Server Management and Preventing Ghost Towns [Ironsides Thread][5 Star Thread][Perfect Argument]

One concern I’ve seen brought up on the forums numerous times by posters is the issue of certain servers becoming Ghost Towns. Whether a server becomes a ghost town by means of tourist egression, player burnout and lack of influx of new players, or just plain bad luck–very few players would like to play on a server with less than 1000 active players.

Because of the nature of the game–player development requiring /days played–many people would not like to reroll if they find themselves on these servers after a month or two.

So here is my solution to these Ghost Town Servers

Server Clusters//Battlegroups

Every server is filtered into a cluster, much like battlegroups, with each individual server predesignated with population targets that will be made explicit upon selection.

Cluster 1:
Server A --designated high population server. Current average pop around 4k players
Server B – designated high population server. Current average pop around 2k players
Server C – designated low pop server. Current average around 1k
Server D --designated high pop server. Current average around 1k players

Server D has been at 1k players for 2 months and is deemed a ghost town by it’s waning population. Solution: merge server D into Server B. Server B now has 3k players.

Potential Issues
Players in clusters that are having their servers merged might have to fight for names if they have the same name.
Solution, there is only one Legolas allowed between Server A and Server B. If there is a Legolas on Server A that is made before Server B, Server B’s Legolas will be prompted to make a new name on character creation because Legolas is already taken by someone on server A.

What this Hopes to Accomplish
Reduce the impact of Tourism on servers by preplanning for a potential exodus of players after/if they get bored.
Allows players to play on their preferred population of servers, whether its high population or low population
Possible Solution to Sharding
Planning to launch a higher number of servers allows Blizzard to forego sharding as players will be even more spread out. Because this method of server clusters allows for certain servers to be merged together, we mitigate the problem of launching too many servers with many becoming ghost towns. You might see it differently, but that’s how I see it.

The above example of server clusters is obviously just that–an example. Actual tweaking of what constitutes a low population versus high population is not what I was aiming to get at it in this thread.


So you are suggesting they plan to force name changes? Seems more game breaking than sharding.


Not at all

Taken to mean this:

At server launch there are two players on two different servers
Because Player 1 on Server A types like a complete madman, he hits enter and chooses the name Legolas for his night elf hunter at 12:00 PM on the dot
Player 2 on Server B didn’t grow up with Mario Teaches Typing, so he hits enter on the name Legolas at 12:02 PM on the dot.

Even though they are on different servers, they are in the same server cluster. There can only be one Legolas per cluster meaning there is a likelihood that your server may not even have a Legolas on it.

Well that just sounds like sharding with extra steps.


Sorry, but I can’t take a thread seriously with a title like that.


If you want to look at it like that let me offer it to you like this:

It’s only as a precaution to prevent ghost towns. Meaning if the servers are proper population, you’ll never be merged and never need sharding or dynamic spawns in the first place. This is a way to salvage servers that are dying/dead. It needs to be addressed before it becomes an issue, otherwise you run into problems

Sorry, I’ll put [Serious] next time


Ahh, I understand now. Makes sense and its an interesting alternative to sharding for sure.

+1 for the Mario Teaches Typing.

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Basically a huge megaserver sharded into 4 smaller servers.

Except the merges would only happen if the servers needed to hit population targets.

Player 1 rolls on server A expecting to join a high population server.
Player 2 rolls on server B expecting to join a high population server.
Player 3 rolls on server C expecting to join a high population server.

Server A is home to a streamer who brings massive population with him, and takes them all with him a few months later when he leaves to another game leaving server A as a medium/low/dead server.

Server B is full of people from retail seeing what classic is all about. They end up not liking it and leaving it after a month or two bringing it to a medium/low/dead server.

Server C is full of people who end up sticking with classic and they stay and keep a consistently high population.

Players 1 and 2 already invested a few months into their characters but there is hardly anyone playing on their servers, even though they chose a server that was supposed to have high population. Server A and B merge together creating a single high population server and Server C remains untouched by it.

It’s a failsafe.

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Sounds good.

Do it.

Also just cut to the chase. Make the name cluster-exclusive from the get-go.

People will get over it.


This is actually a sound idea.

Is this not how blizzard handles server merges? I am not seeing how it is different.

Also terrible title, please delete and ban modz.

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Yes, please delete a well thought out thread and ban me for posting an idea of how to mitigate a hot button issue (sharding) (dead servers).

Ironic that your posting character was on Smolderthorn, as it also died a few months after its release. This solution might’ve saved it.

Except blizz stopped merging servers to downplay the idea that they were losing subscribers.

and how is that germaine to the topic at hand or even what you responded to?

It was related to your quip about smolderthorn. There are multiple reasons it is and isnt dead currently.

Relating to the post at hand you never answered my question. How is this different than a standard blizzard server merge?

Well I remember it died in Vanilla. Which was a common fate from most servers that launched around that time.

It’s different from a standard server merge like this:

  1. It’s preplanned which servers will merge into which
  2. No one will have to rename their characters after tens of days /played

It also bumps sharding out of the picture. If enough servers are released, sharding will not be needed.

The unlucky servers that die off will not have players progress wasted if they wanted a high population server, as they will simply be merged into an appropriate server in their cluster.

How do you go about two level 60 characters with the same name? This sounds like a mini CRZ.

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I think a month long FFA beta will go a loooong way in weeding out tourists, as well as mining a metric ton of other information that’ll be needed to make launch, with or without sharding, the best possible launch and hopefully overall health of the servers further down the road.

Throwing you a heart for the effort, OP.

Smolderthorn had 3 guilds that cleared naxx, didn’t seem too dead to me until later in TBC.

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