When demand on a server spikes dramatically, sometimes you need to improvise to keep things online. An interesting example is provided by CCP Games, which operates EVE Online, a science fiction gaming universe in which faction of players battle with fleets of space ships. When an enormous battle recently broke out on a node with limited resources, the engineers at EVE Online managed extraordinary server loads by using “time dilation” – altering time within the game universe to effectively throttle activity to match system resources.
via Experiencing Heavy Server Load? Just Slow Down Time » Data Center Knowledge
cf Greg Egan’s “Permutation City”