I used to belong to an older, medium-high population PVP server called Ner’Zhul. We were afforded some nice benefits as well as having a fair amount of disadvantages too. Later, I transferred to an Oceanic server called Saurfang. Over time, I’ve pondered moving back to a higher population server in the US but wanted to weigh my options. So I figured writing a blog describing the advantages/disadvantages of being on such a server might help me and other people who have similar experiences or are looking to transfer or create characters off/on this type of realm might have some insight from someone who has belonged to both worlds.
- Low social activity. I feel that a lot of people on my server prefer doing things on their own. A lot of people in my guild rarely talk and with the exception of a few better known people and guilds, it feels quite dead overall.
- High Auction House Prices. The first thing that shocked me in coming to this server was the prices on glyphs. But that was just the start. Most items on the Auction House are probably priced far higher than on other servers, especially crafting goods. Since Blizzard has done a lot to ban bots as much as possible, crafting goods become a higher commodity
- Lower frequency buyouts. Along with the high prices on the Auction House, you’ll see far less activity when you put stuff up. It’s still competitive but the buyouts only occur during certain times of the week.
- Less opportunities for doing world bosses. My server can still down Oondasta, but as the week flies by, the chances of getting into good Oondasta groups dramatically decreases as the quality and quantity of players dip over time. Pretty much you have to do everything the first few days at peak hours. But as time passes less people will be motivated to do any world bosses as most will end up getting enough gear for their mains.
- Faction Tagging Griefing. This is strictly a consequence of being on a PVE server ironically. The thing is you’ll occasionally find allies who will tag or even pull bosses and mobs to wipe out raid groups for encounters like Galleon. You end up seeing people accidentally getting PVP flagged and causing raid leaders to go bonkers, since the opposite faction can now go to town on that person. I’m certain if this was a PVP server, the natural response would just be to nuke the opposite faction members in question. And this situation does not have to occur just on world bosses but even in situations where you might accidentally AoE members of the opposite faction and get your PVP flag inadvertently turned on.
- Not many people willing to do faction raids. It happens from time to time but it’s pretty rare these days. I think most people are far more focused on dailies, LFR or other PVE related activities. I think since this expansion lacks a world PVP zone like Tol’Barad or Wintergrasp, there’s not as much motivation to get faction members together for an easy, fun and organized PVP event.
- Difficulty in Grouping. Since most people on the server are pretty anti-social, it’s very hard at times getting others to join up for other forms of group activity, even stuff like questing. That isn’t to say that you can’t group but I just find it to be a far rarer activity than when I was on Ner’zhul.
- No faction pride. Again another PVE related consequence. I’ll help the opposite faction in doing rares or certain quests (like the 4 mobs you need to kill in the Temple of the White Tiger dailies) However, when the opposite faction does some dumb shit to aggravate you, no one responds with, “Hey, let’s go fuck their capital up!” Or rather you might only see 3 people who are interested. It’s pretty lame and disheartening.
- A lot of terrible players. It feels as if a lot of people start on these servers because they’re probably suggested as an “easy” mode to get newer players started. In turn though, the player quality feels far inferior compared to my old realm at least. I think when you’re on a high population PVP server that is old and has a pretty even distribution of faction members, the quality of players is far higher as those players are constantly forced to think on their toes in the face of constant threat from all types of directions. Since the content has become easier over time, newer players don’t have to deal with the tougher issues that veteran players faced. Furthermore, without high level players ganking you, or even facing people who are near your level in a PVP setting, there’s no real threat to force you to improve your game play. On top of that, you feel that there’s just less faction pride so there’s less reason to band up and protect each other on such a server.
- Fast and easy questing. Because there aren’t many people around, you won’t find things like kill stealing a frequent issue. It might happen at the beginning of a patch or expansion, but this issue dies down quickly. In a huge way, this makes the game very enjoyable because you’ll never have to worry about being ganked or griefed.
- Plenty of resources. I rarely have issues finding nodes. Maybe in Cataclysm there was some competition. But on average, I just see tons of gathering resources all over the place.
- Easier to make gold. Although the advantages of questing go hand-in-hand with dailies and the gold you can make from them, the bigger jackpot is when you can find some rare item and put it on the auction house. If you’re lucky, you can make bank. If you’re even slier than that, you’ll focus on crafted professions like enchanting, jewelcrafting and inscription to keep your cash flowing.
- Never have to worry about queues. I’ve seen servers that force people to wait in a queue just to log in. This is one issue I’ll never have to deal with.
- You can farm rares and mounts. It’s not my thing but I do know players who want those remaining achievements and will camp certain zones. It’s completely doable on a low population server.
- No ganking. You’ll have the occasional butthead doing stupid things like invading Orgrimmar or causing mischief. But you never have to watch your back. It’s a totally different world playing on a server like this because people will mostly leave you alone.
- Mostly nice people. If there’s one thing I can say about Ner’Zhul, it’s that it was full of assholes. A lot of immaturity and trolls that filled up trade. I did meet a few decent people but the community in general just was embarrassingly childish. On my current server, I will say that the people I end up meeting feel more mature and handle themselves well. I think a lot are World of Warcraft lovers who are older but lack the time to really put into the game. But when you do have the opportunity of meeting a few, they are for the most part nice to you.
I suppose you could argue from looking at my list that if you’re focused on solo’ing content, prefer questing for leveling and enjoy professions, the low-medium population PVE server is probably right for you. But if you want to do any type of social activity, especially those that require a lot of people, these servers are pretty abysmal.