First week we had 300+.
50% of people leave in first week because they have some memory of helbreath that is actually fake memory because so much time has passed since they played, they see all nostalgic good 'end game' in their mind, and forget how much work involved in getting lvl, ek's, and items. Also some play a week or two and have their fill of hb, even if they like the game they feel again time to move on (some from this group come back again time to time, just not very regular player)
Retaining the last 50% was possible, but for some people their circumstances may change; like new job or more school, so a few here and there leave after few weeks/months. Also some people fall out in game and these bad player-player relationships can make people leave sometimes, all these things are out of the hands of GM's, but if some key people quit, especially those seen as community leaders, they really can cause a snowball of a few more leaving, then others losing friends start to be bored and leave also.
So I think around 150-180 was the 'best scenario' outcome, and a few months into the server we had 120-140 every day which was very close to that, so good job GM's in that respect.
Remember helbreath is not a high growth game, so your best growth period is very early in the server when people are hearing about it and coming to check it out. This means very few new people are joining after the first month, maybe only 1-2 a week. In normal operation of a hb server there tend to be low growth unless a competing server shuts down and the overflow emigrates to you.
The question remains, what happened between the days when we had ~120 on maybe 4-6 weeks ago, and now. Well there is the people who were moved to balance the server having some amount of backfire, but for many people they just used the upset mood as an excuse to leave when they might not have before. In this respect I must acknowledge white[gm] original idea was maybe in hindsight the best: get involved as little as possible in server management and stick to building better source code - letting community sort out the balance. Sometimes doing nothing lets players think they do not matter tho, so in this case he was screwed if he did nothing also.
Enough people have stuck the knife in by criticizing whites decision, so I don't want to add to that because we don't know if anyone else suggestion would have been better for sure. What I will say is that FNDA made an offer to move a small group who already worked well in a team. This suggestion proved popular, but after this suggestion was made moha chose to hijack the public support that original suggestion had by first agreeing with it and then changing the central condition of the move, and perhaps unfairly used his influence with the staff to some degree to get his entire guild moved, which was much bigger and formed a central party of aresdens force. Very little public support was shown from members outside that guild but the staff did not correctly *spam*yse that aspect at the time. In this case I'm 100% sure White does not make such big decisions on his own, farjat must have been informed of these things and under his supervision he authorised this move, so white cannot be held solely responsible. All the people who want to flame white constantly in the forum should have some balls and flame farjat and moha as well.
That said, moha is a superb player and one of the most experienced players we have in this community, as well as being very knowledgeable about the game. I still feel he was the best choice for GM the staff could have made, and he has committed a lot of his own time to GM duties, more so than some of the other old players could have reasonably done.