GameSetWatch takes a look at the issues involved in creating an MMO that does not split its users among many different servers. They suggest that running a single "shard" is the next step in the evolution of MMOs, since it better allows player choices to have a meaningful impact on the game world; supporting different outcomes across multiple shards is a technical nightmare. They estimate, from the hip, that the cost to develop the technology required to support a massive amount of players (i.e. far more than EVE Online) on a single server to be roughly $100 million. Another recommendation is the strong reliance on procedural and user-generated content creation to fill a necessarily enormous game world.
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