This happens every game. And everyone says, it’s x year and all these other games had this issue, shouldn’t it be fixed by now? But if it was so easy, wouldn’t at least one game have been able to handle it? So what are solutions to prevent this?
The only thing one can do… or has done in the past is tried to gage interest. Preorders help with estimating that interest but isn’t a sure fire way to guess. Heck, there was a thread where people were trying to guess the amount of players in day one and they all came up super short (that said they don’t have Pre-order numbers and aren’t paid to estimate that).
So some people ask (perhaps), why not add more than enough servers just in case? Cost, strain of other resources, and location issues often apply to this (getting space in some regions is harder than others). Aside from that, there’s a game perspective to it too, too many servers and you’ll have to later close more, the more you add past projection, the more you’ll have to close. This means gamers will have to migrate their account on to a completely new server with conquests that are completely different. People will not be happy about this. And honestly, there’s no avoiding it, but there is a balance to limiting it as best as possible.
What about renting servers as a quick way to add servers? Well, some of the same issues above apply but now the company is putting your game data in the hands of someone else and that’s beyond dangerous. What happens if the server rental loses the data or goes down? They’d have to wait on the rental company and hope they kept backups if the former happened. There’s a much other stuff they’d have to worry about too but I won’t get into it unless people are really interested.
What about locking purchases to a set number and expanding slowly? Saw this come up and that’s interesting… but people would be upset. And in a way, it’s kind of its own queue and maybe a worse one.
What if they dropped queues all together? The limitations is more to not over populate areas and I think less of a server limitation (though I suspect they are actually shards, and the true servers are worldsets). That said, I don’t know their full infrastructure and that’s just me speculating. There have been mmos in the past that didn’t limit servers (though they normally only made the lowest populated ones viewable/at the top), and those have normally had crashes day one because the servers can’t handle the load.
I do know they’ve added an insane amount of servers so far in a short time frame across multiple regions. It would be good to hear why their estimations on player base was so off. I don’t think it was the worst launch ever or that they’re not doing things to correct it… but it is frustrating and I feel for all of those just wanting to game.