Big Post Edit Dated 07 September 2010: This article is getting linked to a great deal of blogs and forums quoting this article as proof to rumors for server merges.
I want to clarify, the ‘talks’ I was referring to, were the questions and responses on the forums asking for it. I have not seen where Mythic has officially responded. I and we the community do not yet know if merges are coming. This issue isn’t with loss of overall population, rather that populations are shifting on their own (IE Re-rolling). A call for server merges, or rather my suggestion below, is what is in talk.
This is not at all a representation that the game is dying. It’s an issue of server balance.
There is talk. You know it, I know it; let’s not beat around the bush. We can see we have Q&A on the last testing vent suckup-athon directly addresses merges for Iron Rock. And then you have other issues trying to address the over-populated servers (Badlands and 2 Euros) and how to overcome the possible future instability issues. I address this issue from a North American stand point. I don’t know much about the Euro servers, and have no opinion … yet. I would like some more Brits on my server though.
Basically, I’m fairly concerned on what action Mythic might take. I was not at all please with the decision in the last mergings. I felt that Phoenix Throne finally had a decent population and removing the sole role-play server from a lore based genre game was really just a bad move.
So in the NA servers we have 4 servers left. It seems that in the last 6 months, many players like me, re-rolled, came back or started in for the first time in WAR. And when they did, their choice wasn’t like mine, they wanted a heavy pop server; IE Badlands. I wanted the opposite, and wanted a server that had 80s, that played them. To each their own. So as more and more players came back or came into the game, it seems that Badlands population exploded.
According to Pauser.com, the current zergometrics show the following online R40+ average populations for the last week’s online players as of August 2nd, 2010:
Server Total Destro Order
Badlands 470 218 252
Gorfang 207 119 88
Iron Rock 201 93 108
Volkmar 225 113 111
From a simplistic standpoint, we have not only an issue where Badlands is growing far disproportionate to every other server, but we have the 2 bottom servers showing heavy imbalances. Gorfang averaging 30+ more Destro on average. And Iron rock showing a ~20 average more Order.
You could have Iron Rock and Gorfang merge, giving the Gorfang/Iron Rock server not only numbers slightly less than Badlands, but as well balance the 2 servers’ imbalance. However that puts 2 servers at 400+ pops and Volkmar at ~220. You could further merge Volkmar into the rest, leaving only 2 servers, but also making those 2 servers possibly unstable. You could also shut down one server and do like we did last time, allow anyone to move where every they wanted. Surely another cluster fuck action like that would balance itself out again, right?
To me, the best answer is to give Badlands a population reduction. Not a shutdown, but an option for players to move out.
There really isn’t a great way to merge the bottom 3 without either creating a super server, more populated than Badlands, or without making a second version of Badlands with yet still 1 depressed server left. You could shut down one, open merges to either of the bottom 2, and hope for the best in balance after its done. However, ignoring Badlands doesn’t fix the possible instability issues to come. I see on the PTS server, they are planning to take out friendly collision detection to reduce lag. Let’s take out mechanics that keep players from exploiting so that zergs can zerg. Hmmmm … that’s not a good answer.
Really, if Badlands populations are too large, then diversify those populations. If I could have moved my Warrior Priest out, I most certainly would have. Instead I re-rolled.
If you give Badlands a move out option, most likely over half the population will stay; most likely a 15 to 20% will move. For Gorfang you offer a bonus renown for Order, for Iron Rock you offer it to Destro, for Volkmar you offer it to both. This will skim about 150 off of Badlands and add about 50 to each other server. If it distributes correctly, you put each of the 4 servers at ~300 managable populations. To go about making sure that you can evenly distribute, you take these actions in piecemeal, and not as a one week event as though it was some large extravaganza.
In the first week, you could simply go, “Hey Yo, Badlands Order, if you like, you can go move your toon to Gorfang Order and get a Renown gain bonus for the next month.” Leave that option open till you see some balance coming to both Badlands and Gorfang. Then the next week go, “Yo all of Badlands, for 2 days, if you like, you can move your toons to Volkmar for a renown bonus and some stupid pocket items.” A couple of guilds leave on both sides, and then in 2 weeks, “Yo Badlands Destro, I hear Iron Rock has Witch Elves that have real life boobies, maybe go there and emote whistle or something. Here’s some renown while you do that.”
Little bit by little bit, you take each of the 4 servers to 300 average populations. And while doing it in small division opportunities, you allow guilds and players to make conscious decisions that don’t force a mess of crap that causes people to re-roll or rage log. But that’s just my thought. Crazy as it is, maybe a server reduction in spread out options, could be the balance the game needs to be managed under.