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Cascading population drops the true MMO killer

Chris Chester

One of the most depressing situations in any MMO is coming to terms with the fact that you feel isolated and alone, even in the midst of your massively multiplayer world. According to Eric Heimburg of Elder Game, this phenomena happens not because of any specific reason like a bad patch or lack of new instanced content, but because a server population has dipped below the critical mass it takes to keep a game functioning as intended, and players start fleeing in droves. Everquest II, he suggests, is in need of some server mergers if they hope to keep their population numbers above that important number.

One wonders what is supposed to be done with a game like Tabula Rasa when servers drift into dangerously low territory. With only four servers to its name, it might actually be more harmful to the size of the player base to simply concede that a merger is necessary. Players have never been terribly resistant to bad news, at least if forums are any indication, so might a server merger act as another negative point in a cascading failure? At what point do you leave an MMO?

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