I also wanted to see and experience this part of it. As a vet of over 20 years playing MMOs, there's nothing that quite beats the experience of a new game. With Jackal, we have a new server with new rules and features, not quite a new game, but I was excited to play Wurm when I read about Jackal. I told every gamer I knew. And Jackal was indeed a lot of fun. Just like on a new game, where everybody is racing, you could feel the same sort of race with the grinding and seeing all the structures being put up around the start point in Jackal. It was fun. Soon we got hit with the bad skill transfer rate though, I suspect the rate betrayed the expectations of a lot of Jackal players, the pole suggest 80% of Jackal players felt betrayed.
All games get old. Every game gets saturated with skilled players, what happens with the games that still retain enough popularity to keep going - is that the bar keeps getting set higher in the form of expansions/level limit increases. However, some games have a built in skill cap or they don't want/can't keep going with updates, and we get a "surplus" of skilled players, with nothing to do. This is undoubtedly a problem for the devs, and I suspect they don't want to see too many players hit that ceiling for their skills sooner than later. They don't want any more skilled players on freedom, there's already too many skilled characters with who knows how many inactives, they likely already see it as a problem. It gets more and more inaccessible for new players to play on the freedom cluster, from a new player perspective there's no excitement in joining freedom - who wants to be a pissant among giants? They would rather invest their time in a new game where when they reach a high level, other will still be playing so they can do that content.
However the 1hour:1hour skillgain on Jackal, does not neccessarily exacerbate the problem. For awhile I actually thought that Jackal would be their solution, new players could get skilled, while playing on a server with "Equal ground" among everybody. Not a fast track, but an equal tradeoff for time spent - now this is just an estimate for the sake argument - if it took a player 100 hours to get from 0-50 on freedom in mining skill, and it took 100 hours to get to 0-70 in mining on jackal, then I think 100 hours of grinding should transfer equally, the player spent 100 hours grinding, he should be rewarded with 100 hours - 50 mining skill on freedom. Since when does 100 hours equal 10 hours, who wants to be paid 10% for doing the exact same thing? Is it really a problem that new players go through a gauntlet of six months on Jackal and end up with fairly decent characters on freedom afterward? Why so?
Another side of the argument against equal skill is that already skilled players are gaining more skills in a fun environment, since it's so fun, they will play much more and they shouldn't deserve equal skill gains for their time, why though? What's the problem here? So my 60 weapon smithing that has been sitting stagnant for years might be 70-80 after grinding 12 hours a day on jackal for six months, maybe 300-400 hours worth on ws alone, I think one deserves that substantial skill gain, to put in 100 hours and see 60ws go to 60.20 or some rubbish is a slap in the face. I don't see it as a problem, all games march toward the end game, if you can get more active players, it's only natural you end up with more skilled players. To just delete everything after 6 months, it kind of defeats the purpose of what playing MMOs are. People like gathering junk and seeing those skills go up, it makes them feel accomplished. The numbers are a nice way of quantifying the time and effort we spend in game. The items we gain are nice mementos we can see.
I play another game that's pretty much dead, 5-6 people on at peak times. Recently a diabolical gm went on a banning spree of skilled players, I am only speculating here, but this GM spent a lot of time online and really wanted to revive the game, he saw the skilled players as a sort of rich population that was suppressing the poor, namely newbies, the game was recently put on steam but this did not help the population much, I suspect he thought getting rid of the skilled players might help. The skilled players are not really in sight though, as one of those that got suspended, the question of whether I should care if nearly 15 years of gaming history got erased, even if the game is likely to die, came up. I still logged in from time to time to play and skill up my character, usually my alts, I just enjoy playing the game for nostalgia, but I tell you, there was no way in hell I was going to continue to play on a lesser just for nostalgia though if I knew my newly built characters would just get erased.
The transfer rate is so bad on Jackal, that it's not worth considering when you play on it, so if you ask me if I want to play on Jackal the next round just for the sake of fun, then no, I would pass. I want to be able to gain something playing, there's a value in skills and items, even if they get so saturated they're virtually worthless, it's still something I would want to see progress. The jackal pts and skins are a nice sentiment, but there definitely needs something more. As someone who still managed to put in 4-5 hours on a workday while getting 6ish hours of sleep, and 40+ hours on wurm while working 40+ hours in a week, whatever incentives and fun you got on Jackal now, did not entice me to renew my subscription. I was very gung ho at the start, I talked close friends to join in at the start, about how we'd castles and close up beacons on the frontlines, we ended up closing maybe 10 beacons and making a lot of "functional" buildings, none of us renewed though, the skill transfer was really too disappointing. We thought we'd get skilled or more skilled characters afterwards, what we would do with them? Probably nothing, we probably would have wandered around a bit looking at those shiny high numbers, but probably not engaged in freedom, just as we have the past five years. But what's the problem in that? If there's a few more skilled players that don't even play, whats the big deal? If the skilled get more skilled and there are a few more skilled players that do play? So what?