An editorial at GamesIndustry takes a look at a couple of problems many MMOs have failed to solve as the genre has evolved over the last decade: log-in queues and a split player base. The most recent example is Aion, which launched in Europe and North America a few weeks ago. Players on some of the game's servers had to deal with lengthy queues until enough people left the starting areas and spread throughout the game. To NCSoft's credit, the queues are mostly gone already, and it wasn't simply launching with too few servers that was the problem (nor was simply launching more servers a perfect solution, as Warhammer proved). In fact, several servers had no queues at all, but many players had set their sights on the more popular ones — a problem facing other MMOs as well. At this point, it becomes a matter of programming — how can the developers for these MMOs build the networking aspect of the game such that more hardware can easily be allocated when it's needed, and also make it easier for people to play together without the restriction of different shards or servers? EVE Online has done well with a single game universe, but it's not clear how far that model can scale upwards.
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