Today's rant is basically from another source I am banned from (Hell, I'm basically banned from everything FFXI except for this blog and FFXI itself!! :P ). LBR decided they wanted to take a poll and ask people about the need for server consolidation, and that got me ready to rant again.
When it's clear that there are major portions of the game no longer realistically playable more than 3-4 days a week (Friday-Sunday, and maybe the occasional Thursday), it's time to look at server consolidation.
I have been doing something ever since I noted someone posting something similar to this on BG. First, I would do a "/sea all". Then I would calculate 1/3 of that number, and then do "/sea all 1-74". The number I would have calculated and the number I would see would be VERY close.
For example: 5:47 PM PST 1/28/10.
/sea all: 1252
/sea all 1-74: 399
Basically, this says that it's no longer realistically worth it to start in FFXI, if you already don't have a 75, since the fair majority of the non-75's in that 399 either:
1) Are mules of 75's.
2) Are lesser jobs of 75's.
or 3) are RMT spammers and their ilk.
Then, you add the complete death of much of Whitegate for several days of the real-life week. I mean, it used to be that you couldn't filter out all the shouts quickly enough, and, now, you go to any realistic website pertaining to FFXI, and you find the same thing: Whitegate is dead.
Basically, even try Campaigning for the better part of the early weekdays and it's a real hit-or-miss operation (unless you're in Sandy or something)...
So, of course server consolidation is going to be needed. The real question is: How is it going to be effected?
I can see only 2 real possibilities:
1) Wait for FFXIV and slice the servers then...
2) Follow through on your Dec. 24, 2009 admonition, throw the banhammers, and force about a third of the servers to shut down here and now.
It's becoming evident that you can't really play FFXI to the fullest unless there are a certain number of live players on the server. For many servers, this is no longer happening.