I’ve been looking at what it would cost to rent a dedicated game server for running my own Medal of Honor or Counter-Strike public server and I’m wondering how other folks manage to do it. There are plenty of companies out there willing to lease a server to you for purposes of hosting your own games, but they tend to charge on average about $6 a player. If you’re like me and want to run a 32 player server you’re talking a monthly fee of $192 not counting setup costs. Ouch.
I’ve been an admin previously on a local server called Detroit Counter-Strike back when I played the game heavily. That server was maintained by a fellow who went by the handle of Inferno and he happened to work for Media One who were my broadband providers at the time. Even after he quit the job he had friends there who kept the server up and running for him. It was a sweet set-up as it had pretty close to a direct connection to the net’s backbone, not that it mattered to anyone on the Michigan subnet of Media One as we got great pings by default for being “in the neighborhood”, so to speak. Beyond what he paid out to build and maintain the server, however, it didn’t cost Inferno anything to run it and if he felt like changing what game was running on the server (or indeed running more than one at a time) he was free to do so.
When Media One got swallowed up by AT&T and our region got handed off to Comcast the CS server managed to hang on up until Comcast switched to their new internal broadband service. The office the game server was set up in apparently wasn’t hooked into this new network in the same way as the old one and the folks who knew about and protected the server were no longer in a position to do so and thusly DCS came to an end. That was about the same point in time that I stopped playing Counter-Strike altogether.
I’ve been playing Medal of Honor for some months now, though, and there have been plenty of servers out there to play on. Unfortunately a lot of them suffered from AWOL admins so any grief players that wanted to cheat or take advantage of exploits were free to show up and ruin the game for everyone. This is what got me started on thinking of hosting my own server. That and I’m intrigued by the challenge of setting one up and maintaining it in much the same way that in my past running and being responsible for a Bulletin Board System was a challenge. The sticker shock of renting a server, however, has dashed any plans until I win the lotto and I’m not fortunate enough to work someplace where I could sneak a server onto the net and hope my employer would overlook it. Since the Spearhead expansion pack came out for MOH a lot of the public servers with AWOL admins have switched over to that leaving a large selection of non-Spearhead MOH servers still around that have active admins and that helps to keep the cheating to a minimum on the servers I’ve been playing on recently so I’m less anxious to set up a server of my own now. Still, if I ever get the chance to set one up without selling my kidney to do it I’d jump at the chance.