Monday, May 23, 2011

Quotes On Rift Server Transfers

Last week, I posted about how server walls keep people from playing with their friends and create population distribution issues - I suggested in a clarifying comment that the solution might be some form of free, unlimited server transfers to allow players to move to visit their friends. 

Today, Trion announced what they're referring to as "free server transfers", and Massively quotes Scott Hartsman in the press release as saying:
"MMOs are all about playing with your friends no matter which server they're on, and that's why we're offering this as a free service to our subscribers."
No matter which server they're on, huh, guess that makes sense since MMO's are all about playing with your friends.  But what is this fine print about transferring to "select shards"?  The FAQ has the answer:
"We want the shard you select to provide the best experience possible. It is important that there remains a balance between Guardian and Defiant players and to that available shards do not become too over populated or unbalanced. For this reason you will only be able to move to specific shards we’ve selected to accept new transfers, please note the shards available for transfer may change over time.
So, I can play with my friends so long as we all mutually agree to transfer to another server with no guarantee that we will be allowed to return to our original server.  That would be the opposite of being able to play with your friends no matter what server you are on, because transferring would cut you off from the other friends who convinced you to roll on that server in the first place. 

So what's really going on here?  Let's ask Wilhelm:
"Announcing server mergers is always viewed as bad news.

But announcing free server transfers, that is a huge win.  Not only will your population take care of your server mergers for you, how and when they want to (some people love to play on nearly deserted servers), but the good publicity makes Rift look like a game you really want to play."
My guess is that doubling your server count in the first week is actually a very bad plan in the traditional server model.  The only people who are able to change servers just because they don't like their queue times are the tourists who are arriving with no social ties, who are the most likely to leave their new servers deserted at the 30 day mark.  This approach was bound to leave them with some servers that are empty, while others remain too crowded to actually allow the kinds of unrestricted transfers Scott is talking about. 

Leave it to the clever folks at Trion's marketing department to find a way to spin population redistribution as a revolutionary new feature.  That said, I wonder if they may have gone too far this time - the reality is so far from the market-speak that some players may end up feeling burned, especially if they only learn the true nature of the restrictions after unwittingly taking a one-way ticket off their home server.


  1. I disagree. Server transfer has never been a temporary idea. If you decided to transfer servers it was for a good chunk of time, and you were leaving for a reason.

    They've done nothing except announce that they will allow players on high pop servers to transfer to low pop servers, all while making people love them. I can't blame them if people read the FAQ or even the announcement, where it clearly states select servers, and assume that they can just server hop every week for fun. That's just stupid.

    Good article though, I just disagree on whether it's a bad call or not.

  2. @amuntoth:

    Can you name even one person who loves Trion, because and only because Trion is being dishonest in their terminology for this population redistribution?

    I agree that it is stupid to assume that one can server hop every week after reading this announcement. To present this as the negative you are disagreeing with is an obvious straw man argument. The negative for Trion in lying in this fashion, is that people will read the announcement, say to themselves "awesome free server transfers", continue reading and then say to themselves "oh, Trion is being dishonest again, boo".

    If you think that makes people love them, you must have a strange definition for love.

  3. I knew at release that Trion doubling their server count was going to backfire. Yes there were nasty queues at launch, and yes that had the chance to generate bad publicity. But what are they getting now? They overcompensated at launch and now they are paying the price for it. This is about as well as they could spin it, and when you get right down to it, they are providing a service that their players want. At the end of the day, that has to be a good thing, right?

  4. @Aracos well said!Server transfer is still a win win situation for gamers.

    Good thing they've kick up summer heat with these transfers. It could be sure lively to keep up with discussion based on long queues launching. :-) Nevertheless, it keeps me playing though. wowaccountforsale

  5. @ Anonymous:

    I don't know anyone who loves Trion just for this announcement, but everyone I personally know loves Trion for everything else they've done, and this just helps.

    They never lied, and I am shocked you think they did. They specifically stated it was select servers, and you will be able to play with your friends no matter the server, as long as you all transfer to the same server. It asinine to assume that "you can play with all your friends regardless of server" even if you don't move servers. That's kind of implied in the entire post.

    If you want to play with friends, you can all move to a server together. For free. That's what they are offering and they never said differently.

  6. So...

    Trion gives out a freebie... you are skeptical and look the gift horse in the mouth...

    You then quote some Wilhem for his speculation.

    THEN you speculate on top of his speculation coming to the conclusion that this free thing that Trion could have charged for is "going to far".

    Is it possible that Trion really are the good guys? Just speculating.


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