Thursday, June 14, 2012

Surveying SWTOR Servers

SWTOR players have been asking for server transfers basically since the game's first month, and they have finally arrived.  The analysis that we're seeing on the forums is fascinating.

As expected, these appear to be thinly-veiled server mergers, with as many as sixteen sparsely populated "origin" servers invited to transfer to a single "destination" server.  The thing that has surprised me is how aggressive Bioware-Mythic is being.  By my count of US servers as of this evening, there are 10 servers that Bioware intends to save (destinations), 23 servers with unknown fates (neither origin nor destination as of yet), and a whopping 90 servers that Bioware appears to be writing off (origins). 

On the one hand, I tip my hat to Bioware for ripping the bandaid off.  On a day when I should have been celebrating - level 46, Legacy level 5, and 100 presence for purchasing the human racial legacy unlock - I was instead doing damage control.  I lost about 15K credits in auction deposits (I knew I had to cancel auctions but did not realize that your deposit is only refunded if you wait until the sale expires) and had to rename my character - I may or may not end up regretting not changing his name more dramatically if I end up sending stuff to the guy who has my old name on my destination server.  I've heard many stories of players losing multiple character names.  The only thing worse than doing this once would be doing it repeatedly as servers close one by one over time. 

That said, we're looking at closure of anywhere from 75-90% of US servers depending on how the undecideds break.  Perhaps Bioware has been able to optimize or improve hardware to accommodate more players per server, especially with the launch rush redistributed (albeit primarily to a handful of endgame-relevant locations).  Perhaps part of their decision to open so many servers at launch was motivated by a belief that populations would continue to expand, rather than contract, and they are now firmly in consolidation mode.  Even so, Bioware-Mythic now appears to hold the dubious distinction of the top two slots on the list of "most servers closed by a MMO", so something clearly did not go right.

P.S. A tip for those of you who are re-locating: I would suggest creating or leaving a low level alt on the server/legacy you are departing.  This may be moot if the origin servers close soon and the remaining characters are sent to the same destination as the current transfers.  However, in the event that the last stragglers on your old server get sent somewhere else, they can potentially take a copy of your legacy (as it was when you departed) with them - if you have no characters left, presumably nothing will transfer.  A minute in the character generator on a server you're leaving for good is probably worthwhile if it gets you more options to play on in the future. 

1 comment:

  1. MMOs should say up front:

    "We EXPECT to do server mergers in a few months. That is the nature of the beast for this genre."

    That would help silence some people from freaking out. Now they are talking Free models.


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