In the WoW Community Council thread that can be found here:
Aggrend stated that
In November (2021), we opened a multitude of Free Character Moves (FCMs) between many realms.
The intent of this was to respond to the feedback that some players wanted to play on realms with a higher population. We aren’t trying to stop smaller servers from becoming even smaller, and we aren’t trying to prevent so-called “megaservers” from forming. We are simply trying to give players who want to move an easy option to do so. It’s not perfect or complete, but it’s a relief valve.
I’ll also be the first to acknowledge that we probably should have done this sooner. This isn’t meant to be an excuse, but the main reason we waited as long as we did (and a big driver to being very slow and methodical when making changes that affect server populations in general) is because in our attempts to “fix” things for specific groups, we could unintentionally damage the experience of other groups, and this is something that always gives us pause. Here’s an example:
Blizzard’s actions in enabling those “FCMs” in November DIRECTLY ‘unintentionally damaged the experience of other groups’.
Aggrend further stated in a reply that
- “Merging” servers is actually something that WoW has almost never done, and the reason for this is simple; we don’t like the idea of someone losing their unique name on a realm, and this is doubly true for classic where your identity in the community is a major aspect of the game.
I can’t help but find that Aggrend’s argument is a fundamentally flawed argument, as “SERVER IDENTITY” NO LONGER EXISTS DIRECTLY DUE TO BLIZZARD’S ACTIONS.
Now that we’ve seen the fallout from the free server transfers being allowed, can we get a response from Blizzard regarding large server minority factions that their “free server transfers” effectively extinguished? Blizzard has profited from paid transfers that they effectively triggered, ever since implementing that “service”.
I’d like to focus on one of the most dramatic server / faction combos that was affected by this decision; Faerlina Alliance, and the subsequent surge on Benediction Alliance.
Blizzard enabled free transfers for dead realms on 11/17.
Looking at the WarcraftLogs characters logged section For Horde Faerlina, which became a destination server for NA Horde raiders (along with my own server, Whitemane):
11/17 to 11/23 lockout, Faerlina Horde had 11371 raiders logged.
11/24 to 11/30, Faerlina Horde had 10900 raiders logged. (US Thanksgiving week; roughly a 4% decline compared to the ~8* - ~15% decline seen on other servers during this week)
12/1 to 12/7, Faerlina Horde had 11745 raiders logged.
12/8 to 12/14, Faerlina Horde had 11994 raiders logged.
12/15 to 12/22, Faerlina Horde had 12949 raiders logged.
Compare to the same WarcraftLogs characters logged section For Alliance Faerlina:
The Alliance perceived the faction transfer snowball incoming to Horde Faerlina, and chose to literally pay Blizzard to avoid it
https://ironforge.pro/population/tbc/Faerlina/ (same source)
11/17 to 11/23 lockout, Faerlina Alliance had 3402 raiders logged.
11/24 to 11/30, Faerlina Alliance saw 2254 raiders logged. (US Thanksgiving week)
12/1 to 12/7, Faerlina Alliance saw 1044 raiders logged.
12/8 to 12/14, Faerlina Alliance saw 491 raiders logged.
12/15 to 12/22, Faerlina Alliance saw 97 raiders logged.
Compare to the same WarcraftLogs Characters section for Alliance Benediction:
11/17 to 11/23, Benediction Alliance saw 16287 raiders logged.
11/24 to 11/30, Benediction Alliance saw 15703 raiders logged. (US Thanksgiving week)
12/1 to 12/7, Benediction Alliance saw 18565 raiders logged.
12/8 to 12/14, Benediction Alliance saw 19334 raiders logged.
12/15 to 12/22, Benediction Alliance saw 20402 raiders logged.
The numbers drop off the week after that due to the Christmas raiding week, but have since rapidly resumed their trends. The spiral of dying NA Alliance servers has continued; my own faction on my server, Whitemane Alliance, has died. My former guild has transferred to Benediction, and I’ve personally quit raiding because I’m not interested in paying Blizzard to transfer.
Will Blizzard ever refund the PAID CHARACTER TRANSFERS of the players who had their experiences “unintentionally damaged”?
At the end of that thread, Aggrend stated " One thing I will ask you to keep in mind however is that we generally prefer to avoid any solution that would force players to do anything they don’t want to do, or directly damages or diminishes their ability to log in and play the game, so please try and keep that in mind"
Blizzard has ABSOLUTELY FAILED if that is that their goal; the numbers of raiders who have clearly transferred based on raider numbers makes that an almost embarrassing statement to make. I’d hope to see refunds for a very large number of recent server transfers if that is truly a statement that reflects the sentiments of Blizzard.
TOWARDS THE POSITIVE;
How do we proceed from here?
Frankly, NA PvP server balance in BCC is completely shot. Continuing to profit off of lopsided servers seems like an almost unfathomable act of greed.
Enable free character transfers ala Classic Era, and be done with this problem. I truly think that letting players sort it out themselves, without profiting off of it, is the correct course of action at this point.