Life on a Low Population Server
Have you ever lived in a very small town? You know the type – everyone knows everyone else’s name, and their business, and their drama. You know which person in town to go to if you need a good recipe for a dinner you’re throwing, and you know who to talk to when you need advice about your taxes, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of whose kids egged your car last Halloween. Sometimes it’s hard to find something interesting to do on a Saturday night because there’s just nobody around.
Welcome to life on my server.
Low population servers really do have a lot in common with small towns. It’s taken the better part of three years, but I know just about all the major names on my server now. I know who likes to troll Trade chat and during which hours of the day, and I have on my friends list the one person on our server who had the +30 spellpower enchant that could be put on heirloom weapons prior to Cataclysm. Unless a guild was created less than 48 hours ago, I probably know who the GM is and what they’re about (either by reputation or from seeing them advertise in trade chat). I know which raiding guilds are working on which bosses, and I know which familiar faces I’ll see every time I head to Tol Barad. I also know which Hordies will target me as soon as they see me there, because they’ve fought me before and know I’m a healer (just as we’ve seen their healers before and rarely target them first – we are, after all, Alliance).
The trouble with being part of such a small community, though, is that there just isn’t a lot of opportunity. Our server has suffered because it is a roleplaying server with a dwindling roleplay community. There simply isn’t enough raiding going on to make the server an attractive choice for people transferring to see end game, either. We don’t have a selling point at the moment.
Our guild leader was a little down last week during our raid after reading over some articles online about the difficulty of PuGing Ragnaros (this discussion was prior to the nerfs). This is something that can’t even be conceived of Alliance-side on our server. My guild is the only one that’s managed to down the Big Guy yet, and we only did so on Monday of last week … after somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 failed attempts. There are a handful of other guilds stuck on him right now; but when I say “handful,” I truly mean just that. Maybe 3 other guilds (all 10 man) in the Alliance have even seen the Ragnaros fight to date. PuGing him is just not anywhere on our server’s radar.
Being on such a small server also means that there are a lot fewer resources than you might find elsewhere. The prices on our Auction House are practically criminal – but people pay them because there aren’t many other options. Being in a reasonably large guild, I’m fortunate enough to access to max-level crafters for basically anything I can think of, though there are obviously not a lot of the new Firelands world drop patterns running around since so few people on the server are running Firelands. There are even less crafted pieces available because they require Living Embers, and those require actually killing a Firelands boss, which is even more of a rarity … though admittedly less so now.
At the most basic level, being on a low population server means that we simply have less people to choose from when it comes to recruiting for our raid team. We basically don’t recruit at all anymore; there’s only one large raiding guild on the Alliance side and nearly all of our applicants in the last 6 months have said that they know us either by reputation or because they’ve had experience with one of our members. There have been a few other large guilds on our server in the past, but the last of those transfered away near the end of WotLK. Hordeside we still have a few larger guilds and several of those tend to work seriously on heroic raiding. Those of us who play Alliance, however, have slowly watched Stormwind become a ghost town. We don’t recruit because there is no one to recruit. This will sound like an exaggeration or bragging, but the sad truth is that nearly all the serious raiders in our faction are already in our guild.
My first server was Elune, which – at that time – was listed as “high” population, I believe it’s considered “medium” now. At the end of BC and especially during the first few months of WotLK, I would come home from work and immediately log on to WoW. I’d then walk away from the computer to make dinner, take a shower, maybe even watch some TV, because it would take that long for my character to get past the queue time to actually enter the server. Some nights it was well over 1000 people; the lowest I usually saw it was 500. I absolutely don’t miss that aspect of life on a busy server, but having players to choose from? An auction house with reasonable prices? Players who could make rare patterns? Yes, please.
How busy is your server? Do you have a preference between high or low population? What keeps you on your current server?