INB4 the the valiant defenders of AGS: I have 350+ hours since release and probably double that from before release.
Obviously shut it down and rebuild the client and wipe everything. You can’t cap servers for this type of game to such a small value. The current client is the bottleneck, AGS has the server capacity to scale to much larger than what is being used for this game.
Have two different server rulesets: PVP and that other thing where people focus on internet dragons and scripted encounters that are predictable and never change.
Remove full item drops from mobs and chests, they only drop crafting materials and recipes.
Make craft-able gear the only way to get weapons and armor and make their durability reduce to 0 and break so they need to craft more or buy more. Remove the concept of soulbound gear. Gear is easily attainable and drops when you die. This helps keep the crafting community viable and reduces the market stagnation that many servers are seeing now.
Reduce the map to one starter zone that cannot be territory controlled. On PvP servers this is the only zone that you are not flagged in, “the safe place”.
Remove the idea that you have to gather 100,000 gold to claim a keep from no one so you can be the first to control a zone. Make guilds build forts and have cities attached to them that are player built as well. When another guild comes in and sieges, they need to rebuild everything from scratch because the fort and city get razed.
Make zone ownership mean something more than just making the owning guild rich. Gate the dungeons to the owning faction and remove the silly keys. Make all dungeons max level and make them drop important crafting materials.
The invasion system needs to be rethought. You need to be able to prevent invasions whether it means your faction needs to control a cluster of connected zones to prevent the non-stop barrage of invasions, or if it is just used as a way to control a faction or guild that is clearly more powerful than the other two; a way of implementing checks and balances.
Remove taxes from player housing and let players build houses. The rock crafting in game already has a basis for this for items that are otherwise unused.
Remove the ability to change factions. Faction needs to be chosen at character creation and there need to be systems on the server that force balance between factions (see retooling the invasion system to punish the strong). Maybe the faction with the most zones is the only one that can enter shattered mountain?
Disconnect azoth and the travel system, keep it for crafting only.
The portal spawns in all zones is boring and predictable. If you just leave them, nothing happens. If you stop them, nothing happens. Make them a zone-wide event like in Rift. Start small and build up until the entire zone is not usable until people come together and clear them. On that thought, make them scale to the level and number of people coming at them. No more level 25, 35, 45, etc. This could be a really cool system, but it is just an annoyance right now.
Why you’re at it, why not remove levels all together? Make progression based off of weapons and armor like in SWG. This makes the distribution of the population across more even zones make more sense. You get stronger based on your weapon, not your level. Level your sword and shield up to 20? Good you are max. We all know MMOs are not about the leveling process, but what you do once you are there.
EDIT: this post got flagged and hidden…