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"Metaservers" are used so that clients can find out what servers are out there, which kind of game they have running, and how many folks are playing. Your client will connect to one or more of them and show you a list of what's out there, something like

metaserver screenshot

Status: Note that when a server is properly configured, it reports only live human players to the Metaserver. Some servers have robot players as well, to allow for practice, or games when there aren't enough people around to play. These won't show up on the Metaserver; see the specific server machines for info on which servers usually have bots, or just log on and see.

Type: This describes which type of Netrek the server is hosting; there's a list of types here.

Age: The "Age" column simply notes how long it has been since the Metaserver has heard from a server. If the interval is long, that server may be broken.

Multiple Metaservers

To make sure things are always working, there is more than one metaserver. The configuration file (netrekrc) of a client will tell it which metaserver to use. Some clients are smart enough to look at more than one metaserver, but most are not (yet).

Right now, there are two metaservers:

If you can't get your client to show you the metaserver list, you could try changing to another metaserver by changing your netrekrc configuration file.

Metaserver by Web

If you want to see the metaserver status without firing up a client, they do, as can be seen above, each have a web address. If you connect to this, you'll see something like:

Server Host


Minutes Ago



hockey.tamu.edu2592 2Nobody playing H 169Nobody playing R B
netrek.pulsar-zone.net2592 1879Nobody playingT R B 0OPEN: 1 player R B
netrek.warped.us2592 0OPEN: 1 playerT R S
pickled.netrek.org2592 1Wait queue: 2T R B

The flags in the above table indicate what kind of game is being played as well as a few other pieces of server information. Here's a key:

FlagMeans     FlagMeans
BBronco RServer requires "Blessed" clients
CChaos DServer is Dead (not responding)
PParadise TServer has had T-mode at some point since the last Metaserver reboot
OOther, including Base Practice
FDogfight (obsolete)

If you are totally retro, the same information is displayed by telnet'ing to the server's port 3521, and extended info on port 3522.