Your Azeroth Or Mine?
Or perhaps, my Azeroth is not like your Azeroth.*
Whether you call it a server, a shard or a realm, MMOs have been socially structured around data centers of one kind or another. With the exception of single-server persistent EVE Online — AKA Earth’s Largest Shared Space-Mining Simulator — every player’s destiny takes place in a world of their own choosing. This applied for EverQuest (Quellious, sir? No, I’m on Brell, thanks.), for City Of Heroes (Victory!), and it most certainly applies for World Of Warcraft.
Typically, this decision is made at the start of your that particular game’s career. Either it is made at random because you know nary another soul or made as a coordinated effort with like-minded enthusiasts. Beta veterans know all about this … particularly about the stress of hopping into a retail version on Day One to ensure not only spot on a given server, but a player’s choice of carefully-honed nom de guerre.
But with a game the size of WoW (current population worldwide: 6 million), chances are far more likely than usual that you’re going to run into another WoW player at work, at school, at the local watering hole and so on and so forth. But there are scores of realms available on WoW. The chances are slim and none that these potential online friends will be living in the same Azeroth as you.
So the question for discussion is this: What do you do when you find out that a bunch of coworkers or classmates are playing WoW … in an entirely different realm from yours? Naturally, you’d want to play with them (wouldn’t you?), but is virtual comradery with meatspace companions worth moving to a new server and starting from Level 1 all over again? Would you create yet another alt character just for the purpose of socializing? Or would you tempt them over to your own realm with promises of
twinking assisting them through those trying early hours?
* – Another far-too-geeky title possibility: “Crisis On Infinite Azeroths.”