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LasraelLarson

A random sampling of Server populations. Is it time for Server merges?

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OK, whilst Turbine may outwardly be stating there are no plans for merges...  i would hope internally they are giving serious consideration to merging some servers.

 

anyway here is a random sampling from 5 servers on Saturday May. 31st. at approximately 4 PM P.S.T.  (give or take a few minutes for log times.)  these numbers do not include those flagged as anonymous.

 

Gladden:

GLFF:  85

Global: 477

 

Firefoot:

GLFF: 58

Global: 167

 

Nimrodel:

GLFF: 99

Global: 193

 

Arkenstone:

GLFF: 82

Global: 218

 

Snowbourn:

GLFF: 103

Global: 162

 

not too much anomaly in numbers, with Gladden being the exception as recommended server (and Snowbourn being off-peak as it is only EU server i sampled from.)

 

to see the breakdown for Gladden, and how being recommended affects the distribution...

 

levels:

1 - 9 = 94 players

10-20=92 players

21-30=71 players

31-50=77 players

51-90=89 players

91-95=54 players

 

 

some additional initial observational anecdote.  Snowbourns off-peak is a strong as peak hours on the NA servers sampled (recommended server Gladden, being the exception.)  during prime EU hours, it gets an average multiple of X3.  the off-peak on Nim, Ark & FF were abysmal, (well below 100 globally, and even sub 50 players in the case of FF & Nim.)

 

anyway, i will continue to add random samplings from servers (at my whim) noting the time & date the sample was taken.  some will come from prime hours, others, off prime, depending on the servers audience.

 

all that said;  i do think Turbine need to look at merges.  i would go so far as to say, if they don't, they don't have the long term in mind for this game.  as to not incur that expense & associated effort with merging servers...  says to me, they have the mindset to pull the plug at a moments notice.

 

no one would fault a 7 year old game for merging servers.  in fact one would expect it to happen if a company was realistically looking at the long term.

 

if this was a new game, i could see the reluctance.  but at this stage, having these dwindling populations spread out doesn't make much sense to a game that intends to stay online more than a few more months.

 

anyway, i'll periodically bump this thread with additional samples.  if you add your own, please note the date and time.

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Saturday May 31, 6 PM  P.S.T

 

Brandywine

GLFF: 292

Global: 591

 

Landroval:

GLFF: 170

Global: 468

 

those are the big 2 NA servers...  not too terrible for Saturday evening 9 PM on the east coast...

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Saturday, May 31, 6:30 PM P.S.T.

 

Elendilmir:

GLFF: 116

Global: 236

 

Silverlode:

GLFF: 83

GLlobal: 213

 

just FYI.  no plans to do the German or French servers...  if anyone else wants to cover those.

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Well, you can look on Lux Aeterna: http://lux-hdro.de/hdro-live.php

You can also use the Social panel. Let the Filter bit (which usually is set to your own location, e.g. Bree) stay empty, and then enter a level span like 1 to 5. If there's more than 100 entries, make your level span smaller. Take the sum of all the level spans like OP did:

 

 

 

to see the breakdown for Gladden, and how being recommended affects the distribution...

 

levels:

1 - 9 = 94 players

10-20=92 players

21-30=71 players

31-50=77 players

51-90=89 players

91-95=54 players

 

It won't count any anon players, but it'll still give some minimum of how many are online.

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Turbine still can't do all paid character transfers automatically. Some still require manual intervention, and a few still can't be completed at all.

 

Let's assume there are a million characters on each server, just for the sake of argument. If 1% of those can't be moved automatically to a new server, that's 10,000 characters Turbine has to review and move manually. If 0.1% of those can't be moved at all, that's 1,000 characters that could be gone forever.

 

Plus, you have an entire server full of players who have just lost their names, houses, and kinship names.

 

I'm not convinced that having servers will higher populations will bring in more revenue or stop the population decline, either.

 

Despite having never in its history been a recommended server, Brandywine has always had a larger than average population, and it's still declining at about the same rate as every other server.

 

If you have two sinking ships, it doesn't really make sense to me to move passengers from one ship onto the other.

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Elendilmir  Glff 117

1-20:  21

20-60: 61

51-75:  3

76-94: 34

95: 79

 

For a grand total of :  198

 

People in the 21st hall (yet again) 2

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Turbine still can't do all paid character transfers automatically. Some still require manual intervention, and a few still can't be completed at all.

Let's assume there are a million characters on each server, just for the sake of argument. If 1% of those can't be moved automatically to a new server, that's 10,000 characters Turbine has to review and move manually. If 0.1% of those can't be moved at all, that's 1,000 characters that could be gone forever.

Plus, you have an entire server full of players who have just lost their names, houses, and kinship names.

I'm not convinced that having servers will higher populations will bring in more revenue or stop the population decline, either.

Despite having never in its history been a recommended server, Brandywine has always had a larger than average population, and it's still declining at about the same rate as every other server.

I think you're right. I've always wondered how Turbine could even do a server merge in the technical sense. Names, housing, too messy. Considering they have to do some stuff manually, that sounds like way too much effort on Turbine's end as well. But considering Turbine will happily ban those who haven't logged in for a while (from the OF), and that they've returned the housing abandonment thing, they could threaten to permanently delete characters that have not been active for X number of months while preparing to move/manually move one server to another. Just send out notices for a while, and if a character hasn't been active for that time, don't bother trying to save it; surely, that would greatly reduce any work for Turbine. :) And don't offer free name changes, of course---only offer a discount! And no free server transfers, either, in case some people would rather go to a different server than the merged.

If you have two sinking ships, it doesn't really make sense to me to move passengers from one ship onto the other.

Fred, truth-speaker.

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I don't think they would ever be willing to admit there is anything wrong with the game (less players).

 

And, they would not want to spend the money to have someone do renames if they merge.

 

And ... they probably don't have long term plans for the game - to me it is more likely they have a shutdown date already, and I would guess that would be in 2015.

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Turbine still can't do all paid character transfers automatically. Some still require manual intervention, and a few still can't be completed at all.

 

Let's assume there are a million characters on each server, just for the sake of argument. If 1% of those can't be moved automatically to a new server, that's 10,000 characters Turbine has to review and move manually. If 0.1% of those can't be moved at all, that's 1,000 characters that could be gone forever.

 

Plus, you have an entire server full of players who have just lost their names, houses, and kinship names.

 

I'm not convinced that having servers will higher populations will bring in more revenue or stop the population decline, either.

 

Despite having never in its history been a recommended server, Brandywine has always had a larger than average population, and it's still declining at about the same rate as every other server.

 

If you have two sinking ships, it doesn't really make sense to me to move passengers from one ship onto the other.

 

Brandywine was the original Beta server.  anyone who was in at the foundations of this game, had a character there.  it has never needed to be the recommended server, as that original Beta status and the initial player-base size was all it ever needed to be the size it is.  and that initial size was enough to sustain it all this time, even though diminished.

 

as for saving a sinking ship.  this has nothing to do with saving.

 

and i will borrow that old canard Nymphonic so enjoys touting about when some of these arguments are made...

 

"that old game Ultima Online is still around after all these years."

 

yes it is around.  how many servers does it have?   one.  and with the help of server emulation, that one server hosts the current player base.

 

and that is the point i am making.  "if" Turbine intends to continue to host this game, as opposed to shutting it down cold, out of the blue.  at some point this consolidation will have to take place.

 

that, or they pull the game offline cold.

 

this has nothing to do with saving anything.

 

i argue that the game has reached that point in it's life-cycle, that a consolidation is due, if it intends to stay online.

 

of course if Turbine intends a cold hard shutdown, no consolidation is required.

 

but no game i am aware of that has stayed online well into it's shelf life, has managed to do so without server consolidation.

 

so if this isn't on the table...   i am left to conclude that they intend to pull the plug at some point.

 

if they intend to provide the game long term to the die hards, then a server consolidation is the only thing that would make that viable.

 

of course it isn't easy, and will require some effort.  & there will be some losses.  names, housing items & so on.

 

but if the intent is to continue, that step will have to be taken, sooner or later.  unless that was never the intent.

 

so Rick can deny there are any plans to merge servers, but with all that has transpired to the game... all that says to me, is they are going to pull the plug; hard and fast.

 

regardless, i'll still periodically throw out some server stats to this thread as time passes.

 

merging servers doesn't save, or bring a game back to life.  it merely places the remaining folk who will stick with the game as long as it is online...  more together.

 

and if i was pulling the plug on a moments notice...  it would suit me just fine to have them spread out and separated.

 

which may actually be the plan.  and if that is the case, yeah Fred...  let both ships sink separately.

 

i am just looking at the road ahead.  and i have a fairly good idea what no server merges means.

 

but some servers have reached the point where it should be done, if a long term plan is what is intended.

 

so yeah, this is about intention, not about bringing new life to a game.  though putting folk together would help the folk who still support the game.

 

anyway, think i've spun that wheel enough.  did the point take, or did it pass over?

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Saturday, May 31, 11:30 PM  P.S.T.

 

Meneldor:

GLFF: 52

Global 122

 

edited to add:

 

11:35 PM P.S.T.

 

Gilrain:

GLFF: 13

Global: 30

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Even Anarchy Online, another long-lasting surviving MMO game had to consolidate and merge its two servers into one due to a dwindling population. So yeah just because you've been around for 10+ years on the MMO market doesn't mean that you're immune to the ravages of time.

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Even Anarchy Online, another long-lasting surviving MMO game had to consolidate and merge its two servers into one due to a dwindling population. So yeah just because you've been around for 10+ years on the MMO market doesn't mean that you're immune to the ravages of time.

 

unless you are WoW.  ;)  a game that comfortably lost almost half it's playerbase, but still remained the industry behemoth.

 

but even WoW has addressed this problem via cross server grouping features.

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unless you are WoW.  ;) 

 

Psh. I starting to think WoW will even outlast me. Love or hate them, Blizzard sure seems to have proven they can survive surivive almost anything.

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an off peek Brandywine...

 

Sunday, June 1, 1:15 AM P.S.T.

 

Brandywine:

GLFF: 139

Global: 258

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so yeah, this is about intention, not about bringing new life to a game.  though putting folk together would help the folk who still support the game.

 

anyway, think i've spun that wheel enough.  did the point take, or did it pass over?

 

Really, the only thing that matters is how much it would cost for Turbine to merge servers (a lot), and is that likely to earn them any more revenue (no, they'd likely lose customers) or reduce expenditures (maybe an extremely tiny bit for operations and maintenance).

 

I think there may also be some corporate prohibition against merging servers at Turbine.

 

Although Microsoft merged some of AC2's servers when they were still under its control (and sold it off a couple months later), I don't think Turbine has ever merged servers in any of its games. Even though the original Asheron's Call got its last ever update in March, it still has the same 9 (mostly empty) servers it's had since 2004.

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The losing customers issue goes both ways though, some may leave the game because they currently feel lonely and never/rarely meet any other players while others may leave during a server-merge because they want to stay on their current server.

 

I think the middle way would be to give 1 free character transfer and/or lower the transfer price to a certain server (I'd suggest the recommended server or a new server altogether), so people can more easily and cheaply progress to a more active server if they wish to.

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Plus, you have an entire server full of players who have just lost their names, houses, and kinship names.

 

 

What about currency?

 

That's what keeps me from transferring. I don't want to lose the gold, marks, medallions, seals, and other stuff.

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AFAIK gold and individual bartering items are transferred but shared currency like seals, medals, destiny points etc cannot be transferred.

For a potential server merge however, I would very much expect them to honor the shared currencies.

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though putting folk together would help the folk who still support the game

How? I thought those remaining don't want to group? If the thing you enjoy most in current Lotro is the landscape, the last thing you want to see is a herd of other players, I imagine... Maybe a cross-server AH would be more useful.

(And you lose shared currencies? Ouch!)

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I don't think they have the technology to do a server merge. Probably not too difficult to build but as we know they programming talent right now might be a bit thinly spread.

And as said, you might have people in the game now who actually want the low population. Especially since what do we know, maybe there are a lot of rude people around now.

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I also look/record logins/hour or day with a small software, to see the trend (updated recently, because I was not testing correctly when a server was closed, for alerts...)
The ranks are nearly the same for months (depending on US/EU times), except for Gladden of course (they should set Gilrain as recommended server, because it is always the least populated server, at any time)

For example, at 3:00 PM today (France), nb logins/hour :

 

Gladden : 627
Gwaihir [DE] : 553
Sirannon [FR] : 509
Brandywine : 491
Evernight : 477
Snowbourn : 321
Belegaer [DE-RP] : 316
Laurelin [EN-RP] : 316
Anduin [DE] : 304
Withywindle : 304
Vanyar [DE] : 294
Landroval [EN-RE] : 265
Crickhollow : 236
Meneldor : 229

Estel [FR-RP] : 227

Morthond [DE] : 223
Eldar : 211
Vilya : 199
Maiar [DE] : 191
Firefoot : 191
Silverlode : 185
Arkenstone : 168
Dwarrowdelf : 165
Nimrodel : 156
Imladris : 151
Windfola : 149
Riddermark : 139
Elendilmir : 127
Gilrain : 63

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an off peek Brandywine...

 

Sunday, June 1, 1:15 AM P.S.T.

 

Brandywine:

GLFF: 139

Global: 258

How does this compare to that logins per minute(hour/day) site that people often link to? Now THAT would be useful to compare, imo.

 

As for server merges, I very much doubt it will happen. My guess is that when the license runs out in 2017, so will the game. Server/game/community can survive until then unmerged. Only If/when we're talking about true maintenance mode, where the game is "done" and no new content added would thought of mergers occur, imo.

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It's not just calculating how much it costs to merge the server that's relevant, one also has to calculate long term administrator/network savings as well.

 

What would your racks look like with 1/2 the current servers? How much would you save from reduced DataCenter costs?

How many Admin hours do you save by reducing the number of servers that need to be kept updated and backed up? Enough to lay off one or two Admins?

Wouldn't a server merge be a good time to prune F2P accounts that haven't had activity in say 2 years? Reducing the size of your storage always has cost benefit.

 

While there would be considerable pain in server merges, I honestly think the savings would balance the long term scales of the debate...

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