Large Tauren, Small World

From a comment on an earlier entry by me:

“The thing that makes me doubt these stories the most is the sheer improbability of encountering anyone else on your server, let alone anyone you’ve fought before. However, it has been known to be a small world.”

Agreed. It’s near improbable in a completely random environment. However, there are limits to that randomness. First, Blizzard is known to suggest realms based on IP blocks and server availability. Today’s 60s joined the game before the big new server rollout, so two people living in close proximity (Foster City, for example) away from decent DSL, are very likely to be on the same Comcast netblock and likely to have been assigned to the same server.


Secondly, Stormrage (my server) was the first retail PvE server. Lots of Silicon Valley dwellers were early adopters of WoW, and would have, if they chose PvE, would up on one of four servers. Combined with above mentioned IP…

Thirdly, as Joi Ito shows, and as my guild, Pride, shows, in-game societies often are bled into by, and reflect up on a subset of Rl networks. I came into WoW trough a friend who was on Stormrage already, and has many RL friends on the Alliance side of the server. I swapped to Horde after leveling an Alliance, dragging more people I knew IRL into the game, some of which dragged others in, who then either rolled Alliance or joined us.

To underline this, of the nine officers in my guild, four live in Silicon Valley and I only knew one before WoW. Since then I’ve met the other two, but this was pure chance. If, and this isn’t so far fetched, we both had gone for coffee around 3pm, we would have likely wound up at the same coffee shop, as well, being Sunnyvale isn’t that huge. Not to mention, a psychiatric incident would deliver all four of us into the same psych ward :)

4 Comments so far

  1. Xander (unregistered) on April 26th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

    I’ve got a 36 NE Priest on SR :)

  2. Jonas M Luster (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 1:15 am

    See, what I am saying :).

  3. Michael (unregistered) on April 27th, 2006 @ 9:42 am

    It is a small world. Who would of thunk it? I grew up in Burlingame, lived in Foster city, have friends in Sunnyvale and am your your real father.

    Trust your felings Jonas. DA kept the truth from you. Together we will rule Brill.

  4. Peaches (unregistered) on April 28th, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

    It is true that these things tend to follow social networks. Every server I’ve played on I have chosen because I had friends there. Although two out of four were chosen through internet-only friends. But I don’t really count your friends playing in the same park as meeting someone randomly at a coffee shop.

    Even when you boil it down to an area like Silicon Valley, which likely has a sizable population on every US PST server, it’s still a large town.

    I say it is unlikely because at first inspection it would seem like a very rare occurrence. What’s the chance of overhearing a conversation that happens to be about warcraft and happens to be by people on your server? But the small world principle comes in to play more often than I usually expect. It’s like the birthday situation. Randomly meeting someone else with your birthday is a 1/365 chance. But you only need about 22 people to make it likely that two of them share a birthday, and that’s what you write about.

    I’m actually in Campbell and moving to Mountain View soon. Maybe we should do a Silicon Valley WoW meet-up. Then I could easily claim to have met other WoW players I didn’t know through other means, and maybe even one on my server.

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