Single server time, soon?

My Raptr name is Syncaine. Feel free to buddy me. That is all… for now.

Is technology ever going to get to the point where we no longer need shards for an MMO? If yes, will design shift to accommodate that, or stick with the tiny zones, tiny shards, dozens of servers model? I’m pretty over the whole shard thing, and I think it really holds devs back in terms of world events and a progressive storyline, not to mention cheapening player achievements (not the WoW kind) due to only a fraction of the total base being affected by it.

Imagine if the tech was already here, how silly would an upcoming game like SW:sRPG sound when pitched as an MMO? Now what if the tech arrives in, say, two years. Does SW fully shift out of the MMO space, or does the space split between truly massive single-world titles and small ‘group’ community ones?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
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15 Responses to Single server time, soon?

  1. Polynices says:

    I’d love to see a single server version of what City of Heroes did. Each individual zone has as many copies as are needed to keep any of them from being too crowded and you can switch between them at will. CoH actually had several servers and on each one zones were like this but no reason you couldn’t have one giant server with this model.

    Spare me the “no immersion” stuff, in a world with LFD tools that horse has bolted.

  2. I will welcome the coming and mainstreaming of un-sharded gaming worlds. It is one of the things that has me interested in EverQuest II Extended. They are holding to a single server and just spawning multiple instances of zones that get crowded.

    Having multiple versions of a zone is a complication, but it is easier to figure out how to get to the right zone than it is to go play with a friend who is on another server.

  3. pkudude99 says:

    I added you on Raptr. I also look forward to the day when all games are single-shard.

  4. Gilded says:

    With a big enough player base things could get really crowded. Not to mention small communities let people make a name for themselves and get to know eachother. I don’t mind servers/channels but it would be nice if they had more flexibility. I’m not really sure what would be a good number of players to have playing at once in the same world. 10k? 30k? 100k?

    • Valkrysa says:

      Why would the world have to be crowded Gilded? If the game world were large enough, and the population spread out enough it would be fine. If you take a minecraft server and put every single player of minecraft on it but evenly distributed there would still be a lot of room there.

      • Gilded says:

        12 million is a tall order for continent size. If people are using the same npcs and hanging around the same cities that could be total chaos. It quite frankly wouldn’t work.

        • Polynices says:

          You copy how City of Heroes did it and have multiple copies of each zone. No crowding but no artificial separation of the playerbase either (aka having to reroll or pay to play with a friend that picked a different server).

        • Torcano says:

          I love this post, especially this sentence:

          “12 million is a tall order for continent size.”

          It’s just so hilarious in its mangled semantics and disjointed logic.

          12 million – one assumes you pulled this stat from WoW’s subscriber numbers. Firstly, China plays a different WoW and would never be a part of a “single-server”. So drop that to 6 million.

          Then you go on to use the number “12 million” as if it is some sort of measurement of area. We need 12 mil hectares, square miles, what?

          Oh, you mean enough SPACE for 6 mil people, right??? In the game on one server, or one continent? Now you are saying in one CITY at ONE NPC?

          Could you please disregard all your thoughts and instincts for a second (they have failed you) – you didn’t consider for a second that maybe a game designed to be single-server might, you know, NOT put all the NPCs players need in one spot? Or force all players to visit ONE city? Or use ONE continent alone?

          Actually think about WoW for a second. It pretty much clusters ALL players into a handful of zones, and that works.

          Now take a game that actually makes use of its full landscape. Where players actually have reason to spread around and fill it up. And now imagine one with a real massive world (think LOTRO’s 30,000 square miles to WoW’s < 200).

          Anyway, if you think the problem is one of SPACE you are wacked.

  5. Least Square says:

    I think you have three models active right now.

    You have the single world systems like EVE and Darkfall, you have the shards like WoW, and the lobby systems like Guild Wars and World of Tanks. There is probably room for all three in the market.

    In Eve I’ve been in a really massive conflict in the Tribute region for the last couple of weeks. About half of the podcast/blogging community are involved in it (for both sides), and the other half are talking about it. There is something really great about that.

  6. Wyrmrider says:

    I doubt servers/realms/shards will be going away, however I do hope that MMOs stop making people commit to a server at character creation.

    A better system in my opinion would be similar to the one used by FPS games, where you pick which server you want each time you log in. Playing with a friend? You can log into his “home server” (or vice versa) no problem. It’s raid time and the server’s got terrible lag? Everyone logs off and logs back into a different server, raid continues. No more complaints about server queues (outside of launch day when the whole system is swamped). The devs could even stagger “maintenance day” (e.g. half the servers Monday, half Tuesday) so there’s never a time when you’re totally locked out of the game.

    The downside is the loss of a sense of server community, but this is exaggerated. There are FPS servers with their own personalities and famous/infamous players too, because most players will still pick one server and stick with it. And “sense of server community” is pretty damn low on the devs’ priority list anyway.

  7. Angry Gamer says:

    The tech does exist but it would require all client endpoints to have 10 mb/s links [high end FIOS or highest cable Broadband]

    This in effect makes you have the bandwidth requirements of a small office with the associated monthly bill. [oh and the network gear too – CISCO IOS configuration anyone?]

    Would every subscriber sign up knowing that they need to pay 150-200 per month to play a ONE WORLD game where the max subscription you could charge would be about 15-20 per month?

    Also this would make all the low bandwidth players be at the mercy of their high bandwidth cyberlords. Do we want that? A virtual world where your broadband link speed and efficient network configuration determined your game success?

    Revenge of the Nerds? What would the EJ’s in their basements do?

    No wonder the very smart systems people at Blizzard did not make a one realm super server but split it up.

    • Least Square says:

      I don’t know where your getting your conclusions. Every time that I’ve seen a technical explanation client internet has never been the bottleneck. It’s either been server overload trying to manage the connections and game logic. Or it’s a rendering issue with the clients trying to render too many other characters.

      If you have a source for this I’d be interested to see it.

  8. Jesse says:

    As has been mentioned above, Eve does this nicely. Champions, STO, and CoX have an easy switching between shards and automatic shard matching with friends/guild mates. To be honest the switch over will be similar to the gradual move towards offering RMT, except since the monetary benefits are less visible it will probably be even slower.

  9. bhagpuss says:

    Can’t say I really care one way or the other.

    I’m only going to be in one place at a time, so how many other people share it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

    I don’t expect all my real-life friends to be everywhere I go and share every experience with me as it happens, so it seems perfectly acceptable that it doesn’t happen that way online.

    Also, servers/shards have different atmospheres, communities, subcultures and so on. I like that aspect.

    On balance, I think there’s more to lose than to gain by having everyone in the same space, but as I said I don’t have particularly strong feelings either way and I doubt I’d notice that much difference.

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