Our strategy overseas is to work with enthusiastic partners who are knowledgeable about their market and committed to the game and its community. However, launching and supporting an MMO is a very different beast than a single player game, and some companies underestimate the kind of engagement they have to have with the players. Regardless, we want to make sure that everyone who plays Pirates has a great experience, and will do whatever it takes to deliver that.
Today I sent out notice to Bigpond that we will not be renewing our partnership with them. I enjoyed meeting and working with the people of Bigpond, and I wish them and the company well in all its future endeavors.
So what does that mean for the players of Invincible? We will continue to deliver new builds to Bigpond for deployment to Invincible until the beginning of January. At that point, Invincible will be turned off. In the meantime, we will shortly be providing transfers for all players who choose to move over to any of our other servers.
Since we’ve moved port battle times to center around the highest concurrency of individual servers, there is no server that’s currently set up to serve Australias needs. To that end, we’re going to be opening a new server, Defiant, which will have port battle times appropriate for the Australian players (9p to 5a Pacific, or 5a to 1p GMT).
Since we’ve changed the timing of the port battles, some players have found that the servers they play on have port battles scheduled outside of their playtime. Given that we’re opening up Defiant specifically to provide more options for port battles, we’re going to go all the way, and provide all players one (1) transfer to any server so that they can move to a server that better matches their playtime. The port battle times for each server are posted here, and are displayed in the server select screen as well in order to allow new players to better determine which server matches their play time.
We will be publishing more specific instructions on how transfers will work for customers signed up with Bigpond, as the process will be a bit more involved for Australians who choose to make the switch to SOE. You can expect to see those instructions very soon, so keep your eyes on the news for that important update.
We intend to provide a more open transfer service in the future, but with the company’s resources focused on the new avatar combat system, it’s not yet on the schedule. We’re providing the transfers now because it’s worth the overhead to us to accommodate the port battle schedule changes.
One big benefit to this is that the Australian players will now be able to play on the testbed servers, which we’ll be updating soon with the new avatar combat system. We want as many people as possible to be playing the new system to get their feedback, so I want to encourage everyone to get on testbed when we deploy it to let us know what you think.
As for attracting new players from Australia, we’re going to expand out our advertising campaign to Australian web sites. We’ve been having good success with the limited amount that we’re doing in the US, and we’re going to significantly expand that up in the next two weeks, and then expand out to Australia (and other areas) when the new avatar combat revamp goes live.
We’re excited about this change, and the opportunity to provide the Australian players with the quality of service that they deserve.