When Star Wars: The Old Republic launched last December across Europe and America, players on the other side of the world were told they would have to wait until some time in the indeterminate future before they would be allowed to join Bioware's first MMORPG.
But gamers -- not to mention Star Wars fans -- are a determined lot. Whether they found a way around Origin's online region locking or simply purchased boxed copies from Amazon in the US, thousands of Asian/Oceanic gamers imported TOR in order to start playing at the same time as everyone else.
The only problem was determining where to play. Asian/Oceanic players had to contend with a time difference of 16-18 hours if they wanted to play during prime hours on the US servers (and a 10-hour difference on European servers). Finding any sizeable group of Asian/Oceanic time zone players amongst TOR's 150+ servers seemed more than a little impossible.
There was only one option: To have all Asian/Oceanic players join the same server.
But how? The longtime World of Warcraft guild, Remnants, came up with a plan. Thanks to prelaunch guild creation, guilds were able not only to find players but also to designate the ally/enemy guilds they wanted to play with/against. So what would happen if all the Asian/Oceanic guilds were to make an endless chain of alliances and rivalries -- all designed to pull the entire Asian/Oceanic community onto the same server?
Promoted on the swtor.com forums, Twitter and Facebook, the "Oceanic PvP Daisy Chain" grew quickly in the days leading up to The Old Republic's release. And for the most part, it worked. The vast majority of Asian/Oceanic guilds -- over a thousand players -- were assigned to the PvP West Coast server, The Swiftsure.
What resulted was The Swiftsure becoming the most populated server in the game's first months. In trying to find a home, Asian/Oceanic players helped to create a true 24-hour server. No matter the time, The Swiftsure was well populated, with both flashpoints and operations constantly being run.
But now, with the The Old Republic's impending March 1 Oceanic release, it seems The Swiftsure's unique status is at an end. Players in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong are being offered free transfers to the new local servers, prompting a mass exodus of the player base from The Swiftsure.
And what about players like me -- offered neither free transfers nor living in countries likely to ever see an official TOR release? Well, we have three choices: 1) Continue on our newly depopulated server with far fewer players in our time zone, 2) wait for paid transfers to become available or 3) reroll characters on the new Oceanic servers. It's a lose-lose situation if there ever was one.