[SWTOR] Server transfers– A New Hope?

EUservers

It has been a busy couple of weeks for Star Wars: The Old Republic, what with the server transfers and announcements at E3 about new content heading our way before the years’ end. Plagued by aggressive love/hate reactions from the more vocal aspects of the playerbase since well before launch, it perhaps is not surprising that the recently announced server transfers have set the cat among the pigeons. One thing that Bioware have learned from Mythic’s experience with WAR is that once you have decided to go for mergers/ transfers, don’t do it half heartedly.

The first time my WAR characters got pegged for a server merge, I went with it. The second time was harder, and by the time we had a third server merge I was gone already. The SWTOR agenda has been to designate a fairly small number of destination servers and offload lots of origin servers to each one. I do understand that being asked to switch servers, possibly with associated namechange if your character’s name is taken, is a disruptive experience. But it’s so much better than waiting for  long slow server death (which has been a current factor for many WoW servers for awhile, although Blizzard hide it with cross server LFG and BGs) that I’m thrilled that Bioware are taking it seriously. It has been an unqualified lift for my gaming, and I’ll come back to that later.

The screenshot here shows the EU servers as of 5pm today, so not yet peak evening time. It’s clear which the destination servers are here: they are the ones at the top which do not have light loads.

So how is transfer treating people?

I feel for players like Shintar who are wrestling with the decision about whether or not to go, and Kae for whom the disruption of a namechange killed his connection with the game.

My experience has been different.

SWTOR is coming up now on the 6 month mark and sad as I am to see them leave, I’m not really surprised that many of my guildies are drifting away and have been clear that they don’t plan to renew. You could assign this to SWTOR endgame or simply to the fact that most players don’t stick with a new MMO for more than 6 months. It’s very difficult to get estimates on average subscription length for MMOs – my guess is that there’s a huge swathe of players who don’t stay past the first month, then another who drop out at 3 months, probably increasing until the game hits a plateau of sorts. I imagine that older games tend to have a higher average sub length because the proportion of dedicated/core players is higher. (EVE probably has a relatively high average since they have so many players with multiple accounts as well as a generally longterm approach.)

So while I’m still enjoying the game, it has been with a patina of sadness for the last month or so, because I knew my guild was fading and I didn’t really have any plans for what to do next. I played my alts, I read the news, I hung out on my own. And so forth.

Now transfers have changed things quite a lot. I had characters on two different servers (one RP server and one PvE) and one of them was designated an origin server and the other a destination. I decided to transfer my RP characters to The Progenitor (the destination EU ENG RP server) and hung out on the fleet with my consular, with whom I’d finished Act 1. Fleet chat was buzzing, full of excited players who had either just transferred or were enjoying the new crowds. Within an evening I had found a friendly guild and joined a random instance group to run Taral-V and Maelstrom Prison. My new guild seem like a nice bunch, I was interested because they said ‘mature players’ which is usually a code for ‘we know you have a RL and aren’t too hardcore’ and they regularly have 15-20 people on in the evenings and run normal and hard mode Ops. I’m looking forwards to getting to know them better, and will see if more of my old guildies or friends are interested in a RP reroll as I’m sure they’d be welcome also.

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The fun thing about Consulars (aside from mine being the whitest white person ever created in a character creator ) is that however weird some of their gear can look, they still have much much better hats than Sith Inquisitors. Sadly I don’t have any great pictures yet of SI hats to link – that can be a project for next week. Also, although the storyline is widely held to be one of the weaker ones and certainly starts slow, I’m actually really enjoying it as of Act 2/ beginning of Act 3. It emphasises a) the diplomacy side of the jedi role and b) omg the Republic was actually falling apart as of the beginning of Act 3. How exactly did the empire manage to lose Corellia? (I am now motivated to finish the storyline and find out.)

The consular also develops a rather dry sense of humour, and I rather like her companions.

As for my old server, I’m sad to leave my characters and legacies behind. But it’s now a busy destination server too, with lots of new options should I decide to find another guild there. I suspect RP servers always tend to be my spiritual home, but am not ruling out checking out the scene in Nightmare Lands when I have time. After all, you never know.

So I feel reinvigorated in the game, and am planning to sub for another 6 months. I always meant to try to follow Tipa’s suggestion of spending a whole year in one new game to show some stickability and see how the game and community develop. This is the game I’m going to keep playing, and I’ll try to write at least one post per week to give some honest views on how things are going. I suspect strongly that I will also at some point roll another Sith Warrior because I just enjoyed the setting and storyline so much.

If anyone else is wondering about the transfers, I’d suggest just going for it. The upsides are so much better than the downsides.