Trimming official servers

Posted on February 14th, 2022 06:41 AM EST
Greetings, Exiles!

Conan Exiles had a year of solid growth in 2021, and with what’s on the horizon we’re very excited about 2022 too! However, before we get to all that exciting new stuff, we have some house cleaning to do.

TLDR: we need to reduce the number of official PC and PlayStation servers.

Why?
The goal with the official servers is to provide easy access to exciting gameplay in Conan Exiles through meeting and interacting with other players, whether there is PvP or more friendly encounters. On these servers, travelling across the Exiled Lands or the Isle of Siptah should include encounters with other players and their creations, whether a massive fortress or our beloved default 2x2 hut near the river.

Both with early access in 2017 and when Conan Exiles launched back in 2018 official servers filled to the brim. Then players found their preferred play hours, and server population stabilized at a healthy level. The same happened with Isle of Siptah servers when the expansion launched last year.

But official servers have their limitations. We have more than a thousand of them across the different platforms, regions, modes, and now maps. To keep this manageable we run all of them with default settings. Many players seek a different experience with regards to gathering and XP rates, purges, player limits, et al., and of course – on PC – one or more of the amazing mods the community has created.

Over the years, and even over the few months since Isle of Siptah launched, we have seen a continuous shift toward player-run servers and solo/co-op play. While activity in the game is higher than ever (outside of those crazy release months), several official servers see few players online during any given week.Less than a handful players on a server doesn’t provide the experience they were created for, especially when a server is essentially someone’s solo game. Hence why we will consolidate onto fewer servers.

How does it work?
Perhaps most importantly, we will not just shut off the power to servers and leave it at that. When a server is shut down, we will transfer all characters – active or not – to another server along with everything in their inventory. This transfer is not subject to the “no encumbrance” rule which applies to free transfers[www.conanexiles.com]. However, transferred characters log in at the starting area so bring something to help you carry!

No constructions will be transferred. We realize this is not optimal. The main concern is that there can be a building in the same spot on the destination server already – especially on the popular PvP server base spots. Another is that this would complicate the database merge operation significantly.

Players on a server which is closing will be notified ahead of time through Message of the Day, and we will also provide a list of servers and dates here as they are decided on.

How many servers?
Having looked at the current player activity trends and making projections for that exciting new stuff to come later this year, we aim to close about one third of official servers.

This is not distributed evenly across platform, region, mode, and map, however. Thanks to the success of Conan Exiles on Game Pass, Xbox servers are well populated, and we will only close a few Xbox servers that were opened in the wrong region last summer. Thus, this almost exclusively affects PC and PlayStation servers.

Exact numbers for each of the combinations of platform, region, mode, and map varies greatly, and will be available once we share the servers and dates.

How are the servers decided?
  • Characters from a closed server will be merged to another server in the same location. For example, someone connecting to a server on the US east coast will not have to suddenly connect to one on the west coast.
  • Goal is to impact as few players as possible, so low population throughout January 2022 is the primary factor. Both average and peak population is considered, with most weight on the former.
  • Among low populated servers, we put some weight on the number of structures on the server.
  • Destination servers for the character merge are chosen based on population, with the aim of increasing average population across the board and not creating login queues.
What about the future?
The shift toward private servers and games and a more customized game experiences is expected to continue. But we also expect Conan Exiles to continue to grow. How exactly that will pan out over the next year and beyond is hard to predict.

It’s possible we will do more closures in the future. It’s also entirely possible we will need to open new servers! This we will have to come back to sometime after that exciting stuff we can’t say more about just yet.
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