So the news is good for Mythic & EA. Half a million accounts created in about a week. Friends of mine who’ve shown no interest in Warhammer are suddenly contacting me and asking me what server they should roll on, so I guess the word is spreading.
Picking a server is pretty much the first decision you have to make in an MMO, and with Warhammer it turns out to be a fairly significant one. So let’s think about this together.
You’ve got two “axis” to work with. Core vs OpenRvR and Core vs RP. The latter is more a thematic decision. I generally prefer RP servers just because of the naming conventions. Stupid names bug me. But that’s just me and its a personal opinion; you need to make your own choice there. Just don’t roll on an RP server, name your character ChuckNorris and then bitch about “naming nazis” when someone complains about it.
The Core vs OpenRVR decision is huge, and I’m going to urge you to choose Core for your first character. There’s still plenty of RvR on Core servers. Now I’m going to be honest and admit I haven’t played on OpenRvR servers in Warhammer, but I just don’t see a reason to. If you’re in the mood to fight other characters in a Core server, you head to easily accessible RvR areas or enter a scenario. If you’re not in the mood to fight, you stay out of those areas. To me, Core = more choices, which is always good. Saylah has a lot more to say about this choice and I urge you to read her thoughts before rolling OpenRvR.
So assuming you know what *type* of server you want to play on, how do you determine which specific server to pick? And the answer there is, look at the population during the times you’ll normally be playing (which means you should probably first play War during your ‘regular gaming time’). Your instinct (OK, *my* instinct) may be to look for a server with a low or moderate population. No one wants to have to camp spawns on a crowded server, right? But that would be The Wrong Choice for Warhammer. You want to join a server with a High population for your intended side. But of course you don’t want to wait around in login queues, so avoid Full servers with large waiting lists (the number in parens after a server name indicates how many people are waiting to get in). Also look at the other side. You want the two sides to have relative parity. I honestly haven’t seen a server where the sides are terribly out of whack (high/low or whatever) but if you find one of those, avoid it!
Remember, you need another team to fight against. If your side has a higher population you’re going to be waiting a long time for scenarios to begin. If your side has a low population then you’re going to get rolled pretty frequently in open world RvR, and control of zones is going to be problematic. Everyone likes to win, sure, but the most fun comes from good competition on both sides. And if a server is low population on both sides, then both sides are going to be waiting a long time to enter scenarios and open world RvR is going to be sparse at best.
So to recap, pick RP or non-RP. Avoid OpenRvR unless you’re really sure of what you’re doing. And look for servers with High/High population counts during the times you’re going to play. One of those is your server, and your best chance of having an enjoyable, well-rounded Warhammer Online experience. Granted this isn’t an exact science; pure population numbers don’t indicate player levels or RvR affinity. But you have to work with what you’ve got, and hopefully this post can help you stack the odds in your favor a bit.