SWTOR: BioWare Reponds To Criticism, Server Merges Still Possible

Tom Hopkins

'Everything on the table' as BioWare looks at ways to combat low server populations in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Published on Apr 16, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic is experiencing "a classic MMO problem" according to Lead Designer Daniel Erickson, amid concern from gamers that not enough is being done to combat low player numbers on the game's servers at peak times.

"One of the problems we’re running into right now is kind of a classic MMO problem, which is that our overall population of players has not changed, but our peak concurrent users has changed," Erickson told NowGamer following last week's 1.2 Legacy update.

"As the game goes on and people relax a little bit, not playing the game 7-8 hours a day, you see a lot less crowds especially in certain places. Right now we’ve got our character transfer stuff underway on this side. It hasn’t rolled out yet - it will soon, to allow people to move to servers that will be better to their liking, get communities together. Long term we actually have to look at servers as a whole. The nice part about it is we have doubled how many people we can put on each server since launch. The down side is that at launch, because people were upset at the long queues we erred on the side of opening up more space. What that has now done is separated our player-base into a larger group."

Erickson said that current server merging would have resulted in large queues with the 1.2 update.

"It’s trying to figure out what’s that perfect place where you can handle a big event when everybody decides they want to come back and play, but you can also keep a population that is robust and healthy during the day. I think right now it’s safe to say we are definitely leaning more towards the idea that it’s probably okay to have a queue occasionally on a special thing if it means you’ve got a stronger day-to-day population," he reasoned.

Asked if it's possible to please all of the people all of the time, Erickson added: "It’s not possible to please all of the people all of the time anywhere on the internet, about anything. We know that. But they’re not wrong. All of the solutions they’re talking about are all solutions that are on the table here. They’re also all tech solutions, so none of them are going to show up tomorrow.

"We have everything in the works so we can use it, this is not something that we are ignoring. I know there’s a lot of frustration from the fans because they think ‘hey, we’re not getting feedback’ and the reason for that really bluntly is that once we’ve answered the question, if the answer has not changed, answering it again every week doesn’t actually help, and drowns out people asking other questions.

"Are server merges a possible solution? Absolutely. Are character transfers a possible solution? They’re a definite solution and we’re going after that first. But all things are on the table. Our entire goal is to make sure that players are playing in the environment they want to, with the type of community and the size of population they want, and we are driving towards all of that."

BioWare is currently offering high level players 30 days free in SWTOR, and also sprang a surprise event - a Rakghoul Plague - following the launch of the legacy update last week.

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