Written By: Lady Republic
Hello and welcome to another installment of Command Decisions, the column for guild leaders, officers, or anyone else interested in guilds and their management. Last time, we discussed guild banks – the pros and cons of them, and how to set up funding for them. This week, we’re looking at another issue entirely. Unless you’ve been living in a cave or off the net, odds are you’ve heard that The Old Republic has begun instituting server moves for a number of servers. The long term plans for this are still a bit murky, though rumors abound about the intention of creating “super servers” and such. What we do know in the short term is that a large number of servers have been marked as either origin (where you can transfer toons from) or destination (where you can transfer toons to) servers. There are multiple origin servers feeding into the same destination servers so far, so this does look like the first step in a larger server consolidation process. You can read more about the overall process here.
Now for individual players, this appears to be a pretty welcome direction. Many servers have suffered from low populations and Fleets with barely ten to twenty players online at peak hours. Moving to a larger population server opens up all sorts of welcome opportunities such as the ability to get flashpoint groups, faster PvP queue times, and people to buy or sell from on the GTN. What does it mean for guilds though? This week, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of the server transfer in TOR and how it impacts guilds.
1. Guilds Do Not Transfer. That’s the sad and unwelcome reality for guild leaders – and while I understand some of the reasons it’s being handled this way (so people don’t find themselves ninja-moved as part of a guild), it still means a lot of headaches for your guild if you decide to move. You’ll need to reform your charter, possibly rename your guild (if your guild name already exists on your destination server), and then you’ll need to track down and issue new invitations to all your transferring members. Afterward, you’ll need to manually add in any member notes, officer notes, set ranks, set new permissions, etc. It’s going to be a lot of work, no two ways about it.
2. Guild Leaders Are Not Eligible for Transfer. You need to find an alt or friend to pass over Guild Leadership to on your origin server (guild leaders are not eligible for transfer), and then set up the new guild on your destination if you decide to move.
3. Guild Banks Will Transfer, But Only by CS Request. Two key things to be aware of here. First you can have your guild bank and tabs reinstated, but this does not happen automatically. You will need to complete the transfer, and then open a ticket with Customer Service to request the guild bank be restored. Also, the guild bank must be empty before moving. Goods will not be restored. So if you’ve got a guild bank chock full of items, get some help from trusted members to roll up level 1 alts and load them up before transferring them and repopulating the new guild bank. No word on how long this process is taking, though I’ve heard, unofficially, that it’s fairly smooth and finishes within a day or so.
Now that we’ve covered some of the basic details, let’s delve right into the pros and cons of a guild server move.
1. No Reputation or Ties. For guilds who have established a network of friends, allies, ties with other guilds, or worked to build a strong reputation on their origin server – be it from PvP, progression Operations, quality of roleplaying, closeness of members, maturity, or whatever – you won’t have that when you arrive. Everything you’ve built up in terms of a name and brand on your origin server will need to be rebuilt. In some cases, if you’ve had to change guild names in the move, you won’t even be able to effectively leverage people who will recognize the previous name. They’ll see a different guild with that name, not yours.
2. Lack of Knowledge of the Player Base. After six months playing the game, odds are the real “problem children” have earned a name on your origin server. Starting on a new server, you’ll need to start figuring out from scratch any bad apples your guild will want to avoid. In the grand scheme of things, this is probably one of the weaker cons but a con nonetheless.
3. Losing Some Members. Not everyone will make the move. If your guild goes some players will stay, either to play with other friends, fear of the unknown, or just a lack of desire to leave the current server. So for any guild looking to make a move, odds are high you will lose some members that choose to remain behind.
1. Recruiting. Larger populations mean more potential people to join your guild. Recruitment has definitely been one of the largest challenges on low population servers, and this will open up a whole host of new players looking for a new guild and a fresh start.
2. Filling Groups. For guilds that haven’t been able to field an 8 man Ops team reliably during the quieter times, or for guilds seeking to get 16 man Operations going, more people means a far larger pool of potential PuG members to draw from. The more potential people, the better your odds of finding the specific roles you’re looking for and people with the gear you require.
3. Drawing Inactive Members Back. Most guilds on lower population servers have suffered some inactivity attrition, many just not logging in as much and largely being inactive. The opportunity to participate in Operations, PvP, or even getting people to assist in leveling missions that require 2+ or 4+ to complete could draw many of those inactive members into playing again. This helps energize the guild roster overall.
4. Improved PvP Queue Times. This applies to either guilds who PvP, or guilds with members who PvP. Fairly self explanatory though, on low population servers, queue times can take an hour or more. Higher populations mean shorter queue times, which means more opportunity to participate in PvP.
Where does that leave the overall balance? Well, that’s really up to each guild to decide. I’d recommend for guilds who have regular communication to survey the members and see what their preference is, then make a majority decision that way. This can be through the use of forums, a mass private message to members, or Facebook/Google Plus/etc. For guilds that don’t have an easy way to communicate, just try to ask people as you see them log in, or even just make a decision amongst the officers. This last is less ideal since this is something that affects each member, so I recommend trying to reach out to as many as possible. Then, based upon what the consensus seems to be, plan accordingly.
The best thing to do in these situations is to be open and communicate your plans concerning your guild, the server it’s on, your future plans, and how this server transfer option affects your group. In my years of guild (as well as professional) management, people seem to get the most cranky when they feel like they’re not being informed by leadership about issues. Most times, they’ll take bad news far better than no news at all. So whatever you and your guild decide, communicate, listen, revise, and communicate some more! Good luck, and feel free to post in the comments below with what your guilds have decided to do and why.
Until next time, Lady R out!
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Tags: Bioware, EA, Electronic Arts, Flashpoints, Galactic Trade Network, GTN, guild bank, guild master, guilds, Lady Republic, LucasArts, Operations, PvE, PvP, Republic Fleet, Star Wars: The Old Republic, SWTOR, TOR