EQII Server Merges and Critical Mass


What happens when the initial population of an aging game dies down and the “great need” to accommodate the mass influx of players are is longer so “great”? Being an IT Infrastructure Engineer (this means I work on large enterprise servers, like the ones we’re talking about here) as well as a writer for MMOCrunch.com I seem to be in a great position to answer this question. Simply put – some servers must be shut down. Contrary to popular belief, SOE is not shutting down servers because of the cost. Operationally speaking, servers are cheap to run and maintain. It’s true, adding a brand new server (or cluster in some cases) can be quite the daunting task both financially and logistically, but simply keeping one running? Bah! There’s more in the task of merging servers than there is just letting the server continue.

Join with me after the jump to find out why servers are merged, and the latest news on the EQII server moves including which servers are getting moved.

So why do they do it? Why go through all that effort? The answer is a term called critical mass. Critical mass, simply put, is the rough number of population required for a game’s server to function at designed specifications. This gives the feeling that there’s enough players for the game to feel more like an MMO and less like a single player game. After all, joining a PvP match that consists of you and… you, isn’t much fun, now is it?

While this may be a good point, this point rests on the tip of a sword. Like most swords, it’s double-edged. Critical mass can offer plenty of people to play with as mentioned above. This allows raids, guilds, and PvP to function as intended, but there are some downsides to critical mass. Critical mass can make the fight for a rare spawns and tradeskill nodes even more intense and somewhat frustrating. Between gold farmers and the sheer amount of people looting, the economy can become world_collide_mergeinflated. As a newcomer, there is also a higher chance of your favorite character name being unavailable.

This said, Everquest 2‘s producer Dave “Smokejumper” Georgeson has finally announced the details on the change everyone knew was coming. It’s official, sixteen of Everquest 2’s servers will begin merging on November 16th. No high population or roleplay servers will be merging. Seems doing so would put these servers far beyond critical mass. Keeping  a roleplay server alive has not been a focus in other games and speaking as a roleplayer, this is a rather large step in the right direction for SOE. Anyway, onto the lists!

  • Nektulos merges into Guk
  •  Najena merges into Unrest
  • Befallen merges into Oasis
  • Blackburrow merges into Everfrost
  • Mistmoore merges into Permafrost
  • Kithicor merges into Butcherblock
  • Runnyeye merges into Splitpaw (UK)
  • Innovation merges into Valor (DE)

 The servers that will not be merging are:

  • Antonia Bayle (USRP)
  • Nagafen
  • Crushbone
  • Lucan D’Lere (USRP)
  • Harla Dar (RU)
  • The Nexus (RU)
  • Barren Sky (RU)
  • Sebilis (JP)
  • Storms (FR)
  • Vox (Live Gamer)
  • The Bazaar (Live Gamer)

Smokejumper also states that these merges will take several weeks to complete and that the merges will not be completed in one large downtime.