Nothing hurts worse than losing data after putting in hours and hours of work. Double that for MMO players. The truly dedicated gamer might devote weeks, months, even years into creating and building up a character to get exactly the experience they want out of a game. If you want to disenfranchise your most core players, just sweep their entire investment away.
Snail Games USA wisely chose a different way.
After finding major success in Asia, Snail brought their free-to-play, kung-fu MMORPG Age of Wushu to America, running an extended, semi-open beta for months. When Wushu went live in the West on April 10, instead of hitting the reset button, Snail simply rolled all the existing characters over into the final game.
A move like that might’ve thrown another game into turmoil, with already established, high-level characters harassing the sudden influx of newbies. Yes, that happens. But Wushu’s design incorporates a morality system that helps players police ancient China on their own. “Evil” players are clearly marked with red icons, and it’s open season on them for any “hero” players who want to make a little XP for the good of the land.
Rolling everyone over also keeps the game nicely populated, if not quite up to the 10 million players logging onto Asian servers. But Senior Content Producer Tyler Rawlins hopes those Beta players to do more than just stand around.
“We wanted these players to be like a guide to the new players who all just rushed in on April 10,” says Rawlins.
This is, after all, a role-playing game in a genre that emphasizes the bond between master and student. And since Snail respected the time those Beta testers put in, it’s likely those players will stay invested in Wushu…and help it to grow.