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Thread: The server population problem

  1. #1
    Rift Disciple
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    Default The server population problem

    The population issue isn't news. This solution I'm about to promote isn't news either. I am however going to spell it out very clearly because I'm suspicious some people, including the staff of Trion, aren't ad aware of the benefits of this solution as they should be.

    SHARD MERGES

    I'm going to break this down into a mathematical equation for you guys, in an extremely simplified manner. What I will do is categorize the server population levels like this:

    Full = 4
    High = 3
    Medium = 2
    Low = 1

    Obviously, merging two shards means to take the entire population of two shards and merge them into a single shard. SoE did this with Everquest, and it helped tremendously. The reason why it worked is because the only down side to an overpopulated server are login queues. Shard instability became a thing of the past the moment MMO developers came up with the idea to put a max capacity on their server structures.

    Now here comes the reason we need to do this. At any given time in the day, I don't care what day or what time it is, if anybody here can log into the game, open up their Shard select screen, and screenshot proof that more than 75% of all shards have a high population at the same time, I will retract this statement and admit I was wrong. Now, what *I* see when I open the Shard select panel is a whole buttload of low and medium, and the occasional high (Which never stays that way for long). Very very very rarely do I see Shards being full, but I will admit it does happen.

    So here is the math. When you combine two shards, you're combining the mathematical equations I listed above. Obviously, you do not want to exceed full, or "4", by a drastic amount. However, the majority of the game's shards very rarely ever exceed medium, or "2", and it that's when a shard merge is the answer because no matter whether your equation is 1+1, 1+2, 2+1, 2+2, or even 1+3 or 3+1, the result is never higher than "4" (full). Not 5, not 6, not 7, not 10, not 346.

    A lot of you are probably thinking "But I don't want to always have to log into full servers and wait". Let me ask you, have you actually tried logging into a full server in an MMO within the past year? I have, not just in Rift either, and I've seen queue positions as high as into the quadruple digits zoom by within less than 5 minutes. That is how much people log in and out in these games these days, whether it's to check bank/AH alts, switch characters to do tradeskills, whatever. The number literally scrolls like the value displayed on a gas station pump.

    A lot of players probably also are in decent raid guilds and don't need to rely on your server populace. Let me ask you this: Have you never seen what happens when key members such as tanks or healers have to leave a raid roster due to unforeseeable and/or uncontrollable circumstances (See: Real Life), and your guild can do nothing but slowly die thanks to the slim pickings of a low population server? I have. Not to mention low populations are *horrible* for any other situation where you may depend on the local public, such as not failing miserably at invasions (How many people here are mad because of failed world event invasions?), pug'ing people for expert and raid rifts when the guildies are offline, or even trying to find somebody to craft that epic equipment you never see on the auction house in /50 chat.

    So here's the question I pose to you, Rift community, and to you, Trion.

    Which do you think players will like better?

    (a) Bustling shard economy, fast and optimal slot replacement in groups and raids when people can't show up, and prompt, successful guild restructuring after an outbreak of player vacations and/or real-life-drama-quits, at the cost of having a few minutes to go make a cheese sandwich while you log in?

    Or

    (b) Instant logins, but guilds dying left and right the moment so much as one or two prominent raiding figures has to relinquish their roster slot, Terrible, truly TERRIBLE replacement options from the /50 chat population, literally needing to have inside connections with top end tradeskill grinders because your only other option is to level it up yourself if you want that gear, invasions that fail more than they succeed even despite your best efforts, and here is my favorite one - How many of you guilds out there are raiding 20-man content right now? Exactly.


    I vote Shard Merges for president, because I am American, and Shard Merges looks out for America.

    *Edit* To be clear, it's a mistake to allow players any choice or control over this. The only thing they're going to do is see shiny full shards and faceroll into them, killing off the smaller shards. Merge the shards and you fix the problem for them entirely.
    Last edited by Xandaroth; 08-08-2011 at 01:52 AM.

  2. #2
    Soulwalker
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Wait.............. there's more

    I agree with above. and just a few other thoughts on zero population.
    With all the rift invasions etc, who the hell kills all these critters so you can:
    1) Hand in Quests
    2) pick up new quests
    3) complete quests
    4) Travel from point A to point B without it intailing at least 3 rez's.

    Personally Ive just about had enough, I have made all the excuses for Trion, you still dont get it.
    Now I just leave and log off, and Im not doing your job for you by transfering all over the place in an attempt to find a shard with enough people to make the game playable, Ive done it already and it didnt work. Not for long anyway, the shard went from Medium, (most of the time) to Low, just about all the time.
    Unfortunatly I sub'ed up for 6 months........................ yea, stupid me

  3. #3
    Banned
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    Default

    Another major issue Trion has is WHEN people log on.. I usually play in the morning or afternoon hours.. Servers always low, and the zones are pretty much empty or light at best.. This handcuffs the player base simple because there just aren't enough people logged on.. LFD does NOTHING to help raid issues or open world content.

    Maybe the servers should of been set up based on game play hours.. Such as declaring a server to be 9am peak.. So ALL the morning players play on that server, and not be spread around 30 different others, all having the same issue.. or use windows of peak.. such as "Server 11 prime hours 6am-10am".. This would give players an idea and guidance to play on servers with LIKE hour players..

  4. #4
    Rift Disciple
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    Default

    Yeah, the formula's pretty simple. I mean don't get me wrong, you're always gonna have both ideal encounters and bad encounters, but when you increase the total amount of encounters, you increase both the good and the bad. And the amazing thing with online gaming these days is it is so terrifically easy to avoid the bad encounters thanks to ignore lists, shard reputations, there's just all kinds of ways to avoid unpleasantness, while the increased population still serves to increase diversity, frequency, and availability of the more fun and rewarding interactions in the game.

    I mean if you have this scale that you have no choice but to keep evenly balanced, and on one side you have a steaming pile of defecation, while on the other side you had a glorious pile of $100 dollar bills, if you had the option to completely refuse to even acknowledge the turds' existence with minimal consequences and this scale was capable of carrying more weight, would you *not* pile up both of those sides to capacity? I know I sure would. Merge those shards, dagnammit!

  5. #5
    Rift Disciple
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    Default

    *Update*

    Bravo Trion with cross-shard LFD, T2 queues are fixed... but not invasions, raid/expert rift group making, or guilds having an easier time making rosters capable of 20-player raiding. Also, finding people for PvP rifts is terrible.

    Shameless bump.
    Last edited by Xandaroth; 08-14-2011 at 06:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Ascendant Noaani's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Xandaroth View Post
    *Update*

    Bravo Trion with cross-shard LFD, T2 queues are fixed... but not invasions, raid/expert rift group making, or guilds having an easier time making rosters capable of 20-player raiding. Also, finding people for PvP rifts is terrible.

    Shameless bump.
    This happening was one of the reasons I cited weeks ago as one of the reasons that even if it works in other games, cross server LFG isn't well suited to Rift.
    Quote Originally Posted by Debase View Post
    If the only target audience for Rift is disenfranchised WoW players, its doomed imo.

  7. #7
    Soulwalker Elairant's Avatar
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    Default

    I'd honestly like to see more games make the move to single shards for their servers like EVE online does. There's usually 20k people on at a time during any given moment, maybe less, but still well over the amounts you find in multi shard MMOs and when it's peak, I've seen it hit 50k. The populations are awesome and there's more than enough people to do things with. And with the right spacing, like how many zones there are for higher level players in rift, you don't have to worry about over crowding. I'm not saying merge all the shards for one, but merg a lot of them in each of their catagories. Like two or three of each. So even if there are down times or bad parts of the day, there will still be plenty of people playing. I play on Faeblight, which is either a heavy or full server depending on the time of day, and encounter plenty of problems with lack of people. I hardly ever see or finish major invasion or higher level rifts unless I can solo them and I'm only level 36ish atm. I can't imagine how bad it is when you hit 50 considering how few people there are. Perhaps a good solution would be to make instance servers. Get a couple primaries, and when that server's pop gets a little to full, open up another isntance of the same server that people can switch to, like how guild wars had channels. Just thoughts really.

  8. #8
    Ascendant July13th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elairant View Post
    Get a couple primaries, and when that server's pop gets a little to full, open up another isntance of the same server that people can switch to, like how guild wars had channels. Just thoughts really.
    I like channels (Guild Wars) set up. I dont think it would work (at least how it works in Guild Wars) because part of this game is that world is dynamic. I feel it would be bad for the game if you could switch channels until you find one until a hub is invasion free (Guild Wars 2 will be dynamic and I dont think they are using the channel system).

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