Second Life As Popular As World Of Warcraft, Except For The Number Of People

Matt Mihaly gets credit for finding it, I’m just going to point and laugh.

“World of Warcraft touts a six million or larger active user base – but they shard their world off into smaller servers so you never see 16,000 people in the same place”, said Mr Miller.

“That’s unlike Second Life, where tonight you will see 16,000 people enjoying exactly the same world all able to communicate with each other, all attending the same live music event should they wish to.”

Bear in mind the quoted is Linden Labs’ VP of Technology. So he’s not being clueless – he’s lying through his teeth. SL’s capacity for events is around 75, or less since avatars that are, um, “fully functional” tend to stress out the server with their twiddly scripts. I discussed this earlier with the Mark Warner visit. Wagner James Au, Second Life’s unofficially official ambassador of fun, popped in the comments of that thread to say that the technical limit is around 100, or 200 if you cluster servers.

Note that all of these numbers are considerably less than 16,000. And even if you go with the 100 estimate, that is by far the lowest social capacity of ANY MMO ever released. Most MMOs tend to melt at around a few hundred users in the same space. World of Warcraft usually sees around a hundred or so in each of its main cities at peak hours.

Or maybe he’s just talking about single servers vs world shards. Most world shards cap out at 5,000 or so simultaneous connections (sometimes more depending on demand)… but that’s more to design considerations than hardware for most games. You don’t WANT 8,000 people in Ironforge, do you? And of course, Eve Online just posted 32,000 concurrent users. Which is, for those of you weak at math like Linden’s VP of Technology, roughly double Second Life’s concurrency. Clearly this means Eve Online is MORE popular than World of Warcraft. Told you they were hardcore.

That’s not to say that SL doesn’t do cool things. It does. And it’s a good start at where social MMOs should go. But given the amount of media love and concurrent scrutiny, slapping the market leader with your SL marketplace-purchased “attachment” should only be done if, you know, you can back your attachment up. With, you know. Facts.

(Of course the BBC took his statements credulously. Research is hard.)

Edit: You think I’m mad? Check out A Clockwork Mind, who makes my backlash look positively cooing:

I want to stop seeing stories about Second Life.\’c2\~ I want reputable journalists to stop making themselves look like brown-nosing paid spokesmen for something which is frankly a waste of everyone’s time except those who like to masturbate at the keyboard while looking at furries and little kids.

One day, Jack Thompson and the public at large are going to find about Second Life and when they do, every online environment is going to be in deep, deep trouble because of what Second Life has allowed, no, encouraged, to go on in their systems.

Second Life Must Die.