SWTOR: Populations, Dead Servers, PVP and Inaction

BioWare has a little bit of an attitude. I mean this in respect to population balances and server populations. My guild is probably the last of the diehard PVP guilds for Republic left on Bondar Crystal. Being of the “I don’t know what raid means” type players, we get sit there waiting in queue for Warzones studying the intricacies of population. When you are sitting for 30 minutes plus at any one time, you get to ponder these things. What we have found is that many of us have alts on other servers. Many guilds have up and left and made new home in other servers. So we started to do some number tracking.

SWTOR servers are based on 5 levels of population: Light, Standard, Heavy, Very Heavy, and Full. If full it shows a queue time. The only server that I know that can do this is Fatman. Otherwise Jedi Covenant is the only other server at Very Heavy. When we started checking our alts on other servers we started noticing trends.

What I wanted to know is what the difference between Light and Standard is? We simply logged on alts and took quick tallies of the population in Fleets. Though those in Fleet are not your whole server population, it tends to give you a decent glimpse at the server size. X number of people idle (Crafting, LFG, or Queuing) should be in the same ratio versus the population. This is our basic assumption.

From what we can tell, Standard Server Populations need to have over 150 idle persons in a fleet. This is roughly at least 300 idle persons for both sides. We measured this due in part in comparison to two other Light servers that were labeled Light yet had roughly 125 people idle in fleet. The problem we found is that there is giant difference in the amount of idle persons between Light Servers. Doing quick /who on all 50s we found that a Light Server with 100+ people in fleet had roughly Four warzones going at all times. Asking those in general what their normal wait time was on this server. Most answered near instant with sometime having to wait up to five minutes.

Two of our guild mates had alts on PVE servers with roughly 60+ people on fleet. They had 3 warzones and the poll in General granted near the same answer. One disgruntled person that had to wait 15 minutes queuing solo. We informed him of our 30 minute queue now taking 45 mins during this test and he informed us that we should “kill ourselves”.

On our server Bondar Crystal we had 18 people in Fleet. On a good night we have seen that reach 30. What we concluded is that BioWare was missing two levels of server population. After Light there should be, Very Light (Opposite of Very Heavy) and Dead (Opposite of Full).

We had a larger problem trying to communicate that to BioWare. We went to the forums and started a post. Saying that, though 60+ servers are technically Light status there is giant difference between us. There are some bottom rung servers that are actually playing with Dead populations. We suggest an immediate resolution for what we saw on Xfire, roughly 6 servers that have about as bad as ours. We are the 4th worse. As soon as you publish the post, it is locked and deleted. You get a message that says, “We have a post already for server populations. We want these all in one place”.

Yes, while that may be true BioWare. You have 1 post for hundreds of people to express opinions on a broad subject. We want to specifically talk about the worst of the worst and an immediate resolution. Diluting this specific issue voiced by a very small minority, by clumping them into a very very very large thread is ridiculous. You are making a small amount of players, overwhelmed by the opinions of a majority that have no idea what you are talking about.

Seeing that we weren’t going to receive a resolution, many talked in over in ventrilo on what to do. We already knew that many weren’t coming back. Despite having a free month to play on, and almost nothing else to waste time on, they rather do anything but play on Bondar Crystal. Long queues frustrated them. We’ve lost half our guild to that alone. In small cases, some have gone to experiment on other servers, but many refuse to join in. Frustrated that the time spent on their one character is a waste. And with Legacy 1.2, starting on another server is a slap in the face. I particularly don’t want reroll. I think it’s needless when there is a much simpler solution to this dilemma.

Unfortunately, the official word is merging options in Summer. Leaving a tattered PVP guild on a dead server to sit there and wait?

It’s particularly a bad call by BioWare. Seeing a server population issue and noting this is the case. And then realizing this needs a remedy and placing that remedy months from now is absolutely moronic.

Want to know why you lost 400K in subscriptions? It because of shit like that. What’s another couple hundred right? Drop in the bucket?

It will be an interesting week. I see the GW2 stress test tonight, followed by the release of Diablo III on Tuesday, and I have a feeling that the 18 we had in fleet last night to be the largest number we will see for a while. This realization hit me hard as I probably played my last Warzone on my Sage. What a great character. Too bad that he’ll be in dust by the time I can play him again.

Part of me hopes that Diablo III’s release should hit the active populations hard enough to escalate BioWare’s plans. But … if they don’t care today, that won’t change tomorrow. Pretty sad horizon for players who won’t be going to play D3. Even sadder to realize the perfect 16 man guild we built specifically for the 1.2 Rated Warzones now comes down to only 4 people willing to keep playing.