The Daily Grind: Have server merges ever driven you away from an MMO for good?

    
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NEVER MIND

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?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Bryan Gregory

It’s pretty much always going to be better to do merges that to NOT do them. You’re going to affect way more people by not doing them. Most people aren’t interested in playing dead games, or games that appear dead. I mean half the point of playing an MMO is to meet and interact with other people – if a lack of server merges is keeping that from happening, why would people want to play?

Those weird creepy people who want to play alone or only want to play with their tiny group of friends and are actually on the forums opposing server merges really freak me out.

There is however always a huge issue with merges on certain games. Take Ultima Online for example… How would they ever do merges on UO without extremely affecting everyone in some way? The only way I can see it is if they merged servers but give everyone a copied version of their house (exact design and all items inside, etc), and let them place it in the new world. However I think UO is a game that could benefit from not even having traditional servers (although once again, they can’t get rid of them because of the housing system) and just convert them to “channels” instead. You can switch to another server/channel whenever you want. Any MMO with open world housing is going to suffer from this issue. It’s likely to cause open world housing to either not exist anymore or be very, very rare.

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Paul

Nope – I don’t play a game because it’s really popular – if anything that’s likely to put me off as games aiming for high populations tend not to be interesting to me by design. As long as there’s people around to play with I’m good, and merges tend to make that better if the population’s been declining a bit.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Yes. Yes they have.

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Serrenity

ArcheAge, only because I lost my housing plot, and I wasn’t going to spend another six hours trying to beat script-kiddies to get another. I said “f*ck it, I’ve better things to do than to spend my time than being frustrated at not being able to engage in a huge part of the game because of hackers.”

I haven’t really played since.

aleccia_rosewater
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aleccia_rosewater

Remind me again what was the point of keeping servers seperate to begin with?

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Crowe

Because a lot of players played the game. A long, long time ago…

Nick
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Nick

No – but merges may be indicative of underlying problems. If I really love a game a merge won’t change that. And If I really love a game, I’d be paying attention to the news provided on the upcoming merge and how it will work, rather than ignore the news and complain later.

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Denice J. Cook

Yup! Rift can go kiss my butt! Their merger system sucks if you want to keep your character’s name. They announce the shuttering of servers, let you pick where you want to go, but then force you to rename your character if your name is already taken on the destination server….even if that character you’re up against is only a level 1 and you have a capped level 60 or whatever.

There’s no name priority system in place. That did it for me! Bye bye, Trion!

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Zen Dadaist

No, but I suspect that’s because of the games I’ve played in which server merges were a thing, they were handled well. I never personally lost anything.

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Pandalulz

Not really, most of them I’m not actively playing when they happen, and then when somebody like WoW did it, it appended server names to player names and moved on, leaving me unaffected. I’m not into RP or any of those specific types of servers, so no affect there, and most of the time, my character names are so weird nobody has taken them anyway.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

Doing them has not. But NOT doing them sure as hell has.

I also have a hard time taking any game seriously that launches in 2017 with any form of separate shards, instead of going with a single shard universe from the start. If you’re too dumb to learn from the lessons of the past on something that basic, I don’t have a lot of confidence in your ability to get anything else right that matters.

You also get demerits for not copying the only naming system in the world that makes any sense, like the one that STO uses, where only your account handle needs to be globally unique, and your characters only have to be uniquely named vs. each other, not anyone else.

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Alex Malone

For me, my attitude to servers is the opposite of you: I will avoid games that use mega-server / single shard technology.

But, that is because I value the massively-multiplayer aspect of the genre. I want to be interacting with 1000s of people, making connections, making friends and forming a community. It is these social connections that make the genre special, hell, massively-multiplayer is the only unique selling point!

In a single shard / mega-server environment, yes there are always lots of people but it’s rarely the same people. If you only meet someone once, you cannot form a social bond and therefore you cannot create a proper community. PvP becomes less interesting because you’re always against randoms. Grouping becomes problematic because people stop caring about their reputation. You can never create a name for yourself.

Mega-server tech also relies extremely heavily on instancing so none of the game world is actually persistent. This is a really limiting feature and I’d rather my developers were more ambitious.

So, whilst server mergers (and low pop servers) are a problem, I’d rather deal with that than play soulless games on a mega-server.