World Of Warcraft:
Server Culture

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jul 16, 2008

Filed under: Game Reviews 58 comments

Since we’re using cute names to pigeonhole various types of players online, I thought I’d note that yesterday Derek K said:

I see PvP’ers getting lumped in with powerplayers, and both being equated with skript kiddies and 13 year olds – PvP is not Ganking, Powergaming is not Munchkinism.

This is true. There are actually two very different types of PvP players. The good kind – who I respect even though I’m not interested in their particular flavor of gameplay – is the classic competitor. They want a “fair” fight, inasmuch as such a thing is possible in an MMO with looting, leveling, and lagging. They want to compete, to overcome, to see how far they can go. They have a certain code of sportsmanship, which varies but which generally promotes healthy and vigorous competition. They respect the rules of the gameworld and are there to enjoy the game.

The other kind of PvP player – the more notorious sort – are just the classic online brats. The basement-dwelling Donnys of the world. They fight weaker players, on purpose, as often as they can. They corpse-camp, grief, taunt, hassle and generally promote an atmosphere of angst and frustration. Donny ganks a kid twenty levels below him, who gets angry and kills someone twenty levels below him, who gets angry and hassles other players in some stupid but infuriating way. It’s a great circle of petty feuds, hurt feelings, and terrible English. Their unspoken motto is probably, “if you can stop the other guy from having fun, you’re winning.” They’re just bullies.

I gather that some servers have a different feel to them. I suspect the two types of PvP players avoid each other, and perhaps this leads to some servers having more of one type than another. I’d love to hear about life on other servers if anyone has the inclination to share. Just mention your server, the population level, and what you think of the natives.

I personally haven’t run into any Donny-class players, but I’m on a medium population roleplaying server with a good guild. I gather from anecdotes that being on a high-population PvP would present a very different in-game culture and a wildly divergent gaming experience. (And since so many people on the server are playing in the endgame, the low-level areas of the game are probably more like “low” population, even though the actual population count says “medium”.)

Others have observed the way people become more aggressive and insular as population density increases. This is easily observable in the real world. In a major city you keep your head down, mind your business, and don’t make eye contact. When driving you have to fight and swear and gesture rudely to get where you’re going. In a small town you smile and greet people as you pass them. Drivers are slower and more casual. People don’t have to push because there’s plenty of room for everyone.

Oddly enough it looks like this translates into the virtual world. In big cities you have people yelling, brawling, begging for money, running scams (Hi, I’m from Blizzard, give me your password) and shady deals (goldfarmers) in the streets. It’s noisy and crowded and hard to get around. My experience in the wilderness has always been that people are friendly and eager to help. Strangers buff each other as they pass, take turns or form temporary parties when dealing with bosses, and are happy to share in the unlikely event that they find themselves competing for a limited resource.

Last night I was in some Ogre dungeon in Loch Modan with a couple of my gaming buddies. As we emerged we passed a similar party heading the other way, probably on their way to re-kill the boss we just put down. (Sometimes the static nature of this game can be a little strange.)

We waved hello and exchanged buffs. (Translation from MMO-speak: Our people cast magic boost spells on them that they didn’t have available, and they did the same for us. The result was that everyone walked away stronger, with bonuses that would last the next half hour or so.) I love friendly moments like this.

The difference between high and low populations is so striking that I wonder if you could improve the quality of an MMO game by simply making more servers (let’s ignore the cost for now) and re-calibrating what constitutes low, medium, and high populations so that players are more spread out.

I never saw the game in its heyday. (Although, it’s not like the game is a desolate wasteland now. It still enjoys a 60% market share, even “late” in life.) I never saw it, but I can tell the game must have looked very different in 2005. Populations were higher, and the skill and knowledge level of the average player was much lower. Today the worlds are filled with fully-developed level 70 characters, and the occasional low-level player you see is more than likely an alt of a level 70 character. True newcomers like myself most likely make up a very small portion of the population.

This has somewhat borked the economy in my favor. A lot of these low-level alts have access to thousands in gold from their main character. This has led to a lot of price inflation for low-end gear and materials. Sure, you can spend an hour running around gathering a bunch of crappy leather for your new leatherworking character, but it’s easier to pay a real newbie (like me) ten gold for that stuff, since you can make that money back in just a few minutes with your main.

The result seems like a win-win solution to me. Those alts get to focus on leveling, since they’re mostly old-timers who are just in a hurry to reach the endgame. They spend less time gathering. They can obtain the best possible gear for their level at the auction house to ease their climb to the top. I get to bring in decent money by simply gathering up resources and putting them up for sale. I’m not in a hurry to reach the endgame and so I’m not so pressed to have the best possible gear. (My friends have to keep reminding me to upgrade. I’ll frequently be running around wearing gear fifteen levels below me.) Ignoring the gold dropped on me by high-level friends, I managed to pull in over 100 gold by level 38. I’ve been told a sum like that would have been unheard of at that level three years ago.

I find this all interesting because it means that even aside from the constant patches and gameplay tweaks, the game is better now than it was at its start. The emergent changes in the economy and the natural population shift has resulted in a better experience for newcomers.

It does seem like Blizzard is focusing on the endgame content. The rebalancing they’ve done recently seems to have the goal of speeding players through the early game content. The upcoming expansion looks to be exclusively focused on high-level play, to the point where I think it would be pointless to get the thing until you’re level 70. This suggests Blizzard is content with the audience they have now. They’re happy to sell new expansions to existing players as opposed to looking for new ways to rope in newcomers like me. They don’t seem to be working on expanding. (I haven’t seen an actual WoW advertisement in ages. They used to be ubiquitous.) I guess after four years it’s safe to assume that nearly everyone who wants to try the game has already done so.

I imagine a lot of dormant players will come back when the expansion comes out, meaning the population will be even more saturated with high-level characters. A lot of existing active players will shelve their low-level alts and go back to playing their level 70 characters. The low and mid-level areas of the game might become empty enough that it will start to feel like a single player game. If I’m still playing it will be very interesting to see how that plays out.


From The Archives:

58 thoughts on “World Of Warcraft:
Server Culture

  1. Shawn says:

    Completely off topic:

    Flagship, makers of Hellgate London, go under.

  2. Rhykker says:

    “In a major city you keep your head down, mind your business, and don't make eye contact. When driving you have to fight and swear and gesture rudely to get where you're going. In a small town you smile and greet people as you pass them. Drivers are slower and more casual. People don't have to push because there's plenty of room for everyone.”

    You hit the nail on the head there, Shamus. It all boils down to reciprocity and anonymity. In a small town, people are polite and friendly to one another because, odds are, they’re going to run into them again sometime soon – be it later that day, tomorrow, next week, or even next month. In large cities, people don’t have to worry about making enemies – odds are, they will never see that person they cut off in traffic ever again.

    As you do, I believe the same applies for online gaming – with the added anonymity of the internet allowing people to be as cruel as they wish without having to suffer any true real-life reprimands.

    As Penny Arcade once said, “Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total F***wad”

  3. qrter says:

    The basement-dwelling Donny link seems to be broken..

  4. Derek K says:

    It really is a different world.

    Even the things that trigger floods of idiocy are different now.

    You used to be able to get huge debates going on whether paladins were legit tanks, whether druids could heal, whether priests should DPS. Now people are so used to those things that the fights just aren’t there.

    4 years ago, you could ask about basic quests in the Barrens (Where’s the stolen silver? Where’s mankrik’s wife?) and get an angry flood of “N00B! THOTTBOT. GOD!”

    Now someone sends you a tell, and no one even moves on (I know – I test it from time to time. ;) ).

    It kinda sucks, though – if you get to a new area, say an instance, and you want to run it for the first time, it’s going to be very hard to find someone that is willing to go through it carefully, reading the text and exploring every nook. Most people know exactly where to go, what to do, and what will drop. “HEY! LOOKIT! This thing is called a [Wingblade] and it’s pretty neat!” “Yeah, I have one of those on each of my alts.” “Oh. Uh. Yeah.”

    But overall, it is a good progression, especially given the upgrades Blizz has made. The UI of today is *nothing* like the UI at launch. Blizz has grabbed all the best mods, and thrown them in as defaults. It’s pretty clever.

    Also, can I claim co-authorship for the site now?

  5. Shawn says:

    A couple of on topic points:

    1: With the recent growth in the P&W, which is partly your fault, and partly a wave of friends and family members joining/restarting/transfering, this is something the Officers and I were talking about the other night. A year ago, the guild was half as big as it is now. I think when things are smaller it’s easier for someone to realize their stake in making everything cool, and now it’s easier for some members to be rude or just stay out of the way and not contribute or participate. Which really wasn’t as much of an option when there were only 9 people on at any given time.

    2: Oh man, tends to have a massive PVP argument thread once every couple of months. I’ve seen your points brought up and argued over and over and over again. This is the one downside to coming in to a game years later than a bajillion people. You think about something, and make a point that from your experience is well reasoned and makes sense; and it’s something that some of us have seen brought up and argued and beaten to death repeatedly.

  6. Justin says:

    The “small town” analogy carries over everywhere. I enjoy the Halo multiplayer (I’m not even mad that you didn’t like Halo), but I usually only party up with friends. There’s enough hassle in real life that I don’t think anyone needs it in their recreation time. Good sportsmanship seems like it’s on a sliding scale inverse to the # of people around. My compatriots have an equation for that: The IQ of the dumbest member of the group divided by the number in the group equals the intelligence of a given mob.

  7. Alexis says:

    My server, AD-EU RP, is pretty much as you describe. 75% are good, 15% are excellent, 8% are ‘tards (possibly lovely gentle giving tards) and 2% are mule wank. Most of the jerks seem to have been driven off. The newbies have grown up.

    There are days I prefer to PUG than take a guild group, honestly. My guild is full of lovely people who aren’t very good – ok, but not great. I was apologising last night to a pick up group for my drood’s first heroic for some wipes, and it was shrugged off with a “np, I’m not pro”.

    re: the economy, yes and no. It’s easier to gather gold (and btw, mounts at L30 as of today for only 35g), but it buys less. BoE blues particularly sell for extortionate amounts, so I imagine first-toons can’t afford to twink themselves even a little. But well, I was wearing white armour at 20 on my first toon >.>

    The depth of knowledge available is a not inconsiderable factor in improving the new-player experience. Back in the day, I didn’t have wowhead or wowwiki. I found stuff by running around in circles for hours with half a boot tied to my foot. I learnt threat mechanics EXTREMELY slowly and painfully, it almost drove me to tears at points. Kids today.

    The expansions do tend to focus on the endgame, as that’s where 95% of the playerbase is. The last introduced two new races and starting zones, and allowed ally/horde to roll shaman/paladin. The next will bring a new class, providing you have an existing L55 toon. A recent patch upgraded an L30-40 zone. So there’s a little, but not a lot.

    There’s already plenty of content there to last new players, adding more would simply mean they skip more. Whereas fruitloops like me will potentially play new endgame content 6-10 times… scary. For Blizz it’s all about delivered player hours, across the base, relative to developer hours expended.

    BTW great comment Derek K, good names are essential for a meaningful conversation. I’m a hardcore casual carebear.

  8. Derek K says:

    Small towns are awesome – I recently moved from Austin TX to a town of about 60k. It is so much better here….

    I get kind of frustrated playing TF2 occasionally – I really only enjoy playing on a very small set of servers – mostly those that proport themselves to be in some way related to old people. They are, quite often, full. Rather than jump on some random server, I will sit and click refresh for 5 minutes, until a slot opens up, because I don’t want to deal with the people playing in the 4chan aids pool server, or the ‘All killin’ all the time no slackers noobs go home’ server.

  9. Scourge says:

    The basement-dwelling Donny.. Ah, yes.. I once met one of those in Yu-GI-oh online (I tested it, bear with me ^^)

    So, there am I with my level 1 starter deck and some guy with level 10 (to reach level 2 you need to win 5 duels, to reach level 3 you need to win 50 duels and so on…) challenges me.. This guy bought a lot of cards and booster packs and obviously spent about 60 bucks on his cards alone, not to forget that you need to buy cards too to duel other people.

    So, he gets his monster out and regularily wipes mine out whenever i summon a new one, he also plays lots of buffs to support his one monster and all the time taunts me “N00b! I so gon4 pwn u!” or “L00s3r!” And other various insults regarding my mother, my heritage and my sexual preferences.

    I then had the luck to draw a card which reversed buff effects, and killed his monster. He never got another monster then and I defeated him with my starter deck.

    In the end I said: Great game.
    He: STFU b14tch! U ch34t3d! I repot u for chetin you f4g!


    Seriously, I quit after that battle although most others were rather friendly, but I honestly don’t care if I ahve to make up with idits like that.. that I only had enough free cards to reach level 2(And reached it after winning this duel) was also a big help.

  10. Alexis says:

    Btw I have a cute story. I was levelling my druid in felwood. I run past this warrior, pounce on a satyr and promptly go OH S- as two more mob me. I run BACK past the warrior… who has the poor fortune to whirlwind and get all three on her plus the one she was fighting.

    Now I did consider legging it, I have to admit. I’m pleased to say I overcame the lizard, healed her up and we won. We grouped up – not much point going our separate ways if we’re going to tank n heal for each other, right? – and played for 2-3 hours.

    Later that night her boyfriend ran her through BRD and I was invited along. We’re still talking and with a little luck I’ll go to Kara with her soonish. This isn’t an isolated incident either, it’s a good reason to level an alt imho.

    Her main raids T6 btw, as do I. I’m sure this isn’t true for everyone, but I don’t know a single rude T6 raider. Raiding for several months with a guild or comm forces you to deal with conflict.

  11. teamdest says:

    I play on a High Pop PvE realm (Medivh, formerly one of the foremost in the game for raiding), on a couple PvP realms with my friends (Laughing Skull, a couple others. Dark Iron maybe?) a random RP Realm from time to time (always on a low level character) and several other, lesser PvE realms, Lightbringer is Med Pop, though a couple others are high or even Full.

    The PvP servers, almost universally, are a crapstorm of ganking, corpse-camping, teabagging, spitting, “chickening” and many other unsavory things besides. I only ever play there because some of my friends (revoltingly) are THOSE type of people, and so rolled on PvP servers, and then occassionally want to experience PvE content, and then I have to lead them lest they run into walls or trip over their own shoelaces and wind up burying their head up a monsters posterior. Population seems to have no effect except in the early levels where I can usually get by with making it to level ten or even fifteen before a gank-squad finds me. beyond that it’s been a roughly regular series of corpse runs and being mind controlled off cliffs. I tend not to interact much with players from the horde (“my” side on PvP realms) much, as I’m insulated by my friends being high level and they and their guilds giving me the things a lowbie needs like bags, unlocking of lockboxes, gold for mount/training, etc.

    on Medivh, my first PvE experience (and still my only “endgame” one) I found that the PvE was easy, as the groups were large enough that you could always find someone at your level wanting to do your dungeon, even competent people were easy to come by or make (I did sometimes feel like R. Lee Ermy whipping people into shape in deadmines and Wailing caverns) in the heat of the moment, and all the way to 70 I was satisfied with the Alliance faction, though due to the large population in the early game, the economy was kinda crazy back before gold was so commonplace (it didn’t fall from the sky like it does when you get to outland now). There certainly were idiots, scammers and the like, but they were easily avoidable, and the server was very self-policing, especially the trade channel. the PvP was something that wasn’t so structured back then. There were no battlegrounds (and when there finally was it was just Alterac Valley which while fun took a LONG time), raids on crossroads and Tarren Mill/Southshore were common, and all in all it was a Fun, Frantic type of action not commonly seen anymore. my encounters with the horde were mostly along the lines of “Westfall is under attack!”, seeing a random horde around my level prowling around killing guards/whoever flags to fight him, running up, asking for a one-on-one duel (hitting the duel button), and facing down whichever one would attempt it in honorable combat. whomever won would generally dance, then bow, and the loser would heal up, and then depending on feelings actual PvP would be engaged. It was very fun, very challenging but without that dread of “are nineteen people going to jump me?”. I don’t really understand how the duel system emerged, but it was very… Troy-ish. By the time i was PvPing it was almost like an accepted thing that one from each side enters into single combat to prove each groups honor, and no tricks were to be used. It never prevented PvP, in fact it encouraged it because you knew your enemy was going to fight honorably, and so you were inclined to fight even when the battles were much higher level than you. I remember questing in Hillsbrad at level 30, seeing the call for PvP at Tarren Mill go up, or that Southshore was under attack, and hitting my PvP macro (/PvP, and swap a couple pieces of armor in) so that I could join in the fun. occasionally a 60 would 1-shot you, but all levels were represented in these fights so often you’d find yourself locked in combat with someone right around your level, and it created a better sense of “making a difference but still a minor player in a huge play” than all the dungeons and instances I have ever done.

    I don’t want to sound like an old fart (i’m 21! this can’t be happening!) though I have taken to roleplaying one on the RP servers just because of things like this, but, well… “Things used to be better!”. I won’t say Battlegrounds destroyed PvP because they didn’t, they made it structured, and they didn’t REMOVE a single thing from the game. but when the majority of upstanding PvPers are also by nature somewhat of minmaxers they realized that World PvP doesn’t work as well as instanced PvP for getting points to get the PvP armor. I still play PvP either in the world wherever it actually happens, or in Battlegroudns and Arenas (I prefer both from time to time, except Warsong because I hate Capture the Flag), but there was a certain magic to knowing that the waves of alliance and horde crashing against each other were there because they WANTED to be, and not because there were points involved. Now that each kill minisculy increases you in power, some of that honor and fun is replaced by a need to win every conflict. It’s not a BAD thing, and it seems to be what the Developers wanted PvP to be, and it’s certainly more popular now, but it’s not what I personally wanted out of PvP.

    Nowadays I play on Lightbringer horde side as a Warlock, and while I saw very few people on my 4 day trip from 1 to outland, those I did come up against horde-side were cordial and helpful, either they were rerolling for their guild or for fun, or they were just new players who were smarter than many of the old ones. PvP was only ever engaged with on accident, however, or by trickery. I blame this more on observer bias than anything else. I ran into all of 10 PvP encounters from 1-58 and none in Outland so far, and each seemed just like an isolated griefer who didn’t realize until way too late that it was a PvE server. One guy had a white cat pet in winterspring when i was doing a quest that swarmed me with white cats. I right clicked on his cat by accident, attackign it and flagging myself, and he killed me. fortunately I had completed the quest, so i just ran away for the 5 minutes it takes for PvP to go away. Another time a guy knew I had to kill a PvP Npc for a quest (well, i didn’t HAVE to kill him, i just wanted to. the quest would have given me a couple gold, i think?) it would be easy but it *WAS* a pvp quest so I’m not really griping about this one. that happened a couple more times, getting killed doing PvP quests, but I sort of asked for it, PvPing and all. I plan on doing some Battlegrounds at 70 and maybe a 2v2 or 3v3 arena team, but it’s not because I care for that kind of thing (though Arenas closely approximate my favorite type of PvP, small meaningful groups) but because that’s the easiest way for a warlock to get high stamina and high damage gear to go into PvE with. I could get around it, but I want to try that as a method of gearing up instead of endless instance runs.

    Finally, my RP experiences have mostly been RP-related and not actually player related but it just seems like the ratio of freaks to normal people on an RP realm is higher than the ratio of Jerks to normal people on a PvP realm. Every time I jump into RP with one of those “add a description” type mods installed, I have a fairly generic fantasy character background written up, only to read other people’s descriptions and find out that they are some kind of “Buffy the vampire slayer’s best friend who is actually a transvestite Succubus with male anatomy who was transformed into a demonic dragon but lives in the guise of a large breasted night-elf nymphomaniac crossdresser hunter who has sex with his bear, meryl”. That’s not fantasy, it’s just disgusting. And I always wind up having to deal with those people and then get frustrated and leave.

    So, there’s my experiences with the game. Hey, you asked for ’em!

  12. JFargo says:

    Okay! Fine! I get it. You like the game, and I should get a 10-day trial.

    For those of you that talk with me here and elsewhere, if you never see me again, you’ll know who to blame.

    (What server should I be looking to be on if I’m looking for the “small town” atmosphere?)

  13. ThaneofFife says:

    I’m on Nordrassil (a medium-population PVE server), and the culture there can be really mixed. My main (Kalkin) is in a high-level raiding guild (Ascension; we’ve cleared Gruul’s, Magtheridon, and have downed Voidreaver in the Eye and Rage Winterchill in Mount Hyjal). I don’t organize these, but whenever I come along, I can’t help but be impressed at the military precision with which our officers run these. My guild is full of great people, including my roommate who got me to join it. But, the rest of the server is a mixed bag.

    On Archindar, my 30s paladin, I ran Gnomergan (a level 25-33 alliance instance) last night, and it was a very strange experience. Having skipped it with Kalkin, it was only my second time in there, and the group members had widely divergent goals. Our healer, like me, wanted to explore and read her quest text as she progressed. But we also had a rogue (who I would guess was about 14, judging by his spelling and vocabulary) who had gotten a level 60 hunter friend of his to come with us. They just wanted to kill as fast as they could. Every time any of us stopped to drink or turn in a quest, we got left behind. Overall, it was a frustrating experience.

    As far as Kirin Tor goes, I’d agree with Shamus–it’s populated with great people–even if I’m not on it that much :-)

    Also, I couldn’t agree more on the economy. On both Kirin Tor and Nordrassil, the auction houses have similar prices, and the prices for low-level materials have gone up 50-150% in the last six months. This is great, if like my mage Kahooli on Kirin Tor, you don’t have a high-level main supporting you. She’s a miner and skinner, and already has made almost 40g before getting to level 20 (I gave 10g of it to the Pig and Whistle Society bank, of course).

    Keep it coming, Shamus! Really looking forward to your impressions of the end-game. You’ve at least got to make it to Karazhan…

  14. Mark says:

    Justin gives me an opportunity to present an analogy. Compare the sportsmanship, dignity, and honor of a soccer championship involving about two dozen people, and the bloodthirsty, chaotic riot that ensues among tens of thousands of spectators.

    Another point. Let’s assume that two of our deeply-held scary suspicions are true: 1) most people want to avoid high concentrations of idiots; 2) most people, without realizing it, behave in ways that cause a significant minority of others to consider them idiots. In other words, your average player is sensitive to bogons emitted by others, while simultaneously and unknowingly a bogon emitter himself. (The existence of such an ironic creature is an argument in favor of a personal and malevolent creator god.)

    As a result, if you try to set up a broad spectrum of shard sizes, you will find most people signing up on the “medium” or “low” population shards – with the added result that these shards will become high-population quickly. This leaves a lot of your players sitting around in a crowded shard full of exactly the people they were hoping to avoid. Meanwhile, the allegedly-high population shards are now populated exclusively by people who prefer to be surrounded by lots of idiots, and they also are disappointed to discover that there are only a few other people there, and each of them is either a griefer, or a living serene Buddha incapable of anything but love for the universe and everything in it. The griefers have nobody to grief, so they’re angry too, and the Buddhas would be happy no matter what so you haven’t really helped them either.

    How do you fix this? You could introduce a form of server migration, but that just means people have the same problems over and over again until everybody’s either found a guild they like or quit. Also, the first few people who try it will switch to the low-population servers where they are preyed upon by grief-starved thirteen-year-olds.

    If you try adding more servers, though, you find that you started with the right number after all, and people spread out into desolate – but peaceful – shards where they might as well not be playing an MMO, and it’s all too common that the only other PC around for a significant time period is your shard’s friendly neighborhood 13-year-old griefer.

    If the local perceived concentration of idiocy is the only thing that affects player happiness, then it’s better to have too many servers than too few; however, at some point, you might just need to change the game to make stupidity more palatable. Do this right and you might even manage to make dense shards more satisfying than sparse ones, even for bogon-sensitive bogon emitters.

  15. Derek K says:

    Oh, man. PvP in Tarren Mills.

    I remember the first time I made it to Tarren Mills. I walked up, and went “HOLY GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?!” It was insane. People fighting all over the place, level 60s (this was a while ago, and 60s were still somewhat impressive) flexing their muscles by taking on 4-5 40’s, low level players like me lurking on the outskirts taking pot shots….

    Good times.

  16. Ghantu says:

    I actually think you’re kind of overstating the “in its twilight” aspect of the game. The Mr T and William Shatner ads just came out in November and the 10 million announcement was just shy of six months ago. They opened three new US realms this year. I feel like the game is in its heyday, and that it’s possible Wrath will bring the subscription numbers even higher.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand where you’re coming from; the old world is almost totally vacant whenever I’m playing an alt. But at the same time, Blizzard hasn’t completely ignored the pre-endgame experience. Patch 2.3 just happened in November (coinciding with the TV commercials…), and it brought the leveling speed increase, the low-level dungeon review and the Dustwallow Marsh revamp. The patch that went live yesterday reduced the minimum level to buy a mount to 30. It’s not hard to argue that most of those changes are to liven up the game for those of us bringing up alts, but they also fixed some of the more onerous issues I complained about when I was leveling up the first time. I hated the 40-50 bracket on my warrior (there’s like two zones to choose from, and neither seemed to have enough quests to get you all the way to 50), but these days you can just blow through it and get to the abundance of 50-60 zones.

    Thing is, I think it makes sense for them to focus on the endgame. People have often both praised and complained that Warcraft is the easiest MMO to level up in, and I think that’s largely intentional. The more people they have in the same level bracket, the larger the pool of people you can potentially play with. Level 70 is really a second game, with tons and tons of stuff to do. Of course, gear then stratifies the player base again, but the granularity is finer and the scale is smaller.

    Which kind of brings on something else I wanted to say. It almost sound like you’re playing a different game. ;) Because of the PvP reward structure Blizzard’s built, it seems like the vast majority (>90%) of PvP that takes place is in instanced Battlegrounds, where players are randomly thrown together from 15-20 servers to play a round of capture the flag or king of the hill or whatever. So I think most PvP that takes place these days is organized and consensual, and the actual server population has almost nothing to do with it. But maybe that’s just us carebears.

    (There’s also arenas, but I don’t arena.)

    At any rate, I play on Feathermoon (Horde) and I totally love our population. The official forum tends toward funny, even if it leans a little heavily toward in-jokes, and in-game behavior is almost universally helpful and charitable. I constantly get people healing, buffing and helping kill stuff when I’m questing (I’m a tank), and I’ve even taken turns with Alliance players tagging and killing quest enemies together. Think about that. Blizzard has explicitly forbidden us to communicate, our only interaction being pre-programmed emotes and, well, combat, and we still find ways to actually help each other quest. Boggles the mind. The raiding scene is a little disorganized, but a lot of guilds are just losing people to summer vacations and pre-expansion malaise.

  17. Kylroy says:

    I think the quote you selected also highlights an important point- you can powergame without having any interest in PvP. Indeed, PvE powergaming is what WoW is focused on: since the launch of Burning Crusade, Blizz has added 3 25-man raids and one 10-man, with scads of trash mobs and 25+ bosses between them. Contrast that with 2 additions of world/soloable content and 1 5-man dungeon, and the fact that the only addition to PvP has been a new Arena location. (I don’t consider the new gear to be a true addition, since it’s the same game for different rewards.)

    I’m hoping you like the endgame when you make it there, but endgame hinges ENTIRELY on your class’ role within a party. It’s possible to learn that as you level, but far, FAR from necessary.

  18. Well, knowledge, especially things like: (with maps, and specific pictures and locations) sure make it easier — if you want it. I do, my daughter prefers to wander around.

    Until I let my account go inactive, I was on Ravenholdt, an RP PvP server with low population (in fact, I rolled on there because I was having trouble logging on to play, so I looked for a server with lots of room).

    Rarely got ganked, and it kind of made the game better, which is why I didn’t transfer off. Once I hit 70 and started on an alt, I could always encourage gankers to find another place to play ;) if they got in the way of my alt.

    Of course some of it was the time I played, but it was an interesting experience. PvP added something to it, even though I wasn’t PvPing myself.

    Heck, several times I ended up assisting horde that I ran across who were in trouble with mobs or on quests. Had a couple help me (one ran over and jumped up and down on the quest item I was looking for so I could find it).

    You can’t buff them, but with an affliction ‘lock I sure could make life a lot easier for them.

  19. Mike Lemmer says:

    Be sure to head into the Outlands and hit 58 and tell us what you think of how the game changes. The difference between Azeroth & the Outlands is 2 years of design experience, and I think it’d get rid of about half of your nitpicks on the list.

    Also, no posts on the recent Summer Festival while you were starting? I would’ve thought you’d spend some time covering it; you rarely see (or participate in) holidays in non-MMO RPGs.

  20. krellen says:

    When I played WoW, I played on Feathermoon. Back in the day (I’ve been “clean” for over two years now) it was the king of the RP servers, not because of population, but because we had some incredible RPers and organisers that made the server feel like an interconnected community that didn’t require guilds for a sense of belonging.

    I tried a few other servers, and had I not been on Feathermoon I don’t think I would have played for nearly as long as I did.

    A lot of the high-profile RPers I knew retired around the same time I did, and one of the largest Horde-side guilds that my brother and his room-mates ran (The Hand of the Forsaken) sort of collapsed and went through a transition – mostly because my brother and his room-mates retired a bit after I did – which probably has changed the way the server feels now, but it’s good to hear it’s still a carebear realm.

  21. The Claw says:

    Hi Shamus,

    I’ve become a regular reader of Twenty Sided ever since I read your profoundly awesome posts on digital rights management. Lately though, Twenty Sided has primarily become a World of Warcraft blog and I think that’s stunting the potential of this fantastic site.

    I don’t intend to come off as saying “stop playing WoW”, in fact I hope you keep doing whatever makes you content, even if that means canceling all written publication on this site in favor of running a 24/7 live feed of your WoW escapades. However, I do intend to come of as saying; “You’ve got the talent and resources to be one of gaming’s finest sites but the growing mountain of WoW topics are impeding your site’s individuality. You might want to check into that”.

    In conclusion, I love the site and wish you the best, Shamus.

  22. Strangeite says:

    I have been reading Twenty-Sided Tale since DMotR #VII and have stayed for the actual blog. I am not really a video gamer, the last FPS that I actually “played” was GoldenEye; however, Shamus’ posts and particullarly the comments have always been very entertaining and allowed me to feel half-way informed on the topic. When I find myself in the company of “gamers” I can usually carry on a conversation with some semblance of knowledge because of Shamus’ blog.

    The comments (and to some degree the actual posts) on WoW (I have figured that one out on my own) are an exception. Maybe it is just the nature of MMOs but the jargon used seems to obfuscate the points being made FAR greater than any other game discussed here. Since this dicussion has started, I have found myself having to read certain sections, two or three times, before I can even generate a rudimentary understanding.

    This isn’t a critique, because as I stated, maybe this is just the nature of the beast, but discovering this little nugget of information about MMOs makes me want to stay far away.

  23. Strangeite says:

    I would disagree with “The Claw” above that the WoW posts are “stunting” the site (the Beach analogy was a wonderful post) but I do find myself checking for updates less frequently.

  24. Skelnik says:

    I’m on Terokkar, which is a low-medium population PvE server.

    One of the best sportsman moments I’ve seen is when doing a 2v2 arena, and my partner lagged out before joining the arena, so it was me against two opponents. One of them decided to stay stealthed and out of the fight, so I fought one, defeated him, and then fought the second one and still almost won before I was taken down. My hat is off to them for not just doubling up on me and making a short fight out of it.

    Of course, arenas pull in players from server pools, and I don’t think they were from my own server. That said, most of the players on my server are quite friendly. One’s reputation on the server goes for a lot when it comes time to get into endgame raids.

  25. Torsten says:

    The story about big and small cities seems to work on game communities too. Small servers and in small games. I play Anarchy Online myself and one thing I hear people from WoW keep saying when they try the game is how mature the community seems to be. In small community you need to be friends with everyone, or your game turns into a dull single player grinding.

    Since we are talking about server cultures, the server system in AO is one of the reasons I have never been interested in WoW. WoW is a nice game, but when you’ve been playing with people all over the world and made friends with them, and had the freedom to try PvE, PvP and RP with the same people without hassle of changing servers, the server limitations and regional secregations in WoW and the other new games are a big turn off.

  26. I call Scarlet Crusade home currently. The alliance there outnumbers the horde 2:1 last I checked, I think someone mentioned it was closer to 3:1. I do have an Alliance character, lvl 28, but most of my characters are Horde and proud of it. As far as faction troubles, I’ve mentioned before that Crossroads is almost a continual gankfest. When I’m on the alliance side of the fence I don’t notice the towns under attack near as often, or any one town so regularly hit. I’m willing to bet that our population and its weight on the alliance side of things has a lot to do with that. I hear on those few servers where its Horde heavy, things alliance side look a lot more like what I see where I play.

    As for server culture… I’m fairly reliant upon the server as a whole, I’m not in a large guild and I solo the vast majority of my time. I need groups to get most instances visited. I’m extremely self sufficient though so I can ignore the worst elements. PuGs generally aren’t too bad for me, and if they go beyond what I’m willing to put up with I can leave and do something else.

    The AH is a convenient source of income for me, but I don’t play it to walk away with riches. In fact I used my leatherworking to earn my epic flying mount and hadn’t really done dailies until after earning my mount. I do the dailies now for faction. Thanks to this I have about 5Kg sitting in my pockets.

    Theres the idiots in town who are always looking for attention, but I can recognize game mechanics enough that they don’t bother me at all. The Tauren and his kodo sitting on the mail box? Yea, I just moved my screen so that I was looking away from the bank wall and could see the mailbox clearly there. Theres also another mailbox down in the strip which few seem to know about.

    Out in the wild I’m generally unmolested. Its competition for farmed mobs that cause problems there. Elemental Plateau anyone? Theres a lot of pushing for getting the first hit in so that no matter who kills the mob that person gets the loot. My boar charges and I can arcane shot which generally gets the first hit in. Unless I’m feeling vindictive against another aggressor I generally take only one at a time, though if I must I can grab a second and trap it while I finish my first. I also limit myself to farming only so much each day, that way I’m not causing problems for others and not stressing myself out due to others.

    I’ll help out others no matter the faction as best I can, until they give me reason not to. The fire elementals up at the throne of Kil’Jaeden are one of the better sources for fire motes, and its a daily to kill them. I can kill two birds with one stone by farming motes there while I do my daily. But when I finish my daily I rarely have all the motes I’m after. One of the things I do is kite the fire elementals to others who are also doing that daily. The death nearby is all it takes to get credit. This way I can get the motes I need while not hindering anyone else who might need them for their daily. Oddly enough I had someone of my own faction call me a bastard for doing this for them.

    I’m drifting. My point is that the culture that you take part in on a server is largely going to be influenced by your own actions. Its not hard to ignore people no matter how hard they try to get your attention. The world is so large and theres so much to do that you can leave. Yes its frustrating the first time they show up, and leaving might mean you have to come back later. But its your choice to do so. You can stay and get griefed, you can largely ignore the griefer (which might encourage them to find someone else to bother), or leave for better pastures. Its also not hard to find a nice guild if you want a more social aspect of the game.

    The people, the MMO aspect that draws them, is the biggest complaint I have about these games. They’d be great single player games but they’d miss the largest attraction that makes them fun. Other players! What other type of game can you work with your mortal enemy to take down the Gronn in Blades Edge? Where else can you get the satisfaction of sticking it to a griefer in Crossroads in remembrance of your lowbie levels there? What other game allows you to work with 24 other people at the same time, each with different roles that allow all 25 of you to take down Illidan? There is no other game like an MMO. Gotta take the bad with the good. But always remember that the game is what you make of it.

  27. Guile says:

    Since you asked for PvP stories… I’m gonna get verbose.

    I’m situated on Frostwolf, an old, high-density PvP server. I’ve been here for over a year now, and I can safely say I have a pretty good handle on it by now. It is, by and large, a great server. Interestingly, if I’m remembering the figures right (as of a census about 5 months or so ago), the alliance toons outnumber horde in the neighborhood of 7.4 to 1. This can lead to interesting situations from the horde perspective.

    There are, for lack of a better word, “trouble spots” where the PvP is fast, furious, and unrelentingly vicious. In particular is Taren Mill in Hillsbrad and Gromgol in Stranglethorn Vale. Actually, it’s not as bad as it once was (now people’s attention is mostly focused on BC content). But bad enough.

    These areas are quite often filled with level 70’s powerleveling lower characters or just dropping by to murder the town and kill newbies. It’s basically not worth the effort to level there. You should expect to fight and/or die to enemy PCs every 15 minutes: sometimes you can go for hours without being ganked, but 15 minutes is fairly standard.

    In truth, I joined to meet up with a few friends who were already there. Looking back, I’d much rather have stuck to a PvE server, where you PvP when you FEEL like it, in Battlegrounds and Arena and BC’s PvP objectives, rather than when you’re trying to level.

  28. Ozy says:

    While better than lumping all PVP together, I think your categories still fall short by being overly simplistic, as well as overly judgmental by declaring one particular category as the “good” kind.

    I play on a PVP server, but I don’t think I fall under either of those categories. So far I’ve mainly just PVE’d, but I chose my server because PVP would be sure to catch me when I’m not prepared for it and that’s half the fun!

    One of my most memorable moments in WoW has been a fight between myself and another rogue. We were both stealthed, the same level, aware of each other’s presence, and wanted the rare herb in the area. I knew my only hope of getting an Opener on her was pure luck by her walking in front of me, and there was just as much chance of me walking in front of her, so I began to harvest the herb, gambling on her not using Cheap Shot. Just as planned, she attacked me, and used Garrote! Truly, it was the rational choice on her part, but I happened to have a Trinket that stopped bleed effects (the Luffa), which I used, then Vanished, and managed to get behind her myself and opened with Garrote. The battle that followed was also the most interesting one I remember, as be were both at the top of our game and fully equipped for the situation. We both drank healing potions, Blinded each other, bandaged ourselves, Gouged, and finished, until finally I ended up the one with the prize: a Black Lotus!

    Spontaneous, honest conflicts like that is what makes the hassles of a PVP server worthwhile.

  29. Zukhramm says:

    “Finally, my RP experiences have mostly been RP-related and not actually player related but it just seems like the ratio of freaks to normal people on an RP realm is higher than the ratio of Jerks to normal people on a PvP realm.”

    There was (is, probably) a guy on EU Argent Dawn called Vulcanus (I hope no one here IS him…) that, at first seemed normal, however, he rolplayed his character being “half human, half naga, half nerubian”, growing spider legs out of his back and glowing eyes. He had his own cult guild worshipping him or something. The most funny thing with him however, was a time when he claimed to have a giant railgun under the Cathedral of Light.

    Then there is of course, the night elf claiming to be a “telepathic telekinetic demonic vampire”, I think she was also a pirate. Nowadays there’s some new demon pirate lord running around I hear.

  30. RudeMorgue says:

    I played a rogue character for most of my WoW experience, but recently got a mage to 70 and realized how good it felt to give buffs, make food and water, and generally try to be helpful.

    When I did my first Eye of the Storm battleground with the mage, everyone was just standing around waiting for the battle to begin. I immediately cast the “Ritual of Refreshment” and “Arcane Brilliance” spells, and it was great to see that the other people in the group who could buff began doing so after I started. With my rogue, I usually have to ask for buffs, despite the fact that without them our chances of winning decline significantly.

    Though the mage is nothing like a druid, priest, or paladin in the buff department, it’s considerably more satisfying for me than the rogue ever was, despite the fact that the mage dies in a heartbeat when a veteran 70 starts stomping her. I have a warlock, too, but other than “Ritual of Souls,” they don’t have a lot of beneficial spells for others.

    Sometimes people forget the experience of being low-level and actually interested in casting spells on others just because the ability to help a stranger is a neat feeling. The extra benefit of a class that can actually help others in high level play is that it nudges people to start helping each other as well.

  31. mark says:

    I’m from the UK, and the Verne Troyer and Mr T ads has been on recently. Seems to me they finished advertising it in the USA, and started airing the ads in europe…

  32. DaveMc says:

    On my server, all the elves and orcs have agreed to dress up as superheroes and fight crime. Oh, and we locally refer to the game as “City of Heroes”, just for fun. Everyone is very nice, with very few exceptions. :)

  33. HeatherRae says:

    PvP experience…

    Well, few of mine have been good.

    Okay, so I play mostly on Windrunner, with the Stormrunners guild (Hordeside). There is an Alliance Guild called Order of the Angry Penguins.

    Those people are nuts. And jerks! OMG.

    So, on any given night, you can usually find four or five of them at either Crossroads or Tarren Mill just ganking the hell out of everyone and everything in either village. It’s the same group of people every time. And there’s this Mage – I’m told she’s level 70, but my highest level toon is only 48, so I don’t know. Protecia is the name. I’m not entirely sure how many times I’ve whacked Protecia in one of those fights, but I’ve been doing it since I was level 30, and that just shouldn’t happen. But she and her group will show up with a bunch of low levels, start whacking lowbies and NPCs, and then when a crew shows up to put a stop to that crap, they call in the Big Guns (TM) and bring by a group of 70s. There are times when I hate that guild so badly that I just want to spit, and other times when I just feel sorry for them.

    But probably the worst PvP experience I’ve ever had was I was in Uldamon running a quest with a friend. There was a flagged Alliance (Night Elf, go figure) toon also there. We were trying to avoid him. Well, we start fighting this mob of about six monsters, and he RUNS INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE MOB. Deliberately. To make us flag him. Which I inevitably did (because I couldn’t back up fast enough).

    Then he whacks us both.

    Did I mention I was like, level 40 and he was a level 70?

    I really hate the Alliance on my server. Seriously.

  34. AlphabetFish says:

    I can tell you now that the people on a PvP server are much ruder, more childish, and less trusting than those on a PvE server. People on PvP servers “grew up” with violence and ganking and, like children from broken homes, it affects their playstyle and the way they interact with people permanently. I leveled to 63 on a PvP server and having to spend so much time in constant fear and anger is really draining after a while.

    My main’s server, Kilrogg, is PvE and the people are much friendlier and eager to help. Instead of seeing the opposite faction as the enemy, they’re merely viewed as players trying something different. There’s nothing to fear, so the walls you see people have up by 70 simply aren’t there on PvE realms.

  35. Heph says:

    One additional reason why big cities – both in real life and in MMO’s – tend to attract the less savoury part of the population, is because it’s where the opportunities lie. It isn’t just anonimity. If you’re trying to sell crack/duped items,/in-game gold/whatever or want to pickpocket/rape/gank/whatever someone, there’s very little to gain in staying in less-populated areas. A gold farmer screaming in the middle of the desert will sell less than a farmer selling his gold in the middle of the capital city. Oh well.

    And – I’ve been readin for a while now (though I usually lurk) and I ahve to somewhat agree with what two previous posters said. The *quality* of the posts remains great, really. The choice of topic, being mostly WoW for the moment, gets slightly monotonous. But feel free to do what you like, obviously.

    I’m still one of those few casual gamers who really enjoys PC RPGs and has never played WoW. Only MMO I’ve ever played was 2Moons (which happens to be free), which is quite literally a storyless grindfest, completely aimed at the Asian market. Though, oddly, it’s an american adaptation of an Asian base game (Dekaron), so you’d expect them to try and add other content. Oh well.

    Terrible thing is, I’m a huge Warcraft fan, having played all three of the games and both expansions to death…I really wonder how the story continues >_< PS: I get a really odd error message here, but it still seems to post my comment. Huh. I'm pretty sure there's no malware on this pc - I'm at work. And no, I can't install another web browser, IE is all I've got. :-(

  36. Ozy says:

    AlphabetFish: I leveled to 63 on a PvP server and having to spend so much time in constant fear and anger is really draining after a while.

    So you’re saying that PvP servers are only for people who can take it easy?

  37. Nabeshin says:

    I love Icecrown anymore. The lowbie areas are almost devoid of life.
    I’m not a powerleveler, I just play when I feel like playing-I haven’t made level 40, and I’ve been playing for 2 years or so, give or take a couple months.
    Some may ask why I’m not there yet-so I say this:
    It’s a game-I play it for fun. It’s not a job, and once it gets to the point where I feel pressured to get to that next level, or endgame…I won’t play it anymore.
    FUN. That’s why I play it.

  38. Zerotime says:

    Ignoring the gold dropped on me by high-level friends, I managed to pull in over 100 gold by level 38. I've been told a sum like that would have been unheard of at that level three years ago.

    I wouldn’t say it was that unheard of – three and a half (and a bit more) years ago, when I was just starting my rogue on Moonrunner, I had far more than that before I hit 20 purely through Auction House trading, and I’m sure there were people doing better than I was. Different server, of course, and a much different economy.

  39. ngthagg says:

    My worst WoW experience came a couple years ago playing on Eitrigg, a normal (non-pvp, non-rp) server with a large enough population that I had to get in line to log on occasionally. I was doing a challenging escort quest which involved a long slog to get some guy out of a cave. Just as a I got the guy outside, past all the fights, and ready for an easy stroll into town, I meet a Horde player, well above my level, sitting with his PvP flag on. The guy I’m escorting aggros, and I have the choice of defending him in a fight I can never win or watching my quest fail.

    Heph: I have IE6 at work, and it barfs whenever I post a comment here, but the comment still posts. No idea why, but it’s just a minor inconvenience, especially compared to the other crap that IE6 makes me put up with.

  40. Blurr says:

    Have you started playing with the WoW API? I’d really like to hear your thoughts on mod programming in WoW.

  41. facus says:

    I spent 1-65 on a pvp server, it was pretty different for me, for the most part, unless you were after the same thing, it was live and let live. Sure you could start a fight, but no one would even think it was interesting unless you were able to defeat a player your level or higher in combat. Killing lower level characters was frowned upon and generally resulted in people either ignoring you or chewing you out for being a bully. Low level characters would give a nod of respect to players of the opposite faction that were higher level, kind of a feeling that sure they could end you, but they pass you buy and let you enjoy your game. On a few occasions i even had opposing faction players aid me in clearing caves or fighting eliete mobs after i had tagged them. sure the bullies were there, but never enough to ruin your day.
    EmeraldDream server (RPPVP), about a year ago. I was Horde.

  42. Iudex Fatarum says:

    I play on Sentinels (RP, PvE) in a great guild. The thing I like the most is that we attempt to help people from lvl 1-70. We do this both in and out of guild. A good example is one of our activities is any horde side player who wants, at any level, can join us as we help people gather the flight paths. (Ritual of Summoning to each flight master on each continent, we do one continent a week) It is all free of charge, and I was just asked to do it for the guild, so they set me up with enough gold to run the flight paths, and 2 ebon pouches for soul shards (28 slot bags) So the only one who looses anything is our guild leader, but he has been in the game so long that he can’t really loose anything (he’s got insane resources).

  43. Moose says:

    I’m a newer player on Dreanor (US PVE), it’s a med-high pop server. I’ve got a BELF Lock up to 45, ran mostly solo, but I’m starting to run more instances and group things, even if it’s just helping out lower level guildies.

    I’ve been involved in a little un-instanced PVP due tot he midsummer fest. Got my first two kills the last day of the fest, protecting (believe it or not) the bonfire at Tauren Mill! Ended up chasing the first guy from the fire all the way to the orger ruins at the top of the hill (I had just got my felsteed, it was so great!). Waited for him to res and waved to him before I went back to questing. Later that day I caught another player there, finished him off, then spent the next twenty minutes getting ganked by his lvl 70 buddy.

    I’ve seen good and bad, gotten griped at for entering BG’s when I’m not level 39/49, placed in the top three or four for damage, killed, and have been killed. I wouldn’t want to play a PVP server all the time, but it’s fun to play once in a while. Besides, buying the warlock S2 PVP gear may be the only chance I have to get the coolest armor in the game (spiked shoulders with skulls impailed on them). By the time I make it to 70 everyone will be working on wrath and no one will want to run BC content, much like no one wants to run old world content (should it really take a month to find a group to run scholomance for the Dreadsteed quest?)

  44. Ancorehraq sis says:

    I don’t understand why getting killed in PVP in WoW is such an emotionally scarring event. I never played the game (well, okay, once, for two hours), but as I understand, your sandcastle is perfectly safe. You die, you respawn, you keep your precious, precious items. Where’s the trauma?

    Not like someone stole all your shiny trinkets, blew up your beloved internet spaceship *and* questioned your sexual orientation.

  45. ThaneofFife says:

    I am not a big PVP player–my “favorite” is Alterac Valley, which is equal parts PVE raid and PVP extravaganza, but I do want to second Ancorehraq sis above. When you’re killed in PVP whether in the world or an instanced pvp event, you don’t take item damage, one of the biggest problems with death for a well-geared player.

    A group that wipes during a high-level raid can easily incur several hundred gold in repairs for 25 people. Heck, a T5 tank in plate can end up paying nearly 100g by himself. My 70 warlock once had to pay about 19g after three consecutive wipes, and I’m in much cheaper-to-repair cloth.

    So, I think Blizzard goes out of its way to protect players in that regard–I’d rather be killed by a PC rather than an NPC any day of the week–though corpse-camping is a juvenile griefer tactic. Now, if they could just make quest-givers respawn faster after getting killed by the damn Horde, I could actually get something done…

    On an unrelated note, Shamus, you’ve got at least one lvl 28-35 character, I think. You MUST MUST MUST go to the cathedral in Stormwind and pick up the missing diplomat quest chain from the altar boy. It’s one of the best-plotted and most fun-to-read/do quests in the entire game.

  46. Zack says:

    I play on earthen ring (RP). I love horde and played that side until I moved to Farstriders (RP). Farstriders was a new server and lack of population when BC came out just killed instancing groups and my horde guild never recovered. The alliance guild back on Earthen Ring is still doing fine and I have done raiding with them, but I felt the casual roleplaying factor of horde was much better. I never got into the “deep roleplaying, whey people sit around and pretend to be diplomats from the dragon council and spies from Illidrian’s council. It was just too dull and time consuming. I am more a fan of staying in character as you play.

    Troll – “Heya mon, could yah help meh kill dis guy? He called mah mudder a gnome and I kint let dat go.”

    Undead – “Fleshie one, let us work together to defeat our enemies, I promise to not betray you until we are finished working together…”

    Gnome – “Doesn’t anyone cut the grass? I can’t see anything… ”

    Bloodelf – “So I was like in Oggri shopping for new gear and there was a helm that was just my color, I totally had to have it, but I couldn’t find boots that matched it so… Oh, was I supposed to be healing?”

    Back before bloodelves I had never met a pre-teen on horde. It was a refreshing bastion of maturity, but then Barbie had to go and screw it up for us.

    Now lastly I actually got into pvp due to a griefer. I was playing alliance in westfall and there was a rogue killing the escort npc and causing alliance to fail the quest for deadmines. I took him on and fought him to a standstill 2-3 times but I could not kill him AND protect the npc.

    I had to call in some 70s and still the griefer managed to stop the quest once for which I have to admire his balls. (charging a group of higher level players and succeeding at killing their escort is just a cool act of daring.

    Still it was the realization that playing well I was able to almost take the well geared griefer that got me into Pvp. After that I started dabbling in battle grounds and I have to say the abilities and tactics are completely different. It is a fun addition to the game.

  47. mike says:

    Actually Shamus there was just the perfect example of why the WoW/MMO community in general is so infuriating / amusing. I’m not sure if you’ve gotten into addons much, but they’re like extra features that people create to make the game easier than what comes straight out of the box. Things like quest guides, ability timers, improved hotkeys, etc.

    Anyways anytime a new patch comes out this invariably causes some addons to have problems. Which is understandable of course since they’re not created by Blizzard but by random people.

    But with Tuesday’s patch some people actually complained on the official forums that this patch was breaking their addons and were actually complaining about getting new content for free. Here’s the link to the thread, read it – it’s incredible. It’s a lot more amusing than annoying too, because most of the posters just make fun of the original poster’s immaturity. Even a blue (Content Manager) loses his patience and gets clearly annoyed with the conversation.

  48. Jeff says:

    The blue is a Community Manager, isn’t he?
    Although he’s called a Community Moderator by someone in there too…

  49. J Greely says:

    Ancorehraq sis:I don't understand why getting killed in PVP in WoW is such an emotionally scarring event. I never played the game (well, okay, once, for two hours), but as I understand, your sandcastle is perfectly safe. You die, you respawn, you keep your precious, precious items.

    Ten minutes spent running back to your body is ten minutes that you’re not allowed to have fun. Twenty if they’re still around when you reach your body. For every player who talks about the challenge and excitement of a fair contest between humans instead of fighting bots, there are 500 who just get off ruining other peoples’ fun.

    My sandcastle is an hourglass.


  50. Moose says:

    Quoted from Zach:
    Bloodelf – “So I was like in Oggri shopping for new gear and there was a helm that was just my color, I totally had to have it, but I couldn't find boots that matched it so… Oh, was I supposed to be healing?”

    Ok, so what if I bought a new cloak on the AH to better match my shadoweave set? It’s not like I took a worse….emmm….errr….OK, it was one friggin armor point worse than what I had. What’s your point? 8)

  51. Bill says:

    This post reminded me of something I’d like to see Blizzard add: other player buff spells for all classes.

    I have a priest and a hunter. When I play the priest I’m laying down PW:Fortitude on people I meet out in the wilds all the time. And like Shamus said, other people will put buffs on you as well.

    But the hunter (along with several other classes) doesn’t have any long duration buff spell that they can cast on other players. So when someone buffs me, I say thanks but I feel bad that there is nothing that I can give them in return.

    So I’d like to see blizzard add new long duration other player buff spells for all the classes that don’t have them. They wouldn’t have to be very good spells, mind you. Just a little something to have because exchanging buffs is the WoW equivalent of a handshake.

  52. Chris says:

    Shaymus: I’m curious if you’re still playing WOW…I’ve just started and now I can better appreciate your posts here. Has the game stuck with you?

  53. Shamus says:

    Sadly, I had to move on from WoW.

  54. Chris says:

    Ooops…sorry I spelled your name wrong…

    Hopefully you’ll find the time and the inspiration to come back to WoW…I’m certainly having a blast with it…

  55. Kayvan says:

    “Strangers buff each other as they pass”

    I play a priest (admittedly low-level), but I buff other players every opportunity I get, barring higher-levels who wouldn’t benefit from 8 Stamina.

    It’s simply much easier out of cities. One person, two, I can see and buff. They’re also closer to my level, and more likely to benefit. It doesn’t cost me anything, and the goodwill’s, well, good.

  56. dkid says:

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