When I saw Star Wars: The Old Republic’s whole promotion for Knights of the Old Republic, I was momentarily tempted to log back in and make sure I got a promotional item. Hey, promotional speeders are cool, and I can use it for… wait, they merged servers right into not having an RP server, right? Never mind, I’m not going back anyway, what do I care? Just like that, the server merge killed any and all desire I might have had to go back to the game.
Our own MJ has written recently about how the horrid handling for Aion’s server merges basically killed that game for her. I know there are people who are unwilling to go back to ArcheAge due to merges requiring new land rushes that just aren’t worth the effort. And hey, I can understand deciding that you don’t want to go back just because a merge made you lose your long-time character name. So what about you, dear readers? Have MMO server merges ever driven you away from a game for good?
Good news, European Blade & Soul fans! Your server maintenance today is going to take twice as long as the North American server maintenance! You might say that this sounds like bad news, but it actually is good news. European servers have been consistently stuck with longer maintenance times and more issues, and the developers are taking advantage of this longer cycle to do some server migration.
This maintenance will see the EU servers moved to the AWS cloud virtual servers, along with other unspecified behind-the-scenes changes that will hopefully result in shorter maintenance periods for EU players and more reliability in the future. Obviously, the proof will be in how things shake out from the future, but the intent is still there. And hopefully this will be the last time (for a while) that European B&S players have to just wait for a longer maintenance cycle.
Earlier this week, Star Wars: The Old Republic moved all of its game servers to the same location on the east coast
. This made a lot of people angry and a whole lot more people just outright confused, since it happened with no prior notice or explanation. The up side is that the community team has taken to the forums to explain this sudden move
; the down side is that the explanations may or may not actually explain anything.
For example, the reason that no one was told ahead of time? The developers wanted you to log in immediately and see how your gameplay was impacted. If you’re unclear as to how that would have been tainted by knowing this was happening ahead of time, join the club. (Yes, blind trials, but customers aren’t test subjects and it arguably wouldn’t affect your overall course of action.)
Players who are experiencing particularly bad ping rates are encouraged to still send in reports about it, although how this will be addressed remains to be seen. You can read through the full answers on the official site.
If the PvP of Dark and Light feels too regimented and orderly for you, you’ll be happy to take part in the game’s upcoming Chaos servers to mix things up more thoroughly. Chaos servers will allow you to gain experience faster, fight stronger monsters, declare war faster, and more easily demolish structures. Players who do well can also look forward to permanent reward options, and the developers will generally use the server type as a litmus test for PvP balance.
Meanwhile, the game is also altering decay rates for structures on PvP servers across the board; PvP structures will generally stand longer, while PvE ones will keep the existing decay rates to ensure that the land isn’t covered in abandoned buildings. Check out the exact timer changes on the official site, along with more details on the Chaos servers.
Ahead of the game’s large-scale server merge, the Star Wars: The Old Republic
servers have had their physical locations merged into one
. It turns out all of the game’s servers were moved to a location on the east coast after the game’s most recent maintenance, albeit without any prior notification to players. This has some players (particularly those on the west coast) a bit miffed, seeing as how this will immediately affect ping, latency, and how far you have to drive to manually wipe characters off of your server in a fit of rage.
The good news is that the developers are aware that this change will affect performance and are hoping to be able to smooth things out over the next two weeks. That’s when the server consolidation is taking place, so that’s all the more reason to hope that all of the kinks are worked out by then. Hopefully your ping rate hasn’t significantly worsened with the move!
Starting on Tuesday, October 24th, ArcheAge
is getting into the spirit of Halloween. As we all know, the real meaning of Halloween is dressing up in costumes and enjoying bits of ghoulish glee, and you can rest assured that exactly that will arrive with the game’s many seasonal events
. Honor the souls of the dead for festival tokens, or go about smashing pumpkins and picking up costumes and event crates. There’s also a special trade pack delivery route starting on October 18th, and it won’t bring you through festival areas, so you’ll be in greater danger the whole time.
You know what’s really scary as an ArcheAge player, though? Discussing servers. No, it’s not another merge, thankfully, it’s just opening up transfers to and from the game’s Evolution servers. Fresh Start servers remain sectioned off for the moment, but it wouldn’t be a proper Halloween season without a shiver of terror running down your spine. Even if it’s less terror at the thought of monsters and more at the thought of another land rush.
The economy for ArcheAge
servers is getting a little more unified. During the game’s next weekly maintenance window, the auction houses for the game’s fresh start and legacy servers will be getting merged into one overall server
. Legacy auctions are going to remain unaffected, but fresh start server auctions will be expired automatically, meaning that players on the fresh servers will have to adjust to the existing standards across the larger server community.
If no bids have been placed on an item on a fresh start auction house, the full posting price and the item will be returned to the player; otherwise, the highest bidder will receive the item. It’s another step toward bringing the fresh start servers in line with the rest of the game, although whether or not that’s a good thing probably depends on whether or not you have something up for auction that’s about to become more valuable or less so in the near future.
Aside from all of the other name issues surrounding Star Wars: The Old Republic’s
upcoming server merges, there was the reality that one of those servers was going to be named “The Hot Prospect.” Did it have a lore basis? Yes. Was it still the sort of name that people were either going to love or hate? Yes, but it tickled the developers, and there’s a segment of players who would love to have a server named “The Hot Prospect.” But it’s not to be
Why did it change? Not because the name was silly; that’s why it was kept this long. No, it was because concerns were raised about how it could be taken as a derogatory term toward players, which was reason enough to change the server’s name to “Satele Shan.” That does open up jokes about how Satele Shan is the hot prospect, but we can assume that was considered an acceptable change.
Good news for Black Desert
players in North America, you got some free compensation
! The bad news is that it’s to make up for emergency maintenance on the game; the good news again is that you probably were not playing at the time? It’s a multi-faceted situation, that’s what we’re getting at here.
While the official sources seem oddly reluctant to state the nature of the compensation, a player has posted a screenshot of the package, which buffs gains to combat experience, skill experience, life experience, and item gain, along with a boost to recovery across the board. It should last for an hour, so that’s something. Players on the forums are complaining that this is a result of the game’s reduced maintenance schedule and that regular maintenance would avoid this issue instead of requiring unexpected maintenance and compensation.
The bright side of the news that Ghost in the Shell Online will be shutting down service in Japan is that this is not, technically, the game shutting down in its country of origin. But it’s still something of a blow, considering that the IP it’s based on is extremely Japanese and it was expected to be rather successful in the country. Not so, it appears; no reason is cited for the servers shutting down, but the most likely explanation is lack of players.
The game will close on November 29th after just about a year of operation in the country. No statements have been made about the future of the title on Western shores, to you can feel free to extrapolate your own hopes or fears based upon the announcement.
Oh, user interfaces, you delightful vixens. You take up a good chunk of our screens as we play, and while we may not notice you when you’re designed well, we sure as heck notice when you aren’t. It also takes a lot of work to change UIs once they’re in place, which is why the most recent Citadel: Forged with Fire update focuses mostly on updating the UI to make it easier for players to see what’s happening and get information. It also improves the game’s server browser to include more sorting options and filters so you can find just the right sort of server for you to play on.
Luckily, this update does contain other improvements; several new structures have been added to the to the game, like rugs, paintings, and bookshelves. Structure HP has also been fixed on certain pieces like doors, and throne decay time has been upped from 10 days to 16 days. Check out all of the updates and shifts in the patch notes; it might not be the sort of patch adding a groundswell of new content, but it’s still substantial.
Nobody likes having to sit through a queue to log in to a game. Absolutely no one. Part of the reason Final Fantasy XIV
instituted a 30-minute kick timer with the launch of Stormblood
. Some players have been bypassing this by logging in, starting a craft or opening a dialogue window, and then walking away; it prevents the AFK timer from logging your character off while also ensuring that you bypass the queues. And it also means that the servers are clogged with people who are not actually playing, thereby slowing up the queues to a crawl or immobility for other players.
So the game is putting in another measure for the moment. Once per day, with an hour of warning, all characters will be logged off of a server. Ten minutes later, everyone can log back in. An exact time has not been announced, but the intent is clearly to catch people who are off at work and sitting AFK (and thus will be logged off and not back in) to keep the queues moving for people who are playing. It’s a band-aid solution, but it’s explicitly meant as a way to keep the queues moving for players trying to get in and play during peak hours.
It doesn’t matter how many servers you have for your MMO, some of them are just going to be more popular than others. That’s inevitable. It happened in World of Warcraft, it happens in Final Fantasy XIV, it happened in City of Heroes. The only games it doesn’t happen are ones that use a megaserver setup, and that has its own issues which are a separate discussion topic altogether.
So let’s just accept that you’ve got an overpopulated server. The question then becomes what you’re going to do about it. Do you offer incentives to transfer people off? Do you add hardware to that specific server to support more people? Do you change login procedures? Do you split the server? There are no good answers, and no matter what you do, something is going to cause problems. So what do you think, readers? How should studios handle overpopulated servers in MMOs?
Please note that if your answer is “not let it happen in the first place,” you’re arguing that the best way to fix a car is to not have it break.