Tag Archives: Server Merge

Off to Another New World in New World

In contrast to how Lost Ark was doing on Friday, New World spent the morning trimming down its server list, merging 60 struggling low population servers into more active servers in order create a more viable experience.

Welcome to another New World

And Amazon does have a game on its hands that requires a minimum population in order to be viable.  Otherwise, crafting stations and such drop down to tier 1 and the whole thing sort of falls apart.

I will give Amazon some credit.  They did at least design well for server merges.  They knocked out the merges Friday morning and people were on their new servers and ready to go long before Lost Ark was up and running for its launch.

Of course, our server was once again on the merge list, so I was interested to see where we had landed.

If 60 is a few, what is a lot?

Our company appeared to have landed intact when I checked on Friday.  Now to see what sort of situation we would have to deal with.

Now playing on Diranda

We started on a server where the Syndicate held the center territories, then were merged into a server where the Covenant held most of the areas.  As time went by the Syndicate managed to wrest a few of the central zones from the Covenant, so we had some cheap travel.

This time around it was time to throw us in the pool with a Marauder dominated server.

Welcome to Diranda

Actually, that is pretty balanced.  I have, after a few months, come to associate Cutlass Keys with the booby prize; the group that holds it is generally in third place on the server.  But we will have to see how things shake out over time with the influx of new players.

Of course, the locals were all set to welcome us to their server.

Turn the screws as tight as they will go!

The taxes were later reduced, but that was my welcome to the server.

As long as the servers are up, stable, and they haven’t broken or lost anything as part of the merge, I suppose it doesn’t matter to much to our group where we land.  It would be nice if the instant travel was cheaper, but it doesn’t take forever to walk anywhere if you’re short on Azoth.  They are actually handing out some more free server transfer tokens today, but where would we go that was any better?

I am also probably not as invested in the game as might be were circumstances different.  Once again, the whole “one character per server” thing, which makes some sense in a PvP only title, but less in one where PvE is a major component of play, means that my one guy needs to do all the things, including staying on track with the rest of the group.  Even harvesting and crafting nets adventure experience, so I have had to lay off play at times because even working on trade skills can get you out in front of the pack.

But you do start to wonder where the game is headed and what Amazon is going to be able to do about it.  Nobody expected it to stay anywhere close to its 900K concurrent player peak at launch, but after rolling out servers and giving away free transfers to get that under control, we’re down to where 50K concurrent players is a good day.

That still isn’t a number to sniff at.  Those numbers likely put it ahead of, or in the zone with, most of the Daybreak titles, save for DC Universe Online, when it comes to MAUs.  And EVE Online is happy when it breaks 30K concurrent users these days, but still runs along.  So there is a business model to be made with that level of user engagement.

But can they hold on to those numbers and, more importantly, monetize the game to keep it viable without driving many of them away?  Daybreak numbers for even their lower population games, like EverQuest II, still include a large percentage of people paying the monthly subscription fee.

And then there are the problems.  PCRedbeard mentioned a John Strife Hayes video about the problems New World has had since launch… and watching it was somewhat staggering.

 

The funny thing about that video is that I remember most of the problems coming up, and can even remember what I was up to when some of them came up (the instance group started playing when they turned off all trade between players at one point) but the unexpected results of many of these issues and the knee-jerk fixes that Amazon applied, that was eye opening.

And the state of the game and how Amazon has seen fit to try and make it last longer seems pretty shaky.  It isn’t a lost cause, but I will be interested to see how they plan to turn this around.

Sent to a New World in New World

We have been at New World for a while now as a group… we’ve finished the first dungeon finally… but we came in late, long after the initial surge of players had abated.  The game isn’t dying as some would have you believe.  It still gets a concurrent user count that keeps it well within the top ten titles on Steam according to the charts, but that is still well down from the 900K numbers we saw early on.

Welcome to a New New World

We started getting notifications last week that our server… as well as the server my alt was on… were on the list for merges.

These servers were on the list

There was also a count down clock, which was a helpful reminder, but which also put an obvious damper on activity on our server.  Nobody was going to spend any time working on upgrading trade skill stations or bother taking territory if it was all going to be gone once the counter was done.  That meant a continual stream of server messages about various things being downgraded due to lack of effort put in to maintain them.

It took a while before our destination was announced.

We got our destination the day before the merger

There was a FAQ available, for those who could find it, the indicated that the target server that your server was getting merged into would retain all of its territorial control and you would just be a new player injected into that situation.

On the plus side, the merger seemed to go smoothly.  Amazon seems to have planned well enough for this and worked out whatever kinks there were in the system with the first couple of test merger.  When I logged in that afternoon my characters were on their new servers.

Stan is now on Lintukoto

There was also a brief reminder as to what the merge meant to people.  You kept your stuff and your company, but lost territory and didn’t get any refund on fees for listings in progress.

The merger impacts explained

Logging in for the first time though, we were clearly strangers in our old home of Windsward.  The Covenant owned the center of the map, including Windsward, while the Marauders owned the west coast, while our Syndicate faction had just the three high level areas on the east coast.

The before and after maps for us

That meant higher taxes, higher travel fees, and fewer freebies for us.  But at least the Covenant held Windsward had upgraded trade skill stations.  After watching everything drain out on Parima over the last week, it was nice to have access to better facilities.  And the town was very crowded, like Windsward was back in the early days of New World, thick with players.  So mission accomplished on that front.

And the Syndicate wasn’t taking this situation lying down.  Within hours of the merge the syndicate players had formed up and were focusing on taking Windsward, so it might be our town again.  Syndicate groups were out hunting the other faction and assailing the Windsward fort.

Unfortunately, hovering around level 30 as we were, there didn’t seem to be much we could do to help the cause.  As I understand it, only PvP faction quests help undermine the ownership of a town, and that seemed like an invite to get ganked constantly by level 60 players.

So, for now, we’ll just have to get used to Windsward being under new management.

The banner of Bunny Co is no longer a familiar site

The hardest thing for the moment is just remembering the name of the new server.  I had barely memorized the old one.  Otherwise, things seem to be working as advertised.

EverQuest II – US Server Merges Complete, Kingdom of Sky Rejected, and Other Tidbits

The server merge… or server consolidation… or whatever they ended up calling it… plans for EverQuest II, officially announced back in August, are now complete.  Nine of the low population servers have been consolidated into three.

As somebody who had characters spread across four servers, Crushbone, Guk, Freeport, and Stormhold, I can now say that… I still have characters spread over four servers.  They are now named Maj’dul, Halls of Fate, Skyfire, and Stormhold.

So no help for me on that front.

The old servers were grouped and merged as follows:

  • Butcherblock, Crushbone, and Oasis servers into Maj’Dul
  • Everfrost, Guk, and Unrest servers into Halls of Fate
  • Freeport, Nagafen, and Permafrost servers into Skyfire

The ever-popular Antonia Bayle server was left to its own devices, while the even more popular Time Locked Expansion Servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, roll on as before.

Servers outside of the United States have not been touched as yet.  If you want an EverQuest II PvP server, your options now are Deathtoll and that Russian server… Harla Dar?

There is an official FAQ about the merges as well as a helpful why aren’t things working FAQ reproduced over at EQ2 Wire.

I suppose I can bask in the warm glow of each of the characters on those three servers having nine more titles to choose from.  It appears that I got three variations of titles for each of the three servers,  So my character Reynaldo from the Guk server can be “Of,” “Descendant of,” or “Native of” Guk… or Everfrost… or Unrest.  Not sure why he got all three, but there it is.  I think I’ll stick with the old school “of E’Ci” title to show my old Norrathian cred.

Also, Reynaldo has years old guild mail from Revelry & Honor in his mailbox.  Lots of it.  I should probably go delete that at some point.

Meanwhile, on both the Stormhold and Deathtoll nostalgia servers, the Kingdom of Sky unlock vote went down to defeat.  From the forums:

Hail Norrathians,

This is a quick update to let you know that the vote to unlock Kingdom of Sky did NOT pass on either Stormhold (PvE) or Deathtoll (PvP) in November 2015.

Don’t worry if you’re one of the players that was excited about Kingdom of Sky content, because the vote will become available again in 30-days.

So no floating islands in the sky this month.

All this... is for later...

All this… is for later…

I still think a vote every 30 days is too quick, but Daybreak seems keen not to let the EQII retro servers turn into a stale death march of boredom, as tends to happen on the EverQuest time locked servers after the first few expansion.

I was going to proudly report how I voted no on the unlock… and then I went and looked at my screen shot and… well… I guess I voted yes.

Official ballot

Official ballot

I am not sure why I did that.  It seems unlike me.  But hey, glad to see that I went down to defeat.  Go me!

EverQuest II also turned 11 years old this week.  Or maybe it was last week.  I see different dates in various places.  It was either the 4th or the 9th by most accounts, or maybe the 6th, but SOE celebrated it last year on the 10th.  I suppose that just symbolized what a long strange road and all of that.  To celebrate that, Daybreak has their 12 year veteran award all set.

On per account

On per account

I am so out of touch with the game that I have no idea what those tokens are for.

They had to roll out the 12 year reward because purchasing the first four expansions gave people a 90 day… um… boost… to their veteran status.  Don’t ask me why this seemed like a good idea or a needed incentive back then.

As it so happens today, Friday, November 13th, is my own 11 year anniversary with the game, having rolled in just after launch when the second round of servers were opened up to take overflow from the initial servers.  I wrote about all of that last year, so I won’t dredge it all up yet again.  You can read that tale here.

And, in what might be considered an ironic twist, my Daybreak All Access subscription expired yesterday.  I cancelled it at the start of the month because I hadn’t been playing on Stormhold as much as I thought I would.  I haven’t been playing any fantasy MMORPGs recently.  It is just odd that it should expire when it did.  What were the odds?  (1 in 30… so not that long of a shot actually.)

Finally, we stand on the edge of the first post-SOE expansion for EverQuest II, Tales of Thumbelina… ern… Trials of Terre Haute… no… wait… I’ve got this…  Terrors of Thalumbra!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Set to come out next Tuesday, November 17th, Daybreak has decreed that there shall be double XP from whenever they said until the expansion launches… at which time you may resume grinding at the usual rate.  Time locked expansion servers are exempt from this because you wanted an authentic experience, right?  Nobody made you roll a character there!

And that is what seems to be going on in post-Cataclym Norrath this week.

Waiting for LOTRO World Transfers…

Peeking in on my characters this past weekend, I saw that the promised transfer button was now visible in the launcher UI.  The server merge appeared to be at hand.

It wasn't there last I looked...

It wasn’t there last I looked…

Of course, the great server merge has been expected for some time now.  It was first brought up in the Producer’s Letter early in the year and appeared to be solidified with a dev post early in August that outlined the whole merge plan.  The whole thing seemed to be kicking off back in the first half of September when two of the to-be-closed servers, Elendilmir (US) and Este (EU), were given the green light to start moving to new destinations.

The rest of us could play around by copying ourselves to the test servers, but otherwise were told we would have to wait until our time came.

I hadn’t seen any further news, but the button was here I thought I might as well click it and see what happened!  All advances require somebody to do something that might objectively seem stupid.

The first click was a good one and brought me to a list of all the servers on which I have characters.  A nice little summary in that.  I have characters on four servers that are closing, and then some on Brandywine, which will remain, but which is still listed as not being available as a destination due to its popularity, which surprised me a bit.  As I said before, I thought all the cool kids played on Landroval.  But maybe the game is running out of cool kids… those who role play or play in bands.

My server list

My server list

By the way, here is a tip for every QA department everywhere, increase the default size of the font in Windows… I run mine at 125% so I can read things without glasses… and run your launcher and make sure you aren’t keying off of that and boosting your text outside of the readable zone.  That is bad, m’kay.

Anyway, 25 characters, 18 of which need new homes, which is too many to fit on a single server, and all of them are in Kinships, which requires a bit of extra thinking/coordination for the move.

But there is already a “how-to” for kinships posted.  Go Turbine.

I also noticed that if you mouse over each server, if will give you a listing of your characters and when you last played them.  Behold all of my LOTRO characters.

A lot of characters I haven’t logged on for a while there.  I am actually a bit surprised that the earliest date is in 2009.  I thought sure that there would be somebody I hadn’t logged in since late 2007.  I’m pretty sure Beeridan is a hobbit though.

Anyway, I decided to give the whole transfer thing a try with my characters on Nimrodel, a server I joined back in 2009 for a bit.  They are some of the least likely characters for me to revive.  They are all still sitting in the Podcasters of Bree kinship… last I checked… which included such local legends as Michael Zenke, Brent from VirginWorlds, Darren from The Common Sense Gamer, Jonathan from Through the Aftermath, and probably a couple more I am forgetting.  The likelihood of logging on and finding any of them playing LOTRO felt pretty small, so why not experiment with those characters.  So I selected Nimrodel and clicked the “next” button.

There I was given an option to select which characters to transfer along with whether or not to take the shared items along with the move.  I decided to take everything.

Select characters to transfer...

Select characters to transfer…

That selected, I clicked “next” yet again.  It was time to select a destination.

I had actually not given the destination much thought.  But with Brandywine still locked out as far as I knew, there were only four choices for US players:

  • Arkenstone
  • Crickhollow
  • Gladden
  • Landroval

What the hell, any of those would do.  This was an experiment.

However, my choices turned out to be a bit more limited.

Move destinations... none!

Move destinations… none!

Apparently we’re not there yet.  I tried with the other servers as well and there were no move destinations available to me.

After that I went and dug around the LOTRO web site a bit to see if there had been any further announcements or updates.  I didn’t see anything new, and a quick cruise through the forums seemed to indicate that some servers were able to transfer… because this seemed to be setting off a minor forum war between players who RP and those who do not and who should respect whom… but otherwise nothing official from Turbine.  Some people are getting transfers, it just hasn’t filtered down to me.

Not that is matters so much for me.  I am not playing the game right now and only peek in monthly to make sure I get my Turbine points… which I have turned around and used to buy all the expansions, so should I return to the game some day I will be set on that front.  I am just interested to see how this works out.  The logistics of consolidating your player base can be trying and it seems that Turbine is taking things slowly, which is probably the right plan.

New EverQuest II Server Names Announced

The plan to consolidate/merge the North American EverQuest II servers, aside from the ever/over popular Antonia Bayle server and the two new TLE servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, took another step forward yesterday with the results of the naming poll being announced.

Near Najena

Entering a new era… or Najena… one of those…

The winning names were:

Butcherblock, Crushbone, and Oasis servers voted for: Maj’Dul

·Everfrost, Guk, and Unrest voted for: Halls of Fate

·Freeport, Nagafen, and Permafrost voted for: Skyfire

If you go back and look at the options the polls offered, you will see that the shortest name on each ballot won, something I have seen pointed out several times.  I wasn’t keen on any of the choices really, but the result ended up about as well as I could have hoped.  Shortest is probably bestest in this case.  And I even voted that way on two of the three and suggested that I probably should have on the third.  I just didn’t like “Halls of Fate.”  Ah well, that is at least easier to type/spell than my choice of “Tenebrous Tangle.”

There was another bit of news in the announcement about going from a consolidation to merge methodology.

Another note on the server moves… We are going back to the “merge” methodology for this effort. Changing the entire way our data works for this process was very risky and we didn’t want to rush it and test it on your characters. That said, we didn’t want to wait on taking care of our server populations. The teams are reviewing all the areas we need to update the merge process. Still, all the questions and concerns we addressed in our FAQ are still in the plan. Also, after the U.S. merges, we will run a free one-week transfer period that will include free transfers for Antonia Bayle players to other U.S. servers.

Going to the FAQ about the whole thing, consolidation meant moving the data from all three servers onto a fourth, free server/database.  So I would guess that changing over to a merge now means that one of the servers will be the base and the other two will get moved into it.

Of course, there is at least one question on the FAQ that might need to be updated:

Q: I don’t know if this is true, but people on my server have said that guilds are often deleted when the servers were merged. Is this true, and if it is, what can I do to make sure that my guild will not be deleted?

A: This is not true for this server consolidation.

Yeah, but this isn’t a server consolidation any more, and the answer at least implies that it could be true for a merge.  Should we worry now?  Hah!

There are still no firm dates, though the whole plan appears to be sliding into October, which of course brings up some concerns about having problems just before the as-yet-unnamed expansion, which was announced earlier this week, enters the picture.  Always something new to fret about.

All Low Cards in the EverQuest II Server Merge Name Poll

As I mentioned in the post about the EverQuest II North American server consolidation plan, I managed to have characters on three different servers, none of which are being merged together.  Go me.

To review, the plan is to merge these three groups of servers each into a single new server:

Server Group 1

  • Butcherblock
  • Crushbone
  • Oasis

Server Group 2

  • Everfrost
  • Guk
  • Unrest

Server Group 3

  • Freeport
  • Nagafen
  • Permafrost

And, as noted before, I have characters on Crushbone, Guk, and Freeport, so no character consolidation here.

The new servers were each given a theme from which Daybreak would draw potential names that players from the appropriate old servers could then vote on.  The names have now been chosen and the polls are up on the live servers and I am underwhelmed by the choices.

For the first server group, the theme was the Desert of Flames expansion.  I kind of liked that expansion, though the plague of flying carpets that came from it annoyed me.  But the list of names that made the cut… well…

Poll on Crushbone

Poll on Crushbone

In the end I chose Maj’Dul because it was the shortest of the choices and I have somewhere acquired the belief that server names ought to be short and easily distinguished/recognizable.  Poet’s Palace is/was a popular place, and what Izlain chose, but I don’t want to wonder if somebody who mentions it now is talking about the location in-game or the server itself.

The second server group was given the Kingdom of Sky expansion as a theme.  That is an expansion I do actively dislike.  It was enough to drive me to World of Warcraft full time when it came out and has been a barrier for me for many years.  There is a reason I had a set of characters that I just stopped playing at around level 60.

And name choices from that expansion continue the tradition of being somewhat disappointing.

The Guk

Poll on Guk

Here the poll should have asked me to choose the name that I DISLIKED LEAST, to steal their capitalization scheme.   I eventually went with Tenebrous Tangle because, if nothing else, the idea of a “tangle” represents the expansion for me pretty well.   Yeah, I am not even following my own rules about simplicity on this one, or I would have gone with Halls of Fate.  But I only have a single character on Guk in any case, so it is unlikely that I will play him or refer to that server much going forward.

Finally, the third server group got Rise of Kunark as their theme, which for me at least portended some decent, old school Norrathian options for the poll.  This is what we got:

Poll on Freeport

Poll on Freeport

And my reading of the portents was correct and I actually had to choose amongst a few viable options.  The first and last choices were a bit long, but the other three were about all one could ask for… or about all I could ask for I suppose.  In the end I went with Skyfire, it being the easiest to say/remember.  It doesn’t say “Kunark” to me really, but whatever.  And, outside of the special rules Stormhold server, it will end up being the server I am most likely to play on going forward.

So those are the options we have.  The poll itself runs through September 15th, so you have time to go and vote.

Meanwhile, Feldon over at EQ2Wire has some details and a list of common questions and answers about the upcoming server consolidation posted for your edification.

 

EverQuest II Server Consolidation Plan Announced

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.

In the Pillars of Flame

Otherwise it can be lonely out there…

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

  • Butcherblock
  • Crushbone
  • Oasis

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

  • Everfrost
  • Guk
  • Unrest

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

  • Freeport
  • Nagafen
  • Permafrost

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 operationRift 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.

And Then We Were Asked to Leave Alsbeth…

You may have read that there is a server merge coming at Rift next week.

And our server, Alsbeth, the instance group server, is on the list for PvE shards.

Transferring Shard: –> Receiving Shard:
PVE

  • Belmont –> Millrush
  • Galena –> Millrush
  • Atrophinius –> Greenscale
  • Crucia –> Greenscale
  • Alsbeth –> Shatterbone

PVE – RP

  • Estrael –> Faeblight
  • Shadefallen –> Faeblight

PVP

  • Sunrest(PVP-RP) –> Deepstrike
  • Freeholme –> Deepstrike
  • Dayblind –> Deepstrike
  • Faemist –> Briarcliff

Not surprisingly, Trion isn’t calling it a server merge.  They have said that they are flagging more trial servers.  That is what they tell you in game.

They don’t tell you what a trial shard is, only that for the “best Rift experience” (and unless somebody can prove that Rift is an acronym, I am not putting it in all caps) you should get the hell off the server on which you currently play.

So it looks like The Batsmen of the Calamari will have to pick a new home.

On the plus side, it looks like you can move a whole guild intact to a new server.  I think the guild master has to do that, and Potshot holds the reigns of power.  The server transfer interface looks simple enough.

Server Transfers

And while they say we should go from Alsbeth to Shatterbone, it is not clear to me if this is our only choice… or if that is the only choice we get for free.   Shatterbone isn’t even one of the recommended choices on the server list.  Score one for inconsistency!

I am sure we will find some way to mess this up.  It is part of the guild tradition.

So that will be the first task on this weekend’s instance group agenda, move to a new server.  We will see if that leaves us enough time to do anything else.