If you've read any other news about the Elder Scrolls Online, then you've probably heard the words 'Mega Server' mentioned. If you just passed it off, thinking that it means each individual Server/Realm/Shard can hold more players at a time, then your half right. But the new Mega Server technology created and developed by ZeniMax Studios is a lot more than that and will change the way we play with strangers and friends within the virtual world.
The Mega Server was created in an attempt to solve a multitude of Server problems at once -
Probably one of the greatest achievements of the Mega Server is the ability for it to seamlessly merge or spread players between a multitude of 'channels' - Channels are just another copy of the game world running on a different Server but still connected to the main game world. This gives it the power so during the peak periods throughout the day (between 5pm and 10pm when most people are at home back from work, school or college) for it to move and shuffle players around, so players in over crowded channels will be moved to lower populated channels without them even knowing it. On the other hand, this also means that during quiet times, after midnight and early morning, the Server will merge players together into the same instance so that there is a 'normal' amount of people around to not make you feel lonely or isolated and there will always be someone to join you in a dungeon or help out in a PvP match!
I love the idea of moving players around to even the load on the server as to not cause lag, but moving players around during quieter times to bring people together? Ok it sounds good in one sense, but In World of Warcraft I used to love the quiet times and used it to my advantage going out and collecting those expensive herbs and mining a ton of ore.
Don't let all this moving around worry you though, you'll still be right with your friends 95% of time due to the Server being able to keep track who's on your Friends List, who's in your Guild, who you've played with previously, who you've completed a Dungeon with, who lives in the same Country as you, who's playing in the same time zone and even rumors of knowing the age groups of users to keep them together. If your one for hating on those L33t kid players who spam "Dirge" and "Leeroy Jenkins!!!" in the chat all day then you may be in luck - the Mega Server may just give you a way out and place you in a channel with people closer to your own age group. Unconfirmed sources state it will also give players the option of choosing what, where and how they should share the virtual world by their own preferences, choices and actions they make in game and through social media, however we don't have much detail on what this quite entails just yet.
Well, technically there are still hundreds of Servers in the Elder Scroll data-centers, however they all merge together to create one giant gaming environment where everyone is able to play with everyone with no restriction on picking an individual server to play on etc. Virtually speaking though, there will actually be 2 Mega Server's online, one based in the USA and another based in Europe. But the great thing is, you won't be limited to playing on the one closest to you.
So if you live in Europe you can actually choose to play on the USA Mega Server, however you should just be aware of any latency issues that my arise from gaming that far away.
I honestly don't know why this type of system wasn't thought of before, or maybe because the technology wasn't there or isn't compatible with the current MMO's we have out there at the moment. But it's great to see a company like ZeniMax, who wasn't that well known before now are bringing out solutions to the current problems we face in other well known MMO's.