I have often complained about the strict server architecture of MMOs and how they keep you from playing with your friends. World of Warcraft has ever been the prime example. I know so many people who play or who have played WoW, but most of them play on servers Eldre’Thalas where I have invested the vast majority of my time and effort. And so our paths rarely cross. I have made characters on other servers from time to time, but inevitably my focus can really only be on one server and there are only so many alts you can play.
And this sort of tale goes back to the early days of EverQuest, when friends rolled up on different servers and so we never played together.
In the last week or so I have run into two more examples of this sort of torment.
First, Potshot and Earl from our regular Saturday night group decided to jump into Need for Speed: World, the driving game I have played and written about now and again.
However, since I last played, EA has added a new server, Chicane, which is where new players appear to get routed.
Of course, all of my time and effort has been invested in the old server, Apex.
And, as you might guess, never the twain shall meet. There are no server transfers that I can see. At least my account appears to work and, after a day or so, it actually recognized that I had some of the RMT currency, Speed Boost, available and let me access it on the new server. But now in order to play with Potshot and Earl I need to give up a garage full of cars and start again from scratch.
That probably isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Well, the starting from scratch part at least, since they appear to have revamped the game yet again and, while there are still driver levels, those levels seem to have lost all of their meaning. But not being able to drive the cars I have collected… well, that sucks.
And then there is World of Tanks.
I play on the North American server naturally enough and I have been bugging some friends to try the game out, including long time pal Gaff.
Gaff also plays EVE Online with me… or I play with him… anyway, there we are in EVE, which has one server for the whole world (outside of China) and thus attracts quite an international mix. Our alliance, TNT, is heavy with European players.
Our alliance also has a clan in World of Tanks and channels on our TeamSpeak server dedicated to that. So when Gaff finally got off the dime to try WoT, he ran off to where our alliance mates were playing.
They were, of course, playing on the EU World of Tanks server.
And there is no mixing of the North American and the European servers. They require different clients and they do not share accounts. You cannot, it seems, even use the same email address to play on both servers.
So once again, to play with friends, I have to give up all the time and effort invested. Before I had gone on this latest WoT binge, I might have considered it. But now, with me driving towards a tier VII German tank destroyer and a tier VI Russian heavy tank, not to mention gold invested in their crews, I see starting again as a huge barrier to swapping servers.
I suppose I should be happy that they at least let you roll an account on the EU server from outside the continent . That isn’t always an option.
But it is still a barrier.
So once again, EVE Online has something that I think others should try to emulate. I play on the same server as every blogger out there going on about EVE Online. I just never see them… or play with them… for other reasons.
But at least the option exists.