Small / Dead servers

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WoW Community Council
#1 - Dec. 16, 2021, 12:57 p.m.
Blizzard Post

There are several pains to playing on a small server. As someone who has played on a small server since the end of TBC, I’m well acquainted with these pains and how the affect all types of players, because I’ve been all types of player in my time on Vek’Nilash.

I’ll give my bullet point list and elaborate on each as needed below.

  • Auction House Economy
  • Lack of highly progressed raiding guild
  • Lack of people out and about in the world
  • (Before group finder) Inability to find groups for group content easily
  • Lack of server identity
  • Guild recruitment issues

My history with being on a small server
I joined Vek’Nilash when I started playing in the summer of 2008, just before the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. I played for years as a solo player. Trying to do some group content but finding that groups just took too long to form.
Fast forward to Mists of Pandaria. The first Vicious War pvp mount is released. The Vicious (Kaldorei) Warsaber. To this day it’s my favorite ground mount in the game. I tried for weeks to PuG RBGs (before pvp group finder existed) to little to no avail. Not enough interest. Not enough people.
I transferred my hunter to Emerald Dream, thinking I could get a taste for RP at the same time as getting my Warsaber. I got the mount and discovered I don’t really have a taste for RP.
In patch 5.4 (SoO) Blizzard announced they would be doing some server merging. I discovered that Vek’Nilash would be merged with two other small realms; Nazgrel & Nesingwary. Honestly, not much changed it felt like and I kept playing basically solo.
Legion came and I decided I wanted to try harder in raiding. I pugged all 5 AoTC achievements in Legion.
Now, in Shadowlands, I’m a Co-GM, Recruiter and Raid Leader for one of the best raiding guilds on the server, and the most progressed Alliance guild. And we’re 3/10M. To this day, no guild on my server is 4/10M.

Auction House
The Auction House on small servers is one of the hottest topics I hear. The entire economy can be controlled by a few people with enough gold. The BoE market is non-existent due to so few guilds raiding. The number of mythic BoEs available I could count on one hand. The economy around legendaries in SL has been an absolute tragedy. There simply isn’t the volume of items on the Auction to keep it from being insanely volatile and have drastically different prices on items from one day to the next.

Lack of Highly Progressed Raiding Guilds
As I mentioned, there are no guilds on my server at 4/10M. There are 3 at 3/10M and 3 more at 1/10M.

Lack of server Identity
Over half the people I see in Oribos when I log on aren’t even from my connected server group. They’re people I can interact with one, but will never see again. I want to see people from my server in the cities, people that I can interact with every day.

Guild Recruitment Issues
Out of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to about guild recruitment, I could probably count on one hand how many have heard of Vek’Nilash. Some people don’t want to leave larger servers like Illidan, A52, Stormrage, etc. It makes it hard to recruit no matter how good the sales pitch is. Top that off with the fact that we’re an Alliance guild on a small server.

I’m sure I missed some pains that people have with being on a small server; so do let me know if there are any issues I missed and I look forward to discussing the implications and opportunities with small servers in the future.

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WoW Developer
#14 - Jan. 25, 2022, 5:43 p.m.
Blizzard Post

Hey Letholas!

The portion of the Server team I lead is responsible for a large portion of the backend software for World of Warcraft. This means we write and maintain many of the software features that put the O in MMO; guilds, the auction house, matchmaking, and the login flow, to name a few. We’re also responsible for all persistent data related to WoW. Meaning, we’re the shepherds of all your characters and items. As a result of that, we work very closely with our partners in Service Technologies & Customer Service to provide tools for helping with all sorts of CS requests.

On top of all that, we’re also big partners to some of the other software teams in understanding backend performance, and making sure that the online player experience stays as reliable as possible.

Hopefully that helps illuminate some of what my team does. Thanks for asking, its a great question!