Oh, the irony. Blizzard is fucking up its own localized server policy:
Right now, the realms listed in the Eastern and Central tabs of the Change Realm screen have large populations. To balance realm populations, we ask that players select realms listed in the Mountain and Pacific tabs when choosing where to play.
This will not result in lag
Weren’t the localized servers supposed to ease the lag letting the players choose the server more close to their location?
I repeat: this is a design issue. One that was expected way back in May, when I, along with other players, started to suggest various levels of solutions. Again in September, during the stress test, I wrote down a long post pointing out all the issues that needed to be solved. Proposing solutions to each. Obviously everything got blankly ignored.
I’ve already my own ideas about how to get rid of these problems and I do not accept when something says that they are “impossible to solve”. They aren’t, there’s only the need for better design. Better design that I tried to imagined for my dream mmorpg. Adapted here:
– Part of the problems here are directly related to the choice to localize the servers. As I (along with others) explained months ago this makes the peak times more sharp, leaving the server empty for the rest of the time. If the servers were not bound to a local flag they would have reduced the overcrowding problems by 15-20%. Both now and in the long run.
– When I say that this can solve with the design I mean about addressing the problems. My proposed choice needs a game to be developed in that direction but it works and adds A LOT to the game itself. Forever and not just on day 1.
The idea is about allowing the players to walk between the shards, as a gameplay element. You build up “portals” in the game, attack them to PvP mechanics so that you need to conquer power nodes to open the portals. Then you can step in and have your character travel between different shards.
Now you can attach three kind of rules to these portals:
1- The first rule is a threshold on the load of a server. So that a portal cannot be opened if a server is overcrowded. This allows to solve lag-problems.
2- The second rule is a threshold on the PvP factions. So that you cannot move to a server where there are population balance issues. So that we solve another long-time and severe problem of massive PvP worlds.
3- The third rule is a PvP-gameplay related rule. Just an in-mechanic that tells you how to play to conquer the power nodes and open the portals. So that you can use them as part of the game world and not as an out-of-character mechanic.
That’s my solution. The players enter the game in a random server/shard. Yes, you CANNOT join your friends. You’ll have to play the game because joining your friend will be part of the gameplay. You’ll need to take part of the PvP, conquer power nodes and open the portal to travel where you need to go.
Why I expect this to work and be accepted by the players? Because I’m not going to ask them to make a new character, I’m not going them to ask to play forever away from their friends, I’m not telling them that where they choose to go is a one-time choice that cannot be changed. In my idea you never lose the progress you made with your character and you’ll always have the possibility to join a new community or reach your friends or your guild. The difference is that you’ll have to gain that with your play. Inside the game. You’ll need to earn a portal and gain the possibility to travel.
Perhaps you won’t succeed exactly when you want, but you can try the next day, or the day after that. It will be part of your achievement.
Not only we solve the load on the servers, not only we solve the population issues in PvP games, but we also build an interesting gameplay structure which provides purpose for the game. And instead of having 41 undependent servers we really build a massive world where the possibility of interaction are endless.
That’s nice. But how does that solve the problem of player volume in the first week exceeding the average volume and therefore exceeding the available hardware/network resources? What you proposed is a rather complicated load balancer. One that doesn’t seem very reliable.
My idea works as a permanent gameplay element. It solves WoW’s current problem because right now they HAVE the power they need, but the players are ALL FOCUSING ON THE SAME SERVERS.
Exactly as a direct consequence of the local server plan. You CANNOT go play on a different server because you’ll know that you are cut away from your friends FOREVER. Can you see why my idea works? Because I wipe the “forever”. I can tell them: go play on a less crowded server today, because tomorrow you’ll still be able to join your friends. Without having to make a new character.
So, it’s clear till now?
Blizzard is currently swamped because some servers are packed while some are empty. My solution addresses directly this.