We have also seen some concerns that we “haven’t considered what NA West’s populations are at offpeak times.” Actually, this is part of the reason we are making the decision to move APAC into NA West. Currently the equivalent NA West servers are seeing higher populations at offpeak times than their APAC counterparts. Meaning that even during offpeak NA times, the APAC players should see an increase in population after the transfers/merges.
Do you mean higher pops compared to no merge, or an APAC merge (for example Gav and MDN to Dalborra)? Because myself and others compared population numbers at our peak/your off peak, and a merge would be same pop-wise on the imperial side, and much better on the pub side (this was looking at fleet sizes on The Bastion).
If pop sizes are similar, then keeping a server available in Australia is a much more favorable solution, as we will then still have our great ping, and be able to keep our communities fairly intact.