Server merges can be great for SWTOR

Given all the SWTOR server merging news out there, I thought I’d weigh in with my thoughts.  In my opinion, server merges are a positive action taken to correct a negative situation that only gets worse when left untreated.  No one likes to play on a server with a dead population; If you do, you’re weird.  People are needed to make a game like SWTOR fun.  Some of those SWTOR servers had almost no one playing during prime time.  In my opinion, they should all be merged down into a handful of servers bursting at the seams with players and the move should be mandatory.

These aren’t the days of EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, or Star Wars Galaxies communities.  Merging all of these communities together doesn’t change anything.  None of the servers developed differently, and the communities haven’t shaped anything in a game that focuses on the individual.  You have a highly instanced world with almost no interaction among players outside of their own cliques (guilds/raid groups).   There is little to lose when merging themeparks like this and everything to gain.  More people = More fun.

I think optional server merges, where people can leave and disperse willingly on their own to different locations, are far more detrimental than simply taking everyone from one server and putting them together with everyone from 10 other servers.  Giving players a choice in this matter only causes confusion, evident in some of the news site articles out there.

Server merges breathe life into a game.  General chat in SWTOR is likely bustling with a lot of optimism from players who are getting to feel like they’re meeting new people — or any people at all for some of them — in an atmosphere resembling that of the launch window.

  • No. I am sure that it will benefit those that are still playing that game. Good news for them! 🙂

  • I think the main reason companies delay server merges a lot more than they should is because they are perceived as a sort of “sign of failure”.

    I think they should be considered as a normal part of a game’s life which happens like 6 months after release to balance the server loads. This would require people, both players and developers, to realize that WoW was an anomaly, though…

  • Nice for those still playing, but for me and many friends and co-workers its all too little too late.

  • Went from 30 on fleet to 800 after my transfer. Yea you read that right, 800! 3 instances of fleet packed with people. I got to run hard modes for the first time in months. For once I don’t have to play warzones with the same 20 people. I’m very happy with the merge even after losing my name on my main. Too bad that little interview with a dev mentioning F2P today had to drag all the trolls back out. Terrible timing for that quote to come out. In game though people seem very positive and excited.

  • I think their foot dragging with merges has to do more with technical issues and the fact that they just didn’t the their tech anywhere near able to handle transfers rather than PR. It just highlights one more thing they were unprepared for as this game released so they have to cobble something together as the clock continues to tick. Just like the lack of custom UI at release…really no custom UI at release? Falling back on the Star Wars IP will only last so long.

  • I disagree with you on the lack of difference between server communities. I routinely play on several servers in MMOs and the local server-culture varies quite noticeably. In Rift, for example, where I played regularly on two PVE-RP servers, which you would expect to be indistinguishable, one was very noticeably intolerant of supposed RP infractions and had a distinctly elitist feel while the other was more free-wheeling and easy-going.

    I am very much against MMO monocultures for this reason. The growing trend towards megaservers is not one I welcome.

  • @bhagpuss: You’re talking about Rift, a game that offers little if any tools for roleplayers to create an environment conducive to their role-playing. Contrast that to Star Wars Galaxies or EQ2 (a game you’re very familiar with). When I RP’d extensively in EQ2 we had player-made taverns out of the large homes that were safe-havens, handcrafted and made to accommodate that form of play. No one could intrude on our activities. But what was so great about those communities is that everyone participated. Several years ago on Antonia Bayle the entire server felt like an atmosphere of players role-playing. I never met anyone who wanted to disrupt that.

    That type of atmosphere doesn’t exist in Rift or SWTOR. Let’s be honest, the RP community of Rift or SWTOR is going to be insular because they have to be to survive. Server merges won’t change that. Merge or not, they’ll associate with others like themselves and none of their actions prior, current, or later will change the world around them because the game wasn’t designed to accept those forms of input — socially or mechanically.

    Keep in mind you’re also talking about role-playing, a very, very niche demographic in SWTOR and Rift compared to older games. For everyone else, my point stands that the communities are in no way negatively impacted because they are almost identical in every way.

    In the end, what’s more important? A few hundred people at most being left alone in their own corner of a server to attempt role-playing in a game that doesn’t support them, or a thriving population of players grouping, growing an economy, and creating a future for the game?

  • WoW is not an special in it’s growth, only HOW MUCH growth it had. Many games, besides WoW, increased subs for at least a year, or multiple years, before contracting. Some even longer than WoW.

    What I believe has happened is we went from MMOs that were designed to be ‘cool games’ by gamer-developers to MMOs designed by MBAs and Marketers and built by programmers (who were pretty much out of the loop) to copy WoW and get some of it’s $4.5+ billion a year revenue.

    When I look at SWTOR, what I see is the ultimate marketing-department driven product. This game ignores fundamental rules of game design. Look at the end-game, it’s crappy gear-grind/gear-check raiding that is completely disconnected from the main game which is solo-player drive stories.

    Further, the structure of the game actually inhibits player interaction. I’m not talking just about the virtually non-existent world PvP. Guilds were meaningless. There are virtually no group objectives for guilds or friends. The ability to talk to strangers (no chat bubbles) was destroyed because you can’t carry on conversations in world chat very well.

    It’s like they never read anything by Bartle, or Yee or any of the other academics who’ve spent years trying to understand and describe gaming and MMO gaming.

    As an accountant, if I ignored the literature on something as complex as this… I’d be sued for everything I had or ever dreamed of having…

    This game was an enormous foul-up. These mergers won’t stop the bleeding, but they’ll slow it down for a few weeks.

    The up-coming content patches will not hold players. They have no significant solo-player content (the core of the game to re-attract people who left) coming down the pipe. And they’ve laid off 40% of their staff despite saying they weren’t.

  • I have to agree with Moses sermon. If you look at WoW they are really trying to put more multiplayer back in the game if not necessarily more massively. Cross server zones, pet battles, mini dungeons without roles, new content modes, world bosses.

    All designed to get people grouping and interacting.

    Meanwhile the geniuses at Bioware took the idea of being solo friendly and turned it into solo orientated with a side order of multiplayer areas and content.

  • I disagree with this. My server was the third largest rp server and we had plenty of people playing during prime time. Yet my server will now be moved and we probably just barely made the list for servers being moved. Earlier I actually left my guild because it had gotten too big for an rp guild, that was how many people we had playing.

    I spent months before launch coming up with character names and made my characters within the first few hours on the first pre-launch day. My guild on purpose choose this server because we disliked the community on the main rp server and we disliked the heavy preference towards Empire side guilds on the second biggest rp server. Now my hard to get character names will probably all be taken except for one. I don’t want to have to rename 7 characters that I spent months on naming. Also once the game goes ftp it is going to have a population boom so this is pointless. If they were going to do this they should have at least waited until after going ftp. Or at first they should have merged only the few smallest servers and then waited to see how many new players that they got before merging so many servers.

    Really they should allow people the choice to transfer, not force people to transfer. I like a medium population size personally which was what I had. A lot of people hate huge population sizes. Some people want a small server. It is rude and inconsiderate to force people into something they don’t want. Let people have a free transfer so they can leave a dead server if they want to but it is a load of crap to force people into something that they don’t want. People are going to leave the game because of this and many other actions of BioWare recently. They keep showing over and over that they don’t care about their game community. I truly think this might be the last straw for me and for many other people I know. SWtOR is hemorrhaging players because of things like this.

    People like being given a choice, they don’t like being forced into something, especially something they don’t like. You though obviously dislike choice. You think we shouldn’t even be given the choice of which server were moved to. I’m glad I at least get some choice. Though this is feeling like deciding who to vote for. Do you want to choose the guy you dislike or the guy that you really dislike, but those are your only real choices except to try to fit against the system by advocating for someone else – which will fail – or choosing not to care and not vote or choosing to leave the country.

    Thank you who ever decided to merge the servers for deciding to screw over the people who Beta tested for you and bought the special edition and defended your honor at first against nay-sayers. I love being forced to give up my characters names which are an essential part of their identities. I love being forced into a server that will be so crowded that it takes hours to get anything done. I love for people to decide what will best for me when they could have instead given me a choice.

  • I was wrong. It seems my server is not being forcibly merged into another server. But this whole thing makes me nervous of this someday happening to my server. And I still don’t like it for the same reasons. I’m just happy that I’m not the one being forcibly moved.

    My confusion happened because I only just was able to play again. I had health issues – a blood clot – and I needed to move from my apartment, so I have been too busy to play the last three months.

    I probably won’t choose to quit this game then. But I still need to think about this whole thing.