Wild West Online discusses splitting the difference between scale and player participation

    
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How many players makes an MMO? It seems like a straightforward question, but it’s a rather complex one, and one that Wild West Online is attempting to answer by degrees. The official statement on the matter is that the developers are doing their best to find a balance between having a sufficiently large population to feel massive while also having a small enough number to feel relevant on an individual level.

The statement explains that if there are too many players, each individual person feels as if the whole thing is going on whether or not one player takes part. By contrast, too few players makes the game feel empty and, well, not actually massive, thereby defeating the entire point of the genre. No hard numbers are stated for the record, but players are already speculating on what this means for allowed player populations per server. If it’s a subject near and dear to your heart, you may want to weigh in as well.

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AGx-07_162

I need to feel like if I go into a town, any town, I’ll run into a dozen players or so. In the open world, I don’t mind it being sparse because people are doing different things but your towns, especially the main hubs, need to be bustling. So, whatever number is required to pull that off.

miol
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miol

It really depends on the size of the world, doesn’t it? With the size of a GTAV map, as they mentioned previously, I guess 200 are the absolute limit, if you still want the feeling of a Western with some lonely places left! :/

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Melissa McDonald

MMOs should be Massive. I can handle multiple servers, but in my personal opinion, if there aren’t tens of thousands playing in a given game world, the world is going to feel somewhat empty.

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Sray

Personally, I’d prefer lower populations of human players in exchange for a large NPC population. For my tastes, it makes interactions with other players more meaningful, and adds to immersion by making the heroes of the world limited in number. Whilst I had a lot of fun playing them, I found games like SWTOR and City of Heroes to be absolutely ridiculous in their breaking of immersion due to the “heroes” outnumbering “normal people” by at least twn to one.

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Melissa McDonald

if the NPCs are as “alive” and interactive as they are in, say Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate? I’d agree with you. What I wouldn’t want is a bunch of zombies that mostly just stand there.

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Space Captain Zor

If there are 100 cowboys and cowgirls in the saloon at the same time, that could be a bit much…

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Melissa McDonald

perhaps – my Country/Western club “Nashville” in Second Life typically had 50 people in it during evening events. It actually was pretty awesome having that many people all chatting and socializing in one place.