is not entirely accurate…
This basically comes down to real-world finances, which would be the cost of Wonderstruck renting servers for use as public worlds, offset against the income of player rented gated/private worlds.
Public world requirements would essentially be calculated by how many players can concurrently play on a world and how much viable building space that server contains. Each world is 4608x4608 blocks, giving an overall ‘surface’ plot (8x8) size of 331,776 plots.
Now take into consideration that (I’d imagine) no one wants a world to become one massive city (I hope!). So realistically not all settlements will be that close to each other. People will want to start their own guilds and settlements and would want a location to grow when the recruit more players to their clan/group - so they’d want a buffer between other player groups (or even randomly dotted solo players). I’d say probably one half (165,888 plots) to possibly two thirds (221,184 plots) would be taken up by player plots per world - the rest would be wild lands in between settlements - everyone wants a buffer.
Using an example of just 1000 plots per player … This would essentially only allow for ~166 to ~222 players per world (based on the horizontal placements of plots it would take for those players to cover enough of the planet surface to effectively prevent other players from wanting to use that world due to the perceived space limitations mentioned above).
Ok… so it’s been mentioned in various places that there are likely to be 50 worlds at launch. I’d imagine that these can be sustained for probably a fairly lengthy undetermined amount of time without additional financial income (remembering that Boundless is a pay-once-play-forever and not a subscription-based game model)… but not indefinitely.
There’s currently a player base of 16,627 ± 3,779 players (source), so you’re already now looking at a requirement for a minimum of 75-100 worlds to be able to keep that player base engaged to the level you propose without adding new worlds or an additional income stream. With a max limit of 5000 plots, you’d be looking at even more worlds… 375-500… just to sustain those current players.
This is an extreme view of how the plot placement could occur, as not all players are builders, not all players use all their plots … players wouldn’t forego building vertically, just so they could try and cover a whole public world to keep it for themselves and their friends (would they ??)… you get the idea… but, you have to view these things in their extremes to know what those limits are so that they can be accounted for and mitigated.
So… whilst some may see no reason that we can’t all have a readily available allocation of 5000 plots to build whatever, wherever, however we want… there does need to be a realistic limit in place to prevent the above-mentioned extremes from ever occurring. It’s simply a case of finding the right balance.
Addition Note: What we’re seeing now, is a balance pass … part of it’s purpose is to gauge player feedback, as to what is deemed fair/unfair or reasonable/unreasonable, within those changes, so that a realistic happy-place-for-everyone middle ground can be found.
… and remember… Boundless is in alpha … nothing is set in stone.