The Old Republic Plans to Shut Down Asia-Pacific Servers

The Old Republic Plans to Shut Down Asia-Pacific Servers

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Declining server populations in the Asia-Pacific have convinced BioWare to shift players to another location.

In the face of falling subscriber numbers, Star Wars: The Old Republic decided to make the switch to a free-to-play model, which reportedly earned it an extra two million new players. However, several players on the game's Asia-Pacific and Oceanic servers still expressed concern at dwindling player populations compared to other servers in the game. In response, BioWare has decided to close servers in the Asia-Pacific and resettle players into North America servers.

Community manager Eric Musco explained the decision on the game's forums. The team had received several suggestions on ways to move forward, including transferring players to other servers with a higher population and merging all three existing servers into a single Asia-Pacific server. "However, the one common theme from the suggestions, which we heard clearly, is that everyone wants the opportunity to play on higher populated servers," Musco said. "With this in mind, we have evaluated all of the options and determined that the best solution, that will offer the best long term play experience, is to merge the APAC servers with higher populated North American servers."

BioWare decided to forego the server-consolidation idea after considering that some players would need to adapt to a different play style (PvE or PvP) if everyone were to connect to a single server. Musco added that focusing players on North American servers "better delivers on our ultimate goal of providing the best play experience, with the most possible players, long term".

Transferring characters involves several steps. After making some updates to the Free Character Transfer System, BioWare will offer Free Character Transfers for Asia-Pacific gamers to their North American counterpart:

  • Mastar Dar'Nala (PvP) will transfer to The Bastion (PvP)
  • Gav Daragon (RP-PvE) will transfer to Begeren Colony (RP-PvE)
  • Dalborra (PvE) will transfer to The Harbinger (PvE)

In addition, BioWare will also perform some updates to the server merge technology, after which the Asia-Pacific servers will be merged into their North American equivalents.

Musco provided no definite time frames for the move; however, he stresses that there is "quite a bit of work to do to make this happen".

Source: SWTOR Official Forums

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and so once again we will be sunjected to terrible pings and long lag

Hands up who didn't see this coming.

Hey! At least Simcity players will get a few new servers that kick them out for no reason!

Well there's a big surprise. I just pointed out in reply to another article that going on about having lots of new accounts after going F2P meant nothing without knowing how many of those new people actually stay to play the game. Looks like we have our answer.

Hey, games with multiplayer really ARE on the decline!

Ouch, so two million extra players, but not enough players to keep the lights on and The Old Republic is now effectively dead in the East (because let's face it, connecting to a US server from Aus or Japan renders any game unplayable). All this a year and twenty six days after it's release there too!

I know it's been said before, but this game really is a disaster of monumental proportions for EA, I'd love to know exactly how much money has gone on this project and whether they're concerned that Disney will find an excuse to yank the rug from under their feet.

fix-the-spade:
All this a year and twenty six days after it's release there too!

You actually counted the days?! Dude I think you may need to reevaluate your priorities...

Damn, I really liked playing The Old Republic too. First City of Heroes and now Star Wars, I am running out of non sword & sorcery MMOs. At least I still have Star Trek, for now anyway.

fix-the-spade:
Ouch, so two million extra players, but not enough players to keep the lights on and The Old Republic is now effectively dead in the East (because let's face it, connecting to a US server from Aus or Japan renders any game unplayable). All this a year and twenty six days after it's release there too!

Actually, those of us in Australia often get better pings on US servers than Asian servers. The 'Oceanic' servers that many games offer are often based in the US anyway, but have their maintenance scheduled around an Asian clock instead of a US one.

Having just started playing SWTOR again after a long break, the game seems more populated than I've ever seen it before. I've had no problem finding groups for all the Heroic quests and from what I've seen in general chat there seems to be plenty of people available for Flashpoints as well.

It looks to me like SWTOR has become one in a long line of MMO's to almost fail but find new life after going F2P. Sure, it'll never approach WoW numbers, but it doesn't need to. As long as they keep regular content over the next couple of years (which it looks like they will according to recent articles here on the Escapist), I'd say it will remain a reasonably well populated game.

fix-the-spade:
Ouch, so two million extra players, but not enough players to keep the lights on and The Old Republic is now effectively dead in the East (because let's face it, connecting to a US server from Aus or Japan renders any game unplayable). All this a year and twenty six days after it's release there too!

I know it's been said before, but this game really is a disaster of monumental proportions for EA, I'd love to know exactly how much money has gone on this project and whether they're concerned that Disney will find an excuse to yank the rug from under their feet.

The only thing hat may save it, is Disney seems to be focused on doing anything they can to minimize or erase any and all memories of the Prequel Trilogy from people's minds. This includes abruptly canceling the highly successful Clone Wars TV series, and killing off a number of game and development projects from time periods adjacent to the Prequels. TOR may survive just because it doesn't have Clones.

Of course at the same time word is that Disney is taking a chainsaw to Lucasarts, so TOR may not have many internal champions left drawing a paycheck.

Chessrook44:
You actually counted the days?! Dude I think you may need to reevaluate your priorities...

It's not a hard count, March 1 2012 to March 26 2013, I just looked up the release dates.

But yeah, you're probably right.

008Zulu:
I am running out of non sword & sorcery MMOs.

Because lightsabers & the Force are so completely different!

(I'm just pulling your leg, btw. Star Wars fan here!)

Kahani:
Well there's a big surprise. I just pointed out in reply to another article that going on about having lots of new accounts after going F2P meant nothing without knowing how many of those new people actually stay to play the game. Looks like we have our answer.

This is assuming that there was a market in Asia to begin with. You think TOR put a dent in TERA, Maple Story, Guild Wars 2 or any of the other MMOs specifically designed to cater to Korea, China, and Japan?

The servers were a way to test the market, nothing more. I doubt anyone really expected this to sell well in the East. Star Wars isn't exactly hot shit over there.

faefrost:
The only thing hat may save it, is Disney seems to be focused on doing anything they can to minimize or erase any and all memories of the Prequel Trilogy from people's minds. This includes abruptly canceling the highly successful Clone Wars TV series, and killing off a number of game and development projects from time periods adjacent to the Prequels. TOR may survive just because it doesn't have Clones.

Of course at the same time word is that Disney is taking a chainsaw to Lucasarts, so TOR may not have many internal champions left drawing a paycheck.

This interests us greatly, especially if they're reworking everything. Does this mean they'll be cutting the original movies too?

OT: Well, there's a sign of a game being on the way out, despite the short length it's been out, but in a way I kinda saw it coming. Only a fool goes with a mandatory subscription in this day and age it seems.

Wait, they go f2p (especially popular in asia), get massive amounts of players and still can't keep their servers on?
I'd really like to see their original business plan.

There's an interestin tidbit in that article.

The team had received several suggestions on ways to move forward, including transferring players to other servers with a higher population and merging all three existing servers into a single Asia-Pacific server. "However, the one common theme from the suggestions, which we heard clearly, is that everyone wants the opportunity to play on higher populated servers," Musco said.

Maybe I'm readin in to that too much, but it definitely sounds like he's sayin that there aren't enough people between all 3 asia-pacific servers to make a single high pop server.

Not even sure what to make of that.

rofltehcat:

I'd really like to see their original business plan.

1. Acquire really popular IP.
2. Make single player campaign.
3. Tack on Online Sandbox and call it an MMO.
4. ????
5. PROFIT!
In all seriousness though, I'm not that surprised, may have more players but not all those players necessarily are going to engage in microtransactions or subscribe so the ambitious project wound up floundering even with the higher player count.

Nothing like buying a game and than having it servers shut down on you after just a year or so.

I have to wonder if maybe the F2P design made it so gold farmers can't make much of a living off the game (monetary caps, weekly operation caps, etc.), and that's why there's a decline in the asian player-base?

I give it two years before it shuts down entirely

Big_Boss_Mantis:

Because lightsabers & the Force are so completely different!

(I'm just pulling your leg, btw. Star Wars fan here!)

For me, it's not the weapons but the setting. I prefer high tech over horses.

ThriKreen:
I have to wonder if maybe the F2P design made it so gold farmers can't make much of a living off the game (monetary caps, weekly operation caps, etc.), and that's why there's a decline in the asian player-base?

Know what? Nevermind, this isn't a subject I feel like getting into right now.

OT: So another sad chapter in the TOR tale, and to think it could have all been avoided if they just brought us KotOR 3

It starts........................

Kingfinger:
I give it two years before it shuts down entirely

As long as it breaks-even and clears the designated RoI I think it'll stay. A business can't be purely risky and needs a continual source of income for when times get tough. EA already has sports games, but they've been proven to be unreliable during the GFC.

Valve have Steam, EA will have SWTOR.

Also, MMOs aren't TOO bad with US ping; if you're not going competitive PvP that is (and PvE to an extent).

For other games like shooters or RTS it's impossible to do well without an enormous skill difference between you and other players.

Sir Shockwave:

faefrost:
The only thing hat may save it, is Disney seems to be focused on doing anything they can to minimize or erase any and all memories of the Prequel Trilogy from people's minds. This includes abruptly canceling the highly successful Clone Wars TV series, and killing off a number of game and development projects from time periods adjacent to the Prequels. TOR may survive just because it doesn't have Clones.

Of course at the same time word is that Disney is taking a chainsaw to Lucasarts, so TOR may not have many internal champions left drawing a paycheck.

This interests us greatly, especially if they're reworking everything. Does this mean they'll be cutting the original movies too?

OT: Well, there's a sign of a game being on the way out, despite the short length it's been out, but in a way I kinda saw it coming. Only a fool goes with a mandatory subscription in this day and age it seems.

No if anything the exact opposite. Expect Disney to stress and play up the original trilogy more and more in the ext two years in order to start the push for episode VII. They want the casual audience associating Star Wars with Luke, Leia Han etc again, and less or more distant memories of Anakin, JarJar and people sitting around on couches. The downside is a lot of the good stuff that came out of he Prequels, such as the Clone Wars related stuff gets cut and downplayed as well.

SWTOR may benefit as it is recognize able as a more classic Star Wars ish feel, but doesn't touch the Prequels in any way. So it is a novel and non threatening side property that keeps the name out there without any real consequences.

faefrost:
No if anything the exact opposite. Expect Disney to stress and play up the original trilogy more and more in the ext two years in order to start the push for episode VII. They want the casual audience associating Star Wars with Luke, Leia Han etc again, and less or more distant memories of Anakin, JarJar and people sitting around on couches. The downside is a lot of the good stuff that came out of he Prequels, such as the Clone Wars related stuff gets cut and downplayed as well.

Oh dear. And I liked the Geddy Taratovsky Clone Wars shorts too -_-

Otherwise, something I can look forwards towards in some respect.

 

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