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11-06-2007 @ 9:25PM
Well... having played WoW since closed beta, here are my two cents.We picked up our LE WoWs on Tuesday Nov 23, 2004 at 8am, and rushed home to install them. We'd been locked out since beta closed and we were eager to finally level characters we could keep for good. We chose Alleria, one of the very first handful of servers to go live just after midnight.For a long time Alleria was wonderful. The faction balance, while never 50/50, was about 60/40 in favor of Alliance. Epic battles at Tarren Mill were the norm. There were healthy guilds of all kinds on both factions. There were more raiding guilds on Alliance side, but Horde players had a number to choose from as well.Alleria was so popular, we got realm splits several times. Each time we lost a few high-end raiding guilds to the free transfer destinations. Some of them were tired of queues. Others wanted to take advantage of being able to re-do the opening of AQ event on a new server. But through all that, Alleria remained pretty high pop and had lots of active raiding and social guilds on both factions.Then came paid character transfers.Several things happened immediately. Alliance side had a massive influx of people who wanted to raid, and were following the reputations of guilds like Risen and Surreal. While Alleria was always high pop, you still knew most people before transfers were allowed, even if it was only name recognition. Suddenly, we had unguildeds in t2 flooding the server. People who either wanted to go to AQ40/Naxx, or whose old guilds died, or needed a place to make a new reputation because they'd ruined themselves on their old server. Tons more DPS, of course, than healing, which created a whole new set of issues for guilds to deal with. It really changed the guild and social dynamic of Alleria's Alliance side.The second, and worse, thing that happened was this: Allerian Horde players left. We are now 80-85% Alliance, depending on whose population stats you look at. Every single Horde player I was friends with has transferred off Alleria, most in 2006 with a last few stragglers leaving when BC dropped. There are now only a handful of Horde raiding guilds left, and no longer anyone I know over there.Paid character transfers have resulted, for at least some servers, in severely factionally unbalanced populations. Likewise, we have half a dozen "Scarab Lord" toons running around the server. Yes, that's the person who banged the AQ gong. Yes, that means that at least six people who opened AQ40 on other servers have transferred to Alleria.There is no WAR on Alleria. It's become the World of AllianceCraft. The world is owned and operated by Alliance players. It's not uncommon to wander Shattrath and not see any Horde.I got to laughing at a guild mate the other day who is foaming at the mouth to get to Lake Wintergrasp, and raving about how wonderful it will be. I asked him who, exactly, he thought he was going to fight there, since we have so little Horde left. Halaa is perpetually under Alliance control. Horde takes it occasionally to access the vendors, and we let them. They then leave as soon as Alliance start showing up because they are so severely outnumbered within minutes.Would I support server merges? Yes, I would. I think low pop servers should be merged, but furthermore, I think they need to do something about balancing factions across servers. World of Warcraft isn't Warcraft when it's all Horde or all Alliance on a server.
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