA - Content Designer

From Wargaming:

  • /u/Akriom - European Community
  • /u/Sasha_Japan - Asia Pacific Community
  • /u/dance210 - North American Community
  • /u/Zwillinger - Global Community


Q. PexP: To Developers: How would you describe the experience of creating your first mmo game, it been 2 years.

A. CA_Jamie: It's been significantly longer than 2 years for many of the team! Speaking for myself, I played Arena in alpha for 2 years before joining the CA team. It's been an interesting time and I've certainly enjoyed it. I've also learned a heck of a lot, not just about design but a variety of topics, from programming to animation pipelines. The best part is the people who work here, they're pretty fantastic and the culture here is great. Heck, I had Nandos bought for me before this ama 


A. Josh_CA: Hey! It's definitely been a huge learning experience for us. The main difference was transitioning from making a big singleplayer game that you then just sell to a persistent online multiplayer service. We're getting to a point now where we've hired new people and really streamlined our process, even creating new dedicated teams over the last few years. We're still learning a lot from the community and from the data we gather, for example, we saw that there was definitely a demand for more developer presence and acknowledgement, and here we are! From now onwards we want to become a lot more integrated with the community (I just joined the discord server, for example), and make sure that you know we are listening to your feedback.


A. paulss9_CA: I find the experience fascinating. I am so into it I even dream about it. I've moved to UK just to work on the Arena project and I am loving it.


Q. DETrooper: Are there plans for additional closed beta sessions after our current one, or will the transition be straight to open beta?

A. CA_Jamie: Obviously this could change, but the current plan is that this is the final session before Open Beta, and we don't plan to have an offline period.


Q. PexP: Will Closed beta last 8 weeks as planned?

A. Josh_CA: Hey! So we're aware that there were a few posts saying that the closed beta would last 8 weeks, and that was our initial idea when we were still in Alpha, but of course we knew that the final number would depend heavily on what we learned during the closed beta. We don't want a long closed beta, but we also don't want to rush it, and as you can see, we want to implement new features alongside balancing updates. So, I don't think that it will be exactly 8 weeks, but I don't think we'll be too far off that.


A. Zwillinger: Just to reinforce what /u/Josh_CA said:

While we certainly have a timeline that we're looking at for the CBT, we want to make certain we're being responsible partners to our friends over at CA in not trying to move things along before they're ready.


Q. Quo_usque_pro_victoria: I won't be able to make it tommorow, so here is my question : After the Closed Beta, will there be a period when the game will be offline (I'm guessing yes) ? If yes, for how long and what would be the priorities ? (I know that it's perhaps a bit early for that question) Thanks in advance

A. Josh_CA: We currently aren't anticipating there to be an offline period, and we're hoping for a smooth transition from closed to open beta.


Q. Cobboolio: Is there any sort of road map you could give us for closed beta? What are your priorities, and what sort of stuff can we expect for the next few weeks?

A. CA_Jamie: Unfortunately I can't give you a full roadmap, but on the battle team our priorities are issues like Pathfinding/Unit responsiveness, Friendly Fire, Scoreboard, Morale, and some general unit/battle control issues. I also can't tell you when to expect any of this stuff. These are complex issues with no easy solutions, so it's taking time to get things right.


Q. keymouse8801: What are your pre-OBT plans, is there new stuff you are going to add in the CBT

A. CA_Jamie: There's plenty of stuff still to come in CBT 


A. Josh_CA: To second Jamie's answer, hopefully this patch has shown that our CBT patches aren't going to be purely about balance, and that we are absolutely willing to introduce new features during the closed beta as well as improving the core gameplay.


Q. wwolfnv: One more question: is there any plan to do the Live event similar to the one in the past, i.e. the invited 10 vs. 10 on LAN?

A. Josh_CA: Hey, we've had several competitive communities approach us and ask if we'd like to do more of these live events, and we'd love to. However, before we showcase the game in a competitive scene we'd like to feel happy that we've achieved a competitive balance, and that's kinda what this beta period is for. We're learning a lot from the data we're getting, and hopefully as we get closer and closer to that perfect balance we can explore these live events and competitive scenes 


Q. markyman_fighter: Will you have ranked play and how do you plan on making that work ?

A. Josh_CA: We will have ranked play and we are currently investigating exactly how that will work, because as you can imagine there are a lot of factors to consider. As we become happier about achieving a competitive balance it will become a much larger priority for us but yes, it is a goal of ours and we are looking at it and how it will work.


Q. Ironsamuel: I would like to know the future design of the game. After reaching level 10, what will keep us playing? The clans will be .... but what will be there? a clan map conquest? or what?

A. CA_Jamie: We are planning to have full clan support, you might notice that in the titles selection on your profile there's a 'clan tag' option. We're also planning to have a full clan map conquest/campaign for clans to battle each other for dominance 


Q. TypicalBruneian: Will you be adding custom battle mode soon and if so, are you still gonna limit the amount of units to 3? Or will you allow an option to increase the amount of units allowed per player in custom battle because i think limiting 3 units per player in custom battle will definitely limit the enjoyment custom battle mode can potentially provide

Is siege mode gonna be in the game soon or at least planned?

Imagine a 3v3 siege map custom battle with friends , each players controlling 5 units. That sounds amazing

Also about the phalanx friendly damage, i feel like it can be easily exploited by assholes. I mean whats stopping them from using phalanx formation to kill friendly camping archers by surrounding them or by walking directly infront of friendly phalanx intentionally causing the ally to have friendly kills

A. Josh_CA: Hey! So Custom battles have been in development for a while and we're hoping for them to be coming soon. We're still fine-tuning it, and what we initally release will obviously be expanded on and worked on depending on what the community wants. It's a little early for us to talk about specific features of custom battles, but yes, it will be added soon.

We prototype a lot of different game modes here in the office, and we're aware that siege mode in particular is a heavily requested mode. For now, we want to really focus on our core 10 v 10 mode, but we're absolutely looking at other game modes (including siege mode) and how to do them justice.

We're aware of the issues surrounding phalanx friendly fire and we're looking into possible solutions to that, so don't worry, it's on our radar.


Q. Tomluk811: Do you plan to change current K/D Scoreboard? What about friendly fire? Will you add some punishment for it?

A. CA_Jamie: Yup! We're planning on moving back to a points-based scoreboard. We're definitely looking into a number of changes for Friendly Fire, but there's no silver bullet solution that will fix all the issues. As a result we're taking our time to test and prototype a variety of different solutions, and combinations of them, to make sure we get it right.


Q. dezmond_UA: When will players from different regions be allowed to add each other to friends list and play as a party?

A. Zwillinger: Hey /u/dezmond_UA

Unfortunately that's a restriction on Wargaming's end due to our account databases being separated by region. We're looking into if there's a way we can make it so you're able to friend friends from around the world.

Together we shall bring about world peace...through Total War...ARENA


Q. The_Names_Nova: Are there plans to unify gold and premium time with world of tanks? I want to buy the biggest founders pack but only if that gold will eventually be usable for my main game world of tanks.

A. Akriom: This is tough question. Unfortunately, I have no idea if this will change in the future. I do know there are no plans to have this in the immediate future.


Q. KingJofrethe001: While I understand that toxicity is a growing obstacle for Devs to overcome when dealing with online gaming communities, how does CA intend to further develop its communication with the playerbase?

There may not be a perfect example of how communication should be structured, but there are a few companies, such as Epic's Paragon team, that have emphasized transparency as a central value through timely detailed patch notes and thorough dev blogs when the community asks questions. While the playerbase may not always agree with them, it is better to disagree with someone than to feel ignored.

CA's entrance into the multiplayer arena means that existing SOPs for comms should be updated to reflect the new expectations from the TWA community.

A. Zwillinger: Thanks for the question!

Addressing toxicity is a combined effort between both CA and WG. As part of the publishing team that's responsible for community management, I can reassure you that transparency, both in our day to day interactions, and in official communication is something that's very important to us.

My personal background has been working with development teams that are both transparent and active participants in the community. This AUA is the first of what we're planning to be many such steps in working with the community.

Cheers and thanks!


Q. KingJofrethe001: To be clear, my question was less about community toxicity and more about whether the playerbase can expect more thorough comms from WG/CA going forward about community concerns. This event is a promising step, but the CBT has been marked by extensive silence since its inception.

A. Josh_CA: Hey, I can say that on CA's side this is absolutely something we want to do. This AUA is the first step for us in communicating with you guys much more frequently. I personally am looking at becoming much more active in the subreddit and possibly in the discord. We have always been listening to you guys, but now we want you to know directly from us.


Q. PexP: Can someone answer what happened to: Humble boundle packes

And other like that stuff what people are constantly asking.

A. Akriom: We have not forgotten that people purchased content via Humble Bundles in 2015 and we are working on this question. We'll be certain to update you when we have more news about this.


Q. Gharvar: When are the overpowered premium going to start being sold? I mean stuff like the object 252U, E-25 in WoT.

A. Josh_CA: We don't ever want our premium units to be overpowered. The way that we balance premium units is that we try to make them different, not better or worse. So a premium unit will offer a different playstyle (maybe by being a different unit type or having different abilities or stats). This philosophy makes it much easier for us to balance these units and we make sure that every premium unit is balanced within their tier.


Q. JArdez: It was revealed on the EU forums that Japan may be a future faction, but it certainly wouldn't be the next faction. What is the next faction and will it arrive before OBT?

A. Josh_CA: Hey! I can't announce the next faction, but there will be more news about them soon. We're still working on when exactly that faction is going to be released because we want it to be as balanced and polished as possible, but you're right that the next faction is not Japan, and the faction after that is probably not Japan either. Japan is in an early stage of development but we do have other factions in more advanced stages.


Q. StormSS: Do you ever plan on implementing voice chat in this game?

A. Josh_CA: As Arena is a team based game, we're always looking at new methods of communication between the players. We added the radial pings and telestration to help with this, but we know that voice chat is also a demanded feature. It is something that we're going to look at implementing, honestly, it's not on our immediate radar, but we are looking at it and how best to do it.


Q. Charvar: Would you guys ever consider making match making same tier only? Multi tier battles are a very negative thing for a lot of people about your games.

A. paulss9_CA: We're at a stage were it would be detrimental to matchmaking queue time to reduce the tier range too much.

With that in mind, yes we will probably reduce the matchmaking tier range in the future. By how much remains to be debated, so please do share with us your opinion about it.


Q. markyman_fighter: Is there any way to be able to see what units the other players are going to pick? It's hard if everyone picks archers ?

A. Josh_CA: Hey! The way we make sure that doesn't happen is through our genetic matchmaking system. This system tries to create a balanced battle, looking at the available units, tiers etc in the matchmaking pool. If everybody playing the game picks archers, then you're going to have 20 sets of archers. But at least that's technically balanced!


Q. StormSS: Are you happy with the current power state of commander abilities. A lot of players are complaining they are too strong especially in bringing high tier commanders into low tier games and demolishing everyone

A. paulss9_CA: We are always looking forward to improve the power balance of commanders.

Using a higher tier commander on a considerably lower tier unit is somewhat of a separate aspect and we will be addressing it in the future.


Q. StormSS: Are you guys happy with the current state of unit progression through higher tiers? The reason I ask is because most armies tech tree seem to stop branching at around tier 5. Would it not be better to have later branching for better player-unit specialization e.g. having roman artillery branch into either ballista or a new high tier onager line?

A. paulss9_CA: While your suggestion is good, at the moment we're looking into consolidating first the core lines for each faction.

That does not exclude the possibility of branching out into more specialized units.


Q. JArdez: An argument in favor of the existing change in stats when moving from tier to tier has been argued in the past as a way to differentiate the units and provide value to those grinding to earn them. Do the statistics gathered so far in the beta reveal issues with matchmaking when using units that are straight line stat progression rather than true variants such as what can be seen in WoWS or WoT where each unit in the tree was most often a wholly unique unit rather than the same unit with bonuses to ensure it is always a better option than the unit lower in the tree?

A. paulss9_CA: We're always gathering data on tier differences between units. With the new tier 6+ ability uniqueness (that we've just release), we're trying to make units in the same progression line feel different and unique.

We will be reformatting unit types (in term of statistics) more as we go forward. We want the core of the system to be solid before we move forward.


Q. PexP: Are there any further ideas/plans how to learn new players play in game, atm many games in most of games you can find players what have problems with understanding game ( e.g maps)

A. Akriom: From a Community point of view, we are planning on having guides. We have plans to build video guides ourselves and/or via our Contributor program to help people learn the game mechanics.

On the dev side, I'll leave a dev answering this question. ;)


A. paulss9_CA: It's very important to us that the new player has as good as an introduction to the game as possible. We are looking into multiple ways of improving the learning curve. We're regularly updating the tutorial and at the same time looking for other ways of improving the learning curve.


Q. PexP: @paulss9_ca "It's very important to us that the new player has as good as an introduction to the game as possible. We are looking into multiple ways of improving the learning curve. We're regularly updating the tutorial and at the same time looking for other ways of improving the learning curve."

What about the problem with players who unlock new units from Tier 5 like pikes and don't know how to use them.

A. Josh_CA: Hey, I'm not Paul but I can talk a bit about the accessibility design here. You might notice that the way we introduce units is tiered. So you slowly build up your knowledge of the game and as you become more skilled we introduce more unit types to the battlefield. To unlock pikes you go through spears, which is the closest unit type to them. We try to make transitions to new unit types as nice as possible, but we don't want to hold your hand too much, we want to help you to learn and understand the unit, but not explicitly tell you what to do so you can learn and explore this for yourself. With that said, if we find that people not understanding new unit types is a problem, then we'll look at solutions for how to teach player new unit types without just telling them what to do in every and any situation.


Q. NightFire19: You guys brought Blitz to Steam and although this is a bit of a long shot are there any plans to bring back the game to that platform?

When will the regions be getting their own servers? The lag is annoying from NA.

Is pathfinding being worked on? Sometimes my units will run in circles!

I've heard the implementation of Japanese units, what other factions are you considering?

A. Josh_CA: I can answer those bottom two.

Is pathfinding being worked on? Yes, absolutely. In fact, it's one of our main priorities at the moment. We've got multiple fixes coming soon with a more substantial change being worked on.

So we spoke about a Japanese faction at TGS, but we'd like to be clear that this faction is only in early production right now. It isn't the next faction, and it probably won't even be the faction after that. When we're looking for a new faction, we look at who would fit well into the game by adding a new playstyle or encourage new tactics. We have been focusing on the ancient world for now because that's what we know best, but the Japanese faction shows that we are willing to look at other eras and locations for inspiration.


A. Zwillinger: At this point we have no plans to take the game back to Steam.


Q. JArdez: In the patch notes you acknowledged that archers have a harder time of earning silver due to relying on dealing damage for their earn rates. Does the fact that they, more than most units, require consumables to be more effective overall impact the economy of playing archers enough to justify an additional buff to their earn rates?

A. Josh_CA: That's definitely a possibility, we're going to see how far the patch we just released goes towards solving the issue of archer income. If more steps are needed, we'll work out what those are, but this is something we're monitoring


Q. SUNTZU_Mistrzu: Back when you announced first hotfix for Closed Beta you said that you have a solution for pathfinding and delay issues yet it didn't arrive with this patch - infuriating a large part of the community. Can you tell us when approximately we can expect those changes to go live to calm down those who aren't able to comprehend how it all works?

A. Josh_CA: Hey! We like to do things right rather than doing them quickly, and we know that the community have been asking for a revamped pathfinding, and it is something we're taking very seriously and working very hard on. We have multiple fixes coming soon, but we are working on a more substantial change for the future.


Q. swz: Hey guys, thanks for doing this.

I am playing high tier games and the difference in damage between a level 8 unit and a level 10 unit seems to be so far apart that I might as well be using a level 1 unit vs the 10. My morale/hp bars just completely melt away in under 15-20 seconds. Is this going to be addressed or more of a side effect of a limited player base?

Also, in my opinion, path finding is a more broken game mechanic at this time and deserves more attention than a cav nerf/buff. Nothing more frustrating than needing to round a corner effectively in a pinch, and then have your units start doing donuts.

I also have a question regarding premium purchases from the Steam version of TWA? I never checked but were those purchases refunded (I remember running around with Myrmidons in like level 3 Greek tree)?

A. Josh_CA: I can answer those bottom two

Pathfinding: We're looking at it very seriously and it is a priority for us. We've got some small fixes coming soon with a large substantial fix in the works.

We did refund all those purchases! We only thought it was fair that if we're going to take a while to rework the game that we refund people first.


Q. Sewen7: Heyho :) first of all...great patch! really well done.

Few things now:

1) Do you plan in actively punishing teamattacking? Not in form of gameban or anything but in terms of pointloss maybe?

2) Regarding that, i play since alpha and the scoreboard which displayed the overallscore (including spotting, capping, damaging + factor depending on which unit you damage) was much better in my opinion. It also punished teamattacking. I think the scoreboard now lacks to show how much share you had in winning the game. Do you have any plans in changing that?

3) Last and least important. I feel like it would be a cool thing if the MVP commander would have a little fight in the end :3 you think, that you could realise that in some upcoming patches? (definetly lowest priority)

TY in advance

A. CA_Jamie: We are looking at methods of handling friendly fire. We've got a few avenues we're exploring, including punishing players, but there are other approaches like making it more difficult to unintentionally friendly fire, or compensating the victims of friendly fire, etc.

Our hope (for a while) was that players just didn't know when they were or weren't dealing friendly fire, which is why we went the route of making it more obvious with UI and audio. Apparently that doesn't work, and there are players who just don't care, so we've been looking into further solutions to address the issue.

We are planning on moving back to a points-based scoreboard, instead of K/D.

That's certainly an interesting idea, I'll pass it on


Q. PexP: What is going behind the scenes with: Blobing Patchfinding Matchmaking (broken TV vs T8) End Game Silver income New commanders

A. CA_Jamie: We're currently looking at some new mechanics to address blobbing issues, as well as some adjustments to existing mechanics. I'm hesitant to say what they are right now, as we're prototyping several solutions, so what we end up releasing could be entirely different from what we've got right now.

Pathfinding is one of our top-tier issues right now, and the issues are complicated that even I don't understand it. Each unit order has to coordinate the movements for hundreds of individual soldiers, which isn't a simple task. You'd have to ask one of our programmers to get a proper run down. We have made a few break-throughs and we're hoping to get a solution ready for release as soon as we can. We want to make sure we get it right :)


A. paulss9_CA: Matchmaking (T5 vs T8): what you are experiencing is closed beta matchmaking. This situation will both naturally improve and we will also be working to improve it in the future.

New commanders: We're always looking to add new commanders to the game and we have plans to add many more.


Q. StormSS: What do you guys think of implementing some sort of penalty or friendly fire damage to cavalry charging through their own teamates as a means of eliminating the "blob-meta"

A. CA_Jamie: We are actually looking at several changes based around charges and some anti-blob mechanics to address the "blob-meta" issues, but you'll have to wait and see what they are :)


Q. StormSS: Is it intentional or a bug that cavalry are unable to destroy infantry stakes without walking into them and taking large loses?

A. CA_Jamie: I wouldn't say either of those, it's something we need to look at. It's not top of the list right now until some other more major issues are resolved (i.e. friendly fire, pathfinding). If we do decide that cavalry shouldn't be able to attack them, then we'll likely be making it more obvious that it won't work, as well as making it more difficult to cause it, things like disabling the mouse when hovering over stakes with a cavalry unit selected :)


Q. Could you consider removing additional charge impact and deflect from blobbing to discourage this awful practice? At the moment it feels like you either join the blob club or you die due to their charge mechanics and flanking capabilities (blob of 3 units can rout one unit directly from the front)

A. CA_Jamie: I'm gonna go ahead and use this one to answer the blobbing question as much as I can.

One of the hardest things about the blobbing issue is that it isn't a problem with any one system. There's a whole host of issues in a variety of systems that are combining to cause 'blobbing issues'. There's issues in charges, morale systems, flanking, movement, combat, etc. all of which are difficult to pin down the causes of.

There is no one single solution to all of these problems, we're attempting to find and fix these issues. But sometimes we end up fixing one issue that we think is causing the problem, but actually there's another one hiding behind the obvious issue.

For example blobbing from the front can cause routs. There was an issue where if another unit was already on a unit's front flank, other units would easily get their flank direction 'pushed' to another flank, despite the fact most of that unit is attacking directly in the front. We did a fix for this issue, and now blob-front-flanking happens less often than it used to, but it looks like it still happens enough that we need to spend more time investigating that specific issue. There's likely a deeper issue that was hiding behind this one, but now we have a better chance of isolating it :)


Q. GirthimusMaximus: Is there any plans on looking at the wardogs damage besides the nerf to the morale damage. There is still a lot of complaints about them i see

A. paulss9_CA: Hi, yes we will be addressing wardogs balance in future patches. They are currently performing very well. The dogs charge impact vs a cavalry unit impact is something that we'll be addressing the soonest.


Q. KingJofrethe001: After the recent inclusion of wardogs, what is CA's take on the status of the Barbs as a whole?

Furthermore, does CA see terrain buffs/debuffs as needing a revamp at this point when reviewing Roman/Barb performance in areas such as the woods?

A. CA_Jamie: My take on the barbarians, I really enjoy playing them. They're an interesting glass cannon that require real intelligence and skill to play. I don't think wardogs have quite settled into the meta yet, and I know that there's still balancing being done (just like always), but they'll get there

Oh yeah definitely, we've spent a lot of time figuring out what to do with terrain buffs/debuffs. We know that what's there right now just doesn't cut it, and we've known that for a long time. There's just always a more immediate issue to solve, like Pathfinding and Friendly Fire are the two big issues right now.


Q. PexP: What you can say about artillery domination in game

A. CA_Jamie: So artillery is a heck of a difficult issue. On one side of the fence, artillery is OP.

From the perspective of the player being hit with artillery, it's incredibly frustrating. You can't always see if coming (like you can with most other units), once you start getting shot at there's not much you can do about it (you can't really run away, and you can't exactly activate raise shields like you can with other missiles), and you can't kill the guy hitting you because he's on the other side of the map. With almost every other unit in the game you can react, you can do something about it. Infantry can deal huge damage to your archers, but you have the option of running away. You can't do that when facing artillery.

On the other side of the fence, if we were to simply make artillery less accurate, it would become incredibly frustrating to play. Firing and never being able to hit what you're aiming at would be awful to player. Artillery is actually really important for dealing with blobs, with pike phalanxes, with testudos, with heavy defenses in general. The original reason we wanted artillery to assemble/disassemble was to counter base-camping (it becomes difficult to camp when artillery starts shooting at you from an unknown location).

So, we definitely want to keep artillery in the game, it does have a role that needs filling. However we do acknowledge that artillery isn't in the place we want it to be right now. We have been looking at changing artillery to make sure they suit their desired role without also being frustrating to play, or play against. As with nearly all the issues left to address, it's not a simple case of nerf accuracy or nerf damage, not if we want to get the right results.


Q. StormSS: What role do you envision for light artillery in this game and do you feel that it is performing well in that role currently

A. paulss9_CA: Light artillery is envisioned as a dps/support unit. The general idea is to have them running around deploying stakes or other types of deployables and at the same time dps-ing the front line infantry where possible.

The unit type needs more attention, hopefully we will get around to polishing it up in the future.

wwolfvn #2 Posted 04 October 2017 - 04:51 PM


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Thanks for asking the question on my behalf Dance. Also good summary.

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."

WaldoVonZude #3 Posted 06 October 2017 - 02:26 PM

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Is there still a chance to ask questions? I missed this opportunity :'(

Applied Behavior Analysis uses only empirical evidence to form generalizations about human behavior. I teach about ABA, public speaking, and leadership as a hobby.

Ardez #4 Posted 06 October 2017 - 02:40 PM


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View PostWaldoVonZude, on 06 October 2017 - 09:26 AM, said:

Is there still a chance to ask questions? I missed this opportunity :'(


The AuA ended on Tuesday night. They still might answer questions in other threads on the subreddit and there may be a new AuA sometime in the future.

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