The Shae Vizla Experience – Should there be Server Transfers?

The SWTOR Developers opened up the fresh start server, Shae Vizla, in the APAC region (Sydney, Australia) on November 16th, 2023. Now over two months later, I wanted to reflect on my experience playing on the server and discuss what the developers should do with the server going forward.

I’m honestly still a little shocked that they opened up the server so soon. Yes, there was server testing in the APAC region in April 2023. However, I expected them to wait for a major release or ‘expansion-sized’ update before opening up additional servers so they could capitalise on the hype and publicity that comes along with an expansion.

But alas, with barely 24 hours’ notice and little publicity, the server suddenly opened up. A fresh start server no less. Seen as a boon to some and a frustration to others. 

My Fresh Start Experience

My experience on Shae Vizla hasn’t been the same as most players. For most of the time the server has been open, I’ve had an overall positive experience. However, the good times haven’t lasted and the server is showing noticeable signs of decline.

Starting Over was Fun

Surprisingly, I have been enjoying starting over. For years I have tried to level alts and replay the class stories. But I’ve never been able to get past the first couple of planets. I guess I don’t have the ‘altaholic itch’ that a lot of the player base has.

However, with fresh start servers, everyone has to start from scratch and that, for me, has made the levelling experience more enjoyable. It doesn’t feel like a grind when everyone else is levelling and building their legacies with you. I’ve so far completed the Bounty Hunter and Sith Warrior stories and I’m a good chunk of the way through the Sith Inquisitor story. I’ve also started the Trooper and Imperial Agent stories. I haven’t rushed to get through to max level, I’ve just been enjoying the journey and PvPing along the way.

Being part of building a brand-new server community has been incredible. In terms of Guilds, I’ve struck a good balance by being part of one of the largest Guilds on the server and having my own small Guild. This gives me access to a large community to do content with while being able to get away and have time to myself as well. Joining in and helping with large events has been a lot of fun too. I’ve already hosted one Open World PvP Event and I’m currently planning another one.

That time Heroes killed NIM Pilgrim.

One of my favourite things about the fresh start experience though, has been redoing the many fun achievements and going after datacrons again. I love exploration content but with datacrons and achievements being legacy, I have been cut off from that content for years, until now.

Not having the creature comforts of the legacy system hasn’t bothered me at all. As of writing this post, I still haven’t bought a single Legacy Perk. With limited means of earning credits, I’m happy to do without these conveniences until I’m in a more solid position (credits-wise).

It’s not all Sunshine and Rainbows

The biggest downside for me so far has been having to redo the endgame gear grind. I’d forgotten how tedious and annoying it is, especially as a PvPer. Being forced into PvE Content I seldom enjoy to speed up the gearing process has been quite frustrating. It’s a stark reminder that while gradual improvements have been made to the system since 7.0 launched, more needs to be done to make the system more equitable for all flavours of endgame players.

Another source of tediousness is credits. I’m spending them as fast as I make them. From gearing costs and repairs to crafting mats and missions and buying augments/augment kits, I’m being pushed to the limit. Given the limitations of the market currently, the only way to make credits is to do Heroics and Dailies and my god, sometimes I want to stab my eyes out!

Another major issue is endgame access. Currently, the server has a pretty low population with limited ability to do group content at certain times of the day (this has been getting increasingly worse). When PvP does pop, uneven team numbers (underfilled matches) and uneven team compositions are a common occurrence. Matchmaking simply does not work in these conditions. I recently had a warzone (OPG) in midbies that started as a 2v2. Something needs to be done.

What the Developers Should Do for Shae Vizla

As it stands, there are two groups of players. Those who have been actively playing and starting over on Shae Vizla and those who don’t want to start over and want character transfers. A common conversation on Shae Vizla features apprehension about allowing transfers with a desire to protect the server’s economy mentioned as a key factor. But generally, the majority of active Shae Vizla players are okay with transfers as long as there are strict limitations.

The current state of Shae Vizla is not ideal. There is a mix of players from all regions playing on the server producing varying rates of activity, along with it being an overall low-population server. This status quo is starting to take its toll on the native, active APAC participants. Something needs to be done sooner rather than later to address this.

If the barrier for entry for more APAC players joining the server is having to start over, then remove it. Open Transfers. It is as simple as that. If a player wants to maintain the ‘fresh start’ experience they simply do not have to transfer a character over. They can continue to earn achievements and play the game as they please. Other players transferring their characters won’t affect them as long as there are some credit restrictions in place.

Transfers Are Happening

The developers recently confirmed, unsurprisingly, that character transfers would be opening up soon with some limitations in place. These are the tentative limitations.

  • Free transfers, for a specific period of time, for players who have been subscribed for 90 days.
    • A limited number of free transfers are allowed.
  • Minimum character level requirements TBA.
  • Credit cap limit per character. The exact amount is TBA.

These limitations are mostly what I was hoping for. However, I’m not so sure about the subscriber part, that should perhaps be reduced to say 30-days? But otherwise, I’m fairly happy with the list. It’s a good start. I do have some additional thoughts on what the developers should do, beyond transfers though.

Here’s what I think the developers should do as soon as possible in order of priority.

  • Open Free Transfers for APAC region-residing players to Shae Vizla
  • Removal or Reduction of Credit Inflation Measures
  • Make all Chats Global
  • Open a Fresh Start Server in another region
Free Transfers for APAC Players

While the developers are going in the right direction in regards to character limits and credit limits, I believe players who reside in the APAC region should get free transfers for their characters regardless of subscriber status. I’m sure there are players eager to participate who aren’t currently subscribed and could miss out on the free transfers due to the proposed limitations.

As for what credit and character limitations should look like, perhaps a maximum of 12-15 free character transfers with no more than 5 million credits each would be ideal. The developers could tweak the numbers based on data from players currently playing on the server, of course. These measures would be enough to help protect the server economy. Any high-value items players bring over will not have anywhere near the same value they do in other regions (as long as there are credit caps in place per character).

Reduction of Credit Inflation Measures

For those of us on Shae Vizla currently at endgame, it’s a pretty tough struggle for credits, as I discussed above. Reducing the various taxes as well as reducing repair costs would be very helpful.

Make most or all Chat Channels Global

Making Chat Channels global rather than planet or area-specific would be hugely beneficial for players on all servers. The game would feel more alive and it would make it easier for players to find groups for content, no matter what they were doing (without having to be in a custom channel).

Open a Fresh Start Server in Another Region

In the long term, especially given the interest in fresh start servers, I think it would be beneficial to open up a fresh start server in the NA or EU region under a couple of conditions. For NA specifically merging Satele Shan and Star Forge would be a necessity but would greatly benefit all players. I don’t think it would be a good idea to just open a third NA server when one of the existing servers, Satele Shan, is suffering from population issues. As for the EU, perhaps the same needs to be done? Regardless this is a conversation for the future.

Concluding Thoughts

Honestly, over time, I’ve started to care less about Shae Vizla’s economy. I can respect it wanting a healthy economy but, I just want more people to play with. I want to see more of a variety of people in my PvP pops. I want matchmaking to actually ‘work’. I do not see the worth of fussing over one aspect of the server’s health while putting the overall health of the server in jeopardy. Things are only going to get worse.

Please open character transfers to Shae Vizla as soon as possible. 

1 thought on “The Shae Vizla Experience – Should there be Server Transfers?”

  1. kinda wish they let us queue with america servers for group content, sick of not having pvp or ops group finder stuff not poping

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