Wargaming is an award-winning free-to-play online game developer and publisher. Established in 1998, the company has more than 5,500 employees in multiple offices around the world.
Over 200 million players enjoy Wargaming’s titles across all major gaming platforms, including the massively popular World of Tanks and World of Warships.
Massively multiplayer online games should grab player’s attention in the first seconds. If the game doesn’t load or slows down, it will fail. Therefore, Wargaming developers understood that download speed is one of the most important components of a game’s success for a gamer back in 2010, at the stage of launching their flagship project, World of Tanks.
In order to keep the interest of the players, it was necessary to provide the Tanks with high quality, reliable, and scalable infrastructure. So more than 10 years ago, Wargaming felt the need for a vendor capable of delivering all their content.
Initially, the majority of World of Tanks players were located in the CIS and Eastern Europe. Accordingly, the first step was to deploy a content delivery network in this market. Global CDN providers didn’t have a developed infrastructure in Eastern Europe and the CIS and couldn’t provide developers with the necessary service.
“When Wargaming turned to us for help, their goal was to reduce the time-to-play—time the end user needs to launch the game,” says Sam Davis, Vice President of Products at G-Core Labs. “Without a high-quality CDN, it wouldn’t have been possible to reach this goal in these regions.”
The G-Core Labs network was perfectly suited to the customer’s needs.
“Specially for Wargaming, we additionally built a P2P network and organized a direct interface with the infrastructure of the largest telecommunications operators in the CIS—Beeline, MTS and MegaFon,” adds Sam Davis.
However, Wargaming not only needed a flexible provider with excellent performance, but the vendor also had to be able to handle all peak loads.
“One of the first goals we set for ourselves when we were building our own infrastructure was to handle traffic surges that gaming and entertainment companies usually face,” says Sam Davis. “For example, traffic during downloads of Wargaming releases grew at times, with peaks reaching 2 Tbps.”
Many providers could provide their customers with a maximum bandwidth of only 600 Gbps and cut the limits after exceeding it.
It was important for Wargaming that the future vendor doesn’t limit traffic during peak hours. Proposals from other companies didn’t meet the requirements, while the capacity of the G‑Core Labs network could easily handle all the peaks.
Vice President of Products at G‑Core Labs
The developed infrastructure and large network capacity were not enough for Wargaming. Specially for them, the G-Core Labs team implemented three important additional functions.
On average, one World of Tanks update has a size of 1–2 GB. Initially, the update content wasn’t located on the CDN nodes closest to the player but on the origin servers and was requested only at the time of the game’s release. Because of this, a large number of requests went to the origin servers. The G-Core Labs team added a cache warming function feature called Prefetch (configured via the API or manually), with the help of which the content was first transferred from the origins to all cache servers, and the update could be downloaded substantially faster.
Later, an even more convenient feature was implemented—origin shielding. This technology provides additional protection to the origin server from high loads due to the huge number of requests from CDN servers.
The main task of shielding is to reduce the number of requests to the origin from CDN servers that interact with the origin server at the time of receiving content.
When shielding is enabled, only one intermediate pre-cache server, which is located as close as possible to the region that is important for the user, and not the entire CDN, interacts with the origin. All requests to the content source are accumulated on it. Thanks to this solution, the load on the Wargaming origin server has been significantly reduced.
In addition, it allowed us to minimize response times and improve the quality of service for players.
This is a pre-update feature for players who want to play right after the release. All interested gamers have the opportunity to download the necessary files in advance, which allows them to avoid additional downloads on the day of the update release. After the release, the update files are installed immediately, because they have already been downloaded. Thanks to this feature, it was possible to reduce the load on the infrastructure by another 20–30%.
In 2013, another game came out—World of Warplanes—and World of Warships followed in 2015. Along with the launch of new products, millions of new gamers from different countries have also appeared.
Head of Maintenance at Wargaming
In response to Wargaming’s requests, G-Core Labs specialists installed additional equipment in new markets (in particular, in the USA and Brazil) and strengthened their presence in the old ones.
Today, G-Core Labs has over 800 cache servers in over 80 points of presence on all continents except Antarctica, with the best CDN performance in Russia and most European countries.
“Today, all progressive providers of content delivery networks are investing in infrastructure to meet the needs of their customers, and are launching high-value points of presence in regions such as Brazil, Africa, and India,” says Sam Davis. “We can say with confidence that G‑Core Labs has the widest coverage around the world—from South America to the CIS and Africa, which not many providers can boast of”.
Infrastructure providers are now moving towards all-in-one solutions, as customers are no longer looking for separate products such as a CDN or hosting. Instead, they want a range of services from a single vendor.
To this end, the G-Core Labs turnkey business model allows Wargaming to save time and money while receiving high quality personalized service.
“They don’t need to allocate a huge part of their budget for infrastructure, engineers, licenses—we have already created everything necessary,” says Sam Davis. “All they have to do is press a few buttons.”
That is why Wargaming, along with the G-Core Labs content delivery network, uses Streaming Platform to broadcast significant events, Public Cloud to work on various tasks and DDoS Protection to ensure the availability of its games
Furthermore, for better performance, together with the CDN, G-Core Labs additionally offers Storage with servers in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Singapore, Miami, and Moscow. This gives an additional advantage and improves the quality of content delivery due to fast caching.