Jun 122012
 

 

Photo-Receptor Focus on: Server Mergers Redux – Wait, What?

By Maer

As you probably know, I’m a big fan of server mergers. I think they’re a necessity at this point. I’m not the only one and a lot of people have been asking for them. Well, Bioware has answered the community. OK, so yeah, they’re calling it free transfers and they’re making us do all the work and it’s only being done in little bits and we don’t have all the info, but hey, they’re trying right?

More ranting after the jump…

OK, so I’m a bit cranky about this whole thing. Make no mistake, something needs to be done, but I’m not sure the method Bioware has chosen is the best one.

First off, and sidetracking a wee bit, finding information is difficult on a lot of things. Sure, the info is there, but you often have to dig and dig to get each little nugget. A little bit on the Dev Tracker, a little bit in General, a little more over in Community. By the time Bioware has put out all the info, it’s usually because whatever the topic is has gone live. I don’t like that. I don’t like my info in dribs and drabs. Don’t tease me. Give me all the information, so I can make my plans and intelligent, informed decisions. I’m a fan of intelligent, informed decisions.

Well, I can’t make my plans or decisions for the transfer because I don’t know enough. I have no idea if my server will be an origin server. Yes, the transfer process is already live and there are a few servers listed. Very few: only four US servers, as I write this.

So, why am I calling this “server mergers”? Because basically that’s what it is. Yes, we have the option to leave our original server – to go to only one designated location. No choice other than “Do I stay or do I go?” That’s actually a merger, in my opinion, since I don’t have the option to transfer wherever I might want to. Make up whatever fancy name you want to call it, though.

The worst thing about this “merger/transfer” is that I have to do all the work. I have to request a transfer for each my characters individually. So, instead of a nice, neat process whereby a server was merged with another, you have tons of activity as players desert origin servers for greener pastures. Each transfer can take up to three hours, which isn’t all that bad, until you multiply it by eight or however many you want to move.

And if you have a guild to move? OMG! We have to empty our guild banks and when we get to the new server we get to completely reform our guild. Lucky us, as we are back to doing guild invites for hundreds of members. We then get to contact customer service and ask for our guild bank tabs to be reinstated. With two large guilds of characters to move, this is going to entail tons of work for me and my fellow officers. Again, I can’t make many plans because I simply don’t know enough.

I get that Bioware is proceeding cautiously and that’s why there are only a few at the start. I applaud their caution in this. However, I wish Bioware would at least tell the origin servers who they are and what day they can expect their server transfers to be active. I know that sounds just like a real schedule, right? Well, some of us have lives and like to plan stuff. Yes, I realize this is a shocking and aberrant concept, but hey, I’m a gamer, so I’m allowed to be different. I like to know in advance what’s going to happen. I don’t like sitting around waiting to see if we are origin or destination. This whole not knowing until it happens method of Bioware’s drives me nuts. (Yeah, back to the lack of info thing.)

I also realize some players are not happy about probably losing their names – regular and legacy names. I can sympathize with that, although it’s not as big a consideration for me. Sure, I want my names, but I’d rather have more players to play with. So, I can make do on that.

Bottom line, it is so necessary that Bioware does something to consolidate the player base. Logging in to a Republic toon on Alderaan on my server and being the only player on the whole planet is discouraging. However, I question this method that Bioware has chosen. I’m afraid we are going to lose even more of our membership in our guild. Those who decide it just isn’t worth the hassle to have to move characters.

I think a real merger would have been a lot less painful for the paying customers.

But then that’s just my two credits. What’s yours?

Ready…Set…Discuss…

 

  10 Responses to “My Two Credits: Server Mergers Redux – Wait, What?”

  1. I totally agree with the above statements! I have a very large guild to move and we have 4 bank tabs FULL. This is going to cause 900 kinds of headaches. However, if we knew in advance that we were going to be a departure server on Master Zhar Lestin, we could start to make arrangements. They need to throw us a friggin bone.

  2. My server hasn’t yet been listed as being affected by transfers, but I really think that true mergers would have been the best way to go for the community’s stake, despite how that may sound bad on a headline.

    The solution we have undoes the convenience originally provided by pre-launch guild applications by having to reform manually. In my opinion, customer service shouldn’t be where the magic of manual guild bank restoration happens. It’s sometimes been a challenge just to convince them to correct a misclick master looter issue, and now they’ll be flooded with requests to look up each transferred guild’s (now deleted) bank? It’s asking for a poor experience.

    I’m just in a small guild, but for one or multiple guilds like CRR’s, I can only lend my sympathy for those who would need to coordinate everyone after a transfer back into something resembling what was already established. It needed to be done, but this is not an ideal way to do it.

  3. I agree…they should have just merged the servers and removed the choice as I think at the end of this process people who stayed behind are going to be forced to move. I feel for the guilds out there, they really are the only ones with a legitimate gripe in this transfer process. Lastly I think they really needed a “move my legacy” option here as well.

    That being said, overall I’m very happy with the tiered approach they are taking. As people choose to move or not, that changes the metrics around how many people are now on the destination server. BW might then be able to determine if they can add another origin server to point to that same destination server and thus get the population up without overloading it. Overall I think this is a VERY positive thing for the game, the hassles seem to be mitigated, and in the end there will be a tool for paid transfers so folks can go where they want when they want.

  4. “Each transfer can take up to three hours, which isn’t all that bad, until you multiply it by eight or however many you want to move.”

    It’s a three hour window. The transfer itself is very fast. And it’s done in a batch, all your characters at once, not sequentially. Thus the maximum downtime is 3 hours, not 3 times the number of characters being moved.

    Not merging servers means we’ve got a choice: stay on our dead server and keep our character and legacy names, or move to a populated server and risk losing those names. Some will choose to stay, primarily those who don’t care about group content (as odd as this notion seems). They can always move later (for a fee) if they choose.

    In terms of advance notice, they’ve made it clear that they’re playing this by ear: they don’t know how many people are going to take up the offer and move, and so they’re opening them up in groups, and seeing how things go. They’re doing it on the fly. Explicit mergers would have eliminated this, but at least we have the choice. It also avoids the obvious bad press associated with mergers. Look how hard Blizzard has avoided merging servers in WoW–in MoP, their latest trick is to allow zones to be shared between low-pop servers.

    Would server mergers have been better if bad publicity was avoided? Yeah, probably. But giving the haters such an obvious stick with which to beat the game while it’s already down isn’t such a smart idea.

  5. I don’t know how it went on the other destination servers but on mine (Jedi Covenant), it was so great. I started to notice new character names in the general chat around 11am EDT. At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on until the new players told us they just transferred from their origin server Keller’s Void. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so surprised that Bioware letted some players transferring to an already very populated server! Seeing more than a hundred players on each fleet at 11am EDT was pleasantly surprising. More and more new players kept flooding both factions and we reached 300+ players on each fleet during the evening.

    I asked many ex-Keller’s Void players about their transfer process and all of them told me that it only took from 30 seconds to 5 minutes at most for each character. Unfortunately, most of them had to change some of their character names and even their legacy name. Two recurring comments were that they couldn’t believe that the PvP queuing times were so short on JD and they told some of their friends who unsubscribed from SWTOR to come back to the game!

    At the end of the day, those transfers were great for both the origin server (Keller’s Void) and the destination server (Jedi Covenant). I’m looking forward to the next origin-destination server additions.

  6. Phil, you don’t need to worry about the legacy. After the transfers, you keep your highest legacy level and all your legacy bonuses are combined. 😀

  7. Sam, thanks for the info. That’s nice to know about the actual times and that you’re happy with the result. I’m sure once we get moved (if we are), things will be much better in the game.

    With server transfers currently stalled, I’m playing the waiting game now. 🙂 We have our guild to deal with though, so logistics is a big concern for us.

  8. I guess we got lucky, it took me only a few minutes to transfer 6 toons from Kaas City to Canderous Ordo.

    In three days our guild transfered some 50 toons (out of 125 total toons), got our guild bank restored via CRS.

  9. Hey there, with all respect, I dont see the problem you are talking about. As a co guildleader(a small one ) we just packed and wraped , and we moveed. I am a big fan of doing things maunally, so transfers like this was a bit like, logging the first time . i even had to make a new name, well modulated my old one a bit, and boom i looged on the new server 388 peeps on fleet.
    And again we are all diff. I love to dig and find info, and share it, I studied journalism, and we love finding information( beside of distributing it ) it’s kind of a sport.
    Thx for all the work you are doing , really keeps the community alive.
    Kassad

  10. Thanks for the comment, Kassad. 🙂 Oh how I envy you!

    Ours is a lot more complicated than that. While we have most of our people moved, we are still doing invites to our two guilds. (Yes, we have two.) I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel, though. 🙂

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