The merge will be spread out over the next few weeks in order to help ensure that things go smoothly, according to a forum post by U.S. Community Manager Glen "Famine" Swan. The U.S. servers "Bloodspire" and "Hyperborea" will be the first to be merged, while details regarding the remaining servers will be released shortly. Swan also noted that while the process is being handled in small groups, all servers in the territory of the merging servers will be unavailable while the merge takes place. Funcom is uncertain how long the game will be down while this happens, but Swan said the company expects the downtime to be "longer than usual," with a guess of around five to six hours per merge.
"When the merge process is complete we will be giving all active subscribers an appropriate amount of free game-time to compensate for the additional downtime required for the merges," he said. "The details of this will be communicated once the merge process is complete." Funcom will also be offering a free, one-time-only character transfer option for players who want to change servers after the merge is finished.
Funcom also plans on opening "fresh start" servers in both the U.S. and E.U. for players who want to begin the game in a "totally new environment" with a new community, rather than joining one of the more crowded, merged servers. Swan added that transfers to these servers would not be allowed.