If you follow Eve Online in the slightest way then you will know one of the game's proudest features is its single server. Developers and players alike are rightfully proud of this feature which adds complexity and depth to both the economy and the territorial empire-building game.
If you've played Eve recently you may be starting to suspect that this is not going to last.
The server crashed at about 10pm last night. 54000 players were logged on, the market was bustling, the war in zero,zero rages. The game is starting to not cope with its own popularity.
The recent Dominion expansion places more load upon the server. Planets look gorgeous now and are lushly rendered. A bug has been accidentally introduced with grids that causes entire fleets to black screen and be killed by their enemies while loading.
One Eve veteran enthusiast from the F13 forums had this to say:
I just spent 3 hours in game staring at a black screen. when IT bombed is from 100kms away. This despite everyone else in eve if you fire bombs in heavy lag the bomb explodes in your face. Before we went in AAA lost 40 bombers that way.
With IT they fired bombs and they went 100 kms and exploded right on top of us. Perfectly. Then my logistics ship was shot to bits in real time without me able to do a damn thing.
Then they are able to move around probe down capitals and destroy them with bombers. Then trap titans, siege blow them up etc. While I'm staring at a blank screen and playing stuff on my laptop.
I'm sorry if I come across as mad but in Eve I am a warrior. If I die in a fight, big deal. Dying while not even loading grid for 2 hours?
Sorry for venting here, dominion has brought back the old shitty bob lag. I'll give it it whoever planned this. They knew that they would have a jammed up node when they paid off that SOT corp and knew they would be able to drop a tcu and get it on-lined before the node could be reinforced at downtime. That's a serious exploit as far as I am concerned. And quite frankly I'm tired, I've been up all night for this and I don't feel like giving ccp my money for this crap. And I don't want to face another night like tonight ever again. I'm getting too old for this shit.
I think I'll do something more fun like have an ingrown toenail. Oh and I've just been told the titans never even saw themselves get shot.
I think I'll go install LOTRO now.
Now bugs can be fixed of course and more computing capacity can be purchased. But there's a
limit to how far and how fast Eve can grow. They already run the game on one of the most sophisticated supercomputers in the world.
And I think the Eve playerbase will grow and grow. Sure there are a couple of strong space MMOs coming out this year. SWTOR and STO will draw large crowds. But those games won't draw off many Eve players - Eve is a strategic pvp experience and those games are tactical pve experiences..
Also Eve is designed to support being put on a backburner - if I get gripped by TOR fever then my Eve accounts will sit there nicely on their own, paying for themselves with passive income. The plex system really helps the game here. If you are a plex seller then you're used to spending a lot on Eve in exchange for being awesome. If you're a plex buyer then you play for free and it will probably take minimal effort to cover the monthly gametime. Combine that with a skill system that rewards people for real life time and you have a game where you may as well stay subbed even if you're not actively playing..
So if Eve will keep growing both in player numbers and in graphical complexity then a second server becomes inevitable. And it's not like there isn't some precedent: the Chinese play Eve on a separate server and there is also a separate Test server.
Edit: this issue provoked some very good responses, basically saying the answer is No and well worth reading. Links here in case people skip the comments: