Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why Transfer?

After closed beta, when WoW launched ‘for real’, I found myself on a server named Daggerspine. One of the original WoW servers, it was all I ever knew, or cared to know, for quite a long time. It was PvP, it was well populated, and it was home. New servers came, and old servers merged (some even merging into Daggerspine, hi Blackrock), but as far as I was concerned, Daggerspine was WoW. There were other versions of WoW floating around in parallel dimensions, but it didn’t affect me, so whatever.

Then one day, along came paid transfers. Before, Blizzard had needed to decide that the realm sucked enough to force everyone off it, or at least give you the option for you to move yourself, should you be so inclined. Suddenly, the guild I was in (“Lotus Prophecy” or something equally ridiculous), decided that Laggerspine (omglol) was suddenly unbearable, and the officers had decided that we should begin to research a few other new realms to escape the constant disconnects we were suffering in MC. To be fair, Daggerspine was pretty bad at the time. Being an original server, it was loaded to capacity, and the instance servers seemed to suffer. Are instance servers even separated from the realms? I don’t think so, but our mind was made up!

I went to work one day, and came home in the evening to find the guild message of the day stating that Scilla was to be our new home, and to hurry up and transfer over there because that’s where all the fun new content was going to be! Our “research” of these other realms probably went something like this:

Click create new character, horde.

Hmm, Scilla’s name is green and has “recommended” by it.

Holy crap! They have an auction house, too? Woohoo! Notify the troops!

About $100 later, the logistics of moving over bank alts and crap aside, we set up shop on Scilla. There we were, and there we raided, until about 3 weeks later when the guild fell apart. The core group of raiders (myself included) stayed together through about 3 re-iterations of Lotus Prophecy. Fall of Man, Omen of the Phoenix... I was never there when the new charters were bought.

Paid transfers had a 6 month cooldown, and people bitched loudly about ‘being stuck on Scilla’, blaming our old guild master for having the stupid idea to leave in the first place. Fast forward six months, and many people who made the switch ended up going back on the day their transfers came back up. Scilla was too much to be made to suffer, and they missed Daggerspine. They also had only one or two toons each, and 25 or 50 dollars was worth it to go back home. I, on the other hand, wasn’t about to throw another 100 dollars at moving my toons back again, and stayed behind with a few others in the same boat who had alts.

People began to drift apart. Back then, without forty people, there wasn’t much to do. I finally went back to Daggerspine on my tank and was welcomed straight into another raiding guild led by a friend of mine, which convinced me to bring the whole caravan along.

This is all not very interesting, except that FINALLY, in the end, this same group of people finally ended up deciding that Scilla was the best after all, and went back, again, to Scilla. It was ridiculous.

I can’t remember what server I was on when I moved to Japan, but for a while I tried to make the time difference work, raiding on Saturday and Sunday mornings (Friday and Saturday nights for America). After raids were called, everyone would collapse from staying up so late, and I’d be sitting at my desk around noon, looking for groups. I eventually bit the bullet and went to an Oceanic server to play in my own time zone, striking off into the wilderness on my own; no friends, no guild, no vent. My gear was good enough to land me a spot in a TK / SSC guild, which was new content for me. My other guilds had dragged our feet Pre-BC, getting up to Sartura in AQ40 before BC launched, but not much further. We were then delegated to Kara status when our guild couldn’t pull 25 people together consistently in the expansion. Being in a TK guild was new and exciting for a while, never mind that everyone was from Singapore, and I was one of the three or four native English speakers in the guild.

That guild lasted for a while, with me struggling to understand the boss fights in broken english, until I gquit and drifted around a bit. I eventually wound up in a guild named fèár, and holy christ I need to write a whole rant on stupid extended characters in guild names, and how annoying it is trying to use them in the /who window. It was with this guild that I finally got into a groove on Thaurissan (my oceanic server), and we progressed as a guild to kill Kael and Vashj, stepping into Hyjal and Black Temple as a solid unit. I was raiding on my rogue primarily, which unto itself was a pretty impressive feat, since once a guild finds out I have prot and resto alts, the DPS I might offer a raid becomes trivial. I like to think of myself as a “gud rouge”, so maybe my numbers spoke for themselves? Who cares, I was having fun.

Why, then, did I just jump ship last week when free transfers from my server to another newly formed one came up? I talked about it with the guild, discussing the imbalance of horde to alliance on our server (we outnumbered alliance about 5 to 1), the opportunity to be an early ‘prominent guild’ on the new server, or just a general escape from the bogged down mess that Thaurissan had become (it really was bad). Everyone pretty much decided that they weren’t leaving, so one day at work I just up and moved all my toons over.

There were a few issues I had with the fact that we were destroying perfectly good gear by sharding it when no one wanted to spend large amounts of DKP for sidegrades, or situationally useful gear. Rather than just give the gear to raiders, ‘the rule’ was that it would be sharded, nevermind that it might be useful in certain encounters, but not worth going into negative DKP for. I offered on one occasion to trade shards in my bank for the item, since that’s all they were going to end up with anyway, but there was no wiggle room, apparently. Seeing Hyjal and BT gear become a stack of void crystals (which are readily available in Kara) seemed a bit silly, so I made up my mind to move on.

I’m not one for drawn out crap in guild chat, and just transferring off the server avoided having to log in every toon and gquit. All the top guilds had left for the new server already as well, so Thaurissan was drying up.

And now here I am on Dreadmaul. The entire realm is composed of people moving from their old servers (four oceanic servers were offered free moves to the new realm), so I know a few people that came from Thaurissan as well, but they’re already in their guilds that came over with them, and nobody needs a rogue. Even if I wanted to go back, I’d be looking at over $100 in fees to get right back where I was. The new server seems cool, I guess? People are trying extra hard to claim the title of ‘that one retard in the trade channel’, or ‘that one troll on the realm forums’ so that’s wearing thin, but that’s to be expected. I’m happily ganking alliance anywhere I find them, to crush their hopes that this server will be different, but in the back of my mind, I’m wondering why I abandoned a perfectly good guild of cool people that was actually making progress with me as an integral part of the team. Do I just hate being happy? If I find enjoyment in the game, do I feel the need to throw it all away and start again from fresh to ‘get it right’?

Looking back at my account page on worldofwarcraft.com I’ve spent $325 on paid character transfers alone. That’s enough to pay for 21 months of the game’s subscription. Many of these moves were to get my character right back to where I was in the first place. There’s no clean ending to this story, and maybe that’s the point. What I want is finality, an ending to the shuffling and reshuffling. I want to find a guild that I can progress with, contribute to, and that will be open to suggestions from core raiders on stuff like the issue with sharding gear I mentioned above. That guild is out there, but they went back to Scilla when I went to Japan. Everything we do right now is pointless anyway, with Wrath looming over the not too distant horizon, so maybe it’s all for the best?

1 comment:

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