Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Beginnings, Old Character Slot Limits


WoW's Cataclysm launch events kicked off last week with a pair of new stories explaining how the gnomes and the trolls finally get their hometowns back from the low level mobs that have been occupying them for six years.  The beta has new introductory voiceovers for all of the existing races, and presumably other changes like these events will mean a lot of new low level content.  My guess is that you're going to need anywhere from 2-4 new alts to see the 20-60 leveling content, and as many as 10-12 new alts if there are significant changes to the 1-20 content.  To the best of my knowledge, WoW's per server character limit will remain at 10. 

There are sound technical reasons for character limits - data storage is not entirely free for one thing.  Even so, there is a distinct possibility that Cataclysm will test the limits of character slots per server on a scale that has never happened before in an MMO.  The stakes are non-trivial; many longtime players have high level alts occupying all of their slots - some folks have all 10 level 80's.  If you're forced to move to another server, you leave behind heirlooms (I'll have over a dozen when I decide what to spend my existing currency balances on) and social ties to your existing guild (which will also lose out on guild exp for your new alts). 

I suppose there is a bit of a silver lining opportunity here.  All of us probably know someone who plays on another server, and perhaps the Cataclysm is the time to pay them a visit.  It's just going to be interesting to see whether we're going to see disruptive player migration when the new content meets the old character cap.


Bonus event commentary: "da druids, we been layin' low".  Yes, we've seen various troll mobs that can shapeshift, but they have always referred to themselves as Priests of a specific animal loa.  Until now, I can't remember a Troll who has actually called themselves a druid, or displayed the ability to change into more than one different kind of creature.  This is why I don't take lore seriously as an argument to justify game design decisions - it's a fictional construct that can and will break as early and often as the developers want it to. 

9 comments:

Klepsacovic said...

Those crafty troll druids, cleverly calling themselves priests to hide right out in the open!

Llani said...

If you transfer servers, your BoA heirloom gear goes with you =) You can move it around from server to server all you want, but you cannot transfer it to another account. =) You can take some with you, or leave some on your old server.

However...it does get expensive when you start transferring more than 1 toon! Best to transfer 1 to a new home with a full set of leveling goodies.

Shintar said...

I still hope that they'll increase the character slot limit per server. I believe I read an interview somewhere where they admitted that they know a lot of people are asking for it, but they are still undecided.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

If they do increase character slot limit, it should be at $5 per additional slot (this will add one slot to each server).

But since this is blizzard, it would probably cost $25 if they do something like that.

Stripes said...

I made a new toon to play on a server with friends, I ended up transferring one under used toon with BoAs for my new guy. Then when I hit level 70 I realized I had forgotten to send a cold weather flying tome.

So folks, remember cold weather flying when you do your transfer. Plus at least 2 sets of bags.

As for more slots, I have this hunch that the limit is more by nobody wanting to fiddle with the UI on the character select screen. After all if you want 10 more toons you can pick another server. At least up to what 100? If they up the per server limit to 18 (replace slot 10 on the UI with a NEXT/LAST button) but leave the total limit at 100 their worst case storage load per player is identical.

As a practical matter storage isn't really WoWs issue, even with backups the data storage has got to be under $1/player/month. By a lot. In the '90s that was a good rule of thumb for 1M of storage cost (including backups), and that has declined. I would imagine one WoW toon's storage is under 100k. Including mailbox. Unless they log a whole lot of data we don't know about, and even if they do they have ample budget left, and also those extra logs don't need the same level of backup....

I bet the real issue is discouraging account sharing within a family...

Elaine said...

You can move BOA items such as heirlooms and CE pets and the cold weather flying tome to another account and even battle net if it's in your name. When I got my youngest her own account I loaded her level 12 up with heirlooms and the CE pets and book for her new characters when I moved her.

Anonymous said...

solution: you get 2 free x-server transfers per 30 days.

Moranin said...

Sniff...the Gnomes are finally getting to go home?

That *almost* makes it tempting to get Cataclysm so I can play the low level gnome content...

Green Armadillo said...

@Mora: You don't need to get the expansion, or even resubscribe if you're only interested in the starter zone. The new content up to level 60 will replace the existing world, and should be available on free trial accounts. You'll only need the expansion for the level 80+ stuff, the new archeology secondary skill, and the ability to use flying mounts in the old world.