Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Offer We Couldn't Refuse: SWTOR's Soft Mergers Strike the Sanctum of the Exalted

I'd hoped against hope when BioWare announced impending character transfers that Sanctum of the Exalted, the server where my characters had resided, would be a destination server, and I would be relatively unaffected by it. 'Twas not to be however, as BW announced that SotE was open for transfers to Ebon Hawk, another RP server using the Eastern Time Zone. I found out about it as the discussion of what my double guild should do spilled out onto Twitter. The guild leadership saw the writing on the wall and made the decision to move the Republic Mercy Corps and the Imperial Mercenary Corps to the destination server.

As did many others, I recognized the mechanics of the transfers—certain servers designated as destinations and others as sources—as a soft merger effort by BioWare, especially since there was basically only one server to move my characters to, no selection of destinations to choose from. So players had two choices: stay on the source server and watch them become ghost towns or make the jump to the other, higher population server. Make no mistake, this is a set of mergers in all but name.

To their credit, BioWare made the transfer process extremely simple and quick. Most reporting on Twitter and in my own experience is that transfers are almost instantaneous, rather than the hour or so BioWare is warning it could take.

The process is simple, but not painless. If a character name is already taken on the new server, the newcomer has to come up with a new name. I was lucky, I suppose. Only two of my eight characters required a new name, and my Legacy name was also still available. My lovely bride had to rename all four of her characters, as did many other guildmates. Some lost their Legacy names, to boot. [EDIT] Harbinger Zero has even sharper words for BioWare than I. MMOGC has weighed in, as well.

I guess that's what we get for choosing the wrong server. Oh wait. BioWare chose our server for us—at least, if we wanted to play with the people in our guild. Thanks, guys.

The beauty of Cryptic's @handles becomes more than clear at this point. In STO, you can name your character whatever inoffensive thing you want, because your handle is unique. The legacy could have been this, but wasn't. Realistic expectations of how the game would perform after the initial enthusiasm died down might have led to wiser naming policies and mechanics.
I do think the mergers are good. Almost everyone on Ebon Hawk was enthusiastic tonight about the crowds on the Fleet Stations and the various planets, General chat was lively. There was one complaint from a person whose RPing was interrupted by all the out-of-character general chatting, but they could disable general chat if they choose, or hide it in another tab.

Kudos to the members and leaders of the RMC/IMC guild, the transition has been flawless, with people stepping up to help out and get the guilds organized on our new home server. My condolences to everyone whose characters had to go into witness protection. But welcome, the best is yet to come! :)

10 comments:

  1. Oof, that sounds like quite an adventure. Glad you made it safely. Renaming your character and legacy must really suck, though. I guess you're relatively lucky.

    It's really weird, but I'm almost sad that my server didn't get transferred. It's not extremely bad, but it could do with a bit more cosyness. I guess things will get better once I've found an active guild. ^^

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    1. As far as I know, the decision to transfer the entire guild met with approval from all active members. The queues slowed some people down, and it's kinda hard to recognize people with altered names. But it *was* a positive experience overall.

      I do feel bad for people that had most of their names or their legacy wipes out. I've long tried to develop fairly unique names to avoid that sort of thing happening. This is most evident with my WoW characters. Of the two names I had to change, one is OK, and the other I wish I'd thought about longer before comitting to the new name.

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  2. My other guild seems to be taking a "bury our heads in the sand" approach and I imagine we'll run into a lot of problems because of it. For example, if transfers do become available for us today, I won't know if I should go ahead and do it (to try and make sure I get my names) or if I'm supposed to wait for them. You guys took a stand right away and although it was a little painful, at least you helped each other to get through it. I really will get better from here! I'll see you on there on Ebon Hawk soon!

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    1. One thing that people are doing is creating placeholder characters. Then all you'd need to do is delete the placeholder just before you request the transfer.

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  3. Wasn't trying to be unknown....lol

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  4. I had to rename 5 of my 8, but I did get to keep my legacy.

    I'm hoping the queue times to get in will die down in the somewhat near future, and I expect that they will as everyone was rushing to get their transfers done and try to solidify their names last night. We saw just under 600 people on the Imperial fleet last night and just under 700 people on the Republic fleet. While there certainly could be that many people actually playing, I'm sure a decent amount of it was just people moving over and chatting with others about the whole situation.

    Having to rename characters doesn't bother me very much unless I'm really invested in a character, but that's only happened with two characters in SWTOR and they've kept their names. However, actually coming up with a name for some of them took me forever. A level 14 Agent last night took me almost an hour, and if I end up regretting any of my new names, that will be the one.

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    1. Yes, I am guessing the queues were more about transfer traffic than actual gameplaying, but we'll see. As I said on twitter, it would be nice if we got a chance for a do-over on the names.

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  5. Wow, crazy, I had started writing my blog post last night and posted it this morning without seeing yours until just now. It seems we covered the same stuff and have almost the exact sentiments. My biggest shock of last night, of course, is when I got wind of Ryan's decision to depart. But losing all his names really hit him hard.

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    1. Yeah I didn't hear about it until he tweeted and left his comment on your post. I'm in a bit of shock, but he has valid points. As I said previously, Cryptic's (and I guess CCP's) method of mega-shards seems a better way to go. It's not like there aren't multiple instances of planets, etc., on each server already.

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