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FLS today announced:
"Population density has been the topic of much debate on the forums over the last few months. What we're hearing is that PotBS is an awesome game that you really enjoy playing, but that it's a lot more fun when there's a critical mass other players around to play alongside or against.
We completely agree with this and have always tried to improve your play experience with that in mind. We are constantly working to bring new players aboard and that's meant that we've had a steady population for a long time, but we know based on your feedback and our own in-game experiences that the stable number we're seeing on some servers isn't at the critical mass we want.
To push things in the right direction, we've decided to concentrate the current population onto two servers. This will allow you to experience the game as it was intended and hopefully you'll enjoy it even more. This doesn't mean we're going to end our marketing efforts - far from it! What it does mean is that players coming aboard for the first time will be able to experience a much more vibrant and enjoyable world during their trial period.
So, the details: in early February (shortly after 1.22 goes live), we will block creation of new characters on Defiant, Rackham, and Blackbeard. At the same time, all existing characters will be allowed to transfer to either Antigua or Roberts. Five weeks later, Defiant, Rackham, and Blackbeard will be retired.
I’m sure many of you will have questions about this change and we’ll be watching the discussion closely to address them. To get a head start, here's a list of potential questions you might have:
I have characters from all four nations; will I be able to transfer them all to Roberts and/or Antigua?
Yes, you will. We are implementing a system in 1.22 called Active Nation Select. This will allow you to have up to six characters of each nation on one server (yes, that's a total of 24 characters per server). You will only be able to have one playable nation at a time on a server, but you'll be able to change your active nation during the cease fire period after each map win.
If we can play all four nations on one server, won't we see more 'nefarious' cross-teaming?
Maybe, so we're equipping you with a tool to fight against it and other anti-social behavior: National Player Faction.
What about Port Battle times? Will they change on Antigua and Roberts to accommodate people from the retiring servers?
Port battle times have always been tied to the peak play times on each server. We'll continue to track the busiest times and adjust the port battle slots to fit them.
Will my characters on Roberts / Antigua be able to transfer as well?
Yes. We realize that you might want to reorganize your characters on Roberts and Antigua too, so we're giving transfer credits to all of your characters.
Characters that currently reside on Roberts and Antigua will get two transfers. Characters on Defiant, Blackbeard and Rackham get three. At the beginning of March 2010, all unused transfers will be removed from characters on Roberts and Antigua, while characters on Defiant, Blackbeard and Rackham will have one available credit to use.
Will my society be copied when I transfer my character?
No. If you move to another server, you'll have to recreate your society. Societies should discuss where they plan to move together and get organized before transferring.
I have more than 20 econ slots in use between all of my characters. Am I going to have to destroy some? Not necessarily. You’ll be allowed 10 econ slots per nation on each server (instead of 10 econ slots per server).
What will happen with Live Events?
We will continue with our recently unveiled Live Events program. You’ll just see events more often on your own server!
What will happen with population bonuses?
Bonuses awarded for joining a lower population side will be discontinued. As players will be able to switch sides after each map win, national populations will fluctuate more than they do now. We'll also stop awarding bonuses for the nation ranked last at the end of a map cycle, since the players in each nation are likely to change substantially.
Is the expansion still in the works?
Very much so! The port governance system is nearing completion and we're doing some new faction content that we're excited about. Watch for announcements about the expansion beta test program soon.
So, please let us know what you think! We will be watching this thread closely over the coming days.
Rheagar - FLS staff