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When there's a dozen of Them for every one of You, life on a PvP server gets ugly. PvE progression crawls when your faction's population is so minuscule that you can't seem to assemble a PUG even during peak hours. You can't craft your way into better gear, because an anemic economy means no materials on the Auction House and no players in Trade waiting to craft with them. Log in on a night when the few of raiding guilds don't happen to be active, and you could find yourself looking at something like 40 other faction-mates online.
Welcome to the Alliance of US-Cho'gall. Current player activity levels average an abysmal 1 Alliance hour for every 12.7 Horde hours played -- something like a 1:7.5 player ratio, down from 1:15 earlier this year. An incredible community effort and guild named The Resistance rallied rerollers and transfers to infuse new life into the Alliance-side of this notoriously imbalanced community. While the campaign made an impressive stab at pulling the Alliance community up by its bootstraps, the severity of the situation took its toll, and things are not so bright for everyone on the blue side of the tracks. We visited with Aleksey, GM of another Alliance guild, to find out how the beleaguered Allies are holding up and what might help this Horde-crushed realm.
Main character Aleksey
15 Minutes of Fame: Tell us how you got involved playing on Cho'gall.
Aleksey: I had just returned to the game after a few months' break and was reading the general forums when I heard the call for rerollers on Cho'gall. I started in the guild The Resistance. Once people started getting over into Northrend content, The Resistance had many members start to break off. There were five to six guilds created as people started to leave, and everyone began finding their cliques. Two of those guilds were Sedition and Choke All. I soon joined up with Sedition, as many of their members played around the same times I did.
Soon enough, the time it was taking some of us to reach 80 started began taking its toll. People began to get bored, as it was difficult to find groups. Sure enough, after another weekend of not much happening, our GM and some of those 80s transferred off. GM was passed to someone who said they'd stay, but that seemed to only last about a week. Sure enough, we had just lost our second GM. A few days later, I find out that the current GM is going to be taking a break. I don't know what prompted it, but we had just lost our third GM in as many weeks.
Our current GM wanted to merge with that of Choke All and wasn't sure what to do with the guild. We decided that I would take over leadership and do with the guild whatever. We just try to do whatever, whenever we get the chance, all while keeping an eye out for the community. We're just not the type to be tied down to a schedule -- the ultimate PuG guild!
To further the server and to get some more progression going, (groups from) Choke All and Sedition decided to merge to form Forgotten Crusade. Being as I'm not a huge raider anymore, I decided to keep GM for Sedition and at least leave the door open. Sedition had gone through a bad month, what with me being the fifth GM of that guild.
What, in a nutshell, is the current situation on Cho'gall?
The situation on Cho'gall is intense! There are currently very few Alliance compared to Horde. Last time I cared to look, it was around 427 Alliance to 8,000+ Horde. When we hit WG, it's usually 15-20 people versus 120. I just don't keep track of it. I usually see 20+ Horde out and about when I'm the only Alliance in a zone ...
According to WoWWiki, the ratio of Horde to Alliance players on the realm has dropped from 14:1 to 5.8:1 since the advent of The Resistance movement. Would you say that balance is solid and lasting, or are you seeing things slip?
Everything went well for the first few weeks and then people just stopped logging in. I don't know if it was the camping from Horde, or just the feel of the server, but people started to dwindle. The last few guilds that actually stuck around finally transferred off, minus Epic Roosters and The Fifth Extinction.
I'd try to stay positive and say that it will be solid, but I do see things slip. Even now, there are still people who are transferring off or just not logging into their characters. My guild list is full of people who haven't even logged into their characters in a month's time, and they were part of the reroll movement. I'm hoping things settle down and people stay, but as of this writing, it's hit or miss.
Has the server been targeted for any special transfer programs, or has Blizzard given the imbalance any special attention?
Blizzard offered some free transfers just recently from specific realms. The problem is that people took those free transfers, saw what Alliance side was like and either transferred off or faction-changed to Horde. We don't need more Horde; we need Alliance. Blizzard did try to help us out, and we did get some new people, but until they do something more (stop creation of Horde on the server, stop transfers to Horde on the server, allow transfer to Alliance from all servers), this isn't going to change.
What specifically are the barriers to progression? Is it the small Alliance population itself that creates barriers to progression, or is it the Horde:Alliance ratio that causes problems?
I can't honestly answer this question! I'll try my damnedest, though. I believe that it is the Alliance population as well as the attitude of the players that is creating progression barriers. When we received new transfers, everyone was looking forward to moving further and getting things done for the server.
With an elitist attitude that is required to be a raider this day and age (you need 5k GS as well as 9k DPS for Heroics), it just doesn't happen. Many of the people that are "geared" (ilvl 245 gear or above) on this server are newer transfers that came to be glory hounds. They talk the big talk in Trade about how they are 25-man raiders and how many bosses they've downed, how many epics they have, their gear scores and how if you are not in T9 you obviously suck. Most of us who were here before they ever showed up had either just hit 80 and started our gearing progression or were working on raid progression. As easy as Blizzard is making this game, you still cannot walk into the newest raid instance right upon dinging level 80 and beat it.
So the progression is a bit slow, but that has to do with the attitude of the people as well as the population. I and others don't work well in groups where we're being called stupid for making a mistake (to err is human) or someone is nerd-raging over Vent because we wiped. The best part of it for me is that the people who want to raid the 25-mans have to PuG for their groups still because of the population. If you treat your community like crap, don't expect them to join your groups.
How does the Horde generally react to and handle the imbalance?
It depends on the Horde. Some Horde will stand there awestruck that there is a character that's not in a Battleground bashing in their face. Some welcome the opportunity and fight back, while others get so upset that you interrupted their PvE play that they not only create a level 1 alt to bash you, they then get their guild or the whole zone to descend on you and camp you. Too many times I've personally been followed by a train of Horde while flying around doing my dailies. Soon as I land, it's a fight of overwhelming odds.
Overall, I would have to say Horde welcome the Alliance. Too long they have had this server to themselves and have lived in relative peace and quiet. I applaud all Alliance that come here and make life hell for them. This is a PvP server ... It's time to make them remember that!