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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Will TOR Adopt ‘Mega Servers’?

MikeBMikeB MMORPG.com Community ManagerQueens, NYPosts: 5,724Administrator Uncommon

Will Star Wars: The Old Republic go the route of DC Universe Online and implement large capacity 'mega servers' to address the game's population issues? What are the implications for the game if they do? We discuss it all in this week's SWTOR column.

In an interview over at PCGamer, Erickson responds to a question regarding cross-server functionality for the upcoming Group Finder feature being introduced with Update 1.3: Allies:

“PCG: Will they be cross-server at launch? Is that planned for the future?

DE: They will not be cross-server as we are coming up on a huge move to servers with massively higher population caps than we have today.”

Read more of Michael Bitton's Star Wars: The Old Republic: Will TOR Adopt 'Mega Servers'?

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Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB

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Comments

  • gilgamesh42gilgamesh42 tampa, FLPosts: 300Member

    ^-^ you dont need mega servers for the 5 people still playing this jk

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    or am i?

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  • ZagavaVonnZagavaVonn Akron, OHPosts: 251Member Uncommon

    Let's say just for arguments sake this "mega server" merger goes through. SW:TOR is the most instanced non-interactive single-player MMO I've ever played in 10+ years.

    When you could have potentially 100k+ people on a planet, and yet you can only 'see' 3 of them at any one time in the instance / warzone / flashpoint / whatever, will this change the nature of SW:TOR?

    Even in the Beta test I was unable to chat with people who were standing right beside me, we had to use a weird instanced chat texting area. When 10 people standing side-by-side cannot 'talk' in-game, what will a 'mega server' merger do?

  • HerXHerX CPGPosts: 22Member

    tbh I thought it would be mega-server when it was announced, as it would make more sense for the story and all. Therefore yey for non-empty servers :)

    oh and I thought it worked out pretty well for Anarchy Online and gazillion of kmmo's, so it definitely would be a big step forward for western game to implement it
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by aktalat
    Let's say just for arguments sake this "mega server" merger goes through. SW:TOR is the most instanced non-interactive single-player MMO I've ever played in 10+ years.When you could have potentially 100k+ people on a planet, and yet you can only 'see' 3 of them at any one time in the instance / warzone / flashpoint / whatever, will this change the nature of SW:TOR?Even in the Beta test I was unable to chat with people who were standing right beside me, we had to use a weird instanced chat texting area. When 10 people standing side-by-side cannot 'talk' in-game, what will a 'mega server' merger do?

    First the first time in my posting here on MMORPG.com I get to say a particular sentence, without being sarcastic.

    You were doing it wrong.

    Of all the issues that SWToR might have had, talking to people wasn't one of them.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    Well for one mega servers only fixes one of the problems.  That is the population spread out over 214 servers.   The largest pvp being "Fatman" the largest PVE being "Jedi Covenant".   However Like I said that just addresses the population problem.

    You still have they hey I am max level and there is no content.   Well there is some content, like grinding dailies for whatever currency there is nowadays black hole commendations, corellia commendations, daily commendations and so forth.  However that is what you are stuck with. 

    Then you have the hard mode and easy mode of raids or operations as they are called in swtor.  The problem there being the loot,  What you get is the same stuff.  Thus leading most folks not to want to try hard mode.  So until they start having better loot there really is no reason to run hard mode operations.  This has been a gripe for a long time.

    Then there is the boxed in feel to the game.  The game feels closed in, and on the rails just like space combat is on the rails.  There really is not much exploration other than datacrons.

    Now lets talk about patch 1.3 what does it have to offer. More legacy patches.  Legacy is OK but it is a huge cash sync, and honestly other than the buffs you get there is no reason to it.  So Patch 1.3 is mostly fluff.  There is no new operations, no new flash points.

    So what you have after super servers and fix the population is a game at level 50 that lacks a lot of end game and is quite stale at this point.  Fixing the population is one thing, that might get folks back to running operations, but how long is that going to last before they get stale again.

    I will end my little rant now by asking this question. Where is the10 years of content that we were told there was going to be in beta, and where is the 100's of planets that was going to be added.  And what is going to happen now that 200 of the staff got the axe. 

    SWTOR has a lot more to fix than just population problems, this coming from an x-fan-boy who use to defend the game.

  • EvelknievelEvelknievel Ehrenfeld, PAPosts: 2,977Member

    How about this...

    It wouldn't hurt image

    They need to get this game back on track and they will.

    Just thinking positively instead of the doom and gloomers.

  • TalonsinTalonsin Posts: 1,472Member Uncommon

    While I agree there are more issues with the game that need fixed, I am looking forward to this.  I recently rolled a smuggler and have not been able to do any heroics from start to Tattooine.  I also find it hard to get a group for flashpoints.  I stand around and ask in chat for about 20 minutes then get tired and move on to the next planet. 

  • mCalvertmCalvert Tallahassee, FLPosts: 1,283Member

    You cant really fix ghost towns without getting rid of leveling and linear progression. Theres no reason to go back to areas once youve done the missions. So you end up with a bunch of 50s hanging out in the station or pvp, and noobs have no one to play with at lower levels.

  • DauzqulDauzqul Detroit, MIPosts: 1,408Member Uncommon

    This game os so single-player that they could probably just allow players to create their own servers...   like in Battlefield 1942, Unreal Tournament, and Quake.

    SWTOR = Single Player Game with Co'op option. D3 is more interactive that this game.

  • TerranahTerranah Stockton, CAPosts: 3,605Member

    Well maybe this would allow for more peeps in a zone, or maybe they could scale ambient world activity to population somehow.  In this way you could see more ambient environmental stuff going on and reduce the static feel of the world.  

     

    I think there's things that could be done to make the game better.  This might be one of those things. 

     

    And fix my light side points bug.

  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member

    Server merge with higher caps could work if handled right.

     

    At the moment I am in a raid guild on a standard server and at the moment it is a very close not community whwere everyone knows each other and to new level cap players it might be hard to break into that world.

     

    More people makes it easier for the new guys to blend in.

  • BrenelaelBrenelael Warren, MEPosts: 3,996Member

    Well first off I'd like to say that I haven't played SW:TOR. It's not that I think the game is bad it's just not my type of MMO.

     

    I can speak from experience from other games however. I knew TOR was bleeding subs but didn't realize it was bad enough to have "Ghost Town" servers already. From my days playing SWG I can say I know what this is like in a MMO. Server mergers while good in the short term will just lead to more down the road if they don't raise the population per server cap. Mega servers would eliminate this issue and allow them to only have one major population reshuffle for the foreseeable future. This would be the way to go. The server communities as they are now may suffer a little in the short term but would quickly grow stronger then ever before. Yes there would be a major problem with naming collisions but that is a small price to pay for building a stronger and larger community in the long term. This would be the right thing for them to do.

     

    Bren

    while(horse==dead)
    {
    beat();
    }

  • Mariner-80Mariner-80 Winchester, VAPosts: 347Member

    SWTOR feels and plays -- to me anyway -- like an online SPRPG/Co-Op RPG. For a game that's supposed to be an MMO, it certainly doesn't feel very "massively multiplayer-ish" to me. I also think the mechanisms for getting players together to do things in groups are quite poor.

    That said, I like SWTOR; I find it more engaging than most games out there at present (at least until GW2 comes out...). TERA does not interest me, nor does D3. WoW or LotRO would be hard to go back to at this point, etc. TSW is not going to draw me away from SWTOR.

    What Bioware needs to do -- and, I think, SHOULD have done from the beginning -- is design SWTOR as a SPRPG/Co-Op RPG. Period. It works just fine on that level. The problem now is that the "MM" parts of the game are broken and virtually not playable because the player populations are inadequate. FInding groups for heroics on most any planet past Coruscant/Dromund Kass is an exercise in frustration for most players.

    I think Bioware should play to its strengths and drop (or at least markedly decrease the sub fee), build up the individual player story content and companion content, and make the game MORE soloable, not less, while at the same time making it easier and very beneficial to find groups for the flashpoints. In my opinion, there ought to be better perks and social point advantages for compleing heroics in player groups, but the heroics ought still to be "completable" on your own if no one else is around or online.

    It's a false notion of economy to say "but we need to charge $15/month" when you could probably have twice as many players at $10/month or four times as many players at $5/month. If you "do the math", sometimes charging less (or going F2P) is actually much more lucrative in the long run.  STO foudn that out; they were charging premium grade A sub prices for a non-premium grade A game. Bad idea. Now SWTOR is charging premium grade A sub prices for a pretty good grade B (imo) SPRPG/Co-OP RPG. Bad idea.

    I'm fine with server mergers and/or the introduction of an LFG tool, but they are not going to fix the fundamental problem of the heroics and the general nature of this game, imo. This is why WoW converted a lot of formerly heroic areas (e.g., Jintha-Alor in Hinterlands) and made them "non-heroic."  Bioware needs to wake up -- soon! -- and do likewise.

  • TardcoreTardcore MinskPosts: 2,325Member

    Again, its the solocentric companion system, the small group limits, the over abundant XP per planet, made worse when you factor in space and PVP,  and the easy to get gear that make group reward drops unimportant until the highest levels, that make even the most busy server feel like you are playing alone. Whether you are playing with 5 or 500 players the world just feels like a single player, or at best a small co-op game, with general chat.

    Mega servers aren't going to fix the population angst issues as its core game design flaws that causes these issues. What they will do is take away the massive list of green (light) pop servers you see and replace them with a few standard to heavy. Which by istelf isn't a bad thing and fewer servers with higher pop caps would have been excellent for game launch. Now though its going to be a nightmare for players, as from previous game merger experiance, people are going to lose cheerished character names, players with legacies will do likewise. Guilds could potentially get wrecked or disenfranchised, the economy will be in chaos. All of that does not seem worth it just so Bioware can get a little PR boost.

    Remember when all is said and done, you are still going to only get to see 200 of those new people at a time in your game instance. Doesn't seem worth going through the potential horse shit.

    image

    "Gypsies, tramps, and thieves, we were called by the Admin of the site . . . "

  • nyxiumnyxium Posts: 1,222Member Uncommon

    Predicted timeline:

    Server merges 'mega' style  -->  F2P to level 15  ----------->  Full F2P 'LOTRO' style, P2W DLC  --------------->  SWTOR might still be alive in 2014.

    image
  • MephsterMephster Tyria, NJPosts: 1,188Member

    People complain about everything but the main issue was game design and lack of content. How is mega servers going to help ?

    Grim Dawn, the next great action rpg!

    http://www.grimdawn.com/

  • drumchannelldrumchannell Avondale, AZPosts: 155Member Uncommon

    or they could fix the problems that are causing people to not play the game.

    Linear gameplay,

    No immersion (mobs that don't move, can't swim or climb, no day/night cycle)

    No meaningful end game content

    Terrible performance, 5 minute loading screens

    Very little multiplayer in an "MMO"

    etc, etc, etc 

  • MephsterMephster Tyria, NJPosts: 1,188Member
    Originally posted by drumchannell

    or they could fix the problems that are causing people to not play the game.

    Linear gameplay,

    No immersion (mobs that don't move, can't swim or climb, no day/night cycle)

    No meaningful end game content

    Terrible performance, 5 minute loading screens

    Very little multiplayer in an "MMO"

    etc, etc, etc 

    Don't worry with the mega servers now you wan't be alone to experience all that goodness. Life is good!

    Grim Dawn, the next great action rpg!

    http://www.grimdawn.com/

  • AldersAlders Jack Burton'sPosts: 1,857Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Tardcore

    Again, its the solocentric companion system, the small group limits, the over abundant XP per planet, made worse when you factor in space and PVP,  and the easy to get gear that make group reward drops unimportant until the highest levels, that make even the most busy server feel like you are playing alone. Whether you are playing with 5 or 500 players the world just feels like a single player, or at best a small co-op game, with general chat.

    Mega servers aren't going to fix the population angst issues as its core game design flaws that causes these issues. What they will do is take away the massive list of green (light) pop servers you see and replace them with a few standard to heavy. Which by istelf isn't a bad thing and fewer servers with higher pop caps would have been excellent for game launch. Now though its going to be a nightmare for players, as from previous game merger experiance, people are going to lose cheerished character names, players with legacies will do likewise. Guilds could potentially get wrecked or disenfranchised, the economy will be in chaos. All of that does not seem worth it just so Bioware can get a little PR boost.

    Remember when all is said and done, you are still going to only get to see 200 of those new people at a time in your game instance. Doesn't seem worth going through the potential horse shit.

     

    Agree with most of this. 

    Are they raising the cap on players in a zone?  Only seeing 200 is still demoralizing.

    Until they get rid of the stupid phasing and over-use of instancing and instead go for a more public quest system, i just don't see the game moving in the right direction as an MMO.  It still lacks so many social features to help build communities that even with more players, the game will still feel like a single player.

    If they really want to fix what's wrong at the games core then they really have to do a few things in my eyes:

    -Get rid of instancing in the open world and go with public quests.  Should be playing WITH people and not against them or  in another instance and not even see them.

    -Get rid of companions.  While i actually like the premise, they're more of a crutch than anything.

    -Get rid of the 4-man party limit.  Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to allocate only 2 dps per tank?

    -Get rid of the fleet and move the action to the planets.

    -Implement level syncing/side-kicking so everyone can play together no matter what level, without ruining other players experience by steamrolling content.

     

    All this would help the PVE side of the game along with what they're already planning for 1.3.  PVP is unfixable with the current gear and class system so i'll leave that at a lost cause.

     

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon

    A separate servers model doesn't work very well and never has worked very well, unless you're trying to segregate the players by language and/or rule set.  Whether you go to more players per server or fewer is only a question of which particular debilitating problems you want your game to suffer from.

  • jakinjakin somewhere, ONPosts: 243Member Common

    Now that the technology for "mega-servers" is possible and feasible, the old "sharded" server model should really be tossed in the dustbin.

    The typical arc of a modern MMO exposes all the problems of sharded servers.  No matter what, you need far more shards at launch than you will for your stable population - which means by default you will have shards that are effectively ghost towns.  Now some players like that - but by and large most players on ghost-town shards will either stop playing or will move to more populated ones.  Downward spiral commences and the shards drop one by one until you're left with a handful.  See Warhammer: Age of Reckoning.

    The mega-server concept scales much better and should now be the default server design for any upcoming MMO.  It still breaks of course, everything will under a certain load, but it does keep the game lively for much longer.

    That said, it's really tough to fill a bucket that has a big hole in the bottom.  SWTOR needs to figure out where there population is dropping off and fix that or else mega-servers are a short-term improvement to a long-term problem.

    DCUO implemented mega-servers, but that alone wouldn't have saved the game, they needed to go the freemium route to survive.  They didn't really fix any of the main issues though, so they were really just filling the bucket by putting it under a waterfall.  Eventually interest wained and now DCUO is dwindling back down. 

    If SWTOR implements mega-servers without making the game more compelling at the end-levels it will slow the downward spiral, but they're at best buying time not solving problems.

  • artemisentr4artemisentr4 fresno, CAPosts: 1,431Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by tmr819

    SWTOR feels and plays -- to me anyway -- like an online SPRPG/Co-Op RPG. For a game that's supposed to be an MMO, it certainly doesn't feel very "massively multiplayer-ish" to me. I also think the mechanisms for getting players together to do things in groups are quite poor.

    That said, I like SWTOR; I find it more engaging than most games out there at present (at least until GW2 comes out...). TERA does not interest me, nor does D3. WoW or LotRO would be hard to go back to at this point, etc. TSW is not going to draw me away from SWTOR.

    What Bioware needs to do -- and, I think, SHOULD have done from the beginning -- is design SWTOR as a SPRPG/Co-Op RPG. Period. It works just fine on that level. The problem now is that the "MM" parts of the game are broken and virtually not playable because the player populations are inadequate. FInding groups for heroics on most any planet past Coruscant/Dromund Kass is an exercise in frustration for most players.

    I think Bioware should play to its strengths and drop (or at least markedly decrease the sub fee), build up the individual player story content and companion content, and make the game MORE soloable, not less, while at the same time making it easier and very beneficial to find groups for the flashpoints. In my opinion, there ought to be better perks and social point advantages for compleing heroics in player groups, but the heroics ought still to be "completable" on your own if no one else is around or online.

    It's a false notion of economy to say "but we need to charge $15/month" when you could probably have twice as many players at $10/month or four times as many players at $5/month. If you "do the math", sometimes charging less (or going F2P) is actually much more lucrative in the long run.  STO foudn that out; they were charging premium grade A sub prices for a non-premium grade A game. Bad idea. Now SWTOR is charging premium grade A sub prices for a pretty good grade B (imo) SPRPG/Co-OP RPG. Bad idea.

    I'm fine with server mergers and/or the introduction of an LFG tool, but they are not going to fix the fundamental problem of the heroics and the general nature of this game, imo. This is why WoW converted a lot of formerly heroic areas (e.g., Jintha-Alor in Hinterlands) and made them "non-heroic."  Bioware needs to wake up -- soon! -- and do likewise.

    I agree that they should fully support the SPRPG/Co-Op for the leveling process. Because it doesn't take that long to level. There really isn't a need for Heroic 4 or even 2+ on lower level planets. Even with much larger player caps, low level planets are over too fast to make a difference.

     

    But to see a large boost to mid to higher level planet player levels could make a big difference with Heroics while questing. So I would like to see how a "mega server" would change the leveling on some of these planets. If there are more than a handfull on a plant, it would increase the chance to play with others.

     

    The LFD feature should help if there are more players per server. But if the rewards aren't that great in the first place for flashpoints, it may not matter. The drops should be of much higher quality to increase the want for doing flashpoints prior to level cap.

     

    Going back to the SPRPG aspect for end game. They should add in a full companion party option for level 50 flashpoints, you plus 3 companions for a solo option. Only change the drops and loot to companion specific drops and another way to build your companion affection. So a LFD tool for level 50 flashpoints with current drops and a SPRPG mode with companion drops. Support the SPRPG format of leveling at end game. It would add content for many that won't or don't or can't group for some reason. 

    “How many people long for that "past, simpler, and better world," I wonder, without ever recognizing the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”
    R.A.Salvatore

  • PogmahonePogmahone Trevose, PAPosts: 22Member

    A super server still wont fix the issue

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,492Member Uncommon

    Server population wasn't an issue as the game is highly instanced to reduce latency issues. What is the point of merging servers or creating cross server gameplay when your game is still hindered by the root problem... instancing. This is why I can't stand pretty games vs. games with content. Unless of course you're LOTRO and can manage to have both.

    image

  • AlalalaAlalala Gabrielston, SCPosts: 311Member

    Was the SWTOR server merge announced the same day at the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking?  Was that some clever tie-in?

    Seriously, they launched a heavily-instanced game design while at the same time failing to deliver the features that are needed to offset heavy-instancing: solid LFG feature, dungeon finder, and robust guild tools.

    I knew this game was in trouble every time (and there were many) I would stand around the fleet for 30 - 45 minutes posting 'LFG' in chat for a dungeon group and getting nothing.  I would just leave the game in frustration and go check betas for upcoming games.

    How does if feel, James Ohlen, to become a 'legend' in the video gaming industry?

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