Monday, May 7, 2012

The population numbers behind server status

All too often, I find myself pointing players to TorStatus to get a picture of what SWTOR's server population looks like.

Trouble is, knowing that a server is 'standard' (code 2) doesn't tell you much about the game experience. If a server can be 'standard' with 100-500 players, that is a different world than if the same code means 1000-3000 players online.

To settle this a little, I set up a monitoring program to alert me when a server changes its status as listed on SWTOR.com. When that happened, I would log onto the server and /who everyone within level brackets until I'd collected data on both the Republic and Empire sides. I did this just over 100 times.

From this, it looks like the cut-points for each server status are:
Light >> Standard:  500
Standard >> Heavy: 1500
Heavy >> Very Heavy:  2250-2500(?)
Very Heavy >> Full:  3000

There are a couple ways to use these cut-points to give context to the TorStatus numbers. For example, in April, servers were listed as 'light' 65% of the time. But players aren't evenly spread across the servers. While the highest population servers were 'light' under 30% of the time, the bottom 46 servers are listed as 'light' 90% of the time or more.  This means the bottom 46 servers spend 90% of the time with less than 500 players on both sides (combined).

As a side note: the average server status figures for the last 3 months (and a bit of May) are:

Average Server Status by Month
February March April May
1.49 1.38 1.29 1.19

The drop from February to May (a 20% decrease) closely matches the drop of subscriber numbers over the same period (from 1.7 to 1.3 million: a 25% decrease).

Note:  I'm doing some checks to examine whether those cut-points are stable over time, and do more to pin down the limits on the 'Very Heavy' status. That, combined with a few crazier statistical models, should help to put actual numbers to the server status figures.

31 comments:

  1. Must have been a lot of work, but it's definitely good info to know. Thanks. : )

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for putting in the work on this! It's interesting stuff! I RT'd on Twitter to show my support.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, thanks! I really appreciate it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Impressive dedication

    /tip_hat

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello,
    I got pointed to this from http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=449144 which was linked to a post in the SWTOR Reddit (just to let you know who was using/noticing your work).

    I just have a question on the methodology. When you say you /who in level brackets, where did you do that? Do you do that on the fleet? Every planet? And did you also take into consideration instances? I know my server sometimes instances the fleet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can /who by level. For example, typing "11-20" in the search window returns those players who are levels 11-20. If that returned more than 100 players, I'd break down the range. On Fatman, that meant checking 11-13,14-15,...,19-20. This works regardless of where they are, and whether that location is in a separate instance.

      Delete
    2. Forgot to mention: sometimes the server returns bad data, which means re-typing the query, or waiting until it chills out. Sometimes I'd type 1-10 and it'd give me random players. Still unsure why that happens.

      Delete
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