DC Universe Online server merges start today

The 26 servers of DC Universe Online online will begin merging into just four instance-based 'MegaServers' from today, so hopefully you never again have to fight crime alone (or commit crime, if you're one of the superstitious cowardly lot). While Sony Online Entertainment's superhero MMORPG is safe from DC's upcoming comic book reboot event, it seems it's getting its own Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The merge will bring benefits including "much larger populations," playing with chums who were previously on other servers, easy switching between PvE and PvP modes, a better-stocked auction house, more people to play with in Alerts, Duos, Raids, Legends PvP, and whatnot, executive producer Lorin 'DeadMeat' Jameson explained.

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The four post-merge MegaServers will be split between the US and Europe, each getting one PC server and one for PlayStation 3. The first merge will begin today, bringing all European PC servers together. The US PC servers will merge together on August 10, followed by the US PS3 merge on August 11, and a European PS3 merge on August 15. Each merge is expected to take 10-14 hours, during which you won't be able to play on the merging servers.

Lest the world be swamped with heroes and villains, it'll be instanced with multiple "phases." If you want to play with someone in a different phase, you'll be able to join forces with a simple command. The split between PvE and PvP players, who were previously on separate servers, will also be handled by phasing; this'll also let you switch from one playstyle to the other.

Name clashes will be troublesome, though. If you share a name with another player on a server yours is being merged with, one of you will have to give it up. Jameson explained that SOE is using "the fairest system possible" to determine which gets to keep the name, with the other(s) getting a free name change token to come up with a new title. The same also goes for guilds. Because nobody wants a repeat of the confusing situation in the comics, where half a dozen different characters can lay claim to a single name.