The server merge of the FlyFF servers was one of the most important and exciting events concerning this game we have been allowed to witness in a long time. All servers were, all in all, merged into a single server per region.
This event happened three weeks ago now. Join us as we take a look at the American server and draw up a small interim balance. How did the merge go? Were there any problems? How did the players adjust over the first few weeks?
Execution of the FlyFF server merge
Contrary to the usual way things go in FlyFF, one has to admit that the server merge which happened during the maintenance on 11/12/2019 went without a hitch. Players were able to inform themselves on the coming changed via an FAQ post on the official forums prior to the merge. This included, for example, the topic of double character and guild names.
A few things still have to be tweaked (e.g. the ranking on the website still showing old server names or the missing fourth channel), but up until now, no bigger catastrophes have caught our eye.
The effects of the FlyFF server merge
The technical execution may have gone through without any significant problems, but the more important question is what repercussions the server merge will have on the players and their game experience in the long run. After all, it is literally two worlds colliding.
Name chaos and abuse
Normally, the rules of conduct and gameplay contain a passage prohibiting the use of special characters in a name. A filter to enforce this passage is present inside the character creation process. Sadly, however, this filter is neither present when using the ‘Scroll of Namechange’, nor within the prompt to rename a character which appeared after the server merge in cases of double character names. As such, chaos broke loose, and we were almost forced to fall back to using such prohibited names while renaming characters.
The disadvantage to special characters in a character name is the fact that most chat functions, like /say or /partyinvite, will not function correctly. This causes many players to experience a significant amount of problems with everyday proceedings ingame.
Furthermore, some delinquents used this opportunity to adjust their names to the likes of GMs and MODs by using certain special characters. The motivation behind these actions should not be hard to guess at.
Massive resentments due to loss of FlyFF guild houses
The Guild Houses were already a topic of debate causing resentments prior to the server merge. The merge caused a setback of the Guild Houses and left them up for auction. This is a massive point of expenditure for the guilds. The increase in guilds, paired with the low number of Guild Houses in general, ultimately led to many guilds losing their homes and expensive guild furniture bought from the Cash Shop now lying around unused.
Players of the former servers Lykan, Kargo and Yetti in particular are sure to be prejudiced. They had to go through this expensive procedure once already, during the first phase of the server merge. A first, WEBZEN announced that there would be some sort of compensation for the lost Guild Houses. However, this plan was called off on very short notice.
Crowded farming spots
The heavy increase in players on a single server poses the question of possible impacts on the different farming spots. During the EXP event last weekend, we took on an extensive levelling tour ourselves. We met a lot of other players on Azria and Traseia in the low- and mid-level range, but problems were still avoidable.
Much bigger problems probably came to players in the endgame range. The Mas Dungeon was already well-frequented prior to the server merge. Now, it was bursting at the seams. New levelling areas or maybe a premium area for players between level 155 and 170 would be desirable and, above all, necessary.
The Mas Dungeon was not the only place bursting at the seams; Flarine changed its appearance quite a bit as well. Such a huge amount of players in one place were probably last seen years ago. This is pushing the game to the limits of its capacity, though. Entering Central Flarine at prime time usually leads to a loss of textures. Players without a high-end gaming rig have been lamenting massive lags and frequent disconnects.
The solution would be simple enough: spread the player masses. Saint Morning, Darken and Elliun have been ghost cities for ages. If players were to move to these cities, the server load could be lightened. Sadly, the community is not likely to do so and nobody can blame them for it. The problem here is bad game design. All the important NPCs are located in Flarine (and only Flarine). The Lord Manager as well as the entrance to the Forsaken Tower can be found here; and all premium areas send players right back to Northern Flarine upon exiting them. There are many examples and all of them lead to the masses of players gathering in one and the same spot.
On the one hand, it is extremely cool to see this many players on one server once again. It lets us feel like there is still a lot going on in FlyFF. On the other hand, the huge amount of players is generating a number of problems the game is unable to cope well with due to bad game design. Some of these problems have been discussed in this article. This is only a small excerpt though. There is also the Guild Siege suffering from the server merge, for example.
How do you think about the server merge? What further problems do you currently see concerning the merge? How would one go about solving these issues? But, more importantly… who did the Mocomochi pair with to give its fur this fabulous rainbow colour? Feel free to leave your thoughts with us in form of a comment!