Friday, June 23, 2006
Paid character-transfers in WoW
Blizzard is just about ready to start with their paid character-transfer service. Details at Atomic, interview on Gamespot, film at 11.
The transfers will cost $25. This price is purely designed to be a barrier, so that Blizzard isn't overwhelmed with a million requests, and not based on cost. There are some sensible restrictions, like you can't move characters less than level 10, you can only take a limited amount of gold with you (although the limit at level 60 is high with 5,000 gold), you can only move the same character every 6 months, and you can't be leader of a guild. A bit more disputable is the decision to allow transfers only between servers of the same type, or from PvP to PvE servers, not the other way round. This is because PvE servers are considered easier to level on, and Blizzard considers leveling on a PvE server and then killing people on a PvP server with that character to be unfair.
What worries me a bit is that you can't move to a server less than 90 days old, and you can't move to a server which is "at capacity". Now if I look at the list of realms in Europe, basically every server is either flagged as "full", or less than 90 days old. I wonder if there will be many servers available that are older than 90 days, but still underpopulated.
I don't think I am going to use this new service much. The main use I see is when you find out that people you know are playing on a different server than you do, and you want to join them. Moving away from a server to escape lag and hardware problems is probably not a good idea. Chances are that the server you moved away from is getting upgraded with better hardware, and the server you moved to is becoming overpopulated soon, and then you are stuck because you can't move that character for six months. I have a level 40 gnome warlock on a French PvE server which I might be tempted to move to an English-speaking realm if I ever want to play him again, but then I would probably wait the 90 days and move him to the new server I'm currently playing on.
I wonder if it would be feasible to persuade Horde players from different realms to all move to the same server, and thus create a realm where the number of Horde players is at least equal to the number of Alliance players.