Star Wars: The Old Republic Begins Cutting Servers

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Begins Cutting Servers

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There are fewer worlds in the SW:TOR galaxy now, but each supports "a significantly higher number of players."

A short while ago Star Wars: The Old Republic reported a drop in player population during peak hours. At the time BioWare said that, although subscriptions hadn't dropped, the number of people logging in had. Now SW:TOR servers have been merged; there are fewer servers, but each has been modified to support "a significantly higher number of players", according to the official BioWare announcement.

Those who have to change their character or guild name as a result of moving from one server to another may feel particularly annoyed at the switch, but it's been coming for a while. BioWare has been testing high population servers and until yesterday had a Free Character Transfer program in place for those who wanted to jump before they were pushed. Affected players who want to know more should see the FAQ.

This news, following on BioWare's switch to free-to-play and the game's disappointing subscription figures announced in May's earnings statement, is yet more sackcloth and ashes for the MMO that at one point hoped it might dethrone World of Warcraft.

Fortunately there is hope. The developer has been working on shadow optimization, and made a progress announcement the same day the servers were consolidated. Players now have the benefit of really crisp and realistic self-shadowing on their nice new high-population server, even if that pesky red exclamation mark next to their character name means they'll have to call Darth Lasagne something else.

Source: Eurogamer

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dethroning wow is so overused period it should just stop imo.

every mmo that has any kinda budget behind it gets the label, if they want it or not.

That is actually a pretty fun character name. I'd hate to lose it D:

Well does have one thing over WoW, It's going to get to it's Cataclysm a lot sooner.

I don't know which is a better system: This or WoW's cross realm phasing. With WoW you don't have to be force to changed servers or possibly names, but if you group with people in the zone and come to like them, you can't invite them to your guild if your not on the same server, and the glitches that come when crossing from a realm back to your own on Zone borders.

I wanted you to be so good, TOR.
I waited and waited and then you were a steaming pile of mediocre.

At least the story's going free to play come November.
And now when I go back to wrap up the classes I never bothered playing because fuck paying a subscription for that game, there'll actually be people on instead of:

NAR SHADDAA: 7 Players.
DROMUND KAAS: 21 Players.
HOTH: 2 Players.

I wonder how many people left over the ME3 debacle?

tmande2nd:
I wonder how many people left over the ME3 debacle?

Probably none. Because that would be stupid. And we all know gamers aren't.

I am starting to get the impression that SWTOR is, in a way, a victim of its own innovations.

The voice acting, class quest-line and character companions created some of the greatest immersion in any MMO I've played. However, once I completed that content, there was a much greater sense of being "done" with the game, than I encountered in other MMOs.

Awful game anyway. The pvp grind was so poorly thought out it was absurd. Random chance for loot yeah!

It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.

In all seriousness, this is just a minor distraction before WoW releases Mists of Pandoria. TOR was gone a long time ago - server cutting is a stopgap put in to stop the dam from leaking. It's not going to bring back all the other players who left because of the lack of content, barren worlds (that should have been bustling) or KOTOR-lite sensibilities, and it's not going to bring that many more people in the face of Pandoria or other F2P games like Guild Wars 2.

Just because it has a SW brand doesn't mean it's automatically going to be great with "enhancements" - Galaxies was proof enough of that.

Mega Messiah:
I wanted you to be so good, TOR.
I waited and waited and then you were a steaming pile of mediocre.

At least the story's going free to play come November.
And now when I go back to wrap up the classes I never bothered playing because fuck paying a subscription for that game, there'll actually be people on instead of:

NAR SHADDAA: 7 Players.
DROMUND KAAS: 21 Players.
HOTH: 2 Players.

You must have been on one of the low-pop servers. When I started playing again at the end of July, there'd always be 50+ people on any given planet. Often around 100.

tmande2nd:
I wonder how many people left over the ME3 debacle?

I actually canceled before ME3, because I didn't want a sub running while I was going to be playing Mass Effect.

The "debacle" only delayed my return to the game by nearly four months.

I guess folks only have so much time for time sinks (oops I mean MMORPGs). Honestly, although it's happening quietly, the same thing is going on with WoW. Haven't you noticed that just about every update more or less simplifies their system, making it computationally lighter.

It boils down to the fact that MMORPGs are inherently limited by their genre. They have to provide a consistent play experience to all players thusly they cannot allow the actions of the players to have any real impact on the game world, on the narrative. This is not bad pr say but with that limitation, there's only so much reason for people to play 'another' MMORPG. The move to F2P won't do it any good either... call it a hunch but last I checked most players hate being nickle-and-dimed at every bloody turn.

Sad thing is I actually want to play this game, but so far Bioware's only played a bit of a cock-tease over releasing a Mac version.

Oh well, at least I have Guild Wars 2 to look forward to now.

It sounds like a proactive business decision. They seriously did not need all those servers, except for maybe the first week of launch. They were already giving players the option to migrate to servers with high populations so I see this as the only good thing they can do both for the players and for the business side of things.

Getting players though... that is the make or break issue. As far as I can tell the actual game mechanics are solid. The story telling aspect is really second to none. The only thing I hear complaints about are lack of content and that it's hard to find people to group with. Well, content can't be generated overnight but amalgamating the servers can. There will be an influx of new players and returning players with the F2P option, and they will stay around for a while since the entire story up to level 50 for each character is available. I'm fairly certain that EA is pushing Bioware to fix whatever needs to be fixed to make them more money (ie the lack of end game content) so we will just have to wait for updates I suppose.

In my opinion, the only thing wrong with TOR is that it happens to be an MMO and that it struggles from the same issues that every MMO struggles with except for World of Warcraft because they were the first to truly define the genre and everyone has had to play catch up since.

I TOLD YOU BIOWARE! I WARNED YOU ABOUT THAT ICEBERG BRO! I TOLD YOU!

*Ahem*

No, but In all seriousness, its good to see this pile of crap sinking.

And the "B-but we're fixing the awful shadows!" statement just makes me laugh harder than when they announced it going free-to-play (I called that too)

I mean, its one thing that the ugly shadows are the LEAST of SWTOR's problems, BUT THE SHADOWS STILL LOOK AWFUL! It's like they used some shitty AA option from an old Playstation 2 emulator.

It's just embarrassing

Hope you like it at the bottom of the ocean Bioware, I don't think you're gonna save the ship by bailing with a teaspoon. Especially not when the ship is already submerged.

bringer of illumination:
I mean, its one thing that the ugly shadows are the LEAST of SWTOR's problems, BUT THE SHADOWS STILL LOOK AWFUL! It's like they used some shitty AA option from an old Playstation 2 emulator.

There's actually a reason why the engine is so borked. In short, Gordon Walton (the head mananger at Bioware Austin) bought a beta version of the HeroEngine in 2005, apparently because EA was desperate to get an MMO out and needed a framework to build on. Essentially, the people who designed TOR were working from an incomplete prototype (which was finally released, fully optimized in 2010), which is the reason why the animations and coding seems so patchwork.

So, if the shadows look like they came from the mid-00's, it's probably because they are.

Hey EA, are you still sure making all the games you publish have multiplayer will make them hits... yes? Oh okay...(backs away slowly).

crazyrabbits:

bringer of illumination:
I mean, its one thing that the ugly shadows are the LEAST of SWTOR's problems, BUT THE SHADOWS STILL LOOK AWFUL! It's like they used some shitty AA option from an old Playstation 2 emulator.

There's actually a reason why the engine is so borked. In short, Gordon Walton (the head mananger at Bioware Austin) bought a beta version of the HeroEngine in 2005, apparently because EA was desperate to get an MMO out and needed a framework to build on. Essentially, the people who designed TOR were working from an incomplete prototype (which was finally released, fully optimized in 2010), which is the reason why the animations and coding seems so patchwork.

So, if the shadows look like they came from the mid-00's, it's probably because they are.

Oh I know about the Hero Engine fiasco, I've been following this train-wreck since it's inception.

Free to play before the year is out I said, and look where we are now.

I don't think anyone is truly surprised at this news.

bringer of illumination:
And the "B-but we're fixing the awful shadows!" statement just makes me laugh harder than when they announced it going free-to-play (I called that too)

:P You say that as though you're the only one who predicted it. I, for one, knew it'd be going F2P in a matter of months after it was released. In fact, if you didn't see the F2P coming then I'd argue you've gone blind.

Anyways, I hope they're happy with this festering pile. They could have made KotOR III, a game that many people actually wanted and yearned for. Instead they pop out another generic MMO that was destined from day-one to be crushed beneath WoW like countless MMO's before it.

At this point, I see most MMO's as being like Storm Trooper #372 in The Force Unleashed: sure this guy just slaughtered an entire battalion of troops complete with 3 AT-STs and specially trained force adepts...but no...372 is gonna be the guy that brings Star Killer down! It's the same mentality for MMO's wanting to dethrone WoW: many that were likely a lot better than your game have tried, and none have succeeded...what makes you think that your game is going to be the one that pulls it off?

bringer of illumination:
I TOLD YOU BIOWARE! I WARNED YOU ABOUT THAT ICEBERG BRO! I TOLD YOU!

*Ahem*

No, but In all seriousness, its good to see this pile of crap sinking.

And the "B-but we're fixing the awful shadows!" statement just makes me laugh harder than when they announced it going free-to-play (I called that too)

I mean, its one thing that the ugly shadows are the LEAST of SWTOR's problems, BUT THE SHADOWS STILL LOOK AWFUL! It's like they used some shitty AA option from an old Playstation 2 emulator.

It's just embarrassing

Hope you like it at the bottom of the ocean Bioware, I don't think you're gonna save the ship by bailing with a teaspoon. Especially not when the ship is already submerged.

I have never understood why some people hail TOR as a totally worthless shit of a game and want to see it fail. As far as games go, TOR is pretty good. The game play is solid, the story is solid, the graphics look good except for a little hiccup here and there, and as far as MMOs go, it's also fun. Surely you can not base a game on its shadow animation.

Sad. And here I thought I'd get to play it before the game went under, but it's looking less and less like that'll happen. I suppose I can't really miss what I never had though, so if it doesn't make it to FtP status then oh well.

RJ 17:
:P You say that as though you're the only one who predicted it. I, for one, knew it'd be going F2P in a matter of months after it was released. In fact, if you didn't see the F2P coming then I'd argue you've gone blind.

Okay, that DID sound a little smug, the writing was pretty much on the wall.

Gregory Wollf:
I have never understood why some people hail TOR as a totally worthless shit of a game and want to see it fail. As far as games go, TOR is pretty good. The game play is solid, the story is solid, the graphics look good except for a little hiccup here and there, and as far as MMOs go, it's also fun. Surely you can not base a game on its shadow animation.

I DID say that the shadows were the LEAST of TOR's problems.

People hate TOR because it is a massive pile of pointless mediocrity where something great could have been.

Okay let's go through this.

The Gameplay:
I'm sorry, but no.
NO hotkey MMO will EVER have gameplay that can be described as better than "okay". And as far as hotkey MMOs, TOR is just mediocre to bad, what with that ridiculous, unintuitive universal ability delay ruining the experience.

The Story:
It's okay. It can be compelling at points.
But ultimately the story is TORs biggest failure, but no because it's bad. I'll get to this later.

The Graphics
You're kidding right? This game looks passable at it's VERY best, do you know the story of the engine of this game? It was posted earlier in the thread.
But fuck, the game could have survived bad textures and animation if the aesthetic had been good. But it's fucking AWFUL, it's worse than WoW and it's giant shoulderpads everywhere. Tell me, is THIS what a Jedi should look like?:

That was a rhetorical question, because of course the answer is: NO!

But ultimately, none of that matters. Even if you disagree and think all those things are actually good, the game is still awful.

It really all comes down to Bioware's complete lack of understanding of what an MMO IS.

You CAN'T base an MMO on a single player storyline, you CAN'T have that be the ONLY compelling part of your game. But in TOR it is. The endgame content is completely worthless, the PvP is so broken that it's not even funny, and the PvE is skillless and completely unrewarding.

After you're done with the storylines, the game is basically completely worthless. In fact it is WORSE than worthless because it's sucking money from your pocket every god damned month.

Look at something like Star Wars Galaxies (May god rest it's soul)
Why was it compelling? Because it had tons and TONS of stuff to DO, there was a huge and robust player-run economy, dynamic content that the PLAYERS were in control off. Every player wasn't a fucking special snowflake Mary Sue.

TOR should have been a single player game or it shouldn't have been at all. Not even the 100-200 Million dollars that EA spent marketing this pile of garbage (on top of the 200 million it took to make it) could make this game a success. What does that tell you?

bringer of illumination:
Not even the 100-200 Million dollars that EA spent marketing this pile of garbage (on top of the 200 million it took to make it) could make this game a success.

Wow they spent that much on marketing?

Eh, I've been turned off the game ever since I got far enough for the crafting system to become important. SUCH a chore.

As someone who typically dislikes mmos and really likes single player rpgs, I've really enjoyed the different story lines though I can see it feeling "done" once you beat them.

Again, don't know much about mmos and as such not very knowledgeable about this being a sign of it dying, but it's nice to see the fleet on the server I was on going from one room of 180 at peak hours to four full instances at 9am. And mid-range worlds having decent populations at any given time. Plus running flashpoints has been a lot smoother through groupfinder the past day or two.

Yosharian:

bringer of illumination:
Not even the 100-200 Million dollars that EA spent marketing this pile of garbage (on top of the 200 million it took to make it) could make this game a success.

Wow they spent that much on marketing?

Ball parked.

We only have vagueries, previous EA practices, estimations based on assumptions of marketing costs and quotes from investor meetings to go on to go on. But it's around there.

Eh, I'm still looking forward to when I'll be able to re-subscribe. Best game released last year.

Riddle me this: are some of you guys saying SW:TOR is going to fail because you actually just WANT it to fail, or are these F2P and server-cutting announcements sure fire signs of MMORPG failure?

captcha: i saw that
and you should be ashamed!

Darth_Payn:
Riddle me this: are some of you guys saying SW:TOR is going to fail because you actually just WANT it to fail, or are these F2P and server-cutting announcements sure fire signs of MMORPG failure?

captcha: i saw that
and you should be ashamed!

A little of both, I imagine. Much of TOR's failings seem to be accompanied with comments from probably the same people who would start chanting "FALL! FALL! FALL!" at a tightrope act.

I myself am saddened by the failing of an MMO that tried to add a new and interesting feature to the stale MMO genre, not to mention a good Star Wars MMO experience. I'm under the impression that if they had adopted a different payment method other than the soon-to-be archaic subscription format, it might have stayed above water a longer than it has.

If you think that Bioware "cutting servers" by improving their server tech like this is a bad thing, then you should think that Eve Online has been on its last legs for...um...well, since the first day CCP started operations, right?

Don't be wankers. You just like to make sensational headlines about games gamers hate.

Here's what you didn't report:

- SWTOR now has 9 EU servers, three each English, French, and German, of which one each are RP, PVP, and PVE rulesets.
- SWTOR now has three Asia/Pacific servers, one each RP, PVP, and PVE rulesets.
- SWTOR now has nine US servers, RP/PVP/PVE set on the West Coast time zone, and on the East Coast time zone there's RP/PVP/PVE/PVE and the lone RP-PVP server. Apparently there are more nerds on teh east coast, despite EA being a California company? Who knows.

But the point here is, the load on the mega servers is now balanced among these servers by server ruleset. On my server, the EU/English/RP server The Progenitor, we got a reasonable bump in population although honestly I think most of it happened with the prior consolidation.

- We got four extra character slots, and some other nice perks in prep for patch 1.4 when they add the Cathar race. If you had >12 characters on other servers that got consolidated, you get >12 characters forever, as long as you don't delete them. It's worth it just for the bank space for a lot of people I know who had alt sets for RP purposes on other servers.

My guild is already picking up some of the new folks in Void and Dark Void, our republic and empire twin guilds.

But, really, TE, could you have reported on any of that? Nooooooo. Because that would have been actually reporting the news about the game and the people who actually play it, and the business of that actual game, rather than the schadenfreude over the imminent demise of the damn game pandering to the people who are wishing it dead -- which is the fashion.

Who do you work for, Rupert Murdoch?

I bet you won't report on this either:

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/ShavaNerad/20120919/177911/The_countdown_to_Bioware_II_begins_today.php

...because you'd rather report how the boys leaving means the end of the game -- admittedly a more likely catalyst than the server consolidation. But you'd have to understand actual game business, not just be a knee-jerk fanboi hater to think about that one.

Give me a break.

It's pandering like this that is killing the game industry. The rabid fans just circle like a pool of piranha, buy a game, tear it to bloody tatters comparing self-involved notes, and then go to the next game. But at the same time, they want brilliant AAA next gen graphics and design that cost millions, in a hit driven industry, and they won't pay past buying the box, because they hold every title in contempt -- it's the fashion that the press encourages and whips up.

While a majority of gamers who don't participate in online forums would probably want to play the game and enjoy it, the money men see the bloody shreds, panic, see mass migrations, and shut things down. The more cautious introverted players have learned not even to buy a game for six months.

Well, the industry can't afford it forever. Good luck to you. I'm pretty much retired at this point, and no one is going to fire me for saying it, but the fans are killing the games because they would rather find fault, and the producers are killing the games because they will panic and pull out because they don't understand the business or the fans, and the devs kill the games because they think they are there to design games and don't have to learn the business and legal bits to educate the fans or the producers to create an environment that will actually allow them to give you games you will actually enjoy.

In a few years, there's going to be nothing but little dinky indy games on your mobiles, Zynga, EA, and the F2P Asian mills, and every one of them is going to be using neuromarketing to nickel and dime you to death. And all you will be doing is jumping one F2P game to the next paying to win to get to end game, carrying guilds with you, if you have money -- and grinding little commercially sponsored f2p games with friends in one place if you don't. It'll look a lot like Cory Doctorow's FTW. The art and story will be incidental if present. Something the marketing people will throw in as a competitive edge. Window dressing.

Emo idiots. And you will probably all dismiss me as an old fart with no sense of humor. But you remember this in a few years. Hell, you won't. You can't remember past the next "ooo shiny."

We're freaking doomed.

cerebus23:
dethroning wow is so overused period it should just stop imo.

every mmo that has any kinda budget behind it gets the label, if they want it or not.

I think there should be some kind of ban on using terms like "WoW-killer" and generally any term that hints that some new MMO that is intended (well, somehow expected) to topple WoW.

What's next in the firing line anyway? Elder Scrolls Online I think...

Wow. Shava's really into this game. He's had an account for two years and that's his only post.

Anyways, as far as this game goes I felt it wasn't going to be that great. MMOs aren't my cup of tea though so what do I know.

What's next on the firing line? Elder Scrolls Online I think...

But that's a game I was actually looking forward to. (frowny face)

I just recently resubbed for The Old Republic. Mostly because I had made the mistake in the beginning of playing the beginning of most of the classes which really killed my interest fast and I was busy a lot of the time so I barely had time to play it.

I think this game's still got a spark left.

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