SWTOR: Destination Ebon Hawk…And A Slight Rant

June 14, 2012

Free character transfers are now available in Star Wars: The Old Republic, though only on select servers so far as they gradually roll out this doozy of an undertaking. My home of Sanctum of the Exalted turned out to be an origin server as BioWare dropped the bomb yesterday that we are all getting free transfer passes to Ebon Hawk.

After a long period of debate (okay fine, it wasn’t that long and it wasn’t that much of a debate) our Republic Mercy Corps/Imperial Mercenary Corps guilds decided that What the hell, we’ll take it! Of course, no guild ever wants to be forced into a situation like this, but really, what can you do when your server will only continue to drain of players after such an announcement?

And what a perfect storm of charlie foxtrot proportions it turned out to be at first, as population redistributions usually go, so I can’t really say I was surprised. Things came together relatively well in the end for the RMC/IMC, perhaps better than they could have gone, but it did take its toll.

For a mercy, the character transfer process itself took only minutes to complete from start to finish. My characters all made it over just fine with their names intact, so I guess it pays sometimes to come up with weird-ish names for all your MMO characters. I was, however, prompted to rename my Legacy (everyone gets the opportunity) which turned out to be a bonus as I’d always wanted to change mine.

My sympathies, however, to those who lost their character names. I really mean that. I can’t even imagine going more than half a year (or more, for my fellow betans) by one handle and then having to change it, as I become attached to names as strongly as I get attached to the characters themselves.

At this point, I seriously question why all games can’t go the route of allowing you to choose any character name as long as you maintain a unique account handle (à la Star Trek Online, etc.) Or at the very least, I feel BioWare could have looked into releasing the names of inactive characters. After all, they are the ones who gave us all these tools to set up our personal legacies, they of all people should know names matter to players, they matter a lot. Add to that, we’re on an RP server, too. Ultimately, I understand how these disruptions became the last straw for many people, and it impacted our guild in more ways than anyone will ever know.

Will the move be worth it? Only time will tell, but both the Republic and Imperial fleets were alive and hoppin’ last night. I even encountered a queue. A BLOODY QUEUE. In the words of a fellow guildie, it was like stepping into some bizarro SWTOR world where all the names are a little different and there are actually — *gasp!*– people around.

Players are already reporting an easier time finding groups for hard modes and faster queues for PvP, so the initial headache may be outweighed by the benefits —  if things stay this way. I’m feeling a little conflicted at this point. Have you or your guild been affected by free character transfers (yet)? Did BioWare do things right?


  1. Nope. Sith Wyrm hasn’t been chosen for transfers either coming or going as far as I know. I do know that Rubat Crystal has, but I’ve stopped playing on that server, so I’m probably just going to delete my characters there.

    I know some people keep going on about how some servers will be shut down so you have to transfer and blah blah blah and I have to slap them with a “Bioware isn’t SOE so hold your tongue blasphemer!” Some people, right?

    • I think shutdowns should only ever be the last resort, but at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if a while down the road they will quietly start to do that with the really low population servers.

      • Okay, so Sith Wyrm was chosen for transfer to Corellian Run last week. I went ahead and transferred over the last of my characters on Saturday and was pretty livid that I lost four names I’ve been using for over 12 years in games. I mean, yeah, they’re just names of characters, but I’ve been using them so long that they’re essentially a part of me.

        I rustled up some new names and moved on, but I needed to play something else to cool off. Incidentally, now my Scoundrel is named Zyphus after the God of Accidental Death in the Pathfinder D&D campaign setting. 😛

  2. A few of the *MC people are on Google+ so I found out about the server transfers.

    Important News: Despite one of the requirements for a character transfer being an active subscription, this “soft merger” transfer they are currently running is *complimentary* and does not require a subscription! Just do the transfer from your Account Management page like normal. I transferred both my characters to Ebon Hawk just now and got the confirmation email that they were completed in under five minutes.

    Hopefully when or if I return to SWTOR, Ebon Hawk will be a busier server than Sanctum was. It was a ghost town (very similar to my experience in WAR) and that was the end of the first month and beginning of the second month the game had launched so I can imagine things were worse now.

    • That’s very good to know, thanks for the tip.

    • Thanks for the heads up, I let my guildies know on our forums as I’m sure there are more than a few people in that boat. In fact, someone had asked that very question about whether they will have to sub or not to take advantage of this transfer, so I’m glad I was able to give them an answer thanks to you.

  3. The impact to me was a bit different but still pretty strong. I wish we’d had two options to pick from with destinations. I’m certainly not going to quit over it or even be especially angry, just fatalistic. The need for this has come from less than ideal circumstances, no one wanted it to become necessary and the unfortunate side effects are something that no one wanted either.

    I’m really glad this wasn’t a full out merger, since I would have lost 4 characters with such a move. While I was fortunate that my primary legacy was on a destination server and I didn’t have to move, my secondary legacy (Imperial characters started before the Legacy system was explained) is stuck. I have full slots on The Harbinger and Krath was sent there. I either have to delete characters to move, or stay on an empty server. For now, I’m staying on the empty server and hoping for some paid options or even free options to a different destination later. (Silver lining, I have other people I play with regularly to still do our group content, and there are resource nodes galore to harvest from. We’re like children wandering a pristine empty paradise… ok, a dangerous, enemy-filled one, but there are still a few benefits to being empty.)

    The friend we play with over there has moved his PVP oriented characters and is very happy. He had to change names and was happy to get to pick a different Legacy name, but the benefits he saw almost immediately were well worth having to come up with new names. Rather than get angry over the change, he has embraced it and we’re adapting in how we hook up with him to play together.

    I understand it can be frustrating to have to make changes, but people can either choose to rage quit over it, or embrace it as an opportunity to evolve. Most people can pick names that start with the same first 3 or 4 letters, which is how we all call them anyway. And really, being able to put a ( ‘ ) in your name means most people can have essentially the same name. Just have to find creative ways to make this work and focus on the benefits gained.

    • Wow, that’s a lot of characters, LOL. I know I had a few characters sitting around on Sanctum, but that were so low I just ended up deleting.

      I tend to come up with a different name for each of my characters and tailor them to the game lore, so I would have been shocked if any of my names were taken. Still, if they had been I would have been quite upset too, considering my main’s name has been with me since beta. But if I want to keep playing I would have changed it, as life goes on. On the other hand, now I’ve come to realize how meaningless Legacy for me really is. I wouldn’t have been upset at all to lose my legacy name, I think it stems from never having been able to make the connection between my characters in the first place. It’s hard to come up with a satisfactory scenario that would link my human BH to my Twi’lek JK.

      • Well, we got a few of our friends into the game and MMOing, so we’ve made up characters to group with them. Two 4 person groups, plus one 3 person group, plus duo with my hubby, my solo BH, and my 50s to do Ops… wow, that adds up fast! My niece made up a character during the holidays and I haven’t had the heart to delete it yet. I could use a few more slots, LOL.
        Like you, I enjoy making up unique but SWTOResque type names, so I doubt any of mine would ever be taken. And if they were, I’d just add one more A to the name.

  4. I know the process was a bit painful, but we from “The Ebon Hawk” are extremely glad to have you. The server will be much better, and it was already great! I am especially glad to know that you and your great group will be here now! Look me up sometime — Belana or Islarana, Republic Side! Looking forward to new friends!

    • Thanks, glad to see you’ll be around too! And yes, it’s very lively, it was amazing how alive the fleet was last night. And I will add you up, I’m Sha’lanni on the Republic side, and I have a lowbie JC alt Sylhara. Recently I’ve been spending most of my time on the imperial side with my bounty hunter though, but I’m sure one of these days I’ll see ya on 🙂

  5. Spot on. There were some pain points to be sure, but overall the process was fantastic. Ebon Hawk is definitely jumpin’ … much more populated than my old server of Shien.

    • Ah, nice to meet someone who has relocated to Ebon Hawk from another server 🙂 Like I said, we came from Sanctum of the Exalted, and things were looking pretty empty there too before we left. We’d gotten used to the quiet, so it was quite a shock to see so many people on the fleet last night!

  6. I was one of the ones who chose to leave. It seems childish to cancel a sub over losing your character names, but to me it represented something bigger. I had been playing SWTOR since Novemebr ’10, in the earliest stages of beta. I pre ordered the game and woke up at 5AM on early access launch to get access to names I have been carrying with me since 2002. Now on top of all the other messes, I am being told that through no fault of my own (I was assigned to my server, you remember) I am going to lose my names. ALL OF THEM. I checked out my destination server, and all 6 are in use, almost all by low level characters not played in months.

    It’s sad, because I have played the game for so long, and made so many friends there. But there have just been too many other issues, and too many silly oversights on BioWare’s part. This was just the wake up call – it’s high time I was getting outside more anyways.

    • Sorry to see you go, Ryan, but I don’t think it’s childish at all to leave. It’s the little things that count sometimes, and I can see how this was the last straw to all the other little ways the game has made you unhappy. I hate the fact you’re departing, but I understand and support your decision. Especially since your point about the server assignments is a good one, and really this transfer thing pretty much negates the benefit of having preordered thus being able to choose our names in the first place.

  7. Man, feels like forever since I last used this wordpress.lol

    I am among those who had to change names. My main, actually (which did suck very much). However, I just logged off with 280 ppl on the Fleet 1 (and there were 2 more Fleets chugging along).

    As much as I hate getting used to a new name, it is worth changing it to have an absolutely vibrant community of players with whom to interact. I even jumped into a PvP queue (which popped instantaneously).

    • Heh, it feels like forever since I wrote a SWTOR post 😛 But I started playing games again a couple weeks ago, and have been managing about 2 hours a night so my bounty hunter is leveling up slowly.

      It’s been so crowded on Ebon Hawk that last night I was having lag issues!

  8. I unsubbed as well. At first it was over losing my names that I have used for many years. Then after thinking about it, I really unsubbed because of the way the merges were done and BW PR spin on people losing names.

    CSR say that’s the chance we take when we choose to move. When in fact we really never had a choice… we could stay on a server that was being abandoned or move to the new one that was pre-picked. I see no real choice there.

    The way to have done it fairly would have been to open a new empty server and direct everyone to move there…. I would feel much better about losing a name to a good old fashion gold rush rather than to an abandoned character on an existing server.

    • Exactly, I understood the reasons for our move. We had no choice really; the server population was already down on Sanctum and after the free transfers it will only go down further.

      So sorry about you losing your names, and I’ll be missing you on the IMC side.

  9. Like some others, I lost both my main’s name and legacy name when transferring over to Ebon Hawk. I’ve always been highly invested in names and characters, but I really wasn’t prepared for the sense of lose when I logged in an had to pick new names, so I just logged out. Despite the character being technically the same, it feels like he’s been deleted. So I left my other three characters sitting on Sanctum and cancelled my sub instead. I think I may stop playing MMOs that go with the multiple servers architecture. It’s so nice when talking about STO to not have to ask someone what server they’re on.

    • I agree, I would like to see MMO companies work towards doing away with the multiple shards system. I understand there may be obstacles to overcome related to the technology, but it really should be the future.

  10. I just resubscribed and got transferred to Ebon Hawk with the rest of my guild. I wasn’t happy about losing my names and renamed my Juggernaut Xlax in protest; but really I’m quite happy at how busy the server is and I’m glad they did the transfers. Its busier now that it was at launch on Lord Adraas. I hope I see everyone there.

    • Yep, at least the server is active. Hope to see you on there sometime 🙂

  11. I was fortunate not to lose any names or my Legacy. But even if I had, a slight re-spelling wouldn’t have bothered me. Having a server with actual people on it has breathed new life into the game for me — and from the looks of things my guildies as well. I’ve seen a lot more activity lately. My sub was going to expire in a few days, and I’ve resubbed now.

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