Monday, May 13, 2024

Moving On...

Following some helpful advice in the comments to my last post, this morning I took advantage of the dying hours of World of Warcraft Classic's free weekend to move all my characters off their current server, Hydraxian Waterlords

Not that I wanted to move them anywhere. I would have been perfectly content to leave them where they were. Hydraxian Waterlords has been a very pleasant place to play. It makes little difference to me whether it's busy or quiet. I mostly play WoW as if it was a single-player game anyway.

But it wasn't my choice. Hydraxian Waterlords is scheduled to close when Cataclysm arrives. Not that I'd have known if it hadn't been for Pallais and Shintar explaining the situation. 

In fact, I still can't nail down an official confirmation from Blizzard. There are some very recent forum threads asking Blizzard not to close it and trying to rally support to keep it as the only EU-RP server but although everyone acts as if it's a done deal, no-one bothers to link to an official closure announcement.

Working on the dubious assumption that it's better to jump than be pushed, I made the decision to take my characters' fate into my own hands and move them anyway. Maybe they could just have sat tight and nothing would have happened but who knows?

The Free Transfer process is both simple and confusing. For a start, you have to somehow magically know about it already to access it. If the server really is about to close and free transfers have been offered, I would have expected either an in-game notification or an email to my account address. Then again, I have a suspicion free transfers off Hydraxian Waterlords may have been open continuously for a couple of years now, since the last time Blizzard threatened to close the server, so maybe they sent out notices then.

Once you know the option exists, you have to go through the cash shop to take advantage of it. That's how it's worked in most MMORPGs where I've done something similar in the past, although there have been cases where I was sent a token in the mail, which seems like a more elegant way of doing it. 

Blizzard gets points for not asking for banks to be cleared or guild permissions reset or auction house listings to be removed or any of the myriad other fussy housekeeping tasks I've had to fiddle about with in other games. It's a straightforward change of address with no complicated paperwork.

Unfortunately, they lose points for the all-round kludginess of the whole thing. I moved seven characters to two different servers and at no point was I ever entirely sure if the transfers had gone through correctly. The feedback from button-presses is all but non-existent. 

My confidence in the process wasn't improved when the first transfer I tried crashed fairly spectacularly, spitting out a chunk of incomprehensible code. Along with the error message there was a button to Reload UI. I pressed it and it dumped me back to character select, where the character I'd been trying to move had vanished altogether.

It was only a level 10 priest I will almost certainly never play again so I wasn't all that bothered but it made me apprehensive about moving the others. In the end, they did all transfer successfully, with no further crashes, although there was an unnerving moment when I went to log into the new server, only to find I had no characters there at all.

If in doubt, relog. I started over and there they all were, so that was fine. More worrying was the string of gibberish attached to the end of one of my characters' names.

It hadn't occured to me that someone on the destination server might have prior right to a name I was using. I rarely have much trouble with that sort of thing. I tend to pick names no-one else would be likley to think of so I'm generally safe. 

And that was how it worked out for six out of seven of them this time. The exception, naturally, was my highest level character. It bloody would be.

I renamed him and with that I was done. I now have four characters on Pyrewood Village and three on Mirage Raceway.  Those were the only available options under the free transfer system, which made me think I'd been wasting my time. 

They're both PvE servers, or "Normal" as Blizzard calls them, both with similar-size populations and similar faction balances. I can't see it makes any difference which of the two becomes my new home. I might just as well have done nothing and let the automatic relocation shunt me on to whichever it felt like, if and when Hydraxian Waterlords does finally close.

It's done now, anyway. In the not entirely likely event that I resubscribe for Cataclysm Classic, at least I know where I'll be.


  1. I'm curious where you got the info that Pyrewood Village and Mirage Raceway are both similar in size? Last I checked Pyrewood was a mega-server and 95% Alliance, while Mirage was considerably smaller but still had some Horde left on it. When I checked just now, Mirage actually showed as bigger than Pyrewood, so maybe the transfers have shifted things around a bit, but still...

    1. It's a bit of hearsay, really, based on reading threads where people asked about which server would be good for a returning player. They were fairly recent threads but still from last year, which probably already makes the info out of date. From what I can tell, WoW servers are highly volatile in population.

      As I'm sure you know, there are several websites that supposedly record current details on this sort of thing but they don't necessarily agree with each other. It looks as though the two servers have an almost identical Alliance/Horde split of around 70/30 but Pyerwood looks to have a much larger population. The methodology behind the numbers doesn't look that convincing to me, though, since it seems to be based mostly on data uploaded by raid guilds. I'm not sure how widely representative that would be, especially given the threads I read made some considerable deal of how "family" oriented both servers were and how most of the population were middle-aged adults.

      From the launcher today, though, as you see in the post, they both just rate "High". I know we don't actually know what that means in terms of numbers but at least it puts them in the same bracket.

  2. Every now and then the madness strikes and I feel like I want to play WoW again, by myself, on my own terms and in my own speed. But then I recall how it's always a lacklustre experience compared to the old glory days with my guild(s).
    Alas....may-be I'll give hardcore a try when I get really nostalgic. That mode sounds reasonably insane.


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