Amazon is planning downtime later today to start New World server merges affecting hundreds of servers across all regions. While the team has merged a few servers in the past week, with a few minor hiccups, this is the biggest move they're going to try.
When New World was released, concurrent player numbers hit a high of over 900,000 players. The huge launch queues were frustrating but a sign of good demand. Instead of increasing the number of available servers a few at a time, Amazon just about doubled the number of servers within the first couple of weeks. Players told to create their characters on lower populated and newer servers with a guarantee that they'd be able to transfer them later, was a temporary fix that took much longer to resolve than most people were anticipating. Adding to this the fact that server transfers were not made available across regions, which also led to more player frustration for global guilds. While server transfers eventually got a more stable rollout, the population had already begun to drop, meaning that some people who had transferred to a different server found their new server lacking enough people to sustain consistent play.
Of course, the game has had a rough road in the first several months of launch that included exploits, shutting down wealth transfers a couple of times, lots of bugs discovered by the community, and continued frustration over buggy updates and inconsistencies. Current player numbers and streams are down and server merges have been in the works for a while, but only recently begun. The fact that Amazon is merging hundreds of servers beginning with today's downtime, should hopefully leave the remaining servers with better access and healthier populations.
The huge merge will leave all of the affected players on those servers being merged without ownership of territories that they may have had on their previous server, since the one they’re being merged into will keep its ownership structure. Of course, for some players, if the population is healthy and the game is more enjoyable as a result, maybe this is just a new challenge to take on.
For the complete list of servers being merged in all regions, see this update post on New World.