I’m going to post about server transfers, again

If nothing else, Trion wins the “talk about us” battle.

I still don’t see how this is, in any way, something to be proud of or celebrated. Its server transfers for a themepark people. Tell me if this sounds familiar: massive hype, release, “ooh we never expected this many people”, add more servers, one month later the tourists leave, two months later people slowly drift away by X factor (X = how good/bad your themepark is), you have low pop servers. Gee that’s NEVER HAPPENED since 2004, has it?

I wonder if, pre-release, you maybe possibly should consider given the inevitable people stuck on a low pop server a way to escape the suck? You think?! Now if you are run by someone who hates gamers, you charge people for the ‘privilege’ to escape the suck, and then charge them again for a half-way solution. Bonus points if you time the release with a competitor eating into your consumer base and making you look foolish. Double bonus if you also just announced that your game is slowly (finally) dying and hey, you might as well over-milk the remaining suckers in a pretty damn blatant money-grab (which is amazingly even more blatant than selling a sparkle pony, so hey, at least you topped that?).

“But SynCaine, the announcement is a lie; it’s not from all servers to all servers!”

No shit. Why would anyone with half a brain allow MMO customers (aka, dummies) the ability to continue piling into a full server, create longer queues, and then have those same dummies pile into the forums QQing about server queues and how it’s a slap in the face that, as paying customers, they can’t play? Holy crap Trion won’t let you screw yourself, grab a pitchfork! And sure, maybe they will be evil and massively limit the transfer options and then quickly announce that the service now costs $25 or a monthly premium fee, but I doubt Trion hates gamers. We’ll see.

And Ravious has the right idea, but beating McDonalds in customer service is like (insert insensitive Special Olympics joke here). I’ll praise you when you start releasing yearly expansions, for free, that not only push the limits of technology but also constantly push the genre forward. My praise will be “congrats, you’re on CCP’s level”. Now do it for 7+ years and then get back to me.

Going all “Jesus MMO again!” because of this is not just foolish, but makes MMO gamers look like poor beggars with less than zero expectations, willing to take table scraps and treat them like gold. Set the bar a little higher here people, have some self-respect.

At the end of the day, Trion is just doing the inevitable; applying a bandage to the core problem of having smallish servers separating people in what should be a massive, multiplayer game. It’s not like, oh I don’t know, the problem could be mitigated by a staggered release (DF), or a better server system (GW), or just, you know, changing your design enough to make this all a non-issue overall.

Naw, those would be unreasonable expectations.

All hail our benevolent overlords for gifting us with a way off the totally unexpected underpopulated servers just 3+ months after release! For free!*

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in MMO design, Patch Notes, Rant, Rift, RMT, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to I’m going to post about server transfers, again

  1. I’m not sure I said, or implied, that it was something to be celebrated.

    The point was rather than coming out with an “OMG we have too many servers” press release like some post 2004 MMOs, they pumped it up as “free server transfers!”

    Not shooting themselves in the foot and getting fail taint associated with their brand is hardly a spectacular achievement, but it does put them at the head of the class relative to much of their post 2004 competitors.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea the links are more just to show people talking about the subject than anything specific. The fan criticism is mostly aimed at MMORPG.com and Massively threads/forums, which are pretty sad.

      • Agreed, there was a lot of “Trion walks on water” sentiment out there when it should have been closer to “Trion successfully ties shoes, doesn’t trip over laces.” Good job and all, but it seems like we ought not to expect less.

  2. Stabs says:

    Not terribly excited by all this.

    I’ve rolled on a fairly busy Rift server, can’t see any point transferring to a half-empty one.

    As for WoW I really think they’ve lost the plot. This will turn into a way to pay to skip the dps LFD queue. I know if I were still playing I’d certainly pay for this and friend as many decent tanks and healers as possible. The corollary to a lot of people doing this is virtually never seeing a competent tank or healer in a random non-premium LFD pug again. They’ll sell a lot of premiums but at the expense of subs. I can’t imagine that viewed purely in terms of WoW’s bottom line that’s good business. Are they trying to free up people for Titan and Diablo 3 by driving them out of WoW?

  3. Barrista says:

    I rolled on a medium server to avoid the issues with high-pop servers (I was actually online for the even last month) and months later we still have about the same population.

    Regardless of this being a publicity ploy, if Trion weren’t at least paying attention to the buzz, they wouldn’t have known what spin to put on this at all. And I guess that was my point. I get the feeling that Blizzard isn’t even paying attention anymore – that maybe they feel they don’t have to with their subscriber base.

  4. Phedre says:

    Trion is still proceeding in the same style as they started. A nice customer friendly company that knows how to package things the right way. The server transfer is to me at the same level of usefulness as the other features you praised so much in <Rift: MMO 3.0. It is not earth shocking, or overly wonderful. Just good customer service. And just because you got bored with Rift doesn’t mean they have became a crappy company that can do no good.

    • SynCaine says:

      For me the difference between focusing on more worldly content and the benefits of the soul system vs free server transfers is that the former move the genre forward (baby steps, but still), while the latter is, IMO, an expected item.

      But yes, it does at least show Trion still not being evil. I’d just prefer not to give points for that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Actually, the great thing about McDs compared to every other fast-food place is their standard quality training. Their staff is routinely and almost universally superior to any other similar establishment, and in my area at least extremely far superior.

    This carries over to their preparation of food, which also benefits from McDs much higher customer flow. For example, almost alway fresh fries…open 24 hrs.

    I don’t know why I ranted about this now. My McD-raiding days are pretty well behind me by this point*

    *Well I do stop for some fries some times…>>

  6. Onwuka says:

    As much as I’ve enjoyed rift and feel that they got a lot of things ‘right’, it has always felt to me that there is a built-in tension between instanced dungeons and open world content that will doom them to server population problems.

    Having enough people on a server to populate a LFG tool and facilitating instance grouping seems to go hand in hand with way too many people concentrated by world events for them to be enjoyable – or for some, even technically possible. People on my server bitch about both – finding that 5th for an expert can be frustrating and any half-interesting event in the open world is a terrible, mindless zergfest.

    Maybe I just don’t have the vision, but I don’t see how you move towards a solution for one without exacerbating the other. My gut tells me that instanced convenience will win out – and the open world stuff will end up largely unrealized potential.

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