The Cringe

Four months after release, it’s time to come to grips with where a game stands and it future for yourself. SWTOR had a great start, managed to sustain that in its first couple of months, but the effects of the long-term start to set in. This is the point in the game when you settle who is your long-term customer, who you are going to lose as a long-term customer and lessons learned.

I first noticed this as a trend with WAR for major MMO titles. A game releases with a multitude of different players from all sorts of unrelatable areas of gaming. It plays and tends to draw a crowd. It loses many of the crowd to tears or to stomping fits on the way out. And then it just starts losing time played. I saw it again with RIFT. I saw it again with SWTOR.

SWTOR is at this odd stage in which it may not be losing subscriptions, but it’s losing population. It is at this very unpopular stage in which it has as many servers as it required to launch with to compensate for the release population, but now it sits with significantly less need. One would think this shouldn’t be a problem, right? You launch with X amount of servers so that 1) there was ample room for everyone in each server for it to operate comfortably and 2) so that all the players starting  together weren’t bumping into one another.

So, as time goes on, the servers should be consolidated. Makes sense. You start a marathon (my favorite analogy, I know) with 6 lanes of road and you run it with 2 lanes and end it with 3. It makes sense. You started with X number of servers. We are now on mile 10, time to reduce the lanes to Y = X/2.

But we can’t do this, can we? No, ‘consolidating servers’ is a term only intellegent and reasonable people can use. Others call this ‘Closing Servers’. Thanks to these ass nuggets, our MMO developers refuse to do it until it’s absolutely necessary. When is absolutely necessary?

That’s where there is some white noise. One would assume it’s when you start seeing a viable percentage of cancelled subscriptions stating “Not enough people to play with”. But that is countered, because many players just find a new home. They don’t leave the game, they go to a new server. And that comes with luck of the draw. Did you pick the migratory server? Is yours the one everyone flocks to?

I picked poorly. I’m on one of the most under populated servers there are, Bondar Crystal. It is a quality server, it just lacks people. Many have flocked to start new stories, other just burnt on the gameplay and await GW2.

Personally, I want to keep playing SWTOR. Which basically in the next month, to keep subscribed will require a couple of things:

  • Immediate cross server queueing. The pops take long enough on a slow server. I’m not looking forward to Rated Warzones on that system.
  • An immediate 1.3 notice for effectively fixing Open PVP. This cannot be a broad and vague, “we will look into it, we want it done right”, this needs to be address quickly.

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