Then the dreaded update finally arrived on the official server transfer thread this afternoon:
Luka Sene --> The Red Eclipse
Less than two hours after the announcement went up, I had an e-mail from Bioware in my inbox with the title "Transfer your Character Now". Three minutes after I logged into the game in the evening, a giant server admin message flashed up in the middle of my screen, raid warning style, also telling me to check out more information about the free transfers on the website. Geeze, no pressure or anything! "Optional" transfers indeed.
My heart sank as I only saw ten people on the fleet at what was usually prime time. A quick /who command revealed less than a hundred people per faction on the entire server. A couple of players were levelling alts and one or two guilds were raiding but that was it. No warzones were running all evening, which didn't really come as a surprise as the well-known PvPers had all been talking about looking forward to the free transfers for weeks. From the looks of it, a third to fifty percent of our active server population left on the first day alone. It was depressing.
I've pushed for discussion of the server transfer issue on our guild forums, and as expected opinions are split. Two or three people are cautiously enthusiastic, others like me are not necessarily completely opposed to transferring but still unhappy about having to deal with this issue at all.
My guild master is adamant that he's not going, as all of his current character names are taken on The Red Eclipse, including his main's name which is also his real life nickname. Meanwhile my boyfriend has worked himself into a rage about how stupid he thinks the entire thing is, how he doesn't want to have to deal with queues and how he's thinking about cancelling his subscription now, simply out of protest at how badly he feels Bioware has been handling this entire situation.
Really? And I'm supposed to be happy about this?
As I was collecting mail on my alts (and not bothering to relist my auctions in case we do end up transferring in the next couple of days, not to mention that hardly anyone seems to be left to buy things anyway), I spotted an out of guild acquaintance near the bank. If the game allowed for more emotional expression, I probably would have run up to him, grabbed him by the lapels of his robe and yelled "Oh my god, someone is still here!" like a crazy person, but as it was I just waved at him and asked him whether he and his guild were going to transfer too.
He said that they were all planning to go, probably even today. I replied that my guild was still undecided, adding a frowny face for emphasis on how I felt about that. He gave me a smile in return. "I think everyone will go." "See you on the other side then," I said, "... maybe. If we recognise each other after all the forced name changes." Again he seemed to be completely unburdened by worries like mine. "There's a Luka Sene chat channel!" I thanked him for bringing that to my attention and logged off.
I'm trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and pray that it's not an oncoming train. I hope that my guild master and my boyfriend will come around, because anything else will leave a massive gash in my little circle of gaming friends. I still don't really want to transfer. I don't want to stop being Shintar because the name's already taken on The Red Eclipse, nor do I want to have queues upon logging in, deal with spam in general chat or fight 50 people for quest mobs in the Black Hole. But I like the prospect of staying on a dead server until it's closed and never playing another warzone again even less.