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.”

6 Comments so far

  1. Xander (unregistered) on April 16th, 2006 @ 12:15 am

    I would if it was going to be something new.

    My main is Horde on a PvP server, if someone wanted me to roll again on the Horde side of a PvP server, I probably wouldn’t go. If it was alliance, I definitely would.

    There’s only so much fun you can have doing the exact same thing over again, but a fresh start is always nice.

  2. Devon Jones (unregistered) on April 16th, 2006 @ 8:45 am

    Personally I think they need to take a look at Guild Wars. Cities are instanced (and the countryside could be) letting you switch instances (say in a city) with any over full instance (read: server) not letting you in. Course then you have massive problems with names.

  3. Gimble (unregistered) on April 16th, 2006 @ 2:13 pm

    I’ve done both – I’ve lured friends to my server, and I’ve joined a friend’s server.

    There are inherent problems with this.

    One, you might not like your friend’s Azerothine buddies. You join their server and you’re The New Guy – prepare for a hazing or even outright shunning.

    Two, you’re making another alt. I don’t mind it – I made an alt on a friend’s server and it suddenly became my main. I have more alts than I care to number, so that’s never been a hinder to me.

    Three, you can join a friend’s server and they decide that this New, Much Cooler MMORPG is worth more of their time. This has happened to me twice.

    Four, your friend might have a level 60 on the server you just joined, and maybe they’ll make a first-level alt to play when you’re online. Don’t expect them to play that character for very long – end game content is too tempting. Then you’re stuck with a low-level character and by the time you level your new one up to their old ones, they’ve probably done what you did and joined another friend on a different server altogether – either that, or they’d rather do raids and leave your pre-dungeon armor ass in Ironforge.

  4. Mark (unregistered) on April 16th, 2006 @ 9:04 pm

    This is an interesting problem–different servers may have different economics, politics, or cultures. However, not many people have played on a lot of different servers, and then shared their experiences, to let other people know what’s available.

    I can only speak for Magtheridon, and for the Horde, but it seems fairly saturated with the sort of people who think Chuck Norris jokes are still funny.

  5. Lex (unregistered) on April 17th, 2006 @ 8:44 am

    The issue I have with rerolling on another server to joing RL friends is that I’ve invested a ton of time and effort on my character and built a lot of relationships with my guildmates and others. To leave that behind (even part-time) seems like a waste.

    In addition, I’m in a raiding guild. I’ve got three nights a week that I’m expected to be raiding with my guild. Because we’ve all worked together for so long, we’re a well-oiled machine. I like that coordination and it would be a learning curve to understand a new dynamic or playstyle with new people, on top of leveling yet. another. toon.

    As others said, there’s also a risk I may hate how my coworkers play. Then it’s sticky to try to bail out.

  6. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2006 @ 10:56 am

    Blizzard has to make it easy and painless to move servers with an existing character. I agree though, I’ve met loads of people I want to play with but because I’m at level 53 and trying to finally reach 60, I don’t want to spend much time on alts doing the same quests again.

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