The EverQuest II producer’s letter from earlier this month mentioned that there would be some form of server consolidation coming to the game in order to concentrate populations so that each server had the critical mass to maintain a sense of life, fun, and community.
Well the form has been revealed, the plan announced, the servers to be merged indicated, all in another forum post by EverQuest executive producer Holly “Windstalker” Longdale.
First, there is the Anotonia Bayle server, where all the cool kids play. That will remain unaffected as it has a large enough population as it is.
Server Group 1
These three servers will be merged into a single server that will be given a new name with a theme based on the Desert of Flames expansion. You can suggest possible server names for the new server in this forum thread.
Server Group 2
These three servers will be merged into a single server that will be given a new name with a theme based on the Kingdom of Sky expansion. (bleh!) You can suggest possible server names for the new server in this forum thread.
Server Group 3
These three servers will be merged into a single server that will be given a new name with a theme based on the Rise of Kunark expansion. (No Echoes of Faydwer?!?) You can suggest possible server names for the new server in this forum thread.
You will note in that the long suffering PvP server, Nagafen, is part of that final group. It will be merged into the other two and its population will become PvE players like the rest of us. The only option for any sort of open world PvP in EverQuest II will now be the Deathtoll Time Locked Expansion server, which requires a Daybreak All Access subscription to play on.
Since Freeport is one of the more active current servers, after Antonia Bayle, I suspect Nagafen was thrown in there on the assumption that players will simply stop logging in with the loss of the PvP option.
The European and Asian servers, Storms, Valor, Split Paw, Harla Dar, and Sebilis were not mentioned, so are likely to remain untouched for now. And, of course, the special Time Locked Expansion servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, remain popular (and profitable) and have a ways to go before there will be any talk of merging them into other servers.
Feldon over at EQ2 Wire has put together a handy graphic to illustrate what is happening. I was tempted to steal it, but I’d rather send him some traffic for putting in the effort. It is nicely done. Go take a look.
This is not the first server consolidation that has happened for EverQuest II. There was at least one way back in the early days to push together populations after the initial swell of subscribers were deemed to be well and truly gone. But since then the servers have soldiered on pretty much as they were left. The game never as many servers as EverQuest had, both because an EverQuest II server can support a larger population and because the game itself was never nearly as popular as its predecessor at its peak.
There is also no word yet on how Daybreak will handle names, guilds, shared bank space, and all the sundry details that can further complicate an already complex task.
The impact on me will be… slight.
As it so happens, I have characters on three of the servers being merged. They are on Crushbone, where I started back at launch, Guk, when we went to go play with Revelry & Honor back during the ViginWorld podcast era, and Freeport, where the excitement of the EverQuest II Extended experiment caused a revival of interest in the game here.
And, of course, none of those three are being consolidated together. I guess that means I won’t have to figure out to do should Vikund on the Crushbone server have to be consolidated with his server copy clone Vikund on the Freeport server. So all I will have to do is remember three new server names and wait to hear about the mechanics of the merge plan.
Such is life in the MMO lane. No game stays at its peak population forever. EverQuest has done this enough times than I cannot remember where some characters now live. Earlier this month we got the official plan for the Lord of the Rings Online server merge operation. Rift has had to consolidate a couple of times, going as far as getting rid of the cross-faction wall to help populations. And even World of Warcraft did what I would call a “soft” server merge, where they connected lower population servers together so that they would share the same world a year ago, long before subscription numbers dropped back to 2005 levels. (That server linking idea actually worked well for me, as it let me have double the characters on what was effectively the same server, Eldre’Thalas and Korialstrasz. I make too many alts.)
I suppose at least we will never have to worry about a server merge with EVE Online.