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------TL;DR: Have only one server. Create more open worlds (new instances) for the populace to filter into as the server reaches peak players. Close them down again daily when maintenance downtime cycles the ports.------ THE PROBLEM: The game got big (steam release), servers became over crowded, lag became an issue, log in queues were frequent, the devs split off more servers and everyone was happy for a time. Now one server is dying and we are merging them back together. The population is going to wane and wax overtime, that much we can bet on. Opening up and closing servers as the population fluxes is not a very good way to deal with the overloads or population declines. Instead, I propose the following suggestion: MY SOLUTION: One server, spawning multiple open world instances on demand. There will only be one version of any port or any battle. When you enter Charleston, you enter the same Charleston as everyone else. The same prices, same contracts, same chat. Charleston isn't likely to become "overloaded" from the servers perspective. As players filter to all the different nations and many available port cities. Also, Charleston just represents a UI essentially. The idea of 1000 people being in Charleston is like 1000 people being in a chat room. But 1000 people in the Charleston open world harbor is like having 1000 call of duty players inside the same room. The chat room is practical, the overcrowded "call of duty room" is not. This WILL require some changes to the port flag system or some special considerations for how that would work. So keep an open mind on that. Let's explore solutions together a little later. HERE ARE THE DETAILS: Let's have one or two servers. One PvP and one PvE. I honestly think we can do away with PvE servers and perhaps just have a PvE type mode available. Where people have the option to be in a safe place, like the protected areas, to do their PvE stuff. I don't see a lot of value in PvE "only"servers for this type of game. -----However, that is an entirely separate discussion that doesn't need to be addressed here.------ So let's just say ONE server. For the purposes of our discussion, everything will be in reference to only having ONE universal server. We need multiple open worlds to deal with the population spikes. When you leave your port you will be spawned into the open world like normal. When that open world hits 75% capacity, a second one will become available. The second one will mirror the first one. All the same ports, same owners, same cross sword battles, same fleets patrolling... Everything is 100% the same except it has ZERO PLAYERS inside of it. Now that two are open (one almost full and one empty), when you leave port it will bring up a dialogue window asking you which of the two you would like to enter. This is how we will keep friends and groups together, since they may all select the same version. The dialogue window could also show the populations of the worlds available. Example: "YOU ARE DEPARTING FROM CHARLESTON. WHICH INSTANCE DO YOU CHOOSE? 1) OPEN WORLD 1 (873 players) 2) OPEN WOLRD 2 (793 players) 3) OPEN WORLD 3 (176 players)" ALL battles, no matter from which world they were spawned from, will be viewable in all the instances. If there is a port battle against Nassau, the message will be broadcast to the entire server and all of the instances of the open world. All players will be able to go to Nassau and join the port battle until that port battle instance becomes full. The additional open worlds will only become available when the population density becomes too high in the preceding open worlds. They will all close when the servers come down for maintenance. When the server comes back up from maintenance, it will have only one open world that everyone will log into until it becomes almost full again, then the server begins to open more. If more players attempt to log in when the other versions have opened, it will just ask them which they prefer to go into. When an open world becomes COMPLETELY full, it becomes unavailable to log into and players must choose a different version. BENEFITS: Players can select the server that matches their goals best. Traders will go to the least populated versions for trade runs. PvE seekers will go to the least populated servers to save themselves from lag. PvP players will seek the most populated servers for more potential targets. This will also have social and economic benefits. We can combine all the players into one gigantic server with one economy and one ongoing war. Everyone will have a chance to meet and interact together. The only thing that will separate us is our nation. That will be solved, in part, by "war and peace". Also, players can switch nations with the help of their new friends to xfer things. This game is highly social, and putting up server barriers detracts from that aspect. Let's capitalize on it. THE DOWNSIDES: The biggest issue I can think of that really hurts this idea is the current flag carry system. Let's say there are two open worlds available. The flag carrier will obviously choose the least populated one to transport the flag and reduce his chances of being intercepted. Is that fair? How can it be solved if not? What about blockade tactics for the port in question? I have a few ideas of how this can be addressed but I would like to first open it up for community discussion. FEEDBACK REQUEST: Also, please, ANY other issues you can think of, absolutely do not hesitate to bring them up here. No matter how small or trivial. I would love the opportunity to address any feedback you might have. This same topic will be linked to the reddit subforum as well in case you prefer their discussion format Better (I know I do). THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATION IF YOU READ THIS FAR