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
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.
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.
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.