Today was my first stress test and let’s just say I really saw layering in action.
Essentially, by regularly using /who, I saw that there were at least 50 players, at each level, from 1-10 in my zone. I started in Dun Morogh and whilst the initial starting area (1-5) was mild-moderately populated, from thereon it became very underpopulated.
I think what may have happened is that I initially started on a relatively populated layer but as ppl logged off, it just simply remained underpopulated.
I played on numerous launches of new servers during Vanilla, as well as at the launch of TBC, WotLK and Cata.
I felt that such underpopulation, on any layer, is not desirable - I remember that even those servers from a decade ago could handle a lot more visible players. Yes, there may be occasional bottlenecks, but hey, I feel that’s all part of the “fun”; plus the playerbase actually spreads out in terms of levels pretty fast and from memory those bottlenecks were mainly a thing of Days 1 & 2.
Please Blizzard, go gentle with the layering and make it trigger when things really are getting overpopulated. I was walking around an empty Thrallmar, emptier than when I levelled alts on well-established servers, even though /who showed potentially tonnes of players I couldve seen running around and interacted with.