I’ve been covering the MMORPG genre professionally for well over 10 years now, and a whole lot has changed in that timespan, including the way people react to server merges.
A decade ago, just uttering the word “merge” was enough to send a playerbase into a swirl of panic. Articles covering merges always got plenty of people gnashing their teeth about the supposed death of a game. It got so bad for a while that studios started trying inventing new terms so they wouldn’t have to actually use “merge.” Heck, some studios are still doing that to this day.
And yet I’m not sure they need to anymore because it seems to me that people no longer look at merges as doom. When even games like World of Warcraft have had de facto merges and kept right on living, it starts to seem a lot less scary. Plus, I suspect players have seen enough games that have actually benefited from their merges – I’m thinking most especially of Lord of the Rings Online – that we would almost rather see a merge than a malingering.
Do server merges make you worried about an MMO’s health?