Tera’s Unnecessary Screw Over

Like I said in the previous post, Tera has figured out a way, in laziness to just mess over almost every player. And it’s even worse and more unnecessary than is first apparent. This Server Merge is a big mess and it’s self inflicted.

Let’s look at what happens to characters. And then we’ll look at the implications for bank storage.

I thought it might be nice to start with some nostalgia from way back in 2014. Remember those server selection and character selection screens? Those were the days. Right? Remember the Island of Dawn? The Old start up area? Sigh.

Server Character Limit

So that brings me to the first point. Why limit the number of characters on a server to twenty? No reason. No change in the database or other server side issues really for , oh say, 40 or 60 characters per server. That would allow those folks who bought character slots to keep them all. But there is a problem. Character selection screens.

Client side, the character selection screens have always been complex in Tera. See the first set of pictures for the early design. Now we have a new Marching Army design, which is different, but just as messy.

As you recall, your characters march around this path in the ruins and you can select them to bring them forward to choose to play them. And there is this complicated UI that allows you to reorder them. The point is that adding 40 or 60 characters to this army is a problem. It quickly becomes unwieldy, if it isn’t already at 20. Maybe they are going to change this again and just haven’t told us, but I’ve not heard anything about a change here.

So it’s pretty easy to get rid of the marching army concept and just have one character, the selected one, marching around the path and the others not visible. No biggy really. And then the list scales to as many as you like. The code is all there, just a tweak really. And it gets rid of the messy Reordering UI that you need if you have the whole army marching.

A little bit of programming and a server character limit change and everybody can keep all their characters. But no. They are too lazy to do that, so some, or lots, of folks are going to lose characters that they played for hours. They simply have too many characters to fit in the small number of servers that will remain. With AV, TR and CH merging into one server, that means that folks that had more than twenty characters across those three servers will lose some. Nowhere to even pay to move them.

Bank Limits

Let’s look at what happens to bank storage.

My account wide bank looks like this. Pretty full. Of course. There are five characters sharing this bank and the stuff I’m keeping is mostly useful for starting a new character and leveling it. Crystals for low level and buffs and tokens for gear as a character progresses. Some low level Feedstock, and Alkahests for Enchantment of Avatar weapons. I didn’t buy more slots for the bank. They are about $10 per slot, as I recall. So I’m going to have to go through this bank on two of the servers and empty it since three banks will be merged – one for each of the AV, TR and CH servers.

But this is unnecessary, again. Since I have extra slots in the bank, they could just move the slots from one server into a bank slot. And since it’s their problem that they need to combine servers why make it my problem to clean my banks? Why not give me those slots. Give me two more slots in the new combined server bank? Oh No. Can’t give anything away. Screwed again.

With a crashing player population, why aren’t they working hard, where it’s easy, to make all of we who remain happy to stay?

Guild Banks

A couple of years ago in the last screw job, Tera did the Guild Nerf that I mentioned in the previous post. So this is what I have now for this guild.

So the Guild Bank itself is empty and the stuff is held in the “Temporary Guild Bank” for the last two years or more since the Guilds were Nerfed.

This must be cleaned out.

Luckily, Crafting is not a thing in Tera. I saved a lot of Materials in case I wanted to craft, but no reason to do that. So basically just sell it all for nothing to some merchant NPC.

Charms and Campfires are no longer a thing. That waste of time was removed from the game a while ago. So I can sell all those charms and campfire wood, and those bring quite a bit of Gold. I think the beetles are still a thing for folks that raid to make enhancements so someday I’ll sell those on the auction house.

Thankfully, cleaning the account and guild bank only needs to be done once per server, per account. So not too many hours.

Name Wipe?

And don’t forget they are going to do a “Name Wipe” in a few weeks. After the server merge. Sigh. Last time that meant that characters not played for a year lost their names so that others could use them. So if you have Lady.Gaga, but didn’t play for a year, you lose it so someone else can have it. But if you have Nobody.Cares, then you still lose it, but can take it back by just logging in and taking it back. So we mess over the bank and guilds and toss out your characters, but you can keep your Nobody.Cares name. Whoopee. I won’t have this problem I hope since my toon names are not well known and of course I’ll be playing every character to clean up before the merge.

A Game in Decline

So, let’s recall why they feel the need to do this? Because player population is plummeting, clearly. I did some research to figure out what’s up, and here’s what I found. These numbers are only for Steam, but are probably the majority of players these days anyway.

Comparison_-_Steam_Charts_-_2018-09-12_03.00.32.png

It’s not clear from the chart, but Green is TERA, Blue is Final Fantasy XIV, and RIFT, which is “Ahead” of Tera in decline is orange. These are not accounts, but concurrent players. So it’s sort of like “Active Accounts” over some time like a week or a month. The graph is not clear, I admit, but this is the best I could find.

Interesting to note that Final Fantasy took a big jump with the release of the Stormblood expansion in 2017, as you would expect. And of course Tera took a big jump when they opened on Steam in 2015 after being active since January of 2011. So I guess we are seeing the Death of a Game. But it’s annoying to see them do what they can to mess over their player base as they are in decline.

Why in decline? No content investment. Rather than figuring out how they can encourage folks to play old content they have, as FFXIV does, Tera removes dungeons from low level content. Lots of them. Did you see that list int he previous post? Shocking. No new story and no new leveling or progression areas. Just easy to code dungeons.

Tera is Free to Play. So, to make money, Tera needs to not only keep players playing, but keep them happy enough to spend some extra money on the game. It seems clear that making no extra effort in the server merge to preserve a players characters, and bank contents is a disincentive to further spending. I quit spending several years ago when the Guild Nerf occurred. That was a big disincentive for me since I was using that guild bank in my game play style. FFXIV and Wow are subscriptions, so when people stop spending, the player base shrinks right away. With Free-2-Play, the player base may not shrink immediately, but the game might be a zombie, already dead from disincentives to further spending.

FFXIV is growing or stable and is doing content releases. They recently bragged about crossing 14 million active accounts. Some long time players are grousing about the new content being Same Ole Same Ole, but they aren’t leaving. And all the old content and dungeons are there to be played. I know. I’m doing it now. Lack of investment and care for player base means decline for a game.

All you really have from playing an MMO are the screen shots and videos you capture. Unless you make a private server? Oh. Did I mention that it looks like folks are out there doing that for Tera? I probably never mentioned that I built local, private servers for Wow and played those for a while. Maybe I’ll try that for Tera.

I saw an announcement that Wildstar is shutting down soon. I loved the graphics, but the questing system sucked and the “dungeons” if you could call them that were nonsense. RIP.

May you walk in the light of the crystal.

:ww

~ by windyweather on September 12, 2018.