EVE Online comes up, one way or another we end up talking about the server. EVE Online is unique among today's most popular MMOs for its single-server approach. While most MMOs deal with large number of users by starting up large numbers of separate servers with identical game universes, EVE maintains only a single copy of its game universe on a massive cluster of servers. CCP's decision to go with a server model that doesn't use any sharding or instancing whatsoever has had a major impact on in-game activities and how the game has developed.
Unfortunately for CCP, maintaining their vision of a single game universe has proven a lot more difficult and costly than anyone anticipated. Working with IBM, the EVE server cluster is maintained in London and is currently the largest supercomputer employed in the gaming industry. Even with this massive power behind the EVE universe, there are still problems as CCP tries to keep the server upgraded ahead of its ever-expanding playerbase.
In this article, I discuss the unique gameplay that is possible thanks to EVE's server model, the problems the server currently faces and what CCP is planning to do about it.