The persistent servers sounds cool and the fact that some games can take months or years also sounds cool. The only potential down side I see is everyone has to be on at once. I've done raids in many MMORPGs and getting 25-40 people together or more is a real pain. And trying to get those exact same people together on a regular basis is very rare and difficult. He did mention games where it's 32 players but only 6 are really human players. That's fine but I'd still like to play large games with lots of Human players cause they tend to be smarter then AI as well as not as random.
I actually thought it would be more like a typical setup and thus the persistent online servers would be more like a PBEM. Cause it begs the question if everyone has to be on to run the turns then how is it really persistent other then it's a saved world everyone loads up again? Also if players can simply join take their turn then logout and when all the players have done their turn doesn't it still become a PBEM type setup? Cause there are some PBEM games that do support Simultaneous turns where everyone issues their orders and it processes them all at once.
I've also played lots of web based games over the years also. And I think it would be cool if the game servers supported a more persistent and continuous game. What I mean is every X number of hours a turn happens. A lot of pseudo real time web games are nothing more than all actions happen every hour such as movement, production, building, and etc. Since you can already queue up a lot of things in the game such as training units, building production, movement across the map, and so on it seems only logical that some of those turns the player can just let things go by. Because often times in games currently I queue up buildings and training units then order my SOV to move to some location that will take 5+ turns to reach and hit end turn a few times in a row.
How fast the timer is on the auto processing of turns could vary based on server as they often do in web based games as well. But just having the option would be nice so that the game world progresses at a steady pace and feels a bit more real. Rather then having it where the 20 of us can only get together on Thursday nights for 2-3 hours then the game may progress X number of turns depending on how fast everyone does all their stuff.
Also in my experience with TBS game the larger the maps get the longer the turns take to process especially late game. Sometimes it can take a few mins to process a turn and then depending on what you have to do during that turn you may finish the turn in a minute or several minutes. It really sucks when you have to wait for a long turn process followed by waiting for the other player taking a long time to finish their turn because you only had 1-2 things to do on your turn. Things never seem to quite match up as I remember trading taunts with my friends in TBS games about how they were taking to long on turns where I had nothing to do or they would do the same with me.
The solution in some of those games was a built in timer which often was a bit of a pain as it either seem to be to much or to little again depending on how much happen to come up on your turn. We'd often end up finishing with time to spare and then some critical turn would come up with a lot of things that needed doing and the timer cuts you off. And since a new turns starts you not only have to deal with the new things that arise but also check on some of the old issues.