We have pictures, too. I like pictures.
Yes, if the test server is any indication, players may soon be doing without the player counts on the server list. In place of the actual numbers, you’ll either have the word “UP” or the word “DOWN” to the right of the server’s name. Oddly enough, you’ll still be able to sort by server population.
A regular player on the test server added this bit of information (they asked not to be named, so yeah- this is hearsay):
During a server downage, Ester the Tester came into the General Chat room. She was asked if, since the number of players is no longer displayed, the ability to do “/who all count” would be disabled. Much to my (and many other’s) suprise/disgust, she answered “yes.”
For the record, UO doesn’t show how many players are on each server shard, and they never have, citing competitive secrecy. Anarchy Online doesn’t either, but it’s likely they don’t have server counts because they never expected to have more than one server. Asheron’s Call does show player counts, and they always have.
Without becoming too speculative as to the reasons for this perhaps imminent change, it’s been my experience that suddenly withholding information that was always freely available in the past is a step in the wrong direction. The only reason an organization would want to do something like that is because it’s the lesser of two (or more) evils. So, what does Verant foresee for server populations, and why is it important that people not be able to see them?