Mythic is pulling the plug on 63 of its low-population Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning servers, moving characters onto other high-population realms.
Last month, it was reported that WAR had approximately 300,000 active subscribers, a significant drop from the 800,000 the game was boasting right after launch. In an attempt to consolidate the game's population, Mythic has been offering free character transfers from low-population servers to higher-pop ones for several months now. Those character transfers are no longer optional - and the plug will be pulled on the empty servers this week.
A total of 63 servers will be shut down - 43 in the US & Oceania, and a further 20 in Europe - which is a pretty hefty number of closures. On the one hand, this certainly isn't good news - Mythic's Mark Jacobs has said that the mark of a MMO's health is whether or not it's expanding. If the game needed to add more servers, it was in good shape. If they were merging servers, then there was trouble. Such a large merger, then, doesn't bode well for Mythic and their PvP-centric MMORPG.
On the other hand, this consolidation should make the game experience significantly more fun for the game's population. The trouble with having such a PvP-focused game is that if there's no one on the other side to fight, it can be rather dull. Making sure that all the available servers have a healthy and thriving population is a good way for Mythic to ensure that everyone is having an experience that is at least similar to what they intended the game to be. Heck, the prospect of having people to always play with might even draw people back to the game.
It's not good news for Mythic, no - but maybe it isn't quite as bad as it might have been.