It’s the kind of problem a service game loves to have: too many people wanting to get in and not enough space to accommodate them all. Wait…I mean…massive interest, but limited seating. No, hold up. What I really mean is that in this post WoW world, the idea that a new MMO could draw massive crowds might have been off the table completely as players have either stuck with their favorite games of yesteryear, gravitate towards Eastern imports to satisfy the need for the new, or exited the genre altogether. There’s been a lot of factors that could have been working against New World, like Amazon itself, talk about how it’s frying certain 3090 video cards, the controversy around colonialism, it’s purported PvP focus, the “why are we still surprised when it happens?” release delay announcement, and the list probably goes on. But against the odds enough people just really liked New World when they experienced it during the alpha and beta periods that despite having an unprecedented number of launch-day servers available, people found themselves stuck in a queue.
It’s 2021, and we’ve had many successful and many unsuccessful MMO launches over the past 20 years, and we’d think that companies would have learned from other people’s mistakes by now. People tend to believe that, as the #1 provider of cloud-based servers, Amazon should just be able to throw more technology at it and “make it work” which is, of course, not how how works. It’s reasonable to believe that Amazon got caught by surprise as we are witnessing a kind minor “perfect storm” in a genre that many thought was dead or dying, made by a company with more money than experience, in a setting that hadn’t really been tapped for multiplayer potential. In the end, it seems to be a home run for Amazon and bodes well for New World’s ongoing success…assuming you log in at a completely unreasonable hour.
The queues are probably New World’s greatest Achilles Heel right now, at a time when such a vulnerability could completely hobble the experience across the board. Hype is real, and wanting to be part of the hype is lterally part of any game’s attraction at launch. Queues, therefor, are a game’s “cold shower”, giving players time to shake off the siren’s song and evaluate if they really want to devote time to another time-sucking online game that many outlets seem to begrudgingly respect for the numbers, yet dislike for the perceived grind around resource collection. Fighting a queue in order to make that determination might not be something that many people want to do, which in a completely ironic about-face might be the solution to reducing the queues through plain old attrition. Considering that it’s almost been a week since launch and the queues are still in full effect, probably not.
Amazon’s solution, then, has been to open new servers and suggesting new players roll there. That, however, only helps to not make the existing problems worse; it doesn’t solve the problems that the rest of us already have. For that, then, Amazon is going to allow everyone to transfer to another server gratis. We’ve all been here, though, and I don’t think any of us are under any illusions that this is going to go smoothly. I mean, what’s the point of allowing players from congested servers to move to “lower population” servers — the same servers that Amazon has been directing new players to, so “not empty”? Isn’t that just going to cause a log-jam elsewhere?
The theory is that each server has a very low cap, like around 2000 concurrent people. Belghast did some napkin-math on this and it would explain why launch servers filled up quickly with day-one players. Assuming that this cap isn’t raised significantly, even moving a 50 or 100 person gaming group would cause a significant effect on the destination server. I’d suggest that if people were able to move their guilds en masse to count as a single entity, it could potentially help Amazon decide if they need even more servers, but we win some and we lose some, and sometimes it seems that the logical choices aren’t ever on the table.
To that end, I’m going to hold off on New World until the server transfers have been announced and opened. At that point, I will probably follow the Minda crowd wherever they go; servers only mean something to me based on who is there, for good or for ill, even though I don’t really ever play with folks. Right now, I’m only level 17, so my vacation will probably put me further back (though I was gone this past weekend which also didn’t help), but that’s a situation I’ve come to terms with a long time ago; having folks to hit up in chat with questions or whatnot is fine, and I’ll make my own way in the world.
What I cannot do, however, is re-do content so soon after having done it the first time. This was my M.O. after the first alpha I participated in. I didn’t want to go much further because I didn’t want to spoil the eventual live experience, and as I’ve been playing since launch — just last week — I cannot force myself to go back to the new player experience by rolling on another, low pop server just so I can feel that I’m getting the playtime I paid for. Eventually I suppose I could go back to square one, but that would have to be out of sheer and epic-levels of boredom. Right now, rolling a new character would only be a stop-gap measure for the evenings because when server transfers start happening, and (fingers crossed) we move to a more reasonable home, I wouldn’t want to dual-level two different characters in two different locations, considering how slowly I level as a rule.