Yesterday started out to be a good day for SWTOR news. We found out about the free trial program, friend recruitment speeder reward, and free week for former players. On a more, well, not-so-positive note, we also found out about the next step in BioWare’s grand server transfer plan– the eventual closing of the designated origin servers.
Here’s an excerpt from the full announcement:
Later this summer, we’re taking steps to further strengthen destination server population. Ultimately, we are working to transition all players to designated destination servers in the Free Character Transfer Service.
To continue to enhance the overall gameplay experience for current and new players, we have eliminated the option to create new characters on selected origin servers. Visit www.swtor.com/transfer to see a list of all the selected origin servers that will be affected.
Later this summer, any remaining characters on selected origin servers will be automatically moved to designated destination servers. We will provide additional details regarding the automatic character transfer process at that time.
None of this really comes as a huge surprise to most players, especially those of us who have been around for other MMO launches. Merges were the goal that seemed to make the most sense in solving SWTOR’s server population issues, but it was… an interesting decision on BioWare’s part to choose to not be upfront about this from the beginning.
Community reactions about this news are quite varied, understandably, mostly due to the lack of open communication. Here are some players’ thoughts:
“Interesting. Looks like server merges after all, though it was pretty obvious from the get go.
Kinda time consuming to:
Give people the choice to transfer.
Give them a reward for transferring.
Stop people from going to anything but the destination servers.
Auto-move anyone left on the dead servers to the populated ones.
Instead of just, I don’t know, call it a server merger and just merge them from the get go.”
Most players assume that this decision was made to counter some of the negative press reviews that float around the MMO sphere, and that assumption may very well be possible. News flash– the negative opinions of the paying playerbase sometimes matter more than negative press reviews.
“I don’t see how anyone is really surprised by this announcement once we saw how the free transfers were going to work.
I think this trickling effect is detrimental however to player morale. BW is drawing out the consolidation process and each time we get a new announcement about it, we get a new wave of people upset. If they had made the process quick, clear, and upfront about their timeline from the very beginning, I think they would at least be able to combat the negative feedback better.”
I agree completely. SWTOR’s playerbase, at this point in the game, deserves an open line of communication, and if decisions need to be made– so be it– but they should at least be made known to us in the clearest way possible. Many players left characters behind on their origin servers for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is simply because they had no idea what BioWare’s next move was. Now those players will have to scramble to find a solution, when they could have made one weeks ago.
And the other issue? For players who already had characters on their designated destination server as well as origin server, transfers aren’t an option due to lack of free character slots. What happens then? BioWare hasn’t provided an answer for that one yet.