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Reader Comments (42)

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:08AM Daala said

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I love the One Server games!

Its easyer to find friends and you know you can always meet up in game.

Also I don't like that some games slip USA players and EURO players...
Its hard enough to get all your friends together on the same server, but when you know people in the US its hopeless...

Grt

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:13AM DrewIW said

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It's really hard to go back to a sharded game after playing something like EVE. The joke has always been that EVE stands for "Everyone versus everyone", and there's a lot of truth to that. It means that everything that anyone does has an impact on the entire game, not just their little version of it.

I think, contrary to the article, that one-server games have a more cohesive community.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:13AM Miffy said

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I'd like one server like EVE but the world to be seamless like WoW. However the difference is if one zone is getting heavy then it clones that zone but seamless transitions you to it without you knowing. That way you can always have zones populated but theres no loading screens like Champions has. The one thing I hate is loading screens, it stops me from playing a game. Also if you have people on your friends lists or Guild they'll auto go to the version of the zone you're in.

The best way to explain how that works is like in Star Wars:The Old Republic they have this system where you walk into rooms with NPCs and it phases you into your own little instance without any loading screens or anything.

If an MMO has loading screens to transition from room to room or zone to zone like Champions or Star Trek Online then I can't play them. However if them games find a way to make the zone transitions seamless, then I'd feel like I'm in a real world.


I also love the SWG system where everything is seamless in the world with the seamless player housing and cities. I love how the planets are so big and theres like POIS dotted about the place. The problem that game faced though was SOE didn't make enough content on the planets.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:30AM (Unverified) said

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Warhammer was divided into shards and it made for a great community when you started to recognize people and play with them. It sucked though when the community started to dwindle because of people leaving the game. Twice I was moved to a different server because my one was shutting down. Now I'm playing EVE and being able to play with everyone who plays the game is a great experience. Even if I don't know the majority of the people

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:32AM (Unverified) said

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What I dislike
Totally seperate servers - which physically keeps you away from others, and costs you money to transfer - also damages communities when servers have to be 'rationalised'.

What I like
I love the feeling of Eve - seems totally seamless, and even though we know it's not one huge box, it feels like it, and that we are all there together.

I also like the idea of versioning worlds, such as they do in Champions Online. Yes it is seperate servers, but you can easily find groups, find friends, and stay together.
Also there is no damage when they scale down the servers etc.

I think the third option is going to be the most sustainable, I think EvE is a bit of a unique wonder.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:33AM Wisdomandlore said

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It's easy to say "Why can't we have more single shard games?" However, I doubt it's that simple. To turn a WoW/EQ-style MMO into a single server game would require you to generate a massive amount land and content to make sure the game never got crowded. And imagine if the loneliness if that game every started to tank. EVE has it easy in this regard in that it's set in space. It's probably 1000x easier to make a new solar system than it is to create a new zone.

Games like Champions Online aren't the answer either. One of the promises of MMOs is having a lasting impact on the world. That meaningless if you don't tie characters down to a single instance of the world (a server/realm/shard). For better or worse, we're stuck with the multiple-server model for now.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:35AM Lamthara said

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and in fact... i see some problem once they'll introduce Incarna :)

Fly to Jita system....
Dock on Jita IV - IV...
load Incarna...



Server crash :)
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Posted: Jan 15th 2010 4:49PM T Newton said

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Agreed on all points.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:34AM (Unverified) said

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I kept an open mind when going into these mini-sharded/instanced zones like Champions Online and Star Trek Online and I still left disappointed. For me, there just isn't a feel of being in an actual world/universe. Ok, take WoW for example. You have cities and the have the other zones out in the continents, flight points, boats, mountains, roads etc. etc. and it's all "there" and current in one large world. It feels like you're really part of that galaxy so to speak. The same feeling with EVE, as well. Moreso because the entire game really IS on a single server.

Then you have stuff like CO and STO and it doesn't feel like you're part of a world at all.

I'd use the analogy of Diablo 1 almost. You have your main hub. Then you head off into instanced sectors/zones or whatever and the feeling I get from that is tjhat you're just moving through "rooms" instead of traveling in an actual world/galaxy. Almost like a super-linear FPS feel.

A true open world or galaxy in WoW and EVE's case is, IMHO, the best way to go about it. Fine, whatever, so your friend is on another server... yes, there may be a fee associated with transferring over to play with the guy but I consider that a minor negative when considering the much greater positive of the sense of being in a living breathing world instead of a bunch of instanced "rooms".

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:42AM Snichy said

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I was thinking about posting a comment but it would have said exactly the same as you. I agree completely with what you said.

The illusion of immersion is lost in games like CO and STO when you are continually seeing loading screens and being asked to choose an instance whenever you travel somewhere. I like WoWs sense of everyone being in the same world, good or bad.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:43AM (Unverified) said

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I have played games that use both models, and the single shard with massive instancing is horrible. It is like playing a single player game with tons of people around. Instancing is needed for somethings, but when the entire game is instanced, it is dreadful, as in STO. Multiple shards seems to be the best way to go. After seeing Star Trek Online, I have seen instancing gone wild, and do not want :(

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:59AM Loki1 said

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**It is like playing a single player game with tons of people around**

Lol that's actually a pretty good definition of what makes an MMO.

How weird is that? That something you see as bad is infact for others MIRACULOUSLY good.
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Posted: Jan 15th 2010 8:58AM Loki1 said

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How can anyone appreciate the very concept of "a personalized instance" and a "closer" community" inside a MMO, that is by definition a vast virtual cosmo?

I've been saying this ever since DAOC times, in a virtual world you shouldn't have notions coming from real-world nations and its borders limitations. It should be an experience completely detached from real world objects.

Even tho UO had sharded servers, they were all in the same list. In EUROPA there was a huge percentage of americans. And sometimes i played on american servers. There were no boundaries. I remember buying DAOC and writing an email prtotesting "Hey i wanna play with americans too, how do i do that?". I assumed it was possible.

Now people instead assume they shouldn't.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:00AM Darkdust said

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One-world games do something that sharded games cannot: create an actual community where everything that happens can have an impact upon you. When you read the stories about scams or corp thefts or massive fights or exploits or whatever in EVE, that's not something on another server that doesn't really affect you. It has a direct effect on your own gameplay and you may well pass those pilots later at a stargate or chat with them in Local or engage in a transaction buying the "stolen" goods.

I don't really have a lot of interest in sharded games with 2k players on each server anymore, now that I have had my eyes opened. Sure, this brings some architectural challenges for the designers (and EVE still encounters new ones, as the nullsec fleet folks can attest), but the price is worth it.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:03AM Temko said

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the only reason for more then 1 "huge" seamless world is ping time.

other then that GTFO with splitting, sharding, locking, instancing or restricting.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:06AM Serious Table said

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I'll agree with CJ. While testing STO, I've had a great amount of fun, but I can't help but feel... well, alone while playing that game because I always have my own little section of the universe, and no one else is there unless I get teamed. It makes the MMO feel more Single-player.

Now, I've also played WoW, and while it's certainly more open and allows for stronger server communities because everyone's there on the server, the one thing it lacks due to it being a sharded game is the ability to make a lasting impact on anything. Each server has to be an exact replica of the last one, so aside from being a "Server First", there's not much you can do.

Then there's EVE. The single-shard idea has worked wonders, really, even in the starting areas. Everyone on the same server means that everyone has a chance to really make a lasting impact on the game/environment/storyline, and I love that feeling. I love it so much, in fact, that I've vowed to go and give it another shot once I get paid.

I think there needs to be more Single-shard games going that are really single shard like EVE, so that those players who play MMOs get to feel like they're important and can help shape the world, instead of just playing what a storyline is forcing them to play.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:13AM (Unverified) said

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"Lol that's actually a pretty good definition of what makes an MMO.

How weird is that? That something you see as bad is infact for others MIRACULOUSLY good."

Yeah, all those people are around, just in one of the 70 - 80 instances, not where I am at. Excessive instancing is a lazy way to get everyone on 1 server. Just have multiple servers. Guild Wars 2 will be moving away from the excessive instancing to something similar to WoW, with the added ability to move to other servers.

To make my comment make more sense, think of all the instancing as having players in different jars, all the jars are next to one another, every one is playing, just not together. 0 community except for the bugs in that jar.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:16AM Atnor said

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I've found that in games like EQ and Vanguard, I prefer generally low-to-no instancing. I also prefer one-shard games to multiple servers, unless there is a special ruleset being used or something.

Too many instances and multiple servers lends itself to limiting your social options, makes it more difficult for friends to meet up, , and for me, makes it feel more like a game than a "world" if I'm being hit over the head that this place I'm in is not part of "the world".

There can be overcrowding, sure, but devs can work around that to a limited extent, and frankly, I find the few times that can occur to the less social personal instances.

If you're going to instance, you need to do it responsibily, and only where it makes sense. It shouldnt be the developers first, immeadiate option, just because it may be easier to code and build.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:26AM Snow Leopard said

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An ideal situation for me would be a game where you were all on the same server but the world was still seamless. Hopefully, the technology will come along for something like this one day. However, it’s a bit logistically difficult. I can see all 11 million WoW players fitting into the vastness of EVE’s special frontier but Azeroth is a little too small to fit all those people.

Posted: Jan 15th 2010 9:53AM toychristopher said

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One server please. The world should be big enough to accommodate all those people. That adds a sense of exploration and the game developers don't have to play tricks on you to make the world feel large or full of wonder.

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