How will shards work?

I’m not sure if you have worked out the details on shards but, I’m curious how shards work. Will we be randomly put in a shard or will we be able to pick a shard?

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I am actually curious too… Will keep an eye on this post.

Same, in the February test, if you got disconnected and you were in a party, you just had to hope that you would reconnect in the same shard.

Our ideal goal is to have a server structure that can handle 200 players on the same ‘shard’ so that this really isn’t an issue. (We’re planning to support around 1,000 concurrent players per server so the chances of 200 out of 1,000 people being in the same zone is probably pretty small). Right now we can handle about half that, or 100 players per shard. Honestly I think once we have more zones in the game and dungeons even at 100 players per shard aside from the starter zone the chances of there being more than one shard active per zone is pretty slim.

But anyway, the idea is that by default we just auto-place you into the ‘newest’ shard. We’ll do that up to 80% capacity and then spin up a new shard. If you’re in a group with someone else, we’ll place you into the same shard they are in (which is what the extra 20% capacity of the shard is reserved for). It doesn’t do that yet, but will soon.

The real problem with the shard system is for the Wilds. For example, if you’re on Shard 1 which has 100 people on it, and then someone else comes to the zone and we start up Shard 2, and that new person is the only one on Shard 2, then obviously they are going to have a much ‘easier’ time than the folks on Shard 1.

Our first approach there is, as I said, to get the system to the point that we can handle so many people on a single Shard that it’s incredibly rare to need multiple Shards. Barring that, I’m going to look into an approach where when we spin up Shard 2, we basically split the population of the zone in half (keeping groups together) so that instead of Shard 1 having 100 people and Shard 2 having 1, Shard 1 has 50 and Shard 2 has 51. I’ve actually experienced this “shard split” during testing and it’s not as jarring as you’d think, although the monsters do shift around a little. We’d also prioritize moving people who weren’t already in combat that way if you were in the middle of fighting a monster you wouldn’t be interrupted.

Anyway, that’s all the general idea of shards and how they work and the plans for them right now, but as you can tell all of that is very up in the air right now and a lot of it will likely change based on how testing goes during the Alpha/Beta.


Thank you for your reply. I was wondering how you were going to set that up.

Looking at what you are suggesting, if I am new and not grouped with my party yet I may end up on a shard where I cannot friend them.

Also I am sort of worried on your 100 to 200 players here. Do you know in 2016 there was 420,000 Vive units sold and 355,000 Occulus units sold world wide. If only 1% of them played your game you would be looking at 7,750 players.

For the shard split you might think about giving users an option of the shard they wish to join at the login screen. This way when we see these splits we can still try to play with the people we would want to. Also you could have an auto shard selection where it chooses shards based off a geographic lookup of the users IP. This would place those in similar time zones and speaking languages by default into same shards. Which might make it easier for them to communicate since we are speaking instead of typing :slight_smile:

I saw where you have a single server in a thread earlier. Have you guys though of a backup server and where to place it before going live in steam? I don’t know if your current server is in a data center with a redundant network connection but it is important to work this out before you get to far ahead.

Once again this is all just food for thought. I want to see this become popular and stay on top so I’m just making suggestions. I don’t want to see this go live on steam and so many people join that we see multiple shard splits and have issues due to it.

We’re still finalizing the sharding system, but keep in mind that even with 10,000 people having bought the game, on average only around 1,000 will be playing at the same time at any given point.

The shards don’t represent different physical servers, they are just logical groupings of players. Since it doesn’t really do any good to have 300 people running around in an area designed for 50. The plan is to make it so that you are always in the same shard as anyone you are grouped with.

My guess is that during launch we will have a lot of sharding going on in the beginner zones for the first week or two as everyone plays at once, but then after that I doubt there will be all that much sharding long-term since most people will spread out throughout the world.

We are using servers on the Google Compute Engine cloud currently, so we an spin up as many servers in as many geographic regions as we need to long-term if the game really takes off, so no worries about that.


Great. I’m glad you guys moved to a cloud based solution where you have redundancy and can take advantage of geographic resources. You had me worried infrastructure wise on the server side seeing that as the only post about hardware.

I guess on the shard issue I’ll see when it goes live as to how it groups. Sounds like you guys are still working out the fine details.