Public-server games such as Half-life provide users with a large choice of servers located all around the world. Gamers can switch between servers as often as they like. Some reasons to continue playing on the same server are simplicity, a known low-latency connection, preference for server options, or a sense of community. It is natural to wonder whether servers continue to serve the same group of clients and to what extent these reasons or others keep clients at a specific server.
Our trace contains the connection records for each client via their unique player identification number (WONID). We quantify loyalty to the server by counting the number of times a player returns to play after a successful playing session. Figure 4(a) shows the probability density function of additional game sessions per player for players who returned at least once to the server while Figure 4(b) shows, on a logarithmic scale, the cumulative distribution. As the figure shows, 42% of the players in our trace returned to play only once and 81% played less than 10 times. On the other hand, the top 1% of loyal gamers return to play hundreds of times (hence the logarithmic scale). It appears that the majority of clients have very little loyalty to public servers, and only a small fraction have grown strongly attached. We hypothesize that, due to a large population of servers to choose from (over 30,000), clients rarely select the same server twice.