Popular Servers stay Popular

  • Post author:
  • Post category:MMORPG

There is no hidden algorithm or formula to discover.  It’s not rocket science and it’s not even something to theorize or subjectively form an opinion about.  It’s a reality and something that has never once changed since the beginning of time.  Popular servers stay popular.  When a new game launches and it’s a popular, like Aion, there will be certain “Launch Servers” that start out popular.  They’re popular for a reason, even if that reason is only that people just happened to flock to that server by dumb luck, and they stay popular.

Lumiel is an example of a server that is popular for a reason:  It’s the “Unofficial Roleplay Server”.  Actually, it’s not only the unofficial rp server but it’s the server that the people who tried another server, just to find out they didn’t like it, fell back on.  Additionally, it’s a server that several other servers from other games with tight communities named as their server of choice.  And to top it all off, Lumiel sounds like Lumiere and he’s one awesome candle stick.

It’s no shocker that the servers, especially Lumiel, would have queues.  It’s also no shocker that when new servers open up, which they have and will continue to do, people are not willing to move.  Why would you move?  You would have to start all over again.  The obvious solution to that problem is to offer transfers, which NCsoft is going to do according to an announcement today.   Don’t be surprised when not even that fixes the problem (if you even think its a problem) though.

Aion is a game that needs people.  It’s clearly based heavily on the existence of a large server community.  There needs to be people to group with to do the content because of how group-centric the game is and it needs people to fill the Abyss in order to experience PvP to its fullest.  Those are not ideological, those are facts.   People are not stupid creatures.  If given the choice between a full server, even one with a queue, the vast majority will choose that full server over one that is empty or even less full.

On the flip side, it doesn’t take a PHD to know that after the first month you will lose a huge percentage of your playerbase.  It just happens.  Free server transfers do need to come, but not because people need to get off the popular servers.  NCsoft needs to make them available because people need to get off the low pop servers that will inevitable be created once the first free month is up.  I urge NCsoft not to open many more servers.  I obviously do not have the numbers before me, and I acknowledge that Aion doing quite well, but I also know that a bit of common sense is required — common sense that is often completely disregarded and almost never heeded to the fullest extent of its obviousness.

Don’t open many more servers.  If popular servers stay popular then why not make every server a popular one?

  • Ideally, devs need to find a way to easily cope with spike demand that doesn’t effect the longterm health of a game. I agree that opening servers can be a bad idea if they just all end up empty within a month.

    They need some sort of cloud computing to soak up large surges of players or a way of quickly deploying and then merging servers without making it a big deal.

    I just say this because I don’t think having to queue 2hrs is acceptable. Imagine having to queue to play a console game! The public would go mental.

  • I can’t wait for the free month to end!

    I find myself turning to my xbox when I see a 2 hour queue EVERY time I log on to Aion.

    Hopefully when the free month ends the servers don’t get too quiet because of people leaving (normally 70% off the player base leaves after the first free month, the only exception to this rule in WoW).

    I hope Aion doesn’t get bummed like this and only 20% leave. I don’t want anyone to leave! BUT secretly I would be overjoyed if 20% do leave and the queues become a thing of the past.

  • I wonder if there will ever be two RP servers…. Or if NC soft will open up the options to let you create both a Light and Dark side chars on the same server… I love playing on Lumiel but i rather not go to another… less rp server. ooo rp whows

  • There are only two real choices – have discrete servers and know that the popular servers will only get more popular, or go the Guild Wars route and instance everything. (Free Realms modified the GW approach by only having players jump from server instance to server instance on logout, but it’s the same technical concept.) It’s just not realistic to expect crowded servers not to get more crowded; that’s where players are, so some will come to join their friends and some will come for the competition.

    I’d like there to be a way for the traditional server model to win out. In both WoW and LOTRO, where I have been on the same servers for multiple years, it’s reassuring to see the same guild tags out and about in the world.

    Then again, we apparently live in an era where it is reasonable for players to pay $50 to faction and then server transfer their WoW toons because that’s the only way to end up where their friends are. Not having to worry about that stuff, and having the crisis you chronicled here with the Aion launch of struggling to pre-pick servers and fragmenting communities, may be a far larger selling point than having a closed community that will either be overcrowded or underpopulated.

  • I bought the game and started on Lumiel last Thursday and maybe been in queue for total of 15 mins?

    BTW Chanters are a ton of fun, especially short stuby fat dwarf looking ones!

  • I have a moderate interest in this game, but what I’ve read here (and elsewhere) has reinforced my decision not to buy it – at least not yet.

    Queues can kill enjoyment in a game, as surely as ghost town servers can. This is the player’s first impression, and things like this can make the difference between renewing beyond the first month or cutting and running for greener pastures.

    I was unfortunate enough to experience both extremes in WAR, and it’s sad to hear that Aion suffering in the same way. Such population issues may be inevitable when you use the “multiple separate server” model, but there are alternate models out there where this isn’t an issue (Guild Wars, for example).

    These things do tend to work themselves out over time, but it may be months (or even longer, as with WAR) for things to settle at an acceptable level. I’m going to wait Aion out and hope that this happens sooner, rather than later.

  • Queues on Zikel, when we have them, are normally 2-5 minutes. Everywhere I go there is a mass of people. When I’m off doing PvE stuff there’s lots of people and the same is true when I head off to the Abyss and do stuff there. From my perspective, since I only play on one server, the queue isn’t nearly as bad as it was at launch – issue resolved.

  • In case you missed it;


    Executive Producer Lance Stites gave a “State of Aion” address about a week ago including some very encouraging tidbits that they aren’t going to succumb to the queues, release more servers, and leave existing servers barren after the 1st month;

    “You can rest assured that addressing the demand for Aion is our biggest priority. And I know a big question is “Why did you not deploy more servers?” Most of you are savvy enough to realize that a healthy MMO server needs a robust population. We have to calculate our reasonable concurrency numbers in a week and in a month and beyond. The last thing we want to do to our players is spread them out so that the “massively” in “massively multiplayer” gets lost..”

  • The first week of launch Triniel had a 2500 person queue that last about an hour. Now we have no queue.

    Everyone makes such a HUGE deal out of log in wait times. When ANY MMO launches everyone discusses the ways to elevate them. All of them are typically a perminet solution to a temporary problem.

    If we did NOTHING queues will fix themselves. As long as there are still servers with no queues then the situation can fix it’s self.

    HOWEVER NCSoft is doing the best possible thing by allowing free transfers… With a few little exceptions the free character transfers could truly help what few queues are left.

  • Cleaning out all the bots and gold-spammers would do some good as well. The number of bots I’ve spotted has been staggering, so when NCsoft gets control of the bots the queues will be reduced dramatically since bots never log off.

  • I have no answers for the server pop issues folks are discussing nor the somewhat quick response by NCSoft to open up transfers after not even a month.

    What I’d like to ask of the Aion literate … I only just started playing and so far, the chat window is totally useless. All I see from when I login to when I logout in that now-reduced-to-worthless window is spam for gold and other garbage I can’t even read because as soon as it appears … it scrolls and there’s more … then more … etc.

    Is there a filter or some setting I need to toggle to eliminate this? Otherwise … chat is near impossible.

  • Bots are nice free AP’s 😛

    But yeah, they are a problem that needs to be dealt with. They’re not the #1 problem yet though. All in good time.

  • @ Krosuss; Right click your chat window tab. You can check which channels you wants to display, adjust the text color of each channel and add new tabs. Most people have removed the General, Trade and LFG channels to remove the spam… or at least moved them to a separate chat tab.

  • @Krosuss: you can also drag tabs off the main chat window. Click and hold one and drag somewhere else, presto. I do that with my group/legion chats, so I can see those when they come up, but also have combat numbers/exp/loot showing in a different window if I want to glance at them.

  • most of the spam is by 3-4 spammers too. You can just right click block them by selecting thier name in the chat box. Everytime a spammer pops up, if you do this, you can keep them reasonably under control to the point that you can keep the channels you want up.

  • I have no confidence that NCSoft will ever get control of the bots or the gold sellers. I played on the CN servers before the US release and it was even worse there than we have now. Its neither a new game or a new problem from that perspective so you probably need to accept that they are simply part of the game if you want to keep playing it.

  • Once the free month is up (or before) you’ll lose a number of people (myself included) that just aren’t ready for this kind of repetitive mob and boss grinding. I might be back in 1.5.1 when quests will give on average 500% more exp, which should go a long way to hiding the grind behind quests at least.

    It may be “better” than EQ/DAOC/etc, but when you come straight from WoW, the asian-style grind game can be soul-crushing. They need to do a bit more to cater to those that’ve grown up on quest-rich games so that sitting around grinding extra mobs isn’t necessary.

  • From what I read today (Dev post I believe) there is also another reason supposedly to “block” the gold spammers as well. If enough people block it seems then NCSoft checks into the situation and then if they find a spammer they ban them.

    As for the gold sellers.. I have little to no faith that the problem will change any time soon.

  • honestly spam is not an issue anymore, just hit block 2-3 times a day and its gone. they dont seem to be very persistent about creating new characters

  • I think NCSoft did it really well. They definitely lost some subscrubers due to the long queues, but it’s much better than losing players due to empty servers.

  • Old servers are like old cities. They attain a certain critical mass early on, and never lose it. I prefer them, despite their inflated economies. (i.e. Silver Hand, Landroval)