Chris and I just made several informative posts about World Linking on Reddit. I’m reposting them here.
On Population Caps
Some information behind the current server population cap behavior:
Many may already know this bit, but for anyone else who doesn’t: world population is determined by activity level in WvW (Edge of the Mists and Obsidian Sanctum don’t count). If World A has many-times the number of players on it as World B, but World A does’t play WvW at all and World B plays tons of WvW, A will have the lowest population, and B will have a very high one.
/u/piInverse, to your point on increasing world population levels, and especially some becoming full
This is not caused by the additional players bought about by the server link, but from returning players and a lower population cap on the host servers.
This is only partly true. We’ve also had a substantial increase in global WvW participation since reward tracks, world linking, and the return of the Alpine borderlands. On top of that, we use a fairly long historical tail on WvW activity level for world population purposes. Intent being to prevent worlds from artificially lowering their cap with just a couple weeks of intentional inactivity. One flipside of that being that even if global WvW population levels dropped next week, if they were still higher than pre-<aforementioned factors>, population levels would still go up as a new, higher week replaces an older, lower one in the window of time being used.
World linking problem: linking, say, a T8 NA world with a T1 NA world and doing nothing with population caps will make it very easy to pile onto an already-healthy world. So something needs to be done with population caps.
There are two opposing goals we can aim for.
- Short-term prevention of bandwagoning. To do this, we’d need to make it more difficult to join a world that’s already low enough in WvW population to merit being linked in the first place.
- Long-term health of worlds with less WvW activity. To do this, we’d need to make it easier to join a world that’s already low enough in WvW population to merit being linked in the first place.
As for what modifications we’ve put in place for population levels to not allow world linking to break the meaning and purpose of population entirely, we’re currently trying a compromise between going completely toward either the long-term or short-term health goals for world populations.
- Unlinked worlds have the highest population cap.
- Linked worlds have significantly lower population caps.
Some things we’re considering to help discourage bandwagoning:
- Increasing the cost to transfer to lower-population worlds (since they’re now often going to be linked to high-pop worlds). For example, possibly 800 gems instead of 500.
- Having merge hosts always considered Full, and their guest(s) all sharing the population their host would otherwise have.
- Locking out transfers for a period of time after world links become active.
On Relinking More Often
We are also considering adjusting links more than once a quarter. There are some pros and cons to this, but assuming World Linking wins the current poll, we could poll on adjusting the re-link rate.
- More variety in allies and opponents.
- Players are less likely to bandwagon.
- World populations become more stable.
- Matchmaking becomes less accurate. There’d be more unfair matches.
- The WvW World Rank leaderboard becomes less meaningful.
- Additional administrative work for worlds coordinating voice-chat/forum access with their changing allies.
- Players may start to avoid socializing and forming bonds with their cross-world allies, since they are likely to change often.
- My team(WvW) spends more of our time analyzing population and match data, to determine new links, leaving less time for other types of WvW work.
- It becomes harder to remember which worlds are currently linked, and know when the next relink is supposed to happen.