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  1. #1
    Legendary! Polarthief's Avatar
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    Free Transfers, once a month; why isn't it a thing yet?

    Subs are getting lower, and it's not JUST because of the East. No, there are a myriad of reasons for the sub dip, but one that I know for sure, and has been an ever-growing issue is dead servers. Players don't want to be forced to pay another $25 - $275 ($25 x characters) to transfer their long and hard worked for characters from their dead server to a thriving one. (Myself included should my guild ever crumble)

    Something players have wondered is why Blizzard still has this ridiculously high transfer cost. Yes, it USED to be manually done, so it was a huge PITA to do, but now it's all fully automated and they still keep the huge profit margin on it. Why?

    What I'm proposing (or WOULD propose if I could post on official...) is something that is logical and might even bring back some of the subs.

    - [Edit] Once every four-six months, per account (or character if Blizzard was feeling super generous), a character may be moved to a new server.
    --- [Edit] Players may only (freely) move to servers not labeled as "Full" player population. You may move to High, or anything below it. To move to a server with "Full" population, you must pay for it.

    - Once a month per account (or again, character), a character may race or faction change. (Name/Appearance change is fully included, just like buying a Race/Faction change)



    This opens up a plethora of options that players can try
    - Try raiding on a new server/guild without having to pay, or follow your guild without being left behind
    - Not feeling like a hordie anymore? Join the blue side, for free!
    - Dead servers? Finally, we can shut them down and the players on them will finally get to play a normal realm again
    - Picked a race you found fun years ago but suddenly you're playing to min-max? No longer an issue
    - Accidentally chose a bad skin color or pair of eyes? Go ahead and change it!

    But what will this accomplish?
    - Blizzard will lose quick cash from less paid-for transfers, but in the long run, players will be happy, and plenty of dead-server subs will come back
    - Players abandoned by their guilds for wanting to thrive can come back and rejoin them
    - Generally more positive feedback about feeling appreciated as a customer; something MANY players aren't feeling at the moment
    - Encourage players to try a new race, faction, or server if they aren't liking where they are, rather than quitting altogether (Quick $20-30 vs months or years of subscriptions. Which sounds better, Blizzard?)

    While it's definitely not going to bring them back to 10m subs right away, I feel like I can speak for almost anyone when I say that we'll feel more appreciated for having something like this. It easily solves the dead server issues, at least more than any other suggestion given, and it lets people know that they're getting a bit more out of their subscriptions (when atm, it doesn't really feel like we're getting our money's worth).


    TL;DR? Just read the bolded parts.

    Edit: I also forgot to mention that because Lore of Tankspot just got into Blizzard, and players have told me (because I don't follow him) that he is also greatly FOR this, that we may get lucky and see it in the (hopefully nearby) future.

    Edit 2: Before you ask "Free Transfers? Why not Zoidb--- Mergers?", read below

    Why Mergers are a horrible idea
    - It's forced upon you
    - You (may) forcibly give up your name; one you may have had for years (one of the biggest reasons Blizzard won't do it)
    - Forces you upon a higher pop realm (possibly even too high) from a dead realm
    - [Edit] Forcing stuff upon people generally makes them angry, sad, or generally negative

    Why Free Transfers are a better idea
    - You get to choose if you even want to go
    - You get to choose WHEN AND WHERE you want to go
    - Lets you check if your name is taken on your destination realm, and if it is, you can lock a name on that realm ahead of time
    Last edited by Polarthief; 2013-05-11 at 01:04 AM.

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  2. #2
    The danger with realm transfers is that the players can end up flocking the popular realms and leave their old realms even worse off. A more realistic first step might be a free faction change away from the more populated faction. It would not be the end-all solution, but it would specifically target the faction balance.

  3. #3
    Stood in the Fire Warpaladin's Avatar
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    Blizz would lose out on a ton of cash that could have been made. I personally like the idea. One other problem that could pose is servers that have low pops will get lower.
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  4. #4
    Free Food!?!?! Tziva's Avatar
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    If we're going to wishlist solutions to the transfer/dead server issue, I'd rather see the idea of characters being tied to a particular server go out the window. I think it would be desirable to have something where guilds are the things linking a player to a specific server rather than their character. You should get a 50 character list, and you should be able to log into any server in your region you want provided you're not currently a member of a guild. If your guild dies or you want to move to a new server, it's simply a process of leaving your guild, logging into a different server, and joining a guild there.

    I think Blizzard needs to do something to solve the issue of server transfers soon, at least in the form of transfer multi-character package deals, but I really think it would be a good step to abandon the rigidity of servers in the first place. I realise this would have a lot of social and economic impact, but I think once the dust settled, it would be more beneficial to players and to Blizzard financially because although they'd lose the money made from transfers, they'd probably stablise or even regain subscriptions from the players stuck on dead realms, the players established on servers away from friends, etc etc. It's a lot more enticing for players to stick around if their ability to play with a friend doesn't require rerolling or transfer fees. And they could still make money from faction changes and re-customisation.

    It's a controversial idea so I don't expect it to ever happen, but it's a pleasant thought.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    The danger with realm transfers is that the players can end up flocking the popular realms and leave their old realms even worse off. A more realistic first step might be a free faction change away from the more populated faction. It would not be the end-all solution, but it would specifically affect the faction balance.
    Yeah,we wouldn't want a situation where the majority of the playerbase are clustered across three or four servers per region with the rest of playerbase stuck in servers which care in varying stages of being ghost towns. Oh wait, that's exactly the situation now.
    They could simply prohibit the free transfers going to the the three most popular realms, but it isn't going to happen as long as that realm transfer cash is coming in

  6. #6
    Banned Superman-BladesEdge's Avatar
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    If it doesn't turn a profit, it doesn't get implemented. Blizzard is a "for-profit" company. Much along the same reasoning why the game is not Free-to-Play. If it ever becomes a F2P, I'm out... as are many others.

  7. #7
    I've quit a WoW a few times for this exact reason. I no longer have fun on my character's realm and refuse to pay 100$+ to keep playing them. I really like your idea but suspect it's way too much for Blizzard. Another thing is offer the above for inactive accounts (like 2-3 months +), similar to Scroll of Resurrection but without the free upgrades, and perhaps to all characters of your choice.

    As far as keep realms population balanced, they're already preventing you from transferring if a server is full etc.. All they really need to do is implement a stricter system for these free transfers, faction changes or race changes.

    Either way, I think it would benefit WoW.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tziva View Post
    I'd rather see the idea of characters being tied to a particular server go out the window
    This seems to be the trend with the MMORPGs of the future, and even in WoW with CRZ heralding the possible future changes. Games are already trying out solutions such as having a main server complex with the players just playing in different phases in order to prevent the areas from getting overcrowded. SW:TOR also used phases with the players being able to switch between them at will. Some older games such as Mu Online and RuneScape simply had several servers and you could log on any one of them with the same characters.

    Right now I think that the empty servers/factions is one of the biggest if not the biggest problem faced by the average player. It is mostly not fun playing an MMO with nobody around you. It also restricts the things you can do in the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Superman-BladesEdge View Post
    If it doesn't turn a profit, it doesn't get implemented. Blizzard is a "for-profit" company. Much along the same reasoning why the game is not Free-to-Play. If it ever becomes a F2P, I'm out... as are many others.
    Player happiness is an indirect source of profit.

  9. #9
    The Insane Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    Probably because that would destroy any and all sense of community left in the game.
    Unsubscribed as of 03/10/2014.

    If you dislike where WoW is headed in your mind, quit. Really. Sitting around complaining about "promises" that may or may not have been made isn't doing anything to help your cause. It's just making you look more and more like the constantly complaining and perpetually offended.

  10. #10
    @Tziva

    That sounds quite interesting. The only problem I can see with it is that the griefers will always have a new server to move to.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    The danger with realm transfers is that the players can end up flocking the popular realms and leave their old realms even worse off. A more realistic first step might be a free faction change away from the more populated faction. It would not be the end-all solution, but it would specifically affect the faction balance.
    Blizzard has technology of CRZ. I am sure it can be turned in such way that it can split one over-populated sever into 2 sub-servers. Meanwhile taking CRZ as realm-merger off entirely, so people had chances to get world rares or if they just prefer low-pop by definition.

    To OP: such thing was suggested like million times. Suggesting this is like asking for Classic/TBC/WotLK servers, if not worse, as it would cut the profit... I am all up for your idea though.

    P.S.: I always wondered why in p2p game you have to pay on top of sub if you need to x-fer character due to some imbalance. Especially at such cost, when f2ps have much lower price for that - if you settled on one server, breaking apart your chars is hardly an option, and x-ferring 10-11 chars is like robbery (or if you want to x-fer several hundreds k gold with you... it's 50k gold per x-fer).

    Edit: to Tziva: your suggestion is also good. There could be like 5-10 global servers, where you could log any of those depending on which one is less busy. And if you wanted to take your chances on some rare or to quest in silence, you could enter some instanced version of any zone. But I guess this might happen only in dream.
    Last edited by Ferocity; 2013-05-10 at 07:49 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Warpaladin View Post
    Blizz would lose out on a ton of cash that could have been made. I personally like the idea. One other problem that could pose is servers that have low pops will get lower.
    Yeah, from a business stand point, there's no profit to be made. In fact, they're losing money since they have to hire someone to do the transfers, even if it is semi automated. Someone still has to type the name in, the realm they're coming from, the one they're going to etc and make sure it takes properly.

    Likewise, as Warpaladin said, it will just cause dead servers to become even deader.

    Frankly, they need to just suck it up and merge servers. Sorry to those few that like the low pop servers, but this is a MMO, not a single player game. Time to put the MMO back into WoW. Merge those servers and give them strong communities to work with.

    On a side and unrelated note, remove CRZ completely and make LFR and LFD based off of, if not realm only, a small group of say 2-3 realms. At least that way, you'll be playing with more of the same people every time instead of just completely random people that really don't care about you in any way, shape, or form.

  13. #13
    Banned Superman-BladesEdge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    Player happiness is an indirect source of profit.
    Agreed, and since they still have 8.3M people willing to pay a sub, they still have 8.3M people who will either pay the service fee or not.

  14. #14
    Legendary! Polarthief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warpaladin View Post
    Blizz would lose out on a ton of cash that could have been made. I personally like the idea. One other problem that could pose is servers that have low pops will get lower.
    Blizz COULD* lose out on cash, but only in a short time span.

    If players on dead servers return, do you know how much that would be?

    12 months of sub = $156-180 (depending if you're doing 6 months recurring - 1 month recurring/prepaid time)

    One realm transfer = $25

    Who knows how long said players would stay? They could stay for years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tziva View Post
    If we're going to wishlist solutions to the transfer/dead server issue, I'd rather see the idea of characters being tied to a particular server go out the window. I think it would be desirable to have something where guilds are the things linking a player to a specific server rather than their character. You should get a 50 character list, and you should be able to log into any server in your region you want provided you're not currently a member of a guild. If your guild dies or you want to move to a new server, it's simply a process of leaving your guild, logging into a different server, and joining a guild there.

    I think Blizzard needs to do something to solve the issue of server transfers soon, at least in the form of transfer multi-character package deals, but I really think it would be a good step to abandon the rigidity of servers in the first place. I realise this would have a lot of social and economic impact, but I think once the dust settled, it would be more beneficial to players and to Blizzard financially because although they'd lose the money made from transfers, they'd probably stablise or even regain subscriptions from the players stuck on dead realms, the players established on servers away from friends, etc etc. It's a lot more enticing for players to stick around if their ability to play with a friend doesn't require rerolling or transfer fees. And they could still make money from faction changes and re-customisation.

    It's a controversial idea so I don't expect it to ever happen, but it's a pleasant thought.
    Okay, well that would be quite amazing. The problem though is I doubt Blizzard really wants to go through with that effort, despite it being amazing.

    I've actually chewed out GC a lot over the multi-character transfer. I had to transfer 4 characters off my old account to my new one, costing me $100 just to CLOSE AN ACCOUNT.

    Quote Originally Posted by madrox View Post
    Yeah,we wouldn't want a situation where the majority of the playerbase are clustered across three or four servers per region with the rest of playerbase stuck in servers which care in varying stages of being ghost towns. Oh wait, that's exactly the situation now.
    They could simply prohibit the free transfers going to the the three most popular realms, but it isn't going to happen as long as that realm transfer cash is coming in
    So add some rules like "free transfers are restricted to Recommended-High player populations"

    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    Player happiness is an indirect source of profit.
    Which is something Blizzard may be slowly (a bit too slow) starting to understand, but refuse to do anything about.

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  15. #15
    Free Food!?!?! Tziva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keoren View Post
    This seems to be the trend with the MMORPG's of the future, and even in WoW with CRZ heralding the possible future changes. Games are already trying out solutions such as having a main server complex with the players just playing in different phases in order to prevent the areas from getting overcrowded.
    Yeah, pretty much. CRZ is already half way there, but it's a compromise that, aside from being highly controversial within the community (it's not something I care about but it has clearly polarised players), doesn't do it as well since it has so many limitations.

    I'm okay with there being individual server identity and actually keeping the server names, rather than just merging them all on the front end and using phasing to split the population among actual physical servers. The latter might be good concept for new games, but after so many years in WoW I think it's better to keep distinct servers, and instead just let people swap fluidly between them.

    Right now I think that the empty servers/factions is one of the biggest problems faced by the average player. It is mostly not fun playing an MMO with nobody around you. It also restricts the things you can do in the game.
    I think it really is. I think Blizzard has made a mistake in treating the server issue as "just another thing people bitch about" but I think the reality is that it is really negatively impacting the in-game experience of thousands and thousands of players and is one of the factors causing sub loss. A dead server isn't an issue of player annoyance, it's an issue that makes people say "fuck this" and stop playing.

    Anyone who has had to choose between playing a character in an empty world with no friends and a barren auction house and shelling out a hundred bucks just to be able to have some kind of normal game interaction can speak to this. I'd be willing to bet most people would rather just quit than pay that money. It's something Blizzard probably should address as one of their top priorities.
    Last edited by Tziva; 2013-05-10 at 07:55 PM.
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  16. #16
    The short answer is greed. They have to know by now that it's possibly the biggest issue plaguing the game, but they're still confident that more players who get dissatisfied with being on small servers will pay the transfer fees than will quit out of frustration. I'm willing to bet that a significant chunk of the loss in players is due to this reason, but maybe it's not enough yet for them to actually fix it. Of course, mergers would make more sense to me, balancing factions and adding population at the same time, but I'd be happy with free transfers too.

  17. #17
    Legendary! Polarthief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dokhidamo View Post
    Probably because that would destroy any and all sense of community left in the game.
    Because that matters much anymore when you can just transfer servers already (for a cost) or raid on another server using CRZ (for all previous tiers).

    Community is not really a thing anymore, as sad as that is. I know for a fact my server's not the same anymore, and hell, we constantly bring in recruits from other servers because our server is shit, but we're not gonna pay to transfer (and no, that's not bias, I've been wondering this for years now and we never thought of transferring before)

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  18. #18
    Free Food!?!?! Tziva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman-BladesEdge View Post
    If it doesn't turn a profit, it doesn't get implemented. Blizzard is a "for-profit" company.
    Not really a problem.

    All it takes is the player to stick around a little over one month to balance out the cost of a transfer fee. There is a point where charging for server transfers earns them less money because it's driving away monthly subscriptions. Server transfer is a one-time fee. A happy player is a monthly income.

    What's worth more? Two of five people paying $25 to move to a new server, while the other three quit, or five people paying nothing but all five retaining their sub because now they feel like they have an increased positive experience in the game?
    Last edited by Tziva; 2013-05-10 at 07:58 PM. Reason: quoted wrong person!
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  19. #19
    Legendary! Polarthief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itisamuh View Post
    ---but they're still confident that more players who get dissatisfied with being on small servers will pay the transfer fees than will quit out of frustration. I'm willing to bet that a significant chunk of the loss in players is due to this reason, but maybe it's not enough yet for them to actually fix it.
    Seriously? No, they're quitting like flies or just playing til their time runs out. Blizzard's losing a lot more in the long run here. The only real money they make off of transfers/race changes is recruits who go to other realms to raid more seriously (not the same thing) or to min-max their character for raiding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Itisamuh View Post
    Of course, mergers would make more sense to me, balancing factions and adding population at the same time, but I'd be happy with free transfers too.
    No, mergers are even WORSE, and here's why:

    - It's forced upon you
    - You (may) forcibly give up your name; one you may have had for years (one of the biggest reasons Blizzard won't do it)
    - Forces you upon a higher pop realm (possibly even too high) from a dead realm
    - [Edit] Forcing stuff upon people generally makes them angry, sad, or generally negative

    Free transfers however:

    - Allow you to choose if you even want to go
    - Allow you to choose WHEN AND WHERE you want to go
    - Lets you check if your name is taken on your destination realm, and if it is, you can lock a name on that realm ahead of time

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-10 at 04:00 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Tziva View Post
    What's worth more? Two of five people paying $25 to move to a new server, while the other three quit, or five people paying nothing but all five retaining their sub because now they feel like they have an increased positive experience in the game?
    Not to mention if they dislike their new realm, they'd be forced to pay another transfer, or just wait a few weeks for their freebie, resulting in further increased positivity.

    Despite not being on a "dead" realm myself, I don't FEEL like a valued customer in any way. Robotic GM responses and all these extra fees on top of the ALREADY-not-worth-it $13-15/month subscription make me feel like I'm nothing more than a cash cow.
    Last edited by Polarthief; 2013-05-10 at 08:18 PM.

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  20. #20
    Free Food!?!?! Tziva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolbaluk1 View Post
    @Tziva

    That sounds quite interesting. The only problem I can see with it is that the griefers will always have a new server to move to.
    Personally, I think this is really a non-issue, or at least far less of an issue than most people think. For one, we're on the internet and people will be assholes here regardless because of the anonymity, but most of our player interactions already occur in LFR, LFD and through cross-realm with players we probably will never see any anyway. The idea of assholes being able to slip away into the shadows without social repercussion has already been true for years.

    And if they are a serious problem (like scamming, etc), then Blizzard can still track them to address it.
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