Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Basics: Part I-Choosing your Server

You've gotten the game. Whether or not you've gotten either or both the expansions doesn't really matter just yet.

The game is loaded up, you've sat through the long process of patching and have read (You should) and accepted the Terms of Service and End User License Agreement. Now you're faced with your first decision: The server.

Believe it or not, the server you choose is going to have a very large impact on your gaming experience in Azeroth. There are several things to consider when trying to decide.

  • Do you have any friends/family/coworkers/associates who play the game? Playing with a friend makes the game even more enjoyable than it already is. Not only that, but they can show you the ropes when they have the extra time. Be sure to ask them the name of the server they're playing on.
  • Population. You can't tell simply be looking at the list which servers have a very large population and which ones do not other than the description given by Blizzard with words such as "low", "medium", "high", and "full". The population affects everything from the raidability of end game to the economy of the auction house to how hard the game can be on your computer in some areas.
  • To PvP or not to PvP. PvP stands for Player vs. Player. In game, you can flag yourself for PvP which means that any one of the opposite faction of any level can attack you at any time. On Normal servers, you choose when to flag yourself. On PvP servers, your flag is always on once you go into certain areas. Some people like the unpredictability of PvP servers. Others like the amount of control Normal servers give you.
  • RP. RP stands for Roleplay. On these servers you're encouraged to interact with other players and play the game in character. This means that answer questions as your character would respond, not how you would.
These are very quick looks at various servers and what you can likely expect from them, but there is more to it than that. For instance, if you have little play time through the week, a PvP server may not be for you. Being left open for attacks leads to situations such as corpse camping. Corpse camping is what happens when a player kills you, waits for you to resurrect, and kills you gain. This can go on for just a few minutes to hours if you let it. As you can imagine, this can affect what little play time you have greatly.

Another thing to consider is the community. Every single server I have ever played on has its share of jerks, elitists, etc. But don't confuse the vocal majority for the actual majority. The jerks may stick in your mind more, but most servers has more nice players than trade chat would lead you to believe.

All things considered, if you chose a server and find yourself not liking it, shrug it off. You can roll a new character on a new server, or even try out the other faction on the same server. The first few levels come fast and easy so you won't lose much at all by rerolling. If you get further before you realize it's not the right fit, you can take your character to the new server by buying realm transfer for $25.

Once you find the right realm for you, you will find yourself enjoying the game much more.


  1. Alright, I had a massive reply that was about twice the size of the post here, but the site ate it.

    So forget all the lengthy commentary, here's the short version:

    PvP servers suck. Stay away from them. I love PvP and I participate in it frequently, but I do it on my own terms in special settings designed for it (called Battlegrounds). Screw World PvP.

    The best way to find friends who play if you don't already have some is to get into the social circles. Examples: forums, blogs, twitter.

    Forums: http://www.wowhead.com
    Go there, check out the Forums under the Community tab. It's a great source of information and you can find other people like you there.

    Blogs: http://psynister.wordpress.com/blog-roll
    There's a million of them out there, so go fire up Google and start searching. When you find a WoW blog see if they have a link on there called "Blog Roll". That's generally a list of other, related blogs which may also be helpful to you. I liked my Blog Roll up there so you can see mine; it's not the most extensive roll, but it's pretty diverse.

    Twitter: http://psynister.wordpress.com/wow-tweeps/
    Twitter is excellent for finding friends. What I linked there is a list I maintain on my blog of every WoW player I know who also uses Twitter, and also volunteered to be on the list. I keep them on a Twitter List as well so if you follow me you can then access my list and with a single click follow everyone on there. It's a good way to get a few hundred friends in about 5 seconds.

    Server choice is a big deal, and it's hard to do because there's almost no information given to you before hand. I suggest you roll characters on a few different servers, play around for a few days to get a feel for it, and then make a decision. My first server sucked, but I didn't know just how much it sucked until I went somewhere else. I thought that server was pretty decent, definitely an upgrade from the first, but I didn't notice just how much that one sucked too until I found my current home.

  2. I agree. When I first started out, I played on a PvP server with the guy who got me started on the game. It was excruciating. Finally I decided to try a Normal server with another friend when BC came out. I found I fell in love with the game even more.

    The best bet is to do a bit of research. Read the official realm forums. And of course, just try it on for size.